Battle Thirteen (LSOTW) and other random oneshots

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Battle Thirteen (LSOTW) and other random oneshots

Postby calabiyau » Wed Mar 02, 2011 7:09 pm

Yeah, can't draw to save my life. But I dabble in the writing-ness. Have some!

Verse: IDW/Last Stand of the Wreckers
Characters: Overlord, Kick Off
Warnings: Implied character death, a bit of violence, spoilers for LSOTW
PromptOverlord/KickOff I want to taste your pain.
Someone chucked me this prompt a while ago. (lol Borehole. Seriously. A name better off forgotten, methinketh). Meh. Maybe you likeeeeeeee?

What have I become? Kick Off asked himself, staring at the hand that had held severed head of Borehole. His twelfth battle. Twelve. Such a small number to have wrought such a change in me. But such a large number, a huge amount, when measured in sparks guttered out, energon spilt, futures laid waste.

Who was this? What was his name? Kick Off didn't even remember. Number twelve. He'd become so invested, so enthralled with that, that he'd laid everything on that number. He'd remembered it a few kliks ago, when the energon was still hot on his armor, when the sparks were still flying. Now…just number twelve. Just the one who had gotten him his reward.

His reward. Did he want…anything anymore? Freedom was the rumor: twelve victories and Overlord let you go, released you from this brutal madhouse. No more combats. No more hunts. No more of Overlord's 'whimsical' violence, his amused cruelties. But what good would it do him? What good was freedom to him now? What good is freedom if you're trapped in your own brutality? If you hate what you've had to become to earn it?

Still splattered with number twelve's life-fluid, he entered Overlord's chamber. Numb. Barely able to anticipate, to consider the future, because he was still so stuck in the immediate past.

Overlord draped on a chair, just as he had in the small arena. His posture was carefully arranged. He did have an art to him; deliberate insult, deliberate insolence.

"Victor," he said, blandly, and Kick Off wondered if that was because Overlord had forgotten his name as well. The fact that he and this…monster might have anything in common set his tanks roiling.

"Overlord." Kick Off did a quick glance of the room: spare, empty, anonymous. As though its inhabitant had no identity. One large, hollow space, filled with shadows. In its own way, a perfect representation of Overlord.

Overlord leaned forward, his mouth expressive, mobile, framed by the cheekplates of his helm. He seemed to be fighting between a snarl and a smile. "You have fought hard for me." He purred the prepositional phrase. 'For me'. Coopting Kick Off's violence as a tribute to himself. "You have earned a reward."

I do not want it. I do not want anything from your hand. Kick Off held himself stonily still, refusing to grant Overlord any more.

Overlord tilted his head, amused. "Your reward is, of course, a choice. We start your freedoms small."

Choice. He'd had no choice other than live…or be slaughtered. And look at what that choice had gotten him. Kick Off didn't want any more choices. He kept his optics hard on Overlord, as if trying to drill through the larger mech's cortex. Phase Sixers. Completely devoid of feeling. Empty, hollow, hard. Programmed without sentiment. This, he thought, is what you could become. This is what you are on your way to becoming.

I'd rather die.

Too late for that. You made that choice ages ago. Twelve battles ago.

Overlord coiled back in his chair, like a serpent preparing to strike. "Your choice is this: Freedom, but at a price." He gave a dark laugh. "You Autobots have some vapid slogan about that, I believe. Freedom is worth fighting for."

"I've fought enough."

"It's never enough." The red optics flashed with anger. "You gutless fools never understand that. Life is fighting. Constantly. Against entropy. Against stagnation. Against all the forces that would tear you down." He silenced himself abruptly, as though he'd said something too personal.

"I've done your bidding…enough," Kick Off modified. He wished he were tired of fighting, sick at spark about it. Instead, he felt a sharp hunger at Overlord's words. Another symptom of his disease. Of his wrongness. When you understand the enemy, you are them.

"You have not," Overlord said, idly. He darted forward, fast enough that Kick Off jumped back into an attack stance. Overlord laughed again. "Your choice is simple. Fight me. Or self-terminate."

Same thing, Kick Off thought. Same thing.

"I'm thinking," the Phase Sixer continued, idly, confidentially, as though they were friends, "that a mech who has survived twelve of these types of combats might actually be a worthy opponent. Am I wrong in that?" A hint of a goad. Part of Kick Off bristled, while another part begged desperately for Overlord to be wrong.

