Ok, first off...

70 REVIEWS! YES! I Love you all so much! Luca Kaidonovsky has written my 70ith review. Thank you all so much!

I apologies if the chapter seems a little rougher then usual but I'm going on vacation for a while so i wanted to get this chapter posted before Monday when i leave.

Now! Replies!

Luca Kaidonovsky: Im so glad you love it so much. And thank you so much for the 70ith review.

JackFroyo: I'm glad you like it. as for my minor 'to' and 'too' problems... heh heh. All i can say is thank goodness for spell check and grammar check. It would be a LOT worse otherwise. I cant spell to save my life. You know, i saw it on that community and i was like... holy cow, no pressure at all... yeesh.

Autobot Mech-Ops: Glad you're enjoying it

Luna von Rae: Hope you enjoy it, there's a lot more to come.

Answerthecall: Glad to have you're back. I hope you enjoy what still to come.

Nikkie2010: I'm glad that you're enjoying it so much. Don't forget, Sentinel is pretty mad that they went and took over Chainjack's mine.

Komanah24: Well to sum it up short, i think you'll like the intro to this chapter. I found it utterly hysterical.

IMPORTANT! kay, i haven't done the disclaminer thing in a while so I'm doing that now.

2211Nigthawk does not own Transformers or any of that stuff, just my OC's.

That being said, one of my reviewers, canikostar99 left an utterly hilarious and slightly concerning review and i had to use it. So, with their permission, i have used it as Carbon's dialog in the first part.

enjoy!


"That fragging, glitched processing, tailpipe for a helm, credit seeking, slag flaunting, pit spawn of a mech." Carbon spat viciously. "I oughta shove him down what's left of that shaft and leave him there for a few joors just to see how he likes it. Better yet, tie him to that Omega and drop him in that selion vein. See how long Prax stays illegal when the boss is sick."

"Carbon… you alright?" Dusty asked, pausing to shooting the towering, jet colored mech a nervous look. Carbon never lost his temper. But Primus helm anyone with in a ten mile radius when he did. And he had been on edge since Sterling had come out of the shaft haft terminated.

"I'll teach him 'gutter sludge'." Carbon continued muttering, swinging a heavy pickaxe at the base of a crystal. "Better yet, I'll show him what it takes to be his so called 'gutter sludge." He swung again and the crystal shuddered at the power and anger behind the blow. Dusty had no doubt that at that moment, Carbon was imagining the crystal as Avalon. With another deep snarl he slammed the pickaxe down again.

"And… that is why you were doing crowd control while Avalon was at Chrome's." Dusty said carefully, ready to bolt in case Carbon wanted to break something a bit more… real. "I have a feeling that you probably would have been arrested for murder if you had been in that room when he walked in."

"Fragger would have deserved it." Carbon growled, throwing his bulk against the crystal. The thing sheared off at the base and it fell with a ringing crash making every miner jump.

"You don't need to blow us all sky-high!" Dusty yelled, taking a deep vent to calm himself. Carbon paused, his huge frame shuddering with heaving vents as he tried to calm himself down. Finally with a snarl he drove the tip of the pickaxe into the ground and left it there, dragging a servo down his faceplates.

"Sorry Dusty. It's just… Ratchet's finally getting strong again but Sterling… Frag I can't believe neither of them terminated." Carbon said in a much calmer tone. "Sterling… I don't know what I'd do if Sterling offlined."

"Hey. Chrome's the best. Sterling or… Ratchet… won't be offlineing any time soon. At least not as long as Chrome's around." Dusty said. "I was heading down to the medbay to see if I can pry Chrome's digits off of Sterling. Want to tag along? You look like you could use some fresh air."

Carbon glanced around the cavern to see everyone watching him nervously. It was only then he realised that had that crystal fallen any differently, it could have exploded and caused a chain reaction. There was enough energon in it to blow the whole mountain.

"Yeah. That might be a good idea." He said, retrieving his pickaxe and setting it back in subspace.

xxXXxx

"Its' been ah fraggin' groon Chrome! Let meh outta' here!" Sterling whined.

