We are a literate, intermediate to advanced AU Transformers RPG Based off of the first season of TFP with dashes of other incarnations sprinkled here or there. Characters from any continuity are welcome however must be restyled to match the TFPrime universe.
Active, with ongoing plotlines, we are always willing to integrate new characters into storylines once incorporated into the setting.
Standing between the Twins, usually Sunstreaker on the berth and Sideswipe hovering close to observe, was always a peculiar experience in terms of field resonance. With them sharing a spark frequency, it felt like standing in the middle of one large mech rather than two individuals. Cleaver had long grown accustomed to the sensation, and had thought that she'd successfully calibrated her instruments to accommodate the unique peculiarities of a spark split as well.
"Not spoken to anyone of the Order other than Elita One, yet." Cleaver went on, setting aside a broad spectrum scanner that had been thus far proving useless. Placing her thumbs beneath Sunstreaker's chassis, she triggered the manual overrides to split and open his central seam. Easing the plates back, she adjusted her integrated scanners for the fifth time. "But I guess that the Solus femmes are all gonna be of a similar mettle. Be interesting to see how they settle. And how they get on with the... Twisters..."
Cleaver trailed off to frown in silence into Sunstreaker's open chassis.
"Something's off with his biometrics," she murmured for Sideswipe's benefit, refocusing the handheld scanner on the yellow mech's laser core. "Nothing to worry about. It's just... odd."
“Charity cases are their thing. I’m sure they’ll feel right at home.”
Sideswipe, having taken a perch on the nearest free space available – between two crates of semi-expired medical infusion packs on the counter – eyed the medic slightly sidelong, the soft blue glow reflecting off the seams in his arm guards. He was seated, one pede hanging off the table, the other knee drawn up, his arms folded atop his bent leg, chin behind the crisscross of his arms so the tense downturn of his mouth was not visible to the medic even if she had been looking at him. He EM field was muted somewhat, controlled – an affected calm.
“And hey, Order’s got guns, guns’n’more guns. Aint gonna complain of having more’n just me on base bein’ battle capable. Trustworthy, as Buckethead’s fuckin’ word may be – him havin’ a four-million year track record fo trustworthiness – I like th’ idea’a more’n his goodwill keepin’ his Cons outta here.” His optics flickered slightly, throwing small flashes against his paintjob, the glow reflecting back against the silver of his face, tried not to let show instinctive tension that went through him when Cleaver opened his twin’s chest. “Right now, aint nothin’ stoppin’ ‘im but the notion of some Bot talkin’ tactics when a mini-con’s too close about or summat.”
He shifted his weight slightly, gaze falling back to Sunstreaker’s still framework.
“You know… I aint never gone ta a Solus Circuit before.” He wasn’t sure why he was mentioning it. “Not even when Sunstreaker got slagged that one time. Didn’t even cross my mind.”
Cleaver didn't look up from Sunstreaker's internals, though one optical ridge did rise further into the overhanging shadow of her helm to show interest.
The medical division of the Order of Solus had been a small but powerful presence in the most battered and fatigued areas of Cybertron, stemming hundreds of viral epidemics amongst the Low Castes through the simple distribution of vaccinations and medical aid no matter what class or function. Though the senior mecha of the medical centers had dismissed the Circuits as unsanctioned nuisances, interfering with the natural and necessary social order through blind philanthropy, the working medics were grateful for the tides the Order stemmed. The Circuits treated thousands of mecha whom, for one reason or another, they would have to turn away. And for free.
The medic's re-calibrated scanners were still not giving a clear indication of what had suddenly tilted Sunstreaker's readings today. Jacking in a diagnostic line into a frequently used medical jack, Cleaver produced a charged probe designed to discharge a set burst of energy for the purpose of determining signal strength, vascular tension, conductivity and many other minor discrepancies that could shed light on Sunstreaker's charts.
Optics dimming with internal focus, Cleaver began to slowly and sequentially touch the probe to various points in the mech's internals, scrutinizing the data as it was produced.
To Sideswipe, she asked with genuine curiosity: "How come?"
Because it was difficult to imagine, with his brother in the state he had been in, and the repair costs outstripping even combined Tier Two gladiator savings by a nauseating margin, that Sideswipe hadn't even considered taking the Solus route.
