Chapter 1: Questions, both relevant and irrelevant.
Ratchet wants some answers about what he had seen in Delphi and asks Cyclonus.
For this redo/update, I decided to name it like how songs are named. I am considering naming future stories in this same way, but it's because I'm terrible at coming up with story titles. Chapter titles, on the other hand, are easy for me.
“A few hours ago, they had made contact with the medical facility in Messatine known as Delphi, only to discover that there were drug-producing plants were grown there on a massive scale. This elaborate scheme was single-handedly concocted by the facility’s CMO, Dr. Pharma. Unfortunately, Dr. Pharma had also planted bombs inside his secret garden and set it all ablaze. However, after an attempt to make an airborne escape, he plummeted to the ground sustaining multiple injuries. He remains in critical condition. His fuel reserves are dangerously low and the probability of recovery remains unknown.”
At least this was what the official report had said about the incident. There were so many questions left unanswered. Drift had wanted Chromedome to access Pharma’s mind for evidence, but Rewind protested. Pharma was still in the medibay, unconscious. (He remained offline so he could recharge and recover from his malnourished state.)
Like the others, Ratchet was curious about Pharma’s elaborate scheme, particularly his use of alchemy. Besides the illegal drugs Pharma was making, he also made his own medicines for the patients. Ratchet wanted to do just that. He went down to the storage place, where they locked up Pharma’s tattered alchemy book. Ratchet reached into his subspace looking for a key, he pulled out the warped orb that Pharma had thrown at him. Pharma had mentioned using it as a bomb but it never worked. Ratchet’s curiosity got the best of him and he decided to go down and see Cyclonus. Ratchet figured he’d be the one to know about the orb, since Cyclonus was a former Unicron cultist, and the orb had an occult insignia on it. Ratchet headed over to Swerve’s Bar.
Cyclonus was sitting in Swerve’s bar, in the back corner, as Tailgate delighted himself by playing pool against Pipes. Ratchet spotted Cyclonus and approached him. Cyclonus saw the orb Ratchet carried and stood up.
“Wait, I was going to ask you what this thing was for,” said Ratchet.
Cyclonus noticed the orb was warped and sighed with relief. He then leaned over to Ratchet and said, “That’s a bomb made by carving a profane sigil on it. Basically, it’s cursed and can only be activated by blood, and then it short-circuits everything it comes in contact with. These bombs have to be a near perfect sphere in order to work, because the energy needs to distribute itself equally. But don’t worry; this is one warped because someone melted it with some sort of blessed solvent. It’s deactivated.”
“What’s it made out of?” asked Ratchet.
“Not sure because anything can be used as a bomb with that sigil,” said Cyclonus, “Where did you find that?”
“At Delphi,” said Ratchet. He had no idea where Pharma had gotten it, but assumed he had made it using his knowledge of alchemy.
Cyclonus took the orb and crushed it further with his hands. He returned it to Ratchet, nodding, as if telling Ratchet what he needed to do. Ratchet took the crushed orb and threw it into a nearby furnace. It turned out that the orb was made out of old wrappers and it burned up quickly, releasing a noxious fume which dissipated. Afterwards, Ratchet went up to Swerve. Pulling out one of his stainless-steel coffee tumblers, Ratchet asked Swerve to fill it up.
Swerve blinked, when he noticed that Ratchet had some milk in it. Hesitantly, Swerve filled up the tumbler with beer and charged Ratchet his usual rate. Ratchet paid with his debit card and took a sip of the drink, much to Swerve’s dismay, before storing it in his subspace and leaving the bar.
Tailgate had overheard Cyclonus’ conversation with Ratchet and decided to approach his roommate after he finished his game against Pipes. Cyclonus sat back at his seat, taking a sip of the brandy he had ordered, and winced with disgust. It was nothing like the fine Tetrahexian brandies he was used to drinking. After successfully hoping back to his seat, Tailgate asked Cyclonus, “Wait, how did Ratchet warp that bomb?”
“I don’t think he did,” replied Cyclonus, “Otherwise he would’ve admitted to it. He claimed to have found it in ‘Delphi’ and that’s the name of that defunct hospital where we rescued the patients and staff. It’s quite odd. The only types of mechs who’d be able to warp and essentially deactivate those kinds of bombs would be Primes or The Knights of Cybertron – reincarnations of the Guiding Hand and the Thirteen. They’d have to use their blood for it though.”
“Ooh…I wonder which one of the Delphi mechs is one of those?” asked Tailgate. “Maybe it’s the cute one.”
Cyclonus scoffed, “Don’t be silly. There’s no way one of those holy mechs would ever be at Delphi, that’s in the middle of nowhere!”
“But Rodimus Prime is on board,” replied Tailgate.
Cyclonus facepalmed. “He didn’t even leave the ship. He’s a fire-type and naturally weak to ice.”
“I saw him leave,” said Tailgate. Rolling his eyes, Cyclonus grabbed Tailgate by the arm and took him back to their shared hab-suite. Tailgate’s ridiculous questions were embarrassing. Concerned by Cyclonus’ hurried pace, Tailgate asked, “Are you taking me to the medibay so I could pick up the job application you told me about?”
Cyclonus stopped. He had forgotten about mentioning it to Tailgate. “Yes. That way we’d have time to fill it out properly this evening, so it could be ready for tomorrow morning.” Satisfied that Tailgate bought his excuse, Cyclonus took him to the medibay and really did hope that he’d get the job. That way, Tailgate would stop annoying him with his stupid and pointless questions.
Ratchet had already arrived at the medibay and had taken out Pharma’s alchemy book from storage. Just looking at the book’s cover creeped him out for some reason. Ratchet opened the book, the inside of the cover was a brief letter written in Primal Vernacular. The letter consisted of two paragraphs, each one with a different handwriting. The first paragraph looked similar to Pharma’s handwriting. The other paragraph was longer but noticeably neater. Ratchet photocopied the letter before flipping through the rest of the book. He had planned to get it translated since it looked very important.
There were no instructions in the book; it was just a giant recipe book that assumed the user had some basic knowledge of alchemy. The book itself was a very difficult read. One page, there were sample drawings of summoning circles. One of them looked like the one Pharma had drawn on the roof. To test it out, Ratchet drew the circle on an old sheet. He got a dust bunny and placed it in the middle of the circle. Ratchet remembered Pharma mentioning that the circles were activated by blood. So he pricked his finger and let the small drop of blood fall in the center of the circle. Ratchet transmuted a small pile of salt. Excited by his discovery, Ratchet continued to look through the book for more recipes. He sat in the nurse’s station and read it.
It was then, that Cyclonus and Tailgate arrived. Cyclonus asked Ratchet for a job application. Caught off guard, Ratchet hurried to look for it, almost forgetting where it was. Upon finding it, he handed two to Cyclonus, just in case they made a mistake on the first application and needed the spare, to save them the trouble of returning. After all, the medibay had plenty of applications available. As soon as they left, Ratchet resumed reading Pharma’s book.
