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[personal profile] keaalu
Title (chapter): Remember Me (02)
Series: Transformers, G1-based “Blue” AU
Rating: PG-13
Notes: In which we find out that what do you know, Ramjet’s trine aren’t a bunch of total incompetents, or at least not all the time.

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Today was apparently Slipstream’s turn to spark-sit.

It hadn’t been, to start with – but Footloose had been called away at short notice to an emergency in the recycling plant on the edge of the district and pleaded his help. He didn’t mind giving his twin a hand, especially if it might lead to the opportunity to blackmail her later.

Skydash might have been small, but that first-instar frame apparently had oversized tanks because she always had energy to spare. Keeping up with her was usually a collective affair. Only her dam Celerity seemed to be able to manage it on her own, and that was probably only because she was big enough for a cold-fusion core generator. (Slipstream tried not to be jealous of it.)

Slipstream had collected his little cousin from Surefire, currently on spark-duty in the makeshift nursery in Celerity’s office, then joined up with a small group of close friends and family to take his mid-orn break in one of Deixar’s small new parks. It was greener than most Cybertronians were familiar with, but the trees weren’t just decorative – a small energy collector grafted onto each plant’s trunk fed power into the grid, or any tired machine that wanted to take advantage of it.

After downloading the latest news to his wafer, the blue mech crashed out in the shade of a nice mature tree to read it while he charged. Longbeam and Whitesides sat together nearby, catching up on the gossip, sharing the remains of a bag of bright fulminating candies (probably swiped off Pulsar’s desk). Sunspot, one of Slipstream’s housemates, lounged full length nearby, chewing a stylus and preparing a playlist; the little yellow bike had almost offlined in shock at being invited to put something together for the Vosian celebrations, and had since spent at least ten orns solid doing nothing else.

All the inactivity had left Skydash bored. Nobody was doing anything except talk and sit. She wanted to call “Unnolawp” and get him to take her flying, but her little transmitter didn’t have a good enough power output yet to reach him (she knew; she’d tried already) and Unnolseem wouldn’t call him for her.

Unimpressed by having her family refuse to take her with them to New Vos, Skydash was busy trying to get to the tallest point on the small tree nearby, to see if it’d be tall enough for her to see all the way out there. Unfortunately the spindly trunk wasn’t really up to supporting her weight, and every time she got a fraction higher than halfway, it bowed almost all the way in half to dump her back on her small aft.

So frustrating!

She sprawled dramatically over her cousin’s lap, on top of his newssheet, scrolling through a dozen or so pages at once. “Unnolseem. Why Day not take?”

Slipstream set his wafer to one side and flicked one of her tiny wing-nubs. “Didn’t we go through this two breems ago, Scraplet? Because he’s at work, and it’s a building site, and you’re still little and squish-able.”

“Took before.”

“He wasn’t at work before.”

“But want see! Make fly!”

“Footloose said she’d come and pick you up as soon as she was done with her latest trauma case, remember? Isn’t she good enough for going for a fly with?”

Skydash thought about it for a few seconds. “Yes? Not Day.”

“Ugh. Some people are never satisfied.”

With an exaggerated roll of the optics, Slipstream rolled her out of his lap and tumbled her down the little slope; giggling, she finally fetched up against Longbeam. The tall femme peered down on her for a second before posting a candy into the small mouth that opened expectantly at her, like the gape of a baby bird.

No wonder Dash kept them running most of the time. She was always getting topups.

Slipstream stretched out more comfortably and flicked his way back to his place in the news. It surely wouldn’t have been that big a deal to take the little scrap off to Vos? It wasn’t like she often actually detached from Thundercracker’s shoulders when the big jet was looking after her.

The sound of approaching jet engines shaded subtly into his awareness. Slipstream looked up from his wafer, curiously – of his family, no-one was due back in the region for ten breems, and no other airframes lived very close to Deixar.

He couldn’t see anything, and sent out a broad-ranging positional request instead.

…and got nothing.

Uneasy, he stood up to get a better look around. Why would someone privacy lock their basic signal data? He dipped into a police channel instead, and turned it into an official request for an ident.

Still nothing. Slag. He felt his pumps clicking subtly into a higher gear and defensive protocols coming online.

Longbeam picked up on the use of the official cipher and looked up at him. “Problem, Seemo?”

“You didn’t hear jets, just then?” At her nod, he added; “They’re not responding to my pings.” The sound of engines had disappeared; too abruptly to have just passed over. They must have landed.

“You think they’re in trouble?” She stood and moved closer, lowering her voice.

