evening_bat: Bat in flight, silhouetted against the moon. (Default)
[personal profile] evening_bat
Title: The Tyranny of Petty Things
Author: [personal profile] evening_bat
Fandom: Transformers: G1
Rating: PG
Word Count: ~ 1700
Summary: Being part of a combiner team means never being alone.
Notes: Written for the December 2012 Anniversary Challenge over on [livejournal.com profile] gestalt_love. Rather than write 500+ words for a single prompt, I wrote 150-200 words for about ten of the prompts.

The Tyranny of Petty Things

“I fly because it releases my mind from the tyranny of petty things.” ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry


It started as a joke, a forgivably lighthearted way of defying the constant warfare of their lives. Where will we go, the Aerialbots asked themselves, on our next day off? It was idle speculation, of course -- the Autobot-Decepticon conflict didn’t take days off -- but it helped pass the time on quiet patrols and long flights. Earth was a big planet and they hadn’t explored any of it beyond what had passed under their wings while on duty. Of course, they agreed in this as well as they agreed on anything else, which was to say, not at all. Every discussion invariably degenerated into passionate arguing about which destination was the best. The current chief contenders were Japan (land of the best and craziest cartoons, according to Air Raid), playing tag amongst the icebergs of the Arctic (Fireflight was inexplicably fascinated with the sights of the far north), and making their way through the spread of history and cultures of Europe (normally quiet Skydive would rhapsodize for hours if they let him). They hadn’t yet managed to come to an agreement but Silverbolt was compiling a list and promised himself that one day, he’d make sure his team got to see the places they were fighting for.


It was a perfect night for flying. No crisis impelling them forward, no urgent recall to base. Just the Aerialbots, the glittering stars overhead and the fluffy cloudscape below. Skydive knew he was broadcasting contentment but he didn’t mind. Quiet happiness echoed back to him through the team link and he was feeling just sentimental enough to be pleased at the thought of his wingmates either sharing his good humour or enjoying it. It couldn’t last, of course. Silverbolt’s nerves were starting to jangle and Slingshot was already grumbling something just below auditory range. Skydive had already had to herd Fireflight back into formation twice. They all knew it was just a matter of time until Air Raid started buzzing the tops of the clouds, to see them tear themselves apart and twist into new shapes in the wind of his passage. But short-lived or not, nights like this were the closest thing to peace that Skydive had ever known and he’d enjoy it as long as it lasted.

Necessary Distractions

The Aerialbots were a handful to manage, to put it mildly. Most ‘bots wouldn’t have thanked Optimus for assigning them the task of commanding that team but Silverbolt handled it with more grace than most expected of him and the Autobots were happy to leave it to him. Let him try to keep his wildly disparate teammates in line. Silverbolt would be the first to admit that the four of them could be a challenge, for all that he loved his wingmates with a gestalt leader’s fierce devotion. What he kept to himself was the fact that he needed his team every bit as much as they needed him. Keeping them alive and in the air gave him no chance to dwell on his own fears. Who had time to doubt himself when he was busy keeping Slingshot’s mouth from starting another war, making sure Skydive didn’t forget what outside air felt like, watching for obstacles in Fireflight’s path and preventing Air Raid from getting himself killed in the name of a good joke?

Dance Party

After hours of intermittent humming from Fireflight while en route back to the Ark, Silverbolt finally gave in and asked him what that music was. A song Jazz had played for him earlier, Fireflight answered cheerfully, and he’d had it stuck in his processor since he’d heard it. The trouble began when Slingshot grumbled at him to knock it off with the noise and Air Raid promptly started singing across their comms as loudly as he could. Silverbolt, preoccupied with mediating the shouting/singing match, didn’t take notice of how uncharacteristically unevenly Skydive was flying until Fireflight delightedly asked Skydive to show him how to dance too. Immediately distracted from the argument, Air Raid added his demand to know how Skydive had pulled off that wing wiggle to Fireflight’s shameless pleading. Silverbolt told them to stop being ridiculous but none of them were listening -- even Slingshot was starting to mutter that none of them would know maneuverability if it flew up their afterburners. When they flew back into range of the Ark’s sensors later that afternoon, the ‘bot on monitor duty contacted them to ask if their erratic flight paths meant that they were in need of assistance. All he received in response was a burst of five-toned laughter.


Fireflight got lost a lot. Everyone knew it, and most weren’t quiet in their joking about it. His teammates’ teasing was the loudest of all but Fireflight didn’t mind; it was also the fondest. He heard the other Autobots asking what was wrong with him, why couldn’t he just go from Point A to Point B without hitting Points C-Z en route? Even Ratchet sometimes paid a little bit too much attention to his internal guidance systems. Fireflight could never find the words to make them understand. Silverbolt insisted he didn’t have to explain, that being different didn’t mean he was defective, and that helped. But it was Air Raid that put it best. His brother found him perched on the mountain outside one afternoon and tugged him to his feet, then out into the wind. The rest of them were stupid if they didn’t understand that Fireflight hadn’t been made to fly in straight lines, Air Raid laughed across the comm as they chased each other across the sky. It was his job to see the stuff that other ‘bots missed and who cared if he did his job a little too well?


