Currently ongoing response to a TF kink meme request, which asked for an insectoid alien culture where a Prime is essentially the equivalent to an insect Queen. After the defeat of the Fallen Optimus' generative cycle comes back online; this is good for the race as a whole, but could end up causing some conflicts...

...Come on. A specific request to go wild with the alien culture? Yeah, like I'm going to pass that up. ^_^

Please note: this fic will be one chapter behind the kinkmeme thread, as I'd like a chance to really comb through and edit it before posting publicly.

His world was reduced to this - the large, black shape of the Seeker moving over him, sharp edged wings - gloriously mature and virile - spread wide and silhouetted against an alien blue sky, and the thick, heavy swell of the spike that relentlessly filled him.

He groaned and spread himself wider, arching up into the hot rush of each thrust. The Seeker's grasp was everywhere, his back, his arms, scraping past exoplates to sink into the endomass beneath, systems interlocked and sparking. The air shattering roar of the flyer's systems was so close it could have been his own, vibrations shaking his struts and echoing deep into his protoform until he could only cry out with it, wordless vocalizations streaked with static as the growing charge arced through him. He shuttered his optics, giving himself over to the sharp, hot pleasure of it.

Claw tips dragged and caught across his chest plates, scraping, and forced him to focus on more than just the rush of sensation. The face that met his view had shifted; silver plates, not black, and deeper, narrower optics that burned with a wild fire above the knife-edged curves of a fierce, powerful frame. The clutch of the other's hands was familiar now, the weight and shape of the body that fit against his own never forgotten. The charge between them spiraled, peaking, as his First in flight pressed sharp denta against the cables of his throat, venting hot, and the deep voice he remembered so well shuddered through his audials as the first surge of overload hit - "...scream for me, Prime."

Optimus came out of recharge disoriented, sensor ghosts mixed with the frame deep vibration of his own overworked fans as his systems frantically dumped heat and phantom charge into empty air. Instinctive pings brought the world back into shape around him, echoing through his exterior sensors - the walls and space of the empty hangar, one of a cluster of them on base that had been set aside for their use and which he and his unit had taken to using for recharge. It was near empty, only Jolt's bright blue alt form resting near the far wall of the hangar, politely distant from the Prime's personal space.

Wincing, Optimus dialed down his sensor scans and throttled back his fans as best as he could before either could disturb the other warrior's rest. Scrambled memory file echoes, unpacked and overlaid across each other, made his endomass itch with the crawling ghosts of sensations that had nothing to do with the quiet space around him. Venting a deep air cycle, he settled back on his tires, rocking slightly, the feel of the hard cement beneath him providing a spatial check against recharge shadows.

A check of his chronometer, automatically translated against the local time units, indicated it was early morning. Three quarters of a disrupted recharge cycle, he noted wearily, and only two thirds of that useful. It was, he told himself firmly, only to be expected - it had been barely a week since Egypt and the deciding battle against the Fallen. Only a handful of days since - and he flinched from thinking it, then forced himself to do it anyways, forcing aside the strut deep tremor that came with it - his own death at Megatron's hand, and tumultuous resurrection on the field of combat by Sam Witwitcky. Memory ghosts, bleeding over from badly packed files archived in haste, was entirely in line with what was acceptable operations - not, Ratchet had been quick to note, that there was any form of operations guide for spark death and subsequent resurrection, but disrupted recharge was certainly on the mild end of the hypothesized consequences.

If nothing else, the confused overlap of ancient and new memory files, while disturbing - and somewhat embarrassing when his overclocked systems blurred the line between battle heat and shunted it through other, more private recollections - was a marked step up from straight replays of the battle. Even one cycle had been entirely too many, in Prime's opinion, to come roaring awake with the phantom pain of Megatron's blade through his spark, overlaid with the disorienting flash of life that rebooted cold systems straight through to blazing heat in the space of a click, one battle blending into another and equilibrium thrown to the void. Even worse had been the replays of his first concrete memory after waking, the sharp edged feel and bitter lightning taste of Jolt's electrowhip followed by the battering rush of intrusive systems, clawing and surging in a tangled makeshift brutality through his own, the whole of it overlaid across the haunting visual file of the elderly Seeker, Jetfire, ripping his still pulsing spark from the crumbling remnants of his own chest.

