CHAPTER: ONE - "Bomb Shelter"
CONTINUITY: Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye | IDW Comics
RATING: PG-13 for various bits of mention of robot gore.
SUMMARY: The Scavengers are on their way back to Cybertron. Krok is recovering from his injuries. Crankcase is grouchy. Misfire talks a lot. Spinister shoots things. Fulcrum has a few panic attacks. Grimlock is Grimlock. Some Autobots also can't let things go.
DISCLAIMER: None of the characters are owned by the author, simply written for amusement and the fact that the Scavengers don't receive nearly enough attention as they ought to.


The W.A.P., as it was so fondly named, isn't an awful ship by any means. A little... okay a lot dingy, hardly holding together, and barely scraping by on fuel reserves, but frankly, it's not like Fulcrum has much room to argue. They're on their way back, and he's more than glad to put a distance between themselves and Clemency. The traveling had been kind of odd to get through; Grimlock hardly reacted while he and Crankcase dragged him through the deserted planet, but his legs seemed to work just fine to walk along. Unsurprisingly, Crankcase pointed out that he wouldn't be surprised if at any moment Grimlock would snap out of it and tear them all to pieces because that would just be their luck.

"Nah," Misfire had assured cheerfully. "He'd probably just set us on fire and walk off."

With that optimistic thought in mind, they boarded without trouble to the ship. Without really anywhere to put him and not wanting to set off Spinister who was still working on repairing Krok, they kind of just shoved Grimlock into the most convenient place possible without having him get in the way.

A cleaning supplies closet.

"Well, I guess maybe he'll smell nice by the time we get to Cybertron," Fulcrum mutters to himself.

It might be a bit much to hope for, but a nice, quiet trip back home - home, finally - would be pleasant. It would be great and there'd be less dying and dead people and that's all pretty spectacular. For the first couple of hours? All of that had been true. Short of Spinister complaining that the ceiling sounded threatening and that he wanted to shoot it and Crankcase snapping at him just focus on fixing Krok, it'd been fairly easygoing. Much to Fulcrum's surprise, Crankcase is actually a pretty damned competent pilot. Maybe not as shocking as Spinister's capacity to be a freaking brilliant surgeon, but hey, who's counting how many surprises have been happening here?

While he'd been still exploring the ship for the sake of curiosity, as he was going to be stuck here for awhile, Fulcrum stumbles in the hallway as he hears Crankcase on their commlinks.

"Fulcrum, get on the bridge. Misfire is driving me insane."

"...Right, okay. How am I supposed to help?" The K-Class Decepticon squints at the hologram in his arm.

"Probably not by much, but I won't be the only one suffering."

There's a heavy exhale from Fulcrum's vents; he's not really in a position to argue and he gets it. It's not that Misfire's bad, he rather likes the talkative jet, but his focus is awful and he apparently needs to be kept busy. Leaving him in the hands of Crankcase probably hadn't been the best idea when the grumpy mech is trying to, you know, pilot.

Upon entering the bridge, Misfire's attention is quickly withdrawn from the pilot and steered right to Fulcrum, practically draping himself over the smaller Decepticon. The attention's still weird and he hasn't really wrapped his processor around it yet, but all Fulcrum can do is shrug and learn when to smile and nod when Misfire begins to ramble on much ado about nothing. Eventually, the purple mech found himself becoming occupied in picking little stones from the creases along Fulcrum's plating, still chatting his one-sided conversation pertaining to a tale of Flywheels, fuzzy brown boots, and dancing, which apparently had been really hilarious at the time and "you had to be there to really get it" and "hey did anyone remember to take his feet with us, they were some incredible feet."

Fulcrum just shakes his head, flinching a little as Misfire tugs out another pebble from his back.

"Not that it makes a whole lot of sense for us to put on clothes wouldn't that get in the way of transforming?" Misfire muses, the lack of filter between his mouth and his processor extremely apparent. He pauses only for a moment before he's dragging Fulcrum to a chair and shoving him down to sit. "But you know I've heard it around at least once or twice and I guess a cape would be kind of impressive but then where does it go when you transform I mean-" Misfire sits down across from Fulcrum, yanking the dud bomb-former's foot up onto his lap as he picks at the pebbles there next. "-it's gonna be basically some vehicle driving around all like heyyyy I'm a fabulous carrrr how awesome am I until you trip up or it gets sucked into your turbines or whatever."

Fulcrum flinches as another pebble is pulled out, clenching his jaw to try to not laugh. That's horridly ticklish. "Obviously when we get back home, you should join the Fashion Police."

"You think there is one? There should be. I'd fashion the hell out of Cybertron. I'd make the whole damn planet wear a cozy, fluffy jacket." Misfire flicks the pebble away, aiming for Crankcase's head, and missing entirely as it bounces off the console instead.

"Quit it," Crankcase snaps.

Ignoring the pilot entirely, Misfire works on the next piece of stone caught up in Fulcrum's heel. This time, he's unable to stifle a burst of laughter, squirming in his chair. Hardly alarmed and just grinning widely, Misfire makes a point of wiggling his fingers over Fulcrum's foot.

"H-heh-! Stop it!" Fulcrum snorts and tries to kick at him, but it's not very strong and the jet just gives him a big, dumb smile.

"You're definitely the worst Decepticon ever," Misfire muses, finally plucking the piece of rock out.

With a sheepish smile, Fulcrum just shrugs at the purple Scavenger; Misfire flicks the pebble away and it hits the ceiling.

Suddenly, the ship hit turbulence somehow, throwing both of them out of their chairs. With a grunt, Fulcrum finds himself pinned under Misfire while he hears him shout defensively, "That wasn't me! ...Was it? Crankcase?"

"Slagging..." Crankcase grumbles. "No, something tore off. We're stalled until I figure out what happened."

"That figures." Fulcrum gently shoves Misfire off of him. "What's the plan?"

"Well, idealy, I head outside and take a look. Could use a hand." Crankcase points at Misfire. "Watch the console. Don't press anything. All right? Just wanna make sure nothing is coming at us."

"Watch all of the blinking colorful lights and not touch them?" Misfire gives a heavy sigh from his vents. "Okay, okay."

"C'mon, Fulcrum." Crankcase grumbles to himself as he heads down the hall with the more hesitant lanky mech behind him.

"Y'know, I'm more of a computer engineer than I am a mechanic. You're gonna have a better idea of what you're looking at," Fulcrum points out.

"Yeah, but you can follow directions. With Krok out of commission right now and Flywheels being, you know, dead? You're what I got. I sure as frag aren't asking Spinister, Misfire, or for Pit's sake Grimlock for help with this."

