Fandom: Transformers Bayverse
Author: gatekat and ace_of_the_arts LJ
Codes: Gen (for now - Slash and Het expected)
Disclaimer: The authors are only playing with their own twisted muses. Transformers belong to Hasbro. Fandom-side, check the inspirations page ( gatekat-fics .livejournal .com/290 .html ) We draw from a ton of amazing stories and authors you should read.
#Notes#: Set in the same verse as Everything You Never Wanted to Know ( a-o-t-a .livejournal .com/tag/series%3A%20everything%20you%20never%20wanted ) by ace_of_the_arts, though an AU to it.
klik = 1 minute; breem = 8.3 minutes; joor = 1.2 hours; orn = day/32 joor; metacycle = 6 (5.9285) years; vorn = 83 years/14 metacycles
~text~ comm chatter
Among the Hidden 01: Sable's Song
It was light, and sound, and thought... It was chaos, and it all began with a spark.
Thoughts began trickling through the first routines that they would follow for the rest of a lifespan. They connected and chained together, finding that they were part of a processor which was in a frame adorned with sensors. Sensors told the consciousness that there was more out there, a world.
Curiosity formed next and ruby optics beneath a visor blinked on, programs that were already in place informed the consciousness how to interpret the waves of light so that they might be understood as vision which showed it mechs, which it quickly realized it was too. Audials translated vibrations into sound, and language, and words.
The consciousness wanted to speak too, and tried to use what it knew was its vocalizer, to share words ... but in that moment, the consciousness learned the first lesson from what it would come to learn those like itself called Outsiders. They were the ones that could control every minutiae of the consciousness' life. The consciousness couldn't speak, and for the first time, in its moments of life, felt the reprimand of a code that was wrapped within its processor. It learned pain, mild compared to what it could have felt, but to a being with no frame of reference and had never felt it before, it was an agony that it could not understand.
Recovering from the pain, the being did not try to speak again and turned its processor to learning more with the sensors that were feeding it data.
There were others, standing like it. The consciousness wondered if they were the same as itself. They weren't speaking like the mechs around them.
The consciousness began figuring out what it was. It was an Enforcer. That was its purpose. Its function.
After a long time, nearly all of its existence, one of the mechs spoke to it with a number of orders that the pain code warned it against disobeying, followed by a long string of numeric denominators that it recognized as its serial code. It was a number?
It had a designation, it realized. It wasn't a number. It was Sable.
Why did the other mechs use numbers for it?
Sable obeyed the orders, along with its fellow newly sparked enforcers. They did not wish to experience pain again.
The seven of them were led out of the room that they had been sparked in. Sable wondered if it would be allowed to use words too. Were Enforcers not allowed to, it wondered, wanting to know why some mechs were allowed to speak and they were not.
Given a little more time, it began making more connections, but most of it didn't sink in until it saw so many other mechs that looked just like it and the six others. It quickly realized that these mechs were enforcers too! These ones weren't talking either; instead they were watching Sable and the others.
The mech that they had followed here called up one of the enforcers. Identification programming now informed Sable that that the mech was designated Recall, a medic. The medic gave the strange enforcer the thing that it was holding. A data pad. Or was the medic a he? Sable was confused by the pronoun that Recall's ID used. Was Sable a 'he' also, instead of an it?
As Sable looked around, complying with the programming nudge not to move, it found more and more mechs with designations of 'he'. Perhaps all mechs are 'he'? That meant Sable was a 'he' ... but that didn't feel right in its spark. Neither did 'it'.
But what did that make Sable?
A strange connection opened up, distracting it. Sable identified the thing as a comm? Curiously, it prodded the connection and was startled when it opened up.
~Greetings, young one,~ a calm voice said to it. ~I am Field Swiftswitch, of the Prowl cadre, of the Downlink clade, of the Codedrift contingent. I welcome you.~ This one was designated 'he' as well. Swiftswitch was an enforcer... but he could speak. The voice seemed to come closer and Sable felt, to its reflexive alarm, that Swiftswitch was looking at its programming. ~Shhhh,~ Swiftswitch soothed, ~The obedience code, the one that hurts. I will loosen it for you. It won't hurt so much afterward.~
~Thank you,~ Sable watched him nervously as he tweaked its code, but made no more comment. ~Why is your rank not in my databanks?~
~That is because those databanks were compiled by Outsiders who do not, and will not know that my rank exists. There is much that you do not know yet, but we will teach you.~ Swiftswitch finished the preliminary alterations and gave an affectionate brush against Sable's processor, ~Now, may I ask your designation, young one?~
~Sable,~ it responded. ~Am I a 'he'? I don't feel like a 'he', or an 'it'.
