Disclaimer: do not own Transformers.
Summary: G1. Oneshot. They didn't know why the alien jets chose to fly with them. Perhaps they were bored. Perhaps they liked messing with their heads. Perhaps they just didn't like flying alone. Seeker-centric, OCs involved.
Author note: I have absolutely no knowledge of any military (military, navy, air force, etc.) body of any country/nation/organization/whatnot, so I apologize for the errors contained herein. I gleaned from (coughIronmancoughTransformerscough) various movies, so hopefully you'll still enjoy the fic. : )
Is an adopted bunny from katsuko over at livejournal. Thanks katsuko!
Of a Feather
It started out innocently enough…well, as innocently as 'Cons like them could manage, anyway. Rose and Bishop were out on a routine patrol when they made first contact. Unnervingly, none of their scanners picked up the very conspicuous being until it cut their connection to ground control and began flying right in between them.
Rose and Bishop saw it at the same time, and pulled away swiftly in a chorus of "The hell?" They hung back and followed at a safe distance. It didn't seem to notice; it just continued flying in front of them as though nothing had happened.
"What is that thing?" Rose asked, his eyebrows raised in incredulity. Bishop had no answer. It wasn't any of theirs; the jet was a garish blue and white, of an unknown model, and was much too large. In their radio channels they could hear a buzz of static—it had separated them from ground control.
"What do we do?" Rose asked Bishop. "Do we engage?"
"It's in restricted airspace, and it just cut our communications," she answered. "Whatever it is, it ain't friendly. Prepare to engage."
But suddenly, with a quick burst from the thrusters, the thing pulled away from them, and was gone.
That was their first encounter with the strange jet. They reported it, their equipment was inspected for damage, their radios were fortified, weeks passed, nothing else happened, and the incident became forgotten.
The next victims were Hunt and Diaz.
Bishop and Rose were in the communications room when one of Diaz's weak jokes was drowned out with static. The techs scrambled to make the connection. Other pilots were sent out immediately, and all Bishop and Rose could do was to wait anxiously in the hangar.
A few minutes passed, and Hunt and Diaz finally landed. Hunt, a little shaky, climbed out of her machine, and helped an even shakier Diaz from his cockpit.
"Diaz," Hunt said tightly. "Calm down."
"Calm down? Calm down?" Diaz wailed, his voice several notches higher than usual. "Don't you guys understand? It's like an R-rated action movie! The token minority always dies first!"
"Excuse me?" Lee, the medic attending him, said, fixing Diaz with one of her looks. Diaz deflated a little.
Lee just shook her head.
They found out after this second incident what the jets actually were: Decepticons.
It was the Decepticon called Thundercracker who had interrupted Rose and Bishop's flight; Skywarp had suddenly appeared in front of Hunt and Diaz, warping out as swiftly as he first warped in.
Further precautions were taken; patrol units were increased in number; pilots were given permission to shoot if they felt themselves under attack.
Not that that helped matters much. By the time they picked up the presence of a Decepticon, the Seeker was almost flying on top of them. The increased numbers seemed to encourage their behaviour. The blue one—Thundercracker—was the most regular stalker; the purple one called Skywarp popped by occasionally (in the very literal sense, too).
They doubtless had a motive, but none of the humans could fathom as to what that motive might be. Their base was too small to be of any tactical advantage to the aliens; the area surrounding was practically devoid of resources, unless the 'Cons were planning something miraculous with sand and salt water. Rose thought that they were just bored; Bishop said that they probably just liked to mess with their heads. Diaz suggested that maybe they just didn't like flying alone. Perhaps they just wanted to fly as a flock.
Upon which Hunt smacked him upside the head, reminding him that flocking was prey behaviour, and that the chance of any Decepticon seeing itself as prey was about zilch.
They had thought that there were only two Decepticons they would have to contend with when the third one appeared.
All four of them were out on patrol, when suddenly, one of the alien jets appeared on Rose's left.
"Guys?" he said. "We have a situation here."
"Which one is it?" Diaz asked, his position restricting his ability to see the Seeker. "Thundercracker? Skywarp? They all look alike…"
Bishop could just picture Rose's incredulous look. "The blue one," he hissed.
"Pull right," Bishop said, preparing to do the same so that her wing-mate would have the space to maneuver. But before either of them could make a move, another jet went to Bishop's right, and another one pulled up in front of them.
Bishop and Rose were boxed in, and none of them would be able to fire at such a close range.
"Diaz, Hunt," Rose said as calmly as he could to the still-free pilots. "I want you to, really carefully, pull back, get back to ground, and call for backup, you understand?"
"Understood," Hunt said.
