Chapter 11:Training of a Pretender, Part Two
Sam had to stop and take a break before he told Bumblebee the rest of the story. Bumblebee was patient. He believed Sam needed to tell someone what happened to him, and he knew Sam felt safe with him. After a time, Sam managed to go on.
Noisy signed to his partner, Muscle, and started the cut. They needed to get the tree out to clear space for the road coming in. Muscle got out of the way, and after a few seconds the tree fell. He and Muscle attached the lift and hauled the tree to the salvage pile. It was large enough to go for timber. Then they started getting the largest limbs off while the others worked on the stump.
Muscle was not a bad work companion, Noisy thought as they worked. He spoke little, he worked steady, and he shared equally with the food. Noisy normally partnered with Squint, but Scrapper wanted Squint to learn to use Grunt's wedges for the stumps. Noisy and Squint taught Muscle the hand signs they used the most in the field.
At the same time,he noticed something odd about Muscle. The new slave moved stiffly. He learned the signs quickly, almost as if he already knew them. He was doubtful about the food Noisy brought in nightly, and on the first night they cooked the greens separately from the main food. However, when he saw how happily the others ate their portions, he was curious enough to try a little the next night. Noisy noticed that he paid close attention to talk about taste, and asked why some of the crew would not eat certain foods, as if he could not actually taste the food himself.
It was getting late, close to dark, and hard to work. Scrapper called a halt and everyone headed for camp. As usual, Noisy helped with the setup, and took the containers for water. He had a shirt full of radishes and spring onions to wash as well. Reaching the nearby lake, he waded in the water and moved slowly. He enjoyed the water on these warm days after a hard day of work. Scrapper was an old stick about anything new, and gave him a hard time about the swimming at first, but he came around. He usually did about anything that was actually useful at times, and the irritable supervisor had to admit that swimming was useful when Noisy saved one of the work crew from drowning.
Normally when he woke from death into a new body, he got some time free from the Decepticons. Scrapper's crew found him as he woke. But while Scrapper was a stiff-necked son of a scrap heap that hated anything new or changing, but he actually looked after his crew. He allowed his crew some leeway in behavior as long as it didn't get in the way of the work. For that reason, Scrapper had a good team of willing, efficient workers and got his projects done on or under deadline.
Scrapper pretended not to see the gathered food as they ate it, as long as everyone also ate the supplied food. The other slaves raised a fit when Noisy tried to hunt or fish, but they gladly shared the plants he found. Scrapper also pretended not to know about the liaisons between his team members. Unlike Noisy, most of them went through the breeding farms and the mines. The work was hard and dangerous. They grabbed every chance at pleasure they could get.
Scrapper protected Noisy from being something of a sex toy to the other men by keeping the boy near him those first few years, until he judged Noisy strong enough to defend himself. After that, Noisy got plenty of offers, sometimes forceful ones. He refused all of them, sometimes forcibly. Underneath Noisy was Sam, and Sam knew how to fight off another human effectively. He saw nothing wrong with same sex pairings, but he was not inclined that way personally.
He was washing the veggies when Muscle showed up. He nodded at the new guy and hefted the container. The veggies were wrapped in his shirt. Muscle took the container. "Hey, you fall in or stop to take a leak or something?" he asked genially. "Took you a while. And your hair is wet."
Noisy only shrugged. "The others said that you know how to move in water. Is that something you learned before you came here?" The mute nodded. "How?" Noisy shrugged again. How the hell was he supposed to explain when he could not speak? He tried anyway, miming falling into water and thrashing. "You fell in and had to learn, hmm?" Noisy nodded. They reached the camp site. Muscle looked puzzled when they ate the veggies without cooking them this time. Squint did not want the radishes and traded his for Grunt's onions. Noisy ate his own dinner and watched Muscle listening to them. Then he noticed how the firelight glinted oddly off of Muscle's face. Why was it odd? He looked at the others' faces. After a moment he saw what the problem was. Muscle's skin was too smooth and bore no little differences like the others. Noisy added that to other oddities.
