Baby blue optics brightened in a split second before Hotshot jerked himself in an upright position, his mouth opening and closing but no sound escaped him. His optics, thought brightened to the max, had a far away look to them as the reminiscence of his nightmare slowly faded away. It took a long moment for him to get his bearings and his processor cleared up from the emotions he had been feeling from his troubled recharge cycle. He placed a servo on his face and he let out a deep vent, trying to calm himself down. After a few minutes, he had finally calmed down and he uncovered his face before looking out his window. He could see the sky lightening as the star that was the sun began to rise up from the horizon.
He swung his legs over the side of his recharge berth and stood, stretching his arms over his head before he walked out of the room and made his way downstairs and to the kitchen and to the energon dispenser, grabbing a cube of energon and then sat down at the table, sipping it. It didn't take long for the second resident of the house walked into the kitchen and grabbing his own cube of energon and sat across from Hotshot.
"Morning." Clocker grinned at the older tiredly. He had decided to stay with Hotshot since Breakdown ad left Velocitron. The youngling became a sort of an aide for Hotshot, always organizing the things that needed to organize, keeping important things on him for when Hotshot needed it. The leader tried to tell him that he didn't do all of this, but he hardly listened, saying that he had wanted help Hotshot in anyway he can. Deep down, Hotshot was thankful for this and finally, accepted the other's help without complaint.
"Morning to you as well." Hotshot took another sip before he leaned back into his chair. "Were you up late again?"
"Clocker!" Hotshot groaned, shaking his head and shooting the younger a disapproving glare.
"I'm sorry! I just keep loosing track of time..." Clocker smiled sheepishly.
"Go into recharge at a reasonable time for now on. I can't have you falling asleep on the job, now can I?"
Clocker simply gave Hotshot a mock salute before going back to his energon before drowning it. Hotshot couldn't help but do the same and he stood, throwing the cube into the disposal bin next to the dispenser. Clocker followed Hotshot example before the two headed outside in the cool air before they transformed and tore down the road.
Already, Hotshot could see some residence up and about, racing along the roads without a care in the world. Some even gave them a greeting honk as they passed, Which Clocker returned eagerly. Hotshot merely flashed his lights in response as the two continued on their way, towards a construction sight, one that he had authorized not too long ago. He knew that, once the space bridge is completed, that there will be traffic coming to and from the planet. Some would probably want to simply race or watch the races while the others just want to get a taste what the planet was like. If Hotshot had to compare it to anything...he would compare it to road trips and vacations.
As such, he will take a few tips from Earth and have venues built for trading, overnight areas and so on. The residence seemed to be all for it once he explained this and it was like they were excited at the prospect of visitors coming to their planet.
Once they got to the site, they transformed and looked at the half built shops and stalls. It was some ways off of a main road, with a dirt road leading from the main road to the site. It still had some work to be done, but he was confident that it would get done in time. He had faith in the construction crews.
"Hotshot, sir!" The head worker, a heavy duty truck called Mountbreaker, walked over to the two with an air of confidence emitting from his field. "Glad to see you and the young aide decided to come by!"
Hotshot chuckled slightly. "How are things coming along, Mountbreaker?"
"Right on schedule, especially if the good weather holds up."
"Good. What about the other sites?"
"They radioed me just few minutes ago. Everything is going smoothly on their end."
Hotshot nodded. "Keep up the good work. I'll make sure to check in same time next week."
"Of course, Leader." Mountbreaker grinned at the other before he went back to his team. Hotshot and Clocker both transformed and went down the dirt road and got onto the main road.
"Where to now?" questioned Clocker and Hotshot thought for a moment. There really wasn't much to go to now a days except for...
"How about the training track? Been a while since we went there."
The two shot off like bullets, heading straight for the training track and they got there in record time. Once they transformed, they could see younglings racing, each one of them trying to get first place. Hotshot crossed his arms as he watched the little race, his spark swelling with pride at the young racers. They were the future of this planet, even if they didn't know it yet.
