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Flashwing couldn’t move.  Could only sit there frozen, staring at the face of Wheeljack, whom was glaring at him with such hate.  All he could hope for was that the Wrecker still had some sense not to try to destroy someone’s else’s property. 

Those hopes were dashed when Wheeljack suddenly charged at him, an almost feral growl emitting from his vocalizer as the damning chest panel dropped to floor with a thud.  He didn’t quite catch if Rustshift was shoved or jumped out of the way.  Too focused was he on white demon that was rapidly closing on him.  Flashwing started to screech, scrambling back in a futile attempt to stay out of reach. 

His screech became a strangled wheeze after Wheeljack seized him by the throat. The room then seemed to spin, followed by the wind being knocked out of him as he was slammed onto the floor, pain flaring up on his back as his minor wings were forced into an unnatural position.  His view of the ceiling was quickly replaced by the Wrecker’s face:  his plating was puffed out, making him look even more frightening than he already was. 

“Wheeljack what are you doing!?”  Rustshift was crying.  “Stop!” 

“What does it look, like I am doin’?” the Wrecker growled, not taking his optics off him.  “When I saw that brand…I was hopin’ ya had it for a project on armor restoration.”  The hand around his throat started to squeeze.  “To think ya actually had this slagger here….” 

There was nothing Flashwing could do.  To fight back would only piss the Wrecker off more and set off the slave collar.  “Ple-eeze…,” he managed to wheeze out.  “I regret everything I’ve done…!” 

Wheeljack was rolling his optics.  “Sure ya do…after ya been caught and are gettin’ the punishment ya deserved….” 

“Jackie…,” Rustshift started to counter, his voice tight with anxiety.  “He is the one that invented the treatment that cured Berylstar….” 

Flashwing glanced in Rustshfit’s direction.  The shifter’s plating was tight against his protoform and was trembling.  He looked like he didn’t know how exactly to stop this.  Rather surprising he hadn’t started stuttering yet. 

“And I bet that ‘treatment’ was originally intended for somethin’ else,” Wheeljack growled disbelievingly. 

“He did admit as such,” Rustshift confirmed quietly.  “And I admit we do not know everything about his history.  We wanted him to tell us on his own terms.  Please let him go, your actions will not aid in his rehabilitation….” 

“Rehabilitation!?” Wheeljack actually did let him go at that, but only so he could stand and get into Rustshift’s face.  Well...kind of:  the Wrecker only came up to the shifter’s chest.  Still, Flashwing took the opportunity get some distance from the Wrecker, only to back himself into a corner.  Logically, he should have ran out the door. Or would that have just made things worse in Wheeljack’s optics?  His processor was racing too much to think clearly…. 

“Bots like him don’t deserve a second chance!”  Wheeljack was yelling. 

“That’s not what Optimus believes,” Rustshift countered calmly.  “As a member of-“ 

“I am not one of his people,” Wheeljack growled.  “I helped them yes…but I am not a part of that team.  I’m not afraid to do what it takes, to use more permanent solutions to certain problems.” 

“So you approve of Sentinel’s methods for punishing the enemy?” 

The Wrecker recoiled, his puffed-up plating retracting a bit.  “I didn’t say that.”  There was disgust in his tone.  So the Wrecker wasn’t completely without morals then. 

“Hmm…I misspoke then.”  Rustshift rubbed his chin.  “Admittedly your ‘solutions’ would be considered more merciful than what Sentinel arranged.  There are things worse than death….” 


“Is it?”  Rustshift countered.  “You think being constantly raped, drugged and beaten…conditioned to think you are nothing but an object to be used and abused as other’s please…is not worse than death?” 

There was a shudder in the Wrecker’s frame.  “Yeah well,” Wheeljack’s tone was strained.  “It’s not like his type are above torture….” 

“We never did wha’ was done to me!” Flashwing blurted out, slipping into his tribal accent.  “You know tha’ yourself, Wheeljack!” 

There was a twitch in the Wrecker’s frame as he slowly looked back at him, a steely, hateful look on his face.  Rustshfit was also looking him, optics slightly wide and mouth a bit open. 

Scrap…shouldn’t have said that…and in that way….