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About Deviant Artist Abi; WindchaserFemale/United Kingdom Recent Activity
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Literature
Remember Me, chapter 7
Whichever way you sliced it, watching over sparklings sucked almighty slag.
Ramjet half-suspected this was a punishment of some sort, perhaps for not being proactive enough? Or for some perceived infraction by his trine, so thanks to you two obnoxious afts for getting him punished for something he wasn’t even involved in.
But he was also the only one he halfway trusted not to screw things up, so he only had himself to blame, really. Both his wingbros had the tendency to be unrelenting morons, and he knew for absolute certainty that if he left the scraplet under their watch, it’d get broken. Bye bye any hope of ever going home to Cybertron.
His diminutive charge sat on the terminal he was working at, close enough for him to keep a good watch over. Skydash wasn’t strictly facing in his direction, but Ramjet could tell she had her attention fixed on him. The big blue optics felt rather like the targeting scanner of some dangerous new weapon. It was… weirdly
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Literature
Runs from Silence, ch 1
“Jess! Will you stop dawdling? You’re gonna make us late – again.”
Technically, Jess and his friend Teeja were already late. It was the only reason they’d risked the ire of harbour police by sneaking through a hole in the fence, instead of make the long slog through security.
But Jess didn’t need to know that – he’d only end up making them later. The laima’s lackadaisical approach to timekeeping was a regular source of the vulline’s anxiety, and tonight was no different. That she’d managed to drag him away from the town centre festivities at all was a small miracle.
Autumn had finally landed, and the Festival of the Twin Moons was in full swing. The city centre was heaving, with what felt like half the population of the entire continent coming to join the biggest party in the hemisphere. It was the only reason the interstellar shipping harbour was so quiet – cargo-loading had finished ea
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Literature
Happy? Anniversary!
After a day spent locked in battle with the most wilfully obtuse bunch of self-serving councillors on his side of the planet – and coming within a wing-width of feeding Waveguide all his carefully-drafted budget assessments – Starscream had been looking forwards to a quiet night to himself.
The building was already empty when he dragged his tired pedes over the threshold. Thundercracker had taken Celerity out to New Vos, to see their growing tribe of younger sparks. Skywarp had made plans to see some inane sports thing half a planet away with friends from work. And Skyfire had been asked back to Earth for some science project involving altogether too much mud to be healthy, which the red seeker had, ah, “politely” declined.
So things had all looked on-schedule for a pleasant, private evening of relaxation. Possibly spending a little quality time alone with all those lovely polishing tools in the washracks. (And the insulated step-stool the bikes we
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Literature
Take the Initiative
Offices weren’t precisely Skywarp’s natural habitat.
The way he worked could probably have been politely called “hands-on”, although most people recognised a euphemism when they saw one; he liked to be out there, collecting paint scrapings. If there was ever a question of “good cop, bad cop”? Skywarp was absolutely bad cop, absolutely all the time. It was a brave machine that chose to riot when he was on duty.
But, his ‘style’ (if you could call it that) tended to get results, too, and taming the unashamedly aggressive ex-’Con never seemed to be on the cards. His friends and colleagues just learned to live with the fallout. And the noise.
So being cooped up in an office with Thundercracker’s highly distracted deputy was starting to grate at his patience.
Superintendent Thundercracker had visitors – a bright, sweet-natured councillor from the next district over, and their acting chief constable. They were (ostensib
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Literature
Drug Dealing
Hardline hadn’t even been gone for a whole breem when the door to Forceps’ home clicked and admitted a familiar set of red wings.
Forceps set her journal down on the table, and watched her uninvited guest approach. “How long have you been lurking out there, waiting for Hack to leave?”
Starscream shrugged, in an artfully casual way, and tucked his wings in a little more neatly. “I do not lurk, thank you, doctor. Just a fortuitous coincidence.”
Her expression flattened. “Of course it was.”
“I find it very hurtful that you don’t believe me.” Not looking remotely upset, he fetched something out of his subspace. “But… I know the big lug doesn’t like me giving you these, so.” He dropped a small, surprisingly-heavy silver disc into her palm. “Convenient timing, really.”
She knew exactly what it was without having to devote many fractions of a second to studying it. “I
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Wing Mechanics by keaalu Wing Mechanics :iconkeaalu:keaalu 2 0
Mature content
Remember Me, chapter 6 :iconkeaalu:keaalu 0 0
Squeaky by keaalu Squeaky :iconkeaalu:keaalu 2 2
Literature
All Begins with 'P'
Some orns later, after being scrubbed so clean it had almost taken his own enamel off, Starscream would claim that he’d only done it to ensure Skywarp’s idea had been done proper justice. But everyone knew that was mostly to save face.
It all started after a particularly trying orn spent chasing escaped criminals around Rustig’s abandoned alleys.
Deixar Constabulary had a pretty good system for tagging the crims in their patch, but as with everything else, there were those who thought they were smarter than the law. Monitoring tags were only any good when they remained attached to the person they were meant to be monitoring. A tag that stopped moving could be attached to a recharging mech… or someone who’d taken it off altogether. The smartest glitches paid other machines to wear their tags for them.
Only half-jokingly, Skywarp had suggested that they should get him to teleport the tag onto the criminals, in the future – a quantum bond
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Literature
Different Kinds of Heat
The office looks weird, this time of the cycle.
Has it always been this dark?
It’s night, Pulse. Of course it’s dark. It’s the quiet that’s making it feel weird.

Working alone, late at night, in a poorly-lit office, was having a different benefit-disadvantage ratio to the one Pulsar had anticipated, and she wasn’t sure it was turning out to be as good an idea as she’d hoped.
Maybe I should turn a few lights on anyway.
Benefit? It was quiet, and private, and no-one was around to prod her about how she was feeling – which she considered too controversial a subject to really want to get into with anyone, right now.
Disadvantage? She had nothing to divert her attention from said feelings, so she spent more time staring off into space than actually, you know, working. And the quiet was starting to get to her.
Finally she realised that she’d been sitting staring at the same screen for almost a breem without actually parsing
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Literature
Unspoken
Like much of Cybertron, Iacon was still fairly derelict – most of the awe-inspiring buildings of the Golden Age lay in sad, quiet ruins, most blackened and broken by war. The little that remained had been thoroughly cannibalised for undamaged components.
…but – again – like much of Cybertron, Iacon’s residents were starting to pick up the pieces, and beginning to rebuild. The spindly towers of inanimate cranes dotted the horizon, and a scattering of mismatched lights twinkled from the windows of the buildings below.
Not this one, though. Skywarp had intentionally chosen a rickety-looking tower on the outskirts of the city-state, little more than a shell with most of its interior floors corroded away, the topmost platform reachable only by air.
Private. Quiet. Somewhere unreachable by other grounders, and far enough away that hopefully the rest of the family wouldn’t decide he was obviously up to no good and they ought to come looking for him. He was
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Literature
Aviation flu
It was obvious from the moment Pulsar came online, to find her Seeker venting excessively warm air and with pumps that seemed to be buzzing, that Skywarp wasn’t in particularly good health, that orn.
“Warp?” She pushed herself upright and leaned over his chassis, propping herself on one arm. “Is everything all right?” She waved a hand in front of his face, then gently patted his cheek. “Hey in there. Skywarp?”
His optics came online much more slowly than she was familiar with, and he stared murkily through her for several seconds before managing to focus. “…uuh?”
“How are you feeling?”
“…uuh.” He lifted a shaky hand and passed it over his face. His voice crackled with more clicky static than should have been normal for bootup distortions. “G’roff, Squeaks. Too hot in here.”
Pulsar hastily scrambled off his wing, so he could sit up – or at least attempt to. He swung o
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Mature content
Remember Me, chapter 5 :iconkeaalu:keaalu 0 0
Mature content
Remember Me, chapter 4 :iconkeaalu:keaalu 0 0
Mature content
Remember Me, chapter 3 :iconkeaalu:keaalu 0 12
Mature content
Remember Me, chapter 2 :iconkeaalu:keaalu 0 0

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deviantID

keaalu
Abi; Windchaser
Artist
United Kingdom
Ahh, we can have actual bios now.