Chapter 2: Guilty until proven innocent.
Drift and Rodimus do a little investigating on their own.
Meanwhile, Drift was in Rodimus’ hab-suite. Rodimus was cold from their trip to Messatine and Drift was still recovering from his allergic reaction. Since both were feeling unwell, they decided to help one another. Besides, it was Drift’s turn to take care of the sparklings – his twins (Jetstorm and Slipstream) and Undertone, Ratchet’s youngest son. The sparklings cuddled in bed next to Rodimus, in an attempt to keep him warm.
“How did you get so cold?” asked Drift as he touched Rodimus’ still cool frame.
“I sneaked out of the ship to play in the snow,” said Rodimus, “I made it pretty far out too. It was beautiful and very bright but then I didn’t feel so well and woke up in my room. Magnus was standing over me and started to scold me. I didn’t mean to get him so upset! All I wanted to do was explore.” Rodimus continued to shiver.
“How was it?” asked Jetstorm.
“It was pretty sweet, ask your carrier, he was there,” replied Rodimus.
“You were?” asked Jetstorm.
“Yes,” replied Drift, “this is why you spent the day with your godfather, Percy. Percy also informed me that you three finished your homework and passed his inspection on his first revision before submission. Wonderful!”
“Whoa…” said Rodimus, “I don’t think I ever passed anything on the first try. Ratchet and Wheeljack must’ve been so patient when they helped me with homework.”
Although Drift smiled, he was uncomfortable hearing Rodimus put himself down. At first, he thought Rodimus was trying to encourage the sparklings – making them feel more intelligent. But the comments came off as too heartfelt and sincere. Drift wanted to have a word with Rodimus about this, but felt the conversation and its topic were too strong for any young impressionable sparkling to overhear.
Drift brewed some tea for Rodimus. Rodimus drank the tea which helped him warm up some. Feeling more talkative, Rodimus began to explain to the sparklings and Drift about his quest to find the Kinights of Cybertron. “Primus gave me a mission that I should find them all – 18 bots in total. The Thirteen Primes and the Five from the Guiding Hand, because we need all the help we can get.”
“Why?” asked Slipstream.
“There is an unknown evil that must be stopped, but the Matrix hasn’t told me the details about it yet,” replied Rodimus.
“One of my old mentors, a stately priest named Dai Atlas, was looking for them too,” said Drift. “He had suspected that an old friend of his he knew back in Cybertron was one of them. His friend was a kind, gentle mech who cared deeply for others. You know this crystal I wear?” Drift pulled the necklace it was hanging from out of his subspace, as he clutched the crystal tightly in his hand, trying to cover its light. “It’s supposed to glow really bright in the presence of one of these knights…or a Prime. Dai Atlas said the crystal never glowed around his friend but insisted it should’ve.”
“Hmm…about that, sometimes it won’t glow for some people,” replied Rodimus. “I mean, I know the Circle of Light was looking for these bots to protect them. It’s possible for bad people to get a hold of them and taint their internal energon in such a way that these crystals won’t glow around these bots. In most of these cases, it’s done just to mess with mechs like in the Circle of Light. As mockery for failing to locate them. I wouldn’t be surprised if we encounter something similar on our quest.”
“As long as that witch-doctor is here, we might,” scoffed Drift.
Rodimus covered his mouth and thought for a second. “Which witch-doctor? I’m confused.”
“That medic we picked up from Delphi,” sighed Drift.
“Yeah, I don’t trust First Aid,” replied Rodimus. “He looks like he’s hiding something.”
Drift paused. Something didn’t sound right and when he realized, “No, his name is Pharma, not First Aid. He uses creepy magic to summon bullets and drugs. First Aid is the Wreckers fanboy, he’s nice. I know this for sure because I spoke to him twice.”
“Alchemy isn’t bad,” replied Rodimus. “It just is. I mean, I grew up seeing Wheeljack transmute components he needed in his lab. So if you’re gonna antagonize Pharma just for that, include Wheeljack too.”
“Rodimus!” gasped Drift, as he struggled to control himself. “Wheeljack has nothing to do with any this! He’s a good mech and would never be involved in anything illegal. Why are you bringing him up and disrespecting him like this?!”
“It’s because alchemy isn’t evil, otherwise a good mech like Wheeljack wouldn’t do it,” replied Rodimus. “You know what? Let’s settle this. I’m going to go straight to the medibay and prove to you once and for all that this Pharma isn’t bad.”
Rodimus got all his blankets and walked towards the medibay. Without a second thought, Drift grabbed the sparklings and went out the door with them as he followed Rodimus. The medibay was closed, because Ratchet was in a meeting with First Aid and Ambulon, discussing how he was running things on the Lost Light. However, Rodimus was the captain of the ship and access to every room, so he opened the medibay and let Drift and the sparklings inside. Quietly, they looked around until they found Pharma’s room. For convenience, Pharma was sharing a room with a comatose patient.
As soon as they stood over Pharma, Rodimus removed the Matrix and sat it on top of Pharma’s chassis. “See? Nothing’s happened to him,” smiled Rodimus, “this means that what he did wasn’t offensive to Primus.” Pharma suddenly began to cough violently. Rodimus took back the Matrix and returned it to his chassis. Pharma’s coughing stopped almost immediately. Rodimus assumed the weight of the Matrix was hurting Pharma. Rodimus' eyes then widened and he looked at Drift.
“What is it?” asked Drift.
“I don’t know, but he really hates Unicron,” said Rodimus, thinking about how he was going to word the Matrix’s revelation. He looked at the Matrix and said, “From what I know, if he was a bot branded to Unicron, they'd have a severe reaction to the Matrix. It’s like a horrible allergy and his body would become deformed. That didn’t happen to Pharma, so I think you need to apologize to him for saying he was a Unicron worshiper. No one deserves to be slandered like that.” Drift looked at Rodimus in disbelief. Rodimus sighed, “When he wakes up, I’ll make him apologize for shooting at you with those greasy bullets.”
Drift rolled his eyes and apologized to Pharma, as Rodimus tried to figure out what the Matrix had sensed. Ratchet had heard Pharma’s loud coughing and was already on his way over. He then approached the two young mechs. Ratchet took a quick glance at Pharma before speaking.
“So I see you’ve come to visit Pharma,” said Ratchet as he crossed his arms, “just so you’d know he was a student of mine. One of my best ones, too at least from what I heard.”
“What did you hear?” asked Rodimus.
“He’s involved in several high-risk surgeries,” replied Ratchet “all of them successful.” Ratchet paused, trying to figure out how to explain it to Drift and Rodimus. “What made them successful was Pharma’s skill in CPR. That’s why he was always on the code teams. The code team are the medics who are called when someone starts dying in the hospital. It’s their job to keep them from dying. That’s why I don’t understand why Pharma thought it was a good idea to leave Rodion and go to Messatine.” He took a deep breath and shook his head.
