A/N: To avoid the inevitable confusion that would arise from switching pronouns, I am continuing to refer to Starscream in this chapter as "he."
Charged sexually aroused. Breem: 8.3 minutes.
Thanks to KDZeal for being my beta reader for this chapter. Thanks to Anne Clothier for the loan of Dr Syn, and the expression "Primus and the Unmaker!"
Starscream pulled back violently from the groundling medic's touch as if it burned.
"Are you seriously trying to suggest that the Autobot leader, Optimus Prime, is a femme?" Starscream asked with a forced laugh.
"Oh no, not at all," the medic said, smiling, although it was a cold smile. "I have the archives of medical history from Cybertron, which details all the tests that were done on that one's Spark to prove that, although atypical, he is indeed merely an exceptionally bright-Sparked mech." He stepped back up to within touching distance of Starscream, did not this time touch, but raised his optics to look directly into Starscream's, the look this time a direct challenge.
"Most of those tests are doable by a medic, with their specialist scans, so I took the liberty of performing the same sorts of tests using my own scanners on your Spark, and the results show that your Spark is unequivocally that of a femme - my Lady." This last was said mockingly, in a tone that made Starscream want to immediately knock the impudent mech's head from his body, but there were several reasons he could not do that.
Firstly, he needed to find out first if the medic had told anybody else, for if he had, killing Weldline would only delay the inevitable. Secondly, if he decapitated one of his own mechs, people would start to wonder why, and it would only take Weldline having dropped the slightest hint to anyone else that he was investigating Starscream's Spark to make people wonder, and possibly get Dr Syn to make his own scans. No, he had to find out if the medic had told anyone else, although he couldn't ask straight out, this would take some sneakiness, and as much patience as the Seeker could muster.
"So, considering that now the AllSpark is gone, and the only way we can reproduce now is by mech-femme Sparkmerge, how much is this secret worth?" Weldline asked. "Or should I tell Barricade and Dead End, -and everyone else for that matter, - arrange for Dr Syn to remodel your body into that of a femme, and let you be handed around from mech to mech to bear the next generation of the Decepticon army?"
"Look, Weldline, there is no need for that." Starscream said hurriedly. He turned and moved to his energon dispenser, began drawing a cube. "So, Weldline, you know my secret. It seems there is no denying it: I am indeed a femme. Very well done: I never suspected you were checking. Shall we discuss this over some energon?"
Weldline made a rude noise. "What, and let you poison me?" the medic asked sarcastically.
"Very good, Weldline, not taking anything on face value," Starscream said approvingly. "With your brains and instincts, you could go far in the Decepticon ranks. It is up to you, but I am thirsty. I will draw two cubes, one for you, one for me, you don't have to drink if you don't want." He drew the second cube, took them over, sipping from both to show that they were safe. He put the first one down, then peered over the second one in a manner that could only be described as 'flirtatious'. "Of course, we could share, both of us drinking from the same cube," he suggested.
Starscream pulled over a flier's chair, with a high back, indicated that the medic could sit on a similar chair, but he declined, instead stepping closer to Starscream and resting a hand on his leg. Starscream responded with a light touch to Weldline's shoulder. "You asked how much my secret is worth, Weldline." he said, saying the medic's name in a soft, seductive tone he certainly didn't feel like using. "To answer that, my good medic, I need to know what you would consider a fair price," he asked.
The mech grinned. "Okay, if I am to keep your secret, I want access to you and your berth whenever I feel like it, your favour for any projects I may see fit to start, and an exemption from having to do the respect gesture every time I see you or one of the other Seekers. Also, my Lady, I want a Sparkling of my own, or maybe two Sparklings, while I have the chance. This is my initial price, although it may be subject to change if things come up."
Starscream allowed a little panic to enter his voice, which, considering the medic's threat, wasn't hard. "If I am to have Sparklings for you, then everyone will find out!" he said. "How can I give you that and my secret remain safe? The moment anyone sees the Sparklings they'll realise there's a femme somewhere about, and it won't be long before they realise, and my fate will be the same as you have threatened anyway!" he said.
Weldline reached out and drew his hands down Starscream's arms in a soothing gesture, and Starscream had to fight to not recoil from the touch. "Don't worry, we can claim they are from the Mission City battle. Dr Syn has built two Sparkling bodies in order to keep his craftsmech skills finely honed. We can say we found them in inadequate bodies, transferred them to those to give them a better chance, and get Dr Syn to help build them adult bodies - Seeker frames if you really want," he said. "Nobody will have any reason to doubt us."