Something about the exact subharmonic frequency of the engine noise had upset his diagnostics in a very familiar way. “I think they are the trouble.”

She straightened, subtly, suddenly anxious, and mouthed Decepticons? at him.

“Not sure. Maybe?” He whispered the words back to her, even though he was aware that suddenly everyone was listening closely to him. “Might wanna get everyone out of the open, just in case.”

“Good idea.” Longbeam crouched next to her sibling. “Whitesides? Might need you to run interference for me…”

Slipstream turned his attention towards Thundercracker, out in New Vos. -sent anyone to Deixar?- he asked. -got company, no ident-

No reply. Wait, no. Not no reply… his signal wasn’t even getting out. Something was jamming him-!

At last, Slipstream realised Skydash was talking to him.

“…Who they, unnol? Who coming?”

Slag! Too close already!

Slipstream turned, alarmed, and barely had the chance to register the large white body hurtling in his direction before he was impacted by a violent tackle that sent them both crashing into the vegetation. The poor tree didn’t stand a chance, exploding into matchsticks around them.

The final impact with the ground destabilised all his gyroscopes and left him flat on his back, groaning. Ramjet!

“You’re coming with us, short stuff,” he heard the jet snarl, over the disorienting echo of rebalancing audios. A big hand clamped down on his wrist and yanked him unceremoniously back to his feet. He promptly went all the way over and ended up on his hands and knees instead, almost falling on top of Whitesides.

The smaller mech was already tensed into a subtle crouch, fingers curled into fists, looking like he was about to hurl himself into the fight; alarm flashed like cold fingers up the back of Slipstream’s helm. What the bike thought he’d actually achieve by joining the brawl, Slipstream had no idea; Ramjet must have out-massed him by three times his own weight, and was damn near impossible to incapacitate through brute force alone. The diminutive mech would get flattened in an instant.

“No, run! Get helmmmf!” Slipstream managed to splutter, before an arm came around his throat and a big hand flattened over his mouth, hauling him backwards.

Whitesides didn’t need telling twice. He folded up into his alt mode and was gone in a flash of dust towards the station. Sunspot high-tailed it in the exact opposite direction. Longbeam was already nowhere to be seen.

Late to the party, his wingmates dithered on the pavement, not sure which one to chase.

“Leave ‘em!” Ramjet snapped, struggling to wrangle the smaller mech. “Gimme a hand here, will you?”

“But they’re gonna raise the alarm-!” Thrust protested.

“Of course they are, Primus-! That’s the point! Leave them! The block on their comms won’t last long, we’ve gotta get back to the bridge before they can stop us getting through-”

Using his captor’s momentary inattention, Slipstream got his feet back under himself and shoved backwards, hard. It toppled Ramjet past his centre of gravity, and both went sprawling with a crunch. The smaller mech threw himself away to one side, scrabbling for his footing.

Ramjet secured a tenuous hold on one ankle and tripped their quarry over again. “So help me Primus, if you two frag this thing up-!”

Stung into action, Thrust finally piled into the fray. Before the teleport could triangulate an escape route, he lunged and landed square on his back. “Well if you could try and keep a grip on the sparkling, that’d be real helpful.” Wrenching Slipstream’s arms back behind him, he hauled him right up off his feet – unintentionally giving their prey a platform to launch a kick that connected with Ramjet’s face with enough force to knock him clean onto his aft.

Ramjet snarled and cursed; the kick had fractured his cheek. “He’s a slagging cop, for Primus sake, steal his pitfragged cuffs-! Dirge! The frag are you even doing?”

The blue jet was barely paying attention, approaching the splintered ruins of the tree Ramjet had destroyed. “I think I see something-“

Dirge-! Primus, we don’t have time-! ”

Dirge ignored him, focused on the shape he’d spotted. Rounding the mess of broken branches, he found something tall and white, trying to pick something up off the floor without drawing too much attention to itself.

Their optics met and for an instant, they just stared at each other.

Dirge’s lips drew back in an unhealthy smile.

Longbeam exploded into action, apparently going to try and outpace him on foot, something small clutched in her arms. She barged into him with her shoulder as she passed, overbalancing him into the bushes, and was halfway up the street in seconds, apparently aiming for a narrow alleyway.

“Oh please.” Dirge watched her run, amused, then revved his thrusters, creating that precise engine harmonic that put even his allies on edge.

The bike made a little noise of alarm and stumbled, tripped against a kerb and fetched up on her hands and knees. The small bundle slipped from her arms and tumbled away across the pavement, disappearing into the alleyway.

