Slow Burn

Chapter 3

Chapter 3

Day two of running simulations for Skyfire. I was chaffing at this menial task, wishing I could go into the field, or at the very least, find some excuse to get out of the base. This place was the prison that kept me caged. Here I was on a planet no other human had ever visited, one made up entirely of living, robotic beings, and I couldn’t even get out to see it! I missed the stars in the night sky. I missed open expanses and natural breezes. I wanted so badly to see this world first hand.

I sighed, my mood heavy, focusing back on the screen in front of me. The terminal at which I stood was actually designed for Soundwave’s tapes. It sat recessed from the back wall amid the larger screens and terminals intended for the larger mechs, and well above the floor. I could easily walk down along the wall and disrupt the other Decepticons working at their consoles by traipsing across their keyboards and workspaces. That, of course, would be a potentially deadly game.

A gray hand slammed onto the keyboard, aiming for, and missing, my fleshy left hand. Inwardly I tensed, pushing back waves of homesickness that mingled with pools of cageyness, in anticipation of the fight about to happen. This was not a spat I wanted to be in, right now. The night before was still lingering in my body, faint crackles of sensual excitement intermittently disrupting the natural flow through my circuits, and warming my flesh. Where Rumble is, Frenzy is surely nearby. I really did not want to face him today, not in the state I was currently in. I gathered a static charge from various places within my body and directed it onto the metal fingers of my right hand, watching it arc from finger to finger.

Fighting off the rising humiliation, I said, “Hey, Rumble, can you make that face again? The one you made last night when you got your ass handed to you.” He reached for my neck, but I pushed my right hand between us, static charge still playing across my fingers. I grinned at him above the white lightening arcing over my hand. Rumble did not share his brother’s heavily shielded circuitry and the dancing spark I held would be quite painful to him. His hand clenched into a fist in the air.

Aft. When will you learn to talk like a Con?” I jumped at the sound of Frenzy’s exasperation behind me, cringing inwardly as I felt him brush against my shoulder and reach around my chest to the lightening in my right hand. His fingers lightly caressed the back of mine, sending tendrils of desire through my body, scrambling my brain with a heady static of its own as he captured the white, arcing charge, stealing it from my hand. My jaw dropped open and I turned my head to find his face mere inches from me, sultry red optics gazing deeply into mine. I clamped my mouth shut, effectively rendered mute by his close proximity. Damn him, how did he do that? I could feel the heat given off by his body and I just wanted to melt back into it.

Rumble’s laughter snapped me back into reality. I shot him a sidelong glare. I was angry at him for laughing. I was angry with Frenzy for playing me the way he did. I was angry with Skyfire for suggesting the romp in the first place. I was angry with myself for allowing this to happen at all. But above all that anger, I was embarrassed. Quickly gathering another static charge in my hand, I slammed it against Rumble’s chest, knocking him to the ground, his body jerked as he howled from the shock. Not even bothering to look back, I bolted as soon as I hit the gray mech. It’s a well known rule amongst the Decepticons: mess with one of the tapes, you get them all. I raced across consoles and terminals, ducking fists and grabs alike, Frenzy hot on my heels, Ravage running along the floor, and Laserbeak streaking across the room in my direction. As I neared the far end of the wall of consoles, I realized Starscream was using the last terminal. Behind me I could hear Frenzy’s Electroshock gun powering on. Upping the ante, I pulled my EMP cannon from subspace just as the lead Seeker screeched, “Soundwave! Contain your minions!”

Soundwave’s monotone voice boomed through the room, “Ravage, Rumble, Frenzy, Laserbeak. Return to me!” I turned, running a few steps backward, in time to see Frenzy’s hateful glare before he leaped down obediently running toward his Master. My victorious grin was short lived. A quick flash of red and blue alerted me to Starscream’s attempted grab. I raised my EMP cannon, aiming it at the Seeker. His breath hissed out as he jumped back and I immediately felt the terrifying buzz of my target warning systems signaling that the all of the mech’s weaponry was locked on my position. He stood, knee joints bent, arms out for a quick grab, optics narrowed and laser focused on me. “Choose wisely, what you will do next,” he seethed.

Trembling and fearfully wide-eyed in front of the tall jet, I knew there was no right answer at this point, just varying degrees of hurt he was about to unleash on me. Sky! Help!

Heeding my call, Skyfire pushed through the crowd, ordering, “Stand down, Livewire.” It was rare a occasion when he used my Decepticon moniker. Kind of like a parent using a child’s full name.

Still staring at Starscream, I protested, “B-but, he’s gonna—“

“Stand down!”

