evening_bat: Bat in flight, silhouetted against the moon. (Default)
[personal profile] evening_bat
Title: Space Lint and Star Dust
Author: [personal profile] evening_bat
Fandom: Transformers (G1)
Rating: PG
Warnings: Nothing much.
Word Count: ~2000
Summary: They were similar teams, they’d always assumed they had similar origins.

Notes: Call this a “could have been” story with some AU overtones. G1 is a mess of contradictory and/or barely-explained backstory. This is one version of my headcanon. Title from a quote by K.O. Eckland.

Space Lint and Star Dust

“What did you think you were doing?” First Aid chided Air Raid as he walked him back to the Aerialbots’ living quarters after spending most of the afternoon piecing the jet’s wings back together.

“Reenacting the Last Flight Over Iacon?” suggested Hot Spot, tagging along to swap reports with Silverbolt.

“Reenacting the what now?” Air Raid asked.

Fireflight, who’d sat with Air Raid throughout his repairs and was now trotting at his wingmate’s side, looked equally confused.

Hot Spot exchanged amused looks with First Aid, entirely unsurprised that neither of these two remembered his early classroom lessons. “Ask Skydive,” he advised. “He’ll tell you.”

Fireflight shook his head as they reached the Aerialbots’ common area. “Skydive says he doesn’t know either,” he reported. “Do you have a datapad or something about it? I’m sure it’s something he’d be interested in learning about.”

Momentum kept Hot Spot moving, despite the surprised hitch that interrupted his stride.

“Skydive doesn’t know?” First Aid was asking Air Raid as they entered the room, sounding completely bewildered. “How can Skydive not know about that?”

Hot Spot was wondering the same thing. The Last Flight wasn’t something Skydive would have forgotten.

“Fireflight,” Silverbolt’s voice interrupted Hot Spot’s thoughts.

All four of them glanced over to where Silverbolt had appeared in the doorway that led to their personal quarters.

“Yes?” Fireflight responded with a quizzical smile.

“I think Prowl’s records of that battle would be more useful to Skydive than anything First Aid might have. Why don’t you go ask him if he can spare us a copy?”

“Sure!” Fireflight agreed brightly, disappearing back out into the Ark’s corridors.

Silverbolt turned a speaking look on Air Raid, who promptly said, “I’ll just go make sure he gets there,” and hurried out after Fireflight.

Silverbolt held up a finger before Hot Spot could say anything, looking back over his shoulder just as an irritable voice echoed down the corridor behind him.

“I don’t see why we’ve got to - this is our-!”

The rest of Slingshot’s protest was sharply cut off, as if by a slamming door.

“That wasn’t very nice,” Hot Spot commented. Someone was going to pay for that. Slingshot didn’t take kindly to being shut up, in any sense.

“Skydive owes me one,” Silverbolt replied evenly. “I trust him to know better.”

Well, if that wasn’t a deliberate opening...

“Speaking of Skydive,” Hot Spot said, “how is it that your unit’s tactician has never heard of the most significant aerial battle in the history of the Great War?”

Necessity had kept the Protectobots’ training short but Cybertronian history had been part of it. Hot Spot couldn’t imagine that anyone teaching a ‘bot like Skydive - whose function and personal interests were so tied to military history - would have left out such a key battle.

“Our education wasn’t quite as thorough as yours,” Silverbolt answered, a rueful smile on his face. “The circumstances of our creation didn’t exactly leave them time to make sure we knew all our history lessons.”

“Oh?” The Aerialbots had already befriended the Protectobots by the time Hot Spot had first overheard the dark mutterings from some Autobots about the team of jets. Hot Spot hadn’t considered holding the gossip against them, not when his own experience with the Aerialbots hadn’t given him any reason to doubt them. “And what circumstances were those?”

Silverbolt’s shoulders shifted slightly, a nervous gesture Hot Spot recognized. “We were Sigma-sparked,” he answered simply.

There was a beat of startled silence.

That’s not possible, was Hot Spot’s reflexive response but Silverbolt wasn’t the type to joke like this and his steady, serious gaze hadn’t wavered.