"You're wrong." You're wrong, he echoed. I'm not like you. NOT like you. His fists balled, in anger against himself.

Overlord clucked. "Then I shall have to extract some other amusement from you." He pushed up , looming over Kick Off. A monolith, built, engineered for one purpose: destruction. Faster than anything that size should have been able to move, he swept down, his fingers whistling through the air before they grabbed at Kick Off and slammed him against the wall, his feet dangling helplessly.

"I want to taste your pain," Overlord's voice was raw.

Kick Off refused to kick, refused to give in. He would fight Overlord. He'd fight himself. But in his own way. He'd reclaim what it meant to be an Autobot.

He felt his own face tighten, his optics locking with Overlord's—eye to eye, peer to peer—for the first time. For the last time. "Do," he said clearly, proud that there was no tremor in his voice, "your worst."

CY: no more nutella straight out of the jar!! o_O
Last edited by calabiyau on Fri Aug 12, 2011 10:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby zhgingaah » Thu Mar 03, 2011 5:43 am

Oooh yeah. Liking that. Redemption of a sort... and yet we all know it's for nought.

Tidy. :D
*All my nonsense tapped out here is okay to print*
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Postby Kirjava » Thu Mar 03, 2011 6:39 am

Really nice little piece. A small triumph for Kick-Off, even in death.
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Postby calabiyau » Fri Aug 12, 2011 10:55 am

Here have some more.

My friends were grumbling about why Perceptor's a scientist again and I just happen to ADORE jerk!Prowl, goes!

IDW mid-ongoing, spoilers for Spotlight: Kup, LSOTW and probably lots of AHM.
Perceptor, Prowl
No warnings.

A/N. NotA is Needs of the Army. The US Army, at least, can reclassify a soldier's main occupational specialty pretty much at will.

Perceptor did not move fast, nor did he consider himself intimidating. He noted, though he didn’t quite understand, why mechs swept out of his way as he stormed down the corridor, deployment flimsy rattling in his hand. It was outrageous. It was unconscionable.

It was…entirely Prowl.

He hit the codes for Prowl’s office, chiming for admission. He paused, then typed in the command overrides he still held from his time garrisoning the Command Hub. Prowl would not hide from this. Not this time.

The door whisked open, Prowl cocking one supra-orbital ridge in surprise. Not alarm—that was too much to hope for. But Perceptor knew that his overrides had been noted. A factor Prowl was probably trying to calculate right now. Good. Keep him guessing. Keep him off-balance.

“You seem…perturbed.” The half-smile slipping seamlessly into place. A mockery of kindness, of understanding. Perceptor had fallen for it before: never again.

“These orders.” Perceptor thrust the flimsy onto the console.

Prowl allowed himself to study the flimsy, holding it up as though he’d never seen it. A show, again demonstrating how unthreatened he felt. “Everything seems to be in order,” Prowl said, after a moment, laying the flimsy down, looking up expectantly.

Perceptor’s mouth flattened, lipplates squashing together. “Class categorization is incorrect.”

Prowl shrugged. “Scientist. That’s what you are.”

“Was.” He’d done the reclassification paperwork himself.

“Your datafile speaks differently.”

He tilted his head, letting the dim light glint off his reticle. His body spoke differently.

Prowl tapped his fingers on the desk, idly. “Drift is on Earth. I thought you’d be pleased to be reunited with him.”

Perceptor glared. “Not your concern.” He didn’t want to talk about Drift, the stranger who had come for him, when the others, his team, his fellow Autobots, had abandoned him. Especially not with Prowl. It felt like a violation. Especially the way Prowl was using it—like a crowbar, prying under his armor.

“I thought…since we were getting personal.” A hint of a smirk. Prowl tilted his head, the light from the monitors glinting off his red glossy chevron. A chevron, Perceptor thought, unmarred by battle. Barely a scratch, so different from Perceptor’s battle-worn armor. One time, strange to think, Perceptor himself had been so pristine, clean, armor well-maintained, polished. No dents, no scuffs. One time he had been this distant, godlike optic, staring down on the battlefield from on high. Mechs were pieces in a puzzle, the war was lines on a stellar map. Need a scientist? Make one. Need a mech to sacrifice himself? Contact an adventure-starved scientist and offer him a run with the Wreckers. Need a propaganda boost? Kill dozens of mechs to resurrect Kup.

