Fandom: Transformers Bayverse
Author: gatekat and femme4jack on LJ
Pairing: Inferno/Red Alert, Jazz/Prowl
Summary: Prowl's ship, the Kondosa, finally arrives on Earth with two desperately missed mechs among the twenty-nine on board.
Notes: Written in the Dathanna de Gray fanverse (community .livejournal .com/ tf_socket_fics)
"text" translated Cybertronian.
"text" Organic languages translated via socket software~text~ bond or cable talk
Fire and Fear 1: That ... Actually Went Well
Fire and Fear 1: That ... Actually Went Well
Dathanna de Gray prequel 3: Fire and Fear 1: That ... Actually Went Well
::Prime! Prime!:: Ironhide bellowed over the comm and out loud as he turned on heel and raced out of the newly constructed command center on the tropical military island they were using as a headquarters in the wake of Gaza. ::Prowl's ship is hailing us!::
::Thank Primus! On my way.:: Came the swift reply, followed just as quickly by the roar of a Peterbuilt tractor trailer driving faster than any human made version would ever see. Optimus stopped just short of the command hanger and transformed, rushing inside without slowing his momentum as he ran down the corridor to the comm hub.
"I have answered the hail, sir. They are awaiting you to give their report. ETA 4.64 solar cycles," Bumblebee told him from the comm station that had been their top priority after a sanitary medbay.
"Put them on screen," Prime ordered, his excitement clear in his entire frame.
"Greetings from the Kondosa, Prime," Smokescreen's familiar face appeared on the flat screen. "It is good to see you functioning well."
"Greetings from Earth, Smokescreen. Your hail and seeing you in good condition is welcome news. In what condition is my TIC?"
"Better than we expected, to be honest," the tri-colored Praxian's smile weakened. "First Aid put him in medical stasis after six decaorns. He wasn't actively suicidal, but he needs better skills and a safer location than we could provide. His spark is stable, but only just. Please tell me Ratchet's still functioning and we have organics again."
"He is functioning and complaining loudly as ever, and we do indeed have organics. The most technologically advanced of the score of suitable species on this planet has proven to be tenacious allies regardless of their physical weakness, and we have recently installed the first set of sockets among those who live and work with us on our base."
Prime paused for a moment, choosing his words carefully.
"I believe I can explain why Prowl is doing better than would be expected. Jazz ... returned. Three decaorn ago, and is also in medical stasis, his spark is being regularly strengthened by several willing organics."
Smokescreen cycled his optics and the murmurs of shock rippled through the command deck beyond him, but it was another familiar voice that spoke first.
"Jazz is alive?" A small, black, lithe mech demanded, pushing his way to the viewscreen, barely daring to let the sounds out of his vocalizer. "As in 'going to recover fully' alive?"
Prime smiled under his mask at Jazz's closest friend and the acting Head of Special Operations. "As in his spark had gone to the Well and Primus himself sent him back to us, Whiplash. We have no doubt of his full recovery. We will not bring him out of stasis until Prowl is present by his own request. It is one of many seemingly impossible events that have occurred since we arrived on this planet."
A low, soft sound of relief, nearly a sob, escaped Whiplash. "Glad to hear that, Prime," he managed to say before stepping away for Smokescreen to take over again.
"That is wonderful news. I'm sure we'll have much catching up to do when we arrive. Just so everyone is prepared, Red Alert is on board. What kind of reaction are we looking at when he disembarks?"
"Let's just say he has his work cut out for him. We are currently trying to expand on a rather dilapidated human military base and my cadre consists of Ratchet, Ironhide, Bumblebee, Sideswipe, Arcee, Skids and Mudflap. The only thing that Red will approve of at this point is that we are located on an isolated tropical island. What are the designations and status of those on the Kondosa?"
