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01 April 2008 @ 12:53 am
So, this is a follow-up to Island in the Darkness, and as usual, I couldn't do it without ladyrazorsharp.  Domo!

The outer shell of her pod burned away as it passed through the water planet’s atmosphere, and Raven got her first unobstructed view of the surface. There was more land than she expected, and a rash of glittering lights that hugged coastlines and scattered like starbursts across the terrain. Her trajectory was taking her toward one of the less densely lit areas, and as she prepared for impact, she could sense the cool air around her super-heated form, drying out as she grew closer to the surface. The ground rose up swiftly beneath her, and she barreled into it at high-speed, gouging a long trench in the ground and finally coming to a rest at the foot of a low dune.

A shower of tiny particles, mostly silica and finely ground quartz fell from her frame as she unfolded herself from the tight landing position she’d assumed. And anti-static burst sent another shower of particles down, loud in the still desert night, but not loud enough to cover the sound of a footfall. She crouched instinctively, blasters deploying in her hands as she heard a familiar voice say “Welcome to Earth, Lieutenant.”

The familiar voice, unmodified by anything but atmosphere, was such a relief that Raven nearly sat down in the dirt. Instead, she slowly pushed herself upright, mindful of the blasters that would be fixed on her position. Wherever Optimus went, Ironhide was never far behind, weapons and dental-plates equally bared. The language, she gathered, was spoken by the majority of local native organisms. She quickly downloaded the appropriate data from the planetary information network and framed a response. “Thank you, Optimus Prime. It is… good to be here.”

“Don’t get too close yet, Optimus,” Ironhide warned. “Positive identification can’t be made by voice-print alone.” Lights glared in Raven’s face, dazzling her sensors for a moment. “Looks like the Lieutenant,” he said grudgingly.

A holo-scan beam washed over her. “It is the Lieutenant, you paranoid dolt,” Ratchet grunted. He stomped into the glare of Ratchet’s lights and studied her visually. “You don’t seem to have picked up any damage from the journey. However, your energy stores are at 60% of optimal. Were you rationing that strictly for a reason, Lieutenant?”

“The more I rationed, the longer I could remain at my post. Sir,” she called, looking past him to Optimus, “I have set the systems in Iacon to rebroadcast your signal as long as power holds. I anticipate several more Autobots to arrive within the three to six decacycles. May I enquire about the present situation?”

“Stable,” he replied briefly. “This way, Lieutenant. We still have a long way to go tonight.” He turned, leading the group over a ridge, then dropping down into another valley where Raven detected the presence of a local native, upright stance, bipedal locomotion, apparently quite aware of what was going on.

“Sir, the native…” she called to Optimus.

“The dominant species is called human, Lieutenant. This specimen is male, commonly referred to as ‘man.’” Ratchet walked beside her, filling her in. “The term can also be used for the species as a whole. The complementary specimens are referred to as ‘female’ or ‘woman.’ There are alternate spellings, but they seem largely irrelevant.”

“Major,” Optimus hailed the human male. “Lieutenant, front and center.” Raven moved up to stand slightly behind Optimus and to one side. “Major Lennox, allow me to introduce my Communications officer, Lieutenant Raven. Lieutenant, this is Major Lennox, our liaison to the humans’ military. The Major has brought out a selection of vehicles for you to choose from.”

“Optimus Prime tells me you’re a flyer,” the human, Lennox, said, stepping forward. He seemed short to her, but the database insisted that his nearly 2 meter height was above average, and in spite of his apparent youth, he wore his rank with calm self-assurance.

“That is correct, Major.” Raven was uncertain how to interact with the human, but so far things seemed to be going well.

“I was able to requisition a few aircraft for you to study,” Lennox explained. “Nothing is current technology, but some of it is fairly recent. Feel free to pick whatever you like.”

In the row of aircraft, Raven’s optics were drawn immediately to an angular black craft set a little apart from the others. A quick displacement scan indicated it would be a reasonable match for her, and something about its sharp lines and smooth angles spoke to her. She scanned it for duplication, and in seconds, two F-117 Nighthawks sat next to each other on the dusty ground. Then the cleaner of the two unfolded before the assembled party, and Raven stood, shifting joints now covered with unfamiliar armor. “It is acceptable,” she said, twisting her head first one direction then the other. “Thank you for your assistance, Major Lennox.”

“No problem, Lieutenant. Hey, ‘Hide, how ‘bout a lift home?”

The weapons specialist looked to Optimus. “Prime?”

“If you wish, Ironhide. We’ll see you back at base. Thank you again for your help tonight, Major,” Optimus said.

“Think nothing of it, Optimus. Have a nice night. Ratchet, Lieutenant, you too.” With a quick wave, he got into the black vehicle that was idling where Ironhide had been standing, and the two rolled out into the darkness. Their departure made Raven aware that only Ratchet and Optimus were with her.

“Sir, where are the others? Surely the three of you aren’t all that’s left of the expeditionary team?” Raven questioned, looking around.

“No, not quite. Let’s walk a bit,” Prime suggested. “The specifications on your selection indicate that your top speed is much greater than ours.” They moved out to the north, the same direction Ironhide and the Major had taken.

“I take it you received my report on the final battle. Bumblebee and Jazz were grievely wounded in the fight. Ratchet was able to repair Bumblebee. He is currently stationed with his charge, young Sam Witwicky.”