"No. The selion levels in you system are still too high. You could have an attack at any klick." Chrome said, scanning a datapad. Ratchet propped himself up on his servos with a smirk before swinging his legs off the side of the berth. Chrome growled at him so he didn't dare move anymore.

"Please?! Ah promise Ah won't fall over terminated!" Sterling continued.

"No."

"Come on Chrome, he's starting to drive me insane." Ratchet put in earning a glare from the medic.

"See?! Ah'm in teh way. At least let meh go back home." Sterling begged.

"No."

"What if Ah just watch! Ah wont lift a servo." Sterling asked.

"Swear you won't lift a servo?" Chrome growled.

"Yes boss." Sterling replied.

"And you will stay out of the way and not try and help?"

"Yes boss."

"And you will be back here ASAP if I say so?"

"Yes boss."

"And if you so much as skip a vent you will come back here?"

"Yes boss."

"And you will stand in the corner and collect dust?"

"Yes boss.

"Dust is bad for your vents. You're staying here."

"Chrome!" Ratchet and Sterling both objected, Sterling flopping back onto the berth with a moan while Ratchet rolled his optics.

"I said no and that is final!" Chrome snapped, glaring at the two rebellious mechs. "My medbay, my rules!"

"Yes boss." Sterling muttered with a huff, crossing his arms over his chassis like a spoiled youngling that didn't get his way. Which in a sense was exactly what he was.

"Ratchet."

"Yes boss?" Ratchet asked with a grin.

"Mute it." Chrome growled, stalking over to Ratchet. His strength and stamina were all back to standard levels and his systems were showing no objectless to the frame upgrade. "Don't move." Chrome barked. Just to be sure he ran another deep system scan over his apprentice.

"Chrome! I'm fine! We're both fine! Everyone but you is fine!" Ratchet objected but he didn't dare move in case he got a wrench to the helm. Sterling had already been hit a few times and so far Chrome had only taken a swing at him twice. Knowing it would annoy his mentor he synced with the datapad, reviewing the data feed for himself. Everything looked fine. Better than fine actually.

"Chrome-"

"Don't even say it, I can read the data myself." Chrome snapped, glaring at Ratchet.

"Then can I go at least?"

"Not yet." Chrome said, rereading the data again. Ratchet rolled his optics with a smirk. Chrome may have been over-protective, but this was ridiculous.

"Chrome! When the Pit do I get Sterling back!" Carbon snarled as he stalked into the medbay, Dusty trailing along behind him.

"When I say so and not a moment sooner." Chrome snapped, his armor flaring slightly.

"Ah'm fine Chrome." Sterling muttered and Ratchet shot him a sympathetic look.

"You're getting too protective, Chrome." Carbon growled again. Ratchet shot a look at the jet colored miner, then back at Chrome. Both big mechs had their armor flared aggressively and a deep rumble was coming from their engine. Instantly he knew they were going to come to blows if someone didn't step in.

"Both of you need to calm down." Dusty snapped, getting between the two mechs. It was almost comical how short he was compared to the other two. "Carbon, you need to back off. Let Chrome work and go cool down outside."

"I'm fine Dusty." Carbon said with a heaving sigh, armor relaxing a bit.

"You're fine?! Everyone's been walking around on broken glass they're all so nervous around you." Dusty said.

"Primus Carbon you really need to calm down." Sterling muttered, scowling at the big mech.

"No. I need you back." Carbon corrected, returning the look.

"And I said-" Chrome started to say, engine rumbling again.

"He's free to go." Carbon interrupted, shifting his glare from Sterling to Chrome and shoving past Dusty. Ratchet had never seen the miner that mad before. Truth be told, it was actually terrifying seeing the towering mass of near black miner standing there glaring at Chrome till he could peel paint.

"For Primus' sake!" Sterling growled lowly. Ratchet's gaze snapped to him and started at him in shock as the silver miner got off the berth with a quiet grunt. Chrome and Carbon were too busy snarling at each other that they didn't even realise it when Sterling stood up. He shoved between the two mechs with his own snarl.

