dracoqueen22: (doctorisin)
[personal profile] dracoqueen22
a/n: In which Ratchet and Sunstreaker greet their new bitlet and more plot wheels begin to turn. Enjoy!

Title: Critical Mass
Universe: Transformers: Prime Season Two AU, Event Horizon 'verse
Characters: Autobot and Decepticon Ensemble
Description: New allies have come to assist, but Optimus is still missing, and other matters have complicated the fight against the Decepticons. Time draws ever short as the war races toward an inevitable conclusion.

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Chapter Fourteen

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Ratchet has spent three years on Earth. He's had nothing but time. And while he'd kept himself busy building everything they'd need to survive, he'd also been curious.

He hates Earth, but he's also curious.

He's spent a lot of time on the internet. And right now, he can't help but compare this to what human females endure. There's little similarity, Ratchet thinks, except for the burning desire to kill his partner.

“I blame you,” Ratchet growls as he sits on the berth, one hand pressed to his jittering chestplates. The phrase supernova comes to mind.

Sunstreaker hovers nearby, but he's stopped trying to offer comfort. A wise decision. The last time he'd stroked down Ratchet's back, he'd gotten an elbow to the faceplate. Which is now swollen.

There will be time to fix it later.

First Aid comes back into Ratchet's periphery, armed with a scanner. “Your core temperature has spiked another fifteen percent,” he observes.

“I'm aware. How's the frame?”

“Perfection,” Perceptor chimes in from across the room, leaning back from where he's been examining the protoform on a molecular level. “I detect nothing that may cause abnormality or failure.”

Sunstreaker grips the berth with a creak. “Failure?”

“It's a protoform made of spare parts, Sunstreaker. And a spark might reject one with abnormalities,” Ratchet groans. He should know. He's seen it before, not from spark-splitting, but from the Allspark.

“There's always a risk,” First Aid comments as he continues to monitor Ratchet's vital systems. “I'm ready when you are, Ratchet.”

Thank Primus.

Ratchet cycles a ventilation and winces when an energy spike lashes at his spark chamber. There's not much more of this he can take.

“Bring him closer,” Ratchet grits out as he slides off the berth and uses it to prop himself up.

Metal wheels creak as they roll the berth closer, within reach of Ratchet. It's cramped in the makeshift bay and this makes it even more so, but Ratchet would have rather have too many hands than too few. This is the second most dangerous part of the fostering process.

Sunstreaker inches closer and slides between Ratchet and the berth, offering himself as a pillow. His proximity is soothing, a calm to the restless spark energy within Ratchet, and matching himself to his mate's ventilations helps calm the anxious flutters within.

It's time.

Ratchet steadies himself and triggers his chestplates to part. Relief surges through his frame as the pressure eases. Ratchet sags against Sunstreaker as the crackling energy lights the medbay. He can see his spark trying to spill from his chest.

He works his intake and tries to focus. The hard part is not in the letting go, but allowing himself to do so. He's had to hold back, keep the extra energy cycling endlessly. And now, he has to let science do its work.

Sunstreaker grabs his right hand, interlocking their fingers. His engine is a steady thrum against Ratchet's back. Their bond pulses with love.

First Aid hovers nearby, scanner in hand. Perceptor stands on Ratchet's other side, ready to assist. All that's left is to concentrate.

Ratchet offlines his optics, cuts his access to his periphery systems, and feels for his spark. The energy is exponential, spilling from his chamber, his systems engorged and fit to burst. His ventilations stutter. He braces himself.

The pain that hits is as much mental as it is physical. His spark carries no sensors, nothing to transmit pain, but the very act of rending is painful. The agony resonates through Ratchet's frame, translated to every sensor that knows to register pain. Ratchet feels himself tense up, his hydraulics seizing, and the distant pulling sensation of his spark spilling from his frame is as frightening as it is necessary.

Across their bond, Sunstreaker becomes alarmed. He hadn't borne witness to this with Knock Out. He doesn't know what to expect.

A mech's spark belongs in his frame, not the energy spilling out into the open air, crackling and spitting with discharge. The scent of charged plasma fills Ratchet's olfactory sensors.

Something pulls at him, from the outside. Like the pull of a magnet on metal. And Ratchet feels the first tendrils begin to part. The seam that starts not on the edges, but in the very core of his spark.