“Ya know what ‘gratis’ means?” said Sideswipe, not looking at Cleaver. His optics were somewhere across the room. “Gratis aint gratis, yeah, not in Kaon. Not in any sub-sector don’t got body-shell loan laws, femme. Maybe aint nothing you familiarized yourself wit’ when ya worked th’ Pits, medic-bot, but any religiousity-swingin’ med-techie with a smile sayin’ ‘gratis’ is a techie ya don’t frakkin’ make a deal with. Could end up owing more’n shanix. End up in a relinquishment clinic on a compulsory grounds, get me? Or a circuit-shack or charge station. Not every Circuit out there’s a selfless Solus-followin’ pure spark an’ aint all of them Adepts, either.”
Sideswipe twitched a little, a pang passing through his chest, like someone had stuck something under his plates, but the sensation was there and gone so swiftly it might have never been anything but a rotor acting up. He shifted his weight a little, moved to drop his chin on top of his folded arms, optics falling on Cleaver.
“Plenty of phishers lookin’ for mechanoids in a bad place. I show up there…” The loan forcers and slam hounds would have been on us in an instant. Better to sign on a medi-contract with term, let them rip your spinal strut apart for the up-front payout and nix the loans than hope on faith. He shook his head, ignored that part of him that sounded like Sunstreaker. “It’s th’ image, femme, what th’ Order is. They who ya go to when ya can’t take care’a yourself an’ that image will kill ya fast in Kaon if ya got a rep that needs upkeep. I had one.” He shrugged. “You aint never had that problem. Your rep was keep ya head down an’ do yur job, don't get noticed. Simple.”
He kept looking at her a moment.
“An’ I didn’t go to ‘em… cuz you didn’t work ‘gratis’.”
Cleaver's mouth twitched with some suppressed expression that may have been a smile or a frown. She didn't look up from pitted and scarred surface of Sunstreaker's protoform, continuing to touch the probe to various conduit structures. Privately, she affirmed that 'femme' was definitely a positive progression from 'Towerling', though still a long way off 'fam'.
"No," she replied evenly, not looking to Sideswipe though she could feel his gaze heavily enough. "Parts cost, rent was a joke, and I had a really compelling need to eat."
There was a high whirr from a micro-drill as she unseated the mech's magnetostrictive stabiliser from its housing and eased it aside, teasing apart the cabling that followed to exposed the buried neural cluster beneath. Not a part she often saw as a medic, and one of the few square inches that Cleaver hadn't scanned and picked at on a nanoscopic level. She hoped that she'd overlooked something indicative of why Sunstreaker remained in persistent stasis: localised neurotmesis with system-wide implications, perhaps. A diagnosis, and leading on from that, a cure.
Cleaver paused, a long hesitation, before quietly adding: "You never talked about what you did to pay, that one time. Showed up with a jet mod and I assumed..." Her plates flattened, rotors shifting a little more tightly together. "I assumed it was better not to ask."
The medic glanced up to Sunstreaker's dark optics, studying the sharp lines of his faceplates for the few seconds it took to prepare the dataport. Looking back at his internals, she touched the probe through.
“Ya didn’t have to ask cuz any mechanoid ever been in a jam knows ‘xactly what I did.” Sides didn’t move from his stiff vigil on the counter, though the heel of his hanging pede thwacked rhythmically against the cabinets beneath. “Wasn’t even illegal.” A pause. “Unless,” he said, in the tone of one wondering aloud, “ya didn’t know that th' upper-plate tech companies recruited volunteers outta th' sub-levels for to viral vetting an' mod-prototype runs? Cuz if ya gonna sell it with 100% guarantee of no viral outbreaks to Iaconian markets, ya gotta work out th' bugs somewhere it don’t count, yeah?”
He might have gone on but a sudden jolt just below his spark made him jerk suddenly, his palm instantly flattened against his central seam and pressing hard. He grimaced and waited. When the sensation did not ghost away like it had before, remaining like there was something pressing along the inside of his chest, just below his spark casing, he started to worry. It didn’t hurt exactly, but it was like something was there, made his bio-pulse quicken instantly, basic on-board systems reporting no system error anywhere. He just sat there a long moment, confused, waiting for the feeling to go away while it persisted in simply not going away.
He debated for a ridiculous moment whether he should say anything or not.
All rumination on just how sick and desperate the lower spheres of Cybertron had become before the War had come and made that daily living look almost civilised immediately ceased at the intonation. It fell on Cleaver's audios like the blast of a proximity mine, alarming and foreboding.
