Warnings: rather descriptive on the injuries, nothing excessive
Summary: After a surprise attack, five bots are brought to the medbay in critical condition. Ratchet is fighting against time, energon loss, and sometimes even the patients themselves, all the while staving off his own exhaustion. G1. Ratchet, Twins, Wheeljack, no slash, but definitely some fluff, especially in the second chapter.
Disclaimer: the usual. I do not own Transformers, neither the characters nor the concept. Property of Hasbro.
A/N: This was my attempt at portraying a medical emergency as realistically as possible. Ratchet is only one mech and that has got to get complicated sometimes. Creative advice given by Durithyll, and beta'd by Starseeded. Also, kudos to Darklight for pointing out quite possibly the dumbest mistake ever made. At least one of us is paying attention! Anyway, wrote this while at the beach. Enjoy!
Edit: Changed a few words, tweaked a few sentences. Am happier now. And by the way, astrosecond=.498 seconds, breem=8.3 minutes, cycle=1.25 hours, garnered from tidbits of the Marvel, Beast Wars, and DreamWave continuities, lol.
Skywarp winked right above a pocket of Autobots, his frame jolting with the sudden change in air pressure as he caught a new wind current, and was engulfed in the sounds of enemy rifles discharging. The wide blue optics and startled shouts made him nothing less than giddy as he dove among them, bulling over several with his sheer bulk as he transformed and landed heavily.
He opened fire and chaos erupted, Autobots falling where they stood or diving for cover, and Skywarp grinned maniacally as he twisted and turned and fired all around himself. Thundercracker would have his aft for taking a risk like this, but the carnage was worth it. He kicked off of one of the unfortunate few who ended up beneath him as he jumped back into the air and transformed, strafing over nearby bots before winking back out again. The entire exchange lasted mere astroseconds.
Ratchet had already prepped the medbay, with the returning warriors having sent ahead a medical alert as soon as they were in range. Moments after he had pulled out energon lines and sent a request down to Wheeljack's lab that more be brought up, Ironhide came storming through the doors, carrying Smokescreen. More bots soon followed, and the medbay was awash in rushing colors and a cacophony of voices.
"What happened?" Ratchet shouted, jogging next to Optimus as he rushed to put Brawn down on one of the operating tables.
"Skywarp," Optimus rumbled, as he laid the battered mech down as gently as possible, "We lost track of him, and he 'warped right into us. Most of these are point-blank."
"Slaggit," the medic hissed. He turned and scanned the room, quickly taking a tally of those deemed in critical condition by their colleagues and being laid on the tables, versus the walking wounded congregating to the side, unwilling to leave sight of their comrades. He quickly crossed the room, weaving between bots and tables, and moved to shoo them into the examination room.
"Get!" he said firmly, and spread his arms, herding them back. "I know you're worried, but all you're doing is getting in my way." He saw fear on many of their faces, and desperation. "If you want to help, go back there and figure out exactly what happened. You might remember something that can help me later." His face became stern again, "Now move it!"
Reflexively, most of them nodded and began filing into the room. Ratchet could already hear Bumblebee's voice gathering everyone's attention.
He quickly turned back around and saw Wheeljack run in carrying energon containers and spare fuel lines.
"Put those over there!" Ratchet shouted, pointing to the counter where he'd stacked the others. Wheeljack quickly complied and Ratchet took a second to memorize the scene in front of him. Smokescreen, Brawn, Sideswipe, Cliffjumper, and Jazz, all laid out on the operating tables, fluids of various colors leaking from some wounds, gushing from others. The bot who carried each was still standing next to his table, Ironhide, Optimus, Sunstreaker, Bluestreak, and Prowl, respectively.
Ratchet locked eyes with Optimus; he knew the drill.
Prime nodded his head once, and walked stiffly towards the door. He hated leaving, but he understood why Ratchet required it of him. The CMO had to be topdog in that room. A Prime would only have served as a distraction. Even though in a medical emergency Ratchet did outrank him, he ran the risk of creating hesitation, as Ratchet barked orders, some might look to him for confirmation.
Ratchet saw Prime leave, heard his voice rumble outside, and saw Mirage scurry in to take his place.
"Wheeljack!" the medic shouted, turning around to look for him.
"What?" the mechanic's head pulled out of one of the cabinets, head-fins flashing.
