Disclaimer: Not mine, never was never will be... wish it was though ;P

Prequel to Upheaval set well before TF 07 and RoTF.

Working as a guard on a large historical dig site and bored out of his processor, Ironhide will gain more than just a little perspective on the past and his own future.

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Speech:

Blah – Normal

::Blah:: - Comm link

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With a loud frustrated shunt of heated air through his vents, Ironhide resumes the course he had been patrolling for 4 orns now. He, along with 4 others, has been assigned to this excavation team from the science and historical division of Iacon as guards. The area is considered a dead zone, a good 6 orn hike from his home city of Typer Pax. No mech in his right CPU would come out here without prior surveillance and weapons. It may appear to be a quiet desolate ruin, but there had been reports of some of the Allsparks feral creations stalking the area.

No one knew exactly when they were created or why. The creatures themselves weren't very large or particularly intelligent, having multiple legs and relatively simple segmented bodies. The danger came in the fact they moved in packs and could slip down and hide in cracks in the planets metal surface. If an unfortunate mech stumbled across one and was unarmed, his chances of getting out a live were slim. Attacking in groups of up to 20, they would swam the unfortunate victim in a matter of kliks, punching through armor and cutting cables and vital lines with sharp beaks and pincers. Mainly after energon and coolant, they could effectively drain a mech in a matter of a breem or two, leaving the spark and processor starved of energy. Death would be relatively quick but agonizingly painful.

His job is to make sure the scientists are well guarded from dangers outside the simple threat of a cave in. The area already proved to be incredibly unstable. They had experienced one near miss last orn, when a small area near where they were excavating had collapsed.

Surveying the area in wide arcing sweeps he notes how unnervingly silent it is. The site supposedly dates to just before the great cataclysm when most of Cybertrons historical records stop, or at least that's what the scientists tell him. He'd heard the stories of the original Prime's of a great war concerning the Allspark and the massacre that saw the 13 spark-split children of the great Prime's wiped out along with ¾ of Cybertons population. Very little factual information had been gathered thus far to thoroughly prove or disprove these stories. To Ironhide they were just that. Stories. Fanciful little tales told to hatchlings and younglings by their guardians.

His canons twitch and roll a few times with audible clicks and whirs. Internal mechanisms flick and whine with the itch to shoot something. Anything! Just to break this monotonous boredom and suffocating silence. But he has already been warned that the area was volatile. Full of uncharted tunnels and catacombs that could easily cause a massive ground collapse or explosion if disturbed.

Seeing the same dull, rotting structure over and over is driving his CPU up the proverbial wall. He is a military mech. Not a slagging guard to a bunch of pathetic, thin plated science nuts! Another irritated huff slips from the dark mech as he rolls and stretches each shoulder, gears and cables audibly popping and creaking.

:: Hardtop to Ironhide. ::

:: Ironhide here. There a problem? ::

He can't help the little spike of excitement. He might finally have something to do!

:: Just had a minor tunnel collapse. One the old historians, Theta Trion, is trapped, but he says he's fine. Almost have him out already, a joor at most. Got a report from Raze, he says there has been some audible rumbling and level 2 ground tremors in his area to the south. You got anything? ::

Sweeping the surrounding area for any vibrations or movement he is about to report back when a thunderous rumble causes the ground to shudder violently. Stumbling back, Ironhide fights to keep his balance as a part of the rotted ruins splits open. Spreading his arms for balance he quickly backs away to hopefully more solid ground. Through the thundering clamor he can hear Hardtop yelling through the comm. line.

:: Ironhide. Ironhide! Report! ::

:: Keep ya skid plate on. I'm fine! Level 4 tremor in the west sector. ::

Sweeping the area again he finds the structure in front of him has developed large cracks and has sunken a few inches into the ground. The sensors in his feet and legs continue to pick up minor rolling vibrations.