"Yes, Sir," Diaz said in a rare grim tone.
Hunt and Diaz began to pull away, Hunt to the east and Diaz to the west. But with startling maneuverability for beings so large, the blue one went to Hunt's right side, and the purple one to Diaz's left, forcing them to turn back into formation.
Any further attempt was met with one of the jets herding them back.
This was ridiculous.
"I don't think they want us to leave," Diaz said quietly. "What do we do now?"
"Ride it out," Rose answered grimly. "It's the only thing we can do."
They seemed to have memorized their patrol route. When they finally made the full circuit and began returning to base, the three Seekers peeled away, all at once, and were beyond the horizon in a heartbeat.
Perturbed, the four pilots landed in the hangar to the relief of their comrades.
"What was that about?" Bishop wondered aloud.
"I think we just got claimed as territory," Diaz said.
"Well," Rose said, running a hand distractedly through his hair. "That's really inconvenient."
"I don't know about you guys," Hunt said, walking away with a decisive sigh. "I'm just glad it's over."
But the four of them knew that it was far from over. As Diaz put it, it was like little sparrows flying around with three badass stalker eagles that could turn around and rip them to shreds at any instant.
The Autobots were alerted to their plight. The Aerialbots stayed for two weeks, and the Seekers were nowhere to be seen. Everyone thought that they had gotten bored, and wouldn't return.
But the day that the Aerialbots left, all three of them showed up.
The Autobots did ask the Seekers what, exactly, they were up to, but were answered with something along the lines of: "None of your business!" To the humans, they said nothing at all.
The Autobots couldn't fight them; the Seekers had done nothing to physically harm the base personnel (psychologically was another matter), and didn't seem to be on any mission other than regular patrol. A struggle over the area would incur more damage than necessary. The surrounding area was too small and too resource-poor to be of any use to Megatron, though no one knew what the tyrant thought of his air force's strange…hobby. In any case, he doubtless knew about it (no Decepticon could keep a secret from him for long) and he doubtless didn't care (the fact that their base was still standing was a testament to that). The Seekers…were relatively harmless.
So the Autobots promised to keep a tab on the Seekers, and to send someone to their aid should a Seeker be picked up in their area.
There was nothing more that they Autobots could do. By now, most of the crew was used to the strangeness—they didn't like it, but they were used to it.
In short, they sent the Autobots home.
The pilots were given a choice. They could request transfer if they so wished, or remain grounded until the Seekers lost interest.
"Burn the land and boil the sea, you can't take the sky away from me," Bishop said softly. A little private joke between her and her wing-mates. All four of them loved the sky too much to let a bunch of aliens take it from them. And that was pretty much the sentiment of every other pilot at base.
So they stayed. And they flew.
The sky was big enough, it seemed, to accommodate the both of them.
It didn't happen suddenly. There was no sudden moment of acceptance on the part of the humans, no sudden moment of redemption on the part of the Seekers. They just realized it gradually. They didn't know when the Seekers realized it. Maybe it was the day they regularly started appearing in flights. Maybe it was the day they stopped boxing them in. Or maybe it was the day that they finally stopped cutting off their communication with ground control.
But for the humans involved, it was the day they went out to fly, and none of the Seekers appeared. They didn't appear the next day, or the next day, or the next day.
They should have been relieved, but instead, the sky felt somewhat…empty.
They would learn later that the Seekers were injured in one of the battles with the Autobots. Something about Lamborghinis and "jet judo." The humans didn't blame the Autobots; they were all soldiers, and the Autobots were the side that, generally speaking, wasn't looking forward to the xenocide of the human race. So in a way, they were glad that the Autobots were victorious.
But still, the sky was empty.
"I really hope we're not developing Stockholm Syndrome," Diaz quipped. "'Cuz that would really suck."
"There are worse 'Cons that we could attach ourselves to," Hunt said, trying to console him.
They tried not to feel relief the day that the Seekers came back, Starscream in front and Thundercracker and Skywarp to the side, the humans somewhere in the middle of the V-formation.
Admittedly, they might have felt a twinge.
Just a twinge.
Never mind, it was just a nervous twitch. They didn't feel anything at all.
The Seekers escorted them to the hangar, and then were off. "You know," Rose said, helmet under his arm, watching as they flew off over the horizon. "It's really creepy, but I almost missed the three of them."
Bishop put her arm around his shoulder, looking out with him. "I did too."
"I guess that means they're flock," Hunt said. "We might not like 'em, but they're flock."
There was a pause as the four of them contemplated her words.
"I don't know about you," Diaz said finally. "But we're the strangest flock I've ever seen."