Title: Size & Seek
Warning: Read this fic at your own risk.
Also, some bad science.
There is no Shattered Glass Metroplex or his minions, so I'm doing a lot of research and making it up as I go.
Continuity: G1 (Footnotes AU) / Shattered Glass
It is not necessary to read the Footnotes series to understand this fic, but it is set in the same universe. Some of the world-building is involved.
Characters: Starscream, Thundercracker, Skywarp, Metroplex, Ratchet, Scamper, Slammer, Six-Gun
Disclaimer: The theatre doesn't own the script or actors, nor does it make a profit from the play.
Motivation (Prompt): Kinkmeme prompt. If you give a Shattered Glass cityformer three G1 Seekers, at least he'll have a spare.
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From TFWiki –
joor = 6 hours
cycle = 1.25 hours
breem = 8.3 minutes
klik = 1.2 minutes
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It wasn't the strangest situation they'd ever been in. No, Skywarp rather thought that honor went to the time Thundercracker had gotten the Glitz Virus. It had been severely weird to be out-airheaded by Thundercracker. Starscream had actually requested a transfer to another trine in the first two days before somebody finally diagnosed why half the Decepticon fleet had discovered their previously-unknown attraction to shiny objects. Skywarp most strongly remembered getting really annoyed by the medical mech who wouldn't leave him alone. He had a short attention span; that did not mean he had been infected. He'd spent the entire time Thundercracker was down in defragment getting chased around Darkmount by an ever-increasing horde of angry medics who wouldn't take "I'm like this all the time!" as an answer.
Decepticon medics were scary. Decepticon medics in groups(1) were enough to make Skywarp live in Starscream's shadow for days at a time, which hadn't made his wingleader any more inclined to cancel the transfer request. It took far too long for Thundercracker to get out of defragment and vouch for Skywarp's normal behavior. Starscream had sarcastically denied any knowledge of what constituted normal for Skywarp when the medics demanded a statement. It would have made Skywarp angry, but he'd been too unnerved at the time to do more than yelp and flee. Besides, he had been designed to be unpredictable. Starscream might have been intentionally tormenting him, but likely he was telling the truth, too.
By the time Thundercracker rescued him, Skywarp had developed a seriously bizarre behaviorism for a flyer. Having found by trial and error - that is, teleporting screaming a hair away from capture - that the medics checked small, confined spaces last, he'd taken to finding and staying in the most securely closed-off rooms in the base. Seekers didn't recharge or hide in tiny rooms and cubbyholes because most of them were claustrophobic. Given the choice between claustrophobia and iatrophobia, however, Skywarp picked the fear of enclosed spaces. Walls might close in, but they weren't going to help him against his will. And he got used to the claustrophobia, but he'd never gotten over his fear of medics.
So this wasn't the strangest situation they'd ever been in. Thundercracker wasn't squealing over and chasing his own wingtips. Starscream wasn't any more enraged than usual. Skywarp wasn't being hunted for your own good.
Although the situation did rank pretty high on Skywarp's personal list of strange. There had been a swirling vortex of mad science(2) that picked them up and shook them, then dumped them in a crunching pile. It left all three jets doubled over on the ground. They'd seen triple of absolutely nothing much, excluding error messages. Those they saw - and heard and, oh worse, felt - everywhere, painting their internal viewscapes lurid, strobing colors that hadn't helped the rocking nausea any. They'd clutched dirt and prayed in garbled, expletive-laden sincerity to whomever listened that gravity should please start making sense now, please and thank you, sir, may I have another? Oh, Primus, my tanks…
That hadn't been any fun. Dizzy and sick as their circuitry insisted that there were four centers of gravity all at right angles, they'd gradually graduated to sitting up. They'd braced against each other and whimpered for a while, helplessly unable to pin down the wavering horizon line that all their instrumentation blandly told them was under their feet.
Starscream had gagged and panicked as much as they, but he had a weird mind. All sciency and analytical once he got that first hysterical period out of the way. He'd fumbled for them, voice too unsteady to give them instructions they couldn't listen to without nauseating interference from their screwed-up audio receptors. Thundercracker had purged his tanks of half-processed energon with the first movement - moving by themselves had been bad enough, but getting pulled on jolted everything out of whack - but Starscream was persistent. Skywarp and Thundercracker had whined and complained, and he'd hoarsely whispered a rain of curses and orders down on their idiot heads. He tugged them by tiny increments into some sort of recovery position: their heads between their knees, lined up with the tops of their helms pressed between the next mech's wings.