“Maybe there was a good reason he left,” shrugged Rodimus.
“There was no good reason!” Ratchet paused trying to calm down. Drift signaled Rodimus to leave, as he walked with Ratchet towards a bench. Rodimus left, taking the sparklings with him, to give them some privacy. Rodimus thought about what he had seen and none of it was a threat to the safety of the crew. However, Pharma was in grave need of protection.
Ratchet whispered to Drift, “Rodion had a larger population with more bots in need. You saw how desolate Messatine was. I understand wanting to further your career by having your own place, but this…? His decision made an impact, all right.” Drift stayed with Ratchet, who was too disappointed in Pharma to continue to speak.
This chapter was the most heavily edited section because I included Slipstream and Jetstorm. When I first wrote this story, they weren't introduced in RID 2015 yet. And then, there was some time that I wasn't sure if I wanted them to be part of this mash-up AU or not. But you know what? They were precious and I really dig the thought of Drift being a parent, and him bonding with Ratchet over parenting.
Chapter 3: Personal Projects
Ratchet and First Aid experiment separately.
Drift returned to Rodimus’ hab-suite. The sparklings were in the living room playing a racing game on Rodimus’ gaming console, while snacking on something. Rodimus was at his desk with a tablet in front of him, staring at it. Drift sat next to Rodimus and looked at the tablet. Rodimus had sketched a village being destroyed by terrorcons. Without facing Drift, Rodimus said, “This is all what the Matrix told me about Pharma. This is straight from Pharma’s memory, as far as I can tell. Up until recently, these kinds of attacks were disturbingly common in smaller villages.”
Drift looked at the tablet. “Yeah, this happened to Percy too. He lost most of his family when he was very young because of that. But don’t talk about it or even mention it to him. Most mechs who’ve been through that hate anything remotely occult…Okay, now I feel awful.”
“You didn’t know about that,” said Rodimus, “I bought everyone lunch on my way back here.” Rodimus pulled out a pair of wraps from a bag labeled “Swerve’s”.
Drift got his wrap, “How much do I owe you?”
“Don’t worry about it, just enjoy!” smiled Rodimus.
He looked for the receipt and noticed Rodimus had taken it off the bag. “Thank you,” said Drift as he took a bite from his wrap.
“You’re welcome.” Rodimus quickly ate his wrap and noticed Drift had barely touched his. “Drift…Are you still upset over Ratchet?”
Drift put down his wrap and looked Rodimus in the eye, “Rodi, you have no idea how this hurts me. Ratchet…he reminds me of Gasket, the mech who practically raised me and the other orphans like a son. I lovingly admire Ratchet in the same manner and he knows this. Just the way he’s so consumed by all of this…I don’t want to lose him too. I’ve already lost too many loved-ones…”
Rodimus comforted Drift in silence, bringing him closer to his bosom. Drift wept unsure of what to do, yet being close to Rodimus helped him relax. From a combination of instinct and experience, Rodimus knew that in some cases being close to the Matrix had very soothing effects. It was the comfort of reassurance and peace that everyone longed for in desperation. Rodimus figured that Drift was upset about Pharma out of jealousy. He had noted it when Ratchet’s face lit up when speaking about Pharma’s accomplishments, and Drift had become more tense. To be fair, their first impressions of one another weren’t on pleasant terms. Not to mention, Pharma had attacked Drift with bullets coated with an oily substance that Drift was allergic to. But it wasn’t this at all – Ratchet wanted to dabble in alchemy.
Ratchet had returned to his hab-suite, long before Drift had returned to Rodimus’ room to check up on him. During this time, Rodimus informed Ratchet that Undertone was playing a video game, since he finished all of his homework. Seeing that he had some time for himself, Ratchet thought it was the perfect opportunity to practice alchemy. Unfortunately, Ratchet was having difficulty with alchemy, since most of what was on Pharma’s book was vague descriptions of amounts. Ratchet either used too much or not enough, so most of his attempts ended in failure. Ratchet was becoming frustrated, but he had no plans to quit. He wanted to ask for advice, but he didn’t know anyone who knew about alchemy. He didn’t even know Pharma knew about it until they went to Delphi.
Back at the medibay, First Aid and Ambulon became worried over Pharma’s state. Although he was now fully recharged, Pharma would not come online. He seemed to have slipped into a similar coma that another patient, Fortress Maximus, was experiencing. Fortress Maximus had arrived around the same time Ambulon did back at Delphi. He had been in a coma for a couple of years. Fortress Maximus’ condition frustrated First Aid, who felt more should’ve been done. Pharma, however, had always told First Aid to leave Fortress Maximus alone since he was in stable condition. First Aid was always shocked by Pharma’s passiveness. It wasn’t until much later, when First Aid found out about Pharma’s miraculous surgeries, that First Aid felt resentment towards Pharma. To him, there was no excuse not to do more for Fortress Maximus. No longer under Pharma’s supervision and the fact that Ratchet seemed to have disappeared, First Aid decided to do his own experimental procedure.
First Aid got his jumper cables and decided to try to jump-start Fortress Maximus. First Aid had heard stories about similar procedures in the past with varying success rate. He felt it was wrong not to attempt it. Originally, he wanted to try it on Pharma, but he felt his colleague would kick is aft if he tested this method out on him. Ambulon had left to go clean and disinfect syringes, unaware of First Aid’s plan.
While Ambulon was cleaning them, Ratchet entered the medibay and spotted him. “What the hell are you doing?!” asked Ratchet, clutching his chassis.
“I’m sanitizing,” replied Ambulon, confused over Ratchet’s reaction. He then thought about it and said, “Oh…it’s just a custom we had back at Delphi. Supplies were scarce and we couldn’t just discard things. I don’t remember who suggested it, to be honest. But it worked well for us and our patients.”
Ratchet understood Ambulon’s reasoning and tried to catch his breath. “We have unopened ones ready to use. We don’t need to be doing this.”
“So do you want me to throw these away…?” Ambulon turned off the faucet.
Ratchet nodded. Ambulon got the rest of the syringes and returned them to the sharps container. Under standard protocol, Ratchet had to write up Ambulon but being a bit lenient and understanding, Ratchet decided to take the time to re-mediate him about proper handling of sharps and medical waste.
Meanwhile, First Aid got on top of the bed and knelt over Fortress Maximus. First Aid then attached the jumper cables to his chassis. Simultaneously, it was both painful and stimulating. He then flipped both of Fortress Maximus’ chest compartments to better attach the cables. The electrical impulse was instant. First Aid yipped in pain as Fortress Maximus groaned and quickly sat up. The commotion interrupted Ratchet and Ambulon’s remediation, and they went to see what had happened. Ratchet saw First Aid sprawled all over Fortress Maximus with the jumper cables attached to each other and facepalmed. It was all he could do. The day was almost over and Ratchet regretted coming back to check how things were going, before getting ready to recharge.
If First Aid would've tried to revive Pharma like this, Pharma definitely would've kicked his aft. And it would've been fully deserved too.