Starscream managed to detach one arm from the medic's hold, and caught up one of the cubes of energon, taking a drink. Before he could replace the cube, Weldline intercepted it. "Let's share a cube to reflect our mutually beneficial partnership," he said, tilting it to take a big gulp, then tilting it back towards Starscream so he could have another gulp. Then Weldline drained the rest of the cube in a few deep swallows, tossing the empty behind him. Starscream thought that rather an appropriate representation, since Weldline was getting the best things out of their 'mutually beneficial partnership'.
Weldline shuttered his optics rapidly twice. "That is good stuff, better than you give everybody else," he said, his tone slightly accusatory.
"So it should be," Starscream responded. "This is not plain old low grade, this is mid-grade, which takes longer and requires more resources to distill than low grade. Thus, it is in short supply. I currently have a batch brewing now... I shall offer it in return for work well done as an incentive."
"I want you to set aside a portion of each mid-grade brew batch for my personal consumption," Weldline said.
The arrogance in the medic's voice riled Starscream, but he did not show it. Instead, he calmly said "Very well, Weldline," and nodded
The medic abruptly pulled back, his optics crimping suspiciously. "Why are you suddenly so compliant? You've barely raised a protest! What are you plotting?" he said.
"Nothing, Weldline, truth be told I'm glad that somebody has found out, somebody I can trust to keep my secret from the others in return for a few... favours," purred Starscream, trying to calm down the twitchy medic before he panicked, ran out, and told others.
"Weldline, if I wanted to shoot you dead I would have done it by now. You must know that," the Seeker soothed. Starscream did not, of course, mention that the only reason he had not done just that was because the noise would draw unwanted attention, and likely prompt awkward questions. He was just sorry that Weldline had not panicked and powered up his cannon... then Starscream could have blasted him and claimed self-defense.
Starscream reached out his long arms towards the medic invitingly. "If we are going to be spending intimate time together, we should get used to intimate touches, don't you think?" he asked, beckoning the medic forwards and smiling at him. As Weldline approached close enough, Starscream gathered the groundling mech to him with a tenderness he didn't feel. He stroked the medic's back with a skilled hand and bent his head to press his dermaplates to Weldline's, kissing him passionately.
Weldline flinched at first, but then returned the kiss, which was of a sort that Starscream usually reserved solely for his bondmates. However, this was an extenuating circumstance, and he knew that both Thundercracker and Skywarp would understand. Reaching out, Starscream brought over the other cube of mid-grade, and the two broke the kiss to share it, Weldline once again took the lion's share. As mid-grade was mildly intoxicating, this suited Starscream fine. He needed the mech to drop his guard.
"Okay, now we've got that sorted out, I think maybe you can start to keep your side of our agreement." Starscream didn't need scanners to tell that Weldline was slightly overenergised and somewhat charged.
"What do you mean? Starscream asked as Weldline grabbed his wrist.
"How about we get to work on the first of those Sparklings I asked for?" the medic asked, moving purposefully towards Starscream's berth. "Call it a deposit, of sorts."
That was the last thing that Starscream wanted, but he had to nod and acquiesce, while thinking vengefully of the revenge he would exact later for this insulting treatment. "Of course," he said, allowing him to lead him over. "I can teach you all about the most sensitive spots on a Seeker frame. After all, you want me to get something good out of it too, don't you? It's always better for both partners if the interface is pleasant for both."
"Most certainly," said Weldline his optics glinting. Starscream helped the smaller mech up onto his Seeker-height berth, then boosted himself up and lay next to the medic. He reached out, taking Weldline's hand, and began to guide him on a thorough exploration of the Seeker body.
"These are my chest vents... here are my intake valves, they are VERY sensitive.. and of course the wings of a Seeker are sensitive all over, front, back, edges..." Starscream reflected that many of the details he was filling Weldline in on could be used against a Seeker in a duel or a battle, but the most important secrets he kept to himself, and even the ones he had told him about would not be used against him or his own, or passed on to anyone else, because Weldline would not be permitted to live long enough to do so! Although before he continued, there was one thing he needed to know...
"Won't you be missed from the med bay? Won't your absence be noted?" Starscream asked, pulling away a little.
"Oh no, it's my off-shift time, no-one will miss me," the medic said cheerfully, trying to pull the Seeker back towards him.
"But what about emergencies?" Starscream asked. "You must have told somebody where you are and what you are doing here," Starscream said. "They'll come here looking for you if something goes wrong!"
