Writers: Zomgitsalaura on LJ
Fandom: Transformers Bayverse
Characters: Bluestreak and Fireflight (in the form of Silverstreak & Raz)
Codes: Slavery, mentions of Xeno (mech/organic)
Summary: Prequel to "Of Experiments and New Life"
Notes: Written in the Point of View fanverse (community .livejournal .com/ tf_matrix)
It was dark and it was cramped. The little bird had to curl in on herself to keep from bumping against the walls of the display cage. She had already watched as the large purple mech sold off the rest of her flock mates, spewing sickly sweet praises on the spoilt tower mechlings. The young Cybertronians fawned and cooed over her winged companions as their creators bartered with he salesmech.
She had already been scolded several times this cycle for snapping at the clients as they had tried to pick her up. The heavy ankle chain kept her from doing much more than hissing threateningly and flaring her wings whenever she was dragged out of the cage again, listening once more to her captor describing her 'genetic attributes' enthusiastically to a doe-eyed towerling.
Shuffling sideways as far as possible, the avian nuzzled into the feathered side of her last remaining flock mate. The black and red striped male sighed quietly and wrapped his arms around her shoulders, chin resting on top of her crest as the two mechs continued to converse in the high mechanical warbles of their native tongue.
It wasn't long before he was also sold, packaged into a decorative cage and carted off to locations unknown by his new owner. Leaving the red and white-feathered female alone in the display case, feathers puffed up as she curled depressed in the far back corner.
Silverstreak hated coming up to the towers, both the mechs and the buildings felt so... fake most of the time. They paid good money for his trinkets though, frequently asking him to create some custom piece for the organics they seemed to tote around like fashion accessories.
The whole thing never sat well with the gray mech, the nobles seemingly happy to treat their sockets as if they weren't sentient. Though not old enough to need one yet, Silverstreak often spent his time down in the organic housing sectors of his home city, the avians always happy to see him due to his tendency to bring any shiny off cuts from his projects so they could decorate their nests.
Checking his map again, having had to stop at least three times for directions, Silverstreak turned down another causeway and through a series of stalls. The vendors shouted towards him and tried to sell their wares, each one more gaudy and useless than the last, as he navigated his way towards hangar bay four.
Each of the towers were easily as large as a city, the spiraling walkways and roads lining the inside of the honeycombed structures glittering almost as much as the crystalline outer surfaces. The similarity of each of the separate towers tended to confuse the lower-class mech whenever he needed to personally deliver the orders.
His customers seemed to enjoy bragging to their friends about the 'young metalworking prodigy from crystal city' who handcrafted the decorative armor or jewelry for their organic sockets. Today had been no exception, Silverstreak having been practically dragged into the high-class mech's apartment with a cube of high grade thrust into his hands. Several new orders were added to his list when the other towerlings inside had seen the decorative collar on the owner's reptilian socket.
Silverstreak sighed, stopping outside .. the wrong hangar door. "Primus. I need to get a better map," he muttered and turned to start tracing his steps back towards the last place he knew where he was.
Most of the vendors on this level had already started to pack up, the stalls folding neatly into the walls of the hall as the last of their stock were snatched up by the shopping nobles.
A loud call of 'sir' is his direction caused Silverstreak to stop in his tracks. Not looking particularly 'upper class' with his plain paintjob, being actually acknowledged by any of the mechs in the towers still tended to throw him for a loop. Even if he had been told on many occasions that his angular sensory appendages made him look rather pretty, Silverstreak usually just took that as the drunken ramblings of overcharged mechs and tried to angle them out of groping range.
Peering over his shoulder in the direction of the call, the Praxian caught sight of a cheerful purple stall holder. The mech reached into a cage to pull out a hissing, screeching avian in order to display it on the table, heavy chains keeping the bird firmly on the surface and unable to fly away.
"You look like a smart young mech!" the salesmech called out. "Feel like taking home a pretty little socket? Last one I have for the day so she's twenty creds discounted."
Silverstreak frowned, not liking the way the avian was being treated at all by the greasy looking vendor. Didn't he realize it was painful to hold them like that? The feathers were all being pushed in the wrong direction.
"Discounted from how much?" Silverstreak asked warily, approaching the store cautiously.
"420 credits for this breed, dual toned. Her red would match your pretty paint job too" the vendor grinned, subtly eyeing Silverstreaks red midriff and chevron.
"That a little high isn't it?" the gray mech asked, winglets angling outwards. He'd seen vendors like this before, usually advertising their sockets for about a quarter of the price. Even then the poor things hadn't been caged and chained down so violently.
The purple mech leered, optics following the exotic wings as they twitched and moved on Silverstreak's back. "Ah, but you see. Red is such a hard color to come by, two colors on the same bird even more so. You won't find another exactly the same anywhere on Cybertron." He placed the little organic onto the table, frowning as she hissed threateningly. "Buy today and you'll get yourself a free cage and a lunar cycle's supply of nutrients."