I'll come back to this once I've had a think about what to actually put.
Look at this! OMG. 😍

My awesome friend Exie (who is totally NOT a brick) wrote a ficlet that follows on from the one I just posted, with the exception that hers is infinitely more adorable.

archiveofourown.org/works/1467…

Activity


Morning Pages title page
This is the first art I've managed in 6 months, so I figured it wouldn't hurt to upload it.

It was all done with the handwriting fineliners and highlighters on my desk at work, so it could probably stand to be more polished, haha. And no, that isn't my lovely handwriting at the bottom - only the "2" is mine.

("Morning Pages" is this thing here: juliacameronlive.com/basic-too… I don't think I do it right, and I'm not good at it either, but I'm persisting with it for now. Even if it is mostly me whining.)
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Whichever way you sliced it, watching over sparklings sucked almighty slag.

Ramjet half-suspected this was a punishment of some sort, perhaps for not being proactive enough? Or for some perceived infraction by his trine, so thanks to you two obnoxious afts for getting him punished for something he wasn’t even involved in.

But he was also the only one he halfway trusted not to screw things up, so he only had himself to blame, really. Both his wingbros had the tendency to be unrelenting morons, and he knew for absolute certainty that if he left the scraplet under their watch, it’d get broken. Bye bye any hope of ever going home to Cybertron.

His diminutive charge sat on the terminal he was working at, close enough for him to keep a good watch over. Skydash wasn’t strictly facing in his direction, but Ramjet could tell she had her attention fixed on him. The big blue optics felt rather like the targeting scanner of some dangerous new weapon. It was… weirdly disconcerting. He was starting to see why Dirge had found it so destabilising to have the infant Slipstream staring at him.

He glanced briefly in her direction, and watched as her gaze hastily flicked away into a corner. He knew it wouldn’t stay there for long. She’d got into a routine that was aggravating his already-sore helm.

Sucked being the only halfway responsible mech left serving aboard this fragging deep-sea tin can. He vented a sigh and mantled his fingers against his temples.

“If you’re getting bored, I know the Constructicons wouldn’t mind looking after the li’l blob of tin for a while,” an unfriendly voice drawled from somewhere close behind him. “I heard they were wanting a closer look.”

Ramjet didn’t bother turning around. “Sure thing, Dirge. I’ll get right on it. I mean, I was only just now thinking I needed yet another reason to get Screamer’s trine to slag all three of us the next time we bump into them.”

Dirge muttered something that sounded like a deprecatory assessment of his wingmate’s courage, but Ramjet didn’t feel like asking him to clarify. Even punching him in the helm seemed less attractive than getting him to just go away, for once.

The thought had barely finished processing when Skydash summoned enough courage to creep closer again, shuffling forwards on her small aft, and put her hand on his arm. “Want home,” she said, softly. “Arrgie take?”

He turned to glare down at her and she snatched her hand away, startled. “For the millionth time, no. And it’s Ramjet, not… Arrgie.”

She thought about it for a few seconds. “Mean blue say.”

“Hear that, Dirge? You’re Mean Blue, now. The scraplet knows you better than half your shipmates do.”

Dirge gave a dismissive snort.

Ramjet returned his attention to the sparkling. “And that doesn’t give you permission to call me it, either. Just… sit there and be quiet.”

She sat and stared at him for several dissatisfied seconds. “Want Ama.”

Ramjet tightened his jaw, lips compressing to a thin, annoyed line. That sore helm wasn’t going away any time soon. “I know. You said that a breem ago. My answer hasn’t changed.”

She thought about it for a moment. “When see?”

“When?” He sighed and covered his face. “Uh. Never, I guess?”

A flash of alarm passed clearly through the small face. She silently scrutinised his features, attempting to gauge whether she believed him. “See soon?” she repeated, in a funny wavery little voice.

“Look; in case no-one told you this? You’re not here for fun, Tiny. You’re our prisoner. You don’t get to make demands. You just do what we tell you to do.”

Skydash thought about it for a few wibbly seconds longer. “See soon,” she repeated, firmly, as though trying to reassure herself that he wasn’t being truthful.

Ramjet could hear Dirge snickering softly in the background. “Ugh. Sure, fine, whatever.” He sagged back in his chair, letting his arms dangle. “If she somehow manages to rock up at our doorstep demanding to have you back, she can have you. Now be quiet.”

Temporarily mollified, Skydash returned her attention to her small pedes, clicking quietly and self-comfortingly to herself.

Dirge made an ugly snrk noise. “Good going there, mighty wingleader. Defeated by a sparkling – again.”

Ramjet tightened his jaw, biting down on an insult. He could feel his patience straining thinner with every passing second. “So did you finish mopping? Or do you need me to get Thrust to come down here and remind you how to do it?”

“I’m the Boss’s favourite, dude. How about you finish the chores.”

The wet end of the mop slapped him tauntingly on the back of the head.

It didn’t hurt, but Ramjet’s tolerance was well and truly done. He was up on his feet in a flash, yanked the mop out of his wingmate’s hands, and slammed it down on Dirge’s helm, hard enough to snap it into two.

Startled, Dirge actually gave a squeak of alarm, fell off his chair and scrambled on all fours out the door before any additional blows could be forthcoming. “Primus frag, you psycho, what the slag was that for-?!” He cowered behind the wall, engines pitched at just the right level to keep his wingmate from pursuing him.

Ramjet clutched the broken end of the mop in his fist, willing Dirge to get back within striking range. “What do you think it was for, you fragheaded pitglitch?” he snapped. “Or were you under the impression you were actually being helpful?”

“Hey, you’re the one whining about being stuck on sparkling-duty.” Insulted, Dirge bravely peeked around the doorframe, and dropped his engine pitch a little. “I gave you a suggestion for what to do instead, didn’t I? Don’t blame me if you’re getting too soft and wibbly, and don’t like the idea of being mean.”

Ramjet felt his fists tighten, finding it difficult to resist the compulsion to back off, away from the hideous pitscreech that made his entire core vibrate. “Why don’t you take your attempt at ‘suggestions’…” He forced himself to step closer, gesturing meaningfully with the broken mop. “…and shove ‘em somewhere?”

Dirge picked up the other half of the mop; the soggy end meant it lacked a certain menace in comparison to Ramjet’s jagged cosh, but the blue jet didn’t seem bothered. “I’m sure I don’t know what you mean. How about you bend over, and I’ll get some practice in?”

By now, their noses were almost touching. “Go find something better to do.”

Make me.”

Ramjet gave him a shove back towards the door.

But shoves rapidly escalated to punches, and suddenly it had all degenerated into a ridiculous and undignified brawl in a spilled puddle of dirty soapy water in the middle of the monitoring room and it felt rather like Dirge was actually getting the upper hand-

Until the horrendous, ultrasonic distress signal of a frightened sparkling cut like a sonic laser through the scuffle, slicing across sensitive audio receptors like something physical.

Dirge lurched away in alarm, hands flying up to his audios and inadvertently smacking himself in the face with his mop. “Primus frag-! The slag is that all about-?! Get it to shut up, already!”

Ramjet was already scrambling for the infant, as if he’d be able to find an ‘off’ switch. “You shut her up, if you’re so clever. And quit making that stupid engine screech, you’re making it worse.”