Fulcrum rubs the back of his helm. "Eh, good point."

As the pair continue down to head towards the airlock, Spinister pokes his head out from the medbay, red optics wide in both concern and curiosity. "Crankcase? Was it the ceiling? I said the ceiling was bad. I should have shot it! It was making all kinds of noises."

"Don't worry about it," Crankcase scoffs. "Just keep putting Krok back together."

Fulcrum leans over Crankcase's shoulder to address their unusually talented medic. "How's he doing, anyway?"

"Oh, well, I got all of the holes plugged up good, so he's not leaking every where now. But, his optics are all punctured, so he's pretty much blind until we have replacement parts." Spinister scratches absently as his own chevron. "He's gonna be fine. Hasn't woken up yet, though."

There's a sudden yank on his prominent chin as Fulcrum is forced to be dragged along with Crankcase. "Well- that's good news...? Ow, Crankcase, I'm coming!"

Watching the pair go, Spinister mutters to himself, "I knew I should have shot the ceiling."


"Yep. Turbine tore off," Crankcase growls. "Took one of the capacitors with it. Not that we have replacements."

"So... what? You can kind of, I don't know, hotwire it?" Fulcrum rubs the top of his helm. When the other Decepticon gives him a flat, unamused look, somehow more of a scowl than usual, the K-Classer grins awkwardly. "Like I said, computer engineering. I don't know anything about fixing ships."

"Can tell you this much." With a grunt, Crankcase gets back to his feet from kneeling down by the damage. "We need replacements, and we sure as slag aren't anywhere near an outpost or a planet. This puts us in a bad situation."

"Which means what, exactly?" Fulcrum is pretty sure he knows where this is going and he does not like it.

There's a snort and Crankcase starts to head back into the ship with the other mech following him. "We set up a distress signal."

Ah. There we go. He hasn't had a good little panic attack in awhile. There's a sinking feeling in his chassis and already Fulcrum isn't so sure he likes where this is going. "What...?"

"I can't yank a miracle out of my tailpipe," Crankcase tells him firmly as they head back inside.

"Yeah, well- well, what if the D.J.D. decided hey, obviously we have nothing better to do but go back and find those Scavenger guys and maim them some more!" Fulcrum flinches his head back at the way the other Decepticon is scowling at him. "Yeah, I know how it sounds, but you can't talk sense into pure fear, okay?"

"You didn't seem to have any problem jumping at them last time."

"I'll have you know that was probably the most heroic leap I'll ever make in my life."

The mechanic-pilot just grunts at him as they head back inside, stepping into one of the holding bays to sort through their pile of what was apparently considered useful junk. "All right. So we're gonna have to go ahead and pin this on the hull. You'll have the wonderfully simplistic job of holding it down while I seal it on there. Signal goes out and who knows, maybe someone will take pity on us before we all start starving."

"Your cheerful outlook is comforting as always," Fulcrum mutters, giving an oof as a long transmitting tower is dumped into his arms. "What're we gonna do about Grimlock?"

"...Shut the door on him?" Crankcase shrugs. "I know how it sounds, but we need to keep him out of our way. Misfire wasn't wrong; he's our ticket back to Cybertron, no matter who won the war."

"All right," Fulcrum concedes reluctantly. "I'll go take care of that and meet you up top."

There's just a wordless grumble in return, which Fulcrum assumes that's yes in the nicest manner possibly emitted from Crankcase. All right, then. With the tower in his arms, Fulcrum backs out of the storage bay and heads a bit further down the narrow hall until he comes upon the supplies closet.

Sluggishly, the Dynobot stares at him from where he sits. "Mm... me. Grimlock."

"Yeah, I know." Fulcrum can't even make himself sound exasperated. "Look, I gotta close this door."

"Mm...muh?" Grimlock stares at him, the noise sounding confused.

"Just to keep you out of sight." He really has no idea why he's explaining this, it's not like Grimlock understands what the slag he's saying. Still, Fulcrum feels it's more appropriate to talk to him on some normal level, even if Grimlock seems basically braindead. "Sorry," he adds sincerely. "I'll come open it back up later."

With a wince, because Grimlock is looking at him somehow with the most pathetic expression that could ever be on an infamous warrior's face, Fulcrum shuts the door. That was a lot harder to do than anticipated.

Backing away from the door, Fulcrum heads back to the airlock to catch up with Crankcase, tower in his arms. The job is as simple as described, pinning it down for the mechanic to fix into the ship and send out their distress signal. There's still a certain amount of anxiety in Fulcrum at the idea. Would there even be any Decepticon ships out here that would find them? Would they send searches? Hard to say, and he can only hope that the D.J.D. won't find them.

"That ought to do it," Crankcase mutters. "Now it's just sit tight and make sure we don't have anything else falling off out here. Think you can handle that, computer nerd?"

"Just making sure nothing floats off of the ship? Sounds incredibly complicated, but I'll make do." Fulcrum offers a faint grin which is not returned in the slightest. "I'll take the east end, you on the west, and meet you in the middle?"

"Sure, whatever."


The work is more laboring than Fulcrum is particularly used to. Which really does put things in a bit of perspective; he's never been lazy, but physical activities aren't exactly what his frame was made for. Running around, picking up scrap pieces, and putting it all together to make something out of the mess - that's the sort of thing that the Scavengers do pretty much daily, isn't it? Sealing the pieces back onto the ship is a pain, but you do what you have to in order to survive.

"Crankcase? Hey Crankcase! Crankcaaaase."

Somewhere behind Fulcrum, he hears a bah! before the pilot grumbles, "He'd better not have touched anything."

"We've left him alone for a good megacycle. I'm surprised he managed to stay still that long," Fulcrum admits.

"Crankcase! Crankcase! Hey hey hey-"

"What?" the grouchy mech growls finally.

"So, I was looking at the console, and I was watching one of the screens. There's a green thingy and there's a red thingy. The green thingy is staying still and the red thingy is coming towards the green thingy."

Crankcase scoffs, "What the slag are you talking about?"

Out of the corner of Fulcrum's optics, he takes notice of something in the distance. He peers out into the darkness of space, squinting. There's something... gray in the distance? Gray with a red dot on it. Real specific, but he can't make it out.

And something is getting closer. Something launched-

"Hey, I think we're the green thingy! So the red thingy-"

"Crankcase!" Fulcrum sputters out, pointing wildly as the launched thing getting closer and closer is very clearly a missile.

"Aw scrap," is all Crankcase can mutter, his tone barely more than mild disappointment.