"Prowl's in medical stasis," Smokescreen fell into debriefing mode. "Myself, Blaster and his brood, Whiplash, Silver Shadow, Starjumper and First Aid are active. Bluestreak, Inferno, Red Alert, Seaspray, Sunstreaker, Trailbreaker, Grapple, Perceptor, Tread Bolt, Streetwise, Groove, Hot Spot and Blades are in transport stasis, though all should be active by the time we arrive. We've had a good trip, Prime. No losses."
"Outstanding news. You may very well have just turned a tenuously favorable situation for us into something far more certain. Where did you locate Sunstreaker? His twin has been more ... unsettled that usual since the two became separated."
"We pulled him out of deep space," Smokescreen said. "Once First Aid was certain he was functioning acceptably, Red Alert, Whiplash and I agreed it would be best to keep him in stasis until we found Sideswipe or reached you. We spent a decaorn looking for Sideswipe and eventually picked up his trail headed in your direction. We've keep the sensors on it, but apparently he made very good time, along with the others in his cadre."
Prime nodded, "I will alert Sideswipe. He will be tremendously relieved, and Sunstreaker's immanent arrival will give Ratchet something other than Jazz and the state of his medbay to fret about. The Nemesis is on the 4th planet and Megatron is licking his wounds after our most recent engagement. I doubt he is at current strength to offer you much resistance, but as always, he is not above revenge. I'm transmitting approach vector, a general briefing, cultural and language protocols now. Maintain comm silence until you have cleared the lunar orbit unless you have an emergency. Do you have anything else to report?"
"Nothing that can't wait until we land, Prime," Smokescreen assured him. "We understand about the Cons. We will hail you when we cleared lunar orbit."
Sam was bouncing with excitement, causing Mikaela to regularly roll her eyes at him.
"Could you please show some dignity for once, Mr. Ambassador?" She finally said, though her own eyes were also glued on the horizon with excitement.
"Oh come on, you remember how fucking awesome it was the first time they landed, and there are so many more this time," he said, giving his ex a mock glare.
"It is awesome, Sam. I just don't see why their first impression of humans needs to be of some geek who can't even ride his bike without crashing over the handlebars. You've saved Prime's life twice now. Don't you think you could at least pretend you aren't such a dweeb for once and make a good first impression?"
Sam shoved her playfully.
"I'm the geek you fell for. And I totally am different when dealing with human government officials. But around these guys, I don't care how much ancient wisdom is fucking up my brain, they are the most bitchin' thing since sliced bread and I'm not going to pretend otherwise."
"Quiet, children," Will cut in, rolling his own eyes in exasperation. "You are going to miss the landing."
Both Sam and Mikaela looked up suddenly as the amazingly silent, stealth alien craft seemed to float in for a landing. Among the gathered Autobots, which included everyone but Skids and Mudflap who were locked in the temporary brig, there was an almost reverent silence as so many of their friends and comrades prepared to set foot on their new home for the first time.
The Kondosa settled smoothly, kicking up sand but with relatively little turbulence compared to anything the humans were used to. The landing ramp extended, and the first one to appear was a tall, proud-standing mech in red, sky blue and black with white highlights and wide panels sweeping out from his back like small wings. Behind him a mostly white mech with red along his sides and small sensory horns on his helm was trying to get a better look at everything.
"Greetings, Prime," Smokescreen greeted his leader with a warm, relieved smile and offered his hand and forearm in a warrior's greeting. "It is good to see you functioning."
"Welcome to Earth, Smokescreen. Your arrival is a gift from Primus..."
Before Prime could continue, the second mech spoke loudly.
"Prime! There are native aliens present! They must be removed to a secure location at once!"
Sam had no idea what the mech was saying, but he suddenly found himself with a weapon trained on him. Bumblebee was in front of him, shielding him with his chassis just as fast.
::My socket,:: the yellow scout growled over an open comm in Cybertronian.
"What the fuck?" Sam shrieked.
~Believe it or not, this is normal for him until he adjusts to the new situation.~ Bee quickly assured him.
