240 Years ACR…
Suffocating darkness. Blistering pain and crushing immobility.
He could not move. He was trapped. But he had to protect him.
He only hoped someone would find him and the one he was protecting before he could feel no more.
Until then… he would stay online. He had to.
His chassis ached. Dull pain shot up his leg as his pede drug against the ground in a notable limp. His gaze shifted to the door of his quarters and, with a slow push of his servo, he opened the door to his room. He shifted over to his berth and, slowly, achingly, lowered himself to his berth.
Slowly he reached out to the nightstand beside his berth with one servo and picked up a small datapad that was resting on the metal nightstand. With a flick of digits, he turned on the datapad, gaze narrowing at the first headline that appeared.
Bombing of Iacon Senate Takes Lives of Many, Injures Hundreds; Suspect Unknown
Reported by Dragonsong
What was a peaceful afternoon in Iacon was quickly shattered by an explosion of immense magnitude. This explosion was centered within the bowels of the Cybertronian Senate building of Iacon, and was timed to explode during a vital meeting that saw every member of Leader Bumblebee's Cabinet and the Senate of Cybertron inside the building. The origin of the explosion was found by expert scientist in the basement of the Senate building.
Moments after the explosion happened, Cybertronians were seen fleeing from the burning, destroyed building. Units of response teams, including Iacon's Search and Rescue, the Wreckers Emergency Response Team and Iacon's Fire and Enforcement Unit, responded as quickly as possible to the scene. Units from teams began administering medical attention to the wounded that escaped the explosion and the Wreckers ERT rushed into the weakened structure to pull out the Cybertronians that could not leave on their own.
Horrifyingly enough, only klicks after the first explosion another followed, this, the second explosion of the day going off while response teams were inside the building. Those of the response teams that had not been caught in the explosion rushed to help all of the ones caught in the second explosion.
As of this writing, there are thirty six known dead (from visitors, Senate members, responses teams and more) and around two hundred wounded. Only five of the thirty six that lost their lives due to this attack have been identified. Officials fear that there are more injured and dead within the rubble that has not be cleared. Response teams are still working to safely clear the destroyed area and, until their work is complete, a full figure of those affected by this heinous bombing will not be known.
The five identified that perished in this unspeakable act are:
Airshift: A former Autobot who-
Exhaustion, pain, agony - of a spark tearing kind he'd only felt one other time in his entire existence - swamped his processor and, before he could finish reading the article, recharge was upon him.
Wheeljack's spark felt hollow, without feeling but for the numbness that edged at his every step and his every thought. Metal dust coated his frame, floating off him as he walked towards Team Prime's headquarters. The white Wrecker had only just finished up his duty as clean up crew for the bombing that had torn asunder Cybertron's peace - many hours after the devastating bombing had taken place - and he'd only just gotten the chance to find time to recharge.
He was too exhausted to go the hour drive to the Wreckers headquarters - he could barely even stay awake as it was now - that he'd decided to take refuge at Team Prime's headquarters. Primus, he was even nearly too tired to travel the short distance to Team Prime's headquarters, but he trudged on determinedly.
Finally, Wheeljack reached the mighty monolith that was Team Prime headquarters, sitting there with its grand white architecture as sturdy as ever, and stopped. Wheeljack lowered his helm as he trudged up the large steps that led to the entrance of the headquarters, each step staggering and slow so that he stumbled slightly when he failed to lift his pedes completely up each step. Wheeljack's optics shuttered as he reached the grand door that led into Team Prime's headquarters and, before he could rap his raised servo on the door, Wheeljack's frame collapsed from sheer exhaustion.
A vent wheezed from Wheeljack's intakes as his optics and processor began its power down cycle. Recharge will be nice-
"Wheeljack!" Servos latched onto his arms, jolting him from recharge as he was lifted up from the ground. Slowly Wheeljack looked up, a jagged, joyless smile cracking over his faceplate at the sight of Smokescreen and his conjux, a former Decepticon flyer named Breezedrift, hovering over him.
"Here, I've got you," Breezedrift whispered softly as she helped Wheeljack back to his pedes, steadying him as she did. Smokescreen shifted beside Wheeljack to give the exhausted Wrecker further support.
"Let's get you to a room. You need rest, Wheeljack." Smokescreen's voice was distant, muffled by the fog in Wheeljack's processor that had been tugging at him for hours.
As Smokescreen and Breezedrift carried Wheeljack into Team Prime's headquarters, Wheeljack's optics shuttered and he fell into a deep recharge.
Wheeljack woke with a shuddering yawn, optics adjusting slowly to the brightness of his room. As he shifted off of the berth, pedes hesitantly holding his weight, he glanced around the room. There was little in terms of decorations or personality, and only the berth he had slept on occupied any space in the room.
The door to his room creaked open and, with it, the white helm of Breezedrift appeared through the open door.
"Good morning, Wheeljack," she greeted cheerily as she walked into the room with a small, blue, white and pastel purple sparkling, swaddled tight to Breezedrift's chestplate.
"Good morning," Wheeljack greeted slowly as he tilted his helm slightly towards the window where the light was streaming through. "How long have I been in recharge?"
"Two days," Breezedrift admitted. "Smoke and the others grew worried but Ratchet told us to leave you be."
"Ratchet?" Wheeljack gasped, "What? He's here?!"
"His medical expertise was needed after the explosion. Ultra Magnus summoned him from hiding on Earth and he has helped to the best of his ability. He's still here."
"The explosion," Wheeljack remembered before an uncontrolled surge of fear choked his spark. "Have you received word from Bulkhead, or any of the recruits? What's the news from the explosion?"
"Not good," Breezedrift vented. "Many more dead were found than originally counted. Senate members, civilians, even response team members were killed in the blast, and the second explosion collapsed what remained of the building's structure, which has only hindered the clean up process."
"He's fine," Breezedrift said with a shake of her helm. "He happens to be here now. Why don't you come down and get breakfast? You need it."
Wheeljack wanted to protest but, with a defeated vent, he gave Breezedrift a short nod. Breezedrift looked at him for a moment then propped the door to the room open, signaling for him to walk through. As he passed through the open door, Breezedrift followed close behind him, quickly catching up to walk next to him.
"What's your sparkling's name?" Wheeljack asked in an attempt to lighten the stifling tension that thickened the air.
Breezedrift turned to him, her currant optics lightening ever so slightly at his question. Gently she brushed her servo against the puny helm of her sparkling, who let out a small squeak and shifted itself deeper into the folds of mesh wrapped around it when she touched it. "This is Windriver," Breezedrift said happily, "she was born only a few days before the bombing at the Senate building. Smokescreen wanted to respond to the incident but his supervisor told him to stay home with Windriver."
Wheeljack looked away from Breezedrift as the pair continued to walk down the hallway, finally entering into a large room where Bulkhead and Team Prime - minus Ultra Magnus, Knock Out and Bumblebee - were sitting at a large table. Arcee and Bulkhead both looked exhausted as they leaned against the large table, while Smokescreen had his helm buried in a datapad.
None of the three looked up when Wheeljack and Breezedrift entered the dining hall; Bulkhead barely even acknowledged Wheeljack when he sat down beside his friend and fellow green Wrecker's optics shifted towards him before he sipped at a cup of energon tiredly.
Wheeljack reached for a cup of energon that was sitting in the middle of the table, though he did not drink from it even as he brought it close to him. He turned his helm towards Arcee, as he looked around the table once more. "Where are Bumblebee and Ultra Magnus? Are they… offlined?"
"No," Arcee said quietly, "Bee was hurt in the Senate building explosion. Ultra Magnus is substituting as Cybertron's leader until Bumblebee recovers."
"And will he? Recover, that is."
"Yes. Knock Out has informed us many times that Bumblebee will recover," Arcee assured quickly, though something in Arcee's words sounded off, but why Wheeljack couldn't decipher.
"I'll show you Bumblebee," Bulkhead growled beside Wheeljack, his voice taut with anger as he spoke. "Come with me."