Soon, the race came to a end as a red youngling crossed the finishing line first, transforming with a smug grin. His red optics were gleaming at the other younglings who had crossed the finish line and transformed, their faces showing their displeasure and annoyance at losing. Hotshot couldn't help but quietly chuckle, remembering when he was exactly the same way once, when he was younger. Oh, those were the days.
"You all owe me that special wax." the winner stated with a grin, making the other slump and groan. "You're all the ones who set the stakes."
"Yeah, yeah." grumbled a green a black youngling who had what looked like goggles that was similar to that of a human pair.
"That was a nice race!" Cocker chirped as he walked over to the barrier with Hotshot, leaning on it.
"Clocker! Hotshot!" yelped an entirely yellow youngling.
"Hey there." Hotshot smiled at the three. "Congratulations on the win, Knockout."
Knockout puffed his chestplates out with pride.
"Still got a long way to go before you can win against me though."
And the red chestplates deflated in a few seconds flat, making the other two giggle. Knockout glared at them before he crossed his arms and let out a huff, grumbling.
"Crosshairs, Bumblebee, keep practicing your racing. You'll be wining your races eventually."
"Yes Hotshot!" the two younglings chirped in union, making him smile more.
"Hotshot, can you come race with us?" Bumblebee asked, his blue optics staring up at the leader pleadingly. The resemblance between Bumblebee and his older frames were uncanny, Hotshot had to admit. Bumblebee was the same yellow as he was, although there was no red and his chestplates was the front of his alt mode, and even that resembled the older alt forms Hotshot had. The only difference was the model and the two, black racing stripes.
"I'm sorry, Bumblebee. I can't right now. Perhaps later." Hotshot told him and he watched as Bumblebee's frame slumped and if he could move his horns that sat on top of his helm, they would be going back like a canine. "I have work to do, but I promise I will race with you guys."
"Okay." Bumblebee sighed.
"We'll hold you to it." grunted Crosshairs.
"I'll see you three later." Hotshot turned and transformed before racing away, Clocker right behind him. They got on the main road once again and began to drive, almost aimlessly. Although, Clocker was talking his spark out. Hotshot was only half listening to the other, his processor was elsewhere. He was thinking about everyone that he hasn't seen in over a year- some even longer- like Optimus, Sideswipe, Blurr...Jetfire and Wing Saber...
He mentally shook himself at the last two, especially when his spark did...something inside its casing. He didn't dwell on it though and he simply drove, trying to fully listen what Clocker was saying.
It was rather hard for him at them moment but still, he tried.
I cannot pace to save my life. Please forgive me for that.
The rest of the day had passed without much of a problem. Hotshot had made sure to check the rest of the construction sites before he returned home and had dinner with Clocker. Of course, he let clocker go out and do whatever since he did not want to keep the kid cooped up with him all day, especially when he's planning to to be in his office for the remainder of the hours. Once Clocker was out of the house, he stood up from the table and made his way upstairs and to the room he claimed as his office, walking in and shutting the door behind him. He went over to his desk with a sigh before he took a look at is messy desk that was filled with stacks of datapads and what not, before his optics caught sight of the three framed pictures.
The first picture was taken back during the Minicon battles, just before the Hydra Cannon was used. Scavenger and Optimus was in either corner in the back, Scavenger looking as bored as ever, and Hoist was next to him in mid nudge, trying to gain the other's attention. Blurr was standing there, his arms crossed and looking unimpressed while Sideswipe was leaning against the other mech, giving a open mouthed smile. Redalert was standing next to them, a very small smile forming on his face and he had Billy and Fred on his shoulders. Jetfire was kneeling down so he wasn't standing in front of anyone, giving the camera a two finger salute, and beside him, Hotshot saw himself, back when he still had his yellow paint job. He was grinning widely like a goofball, a arm on top of Jetfire's helm. Rad and Carlos was on his shoulders while Alexis was on top of his head, the boys giving the camera a thumbs up and their partners doing the same thing, even Alexis' partner.