To Ramjet’s endless relief, for a change Dirge actually just complied and turned off his destabilising sonics. “Shake it, or something!”

“Don’t be stupid, that’ll break her.” Ramjet held the wailing sparkling at arm’s length; her legs pedalled frantically in midair, as though scared she was about to be dropped, and her volume actually seemed to increase. He flinched and hastily put her back down on the terminal.

“Nobody said we had to keep from breaking it.” Dirge made a grab for her. “I’m sure Hook has a nice soldering iron we could use to weld its lips closed.”

I said, Dirge.” Ramjet hastily put himself in the way. “I said we have to keep from breaking her. I’m actually trying to look at the long picture, and what might happen to us if we do.”

“Who even cares?” Dirge put his hands up. “Apart from you, slag even knows why. It’s like you’ve written this whole thing off as a failure already!”

“If you’d forgotten, we’re ’Cons? We don’t exactly have the greatest track record of things going in our favour. It’d be nice to increase our odds of surviving in the long term.”

“Well, if you don’t somehow get it to quit making that hideous pitsquall, Megatron will come smash us. I figure it’s a fair tradeoff.”

Hnng.” Ramjet covered his face with both hands and counted to five thousand. “If you hadn’t almost killed the other kid, we could have just left her with him, but no, you couldn’t slagging leave things alone, could you?”

“Oh come on.” Dirge folded his arms and looked away. “It was just a little nick.”

“Little enough that we had to dump him on Hook before he bled out all over the brig?”

“He coulda crystallised that off for himself, no problem.” Dirge huffed, defensively. “Not like it’s my fault the cops are using substandard parts to keep costs down.”

Ramjet applied a hand to each of Dirge’s shoulders, and hustled him firmly out of the doorway. “OK, Dirge, I give up, you win, you’re the best, I suck, I’ll get back to nursemaid duty seeing as that’s what I’m best at, you go celebrate with Thrust or something, I don’t care, just go the frag away.”

He caught only the slimmest glimpse of startled crimson optics before the door hushed closed between them. Dirge voiced a profanity, thankfully muffled, and punched the door, then stomped away down the corridor, heels echoing like gunshots.

“And as for you…” Ramjet turned to the still-screechy sparkling. The ultrasonic wail might have stopped the instant Dirge left the room, but she was still well and truly caught up in her tantrum.

“Want ama!” she squeaked, half-alarmed, half-angry. “Want home! Arrgie take!”

“Arrgie knows for a fact that he already told you no, so how about you pipe down?” He waved a threatening finger in her direction. “You’re making my helm hurt.”

Skydash took the opportunity, and bit the proffered body part.

That was the last straw. “All right, bratlet; time you had a timeout.” Ramjet snagged Dirge’s overturned bucket and dropped the sparkling inside, then covered the opening with a databoard. He propped one thruster against the top. “Now be quiet.”

A little hollow clattering ensued, and he could feel something small rattling against the board under his foot. A muffled squeak of alarm echoed up from the pail.

“Be quiet!” He rapped his thrustered heel against the board, and the rattling stopped, startled.

“…want out?” a thin, staticky voice asked.

“No. You shoulda thought about that before you got naughty.”

A pause. “…not like in?”

“That’s the point. Quit being a brat and maybe I’ll let you out.”

Another few seconds of anxious chirping passed. “Out now?” she squeaked quietly, tapping at the board. “Am a good?”

He ignored her. She’d actually left chips in his enamel. Great. Like he had nothing better to do than get those filled. (And become a laughing stock – again – when it transpired they were courtesy of a sparkling.)

The squeaks of protest finally turned into the soft murmur of static; after a while, even that faded out.

Letting his arms dangle at his sides, Ramjet counted to ten thousand and finally allowed himself the luxury of a long cooling draught of air, trying to get rid of a little of the stale exhaust from his vents. Really didn’t say much about his commitment to the Decepticon cause if he could be made to feel bad by a bot that could have fitted in the palm of his hand.

-------

Joking aside, it still took Pulsar a breem or two to regain the confidence to return to her family in the atrium. Long vorns of habituation meant she wasn’t specifically scared of Winglord Irascible, but getting on his bad side tended to be painful on the audios, and for a protracted period. She still didn’t really have the first idea what she was going to actually say to anyone, either, except probably that she wanted to be first in line to wallop Skywarp when (and if) he finally returned.

And yes, okay, fine; she wanted the sparklings back, in one piece and as soon as possible. Warp’s plan might be the dictionary definition of idiocy, but it was better than no plan at all. Drawing it out like he’d asked her to do maybe gave him a whisper of a halfway remote chance of actually achieving a miracle.

Maybe.

When she arrived back on the ground floor, Starscream was pacing back and forth in front of the window, throwing ideas into the air. He didn’t look particularly interested in getting anyone’s input, so long as he got the occasional noise that made it sound like he had an audience. Being interrupted to inform him of the reckless teleport’s actions probably wouldn’t go down so well.

Pulsar slunk out of the lift and around the maple, and cleared her vents with a little khuff. “Skyfire?”

The shuttle turned to look at her.

“Can I talk to you for a moment?” she asked.

The giant cast his gaze briefly back to Starscream, who offered a sort of pouty shrug and spread his hands, confused by why Skyfire was asking for his permission.

Skyfire found a small smile. “Of course. You don’t need to ask.”

Pulsar flicked a hand and gestured for them to retire a little further back into the big room. A little more out of hearing range.

Skyfire had to kneel just to get anywhere near her level. “How are you both holding up?” he wondered, quietly, brushing comforting fingertips delicately against her arm.

Pulsar studied the floor under her feet for a few seconds before forcing out something that tried to be a smile. “Yeah. We’re, uh.” She folded her arms around herself. “Keeping it together, I guess. Trying not to imagine what’s happening to our little sparks when we’re not there. I hope Seem’s got enough common sense to not goad any of them into a fight.”

“He’s had good teachers. If anyone knows how to stay alive-”

“Normally? I’d agree. But they’ve been taken by Cons, with a grudge, who don’t need much baiting. And I’ve been in the role of bargaining chip before. That wasn’t all Siphon’s work.”

Skyfire remained quiet. He remembered the chaos of Egypt, and all the broken, barely-alive machines that had come away from the desert.

“As for Skywarp, well. He’s, uh.” Pulsar shrugged and looked off into the distance, avoiding meeting his gaze. “Skywarp.”

Skyfire’s optics narrowed, very slightly. “…is everything all right, Pulsar?”

She rearranged her folded arms around her chassis and drew cold air through her core. Still glaring fixedly at the giant’s knees, she found the words she’d been searching for; “Skywarp, uh. Might have decided he was done procrastinating, and flown off to Earth to rescue the bits himself.”

Skyfire couldn’t help the startled exclamation; “He’s done what?!”

Pulsar leaped forwards, covering the giant’s mouth with both hands. “Shh!” she squeaked, alarmed.

Skyfire hastily seized her in a hug, in a clumsy attempt to cover the outburst.

In the sunlit main area of the atrium, Starscream merely clicked his annoyance at having his train of thought briefly derailed, and didn’t challenge it.

“What in Primus was he trying to achieve?” Skyfire asked, in a whisper, so close to her helm that she could feel the air moving.

Pulsar mantled her fingers on the shuttle’s enormous shoulder. “You know Skywarp. Never one to let little things like fear and common sense hold him back.” His static field felt nice. Reassuring. Anxious and alarmed, granted, but it didn’t leave her feeling like a walking storm of fireflies; her head felt a tiny bit clearer already. “He thinks he stands a better chance of succeeding and surviving if Starscream doesn’t go with him.” After a beat, she added; “I mostly agree with him. We all know it’s Screamer who Megatron really wants. Everyone else is just an extra bonus.”

