You just tried to come by, you really did. You never had known a roof over your helm or a generous meal that others more blessed bots had the privilege to multiple times a day. Any other homeless bot like you would steal their meal. It wasn’t like money wasn’t a thing on the streets. It just went to other things.
“How much you got?” This shady bot Shaky asks you as he keeps looking over his shoulders if cops are patrolling anywhere nearby. You pull out your grumbled bills and present the pile of money to the bot before you. At this point, you really got to focus on controlling your own shaking so you don’t accidentally drop any money. You don’t think your kneejoints would like extra work that came with picking up the bills.
Shaky grabs the money and counts it quickly before he grunts and gives you a stink eye. “There ain’t enough.”
Your engines sputter and you look at him desperately. “Money is hard to come by…” You whimper and watch as the dealer snorts and spits on the ground just missing your pedes. “Not my problem.”
“Come on Shaky, haven’t I been a good customer? Never used another dealer than you. Can you give me some slack? I need something…!” You plead with little shame you had and whimper in pain as your frame starts to heat up. Shaky shakes his helm and looks to the side making sure again that the cops don’t get a jump on you guys.
“Not my problem.” He repeats.
“I could… Suck your spike to make up the missing money?” You suggest as you lick your chapped lips. Shaky grunts in disgust. “Not interested. That would be money out of my pocket and I got just enough to feed myself.”
By this point your whimpering and near-hysterical tears as you beg. “Shaky please…! I promise, I bring you the money next time…!”
The bot looks at you long and hard, his face not moving even an inch until he finally relents.
“Fine, I got something for you. It’s cheaper but should do the trick for ya.” Shaky sighs and puts your sad bills away for safe holding. He opens his subspace and grabs a small circuit booster board that he hands to you. You grab the board greedily and quickly bring it to your helm but Shaky stops you from uploading it.
“Not here bolt for brains! You’re gonna set every cop on my tailpipe if you take it here!” He snaps at you. You whimper anxiously. You really couldn’t wait, but you didn’t want to get to your dealer’s bad side so you nod in submission. Shaky huffs at you and turns to leave. He still has grounds to check and customers to serve. You hide the board from the rest of the world and do the same and bail.
You wonder on the streets of Dead End, passing a passed out mech here and there. One guy has circuit booster still sticking from his helm and you wonder briefly what he is on to be so out of it that he didn’t even manage to unplug it. Finally, you find a small spot behind some dumpsters in an alley and you take a seat on the grimy ground before you pull out your board.
Huh. It was yellow, not like the green thing you always got from Shaky. Though, he did say it was cheaper so it must have had different coding to it but just as good. Any smarter bot would have thought about it a little bit, but you were on your limits so without thinking any further you stuck the board into your helm and your optics fizzled.
Suddenly you lost all the feeling from your body and you went limp on the ground. You knew from the experience that the drug would make you loose so you always got on the ground before injecting. The air felt light around you and there was a nice buzzing in your processor as your worries seemed to fall from your shoulder plates.
You swear, if you had the money you would have never needed drugs. Yes, the smallest bits and bits of your income went to drugs, but if you had had enough money to leave this rustrat infested unfair Cybertron and traveled somewhere where you didn’t need to fear for your safety. Safety, ha. Here you were doing drug codes on streets where anyone could rob you or even kill you like common junkies usually met their end.
You were so out of it that you didn’t register a pair of pedes stop before you. Unknowns to you this stranger picks you up and starts carrying you with him. If you were sober you would have put up a fight worthy enough for execution but you were just too out of it.
You have no clue how much time passed while you felt like you were floating in stars until there was a blinding light and you came crashing into reality and so did the engex you had managed to sneak off from the market. You quickly twirled to your side and purged your tanks empty. Someone cursed but you barely heard them over your retching. You’re done fairly quickly since you didn’t get much to eat anyways during cycles but you still stay on your side.
“Are they okay Ratchet?” Someone asked.
“Nauseous, but that usually comes with this stuff. They will survive.” Came a gruff reply. You groaned out loud and someone tried to help you up, but you wrapped your arms around yourself and shriveled in pain. “D- Don’t touch me!”