Swiftswitch chuckled over the comm, amused by the bluntness so common in the youngest of their kind. ~Perhaps you are a 'she'?~ he offered, ~One of my own cadre, Blue Watch, is a femme.~
Sable considered that, oblivious to how open its thought processes were to the Field, then nodded internally and integrated the term into her personal profile. ~That seems right.~
~I'm glad that you know yourself so well,~ Swiftswitch said before the mech suddenly withdrew, his presence fading to a dim feel for a moment before just as suddenly returning, ~Look, just a little to the side of the mech speaking with Recall.~ He directed the young femme's optics to an unobtrusive mech standing not too far away. ~That's Twotone, Elder Codedrift's Wing.~
Even as he showed her, he began sending her information on just what this meant. What a Wing was. What an Elder was. There was so much that she did not know, but they could start with these basics.
She consumed the data with a hunger that rivaled a new Vision, Voice or Sensor. The basic social structure, the ranks within ranks, that one's rank to an Outsider was often different from what they held among their own and how to decide which rank structure to follow if she was not sure, the imperative to never speak to the Outsiders of what they really are.
~What am I?~ Sable finally asked, pointing at the nine functions within a cadre.
~That is something that we all have to figure out,~ he told her. ~It is who you are as much as it is what you do. No one can tell you that, Sable. You will find out in time.~
~Oh,~ she accepted the statement without hesitation, turning her attention inside to examine each function she had the definitions for while she waited for orders from the Outsiders.
Core? No, she had no desire to command.
Wing? Until she had a Core there was no way to know, but it wasn't that appealing.
Claw? Her engine tried to rev, flashing hundreds of half-images through her processors of launching herself at a threat. How good it felt to be between a threat and her ... whatever it was that was hers. It lost her in thoughts of violence, distracting her from analyzing the other functions.
When he realized that Sable wasn't going to surface from the rush anytime soon, Swiftswitch carefully redirected her processor just enough that she would come out of the odd state smoothly. As he did so, he marveled for a moment at the tiny crack that formed in the obedience code under the fierceness inherit in her spark, a property that influenced her processor.
Sable was a strong one. He had never heard of such a young mech, so new, have even the slightest effect on the code. It was amazing. He waited patiently for her to surface from the thoughts of violence.
She might very well be a Claw, or a Blade if her destructive impulses were stronger than her drive to protect. But it wasn't his place to speculate. She could be anything, even a Core, despite her offhanded dismissal of the idea.
The Outsiders in charge of them where still speaking when her processors drifted back towards the world around her once more and picked up where she had left off.
Shield? Maybe. Confusing the enemy was appealing. Not as much as tearing that enemy to shreds, but appealing. Sticking close to her Core had appeal too, the thought brought incredibly alien image-flickers of curling around another, feeling their heat, the rhythm of their systems through her derma, to keep track of their state.
Vision? Oh. Yes, she could see herself doing that. Sneaking around to gather information, watching her vast territory from a high perch. Shooting from great range did not has so much appeal, but she definitely liked knowing the threats, ferreting them out and dispatching them.
Voice? Urr, no. Just trying to understand the basic comm structure made her processors spin in the distress of not understanding.
Sensor? Maybe. She could perceive this, using her processors to protect by spotting threats before they became a liability.
Field? Possible, but there was no draw. Healing only called to her when matched to her charge, her Core. Teaching ... perhaps when she knew enough to teach. The fluid duty structure was vaguely distressing.
Blade ... deep inside her she purred again and drifted into the thoughts of violence. It wasn't as strong though, didn't feel as right, without a charge to defend. Fun, but not as fulfilling.
Who hunted for the clade, brought them sustenance?
Swiftswitch quietly added the last to a list of things that he had already noticed about her, which was quickly adding up to her not being a normal spark. Together, it went far beyond simply being unusually decisive or a prodigious spark. She was different.
