Chapter 1 – Nihil est ab omni parte beatum
Disclaimer: I don't own transformers, which is probably just as well as they'd have revolted and up and left long ago otherwise XD
Notes: Right I'm going to say this NOW, all of it, and not later, so you are warned! WARNINGS include: slavery, angst, abuse, inequality, rape, sticky mech sex, violence, war. It's going to get adult and stay that way. This is a mix between G1 and 07 Movie verse. Imagine they look like Movie verse, but many of them will be in G1 colours (like Ratchet). Ironhide will be movie colours but Bumblebee will looked like his G1 counterpart. It's mix 'n match season! Also the latin title means - Nothing is an unmixed blessing.
"This way please sir."
The blue seeker nodded, following the smaller purple and green mech down the long corridor. On either side were glass fronted pens, each housing one individual. Most of them were sat or standing and they watched the pair passing with well disguised interest. Thundercracker studied them all, noting those that took his interest. His guide halted him outside one pen to show off a new acquisition.
"I think you'll find this mech most useful. He fulfils your criteria for a serving mech. Fresh in and already trained."
"So I see Swindle," Thundercracker nodded as he read the datafile. "Expensive, but what else would I expect from you?"
"I only offer the best slaves," Swindle boasted.
The blue mech ignored him, his attention drawn across the corridor to a pen with liquid trickling down its glass front. He crossed the corridor to peer inside and through the haze he could make out a green mech huddled on the floor in the far corner, his head pressed into the ground. All his limbs were tucked in under him, trying to minimise the amount of chassis exposed to the water spraying from the ceiling and it looked highly uncomfortable.
"He's still being ah… trained," Swindle gestured at the pen. "New stock."
Thundercracker picked up the datafile hanging next to the pen and raised one optic ridge. "Prisoner relocation. That is very unlike you Swindle."
"Ah yes, well, it's his abilities you see." Swindle tapped the file entry further down. "Once I've broken him in he'll be extremely valuable."
The seeker realised that would be true. The mech's highly calibrated sensors were well beyond the norm and his ability to be able to produce holograms was rare.
"How long has he been here?"
"Three deca-cycles." Swindle turned his red optics on the slave.
"That is a long time," Thundercracker mused. "Why was he a prisoner?"
"He was caught stealing information that would have led to a large amount of slaves being illegally released." Swindle scowled. "He's a liberalist."
"How ironic his punishment then," Thundercraker murmured before saying in a louder voice, "That will be all for now Swindle. I'll call for you when I'm done."
The green and purple mech glanced between him and the green mech before bowing. "As you wish sir."
Thundercracker waited until he was out of sight prior to turning back to the mech in the pen.
"What is your name?"
The green mech stirred briefly. "Slaves don't have names."
"Mine do," Thundercracker replied. "I find it most annoying having to refer to everyone by he or she."
The green head rolled until Thundercracker could make out one weakly shining blue optic and he could see the mech stare at him before he answered, "Hound."
"Hound." Thundercracker nodded. "You intrigue me. What would you say if I told you I'm considering purchasing you?"
"If I had the energy, laugh." The other mech slowly lifted his head off the floor, sitting up. As more of him was revealed Thundercracker could see he was a ground based mech, blocky and sturdy. "Why would I think it was anything but a bad idea?"
"Because in comparison to some masters, I am fair and reasonable." Thundercracker folded his arms across his chest. "I know you've heard stories, but I do not tolerate that sort of behaviour towards my servants. I would have thought that would be better than this."
Hound climbed to his feet, seemingly uncaring about the water pouring over him now. "You get used to this. The acid is only mild, not enough to damage but enough to burn." The green mech studied the seeker back. "You know I'm a liability, why risk it?"
"Because you intrigue me," the blue mech responded. "And your abilities are something I could put to good use, though perhaps not in the way you were used to before."
"It seems your mind is already made up," Hound shrugged.