My gaze shifted from Screamer to Skyfire and back. I cringed as I subspaced my weapon, but to my great relief, Sky snatched me up before the Seekers’ leader could get to me.

Soundwave stood an unmoving, expressionless sentry, watching over the five of us. The tapes and I had been relegated to stacking Energon cubes in the storage rooms for a few days over the commotion we had caused. I stood on the loaded cart, handing each cube down, one by one, to Frenzy, who passed it to Rumble, who placed it on the stack. Laserbeak and Ravage merely sat at their master’s feet idly watching our progress. There was an oppressive silence that hung over us all in the Storage Bay, Soundwave was beyond angry at being pulled from his duties as Communications Officer to direct our punishment and he made certain we all knew it—me most of all. The general consensus was that the entire commotion was my fault, since I had struck Rumble and then lead the chase through the Decepticon Computer Room.

The air itself seemed to crackle with the anger that surrounded me like virulent heat lightening. Every minute that clicked by was another minute closer to the end of our long day. Dread and anxious fear rose within me like an over cresting river fed by the fluid resentment pouring off the tapes and fueled by their mountainous master. For the first time in my life, I was more worried about being released from punishment than I was about suffering through it. And despite it all, a persistent longing for the electric mech, Frenzy, distracted me with it’s pervasiveness.

I was avoiding touching him or meeting his gaze at all cost, and he immediately picked up on that. All day long, he had managed to brush his fingers over mine nearly every time he took a cube from me. The touch sent a rippling, sensual jolt through my body, slowly working me into a chaotic… frenzy. He was well named.

My panic stacked higher with each cube removed from the cart. This was the last one for today, and only a few cubes remained. Rumble’s vengeful grin deepened as he watched me head for one more cube. Three to go. Frenzy caught my fleshy left hand as I passed the container to him, sending a mild electrical shock through the contact. Startled, I reflexively met his gaze for the first time that day, red points of narrowed light brimming with calculated mischief. My energon pumps froze, my blood ran cold, my eyes widened, my mouth agape. The corner of his mouth quirked upward wickedly. Whatever they had planned, I wasn’t going to enjoy it. I yanked my hand free, rubbing at the tender red mark left behind.

Two cubes. I turned and shuffled over to it. Glancing up at the cryptic mech overseer, I shivered. His wide red visor met a large white face mask, leaving him completely unreadable. Even his perfect, looming posture gave nothing away. Carrying the cube back across the cart, I scanned for possible exits, but there was only the one entrance to the storage room. And Soundwave stood right next to it.

Sighing resignedly, I dropped the cube into Frenzy’s hands, looking over his head to Rumble, “Will it make a difference at all, that I’m a lot smaller than you guys?”

Rumble shook his head, “Not at all.”

I squeezed my eyes shut, turning back to the last Energon cube. Gripping it tightly, I walked back to where the two mechs waited like rabid dogs frothing at the mouth over the prospect of revenge. Near the door, Ravage stood up, excited that the real punishment was about to begin, Laserbeak flapped his wings, stretching his neck and chittering nonsense. I hesitated, watching the animal tapes. Taking a deep breath, I tossed the last Energon cube at Frenzy and flipped over his head landing between the two tape mechs. He tossed the cube to Rumble and took a defensive posture behind me. Rumble quickly set the Energon cube in its place, never taking his optics off me and walked back, arms swinging like he was sidling up to the bar in the Pit.

I turned to the side so that I could see them both and said, “Alright. Let’s get this over with.” Knowing there was no way I could fight my way out, I held my arms out from the side, palms up, grimacing. “I’ll make this easy for ya.” As Rumble strode cockily towards me, I was tempted to knock him down with another good shock, but they would likely beat me into a coma for that. Hopefully, lack of resistance would make their vengeance wane. The gray mech grabbed my right arm carefully, tapping at it first to ensure there was no electric charge waiting for him, but he gripped my fleshy left arm tightly, twisting it behind me hard enough to pull a yelp from my throat.

My arms pinned behind my back, Frenzy glanced at Soundwave awaiting the signal to start. The cryptic mech gave him a singular nod and left the storage room, Ravage and Laserbeak drawing closer to watch and cheer. Frenzy took a wide legged stance and drew back, twisting at the hips to put his whole body into the punch.

“You know I was defending myself, right?” I said, shrinking away from the impending pain, pushing against Rumble’s grip on me.

“We expect you to defend yourself,” the gray mech quipped behind me. “It’s the part where we got in trouble that doesn’t sit well.”

