Continuity: G1, (part of ultharkitty’s Dysfunction AU, pre-war)
Warnings: gen, action, comedy
Characters: Onslaught, Swindle, Brawl, Vortex, Blast Off
Summary: On a dying planet, Onslaught didn’t think the way back into space would be that mean harsh.
Disclaimer: Sadly, I own nothing.
Beta: ultharkitty *glomps* :D
Note: Actually, I only wanted to write a drabble, I have no idea how it turned out to be so long. *lol*
They hid behind a big boulder. The wind messed with their surroundings, smaller rocks flying over their heads as though they were nothing.
Onslaught saw Swindle clutching at Brawl. He was the lightest of them all, and his fear of being blown away was valid. Brawl didn’t move at all, just like Vortex who pressed his rotors against the stone.
Onslaught’s gaze turned to the sky, looking for a huge dark shadow to appear, but with all the things the storm blew up and the dark clouds hanging in the air, he couldn’t see anything.
At least the ground had stopped shaking for a while. Well, it’d done until an astrosecond ago.
A cracking screech added to the noise of the wind, and a rift opened just next to them. Vibrations travelled up Onslaught’s legs, and they weren’t the good kind.
He was just about to open another comm to Blast Off as a loud thrum of shuttle engines drowned out the natural noises of this dying planet. The cargo hold door was open, and heat from re-entry still radiated off the shuttle’s plating.
//Get in. Quick,// Blast Off growled over an open commline, and he didn’t need to say it twice. The others already climbed into the shuttle’s bulk; Onslaught went as last.
Just in time, because the floor where they had hidden before cracked open, revealing a hot lava flow with ground floes sinking in. Onslaught knew that Blast Off would never let him live that one down. The shuttle had warned him against visiting the unstable planet which was about to break apart. Though, the very rare crystals consisting of compressed radioactive metal had been too tempting.
Onslaught hadn’t known that the state of the planet would change so soon from a little shaking to massive breaking landscapes and thunderstorms roaring. Unevenly, he walked to the cockpit, Blast Off was obviously affected by the storm, and the usual steady hovering of his cargo hold floor had turned to wobbling.
Yes, Onslaught thought, Blast Off would tell him that they shouldn’t have gone to the planet, with one of this smug, condescending huffs of his.
“Took you long enough, large aft,” Brawl muttered, and slumped on a seat.
A low growl of a strong engine and a hiss through the speakers, then Blast Off answered, audibly disgruntled. “You may assume that re-entry under these conditions is as difficult as getting back into space. I strongly recommend using the seatbelts…”
Blast Off never finished his sentence.
Onslaught was just about to sit down when the words dissolved into another hiss, and Blast Off’s alt mode hitched to the right, causing Onslaught to fall to the floor. He had no time to snarl anything, not even to get truly angry.
The metal around them rattled, then a fountain of lava became visible through the front window. Blast Off somehow manoeuvred around it, accelerating fast.
Onslaught heard the other’s gasping, hissing and mumbling in displeasure. He tried to heave himself into the seat, but wasn’t truly successful. To say the flight was turbulent would have been an understatement.
Blast Off flew sharp turns, avoiding being hit by the lava streams spreading upwards randomly as the planet broke apart. Through the windows, only smoke was visible, and Onslaught briefly wondered how the shuttle knew where to go. He didn’t have the time for this, though, as he was far too busy not biting his own glossa.
The others were quiet, too, except for Vortex, who giggled softly.
They were thrown from the left to the right sides of their seats almost painfully. Brawl whimpered. Swindle whined.
At least for a little while.
“Oh frag!” the businessmech gasped, and Onslaught’s fingers tensed around the armrests.
The smoke cleared a little, revealing the view of a mountainside.
A very close mountainside.
“Mountain! Mountain! You fraggin’ shuttle, get us out o~ooph!” Swindle’s cry was abruptly ended when Blast Off accelerated even more. The angle changed, and they were now flying upwards, their backs pressed into the seats.
It was when they reached the peak of the mountain that they could see that it wasn’t a mountain at all. It was a volcano. A very active one at that.
The storm dragged smoke and lava upwards, not building fountains like before, but whirlwinds. Blast Off flew around them, slowing down noticibly, then powering his thrusters again.
Onslaught had to admit that it really might have been a bad idea to come here.
The flight got even wilder. Warnings flashed at the sides of Blast Off’s front window where outside the whirls and spiralling towers of glowing smoke and burning lava built a cage of fire.
And suddenly, there was nowhere else to go. Trapped in a tunnel of fire, they continued to rise, flying a path dictated by the storm.
It looked a little like travelling through a space bridge, only less colourful with a limited palette of red, black and grey. It was quite uncomfortable to look at, and Onslaught didn't want to think about how it'd feel for Blast Off if he touched the lava.