She cut power to the probe, optics sharp on Sideswipe's for a reaction. Twins. Spark splits. She'd only read the case reports on how that, very uniquely, could slag them. Cleaver had put them together from various stages of wreckage hundreds of times, but aside from their melding fields, they had always scanned as typical patients. The one you were pulling a serrated blade out of was the one that bitched and gritted through the pain, whilst the other cast a lazy optic and snorted.
"What do you mean: ow?" The bark was a peculiar mix of concern and professional bewilderment, packaged into a don't-you-fucking-fuck-with-me demand.
When Sideswipe didn't answer in the first nanoklik, Cleaver extracted her tools from the labyrinth mechanics of the central nexus of a Cybertronian system so that a sudden move wouldn't kill Sunstreaker.
Such as throwing something at his red brother if he dodged the question.
“Ow, as in ‘ow’ I have a piston actin’ up or something.” Sideswipe banged his fist against his chest a few times, frowning at the dense metal thunk of his own fist against his armor, vibrating dully through his proto-mass and… nothing. Not a thing. He dropped his hand against the table top, palm down gripping the edge of the table top to lean forward a bit. “Yeah, see? Gone.” He shrugged, I dunno, guess I’ve got a few gears knocked loose since Megatron bounced my glitchfragging face off the control room floor. That’ll happen when mass murdering warlords get let on base.”
Touchy? said Not Sunstreaker, You finally gonna bring that up? Been weeks and weeks, you finally gonna bring it up? Good for you, nancybot. And Sideswipe wished Sunstreaker was really there so he could tell him to shut up. He just sat there, expression serene and hostile, glaring at Cleaver. His bio-pulse was up. There was a nervous lattice of static shot through his whole body terminating out from his spark in a webbing of anxious tension. What? Like that will make the ‘ow’ go away?
“Question,” he said. “Why didn’t you just tell me Megatron was gonna come onto base, ‘stead of just tellin’ me ta leave?” His grip on the table top made the alloy groan. “Out of curiosity. I mean, lying to me in Kaon was just you looking out for your own mesh. That what you were doing this time ‘round?” His tone was treacherously level. “Looking out for yourself?”
Though Sideswipe may flippantly dismiss what, albeit fleetingly, resembled a mirrored discomfort and clawed at her mesh to get her to do the same, the medic could not overlook it.
It was a small chance, this kind of vicarious perception: where one spark split was in deep, unresponsive stasis and the other could feel their pain regardless was rare. Spark splits were already rare, however, and if this was a condition she'd been ignorant of up until now. If it was a degenerative condition...
It could explain Sunstreaker's persistent stasis.
Even if the pain had been just a piston, it was too significant a possibility to overlook. However remote. It kept Cleaver from so much as EM-flinching at Sideswipe's dig.
Like any good diagnostician presented with an unusual reading, she set about trying to replicate the result. Cleaver narrowed her optics on him, feeding the probe back into Sunstreaker's core to deliver another shock.
"Made a mistake," she replied, and made a point to hold his cold stare as she said it. The probe slid back easy, dry and warm. "I was frightened. Led to more mistakes."
"A mistake is leaving th’ fuel distiller on when ya step out for th’ day,” said Sideswipe. He allowed a certain toxicity in his tone – the undercut of betrayal. “You let a megalomaniac onto base where my brother sleeps, lied ‘bout it, then threw me through a groundbridge an’ cut comms. That’s significantly more than a fuckin’ mis – OW! What th’ frag!?”
Sideswipe had managed to conceal his discomfort from the previous errant nerve-circuit discharge, he didn’t manage it this time. The jolt through his chest was blistering, almost electrical, bursting through the neural circuitry around his spark-casing and terminating in lines of blue and black fire through his upper body. The sensation stopped almost instantaneously and, in retrospect, was not so painful so much as unexpected. The ghost of sensor-net activity lingered in his neural lines, overwarm and real. Cleaver was still looking at him – this kind of narrow clinical stare so thorough it could have been a deep-system medical scan.
For a moment Sideswipe didn’t react. He just sat that absorbing the usual stink of disinfectant and synthanol familiar to med-bays – the one Sideswipe hating mostly because Sunstreaker hated it more. He considered the layout of his bodyshell – the fine-wire network of his nervous system laced through his protomass and skeletal structures, fired alive with the micro-nova of his Spark, an impossible ball of quantum fusion and meta-physics jammed in the dark metal of his laser core. His purloined armor and hydraulic systems – destroyed and rebuilt so many times he was not certain how much of the original frame work remained. He knew how he worked, you see.