Silverstreak's spark ached for the little bird, imagining her forced into the life of a second class citizen and pet. "How much did you say she was?" he asked, wirelessly checking his accounts.
"400 credits and I'll throw in a free wing-clipping if you want."
"No." Silverstreak sighed, realizing that the entire commission from his last job was about to go up in flames. "I'll just take her as is." He flicked his wings, transferring the money onto a spare chip and handing it to the vendor. He watched carefully as the avian was shooed into a cage and boxed up for transport.
"Uhh, thanks," he said, his optics refreshing as he was handed the small box, cradling it close to his chest before asking the vendor directions to his shuttle.
Heading back up a level, and across several more of the crisscrossing pathways, Silverstreak attempted to calm the agitated organic through the side of the box. Finally reaching his destination and stepping onto the shuttle without any more trouble, he cradled his precious cargo close in his lap and sighed.
Hopefully he would have enough credits to last him until his next job was finished.
Getting the bird's ankle chain off had been an interesting experience to say the least. The small organic made it harder by hissing and clawing at his fingers every time he got close with the metal cutting tool.
In the end Silverstreak managed to distract her with a shiny piece of glass long enough to cut her free, only for the young avian to scramble off his worktop and perch in the rafters above his head.
Sighing, he simply left her wherever she decided to roost, occasionally offering food and conversation whenever she came down from hiding long enough to get some.
The first few days of her stay had been the quietest, the tiny socket simply fluffing up or hissing whenever she decided he had gotten too close.
Silverstreak had eventually taken to calling her Raz, one of the only noises she made in response to anything he had said, as he chatted absently to her while working on his next commission.
After approximately an orn without any talking from the little bird, Silverstreak nearly welded his fingers to the work bench when she dropped from the rafters onto his shoulders and made a quiet inquiry as to what he was doing. The avian's natural curiosity took over as she peered at the shiny trinket, so small in comparison to her mech perch that Silverstreak had needed to purchase expensive optical and motor-control upgrades vorns beforehand in order to work on it.
"Uhh, extra commissions." Silverstreak sighed, rubbing at his temples to try and dispel the ache caused by not recharging in several days.
Raz chirred, shifting her weight from claw to claw. "Why extra?" she warbled questioningly.
The gray mech blinked, sensory wings shifting until they weren't so stiff. "Trying to get you enough credits for an apartment."
"Oh " The red and white bird smoothed out her chest feathers. "But you bought me. I live here."
"I bought you so I could save you," he replied quietly, picking up his tools and turning back to the tiny decoration. "You're not mine, or anyone else's either. Slavery is illegal here."
Going quiet as he started working again, Raz jumped down from the gray mech's shoulder. She gathered up the tiny scraps spilled off the table and putting them into a pile in case her rescuer decided he needed them later.
"Raz? You here?" Silverstreak peered into the tiny organic-sized apartment, tapping gently on the large window running along one side.
After a bit of scrabbling and shuffling emanating from the nest he knew was located in the far back room, the red and white avian finally emerged, stretching her wings out happily as she made her way over to unlock window she chirped out a greeting.
"'STREAKS!" The avian practically attached herself to the mech's chevron, chirring and nuzzling the plating happily. "Why didn't y' come visit?"
Silverstreak laughed, gently plucking the bird off his helm and sitting on the ground. "Honestly? I'm terrified of coming down here this time of the cycle," he whispered conspiratorially. "Last time you guys were mating I got fought over by about thirteen other birds. I think it had something to do with the shiny stuff I keep bringin' you."
Raz snickered, climbing onto his helm and flaring out her feathers. "Nope, not allowed to have you." She chirred, tapping a clawed hand on the back of the red chevron. "Think you c'n help me Streaks?"
"Help with what?" The sensory-winged bot shifted, careful not to dislodge his passenger from her perch.
"Need t' get some more little ones to the hatchery." The feathered organic twittered in amusement, hopping off Silverstreak's helm and padding into her roost. Her clawed feet clicked softly against the floor as she trotted inside to the nest before returning with the two eggs.
"What? Really?" Silverstreak scrambled to his feet, peering back inside the tiny rooms with interest. "So you managed to catch a male this time?"
He extended his palm, cradling the bird close to his chest with her fragile cargo once she had stepped on.
"Yeah, he was pretty." Raz chirped, pointing Silverstreak in the direction of the hidden brooding sector. "I like the ones with dark feathers," she snickered, having had a VERY good time this past mating cycle.
Stooping low, Silverstreak let the smaller organic down gently near the entrance to the egg storage centre, scanning the strangely colored eggs curiously in his friend's arms.
Raz snickered at the tickling feeling produced by the scan, typing in the entrance code quickly before slipping in through the small door. "I'll be back soon 'Streaks," she called over her shoulder. "Then you can show me th' new shiny things."