Dirty hands, to do all that, for all of Prowl’s shine and gloss. Puppets, all of them.

“Sniper,” Perceptor said. “Not much call for that in Earth’s current mission parameters.” Investigating a cosmic seeding initiative, he recalled, that had flared into a siege armature battle and now had guttered to a strange, uneasy alliance with the indigenous life. And the latest updates indicated that that alliance did not require a sniper.

Prowl sighed. “We have enough mechs with guns.”

Perceptor felt his hand tighten over where he normally kept a sidearm. ‘All we need,’ the voice floated across his cortex, Ratchet’s voice, ‘is another clown with a gun’. Ratchet hadn’t understood, nobody understood. “My decision.”

He’d never be weak again. He’d be cold and hard, a blade of iron, who could push through Garrus 9 like a stolid tank. But even so, there was a limit to his hardness. Kup. Drift. There were lines he couldn’t cross. Which was why he held to his gun and his silence. He’d earned respect he’d never had before, had held his own with the Wreckers. He’d earned his right to bear arms.

“Your decision,” Prowl said, bemused, “is irrelevant. We need scientists. What with Skyfall and the recent opening at Kimia—“

“Ironfist,” Perceptor cut in.


“Ironfist. Not ‘the opening at Kimia’. He has a name.”

“Had a name,” Prowl corrected, optics measuring Perceptor. “The fact remains, we need scientists. Good scientists.” Prowl tilted back in his chair. “It’s a compliment.” He let his optics drift to a feed coming from a low console. A power play, a reminder. He was busy; Perceptor was intruding.

Perceptor didn’t care.

“These orders are misclassified,” he insisted, tapping a scarred finger on the flimsy.

“You’ve been reclassified.” Prowl gave a shrug, as though the whole thing bored him. “Needs of the Army.”

Perceptor bridled.

Prowl leaned forward. “You took an oath, Perceptor. Same as all of us, any of us. What you want, what you feel, is irrelevant. The war matters. The war’s the only thing that matters.” For a moment, his optics blazed, the blue cold and hard as ice, the pleasant mask off, and a face of cold, brutal logic, exposed, like a ghastly framework, flayed of emotion, of decency.

“It’s not the only thing that matters.” If we all turned ourselves into hollow husks, chasing victory through numbers, hunting battle stats, win/loss ratios, viewing it as some gigantic accounting enterprise, who are we when we win? Can we win if we have sold the best part of ourselves for victory?

Prowl hesitated, his face seeming to reconfigure itself, the mouth pulling into a taut smile. “You’re right,” he said, easily. “Victory matters. And we need your cortex more than we need your gun arm. Surely, you won’t begrudge us your very best.”

Perceptor’s hands twitched, wanting to lash out, wanting to launch at Prowl the way Springer had notoriously done.

Prowl thrust the flimsy back across the table. “Needs of the Army. Now, is there anything else?”

Perceptor’s optics were cold. Kup, kept alive, addicted, a mouthpiece to be used at Prowl’s behest. Ironfist, sacrificed so that Autobots could keep their pristine image before the Galactic Council. They’d all been pawns.

As was he. Nothing more. He’d been a fool to think otherwise.

He took the flimsy back, his stabilized hands not even shaking. It was a kind of marvel, that, he thought. “No,” he said, his voice flat, dead, one who had seen the truth and was feeling the numb spread of its venom. He turned on his heel, sharply, heading toward the door.

“Perceptor,” Prowl stopped him with a word. He turned, saying nothing. He had…no more words. Prowl smiled, tilting his head, the light cutting his mouth into stark shadows, a smile made weapon. “Till all are one.”

“Till all are one,” Perceptor mumbled the words of the oath back, tasting like ash. Till all are one.

Primus help us all.
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Postby Omega Prime » Fri Aug 12, 2011 5:33 pm

Wow, those were good. I especially liked the one about Perceptor and Prowl- two great characters.
Okay to print!

Trust me, when we all wake up and realise we've started a religious cult, we'll all ask for toast and butter and the facts again.


