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Tokyo Drift

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Move it !”

An alarmed “ooh!” escaped from Perceptors mouth before he could process what had happened, pressing his back against the wall as leverage as he recovered himself from being knocked away out of someone's path. 

When the scientist looked up from the floor, a subatomic charge imprinted a streak of red in the mechs path from when they had clambered down the corridor. The strange effect of physics was only enabled by the integration of turbo-flight with deep space. Or at least that’s how the scientist liked to explain the phenomena.

He'd been working on an equation outside a doorway, nibbling quietly on a writing utensil, absorbed, until he was nearly scrunched to scrap.

Perceptor watched as he was deserted behind to pick up his utensil, as the mech who with no surprise to him, turned out to be Hot Rod disappear inside the captains quarters.

It did not take a genius to understand that despite the young warriors urgency, his less than....commendable record would suggest that whatever Hot Rod was bringing to the table was only a half chance of being a true emergency.

Hot Rod stood in front of the turned chair of their captain, pedes planted onto the floor into a wide ‘V’,

Hey, Kup !”,

followed by the straightening and delphic figures of Springer and Blurr, who were both rendered out of the blackness of the room by the light of the ship’s command. 

While the senior Wrecker’s organized a rendezvous that was crucial to their eventual return to Cybertron, Hot Rod was ordered to keep an eye out for any unforeseen trouble while they continued their commute.

Despite orders to keep the, as they put it, ‘opinionated’ mech on watch, they listened to their crewmate in silent question. 

 

Earlier, Hot Rod--who was alright, but not fantastic with sitting in one spot for an extended period of time--busied himself by picking at some of the primary navigational controls of the Trion. 

 

Oh, 

that’s nice. 

 

Judging by the cameras on the other monitor, he’d just figured out how to turn on a dim, even could be called romantic pink lighting inside the sphere of the ship that held the wash racks.

He snorted, pulling his servo up to rest his chin on, imagining the sullen face of one of the many wreckers on the ship sloughing off matter from their chassis under the luxurious lighting. 

Or maybe even two sullen faces sloughing off matter from each other .

...He’d mind his business, but there was no denying some of the members could maybe loosen up a little. 

If there was anything he could offer the Wreckers besides some choice advice, he at least knew when it was necessary not to kill yourself over stress from slag that didn’t even really matter.

The lights were nice, but only until he remembered that the rest of the crew shut him out of the meeting, and then he was rifling through the Trions systems all over again to scrutinize, mind and frame fraught with excess energy.

He stopped halfway through pulling a security bypass of the ships speakers, when he was alerted of the presence of a suspicious signature on the radar that was tracing the furthest perimeter of the ship’s sensors. It seemed to be coming directly towards the Trion.

 

He’d only been with these mechs for a couple of stellar cycles, but he knew from a couple more millennium of war that an unprompted shuttle was a rare sight to see in the middle of space, so he didn’t just want to go back to giving the rendezvous some background music, as grateful as they’d be.

The Autobot watched it mildly for a couple of minutes, brows knitted as it inched past.

Eventually he expanded the holomap to try to guess the shuttles destination, if it had one, and came to a few conclusions about what he saw. 

A random shuttle could feasibly be lucky Autobot survivors, and he was about to attempt to call it for some kind of confirmation, but when the vessel starting to drift away from the Trion and into the path of one planet in particular, he took a wild guess of who the fleet belonged to and what they wanted.

The distance between them and the shuttle was beginning to gape wider, the signal of the planet bound shuttle began to blip in and out of range, closer to the coordinates casted off by those who wanted to angle themselves into the orbit of Earth.

Hot Rod lifted himself from the controls. Usually, protocol called for the hunt and arrest of any Decepticon scum they could get their hands on, but unfortunately for him, this one was going past the Trion, in the opposite direction of Cybertron.

 

It was with the preexisting struggle of accepting his exclusion from the Wrecker’s assembly, even worse, a contrary plan to the one they already had, that by the time he presented the information about the problematic vessel to the Wreckers, the young warrior was already in a torrential mood. 

 

Blurr stretched his leg struts, which did not help, knowing that the mech only did so when he had become bored. 

Hot Rod slammed his servos down on the nearest available table with a thud.