"Go check on the others," Ratchet said, pointing to the now closed door, "Make sure there aren't any injuries requiring immediate attention."
Wheeljack nodded and closed the cabinet, raising his arms to shimmy between Bluestreak and the counter, and moved into the other room.
Ratchet turned back to the others, quickly focusing his processors. Without a proper medical staff, he couldn't organize a true triage; he had to prioritize by quick fly-by checks and sight alone. Smokescreen had already bled enough to cover most of the surface of his table, energon pooling around the raised edges and running down the grooves to the drains in the corners.
"Listen up, you all know the drill!" Ratchet easily took command of everyone's attention, moving quickly to Smokescreen's table. "Basic first aid, stop the bleeding, keep an eye on them. Call me if something happens!"
Smokescreen was in a bad way, completely unresponsive and leaking energon and coolant from various wounds. His right arm was completely crushed, and his chest was dented and pushed slightly to the left. Even worse though, was the fluid oozing from between his armor plates, meaning there was significant build-up inside.
"What happened?" he asked Ironhide, as he felt around Smokescreen's chassis.
"He was shot up some," the big red responded in his raspy drawl, "but Ah think the real damage came after." Ratchet dug his hands into Smokescreen's sides, making sure they were stable enough to be opened up without collapsing. "When that Decepticon fragger took off, his blasts hit Smokescreen an' the rocks he was hiding behind; they fell on him."
Ratchet grunted as he lifted the left chest plate; that certainly explained the wounds. The right plate wasn't moving though; the hinges had been crushed.
"Anything else I should know?" he asked as his hand retracted to be replaced by a circular saw.
Ironhide stared at Smokescreen intently, thinking back. "Not that Ah could tell you," he said after a moment.
"Alright," Ratchet said, as he thrust his saw into Smokescreen's side, screeching through twisted metal.
Ironhide grimaced at the sound, but nodded. He put a hand on Ratchet's shoulder as he walked by and exited the room.
By this time Wheeljack had returned from the others. He bustled over to Ratchet's side, being sure not to bump him. He started to yell over the saw, but decided to wait.
"How are they?" Ratchet asked as he pulled his arm back, the saw retracting.
"Fine for the moment. Inferno has some numbness that bothers me, and Bumblebee's bleeding pretty bad, but they'll keep for now." He studied Smokescreen's internals, memorizing and cataloging. The more he knew, the more help he could be.
"Good," Ratchet lifted the right chest plate, removing it entirely, and handed it to Wheeljack, who placed it under the table. "Be hooking everyone up to the monitors," he hadn't even had time to do that. Smokescreen was bleeding out, fast.
"Gotcha." Wheeljack moved away, pushing bots aside, turning on equipment, and running cables to key junctions.
With Smokescreen's thickest armor out of the way, Ratchet bent over and scrutinized the sight before him. Purple energon and green coolant were everywhere, with most of the leaks originating from the crushed right side, and also from a bad blast wound near his waist. Translucent lubricant was also flowing from his right shoulder into his chest cavity.
As Wheeljack worked, Ratchet could hear beeps and hums coming on around the medbay. He saw the others tense as the room grew steadily noisier, and filled with the sounds of…injury. But he relaxed somewhat, with a portion of his mind now able to monitor the others' conditions, and was better able to focus on the task at hand.
Ratchet extended a vacuum from the underside of his wrist and began clearing away the pools of fluid, allowing him to see beneath. He didn't have time to sort through the mass of torn cabling. Popping a mini-soldering gun from his middle finger, he began sealing off small cables indiscriminately. He would reconnect them later. He had to pause every few astroseconds to sweep his wrist over Smokescreen's internals; his fluids were leaking faster then Ratchet was soldering. This perpetual stopping and starting caused his frustration to grow. He needed to hurry.
He did make sure to find both the severed ends of a main energon line and solder them back together, otherwise risking Smokescreen's right leg becoming energon starved.
Finally the cavity stopped refilling as soon as he cleared it; Ratchet merely had to pray he'd stopped the leaking in time. Lubricant was still oozing from his shoulder, but he knew that wouldn't cause any permanent damage now that it couldn't spill directly into his system.
He straightened up and turned away, leaving Smokescreen still leaking and open to the world, but stable for now and able to hold for final repairs. His arm would have to wait. He began to call for Wheeljack, but found the mechanic already behind him, waiting.