In the next few days, during work, Noisy added up a few other things odd about the new guy. When the wind blew hard one afternoon and everyone was getting stuff in their eyes, Muscle did not seem to be bothered. Once a twig blew right into an eye, and he just pulled it away- no cursing at it, no tearing up, and no rubbing of his eyes later. During the break, all of them gulped water, but Muscle made not move to drink until Noisy offered him the container. He saw that Muscle never sweated. He came to his conclusion and wondered what if he should try to tell Scrapper that another of his kind was playing human for some reason.
CyKill thought everything was going well, but he admitted to curiosity over about two things. One was the sex between the men. There were two pairings that seemed to be stable, and the others seemed to be random. Noisy refused to indulge, but almost all the others did at some time or another. CyKill came to the conclusion that somehow it was a kind of stress relief, as most of them were more relaxed and in better moods after they indulged.
The other was the puzzle that was Noisy. He understood that Scrapper already sent in his reports on the mute, with no response. Since the flawed slave worked well, why go further with the matter? But there was no explanation for what Noisy knew. No slaves knew how to find wild food anymore. No slave knew how to swim. He did not believe that scrap about falling in for a moment. Yes, Noisy was intelligent, but CYKill doubted that he could have learned food gathering and swimming as an abandoned slave. He looked up the reports while he was supposed to be sleeping, and was more intrigued. They found Noisy naked, in the middle of uncleared, uninhabited land, without a collar. Could Noisy be some kind of Alliance spy?
After a look at the records, he discovered that someone did a scan on Noisy and found nothing except that his voice box was an injury and not a defect he was born with. Taking out the voice box of a human child, and then abandoning them, hinted at someone trying something proscribed and dumping the slave to avoid being caught.
Then the crew was working on another tree, a big slagging monster. Noisy signaled him to get out of the way, waving him far back before using the cutter. CyKill got bored and began pacing. He realized too late that he wandered into the outer fall area. If he had been human, he would have been killed. As it was, the limbs pinned him. He shouted, and Noisy found him, gestured that he was getting help, and left, returning shortly with Scrapper. By that time, Cykill got himself moved to where the tree was only pinning a leg, and Scrapper got him out. He was scrapped a little, and there was some (fake) blood. Scrapper sent him to the camp to clean up. CyKill saw Noisy's face as he left. Noisy suspected.
Accordingly, he waited until Noisy left with the buckets. Covered in the trees, he transformed into his normal mode, and followed Noisy. He got to the lake as Noisy was in the water. He watched as the slave moved in the water for a few moments, then stepped out to stand by the veggies, holding Noisy's clothes. Noisy came out of the water and took the submission pose expected of a slave. CyKill said, "I think we need to speak, Noisy, "and transformed back into the human form. Noisy's face revealed nothing. So, he guessed. "Come here. " Noisy came closer, and held out his hands for his clothes. In the next second, his clothes were back on the ground and Muscle held him. Noisy's heart started slamming. "Calm down," Muscle/Cykill told him. "I am still learning this form. In all the time I have been testing it, you're the only one to see me for what I am. "
It was amazing, CyKill thought, how a slave's heartbeat can communicate. "Shh," he murmured in Noisy's ear. "I'm not going to hurt you, if." He paused. "I need someone who can tell me what more I need. You are going to teach me that." Noisy touched the scar on his throat. "I know that, but I know you can tell me in other ways. You're smart, little one." Noisy stiffened a little at the endearment. "No, now, none of that, I am still a master." The mute slave tried to relax. "When the others start their little mating games, you come with me. Hear me?" Noisy nodded, and CyKill let him go.
