Every line in Ultra Magnus' body was weary as he was shoved into the holding cell in the Decepticons' brig and rough, strong hands chained him to the wall. The first interrogation of a high-ranked officer was always just a test of their resolve. Nonetheless, it was long and exhausting.
The past few orns had not been kind to the City Commander. A short fling with a Seeker on loan to his unit had created a permanent change to his life. By the time he had found out, Groundshaker had already moved on to his next assignment and was out of communications range. Even if he hadn't been, Ultra Magnus still might not have told him. He was enjoyable enough in the berth, but the Autobot Seeker was also reckless and irresponsible. Undesirable traits when looking at the long-term commitment raising a creation would propose. As the carrier, the ground mech had to look out for what was best for his newspark.
So far he wasn't doing as well as he should have been. Getting captured by the enemy certainly wasn't good for him and his creation. Even if the sparkling wasn't directly terminated once they figured out he was carrying, the stress and survival rations would cause him to miscarry if he were here long enough. It was a terrifying thought.
He could only hope that he was rescued before his creation was permanently damaged. It was one factor that his rank was likely to help with. It made him important enough to put effort into rescuing quickly, and for once he couldn't find it in himself to object to that importance. He might not be worth it, but the tiny and completely innocent life now orbiting his spark most definitely was.
Wearily Ultra Magnus sank back, bracing against his back and locking his lower joints to give his frame relief. Unlike the proper brigs the Autobots maintained, there were no berths or benches in these, not that he could have used them while chained to the wall and forced to stand. He was in the isolation sector, or at least he assumed he was. There were no other cells he could see into at any rate.
He was just settling into a low-level recharge when pedefalls reached him and he brought himself up to full alertness before the mech appeared.
He sighed in resignation. There was only one reason a mecha outside the interrogation types, Megatron or Starscream would visit a prisoner.
At least the overload would help the newspark, even if it was hard on the carrier. Hopefully it would be over fast. Seekers weren't known for their endurance.
"Oh, you are a big one," the grin on the purple mech's face was almost feral.
Skywarp, Ultra Magnus' tac-net eventually supplied.
Strong black hands ran down his chestplates until one curled around his interface cover. Resigned acceptance touched his field as the cover opened, exposing a valve that was unaroused but just slick enough to prevent damage. Accepting the abuse and not resisting would likely be the only thing he could do for his newspark at the moment. This one didn't seem to be interested in harming him if he didn't try to fight back.
Jet engines purred at the feel of the slick valve. "You've been used before," Skywarp smirked, only to freeze with his fingers still inside Ultra Magnus' valve and his spike on prominent display. An odd look crossed the Seeker's features that then turned into a scowl. His fingers drew away even as his frame pressed closer and his field reached out, invasively deep.
Intel said that Skywarp was simple. That though his processors were higher grade than most, his teleportation algorithms ate up 90% of his processor power. What was he....
Comprehension flashed across features unaccustomed to the look.
"Oh Primus," Skywarp's voice held an odd combination of awe and disbelief, his optics wide and expression unguarded as he stepped back and teleported away in a swirl of purple.
Ultra Magnus stared in confusion at the air where the Seeker had been. What had changed Skywarp's mind? It wasn't like there was anything to distract him, and he hadn't behaved as if he were being contacted by someone else.
The newspark gave a pulse against Ultra Magnus' own spark as the large mech closed his valve cover and settled in to his solitary wait.
It was three joors of silence and Skywarp teleported back into the cell with a serious look on his face. "Play nice and you won't be stuck in here any more, okay?"
"...Alright," Ultra Magnus agreed, bemused. His actions were completely unprecedented and the Commander was struggling to figure out what Skywarp was up to. Whatever he was after, it was unlikely to harm him worse than the torture he would eventually have to suffer.
The purple Seeker nodded and reached to open the shackles binding Ultra Magnus to the wall, using his own frame to help support the larger, heavier mech. As his arms came down they wrapped around the convoy class mech and he stepped back, drawing Ultra Magnus away from the wall.
A moment of complete nothingness and then Ultra Magnus was struggling to focus on the details of what was a very large stateroom. One far bigger than anything the Autobots had. It also showed signs of a lot of careless living. All sorts of odds and ends were strewn about, but most surprising was the quantity of organic fabric made into pillows and berth padding covers. A berth, he belatedly noticed, that he was being pulled towards, and was large enough for at least four or five mecha Skywarp's size.
Had the Seeker wanted a change in venue for taking him? Or was this Megatron's quarters and the Seeker wanted to prepare him for the warlord? He certainly couldn't think of any other reason for being taken out of the cell.
"Sit," Skywarp said firmly as Ultra Magus' lower legs bumped against the berth, and the grounder automatically obeyed. The Seeker's field was a cacophony of confusion that ranged from anger to frustration to uncertainty to care-mine to things Ultra Magnus wasn't sure he could name.
"What are you planning on doing to me?" he asked, trying to puzzle out what he was teeking from the Seeker's field.
Purple wings twitched as the mech turned to walk to the corner and an energon dispenser to fill a cube. Half full at first, then he shifted uneasily and added another quarter cube to it. He looked at Ultra Magus sitting quietly on his berth and grumbled as he walked back over and shoved the cube into the grounder's hands. "Make sure you stay healthy."
Well, that was an unusual reply. Ultra Magnus stared at him blankly for a moment before taking a sip from the cube. Generally, very little thought went to the health of prisoners. What could possibly make it a concern now?
The door slid open and Thundercracker strode in. He took one look at Ultra Magnus, twitched his wings, paused when Skywarp clicked something back in Seeker cant, and nodded. Without a word he went to the computer terminal and began the process of locking it down while Skywarp continued to stare at Ultra Magnus.