The explosion against the W.A.P. shakes the entire ship, and all of the work that Fulcrum had just spent fixing the hull is quickly gone to waste. The boots he and Crankcase wear keep them both on the ship, but he still flails a moment in reaction, watching bitterly as the pieces float off.

"...The red thingy was a missile."

"Thanks, Misfire, we got that," Fulcrum grates out.

"Oh hey, now there's a blinking red light! There's a button next to it!"

Crankcase rubs his forehead for a moment. "Misfire, you're gonna listen real carefully to me. The button next to that blinking red light? I need you to press it once and don't press anything else."

"C'mon, am I Spinister? I'm not stupid. Are we getting hailed? From the missile guys?"

"Seems like it," Fulcrum replies hesitantly. "Are you sure we should be answering?"

"We're not in a position to turn around and show our afts like a bunch of cocky idiots," Crankcase informs him.

"Right. And I guess if they wanted us dead, they would have shot more than one explosive," Fulcrum reluctantly agrees. "All right. Guess we should head back inside."

At the grunt of agreement, the pair start to head back into the ship. At about the same time, the transmission from the distant ship begins to come through their commlinks.

"Decepticon vessel Weak Anthropic Principle, this is the Autobot ship Mad Minute. I am the head of this team, Blithe. That missile is just a warning shot to make sure you Decepticons won't pull anything. We did receive your distress call, and we demand to be able to come aboard. We'll see where things go from there."

"Blithe? Well, he sounds cheerful," Misfire muses as he comes to meet the other two in the hallway. "On one hand, Autobots kind of just shot at us. On the other hand, war's over. We should be fine, right?"

"In theory." Fulcrum frowns and peers down to the medbay. The door is closed, he notices. "Is Spinister...?"

"Eh, he shot the lights when they flickered, but he's fine otherwise." Misfire shrugs. "I told him to keep his trigger finger on the down-low and pay more attention to Krok before I shut the door."

"Right. Okay." Fulcrum shrugs helplessly. "I guess we should just wait here. I mean, if the Autobots won, this should go pretty okay, despite the new hole in our ship."

"Well, sheesh, when you put it that way."

The hallway goes silent suddenly. It's almost strangling, how quiet it gets when the airlock opens. Stepping through are three tall mechs, very apparently Autobot. The one in front, based on what can be told, looks like a triplechanger between some type of jet and tank bearing a bright teal color coordination. Big surprise there, really. Yet, the triplechanger has a broad smile on his face, approaching the three Decepticons with his arms folded behind his back. Behind him are what appears to be two groundpounders; one much, much less cheerful than the triplechanger including his dark gray plating, with a sour enough face to try to compete with Crankcase. The other looks mildly bored, arms folded, his paint job an eye sore of pine green, fuchsia, and orange.

The triplechanger spreads his hands out wide. "Decepticons, thank you for having us on board. I'm Blithe. The colorful one here is Petrol, and I also have Gladbag with me here. We're terribly grateful to be here in your lovely pile of recycled scrap of a ship."

"Just hurry it up," Crankcase grumbles. "We're missing parts. Didn't miss as many until you shot us."

"Well, we had to give a warning shot. War or not, who knows what you 'Cons would be up to. Though, looking at your sorry faces, I'm pretty sure that it was a waste of a missile!" Blithe gives a chipper laugh. "Gladbag, send a message to Powerthrust. We're going to be awhile."

Silently, as Gladbag turns to send a text response to the Mad Minute, Crankcase growls, "Are you helping us or not?"

"And why in Primus would I ever help Decepticons? Even worse, a couple of lowlife rusted heaps? You're all just objects in space." Blithe snorts in amusement to himself before glancing at the more colorful Autobot. "Petrol, bring down the stress level for these guys."

"What the hell does that even..." Fulcrum starts, but pauses. His scanners are starting to read an increase in some kind of... gas? That shouldn't even bother them, should it?

But he's quickly finding that his sensors aren't able to read directives in his own movement. He tries to lift his left arm and his knees jerk instead, causing him to stumble into one of the Autobots. Blithe, probably, from the way the laugh sounds; he's shoved back against the wall and Fulcrum collapses, dizzy, trying to sort his processor. By the sound of the other two thumps, Misfire and Crankcase must have been affected as well.

And there's clatter of a rifle.

Misfire's rifle, probably. Slag.

"You were planning on shooting us?" Blithe's voice sounds mockingly hurt. "After all of what you Decepticons have done-"

"Misfire? Crankcase? You guys still out here? I heard some..." The voice trails off. Spinister.

Damn it.

"Spin- get back in there!" Crankcase snaps at him.

Fulcrum turns his head, trying to watch what's happening. As his sight straightens and the gas fades, he sees Spinister lifting his gun, ready to shoot. Blithe just shakes his head and lowers his cannon from his shoulder mount to point at the three collapsed Scavengers. "I wouldn't suggest that, 'Con."

Spinister actually hesitates, looking between the three and the Autobots before letting his shoulders sink slightly. "Ah, slag. Just when I had some good news, too."

"Well, what do we have in here? Gladbag, go check it out. Petrol, help me escort these three idiots into that room. Might as well get the whole group together."

The darker colored Autobot slips into the medbay without any effort. Fulcrum grunts and tries not to flinch at the way he's manhandled, dragged into the medbay along with Misfire and Crankcase. Spinister, darting his optics between the Autobots and his fellow Decepticons, can't seem to decide what he should be doing.

"They have an injured," Gladbag informs Blithe, his tone deep and patient. "Facial injuries, lack of fuel. Recently mended."

"When... the frag did Autobots end up on this ship...?"

To Fulcrum's surprise, it's Krok's voice. That must have been the good news that Spinister was trying to eagerly share. The Scavengers leader is back online, and at the worst time, too.

"This is getting more and more interesting. More 'Cons the galaxy doesn't need," Blithe tsks. Turning to Crankcase, the Autobot leans in closely. "Do you have anyone else on this ship?"

Crankcase grumbles, "Yer getting in my personal bubble, 'Bot."

"I see. How about this?" Blithe reaches in and prods at the exposed part of Crankcase's brain module, causing the pilot to flinch out of his control, some kind of spasm. "Am I close enough now?" He does it again, causing a pained yell from the mechanic, which earns an excited laugh from Blithe.

Gladbag's optics narrow, but he says nothing. Petrol's previous bland expression is now turned into a faintly amused smile.

"Crankcase-" Krok tries to budge from his position on the berth, giving a pained groan and a frantic sound from Spinister.