"Do not even think it," Ironhide rumbled, his cannons whirling to life as he stepped in front of Will. "Get that glitch for a processor coded right."
Ratchet had Mikaela behind him just as fast, even as he attempted to remotely access the emergency medical overrides he had long ago added to the Security Chief. It was no surprise that they had been located and deleted.
"Stand down Red Alert, now!" Optimus roared.
The fuming mech subspaced his weapon at the command, but confronted Optimus head on.
"I don't care whose sockets they are. Protocols state that they are not to be in a classified setting until they have been cleared by security. I would not have harmed them. I was simply taking them into custody until I could ascertain their appropriate level of security clearance!"
"They have been cleared," Optimus met his Chief of Security's optics squarely. "We are the guests here."
Red Alert fumed, but settled down, only the nervous twitching of his hands and optics betraying that he was about to lose it again as he comprehended just what he had ahead of him to make this location safe.
"As I was saying," Smokescreen brought things back on track and extended his arm to Prime again. "It is good to see so many of your cadre in such good functioning."
Prime grasped his Diversionary Tactician's arm in return. "It seems that all of you are functioning just as I would expect of such a fine cadre," Prime said, with a trace of humor as he glanced at his Chief of Security. "Is everyone out of transport stasis?"
"Yes," Smokescreen nodded. "Prowl's the only one still under."
Even as they spoke, Mikaela approached the twitching mech after a heated argument with Ratchet through their bond. Though everyone present knew that Red Alert would not actually harm her, other than that, all bets were off.
"Um, hey there. Welcome to Earth. I'm Mikaela."
Even though he'd watched her approach, he flinched at being addressed. He looked down at her, scanners and hyper-aware sensors running over her with more force than even Ratchet's most invasive scan, but eventually he seemed to deem her safe enough to respond to.
"Thank you. I am Red Alert Red Alert," he told her, still twitching and very much the focus of every mech.
"Hi Red...can I call you Red? That was a pretty heavy-duty scan you just did. Ratchet told me you're the best at what you do. Want a tour of base? I know there is a lot of work to be done - pretty much just sheet metal bunkers at this point, though the mechs have been doing some reinforcing and building a few new structures, like the command center and medbay. I know all of us organics will feel a whole lot safer once there is some actual security in place."
::If I didn't know any better, I'd think that Inferno's spark had gone to the Well, only to be reborn into a human, the way she is playing him. She always does jump into the fire.:: Bumblebee commented on open comm to his cadre.
::I'm glad it hasn't,:: Ratchet harrumphed, glaring between his socket and the Security Director. ::She's mine.::
A large red mech with many odd bits of kibble on his chassis finally shouldered his way to the front and put a steadying hand on Red Alert's shoulder and the fidgeting mech settled down considerably, though not entirely.
"Take her up on it, love," Inferno whispered into Red Alert's audio. "It's a good way to find out how well she can be trusted."
"I prefer Red Alert. That is my designation," he told Mikaela stiffly. "You may show us the weaknesses you see in security here."
"Shiny," Mikaela answered with a winning smile. "One of you want to give me a ride, or do you want to have to wait up for me while I walk?"
Smokescreen watched Mikaela with frank, almost lewd appreciation. "You weren't joking when you said the organics here are tenacious."
"She is mine," Ratchet growled. "Find your own."
"You've always been the sharing type, Ratchet. Want to make a bet on how long it would take me to convince her to share?"
Ratchet rumbled deeper in threat at the gambler. "Want to make a bet how long it'll take me to reconfigure your interface array into a toaster if you try?"
"I'm happy to give you a ride, Mikaela," Inferno knelt and offered her his hands. "Prefer my shoulder or hands?"
"Shoulder's fine. What's your name, big guy?" She asked with a wink.
"My designation would best translate as Inferno," the large mech replied with a warm smile, lifting her to his shoulder and holding her in place with a cable. "Red Alert is my bonded. He is the finest Chief of Security in the history of our faction. Nothing gets past him," he said gently, placing his hand once again on his noticeably smaller bondmates shoulder.