Thundercracker called Swindle back and handed over his datapad. "These are the ones I wish to purchase." As the dealer went through his list the seeker added, "and him."
Swindle looked up, startled. "But he's not trained yet."
"So that will make him cheaper and you know full well I have the equipment and experience to deal with such slaves."
Swindle frowned. "I had high hopes of selling him at a good price."
"He's been here three deca-cycles. There's no telling he'll break in time to cover your costs or that he'll be useful afterwards, if he does." Thundercracker gestured at the green mech who was watching the exchange steadily.
The slave dealer re-read the seeker's file, did some calculations and offered up a deal, one that included Hound. "You always were a good client. I take it you have enough collars." The seeker produced them from subspace and handed them over. "Very good. I will have them brought down to your transport." Swindle gave Hound a sideways glance.
The green mech gave him a placid smile in return. "I'll be good."
The green and purple mech snorted but didn't respond as he led Thundercracker away. Neither of them saw the way Hound stepped up to the glass partition and gazed after them. Once they were out of sight his head dropped and he sighed. He did want to be out of here, but slavery was the worst fate he could imagine. That's why he'd been helping trying to free the slaves and there was no way of telling whether the seeker had been telling him the truth. He'd heard the rumours about some seekers, about the slaves they abused and broke, leaving nothing but shells. The green mech shuttered his optics, not knowing what to do.
It wasn't long before two of Swindle's associates came to collect him. He held out his hands, which they cuffed together and joined him to the train of the others. They were all led out of the holding pen area and down into the processing rooms, where their new collars were attached. Hound was last in the line and had time to struggle with his pride and humiliation before they approached him. It was the last symbol of his freedom being taken away and that hurt more than he could have imagined.
The smooth metal collar simply snapped closed around his throat before a metal spike was driven through a seam at the back of his nape to link up with the neural pathways. That granted his new owner the ability to control him, if he so desired; to cause him pain if he thought his slave deserved the punishment. His systems protested at the intrusion but the programme carried codes in it that overrode his defences, forcing him to accept the collar.
Once the collars were secured and tested the newly bought slaves were then taken to their waiting transport. The blue seeker and Swindle were waiting next to it, datapad in Thundercracker's hand and he noted down each slave as it was led aboard the ship. Hound knew he shouldn't be looking at his new owner, but something compelled him to stare, to show him the defiance he still carried with him. Thundercracker looked up as he walked past and met his optics calmly, one side of his mouth curling upwards into a smile.
"Slave!" Swindle's voice barked, and Hound lowered his optics away, knowing there would be pain otherwise.
"Thank you Swindle. Here are your credits."
"It's a pleasure doing business with you, as always." There was clear greed written into the mech's voice.
That was all Hound heard before he disappeared into the ship. His cuffed hands were linked up to a small ring in one wall before two leg clamps secured his feet to the deck. The green mech noted the other slaves didn't get that last luxury and felt his face set into a grim expression. They expected him to cause trouble then.
The seeker wasn't long coming aboard after them and as he walked up the aisle between them, he paused next to Hound, optics glancing down at his legs. One optic ridge rose before he looked up at his face, where he saw Hound's expression and his own face softened.
"The trip will not take long." His voice was loud enough to carry to all the other slaves, but he never took his optics from Hound and it left the green mech wondering whether it had meant to be some sort of reassurance. It wasn't like he could ask. The seeker was already heading to the front of the ship to his seat and it wouldn't have been appropriate behaviour for a slave, though Hound suspected that Thundercracker already knew that Hound wasn't going to behave in the right way.
The seeker had been right. It had barely been a cycle before the shuttle touched down again. As the cargo bay doors opened the blue flyer appeared next to Hound, datapad in hand and he waited patiently for mechs from the outside to enter. The green mech noticed they all had collars on so he could study them freely. Two of them led the other slaves out of the transport and out of optic range, leaving Hound alone with Thundercracker and a bulky black mech. The seeker handed over the datapad to the black mech who read it, grunted noncommittally, and then set about detaching the leg clamps from Hound. Once they were removed he took the cuffs from Hound's wrists and gestured out of the open door. "Outside."