"What the hell kind of Autobot are you?" Fulcrum snaps. "The war's over with, isn't it? What kind of point is this?"

Well, that got Blithe's attention away from Crankcase. Yay for him, but now the focus is on him, which quickly makes Fulcrum uncomfortable. Even with the gas's effects fading, he's not in a position to fight. He's never in a position to fight.

"Do you know how many good mechs are dead because of you Decepticons?" The smile is empty now. No longer obnoxiously joyful, but just... some distant cold thing on Blithe's face. "I had friends at Garrus-9. The 113th Batallion. Slag, I wonder how many good friends of mine were torn apart? They laughed. They laughed and all I could do was watch, 'Con, when they found us, I-" There's a pause, and Blithe grins, baring teeth. "Don't you dare ask me what's the point, because all I can think of is how much better off we'd be without any of you in it."

Fulcrum knows the types of Decepticons. He knows the types, like the D.J.D., who joined the army just as an excuse to get their jollies in killing. No, he won't excuse them, but. "I didn't do anything! I've never even pulled a trigger in my life. Misfire can't shoot worth scrap anyway, either!"

"So I get a little trigger happy- well, not Spinister level," Misfire murmurs in his corner, still wobbling from the gas's effects.

"Point is, yeah, I get it, there are thousands dead on both sides. And it's over!"

Blithe is silent a moment, and Fulcrum gets the subtle feeling it's not the kind where the Autobot realizes what he's doing is just perpetuating the dead war between the factions and the Autobots leave and they can get back to Cybertron. Not with the way the cannon mount is being pointed at Fulcrum.

"This is more than just Autobots being dead," Blithe informs him, lips twitching in that unstable smile. "This is about my friends, brutally murdered."

"Blithe," Gladbag speaks up. "I don't suggest killing that one. It's a K-Class. You shoot, he explodes, and we're all dead."

Oh. Oh, they'd have no way of knowing Spinister removed those parts. Fulcrum almost feels some relief.

"Damn." Blithe exhales. "Well. Then I guess it's almost your lucky day, 'Con. You get to live, and figure out what it's like losing a friend."

The cannon is fired, though not at Fulcrum. Instead, the blast goes through Misfire's midsection, to Fulcrum's horror.

"Ohhh, that's not good-" Misfire mumbles, staring down at the gaping hole in his chassis before he collapses in a heap, energon draining out of him.

"Misfire!" He can't believe this. He can hardly believe this, what the hell- Fulcrum's mind is reeling. He could believe this better from Decepticons, but from an Autobot?!

"Bam, right in the spark casing," Blithe chuckles.

It's probably one of the more stupid decisions he's made. Not quite up there with run away from battle and get arrested for cowardice, but it's pretty bad; he can barely make his legs work, but he uses his K-Class frame to his advantage. They won't shoot something that will supposedly explode. So, Fulcrum manages to throw himself onto his feet and slam himself into Blithe almost blindly.

The Autobot curses, "Stupid slagging chin-imposing 'Con-" The cannon going off again. This time, it strikes a hole in the floor nearby Misfire's fallen body, a big enough gaping hole where the bleeding jet falls down it and... and to wherever. Fulcrum stares down in horror and does the stupid thing.

He jumps down the hole after Misfire before remembering, hey, that compulsion to transform into a bomb.

"Aw slag-" Fulcrum mutters before he transforms.

This is definitely going to suck-


"Fulcrum? Misfire?"

Spinister's voice, hushed. Coming in over the frequency. Fulcrum's optics blink online and he struggles to sit up. His joints in his left arm is a bit messed up, he's even more banged up than usual, and he kind of caused an enormous dent in the floor.

But he's okay.

"Hey, are you guys still online?"

Misfire.

Scrambling to his feet with a stumble, trying to shake off the after effects of the gas and jumping, Fulcrum spots the jet not too far off. He tries not to panic, tries as hard as he can; Blithe said it was right in the spark casing. Was Misfire dead?

"Fulcrum-"

"H-here!" Fulcrum manages to turn Misfire onto his back. "I'm here, Spinister- Misfire's... I can't tell if he's dead or-"

"Ohhh, well. That's not hard. You probably don't have the equipment to check, so lean in real close and see if you can hear his vents goin', okay?"

Lean in? Oh. Fulcrum tries to keep himself composed as he leans in, tilting his face aside to listen.

There. It's faint, but he hears the vents going. Slowly.

"Yeah, I think he's online, but he's- there's energon everywhere. Spin, where are you? I can't do this!"

"Uh, sorry, Fulcrum. I'm hiding with Krok. After that fuss you caused, I shot out the last of the lights! Snagged Crankcase an' Krok an' we're hiding for now, but I'm pretty sure they're looking for us. ...Oh, hang on! Krok wants to talk to you."

"Krok-" Fulcrum exhales. Trying not to panic, trying real hard. The Scavengers have been decent to him. Quirky and weird and wonderful as they all are; he's not about to lose a friend because of some stranger.

"Can you hear me?" Fulcrum rubs his forehead. It's sobering to hear Krok again.

"Yeah. Krok, are you really in any condition to be doing anything right now, much less speaking?"

"Don't worry about that. Look at Misfire. Tell me what's going on."

"Well... medically speaking, he's got a freakin' huge hole in his chest and I think he's dying and I really really really need Spin here, I can't-" So much for not panicking.

"What's causing the major leak? If he's venting, he's got a spark going. We keep him from losing too much energon, and we can fix him up later."

"What's causing the major... did I mention the not-so-subtle hole in his chest?!" Fulcrum scrubs at his optics. "Okay, okay. I'm looking..."

Aside from the obvious blast through Misfire, there are cables and wires dangling out now that are making his tanks churn. He'd seen and experienced his fair share of gore, but having to actually take a look and... and maybe reach inside. Yeah. But if he has a shot at saving Misfire...

He reaches in, following the path of the major fuel line that'd been blasted through. That seems to be where the major leak is coming from, but that and-

Something else. Something pretty important.

Fulcrum winces as he holds Misfire's mangled fuel pump. Go figure.

"It's his fuel pump, Krok. It's totalled. What the hell do I do?"

"You make like a Scavenger and use what's available to you-" There's a pause, then a curse. "Fulcrum, the Autobots are getting closer. They called reinforcements from their ship. You stay outta sight, and we need to do the same."

"Krok! Hey! I can't-" Fulcrum's shoulders sink when Krok ends the line. "I... have no clue what I'm doing."

Okay. Okay, think. Misfire's fuel pump is ruined and so is the fuel line. If he can somehow salvage that and keep the energon flowing through Misfire properly, then he has a shot of living.