The crystal spires sparkled and cracked as the attacker-lit fires gutted them from the inside. Sharp shards fell and sheared off the side, striking and crushing mechs and femmes not fast enough to get out of the way and leaving deep gouges in the surface if the streets where they landed.
The heaviest pieces of falling crystal created holes deep enough that entire sections of the road broke off and fell into the lower levels of the city. They sparked and burned the entire way down, before impacting and destabilizing the pylons holding the roads in place.
Seekers were streaking across the sky, the screams of their engines louder and more terrifying than those of the bots running panicked along the ground. Silverstreak dodged shrapnel and hid from the jets overhead underneath a piece of rubble, his dull paint job streaked with soot and dust as he ran towards the organic housing sector.
Shouting over the sounds of destruction for his best friend, the red and gray Praxian finally found her struggling to escape from her apartment. He tossed the piece of rubble off to the side and scooped her into his hand, holding the trembling avian close to his chest as he ran to find a place to hide.
Silverstreak was so preoccupied with watching the seekers overhead, he failed to notice the ground troops up ahead until he was literally thrown into the side of a building by one of the large war builds.
Wings crumpling in on themselves from the impact, the gray mech screamed, optics whiting and audios ringing as he collapsed to the ground. Raz screamed and scratched with clawed feet as the Decepticon snatched her from Silverstreak's limp hands.
A nearby explosion shook the ground and caused the already weakened structure of the wall to collapse. Silverstreak was buried underneath, until nothing was visible of the mech underneath the rubble.
His optics flickered, damage reports and warnings flickering across his HUD as his processor began to shut down. His audios rang with the sound of the little bird's pained screams before cutting off into static.
The mech felt like he was floating, muted sounds and voices drifting in from somewhere overhead. His limbs were so heavy, like someone had removed them and replaced them with blocks of lead.
One of the voices drifted in closer, the sound sharpening into focus as his systems sluggishly adjusted his audio receptors. Most of what was being said still translating as static to his damaged systems as he turned his helm towards the noise slowly.
"Mechling name?" The first voice sounded rather close, a flash of bright plating moving through his field of vision as its owner bent down to his optic level, a tool transforming from his hand to shine a light into his ocular sensors.
Name? The gray mech frowned, scanning through his databanks and only finding a few small snippets still intact in his personal identification sector. Other memories were more clear, his profession and social customs, holidays, language and transformation protocols were all intact but so many of the most important files, the ones that made him him were gone.
He coughed and took a large draught of atmosphere through his vents, vocalizer raspy and laced with static as he tried to reply "D .n't know. Fragment..d."
Shuddering he tried to sit up, almost immediately pushed back down by a firm but gentle hand. "Stay still youngling, your processor and frame were badly damaged. You were shouting something when we woke you the first time and we had to sedate you while we re-compiled your files. Is there any information you can give us?"
The bot's chevroned helm cocked to the side as he searched carefully for any additional information " . Streak. My designation has 'streak' in it somewhere."
He sighed, gently prodding at a section that had been temporarily blocked by medical firewalls. "Why can't I get in?"
"You, uh, from what we gathered your friend was killed in the attack." The medic sighed "the block will stay in place until it becomes absolutely necessary that we remove it but for now it is best that it stays."
The large hand pat him soothingly on the shoulder "get some rest mechling. We can deal with that in the morning."
Raz sighed unhappily, not having moved from her perch in the corner of Wheeljack's lab since being rescued from the Decepticon ship.
The little bird was absolutely heartbroken, news reports filtering in having stated that there were no survivors from her home city save the few organics kidnapped and placed into stasis.
The avian absently nuzzled one of the warm gray pods, herself having been awakened after a stray shot from an overenthusiastic con had broken airtight seal in her chamber.
Wheeljack had been more than enthusiastic upon waking her, spooking the scared bird into the rafters before he had managed to coax her down to a more suitable location.
She felt lethargic, watching the engineer work on his newest project through half glazed eyes. After the first few days he had left for a while, returning shortly after looking as if the weight of the world was on his shoulders.
After some gentle prodding it had been revealed that several organics that had volunteered for a "spark transplant" into a mech's frame had died in the attempt, the Allspark welcoming their spirits into its all powerful embrace once again.
After a long period of consideration Raz stood, carefully jumping and gliding her way across the room to Wheeljack's desk. Taking one of the many blank pads littering the surface she carefully wrote down both the hidden location and access passwords for the crèches protected under what used to be Crystal city.
Hopefully at least one or two had remained intact, Silverstreak having helped increase the strength of the walls and enclosures within several years ago. Perhaps, if they were lucky, the entire compound had remained un-scarred.
Having finished her instructions the little bird crossed her legs and sat down again, waiting patiently for the large white scientist to return. Perhaps in volunteering for his experiment she would be useful and, if not, she could at least be together with her friend in the Matrix.