Raven paused. “And Lieutenant Jazz?” she asked.

Optimus stopped, but Ratchet kept walking, an air of defeat hanging over him. “The damage was too severe,” the Autobot Commander said quietly. “Megatron…” Then he shook his head and moved on as well.

Raven activated her external cooling system, taking in the planet’s cool night air and circulating it through her system before expelling it, then moving to catch up to the others. “And the Decepticons?”

“Those we defeated were disposed of at the bottom of the planet’s largest ocean. They shouldn’t be back to bother us,” Ratchet supplied.

“And the survivors?” Raven was starting to dislike the terrain’s propensity for sifting particles of grit into her servos.

“We believe Starscream escaped near the end of the battle,” Optimus informed her.

“That’s consistent for him,” Raven sighed. “Starscream is a survivor above all else. He will no doubt look for other Decepticons to join him, then return here to find and restore Megatron. Without the Allspark, though, I don’t know what their ultimate goal will be.”

“This planet is rich in energy sources, richer than the humans even know. I feel certain that the Decepticons will return in search of some source of energy to revitalize Cybertron,” Optimus explained. “We must protect the planet and the humans from that, and from each other, if possible. They are still a young race, Lieutenant, young, and at times, foolish. You must allow for that in your dealings with them.”

“Yes, sir,” she responded. “Sir, has there been any signal from the other pod?”

Optimus whirled to face her so fast that Raven had to jerk back in order to avoid running into him. “Other pod?” he echoed.

Raven looked around the still night, realizing that there was no sign of another landing as far as her sensors could reach.

“Oh, no…”

***

Razorsharp took a last look at the burned-out ruins behind her as if trying to engrave them on her processors. Home. Cybertron. Polyhex-the-great. Iacon-the-beautiful.

She shook her head. None of it was beautiful now.

The tower above her head was still obediently sending out Optimus Prime's signal, still winging its way through deep space just as Raven had set it a megacycle ago. After she had watched Raven's small craft take off, Razorsharp had kept the doors locked as Raven instructed, and watched as the power indicator crept lower and lower on the console. She had decided to leave when there were only three power lights left, and slowly they crept downward.

Six. Five. Four. Three.

It was time to go. She checked the beacon one last time, and opened the message channel to feel the words of her beloved against her armor one last time.

I am Optimus Prime, and I send this message to any surviving Autobots taking refuge among the stars: We are here. We are waiting.”

There was a burst of code encrypted with the rumbling syllables: Coordinates that would point the hearer in the direction of a small, blue-white planet that circled a yellow sun. Razorsharp shut off the audio feed, downloaded the coordinates, then shut and locked the door behind her.

Entering the transport bunker, she found a pod and examined it quickly for damage. She was lucky; one was still intact with only superficial damage, and so she climbed inside.

She knew had nowhere near the power for Optimus Prime to hear her reply, but still she responded. This is Razorsharp, she said silently, as she plugged the pod's life support cable into the port behind her right audio. I hear, and I am coming to you.


The transport pod was small but not uncomfortable, and Razorsharp was able to power down her optics and let her systems rest and recharge as much as possible, given the lack of external power available. She passed radiant novas and majestic nebulas, listened to the noisy chaos of quasars and pulsars, and rolled in and out of chatter from every corner of the galaxy. Her craft was so small that her radar profile passed unnoticed in the crystal blackness of space, and so the trip itself was fairly uneventful until she was well into the target planet’s system. It was while passing through a moderately thick asteroid belt that she felt an impact and shudder through the tiny craft.

“Warning,” chimed the pod's audio notifying system. “Impact of foreign object.”

Damage report, Razorsharp thought dreamily, not bothering to engage her vocalizer.

“Damage minimal. Recalculating trajectory. Course regained.”

Status of transport commandeered by Lieutenant Raven?

“Transport intact. Entering atmosphere.”

Projected landing coordinates?

A wireframe grid appeared before her, projected directly into her optical system by her connection with the pod. As she approached the planet, she noticed a marked difference in the decays of their orbits, and wondered if it had been deliberate, or was a byproduct of the collision.

“Disengaging life supporrrrt,” said the audio system, the sounds dragging and slurring as the pod began to disintegrate. “Rrrree-entt-try --n sev-n, siiiiiix, fi-ive, fourrr, thrr...”

The last of the pod burned away in the atmosphere, and then she was falling.


She came to her senses just as she found herself crashing through foliage that left sticky sap on her exterior. It wasn't a painful sensation; merely jarring, and quite noisy to boot. Sharp fragments of organic plant material jammed uncomfortably in her joints, and she heard what sounded like cries of small creatures fleeing in terror as she fell. Finally, she struck a large circular body of liquid comprised of hydrogen, oxygen, and various biological materials, and splashed to an undignified halt.

There were a myriad of creatures that seemed to be sharing the liquid with her, though as her superheated form cooled in the liquid, several dozen of the creatures rolled onto their backs and floated to the surface of the liquid, their pale bellies showing pearly white in the light of the small moon overhead. At first she wondered if this was an elaborate communication ritual, but to her dismay she found that the creatures had ceased functioning. Her olfactory sensors also began to pick up a distinctly unpleasant odor emanating from the deceased creatures, so she moved toward the shore with all haste.