Hound gladly left the confines of the ship to find himself standing on the edge of a wide expanse of garden that stretched up to and around a stately mansion. He knew he was staring but it was much bigger than he'd been expecting, even though he realised Thundercracker had to have a decent amount of credits to afford all of the slaves he had brought back with him. It was well maintained and the house's architecture told Hound it was reasonably old, speaking of family money.
"So you like my home?" A voice spoke in one audio, making Hound jump. He found Thundercracker standing next to him, optics regarding the building fondly.
"Well that's good." The seeker glanced at him with a smile. "It'll make it easier for you to settle in and get down to work."
The black mech joined them as the seeker starting walking towards the house, forcing Hound to walk too, or be left behind. "The pilot is taking the ship back to the garage now, my lord. Ya dinner will be served shortly, unless ya wish to bathe first."
"No, I could do with some energon. Ironhide, this is Hound." Thundercracker gestured to the green mech. "He'll be your replacement."
Hound wrenched his optics from the house, startled, to Thundercracker and then across at the black mech, who chuckled. "Untrained I see, my lord. I thought ya were going to find a flyer to replace me."
The seeker shrugged. "I don't impulse buy all that often but so far my hunches have been correct."
"Makes meh wonder where ya find them."
Thundercracker smiled. "You know me. I have this strange habit of picking up untrained mechs."
Ironhide nodded, examining the datafile, opening the door for Thundercracker without looking up. "Interesting choice, my lord. Assassins won't think much to him when his file gets out."
"That'll give you chance to bulk his stats up a little." The seeker dismissed them, heading the other way into another room.
"Alright then," Ironhide subspaced the datafile. "Ya're with me."
Hound followed the black mech when he started walking and tentatively asked, "You don't mind being replaced?"
"Thundercracker is just looking ahead. I'm getting older and slower. I'll still be in charge of security here, but just not of his safety outside."
Hound frowned. "What is your job?"
The bigger mech smiled at him. "He's really dropped ya in at the deep end ain't he? I'm Thundercracker's personal guard. When he leaves this house it is my responsibility to make sure no one harms him. In some situations I, and now ya, will have to be a personal aide as well."
"But… why weren't you with him today?"
Ironhide scowled. "Because he's a stubborn block head. He likes to purchase new servants alone. If ya can persuade him otherwise, ya a cleverer mech than meh. Now, first things first, we need to get that collar engraved, otherwise ya just a common slave." Ironhide directed Hound into a room.
The green mech glanced around curiously. There were two other mechs present as well as a collection of machinery, including a slanted berth at one side. Ironhide took him over to it and directed him to lie down on it, which Hound did, if tentatively.
"This won't take long." The black mech gestured towards one of the other mechs there. "And then ya'll have a collar like mine." He tapped his own neck, drawing Hound's gaze to the intricate detailing there and despite what it represented, the green mech couldn't help but be impressed with artistry of it. The curving script detailed Thundercracker's name and Ironhide's job, his status in effect, to other slaves and masters. As a guard he had more immunity and power than ordinary slaves, so he could carry a gun, but not much more than that.
The procedure was simple enough and Hound only had to put up with the high pitched whine of the engraving tools for a breem before Ironhide was telling him to get up and follow him again. The black mech lead him through another set of corridors, still grand and arching like the ones at the entrance hall. They were all simply decorated, with large striking pieces of artwork placed at intervals along the walls, making their own quiet statement. It also made a declaration about Thundercracker as well. Hound has seen enough by now to know the seeker could be shouting his wealth from the rooftops, but he clearly saw no need and the green mech found he liked the understated way the Lord had arranged his home.
Ironhide stopped by a door. "Now we need to get ya cleaned up."
"I'm clean." Hound glanced down at himself.