“Excuse me-- We could wipe ‘em out easy! Are you listening? Blurr, I see you avoiding my optics .”

The two Wreckers returned a look of apprehension with one another, but Hot Rod only lifted an optic ridge, “Better to be safe than sorry, right? The mission would only take, what ...a couple of cycles? It would be worth it, I think." 

He paused when there was no response. "Seriously? We’re the closest Autobots around for light years. ” 

Primus, he hated feeling unsure of himself.

And if he didn’t think Blurr and Springer looked unwilling before, they did now, one of two coughed into their servos to cover an awkward silence. 

But Hot Rod truly believed that but there were hidden consequences to this, ones that had crashed down onto his processor all at once, and probably hindered his ability to sound like he knew what he was talking about. 

“Kid, listen,” There was no sign of Kup until he revealed himself by swiveling away from the monitors, followed by a half moon of smoke. 

“You know we’re low on time here.”  he grunted, words only slightly hindered by the enormous cigar he was working in his mouth,

“You’re interrupting something important here, Hot Rod. Do you have the ship on standby up there?

“Did I already mention that Humans saved our aft only a couple of stellar cycles ago?” 

“You don’t need to remind me about somethin’ like that.” 

“Then what’s the problem!”

“One shuttle just ain’t enough to turn the entire Trion around.” a hushed murmur of agree steeled Hot Rods stubborn expression. 

Their captains oppositions were disappointing, but always expected. Yet, the young Wrecker refused to back down easy.

In his effort, Hot Rod retorted to looking back at Perceptor with as much meaning as he could muster. Too bad for the scientist, who caught sight of the pleading optics the second he looked up; the sorry mech lowered his clipboard-like datapad to acknowledge Kup with his mouth open to make a statement about a more accurate amount of time it would probably take to accomplish what Hot Rod was proposing, taking all mathematical stats into consideration from their system’s network. 

Two-thousand light-years to earth. Approximately four-thousand miles of Earth’s circumference and the several hundred miles worth of the Trion, not to mention the unknown shuttles size, and how many mechs it held, limited as it was. Then there was Cybertron. 

Six million light years from their current coordinates. Approximately three-million miles in circumference, several million--

“--I don’t-” Perceptor began, but Kup held a finger up to interject, tilting his helm in a gesture of cooperation. He took a moment to answer while Hot Rod unfolded his arms.

“...We got shuttles to spare... If you’re really wantin’ to go see who's out there, nobody’s gonna stop you.” 

Hot Rod opened his mouth to say something else,

“But, I expect something good to come outta this.” Kup said with a jaded edge to his voice. 

Panels nearly twitching with triumph, Hot Rod beamed over the various fields of the Wreckers reacting to the captain’s surprising accommodation for their crewmate.  

“Alright, Kup, I accept.” Hot Rod nodded.

He figured Kup had based his final decision on common knowledge that one Deception almost definitely led to more. That too, was something the Autobots were all independently conscious of. No good Autobot needed to be reminded or taught of the implications that would come with the Decepticons infiltrating Earth again, with the planet just recently rid of their conflicts. 

However, judging by the room, not everyone was too eager to find out what Deception was behind this low profile mission that involved Earth. But this, a shuttle given to him and a few mates who would have his back... he could work with that. 

Hot rod moved his attention back to the meeting, swinging his elbow down with a curled fist.
“So! who's coming with me?” 

 

 

And it was a major bummer that none of them did, but hey. It’s not like he’s wounded.

 The plan agreed on between Hot Rod and Kup was that as soon he captured the ‘con’s, he would follow the Trion and catch up to them on the way back to their home-planet. Now all he had to do was prepare.

 

“You’re really leaving us to go find that Decepticon shuttle?”

“Oh. Hey Springer. Yeah, I am.”

“...Are you mad at us because we’re not coming with you…?”

“What? Nooo . Of course not.” 

Arms crossed, Springer searched Hot Rod’s faceplate, who stubbornly kept his optics hidden from sight. 

“I don’t believe you...but alright.”

Because he was one of the more sensitive types, Springer maintained his concern, even during Hot Rod’s childish display.

