I know I should be working on the next chapter of "What's Past is Prologue" but I've been so busy lately with work, school applications and Life in general that I'm not sure when I'll be able to post a new chapter. I'm already part way into writing it, but like I said I'm not sure how long it'll take to finish the story.
I still plan to try and finish my fem!Dinobot trilogy, but on the off chance I'm not able to I wanted to post this last side story as a kind of non-spoiler-look-into-the-future ending. A few people were asking for more after my last farther-daughter story and I was more than happy to oblige. I do so love writing about Stahlhand and Dinobot.
So without further ado I give you:
The lift shuddered to a stop. Its doors rattled open. It's three occupants - a tall femme, an elfin-built male and young sparkling - stepped out onto the floor. The doors noisily hissed shut behind them and the lift rattled away to a different floor. The three stood in the middle of a dingy hallway. Empty corridors stretched out in either direction, interspersed with doors marked only with metal plates stamped with numerical glyphs. The murmur of muffled voices and tele-consols leaked through the doors of a number of the domiciles.
"Ya still sure ya wanna do this?" Rattrap asked with a sideways glance to his sparkmate. "We can still leave, if ya want. No harm, no foul."
Dinobot shook her head. "No. We came this far. I will not turn and run like a coward now." Despite her bold words, inside the warrioress wanted to do nothing more than just that: run.
The Beast Wars had come to a climatic end a month ago. Megatron had finally been defeated and the Maximals returned to Cybertron in one of the Ark's emergency escape pods. From the moment the remains of the Axalon's original crew docked it had been a never-ending stream of questions, interviews, statements and meetings with countless officials from all branches of the Maximals' government and military. All of them wanted detailed accounts of what had happened on primitive Earth; along with information about just what a female Predacon was doing with Optimus Primal's crew and what her role in the war had been, as if they suspected her to actually be a Predacon spy. In order to ensure they got their answers they'd taken custody of Optimus and the crew and placed them in political quarantine under the guide of a voluntary debriefing - no doubt in order to give the politicians and Tower mechs time to deal with the political fallout of Megatron's activities and to find a way to spin it in the Maximal government's favor.
At times Dinobot had wanted to do nothing more than storm from the interview room if only to momentarily be free from their endless questions. She had forced herself to endure, though. She had her family to think about. After her sparkbond with Rattrap in the wake of Megatron's attack on the proto-humans, Dinobot had dedicated herself to the hope of one day returning to Cybertron with her sparkmate and son and beginning a new life together there.
It had been a long ordeal - both for her and Rattrap, who had become something of a curiosity for the Maximal scientists over the course of their quarantine for his transmetal superstructure. But they'd all endured and finally been released to go on with their lives with the government's begrudged thanks. It had been no secret from the Maximals that'd questioned them that they didn't approve of a Predacon sparkbonding with one of their own. Dinobot had seen the thinly veiled looks of suspicion and disgust they'd thrown her and Rattrap over the course of their time in the government's hold. Nor had she missed the uncertain, disapproving looks they'd thrown Switchblade - the product of her and the Rodent's inter-factional relations - either. It boiled her mech-fluid to see such malicious looks directed towards her progeny, but even she knew that making an issue about it would not grease her way back into Cybertronian society. So for her family's sake, she'd bit her glossa and answered the Maximal generals, politicians and intel-officers's questions as civilly as possible.
It had taken a lot of time - and statements from Optimus and the rest of the surviving crew vouching for her and her contributions to the war effort - to convince the Maximal authorities of her trustworthiness and approve her application to become a fully recognized Maximal.
So after two weeks spent in a government detainment center, she, Rattrap, their son and the rest of the Axalon crew were finally released and free to go back to whatever life they'd had before leaving Cybertron on the Axalon's fated mission. Although that was all fine and well for the rest of her comrades Dinobot was not so free. She could not - would not - return to the kind of life she'd lead before joining Megatron's crew. She could no longer hide her real identity behind a fake mech superstructure and return to the underground fighting rings. Nor did she want to. She was a bonded maternal unit now and had to look after the welfare of her sparkmate and child. She refused to introduce either of them to that world of violence.
After Switch's birth she and Rattrap had made a pact that when they returned to Cybertron they would seek out their estranged families and introduce Switchblade to them. At the time, Dinobot had grudgingly consented to the idea with no intention of ever fulfilling her end of the agreement. She had had every intention to die on planet Earth and redeem her honor. She had never planned to actually return to their home planet with Rattrap and Switch. But against all odd, she'd survived the Beast Wars and returned to Cybertron with her family. On the way back to Cybertron in the Autobot escape pod Dinobot had had a long time to look back and reconsider Rattrap's suggestion.
It was no lie that she missed her family. She had ever since the day she'd stormed out of her creators' domicile with no intention of ever returning. After she'd disappeared, she'd had several moments of weakness where she'd fantasized about returning and begging for her father's forgiveness. But after cutting off ties with her family unit one of the only things she'd had left besides her determination to prove herself was her pride. And her pride - no matter how stubborn and self-destructing she knew it was - would allow her to return and admit a mistake.
So she'd endured all kinds of hardships and suffering alone, with few credits to her name and no family unit to back her. She'd often thought of her father, Stahlhand, over the years; wondering if he and her mother were well, if he regretted their fight and the hurtful words they'd exchanged the same way she did, if he missed her and would welcome her back if she ever finally managed to squash her pride and go back to him. Just the thought of the towering battle tank made Dinobot's spark ache with longing. Her father had taught her everything she knew about fighting and the warrior way. He'd always been her rock and beacon. Her champion and conscience. Over the decades, she'd often wondered what he'd think of her if he knew what kind of life she was leading. Would he approve? Disapprove? Be proud of her? Renounce her? She had no idea. All she knew for sure was that she missed the deep rumble of the former Predacon commander's voice and the solid, reassuring strength of his presence. Despite all her bluster and stoic fronting, she desperately yearned to see her father again - even if it was only to have him denounce her and tell her to leave and never come back. She wanted to see him at least one last time even if was only to properly say goodbye.
If it was only her in the equation as it had been before she bonded with Rattrap and cemented their lines into a single family unit, Dinobot doubted she would have found the strength to seek her creators out. But she had a son now. A son that deserved to at least meet his grandparents and know where he'd come from even if Stahlhand refused to accept his daughter back into his family unit.
So it was under this guise of finding her creators for Switchblade's sake, that she, her sparkmate and son found themselves in the hallway of her parent's apartment complex.
