Here's a short ficlet about the sparklings. I have drawings of Soundbite, Hardknock and Steamscreamer on my tumblr blog if you're interested, since I don't describe them much here. I have a whole story in my head, but it probably won't get finished. So just think of this as a stand-alone.
20 Years Later
Soundbite leaned back in his seat in the last row, gazing out one of the large windows that ran along the side of the classroom. Due to his size, every educator had assigned him to the back row so that his classmates wouldn't strain to see around his broad, armored shoulders.
Their educator lectured on about the technicalities of a triple changer. He'd read it already, not that he was ahead. It had been their homework to read the chapter, but there weren't too many students who bothered with homework.
His much smaller twin, Hardknock, sat a few rows up from him, playing with his digiplayer under the desk. No doubt he was trying to beat the next level of RacerX. It was supposed to prepare your reflexes for actual racing, but Soundbite thought it was unnecessary. Hardknock was already more than competent to race in the mini-leagues.
Hardknock also ranked pretty high in the school's fight club. Soundbite was sometimes a little envious over it. Not that he wanted to fight in particular, but he really wasn't good at much other than school work. From everything he'd learned about his real alpha in history class and from his carrier, Megatron had been 'the' fighter. He probably would do well. But there was no way he wanted or could show off any battle skills, not with the pre-war generations already struggling to accept him as someone other than the son of the most infamous tyrant in history.
He continued to stare through the window, looking out at the vast, turquoise ocean and the sunlight glittering over it. The clouds above shifted from pink to green to purple, occasionally turning sky-blue as if they were vanishing into the atmosphere. His optics trailed along the massive, arched bridge that connected this island to the central island. From here the central island looked like nothing but a small lump protruding from the horizon.
There was a knock at the classroom door and Soundbite was pulled to attention. The educator looked interested. "It must be the new student," he said, pressing the button for the door to slide open.
Soundbite was surprised at what he saw, and likely was the rest of the class. Aside from Soundbite and his brother, their school didn't have more than a handful of students who weren't either seekers or eradicons. This mech was neither... or rather both. It was obvious, with his long seeker legs and heels, and the sharper edges of a vehicon's frame. He had the red optical visor of an eradicon with a seeker's mouth.
Soundbite found this interesting. As they'd learned a few chapters back, it was almost impossible for seekers and eradicons to produce sparklings together. Their aplha signatures were too incompatible. There couldn't be more than ten hybrids in all of New World. Soundbite smirked. His alpha and carrier must have done a lot of 'facing to get him.
"Class, this is our new student, Steamscreamer."
Most of the class sat up straighter. Soundbite's smile dropped.
"As you all know," the educator continued, "he is the son of our esteemed Lord Starscream, so I expect you'll all treat him as such." Soundbite saw the hybrid's shoulders fall a little. "Steamscreamer, there are a few empty seats in the back. Why don't you choose one?"
Steamscreamer went to the back without so much as a, 'yes sir.' He was hesitant when choosing between the seat beside Soundbite and the one farther. Soundbite opted for the one farther.
Well, Soundbite saw that coming. This mech was no doubt the product of Starscream's extreme mind-washing. If there were any a mech who had outrageous preconceived notions of Soundbite taking after his biological alpha, it would be Starscream.
Soundbite decided to ignore him. He remembered a note he wanted to send, and typed it up on his mobile datapad. He pulled a note chip from the side and passed it up. Two eradicons and a seeker passed it forward to a femme seeker near the front. But to the large mech's dismay, his educator snapped it up before she could plug the chip into her datapad.
"What's this I see?" the old educator said, flipping the chip around like he hadn't confiscated ten of them a week since the beginning of time. "A chip from Soundbite to Firespray: 'Are you going to the party tonight?'" The educator looked at the femme. "Well, are you?"
A few chuckled and the femme smiled, glancing back at Soundbite. "Yeah."
"Well he's not," the educator said, glaring at Soundbite. "I have the perfect task to occupy your evening. Steamscreamer hear has been accepted into this class because he's advanced so quickly in his previous level. Tonight you will work with him to figure out what he has and has not already learned. When the needed information is organized, you will teach it to him."
Soundbite's jaw dropped. He gaped at the educator. "And you expect me to teach him everything tonight…sir?"
"You will teach him until the custodial drones are through cleaning. And then you will teach him every night after, in the same fashion."
His brother had turned back to look at him, shaking his helm with sympathy.
Soundbite slouched back in his seat, crushed by his sentence. He glanced at the mech he'd be spending his confinement with, who quickly turned away.
The new student seemed as if he wanted to say something to Soundbite when the timer chimed for the end of class. But he'd have none of that, and rushed out of the class as quickly as he could. A moment later Hardknock was at his side.
"Man, Wrenchflick really spiked you in the aft," his brother said. Soundbite would have laughed if it weren't so true.
"No kidding." Soundbite sighed then glanced down at his brother, who was roughly half his height. "Are you still going to the party?"
"I don't think so. It won't be fun without you."
Soundbite shook his head. "It's about time you made some friends who weren't hot wheels like you."
Hardknock grumbled. "Easy for you to say."
"It should be easy for you too. Just grin, and wink at the cute ones like you do when I'm there. You know how to look good."
"But you're the one who knows what to say," Hardknock whined. "You know I got Soundwave's language data. It's a miracle I even learned how to string sentences together."
"Oh good, here comes Hardknock's sob story. It never gets old, you know?"
"Frag off," Hardknock pouted. After a moment without response, Hardknock strained his neck cabling to look up at his brother. "You know what? Fine. I'll go. But if even one thing goes wrong, I'm blaming you."
Soundbite patted his brother on the back. "Sparkling steps."
If this were to go on, Soundbite and Steamscreamer would learn about each other during their study sessions. Steamscreamer is really nasty and spoiled when he talks, but his behavior and sweetness peek through when he's not paying attention. At the party Hardknock will get over-energized, and will come on to Warp, who he normally despises for various reasons. They're a funny pair.