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Postby Snake Pliskin-o-bot » Fri Aug 12, 2011 6:19 pm

Very nicely written mate. Keep it up.
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Postby Kirjava » Sat Aug 13, 2011 6:19 am

Who doesn't love BastardProwl? This is grand.
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I wroted moar

Postby calabiyau » Fri Dec 30, 2011 1:54 pm

Yeah, so I have no life and I like robots. Have some more stuff. It's all genfic, gents, you're safe here! Enjoy...? Maybe?

1. Cusp of Return (set somewhere prior to re-arriving on Cybertron.)

Rodimus stepped up next to the viewscreen. Cybertron, after all this time, spread beneath them again. And unlike last time, their last glance a backward one in flight, this was a slow approach, and the planet below glittered feebly with signs of life. A lot had changed, apparently. Down there, and up here. “Been a long time, huh?”

Drift shrugged. “Long enough.” Non-committal, holding back. Well, Rodimus supposed, he had reason. The Autobots hadn’t been exactly welcoming.

“None of us wanted this. Not even the Decepticons.”

The other’s mouth pulled down. “No. Megatron wanted it all to burn.”

Rodimus considered. Drift had never been exactly forthcoming about his past, but he’d never really hidden it, either. Was this an invitation? “What do you think he’s thinking?” He jerked his head back to the center of the ship, the core of Omega Supreme, where Megatron was held, immobilized.

A shrug, but not a hostile one. “Been a long time since we spoke.”

“Did you used to?”

Another shrug. “A long time ago.” A repetition, but an admission as well.

“Not afraid to, are you?” Halfway between teasing and testing.

A shadow crossed the silver facial plating. “Just…,” Drift shook his head. “Not right.”

“What’s not right?”

The helm turned, the finials carving a helix in the dimness of the room. “Him. Here. Any of it.”

“You don’t think we should let him go, do you?” Rodimus remembered—a little too well—his own last meeting with the Decepticon. If his repaired body had forgotten, his memory core could still remember, vividly, the hot burning agony of the fusion cannon’s blast, the sneer on the hard face, and the bitter pain of failure. He’d gone to redeem himself, and had failed. He was perfectly okay with Megatron, surrendered, neutralized and immobilized.

“Don’t know. Just…the VVH.”

Drift’s telegraphic style was hard to get used to. Rodimus wondered how Perceptor had stood it for so long. Then again, Perceptor had changed. “He’s Megatron. We have to have something to keep him controlled.”

“Not that. I mean…Optimus.”

Rodimus nodded, his own mouth pulling to one side. Yeah, he hadn’t been happy with that either. Optimus using the harness’s current. They’d just been talking. That was all. Talking. And Optimus had lost control. That’s not what heroes do. Rodimus could see the temptation, sure, but…that’s not what heroes do. It just wasn’t.

Still, Optimus was the leader, right?

“Megatron could push a saint past his limit,” Rodimus said. A half-hearted defense, but a defense nonetheless.

Drift bowed his head, taking a step back, as if closing off again. As if aware he’d said something wrong, unacceptable.

Heh. Rodimus was all about unacceptable. “Must be hard to watch another idol fall.” Rodimus remembered Cybertron and Drift from before—it seemed every time the white mech spoke, someone shut him down. And yet Drift still kept trying. Holding his words quietly, weighing them as if measuring to see if they were worth the resistance he'd get.

A bitter snort. “Not an idol. I think that’s the problem. Feel like I’m the only one who doesn’t believe.”

“Believe in what?”

A struggle. Drift really didn’t want to answer. But it was a direct question and something in the mech’s strange code of honor won out. “Optimus.” The jaw tightened and then Drift suddenly turned his attention to the glowing net of lights of Cybertron, scattered below them like a spangled dark carpet.

“What do you believe in?”

“Hope. A future better than now, better than the past.” A pause. “That’s what I’ve always been fighting for.”

“The past wasn’t so bad.”

The blue optics hardened as Drift turned, and for a klik, Rodimus could see Deadlock—the scowl, the gaze like a weapon, the entire body taut with violence. “It was for some of us.” He mastered himself, with visible effort. “Fighting was better, because you were doing something.”

“Kind of easy to do the wrong something, though.” It didn’t sound blaming, he hoped. Rodimus had learned a little too well, a little too personally, that action for the sake of action sometimes went wrong. He could feel Drift tense, then loosen.

“It is,” Drift said, quietly. “Wrong thing for the right reasons.”