The only thing was - despite all the battles she'd rushed headlong into without fear or even a second thought for her own safety - Dinobot couldn't seem to make herself move and seek her creator's domicile out amongst the rest of the floor's apartments. Her adult son from the future had told her that in his timeline her parents had welcomed her back into the family unit when they'd returned from the Beast Wars. But there were so many things that had already happened differently than from the timeline Switchblade had described. How could she be sure her return would be welcomed the same way it had been in Switch's alternate timeline? The answer was that there was no guarantee. For all she knew her creators might turn her away before she was ever even able to explain where she'd been.
"Ya okay, Choppa'face?" Rattrap asked. He was looking at her with an odd expression. Switchblade stood close beside his father, one miniature hand clutching the edge of Rattrap's knee plate. The young sparkling looked all around him, intrigued by their new surroundings.
Dinobot heaved a heavy sigh that came out more like a growl. "I must warn you, rodent, I do not know what kind of welcome we should expect from my creators. It has been more than forty years since I last saw either of them. I don't know if my father has forgotten the cruel words I spoke before I left. Nor do I know how my creators will react when they learn that not only have I officially become a Maximal, but I am sparkbonded to one and bore a son by you. There is nothing to say that their reaction will not be negative…"
Despite her best attempt to stop her emotions from slipping across her and Rattrap's sparkbond, a surge of panic flooded the female warrior's systems.
"Hey, hey, hey," Rattrap soothed at the wave of leaked emotions he felt. "It's gonna be okay. I promise. If things start ta go south with yer parents, we'll leave. We got da cruiser right outside. Der's nothin' stoppin' us from goin' an' findin' a hotel. We only just got outta dat place with those Tower mechs dis morning. There's nothin' sayin' we hafta go an' find yer creators right away. We still hafta find a place fer us an' Switch. We can take da time ta find a place of our own, actually settle back inta normal life an' den go talk to yer folks."
Dinobot shook her head. "No. I want to do this now. I will not be able to settle into civilian life or find any semblance of peace until I confront my creators. If we are to settle on Cybertron and live as a family unit, I want my creators to know I am still alive. I want them to know that I have a sparkmate and son."
Rattrap stared at Dinobot for a moment before finally shrugging and throwing his hands up in the air as if in a defeat. "Fine. Wha'ever ya want, Choppa'face. I knew when I bonded with ya dat I was gonna hafta deal with yer insanity at some point or another, so why not start now?"
Dinobot allowed a tendril of affection to slip across her and the spy's sparkbond so that her sparkmate could feel it. "If tensions begin to rise, get Switchblade out of here immediately. Our son should not have to get involved in my family's disagreements."
"Wha' bout'chu?" A shadow of worry passed over the spy's faceplates.
"I'll be fine," Dinobot assured him. "I do not think my creators would physically harm me, but there is no guarantee that tempers won't flair and result in raised voices and insulting profanities - possibly directed towards you."
Rattrap nodded stoically. "Got it. Mummy an' daddy might not be thrilled their lil girl's brought home a Maximal fer a sparkmate."
"Exactly," Dinobot nodded. Steeling her resolve, she turned to the left. "Come. My parents' domicile is this way."
"Come on, bud, let's go see yer grandparents," Rattrap said as he stooped to pick Switchblade up. The sparkling chirruped and let himself be lifted and settled in the crook of his father's arms against his chest. Following behind Dinobot, the small family strode down the hallway, down another corridor to the end of the next hall. There, Dinobot stopped in front of one of the many doors and turned to face it head on. Rattrap stopped behind her and set Switchblade back on the ground. The murmur of an active tele-consol could be heard through the door. For several moments, Dinobot stared at the door of her parents' domicile, unable to make herself reach out and ring the alarm.
Across their sparkbond, Rattrap could feel Dinobot's hesitation and fear, although no such emotions showed on the warrioress's face. Her facial plates were carefully set in a mask as if she were about to rush into battle. Rattrap sent a wave of reassurance across their bond.
Although Dinobot said nothing to acknowledge his encouragement, she slowly reached out and depressed the call-button on the door's keypad. Rattrap could hear the muffled ding of the alarm sound on the other side of the door. Deep inside the apartment, he heard the sound of movement and the heavy tread of footsteps coming towards the door. In front of him, Dinobot anxiously opened and closed her hands in fists by her sides as though fighting with herself not to turn and flee. He heard the door locks disengage and watched as the door slid aside to reveal one of the biggest mechs Rattrap had ever seen in his entire function looming in the doorway. He involuntarily froze in place. This was Dinobot's father? The mech was at least a head taller than Dinobot herself and more thickly built than Rhinox. Rattrap had no doubt that in a one-on-one fight this mech would have easily held his own against Megatron, if not given the Predacon warlord a run for his money. No wonder Dinobot could be so scary if this was her sire…
"What do you want?" the mech growled. "It's very late for-"
He immediately fell silent at the sight of Dinobot - his jaw plate dropping and his optics widening into two perfect circles of red.
"Dynamite," he numbly murmured after a moment of stunned silence.
The warrioress stood completely still under her father's gaze, not moving a tension cable. Across their bond Rattrap felt Dinobot's uncertainty flare, her unspoken fear of rejection become crippling.
The towering black-plated battle tank stepped through the door into the hallway, his optics locked on Dinobot. Rattrap anxiously shifted in place. He suddenly wasn't so sure about this. If Stahlhand wasn't enthused by his daughter's return, Rattrap had little confidence in being able to stand up to the bigger mech. Beside him, Switchblade chirped as though sensing the tension and edged closer to his father's leg. Rattrap reached down and placed a reassuring hand on top of the sparkling's helm.
"You've come back…" Stahlhand said as he stepped closer to Dinobot. His intentions and true emotions were unreadable.
The warrioress nodded. "Yes."
"Thank Primus," Stahlhand groaned, and with no warning reached out and grabbed his daughter by the shoulders and held her at arm's length as though afraid she would disappear if he did not keep her there. "You don't know how long I've waited for this day to come. I thought you would never come home." He gave a shaky laugh, his facial plates twisting into a trembling grin. He seemed too overwhelmed with emotions to care about maintaining a stoic façade. "I feared you were dead…"
Dinobot bowed her head, still held tight in her father's grip. A wave of intense emotions slammed against Rattrap's spark from her side of their bond - relief, guilt and longing the strongest amongst them. "After our fight I wasn't sure if I would be welcomed back…"
Stahlhand shook his helm, his optics over-bright and tinged with static around the edges. "You're back home and that's all that matters now," he assured her. He seemed unable to tear his gaze away from his daughter's face. His expression was one of spark-rending relief and - Rattrap never would have thought such an expression possible for a Predacon to make before today - love.