With that, Frenzy let his fist fly. The crush of his metal fist into my abdomen knocked the wind from me and sent sharp aches through every circuit. My body crumpled forward, reflex pulling my torso taut against the blow. I gasped for breath, but the next punch hit me just as hard. My knees gave momentarily, Rumble pulled me up roughly, grousing that I should take it like a Con. My systems were frantically isolating damaged areas and attempting to begin repairs when the third strike came. I hung limply in Rumble’s grasp, eliciting a swift knee to the back from the gray mech. Wobbly getting back onto my feet, I straightened and glared defiantly at Frenzy. He cocked his head to one side, one corner of his mouth quirked up in his mischievous grin. Funny things run through your mind in moments of high stress, like getting your ass handed to you. At this moment, my body racked with pain, my repair systems overwhelmed, the one thought in my head was how sexy that grin was, even as he drew back and planted his left fist, mercifully, on my all metal right cheek.

My mouth filled with blood and I hung from Rumble’s arms, struggling to get my feet under me again. Frenzy stepped close, standing over me. I gazed up at him, his optics locking on mine with that telling I’m-gonna-take-you glint in them. I shivered, despite how much it hurt to do so.

“Beat it, Rumble,” he growled. The gray mech began to protest, but Frenzy cut him off, “Beat it!” Rumble shoved me to the ground at his feet and stormed off, glancing, jealous and wounded, over his shoulder as he exited the storage room.

On my knees in front of Frenzy, I glared up at him, feeling the sensual surge coming off him and my own body’s heated response, my circuits beginning to sizzle in desirous anticipation, we were attracting like lightening to a grounding point. I wobbled to my feet, spitting the blood away from the mech, and wiping my mouth with the back of my hand. One arm slung across my agonized torso, I stood as tall as the pain would allow. He stepped closer; so close we were nearly touching, smirking down on me from a foot and a half above my head. Grabbing handful of my hair, he pulled me into a forceful kiss, and out of spite for the beating, I spit blood into his mouth.

Jerking back and releasing my hair, his optics wide and then narrowing, he said ,”I like the taste of your blood.”

“Sick fuck,” I hissed.

He shifted his weight, optics narrowing even further. “TALK…” grabbing my jaw, “LIKE…” yanking my trousers, “A…” connector in hand, “CON!” snap!

My back arched against the instant explosion of sensations, heady and dizzying. My hands clutched at his armor while my legs gave way under the wash of electrified lust that hit me full force. He kissed hard at my mouth sucking the blood out. Sick, I thought, but he flipped that thought over finding the underlying one, sexy. His laughter faded from my ears and resounded through my body into my mind. I ached from the beating, exciting him as he touched on each pain, and I could feel him thrill when I offered it up as a sacrifice for the drug of his desire. The connection sent adrenalized heat coursing through every circuit and wire and poured it into my blood like an addiction satisfied. In that moment I needed him like life itself. Every pulse flared with deliciously wet tingles and tangled my insides into a sensual knot heading for the culminating release denied me the first time. I could feel those steely hands under my shirt, touching, arousing, massaging, twisting, aggressive, hungry. Hot energon flowed between us, transferring ecstasy from one body to another and back again. Entwined in a quest for passionate climax, he lustily devoured my body with his own.

Where did he want me to touch him, I wondered. Would he respond like a human man? Suddenly, his focus shifted, reminded of a treasure he had been seeking the first time.

No! Damn you, Frenzy! He just laughed and began rifling through my memories. I pushed back, but there was no stopping him this time. And then it occurred to me: this connection ran both ways. I left the mech to his mental reaping of my private life and sent tiny tendrils of my consciousness back across the connection. It opened into all that was Frenzy, and I was awash with his life as it expanded out around me. He was an old soul, pained and tortured. Flashes of memory surged through me, an ideal that had been twisted into something it was never meant to be, a belief in a cause that became so distorted over the eons as to be unrecognizable anymore. All that it was to be a Decepticon, the nobility, the honor, and the benevolent intention in the original cause. The validation and the pride in the ideal. It was crucial to him. And now I understood why he was so insistent that I “talk like a Con.” I understood why he was offended and why he wanted me to fall in line and take up the Decepticon banner as my own. But it wasn’t my own, it was something I never wanted forced upon me.

Emboldened, I reached further in, but all his securities began to slam shut forcing me back. Outright anger chased me back through the connection. What have you done?! He ripped the connector out and my nerves bled raw. Pain crawled through circuits and veins alike, left aching in the wake of my desire for him.

I’m not sure at what point we had ended up on the floor, but he was now panting above me, hot anger narrowed his optics and curled the corners of his mouth down, holding me to the ground, hands on my shoulders. My t-shirt was on the floor next to me, as were my trousers, and I was gasping, wide-eyed and reeling from the abrupt break in the sensual flood.

