Summary: In which Ravage figuratively bites off more than he can chew and the origin of movie!Soundwave's alt-mode is explained.
G1 characters and ambience...only thing movieverse in here is the mentioned transition of our favourite monotoned mech's alt mode.
Disclaimer: Standard stuff...don't own it, just playing with it. All things TF-related belong to HasTak.
(Please excuse the periods as placeholders - I grew weary of fighting with the doc uploader :S) Now...on with the fic!
At times like this he really wished he wasn't limited to a stationary alt mode. Sighing, looking up...way up...the Decepticon communications officer lamented, not for the first time, his lack of independent propulsion.
If he was a seeker or even a helo model he could have easily solved this bothersome (and if he was being honest with himself, all too frequent and reoccurring) problem and returned to tasks more suited to someone of his rank and vast processing capabilities. Alas, despite what most others thought, there were things that rose above duty and the Decepticon Cause in the optics of the 3IC...namely his creations.
It was this uncompromising devotion that brought him from his console in Central Communications where he had been diligently poring through data to his current location in a small forest clearing and the base of an ancient Giant Sequoia.
Why Ravage insisted on climbing anything and everything was a mystery to the blue mech. Perhaps it was a coding throwback to his days of prowling the Polyhexian skyline, perhaps not. For all his insight into the minds of others, Soundwave was never able to work out the thought processes of his eldest creation when it came to his climbing fascination. Especially when, more often than not, it ended in a frantic plea for help from a stuck cat-former and a patiently obliging Soundwave to the rescue.
Sighing again, the 3IC glanced around the clearing before initialising his signal dampener. It would not do at all to have one of the others stumble upon the scene...as it was he was sure Ravage was going to be sulking for the next few orns. His eldest creation was never one to accept assistance gracefully.
Ensuring that he wouldn't be bothered and no signals, comm or otherwise, could leave the clearing the tape deck approached the base of the Sequoia and secured a firm hand-hold. Unleashing well-worn skills reserved only for those who have had to rescue many a feline from himself, the telepath channeled his inner lumberjack and began to climb...
He wasn't sure if it was some small slip of long-forgotten archaic code, or whether it was just his unique natural inclination, but none of his family had ever been able to truly understand. They just couldn't process the heady thrill of ascending - the rush of sinking one's claws into a yielding surface and defying gravity through sheer willpower of processor and the exertion from one's own servos and hydraulics. At least...he didn't think they could...the twins were ground-bound and his more aerial-inclined siblings weren't limited by the gravitational pull that this planet exuded. They were incapable of understanding what brought the cat-former to these sorts of places time and time again, planet after planet, sol after sol. Ravage looked up at his newest conquest-to-be... an exceedingly large Sequoia tree. Its sheer size an oddity even for this organic planet with its overabundance of vegetation.
The cassetticon flexed his front servos out in front of himself and released his claws with an audible and deadly -snickt-. Slowly circling the trunk, the felinoid mech evaluated his prey with an appraising optic before latching on and beginning his climb...an unreasonable glimmer of pure climby-joy flaring in his spark.
The climby-joy was gone...
Pointed, metallic auditory receptors pressed flat against his head in terror as the cat-former clung to the branch he was perched on rather precariously.
Attempting to calm himself, the cassette tried to convince himself that he had everything under control. Another gust of wind rocked the uppermost bough and Ravage hunkered even lower against it in a futile effort to stop the unsettling swaying. Taking a moment to consider what had rapidly devolved into a not-so-brilliant idea, the cat-former lamented how too many of his excursions seemed to end like this. He blamed his coding...yeah that was it. Stupid archaic, instinctive coding. Shuddering as the branch he was occupying moved with the newest gust of wind, he winched his claws tighter, hearing the wood creak in protest.
It wasn't that Ravage was a poor climber - Pit! he would be the first to admit that he was the fragging master at scaling anything and everything, well, scalable...it was just that once he had scaled to his spark's content, he more often than not was left stranded at the top of some tree, precipice, or other equally vertigo-inducing location with no foreseeable way back down.
