A/N: This fanfic is brought to you by one rabid plot bunny and my recent addiction to AceCombat 6. I know I have another story in the works, but this one was screaming at me to let it loose. Don't judge too harshly; I write strictly for fun, not pinpoint to the mm accuracy. After all, this is fanfiction; I'm allowed some liberties, aren't I? Enjoy! ;)

Disclaimer: TFs isn't mine nor is the country that I mention later in this story—this goes for this chapter and all succeeding ones. I only claim the plot and Kesinger.

Chapter One: Who Shot John?

"Son of a Glitch!" Skywarp cursed loudly as he drug himself out of the sizeable crater that resulted from the crash. Mumbling a few more curses under his breath, he turned and sat down on the lip of the crater and began to run his self-diagnostics.

Weapons Systems: Off-line…Warp Field Generator: Off-line…Navigation Systems: Off-line…Communications Systems: Off-line…Transformation Sequence: Off-line…Flight System: Off-line… Energy Level: 50%…and the list continued to scroll in the glass-is-half-empty sort of way.

"Slaggit. Can it get any worse?" the black and purple 'Con grumbled. No sooner had the words left his vocal processor than a thick blanket of snow began to fall from the heavens. "I had to open my big, fat vocalizer," he said flatly, smacking a palm to his black helm.

With a groan and a few more creaks and whines than he normally would have the battle-weary jet struggled to his feet. One dark wingtip was all but sheared off, hanging by a strip of metal and a few crucial wires. One engine thruster was completely offline, courtesy of SAM, SAM missile that is. Stupid SAM Missiles. Other than that, Skywarp had only suffered a few minor dents and pings from the actual air battle.

The real damage had been dealt at impact. Literally. The missile hit had caught the black Seeker completely off-guard, instigating the crash which in turn knocked out almost every critical system that he needed to survive in combat. Sure it was repairable, but his self-repair system could only fix so much in a set amount of time. Who knew when everything would be on-line and functional again? It could be one solar cycle, maybe two—slag, with the luck he was having today it would probably be one terrestrial week.

Slowly, he began to walk away from the crash site and into the thick coniferous forest. The branches hung thick with snow, and the deep drifts muffled the sounds of his footsteps. Skywarp wondered if his wingmates even realized he was missing—how could they not? On second thought, this could be payback. After all, two joors ago, he did switch the labels on Starscream's vials that were in his Air Commander's "secret" lab. Well…it was worth it! They'll be back, he kept telling himself.

Skywarp soon topped a ridge, but he almost wished he hadn't. As far as the optic could see, there was nothing but snow-covered forest—except…wait just a nanoclick…there…right there it was. Almost obscured by the coming snowstorm, he could just barely see a thin trail of smoke.

"Ha! So I did shoot the fragger down. Sweet!" With any luck he could use some of the parts from the crashed plane to repair himself and maybe even get a signal out. With new resolution he set out in the direction of the crash site.

Lieutenant Don "Stinger" Kesinger wearily pulled a part of his parachute tighter around his shoulders. Boy, had it been one hell of a crash. In all honesty, he was lucky to be alive. One minute he and his squadron were fighting those damn Decepticons, and the next minute his radio went ballistic with calls of hostile ground fire and orders to abort the mission. Shortly afterwards, his jet had taken a direct hit forcing him to eject. Now here he was stuck in the middle of nowhere in hostile territory with the choice of either freezing to death or being taken hostage—neither was very appealing. After untangling himself from his chute, he had packed it away knowing it would come in handy. Kesinger then began his long hike to the border armed only with his pistol, survival knife, survival kit and a fierce desire to get out alive. After several hours, he had stopped by a small stream and decided to make camp. The stream may have been frozen over, but it didn't stop him from trying to fish; at the very least he could fill his canteen. But fortune continued to smile on him and he caught one small fish for dinner.