He didn't seem to, though, because the warnings on the screen didn't increase. Probably a few kliks longer, and they’d be in space - or so Onslaught hoped. He didn't allow himself to relax.
It was good that he didn't.
"Oh great," Blast Off's speakers crackled, and it was clear that he just spoke to himself. "That's just mean..."
The moment when Onslaught wanted to ask what the shuttle meant, he saw what most likely was the answer.
Swindle sighed in defeat, Brawl groaned, and Vortex stopped giggling for a few astroseconds.
What they saw was the exit of their prison of fire, and this itself should have been a relief. But it wasn't only the exit, it was the dark sky above it, where the thunderstorm mingled with the lava and flashing lightning blocked the way out; appearing as though they guarded it, and made sure Onslaught and the others couldn't leave the planet.
There was nothing they could do when Blast Off at high speed flew out of the tunnel, and straight through the strong flashing electricity.
The view on the front window darkened as they reached the cloud, then the warnings disappeared along with the lights on the control console, speakers crackled once and the shuttle's engines stopped.
Astroseconds passed which seemed like joors as the shuttle's bulk lost its momentum and grew slower until the gravity pulled them back to the ground.
Onslaught heard Brawl's questioning sound when the weightlessness set in the instant they reached the flight path's vertex. He didn't feel like explaining this to the tank, however, because the energon starting to float in his lines made him feel queasy.
They didn't really see that they were falling, only when they left the cloud, the weightlessness stopped and Blast Off's cockpit was suddenly upside down; it was that they realised they were most likely going to die.
With a loud 'clang', all four mechs landed on the cockpit's ceiling, which was now the floor.
"Oh Sigma, do something!" Swindle cried, crawling to the side wall where he pulled himself up to stare out of the window.
Onslaught's engine produced a low growl. What did the mech think what he was supposed to do? He never had learnt to fly a shuttle, let alone to reboot a shuttle's systems. Still, he didn't want to die, either, and so he went to the front on all fours.
"I ain’t feelin’ so good..." Brawl muttered, but Onslaught didn't have the nerve to look at what he was doing. As long as he didn't scream, or yell or be otherwise distracting, Onslaught didn't care.
"One of my rotors is bent..." Vortex said, and this, also, was something Onslaught wasn't interested in.
The sight out of the front window, however, was something relevant to his interests, because it showed the ground coming closer by the astrosecond. And when Onslaught had hoped they would land on water and might be able to get out there alive, his hope was vaporised by the view of the rocky landscape, only broken by rivers of lava.
Onslaught reached the control console with all its buttons and screens and switches which meant nothing to him. Raising himself up on the unsteady floor, he tried to push one of them, and failed. The shaking and vibrating of the vessel around him didn't make it easy. His hand next to the front window for purchase, he started another attempt.
But before he could touch the console, the lights flickered, the warnings displayed on the front window returned, and Blast Off's engines gave a loud whine. There was no time to think or even to react when they started again, and the force of acceleration took over.
Blast Off rolled, thrusters burning, causing his passengers to fall back to the rightful ground.
Onslaught landed very ungracefully in a seat, upside down; his helm hit the floor, one leg dangling over the back of the seat. His equilibrium was fragged up, his optical sensors flickered and only provided a hazy image. He didn't know what the others were doing, but frankly, he couldn't care less.
Blast Off seemed to be back online, continuing the rough flight patterns as he tried to bring them back into space.
As much as Onslaught would have liked to have stayed like this, degrading as it was, he knew it wasn't a safe position if the shuttle should reach escape velocity. His vents worked in sharp bursts as they heaved air, and he eventually sat almost comfortably back on the seat.
Only to be thrown out again as Blast Off flew another roll, then up, then down, and suddenly a jolt went through the whole frame and everything went weirdly quiet.
Onslaught was still dizzy from his stunt, and it was Brawl of all mechs who explained in his loud and, right now, very unhappy, manner.
"What the...? We're under water. We're fraggin' under water! Blast Off, that is. The wrong. Direction!" And with every word, Brawl kicked or punched the metal of the wall - or floor.
Oh, great... Onslaught thought. He had no idea why Blast Off would decide to do something like this, but he hoped it was a good one.
What they couldn't know, above them, the situation had become worse; gas and raw flammable substances which might have been fuel, had covered the water, and filled the air. Blast Off had dived deep, right in time, avoiding being burnt by exploding gas.
The silence was nice, and Onslaught relaxed, once more trying to sit back on a seat, and yet again he didn't succeed.
Mere astroseconds after Brawl's loud complaints, Blast Off accelerated - stronger than he had before.
