The shriek sounded again, echoing and reverberating among the rocky outcroppings that surrounded them and Skywarp moved. Purple mist swirled in his wake, the air rushing to fill the space he left behind him with vooooip sound and he appeared in the midst of surprised tribesmecha, behind the hastily thrown up defences, scattering smaller grounders as he danced and shrieked and laughed alternately, claws slashing, weapons blazing, pedes kicking them aside, making short work of the tribe’s defenses. In the midst of chaotic shouting and shrieking winged forms swooped down from above and picked out the grounders with ease, ending their pitiful existence quickly and decisively. Swirling smoke mixed into the dawn mist and the red flames of explosions lit it up here and there.
Things dotted the energon-drenched ground, many of them are unmoving forms of the grounder nomads and Skywarp laughed again as he slashed down an unfortunate mech in his way, trying to see through the mist and find the loot. Starscream would be happy if he found him toys and tools to play with. As much as the mech got happy anyhow while he couldn’t challenge the Airlord, lacking a full trine. Skywarp listened briefly and heard his mate’s unmistakable shriek from somewhere above and smirked to himself. Starscream’s voice was a weapon in itself even among Seekers, who were famous for their shrill war cries and he led the tribe’s warriors by his skills.
Another, shrill sound echoed among the din and Skywarp lifted his helm and stopped laughing. That was not a war-cry. He dimly saw the back of a tall grounder just ahead of him, half hiding behind an overturned wagon, shooting from a mean-looking weapon, intently staring upwards into the smoke. He took another shot before Skywarp could move and tear the blaster from his servos… and he saw a winged form hitting the ground just ahead in a plume of dust and debris. Slagging snipers! Skywarp’s sharp claws tore into energon lines and the grounder, surprised by the attack from behind could not even utter a pained shout before he was dead. The Seeker jumped over the fallen frame and beside the downed mech.
The purple-black jet wasn’t grey yet, but energon spurted out fast from a main line and Skywarp knew he wouldn’t last long. Where was his trine?
A dark blue frame staggered through the smoke and fell to his knee-joints by the dying flier.
Only gurgling sounds answered him and the purple wings flapped weakly once more, beating on the ground before going still.
“He’s gone, Thunder. Where’s Typhoon?” Skywarp answered to the distraught jet cautiously. Mecha loosing their trinemate often went crazy and dangerous and Thundercracker was heavier, stronger than him.
That was bad. A Seeker could survive the loss of one mate with the support of the other, but two? Unheard of. It was a miracle Thundercracker was sane enough still to speak and answer him, but he was sure to fall when Stormcrasher bled out and they would loose a full trine. Way too much loss for the pitifully small tribe with hardly any useful loot.
::Star! Typhoon is gone and Storm’ is going too!::
::Slaggitall! Where’s Thundercracker?::
::Right here. He can’t survive it… can he?:: Skywarp kind of liked the older Seeker, who belonged to another trine, but acted almost like a caretaker for the impulsive warper youngling when the he lost his own creator trine… much the same way Thundercracker was loosing his own right now.
::Where is ‘here’, Warp? He can’t, normally… but…::
::You like him well enough, right?::
::Yeah, I do. But why?::
Starscream landed hard beside them in a plume of dust and answered him aloud. On the ground, the purple bled out from the still frame and Thundercracker gasped, servos clawing into his cockpit, wings flaring painfully high.
“Because together we can keep him this side of the Well.”
Skywarp stared into Starscream’s red optics and turned towards the blue Seeker. He did not think of taking Thundercracker for the trine, but Star was right… it could save him. Or… draw them down, but Skywarp rather doubted that anything or anymech could drag Starscream down. Certainly not without kicking and screaming. A lot of screaming. He did not get his designation accidentally.
“Come on, then. He won’t like it.”
They converged on the gasping blue Seeker who was writhing on the ground, the broken sparkbonds causing him unimaginable pain. Starscream yanked his arms away from his chest, where he had already clawed through his cockpit and with Skywarp’s help they put the writhing frame on his back and flailing limbs held fast.
Starscream’s shriek was shrill enough to make even a dying mech stop and pause in his way to the Well. Skywarp was used to dampen his audials around his trine-leader and continued to restrain the blue mech’s weakening struggles. Around them the smoke still swirled, effectively separating them from the others in the tribe and giving the barest measure of privacy.
“No! Listen!” Starscream shook Thundercracker roughly and shrieked straight into his faceplates “I’m taking you for my Trine!”
“Thunder, Thunder, please…” Skywarp tried to shout louder than Starscream, an impossible task but he gave his all. “Stay with us!”
Wild, unfocused optics snapped to his face and Skywarp smiled nervously, holding onto a blue servo. Starscream miraculously stayed silent for a klik and Thundercracker, after an eternally long klik dipped his chin slightly.
Starscream wasted no time after that, not that they had any. Thundercracker’s strange compliance was a sign that he was weakening – the mech was usually almost as headstrong than Starscream only in his own, quiet way – and Starscream’s claws tore away the damaged cockpit and urged the chestplates too to reveal his weakening spark. Thundercracker groaned in added pain, since Starscream was none too gentle with it, but he didn’t protest any more. Skywarp was also yanked close and his trine-leader hissed into his audial.
“Keep him with us!”
The warper hurriedly parted his chestplates too. It was highly unusual and probably against every tradition to complete a trine-merge on the ground, in a battlefield… but there was no way they could take Thundercracker to the skies… wait a klik, *he* could do it! Skywarp hugged Starscream and the limp blue frame under them close and prayed he had enough in his tanks for this move. A loud, crackling vooip sounded and they were out of the smoke, out of the din of the battlefield, free of the energon-drenched ground and into clean, clear air…
“What the frag…?”
… and falling. Well, maybe he did not think it all through and Starscream’s shriek was just as loud in the bond as outside it. The merge has already started and Skywarp was drawn into it, into the shared consciousness that he was used to, that was Starscream’s spark touching his… and which now contained a third presence, a weak, flailing, pained and uneasy one. Someone in the merge had the coherence to ignite their thrusters to at least slow the freefall before they crashed into a glorious fireball that would end them as… trine?
Thundercracker’s pained, aching spark was instinctly drawn to theirs, into the soothing bond that promised to fill the gaps, the bleeding wounds that were left by his former mates’ deactivation. Starscream took over the merge as was his right – trine-leader and bossy as the Pit, the tricoloured Seeker was a natural leader. He molded them to him, his will bent theirs and his spark dominated them both. Skywarp submitted as usual and he had no problem with it – but he felt a faint, weak protest from Thundercracker, who was also dominant, but right now he could not fight off the strong-willed Starscream.
The merge surged and with it their sparks and Skywarp released his shrill cry into the air as overload took him fast and furious. Thundercracker’s deeper roar followed him and then Starscream’s high notes: their shouts merged and swirled and followed them as they sank fast towards the ground, almost, but not quite crashing to the place where they started off. Well. That went… well, by Skywarp’s standards. They would have fun later breaking TC in properly.
Skywarp hoped that Starscream would not challenge Steel Wings and his trine before they could have some of that fun. He could use some energon and rest and TC was not recovered fully by any means.