“I just don’t get why you don’t wanna just come with us back to Cybertron. I know it’s not going to be the same, especially now that it’s uh...kind of a slaghole,”

The other mech refused to give Springer the conversation he wanted. Instead, he grunted, cramming a few of his valuables into his subspace, ironically most of which came from none other than the planet he was about to go defend.

Springer kicked him a box stolen from their ration den.

“Thanks- yeah I don’t know. This feels more important.” Hot Rod hurried to start fixing his things into the spare box instead.

“...Well...alright dude. Don’t forget to say bye before you go, at least. I know you said you planned to only stay for a little while, but...y’never know.” Springer shrugged from the archway of their hab-suite.

“Yeah, mkay. Later.” Hot Rod muttered after him, still bent down to the floor.

 

He gave Springer, Kup, and the others one more slightly sarcastic, undulating wave ‘goodbye’ as the shuttle given to him completed its power buffer to take flight into the path to Earth. The hyperspace travel built into his vessel took on most of the work for him, so he spent most of the trip leaning back onto the captain’s chair with a loud creak.

 

Call him a bad team player? But at the end of the day, Hot Rod only followed his own sense of leadership. If none of the Wreckers trusted him enough to go, then…

Like, you know,

whatever.

He was glad they weren’t coming.

 

Hot Rod had the advantage of knowing that it had only been a smaller shuttle: so less enemies. That, and he was undoubtedly the most Terra-savvy out of the Wreckers team.

He could already envision himself returning back to the Trion with some senseless, overly confident Decepticons lagging behind him in pairs of cuffs.

Why the Decepticons thought it would suddenly give them the upper hand somewhere after all this time, he didn’t know. 

And he didn’t care enough to ask.

It was all good and well with him as long as he could kick ‘em out--and if he does that, he could prove something to everyone.

Back in the Autobot unit some ten Earth years ago, at some point, all of them were on the blue planet together. So it’s not that most of them haven’t done their time, he thinks it must be that none really embraced the culture back when Optimus and the other’s unified there. They always cared more about Cybertron.

Cybertron was talked about like a distant, yet sweet memory, or in some cases, a legend. That couldn’t be further than the truth, perhaps their longing was due to the fact that they themselves felt so out of place; the thick underbrush of the northwest would scrape the polish right off their bodies, and the human radio waves interfered with their natural wireless connections that occasionally made it impossible to communicate through.

There were lots of problems that burdened the same species who’d grown used to thrusting their existence into different worlds since the golden age, but overall, they were hardly ready to settle in for the long haul into the Earthen realm that the humans so aggressively asserted themselves into. It was not easy to exist in a world that was not, at first glance, for you.

Regardless, Cybertronians on both sides of the war used the humans extensive road networks to intensify a fight that was inconspicuous one moment, and heated the next. 

They had a whole new range of potential problems hanging over their helms, too. Humans in the crosshairs of politics they didn’t understand, and their unavoidable involvement. 

The fact that so many of the terrans had vehicles that could pass off as a mechanical was a double edged sword.

Earth became bearable once Hot Rod and a few others found a way of keeping their minds off of the war that consumed them most days. Drag racing gave them exactly what they needed. It was a dangerous game, and the humans were brutal, but they were too. 

Of course, while it was less dangerous than warfare, it came with its consequences, mostly because everyone knew about their ‘secret’. 

Prowl and Ratchet were outspoken against their opposition, and of course Optimus himself was concerned, but eventually understood it for what it was: a way to cope.

At least it was a habit that didn’t include abusing engex or similar substances. Or dishing out awkward apologies for hitting on each other, or attempting to cover up embarrassing predestined interfacing flings, when things got, uh, harder.

Hot Rod’s other life started when he began to spend his time with people like him, who refused to lose to quiet nights.

Instead, they snuck out. 

Usually him, Arcee, the twins, and occasionally, Bee.

Compared to the dance they did with Decepticons, it was a completely different world. It had its own rules, and it’s own rule breakers. 

So Earth felt a lot more like home than Cybertron did at this point. He still associated fun and happiness to it, and kept the great times he had there close to his spark. 

 

The point is, the planet that the Autobots had indirectly served was worth a last minute save.

