When the sparkling first booted, the first sensation to register over it's newly formed sensor network was comfort.
Tactile sensation came next, as a something told him that he had hands to grasp and pull closer to the source of warm comfort.And how blissful it was! His visual feed came on next, and while the sparkling head no frame of reference for what he saw around him in the warm, bright space, it felt right. He fell back into recharge with a soft hum of his tiny engine.
When he next woke, something foreign was in his systems. Friendly and trusting by nature, the sparkling attempted a rudimentary handshake as his systems booted fully. When the foreign system ignored him, he booted his optics and let out a soft series of immature binary beeps and peeps.
The.... thing holding him did not respond at first, but instead after a period of time gave a harsh buzz and sent him off on a conveyor after a quick, unpleasant, disconnect. He managed to wriggle onto his front before the magnetization kicked on and he was stuck.
Ittle winglets on his back flared weakly and fed their young owner a stream of information about his surroundings as he moved through wherever he was, and his growing consiousness took note of the drop of warmth, the dimming of light... and an acrid smell, that had the sparkling wrinkling his olfactory sensor in his first expression of discomfort.
He came to a halt upside-down and energon rushed into his head before he found himself sliding, sliding!! His fuel pump pushed fuel hard into his systems, and the sparkling squealed in his fear and exhilaration. The slide came to an abrupt stop, and the euphoric sensation of flight suspended him in time before it all came quite literally crashing down.
He hit the unyielding wall of the dumpster with a resounding thump. A vertical fall followed, and the sparkling landed on something soft. He remained still for a while as him helm settled before he deigned to lift it and look around.
He nearly startled out of his plating at the sight of three dim points of light staring at him from one corner of the container. His tiny winglets flared up into a tense V as data he couldn't process fully fed rapid-fire into his brand-new brain. His engine gave a warning squeal when the singular light moved and came close to him, and it petered out into a confused vocalization and then nothingness as he was gripped by the helm and pulled into the dark, sheltered corner.
When he next came to, more mental processes had come online with him. He was cold, but not critically so, trapped in the embrace of two others. The bigger sparkling's visor clicked to dim life when he started to wriggle, and they pulled him in tighter to the cuddle when it was apparent that he wanted to move.
He moved anyways, or at least his helm did, to try to retake in his surroundings. He was still boxed in, all of them were. The far wall showed a small dent from where he had hit it, and the place he had landed..... Alarm rattled through him as the empty, dark optics of the greyed out frame stared back at him. There was a sizeable concave in the tiny, mangled frame, obviously telling the story of the broken fall.
The infant let out a mournful peep, and the older one beside him held him tighter, trying to derive their own comfort.
His attention drew to the third of their little ragtag cohort, who was wrapped around another grey frame in turn, and pressed fully to his free side. Even immature electromagnetic field receptors told him something was wrong with the bot, but he was ill equipped to do much, let alone help.
He ended up reaching out tentatively to pet the little bot's shoulder strut but for all his little effort, the mechling didn't respond.
Time brought more understanding as some of that preloaded knowledge clicked into place. He and the others stuck to the shadows because it was safe, because occasionally something big would look in at them, and remaining under the lidded section meant a better chance to keep out of roaming, grabbing hands.
He and the others had some rudimentary communication abilities, and when his came on line, the visored sparkling conveyed that their companion was unwell, had been since the frame they held had gone grey. The pair had come out of the wall together, they told him.
The sparkling he had landed on had been there since they landed there, already grey, according to the one with the visor.
With a shiver at the thought, the newcomer huddled closer to his comrade for warmth, and his growing processor set to work.
Just gonna say, you all are making it reeeeally hard to answer your comments. |Dc
However, I read and appreciate every single one. ♥
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The sun came and went three more times before the second of the two twins drooped their head for the last time and greyed. The mechling with the visor was inconsolable for a long time, crying until their vents clicked in near-silent hiccups, and tracks of optical lubricant washed their dirty face of the grime of their home.
They knew their name by then, a bit of programming that had clicked into place after a set time period without an assigned designation of their own.
In immature common and innate newspark 'cant, they told him their name was 'Backroad'.
This was all well and good, but it didn't fix the fact that their companion had stopped moving, or that the youngest sparkling was getting consistent, annoying pings about things he didn't understand.
He learned to understand hunger after a huge passerby had dropped something bright and alluring into the dumpster, and as if on instinct he and Backroad went to scoop up as much as they could into their intakes. Fuel levels had flipped on after that.
Crying didn't fix that, either.
The sparking managed to wait until the darkness was back again before the pressure built became too much, and across the dumpster he moved with shuffling steps. He looked up at the edge, then down to the grey frame he had landed on to back again.