“…that Megatron probably won’t kill him just yet doesn’t sound like the most optimistic way of looking at this whole mess.”

I know. But I’m not sure if there’s many other ways that don’t involve collapsing into a heap of static on the floor.”

Skyfire considered the situation for a few moments longer. “I’m assuming Star doesn’t know yet…?”

“No. Warp asked me to cover for him, because I’m apparently a sucker.” Pulsar vented a frustrated little snort. “Honestly? I’m not sure how to broach the subject. Not without making an enemy of Starscream for the next half a vorn.”

“…which is why you wanted to talk to me? I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to keep him off the warpath, either.” A small, reluctant smile traced the shuttle’s lips. “Especially if Skywarp’s gone and stolen his thunder like this.”

Pulsar groaned softly and let her head bonk down against him. “Why do I always end up sucked into the idiotic parts of everyone’s schemes, where all I can do is try and keep disasters from getting worse, and never anything useful and heroic.”

“I ask myself the same thing on a regular basis. Just because Star’s plans are a little more polished, it doesn’t make them less idiotic, sometimes.”

She sighed against him, and let him relax his grip so she could slide back to the floor. “Well. Thanks anyway. Guess I’ll have to just think of something.”

Skywarp abruptly solved the problem for her.

Something subtle changed in the atmosphere. A sudden brief, intangible sense of a hole opening up – of something suddenly not there any more.

Skywarp’s signal had gone off the registry. He’d obviously got through the space bridge.

And Pulsar found herself suddenly trapped at the focus of everyone’s attention. She puffed herself up, standing as tall as she could in an effort to look bigger. Less vulnerable.

Starscream put himself a scant arm’s length from her, arms folded, looming in the way that got most folk dashing for cover lest a nullray was forthcoming. “I have the feeling you know more about this than you’re telling us.”

Pulsar backed off half a step. “I don’t know what you mean.”

“Oh really.” He lifted his chin, unimpressed. “Has he gone to get Autobot help, is that it? He’s being his usual impatient self, and can’t give me even half a slagging orn to figure out what in Pit we can do to fix this?”

Pulsar ran through her options, but came up with nothing she felt would satisfy Starscream’s temper. The silence stretched out between them.

“…that’s not it, is it.” Starscream’s optics thinned, suspiciously, and he unfolded his arms. He looked suspiciously like he was preparing to make a sprint after his errant wingmate “What has he gone to do?”

The bike swallowed a quick intake of cold air and braced herself, before ejecting the words in a breathless rush. “He’s gone to try and break into Nemesis, to get the sparklings back by himself. He asked me to run interference because he knew if you went with him, you’d get them all killed. Or try to stop him. And for the record I think he’s right.”

For a second, Starscream just… stared. Then choked out a noise that sounded like it might have been an incredulous laugh, threw his hands up, and resumed pacing out those tight, agitated circles.

Pulsar hastily backed off and bumped into Skyfire.

After several seconds of inability to make anything other than incoherent sounds of outraged disbelief, Starscream finally regained control of his voice. “Did you not think to try and stop him, maybe?!”

She stood and faced him, arms slightly spread as though preparing herself for a fight. “All right, you’re the scientist. How. He’s four times my size! He’d have flown me up to a roof somewhere and dumped me there.”

“You didn’t think of, I don’t know, shouting for attention? You can shake sparks out of the Matrix with that siren, since when have you ever needed an excuse to use it?!”

“Did you miss the part where it would be a roof somewhere in the distance?”

He stopped pacing briefly to wave an arm in a threatening point. “And that would hardly have stopped your comms antenna working. Or is that something else the pair of you have broken and not bothered to get fixed yet?”

She folded her arms and slumped back against Skyfire. “My antennae are fine.” She glared off to one side. “And-… that’s-… not a very fair evaluation.”

Once again, Starscream could only find noises that didn’t really match any known words. “Excuse me?!” he finally spluttered. “You stood back and watched as my wingmate flew off to his likely doom, and I’m the one being unfair?! Now I expect that sort of idiocy from Skywarp, but I was under the illusion you saw him as a little more than a convenient way to get from A to B!”

Pulsar visibly bristled. “I know it’s a big ask for you to understand this, but we want our family back, all right? In as few pieces as possible. And Skywarp’s the only one who’s had anything even like a workable plan, so far. We can’t be waiting on you forever.”

“A single suicidal badly-thought-out headlong rush into total disaster doesn’t strike me as anything remotely near workable!”

“At least he’s doing something-!”

Skyfire set his fingers lightly onto Pulsar’s shoulder, reassuringly, before facing his smaller partner. “To be fair, he is the only one to have come up with something, Star. You’ve not really given us anything to work with, yet.”

Starscream stabbed a finger at him. “Don’t you take their side, traitor!”

The hyperbole might have been obvious, but it didn’t take out any of the sting. Skyfire’s brows tightened at the remark, hurt. “If you think of something, you know you have my support in making it work,” he said, curtly, “but until you do, I’d suggest that we stop sniping at each other, and try to work out how to take advantage of Skywarp’s bravery. Don’t you?”
Remember Me, chapter 7

You guys do know how stupid you look, threatening each other with bits of a broken mop, right?

(And I can’t believe the last chapter I uploaded of this was in January. So sorry guys.)

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“Jess! Will you stop dawdling? You’re gonna make us late – again.”

Technically, Jess and his friend Teeja were already late. It was the only reason they’d risked the ire of harbour police by sneaking through a hole in the fence, instead of make the long slog through security.

But Jess didn’t need to know that – he’d only end up making them later. The laima’s lackadaisical approach to timekeeping was a regular source of the vulline’s anxiety, and tonight was no different. That she’d managed to drag him away from the town centre festivities at all was a small miracle.

Autumn had finally landed, and the Festival of the Twin Moons was in full swing. The city centre was heaving, with what felt like half the population of the entire continent coming to join the biggest party in the hemisphere. It was the only reason the interstellar shipping harbour was so quiet – cargo-loading had finished early, and crews were either preparing to depart, or taking advantage of the festival for a bit of well-earned downtime.

Jess, naturally, was taking said downtime when they should have been leaving. Never aiming higher than his job as a cargo handler had never instilled any sense of personal responsibility in the spur’s dark head. Teeja still wasn’t sure why their planetary visit had been scheduled for such an inopportune time, because the first officer knew just as well as her that Jess wouldn’t be able to help himself.

She glanced back over her shoulder to find Jess had stopped, again, and now stood looking lost in a dirty pool of light from a half-lit floodlight above.

“Jess-!” she hissed. The early autumn chill made her words emerge in small twinkling clouds. “Pity’s sake! What are you standing around for?”

“Didn’t you hear that?” The spur turned briefly to face her, pointing vaguely off into the distance.

“Hear what?” She folded her arms over her chest in a vain attempt to keep the warmth inside. “The unmistakable sound of the captain docking my wages because you made us late off the berth again?”

He flapped an annoyed hand at her and turned to peer back into the gloomy avenues between the stacks of cargo. “It sounded like someone calling for help.”

“Someone? Like who? Did you forget the port is closed?” For a couple of heartbeats, Teeja just stared at him, her large ears twitching subtly in an effort to pick up the sounds her friend had heard. “There’s no-one here. Come on.”

Jess bared his teeth in an uneasy grin. “Then ain’t it more important that we quickly go check it out? Some poor soul coulda been stuck and yelling since festival started.” He carefully avoided elaborating on the fact that Teeja, whose hearing was infinitely better, had apparently heard nothing. “Let’s just get a quick eyeball.”