"Hook him up to two energon lines: one in his main port and another directly into his arm. And turn off the nerve receptors in his shoulder," he continued talking quickly over his shoulder as he moved away, "if he comes back online, I don't want him feeling that arm."
As he approached Brawn's table, he saw Sideswipe to his left. Unlike the others, he was still online, though the medic wished he wasn't. He saw what appeared to be concentrated blaster fire, three or four shots, along the left side of his neck down to his shoulder.
Three major nerve junctions ran through those areas, and at least two had been hit, judging from Sideswipe's reaction. His body was stiff, his oxygen intake valves cycling heavily, and his hand spasmodically clutching his brother's arm. He was obviously in tremendous amounts of pain, but Ratchet couldn't see anything life threatening. It had obviously been a high-intensity weapon, as the wounds were cauterized and leaking minimal energon. With a pang in his spark, and thanking Primus Sunstreaker wasn't looking at him, Ratchet continued walking to Brawn's table, making the necessary decision.
"Talk to me," he said, as his hands and optics ranged over Brawn's form.
"I didn't see it," Mirage said in that low baritone of his, "Optimus just said he'd been shot."
Those were the only wounds Ratchet could immediately see, although it looked like there was some melee damage on his chest.
Mirage obeyed, and began walking out, sidestepping away from Sideswipe's table when Sunstreaker shot him a withering glare.
Ratchet keyed a command into Brawn's table, and the overhead saw disengaged from its position in the corner and began tracking its way across the ceiling towards him.
His own hand-saw was too small to get through Brawn's armor quickly, and the penetrating laser blasts had sent Brawn into emergency joint-lock, normally intended to prevent him from transforming, but also preventing Ratchet from opening him up along his hinge lines.
"Come on," Ratchet said, frustrated at the saw's slow movement. He reached up and grabbed the handle right above the saw, pulling it down and extending the arm before the machine even clicked into its final position right above the table.
Ratchet brought the saw down at the top of Brawn's chest, along his center line, and pushed. He leaned over the saw, putting his weight into it, and the saw shrieked and spat flecks of metal as it burrowed through thick, tempered plating.
The saw and Ratchet lurched slightly as it finally punched through Brawn's armor and into his chest cavity. Ratchet immediately pulled up, preventing the saw from causing further damage.
Bluestreak, who had been watching with frozen fascination, suddenly blanched and looked away.
Now that Ratchet was all the way through, he began guiding the saw down, splitting Brawn's chest. When he reached the abdomen, he lifted the saw out, turned it ninety degrees, and pushed back down, having to dig again. He leaned over and threw more of his weight on. This was taking too long.
"Wheeljack!" he called.
The mechanic left Jazz's table and hurried over.
"Take this," Ratchet said, handing him the saw. "Cut along here," he indicated the bottom of Brawn's chest, "all the way to the sides, and follow this seam here."
Ratchet lifted Brawn's right arm, squinted and nodded. "Then, come back to this center line and cut down his abdomen. The armor's shallower there, so watch it."
Wheeljack followed Ratchet's finger and nodded his understanding, taking the saw and pushing back into where Ratchet had left off.
Ratchet then put Brawn's arm down, away from his body, and squatted next to the table, his own hand being replaced by his saw again. The thinner plating under the arm and along the sides could be handled by Ratchet's own equipment. He pushed into the junction right below Brawn's shoulder and began sawing.
The two continued in this manner until Brawn's front had been divided into four quadrants: left and right chest; left and right abdomen.
All four pieces were carefully removed. Ratchet, holding the right abdominal plate, turned it over and inspected it. A clean hole had been burned right through, even Brawn's armor not slowing it much. Optimus had said point-blank.
He then studied Brawn's injuries, Wheeljack putting the plates beneath the table. Two shots to the abdomen, one to the left chest, along with what was now confirmed to be a piece of shrapnel buried near the center line.
Energon filled the chest cavity, but the abdominal cavity was relatively dry. Ratchet extended his vacuum and soldering gun again, ready to go to work.
As he cleared fluid and sealed wires, he realized something was wrong. There weren't enough torn cables to account for the amount of energon in Brawn's chest, and there wasn't enough energon to match the torn cables in his abdomen.
Ratchet's anxiety grew until he reached the piece of shrapnel.
"Slaggit," he cursed.
Sucking up the surrounding liquid revealed the shard to have severed Brawn's primary energon line, running right down his chest. Energon was spilling out before ever reaching his abdomen.