Backroad crept up next to him, thin plating all a shiver from the exposure, but the smaller mechling ignored them in favor of attention directed inwards, to thought threads fed by a near constant stream of unregulated spatial and sensory data.
He examined the wall he had impacted upon as well as he was able in the darkness. The play of shadows across the surface was uneven, having hit enough to dent. His optics drew up to the edge of the wall... the shadows there belied the existence of a dip. If he was tall enough- his brain told him in the forefront of everything else- it would make a good hold for a little hand.
Backroad startled as the sparkling whipped back around to look into the darkness of the covered end of the dumpster, optics brightened and winglets twitching. With a determined air about him, he scuttled back into the darkness. Backroad watched, torn between impulse to follow and try to squeeze more comfort out of him despite his odd behavior or stay away.
Confusion morphed into alarm as the soft screech of pliable metal on the hard floor sounded, and the smaller sparkling emerged partway into the light trying to pull one of the deceased twins along with him.
Soft cheeps and chitters and the waving of immature doorwings and arms conveyed what the sparkling wanted to do, and one great effort later had the two grey ones from the shadows piled upon the dented one.
It was in short order and just a bit more struggling that the two of them were out of their metal tomb and right into the scary new world that was the alley.
See what I mean?
Next chapter will take a little while to be posted, it's getting to be that busy time of year, ofc. ;)
Thanks for reading!
Bluestreak received his name shortly after he was separated from Backroad.
The wider world outside their box had been scarier than either of them had the propensity to imagine while they were still contained within, and their first true lesson in this was fast and harsh.
Backroad had fled at the first truly startling noise- so loud and rumbling and repetitive and not right that their little frames shook- and when Bluestreak emerged from the hiding hole he had found nearby, the other youngling was no where in sight.
That was almost scarier than the noise had been; and while every frightened pulse of his young spark bade him to stay hidden, hunger eventually won out and he was in the open again. There would be no peering out at the occasionally passing pedes for him, when he felt like this.
He avoided the main roads, where adults roamed and the worst ones would exclaim and try to chase him if they saw him in the open. His fuel sources didn't tend to be around there anyways, it was easier to find it in the little nooks and crannies and bins much like he had spent his early life in. It didn't always taste good, and it didn't always help keep his HUD from hurting with the angry fuel symbols if it wasn't good, but he functioned.
Additionally, Bluestreak learned very quickly to avoid the grown-ups with the especially odd designs on their wings, as he watched a pair of them take someone away one day. They were loud and they were mean in a way that alarmed Bluestreak down to his very core.
The third bot didn't look like they did; they had wings on their back but it was different in a way his processors couldn't yet fully grasp, but it strengthened his resolve to keep away from the first two.
He knew pain, and wouldn't subject himself to more if he didn't have to.
Worst of all was the one whom, for a while, followed.
Bluestreak could make him right away, pick him out of a crowd of his brothers when they deigned to visit the section of the city he had settled in. The prongs of his bright red Chevron were distinctive, as was the way he carried himself and the way the others acted when he was around.
Worst the way he looked at Bluestreak. He knew more day by day, a priori knowledge his juvenile processors were slow to unlock. He could tell there was a sort of calculation in those looks.
That preloaded knowledge did little to help the emotional aspects of his short life, those things seen and now processed as good or bad or lonesome or so on and so forth. But it more than assisted when it was fear motivating him.
And that fear was directed almost solely towards That Enforcer.
He followed at first in a way that seemed pure chance.
Bluestreak would wake up, extract himself from his latest hidey hole, and there he'd be, within sensor range or working the big wall's gate itself. Bluestreak would run as far as his little legs would carry him until he needed to refuel, but by then The Enforcer was nearby again somehow.
It came to a point that found Bluestreak constantly looking over his shoulders for fear of this mech- just the sight of those chevron prongs sent his little spark to near panic, and after the one time seeing The Enforcer close by he'd found a good amount of fuel on the path of one of his runs solidified this.
He'd managed to carry it back to where he was planning to sleep; his little fuel tank was clenching for his hunger and was lucky for his foresight, as the bottom of the portion found a funny taste in his mouth, and his systems triggered into forced recharge.
It was his first real sense of betrayal. From within where he'd passed out inside his hideaway, he could see marks in the ground and on the curled up lip of the opening he'd crawled into. Dirt had given way to clean metal and his lines went cold.
Someone had tried to get in.
Someone had tried to get in and get him, and only a discrepancy of size had stopped them- that special part of his brain told him. They were too big and probably couldn't get the leverage to reach all the way to him.
They might be nearby.