The Autobot continued to drink the cube he'd been given as he studied the pair, wracking his memory banks for similar stories from returned POWs. He couldn't come up with anything.
"What do you want from me?" he asked once he finished the cube.
Skywarp glanced over at Thundercracker, who huffed, but looked up to meet Ultra Magnus' optics. "We don't want anything from you. We're taking care of that sparkling you're carrying. It's a Seeker."
Ultra Magnus' field spiked in surprise. For his sparkling? Why would they want to help the creation of an Autobot, even if it were the same model?
Skywarp's hand curled back for a strike that never landed, though his claws were out and anger flared bright and sharp in his field.
"No, no Autobot would know," Thundercracker huffed in irritation as he came over to put a hand on Skywarp's wing and hummed softly until the purple Seeker settled at his gentle strokes. "Not many Decepticons know." He considered Ultra Magnus from behind Skywarp's relaxing wing. "It's up to Starscream to tell you, if he wants you to know."
"What can you tell me, then?" The large grounder asked, getting more and more confused by their actions.
"As long as you behave well, you'll have a soft berth, warm frames, energon and supplements," Thundercracker said simply. "Cause trouble and you'll be back in that cell. You are not to leave these quarters. You are not to hack the console. You will not attack anyone who comes in these quarters." He paused. "Who is the sire?"
Ultra Magnus listened to the demands and decided cooperation was the best thing he could do for the moment. "Groundshaker." he replied.
Skywarp hissed. Thundercracker's engines rumbled with displeasure.
"Why him?" Skywarp demanded with impotent anger.
Ultra Magnus scowled back. "I didn't intend to create with him," he retorted. "However, I couldn't destroy my own creation once I found out."
That stilled both Seekers, but it was Skywarp who muttered dark promises under his breath.
"You aren't bonded with him," Thundercracker said it as a statement. "He's no longer on Earth." He paused, seeming to really look at Ultra Magnus for the first time. "Who will raise it?"
"No, he is not even aware of what came from our activities," Ultra Magnus replied. "I intend to raise it myself."
Skywarp went rigid, his wings flaring in distress. Even Thundercracker looked disturbed.
"You aren't even a flier!" the purple Seeker exclaimed, his red optics bright. "How can a grounder raise a Seeker?"
"It needs a Seeker around, or at least a combat-grade Aerial," Thundercracker insisted. "I know they're scarce on your side, but find one. You've got enough rank to be attractive if you let it known you're looking for a co-creator for a Seekerling."
"What would it need that I, its own carrier, cannot provide?" Ultra Magnus asked, no hint of mocking in his voice and his field full of sincerity.
"Knowledge of flight. Knowledge of the spark-coding that makes it Seeker," Thundercracker said firmly. "We aren't just a frame type. It's a spark-type. It will never mature into a sane adult without someone close to it that understands what it's going through. The demands unique to being Seeker."
"Someone has to teach it to fly before it frags itself trying on its own," Skywarp added, trying to be helpful.
"I will take that into consideration," Ultra Magnus said softly, his processors swimming with the information so readily given.
Skywarp gave a sharp nod and Thundercracker stepped back just in time for him to teleport away. The blue Seeker regarded his prisoner thoughtfully. "How long ago did you find out?"
"Just two orns," he replied. Barely any time for their species. And he was high enough ranked that there was little that they could change of his duties to accommodate his condition.
"How old is it now?" he pressed forward into important questions.
"A decaorn, at most," Ultra Magnus replied. "Why?"
"What supplements you need, how much energon you need, how much recharge ... everything." Thundercracker's engines grumbled his frustration, then he softened slightly into old sadness. "A grounder, especially a heavy model like you, carrying a Seeker to term is difficult at best. That best hasn't existed anywhere in a very long time." His wings gave a flick and he turned around to dig something out of one of the storage cabinets. "I hope you aren't expecting us to take your word that you'll behave," he turned around with a heavy chain in hand. "You'll need plenty of recharge anyway."
Ultra Magnus was curious as to what had happened for Thundercracker to react the way he did, but knew better than to ask. "I had no expectations for what would happen when I was brought here." He eyed the chain, but showed no resistance as the blue Seeker approached with it. Or when one end was attached by manacle to his ankle while the other end found a secure attachment point on the wall below the level of the berth. It was long enough that he could recharge pretty much anywhere on the berth, reach any of the platforms nearby for holding small objects, like an energon cube, but his range didn't extend much past that.
"Where do you keep the supplements you need?" Thundercracker suddenly asked.
"The medics were still trying to get them formulated for me." Ultra Magnus shrugged.
Thundercracker's wings flared, but he was too far away to tell why. A poof of air and mass being added in a sealed environment and Skywarp was there.
"Seriously?" the purple Seeker growled at him. "Now we're going to have to blackmail Hook and Mixmaster into making it."
Thundercracker gave a long suffering sigh from his vents. "How long before they are supposed to be ready?"
"They were supposed to be ready before my next duty shift, when I was going to also get my ration." Ultra Magnus replied, his optics on the darker Seeker. Apparently he was touchy on the subject of what carriers needed.
"Relax," Thundercracker put a hand on Skywarp's wing, a move that seemed to settle the dark Seeker almost immediately. "I still have Ratchet's comm. He'll give them up. He's done far more to help prisoners before."
The words soothed Skywarp the rest of the way. "Yeah, Ratchet will," he nodded agreeably.
"You want first watch?" Thundercracker offered with a knowing glance at his trine mate.
"Yeah. He's my find," Skywarp gave a nasty grin. "Soundwave is going to regret this."
Thundercracker gave another long suffering look, shook his helm and left.
Skywarp looked at Ultra Magnus, seeming a little lost. "So ... what do you do off shift?"