Wheeljack paused mid-drink, his optics snapping towards Bulkhead as the green Wrecker stood up beside him. "Bulk? Are you alright?"
Bulkhead ignored Wheeljack's incredulous question as the large Wrecker turned away from him with a snort of his vents. Wheeljack stared at Bulkhead's back for a moment before he quickly got to his pedes and moved beside Bulkhead. Bulkhead looked at Wheeljack for a moment before he left the dining area wordlessly, the silence of Wheeljack's friend only raising Wheeljack's worry.
"You should go with him," Smokescreen advised from behind Wheeljack. Wheeljack shifted his gaze to the blue Autobot before he nodded and hurried to follow after Bulkhead.
Bulkhead stomped down the hallway without saying a single thing to Wheeljack when he reached his side, and it wasn't until the green Wrecker turned down a different hallway that Bulkhead slowed. Wheeljack, frustrated with Bulkhead's lack of communication, rushed in front of Bulkhead and stopped him a pointed snarl from his engine.
"Bulk, talk to me! What's wrong?"
Bulkhead looked down at Wheeljack, an unusual intensity burning in his optics as he jerked his helm down the hallway they were standing in. "Follow me, and you will see."
"What? Bulkhead could you be anymore mysterious?" Wheeljack scoffed irritably as Bulkhead walked past him, and stopped in front of a large glass window with a pointed look towards Wheeljack.
Slowly, Wheeljack walked over to Bulkhead and turned his gaze to the window, and what was beyond it.
Inside the dark room was the recognizable black and yellow chassis of Bumblebee, laid prone on a medical slab with numerous tubes attached to his entire frame. Wheeljack could see a variety of dents, scrapes and even some peeled paint - from fire, he assumed - staining the Autobot's chassis, but no injury that looked severe enough to justify the worry from Bulkhead or Arcee.
Wheeljack turned towards Bulkhead, who was watching him with an apologetic frown, and gestured towards Bumblebee's form. "The way Arcee told it, it sounded like Bumblebee was hurt really badly, so how is it that Bumblebee's injuries look so mild? This doesn't make sense to me."
Bulkhead, frustratingly so, said nothing in response and instead moved further down the hall, slowing and stopping in front of another door. His gaze turned to Wheeljack and, for the first time, Wheeljack saw the fathomless pain dulling his friend's optics.
"Bulk?" Wheeljack ventured, afraid of what Bulkhead would say as the green Wrecker twisted his servo to the door.
"This is why Bumblebee is going to live."
As Wheeljack walked up to Bulkhead's position, Bulkhead looked away from the window and sucked in a deep breath that shook with a sob. Wheeljack stared at Bulkhead for a brief moment before his spark flooded with dread.
Wheeljack snapped his helm to the window and froze, his fears realized.
"No," he breathed, servos plastered against the window as he stared into the room.
On a medical berth lay Breakdown, his blue chassis crushed and broken, paint melted clean off of his frame, arms and legs. Sitting beside Breakdown was Ratchet, who had his helm lowered over Breakdown's frame as he scanned Breakdown's chassis. Suddenly the medic's optics shifted to the window that Wheeljack was peering through, though the old medic didn't react but to turn his helm back to Breakdown's broken frame.
"What happened to him?" Wheeljack breathed, horror settling into his spark at the sight of his friend's mangled chassis.
"He was in the Senate building for the meeting when the bomb went off. No one knows what happened after that but, yesterday, a response team found him and Bumblebee amongst the rubble. From what the inspectors have determined, Breakdown sheltered Bumblebee from the second blast - he took the brunt of the explosion. That's why he's... Ultra Magnus thought it would be wise to call Ratchet here to help Breakdown."
"But- How- Did-" Wheeljack was lost for words as he looked up at Bulkhead then back to the sight of his injured friend, whose frame moved weakly with each strained vent.
"Ratchet hasn't left that room since he got here. He hasn't talked to any of us either. None of us know of Breakdown's condition but..." Bulkhead turned his helm away from Wheeljack as shame radiated from his chassis. "I don't think it's good. I'm worried, Wheeljack."
Wheeljack looked away from Bulkhead just as the door to the room snapped open harshly. "Are you two going to stand outside and stare in here the whole day? I can't help Breakdown with you two gawking at me as I work." Ratchet's voice, barking and stern, snapped Wheeljack's gaze to the aged medic, who was glowering at both Wheeljack and Bulkhead, servos clenched tight.
"No, sorry, Ratchet," Bulkhead apologized, "we'll be going."
"Good," Ratchet snapped and, with a final glare in Wheeljack and Bulkhead's direction, Ratchet slammed the door with a loud thud.
Bulkhead vented and walked away, but Wheeljack stayed stock still, unable to look away from his injured friend in the medical bay. He could barely recognize Breakdown now and it scared him - his friend!
Ratchet suddenly looked up at Wheeljack, optics softening slightly as the medic stared at him. With a shake of his helm, Ratchet stood up and walked to the door, cracking it open to stare at Wheeljack.
"I just wanted to know," Wheeljack looked towards Breakdown as he spoke, "is he-"
Ratchet silenced Wheeljack with a glare. "I don't know Wheeljack," Ratchet snarled, "I have got nothing! Almost every part of Breakdown is nearly beyond all repair! I don't know if I can save him... No, I know I can't."
Wheeljack flinched at Ratchet's admission, optics turning once more to Breakdown laying on the medical berth, nearly beyond recognition. "Please tell me if he wakes up," Wheeljack whispered before he, without a second glance, fled from Ratchet and the form of his injured friend.
Ultra Magnus walked through the hallways of Team Prime's headquarters with utter silence. It was late at night and Ultra Magnus had only just found time to leave work and return to the headquarters for recharge. But he was not stopping at his berth first.
As he reached his destination, Ultra Magnus gave a sharp rap of his servos against the door frame. A few seconds later, Ratchet opened the door and shot him a scrutinizing look.
"Yes, Magnus? I'm busy," Ratchet said bitingly as he jerked one servo behind him to the medical room. "I have a patient, and no patience for interruptions, even from you."
"I understand that, Doctor," Ultra Magnus said as he placed his good servo on Ratchet's shoulder plate, "but you need your rest. You have not allowed yourself to rest since you came here. Please, for your and Breakdown's sake, rest. I will bring in another medic to care for him while you recover."
"I can't do that, Magnus," Ratchet snapped, "Breakdown needs me if he is to survive. I can't trust his life with just any medic - I already doubt my own abilities to save him, how can I trust a medic I don't know?!"
Ratchet let out a defeated vent at the quiet command from Ultra Magnus, then gave a small shake of his helm. "As you wish, Magnus. Just allow me a moment to check on Breakdown before I leave."
"Of course," Ultra Magnus said, "I will contact the medic while you deal with what you need."
Half a groon later, Ratchet emerged from the medical bay once more, his helm tilting towards Ultra Magnus. Ultra Magnus dipped his helm towards the medic respectfully, and watched as Ratchet headed towards his quarters a few doors down the same hallway, the medic's shoulderplates sunken as defeat surged from his engine.
Once Ratchet had departed to his room, Ultra Magnus looked into the room where Breakdown lay briefly before he pulled out a datapad from his storage space and began reading through the reports from the bombing.
Forty nine known dead…
Bodies are still being recovered from the rubble…
Leader Bumblebee was found at 1900 hours, nearly a day and a half since the explosion…
Civilian response massive…
Dreadwing (of former Decepticon and the Radiance Trial fame) led many of the responding civilians in relief aid…
The bodies of fifteen of our Senate have been discovered amongst the destruction…
Ultra Magnus, we still have no clues as to who did this. There is nothing evidence wise and the explosives used in the bombing were of a generic brand-
"Ultra Magnus, sir?" A smooth voice from Ultra Magnus's left drew the tall mech's gaze from his datapad and to the scarlet and chiffon colored mech standing near him. The mech was of medium stature and had an extremely sleek design - all the young mechs seemed to be designed in that same vein nowadays. Distinct red lettering that ran down the mech's right arm spelled out his role as a doctor and, in the mech's servo, was a large kit marked with the Cybertronian medical symbol.