"Don't worry, my Lady, I've told nobody, it's just gonna be you and I," Weldline said as he ran his fingers over Starscream's wing surfaces, making the Seeker shiver despite himself. "If they need me they can call me, as they have my comm signal." His hands wandered and lingered over the canopy of Starscream's cockpit, making Starscream shiver again.
"Nothing is going to interfere with the creation of my Sparkling," the medic said, then was silenced as Starscream swooped in for another passionate kiss. He broke it a few minutes later, letting his fingers drift gently over Weldline's audios.
"I have a small request of you, Weldline," Starscream purred in the most seductive manner he could muster.
"Yes?" asked Weldline, still recovering from the kiss.
"Even with my trine, I cannot enjoy an interface properly without an exchange of data. It does not have to be anything particularly sensitive, I could give you memories of my time at the Academy, or perhaps let you see from my mind how it feels to be a Seeker, to dance in the air," he suggested.
Weldline nodded. "Yes, I would like that, my Lady, and I could show you what it was like for me on Cybertron as a medic in peacetime," he said.
"Yes, I would like to see that," Starscream said. The reality was that Starscream could think of little that could be more boring than seeing a medic treating scrapes and stiff joints, but he needed this data interface if his plans were to go smoothly.
Shaking out his data cable, he first helped the medic plug his in to the back of Starscream's own head, then reached around, found Weldline's data ports, and played with the sensitive port a little before plugging in his own interface cable. He carefully erected a very specific firewall in his own processors, then began sending the medic images and feelings of his very first flight, a highly emotional experience. Such personal experiences were usually only shared between trusted and bonded couples, and Starscream wasn't happy to send something so personal to this blackmailing grounder, but it would serve a very important purpose... the overwhelming emotions of the experience should mask any possibility of the medic detecting the virus that Starscream piggybacked on the memory a few seconds later.
He had no fear of the virus returning to him on the medic's own data transfer, as the firewall he had set up was tailored to prevent that, and several other nasties Starscream had contained in a high-security program in his processors, from getting into his non-defended areas. The data transfer only lasted about ten seconds, but the virus had been designed to upload in only two seconds, again to minimise the risk of detection. It would take time to start its work though, and now it was up to Starscream to keep the medic occupied until it was too late.
As the two-way data share ended and the two clipped their data transfer cables away, Starscream slid his arms around the medic, and began to massage his back. Being well used to using different movements to stimulate different parts of Seeker bodies, he quickly found a motion that had Weldline groaning loudly and arching against Starscream's body. Good, he just needed to stay distracted a little longer…
Starscream leaned over and ran his glossa over the medic's audio and down his to his neck. The smaller mech shivered with pleasure.
"Ohh, you are good, I am going to enjoy my visits to your berth, my Lady. Tell me, please, do you do this for everybody who finds your secret? For surely I cannot be the first?" he asked. Starscream smiled.
"Oh no, you are quite correct, you are not the first, but no, I do not quite do this to everyone who finds my secret. Lesser mechs than you have died within the first breem of telling me that they knew my secret, mechs who were foolish enough to meet me in an isolated place, and who turned their back on me."
Starscream found a gap in the medic's plating, casually slid a finger and thumb into the space, and found a wire to play with, which he did, rolling it between the digits and gently tugging at it. The medic gasped and twitched, and Starscream gave another smile, this one cold and calculating as he noticed that the medic's legs lay still. His little virus had started its assigned task.
"How many have you killed to protect your secret?" asked Weldline, who suddenly looked nervous. Starscream could hardly believe that this mech was so stupid to only now realise that he could be in danger.
"Oh, at present, six, although in about a hour it'll be seven," Starscream answered, releasing the wire and pushing himself off the berth.
"What do you mea..." Suddenly the realisation hit the medic as he saw Starscream standing by the berth, no longer compliant, his manner haughty.
"No, not me!" he cried in a panic. "We had an agreement!"
"An agreement based on blackmail is no agreement at all," Starscream said, his voice hard. "Do you really think that I would not try to protect my own interests, to counter such an attempt as this?" he carried on, his tone almost conversational.
"If you try to comm anybody, you will find that your communications systems are non-functional. You may also by now have noticed that your legs are no longer obeying your processor's orders. That is another job my little virus has managed to do... you will find that your arms will soon follow. Also, don't bother trying to activate your own anti-virus systems, that's the second thing it knocked out, after your communications," Starscream explained.
"You will also find that transforming is impossible, and as we speak, my virus is destroying the coding of your processors and overwriting it with nonsense. In one Earth hour, you will be without any coherent coding of any kind, no memory, no knowledge, just a Spark in a useless husk. You will no longer be a threat to me."