"Not to Thundercracker's standards. It's the rules. New mech comes in, he gets cleaned," Ironhide smirked. "Don't worry, ya'll enjoy this."
The door opened and Hound walked inside, curiously looking around. The centre of the room was taken up by a huge pool filled with lightly steaming water and flanking it were two more mechs. Cautiously the green mech stepped over to them and when they gestured to the pool, he stepped down into it and found at the centre it was deep enough to come up nearly to his shoulders. He shifted uncomfortably as the other two mechs joined him and proceeded to thoroughly rub him down. Hound had never been to the public washrooms where you could pay to be cleaned like this, rubbed down and waxed until you looked like a new mech. He'd heard rumours that the attendants were extremely good at their job, but he wasn't a vain mech, so it had never appealed. That and the silence that reigned as they worked as Hound was too unsure of himself to try and start a conversation.
Once they had cleaned him, they led him out of the pool and dried him down with specialist cloths. The two mechs then split jobs; one concentrating on all his glass work whilst the other buffed up his chassis, until he stood there pretty sure anyone could admire their reflection on any part of his body.
"Now ya clean," Ironhide remarked from his position by the door and Hound gave him a bemused smile. "Come on, time for ya tour."
The green mech followed the bigger mech through the mansion, absorbing every detail, because he was sure he wouldn't get shown again and would be expected to remember where everything was first time around. Luckily for Hound his photographic memory meant this was no issue. Eventually they came to a corridor where Ironhide stopped outside one particular set of doors without opening them.
"These are Lord Thundercracker's private suite of rooms. First is his office, then living quarters and then his berth room and washrack. This is where ya'll be expected to be every morning to go over his schedule. I'll get what I need from the main terminals now. This will be ya first thing to do tomorrow."
"Do I just go in?"
"First thing, yeah, but otherwise don't until ya given permission. He likes it if ya there first thing, before he is, but don't worry, he flies around the grounds first thing, so ya'll always know when he's up," Ironhide replied.
Hound nodded. "And if I don't turn up?"
"Thinking about testing him?" The black mech grinned. "He'll surprise ya. Don't think he doesn't know how to deal with you."
With that he continued up the corridor until he came to the next door, this a single one. "And this is ya stop."
Hound turned his head to glance back down the corridor and measured up the distance. "I'm next door?"
"Yeah. I'm the other side. We're protection remember? No good if we're too far away to do any good."
"Does he really need us this close in his own home?" Hound blinked.
"No, but ya gonna have to get used to it. He'll treat ya more like an aide than guard." Ironhide shrugged. "Another reason he needs another mech. I'm not so good with datawork. See ya tomorrow Hound, and we'll start on ya training."
Hound frowned, not really sure what this training entailed, but Ironhide was already striding away, clearly not worried about a response from the younger mech. The green mech gave another nervous glance down the corridor towards Thundercracker's room before activating his sensors, scanning through the walls until he could detect the seeker's spark within. Quickly he stopped, wondering if the other mech could pick up the scan and wondering just what he would do if he could. It was an invasion of privacy for a slave to scan their master and Hound knew so little about his new owner that he wanted more information before he started pushing the boundaries.
He pressed the button to open the door and stepped inside. It was just a single room with a berth in one corner, a large window opposite the door and some shelves opposite the berth. Hound only really gave his room a cursory glance over before he was making his way over to the berth in the corner. It was bigger than he'd been expecting, but all he was really interested in was how comfortable the berth was. The last berth he'd recharged on had been his own in his own home, before everything had fallen to pieces, and he sank back down onto it with a sigh of pleasure. Hound hadn't had a decent recharge in a long time and the day had been full of surprises, so he was more tired than he thought. The green mech spotted a thermal blanket just before he offlined his optics. He wasn't cold but it was a luxury he could have even if he didn't need it, so he decided to spoil himself.
Comfortable on his new berth, warm under his thermal blanket it didn't take long for Hound to fall into recharge. He could worry about his new place in life, his new duties and his new master tomorrow.