There were some creatures that had escaped unscathed, so she hailed them on all frequencies. Danger here, she tried to warn them, but none of the native inhabitants seemed to respond. There was no help for it, so in short order, Razorsharp found herself dripping on the sandy shore.

Once in the open air, her systems quickly picked up the information band, as well as positioning data, and she was able to both determine her position and plot a course away from the body of liquid and its inhabitants. And, she thought grimly, trying to drain her water-logged systems, their waste materials.

There was some kind of maintained trail very near her crash-point, cleared of vegetation and sealed by a substance that after carefully examination appeared to be some sort of petroleum by-product. She followed the sealed roadway away from the lake, moving in the general direction of the co-ordinates where Optimus Prime’s message originated. It would be, she determined, calling up a map from the information band, a long, long walk.

A sound roared through the night, and Razorsharp moved to cover quickly in the foliage that lined the road. Lights dazzled her optics, but she was able to make out the vehicle that passed her, belching out the remains of burned petroleum, mainly carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides. As the vehicle crested the slight rise and started down the hill, Razor broke over enough to scan the machine.

I need a disguise, Razorsharp mused, watching the sleek, low vehicle. The four-wheeled object seemed to be some sort of conveyance for another of the native inhabitants, and a quick sweep determined that this vehicle was exceptional compared to other four-wheelers. The vehicle's surfaces undulated in a way that pleased Razorsharp, its curves and lines blending into a harmonious whole. The finish on the vehicle shimmered subtly in the moon's weak light, and the guttural growl of its primitive engine struck a chord deep in Razorsharp's processor.

It was a risky choice, as this vehicle seemed to be rather rare, but there was something right about it as well. For the first time in eons, Razorsharp's lip components curved in a slow smile.

The vehicle--designated a Ford GT by the dominant species on the planet--purred past on its way to a low dwelling farther up the road. In just a moment, an identical Ford GT slipped from behind a large rock and headed in the opposite direction. The car moved eastward smoothly through the night, little more than a gray shadow in the darkness.

***

“I think you should explain quickly, Lieutenant,” Optimus Prime growled, light from the moon glinting off the chrome of his adopted form.

“Your orders said to come immediately, sir. I had no time to make, or even conceive, alternate arrangements. And she wasn’t antagonistic… well, no more than usual…”

“A little more slowly than that,” Prime corrected. “Did someone return after I left, one of the other femmes?” They had been among the first casualties of the War. Autobot femmes were intelligent and capable, but they had been no match for the Decepticon war machine. If some of those who had been missing in action returned, it would mean a great deal to his troops. If it was Arcee, then Springer wouldn’t be far behind. The bulky mech was always close enough to the slight femme to be her oversized shadow. Chromia’s presence would soothe the ever-irritable Ironhide, especially since the weapon’s officer was in near-constant contact with Major Lennox and his happy family. Praetoria would take the news of Jazz’s demise hard, but would soldier on stoically in his place. At this point, Optimus almost didn’t care who it was. He needed bodies to fill out his thinned ranks, badly.

Raven shook her head. “No, none of the Autobots. Sir, it’s… It’s her.”

Prime’s fuel pump stuttered, the blow of her words hitting him like his brother’s fist to his chest-plate. There was one femme, exactly one, that Raven would refuse to name, especially in front of another Autobot. Almost like she wanted them to forget what she had once been, a member of the Armada, and before that, a Tourney fighter.

“No,” he managed to get out.

Ratchet’s scans were all over him, recording readings that nearly red-lined in all categories. “Prime…”

“Not now,” Optimus growled to the medical officer. “Why?” he demanded, whirling on Raven.

“You sent her to me! You ordered me to come here! I couldn’t abandon her! In a decacycle, there will be nothing left, and she would starve!” Raven drew in a deep breath of the night air, cooling her own over-heating systems. “I could not abandon her,” she repeated. “She was my sister once.”

Optimus was no longer looking at her, however. He faced away, into the night, and without a word, twisted and folded his long frame down into the semblance of a long-nose cab, and was gone, heading away, to the north-west.

“This seems complicated,” Ratchet said after a moment’s awkward silence.

“You have no idea,” Raven replied.

Ratchet shook his head heavily. “You can tell me on the way. Let’s move out, Lieutenant.”

Raven followed, the chilly night air foreboding around her.

Tags: ,
 
 
Current Location: Home
Current Mood: tiredBed time!
Current Music: Leave Out All the Rest - Linkin Park
 
 
12 March 2008 @ 11:10 pm
Okay, I'm taking a chance, and hope I know what I'm doing.

This plays off something ladyrazorsharp did after we saw the TF movie. (Awesome!  Awesome!  can't wait for the next one!)  When she figures out how Razorsharp fits into a continuum, I immediately start thinking how to fit in Raven as well.  So this is sort of a companion to Last Resort.  And since I can never stop at 1, there's a sequel slowly taking shape.  Keyword: slowly.

Island in the Darkness

 

Iacon was quiet.  Not the quiet of the third shift, when most of the city’s inhabitants were in recharge.  Instead, there was an abandoned, almost desperately empty air in the near-silent city.  Glittering towers reached for the sky like gem-decked fingers, and public squares stood mute, waiting for chattering bodies to pass through them once again.