"Would ya'll calm down?!" He barked, glaring at both mechs. "Ah feel fine Chrome, Carbon ya need tah calm down."

"You've got nerve." Chrome said once he had gotten over his shock.

"Yes Ah do. Can Ah leave now?" Sterling demanded, arms crossed over his chassis. Chrome glared at him before finally he snorted in annoyance.

"Fine. Get out of here." He growled.

"Thank ya. Carbon, let's get out of here." Sterling said before he turned and dragged Carbon out of the medbay.

"Well that was fun." Dusty said with a scowl before he shrugged helpless and followed the other two miners out of the medbay.

Not once did he even acknowledge Ratchet.

"Still giving me the silent treatment." Ratchet said quietly, watching as Dusty transformed outside the doors and drive off.

"I told you not to take it personally. He's been hurt by Avalon. We all have." Chrome said with a sigh, turning his attention to his apprentice.

"As I recall, Dusty told me the same thing about you." Ratchet countered with a grin.

"We're all a hard helm bunch of stubborn glitches. You fit right in."

"I just…I dunno. I wish I could go back and tell Dusty about what Avalon was to me before he had to find out the hard way." Ratchet continued after a moment.

"We all wish we could go back and change things." Chrome said.

"So what's with Carbon and Sterling? Those two are pretty inseparable." Ratchet asked, changing the subject.

"Carbon and Sterling. Where to start. Carbon's brothers were spread all over Cybertron. Frames that powerful, though they are not rare, they are not common. The Council wanted his brothers where their size and strength would be the most profitable and they got split up. Because of that, Carbon was a dangerous mech. He… he had one pit of a temper. You saw just a tiny bit of it there. When Sterling got transferred here, the first thing he did was frag of Carbon. Carbon beat him to a pile of scrap. Problem was, Carbon looked just as bad as Sterling." Chrome said with a smirk. "They were inseparable after that. Those two… they're just as close as brothers. And not in a friendship way. Sterling literally has a piece of Carbon's spark keeping him online."

"What?!" Ratchet interrupted loudly. "A piece of Carbon's spark?! That's… that's impossible! That's only possible with sparkmates I though!"

"Sterling had been in an accident. They were working an open pit mine when part of the ramp gave way. A big piece of machinery fell and took out Sterling. Carbon, somehow, managed to get that machine off of him. Sterling's chassis had been crushed. His spark chamber was ruptured and he was fading fast. Through some half-bit idea, Carbon managed to wire his own spark in parallel with Sterling's. Carbon was literally powering two frames and it almost terminated him. We almost lost them both. They were too stubborn to terminate." Chrome said with a laugh. "I gave Carbon a piece of my processor after I had managed to stabilise Sterling, get him on life support and his spark chamber repaired. That whole time Carbon refused to leave. I was so mad at them both. I told him that he could have terminated. He said he would have at least terminated for a friend."

"That's the same thing he told me." Ratchet said with a smirk.

"As you can tell, Sterling recovered and the glitch was back at work in a groon." Chrome finished.

"And Carbon?"

"Yeah, the fragger was fine after he rested up for two cycles. Glitch nearly burnt himself out." Chrome growled.

"Sounds like them all right."

"Yeah… we're all a bunch of stubborn glitches. You can leave as long as you be careful. Don't push your frame too much yet." Chrome said. "All your systems may be fine but I don't want you to suddenly collapse because you over worked yourself."

With a sigh of relief he stood, stretching the kinks from his spinal support.

"You already have a pre-scanned alt mode. Don't know if you want to keep it or not. I think it will work a lot better then what you had before." Chrome added.

"Guess I'll have to go for a test drive." Ratchet said with a grin, earning a scowl from his mentor.

"Listen Ratchet. You really gave us, me, a scare." Chrome said. "Try not to terminate yourself for a few groons at least? Give me a chance to recover a little?"