Use what's available. There isn't anything down on the bottom deck like this, though, besides his own fuel pump.

"...Oh, you gotta be kidding me." Fulcrum groans to himself, "How am I supposed to...?"

He can't waste time wondering. He has to know how to fix this, even just for awhile. Okay, okay. He can do this. He can... he should be able to set it up so that his fuel pump can keep energon flowing for both of them. It'll mean that he's going to be literally attached to Misfire for awhile with their lines, but whatever.

This is going to get messy.

Fulcrum winces as he reaches up inside of himself, and with a jerk, he pulls out his fuel pump. He lets out a pitiful sound as he tears off one of his own lines from the pump, but keeps at least one hooked up into it. Misfire's damaged fuel pump is discarded and the lines are hooked messily into his own; murmuring an apology, he tugs a wire from Misfire's damaged body and wraps it around the lines, keeping them hooked into his pump. He feels a little light-headed, knowing his own energon is being pumped into Misfire's now, but hey. It'll do.

There's a groan from Misfire.

"Not remotely religious, but thank you, Primus," Fulcrum mutters, letting relief sink in. "Well. Guess you're not walking, so..."

Clumsily, he pulls Misfire onto his back. It's not the best idea, being that the jet is bigger than he is, but he stubbornly bears the weight as he gives Misfire a piggyback ride.

Misfire mumbles, partly awake, "This would be so much more awesome if I wasn't, you know, half-dead."

Despite himself, Fulcrum feels a tired, pained smile coming on. "Glad you're at least half-alive."

"Me too, Pinhead." Misfire gives a pained laugh. "Ow. Giggles shouldn't hurt that much. So... what'd I miss?"

"Not a whole lot." Slowly, Fulcrum walks down the corridor. "Autobot shot you. He shot a hole in the floor, you fell in, I went after you... we're all split up right now and we're probably going to get our afts kicked. Bright side? You're not completely dead."

"Yayyy, go team." Misfire pauses, then offers, "What about Grimlock?"

"Last I checked, he was still kind of braindead." Fulcrum sighs. "And it worked so well last time when we flung him at the D.J.D."

"Wow, you sound just as cheerful as Crankcase right about now."

While traveling down the dark corridor, Fulcrum almost jerks as the speakers nearly causes the walls to tremble with a rather familiar overly cheerful voice booming out:

"Hiding is pointless, Decepticons! There's ten of us, and so few of you. You're all going to be dead very soon. But I can make it quick, if you show yourselves!"

There's a shake of Fulcrum's head at the announcement from Blithe before he mutters to himself, "It's kind of hilarious how many times people think saying that is going to work."

When he doesn't receive a reply from Misfire, Fulcrum hesitates. He shifts his shoulder slightly to jostle the other Decepticon. "Misfire?"

"Mm?" Misfire exhales against him. "Heh, sorry. Everything's... slower. Haven't been this slow for awhile."

Before the circuit-speeders, no doubt.

How did that end up happening? From the lack of fuel in his body, the injury, or Fulcrum's own energon...? Damn it, he doesn't know, but he knows he needs to find Spinister to fix this. And it needs to be soon.

"Just hang in there," Fulcrum mutters quietly.

"Hey, you know what I noticed...?" Misfire's voice is quiet, half-mumbling by Fulcrum's auditory receptor. "That Autobot's just as bad of a shot as I am. Heh. Right in the spark chamber... nope, he missed. Totally missed."

"Yeah. Guess he did." Fulcrum offers up a faint smile.

It's starting to look pretty bad, he admits. Even as they finally climb out of the lower corridors of the ship and back up a level, Fulcrum is trying to think of what he could do if he ran into one of the Autobots. Which, honestly, is not a whole lot. They could overpower him physically pretty easily. Even if they didn't shoot, he knows even just one could grab him and then maybe kill Misfire or-

Scrap that he doesn't want to think about.

Maybe Misfire is right. At this rate, it's going to take forever to find everyone, and they're both defenseless. Grimlock is their only chance.

Damn damn damn damn.

Slowly, he inches his way down the hallway, peering around and making sure he isn't being followed or about to meet with a very nasty surprise. As he pauses and looks around, he pauses long enough to kneel down and pick up Misfire's dropped gun.

Right. Useful. Except he's never used a damned firearm before. It's... better than nothing, he supposes.

"Well. On the bright side, I can't be a worse shot than you," Fulcrum mutters.

"Whatever, loser." Though Misfire's tone is quiet, he hardly sounds offended, pushing for something lighter. He goes quiet again as they trudge along in the hallway, then eventually he murmurs, "Hey, Fulcrum?"

Fulcrum turns his head to glance at Misfire best as he can. "Yeah?"

"When... when I call you a pinhead and a loser, you know what I really mean?" Misfire pauses. "...I really mean that you're a pinhead and a loser."

There's a quiet snort from Fulcrum before he responds with, "I like you too, Misfire."

Gradually, the K-Classer manages to turn a corner; the supplies closet isn't far off. In fact, he can see where it is from where he's standing. The issue is that the door has been torn off and he's pretty sure that Grimlock isn't there anymore.

"Slag," Fulcrum hisses.

"A perfect choice of words, Decepticon."

It doesn't sound like Blithe, but it's not a voice he knows; it has to be one of the Autobots from Blithe's ship, especially since there's a gun pressed up against the back of his head. He feels Misfire twitch and hold on as tight as he can, which isn't much. Fulcrum warily peers over his shoulder, then turns around sharply; it occurs to him quickly that he needs to put himself between this Autobot and Misfire in order to keep the other Decepticon from further harm as long as he can.

Different Autobot. This one looks like some kind of airborne type. Spaceworthy. Maybe a shuttle-former. It doesn't matter; the smug look is really irritating him.

The Autobot is peering over the two of them, then lets out a laugh of amusement. "What the frag is this?" Fulcrum tries to not flinch when the fuel cables dangling out of him are being prodded. "You're both hooked up to a single fuel pump. Oh, that's just sad!"

"A bunch of Autobots picking a fight with some mechs who just want to go home - that's sad," Fulcrum grumbles.

"What was that?"

"You heard me!"

It occurs to Fulcrum that it's a step too far; maybe telling the D.J.D. where to stuff it is where he started to build a better spinal strut or something, but when the Autobot is grabbing and yanking hard on his fuel cable, Fulcrum lets out a pained yell, trembling as he drops to his knees. Misfire squirms against his back, mumbling something incoherent, but it sounds vaguely something like worry.