A shiver raced up his backstrut and shook his soft armor as optical lubricant welled and threatened to spill, even as dormant code activated.
He understood it instantly despite the delay malnutrition brought him before and the tears brought by fear at present and executed his very first transformation.
Spatial data ran through him instantly as it completed and he found himself suddenly smaller- and potentially speedier.
With a rev of a newly realized drive-train coming online for the first time and the tank full of fuel that triggered it making him feel at once woozy and hyperactive, Bluestreak gunned his engine.
He was through the hole at the same time that The Enforcer pushed his way onto the room, a curse under his breath.
The people have spoken and so here I am, with more sad baby Bluestreak :P Final stretch!
From then on, Bluestreak's vigilance was constant in a way that only a creature that knew it was hunted could.
At the same time, his altmode afforded him so many more places to hide, and Bluestreak took advantage of each one he could. It made him that much bolder, too, as tires and speed sent his spatial software into happy little curls of code.
More than once, he'd manage to steal and consume fuel from right under an adult's olfactory sensor, able to escape them from them with ease thanks to his new mode. More and better fuel began to make him feel better and better -- and smarter, by the day.
Sometimes, he could distract them. A strategically thrown rock could lodge in an ankle joint or throw an adult off balance when their sensors picked up a fast moving something under their pedes. In the event that whatever energon wasn't completely wasted, Bluestreak often made out with enough to last him through a full tank-- and occasionally he found that he had enough to hide.
In the rarest times, he could drift off into recharge full and warm hidden next to a building's vent and dream about comfort.
It was the rumbling that first roused Bluestreak to wakefulness. Rumbling- but it wasn't rumbling that he was used to like the sounds of pedes and tires. It wasn't a rumble like an angry adult either, but that's what he was sure he was hearing, right from the start.
It sent him scurrying off for his bolthole at first. When it didn't stop, when the ground began to do something akin to jump under him, he peeked out from his hiding spot.
Immediately, flashes of color streaking overhead drew his attention to the sky. Time felt like it had slowed, as his processor fed him data and association- these were fliers, these were like the strange-winged one he'd seen with the enforcers in the time before.
Something was falling out of them.
Bluestreak couldn't parse what exactly that Something was, but he also couldn't see what it could be from where he was.
He heard whistling.
Then he heard the rumble again, felt the shaking- more violent in nature this time.
And then, he heard the screaming. It was almost far-off, dreamlike in pitch and timbre, but it shot a low coil of fear right into the depths of Bluestreak's spark.
Something was wrong. Something was wrong in a manner way worse than his hunger, or his separation from Backroad or the deactivation of the twins in the box.
Never had he felt such fear, not even with The Enforcer on his tire tracks.
Bluestreak wanted to cry, wanted to crouch down and weep his little optics out.
He wanted to be held.
He didn't cry, nor hide, nor freeze.
Bluestreak folded down into his altmode, gunned his engine, and took off for the gate.
He ran on instinct, driven by systems that whispered about the danger that those comforting hiding spots would bring to him. It urged him fast as his immature frame could take him. An image unbidden rose to the front of his mind of the huge open space near the gate.
It was hard for him not to balk and slow with the stab of anxiety that image produced. He'd never dared to wander to the open area in the past, not with no cover and too many optics to possibly spot him.
The whistling became louder.
His processors produced data for him at a lightning pace, letting him know that the somethings were close, that they'd be coming down in sets of lines, that they were coming directly towards him, that-
Heat and pressure and wind suddenly licked at his back bumper and tires and sent him flying.
It was the most he could do, to transform back into his root mode before he landed.
He didn't feel the landing, with his immature systems not anywhere near able to handle an explosion.
Bluestreak knew nothing, but oblivion.
One more chapter left! It's a little shocking for me that I might finish this fic before it's year old mark. That never happens for me |,D
Thanks for reading!
Prowl had been on the road the moment he'd gotten the news, sirens blaring.
He wasn't the only one, every enforcer and guard on both sides of the Uraya-Praxus border station was on his taillights as they raced for the city.
Or rather, the probable ruins of the city.
Prowl couldn't raise anyone at the gate or the stations beyond it.
For a city run as tightly as Praxus, this was a sign to prepare for the worst.
That, and the inky black columns of smoke rising from the horizon.... and the far off figures of planes, rising farther into the sky.
As the enforcers crested the hill that obstructed Praxus from its Urayan-Praxian border post, despair lanced in to Prowl's spark.
Praxus was gone.
The Praxus-of-his-mind was a shining city, clean and magnificent in all ways.
Praxus was meant to be gleaming, with mid-level skyscrapers and crystal architecture that was the envy of even the towers of Iacon.
