Yeah, I know that I have many ongoing fics, and I actually wasn't planning to post this one until I finished a couple of my other stories, but the... erm, 'friendly' persuasion from my accomplice and beta reader iratepirate, who kidnapped my teddy bear and threatened to decapitate him if I didn't post this ASAP, finally convinced me.
Another culprit is Alaskan Olive, who sent me a poltergeist in a bottle and is suspiciously related with my teddy bear's abduction… Beware girls, that bear is a sociopath.
But speaking seriously, I want to thank them for giving me the slight kick in the aft to post this. I also want to thank QoS, whose stories made me understand and love the Stunticons.
The Left Leg
Written by Taipan Kiryu
Summary: An unfortunate incident during a battle merges Wildrider and Air Raid with the wrong Gestalt. Will the Stunticons and the Aerialbots manage to adapt to their new teammates or will they tear them apart in the process? Life is one ironic slagger.
The bad merge
Nobody knew how a series of particularly unfortunate events were unleashed. It just happened. Expected or unexpected, fatality, the eternal killjoy, always found a way to detonate. Perhaps Dead End was right when he said that everything, absolutely everything, was pointless; rust would happen more sooner than later and nobody would be able to avoid it.
It was his fault, everything had been his fault; that was another certainty that Breakdown had reached on his own, without the need of a thousand fingers pointing at him or a zillion optics flaming his guilty self with accusative glares.
As he saw the ball of light engulfing Wildrider, Breakdown had time to realize that perhaps he was seeing the living form of his teammate for the last time. There was somebody else with Wildrider, one of the Aerialbots… but Breakdown couldn't have cared less.
The unmistakable call of Menasor fell upon him. But even as his conscience submitted to the giant frame and became one with his collective mind, he had an extra astro second of individuality to realize that Wildrider wasn't following. He remained there, on the ground, his body shaken by countless volts as he struggled to join his teammates and complete the gestalt merge that was their reason to live.
When Wildrider finally succeeded, it wasn't Breakdown who realized what had happened. Menasor did.
And yet, it was Breakdown who reminded himself that everything had a beginning… and a culprit.
Six hours earlier.
The Nemesis halls were not racetracks.
That was one rule that the Stunticons had been told ever since their fist arrival to the Decepticon ship that was meant to be their home.
That was one rule that had never entered their processors, especially the ones of Drag Strip and Wildrider, whose speedometers seemed to have a mind of their own, always in direct relationship with Motormaster's location. The further the leader was, the faster the subordinates were.
That was another one of Dead End's theories, although perhaps Breakdown would have been able to come up with it by himself… or perhaps not. Breakdown was sure that his processor wasn't sharp enough and that was as far as he wanted to think about the matter.
But when a big shadow towered him from behind his seat and made him realize how cold the Stunticons' Rec Room actually was, he wished he would have cared for the damn theory for once in his life…
He didn't dare look up, too afraid to face Motormaster's optics. But when Motormaster didn't announce his presence with a punch to the head, but instead grabbed the remote control and calmly turned the big monitor off, Breakdown's fear reached a level of panic.
Motormaster was angry.
Motormaster was very angry.
And Breakdown would pay the price.
"Where's Dead End?" Motormaster roughly asked.
Breakdown cringed and tried to merge with his seat before turning around to face his leader, although he kept his gaze low. Please don't stare at me, please don't stare… "I-in the Refueling Room… He went to get our Energon rations."
Breakdown could feel Motormaster's optics narrowing, always fixated on him. "He did? And why didn't you go to get yours by yourself? Don't you have two fragging legs?"
Breakdown took a discreet look downwards. Yes, he did have legs… at least he still had them for now.
"Let me guess," Motormaster continued, saving and condemning Breakdown at the same time. "You didn't want to miss some stupid human movie you were watching, so Dead End offered to deliver your Energon ration here as if he were some slagging drone."
Breakdown started to shiver. It was true, all except the slagging drone part. Dead End had offered because of simple team comradeship, but that was something that Motormaster would never understand, not to mention that he would react violently toward any explanation on the matter.