So, ventral plating pressed close against the bark, limbs and tail hugging desperately at the branch, the cassette could admit to himself that perhaps he wasn't quite as masterful at the descending portion of this whole climbing thing as he had previously thought. Fighting back his growing panic as the winds started to pick up around him, the cat-former could only offline his optics and send a wave of strut-paralysing fear and helplessness across the bond and wait for Soundwave. His creator would come... he always came!
"Hey...Hound...c'mere! You gotta see this!" An urgent whisper left Trailbreaker as he frantically waved his friend over. Crouching down, Hound scurried closer and cautiously peered over the side of a rockface on the far side of the clearing.
"What's Soundwave doing here? Do you think the 'Cons are up to something?"
"I'm not sure." Trailbreaker muttered, settling lower to the ground. "He...I think...ummm...is he climbing that tree?" A note of disbelief and uncertainty colouring the words.
"Y-yeah I...think so..." Trailing off the two Autobots could only watch in disbelief as the ever-stoic telepath and 3IC of the Decepticon forces slowly worked his way up the giant tree. Arms wrapped tightly around the trunk in a deathgrip and aft protruding as he hop-climbed the Sequoia in a most effective, yet undignified manner.
"Uhhh...you're getting this right?" Trailbreaker prodded Hound with an elbow, optics transfixed on the scene playing out in the clearing below.
"You know it buddy." Disbelief and slight awe colouring the scout's tone as he captured the peculiar sight to his holo-recorder. "Hey, uh, Trailbreaker, where do you suppose he learned to climb like that?"
"I have no idea mech..." Trailbreaker cocked his helm to the side ..."but he kinda looks like a giant blue-afted koala."
The muffled snickers went unheard as on the far side of the clearing, a blue-afted creator continued his steady climb towards his oldest cassette unaware of his captive audience.
The only response from the felinoid was a frantic head shake and an audible hiss as the hydraulics in Ravage's claws locked to full pressure, clamping down immovably on the tree limb.
Shifting his weight carefully on the surrounding branches Soundwave cautiously leaned forward, cassette compartment open, and reached a grasping servo towards his panic-addled creation.
"Ravage: Being unreasonable. Command: Return."
Forcing a pulse of comfort through the roiling bond, the tape deck stretched further, straining for his creation's scruff bar. Over-reaching as he was he was unprepared for the sudden gust of wind that moved the branch he was standing on. He was also unprepared for the gentle nudge that resulted as his servo met Ravage's shoulder assembly. And he was most definitely unprepared for the reaction that followed the simple touch. The look of utter panic and desperation that had been visible in the cat-former's optics was instantly replaced with a feral glint of self preservation as instinctive protocols kicked on and Ravage lost touch with the rational side of his processor.
The medic raised an optic ridge at the sight of the Communications officer sitting on the medberth. The mech definitely looked as though he had had better joors. A multitude of what appeared to be claw-like gouges littered his frame, in places scoring down to bare metal, and large tufts of vegetation could be seen adhered to the mech's chassis with sap and protruding from armour seams. The trademark red visor, now askew, completed Soundwave's new 'thoroughly mauled' look. A silent and chagrined-looking Ravage lie curled on the 3IC's lap, watching the proceedings with hooded optics.
Approaching the stoic telepath, medical scanner in hand, Hook circled the berth taking in all the damage before he dryly asked, "So, what can I do for you Soundwave?"
Shifting uncomfortably the large mech settled more fully on the berth. "Soundwave: requests new alternate mode."
Caught off guard by the non sequitur the green and purple medic glanced up from his scanner to study the battered mech. "And what is wrong with your current alt mode?"
"Upgrade overdue. Request clarification: mode of propulsion and self-sustained lift beneficial." The large blue mech fidgeted under Hook's scrutiny, a clump of leafy green mess dislodging and falling from a joint in his knee assembly.
Rolling his optics at the mess the constructicon turned and rummaged through his desk drawer, withdrawing a file of schematics and flipping through the folders. "Tell me, how do you feel about satellites?"