Chapter 4: Unnecessary Delay
Ratchet, Rodimus, and Tailgate get stuck in an elevator.
The next morning, Ratchet ran into Ultra Magnus, who was making rounds patrolling the hallways. “Excuse me Ultra Magnus, Sir, do you know if anyone onboard is proficient with alchemy?” asked Ratchet nervously. (Ratchet wasn’t afraid of Magnus, he was just embarrassed about asking.)
“Yes,” he replied, “Brainstorm. Only Brainstorm out of the ‘300’ or so on-board. Why did you want to know, Doctor?”
Ratchet expected Magnus to ask him that and he was prepared. “Because I’m trying it out for medical purposes and to improve patient care. Just want to brew my own stuff so the dosing can be more specific to the individual patient.”
Magnus looked at him for a bit. “Is there anything else you want to know?”
“I’m good, thank you,” Ratchet smiled and headed towards Brainstorm’s workshop. Magnus’ stoic demeanor did little to show his concern.
Ratchet arrived at the workshop and rang the bell. After about a minute, Brainstorm answered. “What can I help you with?”
“Brainstorm, I need a tutor for alchemy, I’ll try to make it up to you,” mumbled Ratchet.
Brainstorm raised an eyebrow and let Ratchet inside his workshop. He then led Ratchet to a safe area and sat down on a couch with him. Ratchet looked through his subspace and pulled out Pharma’s book. Brainstorm froze and stared at it in a poignant manner. He got it from Ratchet and kept staring at it. Before Ratchet could speak, Brainstorm said, “This is a copy of a very rare alchemical grimoire I had gifted to Pharma…”
“Wait a minute,” said Ratchet, “you taught Pharma alchemy? When did this happen?”
“I didn’t teach him anything,” shrugged Brainstorm, “this was a birthday present back when we were working at the New Institute.” Brainstorm flipped through it skimming the well-worn pages, “Seemed like it was useful for him. This was actually a copy of the original I own. The original was given to me by a good friend who I miss dearly. He was a fellow flier who was very skilled in alchemy. He transmuted everything from food to explosives. This book was literally everything he knew about alchemy. He transmuted this book, when he gifted it to me, and I tried to do the same.”
“So…will you be able to tutor me?” asked Ratchet.
With a hearty laugh which turned into a hacking cough, Brainstorm replied, “Yes, I’ll be happy to do so, but not at this moment. I’m very busy with my research. Let me check my schedule.” Brainstorm pulled out a laptop and checked his schedule that he had typed in Excel. After discussing the specifics with Ratchet, they decided to hold their first session later that afternoon. Ratchet returned to the medibay and came back to the workshop in the afternoon.
Their lesson was very brief. Brainstorm wanted to know how much Ratchet already knew. Ratchet knew more than he led on to believe, because the extent of his skills was masked by his doubt. Brainstorm tried to teach Ratchet how to read the book and they spent most of their time trying to do this. When Ratchet got the hang of it, Brainstorm let him practice for a bit. It was clear that Ratchet only needed to practice further to better refine his skill. Brainstorm told Ratchet that he really didn’t need lessons, just guidance as needed. Brainstorm reassured him to message him if he had any questions. Ratchet smiled, thanking Brainstorm for his help.
Rodimus and Tailgate were also going back to the top floor from the deck. They had gone down to visit the oil reserves. In reality, this was Ultra Magnus’ way of keeping Rodimus occupied and out of the way. He wanted to catch up on his documentation. Tailgate had been looking forward to it because it was like a field trip to him. Magnus had told Rodimus not to use the elevator due to a suspected mechanical problem. Rodimus didn’t mind running up the stairs, but he couldn’t do it while carrying Tailgate. Tailgate couldn’t catch up with Rodimus because he was too slow and had less stamina. Because of this, Rodimus made the decision to go up the elevator with Tailgate, despite Magnus’ warning.
Ratchet had just finished his meeting with Brainstorm and was going back to the medibay. He caught up with Rodimus and Tailgate. Ratchet, of course, had no idea the elevator was experiencing a mechanical problem. All three went up the elevator.
“What are you doing way down here? Emergency visit?” asked Tailgate.
“No, I was visiting Brainstorm,” said Ratchet, pulling out the alchemy book, “I needed to refresh my pharmacology knowledge. He’s the only one here, besides Pharma, who knows anything about alchemy.”
“So what do you do for alchemy?” asked Tailgate, “is it like chemistry?”
Ratchet nodded, “Yes, except it requires more work due to all the prep involved. Like you need to make sure you have the correct amount of all the reagents you need. Not all reagents are chemicals; some are roots, mushrooms, maybe flour, etc. Most of it involves transmutation which is a ritual to summon them but you need to trade things with it. That’s the main reason it makes this all questionable. Some mechs believe it is sorcery, thus Unicron worship.”
“That doesn’t sound too bad,” replied Tailgate, “it just sounds like too much work.”
“That’s what I’ve been trying to tell Drift,” Rodimus rolled his eyes. He then turned to Ratchet, “He’s really concerned. I keep telling him he’s got nothing to worry about, but he doesn’t listen to me. Like…like he feels betrayed, since you’re the last person he’d ever imagine doing something so…evil. I know it’s not evil but he disagrees.”
Ratchet looked at Rodimus and before he had a chance to speak, the elevator suddenly increased in speed, lifting all three off the ground. Tailgate held on to Rodimus while shrieking, as Rodimus tried to hold on to the railing. Ratchet had let go of Pharma’s book and grabbed on to the rail with both hands. Without warning, the elevator crashed into the ceiling. Everyone then collapsed on the floor and the book fell next to Ratchet, missing his head and shoulder. All of them were shaken from the ordeal. Rodimus pulled out his phone, with 17% left of the battery, and called Magnus. “Magnus!” Rodimus cried, “Me, Ratchet and Tailgate are stuck in the elevator and I only have 17% battery left. But don’t worry, Ratchet has his phone.”
Magnus, who had been in his office organizing his schedule for the next 6 months, sighed. He didn’t even need to ask Rodimus where he was because he knew. He had warned Rodimus on multiple occasions not to use that particular elevator. He sighed, “I’ll notify Grapple, Hoist and Inferno. I’m going to call Ratchet, now.” Magnus hung up and called Ratchet, who told him everything. Magnus felt guilty since he assumed this occurred because of Rodimus' carelessness.
Meanwhile, Rodimus comforted Tailgate, who was shaking. Ever since that explosion he was involved in earlier, before they took off on the Lost Light, random pops and explosions made Tailgate jumpy.
“What’s wrong?” asked Rodimus.
“Just when I was getting over my fear of elevators this just had to happen,” gasped Tailgate, covering his face due to embarrassment.
“Don’t worry, they’re coming for us,” nodded Rodimus, “we just have to wait it out. I was planning on popping that top hatch, but then my gut-instinct told me not to.”