"Suture," Ultra Magnus greeted. He shifted his gaze to the room behind him then back to the medic. "Your patient is in here. Please do all you can for him."
"Of course, sir," Suture replied with a respectful dip of his helm before the medic walked into the medical room with Breakdown.
Ultra Magnus glanced once more into the room after Suture then, with his gaze turning back to his datapad, walked towards his room. He could not get his thoughts away from the last report he had been reading.
No clues towards the suspect-
A deep snarl escaped Ultra Magnus's engine and his grip tightened around the sturdy datapad.
We must find who did this. Who shattered the peace on Cybertron and who shattered the lives of so many Cybertronians. I will not rest until I find who did this.
They will regret their transgressions against Cybertron!
Ratchet woke from recharge with a gasp. His optics shuttered closed for a few seconds, processor chasing away the haunting visions of death - failure - that plagued his every night.
His thoughts circled to Earth. The planet was vastly different from when he and the rest of Team Prime had lived there. The military Ratchet had worked with had, nearly sixty years ago, been dissolved and since then Ratchet had been in hiding on Earth. Having no means to a Space Bridge forced the old medic to stay on the planet and he lacked communications to Cybertron, leaving him stranded on a completely hostile planet.
Until Ultra Magnus had, quite literally, walked on top of him in the middle of a scrapyard in Montana. Ultra Magnus had explained the situation on Cybertron to Ratchet, who had been horrified when he heard what had happened to his home planet and the innocent Cybertronians destroyed by the bombing. He'd known then that he had to hurry home, he was thankful for Magnus finding him - or he was until Ultra Magnus told him that Breakdown and Bumblebee were some of those injured in the bombing.
Two of his dearest friends needed help and Cybertron, as Ultra Magnus had explained to him, was already low on medics due to the massive scale of injured Cybertronians, and they needed a medic of his expertise. Ratchet could never refuse, but his spark was losing hope for Breakdown after he'd only seen Breakdown's condition worsen over the time he'd been trying to repair the Wreckers injuries.
Breakdown needs me, Ratchet thought to himself snappishly as he hurried out of his quarters, stopping at the door to Breakdown's medical room. His optics narrowed on the medic scanning over Breakdown's vital monitors, servos crossed over his chest plate as he pushed open the door to the medical bay, his entrance drawing the attention of the other medic.
"Good morning, Ratchet," the medic greeted quietly. "I am Suture."
Ratchet grunted in greeting to Suture as he walked up to where Breakdown lay, his broken chassis still shuddering with each wheezing breath the blue mech made.
"There has been no improvement in his condition, Doctor. I was able to repair some of his worst injuries-"
"You trained under him, didn't you?" Ratchet asked rhetorically, his optics narrowing on the young medic as he scanned Breakdown's vitals.
Suture startled back at Ratchet's words, sleek helm falling as he shifted his indigo colored optics back towards the injured Breakdown. "From when I was created I felt like I had a calling for medical services. I read every bit of information and watched older medics work for years. I happened to get into the Wrecker's recruit program and, when Breakdown realized how much I wanted to help others as a medic, he started to give me special lessons. I owe it to him to try and save him."
"Breakdown told me about you the few times he visited my base on Earth," Ratchet offered as explanation as he ran his scanner over Breakdown's chassis, wincing at each of the beeps the scanner made whenever it passed over Breakdown's ruined chassis.
Ratchet deactivated his scanner and began his work attempting to repair and stabilize Breakdown. He barely even acknowledged Suture as the young medic moved alongside him and began the process of assisting Ratchet during the procedure.
"Uh, Ratchet? Sir?" Suture interrupted the silence a few hours later, his quiet voice snapping Ratchet's gaze to the young mech.
"Yes?" He growled as his optics shifted between Breakdown's vital monitor and Suture.
"When Breakdown talked about me, what did he say?"
Ratchet raised an optic ridge at Suture's question, vents huffing derisively. "Is this really the time for this? I'm trying to help Breakdown and I need quiet to do that!"
"Oh, sorry," Suture muttered, shame darkening his optics as the young mech resumed working on Breakdown's mangled right shoulder plate. "I was just curious."
"Why so curious?" Ratchet asked loudly over the sound of his welder, peering up briefly at the young mech.
Suture ducked his helm, a shy smile appearing on his faceplate. "Breakdown's never really said anything in terms of positivity to me, but I always believed he liked me. I guess I was just hoping that I didn't just imagine that Breakdown likes me."
Ratchet let out a snort before he rolled his optics slightly. "He likes you plenty well. Breakdown's never been the best at explaining his feelings to others. He really only ever talks with those few he trusts. I happen to be one of them."
"Oh," Suture muttered, trace hints of happiness infecting his voice as he looked down at Breakdown's stasis body. "I hope he will recover."
"So do I," Ratchet admitted softly, optics shifting to the shattered form of Breakdown - of his friend.
I know he won't, though.
"Wheeljack, Bulkhead. Ratchet's asked me to get both of you down to the medical wing," Breezedrift explained as she approached the spot where Wheeljack and Bulkhead were standing around and discussing the Wreckers' response to the bombing.
Wheeljack snapped his gaze to the flyer as Bulkhead scrambled to his pedes beside Wheeljack with a worried vent. Bulkhead shot Wheeljack a fearful look before he mouthed wordlessly at Breezedrift.
"Why does Ratchet want us?" Wheeljack asked slowly, fearing what Breezedrift would say and, judging by her expression, he already knew what Ratchet was sending her to them for.
"Breakdown has awoken. It's not good, though," Breezedrift said solemnly as she turned away from Wheeljack and Bulkhead to hurry away down a different hallway.
Bulkhead shot Wheeljack a nervous glance and then thundered down the hallway in the opposite direction from Breezedrift. Wheeljack raced after his friend, skidding into a sidewall when he took a turn too fast into the medical wing. Together, Wheeljack and Bulkhead stopped in front of Breakdown's room, where they looked at each other with matching expressions of hurt before Bulkhead knocked on the door.
Ratchet looked up at Wheeljack and Bulkhead at the knock, and jerked his head for the two to enter the room. as the two looked through the glass door. Slowly, Wheeljack pushed open the door and walked into the room, with Bulkhead following only a few steps behind him.
"Breakdown's awake," Ratchet sighed, "he wanted to see both of you."
Wheeljack's optics shifted immediately to Breakdown, whom had been repaired entirely and had his burnt chassis buffed to a pale imitation of Breakdown's former sheen. Even though Breakdown looked better than he had the previous day, Wheeljack could tell that something was very much off about Breakdown as short, wheezing gasps hissed from Breakdown's vents and his sole optic fizzed and sparkled.
"Breakdown…" Wheeljack breathed as he stopped next to Breakdown's side and placed a servo on his friend's shoulder.
"Hello… Wheeljack," Breakdown wheezed, a jagged, pained smile arching across his faceplate. "Bulkhead..."
Bulkhead shifted next to Wheeljack, giving Breakdown a short, worried wave of one servo before he greeted his friend. "Hey, Breakdown."
Breakdown shifted and attempted to pull himself to his pedes, but Ratchet stopped Breakdown with a sharp, "No."
Breakdown vented - a harsh, grating vent that made Breakdown wince - as he relented and allowed Ratchet to push him back down onto the slab. Breakdown's optic, which was a dull yellow, almost white color, shifted towards Wheeljack and Bulkhead before he let a weak smile tug at his mouth. "Sorry, Ratchet."
Wheeljack looked towards Ratchet, pleading silently with the medic only for Ratchet to give him a short shake of his helm before he turned his helm down to stare at Breakdown's vitals.
"Sorry, guys," Breakdown coughed, a slight wince coursing through his chassis as Breakdown spoke.