It's not an even split. There's a fissure on the outer third of the dense mass that is his spark core. He feels it pull away, following the pull of the excess energy. There's a chill that sets in, where the highest heat drains away. There's something, an awareness perhaps, something visceral and beyond explanation.

Ratchet hears it as much as he sees it, the snap of spark energy, the final severance. His frame jerks. His spark feels as if it ignites and he groans, his core fluttering madly in the wake of the loss. The corona flares and floods inward, as if to seal the breach.

His frame reports that his spark capacity is diminished. It sends error messages, old coding clashing with new. He's fine, but his coding doesn't know that. It reacts as all emergency systems are supposed to do.

His chestplates snap closed, severing the lingering connection between himself and the newspark, leaving it alone in the cold world. Not that he is alone for long because the frame is there, open and ready.

Ratchet forces his optics to online. He senses, peripherally, Sunstreaker's hand in his. He follows the dancing, spinning ball of energy in Perceptor's hand. Last time, it had been Jazz to guide the newspark, with First Aid ensuring proper placement.

The newspark fills the empty spark chamber, questing bursts of energy taste the confines. The chamber is the only newforged organ within the frame, Ratchet knows. It has never known the feel of another frame. It is all he could afford to newforge with their limited supplies, but if this is to work....

The first flush of spark energy hits the newframe. First Aid makes a startled noise, his scanner beeping a symphony, and then the newframe's chamber irises shut. The chestplates reshuffle themselves, protecting the fragile newspark within its new chamber. And a tentative, nascent energy field quests into the room.

Ratchet's joy overwhelms him.

“The newspark's accepted the frame,” First Aid announces, his optics alighting with victory.

Sunstreaker's grip nearly dents Ratchet's hand. Together, they stagger toward their youngling, their hands on his frame, warm as fluids begin to cycle, as ventilations begin their first breath.

“He's beautiful,” Sunstreaker murmurs, an ache in his vocals that he would have never admitted before.

“That he is,” Perceptor agrees. “What's his name?”

Ratchet shares a look with Sunstreaker. They had debated for many long hours over this. But last time had been Sunstreaker's choice. This time, he had bowed to Ratchet's wishes, though still pleased.

Ratchet takes his youngling's hand in his free one, ignoring the demands of his frame for recharge and energon and a merge.

“Tracks.”

o0o0o


The signal is getting stronger which means he's getting close.

Knock Out curses subvocally as he splashes through yet another muddy puddle. Frag this organic planet! He cannot wait until Megatron ends this fruitless pursuit and returns them to Cybertron, no matter it's current state.

His transmitter beeps. Knock Out narrows his optics and steps out of the close stand of trees and into a clearing. The air scents of ash and smoke. And death.

He shudders as he steps carefully around organic remains, rotting in the open air. They can't turn to dust like Cybertronians, no. They must leave behind a foul odor.

Something has happened here, he realizes. Not the Autobots. They wouldn't have attacked humans. And Knock Out hasn't been privy to any Decepticon attacks either. But someone has been here before him. Someone had destroyed these humans and their base of operations.

Someone had burned down the warehouse. Knock Out tucks the transmitter into his arm and gets closer. Breakdown's signal had lead him here, to the burnt husk of a building, dark with ash and charred wood.

Knock Out shoves aside large pieces of debris and starts to dig. He laments the damage to his paint job, but he's due a trip to the washracks anyway. The rain had made sure of that.

“You're not going to find what you're looking for.”

Knock Out stiffens, his plating clamping tight at the familiar voice. He narrows his optics and turns slowly, palming his energon prod. “Is there something I can help you with, Starscream?”

The Seeker smirks at him, across crossed over his chestplate. “I think you're the one in need of assistance, Doctor,” he purrs. “Lose something?”

He glares at Starscream, under no illusions because if it came down to a fight, Knock Out would lose. They may be of a height and mass, relatively speaking, but Starscream has vorns of experience on him.

“What do you want?” Knock Out demands, fingers tightening around his prod. He could summon a ground bridge but his list of allies on the Nemesis is frightfully short. And he has no interest in another Soundwave interrogation.

“Why to help of course.” Starscream grins and comes closer, clasping his hands behind his back. “I wouldn't want your plating to meet an ill fate. Anymore than it already has at least.”

Knock Out's engine revs. “Get to the point.”

“Breakdown is dead.”

“I know that!” He snarls, shoving his way free of the debris. “So is this the part where you tell me you ripped out his spark?”

