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Turbulence

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It would have been easier to deal with waking up if he’d been in pain. Instead, Blurr found himself swimming upstream against the current of his consciousness. He felt strangely disembodied, like he was floating a few feet above his own frame, but nothing hurt.

Blurr could feel panic, but it wasn’t his own. It pressed against his frame and into his field, and it brought with it voices. He knew them, should recognize them, but thinking took more effort than he had the energy for.

Something had happened to him, something had gone wrong. He remembered needing to run, and run he had- all the way from whatever planetoid he and the clones had been transported to, all the way back home to Cybertron. He had a feeling it had been too much for him.

Had he delivered his message, his information? Had he been captured?

Had he been compromised?

He was an agent, he had been in this position before, but it didn’t stop fear from welling up within him. It threatened to choke him, his vents hitching and armor flaring in response to it.

Optics flickered sluggishly to life, and Blurr tried to focus through the fog that filled his processor. There were figures surrounding him, nothing but blobs of color to his malfunctioning optics, and whatever lights were present in the room had been dimmed, leaving the walls crowded with shadows.

His sight was impaired but what wasn’t the case with his other senses. The jumble of voices seemed far too loud; he wasn’t just hearing them. Their vibrations moved through his frame like a current, giving him a wavering image of other bodies pressed into what may have been a cluttered lab or maybe even a medical bay. Too disoriented to focus on clear features, they may as well have been ghosts. Blurr couldn’t tell how many there were.

His EM field, which had been held close and tight so as not to betray his fear and disorientation to the enemy, exploded outwards. Blurr was bound and drugged, but he wasn’t helpless. He wasn’t going to give them anything without a fight.

He let his field lash out like it was a weapon, battering those who surrounded him with all the rage and hate he could muster. Trying to force his heavy limbs into action, panic ripped a sharp binary scream from his vocalizer.

A dull roar swallowed up the voices. Heat tore through his frame and the panic in the voices around him grew to a crescendo. His world became a dizzying whirl of movement as heat waves obscured what little he had been able to make out in the room.

Spitting static as he opened his mouth to speak, Blurr’s vision filled with a mess of dark red and something the color of energon. Blurr cried out in protest when he felt a hand grasping the back of his helm.

One of the fields that pressed into his was pulsing and Blurr’s systems, while running slowly, reacted as if it was an intrusion. He pushed back against it, frantic processor beginning to recognize a pattern within the pulses.

Safe. Whoever had him captive, they were trying to reassure him. Blurr had no idea whether or not to trust them. He couldn’t see, couldn’t hear properly, the rest of his senses were dull and working in overdrive to compensate… but the pulsing continued even as slender digits probed into his helm, touching parts of his processor that ought to be off limits. Safe. Safe. Safe.

His manual shutdown was triggered and no matter how hard he tried to resist it, he fell back into unconsciousness.

...

He was having memory purges, but they were more fragmented than Blurr remembered them. It also felt a little like deja vu. He was reliving conversations, arguments, races and fights. He was running, but not for joy- he was running for his life.

His frame twitched as he fought his way to consciousness once more, his legs kicking out.

Longarm. He had to get to Longarm. He had to get the message to Longarm. He had to…

He had to get away from Longarm.

That didn’t feel right, and Blurr fully woke with a high sound of distress escaping his intake. A hand closed over his wrist, another touching his leg to urge him to be still. Blurr’s optics came online and focused on the familiar if not fuzzy face plates of Red Alert.

“It’s alright. You’re safe now.” She was saying, her voice causing her image solidify a little in his vision.

Safe. Again, he felt slow to trust. Safe from what exactly?

If he was being held captive, of course the ones holding him would want him to feel safe. Why not give him a familiar figure, one that could be trusted?

“Just lay still.” A clear instruction, one that was likely the best course of action considering his disorientation. Maybe it was the fog of waking, but was Red Alert smaller than he remembered? It was hard to tell; the room they were in once again, strangely dim. “All the scans indicate things have integrated well enough so far, but there hasn’t been enough field testing to be sure.”

Blurr opened his mouth to ask a question, but only static escaped due to the stress of forcing his vocalizer to emit such high pitched noises before. It almost felt as if his glossa was too big and his dentae were different. The sensation of disembodiment from earlier was more intense now, and not even the presence of Red Alert helped assuage it.

“Seeing as your spark is still spinning the same as it always has, I imagine you have a lot of questions. I have answers. I’ll explain everything, but not right now. You need to rest, Blurr.” Her hand moved from where it rested on his leg and Blurr vented inwards deeply.