The vulline watched him wheel about, and head deeper into the stacked cargo, vanishing into one of the dark avenues. She cursed him softly under her breath. “Jess. It was probably just some poor docker that didn’t manage to get the time off work. We can notify security on departure!”

He didn’t reappear, though. She followed him into the lane, uneasily. With no lights to illuminate them, and only the thinnest rinds of new moon in the sky above, the endless rows of shipping containers stretched up and away until they vanished into the dark. Anything could have been hiding in the gloom.

At least she didn’t have to worry about getting run over by a tractor. Small blessings.

“My cousin in departures control only agreed to waive the fine if we made a half-hearted effort to get back to the ship on time-!” she reminded, in an uneasy half-shout. “We’re already late!”

Jess was already an indistinct figure several dozen gangling strides ahead. “So you head back to Vee-Six, and let ‘em know I’m just behind you? The pilot can start prepping the engines to go, right? I’ll not be long, I think it came from just down here. There’s a light ahead, see?”

The pool of light revealed itself to be at the entrance to a large warehouse. Livestock, the big sign above the door read. The main roller door was partially open, and the soft clicks and squeaks of mostly-slumbering animals echoed from within. Jess paused outside.

Teeja finally caught up with him. “So you heard an animal,” she said, flatly. “Mystery solved. Can we go, now?”

“Maybe, I guess?” Ignoring the Permits Required for Entry sign, Jess headed through the open door. “Gimme the count of one hundred to check, eh? I’ll let you know.”

Teeja loitered in the doorway, short tail twitching subtly, eyeing the rows of crates and cages with dismay. “We don’t have the right credentials to be in this warehouse, anyway.”

Jess glanced back at her. “S’fine. There’s no-one around to see us, remember?” His bluster wasn’t very convincing, though, and his hunched shoulders spoke of discomfort.

“Exactly! What if something falls on your head? There’s also no-one around to hear us yell for help.”

Their speech had disturbed a small flock of domestic venca fowl, who were now climbing the bars of their crate and cawing at them, softly. The little animals often mimicked the sounds around them, and their noise right now sounded suspiciously like sentient voices, shouting nonsense.

“You sure this wasn’t what you heard?” Teeja peered in at them, leery of getting too close; little hands reached out through the bars, determined to grab her jewellery.

“I don’t think so. There was only one, and it felt loud.”

Felt loud?” Teeja echoed, but before she could challenge him further, her comm began to warble in her pocket. “Gavos – that’s Mara. She’s going to want to know where we are…”

Leaving Teeja to fend off the first officer’s demands to know why in mercy they weren’t back at the ship, yet, Jess edged a little further into the warehouse. The atmosphere in the building had a strange weight to it; he felt like he was being watched, and not by an animal.

Part of him – a very large part of him – wanted to take Teeja’s advice and finish the short journey home. A warehouse full of nothing but livestock shouldn’t leave him feeling like all his nerves were being stretched out like bowstrings.

But that tiny residual portion of his psyche wanted to know why. Something had pulled him here, and he knew he’d feel uneasy for days if he didn’t figure out what.

But it was all just animals.

Right?

“…anyone here?” he called, quietly.

From somewhere close at hand there came a tearing, creaking sound.

Jess jumped harder than he would have liked.

“What was that?” Teeja demanded, in a stage whisper.

Jess didn’t reply. Ignoring the way he could feel his heartbeat echoing subtly into each breath, he pushed deeper into the gloomy building. The rough concrete floor suddenly felt very cold under his toes.

And around the corner, tucked away deep within the warehouse, he found the source of the noise.

In the far corner, lit by a single bald shaft of artificial light spilling in from a high window, stood a large solitary crate. Made of rough wood, battered and filthy and haphazardly bored with an array of small holes for ventilation, it had clearly been subject to a lifetime of use and abuse. One corner had been completely splintered and crudely repaired with a couple of nailed-on slats. The rest looked held together primarily with staples and rope. Broken slats left narrow voids that sucked in the light.

The remains of a dirty blue tarpaulin shrouded the rear of the crate, but the occupant had evidently shredded the parts it could reach - scraps of torn blue fabric lay scattered across the floor, fragments of it still protruding from the holes in the container.

Whatever was inside the crate didn’t appear to have got through unscathed, either. Dark brown spots and smudges of what looked like it might be blood discoloured the outside, and a thin trickle had puddled ominously under one front corner.

Not entirely sure why he felt the urge to do so, Jess approached it. He stood an arm’s length away, and stared down at it for several seconds, not sure what to do next.

Teeja put a hand on his shoulder and gave him a little tug. “C’mon. Let’s get out of here,” she whispered. “Mara’s having a litter already.”

Jess gave her a glance; her thin gingery pelt had all bristled up around her face, leaving her looking like an alarmed thistledown. “All right. Just gimme one moment…” He inched as close as he dared, and peered inside. “There’s someone in here.”

“It’s a livestock shipping container, in a livestock holding block. Were you expecting it to be empty?”

“I didn’t say an animal. I think it’s a person? Kind of?”

Teeja hesitated. “…a person?”

As though in answer, a large, bloodshot blue eye pressed as close as it could against the gap in the crate, making Jess jump back and collide with Teeja, startled. She gave a squeak of alarm and would have bolted if not for having him cling to her.

The creature managed to squeeze out a dry, painful sound that could have been anything from a groan to a cough to an attempt to speak. It slotted a set of large, blunt fingers out through one of the gaps and curved them over the broken wood, tugging backwards. The wood creaked, but in spite of the crate’s overall damage, it had little impact. The creature coughed again, a fracturing bark through a sore throat.

Jess examined the broad digits without getting too close. They looked big; definitely bigger than his slim fingers, tipped with blunt claws that could have done some serious damage if they managed to get hold of his softer bits. It was easy to assume their owner might be likewise on the large side. He swallowed hard, his throat dry.

Its meaning was obvious. Get me out. It looked like it had been battling the crate on its own for some considerable time already. Blood and splinters clung around the ragged claws.

“She’s tearing herself to pieces, trying to get out of there,” he said, quietly.

She?” Teeja echoed.

Jess gave her a funny look. “Figure of speech?” He didn’t sound too certain, though. “I think it was her that I heard shout.”

“Except we just heard it bark. That didn’t sound anything even like words.”

After several seconds of staring at him, Teeja finally realised Jess had already picked up a convenient crowbar, and was examining the crate as though working out which was the best point to attack it.  

“Wait- what are you doing?!” Alarmed, she grabbed the other end of the tool. “You can’t be thinking of letting it out-…?! That could be anything in there! It could be a people-eating-monster, for all we know-!”

“I think she’s hurt?” Jess glanced towards the congealed black puddle on the floor. “She’s been bleeding.”

“You have no idea where that blood came from, if it even is blood. It could be from whatever the thing last ate!” Teeja tightened her trembling fingers on the crowbar. “And that might have been the last poor idiot that came snooping in a warehouse he shouldn’t even have been in!”

“And what, she somehow locked herself back up in a crate for the fun of it?”

That might be why it’s in the crate, Jess-!” Teeja snapped, frustrated. She yanked on the crowbar but Jess refused to let go of it. “Because it’s dangerous!”

He stared her out. “Then there’d be a sign, Teej. Maybe a fence. Do not approach, dangerous animal?”

“Why are you suddenly so obsessed with this, anyway? We’re late as [shit] already, Jess.” Teeja steered him into an about-face, so he was facing the warehouse door. “I can’t lose this job, and I can’t absorb any more of your fines. We can tell security on the way out if you’re that worried.” She gave him a little shove, to get him moving.

Behind them, in the crate, the whatever-it-was gave a long, beaten sigh, and slumped out of view, fingers slipping away from the cracks it had managed to tear in the wood.

Something weird tickled at the back of Jess’s brain.