“He owed me a favor. I wouldn't have wasted such a valuable resource.” Starscream looks down his olfactory sensory at Knock Out, not a twitch to be found in the normally coward of a Seeker. “Airachnid killed him and the humans wanted to play with the leftovers. I rescued him from that fate. If anyone is to blame, it's Megatron.”

Knock Out cycles a ventilation. “Starscream, what in the fragging Pits do you want? Because I know you didn't come here just to be nice.”

“My dear Knock Out. I am always nice.” Starscream's purr might have been attractive, once upon a time. “But you're right. I did have another purpose.”

“And?”

Starscream moves closer, his vocals dropping in volume. “I'm sure it hasn't escaped your notice that I am no longer within Megatron's confidence.”

“Yes. We all weep for your absence,” Knock Out says with as much insincerity as he can muster.

Starscream waves it off. “You can't tell me that you're all that loyal to our leader either.”

Knock Out's optics narrow. “Are you asking me to defect?”

“Was it that obvious?”

Knock Out huffs his disbelief. “You want me to join you and what army? I've yet to see you rebel against Megatron and succeed, Starscream. I'm not risking my spark to leave the winning team.”

“Except that he's not the winning team.” Starscream tilts his helm to the side. “Because if he was, Optimus Prime would be dead and not warming your commander's berth.”

“He doesn't have to kill the Prime to win the war.”

Starscream spreads his hands. “Not much of a war is it? We don't even know what we're fighting for.”

Knock Out presses his lipplates together. True he holds no loyalty to Megatron. But he also has no faith in Starscream either. With Breakdown gone, he has only one truth that keeps him going: the will to survive.

“I don't need an answer right now,” Starscream continues. “I only wanted you to know that the offer is out there. We could use a medic of your caliber. And if you want to survive, you'll consider it.”

Knock Out's optics narrow. “I'll be sure to keep it in mind.”

“That's all I ask.” Starscream executes an exaggerated bow and then leaps into the air, transforming midway and blasting off into the night.

Knock Out sighs and collapses his energon prod. Starscream is not wrong, he admits. But the idea of joining with the notoriously treacherous Seeker doesn't sit well with him either.

Frag it all to the Pits.

“Knock Out!”

He startles as Megatron's snarl reverberates through his audials. He whirls around, half-expecting to find the Decepticon warlord standing behind him, ready to offline Knock Out for his lack of loyalty. Of course, there's no one there because the shout had come across his comm, but one can't be too careful with Megatron.

“Yes, my lord?” he responds, his vocalizer more shaky than he would have liked.

“I don't know where you are and I don't care but if I don't see you in my medbay in less than ten kliks you will learn why I do not like to be kept waiting, am I clear?”

“Crystal.” Knock Out works his intake. “If you but send for a ground bridge, I'll be there at once.”

“You had better.” The comm ends with a click that sounds far more menacing then a simple sound should.

Clearly Megatron has not quite gotten over his berthmate's second betrayal. Orion Pax has found his current home in the brig and Knock Out wonders how long that will last before Megatron's patience runs out.

Or the Autobots succeed in their quest to retrieve their leader.

Knock Out cycles a ventilation as a ground bridge opens near to him – no doubt thanks to Soundwave – and he steps through it, onto the upper landing strip of the Nemesis. Up here, the wind cuts a bitter swath through the gaps in his plating. He fights off a shiver.

Megatron, Soundwave, and Dreadwing are present, though it is only the first that turns to acknowledge his presence. Being the focus of that baleful stare will never cease to be unnerving.

“Can I be of assistance?” Knock Out asks and hopes that now is not the time for a Soundwave interrogation. He did well enough to block out knowledge of his genitors. Concealing a conversation with Starscream is a different matter entirely.

“We shall see.” Megatron gives him a long look before returning his attention to his third in command. “We are expecting reinforcements shortly. They may need your expertise.”

“Reinforcements?”

Dreadwing shifts his weight and points to the sky. “There.”

Knock Out follows his line of sight, peering into the clouds as a shuttle comes into view, aiming for the Nemesis. It is small, probably only large enough to carry three or four mechs. But there's no mistaking the Decepticon design of it. Or...

Knock Out peers closer.

No. The shuttle is not Decepticon in design. It is a Decepticon itself. Their transport is a sparked shuttle, most likely a triple-changer.

Starscream has no idea what he's up against.

The shuttle lands with a slight bump and disgorges it's passengers with little fanfare.