Praxus was at the first and foremost when it came to security and citizen satisfaction for all of Cybertron.
Praxus was his home, and now it was gone.
Now, it lay as blackened ruin, and by the time he and the enforcers that followed after him made it to the edge of the rubble, the only sounds were those of the sirens of the approaching responders, and the settling of the ruin.
Wobbling on his tires in his grief, he shunted his processing through his battle computer and set himself to default to it. It dulled his emotional responses immediately, and he came to his pedes ready to perform his function.
Prowl took command, directing responders both Praxian and otherwise into action.
Medics scanned for life at the edges, medivacs flew overhead, where safe, plotting out a new map to go over the old street plan the Praxus that all had on hand.
Prowl himself dove into search and rescue with a gusto that should have otherwise been neutered by his upgraded programming.
There would be no denying the desperation his spark to find someone alive, in this new hell his home once was. He was not built to haul things, not made to chuck boulders and dig through jagged debris, but there'd be no stopping him.
Until a Praxian official showed up, he was the authority.
And a leader didn't stand idly by as their people frantically searched around them.
He'd pulled one deactivated frame pulled from the rubble himself- this quickly became two, and two became five before Prowl could pull himself back for a brief respite.
His optics burned at their edges, from the acrid smoke still in the air- he told himself, he couldn't afford to think about the loss of life.
Twilight was setting in just as the responders made it into the plaza.
As the death toll rose, more and more rescue and heavy moving vehicles showed up, almost as if they were there to fill in the places of the dead. Prowl directed them with cold hard calculation, moving them to mezzanines and buildings he knew held energon and likely held high concentrations of mechanisms that would need a rescue.
Prowl knew it wasn't likely to find anyone alive in those places- and he was starting to believe that there was no one to find. He could see across the land- to where Iacon's buildings and towers seemed to loom over the devastation.
He couldn't stop himself.
The paint on his fingers was worn down to gray base-metal and they ached, but he couldn't stop.
He flung a smaller boulder aside and exposed a small cavity. His HUD supplied him with the building specs for the area of the plaza he was in, alerted him to the fact that there was likely no one living in the ruin-- but something gave him pause.
Crouching down to peer into the cavity, Prowl caught sight of tiny, dim optics, barely lit in the blackness.
"Primus...." It felt as if Prowl's spark had lodged in his throat, and for a moment Cybertron stood still as he tried to comprehend what exactly he was looking at. By the time he realized he was pinging for the nearest medic, his programming had already fed him the best ways to free the mechlet from their tiny tomb.
The medics got to him just in time for them to help him lift the last slab of metal off the young mech. Prowl half expected the little mech to bolt as soon as they'd been freed, but his optics drew from the vacant expression on their face to the crushed pede and tire starting to trickle out luminous mech fluid and energon.
It didn't take a battle computer to suss out what had happened to this tiny mech.
Gingerly, he assisted one medic with lifting the mechlet while the other adjusted the poor thing's little leg to cauterize and cap off the wound. They jolted the tiniest bit when Prowl touched them, but those little unseeing optics remained stationary, even as the mechlet in his arms curled in towards the warmth of his bumper.
"He's in shock." The first medic said, and when had they plugged into the small frame? He began to move, began to pull the sparklet away from Prowl- but he held fast.
The medics looked at him oddly but didn't protest, and it was in short order that they were in one of the last mobile repair bays not converted to a morgue to get to work.
Prowl's spark was in chaos, and he acknowledged this in passing as he held the partially repaired sparklet on his lap.
He'd worked so hard to try and catch this tiny mech, to try to do what he thought would save him in the long run... and yet here he was, huddled in a corner on a transport to Iacon with the first of the injured responders and one of the medics from the site of the rescue. He'd turned his authority over to the Urayan Police Chief that had made her appearance with a detachment of soldiers and enforcers shortly before departure.
Behind them, Praxus was in ruin- it was gone; and just the thought of that sent Prowl's coding into a near tailspin. His life and light was Praxus, the whole reason he came online was to serve and protect Praxus but it was looking more and more like it's citizens were lost- and so he was unneed-
The sparklet shifted on his lap, coming around, and Prowl's mind froze.
He wasn't unneeded. This sparklet was one of the few Praxians likely left in the world- and he needed him.
He adjusted the child in his grip as his optics unshuttered and flickered on.
The first emotion to cross the tiny face was fear -- Prowl suppressed his guilt at being the source of it for so long.
He crooned softly, moving his thumb to wipe some of the dirt caked on the mechlet's face off, and the mechlet in question squirmed, fear moping into a kind of lack of surety that one felt when such severe cognitive dissonance was present.
