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1st part From Breakdown's POV.
The other Decepticons had dispersed from the battle site, flaring out in all directions, securing the area once more.
Seemed overly cautious. The Autobots were cowards, once they called a retreat they didn't come back. And so what if they did? Let them come. Earth, Cybertron, ship in the dead of space, didn't matter. Breakdown was always in the mood for smashing goodie little Autobots into whatever surface he stood on. He welcomed the opportunity. Sought it out.
What Decepticon didn't?
The walk turned out to a be a fairly long one. Through which Knock Out was strangely quiet, aside from all of his apologizing. There were numerous sympathetic glances over his shoulder followed by "Sorry. Just a little further."
Knock Out...apologizing? For having to walk? Slag. They had to walk plenty while on Earth, Knock Out hadn't apologized then. How was this any different?
But…whatever made Knock Out happy. Primus knows Knock Out's said and done stranger things to him than apologizing for a long walk.
When they finally reached the base, Breakdown was sure it was one the Decepticons hadn't used in vorns. Hundreds of vorns. He remembered it well though. Always would. He had started out here, running patrols. Met Knock Out here, eventually becoming his assistant and partner…..among other things. But they'd abandoned it long, long ago.
Didn't seem logical to set up at a base that would undoubtedly need a vast amount of repair and maintenance just to get it up and running again. And that was if everything was as it had been when they'd left. If any Autobots had raided the base in their absence, they'd need more than just tools and maintenance to get things functional.
He kept his mouth shut though. His opinions and insights on such matters were rarely welcomed. Such things were best left to Superior Officers, Command Staff, and Megatron. If Knock Out wanted his opinion he'd let him know via comm link or obtain it in private.
He followed the medic up to the entrance, stood patiently as Knock Out typed in his code and followed once again when the doors parted. Two steps in, Breakdown realizing how wrong he'd been. The base was….in perfect working order. Everything was clean and functioning. In fact it looked as though they'd never left. This was why he tended to, wisely, keep his mouth shut.
They walked down the hall, the corridor twisting, opening up as they entered a much larger hallway. Breakdown could guess where they were heading. Command Center. To report in to Megatron no doubt. Great. Well, might as well get whatever punishment he had coming to him over and done with.
He glanced around as they walked, taking in the familiar structures, walk ways and doors. He still had a vague sense of where things where. Groups of drones passing them as they walked. He was impressed at the speed the base had been put back in order. But he suppose that's the advantage to having Eradicons and Vehicons. They make quick work of such tasks. He wondered, briefly, if the wash racks were functional as well. After all was said and done it'd feel really good to stand under a stream of warm solvent and wash off some of the grit and let the warmth ease his -
Wait...wait... Did that group of Vehicons just...wave to him?
He sneered back. Stupid drones.
He expected the two of them to report to the Command Center but Knock Out lead them to the Med Bay instead. The doors opening and closing securely behind them without the slightest trouble. Like a well oiled mechanism should move. Which was strange given they'd been stuck closed for hundreds of vorns. And while it felt good to be in a familiar setting, he was pretty sure they needed to report in. Turning from the door, he intended to question Knock Out about that when Knock Out gently patted the med berth he was standing next to.
"Breakdown, why don't you have a seat?"
Frowning, he moved forward, obeying the…request? Knock Out didn't usually request anything, he instructed, he ordered. These sudden….niceties were strange and at odds with Knock Out's usual demeanor. He hoped whatever was causing his superior to act off wasn't serious. While he was the medic's assistant, he only knew the basics of repairs. Things like mending dents, gashes, gun wounds, he could even reattach limbs. But something as intricate and sensitive as the inner workings of the processor were beyond him.
Knock Out patiently waited for him to seat himself, a soft careful smile directed at him. "I'm going to need to run a few tests and preform a few scans on you. Look for any damage you might have sustained. Is that alright?"
Is that alright? What the...
He stared at the medic, who remain unmoving, his gaze meeting Breakdown's. Then he realized Knock Out was waiting for some confirmation from him. He gave a short nod and Knock Out placed a gentle, reassuring hand on his arm before setting to work causing Breakdown to frown further.
He was no longer sure the problem was Knock Out. He was now begining to question if there was, indeed, something wrong with him. This gentle treatment he was getting from Knock Out, like he was in some fragile state, like his spark was going to gutter out at any moment, was disturbing.
