Dawn was coming up over the mountain range and Swoop sat on one of the topmost ledges of Mount Saint Hilary, where the Ark was wedged deep into the base of the mountain. The other Dinobots were sleeping in, as usual…………but Swoop loved to watch the dawn and the sunset from the top peaks of the mountains. He loved the vivid and vibrant colors when the sun was rising or sinking in the sky. The other Dinobots just didn’t understand. Grimlock scoffed at Swoop getting up too early in the morning just to look at the sun in the sky.
Swoop knew he wasn’t the smartest of the Dinobots, but he knew what he felt and he knew what he liked. And he liked the colors of the sky at dawn and sunset. So, he always set his internal chronometer to get up early enough to glide up to one of his favored perches and watch until the sky turned into the uniform bright and blue of a normal day.
While he watched the purples and violets change to lavender and magenta, the Pterodactyl Dinobot saw a red-and-white plane fly towards the mountain and then swoop lower to transform into a robot mode down near the entrance to the Ark. It was the aerial Autobot—that one found in the ice—Skyfire. Satisfied that he was not witnessing a foolish Decepticon trying to approach his home, he turned his optics back to the horizon……..where the lavender and magenta was becoming a brighter red and orange. Soon the sun would be high enough in the sky, it would peel all the vivid colors back for a normal blue that would last until sunset.
The blue appeared sooner than Swoop wanted it to, so the soft-spoken Dinobot sighed and then hopped into the air, changing into his Pterodactyl mode and sweeping down to transform back into primary mode at the entrance to the Ark.
“Dumb Swoop,” Sludge muttered sleepily as he trudged past the aerial Dinobot, heading for the fuel room.
“Why Swoop? Why go look at stupid sun? It there all day!” Snarl added, pretty much bracketing the soft-spoken Dinobot between himself and the slow-moving Sludge.
“It pretty then, gotta get up early to see it pretty,” Swoop mumbled, dragging his pedes as he followed his fellow Dinobots to the fuel room.
“Hey guys, didn’t you all get enough recharge?” Wheeljack said in a cheerful voice as the Dinobots stumbled in for their daily Energon refueling.
“Could sleep all day,” Slag groaned.
“Yeah, me Grimlock say sleep all day is good!” The leader of the Dinobot team chimed in, taking the canister from the Autobot inventor. All of the sudden all the Dinobots except for Swoop began chanting: “Sleep all day!” at the loudest pitch in their vocalizers.
“Gah, so noisy already!” Ratchet groaned as he came into the room and saw his fellow Autobot handing canisters of processed Energon to the Dinobots. “Hey Grimlock—Optimus has something for you guys to do. Go to the command center when you’re done fueling!” The Autobot medic said loudly, trying to be heard over their chanting. “Grimlock! Did you hear me?!” Ratchet yelled.
“Don’t bust a fuel pump, Ratch—they’ll settle down once they’ve fueled,” Wheeljack chuckled, moving over towards his friend and gently laid a hand on his shoulder. “Hey Swoop, c’mere a minute!” The inventor said, cheerfully, motioning over to the aerial Dinobot, who was sipping at his canister of processed Energon and standing slightly apart from his fellow Dinobots. “How’d you like to do something different today?”
“What do?” Swoop asked, softly. He’d never been asked to do anything without the other Dinobots. He wondered if Grimlock would be mad……………
“Skyfire has been gathering some stuff for me and Perceptor—since he’s got the scientific background, he’s finding exactly what we’re needing. But I worry about him going out alone, ‘cause of Starscream and stuff. None of us can fly, ‘cept Cosmos and…………” Wheeljack trailed off.
“Cosmos in space now,” Swoop said, nodding.
“That’s right. Cosmos is on a mission. The Aerialbots, except for Silverbolt, would all gripe about ‘babysitting’ Skyfire—so they’re out. Powerglide—eh, he’s Powerglide. But I think he should have someone with him, to keep an eye out for trouble, because he gets really absorbed in his work,” Wheeljack explained, slowly, so that he was certain Swoop could understand the general idea of his words.
“Swoop can do it. Watch for trouble. Protect Skyfire, Swoop can do! Let Swoop do!” The soft-spoken Dinobot begged softly, accidentally crushing the empty can that was in his servo, because he was so excited.
“Good, I’m glad you want to do it. Will you be okay being separated from the others for today?” The Autobot inventor asked, concern in his voice.
“Yes! Yay! Swoop can do!” The aerial Dinobot said, excitedly, waving his arms with enthusiasm as his wings fluttered at his shoulders.
* * * * *
Swoop soared beside Skyfire, doing his best to stay with the jet plane. Skyfire saw how excited and enthusiastic the soft-spoken Dinobot was, so he kept his flight speed to a minimum. The scientist who chose to become an Autobot wondered if Swoop were so excited because he didn’t have many to fly with—none of the other Dinobots had an aerial mode and the Aerialbots (well, most of them, except Silverbolt) were really rather self-absorbed and would never tolerate a flier like Swoop in their air-space. Cosmos was often off on space missions and Powerglide did not share his air-space willingly.
The Pterodactyl Dinobot was very sweet and kind………..and treated really rather miserably by the other Dinobots.