Ratchet had finished with his phone call and sat down on the ground. Trying to get Tailgate’s mind off of what happened, Ratchet asked him, “So…what were we talking about before? I lost my train of thought.”
“You were explaining to us the basics of alchemy,” said Rodimus, “and pretty much saying that it wasn’t really bad. It’s just like cooking but with that…T-word you used.”
“Transmutation?” asked Tailgate reluctantly.
“Yeah, that’s it!” smiled Rodimus.
Ratchet continued to explain and even showed them the book.
“Can I see?” Tailgate reached for the book. Without a second thought, Ratchet handed it to him. Tailgate read the letter in the inside of the cover, which was written in Primal Vernacular. First, he recited the letter in Primal Vernacular. He took the opportunity to practice so he’d have something to show Cyclonus. He thought about it for a bit before attempting to translate it into Neocybex. It translated as followed:
“My Lord, my Master; please take this grimoire as an offering of gratitude for helping me through my difficult situation. It contains my entire knowledge regarding this matter and as such, it is personal in nature. Only the two of us, or perhaps others whom we’ve willingly revealed our insights to, shall properly decipher this grimoire’s secret. (The rest shall decend into madness.) May it help and guide you through all of your endeavors. Your faithful and devoted servant – Number Nine.
My loyal servant, how I miss you dearly; I cannot thank you enough for your wonderful gift of knowledge. It is the only tribute I can accept with a clean conscience. Though our time together has been short-lived, it has changed me in many ways. You were my most trusted supporter or perhaps my greatest enabler. For this, I should be thanking you instead. You opened up my eyes and purged my fears of death. Without you, I would’ve never accomplished my endeavors. I miss you with my entire being. I don’t think I ever told you, you were a good friend and this saddens me. We had something beautiful, but fleeting, together. For now, the thought of returning what is rightfully yours brings me comfort. May you stay safe and easily re-learn what you once knew –”
Ratchet sat there speechless, wondering if Brainstorm or Pharma were aware of what the letter said. The part, I miss you with my entire being. I don’t think I ever told you, you were a good friend and this saddens me, resonated with him. It summed up how he felt about the ones he used to be very close to. Ratchet had always had trouble saying goodbye. He didn’t want to lose anyone. However, the feeling of others thinking he took them for granted, was much worse.
Rodimus frowned, “Aw…that’s so bittersweet, but kind of…creepy? Sounds like a pact of sorts because of ‘offering’. You don’t talk to your friend like that. I know I’ve never said this to any of my closest friends.”
“I don’t know what that symbol is at the bottom,” said Tailgate, “but I assume it’s the other person’s name. I mean, it sounds like they’re both trying to be formal which each other out of respect.”
There was a tap on the bottom of the elevator. Everyone looked down and sighed with relief. Help had arrived.
“Wait up,” said Inferno, who was trying to better position himself beneath the elevator, “I need to get this thing opened up first. Can you all please move away from the door and into the back of the elevator?” Inferno worked quickly to cut a hole on the bottom of the elevator. He opened it up and stuck his head in. Rodimus handed Tailgate over to him. Inferno then tied Tailgate to a small sling and slid him down a rope, into an opened elevator door. Hoist got Tailgate and took him further inside. Inferno then threw two pulleys into the elevator, one for Rodimus and the other for Ratchet. Inferno got his pulley and slid back down to the opened elevator door.
Ratchet then stored Pharma’s book in his subspace and Rodimus handed him a pulley. “You go first,” said Rodimus. Ratchet got his pulley on the rope and slid down towards the door. Not long after, Rodimus followed. Ratchet saw Hoist checking up on Tailgate. He then turned his attention to Ratchet and Rodimus. Aside from a few scrapes, none of them were seriously hurt. They had to stay a bit to file the incident report.
"300" is in quotation marks because unlike the canon Lost Light, Rodimus never got 300 mechs to volunteer and go on his quest to search for the Knights of Cybertron. XD
I mean, in Chapter 2, Rodimus admits that he doesn't quite know what the plan was to find these holy bots/reincarnations of gods and Primes. He just knows he has to do it.
Chapter 5: Son of a Biscuit
Ratchet is left alone to his own devices.
Afterwards, Ratchet returned to his hab-suite. He the ordeal had exhausted him. Drift was already there, waiting for him with the sparklings. He figured Ratchet was too tired to go dine in the medibay’s conference room, like the family had accustomed doing, that he brought fast food from Swerve’s. As they ate, Drift asked, “Do you want us to spend the night here with you?”
Ratchet paused and looked into Drift’s eyes. He couldn’t help but feel guilt about worrying Drift. Drift already had too much responsibility being second-in-command and having to care for the twins and Undertone, whom Drift saw as his little brother. “No.”
Undertone looked up at Ratchet and tugged his arm. Although his son was mute, Ratchet understood everything he said to him. Gently caressing Undertone’s cheek, Ratchet said, “I hope it’s not too much trouble but Undertone wants to spend the night with you and the twins.” Ratchet then got closer to Undertone and asked, “Are you sure?”
Undertone nodded and then shot a glance at the twins.
Drift reluctantly agreed. He figured that Ratchet needed some time alone to unwind. He wanted to help clean up, but Ratchet insisted that he’d take care of it. Waving goodbye and bidding them all goodnight, Ratchet looked at the living room. He immediately regretted not letting Drift help. After tidying up for a bit and getting ready for bed, Ratchet tried to sleep but couldn’t. Wide-eyed and exhausted Ratchet looked up at the ceiling. His transient comfort never came. Ratchet sat up in bed and pulled out Pharma’s book. For some reason, he hardly felt tired when he read it. Ratchet decided to flip through the illustration section of the book. The more he looked at them, the less they looked like diagrams. In fact they turned into a strange illustrated narrative. But for some strange reason he couldn’t put down the book. Ratchet tried to decipher the illustrations but quit when he realized they’re only decorative.
The art-style looked familiar to Ratchet, but he couldn’t remember where he had seen it before. He tried to think about it, but it became a mentally draining task. Ratchet didn’t even notice when fell asleep.
He woke up some time later, on the floor with a pounding headache. Ratchet stood up slowly and staggered into his little kitchen. He opened the fridge and took a sip of something sweet. He looked at the time and it was near midnight. Ratchet sat on the floor and rubbed his eyes. Extremely tired, Ratchet closed his burning eyes. He couldn’t think well but remembered that the next day was his day off. With a half-hearted smile, Ratchet walked back to his bedroom.
He noticed Pharma’s book on the nightstand and wondered if there was a recipe for a sleeping potion. He skimmed through the book but didn’t find anything. Just as he was about to give up, a random piece of paper fell out of the book. It wasn’t a torn page, it was just some random scratch piece of paper with something scribbled on it. It read “Sleep Medicine. Dilute to 0.5%”, then there was a list of reagents with instructions on how to create the potion. Ratchet decided to give the potion a try and returned to the kitchen.
