Humbly shattering the glass behind not only G1 and specifically the IDW continuity, but also behind Lady Dragon 2's fanfic „Down a notch (or eight)"
Sparked slaves are sold at higher price
„Vector Sigma, give spark to these mechanisms we brought to you. Fill them with life, let us give their existance a meaning. Make them strong, fit for whatever task they would be given. Complete our efforts, show the true worth of our creations."
Five newly made drones had been sparked that orn, five slaves for the Autobot lords of Cybertron. The creators could be satisfied; now it was only the sellers' task to make money from the -built slaves had been sought all over the metallic planet: with sparks, even the mistakenly programmed goods could be sold for a good price.
Yet one of the five sparklings remained in the store for eight long orns. He was massive, sturdy, his mental capacity high above the average. He could have been good for any job, but he was considered to be too expensive for the customers who already knew that they were looking for. The sparkling just waited there, patiently, looking forward to the time he would be of some use. Until then, he stood there and watched.
He witnessed the other robots being taken out from their places, he saw the Autobots coming for them, asking about their past, their abilities. Some older ones in the building had quite long histories, and he often asked about details of their lives before. What was it like to be somewhere else? What was their job? What were their masters like? Do they think it would be better this time?
Sometimes, when the others grew tired of him, he would just sit by the wall, staring at his unpainted arms and his insignia shining in the dim light. He already knew that each task required different paintwork, pattern or camouflage, and his natural metallic appearance showed he would be universal. But what for? Cheaper mechs had usually been sold in an orn or two. The expensive ones had been sold even faster, usually. They were the most skilled, most experienced ones, some of them had been booked in advance. Only he was too costy to be bought soon. The other slaves in store told him he should be happy with this: it was much better waiting in here than being a slave of the Autobots.
Sometimes he would stand up and walk to the purple line in the floor that was not to be crossed without permission. He stood as close to it as he could, trying to get a glimpse of the other room and the mechs stationed in there.
He knew that was the prison area, built originally for the wrongly programmed, disobedient ones. He was told that there were mostly Autobots in the room, sentenced to serve their faction-mates after having committed something even they considered guilty and unjust. Surprisingly, the convicts were also sold rather fast.
The mechling just stood there, waiting, watching the others being sold. He could see the Autobots crossing the room, talking to the dealer, sometimes even asking the eight Constructicons about a creation of theirs. But no-bot ever asked about him... they wouldn't invest a fortune into an untested mech when there was cheap labour force at hand.
On the other hand, he was almost proud of his price. He heard too many stories in his first eight orns about how the purple-symboled Autobots treated their own property, using and abusing them, making them work within an inch of their lives, and occasionally being brutal to them just for fun. But what if not all masters were like that? He was confident that once given a task, he would carry it out properly and give no reason to be punished or mistreated any other way. He would do anything to please his master... but he was warned not to have too much hope, that Autobots were most pleased with seeing them suffer. At this point he refused to believe them.
He watched as the others were chosen, told to cross the purple line he was not yet allowed to cross, taken to the end of the corridor for imprinting. He wondered if imprinting might be a bad thing. It was the process when the master's personal data, energy signature, voice and other technical readouts were fixed in the slave's programming, so that the mech would always know whose command he was to follow. It didn't sound that bad, although he was informed that the instant sensation of a master would well overload all his systems, leaving him incomplete, dependent, his mental functions narrowed down to carrying out the wishes of his owner.
But wasn't that what slaves were for? Wasn't that the reason he was created? Isn't that why he was here, waiting for his future master to come?
The dealer was talking to a slim blue customer who was interested in two slaves and couldn't decide whether to buy the black one or the white one when they were otherwise almost totally identical.
„TheyarebothfastI needthefastest Ineedtoknowwhichoneisfaster Ineedyourhelptodecide."
The dealer frowned, his large purple optics fixed on the fast-talking customer. Then, he called both battlechargers out of the storage area, and told them to prepare for a run as if they were racing for their lives. The silver mechling couldn't hear the rest of the instructions, since the dealer walked away with the customer to see which would arrive at the finish line first.
