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First Tremors

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Shockwave's lab was well hidden, of course.

It was in the lower levels of Kaon, where the distant echoes of miners could be heard. Between a brothel and a drug store, behind a dumpster, there was a dusty, long-forgotten door. If a bot knew where to find the access panel, and what code to type in, they would still have trouble getting past the drones. Every glitch-mouse on the block was actually one of Shockwave's creations, sending observations back to the mech himself. The only bot they let pass without comment was Shockwave's assistant.

Inside the lab, the drones got fiercer. If a visitor didn't give the right passphrase at the right moment, they would find acid in their optics and a stasis field immobilizing them until Shockwave decided what to do with them. His assistant had gone through several sets of optics.

The Council in Iacon was looking for Shockwave, and so he made himself as inaccessible as possible.

The Seeker found him anyway.

He was silvery-white, and slender like all his kind, and he lounged on Shockwave's desk like a throne. His wings barely twitched when Shockwave put a blaster under his chin.

"Good orn," he said, in accented Kaonite. "Nice place you've got here."

"Who sent you?" Shockwave asked. It was always useful to know which Council lackey was currently hunting for him--though Council agents usually spoke Cy-Stan. This was odd.

"No one," said the Seeker. "I brought you a test subject."

He shifted, ignoring the weaponry aimed at him, and revealed a small, twitching form tucked against his side. Delicately, the Seeker's talons scooped it up and presented it for inspection.

It was a Seekerlet, and it was badly damaged. Wings crumpled and torn, an arm gone, an optic shattered. There was a jagged tear along the right side of its helm, and Shockwave could see the greenish glint of its processor through the hole. Energon leaked sluggishly from its knee. Its plating was so dusty its original color was impossible to guess. It was barely two meters tall--a first-frame sparkling.

Shockwave's assistant gaped. "What happened?"

The Seeker's faceplate tightened. "Did you hear about the bombings in Vos?"

"Yes," said Shockwave. It was logical to keep up with current events.

"Then you know what happened."

Anti-warbuild sentiment was growing stronger; some mecha had taken to setting bombs off in predominantly warbuild cities, especially Vos. Hospitals, schools, and aeries had all been targeted. There were rumors Sentinel Prime was supporting the bombers. Shockwave found it likely.

That said-- "Why did you come here?" Shockwave asked. "I don't run a charity."

"Her processor is damaged--her flight systems are slag. She'll never fly again, and in a few quartex, sky fever will kill her." The Seeker shuddered lightly, and rubbed lightly on an undamaged bit of the Seekerlet's plating. "It's not a pleasant way to go. Officially, she was mercifully deactivated five joors ago."

"And?" asked Shockwave.

"Megatronus says you're disproving Functionalism. You were the best medical researcher on Cybertron, before that mess with the Council." The Seeker nodded at the Seekerlet. "So. See if Seekers really have to fly. I guarantee you'll make waves."

Curing sky fever would be an interesting challenge, at least. Seekers rarely spoke of it, and no one had published any studies.

Shockwave subspaced his blaster and took the Seekerlet from the Seeker's servos. She keened softly, tiny talons scrabbling, but Shockwave ignored it. He set a drone to escort the Seeker out, and several others to look for any hidden exits that Shockwave may have missed. He'd need to secure his lab against further intrusions.

Most of his attention, though, was on the Seekerlet. He laid her on an examination table and ran some scans. Everything immediately life-threatening had been patched up, but that was the extent of her repairs.

Then there was the processor damage. Shockwave synced in to take a look. The Seeker had been right about her flight systems, but they weren't the only thing affected. Memory storage was shredded, and her upgrade protocols were gone entirely. The blueprints for her future upgrades, on the other servo, had managed to survive. He saved a copy. They might be useful someday.

Shockwave had a lot of work to do if he wanted his new subject repaired before the sky fever set in.

He could probably just remove the wings, though. She wouldn't need them.