Hey, well, this bit me hard AGAIN this week and I know I should be working on HiWtHi, but you all know how the muses work. So I typed and wrote until this came out. Still not satisfied with the ending, but at least it leaves me with how I want to begin the next chapter ^^
It's nice to know that I still have at least inspiration for something atm. Seriously. Most have my muses have been dead. And my inspiration.
I have also recently learned that when in doubt, page breaks are a girl's best friend XD
Almost have the pairings hammered out and I know who I want to be their caretakers. Thanks for Darkeyes17 and her help when I was feeling slow.
Well, hope you enjoy this ^^ Character development begins more in the next chapter so keep in tuned!
Disclaimer: Insert witty comment about how I don't own Transformers here...
The way back was just as easy as the first and yet at same time two hundred times harder.
The moment that Ironhide had made for the exit, Stormvice had begun wailing again. His attempts to twist out of Ironhide's burly arms had become more desperate the further away they became from their sire. It tugged painfully on Ironhide's spark to watch the mechlet wail with tears falling to bubbles of liquid and his little mouth open on his wails. The sparkling didn't seem to understand that his Sire was gone. He was most likely in pain, from the broken creator-creation bond, and reaching out for the emptiness that had once been the warmth of his Sire's spark.
Ironhide knew only far too well what that was like.
First Aid had inspected them already and aside from a few burns and dents and scrapes in their delicate plating they were mostly just hungry, but not underfed. And further analysis told First Aid that the reason for that was Overstrike had most likely been using his own leaking energon to feed his children. The lack of major injuries suggested to the experienced warriors all too well what had happened.
Just as the hull began to collapse, Overstrike grabbed for his children, twisting his frame to protect them from falling debris. Their screams echoed in his audios as the metal of the bulkhead finally buckled as he ducked behind two large crates, seeking shelter. He curled around his sparklings, tucking them into the bubble of space he hade made between himself and the floor before agony and fear swept through his body. His last thought was of his children and long dead intended before he blacked out, Stormvice and Pinpoint's cries all he could hear…
The image was only too easy to imagine.
Looking back over his own shoulder, just as they lifted off, Stormvice having wailed himself out of the rest of his energy and now tucked into his carry hold, recharging, Ironhide bid the offlined Seeker farewell. Overstrike would forever have a place in his memory as the bravest mech to have ever flown in the skies of Cybertron and out of them. To have stayed online through pain and kin-loss to make sure the future of his children was assured deserved a medal in and of itself.
The Weapons Specialist of the Ark, thought of the small, green sparkling in First Aid's own carry hold. The small thing was recharging and when Ironhide said small, he meant small. Stormvice, the Protectobot had said, was approximately three vorns of age, and his little wings were barely peeking out from behind his shoulders. Pinpoint was much, much smaller. Ironhide could have cupped his servo and been able to hold the curled up infant. He still only had nubs on his back where the wings would grow in. First Aid was only guessing their ages, but they would be back soon and then Ratchet could look them over.
: Alright, I've comm'd ahead to Prowl that we have supplies and precious cargo with us. He and Prime are going to meet us at the docking bay with Ratchet and a few others. : Bumblebee said, tugging a large crate between himself and Hoist. Sunstreaker and Sideswipe had their own cargo, a crate a piece and several nets over their shoulders containing the sparkling grade energon and various other materials they would need. Ironhide himself was carting a large metal tube that was filled with replacement parts Ratchet may find useful, and if not, they could always be melted down and used somewhere else in the ship.
First Aid had gotten lucky, having found various medical supplies that they had desperately been needing, including anesthetics and other pain killers. Even some medical tools… and a big heavy wrench that Ironhide was determined to keep away from Ratchet.
In fact, he was pretty sure every mech there except the blissfully ignorant First Aid were going to make sure it never found it's way into Ratchet's deadly, accurate servos.
A light pinged in his HUD, Prime signaling that they were opening the docking bay doors.
: Alright, doors are opening. We go in pairs. Hoist and Bee, you're first. :
They all watched as the two minibots floated forward with the help of their short burst jet packs as the doors opened (thankfully) soundlessly in the void of space. It was a small blessing considering that in moments, they would be standing inside and finding the need to turn down their audios as they closed shut again. Hoist led, falling into point as they descended to the decking, both magnetizing to it and saluting.