“Don’t shut me down again.” He managed to say, hoarse and growling and curiously slow. He blamed that on the processor fog. “I don’t want to go back into those memory purges.”

She picked up a data pad and started making notes, but at least she moved her hands from his frame. For the moment, it didn’t appear that she was going to manually shut him down again. He restlessly twitched while she worked, drawing her gaze and prompting her to return her servo to his leg.

It didn’t make sense, his protoform ought to have been crawling with charge at this point. He felt like he had been prone for some time and he should be wanting to climb out of his own armor. Strapped down like this, he was cut off from indulging in any of his impatient ticks and twitches, unable to get enough clearance to drum his wheel against the berth. The resulting thump of his pede from his hastily aborted attempt to do so only deepened his confusion

“I’m sorry about your thrusters.” Red Alert said in a distracted manner without looking up from her datapad. “We had to put an inhibitor cuff on you to keep you from burning down the lab. Once we get you back on your pedes, we’ll give you some time to adjust to your frame before removing it.”

“Adjust?” Blurr asked in a small voice. Lifting his head took a tremendous amount of effort, his vision swimming as his equilibrium sensors attempted to compensate for the change in position. A chill ran through him as his processor adjusted and he was afforded a clear look down the length of his body.

The shape of his frame was all wrong. His chest was broad and adorned with a domed cockpit, long legs stretched down from a thin waist and ended in thrusters instead of wheels. Even with the shadows, he could see his paint job was too pale.

What in the absolute pit was this? This was beyond being compromised!

Red Alert moved her hand from his leg to his forehelm, applying gentle pressure to get him to lay back once more.

“What is the last thing you remember, Blurr?” she asked.

“What did you do to me?!” Blurr’s rasping voice high and frantic. His armor began to rattle as he renewed his efforts to move his limbs. “What’s going on?! This isn’t my frame! This isn’t my body!”

“You have to remain calm, or I will be forced to sedate you!” Red Alert stood, and now he understood why she had seemed so small. It wasn’t that she had shrunk, it was that he was bigger. Much bigger. “I promise, I’ll explain everything, but you’ve got to calm down.” She slid her hand from his forehelm to the side of his face in an attempt to draw his gaze and hold it. “Now tell me, what is the last thing you remember?”

It was difficult to remember anything clearly, especially on the heels of his strange dream, but Blurr forced his processor to focus. Starting with his most recent memory file, he paused and drew in a slow vent.

It was a backup file, stamped with his unique ID code used to denote that the file was a copy.

Caution and concern began to rise off of Red Alert like smoke, moving through her field and leaving an inky black stain in their wake. “Blurr, I need an answer,” she said.

Staring at her with wide optics, Blurr began to question whether or not it was actually Red Alert, whether or not she was actually here. For all he knew right now, she could be a plant, a pretender…

She could be the traitor he had come home to warn the Director of Security about. This could all be some sort of VR program designed to pry out his secrets.

“Blurr!” Red Alert said sharply, leaning closer. “Can you hear me? Are you still with me?”

His trembling worsened, and he arched in an effort to escape from his bonds. He tore through memory after memory, all of them bearing the stamp, all of them backups. All of them…

This wasn’t possible! It was like he wasn’t even really himself, he was but a copy, like someone had cut and paste his systems and processes and put them into a foreign body!

This had to be a trick! A ruse! “No no no no no…” Blurr struggled more furiously.

Something very, very bad had happened to him to make this his reality. There was no other explanation for this!

Red Alert moved a little closer, her already distorted image fragmenting further. “Please Blurr! Tell me what you remember!” She said ‘please’, but she wasn’t begging. It was another direct order, and this time Blurr gave in to the instinct that came along with all his long years of training.

“Running! I remember running home! I had to tell Longarm what I’d found out!” Blurr blurted, his heels hammering against the berth from the force of his shaking.

“You remember nothing after that?” Red Alert’s tone was softer, and her finials drooped, her image appearing in distorted ripples as he struggled.

“This isn’t happening. This is just a bad dream! I’m still unconscious, this isn’t real!” Blurr tried to force himself up, tried to jerk his head away when Red Alert reached for him. “You’re not real! You’re not really her! You’re not Red Alert!! I won’t say anything more, you won’t get any information out of me!”

He wasn’t strong enough to resist her hands cupping his helm, digits pressing in and sending him sinking back into darkness once more.