Plugged into the little mech still, the medic waved to get his attention. Prowl had made it known to them in no uncertain terms that he would be taking over guardianship of the small mech and the medic still looked at him oddly for it.
-His name is Bluestreak- Prowl spared the medic just the slightest glance, before looking back down at the mechlet in his arms. -If you'd like, I can register you as his official caretaker while I'm in here... help prevent some of of those.... shall we say harder, questions.-
This surprised Prowl, as did the determined edge to the medic's glyphs, but they'd done all in that communique to confirm Prowl's suspicions about the little mech.
There would be no turning this little bot into the youth reassignment corps now- there wasn't one anymore to do such a thing.
...Iacon's youth centers wouldn't understand Praxian ways.
Something could... happen to the sparkl- to Bluestreak.
Prowl couldn't allow that.
He looked the medic dead in the optics and nodded his consent.
All at once, data packets began to come in over the comm he shared with the medic. It was systems information and instructions for a parental status link.
The medic looked pleased and exhausted when they finally drew back. - There, - they said. - Everything should be in order with his systems, and I'd expect his social development to continue now that he has a fully matured guardian to rely upon.-
Prowl could feel the sparkling at his system's periphery, and knew Bluestreak could feel him too, for the way the small Praxian had taken to staring up at him.
It wasn't a spark bond as one may find between natural parents and newsparks but he was sure it was modeled after it, with the addition of rudimentary system update pings.
"I have you, Bluestreak."
Prowl watched as Bluestreak's stilled, the small mech's ventilations seemed to stall as his optics brightened.
Prowl softened his countenance, worked a small smile into his expression.
"My name is Prowl, I've been waiting a long time to meet you."
Bluestreak huddled into his chassis with a slow curl.
He let out a soft sobbing keen, and Prowl thought his spark would break hearing it.
And then, it soared.
"That night, you started to chatter at me." Prowl said, motioning to Bluestreak from across the smaller rec room with the cube in his hand. "And I'm not sure you ever really stopped."
Bluestreak's doorwings wiggled with delight he could barely contain, it seemed to move him to get up and scuttle his way over to the couch Prowl was sitting on, dodging the recording equipment Blaster had given them on the way.
It was an odd, rare sight for Blaster and his cassettes, to see Prowl lift his arm and adjust his doorwing to let the younger Praxian cuddle up.
Prowl chuckled. "Bluestreak, unless you don't have something to add to our account of meeting, your recording equipment won't pick up your voice-"
Bluestreak snuggled in more aggressively in response. Blaster reset his vocoder to get Prowl's attention.
"I think we got what we need for the record, m'mech." This was a new dimension to the social interactions of the Ark, not to mention wider research about the shadowy city of Praxus this called for.
He left the two with each other and their shared history and memories of their shared homeland. Rewind was on playback in his dock before his pede crossed the threshold, feeding what he knew of the city's history to his host.
Here we are, something something at the end. ;)
I hope you enjoyed this work! I didn't mean for it to take longer than a year to put out and finish, but it happens |Dc I had a fun time writing this! I wanted to harken back a little to the feel of some older g1 works here with this. I appreciate each and every comment I've gotten, and would love to hear what y'all thought of this as a whole! :D
Here some additional notes about this universe in particular:
- Praxus is thought to be a utopian city merchant city, walled and gated and heavily regulated. To that end, all mecha brought online through a spark facility is scanned and their systems tested heavily before they're given to guardians and parents. Sparklets that fall outside the standard deviations for one reason or another are tossed out.
-Tossing out babies is only one way that Praxus has a darker underside, and most people-- including the enforcers don't really have a clue- or, they don't know that the things that go on would be considered alarming and reprehensible to the rest of Cybertron. Thus Blaster's reaction at the end.
- This also explains Prowl's alarm, because to his perspective, there should be no little street urchins like Bluestreak wandering about, because for all he knows, each living Praxian born to a spark facility would've been assigned to someone or put in a youth corps, so he's sure something terrible has happened, but doesn't know exactly what.
- Additionally, Prowl himself is a product of that culture, he was brought online to be an enforcer and had no say- nor considered the fact that he should have a say in modifications like his battle computer. They were just done to him, because he was an enforcer and a good one at that. He doesn't realize how horrified the medic that helps him and Bluestreak is at the glimpse they got of this darkness.
- This takes place at in the early days of the war, with the Decepticon leveling of Praxus. The Decepticons are NOT bombing Praxus due to it's shadiness, but because it is prosperous and large and most importantly-- neutral.
- Just as it says in his bio, Bluestreak is the only survivor of the bombing of Praxus.