He’d been opened up, blown apart, torn to pieces, and reconstructed enough to know how he worked.
He knew exactly what he’d just felt.
So, Sideswipe hopped off the table and steamed for the door. “I’m outta here.”
Last Edit: May 18, 2013 14:26:51 GMT -5 by Deleted
It was a rather big wrench, and it clanged between Sideswipe's doorwings with enough force to make him stiffen. The area was sensitive, she knew, but the strike would've done no more than scuff his finish and piss him off.
It gave her a second to get her hand out of Sunstreaker and start around the berth, though she couldn't move fast enough to catch Sideswipe before the door. "Wait!" The bark was as much imploring as a demand, one hand raised reachong for him but back by her side before he could see it.
"I need to check this. If this is vicarious perception, it could lead to why Sunstreaker's staying in stasis. Maybe how to bring him back online, as well."
She grit her dente and pulled her rotors tight, perfectly aware that asking Sideswipe to stay here for a deeply invasive scan to potentially diagnose a debilitating disorder that could lie at the root of his brother's comatose state was not going to fly. The medic guilty of exactly everything the commando had accused her of was on cracked ground, deservingly.
"I need to run hardline diagnostics and close scans. Spark especially." He radiated unwillingness. Cleaver didn't dare approach him, regarding him like a borderline natural disaster. Like negotiating with a tsunami or a volcano.
"Just lie on a berth, and I'll answer all your questions. Anything. Please, Sideswipe - this is important."
The wrench hit the commando directly in the spinal seam of his upperback – a good shot really, actually, a pretty decent throw – striking the alloy precisely over the central nerve cluster there, sending a burst of static up the back of his neck. It was, by no means, debilitating but it was enough to stop him dead in tracks, cringing – stopped by a combination of the pain and an overwhelming sense of appall. He spun around, optics zeroing in on the medic with all the laser-beam hostility of a lit sniper-scope.
“Did you just throw a fuckin’ wrench at me.” It wasn’t a question and she didn’t answer him, instead steamrolling past his words into a wave of insta-bargaining. Cleaver hovered in front of him with the mien of someone trying to calm a self-terminator or a fanatical pamphleteer on a transit dock, or maybe like she thought he was going to bite her which, perhaps, was a possibility he was entertaining. “You think,” he interrupted, speaking at the same time as her, “this is why Sunstreaker is still in a coma?”
She assured him she would answer his questions if he would just sit down.
She said ‘please’.
Why the fuck does she care if we’ve got VP? Sunstreaker’s words rattling in his head like spare change in a can. She didn’t care when she let Megatron walk in here. Could have put his fist through both our sparks and put is out. Why’s she care if we’re branched or not? Sunstreaker was lying silent on the berth right in front of him, but it was like all his thoughts were in another language and that language was his brother’s. She doesn’t need to answer your questions. He could feel the eyeroll. You know why she fucked us over…
Sideswipe sat down on the circuit slab beside Sunstreaker’s, glaring. He didn’t lie down. “Why didn’t you just tell me Megatron was coming on base?”
Last Edit: May 18, 2013 17:50:31 GMT -5 by Deleted
Cleaver fetched a bulky scanner from the wall-mounted monstrosity of a cabinet that Ironhide had helped her bolt up. "I didn't know how you'd react to me telling you that I was bringing him back into the base where your brother's sleeping. Generally, though, I figured badly."
Coming to stand infront of the red mech, she thumbed the device to boot up and met his incendiary glare. "If it'd been Megatron calling me from the middle of China wanting to 'bridge in for a repair job, I'd have told him to take it up with his own medic. But it was Megatronus. I could put him to the day he'd been reset to, and he was lost, confused and asking me for help."
The scanner chirped to announce that it was primed, but Sideswipe showed no signs of lying back yet. Let alone opening his chassis. Cleaver took a moment to order her thoughts, mindful that it was an explanation that he wanted, not another apology. They'd moved past that, having highlighted the real world value of her guilt and good intentions as next to naught.
"Cat, snuck through the groundbridge after me," she went on, optics dimming a little when he stiffened. "I didn't know until Megatronus pointed her out. But he was fine with her. Even tried, albeit cack-handedly, to put her at ease. She was safe. He was safe. That's when I decided to 'bridge Megatronus back, but I didn't see you being convinced over the comm. And I thought there was a good chance that if I told you who was coming through, you'd be waiting on the other side with blades ready to get him for what he did to Sunstreaker."