: Sunny, Sides, you're next. :
He received a grin and a scowl in return, Sideswipe looking forward to putting his burden down (even if it weighed practically nothing out here) and Sunstreaker annoyed at the nickname, but not daring to argue with Ironhide over it. Smart lad.
The doors had opened completely now, leaving the docking bay open to view. Prime was there and so was Prowl. Both stood silently, waiting while Jazz grinned like the loon he was at them from where he leaned beside the door controls. Ratchet was a few meters behind him, trademark scowl in place and pearl white arms crossed over the glass of his chassis. Behind the four of them were about nine or so mechs loitering around and pretending to have important reasons to be there. Ironhide frowned and he could sense First Aid's own apprehension about all of the mechs waiting for them. They watched as Sunstreaker and Sideswipe anchored themselves to the decking and moved aside to secure their cargo and allow Ironhide and First Aid room to come in.
They did so, First Aid taking point and Ironhide following. Coming in wasn't much trouble, both having done this enough to have a good feel of it without somehow crashing into their destination. As soon as they had secured themselves, both feeling the pull of the magnets in their pedes and the distinct reverberation of their pedes hitting the decking, Ironhide cast a meaningful glare around the bay. The doors were already closing behind them, the grating squeals of the dented metal making all of their audios ring (Sunstreaker and Hoist among several others flinched). Ironhide continued to glare through it, jazz seemingly catching on and he helped Ratchet to clear away the loitering mechs before comm'ing Red Alert in the Security Hub to lockdown the docking bay.
The doors finished closing and secured with a groaning hiss and the sound of clamping locks engaging that echoed around the almost empty platform before petering into silence. Sunstreaker and Hoist sighed gratefully, Sideswipe snickering at his brother which led Ironhide to believe he had shut his audios off. As soon as the last echo had died away, Prime stepped forward to speak.
The black behemoth nodded before running through his quick debrief of what they had salvaged and he could see the irritation building on Prowl's face as he ran through the small list.
"I was under the impression that there was something important to be discussed." The Second in Command said, doorwings twitching irritably. "Reciting a list of found and needed items hardly seems like reasonable grounds to request our presence immediately and to clear the docking bay."
Before either Weapons Master or Protectobot Medic could answer, Ratchet spoke up from where he was going through the assorted material. "Just why is there sparkling energon in here? It's not very useful and I certainly can't do anything with it."
The room was deathly silent as the words soaked in and seeped their way into the assembled mechs' processors.
"Dear Primus." Jazz whispered, horrified. "There were sparklin's on tha' ship."
"It was a Seeker Neutral ship." First Aid supplied hesitantly. The kid was a brilliant protégé in medicine, but he was in no way comfortable as a public speaker. "We saw hatchling protoforms floating among the debris."
Everybot in the room looked distinctly sick, but none more so that Optimus. Ironhide could only imagine what the news did to him.
"Didn't the Seekers have a deal with Megatron?" Prowl asked, confusion tinting his otherwise neutral tone.
"It would appear that Megatron is not seeking to keep his deals. Even to his own army." Optimus said sadly.
"We already knew that." Ratchet grouched, still digging through the medical tools First Aid had brought with them.
Prowl suddenly looked thoughtful. "This could work to our advantage. Perhaps if there were a few who were shown the truth it would create unrest among Megatron's forces."
"Would they even believe us?" Hoist asked.
"Ah would say we have some compelling evidence…" The saboteur said wryly, clawed black digit jabbing to the closed blast doors.
Optimus was staring at the fidgeting First Aid and the strangely silent Ironhide. "That is not all, is it?"
"Well, we did find survivors…" The Protectobot began before Ratchet interrupted.
"And you didn't bring them with you?" His tone was sharp and accusing, First Aid wilting slightly.
"That's why we needed the room cleared and for you to meet us here." Ironhide cut across Ratchet's protests before he could go off on one of his famous temper tantrums before anything could be explained. "We don't need them stressed anymore as it is."
"Oh?" The CMO's optics narrowed, suggesting that an explanation had better come quickly. His arms had crossed over his chassis again.