"Stahlhand?" a new voice said from inside the apartment. A femme appeared in the doorway behind the battle tank. The protoform beneath her armor plating was the same shade of blue as Dinobot's. Rattrap immediately identified her as Dinobot's mother, Tripwire. "What's going on? Who is it?"
Stahlhand said nothing except to step to the side and allow his sparkmate an unobstructed view of their guest. Tripwire froze and stared. "Dynamite," she murmured. Just as her sparkmate had done, she darted forward and grabbed Dinobot by the arm as if to prove to herself her daughter was real and not just a glitch of her processor. The older femme was half a head shorter than Dinobot, Rattrap noted, and had to look up to meet her daughter's optics. "You've finally come back," she babbled in a voice strained with emotions. "Where have you been? You just disappeared. We did everything we could to find you. We searched for ages."
"That is a long story," Dinobot said. "If you let us come inside we will try to explain."
"We?" Tripwire said with a confused look.
She and Stahlhand looked up and only then seemed to notice Rattrap standing behind their daughter.
"Who are you?" Stahlhand growled, his demeanor instantly becoming guarded. He none too subtly pushed Dinobot behind him to shield her with his own body from Rattrap.
Rattrap gulped nervously. Every diode in his body was suddenly screaming at him to run.
Stahlhand took a step closer. Rattrap had to crane his neck backwards to be able to meet the towering mech's optics. He forced himself not to cower under the battle tank's intimidating shadow. Primus, he was big.
"Uh… hi," was all Rattrap was able to squeak in greeting. So much for great first impressions…
Stahlhand studied Rattrap for a long moment of silence before his optics happened to zero in on the Maximal sigil emblazed on his chest. The battle tank's reaction was immediate and violent.
"A Maximal!" he snarled. "What are you doing here with my daughter?"
Before Rattrap could form a response, Dinobot spoke up behind him. "Father, this is Rattrap. He is my sparkmate."
"Sparkmate-?" Stahlhand's expression filled with confusion and then horror as the words finally seemed to register in his processor. Pure rage bubbled across his facial plates as he turned his attention back to Rattrap. "Did you force a sparkbond on my daughter, you filthy Maximal?"
Rattrap couldn't make his processor come up with a suitable response under Stahlhand's murderous glare. Behind him, Switchblade warbled and pressed himself closer to the back of Rattrap's legs.
"Father, stop!" Dinobot cried, pushing herself in between her sire and sparkmate. "The rodent did not force a sparkbond on me. I chose him as my mate."
Stahlhand immediately halted his advance. He stared at his daughter in confusion. Tripwire edged closer to her sparkmate's side, the same uncertain expression as Stahlhand's painted across her face.
"A lot has changed since I left," Dinobot explained in a forced voice of calm. "Over the course of my time away I befriended a crew of Maximal explorers and helped them fight a group of rogue Predacons intent on destroying our world, and all of Time as we know it in the process."
"Are you referring to that group of Maximals the news feeds have been screaming about the last few days?" Stahlhand asked, his expression still tinged with confusion but no longer angry.
Dinobot nodded. "Yes. I became part of Optimus Primal's crew and helped fight in the Beast Wars. That was where I met the rodent." She motioned with her chin over her shoulder towards Rattrap. "We have been sparkmates for almost two stellar cycles now. It was also during the war that I decided to officially change my activation codes to Maximal ones."
Stahlhand and Tripwire finally seemed to notice the Maximal sigil on their daughter's shoulder and stared at it with unreadable expressions.
Rattrap could feel his sparkmate's nervousness spike at her creators' silence. He could feel the growing panic on her side of their sparkbond.
"Before you chose to turn me away or not there is one more thing you should know," Dinobot hastily added. She turned to Rattrap and pulled Switchblade out from behind his father's legs. She crouched down behind him and looked up at her creators, her optics beseeching. "This is Switchblade. He is my son." She bent over the sparkling and whispered in his audio, "Remember what I taught you to say." She then gently pushed Switch towards her stunned and staring parents.
The sparkling stared up at the two before obediently bowing his head to them and trilling off a short phrase of garbled Predacon. Rattrap recognized it as a formal Predacon greeting. Dinobot had been drilling it into their son's head ever since she'd made the decision to seek out her creators. His mission done, Switch scurried back to his mother and clutched the side of her leg as she stood to face her parents again.
"I know this is much to take in all at once and I will understand if you cannot accept it, or at least will need some time to digest it," Dinobot said. Her voice was steady and calm but Rattrap could feel the roiling storm of emotions stewing inside her. "We will leave if you do not wish us to stay."
For several klicks, utter silence reigned.
Stahlhand was the first to rattle himself out of his daze. "Do not be foolish, Dynamite. I did not spend all these years waiting for you to return just to turn you away. Come." He motioned to the open door of the apartment. "It seems we have much to discuss…"
A surge of relief flowed across Dinobot and Rattrap's bond from the warrioress's side. Rattrap reached out and pressed a hand to the small of his sparkmate's back as a physical show of support and encouragement. He did not miss the dark scowl Stahlhand sent him. He timidly withdrew his hand from Dinobot's back.
Tripwire hurried inside ahead of them as Dinobot hoisted Switchblade into her arms and followed after her with Rattrap close beside. Stahlhand brought up the rear.
"So… Dynamite, huh?" Rattrap whispered as they entered the apartment. He made sure to keep his voice low so neither of Dinobot's parents overheard. "That's your original designation?"
"Yes," Dinobot snarled. "What of it?"
Rattrap stifled a chuckle. "Oh, nothin'. Just… I never figured ya fer havin' such a girly name." Despite his best attempts not to, a snort of amusement slipped past his defenses.
Dinobot sent him a withering glare out of the corner of her optic. "Shut up, vermin."
Once inside, Stahlhand closed and locked the door behind them. Rattrap took a moment to take in the apartment. It was bigger than he'd been expecting. He counted at least three other rooms branching off the main living area. The fact that it seemed big might have stemmed from the fact that Rattrap had never lived in a apartment bigger than a single-room located in the seedier section of whatever city he was living. Home was usually nothing more than his quarters on the ship he was currently assigned. Before he'd sparkbonded with Dinobot and started a family he'd never had any reason to want anything more than somewhere he could crash for the night.