As for Cybertron…

Well, that’s not his home anymore. He understood that they were fighting ‘for’ Cybertron, but to him, it was just a place he and many others let down.

Maybe, he thought, if the mission allowed it, he should have some fun and take part in his favorite past times that he’d missed. 

 

He smirked to himself, doing some manual control of the wheel to get down to land, paying no mind to the wild turbulence of landing that jostled his chest plating and dentae.

The last traces of the Decepticon shuttle ultimately lead Hot Rod to an island off the Pacific. The area was an entire sea away from America, but he knew it shouldn’t be too unfamiliar. The little island he was on was called Japan, and there were many clusters of populations on the island, but the nearest was named Tokyo

The shuttle was just compact enough to stash the thing into a spot within a forest, right next to a major road, one that according to his navigational system, would lead him to the massive area of humans.

The Autobot rested his servos on his waist in a long moment of admiration. 

In fact, he was distracted enough not to notice that the powerful force of the spacecraft’s breach had completely flattened some of the island’s foliage when it lowered down into the ferns. 

 

Earth, sweet Earth.

 

 With his shuttle silled away within a convenient distance from the road, Hot Rod didn’t waste a moment longer to get going. 

He waited until the coast was clear, and used his transformation to launch himself on, landing on all four of his wheels at high speed, hoping to beat the sliver of sun caressing the outskirts of human buildings.

Right now, nothing sounded better than the one thing he knows he probably shouldn’t get involved with. 

Maybe he can do something else he enjoyed here that he could get away with without wasting too much time. 

Like...prank calling a pizza place…

...or... something.

It... probably wouldn’t hurt to check if there was a scene, but he shouldn’t indulge completely, or he’d never want to leave.

 

           ----Wing and Drift walking through the streets of Crystal City. One Orbital Cycle Ago. ------

 

Drift was uncomfortable. He progressively started to stand closer, and closer to Wing until his shoulder armor was semi bordering the jet’s form.

He knew that he was standing in the middle of a bustling Cybertronian street, and eventually felt a little better about it, but once Drift eased up enough to look around from where he kept his eyes trained on his companions wide head fins, his tanks began to churn.

It was what he had always wanted, but now that the sweep of spotless street with all the happy faces going by was there, apparently for his taking, all he could see were visions of  gutters and countless other dead cities playing in rewind behind his optics. How could he call this city his, when he knew his city would always be the Rodion that made him into who he was.

This was the first time that he and Wing went out as just just civilians of the city together. Most of him was secretly enchanted by the mech. He would be content, if only the idea of staying here didn’t make him feel so uneasy.

He didn’t deserve this. 

He didn’t deserve any of this.

 

“....and right here, you’ll be able to find things like sports equipment, if you ever feel inclined,” Wing said with a hint of a chuckle in his voice from thinking about his more difficult  counterpart playing something like Cube.

The troubled mech was silent, his lower lip curving into the verge of a sulk, Wing lifted a spread servos over Drift’s line of sight.

Yoo-hoo ...” Once Drift looked over at his companion, Wing smiled.

“there he is...you weren’t listening to a word I was saying, were you.” 

“Uh…”Drift sighed “...no, I wasn’t.” he shook his helm “what were you saying..?”

Wing gestured to the shop window. Drift only glared at him, a look that Wing knew, at this point, pretty well.

... Games? 

You’d sooner hear, “ I despise mechs like you. ” out of his mouth than any mentions of recreational sports. 

As a Decepticon commander, he would have never dreamed of it. 

Every moment as Deadlock had been taken up fighting tooth and nail for the cause, and every kill was backed up with a ‘noble’ purpose behind it. 

Occasionally, Decepticons would indulge within Deadlock’s proximity, but he had believed that such mechs sooner belonged in the smelting pool than fight for Megatron.

 

So it was only understandable that he only snorted at the store, not quite ready at the time to do something so...self serving. 

What’s he going to do, play some sports? Join a team? The thought was ridiculous when put into the context of who he is and what he’d done.

Crossing his arms, Drift decided that he’d bite, if only to move on or make up for his lack of attention. 

“Do you play cube, Wing?” Drift asked dryly, not hiding the fact that he was completely out of his element.

Wing explained to him that no, he didn’t play, but that wasn’t the point.