The thing that drove Air Raid nuts about the Autobots is that most of them were so fragging serious all the time. Sure, war was no joke. But what was the harm in having a little fun with it? (Or even better - a lot of fun!) But for every ‘bot that appreciated a good laugh now and then, there were a dozen who got on Air Raid’s case for being careless or reckless or foolish. And really, that’s what Air Raid had Silverbolt for. (Biggest killjoy this side of Cybertron, his team leader.) It wasn’t that Air Raid didn’t understand that fighting the Decepticons was a matter of life and death -- he wasn’t stupid. He just didn’t get why everyone seemed so convinced that he had to be somber in order to survive. Trading mid-air shots with Starscream wasn’t going to get any easier just because Air Raid stopped laughing whenever Starscream screeched at him. Let the Autobots disapprove as much as they liked, Air Raid decided, he wasn’t going to die without having enjoyed life first.

Feelings Are Dumb

Slingshot hated everything. And everyone. All of it -- all of them. Fragging Decepticons who couldn’t hit the broad side of a waste shuttle and their all crowing about one lucky hit. The Autobot groundpounders were even worse, snarking about how all it took was one little missile to knock him out of the sky. Then there the rest of the Aerialbots, who just shrugged off the insults like the scorn didn’t matter. So great to know that they had his back! And now here came stupid Fireflight, walking right through his brush-offs to wrap himself around Slingshot and telling him how those jokes didn’t matter, because they all knew better. And oh look, the rest of the team had followed him, leaving Slingshot smothered under a cluster of limbs and wings that refused to let him go, no matter how hard he squirmed or complained. But more than anything else, Slingshot hated how the ridiculous cuddling actually made him feel better.


The Aerialbots’ presence was an undeniable tactical advantage but that didn’t mean that the Autobots were entirely comfortable with the team of jets. Part of it was the natural separation between ground and aerial troops, exacerbated by millions of years of conditioning that insisted anything that flew was an enemy. The Aerialbots’ early, naive fascination with Starscream and his Seekers hadn’t helped ease that old prejudice. The Autobots’ faith wasn’t bolstered by the Aerialbots’ overt quirkiness, either: Silverbolt got nervous in the air, Slingshot was a temperamental braggart, Fireflight had trouble flying in a straight line, Air Raid was enthusiastically reckless and Skydive would rather read than fly. But for all his army’s grumbling, Optimus trusted Silverbolt and his team. He’d ordered their creation, helped build their frames with his own hands. It was at his command that the freshly-sparked Aerialbots had woken to find themselves embroiled in a war. The least Optimus owed them was the freedom to make their own choices and faith enough to trust they’d make the right ones.

Team Leader

Silverbolt had always been the leader of the Aerialbots. Despite Slingshot’s early rebelliousness and Air Raid’s occasional complaints about how boring he was, there was no question about who commanded the team. Optimus might have made it official but Silverbolt had always been as central to his wingmates as he was to Superion. Silverbolt kept Slingshot’s attitude from getting him killed, reminded Skydive that there was more to life than his datafiles, watched and corrected Fireflight’s midair meandering, and reined in the worst of Air Raid’s recklessness. As far as the rest of the Autobots were concerned, Silverbolt was the only reason the rest of the Aerialbots were halfway functional. What everyone tended to forget was that Silverbolt’s team was as protective of him as he was of them. That was fine by the Aerialbots; delivering reminders was so much more satisfying when the targets never saw it coming.

Shared Space

Silverbolt’s immediate reaction to Prowl’s appearance at the door to the Aerialbots’ quarters was a hastily concealed sigh as he wondered what his wingmates had done this time. Prowl’s wry shake of the head told him that he hadn’t hidden his resignation well enough but it turned out that he hadn’t needed to worry. For once, Prowl wasn’t there to call anyone out on any infringement of the rules. Ongoing excavation efforts had opened up new living spaces in the Ark, he explained, and Optimus wondered if the Aerialbots wouldn’t like to move into proper quarters. Silverbolt considered the option for a moment, glancing over the hastily converted cargo bay that had been assigned to them upon their unexpected arrival. His optics lingered briefly on his team, clustered around their cobbled-together entertainment system and cheering over a terrible movie involving an improbable amount of car crashes. He was smiling when he turned back to thank Prowl and assure him that they were just fine where they were.


Notes: I’ve been away from my beloved Aerialbots for far too long!


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