"Come, sit," Tripwire said, directing her daughter towards a large table on the side of the room. Several chairs were pushed in around it. Dinobot and Rattrap took a seat next to each other along one side. Dinobot propped Switchblade up in her lap. The older femme anxiously hovered next to her daughter. Finally unable to restrain herself anymore, Tripwire reached out and rested a hand on Dinobot's shoulder plate as though to reassure herself again that her estranged progeny was really home. "Are you hungry? Do you require any fuel?"
"Energon would not be unwelcome," Dinobot said. "We have not refueled since we left the detention center earlier this morning. I wanted to come straight here after we were released."
"Detention center?" Tripwire's expression became alarmed. Her grip on Dinobot's shoulder unconsciously tightened.
"The Maximals had many questions about what happened on primitive Earth after we returned," Dinobot calmly reassured her. "Several different groups wanted detailed statements about what transpired between the Axalon's crew and Megatron. It would seem the Maximal government is as compartmentalized and unwilling to share information with one another as Predacons are."
In Dinobot's lap Switchblade gave a hungry warble and looked up at his grandmother beseechingly. Tripwire continued to stare at her daughter for a moment, openly curious and wanting to ask more questions. She was stopped from doing so, though, by her grandson's quiet plea for sustenance. "Give me one moment," she said and hurried to the next room. She returned a few moments later with several canisters of glowing purple liquid.
Dinobot nodded her thanks to her mother as the older femme passed them out. Rattrap didn't fail to notice the order in which Tripwire passed them out - first to Dinobot, then one to Switch, then Stahlhand, one set aside for herself and then Rattrap.
Looks like ya still got a long way ahead 'a ya before ya win over the in-laws, Rattrap dully noted. At least they'd let him inside their home, he reminded himself. That had to at least count as a start…
Following his sparkmate's lead, Rattrap politely sipped his energon. It was low grade and not of any notable quality, but after a long day of travel and frazzled emotions constantly streaming from his sparkmate's side of their bond it was more than suitable enough to replenish his energy reserves.
Stahlhand quietly took the seat at the head of the table with Dinobot immediately to his left. Tripwire sat in the chair on Stahlhand's right so both Predacons could properly face their daughter.
Beside him, Dinobot nervously cleared her throat line and set her barely touched canister of energon aside on the table. Switchblade continued to hungrily sip his own in her lap, unperturbed by the stewing tension around him.
"Where should I begin?" Dinobot uncomfortably asked. "I've rehearsed what I would say if I ever saw either of you again countless times. But now that I am actually here my processor has gone completely blank."
"From the beginning," Stahlhand calmly rumbled. "After you left our domicile and disappeared." There was no accusation or bitterness in the warrior's voice. His optics were reassuring and patient. He seemed to be in no rush to hurry his daughter's story.
Dinobot nodded and obediently began to speak. What followed was a long, detailed account of the last forty years of Dinobot's life: her flight from her own domicile near the shipping yards and her move to a distant city in the eastern sector of the planet after the fight with her father; her life as a gladiator in the underground fighting rings; her decision to don a suit of mech armor; joining Megatron's crew; then Primal's; the Beast Wars; the discovery of her true identity; her clone, Talon; her relationship with Rattrap that eventually resulted in a mutual love-bond between them; Switchblade's creation; the arrival of Switch's older self to primitive Earth and finally the tragic tale of the Beast Wars' end and her, Rattrap and Switch's return to modern Cybertron.
By the time Dinobot finished, it was the middle of the night. Switchblade had long since fallen into recharge in her lap with his head nestled against the side of her breastplate. Rattrap's bad shoulder was beginning to ache from sitting in the same place for so long.
Both of Dinobot's creators studied her and Rattrap with new looks of consideration.
"That was quite a story," Tripwire said.
"It is all true," Dinobot assured her.
Stahlhand gave a snort of amusement. "Why am I not surprised my daughter would think of something like using a fake mech superstructure to get what she wanted?"
Dinobot seemed emboldened by her father's approval sat up a little straighter in her chair. "It hide my true identity for more than twenty years. No one had any idea I was female until my fake superstructure was damaged in that alien quantum surge."
"Believe you me, I think I shorted out a few circuit boards tryin' ta process dat when we finally found out," Rattrap ventured a comment. "Can't say anythin' really changed about her personality, though, after she came out as a femme…"
For the first time since their arrival, Stahlhand shared an amused glance with Rattrap. His aura of hostility towards him had noticeably diminished. "No, I doubt it would have. My daughter has been what one might describe as headstrong since the day she came online."
Tripwire leaned forward across the table. "So you are an official Maximal now?"
Dinobot's expression once again became guarded. "Yes. I first allied myself with the Maximals out of necessity for survival and respect for Optimus Primal. Over the course of the war I became close friends with them and came to slowly appreciate the differences of our cultures. When we returned to Cybertron I decided to keep my new activation codes and remain a Maximal not just because of my bond with the rodent or any lingering sense of obligation to Optimus and my comrades, but because I've come to truly believe in many aspects of the Maximal cause. Many of the things I saw during the war have soured some views I originally held for the Predacon faction."
Rattrap tensely watched Dinobot's parents for their reactions. They might have allowed their daughter into their domicile to tell her story, but that in no way guaranteed that they would continue to suffer a faction-traitor amongst them.
Stahlhand and Tripwire shared a heavy look. Rattrap felt Dinobot stiffen in her seat beside him, panic and fear leaking across their bond.
"So you doubt you will ever switch your alliance back to your birth faction?" Stahlhand finally said.
Dinobot stiffly nodded. Rattrap couldn't help but feel the tendrils of defeat he now felt coming off the warrioress through their bond. "Yes. For my own sake and my family's I cannot see myself ever retaking Predacon activation codes."
Stahlhand nodded solemnly. "I see…"
The warrioress hung her helm. She no longer seemed able to look at her creators. "Do you wish me to leave now?" she asked. Her voice was tight with barely checked emotions - the strongest being grief and rejection.
Stahlhand and Tripwire seemed surprised by the question. "Why?" the battle tank demanded. His optic ridges furrowed together in a confused expression.
Dinobot raised her head to meet her father's gaze. "You accept my decision to remain a Maximal? Many would consider me a race-traitor worthy of deactivation for such a crime. Some might even say that as my father it is your responsibility to regain the family honor."