Dirge followed, at a more casual pace. “Running away? Nice. That’s one I haven’t seen in a while.”

Longbeam was fast – already back on her feet, her small sidearm was in her hand, her arm swinging up to shoot – but Dirge was faster. He delivered a quick pulse from his cannon, instantly obliterating the weapon… and most of the hand holding it. The force of the blast spun her around and slammed her shoulder-first into the wall. She choked out a horrible half-sob of pain.

Dirge ambled over, still purring that hideous fear-inducing sing-song. She scrambled backwards on her aft, away from him, injured arm clutched across her chassis and fans huffing out increasingly warm air. She whooped her siren, trying to threaten him away.

“This almost makes up for not being allowed to shoot Starscream.” The blue jet dropped to one knee beside her, and flattened a palm over her mouth. “Tell Skywarp I said thanks, Squeaky,” he murmured, before pressing the emitter cone of one cannon into her midsection.

She knew immediately what he was going to do and braced her feet against him, to try and kick his arm away, but the battle was hopelessly one-sided, over before it even started. The shot was underpowered, but tore all the way through her flank, shredding superstructure. She arched under his hands, screaming against his palm, thrashing against the unforgiving dirt. A sludge of energon and other fluids immediately began to puddle beneath her.

“All right, that’s enough of that.” Keeping his hand flattened over her face, he gave her a single sharp shove, cracking the back of her head into the ground. Her siren died with a strangled squeak of pain. “Now, where did your little friend go?”

Leaving his wingmates still trying to wrangle Slipstream, Dirge followed the signal into the alley, towards a little gap between dumpsters. A chilly, flickery blue light filled the space, leading him precisely where he needed to go.

He crouched to find Skydash huddling into a corner, trying ineffectively to hide from him.

Dirge picked the small body up in both hands, and held the sparkling at arm’s length; she turned her face away, frozen in fear by the subtle noise of his cycling thrusters. “My. You have been a busy mech, Skywarp. I’d have thought your two little pit-spawn were more than enough.”

He re-emerged to an assortment of glares, and Thrust had his hands over his audio venting, as if that’d somehow help block out the sound. In spite of Dirge’s uncomfortable broadcast, they’d maintained the upper hand; with both his wrists and ankles finally cuffed, Slipstream had crumpled in the restraining arms, huffing softly in fright.

“Do you have to do that?” Ramjet snapped.

Dirge smirked. Yellow fingers had left three bright streaks of warpaint across his cheek. “Sorry. Only way I could catch it.” He lifted the sparkling with a hand around her neck, unable to help preening at his wingmates’ sudden looks of amazement.

Where in Pit did you find that?!”

“I’ll tell you on the way.” Dirge tucked his small prisoner into his cockpit. “Didn’t you say we needed to get to the bridge before anyone could raise the alarm?”

* * * * *

In the recycling plant in Deixar West-13-B, Footloose straightened up bolt upright, promptly dropping the arm of the poor mech she was working on. “Seem?”

The mech gave a shriek of pain and turned the air briefly blue, making her fellow paramedic jump and almost drop his other arm. Footloose ignored him; no-one capable of that many decibels could be too badly injured.

Without any warning, her twin brother’s signal had just… vanished. As split sparks, they could almost always perceive each other’s presence in some way, and now there was just nothing. It either meant he was a seriously long way out of range, or had stopped transmitting, and neither was good. For a spark to stop transmitting? Yeah, that was some seriously bad slag.

She lurched to her thrusters. “Sorry, Braze, I’ve got to go. This is our last patient, right?”

Her fellow paramedic looked up at her, alarmed. “What’s happened?”

“Seem’s gone right off the registry. I can’t see him any more. I’ve gotta chase this.” She shook her head. ”You can cope, yeah? Love you!”

She kicked off and after barely an astro-second of flight, teleported out of view.

Braze stared at the spot she’d occupied an instant previously, and wondered how bad the trouble was.


* * * * *

In the breems after the Coneheads had fled, Longbeam had somehow managed to regain her feet, heeling dramatically over on her injured side and trailing dirty purple footprints.

After a small eternity, she finally staggered into the reception area of Deixar Central Station, still trailing a slimy mess of mixed fluids behind her, and collapsed against Whisper’s desk. She was dimly aware of the desk sergeant leaping from his chair and yelling for help, even as her legs lost their strength and she sagged to the floor, dragging energon-covered paperwork down with her.

A confusing swirl of colleagues surrounded her, but she couldn’t pick anyone out of the mass, or even process the words being spoken, any more.

“Decepticons,” she managed, before the light in her optics guttered and consciousness finally left her.
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