“Easy there, no one is hurting you. Your system has been disinfected so you should feel better soon.” Someone said and you recycled your optics to see better. There was a mech before you, white and red, medic by the symbol on his arms. What the frag were you doing at the clinic? You couldn’t afford it and no way in Pit someone would take a druggie like you here.
Then you noticed the smell in the air and your frame convulsed and your frame started to heat up horribly. You whip your helm to side and if your traitorous body wouldn’t have been heating up then the energon in your lines would have frozen in horror.
There was a mech, easily bigger than you with a red paint job, blue helm with white battle mask and he reeked of power and control. He’s an Alpha.
“Get away!” You scream and snatch the first thing your hand touches, a scalpel, and point it at the bigger mech. The mech and medic freeze on their places. Good. You scramble to get away from him and in your panic, you fall off from the medical slab. You fall back first and the scalpel falls from your hands. That was the moment the mechs needed. The Alpha moves quickly and kicks the scalpel away from your reach and that leaves you vulnerable.
“Stay away!” You scream and scramble away until your back hits the wall and you can go no further. You whimper and shake like an unstable junkie you were and feel the coolant tears streaming down your cheeks. The Alpha keeps looking at you and you wait in fear that he bounces on you.
“Careful Orion, they’re not in the right state of the mind!” The medic called and run between you and the Alpha, blocking your view from the bigger mech. Orion, the Alpha you presume stays back as instructed but you can’t calm down. Not while he is in the same room. “Get him away!” You scream and the medic cradles your helm between his hands and forces you to look at him. “Calm down, Orion isn’t like the rest!”
“L- liar…!” You stutter between sobbing and try to pull your helm off from his hands, but he yanks you to look at him again. “I’m not! Listen, Orion isn’t like the people in the capital! He is not here to hurt you!”
“Lies…! All lies…!” You whimper and burst out crying out loud. It’s not a pretty sight, there is so much coolant and fluids and your occasional hiccups are the only things that break the sobs. The medic sighs and paps you on your shoulder sympathetically before letting you go.
“Is this your first time seeing an Omega, kid?” The medic asks while he looks over your body for any permanent damage caused by drugs. You don’t listen, but Orion does and he shakes his helm. “No, I’ve seen some in the capital.”
“All held as pleasure bots or shareware.” The medic grumbled in clear distaste. His servos graced an old rusted and infected wound on your hip and you yelped in pain. The red and white mech muttered an apology and grabbed a welding rod and from the table. You flinched when he brought it closer to you and he stopped immediately. “Easy, I’ll just scrape the infection off.”
You weren’t sure if you could trust him, he was with the Alpha after all, but the infection had been hurting our side for so long as you could remember and you wanted it treated. So you presented your rusty hip to him and he set to work. “My name is Ratchet. You’re in my secret clinic at Rodion. Can you tell me your name?”
You look to the side and mutter out your name. Ratchet nods and focuses on your wound. While the two of you are at it Orion goes somewhere and returns after a moment with a cube of energon. Your optics lock with the nutritious food and he notices it immediately.
“Are you hungry?” He asks you carefully as if he is trying not to set you off again. After a moment of still silence, you nod and Orion nods back at you. He sets the cube on the table to wait for you. The silence is killing you, but your silence is your comfort.
“So… You’re an Omega,” Ratchet says and it’s not a question but more likely a statement. You avert your gaze shamefully and after reflecting your answer you nod. Ratchet grumbles under his breath and you fear he is going to contact police forces. He seems to have a sixth sense because he suddenly looks at you and smiles. “Relax kid. I’m not sending you back to the capital and neither is Orion. You can trust him.”
Your frown but make no attempt to resist anymore. For now. The medic is helping you and while Orion is Alpha he hasn’t tried to bounce on you yet. Speaking of him, the bigger mech starts to lean against the wall as he watches Ratchet work. “What is an Omega doing in Dead End Ratchet?”
“Why don’t you ask the kid?” Ratchet asks back and Orion turns to look at you and you look back at him still frowning. “Excuse me, but what are you doing in here?” He asks and continues, “Is someone threatening you? Are you not safe in the capital?”
You frowned harder and averted your optics from him. You don’t want to share if you can help it. Your trust had been tested ever since you were forged and with countless disappointments and hardships, you learned not to trust anyone. Ratchet came to your rescue luckily.