"I think you owe me an apology. And maybe a bit of begging, 'Con." The Autobot yanks again on the fuel line, which earns an outright scream from Fulcrum; he hasn't screamed like that since Styx. "C'mon, 'Con! What do you say?"

There's another pull, and he swears that it's nearly close to pulling off of his own body or the fuel pump and Fulcrum is downright near shrieking.

"What do you say?!" the Autobot repeats.

"Me Grimlock say, crush stupid shuttle!"

All three of them make varying sounds and words of shock as there's a thunderous roar and something heavy stomping up towards them.

"What the slag-" the Autobot stammers, turning around to stare.

"Oh scrap oh scrap oh scrap," Fulcrum mutters, optics wide as he sees the dinosaur stampeding up to them.

"Awesome," he hears Misfire remark practically in glee.

Without any hesitation, the Dynobot snatches up the Autobot into his jaws, starting to chew and crunch him between his razor sharp teeth. On the bright side, in the sheer amount of terror and no doubt pain the Autobot is going through, Fulcrum's fuel line has been released. On the other hand, he's watching in horror as the Autobot screams and energon spurts out and he hears himself letting out a terrified squeak.

Eventually, Grimlock finally throws the Autobot onto the floor, opening his mouth and letting out a spray of flames, pretty much melting the Autobot to the floor of the ship. Fulcrum deeply suspects that, probably, most likely, the Autobot is dead.

"That... was neato," Misfire murmurs into Fulcrum's shoulder.

"Uh," is all Fulcrum can get out, trying not to tremble as Grimlock slowly approaches them, energon dripping down from his jaw. Oh, that's not frightening at all.

This is it. He's going to die a horrible death of being chewed on and melted and-

And Grimlock is just staring at them in his weird beast-like form, tilting his head slowly.

"...Hi?" Fulcrum tries hesitantly.

Slowly, Grimlock crouches down, leaning in to look at both of them. Then, he speaks, "Mm... me. Grimlock."

"Yeah, I know," Fulcrum sighs, more just exasperated than anything else.

"Me Grimlock," the Dynobot repeats, almost sounding impatient.

"Um... oh." Fulcrum winces a little. "Me... Fulcrum?"

Seemingly satisfied with that, the Dynobot states, "Me Grimlock, you Fulcrum."

"That was quite possibly the most intelligent conversation I've heard all day," Misfire mutters into Fulcrum's back, letting out a small laugh before flinching. "Ow. No, seriously, this laugh means pain thing is a real downer."

Before Fulcrum can properly react, Grimlock is opening his jaws again and he very well near lets out a horrified scream, but fear is the only thing keeping him from making a single sound as Grimlock takes both him and Misfire into his mouth. He expects to be crushed and killed.

It doesn't happen. Grimlock is just. Holding them like this.

"This is so weird," Fulcrum groans in dismay.

"No, screw you, this is cool," Misfire tells him with a grin.

"All right, uh." Fulcrum lets out a huff of air from his vents. "All right. Misfire, do you have any idea where Spinister took Krok and Crankcase?"

Misfire squints faintly, giving that some thought. "Hm. If I were a really dumb Decepticon, where would I be... oh! Hey, I've got it. Trust me, this is the stupidest kind of brilliance. It's so Spinister it hurts."


The nice and weird thing is that despite however simple Grimlock has become, he takes directions pretty well. Although it's still extremely scary as all frag to be carried in the Dynobot's mouth, they're taken to where they need to go a lot faster than if Fulcrum was still carrying Misfire on his own. Plus, well, for some reason the way they've being carried around just downright delights Misfire; take the pros where you can, because the cons were pretty bad right now.

Once they arrive to their destination, there's a pause when Grimlock stops. Fulcrum can see why; outside of the airlock door, there are several Autobot corpses around.

No sign of one of the others. There's that, at least.

"Doesn't look like Blithe is among them," Fulcrum mutters. "I wonder what happened?"

"Eh, I got a feeling I know." Misfire glances at the door. "So, two cubes of energon at Cybertron says that Spinister is hanging out on the hull of the ship with Captain No-Face and Sir Grouchers. Whaddaya think?"

"Sounds like you're pretty on the ball there." Fulcrum pauses, then nervously addresses the Dynobot. "Uh. Thanks, Grimlock, but you can put us down now, all right?"

There's a deep growl for a moment, which nearly causes yet another panic attack in Fulcrum until he feels Grimlock slowly drop them to the floor. All right, good, that's clumsy but not certain horrible death.

The K-Classer drags Misfire onto his back again, stepping gingerly over the Autobot bodies as he gets to the airlock door. He brings up his commlink, trying to ping the others.

"Spinister?" he calls out hesitantly.

There's a pause, then eventually a response. "Oh hey, Fulcrum! You're still alive. That's a good surprise; Krok'll be real glad to hear that."

"Are you out there? On the hull," Fulcrum wonders.

"Oh yeah, after the Autobots tried followin' us."

"Uh. Did... you kill all these Autobots?" Fulcrum finds himself asking, glancing back down at the corpses.

Spinister makes an irritated noise. "Nothin' to be worried about. Krok says hello, by the way."

That's a vague response. Shaking his head, Fulcrum decides he shouldn't have to worry about it. "Hey, if you're still out on the hull, can you come back for Misfire? I managed to keep him together, but... well, I'm not a surgeon and he needs one. Now."

"Well-"

"That needs to be now." He doesn't enjoy making orders, but he's not going to waste much more time with this. "I count about, uh. Seven dead here? That leaves Blithe, Grimlock chomped up that other Autobot... how many are left?"

"Besides Blithe, there's Gladbag," Crankcase grumbles over the commlink. "That we know of."

"Thanks." Fulcrum gently sets Misfire down to the floor next to the door. "Spinister, I left Misfire by the airlock, so you know where to find him. I'm taking Grimlock to deal with the other two Autobots."

"Where the hell do you think you're going...?" Misfire peers up at him. "We're sort of, you know, linked."

Fulcrum winces a bit. "Yeah, I know. So, this is gonna suck. Well, for me, anyway, but..."

After trailing off, he reaches down to grasp the fuel pump in one hand and his own fuel lines in the other, gripping tightly. It stings a bit like this, but... frag, it's not like he has much other choice. He steels himself, cycling his vents a few times. "So, good news is, you actually get to keep my fuel pump after all, Misfire."

And he yanks his fuel lines off of the pump, letting out a strangled, pain-filled cry; he'd prepared, but it doesn't make the hurting stop. He feels himself shaking, letting go of the fuel pump as it drops into Misfire's lap. Gritting his teeth, Fulcrum knots the ends of his line so he's not bleeding out energon everywhere.

