AUTHOR'S NOTES: Sorry for the long gaps between updates, people. It's been so long since I've messed with this particular story that I had to go back and reread it to figure out where I was, but as those enigmatic people know only as 'they' say, 'the show must go on.'

Knight, Havoc, and Catastrophe belong to ChaosKnight. I'm just borrowing them. As always, I don't own the Transformers. I only use them for my own amusement and hopefully yours as well.

Ch.31: Travellin' Light

Those three were talking in low tones again.

Knight's mismatched optics narrowed as she stayed still with her back to the three mechs, pretending to be in recharge. The two older ones were Autobots, but she took little comfort from that fact- in her experience, Autobots could be just as manipulative as Decepticons. The fact that they justified themselves with more noble excuses did nothing to ease the ache of being used.

The two Autobots and the young Decepticon were discussing how to get her to take them home.

As if they simply couldn't just come out and ask her. Oh, no. Of course not; she was a neutral. A NAIL: non-affiliated life-forms. And those were the two nicest names her faction-less status had earned her over the vorns. Just because she didn't claim a side in the idiotic war, she wasn't to be trusted.

She felt her optics narrow, but resisted to urge to just pointedly ask them if they were ready to go back. Worry slowly set in as her optics flickered over them. As a neutral with no allegiance, but Cybertron it gave her a certain amount of freedom, but at the same time her unusual abilities made her an asset. A tool to be used by whoever possessed her-

And the Pit would freeze over before she let herself be used by anyone.

The reds and oranges of the canyon wall were beautiful from above. The sun was lowering in the sky, making the colors below flame and flicker as shadows chased the fading light. The sky itself was an even better show, Thundercracker decided as he lighted on the rough, sun-warm ground. He'd certainly never seen such colors on Cybertron.

That didn't mean he found this world lovelier than his broken home, though. Cybertron may not have had the same colors, but it was beautiful in its own way and always would be.

Back on Cybertron, everything had been great. Even after Starscream had dragged him and Skywarp both into the fledgling war, he hadn't really minded. He'd felt that they'd allied themselves to a great cause- overthrowing Autobot control and the corrupt bureaucracy.

Looking back, he couldn't see how he hadn't seen the war coming. It had been inevitable that he and the other worker class Cybertronians would eventually chafe under the firm thumb of the government. That didn't mean he agreed with the methods, but who else but Megatron could have led them?

That mech had been forged in the mines, tempered by the injustices heaped upon them.

Thundercracker had never been in the mines, but he'd suffered at the hands of the bureaucracy just as the miners and workers had. While they had been pushed to the breaking point with total disregard for the fact that they were more than mere drones, the Seekers had suffered law after law that had bound them tighter and tighter.

They had been jealous of those gifted with flight and they'd passed legislation aimed at grounding them- which was just as effective as crippling them. He and his trine-mates had joined the Decepticons to protect their own freedom.

Thundercracker's wings flexed at the memory. Flight was something ingrained in all Seekers; something as important as Energon itself. A Seeker who couldn't fly was as good as dead.

The Pit with the Autobots and their fragging laws.

He shifted slightly as he felt a slight twinge on the edge of his awareness. He wasn't all that surprised when Skywarp materialized out of nowhere. The purple and black trine member was as much a part of him as his own wings. Aside from their coloration and personalities, they were the same.

"Screamer's pissed," Skywarp said without preamble. The purple Seeker's optics flickered over their surrounding with only minimal interest. Skywarp had always been a bundle of energy; too tightly wound to settle long in one spot and constantly seeking distractions.

"When isn't he?"

Skywarp glanced at him, but his attention skittered away quickly enough. A lone hawk circled overhead and his brother watched it with an unreadable expression. "He says you abandoned us." His optics were wary as they turned back to Thundercracker.

He winced slightly. "I just need time."

"Come home?" Skywarp's clawed hands flexed slightly as he stared enviously up at the hawk.

"Not yet." Thundercracker sighed through his vents as Skywarp stared at him.

"We need you there," Skywarp said quietly, seeming oddly subdued. "Everything's messed up."

"Me being there won't fix that and you know it." Thundercracker studied his wing-mate in silence. He knew what Skywarp meant, though. If the three of them were together, then everything would seem better.

He twitched as Skywarp thumped him on one wing, the light smack sending ripples of near-pain through his sensor relays and making him draw his wings protectively up.

"Fragger." Skywarp muttered without heat as he flared his own wings challengingly.

"You're another." Thundercracker smiled reluctantly as Skywarp launched himself up and hovered above him.

"Son of a glitched Pit-spawn!" Skywarp crooned as he wiggled his claws at him.

"That's a fraggin' way to talk about our creators." Thundercracker groused as Skywarp winked an optic, before teleporting away.

Leaving Thundercracker all alone with his thoughts.

And they weren't great company.