Ratchet took a firm grip on the shard, hands slick with fluid, and yanked it out.
Brawn's body twitched with the force; the shard now contained in Ratchet's hand was larger than he'd anticipated.
He threw it in a tray next to the table and quickly began fishing for the other end of the line. When he found it he cursed again. The shrapnel had ripped up the side before severing the cable where he'd pulled it out. He was going to have to reconstruct the split end before reconnecting the cable.
Wheeljack, having been forced to pick up some medical procedural knowledge as Ratchet's only possible assistant, was already moving to clamp to upper line to prevent further energon loss while Ratchet worked. Ratchet pulled the sides of the split line together and pinched it near the top with his left hand and began soldering up the side with his right. His hands were slick with energon though, and one side slipped from his grip and fell away.
"To the Pit with it" he snarled, quickly wiping his fingers on his leg plating, leaving purple streaks running down the white metal, and went back in.
"Ratchet!" he heard Bluestreak call.
He couldn't leave yet, Brawn's lowers needed this energon.
"Wait slaggit," he grit through his teeth. So close, so close.
"Ratchet!" it was a desperate shriek.
"Frag!" He dropped the lower line, still partially split, checked the clamp on the upper line, and prayed to Primus Brawn would hold long enough for him to get back.
He rushed to Cliffjumper's table, "What's wrong?"
"He started jerking and leaking all this!" Bluestreak tumbled out.
Cliffjumper was seizing, and green fluid was pooling beneath him.
"What happened?" Ratchet put a hand on Bluestreak's shoulder, trying to focus him.
"Um, Skywarp- Skywarp stepped on him. Stood on him actually." Bluestreak's wide optics fell back to the table.
Ratchet could see that Cliffjumper's front was damaged, with his curved chest plate crumpled nearly flat, but it didn't look immediately life threatening. Large as Skywarp was, his foot probably covered most of the Minibot's chassis; there wouldn't have been any concentrated pressure. Ratchet bent down, took a hold of the Minibot's left shoulder, and pulled up, rolling him over enough for Ratchet to see beneath.
Cliffjumper immediately began seizing more violently, nearly jerking out of Ratchet's grip.
"PIT!" Ratchet exclaimed, as he quickly laid Cliffjumper flat again. He'd seen enough. He looked at Bluestreak, saw the panic on his face, and turned around.
The tactician looked up from Jazz, "Yes, Ratchet?"
"Stay there for now, but I'm gonna need you in a minute."
The lieutenant nodded, and settled his optics on Cliffjumper's table, watching and waiting.
Ratchet saw that Bluestreak was still standing next to the table, looking lost. He took a breath to steady himself, and said as calmly as possible, "You did good, Bluestreak. Out."
Bluestreak nodded as he backed up, and with one last look at the berth turned and scrambled out.
Ratchet immediately got to work on Cliffjumper, processors whirling. He hastily checked Cliffjumper's hinges and saw they were still working. He thanked Primus for that, because while Skywarp's foot hadn't punctured anything, the intense pressure had caused the metal to fold on itself and fractures to spider web across the whole Minibot's chest. Sawing through could've easily splintered it more.
Ratchet dug his fingers into the bottom of Cliffjumper's chest, flicked the appropriate switches, and lifted. He then unscrewed the top hinge and removed the entire chest plate, throwing it under the table.
Ratchet's spark sank. Several of Cliffjumper's internal mechanisms were fractured, and a coolant line had burst. What terrified the medic however, were the fractures in the spark casing, and the cold, green fluid leaking directly into it.
"No, no, no…" he hissed. "Wheeljack, now!"
The mechanic was immediately on the other side of the table.
"Put a clamp on that line!" Ratchet had extended his vacuum, and was already clearing away the liquid as quickly as possible. Coolant was necessary to a Transformer's function, but it was cold, and it was toxic. Introduce it into a mech's system, and it could wreak havoc. Pour it on the spark, and it would very well extinguish it.
Ratchet feared significant amounts of coolant had already worked their way into the spark chamber and were collecting at the bottom. When Ratchet had begun to roll Cliffjumper over, he'd probably near terminated him, sloshing that fluid over his spark again.