"What the hell do you think you're doing?" Fulcrum has a hard time imagining Misfire sounding this concerned, but his focus is a bigger surprise. Maybe because of the injuries, who knows.

"Someone needs to keep Grimlock on track. We... we still don't really know how all there he is." Talking is a strain and Fulcrum is shoving his cables back into his own chest. A huge mess and if he makes out of this alive - oh he hopes so - Spinister isn't going to be impressed. "Spinister's coming for you, and I need to deal with the other Autobots and wow I really don't have time to argue I feel like utter scrap."

He hears Misfire, hears him struggle to shout or move or something and Fulcrum stumbles to his feet, turning away, trying to tune him out. "Grimlock, let's go."

It gets easier after he and Grimlock both leave, since he hears the airlock open finally somewhere behind them and Spinister gathering up Misfire. Right. Better.

"Grimlock," Fulcrum starts, starting to feel himself tremble already. Without the fuel pump, the fuel isn't being distributed to his body, but he should be able to live long enough to do this. Maybe. "I have a really simple plan. Do you understand?"

"Me Grimlock. You Fulcrum."

"Right. Beautiful. Wonderful. Downright poetic." Fulcrum braces a hand to the Dynobot's side as they continue down the hall together. "I need you to follow my directions very. Closely."

He only hopes that Grimlock will actually understand.


"Okay... okay." The lack of the pump is overheating his systems, too, he realizes; Fulcrum's finding himself leaning against the console at the bridge of the ship, vents working overtime in order to try to cool his frame, but it's not working, the fuel isn't going anywhere. He rubs the top of his helm, trying to remain focused.

"Um." Right. What he was doing.

Grimlock's been told to wait elsewhere, so the bridge is empty. Just himself right now. That's about to change.

Fulcrum presses for the intercom. "Hey. Blithe. I'm waiting for you on the bridge. I'm giving myself up or... whatever. Sure. We're going with that."

Ugh. It would be a perfectly good plan if he could just- keep his focus. What's wrong with him? Is it the lack of pump? It's got to be. Fulcrum lets his forehead rest against both of his hands for a moment as he slides down to sit against the console. This has to work. He's not looking forward to dying, and he's going to try really, really damned hard not to, but Krok and the others already came to his defense when they didn't have to. Faintly, in his tired mind, he's pretty much accepted that Flywheels is dead because of him. Sure, Decepticons and Autobots have died a lot in the past, but it didn't have to turn out that way.

And he's really, really not keen on seeing the others die. If he can stop that, yeah. Yeah, that'd be nice.

"It's so nice of you to wait so comfortably for me, Decepticon."

There's a shot fired. It doesn't hit Fulcrum, but part of the console by his head; it makes Fulcrum jerk slightly, optics wide as he sees Blithe head inside, Petrol behind. With his grin wide and mad and furious, Blithe is charging up towards him before Fulcrum can make himself move.

"Slag- Gr-!" Fulcrum tries to shout, but his neck is snagged by Blithe, his voicebox cut off before another word can come out.

"Do you think this is funny?" Blithe's smile is downright near hysterical as he speaks, and he's slamming Fulcrum's head against the console. "Most of my Autobots are dead - because of you! Because of you Decepticons. It's always the same, because of you slagging 'Cons!" He slams the smaller mech against the console again, sparks flying. "What do you think of that, huh?! What do you have to say?"

Fulcrum winces, struggling, his strength quickly diminishing. The lack of fuel going through his body - he feels sluggish. "G-grr-"

"What was that? Are you growling at me?" Blithe laughs sharply. "You're growling at me! Let me hear this, little 'Con!"

When the pressure is relieved off of his voice box, Fulcrum shouts as loud as he can, "GRIMLOCK!"

"What...?" Blithe's smile diminishes, looking confused at the name.

There's a loud, room-shaking roar as the ceiling collapses, the Dynobot bursting through it as he snaps at Blithe; the Autobot manages to duck away, scrambling, and Fulcrum does similarly to the best of his ability. Petrol is getting ready to attack, but Grimlock snarls and bites at the Autobot, shaking his head violently as he tears into the colorful mech.

It's a familiar scene: Fulcrum hears the Autobot screaming. What's different, though, is that Grimlock slows down and lets out a confused snarl. Petrol is limp, either injured or dead, and drops from Grimlock's jaws. The infamous warrior stumbles and walks into a wall, disorientated.

Petrol's gas. Slag, Fulcrum didn't account for that.

"What in Primus is Grimlock doing here...? Eh, no matter." Blithe is getting back to his feet. "Now, where were... we?"

Fulcrum's managed to find the strength to standing up, holding with both hands unsteadily Misfire's gun. His vents shudder and he feels like collapsing, but he keeps the firearm trained on the Autobot.

Blithe holds up his hands. "N-now... Decepticon, we don't-"

"My name's Fulcrum," the K-Classer spits at him.

"Fulcrum! Fulcrum, you don't have to shoot that gun. I can walk away. We'll never see each other again. I-"

"Shut up." There's another tremor running through his body, but Fulcrum keeps to his feet. "The war's over. I... I don't care about what happened to you, or your friends. I didn't do those things. The others- my friends didn't hurt them either. Or kill them. We didn't do anything to you. The war... is done and we just want to go home." He wavers a moment, shaking his head, but takes a step closer. "All I want is to live. Why the hell is that so complicated?!"

"I'll walk away! I'll just walk!" Blithe's smile is completely gone, but he's laughing nervously. "I'm begging you- I understand! You want to live, and so do I. Please!"

"The way you treated Crankcase, shot Misfire- I should. I should shoot you. Any other Decepticon would, I guess."

There's a moment in which Fulcrum just keeps the gun pointed at him. Then, gradually, he lowers it, shoulders sinking.

"Just get out," Fulcrum mutters. "Just leave."

The room is silent, as Blithe stares at him, almost confused. Fulcrum wonders briefly if he'd made any impact. He can't think of things in terms of Autobots bad, Decepticons good. He can't, because there are Decepticons like the D.J.D. who twisted the cause to suit their own violent needs. There are, it seems, Autobots just as awful. But it's done now. Over. It doesn't matter. They can both be free.

No, Fulcrum tells himself grimly as he sees Blithe begin to charge him again, he didn't convince him of anything.

So he shoots, pulling a trigger for the first time at someone.

The blast catches Blithe in the face, blowing off most of his head and chunks of his brain node scattering across the wall in shrapnel. The body collapses in a heap in front of Fulcrum's feet.