 

The Jeweled City was not quite empty, however.  Wretched figures skittered from shadow to shadow, encroaching ever-closer on CenCom as the planet’s meager resources were rationed more and more steeply.  When the gleaming tower went dark, chaos would own what had once been a beautiful, thriving world.

 

Raven stared blankly as security footage flickered over the bank of screen in the darkened room.  Her talon-tipped finger danced over the control panel before her, cycling through frequency after frequency, hearing the atonal music of open space on most channels.  She stopped here and there when the noise resolved itself into something more meaningful, and caught fragments of words, never enough to understand.  She listened for voices in the darkness, existing it seemed at times to hear a familiar laugh echo through the empty room with her, or an authoritative voice calmly issuing orders.

 

A flicker on one of the monitors caught her attention, and she focused on the screen, watching a stealthy figure slip from shadow to shadow, more purposeful than the other pitiful creatures in the dark.  It moved with care, avoiding close inspection by the security cameras and hugging the darkness.  She saw the intruder hesitate on the edge of the great square that fronted CenCom.  Then the figure stepped into the light, lifting a distinctive black-and-white face into the camera’s view, and Raven swore under her breath before leaving her post for the main doors.

 

“Decepticons at the doors,” she murmured, spiraling down the levels to the ground floor.  “Wonderful.”

 

***

“Permission denied, Lieutenant.”

 

Raven bit back an angry retort.  “Sir, I feel like I can be more use out with the others.  There’s no one left here but us, and once you go, I’ll be a communications officer talking to no one.”  Her voice was edging toward strident, and with effort, she reined it in.  “I’ll do as you command, of course, Optimus Prime.”

 

The look he gave her was empathetic.  “How long since you’ve heard from him?” he asked gently.

 

“A decacycle,” she answered quickly.  “Maybe a little more.  Not too long.  But…”

 

“But longer than he’s ever gone radio silent before, I know,” Optimus finished.  “Hot Rod is young and enthusiastic, but I wouldn’t have sent him to tail that Decepticon group if I didn’t think he could handle it.  He’s probably too close to risk making his presence known.  Roddy thrives on danger.”

 

Raven nodded, a smile ghosting across her lips.  “I know.  And I know he’ll be fine.  You’re leaving for the rendezvous on the water planet soon?”

“I’m going out to Polyhex first,” he said, turning toward the door.

 

Raven’s gunmetal gray lips compressed down to silvery white lines, but she said nothing.

 

“Don’t think at me like that,” Prime ordered half-heartedly.  “We all have our own priorities.”

 

“I don’t believe her priorities and yours will ever be in agreement,” Raven told him.  “However, I am in no position to cast stones.  Will you leave directly from the Abandoned Territories?”

 

“No.  I need to communicate with Jazz and Ironhide first.  Try to arrange a link with them in 3 megacycles.  I should be back by then.”  He paused, then continued.  “I’m going to ask her to come back with me.  She’ll be safer here.”

 

Raven let out an indelicate sound, somewhere between a laugh and a snort.  “I hate to disappoint you, but it will never happen,” she said confidently.  “That one would rather die than accept help from an Autobot.”

 

“I guess we’ll find out.  3 megacycles, and queue up Bumblebee’s latest report.  I want the others to hear it.”  This time he made good his escape before further guilt could be heaped at his feet.

 

***

The main doors to the CenCom tower were tall and heavy, requiring the use of heavy servos and motors, and energy the city didn’t have to spare.  Instead, Raven unlocked a small side door.  “What do you want?” she demanded of the intruder.

 

“Optimus Prime asked me to come,” Razorsharp said flatly.

 

If it had been anyone else, if she had said anything else, Raven would have been able to slam the door in her face and walk away with a clean conscience.  But she owed much to Optimus Prime, who had taken her in when she was the one on the other side of the door.  Largely for that reason, she opened the door wider.  “Well?  What are you waiting for?” she asked when the other femme remained where she was.

 

“He did not inform me that you would be here.”  Razorsharp’s optics narrowed.  “I begin to think less and less of his vaunted intelligence.”

 

Raven shrugged an idle shoulder, trying to form a reply that wouldn’t be more than half-insult.  “Well, whatever you do, close the door when you’re done.  The Empties get agitated and try to get in sometimes.  I don’t feel like dealing with kicking them out.”  She turned and walked away, a small smile twitching at the corner of her lips as the door closed and footsteps echoed through the cavernous room behind her.

 

“Lifts are disabled below level 10,” Raven said as she led the way to the stairs.  “And stay close.  The checkpoints are only open for a few astroseconds.”  She palmed the security reader and the door clicked open, revealing flight after flight of stairs.

 

“Why no lifts?” Razorsharp asked as they circled upward, the light growing marginally brighter as they ascended.

 

“Waste of power,” Raven replied shortly.  “There’s nothing below 10 I need, usually.  This is only 50% illumination as it is.  Berths are through here,” she said, indicating a dim corridor through an unmarked door.  “I’ll leave it unlocked.  I’m on 12 if you need anything.”  She could almost feel Razorsharp’s optics on her as she quickly scaled the last two flights and let herself back into Communications.