"You won't refuel today," Motormaster said, crushing the remote control and thus ending an argument in which he would receive no opposition. Breakdown felt relieved, although that didn't mean he would manage to stay away from Motormaster's fists. "And you won't refuel tomorrow either if you don't tell me whose tire marks those are that are scattered all over Megatron's fragging throne!"
So that was the reason why Motormaster was looking for Dead End… Cold streams of lubricant started to run through Breakdown's core. Did Motormaster know those tire marks were his? He was doomed, he was so doomed… It all had been an accident, an ugly and unfortunate accident. Drag Strip had told him that some human TV network would broadcast a movie in which all humans suddenly became blind and there was nobody left to stare at them, so he had hurried more than usual in a zone of the Nemesis in which racing was absolutely forbidden. And he had found the throne in his way – fortunately not occupied – and had impacted it at 180 miles per hour. It was such a disgrace that those thrones came without a force field of their own.
Motormaster grabbed him by the neck and lifted him up without any effort. Paralyzed by fear, Breakdown couldn't even cringe.
"Two suspects, one culprit," Motormaster growled. "Spit the name."
All that Breakdown could think was how much he would have liked to have Dead End there. Beatings were a little less painful if his closest teammate was present… so were confessions.
He was about to stutter his own name when the two suspects arrived at the beauty contest. In a feast of revving engines and brakes being sent to the Pit, Drag Strip and Wildrider penetrated the entrance at almost 200 miles per hour and crashed against the back wall, challenging the resistance of their force shields perhaps a little too much.
Transformation cogs were set in motion again, limbs started to appear beneath the debris and groans turned into laughs and insults as Wildrider and Drag Strip started to discuss who had won.
Motormaster turned his ferocious glare towards the newcomers for a moment before stabbing Breakdown again with his brutal purple optics.
Breakdown didn't hesitate. "Wildrider," he said, pointing a trembling finger towards his smirking teammate, who obviously didn't know what the hell was happening. "Wildrider did it."
"Air Raid, get back to formation right now!" Silverbolt cried through the comm link for the third time as he dodged a round of laser fire coming from beneath.
A quick glance downwards confirmed in his mind that he had no intentions to engage Motormaster in close combat. Not only was the Stunticon stronger, but such an encounter would have been totally pointless at that moment of the battle. The Aerialbots had the upper hand, and for once it wasn't because of the advantages of being supersonic fliers. The Stunticons had seemed rather strange since the beginning, almost… divided. Silverbolt knew his enemies enough to realize that something was wrong.
But wrong for the Stunticons was good for the Aerialbots. Silverbolt wasn't fond of exploiting his enemies' weakness, but he wasn't going to waste an advantage that could lead his team to victory. He noticed the damage on Wildrider's frame and his slower speed, signaling that he had received serious physical punishment before the battle, probably delivered by his own leader.
So the erratic link was being the weak link… If anything, Wildrider was unpredictable and a permanent headache for those forced to confront him several times a month, but his current injuries made him an ideal target despite his dangerous lunacy… Air Raid must have noticed it too, because he dedicated his efforts to isolating and taking the insane Stunticon off of the road.
The heat of the battle made Silverbolt forget about his teammate's personal quest for a while, but when the need to form Superion became urgent and the presence of Air Raid was requested, all Silverbolt found was a bizarre view of Wildrider embedded on Air Raid's nosecone at the bottom of the ravine.
Silverbolt couldn't wait longer and initiated the merging process. Superion would have to do without his left leg until Air Raid managed to get rid of the Stunticon. In the meantime, there was a battle to win.
But Motormaster had a merging on his mind as well, because he transformed into the massive frame of Menasor as three servos attached to him.
Limping toward the enemy was out of the question, so Superion subspaced his electrostatic discharger rifle and greeted Menasor with a blast of 150,000 volts of electricity. But the Decepticon Super Robot was ready and contained the attack with his sword, producing a massive amount of energy in response. The result was the creation of a gigantic sphere of unstable energy threatening to vaporize everything around, giant robots included.