"No," Wheeljack breathed, pain gripping his spark as he realized his fears were right. "You can't leave us Breakdown, we need you."
Breakdown's optic turned to Wheeljack slowly and with it, Wheeljack saw a chasm of pain and sadness in Breakdown's fading optic. "I'm sorry, Wheeljack, Bulkhead. I… I will miss both of you."
Bulkhead suddenly let out a snarl and wheeled on Ratchet, who startled slightly from Bulkhead's sudden movement. "Can't you do more to help him, Ratchet?!"
"Bulkhead," Breakdown hissed, both in anger and pain, "do not snap at Ratchet. He did all he could to help me."
"No, Bulkhead," Breakdown growled. Wheeljack could hear the strain in Breakdown's words, as his vents hissed with each perfectly punctuated word. "I was not able to be saved from the beginning. The second explosion tore into my spark chamber and my spark has been fading since. It was inevitable."
Bulkhead hung his helm in defeat then, suddenly, without saying anything to Wheeljack, Ratchet or Breakdown, the green Wrecker fled from the medical room.
Breakdown let out a hollow vent then shifted his gaze to Wheeljack. "I did… enjoy being a Wrecker with you and Bulkhead again."
"I did too," Wheeljack admitted, though he had to turn his helm away from the sight of his ravaged friend.
"Wheeljack." Breakdown's voice drew Wheeljack's gaze back to the blue Wrecker once more. His yellow optic sparked before a small, nearly imperceptible smile cracked over Breakdown's faceplate.
Before Wheeljack could finish his sentence, Breakdown pulled him down and, with a grunt of pain, wrapped his arms around Wheeljack's chassis in a hug. Wheeljack stiffened in surprise, then pressed his helm against Breakdown's scared chest plate as he returned the hug.
"Goodbye… Jackie…" Breakdown's grip loosened around Wheeljack's back as, with a final, rattling wheeze from his vents, Breakdown's arms fell to his side and his optic faded to nothingness.
Wheeljack stepped away from Breakdown, unable to look any longer at Breakdown's lifeless frame as he averted his gaze. Without thinking, Wheeljack whipped around and hurried past Ratchet, leaving the room without looking back.
Two Weeks Later…
Ultra Magnus was frustrated. In the two weeks since the Senate building had been destroyed no one had been able to find the mech who had committed the act.
We have investigators working around the clock and nothing? How can we fail at something so important?
With a furious snarl, Ultra Magnus smashed his servo into his desk, denta grinding together as his gaze shifted to a small datapad lying near his left servo. Though anger and frustration still burned through his spark, Ultra Magnus picked up the datapad and scoured through the channels of information.
The one that caught his optic - and infuriated him further - was the finalized report on the victims of the bombing.
The Bombing of the Iacon Senate Building.
Date: 240 Years After Cybertron's Revival.
Victims (56 in total):
Building Workers (Eight in Total): Crossflare, Dagger, Flashdash, Grinddrift, Joltsiren, Roadfist, Slipraker, Whistlewind.
Bumblebee's Cabinet (Nine in Total): Cloudsmoke, Dragmark, Eclispeturn, Heatslash, Rivenbeak, Shredmetal, Shockjaw, Silversong, Stormblade.
Civilians (Nine in Total): Armorgrind, Augment, Chromecircuit, Freeglide, Havocwrath, Groundpounder, Switch, Voltage, Yellownight.
Cybertron Enforcement Agency (Four in Total): Chargeblade, Metalhowl, Trigger, Wildbreak.
Iacon Response Team (Three in Total): Direwing, Quickswipe, Skyblast.
Predacon (One in Total): Crushfang.
Senate Members (Fifteen in Total): Airshift, Copperfire, Crankshaft, Jaggedfang, Moonchaser, Quakeshift, Redswoop, Scrapdrive, Softshadow, Threadsteel, Viperstrike.
Vehicon Volunteer Unit (Five in Total): Condor, Mortar, Scratch, Spear, Wheel.
Wreckers (Five in total): Breakdown, Bombrun, Cryo, Strikeback, Tempest.
And a total of three hundred and thirty three (333) were injured.
Ultra Magnus shut off his datapad with a shake of his helm, irritation clawing at his chassis. He had known many of the victims and, for every day that passed without finding the mech responsible for the bombing, Ultra Magnus only felt that his investigators would never find the culprit.
That will not stand, Ultra Magnus berated himself, but what more can we do? Every available unit is trying to find anything close to a clue-
"Ultra Magnus, sir!" The voice that interrupted his thoughts with a harsh static blare from the commpad on Ultra Magnus's desk, though inflected by static, was recognizable instantly as that of his assistant, Littleshear, a former Vehicon miner.
"Yes, Littleshear? What do you have to report?"
"Not too sure, sir. Just a bit ago we got a message from someone saying that they found the Senate Bomber," Littleshear replied hesitantly over the commpad. "I couldn't tell who it was, so I'm not sure if it is another prank call or real this time - and I wasn't able to track the origin of the call either."
"I will personally check it out," Ultra Magnus growled. "Did this informant say where they would meet me?"
"Yes," Littleshear sighed, "the front of the building."
"Got it. I will rendezvous with the informant and scope out the details. Thank you." Ultra Magnus shut off the commpad and rose from his seat, his servos tightened slightly as he walked out of his office.
Ultra Magnus stepped with purpose down the hallways, passing Cybertronians without a single note of acknowledgement to any of those he passed.
Please let this one be real, Ultra Magnus pleaded silently as he pushed the front doors of Cybertron's foremost investigation agency open.
As his optics adjusted to the bright sunlight outside the building, a loud crash snapped his attention to the steps before him. Laid out on the steps was a jet black Cybertronian, her right shoulder plate scorched with fresh burn marks and deep cuts that continued to leak energon. The Cybertronian turned her helm up to meet Ultra Magnus' optics with hate filled red optics, and, almost immediately, he recognized the Decepticon laying before him.
At the same moment as Ultra Magnus recognized Iceblaze, a large, blue and yellow Seeker landed on top of her back strut, red optics fueled with fire as the Seeker yanked Iceblaze's helm up with one servo. "This is your bomber," Dreadwing snarled as he straightened and looked Ultra Magnus hard in the optics.
Ultra Magnus stared at him in surprise, optics wide as the former Autobot's gaze shifted between Dreadwing and Iceblaze. Dreadwing released Iceblaze's helm from his grip, chassis straightening as he looked Ultra Magnus directly in the optics.
Ultra Magnus looked away from Dreadwing, optics narrowing as he glared down at Iceblaze. "Is what Dreadwing says true, Iceblaze? Were you the one who bombed the Senate building?"
"Yes," Iceblaze snarled, "I am."
Ultra Magnus started slightly and, at least to Dreadwing's observation, the tall mech seemed stunned at Iceblaze's quick admission. Quickly, Ultra Magnus shot Dreadwing a questioning look, to which Dreadwing gave a short nod as confirmation. Ultra Magnus' engine snarled as he stared down at Iceblaze, his optics hard as flint, before he spoke with measured calm.
"Iceblaze, under your own accord you have admitted to being the mech behind the bombing of the Senate building. You do understand what this means, do you not?" Ultra Magnus rumbled.
"Of course I do," Iceblaze hissed. "You are going to arrest me and force me to undergo a trial."
Ultra Magnus let out a snort from his vents and then bent level with Iceblaze. Iceblaze met Ultra Magnus' glare with a challenging snarl of her flight engine. Ultra Magnus nodded then as he spoke calmly, "I'm glad you know."
Knowing what was coming, Dreadwing stepped off of Iceblaze's chassis, just in time to avoid getting knocked to his pedes when Ultra Magnus yanked Iceblaze to her pedes.
"You are under arrest, Iceblaze," Ultra Magnus ordered with a jerk of his helm towards two Cybertronians with the Enforcement Agency insignia emblazoned on their chest plates. The two officers walked up to Iceblaze, placed energy cuffs on her wrists, and took her into the building, leaving Ultra Magnus and Dreadwing to watch her retreating form.
