Caro Transmutata Metallo 19
A Transformers Prime Fanfiction
"You knew, medic?"
The simple question was spoken with such cold fury that every mech in the room either flinched or retreated from the towering commander. Immediately sensing the danger he was in, Knockout stepped back, raising his servos in a placating manner and pulling his plating flat against his frame.
"Now, just wait one moment before you go off half-cocked there, Ultra Magnus, sir," the red medic backpedaled. "I had no idea they had actually done it." There was more than a touch of incredulity in the smooth voice. "Project Phoenix was a crazy idea Megatron had after Shockwave finished picking through Ratchet's minefield of a processor. I didn't even know most of the details." His optics flicked back to the Seeker. "Both Screamer and the Cyclops were staunchly against it; Starscream especially found the idea revolting. Old Buckethead had been indisposed for years when the pest disappeared. How was I supposed to know Screamer would have overcome his squeamishness?" Sensing the still-growing rage in Ultra Magnus, the maroon mech pulled his plating into a posture of abject subjugation and flared his field pleadingly. "You told me that MECH was your chief suspect."
"Megatron did not trust his head medical officer with such a project?" Prowl prompted, ignoring the odd phrases Knockout was using.
"I wasn't exactly on Megatron's most trusted list after the whole spacebridge explosion incident." The medic shrugged. "By the end I'd been demoted to Shockwave's trained monkey. I only heard about Project Phoenix when Starscream dropped some of his extra workload on me."
"Granted." Magnus rumbled, visibly fighting back a desire to strike the smaller mech. "Still, the possibility was one you should have raised. I will expect a download of every scrap of data you have. Now."
"Of course, commander," Knockout agreed with a bow. "I must say you were missed," the former Decepticon continued, addressing Daybreaker directly, "I know my finish certainly has. I must say Shockwave's work on your — " he hesitated and smirked — "frame was an improvement."
Even more disturbing than the smiles and cuddling, the snarl of fury that emanated from the massive grounder stunned the entire room. Ultra Magnus did not normally lose his cool in any situation, but now his plating was flared in aggression and pure rage burned through his field as he reached for the medic. The Alpha Seeker snapped to his peds and grabbed the commander's arm, stopping his forward motion, but the dead look Daybreaker was giving Knockout was chilling in its own right.
"Not that there was anything wrong with your old frame," Knockout hurriedly simpered, backing away from the two. "I mean, I'm sure being — "
"Enough!" barked out Ultra Magnus.
Jazz was watching the interaction closely. Knockout had been tagged fairly early in the war as an oddity. Not so much for his pure skill as a medic, the maroon mech was average at best save when it came to mesh care, but for his tendency to form close emotional bonds with his teammates. Such behavior was rare among the Decepticon ranks, and nearly unheard of in their medics. From what the saboteur could see through the obvious attempt of the Decepticon to cover his own aft there were hints of such a bond between the grounder and the Seeker; yet another fragment of the puzzle that didn't make sense.
Ultra Magnus meanwhile was glancing around, taking in their audience with a calculating frown. His plating settled as he appeared to come to a decision.
"From this time forward, all information regarding Daybreaker's past is classified Priority Omega-Nine. We will relocate to the secure medical wing and continue this conversation there. Prowl." The smaller mech perked up and glanced at him attentively. "As you are cleared for duty now, please report to the command center. Your assignments are on a data pad for you on my desk."
"First Aid, report to the secure wing and prepare for a deep processor scan. We need to do what we can do to restore Daybreaker's memories. Contact Rung to assist you. Knockout." The bright cerulean optics focused on the former Decepticon with a growl spreading out from his chassis. "As the only medical officer present with a working knowledge of what was done to Daybreaker, you will assist in his care, and by Primus if you harm him in the slightest..." Magnus's tone carried a low rumbling threat that filled the entire room.
"Commander," Daybreaker interjected, the hint of fear in his voice effectively breaking the mood. "Where is Ratchet? I thought he would be — well, I mean, he always took care of me before."
The commander shuttered his optics and refocused on the Seeker.
"The doctor is currently off planet. I will attempt to reach him, but we have been having issues with the spacebridge and there is no other way to get a signal to him in any reasonable time."
"Understood," murmured the Seeker, frame drooping in disappointment.
"Do you have an issue with Knockout tending to you?" Ultra Magnus asked more gently.
"No, he's fine." A small smile quirked the corner of Daybreaker's mouth as he glanced over at the smaller mech. "He's a good medic when he puts his processor to it. It's just…" He hesitated and then shrugged. "Ratchet is Ratchet."
"Of course I would be happy to give Daybreaker any care I can," Knockout assured the Seeker before Ultra Magnus could reply. "After all, he is on the short list of mechs I allow to buff my finish. Can't have a resource like that going to waste."