It… wasn’t strictly words. Not as he understood them. But it was definitely a plea for help.

“It’ll be too late, then.”

“…What?”

Teeja turned to see Jess pick the pry-bar back up, and before she could make an alarmed leap to stop him, apply it to the crushed corner of the crate, close to where it had been nailed closed.

With Jess wielding his crowbar on the outside, and the animal shoving with a renewed enthusiasm from within, it didn’t take many seconds to defeat the badly-driven nails holding the box together.

Together, they made enough of a hole for the prisoner to squeeze through. It thrashed clumsily out of the box, spilling through the gap like a desperate newborn, and landing in a painful tangle of limbs on the concrete.

It… didn’t look much like a person at all.

It looked more like an animal. A half-starved one.

Jess found himself suddenly doubting his chosen course of action.

Teeja put Jess between herself and the creature. “Well done. Now we’re gonna get eaten.” Her voice sounded as thin and brittle as Jess’s nerves.

The animal managed to get its forelegs underneath itself, and pushed itself unsteadily to its feet, leaning against the crate while it found its balance. It was big, the top of its back level with Jess’s armpits – it would never have been able to stand upright inside that tiny box. It stood shakily on four long, bandy limbs, with what could have been small arms or undersized wings furled tightly against its back. Its body was slender and elastic, as thought it had been either bred or evolved to run, with a long slim neck that would have probably made it taller than Jess, had it been standing fully upright… but its head sagged low, as though it was too exhausted to hold it up properly.

Unsurprising, considering how heavy that head looked, with a large skull to hold a big brain, and bright, forward-facing predator’s eyes that gave it a look of alien intelligence… and long, slender jaws that no doubt contained far too many sharp, serrated teeth.

Although right now? It looked too tired and hurt to pose that much of a threat. A filthy ghost in the gloom of the unlit warehouse, its pale hide covered in dirt and blood and god-only-knew what else. A collar dangled loosely around the base of its neck.

It took a single uncertain step towards them, flinching when its paw touched the ground.

Both Jess and Teeja took a big reflexive step backwards.

The animal stilled, halfway into making a second step.

For several seconds, they just stared at each other.

“All right. Let’s just back away from it,” Teeja whispered, in as low a voice as she could manage, tightening her fingers around Jess’s arm and pulling. “Before it decides to eat us, yeah?”

Jess finally allowed himself to be led. “…right.”

They backed up the entire length of the warehouse, trying not to bump against the other crates. Even the chattering venca in the entrance had gone spookily quiet.

It stood silently and watched them back away until they vanished from view around a corner.

The instant they were out of sight, Teeja flattened herself against the closest container, and peered cautiously back around it. “Fantastic.” She pursed her thin lips and shot him a glare, although the effect was ruined by the way she trembled. “It’s following us.”

Jess peered around the cargo; sure enough, it was making slow, steady progress down the centre of the aisle, limping clumsily and trying not to put pressure on its right forefoot. It reminded Jess of a pet that had been beaten into obedience, following them because that was the only option open to it.

He had the sudden horrible thought that maybe it had somehow imprinted on him.

Skeida.

He eyed the stacked crates. “Should we let something else out as a distraction?”

“Yeah, let’s just compound the problem. Good plan.”

Jess gave Teeja a little shove. “Fine. it’s limping, right? It won’t be able to keep up with us if it can’t walk, and we can just lose it in the cargo.”

The vulline stared at him for a second or two. “You just let it out, and now you’re going to abandon it?”

Jess stared back. “I… uh.”

Why had he felt so compelled to let it out, anyway?

He staggered his way to what he hoped was a passable excuse. “I figured maybe it could go to a doctor? Or-or… someone would find it. Take it to a vet. Maybe?”

Teeja’s expression didn’t change. “Seriously?”

“Well I didn’t think it was gonna follow us, did I?”

“Most of the time, you don’t think, end of story.” She found his hand and gave him a tug to get him moving, and together they made a hasty retreat to the warehouse door. “I told you to leave it alone. How are we gonna get rid of it?”

Jess took the lead, trotting out of the puddle of dirty white halogens at the warehouse entrance and ducking into the void between the stacks of cargo. “We just have to get back to Venture. We can lose it when we get aboard. It can’t exactly follow us into outer space.”

The animal drifted into view behind them, like a persistent ghost, albeit now silhouetted between the neat lines of containers.

“Fine. It’s limping, we can outrun it.” Teeja broke into a jog, overtaking him. “Then when we get back, you can pay my share of the fine, for this jolly timewaste you’ve dragged me into.”

“I-… sure.” Jess fell into an ungainly trot behind her.

The animal moved to follow suit, but staggered and stumbled over its own sore feet, tripping against the cargo. It gave another weirdly-pleading cough of protest-

And Jess felt that same weird tickle at the back of his brain. Something that could have been words, or a feeling, or a mixture of both, and neither belonged to him. His stride faltered. He knew for definite that it needed help.

…Or perhaps this was how it caught its prey.

Jess pushed the thoughts away and lengthened his stride from an uneasy jog to a flat run.

Teeja swore softly – something about only having to run faster than the other person, if chased by a hungry monster – and struggled to match his pace. Her breath came in sharp, frightened pants.

They both heard the animal lurch into a stumbling canter – listened as the slap of its paws on the road surface evened as it somehow managed to hit both momentum and rhythm.

“S’fine. Ship’s just around the corner,” Jess reassured, although his own words were punctuated with irregular gasps. “Mara’ll be there. Door open. All ready to yell at me, I bet!”

Teeja managed a noise that sounded halfway between a curse and a sob. “This thing eats me,” she choked. “An’ I’ll haunt you f’rever!”

Jess squeezed out a laugh, although he wasn’t completely sure what he was laughing at. He didn’t dare turn to see the predator closing the gap between them.

Their ship, a small merchant freighter, came into view around the corner. Venture Six squatted like a huge beetle in a circle of spotlights, waiting impatiently to depart at the head of a wide avenue that had once been bustling with vehicles transferring cargo on and off. Her huge main hatch was closed, her running lights were all lit, and her engines already glowed with the nascent ultraviolet of her ion drive.

Only the small crew gangway was still open on the port side. First officer Mara stood silhouetted in the open doorway, arms folded across her broad chest, drumming her claws against the deck.

“There’s no point running now,” she yelled, spotting her missing crew sprinting for safety. “We’re already late as [shit]! Tempted to leave you behind, next time!”

Then the animal skidded around the corner behind them. The unexpected jink to the left had bought the fleeing crew a few seconds but their pursuer was unbelievably fast, even on wounded paws. It scrambled for purchase, and after somehow avoiding colliding with a parked tractor, hurled itself into the avenue.

Teeja gave a breathless half-wail of fear and reflexively covered the back of her neck with both hands. Jess flung himself to one side, prepared to make a last-ditch attempt to climb on top of the cargo.

It was only when it overtook them that the pair realised it wasn’t interested in them at all.

It wanted the ship.

Mara stepped back, alarmed, realising the big, fast, hungry predator was aiming squarely at her. “Paksha-!” She slapped the controls for the entry ramp, and it immediately began to close.

Seeing the hatch begin to close, the front lip lifting from the ground, the animal put on a sudden desperate burst of speed, determined to somehow make it aboard.

Mara’s nerve failed her. She fled deeper into the vessel.

With one almighty thrust from its hind legs, it hurled itself at the narrowing gap – its front paws hit the closing hatch and momentum carried it successfully inside-

It was moving too fast to do anything to save itself from the impact. It skidded across the deck on feet made slick with blood, and collided side-on with the far wall with an almighty crunch that made the wall rattle.

For several seconds, it sat where it had ended up, slowly teetering sideways and staring at nothing.