Stahlhand released a heavy sigh that seemed to come from the very core of his being. It sounded tired and old. "Dynamite, understand this. Over the years I have come to realize that life is not so black and white. There is no immutable black line that separates Predacons and Maximals from each other. I do not care for political factions as much as I did when I was younger and -admittedly - more naïve than I like to think of myself being now. The distinction between Predacons and Maximals is just another detail to convince mechs to fight and kill each other about. And nothing - whether you carry a Predacon or Maximal symbol on your superstructure - will ever change the fact that you are my daughter before anything else."
Rattrap wasn't the only one taken aback. Dinobot stared at her father speechlessly, her emotions vacillating between surprise, relief and a crippling surge of what could only have been described as love.
"You will have more opportunities as a Maximal," Tripwire added. "A chance for a better life than you ever would if you were a Predacon." The older femme's optics drifted to the sleeping sparkling in her daughter's lap. "Switchblade will have more opportunities too. He deserves the chance to escape the hardships others in our family have suffered because of faction names."
Dinobot bowed her helm to both her creators, humbled and robbed of words to properly describe her emotions. "Thank you…" was all she seemed able to say.
Stahlhand's gaze slowly shifted from his daughter to Rattrap. "Tell us about yourself now, Maximal. What kind of family has my daughter bonded herself into?"
Rattrap shifted uncomfortably in his seat. "Uh… not much ta really tell in dat department. Don't have much 'a anyone ta really call family 'cept Choppa'face an' Switch. My creators both died before I even came outta da gestation center. Only relative I really have is my great-aunt Arcee, an' we don't have dat much ta do with one another anymore."
"Hunh," Stahlhand grunted thoughtfully. "So then there are no family expectations for Dynamite from your side of the genetic line?"
"No," Rattrap confirmed.
Stahlhand seemed satisfied. He turned his attention back to Dinobot. "What are your plans now?"
Dinobot shifted Switchblade into a more comfortable position in her arms. Switch warbled softly in his sleep but immediately fell quiet again. His small body curled against the warmth of his mother's superstructure. "I honestly have not thought that far ahead. After we were released from questioning all I could think about was coming home."
"We haven't even had time ta find a place ta live yet," Rattrap said. "We were gonna try ta find a hotel fer da night after leavin' here."
"No need," Stahlhand said. "You will stay here until you are able to secure your own residence."
"Are you sure, father?" Dinobot said. "I do not want us to be an inconvenience to you or mother."
Stahlhand leveled a fond look of exasperation on the warrioress. "I have not spent all these years wondering if you were alive or dead to let you out of my sight so soon, Dynamite. You, Switchblade and your sparkmate will stay with us until you find a place of your own."
Rattrap couldn't help but notice how the question of them staying with Dinobot's creators was never phrased as an offer but more of as an order.
"We have a room we can set an extra berth in," Tripwire said. She stood and motioned for Dinobot to follow her. "Come. Let's put Switchblade down while we set a place up for you to recharge."
Dinobot nodded and got up to follow her mother into one of the adjacent rooms, leaving Rattrap alone with Stahlhand at the table. The battle tank silently studied the spy, his optics and facial plates unreadable. Rattrap shifted nervously in his seat under the larger mech's scrutiny.
"Um… ya know I should probably go help da ladies. I'd hate ta make Chop- I, ah, mean Dino- ah… Dynamite do it herself." He began to push his chair away from the table.
"You will remain where you are," Stahlhand rumbled. "I wish to speak to you alone for a moment."
Rattrap reluctantly settled back in his chair. "Uh, sure. Wha'ever ya want."
The former warrior rested his arms on the table and leaned forward towards Rattrap. Even sitting, he seemed to tower over the smaller spy. Rattrap forced himself not to cower down into his seat.
"I must admit, Maximal, I am still not sure what to make of you," Stahlhand began. "As I told my daughter, factions do not hold as much meaning to me as they once did. But I am still concerned for her. I know nothing of Maximal culture or what customs you have towards female sparkmates. Dynamite has always been headstrong and willful, but she has never been stupid. I trust her judgment. I know she must care for you if she decided to take you as her sparkmate. You seem like a good enough mech from what little I have seen tonight. Nevertheless…" Stahlhand leaned closer to Rattrap until he loomed directly in front of him "-I feel it is my duty as Dynamite's sire to remind you that if you ever hurt my daughter, displease her or make her regret your bond in any way, I will personally see to it that you never walk again and that you never have any interactions with her or my grandson ever again. Am I making myself understood?"
Rattrap shakily nodded. "Loud an' clear…"
"Good," Stahlhand said. As though considering his mission complete, the battle tank abruptly leaned back from Rattrap and stood. Without even a parting word he marched out of the room. For a moment Rattrap remained frozen in place, still trying to recover his bearings in the wake of Stahlhand's threat and not sure whether he was suppose to stay or follow. He got his answer several seconds later when Stahlhand strode back to the table with a large canister and several small cups in his hand. He retook his place at the head of the table and poured out a small amount of amber-colored liquid from the canister into one of the cups and handed it to the puzzled spy. "It's high-grade," he explained. "Tripwire generally does not approve of me keeping it in the apartment, but I keep a canister of it hidden for times when I feel the need to relax or celebrate." He poured a cup of high-grade out for himself and held it up to Rattrap in a toast. "And tonight I can think of nothing better to celebrate than my daughter's return."
That said, Stahlhand downed his drink in a single swallow. Not to seem ungrateful or rude Rattrap dutifully downed his own. It was better than the quality of high-grade he usually managed to get his hands on. The high-grade burned a trail of liquid fire down his intake line to his fuel tank. There it sat and gave off a pleasant glow of warmth. Stahlhand was already pouring himself a second cupful. He glanced at Rattrap and held the canister up to him in question.
Rattrap smiled and held his cup out to be refilled. Maybe it was the high-grade already going to his processor, but Rattrap felt the need to speak. "Ya know, yer not such a bad mech. I'd do just 'bout anything fer Dynamite, but she can be a lil' uptight sometimes - 'specially when it comes to havin' a nice shot of high-grade every once an' awhile. Don't know why, but I was kinda expectin' ya ta be da same way 'bout dis kind of stuff."
Stahlhand's lips twisted into a wry look that might have almost been called a smile. The two shared a conspiratorial look. "She gets that from her mother," was all he said before downing his cup.