The smug smile he flashed around the room earned the medic a forest of ruffled plating, so he wisely shut up and scooted out of the ward.
"Jazz, take a security detail and escort Daybreaker and Shard to the secured medical wing," Magnus ordered once he managed to remove his plate-melting glare from the door through which the medic had just exited.
"Sir." The saboteur nodded curtly.
Shard did not look pleased with the assignment, but the larger Seeker sent him a soothing pulse and stood readily. Daybreaker lightly bumped his wings against the edge of the medical berth and flinched before pulling them up high and tight. Shard could not hide the worried and sympathetic flick of his own wings in reaction. Jazz was about to comment on the lack of coordination, but Prowl spoke up before he could.
"Regulation Epsilon, subfile seven point nine gamma instructs that all returned prisoners who have shown signs of Decepticon tampering related to critical processor function be restrained with stasis cuffs while in transit until it has been determined by a certified review board that they pose no threat."
Shard stiffened almost imperceptibly, but Daybreaker merely nodded and turned, holding his servos out submissively behind his backstrut. Ultra Magnus gave the tactician a thoughtful glower that was interrupted when the broad, three-fold wings twitched uncertainly.
"Um, how do I hold my wings for the wing clamp things?" the Seeker asked curiously. "I've never actually done this before. Whenever Shockwave wanted me helpless-" a shudder ran through the frame and his voice caught for a moment, "-he just stunned me senseless."
Ultra Magnus gave a furious growl at that, but did not comment.
"I do not have appropriate bindings for an Alpha Seeker," the black and white mech stated apologetically as he produced a set of class five stasis cuffs with the smooth movements that only an experienced enforcer displayed. "Furthermore, your tri-fold pattern prevents the legally acceptable use of simple energon bonds."
"Regardless, Prowl," Ultra Magnus cut in, "there is no purpose in securing him in that manner."
"Despite your personal relationship with the mech, the regulations state — "
"I am well aware of the regulations," interrupted the commander irritably, further shocking the assembled bots. "It is not my personal relationship with Daybreaker, but rather my professional knowledge of his abilities that prompts my objection. He is, as he has stated, extremely dangerous and I do not wish to engender a false sense of security while he is being transported. The only way to keep him secure is attentive guards."
"Regulation Epsilon, subfile seven point nine eight three two five does stipulate that if the required methods result in a net decrease in safety, alternate measures may be taken," Prowl assented with a frown. "However, I fail to see how a set of class five cuffs would engender a false sense of security."
Ultra Magnus stared at his fellow Autobot thoughtfully for a moment. Their relative positions in the military hierarchy during the war had been fluid. Each possessed a set of skills that the Prime had needed and neither had been prone to claiming dominance for dominance's sake, so when one had been unavailable or unsuitable the other had simply taken over without comment or pause. Overall Prowl had spent more time in active command, but in the postwar Cybertron that meant less than it once had. Still, it was not in the commander's nature to dismiss even a subordinate's legitimate concerns without consideration.
"Were this any other mech I would agree with you, Prowl," the red, white, and blue mech stated finally. "Class five cuffs would be more than ample for even the fiercest Seeker. In light of the fact that at least some of Daybreaker's classified abilities have proven to survive his — " the commander paused and visibly brought a wave of rage under control — "reformatting, it would be advisable to keep certain of them in processor and those responsible for his security aware of them. Perhaps a demonstration?" The last was half a suggestion, half an order directed at the Seeker.
Daybreaker nodded eagerly, seeming to perk up at being given a task. Ultra Magnus raised a digit to his comm and gave a quick set of orders to one of his assistants on the other end. A few awkward moments passed and Jazz used the time to study the Seeker in light of this new information. Anything before a deci-vorn ago was irrelevant to the Seeker's history? That opened up a world of very unpleasant possibilities for the saboteur. Now Daybreaker was waiting expectantly, optics bright and focused on the broad faceplates of the Commander. Jazz knew that look all too well; the near desperation of a rookie to please. How young was the mech? The question chased a chill down his struts.
"Here we are," declared the commander, accepting the bulky set of cuffs, far larger than class fives, from the curious runner who was swiftly dismissed.
"Sir!" Prowl interjected, shock tainting his normally expressionless demeanor. "Class nine cuffs are not regulation for Seekers or any mech of that frame size. The disruptive effect — "
"As I said before, I am aware of the regulations, Prowl." The larger mech cut him off with an impatient flick of his plating. "Daybreaker?"
"Let's do this," the Seeker offered, promptly spinning to present his servos behind his backstrut again.
"Actually, if Jazz would do the honors?" Magnus held out the device to the saboteur, who accepted it quietly.