The next picture was taken after Galvatron had flew into the sun with Starscream. Optimus was sitting down on a crate, seemingly watching the rest of the Autobots as they goofed off when the picture was taken. Standing behind him was Roadblock, looking as stern as ever. Ironhide looked like he was in mid-chase as he was behind Kicker, obviously trying to catch the human. Misha was sitting on Arcee's shoulder, watching the two with a small smile on her face. Rodimus had his arms crossed, staring hard into the camera with Prowl and Downshift on either side of him. Wing Saber was off to the side, just looking into the camera. Jetfire is right next to him though it was obvious that his form was relaxed. Hotshot was sitting down on the floor, chin in his hand as he lazily looked into the lens, the corner of his lips lifting upwards slightly.
The last picture was taken a year ago, before the space bridge project began. This picture was by far the largest out of the three. Metroplex, Quickmix and Menasor was sitting in the back, their forms hunched so they were in the shot. Mudflap and Landmine was standing together, their expressions calm and even peaceful. Optimus stood off to the side with Coby standing on top of his shoulder, his arms crossed as a large, closed smile was known on his face. Clocker and Brakedown both was waving at the camera, the former having a large grin on his face. Scourge had his arms crossed, looking away while Snarl and Leobreaker had the posture of rolling their optics at him. Evac and Crosswise was next to the three, thought it looked like they were whispering to each other more than paying attention to the camera. Override was standing proudly with Lori standing in her hand that was chest level, hands on her hips. The Cybertron Defense Team was standing next to her with Bud siting on Scattershot's shoulder. The Minicron Recon Team was standing in front of Scattershot. Jetfire was standing tall, hands behind his back while Wing Saber was complete opposite, his frame relaxed and he had his arms loosely crossed over his chest.
Hotshot sighed as he leaned back in his chair, his processor going through the memories in his databanks. He stopped himself and shook his head before grabbing a datapad from the first stack and began to read over it's contents. While he was doing this, he let himself relax and let his EM field expand to it's maximum distance- which was just about ten feet from him. It held contentment, although there was a hint of loneliness in it. He did like it here, don't get him wrong, and he loved helping the residence by being their leader, but he still missed his old team so very much. He missed Optimus' field wrapping around him like that of a sire's, missed play fighting with Sideswipe when they had the chance, missed talking with Override about multitude of things, missed joking around with Jetfire and Wing Saber and he especially missed spending time with the kids.
He shook his head, trying to brush the thoughts away and focused entirely on the datapad in his hand and noted that it was a request of being allowed to build a docking bay for visitor's ships and their own ships. He was quick to grant it, feeling a little bit embarrassed that he had forgotten about a docking bay- a slagging docking bay, something that was necessary for actually landing on a planet in a orderly fashion!
He set it down off to the side before picking another from the stack and read throw it before he put his signature down, setting it on top of the first and repeated the actions repeatedly. In the back of his processor, he had to wonder just how Optimus dealt with the pains of paperwork.
Still, he continued to read, granted, denied and signed datapads at a leisurely pace and soon, the sun fell out of sight and the moon took its place in the sky, the stars twinkling around it.
"I'm home!" Hotshot heard Clocker called into the home and he quickly reigned his EM field in just before he heard Clocker walk up the stairs and towards his office, opening the door.
"Hey Clocker, had fun?" Hotshot greeted.
"You betcha!" Clocker hummed before he surveyed the dwindling stacks of untouched datapads and then looked at the steadily growing pile of touched data pads on the floor. "I'll organize them and head off to deliver them tomorrow."
"Clocker, you don't have to." Hotshot tried to tell the younger but he didn't listen. Instead, Clocker began to put them in neat stacks and took them out, probably in the living room, one by one until he was walking in to get the final stack. "Go to bed once you take that down. We'll sort them out in the morning. Hell, we can even let Crosshairs, Knockout and Bumblebee help deliver them."
Clocker paused, thinking before nodding. "Yeah, they would love that."