Smirking, Rattrap followed his lead. Maybe having Stahlhand as a father-in-law wasn't going to be that bad after all…
"Here," Tripwire said as she shook a thermal sheet out over the extra berth she'd set up. "Put Switchblade down here."
Dinobot did, settling the sparkling in the nest of thermal sheets. Switchblade warbled softly in his sleep before finding a comfortable spot on his side and falling quiet again. Tripwire carefully sat on the edge of the berth beside him and stared, openly enthralled.
"Your son is a very handsome sparkling," she said. She reached out and delicately stroked a finger along the downy line of feathers cresting his helm. "He looks so much like you when you were this age."
Dinobot sat down beside her mother on the berth with Switchblade between them. "In appearance he seems to have taken after me completely. As for personality… well, I think the rodent had more of an influence in that department."
Tripwire cast her daughter a hesitant look of concern. "You said you met your son from the future while you were on that planet. As an adult did he…." she fumbled for a moment as though struggling to find the most tactful way to phrase her question, "-still take after you?"
Dinobot smirked at her mother's discomfort. She'd been expecting such a question at some point or another. "Yes. As I said, in almost all physical attributes he takes after me."
"Oh, good," Tripwire sighed. Dinobot raised an optic ridge at her, un-amused. Tripwire saw the look. "Dynamite, you cannot deny that your sparkmate is rather… small even for a Maximal. And though I do not like to quibble over such things, he does give off a certain odor that-"
"He is a good mech, mother," Dinobot harshly cut her off. "I did not chose him as my sparkmate for his appearance. He respects me and treats me as his equal. He is a good father to Switchblade and demands nothing from me that I wouldn't already willingly give. He might not be a frontline battle-mech, but he is a skilled fighter in his own ways. He is an expert navigator and computer tech. He-"
"Dynamite," Tripwire calmly cut her daughter's tirade short. "I understand. You do not have to extol all your sparkmate's virtues to me. You care for him. That is all I truly need to know." The older femme paused and considered her daughter for a long moment of silence. "I accept him as your choice, Dynamite, but I must admit he's not the kind of mech I ever imagined being your ideal mate."
Despite herself and her desire to defend her sparkmate against all scrutiny, Dinobot gave a ironic snort. "When I first met the rodent I never would have considered him my ideal mate either. You could almost say we were sworn enemies from the moment we laid eyes on each other. But over the course of the war I believe we saw parts of each other we never would have if we weren't continually thrust into such dangerous situations together and forced to rely on each other for survival. Not long after my mech disguise was damaged I was captured by Megatron. The rodent risked his life to rescue me. I can never forget that."
Tripwire studied Dinobot thoughtfully for a moment. Her gaze slowly drifted to her sleeping grandson. Her hand idly stroked the stripe of feathers on his helm. "Switchblade was sparked before you and Rattrap were bonded, wasn't he?"
The question was completely unexpected and made Dinobot almost choke in shock. When she'd decided to seek her parents out she'd sworn Rattrap to secrecy about their son's true age. In Predacon society, sparklings born outside of sparkbonds were not looked upon favorably and often treated as outcasts, along with the carriers that bore them. Dinobot had been determined to never let anyone outside of the Axalon's crew know the details of Switchblade's birth - especially her own creators. She did not know - nor did she want to know - how her creators would react if they ever found out the truth surrounding their grandson's birth.
"Wha- How did you know?"
Tripwire cast Dinobot an amused look. "I did not come online yesterday, Dynamite. I can estimate a sparkling's age and count backwards. You said you and your Maximal have been bonded almost two stellar cycles. Switchblade is at least two and a half stellar cycles, probably closer to three."
Dinobot squirmed under her mother's knowing gaze. She cleared her intake line uncomfortably. "Switch did come online before a bond was forged," she hesitantly admitted. "It was an… unexpected pregnancy. But I do not regret carrying him to term." The warrioress met her mother's optics with a defiant glare. "Bearing Switch was ultimately what saved me from seeking honor through self-destructing means. He and the rodent are what convinced me to survive the war and return home. It is because of them that I am alive today."
"Then how can I ever question your choice of sparkmate or Switchblade's existence? They brought you back home to me. For that, I and your father are forever in their debt."
Dinobot dropped her gaze to her lap, shame gnawing at her despite her mother's reassurance. "You… you will not tell father the truth of Switchblade's birth, will you? I do not think he will think highly of me or the rodent if he knows I bore Switch before a bond was made."
Tripwire shook her head with a dismissive snort. "No, your secret is safe with me. I doubt your father will ever notice that Switchblade's age does not quite match your timeline of events anyway. Stahlhand is many things, but subtle details like that are sometimes lost on him. It helps that your son is such a small sparkling for his age. I suppose we should thank your sparkmate for that trait." Growing serious, the older femme leveled a heavy look on Dinobot. "You know your absence weighted heavily on your father. It aged him terribly after you disappeared. He searched for you for the longest time. He did everything he could to find you. But after the first twenty years or so he began to lose hope. He tried to hide it from me, but a part of him died inside when he gave up hope of ever seeing you again."
Guilt the likes of which she'd never felt before coursed through Dinobot. Surely having an energon blade twisted through her sparkchamber could not have been more painful than hearing what kind of effect her disappearance had had on her father. When she'd left she'd wanted independence, respect and recognition as a warrior. But not at such a cost from one she cared about so deeply.
"I did not know…" she mumbled in shame. "Many would not go to such trouble to find a missing daughter. I thought that when I left it would actually help ease the burden on you and father. I never thought father would be so effected by my leaving…"
Tripwire gave a weary sigh. "Dynamite, whether femme or mech, you are Stahlhand's heir, his legacy, his everything. You are correct that many mechs would not go to such trouble to find a daughter. My own sire kicked me out of my family unit without a second thought when he could no longer afford to keep me. But Stahlhand is different. You are lucky to have such a possessive father. He cares for you more than you can ever imagine. You have been his sun and stars since the moment he first laid optics on you, and his pride and joy since before you could walk on your own."
Dinobot sat silent, her processor replaying her mother's words over again and again. "I never wanted to hurt you or father when I left. I just wanted to prove myself so badly… I'm sorry."
The older femme gave her daughter a gentle smile. "And you did prove yourself. All the news feeds call you and the rest of that Maximal crew heroes. And now you're back home. And that's all that matters. What's happened in the past is done and can never be changed." Tripwire glanced down at the sleeping figure of her grandson. She gently carded her fingers through Switchblade's downy line of feathers that Dinobot knew would someday grow into a Romanesque crest. "But that doesn't mean there isn't a future still waiting for us. I would dearly love to be a part of your new life as much as I know your father does. Both yours, Switchblade's and even your Maximal sparkmate's."