Opening up Pharma’s notes, Ratchet began to transmute the alchemical ingredients required to make the potion. Ratchet had read the required reagents and none of them seemed to have any sleep-inducing properties. Perhaps, this was just a random experiment Pharma was working on. Ratchet began to mix the ingredients, but they produced a noxious fume. Ratchet reached over to turn on the fume hood, but the entire room felt like it was spinning out of control. His sense of perception was distorted greatly and Ratchet collapsed on the floor as soon as he hit the switch.
Everything went dark. It was like this for only a moment, then Ratchet heard a loud rumbling sound approaching him. On his hands and knees, Ratchet crawled out of the way and into a gutter. There was nothing there. Confused by his predicament, he had forgotten for a moment that he was dreaming. Ratchet crawled up to a nearby table that had a basket of sweet breads on it. He picked up a biscuit and put it close to his ear, hoping it would tell him what he needed to do. The biscuit said nothing and slipped out of Ratchet's useless shaky hands. It skated across the floor and Ratchet tried to chase it, but he was too slow and the biscuit slid under a dresser.
He reached underneath and pulled out a strange necklace that had a white crystal on it. The necklace had tangled in his fingers. The necklace had a hold of him, with a tight grip. Ratchet looked back under the dresser and saw nothing else there. The white crystal pulsated with an illuminating glow and floated over his hand like a compass. Ratchet, who at this point came to his senses, decided to follow it. He was curious to see where this strange dream was going to lead him. Dreams being a seldom occurrence, he expected to see his thoughts visualized.
Ratchet had made his way down the corridor until he reached the basement. He opened the door and stumbled upon an underground cavern with an old stone stairway. The cavern was warm and humid, almost tropical. Ratchet wasn’t sure if he wanted to continue, but the necklace continued to tug at his hand. Ratchet followed it down the darkening path. As it grew darker, the necklace’s glow became brighter. Something about the place felt “off”. The atmosphere was melancholy and more humid. He found himself having to stop and wipe the fog off his eyes. The sound of flowing water got louder as Ratchet saw a small stream on the ground as he approached the opening. When he got to the opening, he saw the large cave with several cascading waterfalls. A plethora of cyan cave mushrooms illuminated the cavern. The cave mushrooms looked familiar to Ratchet and he remembered seeing them inside Pharma’s book in a random illustration.
Ratchet suddenly remembered where he had seen the art-style. He remembered that Pharma had made some posters back in med-school and this was his art-style. The lines were thick and the colors were bold, much like his personality. This baffled Ratchet because Pharma would never write or highlight in any of his textbooks, much less draw and color inside of them.
Ratchet had no way of traveling down the cavern. He could not fly and he did not trust his weak, shaky hands for climbing down safely. However, he remembered he could make it a lucid dream. Ratchet then imagined a safe stairway that would lead him where he needed to go. He saw the stairway and went down until he stopped at a small pier. There was a large, abandoned boat that had no oars. Ratchet looked around and didn’t see any. It then occurred to him to tie the necklace at the end of the boat. Secured, the necklace towed Ratchet across the subterranean reservoir.
Ratchet looked down at the water, which was very clear. Underneath, he saw the twisted remains of deformed abominations. (The kind the most perverse necromancers would defile in pursuit of pleasure.) The reservoir felt like an underground sea. The vastness made Ratchet feel like he was on the boat for an eternity. The ride was beginning to make his insides turn; Ratchet felt a bit nauseous. The ship ran aground not long after. Ratchet got off the boat and untied the necklace. He then wandered into a tunnel deeper into the cavern.
The necklace continued to lead him in what seemed like circles. Frustrated that he was going nowhere, Ratchet stopped in his tracks. The necklace, however, broke free from his grasp, cutting his hand in the process. The necklace floated away like a heartbroken wisp. Regretting his actions, because it felt like he had failed it, Ratchet chased after it, only to fall into a pit. Everything went dark once more. When he woke up, he was lying face-up in a strange cave-like room, his entire body was numb. It looked like he was in the inside of a mine, the crystalline stalactites hanging dangerously overhead.
He heard someone approach, but couldn’t turn his head to the direction of the sound. The footsteps sounded familiar.
Though this has a bit of an Alice in Wonderland feel to it, the whole scene was actually a reference to The Ephemeral Engagement. Specifically the scene were Brainstorm and his friend (the one who gave him the grimoire) teleported to a random cavern and conducted some experiments there. Originally, this story was intended to be the sequel but then I changed my mind since this never felt like proper closure.
Chapter 6: The Forethought
Like a dream, it all comes to an end, making you wonder why your subconscious brings up certain things.
Before Ratchet knew it, Pharma was standing over him. However, Pharma’s red/white medic scheme had been replaced with purple/black with scratched off insignias. Ratchet then felt he was being elevated, as if he was on a table. Pharma looked very upset, even worse than he did when he saw him at Delphi. Pharma said nothing to him. Ratchet then tried to coax Pharma or himself to speak. After all, he was in a dream, might as well make it into a lucid dream.
Pharma spoke suddenly; with a bit of sadness in his voice, “That potion wasn’t a hypnotic or a sedative of any kind. It was meant to put the drinker to sleep. Permanently.” Pharma pulled out a dark energon crystal from underneath the table and placed on top of Ratchet’s chassis. Ratchet’s vocalizer flipped on, as well as his other senses. There were small hooks digging into his frame and restraints to his wrists and ankles. Ratchet tried to break free, but he was trapped.
Frowning slightly, Pharma said, “You’ve come to ask me about my alchemical research, haven’t you? Just so you’d know, I don’t appreciate anyone violating my privacy and treating me as something to be plundered. Just because I’m marked for death doesn’t mean I’m dead, just yet.”
“I just want to know how to make medicines like you do, so I can be able to formulate them more specifically for my patients’ needs,” said Ratchet. Ratchet was only curious and never had any intention to plagiarize Pharma’s work. “You know me, I would never take anything from anyone without permission.”
“Oh...is that why you took my alchemical grimoire without permission? ” scoffed Pharma. Ratchet remained silent as Pharma continued, “Don’t lie, you just want to exploit me just like everyone else. The fact that a student has surpassed his teacher in terms of skill has made you feel terrible. Listen, I’ve always been the one to say the things we're all thinking; you just hate being seen as old, useless and outdated. My accomplishments cause you pain because of this. You’re being strangled by your own pride, Ratchet...” Pharma leaned in a little closer, with a snarl, “...and frankly, I find this very disillusioning. You don’t know what it’s like to feel betrayed by someone you adored and admired.”
“No!” Ratchet tried to shake his head in protest, “You’ve got this all wrong Pharma. This isn’t about my pride; this is about me being unable to help others in need. This feeling of helplessness is torture to me. I can't just sit there and watch others suffer. I can't just sit there and do nothing either, I want to help. If anyone is disillusioned by anyone, it’s me. I regret not talking you out of going to Delphi or saying goodbye. Why would you even consider going there? Were you not aware of how important your skills were? You had no good reason to leave any of me or the rest of us! How could you do this to me? How could you act so selfishly?”