"Oh, like Jazz and Prowl! I haven't met a bonded pair before. Do you usually share a socket, or each have one of your own?" She asked, turning back toward Ratchet to blow the fuming CMO a saucy kiss.
"We typically share one," Inferno spoke to her even as he focused most of his silent attention on keeping Red Alert from freaking out any worse than he already was. "Silver Shadow and Starjumper, two others than came with us, are also bonded, as well as the Protectobot gestalt and Sunstreaker and Sideswipe, though that's a Twin bond, not the usual kind. Where should we start the tour, Mikaela?"
"How about the Command Center?" she suggested, pointing toward a decidedly non-human looking structure that almost appeared to be growing out of the ground like a crystal. "It is the most recently constructed building. Cybertronian plans and engineering, but Earth materials. It goes deep underground and includes quarters for a handful of officers."
"That would be us," Inferno smiled and leaned over to lick Red Alert's sensory horn.
Red Alert seemed to calm looking at the structure and that provisions for him had already been made there. It was so much more secure than the sheet metal hangers that made up much of the base. But as they approached the entrance ramp, he began to twitch again as he scanned.
"This alloy is completely unacceptable! It would never withstand a high-powered concussive blast, much less a thermonuclear or incendiary strike. It is going to have to be torn down!"
"It's tungsten carbide coated with graphene!" Mikaela exclaimed, losing her cool for a moment. "Those are some of the strongest materials on earth."
"Then it is amazing that your species is still in existence," Red Alert shot back, as though she were an insubordinate child questioning her elders. "The next thing you'll tell me is that you live in structures made of deactivated organics."
"Love, most of their structures are built with deactivated organic plants or crushed stone," Inferno said gently. "It's only a level three technology world."
"Um, yeah, so how about we go inside?" Mikaela suggested in a hopeful tone. "Maybe it will be more to your liking."
Red Alert nodded stiffly and pinged the door with his personal ID code, causing it to slide open after a moment.
"At least they installed some security measures here," he muttered to himself as they entered a very plain metal entry foyer with three hallways leading off, each of which had an eight foot tall and four foot deep cutout for human traffic, complete with guard rail to keep vehicle and the smallest mechs from accidentally entering it.
"Would you like me to plug in an translate for you?" Inferno offered quietly while his bonded was engrossed in logging in and examining the existing computer infrastructure.
Mikaela paused for a moment, considering as she watched Red Alert muttering to himself.
"I've never had anyone else plugged in except when I'm doing medical charges...I'm just not sure how I feel about that. I appreciate the offer, though," she said uncertainly, as though she almost wanted to say yes.
"It's okay. I wouldn't do anything but tell you what he's saying in Cybertronian," Inferno promised even as he gave her the clear impression he wasn't trying to convince her.
Before she could answer, Red Alert suddenly demanded. "What, exactly, happened to Jazz? Did he have any time to assess this facility?"
"Jazz was killed before we ever came to this base," she responded softly, her voice taking on a distant quality as she remember the events that had changed her life forever. "He died the day after he arrived on earth...the day after Sam and I met him. He was killed in the Mission City battle. Optimus was delayed by Bonecrusher, so it was just Jazz, Bee, Ratchet and Hide, along with Lennox and his crew. Bee's legs were blown off by Starscream, then Megatron showed up. We were totally outnumbered, so Ironhide called a retreat. Jazz took on Megatron alone to give us all more time to fall back. It gave us a chance for Sam to get away with the Allspark and for me to hook Bee up to a tow truck so I could get him away. Jazz...Megatron ripped him in half."
She felt Inferno shudder, and saw his bonded do the same in a shared moment of knowing, exactly, what both Jazz's last experience was and what Prowl had felt.