"I'll try Chrome. But no promises." Ratchet said with a smirk as walked outside. Chrome was right behind him and he transformed, waiting for Ratchet. Activation his transformation sequence, Ratchet folded down into the much bulkier, durable SUV like alt mode. With a smirk in Chrome direction, he floored the gas, spinning his back tires as he shot gravel at his mentor's alt.

"Ratchet! What part of take it easy don't you understand!" Chrome yelled after him as Ratchet took off with a laugh.

"The part where you had me locked up for two cycles!" Ratchet called back with a laugh, fishtailing down the road as he played with the power of his new engine. It had far more power than his previous alt mode. But then again, his previous alt was not designed for the rough roads and landscape of the mountains.

"Keep up if you can Chrome!" Ratchet challenged as he drifted around a corner, spraying more gravel at Chrome and raced up the road to the mine.

xxXXxx

"Hey! Ratchet! You're back!" Jigsaw called and Dusty stiffened as he turned toward the mine exit. Ratchet and Chrome had just walked in, both were covered in dirt and grit and heaving vents. Ratchet was grinning while Chrome was just scowling.

"Yeah, Chrome finally let me out." Ratchet said with a grin, ducking a swing from Chrome. Jigsaw laughed as he walked over and clapped Ratchet on the back.

"You look great! Wow! You look amazing!" Sandstorm called from a bridge of scaffolding high up the cavern wall.

"Yeah, I owe you all. Chrome sent me a datapack of what all happened after I fell." Ratchet said.

"Oh yeah, we had a lot of fun." Jigsaw said with a scowl, rolling his optics even as Chrome shot him a look and walked over to Dusty.

"You ok?" Chrome asked.

"No I'm not ok." Dusty snapped. "The mech that has saved my life and lives of my miners is here and I just told him to frag off two cycles ago. No I'm not ok."

"Doesn't help that you've ignored him for two cycles." Chrome said, giving him a sad smile and rested a servo on his shoulder guard. He gave it a quick squeeze before turning in tome to see Sandstorm laughing.

"Did Chrome tell you that Sterling punched him out? Or that he punched Sterling afterwards?" Sandy asked.

"He what?!" Ratchet demanded, staring at Chrome in surprise.

"Oh yeah. It was pretty tense. Dusty was ready to blow a fuse he was so stressed out, saying how it was all his fault and how worried sick he was and-"

"Jigsaw, can you just… stop for a klick?" Dusty interrupted.

"Huh? Yeah. Uh…yeah." Jigsaw said confused as he backed off. Ratchet shot him a confused look before his optics slid to Dusty. The faded red mech was forced to drop his gaze.

"Dusty?" Ratchet asked quietly.

"Follow me." Dusty said just as quietly as he stood and walked outside the mine. He could feel every inch of his armor pressed flat against this protoform as he tried to remain calm.

"Dusty, you don't need to do this." Ratchet said.

"No, I do." Dusty said, spinning to face the yellow mech. "I… I lost it. I… I said things…. That I shouldn't have."

"Dusty, my creator is Avalon. I never should have expected anything less than hate."

"You shouldn't have! We're family here! You're… you're part of us Ratchet. It shouldn't have mattered where you came from." Dusty insisted. "I'm sorry Ratch. I'm sorry for everything I said and did. I…"

"You don't need to apologise Dusty. I deserved everything."

"You didn't! You didn't deserve anything! You saved my life Ratchet! You've saved all of our lives! You've earned our trust, my trust, hundreds of times over! You stood up to Avalon for us!" Dusty said. "You gave up everything for mechs like me. Ones that nobody cares about. Chrome can only do so much by himself. He's needed help for metacycles. Before I was even strong enough to help my creator in the mines he needed help."

"That's why I'm here. To help." Ratchet said with a small smile.

"I know you are. It's just… I can't trust upper class mechs Ratchet. Not just because of Avalon and Copper. I was attacked before I was even branded a miner. I was still a miner's brat. Then when…. My best friend was terminated... My creator was terminated by a driller the formech said didn't exist. My carrier terminated the same orn. I was by myself for a long time before I met my mate."