Then, Clocker left, leaving Hotshot to deal with the remaining datapads.
Hotshot begin the cycle again boredly and then, he was on the last one, reading through it before putting a signature on it and set it down on top of the finished pile. He stood and was about to round the desk and head to the door to leave the room when his personal terminal beeped, catching his attention. He frowned before making his way to it and booted the monitor up before he typed in commands, letting the most recent message to pop up and he began to read.
"Velocitron Leader Hotshot,
A conference have been scheduled for six weeks from now in Iacon on Cybertron. The nature of the conference has to deal with the space bridge project as well as the rogue seeker, Starscream. All Planet Leaders(plus the Human ambassador) must be in attendance. You may bring your aide or assistant with you if you so choose. We will send transport a few days earlier so you may get settled in. We are looking forward to seeing you there.
Hotshot couldn't help but stare at the message, his spark thrumming in its casing. The prospect of going to his home...seeing everyone again...it was exciting his spark beyond compare. He quickly and hastily put in a response, trying to be as formal as he could.
"Cybertron Leader Jetfire,
I'll be bringing my aide along with me. We'll be awaiting transport.
He hesitated for a long moment before putting a little message after.
"P.S. You don't know how much I miss you guys."
He sent it and waited for Jetfire to respond. To his surprise, he didn't have to wait long for it. Once it appeared, he quickly clicked the message open.
"We missed you too, Hotshot. Can't wait to see you. -Jetfire."
Hotshot swallowed, his spark fluttering as he read those words. He shook his head and turned his terminal off, straightening up before he put the pile of datapads into a stack before he walked out of his office and down the stairs, to the living room and set the stack down. He glanced at the other stacks before heading back up the stairs and to his room, making sure to turn of the lights before he got onto his recharge berth and got comfortable on his back, his optics powering down.
He let himself relax and soon, he was slipping into recharge and, for the first time in a year, he was clicking in his recharge.
four clicks...few seconds pause...four clicks...and it repeats until he would wake up the next morning.
As the days passed, Hotshot could feel himself getting more and more excited and he was sure that Clocker had noticed. He didn't say much about it though and, instead, he was talking about his own excitement of going to a completely other planet and Hotshot didn't blame him. He was the exactly the same way when he went to all the others he had visited in the latest twenty-one years. Hell, Clocker had even gotten all that he needed packed in no time at all and Hotshot decided to message Jetfire to come get them a few days early so he could show Clocker all the sights that Cybertron had to offer. Thankfully, the mech had agreed and had promised to set transport as soon as he could once Hotshot gave him the coordinates of the construction site of the docking bay.
Now, on the fifth week, Clocker and Hotshot was at the site, looking up at the sky to wait for their ride to show up. It was around mid-day on the planet and Hotshot could tell that Clocker was getting impatient. Hotshot didn't say anything at all about it as this was a good lesson in patience...even if he wasn't the most patient of mechs.
Then, finally, the a ship came into view and landed a ways away from the two and as they began to walk over, they could see the ramp slowly began to lower. Once the bottom met the dirt, a tiny streak of white and blue suddenly flew down the ramp and tackled Hotshot's legs, almost making him go sprawling on his back thanks to the streak being rather fast.
"Uncle Shotty!" a chirp came from a small youngling that was holding onto Hotshot's legs.
"Hey, *Stepper." Hotshot smiled before he scooped the sparkling up. The youngling was born in the middle between the Minicon and the Energon battles and since Cybertronians develop and grow slower than humans...he would be the equivalent of a seven or eight human years old. Stepper had taken after more of his carrier, even with the colors though he did had some orange on him and he did have his sire's red optics.
"Hey, bro." a familiar called from the ramp, making him look up and he was grinning.
"Hey Sideswipe. Long time no see."
"I'll say." Sideswipe walked over and pulled the taller mech into a warm hug before he pulled away, taking Stepper with him.