There are three others, two grounders and one that is flight-capable, though Knock Out can't tell his alt-mode. Knock Out doesn't recognize any of them, not that he's familiar with all of the Decepticons. He and Breakdown had kept to themselves. It was easier that way.

“Lord Megatron,” the large flyer rumbles, genuflecting before anyone else can speak. “We are honored to grace your presence.”

Knock Out arches an orbital ridge. Is he serious?

“Welcome Lugnut,” Megatron replies, clearly recognizing the new arrival. “Your presence here is quite fortuitous.”

Lugnut beams in a manner that's more than a little disconcerting. He gestures to the others with him. “This is Barricade and his teammate, Groundhog, a medic. Our transport is Astrotrain.”

“And I'm carrying some rather irritating cargo so if you don't mind ceasing your chatter and extricating him from my hold, I'll be delighted to meet you,” the shuttle growls, his tone on the sharper edge of disrespect.

Megatron tilts his helm. “Cargo?”

Barricade flashes a grin of sharpened denta. “We caught ourselves an Autobot.”

“Here?” Knock Out asks.

“No. Elsewhere. At the Iacon Archives,” Groundhog fills in, his vocals raspy as though his vocalizer has been damaged.

“The Archives,” Megatron murmurs, and his optics flash. “Then he is more useful online. Bring him out, Astrotrain.”

“Gladly.” The shuttle gives a great shudder, performs an awkward half-transformation, and spits out a blue and white Autobot before he finishes shifting to his primary mode. His plating rattles as though relieved to be free.

He is the tallest mech Knock Out has ever met. He is helms above Dreadwing and Megatron, though still smaller than he should be considering his size. It must burn a lot of energon to subspace that much mass.

The Autobot groans and rolls to his aft, wrists cuffed behind him. His optics flicker. “You are the absolute worst hosts I have ever...” He trails off when he notices his audience. “Um. Please tell me I'm not on the Decepticon warship.”

Megatron chuckles and crouches, tilting his helm as he regards the small bot. “You are, my friend. And you are in the unique position of being able to assist me.”

Blue optics cycle. “You want me to... help you?”

“I do.” Megatron's purr is the tone that won him the loyalty of an army. “What's your name, little mech?”

The Autobot works his intake, optics darting around, looking for an escape that doesn't exist. “Smokescreen.”

Someone, somewhere, must have taught the Autobot the value of survival.

Megatron's grin is no less terrifying for it's sincerity. “Welcome to my warship, Smokescreen.”

Said the turbofox to the glitchmouse.

Knock Out cycles a ventilation. He can't see how this is going to end well. For anyone.

o0o0o


Orion onlines from a brief recharge to find that he's no longer alone. The cell opposite his is now occupied by a mostly white mech with door panels and blue accents. He bears the Autobot brand, which explains his presence in the brig.

Orion pushes to his pedes and gets closer to the bars. They fizzle at him in warning, but he's careful to keep a safe distance. The other mech looks up at the sound of his pedesteps, his optics dim as though underfueled. He doesn't appear otherwise undamaged.

“Are you all right?” Orion asks. He doesn't remember this mech as being one of the ones he had glimpsed back in the cavern before leaving with Megatron.

The mech unfurls and stands, rolling his shoulders and flicking sensory panels as though stretching his joints. He is Praxian? “Well, I'm in Megatron's brig and I'm still alive. That counts for something.”

His wry tone is a relief. That he can make light of the situation speaks well for his physical health. Orion smiles despite himself.

“How long have you been on Earth?”

“Is that where we are?” The mech ruffles his plating, but his wrists are cuffed in front of him, limited his movement. His optics trace the boundaries of his cell. “I wasn't captured here.”

Orion tilts his helm. “Cybertron?”

“Probably.” He shrugs. “I was guarding the Iacon Hall of Records when the war hit overload. Then something hit me from behind. I woke up in a Decepticon brig.”

“The Hall of Records,” Orion murmurs to himself. How curious and coincidental. “Did you know Alpha Trion?”

The mech grins. “I was supposed to guard him. Hope he's all right. What about you?”

“Me?” Orion cycles a ventilation and touches the Decepticon brand on his right shoulder. “I am afraid I made the mistake of displeasing Megatron.”

“Yeah?” The mech's optics brighten by fractions as he peers through the bars at Orion. “Anyone ever tell you that you look like Optimus Prime?”

“Rather frequently as of late. My name is Orion Pax.”