"You will be," Dinobot assured her. "I would not have returned if I didn't want you involved in our lives."
Tripwire smiled and stood from the berth. "Come. I fear Stahlhand and your sparkmate have been together alone too long now. I do not know what kind threats your father might be giving him right now.
A surge of concern pulsed through Dinobot's spark. The vermin. She'd almost completely forgotten about him. She'd been so caught up in the moment she'd followed her mother from the room without a second thought about the spy. She doubted her father would do anything to him, but that didn't necessarily mean she trusted the two of them alone just yet. Her father was notoriously possessive and the rat rarely knew when to keep his mouth shut. Those two things were not a good combination. The early part of her and Rattrap's relationship was illustration enough of that.
Dinobot hurried after her mother out of the room. Switchblade was recharging so deeply he didn't even stir at his mother's departure. The sight that greeted her when as she came back into the main living area was not one the warrioress was expecting. Stahlhand and Rattrap were much where she'd left them. The new element to the scene, however, was an open canister of high-grade sitting on the table between them. Each of them held a small cup in his hand. But the thing that really made the warrioress pause was that not only were her father and sparkmate drinking together but that they actually seemed to be getting along. As she neared the table she cast both Rattrap and her father questioning looks.
"Ah, Dynamite," Stahlhand greeted with a relaxed smile. He motioned to the chair beside him. "Come sit. Rattrap is telling me the story of when you and him were sent on your first mission together to find an antidote for your crewmate Rhinox."
"I was just gettin' to da part when ol' Rhinox gas bombed da Pred base," Rattrap chuckled. "I still remember da look on Megatron's face when Rhinox turned his back on 'im an' raised his tail. Priceless!"
Dinobot retook her seat beside her father and picked up the canister. She swirled it in her hand, weighing it. Not much of it was gone. Probably no more than two cupfuls a piece. She knew her father usually opted for the stronger grades of high-grade though, and could already see the giddying effects it was having on the spy. She sent Rattrap a dark look. When she'd introduced Rattrap to her creators she had done so with the expectation he wouldn't do something embarrassing like getting himself overcharged at their first meeting.
So much for presenting him as a respectable mech to her father.
The spy noticed her glare. "Hey! Yer dad offered! It would'a been rude 'a me ta decline."
"Stahlhand!" Tripwire hissed, her expression aghast.
The battle tank, however, seemed amused by his sparkmate and daughter's disapproval. "No need to get upset. We were just sealing our agreement with a drink."
"Agreement?" Dinobot said. Her optic ridges furrowing together underneath the nose guard of her helm. "What kind of agreement?"
Stahlhand and Rattrap shared a meaningful look. Dinobot did not fail to notice the way the spy seemed to shrink down into his chair under her father's gaze.
"Ah… nothin' ya hafta concern yerself with," Rattrap shakily assured her. "Just somethin' between father- an' son-in-law."
"Indeed," Stahlhand rumbled. He casually finished off the rest of the high-grade in his cup with a flick of his wrist. His optics never left the smaller mech as he did so, like he was a predator staring down potential prey.
"Well… ah, before we turn in fer da night, I hafta go downstairs an' grab somethin' from da cruiser," Rattrap abruptly said and pushed himself away from the table. "I'll be right back."
Dinobot cast her father an unamused look as Rattrap hastily sped down the hallway and out the front door. "What did you say to him, father? I thought you accepted him as my sparkmate."
"I have," Stahlhand assured her. His facial plates formed a sly grin. "I was just making sure he understands the cost of my acceptance. I had to be sure he understands how precious you are to me and what the price will be if he ever mistreats or forgets the worth of what I still consider mine."
Dinobot grew quiet. Her conversation with her mother about the effects her disappearance had had on her father was still fresh in her processor. "Father… about the way I left and the suffering I caused you and mother, I just want to say-"
"Dynamite," Stahlhand gently cut her off. "All of that is in the past now. Any transgressions, real or imaginary, are forgiven and forgotten. You're finally home and that's all that matters."
Dinobot bowed her head to him in quiet gratitude. "As you say, father."
Setting his cup down, the battle tank stood from the table and abruptly strode from the room. Before Dinobot could wonder where he'd gone, he returned with a data pad in his hand. He set it on the table in front of Dinobot and retook his seat. Dinobot immediately recognized it. It was the data pad she'd brought to him all those years ago to sign to give his permission for her to join the army. There, in the lower right corner of the screen, blinked Stahlhand's electronic signature. Dinobot looked up and stared at her father, uncomprehending.
"You signed it. And kept it all these years…"
Stahlhand nodded. His expression became distant, etched with painful memories. "It was the last thing I had of you. After you disappeared I swore to myself that I would give that to you if you ever came back."
Dinobot stared at her father's blinking signature on the screen for a long moment of silence before quietly turning the data-pad off and sliding it across the table back towards her father. "I no longer need that. After all my attempts to escape the fate you dictated was the only one available to me, that was the fate I ultimately obtained. Ironic, is it not?"
Stahlhand searched his daughter's face. "Are you content?" he hesitantly asked. "Did fate lead you to a life in which you can find fulfillment?"
"Yes," Dinobot nodded, solemn and truthful. "I would die to protect what I have. My sparkmate and son are my greatest treasures."
Stahlhand visibly relaxed, a relieved smile stealing across his face. In Predacon culture, where emotions were rarely expressed or affections talked about, no greater compliment than to say one was content with one's situation in life could be given.
"That lightens my spark to hear, Dynamite. For so long I didn't know what became of you or what kind of life you were leading. To finally know that you are safe and content has taken a heavy burden off my shoulders."
"How long are the vermin and I welcome to stay?" Dinobot asked.
"For as long as you wish," Tripwire said. "It will take awhile to establish a permanent residence of your own and you shouldn't have to spend all your resources on temporary housing. Especially not when you have a young sparkling to care for at the same time."
Dinobot leaned back in her seat. It was surprising how relaxing it was to just sit and talk like this with her creators. It reminded her of when she'd first decided she wanted to move into a domicile of her own not long after she'd had her final upgrade. "Credits should not be a concern," she said. "When the Axalon crew was released from questioning the government presented us all with large monetary sums as back hazard-pay for our services in the Beast Wars. Between myself and the rodent we should be financial set for awhile."