Then its wobbly limbs finally gave up, its joints going to water, unable to support its bulk any more. It collapsed on the deck, gave one last shuddering wheeze, and passed out.
Runs from Silence, ch 1
This is mooostly just a sample, I suppose? Proof of concept, as it were. I don't plan on uploading any more until I have it finished.

This is partly just to introduce a couple of characters, including our heroine (useful tip: it's not Teeja), and possibly gauge interest.

Yes, those who read my fiction (and have kept track of my occasional rambling thoughts on the subject) will possibly be able to identify the little white animal in the crate.

I have a smidgen more information on Dreamwidth: runsfromsilence.dreamwidth.org…
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After a day spent locked in battle with the most wilfully obtuse bunch of self-serving councillors on his side of the planet – and coming within a wing-width of feeding Waveguide all his carefully-drafted budget assessments – Starscream had been looking forwards to a quiet night to himself.

The building was already empty when he dragged his tired pedes over the threshold. Thundercracker had taken Celerity out to New Vos, to see their growing tribe of younger sparks. Skywarp had made plans to see some inane sports thing half a planet away with friends from work. And Skyfire had been asked back to Earth for some science project involving altogether too much mud to be healthy, which the red seeker had, ah, “politely” declined.

So things had all looked on-schedule for a pleasant, private evening of relaxation. Possibly spending a little quality time alone with all those lovely polishing tools in the washracks. (And the insulated step-stool the bikes were always raving about.)

…then Skywarp had come home early.

Apparently, the game had been called off because half of one team had come down with a virus – and the disappointed, slightly-cranky teleport had brought with him the packet of fulminating candies he’d been planning on taking to the match. It wasn’t the candies that were a problem, as much as the type of candies. In fuel terms, they were next to worthless, but folk liked them because they had a pleasant crunch.

The teleport was most definitely making the most of that part, and it was all making Starscream’s helm hurt. Skywarp had been throwing the confectionery into the air and trying to catch them in his mouth for most of the evening – without great success, if all the residue scattered across the floor was anything to go by.

Starscream had sat and watched his plans for a nice, quiet, relaxing evening trickle off down the drain. He sat and glared at the news, until he couldn’t stand the incessant noise any more. “Are you going to share those, or what?”

Skywarp looked at him, hesitating mid-crunch. “…I hadn’t been planning to?”

“Says the mech who’s already shared half the packet with the floor, and was probably going to pelt the opposing team with them anyway?”

Skywarp narrowed his optics and pouted, but finally relented and held out the packet. “Fine. But don’t eat all of ‘em,” he warned, with a little finger waggle. “I was gonna save a few for when the Squeakster comes home.”

Starscream carefully tipped a handful into his palm, and flicked the packet back at his wingmate. “Doesn’t she get tired of all the permutations on ‘squeak’ that you come up with?”

Skywarp gave him a brief suspicious look – presumably cross-referencing the meaning of ‘permutation’ – before wrinkling his nose. “Nah. It’s her name, isn’t it?”

“One of these days you’re going to find a variation on Squeak that she doesn’t like, and she’s going to slug you round the face for it.” Starscream wriggled more comfortably into his chair. “I only hope I’m here to get to see it.”

Skywarp offered a dismissive pfft. “What are you watching, anyway?”

“The news. It figures that you wouldn’t know what that is.”

Skywarp snorted. “I know what the news is, dude. I was expecting you to be watching it while you waited for something more interesting to come on.”

“No, I am in fact watching the news just because I want to watch the news? Some of us like to know what’s going on around the world before they blunder into it.”

“Get you, Winglord Grumpy. Who shoved a spanner up your exhaust?”

Starscream fixed him on a glare, although it didn’t have quite the same effect on Skywarp as it might have on one of the junior councillors. “I was looking forwards to a relaxing evening to myself,” he growled, frustrated. “Then you came home with slagging exploding candies and I haven’t had a breem’s peace since.”

Skywarp gave him a small, sly smile. “You could go see Skyfire. I know he’d love your, ah, help. Washing all that mud off.”

Starscream’s glare turned into a pout and he sacrificed one of his candies in favour of throwing it at his wingmate; it exploded like a whipcrack in the teleport’s audio vent and almost made him jump out of his chair. “Why don’t you go find someone else to harass, you obnoxious glitch.”

The dark seeker rubbed his helm and sulked, but finally went (blissfully) silent.

-----------

Pulsar finally crawled in at some ungodly time of the dark cycle, and flopped in Skywarp’s lap with her chassis-lights still lit.

“Hi?” Skywarp propped his thrusters against the low table, so she could relax a little more comfortably against his chassis. “You’re back late.”

She snorted. “Whatever would we do without your keen powers of observation.”

“And you’re dented.”

“Again with the skills. I have my lights on, too, in case you hadn’t seen them.” She proper herself just enough that her headlights shone straight into his optics; Skywarp snerk!ed and covered her chassis with both palms. The bike vented a subtle sigh and leaned into his hands. “I’m going to have to go to the paintshop again. I only went two orns ago!”

He smiled and flicked her aerials. “You’re only worried the staff are gonna think you’ve got pink optics for them, or something.”

“Huh.” Something finally clicked, and she gave him a long, suspicious look. “What are you doing at home, anyway? You’re not even meant to be here.”

Now who’s got the amazing powers of observation?”

She snorted softly, pressing into his hand as he skimmed his big fingers around the back of her helm and across her antennae. “Guilty as charged, especially if you keep doing that. What happened? Did it get cancelled?”

“Yeah. Sucks slag, right?” Skywarp grunted and shifted his wings into a more comfortable sprawl, continuing to draw little loopy fingertip doodles on the back of the bike’s helm and listening as her purr deepened. “Captain of the enemy team is purge-for-brains who didn’t keep his firewall up to date and passed it on to half his team. Match is postponed until… I don’t even know. Whenever the doctors sign ’em off as fit, I guess?” He squinted at her. “Are you even listening to me?”

Pulsar didn’t reply; still just purring gently. Sounded like she’d already slipped into idle. Not a great surprise, given her rash of new dents and paint flecks – obviously had a hard day.

He tried to lean down, so he could be closer to her audios. “I saved you some candies, but I figure you’re too tired for them, too, and I should just eat ‘em for you, right?”

She stirred, onlined her optics – although they were a muggy, dim shade of blue instead of her usual turquoise – and opened her mouth at him, like a small bird begging to be fed.

“Ugh! I’m not feeding you, femme, I mean Primus. What do you think I am?” But he posted one of the candies into her mouth anyway.

She snrk-ed softly. “Thank you. …I think? Because ow-!” Her voice skated briefly up the scale, and she had to cover her mouth with a palm to avoid egesting crumbs of explosive blue confectionery all over her seeker. “Those are properly zingy! Where in Pit did you get them from?”

Across the room, a semi-dormant Starscream muttered something about don’t people know what the fragging time is.

Skywarp shrugged. “Mighta swiped ‘em out of the evidence store.” He watched her dissolve in a fit of alarmed spluttering, and grinned. “Nah, seriously. There’s a new shop out on the main street. I figured I’d see if they were as good as folk were saying they were. Not bad, huh.”

It took her a moment to regain control of her vocaliser, and even then her words came out watery. “If you like feeling like your helm’s exploding, I guess? I think they’re designed for bigger machines than me.”

Skywarp picked a slightly smaller blue crystal out of the packet. “Want another?”

Pulsar actually recoiled a little. “Thank you, but no. I’d prefer my intake components stayed where they were installed.”

Skywarp snickered, and crunched on the candy. “Aw. I was hoping to see what other noises I could get you to make.”

“…don’t you use me as a way to aggravate your poor wingleader.”