The mech's mouth forms a moue of confusion, his optical ridges drawing down. “But... Optimus Prime was Orion Pax. Alpha Trion told me so himself.”

The dread in his tanks coils into something continuously unpleasant. This mech would have no reason to lie to Orion, unless perhaps he allowed himself to be captured for some nefarious Autobot plan...

“So I have come to suspect,” Orion admits with a sigh. “And who are you, my young friend.”

He lifts his hands in a cuffed greeting. “Smokescreen.”

Orion gestures to his own chestplate in lieu of a handshake. “For what it's worth, Smokescreen, it's nice to meet you.”

Smokescreen offers a half-smile. “Same here.”

o0o0o


“This is the medbay,” Knock Out says as the door opens and he strides inside, assuming that Ground Hog follows behind. “It is currently fully stocked and equipped with all the latest tech.”

Ground Hog scans the room, his expression hidden behind his visor. “It appears adequate,” he comments and examines Knock Out's array of scanners. “Are you supplied for upgrades?”

Knock Out grins and activates his equipment screen. “Only the latest in offensive and defensive measures. I am something of a connoisseur.”

“Then we should get along just fine. Maintenance schedule?”

Knock Out winces. “We've fallen a little behind. My assistant is... no longer with us. And there are enough drones that I am short on time.”

Ground Hog picks up a scanner and inspects. “Lucky I arrived then. I'll get right on those.”

“There's no rush.”

Ground Hog's visor dims. “Maintenance is important. And I've seen what these mechs are equipped with. All are due an upgrade.”

“Everyone is functional.” Knock Out plants his hands on his hips, glaring at the medic. “And unnecessary upgrades will put a portion of Lord Megatron's army out of commission which he will not approve.”

“He will once I present him with a plan of action.” Ground Hog smirks and sets the scanner down.

Knock Out's frown deepens. For a moment there, he thought Ground Hog would make an adequate partner in crime.

“Until Lord Megatron says otherwise, this is my medbay,” Knock Out insists. “Any changes you want to make will go through me.”

Ground Hog lipplates curl into a low smirk as he rolls his shoulder fairings. “Sure, boss. Whatever you say.”

Dread curls in Knock Out's spark like an upset in his tanks.

Ground Hog spreads his hands before pressing one to the brand on his chestplate. “So. What would you have me do?”

o0o0o


When the console beeps the indication of an incoming message, Perceptor's spark leaps in his chestplate. He hopes, desperately, that it is Starscream, if only for a chance to see the Seeker again, reassure himself that Starscream still lives.

Instead, the ident code belongs to Jazz with an encrypted communication. It's not a real-time comm, but a message embedded in a signal. Something that has either been hastily transmitted in a spare moment, or purposefully embedded because Jazz fears he may be compromised. Either options do not spell well.

Perceptor is on his pedes, sending out a call for Prowl and Ratchet and everyone he considers a top priority, before he even finishes reading what Jazz has sent to them. He marks his comm 'urgent' as Jazz had, and he grips the console with trembling fingers, staring at their carefully crafted plan which is now useless.

Prowl is the first to arrive, partly because Perceptor is convinced their stand-in leader does not recharge, despite Mirage's best efforts. “What is it?”

“Jazz,” Perceptor replies, and steps aside. “We have a problem.”

Prowl moves beside him, lips moving as he reads Jazz's message, his energy field betraying his shock and agitation before he reins it in. “This complicates matters.”

“To put it lightly,” Perceptor agrees, his tone tight.

The others arrive in fits and bursts, stretching the recharge from their frames, or shaking off the dust of patrol. It's a tight fit, until the only ones not present are Sunstreaker and Tracks, probably because the youngling can't afford to lose recharge. Not while he's still processing all of the data they've given him to upload.

“What's going on?” Bulkhead asks, the first to speak.

Perceptor lapses into silence, letting Prowl take the lead.

“Jazz has made contact,” Prowl explains, his vocals tight, betraying his unease. “Optimus has been brigged for refusing to cooperate and Megatron has acquired someone else to do his dirty work. An Autobot by the name of Smokescreen.”

There's a low murmur amongst the Autobots but no one claims to recognize the designation. Which is unsurprising.

“It's only a matter of time before Smokescreen either gives in and does as Megatron asks, or refuses and bears the brunt of Megatron's wrath,” Prowl adds.

“What about Optimus?” Arcee demands, ever the aggressor.