Having his knee joints clamped around his head had helped. It had proven that his head wasn't really moving, something that had been in real doubt when he'd been just laying there. He could see and feel dirt beneath his thrusters, right there before his optics. His aft was planted in that same dirt. It gave him direction: that there stuff? Yeah, that. That was down. Down meant gravity. With his head not wobbling like a bobble-head on a car dashboard, it was a relief to realize there was one reliable direction. Sitting like that forced his instrumentation to reboot as his optics steadily fed the same data into his flight computer and assorted calculations for his teleportation device's model projection.
Sitting there with the top of his head pressed between Starscream's wings, Thundercracker's head firm in the center of his own back, Skywarp had quietly moaned his misery for who-knows-how long. His systems peaked and spun down, cycled up and turned almost off, over and over again. Onboard computers fought a battle of numbers and sensation, and he could barely think straight when they prodded him for decisions.
No. I'm not level.
No. That's still not level.
No. Blurgh, that's even worse. Command order: realignment sequence: interrupt. Direct query: optical array status?
Optical array: 75% power.
Malfunctioning, but not that bad. Direct query: audio array status?
Audio array: 55% power.
That's a problem, alright. Command order: audio array: reboot hardware.
Audio array: reboot hardware: Y/N?
Audio array: reboot completed.
Direct query: audio array status?
Audio array: 85% power.
Command order: realignment sequence: resume.
No. Please don't do that again, me. I don't like that. Command order: realignment sequence: interrupt. Direct query: audio array processor status?
Audio array processor: 25% operational.
Okay, ouch. No wonder. Command order: audio array processor: scan software.
Audio array: initiate scan: Y/N?
Audio array processor: scan completed. Data error: 14b.6. Corrupt code: line 202, 306, 5540, 5541, 5542…
…really ouch. Retrieval order: backup management log: audio array processor code backup copy.
Audio array processor: retrieval order: backup management log: audio array processor code backup copy:
-Error warning: backup copy update required. Backup maintenance cycle: Y/N?
What? No. Yeah, because I'd be asking for my backup if I had solid code. Like that makes any sense. No, I don't want to run backup maintenance right now! Retrieval order: backup management log: audio array processor code backup copy.
Audio array processor: retrieval order: backup management log: audio array processor code backup copy:
-Error warning: backup copy update required. Maintenance backup cycle: Y/N?
No. No! No, no, and NO. Oh, for the love of… Command order: backup management log: update override.
Backup management log: update override: access denied.
Is it possible to kill myself? Would anybody mind? I wouldn't. Command order: backup management log: backup files: scan file data.
Backup management log: backup files: initiate file scan: Y/N?
Yes. Do it, or I'll shoot you! Myself. Whatever!
Backup management log: backup files: file scan completed. Data error: not detected.
Yes! Thank you, Primus!
-Error warning: backup files update required. Backup maintenance cycle: Y/N?
I take that back. Bad Primus. No. Command order: backup management log: scan software.
Backup management log: initiate file scan: Y/N?
Yes. I'd pray to you right now, Primus, but I think you've got it out for me.
Backup management log: scan completed. Data error: 12a.55. An error occurred during automatic file extraction.
A decompression error? Ah, frag. Command order: backup management log: manual access.
Backup management log: manual access: Y/N?
Yes. Manually retrieving backup files…this is going to take forever.
Time blurred as badly as the dirt between his thrusters, and Skywarp fought a twitching internal battle of royally messed up data. His only comfort came from the intimate contact from in front and behind. Thundercracker's systems throbbed throaty, aggravated rumbles directly into his main vertical support structure. His internals raggedly jumped, catching his wingmate's system rhythm bit by bit until they synced. It was a familiar feeling, however awful the experience was currently. Skywarp's head buzzed unpleasantly against Starscream's faster, more stymied system turnover. Starscream could feel Thundercracker through Skywarp, but he'd always resisted syncing with them. Again, it was a familiar happening: two wingmates trying through sound and touch to wrestle their third wingmate into their pattern. It just felt particularly upsetting right now because they shared queasy sensations that doubled and tripled with the sharing.