The medic pulled himself over with his arms, his optics wide and frightened, his voice panicked, reaching an arm out pleadingly towards Starscream. "Please, my Lord Starscream, I beg you, show me some mercy!" Weldline cried.
"Mercy?" spat Starscream. "Those who show mercy are liable to be betrayed! You should not have tried to betray me, Weldline, I am Starscream, leader of the Decepticons, and I reward disloyalty with death!" With that, he grabbed Weldline by his outstretched arm and pulled him off the berth, throwing him to the floor with a clatter.
From his sprawled position on the floor, Weldline held out one shaking arm and made a last appeal. "Please... I'm sorry... I just thought... I just wanted a Sparkling... for the race."
Starscream kicked at the hand in disgust. "If I want a Sparkling, which I will at some point, I will do so in my own time, with somebody of my own choosing." He fixed his scarlet glare on the quivering mess of a medic. "That time is not now, and the person I choose is most certainly not you!"
"Please, Lord St-Starscream!" cried the medic, who could no longer control his arms at all. "I-I'll b-be lo-loyal! I-I'll keep your s-secret, but pl-please I-I-I want to l-live!" His voice was breaking down and the medic could tell, the look in his optics was one of sheer terror.
Starscream glowered down at the mech. "You sought to blackmail me, you did not consider my wants, my needs... You only wanted what you could get from me, so why should I consider what you want? You sought to control me, and such treachery deserves no mercy, no quarter given." Starscream turned his back on the mech, who now could only make mewling sounds. The virus had erased his speech programming.
Walking out of his room, Starscream locked it. When he returned, the medic would need to be disposed of, and for that he would need his Seeker brethren. On the way, he ran into Dr Syn, who stopped him with an outstretched hand.
"Lord Starscream, I came to inform you that I found certain detailed scans in your records that have no real bearing on your health," he said.
Starscream stiffened. Dr Syn was his friend, and he would prefer not to send this medic off in the same fashion as the other one, but by Primus and the Unmaker, he would if it came to it! "Choose your next words very carefully, medic," Starscream warned. He owed Dr Syn that much!
Dr Syn nodded, smiling cheerfully at the tense Seeker. "I have merely come to inform you that as such records are not necessary, they have been destroyed, as have any record of such scans," Dr Syn said. "All they tell me is information that I have known for vorns and vorns, information that I believe, as a medic, should only be released by you as and if you wish, to people of your choosing. I believe the humans call it 'Patient confidentiality'."
Starscream was stunned. "You - already know?" he asked. "You don't want to use the information against me?"
"Why should I?" asked Dr Syn. "For all I know, there could be a landing tomorrow that leaves us hip-deep in femmes, and even if no more turn up, it is your decision to make, if you feel it is right for you, to create a Sparkling. Nobody should feel under any sort of pressure with that sort of decision. That is your decision to make, not mine, and not anybody else's. Good day, my Lord." With that, Dr Syn turned and went back into the med bay.
Starscream stared after him for a moment, but then continued on his way. Entering the big hangar, he saw Skywarp and Thundercracker over in the far corner. Hurrying over, he told them in a low voice what had happened.
"Skywarp, when I comm you, warp to my room. Thundercracker, come with me," he said. The two older Seekers left the younger Skywarp in the hangar and headed for Starscream's room. As they went in, both stepped over the sprawled mech as if he was a piece of rubbish that was just in the way. Starscream activated the hidden panel in the wall that only his bondmates and himself knew of, and pressed a button.
"Anti-warp field down," he said. Starscream had decided when he got this as his room that he wanted total privacy, so had pined the room with a sensor net that also set up a warp-disruption field. Starscream would never go into his room to find Skywarp - or one of his childish pranks - waiting for him. He commed Skywarp: You can come in now.
There was a bang of displaced air, and Skywarp was there. Starscream pointed to the body. "Get rid of that without being seen. Drop it from a great height so that if anything is found, it will not be recognisable."
"As you command." Skywarp said. He seized the body, and just before he warped out with it, Starscream fancied he saw the optics of the groundling's body briefly flicker. Tough, Weldline had overstepped the mark, had tried to blackmail him...now he would have to pay the consequences.
"Well, that's another threat removed," said Starscream.
"Indeed," Thundercracker said. "Your secret stays secret for another day. You know, it's been very good luck that every time it's been discovered it has been only you discovered. Think what might had happened if it had been Skywarp who had been discovered."
Starscream's mouth pressed into a hard line. "Anyone who threatens my little sister will have me to deal with," he said.
"Me first," said Thundercracker. "She's my little sis too, and I claim eldest's rights."