“You’re here for drugs, aren’t you?” Rescue might have been a wrong word. Orion crossed his arms and he gave you this look that he was expecting you to deny it, but you didn’t. You couldn’t. Ratchet continued. “As you know Orion, functionists don’t keep Omegas as equals to Alphas or Betas. Too weak to earn their place in society they say. When the Omega goes to heat they’re vulnerable to all the Alphas and make lesser being by that, they say. All good for breeding.”
Ratchet grunted angrily through his denta. “Surppressants are saved for Alphas in action and high places so their work isn’t compromised by their rut. That or they say to find an Omega to deal with it.”
“That’s… Horrible.” Orion says but he looks confused now. “What do the drugs have to do with it?”
“They mess up your processor and frame. Frame stops functioning properly so no heats or ruts. They’re easier to get than suppressants also but they have their risks. They last a shorter period of time and are very dangerous. You never know what you’re getting when the dealer gives you the stuff.” Ratchet explains and gives you a stink eye. “You could have died on that corrupted booster.”
You looked down shamefully and full of grief, but there wasn’t even an inch of regret in your field. “Rather dead than a carrier…” You said for the first time in a while. Orion looked troubled by these revelations. Ratchet just sighed and put down the welding rod. You took a look and saw that the rust infection was gone and tearing sealed. You would be able to move more easily now and without so much pain. Not that you really noticed.
“You still hungry kid?” The mech asked and you nodded silently though.
“Figured that much.” He said and handed you the earlier cube of pink energon from the table. You took the cube in your hands and greedily drank the whole liquid in one go. It was some of the decent energon, nothing too fancy, but not that scrap you stole at streets. This was some of that stuff that gave you the energy to last for days.
The medic got up from the floor and walked up to the wall filled with medical cabinets. He snapped one open and pulled out a box of chips and boosters you didn’t recognize. Was he going to give you safer drugs? Ratchet sees your wonder and grunts. “These are suppressants. I’m going to give you one now to mask your field so you appear as Beta to anyone passing by and couple to go with you.”
“You’re… letting me go?” You ask in disbelief. Ratchet’s armor rattles a little as he nods. “As much as I want to help this clinic is illegal so you can’t stay. Orion is a police officer, but he won’t take you in.” You jolted immediately at the mention of police and Ratchet quickly added. “Won’t you?”
Orion looked at you and you looked back with fearful optics. He sighed and shook his helm. “No, I won’t. Besides holding illegal boosters you haven’t done anything. You’re free to go.” He walked up to you and you tried to shrink into the wall, but he stopped just before you.
“I promise, we keep working on the better Cybertron, but until then you have to try to keep yourself safe,” Orion said much to your surprise. He looked like he wanted to pat you, but refrained from doing so seeing your earlier panic towards him. Instead, he pulled you up on your feet. “So no more drugs. If you need suppressants, come over here. Ratchet has ties to clinics in the capital and he can get you some.”
“On that condition that you stay away from circuit boosters! Those will kill you one of these days, I swear!” The medic snapped and handed you a small handful of suppressant chips. “These will help to disguise your field and keep the symptoms of heat at bay. If you run out, come over here.”
You nod obediently and flinch when you Orion hands you a small chip also. He looks at you and you can tell he is smiling despite having a battle mask over his face. “Here is some money. It’s not much, but you should be able to get some energon in you with it so I don’t have to arrest you for stealing. Assuming that you do steal for food?”
You nod quietly and mutter a small thank you as you accept all the gifts given to you. Pleased with the knowledge that you shouldn’t starve or infect yourself with something deadly Orion leads you outside and you thank him as you leave. You have no idea where you are but after wondering for about an hour or two you recognize the place.
You look around yourself and make sure that no one sees as you pick one chip and plug it into your arm. The relief is instant. You can feel your frame’s temperature cooling down and field going down to passive Beta’s field from your high drive Omega field. You sigh in relief and throw away the empty chip. You have no idea how long the program will work so you plan to use every moment you got the fullest.