“Or the right thing, for the wrong reasons.” Like himself, how many times? This last time, haring off after the Matrix to prove…something to someone. He could still feel where the Matrix had rested, a memory of some powerful bliss. He’d learned so much, floating on the liminal edge of death, as space slowly cooled around him, the Matrix taking him, showing him himself, the war, their kind, with a kind of vertiginous depth-of-field.

Drift nodded, staring through the screen, through the planet itself, it seemed, until he could see the heart of the planet, struggling underneath the weight of their war. Staggering on, as they all did. He said nothing, but it wasn’t a hostile silence, just one of knowing, and knowing that words didn’t help sometimes, words did nothing but cheapen and attenuate. “Didn’t see it,” Drift murmured, raising one hand to the cool glass. “I didn’t see any of it. Had to die to see it.” A rapid blink of the optic shutters, his other hand reaching to stroke the Great Sword’s hilt, as though finding some comfort in it.

“Me too,” Rodimus said. Like Cybertron—a dead heart crusted over with ego and history. Something drastic needed to happen to start beating again, start living again. He managed a grin. “Funny how that works, huh?”

2. Ghosts of the Future (because I really really REALLY dig Megatron. x_x)

Drift stood in the doorway, lavender light from the Variable Voltage Harness dancing over his white armor. Just…looking, for a long time. Megatron. So different, and yet Drift would know him anywhere. Something about the EM field, or the curve of his optic shutter, the animating defiance in his frame.

The head turned, red optics homing in on him. The mouth twitched, doubtless thinking the same, before curling into a familiar smile. “Deadlock.”


A snort of laughter. “The name I gave you not good enough?”

“Not who I am.”

“It’s not as easy as changing your name, Deadlock.”

Drift’s head bowed. “Yes. I know.”

“So.” A curious glint in the red optics, warring with the purple of the harness, Megatron’s power armor. “Come to gloat then, have you?”

Drift shook his head. “No. Not gloat.” He wasn’t sure why he was here, but he knew it wasn’t to gloat. His history was too tangled with Megatron’s for that.

“Lecture, then.”

“I’m in no position to lecture anyone.”

“I’m, perhaps, in less of one.” Mirth around the corners of his optics, practically rattling from the edges of his mouth. “So, Drift,” and he said the name as though it were some alien word with a flavor he didn’t quite know what to do with, “why are you here?”

“Not sure.” It was something Rodimus had said, some throwaway comment, half in jest, but it had stuck with him. He hadn’t spoken to Megatron. Not for ages. How could he be at peace with his past if he held back from facing it?

“You know,” Megatron said, his tone conversational, as though proving a point: He was the one held captive, he was the one immobilized, yet he was the one who was in control. A subterfuge, but one not less true for the fact that it was, “It doesn’t suit you.”

It was distressing, that in their old familiarity, Drift knew what Megatron was talking about. One hand brushed the Autobot insignia in his shoulder well. “Factions suit no one.”

“And yet, there you are,” Megatron said. “Then again, you always did want to belong.” He said the last as though it were a sneer.

“Yes.” Wounds only hurt if you let them strike home. “Too much.”

“Belonging always comes at a price, Drift.”

A nod. Oh, he had learned that all too well.

“And is it worth it?”

Drift frowned. He was letting too many blows in, past his guard, only blocking. Time to parry. “Is this for you?”

“Worth it?” The smile turned contented. “Drift. You remember. I always get what I want.”

“You want this. Captivity. Helplessness.” Drift tried to imagine himself in the same situation—immobilized, stripped, neutralized. His optics slid to the arm, looking strangely naked without the heavy cannon.

“Drift.” The head reared back and for a klik all Drift could see were the bare, exposed cables of the throat. It was a taunt, of course. One Megatron knew he wouldn’t rise to, but would have to fight the urge nonetheless. “My very presence here is more disturbing to the Autobots than anything else I could do. Fight? We’ve become numbed to it. But this: quiescence, obedience? This shakes the very foundations of what they think I am.”

“Which is…?”

A laugh, dark and velvety, and oh, Drift remembered the seduction of it. “I am what they can’t understand, Drift.” The head reared again, an untamed animal gesture. “And you? You have tried to shape yourself within the confines of their comprehension. You limit yourself. Now.” A chuckle, fond. “Is that freedom? Is that truly better than what I offered?”


The mirth seemed to fade from the red optics. “That thing you have always reached for, Drift. And then pulled back, appalled by your own dirty hands.”