With the line clamped and the flow stopped, Ratchet managed to clean most of it up. He then extended the full soldering gun from his forearm and began repairing the fractures in the casing hastily. The clock was ticking; he only had time to seal the largest fractures before he'd have to get under Cliffjumper and work on the wound he glimpsed in the astrosecond he'd had to look. If it was what he thought it was, it needed tending, now.
"Hey!" Ratchet heard Sunstreaker call from behind him.
Without looking up, Ratchet said, "Wheeljack, go check on him."
Wheeljack moved away, and Ratchet continued. He also noticed the lower end of the coolant cable had been crushed. He wouldn't have time to reshape it; he was just going to have to cut that portion off and reattach the cable further down.
"Get off!" Sunstreaker yelled, and the crash of metal hitting metal followed. "Ratchet, get over here!"
The medic whipped around. Wheeljack had backed away from the warrior, and Sunstreaker was glaring daggers at him. "What?" Ratchet barked.
"Sideswipe's getting worse!" he exclaimed, throwing an arm back to point at his brother.
Ratchet saw that he was. His body was now lying limp on the table, though his fists were still clenched, and his optics were flickering. With a growl of frustration at his inability to be in two places at once, Ratchet turned back to Cliffjumper. "He'll have to wait, Sunstreaker."
"What?" Sunstreaker shrieked incredulously. "He's offlining!"
"I saw him earlier; it's not lethal! If you're that worried, let Wheeljack prove me wrong!" Ratchet cast over his shoulder. "Until then, I know Cliffjumper needs me now."
"Frag that," the Lamborghini growled, crossing the room.
Ratchet extended a laser-scalpel from his index finger, preparing to cut the damaged end of the cable off, until he felt a hand grab his shoulder and spin him around. His scalpel was dragged across Cliffjumper's internals, and Ratchet felt his spark plunge into ice, knowing he could have cut any number of vital lines, but a burning rage quickly replaced it.
With a roar, he rammed Sunstreaker against the wall, "How dare you?" Scalpel still extended, he plunged his hand into the back of Sunstreaker's neck. The Lamborghini let out a bellow, and the only thing that stopped Ratchet was a shout from Wheeljack.
The medic froze, seething with anger. His scalpel was hovering right above Sunstreaker's main nerve line; just a twitch of the finger would have the mech in a helpless heap on the floor, to lie there until Ratchet deigned to repair him.
However, as close as they were, face-to-face, Ratchet could see through Sunstreaker's fury. He could see pain, his brother's pain, and even worse: fear.
His rage tempered somewhat, he ripped his hand out of Sunstreaker's neck and settled for slugging him across the face, still sending him to the floor.
"If you ever, do anything like that again," he hissed, "I swear to Primus you'll wish the Decepticons had gotten you." He lifted his arm and pointed at Sideswipe. "Go to your brother; stay with him until I can get there."
Wiping the back of his hand across his mouth, and with a stare heated enough to melt steel, Sunstreaker stood up and stalked to the table, taking his brother's head in his hands, and whispering something the others couldn't hear.
Ratchet turned around and rushed back to Cliffjumper. A quick check showed that Sunstreaker's interference hadn't caused any damage, but precious time had been lost.
Believing the seals on the casing would hold for the time being, he brought the scalpel back out and finished cutting off the damaged end of the coolant cable. He then took the clamp off the upper end and began soldering the two together. After cleaning up the coolant that spilled in that time, he finally turned to Prowl.
"Get over here," Ratchet flicked his arm, motioning the Datsun over.
With a last glance at Jazz, Prowl quickly obeyed, jogging over briskly. "What do you need me to do?"
"I need you to take hold of his shoulders, and slide him off the table." Prowl was listening intently. "Hold him as steady as possible. I need to work on his back without flipping him over."
The lieutenant nodded curtly and moved to the head of Cliffjumper's table, putting a hand on each shoulder and waiting for Ratchet's signal.
Ratchet turned around, but Wheeljack beat him to it.
"What am I doing?" he asked.
"You are getting the tool kit and handing me things," Ratchet pointed to the counter, "starting with a rag."
Wheeljack leaned over and grabbed a rag from a nearby table, tossing it to Ratchet, and moved to get the kit.
Ratchet ran the rag over his hands, getting the worst of the energon off. His arms were still streaked purple, but at least his fingers weren't slick anymore.
Wheeljack returned as Ratchet tossed the rag and sat down next to the table, slapping Prowl's leg to get him to take a step back. He did, giving the medic room to lay down, with his head and shoulders under the leaning Datsun.