Her gaze had drifted across to the yellow mech, whose chassis had fully closed on autonomic reflex. Months now with no sound or movement, and his stillness still unsettled her. She kept expecting him to sit up one day, run a critical optic down his chassis and then ask her what kind of scrap, back-alley repair job she called this.
"It was supposed to be a quick turnaround - in, repairs, and back out again. And that was, hnn, very naive of me to think."
A beat, and then she held up the scanner a little to Sideswipe with an air of inquiry.
“To the day?” Sides repeated, not looking at the scanner for a second. “Cuz… I knew Megatronus from the Pits since before he was non-Syndicate and he aint never been ‘not dangerous’. You think he was just sittin’ around waitin’ for th’ Senate ta fraggin’ finally think he’d speechified enough to earn equality? No. They listened ta him because he killed people, a lot of people, an’ was friends with people who killed a lot of people an’ deep down th’ Senate was scared off their well-polished afterparts of him maybe takin’ that killing out the arena. One aint ‘less dangerous’ than the other – they just a different kind. Both kinds, I deserved to know about ‘fore it came on base.”
Sideswipe disengaged the locks on his armor, basic medical access seam around his spark chamber support system and external plating across his chest. He didn’t open up – hoping vaguely he didn’t have to because he hated opening up his armor and – beneath his conscious denial of it – he wasn’t sure he wanted to know. He didn’t lie down.
“See – that’s where I’m hung up. Yur right. Yur naïve. I don’t care if you buy th’ pre-war Megatronus Good Guy thing. Half the planet bought that slag. But I gave you my word. I said I’d handle my history with Megaton. I said I’d protect this place an’ the Neuts in it. You, in fact, I said I’d protect you, femme. So you goin’ behind my back… sez ya don’t trust me. Worse: Sez ya think yur not trustin’ me gave ya th’ right ta take th’ decision outta my hands. Cuz that’s what you did - ya decided whatcha thought was best for Cat, me, Sunstreaker, an’ Moonshot an’ ya didn’t tell us. We had th’ right ta know. Cat only knew because she snuck an’ I only knew cuz I snuck.”
He continued to look at her – armor over his spark still closed, clearly waiting on an answer.
Cleaver thought about telling Sideswipe that, yes, she knew the day of Megatronus's reset because it was the day he woke from stasis after she'd done his repairs following Crashmaster. Sunstreaker had been slagged and unconscious then as well, ironically enough. Megatronus had responded to her in China as he had then: sat down and shut up when he was told to; taken a forceful blade to the hip on the occasion when he didn't; and not raised a hand to deliberately harm her. Dangerous, yes, but never to his medic. At least not whilst out of the drugged haze of misfiring combat routines clashing with autorepair and a litany of damage reports.
Once convinced that his professed state of mind was genuine, Cleaver had felt reasonably safe, and confident that she could keep the much younger mech in line. This wasn't the mech who'd put his hand into her side and made her stand leaking to make her requests. Nor was he the mech behind atrocities so horrific that the names of those sites were profane. Megatronus had been dangerous at the start of his political campaign, but to Cleaver, it had been controlled and directed towards something noble. It was only later, sometime after Crashmaster now that she thought about it, that he had become maliciously vicious. By the time he left the Arena and finally arrived at the Senate, he was outright psychotic.
The medic thought these things but did not say them. Because those were excuses, and excuses by their very nature implied that the actions they defended were reasonable. They had not been. Cleaver had acted in error, had thought in error, and if she was going to retrain her behaviour to not act and think like that on default, she had to stop making excuses.
"Yeah." She didn't push the scanner, or make a move towards plugging in to his chassis. "Yeah I get it."
Sideswipe continued to watch her, silent and unmoving. Her hand tightened marginally around the scanner, the hydraulics running the length of her backstrut whining as she shifted.
"I thought I'd be protecting you. Assumed I knew what was good for you, Cat, Sunsteaker and Moonshot, when I didn't, and I didn't give up on that assumption even as more and more things started going wrong. And that was idiotic. And arrogant."
The pause was for her own benefit, seeking the line between honesty and justification. Cleaver didn't know how it was falling, but hoped it was enough for Sideswipe to let her run the direct scans on his casing.
"I don't know if it's Towers, Ward Chief or self-gen Creator programming that had me thinking I knew better, or even that I had any right to control things that do or might directly affect others. Been set in that kind of thinking for too long."