Drift stepped back: Megatron knew him too well. Maybe if someone knew you from the beginning they knew you better than you knew yourself. He remembered, suddenly, how he’d felt, standing in that crowd, to hear the great revolutionary speak. And to be recognized, called by name. By Megatron. Drift was an unknown, a nobody. But Megatron had seen him. Megatron had given him a name, praised him.

He had fallen for it, like tumbling into a gravity well. “Your methods were hardly clean.”

“My methods are harsh. Yes. But look around you.” The dark chin traced a semicircle, encompassing the ship around them. “Would your compatriots have listened to any less? Did they listen to us when we merely spoke back on Cybertron, Drift?” The red optics took on a sly glint. “And isn’t that why they tolerate you, after all?”

A palpable hit. There was no point disguising it. Drift let it show on his face.

Megatron nodded, rolling one shoulder in his harness. “They pretend to be better than Decepticons.”

“They are. Have you seen what we have become?” Drift remembered what he’d said to Turmoil. The Decepticons had become mired in violence, and the Autobots fallen. He’d believed it then, but now, somehow, he wasn’t sure he still did.

“You have seen me, Drift. And this Optimus you now follow. Tell me. How do we measure?”

“I don’t follow him. I do what’s right.”

“And you see the distance between them, don’t you? You feel it.” A snort of laughter. the kind that knew he was right. “In your own way, you’re as immobilized as I am, Drift.”

Drift wanted to refute him. He wanted to feel pity. Anger. Anything other than this almost awed respect, this poignant nostalgia for when the world was young and everything seemed clear.

“Do you remember?” As if clairvoyant, the voice quiet, soft, like an echo of the past. “Do you remember the days of glory? When the world was ours?”

“Was ours to burn, to destroy. All we knew how to do.”

“And these Autobots know something else?”

Drift sighed, frustrated. It was always like this with Megatron. In those days, the distant past, it had seemed exciting, a constant battle, a way to keep honed and sharp. Perfect Decepticons.

And maybe that wasn’t wrong. Constant alertness. Constant guard. It kept you busy. Kept you too busy, sometimes, to see what you were doing. But that was better, sometimes, than blind faith. “I fight so the war ends, Megatron.”

“Strange that I am not fighting then, isn’t it?”

“You’re always fighting, Megatron.” Something dangerousy close to fondness in his own voice. Drift pressed his mouth together, as though trying to quash the emotion.

Megatron laughed. “You understand. Don’t you, Drift?” He nearly winked, as though that understanding would be a bond between them, a wall between Drift and the other Autobots.

“I thought I did. I thought you believed what you promised us.” And Drift realized he was talking about the past. The past had never left him, would never leave him. How had Megatron come to peace with his?

“I do. I do. And that,” a pause, and for a moment the hard, glossy composure seemed to slip, “that’s why I cannot be broken, Drift. Not here. Not by them.”

“There are worse things than breaking,” Drift said. Wing seemed to hang before him, between them, like a spectre, a phantom of what Drift might have been, had a thousand branches gone differently. Wing had broken him, cracked him open, and—he hoped—released some light.

“There are,” Megatron agreed. “One must destroy to rebuild, after all.” An old slogan, so old it seemed to reek of the past, the smell of hot energon and an almost frantic hope. Then the voice lowered, the chin tipping down, Megatron wanting to drop the pose for a moment, his red optics catching at Drift’s blue. “The secret, “ he said, his voice so soft it was nearly lost in the hum of the VVH, “is to never forget the past. Remember, Deadlock. Drift. Don’t forget the past. Ever.”

A shiver ran over Drift’s frame, the image of Wing between them seeming to ripple and reform; the keen intensity of the words seemed to slice into his cortex with the weight of prophecy.
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Postby calabiyau » Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:42 pm

I have been reading way too much feminist theory today. x_x So, took a break and threw down a little story thingamasucker. It's post Death of Optimus Prime and will shortly (like in a week) be Jossed by canon, but lol OH WELL. I don't want to punch patriarchy in the face anymore! XD


Bumblebee leaned heavily on his cane as he led the way into the wreck of Kimia, where the Autobots had set up a temporary headquarters.

Who did this Metalhawk think he was, anyway? Mech looked he’d snap in half at a dirty look, much less facing down a Decepticon in combat. As Bumblebee had done, how many times?