The silver mech couldn't suppress a guilty flinch when the Alpha Seeker turned without hesitation to present his dorsal plating to him. It was a show of trust, trust the Autobot knew pit-well he hadn't earned. What was with this mech? Class nine cuffs were meant to bind gestalts and the massive uncontrollable mechs like the Dinobots. The powerful disruptive energy field they created could do serious damage to smaller frames; a fact that was well known. That Daybreaker accepted them without question or flinch was strange to say the least. Watching the Seeker carefully, he secured the metal bindings that, even in their smallest transformation, looked ridiculously bulky on the trim Seeker arms. The Autobot stepped back and activated the stasis feature at a nod from Magnus.
With a soft hiss Daybreaker staggered and collapsed to the deck plating. Shard glanced sharply at the commander, but refrained from saying anything. The Autobots shifted uncomfortably as the red, white, and blue mech stared down in mild disapproval at the twitching form. The collected discomfort of the gathered mechs increased as one blunt ped swung out to tap the silver armor.
"Really, Daybreaker, this is somewhat disappointing."
Jazz teaked Prowl's field a bit nervously and received a concerned response though the black and white's visor didn't reveal anything. This was not like the commander they remembered. Just as the tactician was about to intervene, Jazz hissed in shock. With a sudden movement Daybreaker swung up to his knees and then stood, one ped at a time. His vents were ragged but regular and his optics were flickering, but the cuffs that bound him were twitching as his arms strained.
"That is," he grated out with an absent smile, "actually kind of a nice buzz."
"Focus, soldier," Magnus ordered dryly.
"Sir." The Seeker dropped his helm and appeared to concentrate for a moment.
His arm plating scraped against the cuffs a moment longer and then the device simply released one limb. Jazz quickly rebooted his visor, unsure of what he had just seen. Daybreaker should have been mentally and physically paralyzed by the overrated cuffs. But even as the shocked audience watched, Daybreaker gripped the device in one servo and pulled it off his other arm. The cuffs were intact and still reading a captive prisoner.
"So it wasn't Glyph and Tap Out breaking protocol," the saboteur muttered, earning a curious glance from Prowl.
"That took longer than expected, soldier," Ultra Magnus commented with a frown.
"Sorry, sir. I am out of practice," the Seeker explained, shrugging his shoulder guards. "Shockwave didn't seem to be aware of my abilities and after the reformatting I was rarely where I could use them unobserved. I didn't…" A shudder ran through his frame. "I didn't want to give him any more reason to find me —" he hesitated again, running a digit over the cuffs — "fascinating."
A collective chill ran though the ward as everymech imagined a single red optic gleaming at them while the word was muttered.
"Understood, Daybreaker," Magnus murmured, his features softening as he reclaimed his cuffs.
"I probably could have done it quicker," the Seeker continued with an awkward grin. "But one of my few clear memories is of you telling me how expensive and hard to find good class niners were and I didn't want to just crisp them like that one pair."
"Your self-control is appreciated," the Autobot acknowledged with a flicker of amusement before turning to the others. "I trust it is clear now why traditional restraints would be counterproductive?"
"Fully," Prowl stated calmly.
"And how," Jazz agreed admiringly. "That is something else."
Internally he was reeling slightly as the raw power the Seeker was capable of wielding truly hit home. It had been a forced hack that had got them into the Decepticon hanger and onto the Pit spawn. The time interrogating Daybreaker was thrown into an entirely new light. With that kind of skill at his disposal it meant that the mech had let Jazz do as he wished while being fully capable of resisting; probably fatally.
"Then continue. I must see to contacting Ratchet. Daybreaker?" Ultra Magnus reached out and ran a servo gently down the Seeker's faceplates.
"I'll be fine, sir," the young mech responded to the unasked question, leaning into the touch. "I'm home now, after all."
A bittersweet look flashed across the larger mech's faceplates, but he only nodded and left the room. The steady tread of peds announced the arrival of the security team and Jazz gestured for them to flank the two Seekers and lead the way out of the medical ward. As they traversed the compound, they caught more than the usual amount of glares and stares. Even under the best of circumstances Daybreaker was an optic-catching mech. The rumors of Lord Alchem's presence had no doubt been spreading for days since their arrival, now intermixed with rumors of Daybreaker and Primus knew what else. Former Decepticons were gazing in subdued wonder and calculation at the guarded but unshackled Seekers. The Autobots were either openly hostile (hardly surprising given the stories about Lord Alchem) or frankly curious. Whispers of near impossible victories and harsh cruelties spread across both former factions.
Still, no one directly approached them until they had nearly reached the secured ward and the screeching of tires on plating sounded from the corridor ahead. A blue and yellow blur shot around the corner and straight towards Daybreaker. The security detail was neatly caught off guard but Jazz and Prowl were already reacting, leaping to protect the Seeker, but they only managed to lay servos on the mystery assailant after he had transformed and crashed headlong into his target.