 

 

It took almost no time for Razorsharp’s presence in Iacon to irritate Raven.  She was already having second thoughts about granting the Decepticon femme admittance, just a few breems after the blast-shielded door clicked into place, sealing Raven safely inside Iacon’s nerve-center.  The communications array was chattering quietly to itself, and she quickly resumed her post, scanning the channels for any messages of note.  Optimus Prime’s brief report confirming the arrival of the expedition to the small blue planet continued to play on continuous loop, and after listening to it repeat twice, Raven shut it off.

 

It was a fruitless war, and Raven hated it.  Megatron’s megalomania had horrified her for vorns, prompting her to question in the silence of her own soul what they were fighting for.  When the Decepticon leader ripped her brother limb from limb for vocalizing those same doubts, her decision was made quickly and easily.  Her only mistake, on reflection, had been to go one last time to the Arena and beg Razorsharp to leave with her.  Her training partner, her almost-sister, had been disgusted, calling her coward and traitor, and they’d come to bloody blows before Raven could make good her intended defection.

 

She’d asked for no special considerations when she’d arrived at Iacon, willing to trade whatever she knew for a chance to fight for peace.  Optimus Prime had debriefed her, calmly and carefully, letting her lay out what she knew in the way that made the most sense to her, taking her theories and speculations at face value along with the facts she could substantiate, and putting her to use keeping his thinly spread troops in communication with each other and command.

 

The impetuous warrior Hot Rod kept her from sinking into depression and despair as the decacycles turned into vorns and the war still dragged on.  He’d irritated and amused her by turns, then wormed his way into her interest, until she looked back and wondered how long she’d cared for the brash hot-head, and how she was going to survive if the big idiot did something monumentally stupid to get himself killed.  He had more lives than a proverbial servo-cat, and had thus far returned relatively unharmed after extended periods of radio silence.

 

The radio remained stubbornly silent of any meaningful communication, and after a megacycle, she set it to alert her if a message came through on any pre-determined channel, then sealed the room with her personal codes and descended two levels to quarters.  The hall was blessedly silent as she slipped into her room and tumbled into her berth for a few megacycles of fitful rest.

 

 

Raven awoke from a recharge that felt only astroseconds long and habitually called up a ration of energon before thinking twice and cutting her request to a half-ration.  Her current activity level didn’t require the full ration, and for the time being, she had another mouth to think about feeding.  Until they killed each other, at least.  She gave that outcome one chance in three for the moment, with the odds improving for total annihilation before the decacycle was out.

 

Prepared in body, if not in mind, to face another shift, Raven exited her quarters and started, nearly stumbling into Razorsharp, who leaned against the wall opposite her door.

 

“What am I to do?” the Decepti-femme demanded, sounding slightly peevish.

 

“Whatever you wish,” Raven replied, recovering her composure.  She turned to walk away.  “I will be in Communications if you require-”

 

“I require something to do!” Razorsharp snapped.  “The last 12 megacycles have been the most deadly dull of my existence.  Surely the great city of Iacon requires more than a solitary femme to function.”

 

“It does,” Raven retorted, turning back.  “It requires a leader, who is at this moment risking his existence to save it.  It requires loyal soldiers willing to lay down their lives to defend it, and its noble leader.  It requires laborers to maintain it, who are roaming the city, maddened by starvation.  Into which of those categories do you fit, Decepticon?”

 

“I do not wish to accept charity,” Razorsharp returned.  “If I cannot earn my keep, I will thank you for your hospitality and go.”

 

Raven saw a flash in the back of her mind, Optimus Prime’s disappointed face when he discovered that Razorsharp had come and Raven had driven her away.  He wouldn’t blame her, but Raven would blame herself for bringing that unhappiness on him.  “There is work.  It is neither glamorous nor immediately vital, but someone must do it, and I do not have the time or resources.  Will you… assist me in this?  I would appreciate it.”  The words grated her harmonizer like glass to say.

 

“Gladly.  What do you require?” Razorsharp had the grace to ask.

 

“Follow me.”

 

They ascended the stairs a single level to 11.  “The mess hall is on this level, as well as the recreation area and several offices,” Raven explained, leading the way down a dim corridor.  Their feet left prints in the fine layer of dust on the floor, testament to the sector’s abandonment.  Raven stopped outside a set of double doors at the hall’s end and keyed open a lock.  Together, they pushed the doors open to reveal row after row of track-cases, the storehouse of all Autobot knowledge, cataloged and organized onto neat shelves.

 

Razorsharp looked around in the light thrown in from the corridor.  “The Great Archive.  I have heard of it, but I never hoped to see it.”

 

“It is as amazing as they say,” Raven agreed, finally able to share a moment of understanding with her former training partner.  The Great Archive was almost a myth among the Decepticons, a place where all learning was gathered and available to any who asked for it.  Any Autobot, at least.  Hot Rod had brought her here the first time, smiling indulgently as she walked the long rows of tracks, reading title after title.  The sheer amount of information here was overwhelming.

 

“I will be frank with you,” Raven said, turning to Razorsharp.  “Cybertron’s situation is dire.  Unless Optimus Prime can find and retrieve the Allspark, and return it here quickly, Cybertron will die.  Rationed carefully, the remaining energy will last perhaps six decacycles.  After that, this planet will be a dead husk, and the power required to revitalize it is well beyond my comprehension.  At some point, I believe we will be forced to leave, and this,” she gestured to the dim room, “cannot be lost.  We cannot save all of it; there simply isn’t power enough.  Difficult decisions must be made as to what is necessary, and what is not.  I leave that decision to you, and I will return to Communications and free up as much space as possible for storage.”