Even if he was part of the circle of light, that didn’t mean he was banned from having things like hobbies, which were necessary to a healthy lifestyle.

Ugh, what a load of...

But Drift was putting in a conscious effort to be friendlier to him, his friend, so he didn’t say anything snarky back. 

Because Wing had come to know him well, the mech grasped Drift’s servos in both of his when he sensed the other actively rejecting the idea of what he’d said. Drift apprehensively turned to face him.

“Listen…you could be one of us. In the Circle, where your skills are needed, your insight…would be priceless to Dai Atlas in the means of future protection . You’re so unique, Drift.” 

Drift’s opened his mouth to reply, as this was not an uncommon sentiment Wing would give him, but once the jet got started, he was impossible to stop. 

But Drift remembered that they were in the middle of a walking path and some bots were beginning to stop and stare at the scene happening to the frankly, astonishing duo causing such a scene in front of a store window

“But even though that’s true…I gave it some thought, and I think your next lesson is to find something that speaks to you Drift. Something that makes you happy”

Drift only mumbled “...seems like a waste of time…” 

He was too busy trying to override his processor going into blue screen as Wing began to stroke the top of Drift’s servos with his thumb. His face plate was probably going to catch fire, which was apparently easily fixable here anyway.

In an effort to get the frag out of there and (and to Wing’s enjoyment), Drift guided him into another nearby shop. 

The store keeper nodded to them both and they both waved back, Wing with an enormous smile. 

As Wing turned around, Drift caught a dancing light run down his great sword. 

Wing had never used it on Drift, and he still didn’t understand why he had the huge thing. If you wanted a weapon with range, why not just use a gun?

 

“Ah, this place is one of my favorites” Wing was already whisking his attention away from where he was looking at a large intimidating selection of catalogued pads.

 “Come! Look, I have the same one” Wing waited for the other to show what he held in his hands. 

Another data pad, but it was completely blank. Wing informed him rather enthusiastically about how he loved to log his time outside of Crystal Cities borders.

“...And I put down whatever I see, whether it’s a drawing, or a story…” he told him, his face illuminated almost forebodingly by the datapad’s light.

Drift looked back and forth from Wing’s face to the datapad.

“But I never see you writing...” 

“You haven’t beat me at sparring yet.” Wing replied with a shrug.

 

--------Present day, Earth. -------------------

------------Mid 90’s---------

 

Drift’s never been alone.

Not really.

He thought he was ready, back when he ran from Turmoil.

 

All of his life, he believed that if things somehow just didn’t work out, and he didn’t die for Megatron, he was certain that he could survive as a solitary mech.

Ultimately, choosing isolation over attaching himself to another faction, gang, or likewise could be infinite. 

But even with his time spent as Deadlock as a loner still living life belonging to the Decepticon army, he failed to be able to say it was truly comparable to the isolation of the foreign planet. He hadn’t been there for long, but the planet’s sun had begun to descend.

Drift tentatively rose from his position against a spread of tree roots to walk.

Since he was no longer sheltered, spring showers began to pelt him with cold water.

With his white form barely hidden behind the fauna and darkness not quite beginning to cloak him, the loner felt very fortunate when he finally did find a road.

Drift knew intuitively that heading toward a city was probably going to offer the best life had to give, so that’s where he decided to go next, tracking the next large population of life forms with the help of their frequency waves. 

Meanwhile, he’d found that the massive net of roads the locals used, while a little wet, was a more optimistic development that he could take advantage of.

Night began to settle against the outline of a city, until it finally thrust itself into the steep mountain roads that he’d come from. During the drive, he had planned to move swiftly over the terrain and learn as much as he could about civilization here while it was still dark. 

Finally, he parked to transform, simultaneously checking for anyone that could possibly see him. His massive form was hunched behind a sparse collection of manicured trees of a park. 

Through the branches he hoped to scope out his first move, only to find himself staring sadly into the unfamiliar span of buildings.

On the bright side, he thought, at least it finally stopped raining. And another thing, He looked down at himself and blinked.

The mud was a little itchy now that he was transformed out of his alt mode. His plates have been artistically dipped in mud in different alternations of his frame. Risk aside, he could rinse himself in an artificial pool of pressurized water across the way.