Prowl shakes his helm. “Jazz doesn't know. Megatron is as unpredictable as ever. He could continue to allow Optimus to live, or in a fit of rage, decide Optimus is no longer worth the effort.”

“Then we're out of time. We have to get Optimus back now,” Ratchet insists, looking remarkably spry for someone who had split his spark less than a few days past. “Megatron's been trying to kill Optimus for centuries for a perceived betrayal. How long until he kills Orion for refusing him?”

“And just how are we supposed to do that?” Mirage demands, making a vague gesture to the sky above them. “We don't know where the Nemesis is.”

“No, we don't,” Perceptor says, and he folds his arms, one hand gripping his armor. “But we know someone who might.”

Arcee tilts her helm, optics narrowed. “Starscream.”

“He's helped us once before. He might do so again,” Perceptor says.

Sideswipe snorts a ventilation. “Out of the kindness of his spark, you think? Percy, have you lost your processor on this planet or something?”

“Perceptor has a point. All we have to do is offer Starscream something he can't refuse,” Mirage says, looking thoughtful.

“And what is it you think he wants?” Ratchet scoffs. “Starscream contradicts himself. We can't figure out if he hates Megatron or wants to berth him.”

Wheeljack rakes a hand over his helm. “The two aren't necessarily disparate.” He rolls his shoulders in an offhand shrug when half the Autobots stare at him. “I'm just saying, you can hate someone and want to frag them into the floor, too.”

Prowl waves a dismissive hand. “Starscream's berth habits are beside the point. Last time, he wanted medical aid. What can we offer him this time?”

“The chance to kill Megatron, but this time, he won't be making the attempt alone,” Ratchet says with slow realization.

Arcee stares at their chief medic. “You want to form an alliance with Starscream?”

“If our goals align, then why not?” Mirage muses aloud. “He helps us find the Nemesis, we help him destroy Megatron, and we get Optimus back. It could be more than just saving Optimus. It could mean the end of the war.”

“It would mean trading one warlord for another,” Arcee snarls.

“Starscream can be reasoned with. If there's one thing he's very skilled at, it's maintaining his self-interest.” Prowl turns toward the console, fingers flying across the keys as he calculates something he's yet to share. “We can negotiate with him.”

“I can't believe you're even considering this!”

“I can,” Ratchet says, and he pushes forward, closer to the console, as though physically wanting to show his support for Prowl. “Because I'm fragging tired of fighting. I'm tired of this planet. I want to go home. And if forming a truce with Starscream means we can go back and Tracks can see his real home, then I'll do it.”

Arcee's optics flash. “He killed Cliffjumper!”

“And we killed countless Decepticons in return,” Ratchet argues, his ventilations going ragged. “Including Starscream's brother. We bombed Vos, not the Decepticons. And we destroyed Tarn. There's not a single mech in this war who hasn't lost someone. And if we don't look past that, we'll all keep on fighting until we die. And I'm not going to do that. Not anymore.” He draws in a heavy ventilation, plating clamped tight to his frame. “I would shake hands with Unicron himself if it meant we would all stop killing each other!”

Perceptor's optics widen. And he is not the only one shocked to silence. Sideswipe stares at Ratchet as though he's never seen the medic before. Arcee visibly backpedals.

“Ratchet is right,” Prowl says, at length.

Mirage steps forward. “Prowl--”

He holds up a hand, silencing his bondmate. “No. Ratchet is right. We have fought for countless millennia. We have destroyed our planet. We are so few that I despair to think we are close to extinction. We are blackmarked by the rest of the universe. We have no future. So yes, Ratchet is right.”

Perceptor works his intake. “I am not at all averse to peace,” he offers quietly. “But how are we going to contact Starscream in the first place?”

“The same way he contacted us,” Prowl says, and the monitors flash, displaying the fruits of his labor.

He's been composing a message to Starscream.

“A high frequency embedded communication,” Perceptor murmurs.

“And what's to stop Megatron from picking it up?” Arcee demands. “It's extending an invitation for him to appear and blast us all to the Pit!”

“We're going to have to be smart about it.” Mirage moves to his bondmate's side, taking over the encryption. He offers Prowl a smile. “I'm tired of fighting, too.”

This is going to work, Perceptor thinks with an almost giddy burst of his spark. This is going to work.

***


a/n: There is plot movement. We are rocking and rolling! Also, show of hands, who guessed it would be Tracks? ;)

As always, feedback is welcome and appreciated.

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