 

“You are leaving me in control of Autobot history,” Razorsharp pointed out. “What prevents me from editing it as I see fit?”

 

“You are in control of Cybertron’s history,” Raven corrected her.  “Do with it as you see fit.  Lights 50 percent!” she called, and the room filled with weak illumination.  “Rations are available at mid-day and planetary nightfall.  Use them efficiently.”  With that, she walked away, leaving Razorsharp alone in the echoing Archive.

 

 

With both of them occupied, the time slipped by faster.  Whole shifts went by without the femmes encountering each other, and Raven even forgot for a whole day that Razorsharp was even in the complex.  The only trace of the Decepti-femme was the steadily increasing amount of data occupying the storage sectors Raven had set aside for the Archive.  She was tempted once or twice to peek at the files and see what Razorsharp was saving for posterity, but had the distinct feeling they might come to blows over it, negating the original purpose of the project.  Resolved, she set the terminal to record for the night and left.

 

The morning found a stack of messages in the overnight log, and Raven worked her way through them methodically, entering the coordinates and data from each scattered unit.  One message, simply a set of coordinates and the text message ‘safe,’ brought the ghost of a smile to her lips.  Plotted on the galactic chart, it was directly in line with the last four communiqués from Hot Rod.  She crossed her fingers that out in the vast emptiness, he would remain safe.

 

The last message in the queue brought her up short.  Originating from the tiny water planet Optimus was investigating, his voice rang out in the communications center, slightly garbled and filled with static, but clear enough for her to hear and understand.

 

“-cepticon … vanqui- … reward.  A new wor- …hidin- … sight … in secret.”

 

Raven frantically washed and re-washed the signal, filtering the static as best she could, until the rumbling voice was nearly flawless.

 

“I am Optimus Prime, and I send this message to any surviving Autobots taking refuge among the stars: we are here, we are waiting.”

 

For a breem she stood silent, listening as the message repeated, her leader’s words coming through clearly, giving orders for their new mission.  Then she swiftly ended the playback and left Communications, scrambling down the stairs to Level 11 and down the corridor to the Archive.  Slamming through the doors, she rigged the nearest console for playback before Razorsharp could completely form a question.

 

The other femme’s optics flared when she heard the voice.  “What now?” she asked when the message finally finished.

 

“Pack up,” Raven directed.  “We’re leaving.”

 

Razorsharp looked around, studying the room whose contents she had barely touched.  “When?”

 

“Immediately.”  Raven studied the vast hall of knowledge as well.  “I can set the power grid to maintain power to this building only until it runs out.  Perhaps there will be time to retrieve more later.  But for now, I must follow orders and report to the water planet.”  She looked around again.  “I can delay no longer than the end of this shift.  Be prepared to leave then.”

 

 

Razorsharp came up to Communications shortly before the shift change.  Raven had refiltered and rebroadcast Optimus Prime’s message, transmitting on all frequencies into the reaches of space.  Every Autobot capable of communicating with Cybertron would hear his words, followed by the coordinates of the blue planet they were now to call home.  Only time would tell who was left to receive and follow the directions.  She had made time as well to reply herself, to tell Optimus that she had heard and would obey.  But she had not found the words to tell him Razorsharp was coming with her.  Perhaps he could use a surprise.  Assuming it was a pleasant reunion, of course.

 

“You are prepared to leave?” Razorsharp asked.  She gripped her katana in one hand, fingers flexing and relaxing around the scabbard.

 

“Yes.  In two megacycles, the power will be cut back drastically, maintaining only the communications array, set to repeat Optimus Prime’s message, and the Archive.  We need to launch before then.”  She led the way back out of the room and up to the launch center at the top of the Tower.  By some great fortune, there were two transport pods left. 

 

“The coordinates are pre-set,” Raven explained, opening the tiny pods.  “Just make yourself comfortable for the journey, and the nav computer will do the rest.”

 

“Where are we landing?” Razorsharp asked, settling herself into the vehicle.

 

“In the desert, not far from the Allspark’s last known location.  Exterior forms complementary to the planet’s existing inhabitants will be available on landing.”  She reached for the handle to seal the other femme in.  “You’ll blast off shortly after the hatch closes.  Safe journey.”  She closed the main hatch, then stepped back as the firing sequence initiated.  Once Razorsharp was away, she climbed into her own pod and secured to hatch for launch.

 

She lifted off and caught one last glimpse of Cybertron, dark and cold, before the auto-pilot activated, and the planet of her birth became a part of the past.

 
 
Current Location: Home
Current Mood: hopefulhopeful
Current Music: Cars outside
 
 
28 January 2007 @ 10:07 pm
Had this project in mind since the beginning of October--a continuation of an episode called "The Girl who Loved Powerglide." This inspired in part by 'Bicentennial Man' as well as most of the TRAIN album, "For Me, It's You."

Here's a little background on the guy: Powerglide

For Me, It's You

--Cybertron, 2005--

“’Glide.”

The red Autobot didn’t respond, so the aqua femme beside him tried again.

“Powerglide.”

Still the red robot stared off into space, his blue optics fastened on the curve of Earth rising in the distance.

The femme put her lips close to her companion’s audio receptors. “Decepticons attacking!” she shouted.