"Good," Stahlhand nodded. "I would like to keep you close, at least for a little while, until you move on to some fancy Maximal complex."
The warrioress snorted. "Assuming they will suffer a former Predacon living amongst them. I might wear a Maximal symbol now, but many will never accept me as one of them."
"Unfortunately, that is the curse of our race," Stahlhand sighed. Such discrimination and hatred towards those of their faction was too commonplace to expect anything else. It was a harsh fact of life Dinobot, Stahlhand and Tripwire had all experienced at some point in their lives. To expect anything to change now that Dinobot had Maximal activation codes was foolish and naive. Old grudges were not so easily forgotten. "The only thing I can hope for is that your son is able to grow up without having to suffer the same kind of hardships as us because of his lineage."
"With a Maximal sire he should be shielded from the worst of any discrimination," Tripwire said.
"But Switchblade will still always have a Predacon carrier - at least in the eyes of many Maximals," Dinobot murmured. "That is a burden he will never be able to escape."
"But with you as his mother I know he will rise to bear that burden with the strength and tenacity as befitting one of our line." Stahlhand caught his daughter's gaze and held it with his own. "With you to guide him I know he will grow up strong."
Dinobot ducked her head to him, honored and humbled by her father's faith in her. "I will raise him as best I can."
"From what you've told us of your son from the future, it seems you have already done so once successfully. I do not doubt you will be able to do so again." The former commander gazed fondly at the warrioress. "I like to think your mother and I did a good job raising you. I have no doubt you will do the same."
It was at that moment the front door of the domicile chirped to allow Rattrap back inside. The spy came in carrying a large metal case.
"What in the name of Primus, vermin?" Dinobot said. "What is that?"
Rattrap's intakes were slightly labored as he dropped the case to the floor with a heavy thud. "Just some equipment a' mine. Never leave home without it, right? Didn't wanna leave it in da cruiser overnight."
"In case someone decided to break into it?" Stahlhand asked. "I assure you that although this is a Predacon district, it is relatively safe."
Rattrap didn't even try to pretend that hadn't been his concern. "Maybe. But I've lived in more questionable places than dis in Maximal districts an' 've learned over da years not ta take any chances when it comes ta expensive computer equipment."
"As you will," Stahlhand conceded without offense. He glanced at the chronometer on the other side of the room. "It's getting late. Perhaps we should consider retiring for the night."
Dinobot was strangely heartened by the two's exchange. They interacted with little to no tension that she could see. It seemed the spy had managed to win her father's approval over the course of their time alone together. With Stahlhand's position over Rattrap in the family hierarchy now firmly established, it seemed the two had fallen into place with one another without any friction. Dinobot wondered why. There was a time once when she knew her father would have demanded a challenge from any mech that tried to claim her as a mate; he would have wanted to know such a mech was worthy of his daughter's hand. Perhaps it was because Rattrap was no trained fighter or battle-mech that he'd earned Stahlhand's favor. In Stahlhand's eyes Rattrap would never be a threat to him in a contest for Dinobot's attention. Dinobot was more than willing to accept that if that meant harmony between her sparkmate and creators. The last thing she wanted was the two most important mechs in her life to live in constant competition with one another.
As they all stood from the table, Stahlhand turned to her and laid a hand on her shoulder plate. "I will see you in the morning."
"You do not have to go to the factory?" Dinobot asked, surprised. For as long as she could remember Stahlhand had never failed to report for a day of work.
Stahlhand shook his head. "No. I've already decided I want to stay here and be with my family tomorrow. There are still many questions I wish to ask you."
"I will be here," the warrioress promised. With that, Dinobot motioned for Rattrap to follow her. She led him into the room she and her mother had set up and keyed the door close behind them. Switchblade was still asleep on the berth, exactly where she'd left him. Rattrap walked over to the bed and checked him. He gently pulled the thermal sheet higher up over his small body and sat on the edge of the berth beside him.
"Well," he said with a flippant glance at the warrioress, "dat went better than I was expectin'."
Dinobot released a shaky sigh that released the last little bit of tension of the night from her frame. "Better than I was too," she admitted. Despite all her warrior stoicism a smile of contentment slid across her face. She slowly walked over and sat on the edge of the berth beside Rattrap. "So much, much better…" A shaky chuckle of relief rattled her chest. Only alone with her sparkmate did she allow herself to reveal so many emotions to another bot.
Rattrap gave her a soft look. "Your creators really care 'bout ya, don't they? Der was a time not too long ago when I would'a never believed Preds were capable of carin' 'bout each other dat much unless I actually saw it fer myself. 'Specially yer dad. He's da biggest, scariest mech I've ever met - an' dat includes Megatron! But as soon as yer around he becomes dis big soft teddy bear."
Dinobot snorted. "We Predacons are not that dissimilar from Maximals when it comes to family ties. And I would not say what you just told me to my father's face. He might yet string you up by your peds and hold you out a window if he does not think you bear him enough respect."
"Warning dully noted," Rattrap said. "He's da last mech I ever wanna get on da bad side of." He flopped backwards on the berth and settled himself with a tired sigh. He and Switch together barely even took up a third of the mat. "Come on an' come ta bed, Choppa'face. I'm exhausted." He patted the space on the berthmat beside him.
Dinobot was too tired to put up any kind of protest and willingly doused the lights of the room. She settled on the berth beside her sparkmate and let him curl against her side, his helm nestled in the hollow of her shoulder plate. For several minutes quiet reigned over the room with nothing but the gentle puffs of Switchblade's intakes to break the silence.
"So is it good ta be home again?" Rattrap asked. His voice was a velvety whisper against her shoulder in the darkness.
"Yes," Dinobot replied without hesitation. She curled her arm around Rattrap's back to hold him closer. In answer, the spy draped his own arm across her waist and began to rub his thumb in slow, lazy circles against her hip plate. "It feels more right than anything else in the world." Then, for the first time in their entire relationship, Dinobot allowed herself to drift into recharge before her sparkmate - for the first time in as long as she could remember feeling comfortable enough with her surroundings to relax and fade away into happy repose.
Feedback is always welcome. If there was anything in particular you might have wanted to see I'm always open to the possibility of writing one or two more little side-stories of Stahlhand, Tripwire and the Dinobot-Rattrap-Switchblade family. Ideas or requests are always welcome.
Thanks for reading!