"It makes sense he was never here," Red Alert murmured when they shook the affect off. "He had almost as good a sense for security and breaching it as I do," he said in a rare but honest complement to the mech that had given him more than his fair share of panic attacks over the vorns.
"He'll be back with us soon...very soon Ratchet hopes. Sam somehow brought him back. I still don't understand it. The Allspark changed him when he put it in Megatron's spark. He brought Optimus back, too, after he died." she explained.
"Optimus Prime died?" Red Alert shrieked, sounding almost like his name. His whole body began to twitch and he looked as though he might fall over. His optics spiraled wide open and electricity arched between his sensory horns.
"Prime ... oh Primus," Inferno gasped, only having seen and spoken to his leader just minutes before stopped his panic from spiking nearly as high as his bonded's. "He's back," he said quietly, reassuring himself before he focused on Red Alert. "Prime is alive," he reached out to grip his bonded by the shoulders, pushing as much calm-safe through their bond as he could.
~Do I need to come sedate him?~ Ratchet pressed against their bond, reassurance mixed with bemused curiosity. ~What set him off, anyway?~
~Um, I did. I didn't realize they didn't know Optimus had died. Do they know that the Allspark is destroyed, or should I just get all the bad news over with at once?~
~Primus, Mikaela, you didn't!~ She sensed both concern and amusement from him. ~The rest of us can hardly stand to think-process it. Red ... well ... plug in to Inferno and tell him the rest. He's the one who will need to tell the glitch and decide when he can take the news. And ask Inferno about sedation, too. I don't want to comm him. Red will monitor it whether it's private or not.~
~I'm sorry, babe. I just wanted to help.~
Ratchet quickly enveloped her mind in a comforting embrace. ~It would have happened at some point. If it hadn't been you, he probably would have found it on the computer and had the same reaction.~
"Can you plug in," she whispered in Inferno's audio even as he continued to calm his bonded.
A cable snaked up and clicked in. While it came with a pleasant sensation, it was nothing like the erotic experience it was with Ratchet, even when they weren't trying.
~What else should I know?~ Inferno's grim question came from a very small portion of his processors that were on 'her' side of a powerful barrier that Red Alert was on the other side of.
~I'm so sorry, I figured you knew ... maybe not about Sam, but about the rest. The biggie is that the Allspark was destroyed. Megatron was about to take it. Optimus told Sam to put the cube in his own spark - that it would destroy the cube and kill Prime, but it was worth it to keep it out of Megatron's hands. Sam somehow put it in Megatron's spark instead. But Megatron came back, too. There were a few shards left from the cube and the 'Cons got one of them and brought him back somehow. There has been a lot of dying and coming back going on. Sam died and came back too, just before he brought Optimus back. Does he need sedation? Ratchet wants to know.~
There was a lingering pause, only a second and a half, but that was painful with Red Alert's screeching denials and demands.
~Yes, sedation would be good,~ Inferno decide. ~Do we have proper quarters here? Ratchet knows what that means.~
Mikaela instantly passed the question on to Ratchet and just as quickly knew his response.
~Not finished yet~ she informed Inferno. ~Medbay would be best. I don't have my kit with me, so First Aid is on his way. I'm really sorry, Inferno.~
~It's not your fault you assumed we knew what has been common knowledge to everyone you've been with for over two stellar cycles,~ he said gently before focusing fully on keeping Red Alert from submitting to his glitch completely.
She felt Inferno's relief when Red Alert suddenly slumped forward, his joints lax as the junior medic shut down his processors. The large red mech scooped his bonded up, gently pressing their forehelms together.
"Lead the way," Inferno told First Aid with a weary smile.
Mikaela was anxious to meet the new medic who would be training with Ratchet and whom she was likely to work closely with, but now was obviously not the time. Instead, she focused on finding out more about Red Alert and Inferno.
~Inferno, why does Red Alert have such...well...large reactions? It's not just because he is Chief of Security, right?~ she asked gently as they approached the other clearly Cybertronian structure on base, smaller than the command center, but of similar design.