He couldn't recall any serious injuries. There was that hit to his head that had made things fuzzy for a few breems but after that he'd felt fine. He'd walked all the way here and couldn't recall feeling any pain. Even right now, he couldn't feel so much as an ache. But...Knock Out was the medic and he knew what he was doing.
Looking him over, Knock Out began plugging lines into medical ports, the lines leading up to machines that read his every system function, graphing them out. Then the medic ran two sweeps over him with a scanner he'd never seen before. Knock Out then took to going over his outer armor and joints with careful hands, searching for any weakness, damage, unusual heat, or pain responses in the plating. The hands had worked up to his back when he finally spoke up.
Fingers stilled before quickly drawing away. "Does that hurt?"
Shaking his head, Breakdown turned toward the medic, his single optic looking over his shoulder at the cyan mech. "No. Knock Out, shouldn't we have reported in before now?"
Fingertips tentatively resumed their work. "Oh, that." Yes, that. "You needn't worry about that, Breakdown. I contacted Megatron earlier. We both thought it would be in your best interest to get you to Med Bay and deal with any resulting damage you may have...uh...sustained. Though, thank fully, there seems to be little, so far. Which considering what happened is...phenomenal." Knock Out's voice tapered off, falling silent.
Phenomenal? He only got one hit in and that hadn't taken any effort…no, wait, wait, he did have some time missing. Bridging back to Cybertron, the base set up….that hit to his head… He couldn't remember much of, well, anything about that. It was just….missing. That was information Knock Out might need to know. Maybe whatever had transpired in that missing gap of time had seemed much worse than it turned out to be, with slight lingering side effects…like some memory loss.
"I don't remember bridging here…or much before that."
"You…don't?" A pause. "What do you remember last?"
"I…its...being on the Nemesis."
Knock Out walked around the side of the med berth, coming to stand next to him, his look curious. "Nemesis?"
He gave a nod. "The ship."
"The ship." Knock Out repeated almost distantly, his optics once again coming to rest on the patch over his ruined optic socket. The medic reached up, his hand stopped, hesitating. Then, gently, he leaned in, one finger tracing the shape, carefully mapping it. Knock Out shifted to look Breakdown in his remaining optic, looking slightly horrified. "And this?"
Another soft brush against the patch. "Who did this to you?"
He frowned. His memory wasn't THAT corrupted, he could remember that far back. "M.E.C.H"
"A mech…" Knock Out murmured softly, his hand slowly pulling away. "Breakdown, who -"
The med bay door opened, cutting off Knock Out's question as Megatron entered, Starscream trailing behind him.
Breakdown actually had to bite back a smirk. Looks like Starscream had came crawling back after all. How predictable. How pathetic. But how very much like the seeker. Oh, what he wouldn't gave for that missing space of time back. He was sure watching Starscream grovel, wimp, and beg to be forgiven and taken back had been one heck of an entertaining show. It usually was. Not to mention the subsequent beating the seeker always got.
Focusing back on the situation at hand, Breakdown was once again vividly reminded just how off his visual pigment feed was and how he really needed to bring that up with Knock Out. Granted it was a minor inconvenience and could wait but looking at his Lord and Master who was filtering through as a glimmering white with accents of red where Decepticon purple should have been, was…weird. Starscream wasn't much better. His usually toned down gun metal grey was coming through as white with red and blue flashings. Again, just weird. Not to mention the accent points didn't seem to quite match up with what he remembered. Not that he paid Starscream's paint job that much attention.
His leader approached him and while Breakdown couldn't pin point it, couldn't put it into words, something was different. The war lord's air was changed, strange.
"Breakdown." Megatron gave a slight smile, which made Breakdown uncomfortable. His voice seeming smoother, the tone lacking it's usual growling malice. "It's good to have you back with us."
Megatron was...pleased with him? He had to wonder what act he'd performed in that missing gap of time to have fallen back into Megatron's good graces. Been awhile since that's happened.
"Thank you, Master."
That slight smiled vanished, Megatron gave a slight shake of his head. "No, Breakdown."
Breakdown nodded. "Yes, Master."
His leader suddenly took on that same slightly worried look that Knock Out had as he reiterated himself. "Megatron, Breakdown. I'm Megatron."
Had he not been addressing his leader correctly? He looked at Megatron, his Master's optics seemed to search his. He wasn't exactly sure what Megatron was looking for. Certainly not defiance. He was being obedient and respectful as he always was. Chancing a quick glance over, he saw that both Starscream and Knock Out were staring at him, that strange worried look flitering across the room, etched once more on Knock Out's face. He fought the urge to squirm under their scrutiny.