Ironhide didn't waste another word, instead pressing a digit to his mouth to indicate quiet as he carefully opened his carrying hold and prompting wide optic'd realization as he reached in and gently removed the sleeping winglet. Stormvice, thankfully, remained in recharge though his little face was glistening with flash frozen optical fluid and his little cheeks were still flushed from all his crying. The orange Seeker child curled further into the warm crook of Ironhide's arm, tiny clawed servos hooking on plating.
First Aid did the same, the little green frame of Pinpoint cupped in both of his servos. Unlike his brother, however, the tiny infant was awake and staring curiously without fear at all of the new faces around him with wide, innocent orange-yellow optics. That was a surprise. He chirred softly, sounding confused, little firsts curling and uncurling as his little brow furrowed.
You could practically see Optimus melt.
And then they all startled when a loud clang echoed through the room. This in turn had the consequence of waking up Stormvice with a frightened squeak. There were a few blurry moments of the sparkling shuttering and then reshuttering his optic covers while the mechs in the room glared at Sideswipe who had knocked over a pile of the salvaged metal beams they had gathered.
The first terrified hiccup was all the warning they received before an audio shattering howl of fear escaped the sparkling's vocalizer.
They all cringed before looking absolutely at a loss. That was, they were at a loss until Optimus could take no more of his spark breaking and snatched the tiny thing from Ironhide to cuddle him close to his spark. After several soothing pulses of his spark energy and the Matrix reaching for the small terrified spark, Stormvice soothed enough to stop wailing. Yet the tears continued to streak down his cheeks.
Optimus wasn't sure what was worse. The silent weeping or the loud sobbing.
Stormvice, as Optimus had learned the small orange seeker was called, had exhausted himself into recharge again and lay curled on the medberth beside the Prime's leg and blanketed by the large servo. The green infant, Pinpoint, was still wide awake and curious. Wide optics wandered around the medbay, little things making him chirp and coo with the occasional clap that startled Optimus a few times.
Both had been through so much so young, but the only one seemingly old enough to have been affected negatively was Stormvice.
Ratchet was still scanning their different spark energies, frowning. Jazz had remained in the docking bay to oversee the sorting of the supplies along with Hoist who would help field questions until Prime decided it was time to release such sensitive information. The medbay was blessedly quiet as well, Ratchet's base wide threat warning mechs away keeping them away.
"And he claimed them brothers?" Ratchet was asking of First Aid, the Protectobot rocking Pinpoint gently while the winglet swatted at his chassis.
His protégé nodded. "Yes sir."
"Hmmm…" Ratchet turned back to the screens. "Well, one thing is for sure. They are not spark brothers. In fact, Stormvice's spark energy patterns doesn't even fit in with those of Pinpoint and the sample of Overstrike's you brought for me. Pinpoint was indeed his…" He trailed off, mumbling for himself for a few moments before realization washed over his features. "Of course. If Stormvice had maybe lost his creators before and was in the process of an imprint…"
"Then he has lost his parental support twice." Optimus intoned sadly.
"It would seem that way." Ratchet sighed, his gaze lingering on the curled ball of Seekerlet. "Frag." He scrubbed his servos across his faceplates. "They're going to have to stay here, aren't they?"
Optimus sat and thought. "That is a decision I cannot make on my own, Ratchet. We will need the cooperation of the Ark to keep them safe and in a stable environment until a solution is found. As for now, yes. They will need to stay. Where else would they go?"
A long, deep sigh punctuated by the rattling of vents as the medico came to stand beside his leader and look down at the miserable little bundle of Seekerling. "He's going to have a rough time ahead of him, this one." He grimaced. "Megatron is going to have a lot of answering to do when he finally faces Primus."
"Sirs…" First Aid interrupted, walking up to the both of them, Pinpoint now stuffing one of the white digits into his mouth and chewing on it. "What are we going to do about caring arrangements?"
Both Autobot Leader and CMO frowned at that. "That does pose a problem." Optimus rumbled.
"Prime, I would be willing to take them - " Ironhide spoke up from where he was leaning against the wall beside the doors.
"No, Ironhide." The medic was firm on this. "You're an officer of the Autobot Army, Weapons Master and Trainer, a frontline warrior and the Prime's bodyguard! The last thing we need is for you attention to be split raising younglings on top of it!"
"They're going to need someone who's goin' ta be understandin' and ablt ta protect them, medic! From Decepticons and Autobots alike! You can't pretend that every Autobot out there is going to accept them merely because they're sparklin's! They're gonna take one look and just think 'Seeker'!"