Dreadwing did not move from his spot, optics narrowing as Ultra Magnus turned on him. "Dreadwing, I am going to need you to come in for questioning," Ultra Magnus stated, which earned him only a quiet nod of understanding from Dreadwing.
"Of course," Dreadwing replied as Ultra Magnus turned and signaled for Dreadwing to follow him. Dreadwing did as such and, together, he and Ultra Magnus walked into the building.
His audio receptors rang with a high pitched whine, muffling all noise but for the whine that made his helm ache. Smoke, dust and ash clouded his vision as he scrambled over twisted metal. He had no idea what had happened, and only remembered waking up - hadn't he been in a meeting? - to the high pitched whine in his audio receptors.
He had been wandering around amongst darkness, confusion and smoke, hoping to find something or someone-
Servos suddenly yanked him backwards, causing his pedes to skid and trip over parts of twisted metal - was that a body?! - and nearly fall to the ground. Before he could though he was lifted back up and turned around so he was looking into the one-opticed gaze of Breakdown.
Soot and ash covered Breakdown's blue chassis and, for a moment, he thought he saw Breakdown limp as he moved in front of him.
"Bumblebee!" Breakdown shouted, his voice drilling through the shrill buzz in his audio receptors.
Slowly, mechanically, Bumblebee tilted his helm towards Breakdown. "Yes?"
"Follow me!" Breakdown shouted as he used one servo to point down a partially destroyed hallway. "I'm going to get you out of here, Bumblebee!"
"What happened?" Bumblebee asked Breakdown as the large mech stared down at him.
"The building was bombed! We don't have time to chat!" Breakdown snapped as he, without warning, picked up Bumblebee and ran down the hallway.
Bumblebee felt waves of nausea course through his chassis as Breakdown skidded down hallways and leapt over fallen supports and parts of the building's ceiling. As they moved, Bumblebee did not fail to notice what remained of a light blue and pink Cybertronian, laying in shattered, disjointed pieces.
Suddenly, Breakdown skidded to a halt, a vent of fear escaping his mouth that snapped Bumblebee's gaze to the front.
"Scrap," Breakdown swore and Bumblebee, whose processor had finally begun to clear, agreed. The two had come to a dead end; the hallway covered entirely by fallen debris that Bumblebee knew Breakdown couldn't move.
Fuming, Breakdown whipped around but, before he moved another step, froze. Bumblebee wiggled in Breakdown's grasp as he tried to get a good look around to see what had stopped Breakdown.
But he saw nothing. "What are you staring at Breakdown?"
Breakdown didn't answer before he, without a single note of warning, dropped Bumblebee to the ground. Bumblebee scrambled and gasped as his chassis hit the floor, though he recovered quickly enough to leap to his pedes and shoot Breakdown an angered glare.
"What was that for?" He snapped, his anger turning to ice the moment he saw the fear in Breakdown's optic.
Breakdown looked down at Bumblebee and, with a note of terror high in his voice, roared, "RUN!"
Bumblebee's optics widened and, without a second thought, bolted back down the hallway he and Breakdown had just come down. Breakdown thundered after him, both running as fast as they could through the destroyed hallway. Neither got far. A sudden boom, much louder than anything Bumblebee had heard, hit his optics with immediate force. A shockwave threw him forward- something shoved him to the ground roughly- heat blazed over him- sudden weight pushed at him-
Smokescreen's voice snapped Bumblebee out of his memories with a horrified, shuddering jolt. In the week since he had recovered from his injuries incurred by the Senate building bombing, Bumblebee had been plagued by visions of the bombing - it was all he thought about now, and it never left him alone, even when he was in recharge.
"Yes, Smokescreen, what is it?" Bumblebee grumbled as his optics shifted to the closed door of his room where Smokescreen's voice was coming from.
"Ultra Magnus just contacted us. He said he is coming here and he wants to talk with you," Smokescreen said. "Not sure about what though."
"Very well," Bumblebee muttered. "I'll be down in the main room momentarily."
"I will inform Magnus," Smokescreen said before he walked away from the door, his pedes fading into the distance until Bumblebee was left with silence once again.
Bumblebee shook himself of his thoughts as he strode to his pedes, his vents hissing as he walked out of his room and into the hallway. With a shaky sigh, Bumblebee hurried down the hallway towards the main room, though he wasn't able to swallow the fear that was clawing at him as he tried to imagine what Ultra Magnus could want to see him about.
It only took Bumblebee a few klicks to reach the main room, and it was to his surprise that he saw all of Team Prime - Arcee, Ratchet, Knock Out, and Smokescreen - and Wheeljack and Bulkhead gathered.
"Wheeljack? Bulkhead? Why are you two here?" Bumblebee asked as he approached the group.
"Ultra Magnus told us to meet here," Bulkhead explained with a shrug.
Wheeljack gave a curt nod then looked away from Bumblebee, the white Wrecker unable to hide the rage that burned in his blue optics as he looked away from Bumblebee. No one had missed how much Wheeljack had changed since Breakdown had died, as all anyone ever saw of Wheeljack was now a permeant simmering fury. Even worse to Bumblebee was that he couldn't help but feel like Wheeljack disliked him; Wheeljack was uncharacteristically polite to him now, and he always avoided talking to him whenever Bumblebee greeted him.
"Is Ultra Magnus here yet?" Bumblebee asked Arcee in an attempt to calm the tension in his spark - he understood why Wheeljack was upset, he missed Breakdown too.
"Not just yet," Arcee said with shake of her helm. "Though he did reiterate that he wants to meet all of us outside."
Bumblebee raised an optic ridge before he shrugged his shoulder plates. "If that is what he wants, then that is what we must do."
"Hopefully it is good news for once," Wheeljack snapped as Bumblebee headed towards the front entrance, the rest of Team Prime and the two Wreckers following closely behind him.
The seven Cybertronians came to a halt a few steps outside of Team Prime Headquarters main entrance, Bumblebee casting his gaze about in search of Ultra Magnus. A few klicks later Bumblebee noticed Ultra Magnus's alt driving towards them, the hiss of brakes followed closely by Ultra Magnus transforming out of his alt mode.
"Greetings, Ultra Magnus," Bumblebee greeted, helm bowing respectfully towards his - superior didn't work anymore, so maybe friend?
Ultra Magnus returned Bumblebee's greeting then looked towards the others gathered beside Bumblebee. "Greetings, everyone."
"Why did you call us together?"" Wheeljack growled.
"I come with good news," Ultra Magnus said, seemingly unfettered by Wheeljack's abrasive tone as he shifted his gaze between everyone gathered.
"Good news? About what?" Knock Out asked, a note of hopefulness unmistakable in his words.
"We have found and arrested the Senate Bomber," Ultra Magnus said simply.
"Who was it?" Wheeljack snarled, his servos clenched as he glared at Ultra Magnus.
"Iceblaze," Ultra Magnus growled, his optics narrowing ever so slightly.
"No way," Bumblebee breathed, stunned by Ultra Magnus's revelation. The others seemed to be in agreement with Bumblebee for he heard Arcee, Smokescreen and Breezedrift gasp in horror, Bulkhead and Knock Out growl under their breaths and Ratchet and Wheeljack snarl openly.
"How did you find her?" Ratchet asked with deadly calm.
"Because of him," Ultra Magnus said before he pointed up to the sky with one digit. A moment later, Bumblebee heard the roar of a jet engine and then, with a heavy thud, Dreadwing landed beside Ultra Magnus, his red optics shifting slowly around the group.
"Dreadwing?" Ratchet breathed, shock pulsing off his chassis - he could count the times on one servo that he'd seen Dreadwing, and most of those were during the trial that had exposed Radiance's cruelties.
Dreadwing turned his helm towards Ratchet, his red optics unreadable as always, though the blue Seeker seemed to be analyzing the group and, for reasons unknown to Bumblebee, Dreadwing's gaze lingered for a moment longer on him than anyone else.