:: Hardtop, I'm still registering deep vibrations. This place is threatenin' to collapse and I don't wanna be here when it does. I'm moving out back to the main site. ::

:: Right, you're clear to move. I've forwarded to Striker and Raze your movements. They're coming in too. We will discuss the continuation of this expedition once all are accounted for. Hardtop, out. ::

Shutting off the comm. link Ironhide scrutinized the area one last time, plotting a course that will skirt the worst of the structure on his way back to the main camp. An unusual scrapping noise in the relatively quiet stops him mid step. Cannons shifting to stand-by he holds his position and scans the area, nasal plating twitching, sampling the thin air for the tell tale signs of ferals. His sensors are met with a reading that leaves his CPU reeling. It isn't the distinct acrid scent of rotted energon and burnt coolant one associates with ferals, but something else. Tuning his audios more sharply he listens intently for movement, body primed and ready for an attack or the need to run should the ground giveaway. A sudden dull tap against his lower leg armor sees him spinning around cannons pointed down ready to fire… only to freeze in place. There at his feet, standing on long thin legs, arms clutched tightly to its delicate, shivering frame was a hatchling. The nutrient gel from its pod is still clinging to its thin plating, wide golden optics staring up at him with open curiosity.

All the dark mech can do is dumbly stare back, his processor nearly locking up at the sight. A newly born, fully sparked hatchling, out here in the middle of nowhere and it was gazing up at him. Of course he had seen hatchlings before, usually when they were at least 10 orns old when their shells had fully hardened, but never had he seen one this young. Resetting his optics a few times while his CPU righted itself he tucked his canons away. Watching carefully as the little things bright optics track the movement as the canon parts split, fold and shift into their holding areas. Once out of sight its attention quickly turns back to his glowing blue optics, intently watching almost seeming to be searching for something.

His vocalizer flicks and resets a few times before the words finally emerge.

"Ah…err…Hello there little one. Where did… what are you doing out here?"

Ironhide immediately wants to smack his head into a wall for his stupidity. It was a hatchling, it couldn't answer him. Chances are it barely understood what he was saying to begin with. The question of where it had come from was obvious. A glancing sweep of the area revealed small patches of depleted nutrient gel mixed with spots of energon leading away from a small gap that had opened in a sunken wall close by. What it was doing out here, in a section abandoned some vorns before even he himself was even sparked, was another matter entirely.

Leaning down a little for a better look he abruptly reels back as the little hatchling emits a small whimpering churr. Its golden optics dimming to a muddy yellow, as its knees suddenly buckle. Faster than most would have thought the bulky mech capable, he drips down large hands sweeping out to catch the fragile body before it hits the ground. An instinct he didn't know he even possessed, driving him to lift and hold the light frame close against his chassis.

He almost drops the hatchling when a sharp shriek peels from its vocalizer, body writhing and flailing in his firm grasp. Ridged with spark wrenching fear, processor screaming his grip lightens as he stares wide opticed down at the small form. Has he hurt it? Did he grip it too hard? To his mild relief the cries and thrashing swiftly stop as his grip lessens, vents hiccupping out stuttered whimpers. Flaring his energy field he swaths the others reeling field with soothing calm and reassurance.

Taking a moment to scan the over the hatchling, he finds himself mentally cursing. Its thin, blue grey plating is covered in scratches and small dents. One arm clutched defensively to its body is partially dislocated at the shoulder joint and elbow joints, the plating bent and slightly twisted out of place. It brings him some relief to see he could not have caused an injury such as this, but his spark constricts at seeing something so young in pain. With a soft whimpered churr, it wriggles around curling into the warmth of his broad chassis before quickly slipping into recharge. Staring dumbfounded for a moment the tension in his body slowly slips away, cables relaxing and hydraulics hissing with release. A small smile twitches at the mech's face plate as he adjusts his grip, shifting the hatchling to rest more securely in the crook of his arm.

His status as a warrior class, massive canons and abrasive personality see him with few others he can honestly call friend and even fewer who want to be within his energy field range. The fact this little creature, newly born, in pain and so terrible vulnerable and frail is trusting enough to fall into recharge in his grip sent a strange flicker through the mech's battle driven CPU. Shaking himself he gathered his scattered wits, logic and tactical programming coming to the fore. He needed to get the hatchling to a medic quickly as possible. He had no training in dealing with new born hatchling, thus didn't know if its behavior or the weak energy field were normal. Locking his arm securely in place, he sets off. Wide feet pound the brittle ground as he runs back to the main camp, pushing his lumbering body to its limits.

TBC

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Unbetaed so if you find any glaring mistakes don't hesitate to point them out. Oh and R & R appreciated!