Ratchet put his arms up, not quite reaching the table top, and said, "Wheeljack, lower the table."
Wheeljack pushed and held a button near Cliffjumper's feet, and the table's inner hydraulics began humming, smoothly bringing the table down.
When Ratchet's fingers breached the tabletop, he began bending his elbows, matching the table's height. Prowl took a knee, hands still on the Minibot's shoulders.
"Stop," Ratchet said, when the table was lowered to a point he could work with.
Wheeljack released the button and moved to kneel near Ratchet, kit in hands.
"Okay, Prowl, start pulling. Slowly."
Prowl took one moment to slip his hands under Cliffjumper's shoulders, made sure his grip was secure, and began sliding him off the table.
As he pulled, green fluid sloshed from the table and onto Ratchet's arm, who ignored it. As Cliffjumper was moved further out, the ragged edges of torn metal began coming into view, and fresh green liquid began dripping onto Ratchet's face. He shifted a little, with the stream now hitting his neck. Once the red bot's entire upper body was exposed, Ratchet called Prowl to a halt.
"Can you hold him there?" he asked, his tone leaving little room for negotiation.
"Yes," Prowl confirmed.
What Ratchet had glimpsed earlier was now visible in grisly detail. It looked like someone had punched a hole in the Minibot. His armor was caved inward, coming to a point inside the chassis where it had been torn through completely. With Bluestreak's account, near as Ratchet could figure, there had been a rock beneath Cliffjumper when he fell, and Skywarp's weight had nearly skewered him on it.
"Wheeljack, I need the flexible nozzle." Ratchet held his left hand out as his wrist extended the vacuum.
Wheeljack quickly pulled the nozzle out and handed it to Ratchet, who then connected it to his wrist. Threading the hose through the hole and into what Ratchet now knew to be Cliffjumper's spark chamber, he began clearing out the coolant that had collected in the bottom.
As the vacuum worked, Ratchet realized how close Cliffjumper had come to terminating. The amount of coolant in the chamber and on the table was plenty to have extinguished his spark, but the wound had almost acted as a drain, allowing the coolant that had leaked in to leak out his back. Horrific as it was, it had probably saved Cliffjumper's life.
Once he was positive he'd gotten all of the coolant out of the chamber, he pulled the hose out and handed it back to Wheeljack. The mass of twisted metal and tangled wires was impossible for Ratchet to sort through as he was, but Cliffjumper could now be safely turned over.
"Okay, Prowl," Ratchet said as he sat up, "ease him back onto the table."
Prowl did so, being sure not to jostle the Minibot too much, and laid him to rest gently. As Ratchet stood, Wheeljack raised the table back to its standard height. The two then proceeded to slowly flip him over.
Ratchet had to remove most of Cliffjumper's back plating, with most of the damage being irreparable. That out of the way, he was able to begin sorting through various systems and expose the back of the spark casing.
"I need three clips," Ratchet said without looking up, still wrist deep in Cliffjumper's internals. He was carefully gathering the assortment of tubes, cables, and wires between him and the spark chamber and pushing them aside. Many were severed or otherwise damaged, but he had no time for them at the moment. Wheeljack, who had leaned over and grabbed the kit on the neighboring table, now had his hand poised waiting for Ratchet's direction.
"Here," Ratchet motioned to where he was holding a bundle on the left, "here, and here," to two more on the right. Wheeljack clipped everything safely to the side, leaving Ratchet free to work without further damaging other systems.
With his laser-scalpel, Ratchet carefully cut away at the edges of the puncture wound, leaving a smooth, clean, irregularly-shaped hole.
"Get me a sheet of Durillium," Ratchet motioned to the back of the medbay.
Wheeljack jogged over, opened a cabinet and scanned down the list of labels. Finding the desired metal, he grabbed a sheet, closed the cabinet, and jogged back to Ratchet.
"Here," he said.
Ratchet took it, laid it on the table, and cut off the desired portion with his saw. Placing the patch over the hole, he began soldering it to the casing. The space he'd managed to clear was limited, so he had to be careful not to burn the bundled cables on the sides, but as little puffs of smoke marked his progress, he steadily worked his way around the edges. As he finally met back up with his starting point, he retracted his soldering gun and gave the patch a solid thump with the heel of his palm. Seeing it securely in place, Ratchet was finally able to breathe easy; Cliffjumper's own repair systems would work on that until the repair was seamless.