Ratchet had apologized, after the battle. It had been a combat call, necessity and the willing donation of power and parts from a mortally wounded mech. To Jetfire's honor it had, along with Samuel's sacrifice in bringing the Matrix to Optimus, been the tipping point in an otherwise desperate battle. Optimus, his sensor nets still raw and aching from the ruthless attachment of foreign parts, his whole system thrown to turmoil by the experience and still thick with the sensation scent of the elder Seeker's pathways forced through and around his own, could only agree. His gratitude was sparkfelt; the discomfort only physical, and the sensor ghosts it left behind would fade over time.

System checks brought out of recharge and finished, his HUD obligingly brought up a list of results, including a too-high core temperature that was only slowly cooling, overcharged and undergrounded systems, still fragmented partitions in his processor, and a fuel level that pinged 2.1% lower than it should, probably from inadequate recharge and his fans running hot. Optimus shunted it all aside, only to have it replaced with the local unit chronometer once more and the running list of his scheduler, his first meeting of the morning highlighted in the dutifully flashing red of his self-coded three breem warning alarm.

Optimus cycled an intake of air and calculated that he would, if he put himself in gear, have just enough time to draw a ration of energon and check with the monitor stations before his meeting - evening, East coast American time - with the Secretary of Defense. It was, his scheduler helpfully informed him, still 'Monday' where John Keller was, and human culture hastened to assure him that the entirety of the itching discomfort in his systems could probably be attributed to the same.

The NEST base at Diego Garcia was still on powered down night cycle, only sentries and those who had to be awake moving about in the pre-dawn air. Optimus nodded to those he saw but kept his voice lowered, mindful of how sound carried in the quiet. He collected a cube of energon for himself, stowing it for later as he crossed to the hangar set apart from the others which housed the bristling array of monitor equipment. The lights in the temporary medbay, he noted as he passed it, were still on - Ratchet was either up early or still up late, the medic's schedule dictated by a workload that circumvented normal operations and currently including overseeing the recuperation of Arcee's units. The split-sparked femme had been airlifted back from Egypt and was still berth bound with the worst of the wounds the Autobots had taken... not that one would know it from her rigorous demands to be let out from under the CMO's watchful optics.

"I'll discharge her back to light duty," Ratchet had growled when Optimus came to inquire after her, "when she can hold her own in a fragging argument." Arcee's reply had been eloquent, multisyllabic, intensely profane, mostly physically impossible, and in two part discordant harmony (her purple unit having been in medically induced recharge at the time.) It had also, apparently, not been up to Ratchet's determining standards, and the femme remained in the medbay under protest.

Sideswipe was on monitor duty, the younger warrior's optics shifting only briefly to Optimus, who he greeted with an acknowledging flick of his fingers before returning his attention to the wall bank of data that was pouring in on multiple frequencies. "Aren't you supposed to be in a meeting?" he asked by way of greeting, but under the almost gruff tone of his voice the quick there-and-gone vibration of his EM field formed the sense image of a glyph that suggested the wry amusement Optimus had come to associate with the soldier.

"In a few kliks," he replied. When he opened his sensors the data signals flowed over him, humming with information that he sorted through automatically, skimming the feeds as he confirmed key points visually from the display of the monitors. "All quiet," he murmured.

Sideswipe nodded, a human gesture that had caught on quickly among them. "Wouldn't expect anything else, yet. 'Cons'll be buffing their wounds for awhile."

Prime tapped a light fingertip against a fresh weld that still showed above the other mech's shoulder join. "As will we," he noted. Technically, until Ratchet released Arcee back to duty, they were down three of an already small unit. Optimus made himself a note to check with the medic on the femme's progress, filing it in his personal to-do list. Arcee accounted for nearly 24% of his currently readily available warriors, leaving only... "Where's Ironhide?"