A little respect, really, was all he asked for.

He gave a sour frown at Prowl as he turned into one of the briefing rooms. Prowl looked just as unhappy to see the newcomer as Bumblebee felt. At least someone was on the same page here.

Now, wait, Bumblebee, he scolded himself. That’s not fair. The Autobots had done a great job pulling together after that whole…thing. Megatron taking on that megagestalt thing. They’d rounded up the Decepticons while they were still disoriented and fortified the base. All under his leadership. His.

He stopped, abruptly, just so that Metalhawk would have to swerve to avoid hitting him. “What is it this time?” There was no point disguising the irritation in his voice.

“This time,” Metalhawk didn’t bother, either. “We want to know when you’re going to stop enforcing this ridiculous curfew. We’re trying to rebuild.”

“The curfew is for your safety,” Prowl interrupted. “We can’t patrol effectively without safety measures that keep the innocent off the streets.”

“You don’t need to patrol at all,” Metalhawk countered. “We don’t need your policing, your laws, or your oppression.” Light flashed off the red blades on his forearms as he planted his hands on his hips. Almost, Bumblebee thought, as though he was trying to look like he took up more room than he did.

“You’re coming back to our planet,” Bumblebee said, tapping his cane meaningfully on the ground, as though planting a flag in it. “You come back to our laws. Simple as that.”

“Your planet?” Metalhawk tilted his head, speaking slowly as though he thought Bumblebee was a bit dim. “This is Cybertron. It belongs to Cybertronians. All of us.”

“It belongs to Autobots,” Bumblebee snapped, bridling under the insult. “We fought for it. We died for it. It’s ours.”

“You destroyed it.”

“You were part of it,” Prowl said, arms folding across his chassis. “You fought for us, remember?”

“Until I saw what we were doing. Planet after planet ravaged by our lust for control.” He sneered. “As here. You still haven’t learned anything.”

“We won! What’s to learn?” Really, Metalhawk got on his high horse sometimes. It got really old, really fast, especially when Bumblebee had other things to do.

“You won nothing.” Metalhawk scowled. “I’ve heard you simply hid while others fought.”

Bumblebee felt fury surge through him, his hand gripping the cane hard enough to ping-break a small wire. Megatron and the gestalt had fought. There hadn’t been a good opportunity to engage. And it was simply good tactics to sit back and let two enemies attack each other. Just shows how much Metalhawk didn’t understand war. “Now you yell at us for not fighting. Make up your mind, Metalhawk.”

“My mind is made up. This is an illegal occupation, and I am here to demand that it cease, immediately.”

“Illegal by whose laws?” Prowl, hostile, but probing. “Under what authority?”

“The Galactic Council,” Metalhawk said.

A bluff. It had to be a bluff, and a bad one. No way the Council would have said anything without contacting Bumblebee himself. “Really.”

“Galactic accords state that terrain belongs to the indigenous.”

“We are the indigenous!” Bumblebee snarled, just about out of patience. Not even the fact that Metalhawk was obviously just trying to chapter and verse him without having actually heard from the Council could take the edge off. “This is our home!”

“We saw what you did to our home last time,” Metalhawk countered. “Your very attitude, your very labeling us, arresting us of being guilty of…being mobile after dark, or whatever charges you’re holding Suiken under—“

“We’re merely detaining him,” Prowl said. “We’re not required to correlate that to any specific penal code.”

Metalhawk’s shoulders shifted, high and tight, the way he used to hold them before combat, the sharp raptor hooks on his wrists glinting. “You are now. By me.”

“It’s for his own protection,” Bumblebee said.

“I’ll be the judge. Let me see him.”

“No.” Prowl straightening to every last micron of his height.

“No? Under what cha--,” Metalhawk cut himself off. “Under what ridiculous rationalization do you even think you can justify that?”

“Under the fact that you may exchange vital information.”

“You can be there with me.”


Metalhawk’s frame shook with outrage for a moment, his hands curling into fists, before he visibly forced himself calm, flattening out his hands. He vented. “I see.” A nod, abrupt, gold crest flashing. “I see how it is. I see that talking is going to accomplish nothing.”

“Is that a threat?” Bumblebee leaned forward. “If not talking, what else? Another riot? Think we listen to savages better?”