Looking back at Megatron, he gave the best simple answer he could think of. "Yes." Hoping that was the right answer.
And it seemed to be as Megatron gave a nod and didn't press the issue further, though Breakdown could swear he saw something like concern flicker in his leader's optics. In Knock Out, he could believe it was there but this was Megatron.
Looking him over once more Megatron reached out, laying a hand on his shoulder. Breakdown tensed under the touch, anticipating violence, but Megatron only gave him that slight smile again. He couldn't recall the last time he'd seen Megatron smile like this...when it didn't involve some mech at his mercy, anyway. He was tempted to draw back, shift away, but he knew better.
"Get some rest, Breakdown." With a gentle, almost affectionate squeeze Megatron released his shoulder and turned to the Med Bay's two other occupants. "Knock Out, can I speak with you outside for a moment."
"Yes, of course." The medic's optics met Breakdown's. "I'll be back in a few breems. Ok?"
He nodded, watching the medic go, followed by Megatron who beckoned Starscream to follow them as he passed by the seeker. Starscream glanced back at him, worry creasing his brow before the med bay doors closed.
Breakdown could only stare.
What the frag was going on?
The doors closed behind them.
The three stood in a tense silence before Megatron finally spoke. "What are we looking at?"
Knock Out hesitated. "I'm…I'm not one hundred percent sure. Physically, he's fine for the most part but…mentally…"
Starscream fidgeted for a moment before looking at the medic. "He's different. What happened to him?"
"I don't know. He doesn't remember. He didn't even remember bridging here. I think…." He stopped, looking away.
"You think what?" Megatron prompted.
Knock Out shifted uncomfortably. "I think they might have tried to reprogram him and...and it failed."
Turned back, Knock Out met their shocked stares. Starscream shook his head, outraged. "That's sick! That's evil!"
Their leader looked disgusted. "That is it, Starscream. But I wouldn't put it past Prime to use such..nefarious means to bolster his numbers. The ends often justify the means to Autobots."
"But that's just...it's...how..."
Knock Out held up his hands, as though to settle them, shaking his head. "I don't have any proof that's what happened. I could be wrong. But...the memory loss, his mannerisms, the change in his personality, the way he seems to experience things with both a familiarity and a newness, speaks volumes." The medic drew a breath. "And there's more." He sighed looking at his commander. "The Autobots have a new ship."
Megatron frowned. "What?"
"Breakdown told me. It's where they had him. It's the last place he remembers being. A ship called the Nemesis."
Starscream looked from Knock Out to Megatron. "How'd they get a ship built and in the atmosphere without us knowing? And if Breakdown was able to bridge from the ship to Cybertron's surface then they can't be any great distance away. Nothing like that's shown up on radar, Soundwave would've seen it. Do they have some kind of cloaking device?"
"I don't know. It's a possibility." Megatron looked back at the Med Bay doors, contemplating. "At least this solves the mystery of what happened to Breakdown's body. Makeshift never was able to locate it on any of his recon missions inside the Autobot bases." He sighed. Any situation where trauma was involved must be handled carefully. This one more than those past. Reprogrammed or not, Breakdown had suffered a horrendous amount of trauma. He'd seen the vid feeds of what the Autobots had done to him for endless cycles, drawing out the torture, before claiming they'd killed him. Sending them a single image of what was suppose to have been Breakdown's greyed mangled frame. He turned back to Knock Out.
"Where should we go from here?"
"We can't push him. Asking him too much too soon can cause stress, possibly flashbacks, compounding the trauma. He could just shut down completely. I think we should give him time to re-acclimate himself to his surroundings, to us. I still need to run more tests on him but I don't want to do too much at once for the very same reasons. I fear Breakdown may be in a very delicate state right now."
"Agreed." Megatron looked at the closed doors again. "Even if he wasn't reprogrammed, he's been gone for decacycles, and at the mercy of Autobots. I can not even begin imagining what he had to endure just to survive." He looked back at Knock Out. "Stay close to him. Be whatever he has need of."
Knock Out nodded, looking at the Med Bay doors, longingly. Megatron nodded as well. "Ok then, go." He motioned Knock Out toward the doors. "Go. I've kept you long enough. Keep me updated on his progress."
Once the medic was back inside the Med Bay, he turned to Starscream. "Let's go speak with Soundwave. See if we can find out anything about this ship and what it holds."
In the Mirror Verse, the Decepticons never left Cybertron, so the Nemesis never got built.
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