Superion realized the danger and the fact that his enemy wouldn't give a slag about the matter, so everything depended on him. With the need of his missing limb still aching, he decreased the intensity of the blast and tried to avert the sphere of energy.
It was one of those cases in which the result turned out to be worse. Like a magnet, the energy headed toward Wildrider and Air Raid, already in their bipedal forms and exchanging punches on the ground. They didn't see the danger coming, but they definitely felt it, as both were impacted by the blast and propelled toward the limping Superion and Menasor, two giants unconsciously calling for a leg.
And a leg was what they got.
The Gestalt bond was wise.
And the bond found its way.
The first thing that Air Raid felt besides the pain was guilt. Coming from the Gestalt bond, of course, because he personally had never experienced such a feeling before and certainly never would.
But who was feeling guilty? Fireflight? They had had an argument in the morning due to an almost fatal crash during flying practice, but not so serious as to actually be worth feeling some bad ole guilt in the processor… Although maybe that was the way it should be; Air Raid's flight pattern may had been kind of reckless, but he wasn't the one flying as if he had no slagging radars.
He took another peek into the Gestalt bond as he merged with Superion before focusing all his attention on kicking Menasor's aft. The origin of the guilt was clear. Breakdown was feeling it, because he had got Wildrider brutally beaten earlier that day…
What the frag…
But that was not it. Drag Strip was angry and was particularly interested in keeping a distance from his lying scum teammate, Dead End was indifferent and Motormaster wanted to slag them all for poisoning Menasor with confusing mental patterns. Yeah, right… what's new?
But why the heck was Air Raid feeling all the Stunticons thoughts as if they were his own?
The answer came in the shape of pain. His knee hurt, Superion's knee hurt… Only that it wasn't Superion. It was Menasor who was groaning in shock and frustration.
And he was Menasor's leg.
He was Menasor's left leg and he had no clue why the slag that had happened. He was supposed to merge with Superion, not with Menasor! Air Raid wasn't an expert in Combiner technology and thus couldn't have explained it with big words, but such fatal mistake could not even contemplated, not in theory, not in practice. It was simply impossible, not even able to fit in the most bizarre nightmares department.
But it was only when he saw Superion grabbing the grey leg attached to his frame and desperately trying to snatch it away, that Air Raid realized that the problem was bigger than he had initially thought.
And then it happened again, the overwhelming presence dragging him backwards and forcing him to acknowledge the torrent of random thoughts he was refusing to accept.
He didn't know why, but he obeyed. He separated from Menasor the same way he would have separated from Superion, returning to his root mode and landing on his own confused feet.
He looked aside and saw Breakdown standing right next to him, the Stunticon's initial guilt replaced by complete astonishment. Air Raid couldn't have blamed him for that.
But his thoughts were forced in another direction when a brutal hand grabbed him around the neck and lifted him up. He found two purple optics flaming him.
"What did you do?" Motormaster roared, shaking him. "What the slag did you do?"
Normally Air Raid would have fought Motormaster. No matter how strong and big the Stunticon leader was, Air Raid never backed off from any opportunity to engage in some good ole Decepticon punching, but he was too baffled to even clench a fist.
"Let him go!" Silverbolt cried from the opposite side of the confusion. Skydive and Slingshot were pointing their guns at Wildrider, who was on his hands and knees between them and looked as if he had no clue of where he was and what he had been doing.
Motormaster shook Air Raid roughly and lifted him as high as he could. "You want him, you come and get him! Are you slagging blind or did you just choose to ignore what just happened? This flying piece of junk messed with our merging process! And he must have done it following your orders!"
Silverbolt blinked. "Excuse me? It was Wildrider who merged with Superion and almost made the entire Gestalt collapse! If this was your idea, Motormaster, you are even more twisted than I thought!"
"Why the slag would I be interested in wrecking Menasor, you imbecile?" Motormaster roared, subspacing his sword and preparing it to slice Aerialbot steel.