There was quiet when they returned. They went through the routine as normal, but the talk was subdued and CyKill saw how the eyes of the others kept going from him to Noisy. This time, when the couples would normally start separating, the other slaves went into two groups, one drawing Noisy, and the other CyKill. CyKill found himself in the middle of a circle. "Look, Muscle, "the one called Squint said, "We just wanted to make something clear, here. Noisy, he's usually able to take care of himself, but we all know he's a lot younger than any of us. He got found, and never went to the farms or the mines, and that means he never got bred. It was hard luck that got him shoved in this kind of work so young, let alone whatever happened to him that got him left in the middle of nowhere without his voice."
At this point Grunt spoke up. "He's never took up with anyone we know of. Scrapper kept an eye on him when he was younger and still looked like a stick. Since then he's looked after himself. If he wants to take up with you, that's his business and yours, but he don't know what to do."
Squint said, "If he don't want it, you ain't getting it. We all agreed on that. And he does want it, you be careful with him. He don't know what to do, he can't talk, and you hurt him, we'll all have the master looking at us too close. You got me?"
CyKill crammed down his anger. To them he was just another human who might hurt a member of their crew, which would affect the work and might just interfere with their pleasure. "Got it."
"Good," they all said, and everyone drifted back to camp.
So CyKill began taking Noisy aside and in the dim light of the moon or by the muted light of the fire, Noisy explained what he saw. Some things would take a kind of upgrade, like the sweat from the skin or the tears from the eyes. Cosmetic changes should be easy, like the skin blemishes. Some things would only need some practice, like when to need a drink, or some acting, like the food preferences. There was little he could do about the problem with movement.He decided that Noisy was much more intelligent that he appeared. It took patience to communicate what he saw, but CyKill believed his methods made the problem clearer than if anyone just told him. Seeing Noisy imitate the stiffness of some of his moves clarified that problem better than words alone ever could.
In the meantime, he began exploring the art of human touching, both to learn and to keep the illusion that they were private for the same reason the others were. Noisy occasionally sported a bruise until CyKill learned how to discipline his strength. He found that light movement over the skin of the back and arms helped the young slave relax, especially when the work was hard and the muscles underneath the skin were tight. Once or twice Noisy fell asleep under his hands. He found some pain points as well, though he only pursued those when he was displeased with his teacher.
Other touching led to some involuntary reactions on Noisy's part. CyKill knew that those reactions in other slaves were a prelude to close body contact, and he would stop. Noisy would draw away. At the same time, he knew the other slaves wanted to react like that, and went much further, often messily, sometimes noisily. He kept his explorations to touch, but he started to ignore Noisy's silent protests to see what would happen. It was not the touch he wanted, as he had no human reactions, though he might need to be able to imitate them later. Now, he just wanted to see the effect the actions had on Noisy. He enjoyed the feeling of control he got from forcing Noisy teach him; he found that he liked the feeling of control he got as he learned Noisy's responses to his touching. He never violated the young body as the other slaves did each other. That was below him. But the touching, done right, was effective.
When Noisy tried to draw away, indicating that there was nothing more he could teach, CyKill refused. Noisy tried to leave for the fire, where the other slaves were. CyKill stopped him easily, and let the slave struggle. "I am the master, "he murmured, and used the pain points until Noisy stopped struggling in his grip, breathing hard. "We aren't finished until I say." He forced the slave to the ground, intoxicated with the feeling of control he got from Noisy's body underneath him, rigid with fear. He started the light rubbing on the back and shoulders, and the slave relaxed under his hand. Eventually he slept.
The next evening Noisy refused to leave the fire after the evening meal. Cykill knewl that the rest of the crew sensed Noisy's upset. They stayed between Noisy and CyKill. That angered CyKill, but if he were one human against all of them, he would not have a hope of succeeding and he knew it. The project had a few weeks yet to run. He was patient. Noisy believed that the sooner Cykill learned what he knew, the sooner Cykill would leave him alone. CyKill let him keep his illusions. Noisy knew too much, and despite being mute, he communicated when he needed to. He intended to take Noisy with him when he left.