"O-oh... scrap." It's not the lack of fuel running through him, nor the injuries. No, neither of those things causes him to pass out.

With a loud clang, he hits the floor, blacking out.


"...so you have everything that you need, Krok?"

"Don't know about that. Crankcase?"

"Hmph. We have the missing parts and then some. Suppose the W.A.P. is a little better than when we first left Clemency, which is saying something."

"All right then. Gladbag, take the shuttle of the Mad Minute. We're going to have some fireworks in space. You have fifteen minutes to clear out."

"Ah. Understood. ... Thank you. I'll excuse myself."

The room grows silent, save for the sound of someone walking out. Slowly, he feels a bit more awake.

Fulcrum groans, rubbing his head; his optics turn on.

"Welcome back," Krok greets him, his tone far less harsh than the one he had with the Autobot, Gladbag.

Looking over the leader of the Scavengers is a bit odd. There's been a frame placed over most of his head, but his optics are replaced at least. Whatever healing process he's going through now, most of his head is covered up for the moment. Still, it's good to see Krok on his feet again.

"Thanks, I- ow." Fulcrum winces, holding his midsection. "Ugh, that stings."

"Well, I had to get you a new fuel pump. And I had to fix up your fuel lines, put 'em back all right, seal up your chestplate... so things are gonna be kinda touchy," Spinister informs him.

Fulcrum frowns. "Where'd I get a new fuel pump?"

"Oh, I jus' yanked it from one of the Autobots since they were dead and didn't need it anymore. Lucky you, huh?"

As he becomes more aware, Fulcrum sees that he's in the medbay on the only berth they have. In a corner, Grimlock is sleeping off whatever effects Petrol's gases had on him. To his surprise and nearly causing him to jerk back unexpectedly, Misfire is standing right next to his berth - being mostly quiet, even. That's rather unusual.

"So what happened?" Fulcrum dares to ask.

"Eh, you fainted," Misfire informs him. "You really are the worst Decepticon. Ticklish and fainting when he shoots someone..."

Shooting someone- Blithe. That really happened. "Is... he dead?" Fulcrum inquires warily.

"Oh, he was mostly dead when we got back on the ship." Krok turns his head faintly to peer down at Fulcrum. "To be honest, I debated keeping him online for awhile to make him pay for what happened. Decided to put him out of his misery instead. Figured that'd save us trouble and time. Gladbag agreed to respectfully leave, on account of the fact that he didn't participate in any of the destruction. So he's leaving the Mad Minute for spare parts and taking off in a shuttle. Once we're done with their ship..."

"Kaboom!" Misfire offers.

"At any rate, I should see about making sure the ship is repaired proper."

Fulcrum struggles to sit up, but Krok is roughly shoving him back down. "You've done plenty since I've been out," Krok informs him. "And I really don't want Spinister to waste the supplies fixing you up again. Get some more recharge; Crankcase and I will finish the repairs."

There's a brief moment in which Fulcrum thinks it'd be kind of noble or something to argue, offer to help, but... but no, his body is pretty much telling him that's enough and it kills him a bit to see how oddly worried Misfire is. So he shrugs and lays back down. "Sure, you got it," Fulcrum answers quietly.

"Good answer." A heavy pat goes to Fulcrum's shoulder before Krok nods; he takes his leave, Crankcase and Spinister following him.

Which leaves a bit of an awkward silence between Fulcrum and Misfire.

"Sooo. You gave me your fuel pump," Misfire points out.

"Sure did. I kind of remember screaming when I pulled that out of me," Fulcrum tells him wryly.

Misfire grins and shrugs. "Yeah, it was kind of a wussy scream there, Pinhead."

"I'll try to scream with a deeper baritone when I'm yanking fuel pumps out of my body."

"Sure, that's nice and all; it's like we have best friends decals that go together, but. You know. Inside of our bodies. ...But I think I'd take the less traumatizing route and just have you be not dead. Though, if you did die, I promise to use every single part of you and not let it go to waste."

"...I." Fulcrum squints at him. "Misfire that's very, um." Weird. Odd. A little creepy. "Thoughtful of you."

Misfire laughs. "Yeah, well, hopefully you'll stay online for a long time. I kind of like you being alive."

"Yeah, me too." Fulcrum leans his head back slightly against the berth.


All in all, things worked out oddly well. Despite the attack from the Autobots, Gladbag kept to his word and left with no fight. The Mad Minute had been taken apart for all that they could use for its worth, repaired their own ship, and then blew it up. As promised. The W.A.P.'s been repaired and powered back on, getting back on track. Misfire eventually had ended up passing out against Grimlock, which Fulcrum had advised maybe was a bad idea but Misfire did it anyway.

Fulcrum knows he should recharge. Knows it, but without Misfire's yammering keeping him busy, he's sunk into thinking.

Which is a little awful.

He lifts his head when he sees Krok step inside the medbay.

"Still need to be taking it easy, or Spinister says." Krok's tone implies he isn't interested in arguing with their surgeon. "How are you feeling?"

"Lousy, but alive. So I guess I can't complain," Fulcrum responds. "Though- hey. ...Krok?"

"What is it?"

"I know this is going to sound pretty lame, or- anyway." He frowns. "Before Blithe, I really hadn't shot anyone before. I... yeah, I get it, I'm a crap Decepticon, whatever-"

"I know the story. Crankcase filled me in." Krok shrugs. "Not all of us were forged to be soldiers, Fulcrum. But now you're on edge, because you pulled a trigger."

"Yeah, something like that."

"You'll deal with it." It's not comforting, not that Fulcrum's looking for comfort, considering, but to be heard. Which is something he knows he can rely on Krok for. "Blithe had it coming. I was okay with doing the finishing blow, but wish I took the initial shot myself. You did what you had to, and he was in the way."

Fulcrum lets his optics dim. "Yeah. I know that. But I guess I needed to hear it."

Krok nods faintly, as lightly as he can to keep off the pain. "We're on our way now. You did all right for a crap Decepticon. You used what you had to around you, like any one of us would, and we made it out alive. That's a good day in my data tracks. Live with that."

And that's, Fulcrum supposes, all that he can do. He doesn't feel like he'd done something wrong. He had defended himself. Blithe put him into a corner. He'd been willing to let him go, when Fulcrum is positive any of the others would have just killed Blithe. Maybe that makes him a coward, but in the end, it was the same. That's not wrong, it's just living.

That's something he can deal with.

Right or wrong, in the end of the day, Krok is right. They're alive.

Fulcrum can accept that.