Instantly, the Autobot snapped to attention. “Decepticons? Where?”

“Between your audios, you knucklehead.” The femme crossed her arms. “What is WITH you today, ‘Glide? Have you heard one word I’ve said? No, don’t answer that,” she said, holding up one slender hand to arrest the halting syllables from behind his faceplate. “I know you haven’t.”

Powerglide shrugged. “Sorry, Moonracer. Guess I’m a little scattered today.”

“I’ll say.” Moonracer uncrossed her arms and drummed her heels against the side of the bunker that they were perched on. “What’s Earth like?” she asked.

He glanced at her. “What brought this on?”

“Nothing. Just curious.” She nudged him with one shoulder. “You’re staring at it like you’ll never see it again. I just want to know what the attraction is. From what Chromia said, Ironhide told her that it’s just this big boring ball of dirt.”

“It’s not like that at all!” Powerglide turned back to the blue-white planet. “It’s really beautiful. There’s sunsets, and snow, and green grass, and trees…the humans who live there are small—about half my size—but most of them are really nice.”

“I wish you’d ask Prime to transfer you up here, or at least to one of the moon bases.” She wrapped an arm around his waist, but he stiffened and twitched, and she released her hold. “We could start over. Get reacquainted.” She chuckled ruefully. “Haven’t seen you in four million years, you know.”

Her spirit sank as Powerglide shook his head. “Earth is home now, Moonie. I like it there. I’ve got friends there.”

One corner of Moonracer’s mouth curled in a sardonic smile. “You haven’t called me that in a long time.”

He was quiet for a moment. “You’re right,” he said. “I haven’t.” He turned his sapphire gaze on her. “Look, there’s something I need to tell you,” he began, but she held up a hand to stop him.

“If you’re going to tell me this is about a certain human female, then you can just stop right there, flyboy, ‘cause I don’t wanna hear it.”

The words were stolen from his harmonizer in surprise. “You—you know about—“

“Astoria Alexandra Carlton-Ritz; human, heiress, and mechanical jinx extraordinare.” Moonracer snorted. “Yes, I know all about her. Prime told Elita, Elita told Chromia, and there you have it.” She folded her arms across her chestplate. “You are some piece of work, you know that? I waited for four million years. Don’t you think that deserves something?”

Powerglide balled his hands into massive metal fists. “Aw, for cryin’ out loud! It wasn’t as if I went lookin’ for her! She just…fell into my lap…literally.” He looked away. “She was in trouble, all right? And I’m a sucker for the damsel in distress. So kill me.”

Moonracer’s laugh cleaved him to his spark casing. “Ha! Don’t tempt me.”

He shrugged. “Guess that’s what I get for breaking up with the best sharpshooter in the galaxy.”

“In the universe,” she retorted. They glared at each other for several kliks, until finally Powerglide shook his head.

“Look, Moonie,” he said. “This isn’t how I wanted to tell you. You deserve better, and I’m sorry.”

“You’re damn right I deserve better.” Moonracer stood, and Powerglide followed suit.

“I don’t know what else to say,” he murmured.

“Then don’t try.” She gave him a half-salute and transformed. “Goodbye, Powerglide.”

***

Two weeks later, after the battle for Autobot City, Elita-1 knelt beside Powerglide as he lay Moonracer’s pistol at the base of her headstone in the Mausoleum. He wondered if there was a special place in the Pit set aside for him; all he could think of was Astoria’s whoops of joy as he barrel-rolled in an endless blue sky.

“Moonracer fought valiantly, Powerglide,” Elita intoned. “I know her last thoughts were of you.”

Powerglide stared at the headstone. “Yeah,” he said tonelessly. It’s great, isn’t it, how guilt makes you sound like a grieving lover.

***

--Cybertron, 2011--

He was scanning the online version of The Oregonian when an item caught his optic: Carlton-Ritz 2nd marriage ends in divorce.


***

“You’ve never expressed a particular interest in sympathetic training before, Powerglide,” said Perceptor. “Why the sudden change of heart?”

“Let’s just say I never had a reason before,” said Powerglide, as the cylinder descended over him.

***

He walked into the high-rise, which was bustling with traffic.

“Can I help you?”

“Yeah—Astoria Carlton-Ritz, please.”

“Do you have an appointment?”

“Just tell her I’m an old friend who’d like to take her flying. She’ll know who it is.”

***

Powerglide, she thought, a grin spreading itself over her face. “Tell him I’ll be right down.”

She glanced around, looking for him. A man with blonde curls and bright blue eyes stepped into her view.

“Lookin’ for me?” he asked.

“Is that really you?” She looked into his eyes, and let out a long, shaky breath. “It IS you.”

“Don’t get used to it,” Powerglide said. “It’s not permanent. I’ll revert back to my robot form in twenty-four hours.”

“I heard about what happened at Autobot City. I’m glad you’re okay.”

“Optimus Prime…and a whole lot of my friends…died that day.”

***

“My husbands were okay guys, but…I didn’t really love either of them. They just sort of gave up trying, really.” She looked him full in the eyes. “They both said they could tell there was someone else—I just couldn’t bring myself to tell them who it was.”

***

--Earth, 2011--

“Here.” He knelt and put a silvery ring in her hand. “It’s made of Cybertonium—that’s what I’m made of, and everything on my home planet is made of that stuff, too. It’s one of the strongest alloys in the universe.”