“What have you done!” he hissed.

“It works both ways, Frenzy… I can do it to!” I spat at him between pants. “Now you know how it feels!”

How it feels?” he raged. “I’ll show you HOW IT FEELS!” Slam! The connector flooded me with cold anger and icy rage instead of the wonderful sensuality I had come to expect. Feelings of things precious ripped away--important things--in a never ending cycle. Everything gained was taken and more, everyone cared for was hurt, crushed, extinguished. Spark after spark evaporated in battle, useless battles, again and again. The open skies rained destruction from the stars. Lives lost, so many lives, in an unnecessary cascade of death, painfully stripped away from existence, their personalities, their desires, dreams, hopes, goals, loves, even their laughter—gone. Never to be again. Just… gone. Memories were all that remained of them, all that they had left behind. All of this useless devastation came down to one thing: information. All of it stemmed from not enough information, or bad information, or simply just an entire lack of information. Endless faces and names paraded through my mind, beings I had never known, memories of them playing out before me, laughing, smiling, playing, dreaming, living—no more. Each one crumpling into agonized screams and horrific death throes on a wasteland of battlefields or drifting eternally lifeless and broken through cold, dead space. The pain of their loss, each individual loss, echoing through time, all that remained of their once full and unique lives. The overwhelming grief threatened to drown me in this ocean of anguished misery that Frenzy had thrust me into. The weight of it all was too much to bear, I was suffocating, unable to breathe, unable to think, unable to free myself.

It works both ways… my own words became my lifeline. Two can play this game, Frenzy.

I reached to the back of my mind, the furthest reaches where I had buried the memory deep, covering it over and hoping to forget. My own pain would now be my salvation. Pulling it out and dangling it before the mech’s mind, I allowed him to grasp it, not knowing what the memory contained. His burning hunger for information would be his undoing. He clutched it tightly, spinning it open while I moved back and watched.

Awakening, panic, streaking points of light. Gasping for air, fluids rushing through veins delivering needed calm to overloaded systems. A sinking feeling, dropping out of one plane of existence into another, but it was wrong, all wrong. Thrashing, flailing, dematerializing, bodies pulled apart at an atomic level. My scream, his scream, entwined, resounding through space as something other than sound, silenced. Agony not felt but fully aware of, fear and terror, that drifted away with the rest of the material that made up both bodies. Wrenched apart slowly, cascading away from self, from soul, from existence. Restless pangs of misery. Fading. Disintegrating. And then drawing back in an explosion of existence, a singularity coalescing together as one at first, but this was wrong. Separating out, no, no that doesn’t belong there. It hurts, so bad, no it doesn’t belong there. Pieces coming together. A malformed puzzle forced together to make a misshapen picture. It doesn’t fit, it doesn’t make sense. Two souls entwined and then separated over and again. Reformed once more, but not whole. Afflicted with integrated material that doesn’t belong. Vital pieces missing. Bleeding out, uncontrolled, chaotic, slipping away again. Fading. Not whole, not whole. And it hurts, so bad, so bad. Must be fixed, it must be fixed. Survival of one depends on the other figuring this out, but there’s no time. Two minds fighting over which piece goes where, which body belongs to whom. One mind shoves the other aside, taking control. Must make it right somehow. One mind shrinks away, fading, losing, dying. NO! Don’t go! It must be made right. Borrowed material, borrowed pieces, anything to stop the bleeding, to stop the suffering, the impending death. Disfigured, malformed. Fragile little one, slipping away. One spark, shared between two bodies. It has to work. It must work. Stay. Sleep. Recover. Live. We’ll sort this out when we reach our destination, so, so far from here. A crippled and slow progress. It was an accident, it wasn’t meant to happen. This was never supposed to happen…

I could feel Frenzy reel back from the memory I’d handed him. Furious for having been tricked, shocked at the experience, desperate to escape it. His mind retreated quickly and I felt the snap of disconnection. He was sitting up, and I followed suit, grabbing his wrist to stop his flight. He stared at me with wide optics and a stunned expression.

“I’ll make you a deal,” I said. He stared at me waiting. “I… If…” I shook my head, trying to unjumble my thoughts. He shifted his weight uneasily, patience was not his strong suit. Out with it, I thought to myself. “I want to fuck you,” tact was never a strong suit of mine. “But I don’t want all the head games.”

He blinked at my candor, his head slowly tilting downward a shade. Optics downcast, he said, “I’ll think about it,” yanked his wrist free, stood, and left me sitting on the floor in the middle of the Energon Storage Room.

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