"Dreadwing captured Iceblaze, questioned her and, when she admitted to bombing the Senate building, he brought her to me," Ultra Magnus explained.
"What if Iceblaze is lying?" Smokescreen asked as his optics shifted towards Dreadwing warily.
"Yeah, how can you be sure Iceblaze wasn't lying?" Bulkhead added.
"She did lie," Dreadwing said, "But I forced her to show me the truth."
"How?" Arcee asked nervously.
Dreadwing glanced down at Arcee, then let out a humorless snort from his vents. "I took her to Vortex. He pulled the information from her mind through his Cortical Psychic Patch. She could not lie with Vortex having full rein off her thoughts
"Vortex?" Arcee questioned. "Who is Vortex?"
"One of the Combaticons. He enjoys interrogating Cybertronians," Dreadwing said dismissively.
Bumblebee shot a concerned glance to Arcee then turned to Dreadwing. "We thank you, Dreadwing, for finding Iceblaze. Now we can seek justice for those that were lost, and injured, in the bombing."
"I can bring you the data Vortex acquired from Iceblaze's rout with the Cortical Psychic Patch," Dreadwing offered, his optics narrowing as he focused on Bumblebee. "But, for the data, I wish to be present at Iceblaze's trial."
"Of course, Dreadwing. We will need you at the trial anyways, so that you can offer the court what you have told us," Bumblebee explained.
Dreadwing gave Bumblebee a scrutinizing look before he bowed his helm respectfully. Bumblebee turned to Ultra Magnus, rage pumping through his fuel lines as he snarled, "Ultra Magnus, inform our court that tomorrow we are going to trial. Iceblaze has gotten away with what she did for far too long. That ends tomorrow."
"I will do so gladly," Ultra Magnus replied, optics narrowing as he transformed into his alt mode and roared away.
Bumblebee watched Ultra Magnus leave then turned to Dreadwing. "Please get me the data Vortex acquired from Iceblaze. We will need it, if we wish for the court to find her guilty."
Dreadwing gave Bumblebee a curt nod as he transformed into his alt mode and, with a roar of his engine, blasted away from Bumblebee and the others, the blast of his engine staggering Bumblebee backwards. As Dreadwing flew out of sight, Bumblebee turned to the others, gaze stopping on the two Wreckers first.
"Once I receive word from Ultra Magnus about the trial, I will contact both of you."
"Understood," Bulkhead said as, with a hard nudge to Wheeljack's chest plate, the green Wrecker transformed into his alt mode and drove away. Wheeljack watched Bumblebee for a few more moments before he turned and followed after Bulkhead.
With those two gone, Bumblebee turned to the members of Team Prime. "Same goes for all of you. I want all of you at the trial tomorrow, whenever that will be."
"We will," Arcee assured.
Bumblebee nodded to the four members of Team Prime before he transformed into his alt mode and raced off towards the Iacon Hall of Justice.
Dreadwing tapped one clawed digit against his left arm as he waited outside Team Prime's headquarters. He had been waiting outside Team Prime's headquarters for what seemed like groons for the members of Team Prime to meet him and, while Dreadwing had never been the kind to fall to impatience, for once he could not help but let his impatience be known as he waited for Bumblebee and his team to walk out of their headquarters.
Finally, Dreadwing heard the unmistakable sound of the building's front doors opening and quickly turned to see Bumblebee and the rest of his team, including the two Wreckers, walk out of the building. Bumblebee noticed Dreadwing and, with a start of his engine, ran up to Dreadwing, servo flicking out a large disk.
"Thank you, Dreadwing. This disk, with Vortex's data, will serve us well in today's trial," Bumblebee said fervently, optics unusually bright as he looked towards Dreadwing.
Dreadwing said nothing to Bumblebee in response, as he continued to tap at his crossed arms as he looked down at Bumblebee. Bumblebee seemed to realize Dreadwing's irritation towards him and quickly ducked his helm, muttering an apology before turning to his friends and signaling them to follow him.
Dreadwing snapped into his alt mode and took off, hovering over Bumblebee and the others as they transformed into their respective alt modes. Bumblebee took point, leading the group towards Iacon's Hall of Justice. Dreadwing shot after Bumblebee and his friends, watching each closely as the seven vehicles weaved through the early morning traffic.
It only took Bumblebee's group a few klicks to reach the large, imposing Hall of Justice, Dreadwing maneuvering down to land out of his alt mode next to Bumblebee. His optics turned warily, narrowing on the mass of reporters, all with their cameras pointed towards him and Bumblebee.
"Reporters," Arcee muttered as she strode up next to Dreadwing, "hate them."
"Got to live with them," Smokescreen joked, though Dreadwing did not miss the nervous way Smokescreen shifted closer to Arcee as he said that.
Dreadwing ignored Bumblebee's friends and marched past the reporters, striding through the open doors of the Hall of Justice. As he stepped into the Hall, Dreadwing could feel a buzz of anticipation and nervousness in the air. He strode past Cybertronians of varying sizes and factions, stopping only when he heard one voice.
"That's Dreadwing." The voice was almost reverent, and drew Dreadwing's attention to his right where a group of Cybertronians were staring - optics wide as suns - directly at him.
"Wasn't he the one who exposed Radiance's corrupt government?"
"Yeah, it was him, Leader Bumblebee and the Wrecker, Breakdown."
"Didn't that Breakdown guy die because of the bombing?"
"Yes," Dreadwing snarled, his words startling the group of young Cybertronians.
"Oh, uh," one of the mechs - a dark blue flyer - stammered. "We didn't realize you were listening in. Sorry, Dreadwing."
Dreadwing narrowed his optics in response then, noticing Bumblebee and his friend's heading towards him, turned to the leader of Cybertron.
"Are you ready for this, Bee?" Bulkhead asked Bumblebee as Dreadwing rejoined their group.
"Yes, I am," Bumblebee said with utter confidence, his servos clenching as he led Dreadwing and the others to a large set of doors. Bumblebee pushed open the doors and walked into the bowl-like courtroom.
Dreadwing followed Bumblebee as the yellow and black mech walked up to the head of the courtroom. A row of seats sat empty next to Bumblebee's own and, with a sharp signal from Bumblebee, Dreadwing knew the seats were for him and Bumblebee's team. With his optics scanning the quickly filling courtroom, Dreadwing sat on one of the chairs, arms crossing over his chest plate as he waited.
It took a few klicks for the rest of the courtroom to fill up, the noise in the room increasing in volume as the Senate, Cabinet, jury, and court officials settled into their seats. Once all of the room had been filled, Bumblebee signaled for quiet with a wave of one servo, the ensuing hush a great contrast to the ruckus nanoseconds before.
"Everyone," Bumblebee began, "I understand this meeting was of abrupt notice, but I have due reason to call all of you to this urgent meeting. Just yesterday, I was informed by Ultra Magnus that we had found the Senate Bomber."
"What? How?" Voices exclaimed in a loud clamor around the room, though Bumblebee silenced them with another wave of his servo.
"They were brought to Ultra Magnus by Dreadwing," Bumblebee explained, servo indicating Dreadwing, who straightened up slightly as every optic in the room turned in his direction. "This is a full trial today, as all of you were informed last night."
At this, Ultra Magnus rose from where he had been seated and turned his gaze towards a set of small doors opposite from the doors Dreadwing and the others had entered through. "We shall now commence the trial against Iceblaze, accused with the bombing of the Iacon Senate two weeks ago."
A moment after Ultra Magnus said that, two Elite Guards walked through the small doors, the jet-black form of Iceblaze between them. The two guards led Iceblaze to the middle of the trial floor, swhere they strapped her arms into large energon braces before they both backed away. Iceblaze shot a glare in Bumblebee and Ultra Magnus's direction, but the one she sent Dreadwing was fueled with pure malice. Dreadwing returned her glare with a mere, passive look that belied the rage that simmered in his spark at the sight of the Cybertronian.