~No one,~ Swiftswitch told her. While the normal feelings about being dependent on the Outsiders were there, this seemed to take a different tack. ~The Outsiders give us what we need to survive.~ That didn't mean that it didn't rankle that they were kept like pets, or perhaps more like drones. Pets tended to be spoiled by their owners.
~In exchange for following their orders,~ she surmised, surprising him again that it didn't rankle such an independent spark. At least not at the level of understanding she had of it.
He hesitated before replying with a neutral, ~Yes.~
Swiftswitch wasn't about to get into the worse reasons. Not now, and most certainly not in front of the Outsiders. There would be time for that later, after Sable was more settled in and got to know both her fellow newly sparked and others in the contingent. In fact, it looked like Recall was winding up his unapologetically long talk and would soon be gone.
~Who woke with me?~ she asked, a mixture of curiosity and avoiding boredom driving her.
Swiftswitch pinged the other Fields who were doing the same as he was, requesting a list. The results when it came back surprised him as he passed the list on to her. It was unusual having so many femmes in one batch; they could go hundreds of vorns without one just after sparking that was willing to buck the system so much as to refuse the gender designation they had been assigned. They were always the most strong-willed, strong-sparked and aggressive towards the obedience code. This time they had received three of them.
He wondered what else would be unusual about them. He was looking forward to finding out.
By the time that all this was finished, Recall released them and departed swiftly without a glance backward. Still no one acted unusual, acted in any way that indicated they were more than what they seemed until the various Visions and Sensors called the all-clear.
The young ones held still, uncertain what to do other than look around.
It was a mech, Whiplash, that moved first, gracefully sliding out of line and into the nearest shadow, then began to climb.
And apparently the mechs will be a handful too, Swiftswitch thought with trepidation crossed with viscous amusement. A Vision broke off from the group, following the young enforcer.
The trepidation was because they would have to handle them, and the amusement because they would be able to do so much more to the obedience code with so many independent sparks who were capable of chipping away at it simply by functioning.
That one would likely be a Vision, he knew, the need to be seeking a vantage point was always strong in those ones, as much as the protective, sometimes even possessive mine of the Claws. The distinctiveness of their personalities were already becoming startlingly clear. It was something that typically took orns, if not a full decaorn or even two to become clear was bright and obvious to at least some of these within a breem of being sparked. It was amazing.
Sable's optics locked onto him when he gave her a slight comm nudge his way and she smiled.
He stepped forward, smiling in return. "So what do you wish to do first?" he asked out loud, glancing at the others but keeping most of his attention focused on her.
Other mechs approached, talking to the other new ones. They were Fields like Swiftswitch she realized, as information from the still open comm was supplied after her unconscious demand for information.
His smile broadened, laughter bright in his optics. "We should probably get you connected to your comm network if you are going to be so eager for information," he teased, lightly tapping the crest in the middle of her sensory chevron.
"Then that first," her voice was deep, resonant and decidedly in the mech range, but the purr was playful and so was the way she rubbed against him shoulder to hip.
Across the open line Swiftswitch caught the intent - innocent affection/show of support/show of connection between them - and the incessant nudging from her spark and already-personalizing coding to touch.
He would definitely have his hands full until she had a mentor, and quite possibly after that if her attachment didn't fade. It didn't take much to get her hooked into the comm network, and he waited with a patient smile as she glazed over with the download. He never tired of these first orn creations. They were the greatest joy his kind were allowed.
When she shifted back to focusing on the real world again, her bright red optics landed on him and she nuzzled him again. "Who will be my mentor and Core?"
"For now, I will act as your mentor," he told her. Guesses were made against what he was feeling from the femme and matched against what he felt his naturally empathetic spark was telling him. He ran his fingers lightly over her helm, giving a firmer touch when he felt her appreciation. He have her a conspiratorial look, "We'll find out who'd be best fit for you, together. I can't tell you who your Core will be. That will be yours responsibility to discover who you would chose. It is something that is between you and that Core."
Her purr deepened and she wrapped an arm around him, snuggling in the same way he'd seen pictures of mecha-animals do with their creators, creations and mates. "Are any Cores off limits?"
"Only the ones with full cadres," he told her, filing that comparison away too. He briefly picked up Vision Killquick trying to coax Whiplash to a different vantage point with limited success by offering an energon cube, but getting the mech to put his blaster away wasn't nearly so simple.