He was alone for now, with only a few newly purchased slaves sitting in the far corner of the room. They were covered in dirt and smeared with oil all over their structures. Some of their panels were bent, and wires could be seen from the outside. A medical drone was set to do the most needed repairs. The sparkling asked what had happened to them, but the only answer he got was „He finally decided to get rid of us". He frowned at their tone. A slave should never be happy over being sold!
He almost didn't notice the voices coming from the prison room.
„Imp, is that you still lingering here?"
„Where else do you think I would be?" He knew this second voice, he heard the mech cursing several times, over several things.
„You are a professional, skilled miner, I thought you would be digging deep by now. What are you doing so close to the surface?"
„I'm spending my time, and wasting yours. Didn't you realise?"
„I thought you would finally put your talents to some use. Like, doing something useful, Impactor, do you even know what I'm talking about?"
„Stop talking like that. If the energy bars weren't here I would rip your spark out and..."
The newcomer's footsteps could be heard as he walked away from the prisoner, and as he crossed the security doors of the room, his optics met the red glance of the unpainted sparkling.
What did he see then? Was it unbroken spirit, not yet crashed hope? Courage and self-assurance? Willingness to face whatever obstacle he would come across, ever?
„Whoa" he gasped. Then he stepped back, giving the silvery mech a long look.
Before he could have said anything, the dealer returned with the blue customer and the battlechargers, the later duo exhausted and overheated after the test running.
„ItellyouIonlyintendtobuyone I'mnotgoingtobuybothofthem whycantyouunderstandme?"
„Please sir, I only tell you it would be a real bargain to..."
„Iwilltakethewhiteonethen onthelongrun itwouldmakepreciousbreems."
The dealer sighed. So be it, he thought. Selling one battlecharger would be still better business than having to keep them both. He signaled for Runamuck to come with them while Runabout was obligated to go back behind the uncrossable purple line. The white slave showed no emotion, but the black one fell to his thin metallic knees.
„Please, sir, I beg you to take me with my brother. For all these vorns we've been serving together, and our former master never said he would've been unsatisfied with us."
The sparkling stared in confusion. Until now, Runabout had always told him he was better off without a master! Yet now he was pleading with this blue Autobot to take him.
„Itoldyouseveraltimes Ionlyneedone IrunasmallcouriercompanyIdon'tneedmoreworkers!"
„Sir, just give me a chance, sir, allow me to proove..."
„Why were you both sold?" the newcomer mech asked. The black Battlecharger turned to him.
„Sir, he lost us in a gamble, as far as I know, sir. I don't know the details, sir, we weren't allowed to pry."
The dealer knew it'd be his turn again.
„According to what he said, he was very satisfied with both of them and told me I undervalued them due to their appearances."
„Sir, please..." the black robot begged.
The battlecharger silenced, but remained kneeling right behind the purple line, as he watched his white brother being marched away.
The other mech remained silent until the dealer was back. He was simply looking at the black and the unpainted robots, examining the later with unspoken curiosity.
„I will take these two" he said in a calm, confident manner, that might have been the surface trying to hide his excitement. „Though I have to admit you overpriced the silver one."
The large purple optics shone up. „He is a one-of-a-kind mech, sir, in just a few cycles you will see he's much more than meets the eye."
„I know that already. Oh, yes, and before I forget why I came in the first place, is there still no interest in Impactor?"
The glittering purple optics went dim immediately. „Not even I dare call him a bargain, sir. Despite his unquestionable abilities, his perfect stamina..."
The customer frowned, considering he might be nominating himself for the fool of the decade. „How much would he cost?"
„If you take the sparkling and the battlecharger I would give him gratis."
„Which would altogether be...?"
„Thirty thousand shanix, sir. Just a few cycles in your mines and the sparkling only would worth more than that."
„Let's keep to the present. He is an unexperienced youngling and the battlechargers are known for their chaotic personalities, and you expect me to pay thirty thousand for them?"
„The youngling, the battlecharger, AND Impactor" the dealer reminded the customer.
„Let me get this straight, you want thirty thousand, plus ridding you of Impactor."
The deal was made.