~He was commissioned as a pre-programmed mech, the perfect security expect and guard,~ he began the explanation. ~Well, they overdid his senses, or underpowered his processor, or both, depending on who you ask. Then they asked for a spark that would look to the security of his assignment before all else. It makes him exceptional at his duties, but the price is his glitch. Has Ratchet told you what a medical glitch is?~
~He said something about Prowl, and a conflict in the base programming that cannot be remedied without completely altering the mech's basic nature. Is that what you mean?~ Mikaela noticed how quickly communication could happen through her socket with Inferno, just as with Ratchet when connected or through their bond. From her perception it was nearly instantaneous.
~Yes. For Red Alert, he was given senses so sharp that he can't processes all the impute. I've caught him listening to conversations being whispered a mile and a half away and spotting an object the size of your fingernail from well over a thousand meters without even trying. That's just when he's feeling a normal level of paranoia over security conditions. The more agitated he becomes, the more he enhances his senses until it overwhelms his processors completely. Sometimes he perceives sensory ghosts as a warning sign, but most of the time it's like today, as a more direct response to news. When he glitches he will attempt to destroy whatever the perceived threat is, it's just that the threat only exists in his processors. He's normally a non-violent mech.~
In the background, largely shielded from her, was a strong sense that it hurt Inferno terribly to know there was nothing he could do but sedate his bonded when this happened. Sedate him, hold him, be there when he is reset and woke up.
~It leaves him in such pain when he wakes up,~ Inferno added quietly.
~I've heard of humans who have a similar condition, where they are not able to filter their sensory perceptions and it becomes overwhelming, only with Red Alert, it sounds a thousand times worse. But I can also see how it would make him so good at what he does. I'm glad he has you.~
Mikaela had become so very aware in her time training with Ratchet that no matter how complex they were compared to human beings, they had the same kinds of pain and struggles. The same desire to relieve those they loved of suffering and be comforted themselves.
~I'd like to hear how you came to be bonded, when there is time,~ she said as Inferno followed the downward sloping ramp into Medbay.
~I'd be happy to tell you,~ he smiled at her before returning his attention to the limp mech in his arms.
For all that the building looked complex from the outside, it was decidedly bare on the inside, much to Ratchet's dismay. The main space contained a dozen berths and a wall of metal shelves and cupboards for supplies. Several doors led to private rooms, medical wash rack and baths, and an underground section of stasis berths and isolation rooms. Ratchet emerged from one of the private rooms.
"Why don't you take one of the isolation rooms one level down," the CMO suggested kindly after doing a complete scan. "That will be the safest-feeling place for him to awaken."
He held out his hand for Mikaela.
"Thank you," Inferno didn't hide any of his gratitude as he unplugged from Mikaela and his cables assisted her to transfer to her mech. "When are you planning to bring Prowl and Jazz up?" he asked even as he headed for the lift.
"Soon," Ratchet replied even as he held Mikaela to his chestplates, instinctively sheltering her. "I want to make sure Prowl's spark is stable first. Mikaela and a few others have been giving Jazz regular medical charges for the last orn, so he is ready whenever Prowl is in acceptable condition. What they both need more than anything right now is to be awake and together, as I'm sure you know. Let me know when you feel your bonded is ready to come out of sedation. I'll be sure to be there, along with Prime."
"Thank you, Ratchet," Inferno tilted his helm before stepping in the lift before it's doors closed him off from view.
"So how soon is soon?" Mikaela focused on her mech, happy, for the moment, to snuggle against him. "It would do so much good for everyone to see them walk out of here together."
Ratchet traced a finger down her side, brushing over her breast.
~We'll charge Prowl once and see if his spark is stable enough to wake them both.~ he responded, plugging in and sending an opening pulse of pleasure as he walked through the doorway leading to the room where the two mechs waited in stasis on side-by-side berths.