Blackout and Scorponok – Reap and Sow

.

Blackout made a low growling sound in his vocal processor, his blood-red optics shifting warily as he scanned the area. Autobots could appear at any moment now and possibly catch him off guard, or, worse yet, fellow Decepticons.

The reason for his discomfort was a small, arachnid-shaped Decepticon by the name of Scorponok. The creature had a talent for making him drop his guard, perhaps a little too much, at times, and on occasions when they were in less-than-private places—now, for instance—that could be a bad thing.

It posed a security risk, not only to Blackout but to Scorponok as well. If Autobots caught them at the wrong time, they could be prone to an ambush or blackmail. And if Decepticons found them… Well, that was something Blackout really cared to avoid.

After all, the fact was, the typically cold and stoic Blackout had a special soft spot for his own underling. It wasn't exactly Decepticon policy.

And the reason that this was a problem presently was that the aforementioned drone was standing at his feet, trying to give him a strange, red thing tied up with a thin, wide white band of some kind. It was a tiny object, no doubt crafted by human hands, and, although Blackout had no idea just what it was, Scorponok seemed bent on giving it to him.

Seeing no one else around, and picking up no traces of Cybertronian energy signals anywhere in the vicinity, Blackout knelt down and held a servo toward the smaller Decepticon, allowing Scorponok to scuttle up onto it before lifting it so that they'd be able to see each other optic-to-optic.

Scorponok's faceplate design prevented expression for the better part, and his limited vocal processor made even basic Cybertronian speech impossible. But his connection with Blackout enabled him to share his thoughts, and, right now, he was chattering about something he called "Valentine's Day".

"Slow down," Blackout grumbled. "What is this 'Valentine Day'? Some kind of code term? A project name?"

Valentine's Day, Scorponok corrected. It's a strange human custom. I viewed the information on the world wide web, and thought it sounded like something good.

"What's the premise?" Blackout asked.

Well, you take a red thing shaped like this, or something called a 'chock-o-late', and give it to your mate. Scorponok explained. It's a sign of affection here on Earth.

Blackout eyed the small red thing held by the mechanical scorpion, wondering what sort of symbolism it might hold and how such a device could be used to show affection.

"What is this?" He asked.

It's a container called a 'heart'. Scorponok replied. It is the Earth symbol for affection. Apparently, they can't bond, so they give each other these instead. I thought you might like it.

Blackout reached up with his other servo and accepted the small 'heart', holding it closer to his optic to examine it. There was little distinguishing about the object, apart from its strange shape and the way it had been bound, and analysis showed no traces of energy resonating from it. But if Scorponok said it was a token of affection, then that made the seemingly useless object a meaningful symbol.

"Thank you," Blackout said, though his voice remained as stoic as ever. "But… I have no 'heart' or 'chock-o-late' to give you in return."

That's okay. Scorponok said. I just wanted you to have that.

Blackout's faceplate was as unable to form expression as Scorponok's, which made showing his appreciation for the gift slightly troublesome. He sent a small current of energy to the scorpion, a simple expression of pleasure.

Well, there is one thing I'd like. Scorponok said.

The smaller 'con leaned toward Blackout's faceplate. The black Decepticon looked at the scorpion and tilted his head away, sending a negative electrical signal.

"Psst, not right now," Blackout whispered. "We can't take a chance others might come. I mean, I appreciate the 'heart', but… Well, look. Sometime when I'm not so busy, you and I can spend some time together, just the two of us. Then we can kiss all you want."

Come on. Scorponok protested. These days you are always busy. Can't I at least have a little kiss?

Blackout scanned the area once more, first visually, then with his energy signature radar. This time, although the former still proved negative, the latter came up positive: a Decepticon was headed this way.

"I'm sorry," Blackout said, shaking his helm slowly. "There's another Decepticon headed this way at a high rate of speed; probably Starscream, by the readings."

Scorponok would have frowned, but had to settle for using a negative electrical signal and basic body language to show his irritation. He scurried down to the ground by Blackout's peds and began to silently pout.

A moment later, and before Blackout had a chance to hide Scorponok's gift, Starscream touched down in front of him.

The sand-coloured Decepticon looked Blackout up and down slowly, and had been about to address him when the bright red of the tiny heart in Blackout's digits caught his optic.

Blackout cursed as Starscream came closer to examine it, but it was too late to just try and hide it. He could only hope that Starscream didn't know anything about that "Valentine's Day affection-heart" Earth custom.

"What's this?" Starscream asked.

"It's an Earth object." Blackout answered, trying to keep his wits about him. "Called a 'heart'."

"And what does it do?" Starscream asked, tilting his helm to get a better look.

"Nothing," Blackout replied, "It's just a token that humans give one another."

"Why?" Starscream asked.

"To…" Here, Blackout hesitated slightly. "To show each other affection, sir."

Starscream snorted. "What a stupid concept." He scoffed. "Toss it out. I suppose I picked a good time to come speak to you—you're going to end up picking up some organic disease or something if you keep on picking up strange objects."

"Well, whatever." Starscream said. He handed Blackout a disk, then indicated it and said, "There are your instructions for the rest of the Earth-solar-cycle. You've been assigned to cleanup duty—lucky you—and now you're to head down to the coordinates listed to pick up Barricade's damn mess and try to make sure the organics don't get too suspicious. Got all that? Good."

He turned on the back of his ped and strutted off, muttering, "dumbass", before transforming and taking back to the sky.

Blackout and his companion watched silently as the pushy jet disappeared into the starry black expanse above them. The large black Decepticon was never a big talker, but now he was at a serious loss for words. What had just happened, now?

That, Scorponok announced, breaking the silence, is what I believe humans call "karma".