Sable glanced up and giggled at the scene. "He's going to be a handful."
"All of you are," he chuckled, "but we love you dearly because of it."
She trilled happily and nuzzled him again, then rubbed one doorwing against his as she worked out the finer motor controls for it. "What is the glowing purple stuff Whiplash put his blaster away for?"
"It is sweetened energon meant for sparklings," he explained, wondering if Whiplash could grow into an accomplished extortionist. If the skill could be finessed, it could be turned into a rather useful skill. They needed more mechs who could do such things.
Making certain demands reasonable coming from one of their kind, they could obtain more than simply the bare basics for their contingent, or more for the pittance that they were given for their service.
Making a note to speak with the one to mentor Whiplash he finished answering the question, "For adult frames like us, it's quite a treat."
"Oh," she trilled, watching in fascination as Whiplash savored the small cube while keeping an optic on everything and listening intently to the Vision nearby. "He's not going to trust easily, will he?"
He knew that she was seeing the same thing that he was. "Some sparks are like that. Some cannot trust easily, or many." It was a hurt that they bore from a life already gone by. They worked to give those ones someone or, failing that, something to trust in, soothing their sparks to the best of the contingent's abilities and make them whole as they could. The damaged ones were strong in their own way, it just took a different type of care get them to share their talents.
She nuzzled him again, then hummed an off-harmonic. "He's paying more attention to ... Rebound, I think ... than anyone else, even Killquick."
Rebound ... Another one of their femmes. Swiftswitch hadn't noticed that. "What kind of interest does he have for her?" he asked, wanting to know what it was that Sable saw.
Sable looked between them, studying what she saw, what caught her attention, trying to put it in context with a very limited frame of reference.
"Like you and Soundcloud, I think," she eventually decided. "Equals, someone to play strengths off of."
"Hmmm..." Swiftswitch thought out loud, "We should probably keep the two of them together then." He gave her a pleased thanks in the form of more stroking, his other arm wrapping around her firmly. Even though the sheer tactile nature of the femme was unusual, he found himself appreciating it for the sheer lack of guile the young spark put in it. "Thank you for saying something," he praised her verbally.
Sable's engine purred at the praise and the touch. "They'll probably like that. How many cadre are there that aren't complete?" she asked, looking around at the older enforcers, her curiosity surfacing again with a new subject.
Making a few quick calculations Swiftswitch came up with an answer that was depressingly high, as usual. It couldn't be helped as the Outsiders had no knowledge of the way they organized themselves. With the need for nine mechs to make a full cadre, so many were missing one or more members. "A little under two thirds... but not by much." And that wasn't counting the ones with members who were in other enforcer districts, out doing their duties, loaned out as security forces, or other things.
"Think I can meet a few Cores who need a Claw, or should that wait?"
"Are you sure you'd rather do that then..." Swiftswitch cut himself off at the burst of affirmation, completely without reserve.
Claws... he thought with amused exasperation. It was an exercise in frustration trying to derail one from a protection detail, or one searching for something to protect. A Claw without a charge was a distressed Claw whose entire existence centered on soothing that distress. More than any other, their function was their existence and they were miserable without it. He would be fool to try to distract her now, and he was no fool. He gave one last pat and gently disentangled their frames. "My own cadre is one without a Claw, so if you want to, I can introduce you to Prowl. And Blue Watch, as well."
He was interested in seeing both their reactions to meeting Sable. Soundcloud and Smokescreen too. Blue Watch though, he thought fondly, would probably be her suspicious self. He just hoped that it didn't put the young Claw off. You could never tell. Some wouldn't care, some took it as a challenge, others didn't deal with it and would have to be placed in a cadre without a Vision so they could be the established one in face of a Vision's processor-set.
"Sure," she chirped, her doorwings fluttering eagerly in anticipation.
They didn't go unnoticed by the young mech on the roof, one that even though he was the same white as every enforcer, most swore he looked matte black at a distance.
"This way," he caught her hand, keeping with the feeling that tactile was the best way to go. He tossed a notice of what he was doing to Soundcloud, knowing that the Voice would tell the others more efficiently than if he were to do it himself. Prowl was with Smokescreen, but Blue Watch and Soundcloud were off in the crowd.