He rested his hands on his hip plating and squinted his optics.

 But he was more concerned with the buildings behind it. 

That one in front of him looked climbable.

The roof would be a considerably better angle to map out the place before he headed into the streets, for sure.

Quickly as to not be seen, Drift crossed the empty road and slipped into a dark crevice between the buildings he sighted, and sighed.

Turning, the mech hiked up one pede against frame of a window and bounced on the other to test its stability, but before he could start climbing, Drift’s audio picked up a hollow, urgent thump from a few blocks away. 

Several window lights from the sleeping street turned on, forcing Drift to retreat into his shelter where he still had a decent view of the road. 

A sudden roar broke what he discovered to be music, owed to the three cars that dove in and out of the frame of the alley: gray, black and finally, red. 

 Feeling courageous, Drift sprinted to the open to flex himself into vehicle mode, rolling into an adjacent street of where the vehicles were inching past each other to a line on the crosswalk.

When he dared to get closer, Drift was more shocked to find one of them revving their engine, as if to acknowledge his presence. 

It didn’t take long for the white speedster to realize what he was looking at was some kind of...informal competition, and he had the option to participate.

The abruptness of it was weird, but it was also pretty exciting. 

Of course, he had barely even used his rebuilt frame for his alt. His body was unsoiled by any energon spilt by Deadlock, but he did not know if a racing this frame would suit him.

He could leave, or he could take an opportunity that seemed to want to land in his lap.

An unstable mixture of impulse and uncertainty circled Drift behind the crossline where he could slip in between two of them, in response, he could clearly see that the red car blinked its headlights in succession as if the being inside let go of their brakes.

Because he was still unsure, Drift realized too late that the green light overhead was the signal to go, and the three took off without him, but…

Quickly, Drift managed to streamline the others like the tail of a comet.

He began to gain on the black and gray vehicles as if his systems weren’t not already blown out from heady dilemma, meaning, his impulsiveness had won, and all of a sudden he was set to take the race into his servos and drag it back into his grasp.

The movement of the contest was ripping a chorus of vibrations down the empty street followed by a few more window lights switching on. He  found he was a little amused by how uncalled for this was in the sleepy urban sector.

They left the area to proceed onto a freeway lined with yellow high mast lights going by faster and faster, paired with the same fast beat that was stretched fainter or louder.

He quickly got a handle on his chassis while he gained speed. While his past form had slowed him down, the new frame easily allowed twice the speed.

He didn’t want to remember the last time he made an equal match, but he did anyway. 

He was chasing down a particular Autobot a couple of vorns ago. 

The soldier had made him so overwhelmed with rage after they’d somehow managed to offline his gun. His soldiers at the time tried to sedate him, tried to convince Deadlock that it wasn’t worth it. But he just didn’t like them, so he hunted the Autobot down for miles at max speed until he finally, and horribly ended him. Such memories were beginning to disturb Drift now, but at the moment he felt numb.

Now, he rejected the world of Decepticons, and along with his eagerness to see himself completely shut off from his past self, he focused on just coming back to the basics of just testing his body out, and seeing what it could do. Through the twists and turns and micro fighting he was going through with the gray and black vehicles, the pressure release of using his alt mode so vigorously was like popping a gear into the right position-- he was so taut with the stress of his displacement. 

Eventually, he earned his place as second behind the red vehicle, who he had his sights on from the beginning. Since the road seemed to be a straight shot, and he didn’t know for how long the competition would actually last. So Drift tried harder and more desperately to keep himself flush against the red vehicle in front of him while still occasionally fending off the two competitors behind him.

The black and gray cars twisted in and out of the path beside Drift, but kept a distance that said that they did not want to risk damage for a late night skirmish. The red vehicle, however, was not letting Drift pass. 

They….It, swerved this way and that, keeping Drift’s bumper in a position to be knocked away. Amazingly, the red vehicle in front of him was gaining more and more of a sizable distance through sheer confidence.

It was weird to think that there were drivers controlling the vehicles, but still, the red vehicle seemed...off, somehow, compared to the others. 

He knew the lifeforms here used vehicles to get around, but he thought this one must be a natural.