“It’s just the way it is, Skyfire,” Bumblebee said, shrugging.
“They’re kinda like a wolf pack, really,” Spike added, smiling up at the Autobot aerial scientist. “There’s a hierarchy and Swoop’s on the bottom. Swoop wouldn’t think he’s being treated badly by the other Dinobots, he just knows that he’s at the bottom of the chain, so………he rolls over and takes it, ya know?”
“But you would think that any creature with higher thinking would not stand for such abuse by their peers,” Skyfire complained, looking through his data of Earth wolves to understand what Spike was explaining to him.
“Pfft. Humans and Transformers act the same way,” Bumblebee laughed, warmly. As someone at the bottom of the command chain, he had endured merciless teasing himself!
When Swoop wasn’t being submissive to his particular group, he was really very sweet and enthusiastic. Not talkative so much, but he was happy and making happy sounds. And the aerial Dinobot’s EM field rippled with excitement and joy to be on his own for a day. Maybe the other Autobots found it childish, but Skyfire thought it was very cute.
Not that he was looking for any kind of physical companionship and he’d never take advantage of such innocence, of course! But seeing the sweet and kind Dinobot open and happy, like this, made the Autobot scientist feel like he should protect such a sweet young being. There wasn’t a lot of that left in the universe—someone with such purity and joy in living their life. Skyfire, himself, had been like that once—and he knew how he felt after losing his innocence.
“Swoop—we’ve reached the area. I’ll be gathering a few minerals and a few lichens—just keep an optic on the area for me while I’m gathering, all right?” Skyfire said, as they both transformed into their primary modes and landed in the middle of a forest.
“Swoop do!” The aerial Dinobot said excitedly.
Skyfire went about his hunting for materials and Swoop watched the area. He wondered if he should get to a higher location to watch for trouble…………but then, what if he missed something on the ground? No, Swoop decided he would stay put and just look around with his optics and his scanners. He could sense a lot of the organic lifeforms of the forest, but they seemed to be avoiding the entire area—probably because of two very large robots wandering about.
Swoop sat down on a big boulder and kept looking around—it was really boring, but the Dinobot knew exactly how important it was. Skyfire had been hurt by the Decepticons, so of course the Autobots were worried about him—it was up to Swoop to make sure NOBODY came to hurt Skyfire now. The Dinobot had been sitting fairly still on the boulder, just looking around with slow turns of his head every so often, and some of the local bird life began to land on the wings that jutted out from his shoulders.
The birds began singing with each other, different pitches and tones in their tiny little voices. Swoop began humming along with them softly, a deep reverberation in his vocalizer—which the birds didn’t seem to mind.
Skyfire was about to call out to Swoop that he was ready to go back to the Ark when he saw the Dinobot humming along with the singing native birds hopping around and fluttering their wings happily on the silver wing edges. The Autobot scientist smiled and stopped to watch for a little while, then he accidentally stepped on a fallen trunk of a tree and snapped it with a loud, thundering crack.
The birds squeaked and all flew off. Swoop’s head whipped about and he saw Skyfire.
“Oh. Back. Time to go, yes?” The soft-spoken Dinobot murmured, looking up at the much taller mech.
“Yes. Are you ready to go home?” Skyfire asked, tilting his head as he looked down at the Dinobot.
“Almost sunset. Wanna go home to watch,” he answered, his voice submissive in its tone.
Skyfire smiled and reached down to lightly stroke Swoop on the helm. Swoop felt a strange warmth inside his body when Skyfire rubbed his helm. Nobody ever treated him with that touch of kindness before. He was the lowest of the Dinobots, nobody ever paid any attention to him whatsoever. He wasn’t loud or obnoxious or battle-hungry like the others……….half the time, he wondered if anyone even knew he was there with the other Dinobots. Swoop gave a little sniffle, not even understanding why he was crying.
“We can stay here for a few more moments, sunset is still a couple hours off. We’ll stop somewhere to watch on the way back, all right?” Skyfire said, gently, patting the Dinobot in the center of his backstrut. “Has it been alright for you to be away from the other Dinobots for a day?” He asked, trying to make some light conversation.
“Yes. Felt nice not to have them stomping on my wings or saying meanie things,” Swoop murmured, almost afraid to tell the truth, but he felt Skyfire wouldn’t say them to the Dinobots. “Maybe they not miss Swoop ever anyways.”
“I’m sure they do. But if you ever think that being with them is too much, you can come and look for me—we’ll go out flying and relax and calm down, right?” The Autobot scientist said, rubbing Swoop’s back with a gentle servo.
“Swoop love flying. Not get to fly much with Dinobots……….move too slow and are mean if Swoop fly ahead,” he mumbled, his voice going even softer and lower. “Swoop no hate Dinobots, but wish less meanie words from Dinobots……………..”
“I’m sure one day they’ll see how important you really are to them, Swoop,” Skyfire chuckled. “Come on, let’s go home,” he added, leaning down and pressing a light kiss to the top of the soft-spoken Dinobot’s helm and then gave it another fond stroke.
Swoop smiled and jumped up—his EM field brimming with enthusiasm and joy. “Hooooooooooome!!!” He cried, excitedly.