I hope she pays for what she did to Breakdown and all the others that died in the bombing. Whatever she is served will never make up for what she did, for the lives she took and ruined, but at least it will be something, Dreadwing thought to himself.
"Iceblaze, you are here today in Iacon's Hall of Justice due to the actions you have committed against Cybertron and its people," Bumblebee announced, optics turning down to stare directly at Iceblaze. The jet let out a snort of derision at Bumblebee's words.
"I figured as such," Iceblaze snarled sarcastically, "but please, indict me. This will be fun."
"Very well," Bumblebee said, an air of irritation edging at his words as Cybertron's leader began laying out the details of the bombing.
Dreadwing watched as the trial moved on, noting which members of the court asked Iceblaze questions and which stayed quiet, how all reacted to her responses until one member of the court stood and looked towards Bumblebee.
"How do we know Iceblaze is the culprit of the bombing? You have laid out no evidence to state that she is and, to all intents and purposes, it has been well documented that her time in incarceration previously changed her. I highly doubt Iceblaze would commit an act that killed and injured as many Autobots as it did."
Bumblebee shot the Cybertronian a hard glare then gave a vent and a shake of his helm. "We know that Iceblaze is the bomber because she admitted as much, Peacecode," he growled before he turned to a diminutive Cybertronian sitting to his left. "Play the recording."
The small mech nodded and tapped a large stereo, which let out a sharp screech of static before it began to play. Dreadwing immediately recognized the voice of Vortex as the recording he had received from the helicopter began to play.
"So, Iceblaze, as you have already deduced, your every thought is open to my viewing. There is no hiding anything from me."
"And what would I be hiding, Vortex? I have nothing to hide. I have no idea why Dreadwing would bring me to you of all Cybertronians-"
"Who is this talking?" Peacecode interrupted, servo flicking towards the quickly paused stereo.
"The first voice is Vortex. Dreadwing knows him and knew that Vortex could procure the information from Iceblaze," Bumblebee explained, optics sharpening as he glared across at Peacecode. "Now, be silent, and listen to the rest of the recording."
"Oh, Iceblaze, it is pointless to lie and hide the truth from me. I will know everything much faster than can believe."
"Get out of my mind," Iceblaze snapped, her voice remarkably clear through the radio.
"I will, soon. Not yet though. Now, let us see what you have hiding in your processor."
Now the recording only picked up sounds and mutters from Vortex until, finally, Vortex let out a triumphant exclamation. "Here we are."
As Vortex's synthetic voice finished his words, a holographic display of all of the data and information Vortex had found in Iceblaze's processor expanded in the entirety of the courtroom.
"Your evidence is all here," Bumblebee growled, jerking his servo towards the holographic image displaying Iceblaze's plans, bomb schematics and much more. "Iceblaze is, even by her own admission to Ultra Magnus under oath, the bomber."
There was complete and utter silence in the courtroom for quite a few klicks until, with the sound like roaring fire, every voice exploded inside the courtroom.
"You killed my friend!"
"Prosecute this piece of slag!"
"Pit bound scavenger!"
But the voice that stood out most of all, though only loud enough for a few to hear, was Wheeljack's, who was muttering to Bulkhead next to Dreadwing. "That thing killed Breakdown and nearly killed Bumblebee. We lost some of our Wreckers because of her! If someone doesn't offline her, I will. I'll kill her for taking Breakdown from us!"
"You know you can't do that, Jackie!" Bulkhead hissed. "You would be jailed for it and killing her will do nothing to bring Breakdown or our students back."
"I don't care," Wheeljack snarled venomously. "I want her to pay!"
"SILENCE!" Ultra Magnus suddenly boomed, his words snapping the room into utter quiet. "Leader Bumblebee wishes to speak."
Bumblebee stepped forward once more, his optics turning down to Iceblaze. "Do you have anything to say, Iceblaze?"
"Yeah," Iceblaze laughed. "Those that died? I'm glad they did. I'm just bummed more didn't die."
Gasps of shock rippled through the air at Iceblaze's admission, which she seemed to revel in as she stared up at Bumblebee with a smug look.
Bumblebee narrowed his optics in turn before he turned to look around the entire courtroom. "I now request that the decision be made for Iceblaze. Court officials, you have a groon to decide."
The court officials all looked at each other and hurried out of the room, their departure leaving the rest of the room to explode with noise. Dreadwing turned his helm towards Bumblebee, who was still staring down at Iceblaze with focused intensity.
"Are you alright, Bumblebee?" Dreadwing asked as he laid a servo against the former scout's shoulder plate.
"Yes, yes," Bumblebee muttered, "I'm fine. Just thinking."
"I see," Dreadwing said slowly, a feeling of unease hooking into his spark as he watched Bumblebee.
Finally, at preciously a groon after Bumblebee had sent them away, the court officials returned to their seats. Bumblebee turned to the members and signaled for their leader to stand and speak. With a deep sigh, the court leader - a former Decepticon - stepped forward and pulled out a datapad.
"We, the court jury, judge and officials, have determined that a sentencing of ten vorns to solitary confinement shall be due punishment for Iceblaze's act."
"Ten vorns?!" Wheeljack snapped, though he kept his tone measured so only a few could hear him. "She deserves far worse."
And the rest of the Cybertronians in the courtroom seemed to agree for they began to clamor and shout obscenities towards the court officials and Iceblaze the moment what the court leader had said finally registered.
"She deserves harsher treatment!"
"Just offline her!"
"It should be a thousand vorns, not ten!"
The whole time the members of the Senate and court argued, Dreadwing watched Iceblaze's expression turn ever more smug. A jagged, cruel smile split across her faceplate as she watched the Cybertronians argue and scramble against each other, wing kibble stuttering with a quiet laugh.
"Ten vorns is enough punishment!"
"But her actions killed fifty-six Cybertronians! And injured an innumerable more! Ten vorns is not enough!"
The shouting in the room was interrupted by the sudden, loud - and unmistakable - sound of a blaster firing and then a strangled gasp broke through the din. Dreadwing's gaze snapped to Iceblaze, who staggered, her bound servos clutching weakly at the gaping hole that had been shot through her chest plate. Energon leaked from her wound as Iceblaze looked up towards Dreadwing, her gaze meeting his own gaze, before her fading optics locked onto the figure to Dreadwing's left at the same time as every other set of optics turned to the mech standing on Dreadwing's left.
Bumblebee, with smoke hissing from his guns, glared down at Iceblaze before he, with a snap of his servos, transformed each servo out of their blaster alts. As Bumblebee crossed her arms over his chest, Iceblaze's chassis slumped forward as her optics faded and dulled finally.
"Trial adjourned," Bumblebee snarled before any mech could even utter a word and, with a final glare down at Iceblaze's body, the leader of Cybertron walked out of the courtroom.
280 Years ACR…
"Found anything of interest today, Dreadwing?" Bulkhead asked over Dreadwing's commlink, the unexpected question startling the Seeker out of his thoughts.
"No," Dreadwing said coolly as he walked down the busy street, optics shifting over the mass of Cybertronians pushing past him. A year after the Senate bombing, Dreadwing had voluntarily joined Bumblebee's Cabinet as an advisor. He had started a special Seeker Academy within the Wrecker program and, thus, had joined with Wheeljack and Bulkhead as one of the Wreckers. It was an odd prospect to him sometimes, but he did actually enjoy his job - even if part of his reasoning for being there was because of his desire to honor the memories of the two mechs he cared most about in his life.
"Well, good luck on the rest of your patrol, Dreadwing! See you tonight!" Bulkhead answered as, with a quiet click, he cut the communications between the two.
Dreadwing sighed deeply as he continued walking through the crowd. He was nearly done with his patrol shift, something Bumblebee had enacted after the Senate bombing - the leader usually reasoned that he didn't like the streets being left unpatrolled for so long - and it was a duty the Wreckers and Cybertronian enforcement shared.