Kesinger then proceeded to make a small windbreak from the pine branches and built a small fire to cook his dinner. Now, he sat huddled in his shelter, nursing the dying embers as they battled the bitter temperatures and freezing winds.

Crack!

The pilot was on full alert in an instant. He quickly doused the embers in snow and dove behind the thick windfall that made part of his shelter, pistol at the ready.

Crack!

It sounded as if a limb had broken off, but whether it was from the snow or an enemy he didn't know and he wasn't about to take any chances.

His peripheral vision caught a dark blur of movement to his right; Kesinger slowly turned and focused his sights in that direction. A small period of silence flooded the forest.

"I wouldn't if I were you, fleshy," a voice spoke from the gathering darkness.

"The only way you're taking me outta here is in a pine box!" Kesinger retorted.

"Huh! Just like a human—more guts, than brains!" taunted the voice.

That made Kesinger pause a moment. The voice had referred to him as "fleshy" and "human". That could mean only one thing—Decepticon. Slowly he lowered his weapon. "I won't shoot, if you won't," he spoke.

"Like your weapons could injure me," the Decepticon sneered, but he stepped out into the clearing even as he taunted the human.

Kesinger stared in awe at the figure before him. It was immediately obvious to him that the Decepticon before him was one of the ones he had fought with earlier in the day, despite it being in robot form. He instantly recognized the black paint job with the violet and white stripes on the wings (or what was left of them). He was an F-15 Eagle, if memory served correctly, one of three in the most deadly aerial trine to sear Earth's skies, but from the looks of things, someone had dealt the 'bot a heavy blow.

Now the jet Decepticon stood before him arms across the golden cockpit that comprised its chest, waiting. Kesinger decided to take the robot's actions as somewhat friendly and cautiously walked out to face the metal giant. Even if it decided to blast him, that death would at least be quick and painless versus slow and painful as a prisoner or slow, painful and cold as a snowman. He stepped out from behind the windfall and took several, measured strides into the clearing.

Kesinger smirked. The glowing red eyes of the robot dimmed to a deadly crimson. "What's so funny, earth germ?"

A loud snort escaped the pilot. "If our weapons do so little to hurt you, then someone opened a can of whoop-ass on your tailfins. I only wish it had been me."

"Why you little…" Skywarp took two angry steps towards the human. In one quick motion he held the young lieutenant in a purple, iron grip. "I need to teach you some manners, fleshy!"

"By all means, do it metal head! Whatever you dish out will be better than being taken hostage in this God-forsaken ice box! They're probably on their way right now to finish the job!"

It took Skywarp a moment, but he finally wrapped his processor around what the human had just said. "Whoa, whoa—Wait just one nanosecond here. You said 'they' as in 'they' shot you down, not me or we shot you down, right?"

It was Kesinger's turn to be surprised. He had intended to try and scare the 'bot off by making him think more humans were on the way (there was a good chance anyway). After all, the guy was banged up pretty good and Kesinger would bet two cases of beer that the 'Con would prefer to avoid any major confrontations at this point. But his last statement caught the pilot flat-footed.

"Uh…yeah. I said 'they'. Took me out with a freakin' SAM. I never saw it coming…too tangled up trying to see what you and your buddies were doing."

Skywarp loosened his grip marginally. "So whoever shot me, shot you as well," he mused.

"Well, I have a pretty damn good idea who it was," Kesinger said, "and they're not friendly with anyone."

Skywarp cocked his head in puzzlement. He had never really paid attention to the human's political mumbo-jumbo. Sure he knew the countries(maps were his specialty), but by topographical boundary only. He only concerned himself with the mission at hand, how many Autobots he could take out, or how many energon cubes he could down before becoming over-energized. Politics was Screamer's thing.

"All right, fleshy, just who are we dealing with here?"

"The Latverians."

A/N: For those who don't know, the chapter title "Who shot John?" is a colloquial phrase meaning "who did what to whom". We use it a lot where I come from ;)