"You glitch CPU'd defragger! You don't think I know that! I'm just saying it can't be you! Or any other officer for that matter!" Despite the harsh words going back and forth, both were aware to keep their voices quiet for the exhausted Stormvice who was beginning to turn restlessly in his sleep until Optimus picked him up to cradle his against his chestplates where he settled again.
It was at this point that Pinpoint decided that he was tired of being ignored. He bit down irritably on the digit in his mouth, sharp little infantile dentae digging into the sensitive plating on the junior medic's servos.
"Ow!" The Protectobot jerked his finger away on a knee jerk reaction, rather more forcefully than he had meant to and startling Pinpoint.
The baby whimpered, big fat tears starting to gather in his optics and bottom lip quivering before he opened his mouth to wail… Only to be whisked into the CMO's arms and a tube originating from the medic's wrist stuck into his mouth.
The baby chewed on it for a moment, before offering a happy chirp and sucking on the tube vigorously, no tear shed involved. Every mech looked at the CMO curiously, waiting for explanation.
"He was hungry."
"How do you know that?" Ironhide asked, watching First Aid inspect his bitten digit.
"The way he kept putting Aid's digit in his mouth and the fact that he was bitten. Infants this small only use their mouths for two things. Making noise and eating. He most likely got frustrated he wasn't finding anything in Aid's digit that can be comprised of energon."
"He sure does bite hard." First Aid sighed, after coming to the conclusion that his digit wasn't damaged beyond scuffed paint.
"Not at all." Ratchet clarified, glowering at the grinning Ironhide. It was rather hard to look intimidating with an infant feeding in your arms afterall. "His jaws aren't strong enough to really do any damage. You're a medic Aid. You should know this."
"Oh! My servos…" First Aid sounded sheepish. It was true, now that he thought of it. Should the child have bitten Ironhide or even one of his brothers, they would have only felt pressure. However, a medic's servos were their most important tools and therefore the most sensitive appendage on their frames.
No wonder it had hurt.
At that moment, the medbay doors cycled open, two mechs coming through. One was lying over the other's shoulder, the smaller struggling to support him. First Aid rushed forward, recognizing his brothers. "What happened?" He asked, before Ratchet could snap at them.
"Well, seems that Blades kind of … well…" The tan and white two wheeler otherwise known as Groove began.
"Please do not tell me he got into another fight with Slingshot." Ratchet growled menacingly, his engine revving and making the small Pinpoint begin to purr as he filled up.
Groove shook his helm. "Nah. Sunstreaker." He breathed a sigh of relief as First Aid and Ironhide relieved him of his brother's weight. "Oh, hey… O…P… That's a sparkling."
"It is." Optimus said carefully, the little bundle in his arms stirring.
"A Seeker sparkling." Groove clarified.
It was silent for quite a few moments, allowing Stormvice's optics to open and widen as he plastered himself to the Prime and glanced in fear at all the faces around him. Especially the new ones. He whimpered in fear, pressing even closer to the Prime whom his spark had already recognized as safety. They held their collective intakes, waiting for the Protectobot's reaction. Groove, not one who wasn't sensitive to the atmosphere around him knew they were waiting for… something.
So, as he was wont to do, he went with the most natural thing he felt.
The atmosphere of the room lightened considerably as Groove drew closer to get a better view and Stormvice tried to burrow further into Optimus' embrace.
Pinpoint, sensing the distress of his adopted brother, spat out the feeding line and trilled, drawing Groove's attention. "There are two of them…" Realization hit and cobalt blue optics widened. "Survivors."
"Yes. Survivors." Optimus said, extracting the little black claws of Stormvice's servos from his armor before setting him down. He had just received and urgent communiqué from Prowl on the bridge and was needed immediately. The little flier made a noise of distress as the large mech moved away, taking the warmth of his spark with him.
Prime's spark constricted and he hesitated at the door.
A hand on his arm brought his attention to the small Protectobot.
"Go, Prime. I'll watch him for ya."
Optimus hesitated, looking at the once more silently crying orange Seekerlet. "Thank you, Groove. Ratchet, I'll return when this is taken care of."
With that, he turned and left the room, Ironhide right behind him.
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