Drift held his vents closed as he tried again to squeeze next to the driver, and he almost did, except when the red vehicle veered away and did a complete U-turn.

What?

He thought maybe he’d done something good, until he registered the noise that his audials caught a few micro-kliks ago.

All thoughts of the close race dissolved from his processor from the massive crack that sounded off just several hundred yards away. 

 

------------------------------------

 

The smell and taste on his glossa was familiar enough.

Drift squinted his optics and then immediately shuttered them in despair. An autobot shuttle would wasn’t ideal, but an autobot shuttle shifted brokenly in the blue, energon powered flames was so, unspeakably worse. 

Behind his eyes, there's red, penetrating hostility that he clings to like shelter. He could have just made a massive mistake by coming here where factions of the war were apparently were. 

He didn’t know what place he had in this, but his spark, in its rawness, knew that this destruction was something he should be responsible for taking care of.

His finials perked before he swiveled his helm around, analyzing the forested area lit up with blue.

He hunched defensively with swords unsheathed as he watched for any disturbance, no matter how miniscule, over the scattered flames.

 

And that's when he saw him. 

Another mech, dark and dusky and only a silhouette against the nightmarish scene, just like they were from the pits. 

 

In the split moment of time where they, unaware of Drift watching him, decided to take off by foot, the purpose and intent in their step was all Drift needed to know that they had to be the Decepticon who had sabotaged the shuttle

 

One pair of thick metallic footsteps crunched against the forest floor, and in the meantime, Drift sacrificed the near silent stickiness of his tire on asphalt to run on his pede as well, all for faster access of combat.

------------------------------------

 

 

It was a long time before the Autobot Hot Rod noticed that he was being followed.

 

It would of been an even fight if not for the strange mixture of swordsmanship and dirty tricks that threw him off. It was a slip that got him pinned by the spoiler with the tip of a longsword.

 

“Stop struggling,” Drift hissed, his nerves allowing the hilt to shake in his grip.

He wasn’t actually sure he wanted to be doing this, but he also denied himself any room to lose control of a problem,

Besides….he can admit to himself that he wasn’t having the easiest time here so far, and he never committed to Dai Atlas’s defense only ethic.

 

He tried to look into the optics of the smaller Decepticon he was holding and then scrunched up his face in revulsion. 

The mech bent his neck away to avoid the unpleasant look on Drift’s face.

“Did you really think you’d get away with that?” the swordsmen said, a slimy, threatening tone slipping into his speech just perfect for Deadlock and not Drift. 

The rouge had changed, but not by much.

 

Suddenly, the red bot flailed, swinging his fists at Drift, trying his best to get a better footing onto the ground. Drift shoved him into a nearby tree in order to keep the spaztic movement to a minimum.

 

All thoughts of the fun Hot Rod could have here were mentally trashed, the reality of what kind of person he was dealing with, which was apparently a lethal one, was like a cold slap to the face. 

But Hot rod was happy the Decepticon that destroyed his ship gave him the convenience of stupidly following him into a dark forest. He could play dirty, all he needed to do was find an opening, then he could get this con back to the Trion and off of Earth.

“Who are you?”

 Hot Rod twisted his shoulders vigorously, trying to shake off the other mech’s grip on him.

“Drift.” he responded curtly, and to Hot Rods dismay, simultaneously pulling out his blade from behind Hot Rod’s shoulders to rest it on his neck cabling.

 “Any last words?” the offending mech pressed the uncomfortably thin edge of the sword closer. Hot Rod couldn’t tell if it was already cutting him.

 

Hot Rod smiled, responding as quickly as he could.

 “Oh! I don’t think I ever heard of a Drift- ” 

He caught the slagger by surprise by hooking his fist over his crown, taking him down hard enough to cause the mech to swivel his of his long sword away.

The offender gasped and held the side of his helm tenderly where Hot Rod’s fist ignited him with pain. “But I don’t...ngh, care !” 

Hot Rod wasted no time pummeling him with another punch that Drift failed to parry. Hot Rod was in too much of a frenzy to see where he got him, but he stopped, ready and arms up. 

 

However, when Drift remerged, his optics were dimmed and warbled.

 

Ooh…. 