Sideswipe vented a sharp, amused burst from his intakes. "Training ground," he answered promptly, the accompanying sensor glyph suggesting habitual-repeat/expected, making Optimus nod in agreement. Of course.

"And the twins?"

The other mech's face was turned resolutely to the monitors but the bitten off scratch of static from his field, overerasing several glyphs that Optimus didn't catch, was unmistakable. "Pests are with him," was the flat answer, and Prime held back his own ventilation. Opening his personal file he made several more notes - to check with the weapon specialist about the progress of the younger twins' training, to speak with Skids and Mudflap - again - about not provoking Sideswipe, and a permanent subsystem notification reminding him not to refer to the two as twins in Sideswipe's presence - reminders of his own still-missing brother invariably soured the silver warrior's mood.

"Good," was all he said aloud, rigorously suppressing his own field from conveying any of the myriad of glyphs that wanted to underscore his emotional state. "That should keep all of them busy for a time." Sideswipe vented an agreement and Optimus straightened. A twinge of a warning popped up on his display as he did so, alerting him to a partial blockage on a coolant line - probably a tension twist from his fitful recharge. He filed it away with the rest of them, dismissing it, and did his best to subtly stretch to his full height, hoping to work loose the kink. "Bumblebee should be reporting in today. Let me know when he does."

Another vented affirmative, with the reflexive soldier's glyph for a command acknowledged. "Should be expecting one from the bug too?" the other mech asked disdainfully.

Optimus didn't bother to suppress a small burst of static amusement at the memory that thought brought to his processor, but the vibrations in his field spoke of both humor and disappointment simultaneously, the later directed firmly at Sideswipe. "Wheelie," he said, putting emphasis on the tiny mech's designation, "will report tomorrow. I have learned it's best to leave no possibility of he and Bumblebee reporting in at the same time. It seems detrimental to the entire process."

Sideswipe ducked his head slightly in response to the unspoken chastisement. "It's certainly easier on the monitor," he agreed. "You might want to swap the pests out, though - not sure any of us can take them and Wheelie getting into it again."

Prime pulled up the duty roster, winced, and then winced again as the final timing alarm of his scheduler flashed up. "Check with Ratchet to see if any of Arcee's units are cleared for monitor duty," he instructed swiftly. "If not, then swap their monitor shift with Jolt; they'll be with you instead. Make the changes on the roster and I'll sign off on it later."

Sideswipe's field vibrated with personal dismay - chances were high that Ratchet would override any chance of Arcee's resumption of duty - but his response was suitably prompt. "Yes, Prime."

Optimus nodded and left, the insistent flashing of his chronometer prompting him to stretch his strides as he crossed to the central operations hangar, the biggest by far of the structures that had been ceded to their use.

The familiar figure of Major Lennox greeted him as he entered; the human was leaning over the edge of the two-story scaffolding that ringed the central space and which housed the teleconferencing equipment, monitor banks, and makeshift work spaces for their small allies. The major was in uniform, his hair too short to be mussed, but the large steaming stainless steel mug in his hands and the yawn that punctuated his "'morning" told their own story.

"I apologize for the delay," Optimus began, but Lennox waved him off, shaking his head.

"You're fine, Big Guy. Keller's aide phoned ahead, he's running late." The man twisted one wrist, peering blearily at his watch. "Probably finishing dinner," he predicted, then grinned wryly, lifting his mug in a pseudo salute. "Gives the rest of us time to finish our coffee."

"Indeed," Optimus agreed, taking his - by then - familiar place within the center of the open space, where the cameras could track him easiest. Several of the technicians, most of them toting coffee mugs at least as large as the Major's, swept in to perform the necessary equipment checks. Prime reflexively dampened several spectrums of visible wavelength in his optics as the lights flared, obligingly standing still until one of the men gave him the thumbs up which meant their calibrations were done.