Dreadwing was walking past a row of merchant stands when he thought he felt a brush of metal clip across his back and then nothing. Stopping, Dreadwing turned to his left, optics searching the crowd for whatever had touched him.
Maybe it was just a- Wait, there! Dreadwing spotted a flash of blue streaking through the crowd, carrying his gun.
Without a second thought, Dreadwing transformed into his alt and shot after whoever had stolen his gun, engine thrumming with fury. No one stole his possessions and got away with it.
He banked sharply when the small Cybertronian shot down an alley, but the thief had miscalculated and stopped in a dead-ending alley. Dreadwing flew down to the alley entrance and transformed out of his alt, optics narrowing on the Cybertronian holding his sword as he stalked up to face the mech with a snarl of his flight engine.
The Cybertronian was of a smaller than average stature though, by how he cowered against the alley wall, the mech seemed even smaller than normal. The mech had bright yellow optics, blue-purple legs, shoulder plates, a white chest plate and ruddy-colored faceplate. His arms had large, spiked vambraces, mainly white in color though a stripe of blue-purple ran down the entirety of the vambrace. His servos were clawed and colored with the same ruddy tone of his faceplate. His shoulder plates housed two Cybertronian designed wheels and five spokes - parts of his engine - provided steady protection to the small mech's helm from his back. His faceplate was bordered by a blue protective covering that ended, at the top of his helm, in two sharp points.
"Why did you steal my weapon?" Dreadwing asked, his voice calm though fury burned through his fuel lines.
The small mech cowered and shivered, unable to say anything for the pitiful rattling of his chassis. Dreadwing snarled and stomped straight up to the mech, glaring down at the young mech as he snatched his gun from the servos of the mech.
"Please," the mech begged, "don't hurt me. I- I- I-."
"I'm not going to hurt you, mech, but I do question why you would want to steal my weapon?" Dreadwing hissed. The young mech shuddered and promptly collapsed to the ground, servos clutching at his helm as he began to mutter under his breath. Dreadwing tilted his helm, slightly feeling sorry for the young mech as he watched the Cybertronian quiver and shake, in a complete wreck of nerves.
"I'm not going to harm you," Dreadwing reiterated quietly. "Please though, do answer me. What did you think stealing my weapon would do?"
The young mech looked up at Dreadwing fearfully, his yellow optics wide and filled with complete terror. "I was just looking for something to sell," the mech admitted quickly. "I'm hungry…"
Dreadwing raised an optic ridge as he looked at the mech, only then realizing how underfueled and dull the mech seemed. His optics were a very dull shade and the purple biolights on his arms, back and chest plate seemed to glow almost lifelessly. Venting, Dreadwing shook his helm as he muttered under his breath.
"Here," Dreadwing growled, "come with me. I can get you refueled and checked over. Then, I will forget this happened and you can go on your merry way."
"Uh," the mech stuttered, "I- I- I don't know…"
"I'm not giving you a choice," Dreadwing growled. Before the young mech could react, Dreadwing transformed into his alt and, with careful precision, jerked the mech onto the back of his alt.
"Oh Primus," the mech squeaked as Dreadwing let out a roar of his engine and burst away from the ground, turning his heading towards Team Prime's headquarters.
"Hold on," Dreadwing warned before he poured on a rapid burst of speed and shot away from the street with tremendous speed. It only took Dreadwing a few moments to reach Team Prime's headquarters though, by the amount of squeaking and rattling from the young mech, it felt like a three groon long journey.
Dreadwing hovered to the ground gently, allowing the young mech to slide off his alt before Dreadwing transformed out of his alt mode and put a tight grip on the mech's arm.
"You're coming with me," Dreadwing snapped as he yanked the mech up the stairs and to the door of the headquarters. A small call box, fixed to the wall near the locked doors, came online when Dreadwing approached, a chipper voice welcoming him to Team Prime's Headquarters.
"Dreadwing. I would like to see Ratchet. I have a patient for him," Dreadwing told the device and then waited.
A few nanoseconds later, the call box lit up and sparked. "Ratchet will see you in his medical bay. He said to take the elevator to Level E."
"Thank you," Dreadwing said, optics turning to watch the door slid open. With another purposeful yank to the young mech's arm, Dreadwing, quite practically, had to drag the mech to the elevators, tapping a button to summon the elevator to his level.
Once the elevator reached where Dreadwing was and the doors opened, Dreadwing gave the mech beside him a push forward and walked into the elevator. The elevator doors closed as Dreadwing tapped the Level E button. Once the elevator began its ascent, Dreadwing turned to the young mech beside him.
The mech was shaking in utter terror, optics zooming around the enclosed space of the elevator. He seemed to bite at his servos as the elevator continued to ascend higher, and his engine let out small splutters of noise every moment.
"Calm down," Dreadwing said towards the mech. "You aren't in trouble and we aren't going to hurt you."
The mech looked towards Dreadwing disbelievingly then jolted when the elevator stopped its ascent and the doors opened.
"Come," Dreadwing vented, as he nudged his servo against the mech's backstrut softly. The young mech looked towards Dreadwing then walked out of the elevator, helm snapping around as he glanced down the long hallway. Dreadwing pushed the mech forward and walked up to a set of doors marked with the Cybertronian medical symbol.
"Ratchet? It's Dreadwing. I've got some half-starved mech who needs a check up," Dreadwing announced with a heavy sigh, his gaze shifting to the young mech beside him.
A few moments passed before the door opened, revealing Ratchet standing in the doorway with his arms crossed over his chest plate as he appraised the young mech. "Come in, both of you."
Dreadwing pushed the mech through the doorway as Ratchet turned into the medical bay, then shut the door behind him after he had pushed the young mech all the way into the medical room.
"Who is this?" Ratchet immediately asked as he lowered the shivering mech to a medical slab and began scanning his chassis.
"No idea," Dreadwing said with a shrug. "He attempted to steal my gun and I chased him into an alleyway. I realized he was lacking in fuel and figured you could check him over before we let him go."
"Hmm," Ratchet muttered, "very well."
"Don't hurt me," the young mech squeaked pitifully, the pitch of his nervous voice matching a strange, high-pitched whine coming from his engine. Ratchet smacked the mech over his helm when he heard the whine, his blue optics narrowed furiously.
"Don't you dare shut down my equipment with your engine vibrations," Ratchet snarled, the anger in his voice causing the young mech to become frozen in fear.
"Breathe," Dreadwing added, "Ratchet isn't going to hurt you. He's trying to help you."
The young mech looked towards Dreadwing and, for a second - a second - Dreadwing thought he saw something flash through the mech's yellow optics - something that wasn't fear, wasn't nervousness, but something more akin to recognition- no, he was just imagining it.
"Where are your parents?" Ratchet asked as he finished scanning the young mech's chassis and began rummaging through various cabinets on the wall nearest the young mech.
"Uh," the young mech stuttered, "I never had parents-"
Ratchet snapped his gaze to the young mech, optics narrowing as the young mech looked towards him nervously. "You mean you were created from the Well of the Allspark?"
"Maybe? I'm not sure, really," the young mech admitted with a nervous shrug, "I only remember waking alone. I've been on my own since I was- born?"
Ratchet shot Dreadwing a questioning look, then turned back to the young mech. "How long have you been online?"
"Uh, half a vorn? Maybe?"
"So you're forty years old," Ratchet muttered. "Interesting. We don't see many Cybertronians that are created by the Well. You're rare."
"I don't want to be rare, I don't like standing out," the mech spluttered fearfully.
Ratchet vented and shook his helm, his optics softening as he looked down at the nervous, twitching mech. "I can tell. Now, what did you say your name was again?"
"Uh," the mech's optics widened as he stared at Dreadwing and Ratchet nervously. "I didn't."
"Then what is it?" Dreadwing asked, "because I prefer not calling someone 'mech' all the time."
"Oh, uh, my name's Breakdown."