"I was taught to hate anybody that looked down on us. Just like my creators were taught and like I taught my younglings. It's how we survive. We don't trust outsiders." Dusty said quietly.

"I was taught the same. That the lower class mechs were all liars, thieves and murderers. That they couldn't be trusted." Ratchet said. "I guess both out creators were wrong."

"You never lost my trust Ratchet." Dusty said finally. "How could you have when you've done so much for my mechs. You don't need to earn my trust back because you never lost it."

"Call it a clean slate then?" Ratchet asked, offering his servo. Dusty glanced at it for a spilt nano-klick before grinning.

"Clean slate." Dusty said, grasping Ratchet's bracer in a firm grip. "Clean start."

xxXXxx

"Yeah yeah yeah. I'll defiantly consider it." Focus said, pacing the apartment room.

"Like I said, it's an opportunity."

"I'm- I'm honored that you would even ask me. Yes, thank you. I- I'd like to think about it for a while but I'll let you know as soon as I can."

"Sure thing. I hope to see in Crystal City."

"Comm you later." Focus ended the comm just as Ratchet walked in the door.

"You look excited." Ratchet said, pausing and staring at his roommate.

"Uh yeah. I…ah… got some news." Focus said, pacing the room still.

"Good news or bad news?" Ratchet asked.

"That depends…" Focus said, glancing at Ratchet nervously.

"On what?"

"I just got a job offer in Crystal City." Focus blurted.

"Crystal City? Focus that's amazing!"

"Yeah. Uhm. Moonstar, my mentor? She's getting transferred there. She wants me to come with to finish my apprenticeship and she said that the CMO there would hire me one once I got my degree." Focus continued.

"You should go! It will be amazing. Crystal City. Wow. That place is beautiful. Focus you should go. Really." Ratchet insisted.

"But what about you? You can afford to keep the apartment by yourself." Focus objected.

"I'll figure something out. Comm your mentor, tell her you'll come." Ratchet said. "It will be a fun experience."

"Yeah… yeah I guess so. But who will keep you out of trouble?" Focus asked with a smirk.

"Somebody will. Seriously though. You need to comm Moonstar and tell her you'll go. When does she leave?"

"In two cycles." Focus replied.

"Then go. You'll have a lot of fun. Ratchet repeated.

"Yeah. I… I want to think about it for a bit longer. I mean… wow. Crystal City. That's a long ways away from here." Focus said with a forced chuckle.

"Focus. You're going." Ratchet ordered.

"Yeah… I think I will." Focus said with a grin.

"Good. Comm Moonstar. I'm going to go and get some recharge. Still a little tiered." Ratchet said as he started for his berthroom.

"What, not recharging at Chrome's?" Focus asked with a laugh at the look on Ratchet's faceplates.

"Frag no. If I go back in there, he'll never let me out. He almost confined Sterling again." Ratchet said with a shudder. "No, I'll take my chances here before I go back to Chrome's."

"Have a good recharge them. I'm going to stay up a bit longer."

"I'll see you in the morning." Ratchet said as he shut the door behind him.

Focus started to pace again. Going to Crystal City… that was a huge jump for someone who had never travelled beyond Iacon in his entire life cycle. But Ratchet was right about the opportunity.

"Moonstar? You there?" Focus asked, opening the comm again.

"I'm here Focus. What's on your processor?" The kind voice of his mentor asked.

"I…I've made up my processor. I want to come with you to Crystal City." Focus said.

"You sure? It's a long ways away." Moonstar asked.

"I think I can do it. I want to."

"Then I'll let them know that you're coming with me. I'll see you on shift next orn then. We can figure out the details then."

"Will do. See you next orn.

xxXXxx

Ratchet only onlined because his tanks were near empty as his larger frame processed more energon than he was used to having. His internal chronometer stated that it was just past the middle of the night. Quiet noise was coming from the main room and the lights were just barely activated.