He looked really angry.

 

They struggled to get a grip on each other with renewed violent energy, metal pushing against metal in a tight landsliding effect, until finally, Drift caught Hot Rod’s servos and twisted until he heard the sound of a key pin click.

And Hot Rod wasn’t going to lie to himself, 

he had to bite his lip stubbornly in order not to yell out in pain at his servo motor being compromised, sputtering and hissing out of his mouth in reaction to the precise, but excruciating pain.

 

Horribly, and in the same gesture, both mechs mirrored each other to look out from the actually pretty shallow trees they were in to check if any cars were passing by. 

Nobody was out in the dimly lit street, but despite their privacy, it didn’t look like either of their plans to swiftly finish one off was working out.

Both of the ruffled strangers stared each other down to catch each other's breath, Drift resumed his sword posture over Hot Rod’s neck, but this time with less intent.

Hot Rod squatted down from the wrist and made a spiteful grin, if he was going to go down, he might as well go down loud.

He raised his voice in frank contrast to Drift’s low tone.

“You aren’t actually just Bludgeon with a new name, are you, swords-guy ? Did you finally fix that horrible face of yours?” 

The swordsmen flinched, apparently recognizing the name, or if it was something else, Hot Rod wouldn’t know. 

“Who are you…” Hot Rod asked again. This guy was weird…

“A defender.” he answered, raising his sword. 

“Oh that’s a funny joke. Is that what Megatron told your faction to say?” at this, Drift drew his lips back, so hot rod expected a “shut up”, then maybe his death, but instead, the mech goes,

“No, never….” Drift apparently saw through his haze enough to start to recognize the emblem clearly imprinted onto Hot Rod’s chest, tiny scrapes and all, of the Autobot emblem. 

Hot Rod followed suit, looking all over Drift’s body for a badge as well-- shoulder armor, chestplate, windows...nothing.

 “Primus, you’re missing a badge…” he said, stupidly shocked. 

“That was your ship” Drift said, matching Hot Rod’s tone.

“Uncle, Uncle !!”

Drift dropped the small mech as if he was a burning ore before rehousing his sword back into its sheath. From where he was half sunk against the bark, Hot Rod rubbed his throat cables sorely, watching the other curl both his servos into fists.

Drift looked away “I’m sorry about that,” he sounded so genuine, Hot Rod had to reply with a flat, “It’s fine” but it wasn’t even close to being fine. It took Drift a only a split second to understand that this lone red Autobot was not the culprit of what was clearly their own shuttles sabotage.

But a fresh wave of hopelessness crashed over the red mech. Drift would quickly come to know that they were not good at controlling his emotions.

Hot Rod looked over at the silent outsider with bewilderment, the same anger and panic rising from when he found his shuttle.

“What the frag am I going to do, I thought you were them!!” he punctuated ‘them’ by banging a pede onto the soft ground, and then his helm back onto the tree.

He’d lost his way back to the Trion, and then the wrong mech followed him instead of whoever destroyed his fragging ship! 

Kup was gonna kill him if he doesn’t find that Decepticon. And even worse, he was probably never going to let him hear the end of how he couldn't even bring the shuttle back... he literally only had it for less than one cycle.

That is…

if he would ever be able to make it back.

He got up and scraped his body against the brick shallowly, fuming offhandedly that he didn’t even have the room to pace in the nook him and this stranger had chased each other into.

 

“Keep watch, let me think” he ordered to Drift, who was already doing so by contemplating the situation independently from Hot Rod, servos and pedes pressed tight against the other side of the tree.

He’d need to somehow convince this guy to borrow his ship.

But it was hard to think with this guy just standing here, doing nothing. 

Primus left him with a non-affiliated mech after a Decepticon destroyed his way back to the crew. Ha!

He was livid. 

Hot Rod turned to point a finger up at the tall stranger, 

“What are you even doing down here” he continued, shaking.

The white mech opened his mouth, moving Hot Rod’s pointing servos away from his nose.
“The Decepticons are still close” Drift reminded him. 

“They're gone.” the mech countered.

“Did you see how many there were?,” Drift asked, hushed. 

“No, I didn’t see them at all, “ Hot Rod replied  “I was busy.”