The four mechs were slammed against the rear wall of the cockpit, the force pressing them against it and Onslaught hardly noticed as they left the ocean.
Blast Off's frame rattled as the engines whined under the stress, but Onslaught barely heard that. He almost didn't notice anything, except the strain on his processor as forces far stronger than he'd ever experienced before assailed his body. It was either that this planet required a far higher escape velocity, or Blast Off just wanted to leave as soon as possible, Onslaught mused. It made him wonder for a moment how fast Blast Off could go within an atmosphere...
He didn't have much time to think about that, however, when they again flew through the thunderstorm. The lightning was as present as before, and the whimpering and quiet muttering from the others was evidence that they hoped as much they'd pass it as he did.
Lightning flashed, but Onslaught only saw the increasing and vanishing brightness. With his back against the wall, sitting on the ground, he couldn’t look through the window with the seats in the way. He also didn’t have the power to turn his head, the stress on joints was just too strong.
They were still inside the clouds when speakers crackled once more and the engines audible stuttered. The acceleration slowed, but it lasted only astroseconds, then a growl echoed through the cargo hold, accompanied by more shaking.
This state lasted over a klik, then all was quiet again. The speed seemingly slowed as they left the resistance of atmosphere and the gravity wasn’t as strong as before. Joints, hydraulic and energon pressure adjusted to the weightlessness, and it was almost like relaxation.
Onslaught vented air in relief, looking around when the four mechs started floating.
“Urgh…” Brawl mumbled, optics offline, a hand on his helm. His barrel was dented, and Onslaught already calculated how much it’d cost him to repair it. Swindle was okay, so it seemed, his face displayed some displeasure, but none of them were that fond of weightlessness.
And just as Onslaught wanted to order Blast Off to activate the artificial gravitation, the shuttle did exactly that, without any announcement.
They crashed to the floor - again. Onslaught’s head hit the ground first, and he felt as though he was starring in the kind of comedy show Brawl liked to watch on the Polyhex’ TV channel. This experience only emphasised why he didn’t like those shows.
“A warning would have been nice,” he muttered, annoyed, and rolled onto his back.
There was no answer.
Great, now the shuttle was moody again. Though, as irritating as this might be, Onslaught understood that Blast Off had every right to be.
To his left, Vortex lay on his front, totally quiet, and all of his rotors bent.
“Everyone okay?” Onslaught asked.
He saw Vortex nodding, hearing a quiet mutter. “Yeah… I think I’m gonna throw up.”
“’m fine…” Brawl answered, and Swindle spat. “I’m not!”
Melodramatic glitch. Onslaught didn’t bother to respond.
The shuttle still kept quiet, oh joy.
About to say something sarcastic about the ongoing silence of their ride, Onslaught sat up and eventually realised why that was.
Letters were displayed on Blast Off’s front window, saying |Activating artificial gravity.| - it had to be an older message - and |Speakers and private communication equipment are dead. Microphones and cameras work, but only to 80%. The cargo hold door is damaged and has a leak. Please remain in the cockpit until self-repair takes care of it.|
Slowly, all of them settled back into their seats.
“You know, large aft,” Brawl grumbled, “next time you could be a bit more careful. My barrel’s all damaged.”
More text appeared on the screen. |Oh, EXCUSE me, damaging you was truly not what I intended while I was electrocuted TWICE, almost burnt alive, and tried to save you all. My apologies.|
Vortex snickered, and Onslaught also had to muffle a laugh as he imagined Blast Off’s sarcastic voice.
“My apologies,” Brawl imitated the tone, and crossed his arms. Swindle patted him on the shoulder, and both started talking quietly.
Onslaught leant back, looking at the cameras and hoped it was one which still worked. “How are you? Except for the damage to the speakers and the cargo hold?”
|I will survive,| was all that turned up, and Onslaught couldn’t say if it was because Blast Off was sulking, or because he was tired. Actually, this was hard to tell even when the shuttle was capable of using speech.
It took a while until the cockpit was quiet.
Vortex and the other two had fallen into recharge, and only the low hum of Blast Off’s engines and the soft crackling of the self-repair systems was audible.
Typing on a datapad, Onslaught was still awake. Calculating if the effort had been worth the outcome. They’d been able to get about twenty small crystals, and each of them was quite valuable. Minus the few which he’d have to give to Swindle for the information, Onslaught came to the conclusion that it had been a success.
Before he also activated his recharge cycle, Onslaught tapped on the ground, drawing Blast Off’s attention to him.
A camera zoomed in on him; Onslaught glanced up.
“And?” he asked.
Onslaught huffed, partly amused, partly bitter. “You’re not telling me that I was wrong about visiting the planet?”
Blast Off didn’t answer instantly, then |No. There’s no point in telling you what you already know.|