“Ratchet, you’re so quick to jump to conclusions with your baseless assumptions,” Pharma chuckled.
He leaned closer to Ratchet, holding up both of his hands to show him. “Look at my hands Ratchet.” Ratchet looked at Pharma’s hands and saw nothing peculiar about them. Smiling, Pharma said, “These hands have committed many sins.”
Pharma picked up the dark energon off of Ratchet’s chassis and held it close to his own neck. A faint purple patterned glow seemed to emerge from deep inside Pharma’s neck. Ratchet thought about it for an astrosecond. When he realized what it meant, he felt disgusted.
That glowing mark was a necromantic sigil, exclusive to a particular class of necromancer known as “Death Whisperers.” These necromancers were the most devoted Unicron cultists who had their vocalizer engraved so they could reanimate corpses with their voice. Only the most degenerate mechs, who had no value for morals and ethics, would ever do such a thing. That was why anyone with that mark was automatically sentenced to death because they were beyond redemption. These were the types of mechs who stood against everything Ratchet believed in. To think that someone he held under his metaphorical wing, like Pharma, would fall into such an abhorrent path, hurt Ratchet in many unimaginable ways. He felt so betrayed.
Pharma laughed at Ratchet’s distress, “My, my, Ratchet I thought you cared about the ‘greater good’. All those poor mechs who were near death and were miraculously brought back from the dead. I mean, using necromancy as another tool for CPR and saving many lives with it? I’m aware of the dangers involved with my skill and that’s why I left Rodion. Sooner or later, someone was going to reveal my secret. Someone like you, with your jealousy."
"Pharma," said Ratchet, trying to calm down, "Believe whatever you want, but I would never have anyone killed for any reason. It goes against everything I believe in. You know that. We spent time together..."
"My mistake," replied Pharma, "you would've probably blackmailed me. To you, exploiting someone for the greater good isn't bad, right? Don’t tell me you’re starting to believe that annoying, fat-thighed friend of yours...”
Ratchet wanted to cry; instead he gathered his strength and said to Pharma, “You lying figment of my subconscious! I have known Pharma for long enough. His hatred of Unicron is too strong for him to ever be involved in such a thing! Pharma is very sincere. As hard as he tries, it is difficult for him to lie or keep secrets for very long. Because of this, there’s no way he’d ever be involved in your disgusting necromancy. The worst thing he has ever done is compromising patient privacy just to get his petty revenge. If it wasn’t for the fact I’m strapped here I’d teach you a thing or two with my wrench right about now.”
Pharma appeared indifferent towards Ratchet’s statements and snapped his fingers and smaller hooks came from beneath the table, opening Ratchet’s eyes wide.
“Ratchet, let me explain something to you,” Pharma leaned closer to Ratchet with a half-crooked smile purring, “You know nothing about me or my history, aside from what you’ve heard me say and your assumptions. Do you really think I'm incapable of keeping a secret like this? Something that has haunted me all my life and that I must come to terms with the fact I cannot escape my cruel fate? But then, who cares? Obviously not you. You're disappointed that I’m not the mech you wished I was. Wishes are foolish things to want. I won't apologize, Ratchet. You don't deserve any apologies coming from me. No one does...”
Before Ratchet had a chance to answer, Pharma tilted the table until Ratchet was practically upright. Pharma pulled out a scalpel and some other small tools. With a gentle twirl, Pharma lightly tapped Ratchet’s throat with the scalpel without cutting him. Ratchet trembled. “Yes...your one weakness; the throat,” whispered Pharma, “Out of all the surgical procedures, it had to be this kind that makes you cringe. Now watch me perform a little neck procedure.”
With a mischievous smile, Pharma suddenly slit his own throat with the scalpel, as Ratchet was forced to watch. Pharma worked in a hurried pace to vivisect his own neck. He skillfully avoided his major vessels without looking and extracted his vocalizer. Ratchet saw the necromantic sigil engraved into Pharma’s vocalizer. It was a simple marking made by seven dots connected by a line. Three vertical dots on either side and a single dot in the center. The dots on the vertical dots on the left were all connected by a line. The top dot then made a diagonal line to connect with the middle, solitary dot. The middle dot had a line that was drawn horizontally to meet the middle right dot. Then another line connected the all the right vertical dots in the same manner as the left dots. There was symbolism behind the marking, but Ratchet was unaware of it.
The sigil looked old, but had recently become inflamed. Suddenly, a thought had occurred. Was this mark the reason Pharma began to cough violently when Rodimus and Drift came to visit? Ratchet vaguely remembered seeing Rodimus put the Matrix back into his chassis as he came down to see what was going on. He had a difficult time remembering. Watching the entire procedure made Ratchet physically ill and very nauseated. It was the first time Ratchet had ever felt so disgusted about any surgery. (As a veteran medic, Ratchet had seen practically everything.)
Pharma backed away, as Ratchet leaned forward to vomit. As he did, the hooks came loose and Ratchet collapsed on the ground. He then vomited all over the kitchen floor, causing him to wake up. Weak and dizzy, Ratchet moved away. Still shaken by what he saw, he wept softly and heard a knock on the door.
“Ratchet, where are you?” it was Drift, “Are you okay?”
Ratchet’s head hurt but he replied, “I'm in the kitchen.”
Drift entered the kitchen. He had brought some sand, a broom and a dustpan. Drift did not ask questions and helped Ratchet up to a seat. Drift then took it upon himself to clean up after Ratchet. As Drift threw the sand over the vomit for cleanup, Ratchet said, “I’m a fool. I drank the potion I made and then this happened. But then I was sleep deprived and exhausted. What did I expect? You were right Drift, all of this was bad.”
Before Drift had a chance to answer, Ratchet walked over to the medibay, which was right across from his had-suite and signaled Drift to follow him. With Drift’s assistance, he performed a lavage on himself to rid himself of the last bits of potion in his system. Once he finished, he administered an anti-emetic and returned to his hab-suite. He still felt lightheaded.
“What kind of potion where you trying to make?” asked Drift.
“A sleep potion recipe Pharma had,” said Ratchet, “I’ve needed something like that for a long time. Most of those medications make me feel even worse or they make me itchy. This didn’t make me itchy, but it made me have the most unpleasant nightmare I’ve had in years. But don’t worry, it’s just a dream. Not sure if I should tell you.”
“You can tell me,” nodded Drift.
“When we get back in the room,” replied Ratchet.
They returned to Ratchet’s room and resumed cleaning up the mess. Ratchet said to Drift, “Just so you’d know, I don’t interpret dreams as ‘visions’. Dreams are made up of stuff we’ve been thinking of too much lately and that’s exactly what happened. I assume that potion made it worse because towards the end, all my intrusive thoughts tainted it.”
Ratchet explained what he remembered about his dream to Drift, who listened attentively. When Ratchet mentioned the necklace Drift asked, “What color was the crystal?”