“I thought that sort of thing was just a legend?” First Aid ventured cautiously.

“It was,” Silverbolt agreed, “for nine million years or so. Then Shockwave rediscovered Vector Sigma, right about the same time that Megatron built himself a team of cars.”

That made a sick kind of sense. Building frames was one thing but personality coding was a lengthy and difficult process. If Megatron had been presented with a shortcut, he wouldn’t have hesitated to take it.

“The Stunticons,” Hot Spot said and Silverbolt nodded a confirmation. “So what about you?”

“Optimus and his team went to Cybertron to stop the Decepticons but they weren’t in time to stop Megatron from bringing the Stunticons online,” Silverbolt explained. “We weren’t around for the next part but the way the Autobots tell it, when they discovered a cache of old shuttles, they decided they had no choice but to do the next best thing.”

“But you can’t have been brought online like that!” First Aid protested. “Everyone knows that the ‘bots Vector Sigma activated during the war all had programming flaws that made them unstable! ...Oh.”

Hot Spot remembered that history lesson too. The early days of the war had seen both factions struggling for possession of Vector Sigma, the supercomputer that could create armies of soldiers in a blink, instead of the weeks and more it took to properly build and program one. The Autobots had eventually decided that the tactic was abhorrent and a small team had hidden Vector Sigma from both sides. Aside from the questionable morality of mass-producing soldiers, it hadn’t taken long to notice the problems that plagued the Sigma-sparked ‘bots. The Stunticons were perfect examples. And the Aerialbots...

Silverbolt’s mouth quirked, self-deprecation edging his smile. “I prefer to think of us as quirky rather than flawed but yes...oh.”

Primus, that explains a lot, Streetwise commented on the team’s frequency, to a mutter of agreement from the rest of the team.

Hot Spot wasn’t surprised by the interjection. He’d been fairly certain his team had started eavesdropping across their link as soon as they’d felt Hot Spot and First Aid’s surprise. The Protectobots didn’t cling as tightly together as the Aerialbots did but they were no less shameless about involving themselves in each other’s business. Oh well. Silverbolt knew the impossibility of keeping a secret on a combiner team. Despite his efforts to shoo his own team away from the discussion, he wouldn’t have expected Hot Spot to keep this away from the rest of the Protectobots.

“We got a bit luckier than the Stunticons, though,” Silverbolt was continuing. “Alpha Trion merged with Vector Sigma in order to create us and his influence seems to have mitigated the worst of Vector Sigma’s indifference. And thank Primus for that,” he muttered.

Hot Spot stifled a laugh at the long-suffering tone.

Silverbolt glared at him without heat then turned his attention on First Aid, who was examining him with open concern.

“Don’t worry,” Silverbolt reassured him. “We’ve all been checked out and cleared. Actually, I think we spent as much time in Ratchet’s lab as we did in the air at first. He was nowhere near as familiar with jets as ground vehicles and flatly told everyone that he wasn’t going to be learning how we worked as he was trying to put us back together.”

“Remind me to thank Ratchet for his foresight,” First Aid murmured.

Hot Spot agreed with the sentiment. He’d seen the mess Decepticons occasionally made of the Aerialbots and the thought of any medic trying to cope with that without knowledge of the damaged systems left him cold.

“Worked out for the best twice over,” Silverbolt added offhandedly. “Since they used what they learned about how we worked to build you.”

Well, that explained why the Aerialbots had practically adopted the Protectobots as soon as they’d arrived on Earth.

“Why didn’t we know any of this?” Hot Spot wondered aloud.

”It’s not exactly a secret. It’s just something that isn’t talked about,” Silverbolt answered with an embarrassed shrug. “None of us are exactly proud of those first few weeks.”

From what Hot Spot had overheard, the Aerialbots’ early days with the Autobots hadn’t exactly been anyone’s finest hour. Between old prejudices and fresh ignorance - Hang on, first few weeks? Hot Spot ran through what he knew of the Aerialbots’ time here on Earth. A few hasty calculations presented him with a timeline he didn’t like very much.

