The military base had put up with a lot of things in its time, but this was a first. In the main hangar, a bit beyond the hole that had been blasted in both wall and roof, four large metal bodies stood. Across from them were a human troop of soldiers, armed to the teeth and firing.
Thundercracker, farthest from their little entrance, was now facing a single opponent, although that did not at all lower the gravity with which he fought. One human! A female at that! But she kept him on his toes, often ducking behind one piece of scrapped vehicle and popping out from behind another. He swerved and tried to track her, but she was as slippery as she was deadly, striking a dozen rounds into his wings and legs as he fired ineffectually at the smaller target.
Finally, though, he'd got her on the ropes. They stood a yard apart, each with a weapon pointed in the other's face. Not that the situation worried the silly creature – in fact, she almost seemed to be ENJOYING it.
The small creature grinned up into his face. "A good ol' fashioned standoff, hmm?" She laughed, oblivious to the retreating soldiers and gunfire behind her.
Thundercracker frowned, a grave expression on his face. "You realize my reflexes are far faster than yours, don't you?"
She laughed again. "Yeah, and I'm too far from any exit or cover..." She was right – a single glance showed that the closest stairway, behind and for to her right, would provide no escape for the small warrior. And yet…
"Why are you not afraid?"
"Why haven't you fired?" she countered.
Thundercracker blinked, unsure of his next move. OF COURSE he could easily blast the head off of this human, go back to the rest of the fight, and steal whatever it was Megatron wanted from this place. And OF COURSE there was no way the female could escape death by his hand.
So why HADN'T he fired yet?
Sensing his dilemma, the flesh creature compounded it by lowering, and then flinging away, her weapon. She then raised her hands above her head, both relaxed and in a signal of surrender.
"Go ahead. Shoot me." She eyed his even more confused face. "Kill me." She added, enjoying the paradox flowing through his face.
Suddenly, the rest of the roof began to collapse, weakened by the initial hole and battle following it. The Seekers raised their heads and left with their leader, leaving the humans to scramble through the doors and stairway to more secure parts of the building.
Except….Thundercracker turned back, saw his opponent dash for the stairs only for the entrance to be blocked. He glanced at the hole in the roof, soon to be blocked, and made a decision.
Small hands groped in the dark. Below, smooth glass; above, something that was not leather or rubber, but similar. Carefully the appendages continued their search, finding a joystick amidst many buttons and controls.
"Stop that," a deep, loud voice admonished. Startled, the human looked up, not that it made any difference in the deep, black dark.
"You're the guy I was fighting, right? You dove back in to save me." A cocky grin would have been revealed, had there been the light.
Thundercracker ground his oral plates together. "I did NOT save you."
"Then why'd you come back?" She waited for his response; when none was forthcoming, she smiled and needled him a bit more. "I WOULD have died, if you hadn't."
There was no sound from the Seeker for a moment, then - "You're a good warrior. A shameful, inglorious death under rubble-"
"Bull. You're lying through your teeth and you know it."
"I- how dare you! Is this what I get for saving your life?"
"Heh, no. Thank you for coming back for me."
There was another silence, much longer this time.
"What's your name?"
They sat in the absolute dark, not one sound pervading the cockpit.
She'd sounded panicked, this time.
The human let out a sigh of relief. "Just making sure you're still with me."
Thundercracker raised an eyebrow at that odd statement. "And where would I be, otherwise?"
"It…I ….that's not what…" she sighed. "Have you ever heard of a human writer named Isaac Asimov?"
Intrigued, the Transformer tried to formulate a decent response. "Can't say I have."
"He wrote a lot of great sci-fi stories, space and robots and that kind of stuff. In one of the stories, he hits on the three worst fears of human beings."
"Yeah. Since we're developed in a dark, tight space with the sound of our mother's body all around us…and then are violently brought into the lit, loud, open air after nine months…it seems that all humans share a base fear of absolute darkness, enclosed areas, and loud noises."
"…and right now we're two for three."
"Exactly. So, please, Thundercracker…just…don't let me think I'm alone in here, okay? Please? Just…please, keep talking."
Three hours later:
"So flying's really that great, huh?"
"Yes…I find it especially so in the Earth's atmosphere, with different currents and thermals depending on where you fly…freefalling is also pleasurable."
She sighed. "I've always wanted to try that, just once. I signed up to be a paratrooper, you know. Not a base guard or infantry soldier. But…"
"What stopped you?"
"Well, I mean…do you know about human hearts? The physical organ, not the whole metaphysical lovey-dovey thing."
"Some…they act as a fuel pump, correct?"
"Close enough, yeah. Except mine doesn't work as efficiently as other people, so they're afraid that if I tried to jump, the G-forces would overwhelm me and knock me out, leaving me unable to pull my chute."
"Yeah. But you know, I feel like the risk is worth the reward, or am I getting my phrases mixed? But it looks like such fun…."
"Tell you what…should this war ever end, maybe I'll take you flying sometime. You can freefall all you like, and I'll catch you, parachute or no."
She laughed. "Sure, sounds like a deal." She smiled, and then turned as best she could toward his head. "Reminds me – you ever hear this song? It's one of my favorites…I don't have the rough voice that the original singer did, but…"
Without waiting for his answer, she began to sing. Her voice was not the loveliest he'd ever heard, but it was by no means unappealing, and it got the job done.
"Interesting," he said, after she'd finished. "I've never heard that before, but it sounds very true."
"Well, it's supposedly about skydiving, so I'd say it's pretty appropriate."
Two Hours Later:
"So you guys's souls are actually tangible?"
"More or less….all Transformers have sparks."
"Can I see?"
"Did I say something really offensive?"
"We…rarely show our sparks, even to each other. It takes a huge amount of trust to allow another to see you life, and we rarely ask or show when that trust HAS been earned."
"You know, I CAN turn on the cockpit lights-"
"We've been over this. I'd rather talk to you for twelve hours that have light for two. Speaking of which, how long have we been down here?"
"I'd say close to five hours."
"Five – but there's no way there's that much oxygen in here!"
"I've had my carbon scrubber running for most of the time."
Both snapped – in Thundercracker's case, tried to snap – their heads up at the sound of shifting rubble. Mild starlight greeted the relieved pair as huge Autobot hands moved the worst of the damage out of the way.
With a slight hydraulic hiss, Thundercracker's cockpit dropped open, leaving the human little choice but to jump out. No matter what happened next, Marya would not in her life forget what this being, this Transformer had done for her: he had kept talking.
Disclaimer: Me no own Transformers! *ducks thrown wrench* hope you liked it. And kudos to those who can figure out what she was singing. Need some help? Appropriately, it's a heavy-metal song….