"Help me turn him over," he said, and he and Wheeljack carefully picked the minibot up and put him on his back. With a last quick check that the hasty repairs he'd made earlier would hold for the time being, and that the things he hadn't gotten to could wait, he straightened up and turned away.
Things slowed down significantly after that. Ratchet returned to Brawn, reconstructed the energon line and connected it to its upper counterpart with minimal further energon loss. When he approached Jazz's table, Prowl informed him that the saboteur had taken a shot from Starscream's null rays to the head, albeit from a distance. After a quick scan, Ratchet assured him that the shot had been glancing, and all Jazz needed was some electronic stimulation, and his impulses should sort themselves out by the next day.
Approaching Sideswipe's table, Sunstreaker stared at him balefully, but let him work without comment. He put his hand on the side of his brother's face, turning his head away from his injuries, and leaned in close, touching their foreheads together.
Ratchet worked as quickly and carefully as possible, trying to ease the pain he knew the burnt and frazzled nerves were pulsing through Sideswipe's whole system. He saw the red and yellow mechs alike twitch whenever he hit a particularly sensitive spot. Sideswipe was lucky really; the pain was enormous, but the damage was minimal compared to what could have been. The blasts had been grazing, fired from in front of Sideswipe and taking chunks out as they whizzed by his neck. Had they been fired directly into his neck, there'd be nothing Ratchet could do and Sideswipe would've been brought in dead on arrival. After several breems of intense and delicate work, Ratchet had done all he could; the rest would be left to Sideswipe's own systems.
Ratchet returned to Smokescreen, and found that most of the internal mechanisms in his arm had only minor damage, with the exception of his shoulder. All of the armor had to be removed though, and sent down to Wheeljack's lab, along with several pieces from the other mechs, where it would be repaired or replaced entirely.
Ratchet then began bringing in the mechs who'd been waiting for treatment one at a time, checking their systems and making repairs as necessary. This continued cycle after cycle, and by the end of the day, the medbay had turned most of its patients loose, with the exception of the initial five and two Ratchet had spend the night for precautionary monitoring.
Sunstreaker was still sitting by his brother's table, where the red mech had mercifully slipped into recharge breems ago. Ratchet walked over quietly, and popped his soldering gun out.
"Don't bother him, he's recharging," Sunstreaker said brusquely, looking up from his brother's face.
"I'm not here for him. I haven't forgotten about you, you little Pit spawn," Ratchet said wryly. "Turn around."
Stunned, Sunstreaker waved him off, "It's not a big deal."
"My aft it isn't, I very nearly cut your main nerve."
"I know," the yellow mech replied. Trained as he was, he'd known exactly what Ratchet had been doing.
The two stared at each other. Once Sunstreaker realized Ratchet wasn't going anywhere, he shot him one last glare and turned around, dropping his head to give the medic more room to work.
Ratchet patched things up quickly. Amazingly enough, Sunstreaker had not complained once the entire day. Though Ratchet had caused minimal damage, it would hardly have been comfortable. Repairs finished, he stepped away, giving Sunstreaker his space again.
The yellow warrior turned back around, rolling his shoulders and relaxing visibly. Ratchet stood there, studying him, but Sunstreaker made no move to acknowledge it.
"You know there's nothing I wouldn't do for you and your brother," Ratchet finally said, and his tone made it clear that was a statement, not a question.
Sunstreaker just stared at Sideswipe, not answering.
"I just need you to trust me," Ratchet finished.
Expecting a similar lack of response, the white mech was stunned when Sunstreaker answered, "I do."
Understanding the gravity of that simple statement, Ratchet's spark flared. He put his hand on Sideswipe's shoulder, and gave Sunstreaker a small smile. The Lamborghini's mouth twitched back, and his optics fell back to his brother.
With a last glance around the medbay, Ratchet turned and walked away, heading for his office in the back. He was exhausted, he had cycles of intricate patch-up work on at least four of those mechs ahead of him tomorrow, and his berth was calling to him. He barely managed to lay himself down before falling into recharge.
A/N: Aaand that's that. Critique is not only appreciated, but humbly begged for. Especially on the portrayal of the medbay and Transformer internals; that's still kind of a work in progress. Remember, reviews=cookies, please feed the author!