Two days later he found a chance. Noisy went to void in the middle of the night. CyKill slipped out and caught him on his way back. "Little fool," he hissed into Noisy's ear as he struggled. "Do you want the punishment for disobeying a direct order?" That stopped him. Fifty lashes was a harsh sentence; when a whip was used to deliver it, the slave often died. "Anyone can hurt you. I want to possess you. I want to overwhelm you. I want you to fear me and crave me. That's real power, sweet." As he spoke, his hands moved, finding pleasure points. Noisy's body responded to him, and Cykill heard and felt a sob escape him. Primus, but the feeling of power that gave him was sweet!
"All right, that's enough." Noisy jolted at that mechanical voice, reaction gone. CyKill snarled and let go before transforming. The Pretender faced Scrapper calmly, as Noisy moved into the shadow of the master who protected him. "I trust there is an explanation of this perversity," Scrapper added.
"No perversity. I'm one of Soundwave's projects." He indicated Noisy. "He was the only one who was intelligent enough to see that I was not human. I needed to know how. He has been teaching me."
Scrapper growled. "I doubt Soundwave ever intended for you to take it that far. That is absolutely disgusting. "He glanced down at Noisy, who was in the proper submissive posture. "If you were human, I'd whip you. As it is, I will make a report, and you will head back to base. Now." Noisy sent a grateful glance at his supervisor. Scrapper could make a slave feel flayed when he handed out a scolding, but he seldom switched anyone and never punished without reason. For him to whip a slave, especially a member of his crew, meant that he was seriously offended.
CyKill merely smiled. "Go right ahead and make your report, but you can't order me out of here. I'm not under your command and I am under orders. Noisy has been quite helpful, and I was just rewarding him." He saw Noisy's hands clench, though the slave wisely kept his head down.
"And that's real power?" CyKill wanted to curse. So the old scrap heap heard that, did he? "I was watching to make sure Noisy was willing. Noisy was never bred and has never been with one of the other slaves, so he has nothing to teach there, and I could tell you were forcing him. I don't call that a reward." He paused. "We both know Soundwave will be more disgusted than I am. You know how he feels about humans."
CyKill did know. "That changes nothing," he said, shrugging. "I was following orders. When Noisy guessed what I was, I ordered him to help me. He will continue to do so, until this assignment ends and I go back to base, at which time he will come with me. Soundwave will decide what is to be done from there. If I have to leave now," he shrugged and transformed his arm to his weapon, beginning to power it. "Or would you prefer to do it?"
CyKill expected Noisy to show fear, to beg somehow, to ask for his life. The slave's entire body tensed and his hands were clenched into white knuckled balls, but he held still. CyKill wondered if he were disappointed or glad. He wanted to completely dominate Noisy; at the same time, he admired Noisy's courage.
Then the weapon powered down. "You forgot that I have override on your weapon systems," Scrapper stated coolly. "You can revert to your human alt mode and go back to being treated as a member of my crew, or you can leave for base. That's up to you. But I do not intend to allow you to molest," he spat the word out," one of my crew unless I'm specifically ordered to, and I will confirm what you're saying. Now get out of my sight."
When CyKill left, Scrapper looked down at Noisy. "He's gone." Noisy looked up, and his eyes started to leak. Scrapper sighed. "I can watch you to the end of the assignment," he said unhappily, "but if he's correct-" the construction con trailed off. Noisy wiped his face and nodded. "Come on then. I guess I don't have to tell you to keep quiet."
Noisy remained withdrawn after that. He worked as usual, but on the second day after the confrontation, Scrapper rearranged the work crew, taking Noisy off the cutter. At first Noisy felt relieved, thinking that Scrapper was keeping him from CyKill. On break, the human pretender sat by him and said, "Scrapper and I both made reports." Noisy drank his water and looked at him. "We're to finish this assignment, and then I'll be taking you with me to my base. "
Noisy went back to work, feeling numb. He knew what he could expect from CyKill on the way to his original assigned base, wherever that was. He was startled by a hand on his arm. CyKill was pulling him. Noisy pulled away. "The tree's coming down," the pretender said, and hauled him into a safe zone. The cutter whined as they waited; Noisy took the chance to edge further away from the pretender. He heard shouts, and looked up. The tree fell at the wrong angle. He was under it. CyKill grabbed him and ran. Noisy stumbled and fell. CyKill lost his grip and slowed, turning back to see Noisy flat on his face and the tree coming fast. He heard a rushing sound before the tree slammed him to the ground.