The only problem is, what do you do when you’re not high on circuit boosters? Days pass until you find safe shelter and a part-time job as a waiter near the edge of Dead End. The owner doesn’t pay you enough to get out of the slums but he gives you enough to start feeding yourself.
For a while, it looks like life is smiling at you and you are getting better. Then things went wrong. Mechs are calling upon anyone who is willing to listen and call them to rallies. You had a bad feeling about them so you passed each invitation to join. If your suppressants stopped working in middle of the rally you would be like a sitting duck there.
Things got heated. People and mechs were running in the streets and picking fights with everyone. You lost your job when your workplace was burned down in a rally. You weren’t there when it happened but you were there to see the burnt remains of the small energon diner.
Now here you are, making your way down the slums trying to find a safe place to take your suppressants. You still have a couple you got from Ratchet and you know you should go and pay him a visit to get more. Who knows, he helped you once, maybe he could help you twice?
When you finally feel like you found a safe spot you open your subspace and take out your remaining chips. Five left, you would need a new patch soon.
“There you are!” Someone said and you jumped in shock and turned towards the mech who spoke to you. You squinted your optics at them. They looked and sounded familiar. That’s when you realize it’s Shaky, your old dealer.
“I haven’t seen you in weeks. For a moment I feared you kicked the bucket!” He laughs in a good manner as he looks at you up and down. You get mixed feelings but on the other hand, you never expected anyone to come looking for you if you did actually die. Shaky smiles and starts to dig around his subspace. “Hold on, I got your usual right here.”
“No thank you, I don’t need anything…” You say and Shaky stop on his tracks and turns to look at you like you had grown two helms and he can’t tell which one said that. “Why? You got a new dealer or something?”
“Yeah, you wouldn’t abandon good old Shaky.” He laughed in a mellow manner. “Now about the prize…”
“N- no! I don’t want any!”
“Then what’s the holdup!?” Shaky suddenly yells angrily and you winch and try your hardest not to cover in submission. The mech glares at you and shakes his fist at you. “I got the goods!”
“No Shaky, I don’t want any! I got clean!”
“What? Clean?” He repeats like he can’t believe what he just heard and you nod your helm confirming that he heard just right. The mech looked thoughtful before he grinned and nodded at you. “Ah, I see how it is. You’re playing hard to get! You rascal, almost got me!” He laughed, slapping his knee in mirth.
He didn’t get it. You felt yourself getting uncomfortable. He just wasn’t getting it. You should just leave and find yourself another place to insert the chip.
“Okay, since you’re clean this one is on me!” He says and pulls out a light pink circuit board. For a second you stop to study it. It does feel tempting… But you have been doing so well… You take a look at the chips in your hand and clench your servos to fist around them. They were precious to you, healthy, you wouldn’t trade them away for a moment of good feeling and dangerous safety.
“This is a new one, hits harder than earlier stuff but you get it free this time. Consider it as a sample for my favorite customer.” Shaky said with a wide smile and bestowed the board to you, expecting you to take it. You scowled and smacked his hand away, sending the pink board flying.
“No Shaky, I’m not interested and if you don’t stop now I will call the police!” You warn him and he looks shocked that you refused his offer. He looks down at the board and something in his field changes. It turns darker and more menacing and you suddenly feel like you did something you shouldn’t have done.
“Well…” Shaky shrugs and turns to look at you with a jovial glint in his optics. “Gotta do it the hard way then. Sorry about that.”
“What-” Suddenly a hand wraps around your midsection and you’re pulled to someone’s chassis. You scream, but a hand is slammed over your mouth and you start struggling, hitting and kicking with all your might but the second pair of hands join the ones holding you captive.
Shaky just stares at you and you notice something in the corner of your vision. A circuit booster chip. You scream and trash harder but no avail. Your captor slips the board into your helm and your optics fizzle. You start feeling the fight leave your systems and everything turns dark as you blackout.
The two big beefcake bots holding you nod to each other before the other one throws you over his shoulder and they turn to leave with you. Shaky watches as they carry you away. He is about to leave when he notices something on the ground. Your suppressants. They must have fallen on the ground when you were fighting against your captors or at least then when you lost your consciousness. The dealer sneers and stomps his pede on the suppressants, crushing them until they’re unusable to anyone.
“You won’t be needing these where you’re going.”