"How's playing leader treating you?" grunted Blurr as the older mech walked over to the three with an air of indifference around him. Hotshot didn't mind though and he lifted his arm up and Blurr did the same. Then, their forearms made contact like they had all those other times back twenty years ago and it was more or less a sign of their friendship.
"I never thought that I would have to do so much paperwork." Hotshot groaned as he lowered his arm before he took a step back and put a hand on top of Clocker's head. "I almost forgot, this is Clocker. He's my aide while Brakedown- his mentor I guess you can call him- went on the space bridge project. Clocker, this is Sideswipe, my younger brother, his mate Blurr and their creation, Stepper."
"I-it's nice to meet you!" Clocker squeaked, making Sideswipe and Hotshot snicker and Blurr snort.
"Come on, we gotta get moving." Blurr made his way back into the the ship with the others following. "Get buckled in."
Clocker and Hotshot sat down and did what they were told before voicing that they were ready. Blurr typed in some commands on the controls in front of him and the engines rumbled, the ramp lifting up and closing. The ship lifted up off of the ground and seemingly hovered for a few minutes before the ship lurched forward, flying into space in no time at all.
Hotshot must had dozed off in the middle of the flight because next thing he knew, he jerked into full awareness once the ship touched down in the docking bay.
"Home sweet home." sighed Sideswipe before he got up from his seat, holding setting Stepper on his hip just as Blurr lowered the ramp. The two led Hotshot and Clocker out and away from the ship, through the docks and towards the headquarters in Iacon. On the way there, those who recognized Hotshot gave a holler and a wave and Hotshot returned both gestures. He could feel Clocker stare up at him with admiration at the site of almost all the bots they pass seemed to know him.
Once they walked inside of the headquarters, Hotshot jogged up ahead of the other three, a smirk on his face and he knew that Sideswipe had seen it from the snicker he was hearing behind him. When he got to the entrance of the 'conference room', he waited for the automatic doors to open and when they did, he stepped inside, taking a deep breath before-
"Oh Jetfire, honey, I'm home~!"
There was snickering coming from the other occupants of the room and he can see Jetfire's green and white frame sag and tilted his head back, as if he was resigning to his fate before he turned around to look at the newcomers.
"Why did I ask ya to come again?" Jetfire questioned, deadpanning.
"Cause you love me and missed me?"
"I'm debating about that."
Hotshot pouted at that, his arms crossed over his chest with a grumble, making almost everyone else crack up except for a few.
Then an arm was slung over his shoulders and he was pulled against a warm body, making him blink. He glanced up and, to his surprise, it was Wing Saber who was holding him against his frame with his usual cocky grin.
"Even if he didn't I missed you!" Wing Saber stated as he teasingly poked Hotshot's cheek. The younger Autobot was quick to slap the hand away in annoyance but also with playful intent. He pushed Wing Saber off, ignoring as the other pouted, before walking closer to Hotshot, the playful nature went back under the air of a leader.
"Who else are we going to be waiting on?" questioned Hotshot.
"The project team, Scourge and who ever's coming with him." Jetfire answered. "Go ahead, get to your quarters and settle in. We set up an extra berth for your aide."
"Yes sir!" Hotshot gave the mech a two finger salute before he trotted out of the room with Clocker behind him. They went through the halls, turning one corner, going straight, turning another and then they stopped at a door. Hotshot was quick to type in his pass code and the door slid opened. He walked inside and everything was as he left it before he became leader. The only new addition was the berth that was sitting on the other side of the room.
"Make yourself at home, Clocker." He told the younger mech before he went over to his berth and plopped down on it, laying on his back with a sigh. He heard Clocker making his way and getting on his own berth.
The young mech had to admit, it felt good being in a familiar room and in a familiar berth at a familiar place.
Maybe he'll just shut his optics down, let the memories rush over him. There's no harm in that, it's not like he had to be anywhere at all and he had came in a week before the actual conference. So he had time to do this.
Yep...totally have time...
He was out like a light a minute later, his clicks filling the air.
*Stepper: Stepper is the Japanese Name for Sideswipe from Mincron Legends.