Thundercracker had better system connection than their trineleader, and the gut-level shunk as he wrestled one of his flight systems under control could be physically felt. Skywarp's systems sputtered and tried to turn over spontaneously in the middle of a downdrift, frantically reversing to match the new rhythm. The three Decepticons moved uneasily, systems out of alignment and struggling for rhythm, but the dull throbbing settled slowly. It was…a little better.
Starscream wordlessly pinged a piece of code at them both, the subtler tuhtuhtuh of cerebral circuitry realigning with his body functions permeating them all. Their wingleader sorted through codes and programs grimly, leaving physical systems to them as he tore out corrupted data and manually replaced it with backups and newly rewritten lines. Internal system boards glowed painful neon colors, pulsating with error messages and system refusals as he overrode his onboard computer and attacked his own programming. His focus hurt with its intensity, as upsetting mentally as physically fighting out-of-tune body parts was for Thundercracker. The Decepticon Air Commander's face was a mask of inward-turned anger and raw nerves. Thundercracker just retched fuel again, this time down Skywarp's back, and hiccupped as his energon intakes noisily gulped and rejected air.
Skywarp balanced between them, acting as a buffer cushion between Thundercracker's systems and Starscream's furious thought. He hazily accepted their modifications and let the complex drumming of their bodies wash through him. His systems were unfastened, loose at the seams, and his wingmates were tightening him down. They were all pretty bad off. He didn't know why, but he'd been hit worst of all them. Possibly it was because of the nature of his teleportation device. The spacebridge always mucked with his spatial sense, and the vortex that had grabbed them? Definitely worse than the spacebridge by itself. It was like comparing a turbofox to Bruticus: one would bite his ankle, and the other would punt him straight into the arms of evil medics. That vortex was the evil medic Bruticus of transportation.
One thing he knew for sure: this wasn't Cybertron. That was where they were supposed to go, but Cybertron didn't have dirt. And, he realized when he finally dared to lift his head in defiance of Starscream's grunt of protest, it didn't have giant feet. Not that giant, anyway. Not even an evil medic Bruticus would have feet the size of – of - well, they were really big.
"Uh…guys?" he pushed out, static lacing his voice. With his audios buzzing so loudly, he wasn't sure if that was audio or vocalizer damage. He absently started a chain of query/command orders to find out, but most of his attention was directed up. And up. And further upward, to where a face the size of - oh, very big. He'd have preferred an entire medical bay of evil medics to this kind of big.
Especially since the Autobot insignia below that face was roughly the size of a Seeker smushed flat. Skywarp had no way to verify that size comparison, but it felt viscerally correct. His body rattled, shuddered, and went terribly still. Terrible because that kind of stillness wasn't natural, and pressed against and synced with him as they were, it struck his wingmates' systems like a sledgehammer of dread. Skywarp wasn't just afraid. Skywarp was terrified.
Even through the shock and static, he could hear Starscream's resigned sigh. "I don't want to look up, do I."
Thundercracker's head raised, winching up with a lot of effort against nausea and low-fuel warnings. He paused. His head dropped back down like a stone. "No," he said, deep voice flatly ponging off Skywarp's armor. It shivered through their internal systems.
Of course Starscream looked. If he backed down from facing fear, he'd have never made it to Second in Command of the Decepticons. He liked to know what direction to dodge in, after all. But it seemed that there wouldn't be a lot of dodging to be done in this situation. He looked. His body cried its complete inability to stand up, much less fight. He absently wondered why the Autobot's insignia was a bright, Decepticon purple.
Then he calmly, if shakily, raised his arms in surrender.
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(1)What was a group of Decepticon medics called, anyway? A group of Decepticons was a faction, so…what? Flock? Irritant? Dehabilitation? Threat?
(2)The spacebridge involved lots of science, and lots of math. The 'mad' part came from the fight between Mixmaster and Wheeljack. Wheeljack had been trying to sabotage the spacebridge while the Skywarp's trine had been inside, defending the stack of energon cubes from the Autobot attack. Mixmaster had tried to intervene. Even Mixmaster's own teammates had joined the ripple of silent, still horror that spread through the pitched Autobot-Decepticon battle as the two crazy scientists faced off over a monumentally important and complicated piece of Cybertronian technology. This, everyone had thought no matter the faction, will not end well.
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A/N: I will not be responding to reviews. Be warned of this if you choose to review! If you actually want to talk about something, contact me via the site.