Disclaimer: I own only the laptop I write this on, and several dozen comics, a few movies and toys. Made solely for entertainment value and no profit.
A/N: This idea bit me after seeing one of the Wrenches of Inspirations posted over at the ratchet x twins LJ page.
"I've said it before and I'll say it again. I'll be fine." The white mech, currently cruising along in his altmode commented via comm chat to the mech on the other end. He could almost hear Prowl's doorwings twitching in annoyance. That's what the fragger got for always being a pain in the aft about refueling, perhaps if Prowl was more concerned about his welfare, Ratchet would care more about his own.
Nah, probably not.
"Prime was sending you an escort." He pointed out, still not happy with this turn of events.
"And I told Prime that I've traveled the wastelands more times than he's bested his brother in a duel." Low blow, but it was the truth for the most part anyway, Ratchet hadn't traveled this particular route before but that was a minor technicality.
"There have been increased reports of attacks of cyberwolves on travelers in that area, I really must insist you return to Kaon and wait for your escort t-"
"Ksst…rrcchhh. What's that Prowl? Fzzt. You're breaking up. Chhhhh." Ratchet cut the connection without delay; he didn't need the glitch lecturing him. He had half a mind to take the doorwinger over his knee and give him a good spanking when he reached Iacon. Sadly, it was frowned upon when said doorwinger was no longer the youngling he had the opportunity to care for, that and Prowl had a mate now and Ratchet was pretty sure Jazz wouldn't like him getting physical with the tactician.
Left to his thoughts Ratchet lapsed into silence as he drove on, dodging the random spires of various metallic elements and trying his best not to disturb the wildlife that existed in the wastelands between cities. For the most part it was peaceful out here, he didn't get why they were called the wastelands, sure it wasn't developed like the rest of the planet, but these patches of undisturbed metal took him back to a far simpler time. It wasn't as if there was no life out here, there just wasn't life in the same fashion as in the cities.
He counted petrorabbits as they hopped along, nibbling on the ores and raw energon deposits that were unsafe for transformers to consume. Thankfully, though he did spy a few turbofoxes, they weren't hunting, and were mostly playing and enjoying the rare sunlight as Cybertron drifted passed a star, the planet was constantly adrift in the galaxy and times like this were rare. As it stood they were nearing the end of their time in the light and would very soon return to the darkness of space as their planet was far too large to be pulled into gravitational fields of most stars.
Again, his thoughts were wandering, back to the wildlife.
The real danger out here came in the form of much larger predators, in this part of the world that meant turbowolves. Most were the size of a minibot's altmode though there were rumors, whispers and legends of beasts far larger.
They were nothing but sparkling tales, created to teach lessons and keep little ones from wandering too far from city borders.
While Ratchet had never had the chance to see a turbowolf in person, he did have experience with other large predators in other parts of the planet. While there had been a few close calls, it was mostly a matter of either puffing up and scaring off said predator (easier than one might think) or making slow enough movements so as not to become an object of interest.
Unfortunately, what Ratchet did not know, and any conversation with Hound might have informed him of, was that turbowolves were highly territorial and that this particular region was currently suffering from a decline in prey species which was making the predators overly violent from starvation. While Ratchet had made made many wasteland treks before, never once had his route encroached on the ever changing boundary lines that indicated a packs territory.
He heard the howls long before he saw a flash of metal in the distance. He wasn't fazed by the sounds, there were all sorts of critters, and all sorts of noises one could hear in the wastelands. What did set him on edge was what his scanners began to pick up. There were simple spark signatures closing in. They weren't moving quickly enough for him to worry about an attack, but he had certainly caught someone's interest. A whole pack of someones.
When he visually saw the first turbowolf he figured he'd try to make them back off quickly and avoid a prolonged confrontation. Letting his siren wail he kicked his lights on, hoping the sight and sound would be enough to scare the beast away.
The first creature did keep its distance, ears pinned back and tail down, though it was clear Ratchet's display hadn't frightened it off, it almost appeared to be contemplating the situation, and what to do next.
Rather than take up chase the turbowolf planted its paws and tossed its head back with deep howl, one that was echoed and answered.
Great, it was calling its friends.
Ratchet was only mildly worried now. This turbowolf was minibot sized, and while a pack of minibot sized turbowolves was dangerous, he still had a few tricks up his armor.
When he saw three of the beasts he became nervous. He turned off his lights and sirens in favor of focusing on his path, though the beasts and their four legged modes could easily out run his frame which was not designed to take on the uneven ground at anything faster than a moderate pace.
When he saw five closing in he began to panic. When all seven members of the pack were on his trail he threw caution to the wind and sped over the landscape. He ignored any bumps and the jarring he was putting his frame through; it was a far better outcome than becoming a turbowolf's plaything.
They nipped at his frame, easily keeping up with the medic and knocking his frame, more than once he almost collided with a natural pillar when they gave him a shove. Sharp fangs scratched and tore at plating and somewhere in Ratchet's processes he realized, he wasn't prey, he was an intruder, the only question was whether they'd kill him for trespassing or merely chase him out of their territory.
