Written for a prompt on LJ - "Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy."
Set after the 86 Movie.
"You're not alone."
Yes I am.
"We're here for you."
But not who I really need.
"We couldn't find you inside, we thought something had happened.
Yes. Something happened.
And yet everything continues as normal.
Does nobody else realise what is missing?
"They need you."
I can't. Can they not see?
Everything is his.
All a reminder of what was.
Systems power up for the first time.
I know who I am. I know what I will be. I know why I have been created.
Optics power up.
White and grey and burning sapphire. My first sight in this world. My memory core provides me a designation from the files already loaded.
He is like me, my coding tells me. Medic.
I run the word around my processor. It is a good function.
"First Aid? Are you ready to be linked to your team?"
I am confused for a moment as I stare. Team?
Gestalt. Yes. Ones who will be me and I will be them. Yes, I suppose I am ready. It is my purpose.
I nod; the knowledge of such an affirmative gesture already in my processor as Ratchet helps me to stand.
It is quiet. Calm. I allow myself to drink in the sensation. So unlike our quarters. Not that I mind my gestalt, I could never dislike those I was programmed to be with. But they are so... noisy. Always on the move. Always doing something. Never still.
"First Aid? Everything ok? You're early."
I shake my helm, suddenly nervous. "I had nothing else to do, Sir."
Ratchet waves me in, a smile lighting his features. "You don't need to call me Sir, just Ratchet will do.
I smile back at him as I move further into the medical bay for my first lesson.
I poke my helm into the Ark's medbay, the lights are low, the berths miraculously empty, but I still step lightly, the light in Ratchet's office is still on.
We tried again today. Hot Spot thinks we just need more practice. But I can tell it's not that, I am Defensor's weakness. Did nobody remember that medical coding forbids harm unless in defence of a patient or to ease suffering that cannot be healed?
When we merge that code becomes part of Defensor. How are we meant to fight when we have such a conflict?
"First Aid? What's wrong?" I should have guessed he'd hear me. His arms wrap around me as my engine hitches in a sob. Far more my creator than Wheeljack could ever be.
Ratchet is the only one who understands.
"He's gone Aid."
"No. No. I just need..." I am cut off as arms wrap around me, hauling me away.
Don't they understand? I could have saved him.
I twist around, fists denting the chassis surrounding me. I need to get back. But the mech doesn't let go, all but picking me up as we leave the medbay, leave the Ark.
I slump against the other frame as the arms loosen from captivity to comfort, holding me as I keen in the darkness.
"It is a harsh lesson to learn, that you cannot save them all." I blink up at the other mech, familiar white and grey coming into focus as I reset my visor.
"We must trust that Primus has a reason for everything." I blink in surprise, mechs have spoken of our deity before, but I had not known that Ratchet was a believer.
"He will always be watching his creations and those who leave us watch from his side." He lifts a hand to indicate the sky. "Primus watches every planet, and he will always be with us as long as we stay true."
I stare up at the stars, glittering in the cloudless sky. "Why must his will hurt so much?"
Ratchet's arms tighten. "I don't know youngling. I don't know."
"Why did they make me a medic?" Beside me Ratchet puts down his work so that his full attention is on me. "Not that I regret it." I assure him.
"Because Prime and Prowl thought they knew better than me." He sighed, armour rippling. "Medics were never pre-programmed before the war."
All the texts I've been able to scrounge out of Teletraan all agree that it is a bad idea. That pre-programmed mechs can't integrate specialised medical tools as well as mechs who have chosen to become medics. "But I was." If it was so well know, why did they try?
"Against my advice." He said caustically as he put his arm around my shoulders, optics flashing with a suppressed ire before he calmed himself. "What are you having trouble with?"
I snorted lightly, a low buzz of static, trust Ratchet to realise what was truly wrong. I engaged my transformation for my welder, it is set to such a fine balance I was having trouble keeping the temperature steady while holding a straight line.
He lifted my hand in his free one, scans washing over my fingers. "That looks fine. It's the coding intergration that's the problem?"
I nodded, reversing the transformation, letting the welder collapse back into subspace. "Do you mind taking a look?" I asked, giving him a sideways glance, after all it was a rather rude request, to ask him to link up to my processor, although he had never minded before.
"Of course Aid." He says, guiding me towards his office. "If we don't get the coding straightened out it will only get worse when we make the next mod."
"Easy First Aid."
I blinked as my optics onlined, the harsh lighting burning before I recalibrated to account for my missing visor. "Wheeljack?" I frowned at the engineer as he gently pressed me back down to the berth. "Where is he?"
"he's fine, took the majority of the hit, but his armour's thicker than yours."
A harsh buzz of static escaped my vocaliser. He had taken more than the majority if the last thing I remembered wasn't corrupted, the flash of white and red that had thrown itself over me, and over Smokescreen who I had been repairing, before the world had disappeared in a flash of light and static.
I looked around the medical bay, frowning as I only spotted the offline forms of Gears and Tracks, but no Ratchet.
"He's in isolation room two, we didn't think that he'd appreciate waking up in his own medbay."
No, he wouldn't have been impressed. "Can I?"
"If you're careful." He said as he unhooked the monitors, "I'm sure you've got Ratchet's rants memorised so I won't bother lecturing you."
I swung my legs off the berth, wincing as new welds pulled as I limped over to isolation two, Wheeljack shadowing me until I reached a chair.
"Don't over exert yourself." He said with a squeeze of my shoulder plating before he let himself out.
It was strange to see him so. He had been injured before of course, but nothing that he couldn't patch up himself, or let me deal with, but it had never been so bad.
I offlined my optics, resting me head on a section of unmarked plating, letting the rhythmic sound of his pumps sooth me.
"You're leaving?" I asked as I watched Ratchet packing tools into a field kit. "I haven't heard of anywhere that's been under attack."
He shook his head, "Prime ordered another energon shipment picked up from Earth and the mechs stationed there mentioned that they could do with some maintenance work doing."
"Hoist could do that couldn't he?" I watched him close the bag. I wasn't a youngling anymore, but I still felt rather adrift without his steadying presence.
"He could, but I haven't given the mechs on Earth a check up for a while." He put the bag into subspace. "I won't be gone long." He wrapped his arms round me in a quick hug. "Try not to let any of the slaggers blow my medbay up will you?"
I grinned. "I'll try. Safe journey."
"Thanks Aid. I'll see you when I get back." I sighed as he left, the door sliding shut behind him, leaving me alone.
"You're our only medic Aid. They need you."
I ignore them.
"What would Ratchet say if he knew you were out here instead of in there?"
I swing around with a snarl. How dare they?
Hot Spot simply lifts his helm, faceplates set as he stares at me, the rest of my brothers arrayed behind him.
I turn away, engine stalling for a brief moment before I finally speak, voice little more than a whisper, "He'd tell me to get back inside. He'd tell me that I am a medic and I can't fall apart till everybody else is put back together."
I tilt my helm backwards, stars glittering against the silent backdrop. "Primus if you're out there, you better have a slagging good reason for all of this; and if you're sat up there beside him Ratch, you better have an even better reason for not coming back."
I ignore my gestalt kin as I turn back towards the door, back towards my home, my workplace, my memories.
I am First Aid, Ratchets creation, and I'll make him proud.