“I don’t know, it looked white,” replied Ratchet, “I don’t remember.”
“Huh...that sounded familiar to me,” said Drift, “I know you don’t really believe in some of the Circle of Light’s teachings, but there’s these necklaces that have these blessed crystals on them. We call them 'milk crystals' because they’re so white and opaque. Their purpose is to locate mechs with the ‘holy energon’, so we could find them and keep them safe. Their energon is so pure that it has the ability to neutralize the effects of dark energon, but these mechs are very rare. It is a great blessing bestowed by Primus, for obvious reasons. Imagine if Unicron cultists got a hold of one of these crystals, that would be terrible! I used to have one of those necklaces, but I don’t know where I lost it. I had pulled it out like two days ago. But most importantly, did you find the mech?”
Ratchet shook his head. He had lost the necklace as well and didn’t know where it floated off to. He then stopped and didn’t want to tell Drift about Pharma since Drift had been weary of him. Instead, he changed up the story and said that he only ran into Pharma and confronted him about going to Delphi. He told Drift that the dream Pharma was disappointed in him because he was “prideful” and “jealous” of Pharma’s accomplishments. However, he felt there was more to the conversation than he was able to understand. He did get the feeling that Pharma didn't trust him enough to open up to him, and that made him sad. Ratchet wasn't sure if he should tell that to Drift either.
“...He made me question my motivations,” said Ratchet, “I needed that, you know. Why am I still medic? I can honestly tell you that if you had asked me that before, I wouldn’t have known what to answer. Along the way, my motivations got...hazy. In the end, I just want to help and care for as many bots as possible.” Ratchet looked at Drift in the eyes, “Alchemy is not for me. Healing the sick that way is not my calling.” Ratchet picked up Pharma’s book and showed it to Drift, “I’m locking this back up where it belongs. Not to mention, I took it without permission and that was very wrong of me and disrespectful to Pharma...”
Drift smiled with relief and tried to hug Ratchet. Ratchet was annoyed at first, but then just let Drift give him a hug. “I’m so glad my prayers came true,” said Drift.
“You prayed for me to nearly die of an overdose due to my carelessness?” asked Ratchet. Drift became very pale. Before Drift had a chance to reply, Ratchet said, “Nah, I’m messing with you. I know you wanted me to stop.” Drift followed Ratchet and they went back to Ratchet's hab-suite. Ratchet was embarrassed about the ordeal because of his foolishness. In his weary state, had forgotten to turn on the fume hood before he even began. He felt so stupid. He would've felt worse had Undertone been with him at the time. (Sparklings were more vulnerable and the fumes would've poisoned him.) However, after chatting and resting, he felt better.
After finally catching some sleep, even though it was still his day off, Ratchet went to the medibay. He did this regularly and assisted with non-medical things such as inventory. When he was at the medibay, he looked through the drug supply room and noticed they were low on a particular type of antibiotic. Without thinking twice, he began setting up a makeshift alchemy lab. Realizing what he was doing, Ratchet stopped, unsure if he should continue. Taking a deep breath, he resumed and concocted a little bit of the antibiotic. (Just enough to get through until the next shipment.) Ambulon stood behind Ratchet, observing him. When Ratchet finally noticed Ambulon, he jumped up from his seat.
"Sorry Ratchet, I was just looking," said Ambulon, "So was this what Pharma was doing? Holy scrap that's awesome...!"
"Yes," sighed Ratchet, "I've been thinking about stopping but now I don't know. This feels so wrong but so right at the same time."
"I think it's a necessity," replied Ambulon, "I wished Pharma would've taught us how to do this back at Delphi. It's so labor-intensive, that would exhaust anybody. If all of us had been doing it, it would've been less work for Pharma. And things wouldn't have gotten that bad or desperate."
"You make a good point," said Ratchet, "I can do it when it's needed, which in my case, it's not that often. If you want, I can try to teach both of you what I know. I'm nowhere near as good as Pharma though. Speaking of Pharma, I need to see how he's doing."
"He's still offline," shrugged Ambulon, "I didn't think I'd find myself saying this, after how he's been rude to me, but seeing him like this is...unsettling." Ambulon shuttered at the thought and helped Ratchet store the antibiotics.
Ratchet then went to see how Pharma was doing. He went up to Pharma and gently opened Pharma’s mouth trying to look inside, but didn’t see anything. The only way to disprove those claims was to hold up a dark energon crystal next to Pharma’s neck so he could see the sigil glow...or he could perform a laryngoscopy on him. But Ratchet was nervous about doing any invasive procedures in the neck, ever since he attempted to repair a mech’s vocalizer, only to make him lose his voice completely. Though this happened many years ago, the failure haunted him because he never meant to do any harm.
Defeated, Ratchet sat down next to Pharma. “I know you can hear me Pharma,” whispered Ratchet, “based on your injuries and state of malnutrition, there’s no way you’d still be offlined like this unless it’s intentional. I know for a fact you fear imprisonment, but based on your case, Ultra Magnus thinks the worst you can get is like a $50,000 fine. Pharma you can’t keep running away from your problems. You have to learn how to deal with them by confronting them. And if it’s any comfort, I’d be more than happy support you. You are a good friend and an excellent student. You are also like a son to me. I know how loyal and protective you can be. Please come online so we can work this out...”
Pharma did not reply and remained offline. Ratchet waited for several minutes but Pharma did not move. Ratchet grew worried. He didn’t know if Pharma was angry at him or too frightened to come online. After a while, Ratchet got up and went back to his office. There was something wrong. The first thought to come to his mind was that Pharma was indeed a Death Whisperer and that was probably why he thought going to jail was a guaranteed execution. Upon thinking this, Ratchet slapped himself in the face for making such a terrible assumption. The Pharma he knew would never do this. He thought about calling Chromedome in private to help him investigate, like Drift had suggested, but then he slapped himself again. He remembered how Pharma was adamant about keeping his privacy and mnemosurgery would make everything worse.
Ratchet sighed and turned off the lights. Before he left, he turned around and noticed a strange glow underneath Pharma’s bed. Ratchet looked underneath it and saw a small glowing crystal, attached to a cord. Ratchet pulled it out and looked at it. It had a very bright clean white glow, which didn’t hurt his eyes. It was the exact necklace he had seen in his dream and the one Drift claimed to have lost. The crystal was glowing so brightly, that Ratchet had forgotten he had turned off the lights. Ratchet decided to go look for Drift. As he left the room, the crystal's glow faded.
Drift was walking down the hallway with some small boxes and waved at Ratchet.
“Drift, is this yours?” asked Ratchet holding up the broken necklace.
Drift’s eyes lit up and he nodded, “Yes, this was a gift from Wing. I was worried about having lost it. Thank you so much.”
“You’re welcome!” smiled Ratchet as he put the broken necklace in Drift’s subspace, “Tell Undertone that I'll be over in a bit.” Both then went their separate ways.