“I meant,” Metalhawk politeness was frosty. “that I’ve wasted enough of your time.” He gave a nod, as if settling something within his own mind. “Thank you for this…illuminating discussion. I’ll find my way out.” A sharp smile, as if he expected to be challenged on that, before he turned on his heel and left.

His footsteps receded into the distance, both Prowl and Bumblebee audiotracking the direction for a long moment in silence. Bumblebee broke it by shaking his head. “One day, you know, he’ll realize.”

Prowl nodded. “We’re doing it for their own good.”
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Postby calabiyau » Mon Apr 30, 2012 7:20 pm

SO. I was derping around with Sparkeaters. Because a bunch of us were talking about what 'alien' really was--what the world would look like to something truly alien.

I could have pushed this further, but it would have been

Warning for, uh, a wee bit o violence? It's written in the present tense, because in my head a predator like this would have absolutely no need for past or future: they would just clutter up its existence.

Hunger. Its name is Hunger. At least for now. Sometimes its name is something else: Lack, or Satiation or Darkness or Anger or Fear. It is Hunger now, Hunger and Freedom, the corridors stretching before it like arteries of possibility before its nonsight.

It turns its head, ultrasonic fins sending out echolocation pings, painting the hallways before it in almost excruciating detail that blurs and mixes if it tries to focus. It doesn’t try.

So long. So long it has been held, kept in the lumpy cube, with the rancid, reeking corpses of turbofoxes. So long it has been named Want and Darkness.

Now it is Movement and Hunger.

It remembers time only dimly, as is right for a creature born on the marches of the Benzuli Expanse. It is a thing of the margins, neither life nor death. It remembers other names it has had, other alternations: hunger and satiation alternating, as another mech, one with light-filtering optics, might measure his life in day and night.

It does not. It does not measure its past, in dark or light, its world a shroud of darkness, an endless slipping of the Now into the chaos of the Past. Often, it can’t remember its names; often, it doesn’t even try. The present is enough, with space and sound, hunger and hollowness.

Of the future, it has no thought; the future for it now is merely Hunger seeking Satiation, the way a lover pursues its beloved, chasing a new name.

It stalks down the corridor, every detail a colorless hum of place. Its own body is a cluster of sound, limbs like sonic lines of possibility, propelling it down the corridor. Actual sound blurs the edges of the clean lines, contours fuzzing with overlapping sinewaves.

The sparks in its chamber stir, tingling and querulous. Its grapple-limbs skitter over the walls, screeling along the metal plating, touching where its echolocation is not enough: floor, wall, ceiling, seam.

It lacks audio-receptors in the audible sound range: there is nothing to hear in the Dead Universe, where even sound is annihilated. Its echolocation works perfectly there; here it is an imperfection, an approximation, that creates the world anew with every pingshimmer of ultrasonic waves from its emitters. Sound is a bubble of input, boiling location.

Hunger stalks the corridor, limbs flexing and stretching, newly discovering movement and range. Every moment was new to it, every experience a sharp-blade novelty. It recognizes little, but seeks, knowing with a trust deeper-rooted than its memory that it will recognize what it wants.

It will know. It has faith.

It glides on a wave of sound, as if drawn by a thread of possibility, chittering with eagerness: Hunger becomes Hunting.

And there: a bright glow, blue-white and shimmering in its sonic sight, a dense, intricate knot of energy and sound, the high resonance of atoms singing a wild chorus of Life.

Hunting swashes back into the sonic wall, flaring its armor’s sonar receptors to catch the singing siren call of a spark, evolved, advanced, bright and polyphonic enough to blast the flat monotone of turbofox from its limited memory cache. Hunting has discovered Prey. It cares no more for Prey’s name than it does its own. Names are things to be discarded, scraped husks of life sucked dry, like the rusted, brittle frames of turbofoxes. Even less, for a turbofox had some tang-flat spark of energy to it. Names had none, blats of gross sound, waves obese and thick, the opposite of sparks--high and refined, intoxicating knots of endless complexity it would take decacycles to unravel.

A crackle—six crackles—captured life turns electric, stripped of memory and identity and turned into pure Force, as Hunting shoots its grappling cables forward, mouth opening in a soundless, sucking hiss.

A wall of sound , the prey screaming, jaw stretching around some horror as Hunting struck, grapples shocking into the living frame. And it lunges, slavering and eager, taking this new life that writhes and thrashes beneath it, becoming Feeding.
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