"Midnight snack again?" Ratchet asked from his berthroom doorway, thinking it was Focus.

"You could say that."

It was not Focus that answered him. He turned the lights on remotely, only to realise they had been locked at half power. A dark sleek shape was moving around the apartment. The shape turned to Ratchet and he instantly recognised the deep purple optics, the feminine frame and the spider legs arched over her helm.

"Arachnid. What the frag are you doing here?!" Ratchet hissed, his optics darting to where the door to Focus' room was still closed.

"I never got a chance to make sure you were alright." The purple and black femme said, picking up the energon cube she had been preparing and walking past Ratchet to take a relaxed seat on the couch. "Sit down before you fall. You look exhausted."

"I'd rather stand." Ratchet replied, his armor flaring slightly.

"Suit yourself." Arachnid said with a shrug, taking a sip of energon. "Well turn around! I want to see how you look."

Ratchet didn't move, instead watching the femme very carefully.

"Oh please Ratchet. If I was going to slit your throat you'd be terminated already." She said with a fanged smirk. Still watching Arachnid, Ratchet slowly turned in a slow circle before facing her again. She was still grinning as she set the cube aside and approached him. He didn't move as she circled him this time.

"You look good." She murmured, her purple optics roaming every plate of armor. It was making Ratchet nervous. "Yes. I though this frame would suit you."

"You chose this?" He asked surprised.

"Well, my contact gave me a databurst of his inventory and I chose it. He shipped it over ASAP from Kaon and I delivered it to Chrome. Course, I had to leave before everyone else onlined. Don't need that many questions being asked." Arachnid continued, walking back to the couch now that she was done her inspection.

"Contact?"

"Ah ah ah. I can't give away too much." She said, deliberately playing with one of the long claws on her spider legs. Ratchet watched her nervously, her threat playing around in his helm.

"How did you get in here?" Ratchet asked.

"The window. It wasn't hard to scale up the wall and sneak in."

Ratchet optics jerked toward where he had been feeling a slight draft. The window by the counters at the back of the apartment was open. He glared at Arachnid.

"There's a reason the door is locked for night. I'm not a fan of midnight visitors."

"Well I doubt you would have let me in if I had knocked." Arachnid said with a smirk. She stood again, her hip bolts swaying as she walked past Ratchet again. She tossed the cube in the trash. "I hope to see you again soon."

Then before Ratchet could move, Arachnid had gone to the window and swung herself outside the apartment. He ran to the window to watch as her spider legs folded over her helm and stabbed into the side of the building. Her biped legs folded up out of the way as she easily climbed down the wall. He couldn't help but shudder as she pressed flat against the wall, then launched herself across to the building beside them and disappeared into the night.


Well, Dusty apologized, and they're all good again. Poor Dusty, he's gone though so much.

I have to say it because people are people... there is NO slash in here. What happened between Carbon and Sterling is more like a lung transplant or something. It is not slash!

Focus is leaving, i know but don't worry we see him again eventually.

And Arachnid! That creepy femme, i think everyone would have had a heart attack if she suddenly showed up in your house in the middle of the night.

Here's the deal! The Medical Journals is gonna start speeding up a bit. I'm planning on having a huge time jump coming up between this and the next chapter. A little background, don't forget. Sentinel is furious how Dusty took over the other mine to rescue Ratchet and that will come back and bite them in the arse. Just keep that in mind.

So this was canikostar99 review word for word.

canikostar99 review, ch18: Why, that no good, fragging, glitched processing, tailpipe for a helm, credit seeking, slag flaunting, pit spawn of a sire. I oughta shove him down the blown shaft and leave him there for most an orn just to see how he likes it. Better yet, tie him to the Omega and put him at the bottom of the selion vein. See how long Prax stays illegal when the boss is sick.

I'll teach him "Gutter sludge". Better yet, I'll teach him the horrors of being someone who creates the class of "gutter sludge". He's the King of his "gutter sludge", sitting on his throne of broken Mechs and garbage and I'm ready to show him how much sludge he himself collects from his throne.