"You're getting that down to a routine," Lennox noted, grinning. "They're gonna have you all trained for the talk show circuit."

"I'm sure your government would prefer I did no such thing," Optimus replied. The glyph of amusement in his field went undetected by the human, but Lennox had been associated with them long enough to recognize Prime's dry humor by vocal tone alone. "Nor can I say I am all that fond of the idea."

Lennox waved the denial away with his free hand. "Sure, that's what you say. The day you meet Oprah, I want pictures."

"For Sarah," Optimus countered, deadpan.

"Of course," Lennox agreed. He tipped back the last of his coffee, upending the mug. "And the rec room. That would so be going up on the bulletin board." The now-empty mug earned a frown. "Hold that thought, there's just enough time to grab a refill."

There was a brewing machine set in a small nook between two of the work spaces on the upper level; the human beverage of choice required only heated water and ground, toasted beans. So much simpler, Optimus mused, than energon - though really, other than a fluid state and a preference for it just after recharge, the two substances had nothing in common as the human's drink was merely a chemical recreation, indulged for its invigorating qualities. Energon was fuel and vital sustenance all at once, as required to his own kind as water and food were to humans.

The alert about his slightly underfilled tank popped up again, insistent, at the corner of his HUD. Optimus cycled a vent through his frame, checked his chronometer, and retrieved the cube he had taken from stores. Best to take advantage of the delay while the opportunity was there.

Which meant, of course, that Lennox was returning with his own freshly refilled mug just as Prime took in the first mouthful, and the man was more than versed enough in mechanical expression to catch the grimace that the Autobot couldn't quite repress.

"Hey, you okay, Big Guy?" There was concern there, which was a warm comfort - they had come far, two disparate species with a less than optimal meeting, towards crafting a middle ground that acknowledged them all as equal individuals, foremost, above and beyond their nature. "Something go down the wrong way?"

Prime carefully suppressed the urge to spit the mouthful of energon back; it was juvenile and undignified, not to mention that the permeable seal on a cube's field wasn't designed to go that direction and he had no desire to spill a substance that was caustic to humans in a communal area. The taste washing across his sensors was both dirty and thin at the same time; low grade, barely better than raw, the kind they had all subsisted on when the situation demanded, but he had thought their newest refinery better equipped than that. Swallowing was marginally less offensive than holding it in place was and he made himself do so, though by the Major's growing look of alarm he had failed to hide the secondary face that the lingering aftertaste prompted as well.

"It's fine," he tried to assure the man, and then, because Lennox's hand was hovering near his pocket and Optimus knew full well which numbers the Major's phone held on speed dial, "it's nothing to alarm Ratchet over."

Lennox treated him to the sort of highly dubious frown which Optimus was well familiar with turning on his own soldiers. "You know, Ratchet specifically told us to call him if you tried telling us that."

Of course he had. Prime shuttered his optics briefly, pressing a thumb into the small relays that surrounded them which always collected stiffness in their torque, and bit back a few choice phrases about his chief medic's heavy handed tactics. "I'm sure he did. However, truly, it is nothing." He raised the cube of energon slightly, indicating it. "One of the refinery filter arrays must be miscalibrated. I believe the nearest analogy would be your own drink, but made with half of the suggested grounds."

The Major mouthed a silent 'Oh' of understanding. "Gotcha," he said, nodding. "Dish water."

It took a bare half a second to search and find the contextual meaning behind the man's words. "More or less," Optimus agreed. He made another notation on his list to check with the engineers and find the faulty filter. A lower grade wouldn't harm any of them for a few days, but it wasn't going to make anyone's mood more agreeable either.

One of the technicians whistled sharply, the cue that the conference connection was going through. Suppressing any further expression, Optimus dampened his sensors long enough to throw back the rest of the cube, swallowing the oily taste down, and dispersed the cube's field with a disgusted flick of his fingers before dutifully straightening to face the cameras and the broad monitor displays that were flickering to life. Mondays, indeed, he thought tiredly. The human superstition might well have more than just tradition to it.