Powerglide,” Astoria breathed. “It’s…it’s lovely.” She slipped it on, admiring the way it sparkled in the light.

“I know no one on Cyberton or on Earth would ever recognize it, but…I love you, Astoria. And this is the only way I know how to show you. So you can laugh at me if you want, but I want you to know there’s no one else for me.”

“Laugh at you?” Astoria put her arms around Powerglide’s neck. “Never.”

***

--Earth, 2065--

Astoria lay quietly, her lined face relaxed in sleep as Powerglide watched her. She opened her eyes and smiled at him. “Powerglide,” she murmured. “I wanna go flying.”

“You can’t,” he protested. “You’re very sick.”

“One last time, Powerglide. Please.” Tears formed at the corners of her eyes. “Let’s go get corn dogs and ride on the carousel.”

He gathered her against his chestplate and held her.

***

Here's my notes and the accompanying lyrics. The dates don't correspond with the fic so far but the notes are the correct dates. Notes and LyricsCollapse )
 
 
Current Location: home
Current Mood: tiredtired
 
 
24 January 2007 @ 10:52 am
This is something that popped into my head while watching "Code of Hero," one of the most poignant moments from Beast Wars, which depicts the sacrificial death of Dinobot, a Predacon (Decepticon) turned Maximal (Autobot). Earlier in the episode, Dinobot, distressed over his earlier show of disloyalty to the Maximal commander, Optimus Primal, attempts to commit seppuku...which might have gone over kids' heads, but I figured it out right off. Oddly enough, there was another episode that wasn't made ('Dark Glass') because it was deemed 'too mature' but I suppose there might have been other reasons.

Here's some backstory: Dinobot

Here's a page with better pictures: Dinobot

This particular story involves Destiny, Razorsharp's middle daughter, who is bheancoran, or warrior woman, to her older brother Sirius, the heir to the Decepticon Empire (Megatron was a renowned general in the same empire). Their younger sister, Velocity, is a priestess of Primus on Cybertron. Razorsharp is also 'foster parent' to Blade and Ishtar, two children of an old friend of hers from an alien world.

A little history, invented by yours truly and ladymoonhawke: What family doesn't have its ups and downs?Collapse )

My original premise was to have Destiny fall in love with a 'warrior' who comes to her only in dreams--the dead Dinobot, perhaps doing work in a Cybertronian version of Purgatory for his crimes. Originally, this was going to be a take on the Terminator premise, where the person Destiny falls in love with results in the creation of that person's own ancestor. Too squicky and a little too weird, though for in this instance I envision it as pulling elements from Phantom of the Opera, City of Angels and Ghost.

However, the problem I kept running into was this: "How am I going to explain how a ghost/phantasm/dream lover aided in the creation of a new life?"

Which brings up an interesting topic: Sexual reproduction on Cybertron. I'm not a robot without emotions/I'm not what you seeCollapse )

BTW: The concept of 'bheancoran,'or warrior woman, is borrowed from a series of books by Ann Marston. The books are good, but they're not my favorites (not like Katherine Kurtz' are). However, I suppose I was reading them at a time when I was formulating Razor's character, because all of a sudden she became bheancoran. It's more than 'warrior woman,' really; a woman (only women are bheancoran) who is defender and friend to a prince or a king. Sometimes she is his sister, his wife, his cousin, or a good friend. A prince and his bheancoran share a very strong bond that is like marriage, but goes deeper. If the king dies, chances are that his bheancoran, who has vowed to defend him until her death, will become so distraught at the separation that she will sicken and die of a broken heart. In my universe, this is a Decepticon tradition. "Is that how Decepticons say 'I love you'?" Rodimus asks Raven in one of my stories. "By offering to die for one another?"

This is problematic for Razorsharp. She was bheancoran to Straxus, but he mistreated her so badly that she plotted to kill him. She was found out and banished, then welcomed back for a time before Straxus decided it was best to preempt another assasination plot and gave Razor an official writ of banishment. For years she anguished over breaking her vow, and felt unworthy of any sort of happiness (this is also where her detached personality became very strong, to the point where she keeps her emotions very well hidden). Raven finally talked some sense into her, with the help of a backhanded message of absolution left behind by Straxus ("you will eventually wish to end your pain," he said, "and I will be here waiting for you."). While Razor did not turn happy-go-lucky overnight, she loosened up enough to accept the affections of Morphaeus, who took her home to his world. Unfortunately someone found out about her former crimes and put her on trial, hoping to make Morphaeus look like an incompetent for marrying her, but she was finally absolved of those crimes during a lengthy inquest and finally a trial by combat with Raven.

Destiny is a young echo of Razorsharp, doing a very good imitation of her mother. Now that her brother has married, something odd is going on...

Here's the story. I don't understand...Collapse )
 
 
Current Location: work
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
 
 
18 January 2007 @ 09:51 am
Posted here because I'm sick of hunting for it with the wayback machine. :P

Popped into my head as a result of reading Crystal Shekira's excellent Solarflare Chronicles over at the Pit.

A point of cross-fandom interest: Mirage's friend, Aileron (who I made up on the spot) surprised me by starting to sound Dorothy Sayer's Lord Peter Wimsey, so I just went ahead and let him go for it.

Kick ButtCollapse )
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