“But you’re such a nice way to aggravate him, too.” He cupped his hand gently around her blinker and pinged at her antennae. “Especially when you use this…” His fingers drifted around towards her siren.

“…I feel a little used.” She purred and leaned into his hand, anyway, and lowered her voice; “How about you give me a better reason to visit the paintshop tomorrow.”

Now who’s the aggravating glitch?”

“What can I say. You rub off on me.”

He snickered softly and added his purr to hers – a deeper, throatier sound that made his chassis vibrate subtly. Pulsar made a funny noise against him, elbows buckling.  

On the opposite side of the room, Starscream sighed loudly enough to make the maple’s nearby leaves flutter, put up his hands in defeat, and retired to his private quarters.

-----------

The approaching dawn had begun to spread smudges of deep blue onto the horizon when Pulsar began to stir from the comfortable tangle of limbs and charging cables on the couch with Skywarp.

She managed to extract an arm, propped her chin in one palm, and for a while just listened to the subtle purr of his fans. For a former warmech, he looked surprisingly non-threatening, with his features slack in recharge – although at least part of that was probably down to the fact he wasn’t awake and being belligerent.

“…Warp?”

Her voice nudged Skywarp out of idle. “Uh?” He struggled to get his optics to reboot. “What.”

“It’s officially been 10 vorns, as of this morning.”

“Has it?” He thought about it for a few astroseconds. “…what has?”

She gave a little huff of amusement. “Since we crashed into each other’s lives.”

“Technically it’s been more like forty-seven vorns.” He pursed his lips and looked askance at her. “You’ve been timing it?”

She snorted. “Of course not.” But she’d answered so quickly, she knew she’d betrayed her own confidence, and hastily revised; “Okay, maybe a little. It’s a nice milestone. Hadn’t you even noticed it coming up on your chronometer?”

“I-… was I meant to?” He sounded wary, as though trying to gauge how big a faux pas this might have been.

“I guess maybe I assumed you would have?” She folded her arms under her chin. “Because some days, it feels like you’re the most brilliantly observant mech I’ve ever known. You spot things none of the rest of us notice.” She vented a little sigh of warm air. “But then equally, on other days, you’re the most wilfully, intentionally unobservant individual on our side of the district rift, so I don’t know why I’m surprised.” Seeing him grin, she thumped his chassis. “That’s not something you should be proud of.”

Skywarp blew out a dismissive raspberry. “What, I’m not allowed to feel proud of myself when someone calls me brilliant and observant instead of a brainless quantum browser?”

Pulsar glanced away. “…All right. Nice save.”

“Ten vorns, huh.” He laced his fingers behind his head. “I never thought I’d survive that long, out of the ’Cons.” He pondered on the thought for a moment. “Honestly, never figured I was gonna get out alive in the first place, so the extra vorns are a nice bonus.”

She propped her elbow against his chassis and rested her chin on her hand. “How did you think it’d end? Or don’t I want to know.”

He gazed up at the dwindling stars still visible through the crystal ceiling, thoughtfully. “I’unno, really. A glorious death on the battlefield, I guess? Didn’t figure I was much good for anything else.”

“Pff!”

“Seriously.” He shrugged awkwardly against the chair. “I was sparked for war, right? Maybe not civil war, but. You know. I’d not known anything else, so I suppose… it never occurred to me that I could be anything else?” He grimaced. “Didn’t help having a boss who always told you that you were an idiot, that you were only any good at following instructions – sometimes – and who’d punch you in the head or worse if you got on his bad side.”

Pulsar was silent for a beat. “…what makes him different to Starscream, who also calls you an idiot and punches you in the head if you get on his bad side?”

The grimace relaxed into a comfortable smile. “Yeah, but he doesn’t only call me an idiot – not all the time, anyway – and I’m not scared to punch back if I disagree with him.”

She felt oddly prickly, at the reminder of his old life.

“You’re not gonna get wibbly on me now, are you, femme?” Skywarp let her wriggle a little further up his chassis and tuck her head up under his chin. “It’s not like they tricked me into joining up. I signed up for it knowing what my prospects were, and… yeah, I guess I enjoyed it? Was nice to feel like I was doing something important, for a while.”

“And it’s not like you’d have objected greatly to the need to fight other machines, either.” Pulsar vented a little sigh. “Couldn’t comment on the rest. Until your trine showed up, I don’t think I did anything important.”

He made a little snrk noise. “Yeah, you’re such a martyr. Is self-pity programmed into all bikes, or just you?”

She made an aggravated noise and flattened a hand over his mouth, but he just licked her palm in response. “Should have expected a lack of sympathy from you,” she griped, ineffectually trying to wipe her hand dry against his chassis. “Glitch.”

He grinned and waited while she got comfortable again. “S’funny, isn’t it. One orn, you’re the most feared warrior to ever take to Cybertron’s airspace-”

Pulsar offered a snort! So he poked her in a ticklish spot. She almost lurched right out of his lap.

“The next, the whole world’s changed, war’s over, and you’re snuggling with a mortal enemy, in the house you share, in a district you never knew existed until you wound up there by accident one time, mulling over how long you’ve managed to stay together and not kill each other.” He closed his arms possessively around her, making her snicker against him. “I’m glad we crashed into each other. It’s kinda nice to have someone to do horrible things to, who’ll let you do horrible things to them because they actually like it. Weirdo.”

“…I still have no idea why I love you, you objectionable airhead.”

He pressed his cheek against the smooth top of her helm and purred. “…let’s call in sick, and sneak off somewhere exciting. What better way to celebrate ten vorns than to relive the glory days?”

“I’m not sure getting hooked on dangerous illegal drugs counts as glorious, but sneaking off work sounds like a very good idea.”
Happy? Anniversary!

Happy 10th Birthday, Blue Universe!

Warp and Pulse swap notes on how long they've been together and managed to not kill each other (intentionally or otherwise). So, Starscream still lives with a bunch of obnoxious glitches. (No sympathy. He brings it on himself.)

OK technically this is a month late, I started posting Screaming Blue in April 2008. But still, 10 years! *throws confetti*

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Look at this! OMG. 😍

My awesome friend Exie (who is totally NOT a brick) wrote a ficlet that follows on from the one I just posted, with the exception that hers is infinitely more adorable.

archiveofourown.org/works/1467…

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:iconjilldragon:
JillDragon Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
Psst!
:iconkeaalu::iconsnowballleftplz:
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:iconbobtodd:
BobTodd Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2009
Yay I got my card! Wip willy woo!
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:iconoreobot:
Oreobot Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2009  Hobbyist
Thanks for the favorite of Thundercracker! :)
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:iconkeaalu:
keaalu Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2009
Welcome. :) He looks awesome. And one can never have too much TC.
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:iconoreobot:
Oreobot Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2009  Hobbyist
Thank you for the favorite of Thundercracker. :)
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:iconirism:
Irism Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2009
dude warped is soo CRAZY :iconpsychoplz:.......in a gud way :iconblushplz:

*off to make fanarts*
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:iconkeaalu:
keaalu Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2009
*lol* Thanks. ^_^ Glad you like it. :) (Now I MUST get that next chapter written...)
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:iconalectorfencer:
AlectorFencer Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
*knocks and steps inside* O;O

*gives you a cup of fresh herb tea - WITHOUT SUGAR!*

I hope that helps you being creative and gives you the strength and muse back that you need. ;D
How are you, by the way? :0
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:iconkeaalu:
keaalu Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2009
Whoops, late reply! :O

I'm OK - just tired out from work, as usual. ;) Yourself?
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:iconalectorfencer:
AlectorFencer Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
Don't worry. I reply late myself as you see. XD
Everything is great except me being in another spiral between having no inspiration and too much inspiration. XD
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