CyKill fought his way through the branches, not bothering to hide his strength this time; he was in the outer branches and his injuries could be dismissed even in a human. He found Noisy with a branch the thickness of several fingers impaling him. Blood seeped around it. Noisy writhed in pain, soundlessly screaming. Bellowing in rage, CyKill got his hand behind Noisy's back and broke off the branch. He broke off the front as close as he could the body, and then he pulled the branch out from the back.
Noisy bled to death in less than a minute
"He raped you?" Bumblebee's voice was shot with static in his indignation.
"Molested," Sam corrected in sign. "He never went as far as rape. It was not just that, Bee. It was how helpless I was to do anything. He got no pleasure from touching me. He was interested in dominating me." Sam felt less upset than he expected. He wondered there was more in that pill than a painkiller." I know now that he was training to come here. I should be able to write the report now."
Bumblebee found a datapad for him. When he finished the report, Bumblebee took it away. Shortly afterward Willie appeared with a thermos and a snack. One sniff had Sam reaching for the thermos. "I remembered how much you enjoyed the coffee before," Willie said, "and I'm being driven crazy by the other guys, they seem to think I shouldn't be working at all. And you're in here going crazy because you can't move and you're really hurt."
Sam sipped coffee, inhaling the wonderful aroma, and nibbled at the snack. It was some kind of vegetable, and he crunched it with appreciation. He put them both down and signed a thank you. Willie nodded. Sam gave him a raised eyebrow, as Willie looked like he wanted to say something but was hesitating. Willie made small talk until Sam finished the snack.
"Sam, a lot of things just don't add up. " Sam raised his eyebrows and made a 'go on' motion with the hand. "I know for sure that you were a slave on Earth. If nothing else listening to those Decepticons talking to you confirmed that." He shivered. "I understand what you mean now about if I ever met a Decepticon I would be lucky to survive."
Sam nodded, encouraging him to go on. "Anyway, I know you were a slave. But slaves don't learn to fight. I showed you how to fire that weapon, in theory, but you handled it like an expert. I know that most bots make you jumpy, but you ran to Bumblebee and Ironhide like they were family you hadn't seen for years and years. You cried, you were so glad to see them. Bumblebee's been acting more protective than my mother and sister do. You know how to read and write, and how to use a datapad, but Jetfire said humans don't read or write anymore. You walked up to Rodimus like you'd known him all your life and he acted like you were another Prime or something. Who are you?"
:Samuel James Witwicky,: Sam wrote, and drank coffee.
"Yeah," Willie said. "You're the Sire, the one whose genetics the original parents used to found the line. I don't know how you can be that old, and look so young and be that all, but it all fits." Sam swallowed. He considered. Then he nodded, extracted a promise to keep what he told Willie quiet, and explained in detail. Willie read, with one or two questions. At the end he nodded, saying that now it all made sense.
The young engineer gnawed his lip and looked at the berth. "You know, when a child is conceived through the sperm banks, only the computer is supposed to know who the father is," he said. "But I really wanted to know, so I got into the computer." He flushed. "Normally my mom would have been turned down as my brother was an adult when he died. But my mom-you'd have to know her. They finally gave her a chance. I know now they really didn't want my mom to succeed, so they gave her the oldest batch they had still available. "
Sam put the thermos down.
"Most kids from the sperm banks can't meet their sire, because only the dead are in there, "Willie went on. He raised his eyes and met Sam's gaze. "I guess I just got lucky."