"Uugh… did you guys get the license plates…?" Wildrider mumbled as he sat on the ground and his optics started to focus. Instinctively he looked for the protection of his team, leaning against Slingshot's leg with a naturalness that made Air Raid want to shoot himself.
That gesture must have shocked the Stunticons, because even Dead End stared at the scene with curiosity. Breakdown and Drag Strip looked hurt, but it was Motormaster's boiling fury that caught Air Raid's attention. The hand around his neck increased its pressure, so hard that Air Raid couldn't avoid groaning in pain.
"Stop!" Silverbolt demanded. "Release Air Raid right now and you'll get Wildrider back. There's no need to continue this after what happened."
Why in the world did Air Raid know that Motormaster didn't like to be told what to do?
"This continues!" was the angry response. "Tell your glitches to lower their weapons or this junk with wings dies this instant!"
A useless request. Neither Skydive nor Slingshot seemed interest in blowing Wildrider to smithereens anymore, both staring shocked at the Stunticon still leaning on Slingshot's leg. Air Raid could tell that his teammate wasn't looking forward to maintaining that contact, but didn't dare to interrupt it either. What the slag was happening?
Silverbolt stepped forward. "I'm offering you a solution that benefits both of our teams. I have no intention to hurt Wildrider but I expect the same treatment in return. Don't push this harder, Motormaster, you don't want to see me angered!"
And anger was delivered, but not from the expected sources. The fact that such a giant disgrace wasn't noticed by either the Aerialbots or the Stunticons only confirmed how astonished they all still were. Air Raid was the only one who saw the huge leg an instant before it stepped on Dead End as if he were a terrestrial bug.
The impressive form of Bruticus emerged, shooting both enemies and allies alike.
Stunticons and Aerialbots scattered through the bottom of the ravine, shooting the common enemy. From his place in Motormaster's grip, Air Raid struggled and punched the Stunticon leader's face with all his strength, but he only gained a brutal blow with the head right into his face, shattering one of his optics and leaving him partially conscious.
Despite his pain, he managed to make his vocalizer function. "Let… go of me, you brutish pile of junk!"
Motormaster ignored him and fired an energy beam from his sword right into Bruticus' chest. "Drag Strip! Get Dead End!" he ordered.
Air Raid could also feel Motormaster's priority of retrieving Wildrider, although the Gestalt bond didn't seem to share his opinion. Concerning the unique link that united the Stunticons, the team was complete.
A very bad feeling started to run through Air Raid's fuel line like corrosive fuel. Was that happening in his team too? Were the Aerialbots complete… without him?"
No slagging way!
He tried to liberate himself again, but he was only a puppet in Motormaster's grip. Bruticus wasn't making things easier, not giving even the slightest chance to think. Being a Decepticon, he should have helped the Stunticons, but the most composed and cold tempered Decepticon Gestalt always seemed to have an agenda of his own, and any suspicion about a rivalry between Stunticons and Combaticons was clarified in that odd moment in which Air Raid could feel the hate pending between both Gestalts as tangible as Motormaster's hand crushing his throat components.
When Bruticus made his intentions of killing more than clear, Air Raid realized that retreat was imminent. He also realized that there would be no last minute rescue for him. He extended a shivering arm toward his distant teammates right before being knocked offline by a strong and possessive fist. The last thing he saw was Wildrider struggling with Slingshot and Skydive, who had grabbed his arms and were already in the air.
To be continued.
I had the idea for this story a long while ago, before I knew that a wrong merge of this kind actually happened in Scramble City, in which Dead End attaches to Superion to confuse him. Therefore, my story won't have any relationship with Scramble City and wasn't inspired by it either.
Energon goodies for anybody who knows which movie Breakdown was watching. Clues? It was adapted from a book from a recently deceased Nobel Prize winner, and the summary that Drag Strip used was partially mistaken.
I hope you liked this first chapter. Your opinions are very welcome and encouraging :o)