“So when you say that your education wasn’t as thorough as ours...?” Hot Spot asked, hoping his suspicions were wrong.

“I mean that Optimus woke us up, welcomed us to the Autobot cause and led us out of Cyberton’s underlayers into our first battle,” Silverbolt replied bluntly.

That struck Hot Spot momentarily speechless. Beside him, First Aid was absolutely stricken and the rest of the team’s dismay was echoing through his head.

No wonder the Aerialbots were such a tight team. Who else would they have had, newly online and thrown headlong into a war?

“Okay,” he finally responded aloud, as steadily as he could manage. “I can see how that might lead to some gaps in your knowledge.”

Silverbolt’s answering smile had a slightly bitter twist to it.

Hot Spot shook his head slowly. He’d already respected Silverbolt. Hot Spot had ample cause to know that leading a combiner team wasn’t easy and Silverbolt was the head of the Autobot’s only aerial support team. To learn that he’d done it on nothing more than programmed instinct and the desire to do the right thing...

“So that’s why you never came down on Air Raid and Slingshot as hard as we expected!” First Aid abruptly exclaimed, promptly ducking his head in embarrassment when both team leaders turned to stare at him. “For fighting with Blades,” he explained sheepishly as the eavesdropping Protectobots snickered at his uncharacteristic awkwardness.

Silverbolt laughed a bit sheepishly. “They probably do deserve a bit more discipline than they get for those brawls,” he admitted, “ but....well, Blades gets after them for not knowing how to fight or fly when really, it’s all they know.”

Oh wonderful. Because Hot Spot hadn’t already been feeling horrible enough for taking the Aerialbots’ older brother routine entirely for granted.

I don’t think I’ll be doing that again any time soon, an unusually subdued Blades offered quietly.

Groove chuckled. Don’t make promises you can’t keep, he advised. You know you’ll forget all about this the next time you hear Slingshot running his mouth.

Blades’ reluctant agreement drew another round of laughter from the team and Hot Spot was grateful. Their cheer might be slightly forced but it was lightening the guilty unhappiness that had been permeating through the team’s link and Hot Spot needed his head clear to respond to Silverbolt. Silverbolt hadn’t been looking for and wouldn’t appreciate sympathy. He had his own measure of pride and Hot Spot knew how fiercely he cared about his team, quirks and all.

Only one thing to do, Hot Spot decided, walking over to where Silverbolt stood and laying a hand on his shoulder.

“Any time you or your team feel like you need to be taught a lesson, we’d be happy to help out,” he said earnestly. “Anything to help our elders.”

Silverbolt stared at him for a long moment, then snorted and smacked him in the chest with a loose fist. “Not likely,” he retorted, “but thanks so much for the kind offer.”

As if on cue, there was a loud banging on the common room door.

“Can we come in yet?” Fireflight’s voice called through.

Silverbolt snorted again and shook his head in mock-despair. He shot one last look at Hot Spot - part gratitude and part commiseration - before stepping away and shouting an answer. “Yes, come on in.”

Air Raid and Fireflight tumbled in through the outer doors just as Slingshot and Skydive piled in from the inner corridor. Slingshot was still glaring at Skydive resentfully but Skydive only had eyes for the datapad Fireflight was waving at him. In seconds, the room was full of cheerful chaos.

“Think we’ve got room for a few more?” Hot Spot asked as First Aid headed over to join the pile of Aerialbots poking at the datapad. He hoped so, since Groove, Streetwise and Blades were already on their way.

“Always,” Silverbolt assured him with a smile.


End Notes: It always made me wonder, that we saw the Aerialbots created and then the Protectobots appeared a few episodes later with no explanation. This is apparently what results when characters I love meet my tendency to overanalyze things and get mixed up with patchy canon.

The full quote from which I drew the title: “Within all of us is a varying amount of space lint and star dust, the residue from our creation. Most are too busy to notice it, and it is stronger in some than others. It is strongest in those of us who fly and is responsible for an unconscious, subtle desire to slip into some wings and try for the elusive boundaries of our origin.” ~K.O. Eckland, Footprints On Clouds

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] seryan for looking this over!


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