A warning flashed when he lost a piece of armor and a few energon and coolant lines along with it. The more violent the attacks the more clear his situation became. Never once did he inwardly admit that Prowl had been right, he wouldn't deactivate giving the Praxian that satisfaction.
His engine whined as he pushed his frame to its limits and beyond, ignoring the various flashes and warnings he was getting. Ahead, the world seemed to open up, out of the dense wilderness and into more open fields of sloping planes. If he could only make it that far he could try to out run them.
Sadly, it seemed Fate and Primus were conspiring against him. He felt the weight of a turbowolf on his frame trying to slow him down, it worked. The pack was skilled in bringing down prey larger than themselves, a trespasser was no different. Other wolves used powerful jaws to grab the medic's frame, jaws gripping tight enough to dent and puncture plating.
In a last ditch effort to rid himself of his attackers Ratchet tried again, letting his siren whoop and wail in an attempt to startle them. He didn't need to chase them off, just jar them enough to make an escape for open plains.
What he didn't hear was the howl, two howls, that echoed in the wake of his siren blast. He didn't need to hear the sounds, the turbowolves did. They took pause, ears up, displaying a wide range of emotions; Ratchet wasn't paying attention, he took the momentary pause in attack to gun his engine, shaking the turbowolf off his frame as he made a break for it.
The pack was on his trail in an instant, that was fine, he had a clear path ahea-
Two figures seemed to materialize out of the distance, brightly colored frames making them easy to spot. They didn't seem big, but then, they were far away; the closer they came at a dead run, the larger they were.
Holy slag on a stick.
If the turbowolves behind him were minibot sized, the two racing for him were nearly Prime sized. Ratchet swerved to the side, almost rolling his altmode over in his haste to avoid slamming straight into the much larger turbowolf like creatures ahead of him. If he'd been herded into a trap, where the younglings had driven him to the adults for the kill, by Primus he wasn't going to make it easy on them.
Thankfully, the two flashy behemoth sized beasts weren't interested in attacking the medic, instead they leapt for the pack, creating chaos in a carnal fashion. Ratchet had to slow as his sensors caught wind of the fight. True, these two new predators could be just chasing off competition, but in all honesty the medic was growing exhausted. He'd rarely ever pushed himself so hard and he knew he was leaking energon from a few bite wounds that were lucky enough to snag wires and tubes.
While he didn't stop completely, he did slow considerably, behind him the two beasts tore through the pack. While numbers were on the side of the smaller mechaniods, strength, speed and over all battle prowess seemed to favor the larger. It seemed to last for a lifetime, but in the span of only a few minutes the two beasts had driven off the pack, which was when two violent pairs of optics turned in his direction.
Ratchet took that as a sign that his break was over and kicked his engine into high gear again. At least now he was on a flatter terrain, stood a better chance of out running the creatures.
Sadly for Ratchet, a combination of being wounded and quickly running low on energy coupled with the fact that he severely underestimated the pair chasing him, had the two on his bumper in seconds.
The red and black one yipped, a far more friendly sound than he'd heard since this whole chase began. The mostly yellow one said nothing but tried sniffing at the medic's altmode-difficult to do when the medic insisted on continuing forward.
With two powerful jaws filled with sharpened fangs too close for comfort Ratchet blared his siren. It seemed to startle the pair, but they matched it by pausing their steps and releasing howls, only to trot forward and catch back up with the white and red medic. Red seemed to want some form of attention, nudging the medic's frame with far more care than the smaller wolves had given, and while yellow seemed to keep his distance but was constantly nosing closer to sniff whenever he thought Ratchet wasn't paying attention.
Ratchet, for all his worry over what these creatures could do to him, was far too tired and in too much pain to put up much of a fight. He could transform and try to use his small blaster on them, but to do so would expose himself, his altmode was better protected as the armor completely incased his sensitive protoform-save for where the smaller turbowolves had ripped away plating.
Lost in his thoughts briefly, and he blamed his energon deprivation on that, he was caught completely off guard by the red twin who licked his glossa along one of the scratch wounds on the medic's frame. "The FRAG do you think you're doing?" Ratchet finally shouted, it wasn't as if the beasts could understand him, but he wasn't some meal to be licked at!
For his part, the red one pinned his ears back and looked a bit put out, though he moved forward again to nuzzle against Ratchet's side as the medic huffed. While it didn't seem as though they were guiding or directing him, Ratchet did notice a cave in the distance, an area where the metal plates that made up the planet had cracked shifted and buckled. Some of these caves led to the deepest parts of the planets core, other were only wide enough for a minibot to fit through.
When the medic tried to alter his course to go around the opening he was nudged back by the red beast, trying to go the other way he received a growl from the yellow one. Realizing that they weren't just following him but actually guiding him towards the natural structure had him nervous. They hadn't been violent to him yet, but that could all change in a sparkbeat.