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Secrets in dark places

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Near the ruins of Old Vos

Voltspin hated laboratories.  Too many unknowns, what ifs and potential for random death.  This old abandoned Quintesson one he and Solarcut were searching through added to the ‘dread factor by being completely dark.  Whatever the squids had used for power here was nearly out, with only a few flickers of light here and there.  At least that meant their infamous booby traps were offline, but that didn’t mean there wasn’t the risk of getting crushed due to structural failure.

…and some of those ceiling panels didn’t look stable….

Frag, he’d rather go through that one mech’s lab again.  Berylstar’s lab had not only been clean, well lit and organized, but it was also small.  Not this huge…labyrinth he was currently in: he was certain he had seen that room with the weird egg shaped divots twice already.

Only reason they were even here was because Sentinel finally decided to act upon the reports of suspicious Wrecker activity.  That Prime had too many slaves distracting him from his duties.  Yeah, he got the whole ‘perks of being a Prime’ thing but owning so many slaves seemed a bit far to him.  Owning slaves in general wasn’t wright, if he was to be honest with himself, but that was an opinion he kept to himself.  He had heard of what happened to a couple of members of Team Prime over the simple suspicion of acting against the status quo.

“Voltspin,” Solarcut spoke up, making him jump.  “Something has been nagging at my processor ever since you made your report on that last search warrant you performed.”

“The Berylstar resistance?” Voltspin asked, grateful for the distraction from the dark and creepy around him.  Though, it was unusual for her to talk to anyone about anything not directly related to the mission at hand.

“Yes,” the pale yellow and orange femme replied.  “The slave they owned…his name was Flashwing, correct?”

“According to the records, yes.”

“How did he appear?”

Voltspin raised a browridge at the question but answered anyway.  “Aside from missing a few pieces of armor and his hands, he appeared to be in good shape.  He appeared well behaved as well, though didn’t like being touched by someone other than his owners according to Doomsiren.”

“Humph…,” Solarcut snorted.  “Seems he’s being treated better than what he deserves….”

“Owners can treat their slaves however they wish,” Voltspin reminded her.  “I take it you have a history with him?”

“In a sense…,” she replied in a somewhat guarded tone.  “He was self-serving and self-centered mech that thought he deserved recognition and respect simply due to who his creators were.”

“Uh…one of those….”

“Indeed,” Solarcut grumbled.  “I had ensured I had as little to do with him as possible back then, though he was still a pain in the aft.  At least I can take some comfort in knowing his previous owners had knocked him down a few pegs….”

He didn’t want to know, so he let the conversation end there and returned his focus to the dark and creepy around him.  “You know,” he spoke up after they looked through some kind of…experimentation room.  Ugh.  Somehow, the rusting and crumbling equipment was more disturbing to him than fully intact ones.  “I kind of doubt whatever the Wreckers are looking for will be in any state to be useful when they find it….”

“Depends on what they are looking for,” Solarcut had countered simply.  “Such as what could be in here….”

They were before the entrance of a big room and she was shining her light upon the sign next to it.  It took a moment for his language codex to make out the faded Quintesson script, but it read ‘Specimen Storage’.  He felt a shiver go down his strut, not looking forward to seeing what was within.

“A living bot?  Please…,” he grumbled as he followed her in.  “Even after those squids were freshly kicked off the planet the bots that were pulled from these places were dead or…quite insane from what I’ve heard.”  He was so glad he wasn't created during that time.  “The chances of anyone still being alive down here after all this time….”

“We need to be sure…,” was Solarcut’s response, sounding oddly apprehensive.  Perhaps she was just as disturbed as he was at this.  Regardless, he focused on checking the area around him.

As the sign had declared, this room was full of storage tanks.  And they all had to have transparent containers, giving him a clear view of the horrors within.  Or, they would, if they had power.  The ones he was brave enough to shine in his light into showed that their contents were in various states of decay.  A few had been without power for so long that they had nothing but a pile of dust with a few larger chunks sitting at the bottom.

At least these poor sparks were already dead….  Voltspin could only imagine if they were alive, or worse, conscious, helpless to stop the power from going out and leaving them to starve.

“Looks like what’s left of the power is being direct into there,” Solarcut announced, gesturing toward a side room.  Though the door, he could see a faint light.  They nodded in silent acknowledgement and headed toward it, both thinking the same thing:  whatever was in there was likely significant. 

Voltspin was expecting some self-powered device, or maybe even a generator that only had enough juice left for a single room.  Or some doomsday weapon.  Neither of them were expecting a functioning life-support pod…that was occupied.

The occupant was a Cybertronian seeker frame.  They appeared to be still alive, somehow, but not in good shape.  There was a rail turret spike imbedded in their upper right chest and another in the abdomen.  The left arm was mostly missing, looking to have been sheared off above the elbow.  More puncture holes dotted the rest of the frame, evidence of spikes that had been either removed or went straight through the unfortunate bot.

Time in this pod wasn’t kind to the frame either, from what he could tell.  The fluid they were in was murky and patches of their dark paint were missing.  Hints of rust and rot dotted both the frame and the tubes and cables attached to them.  This pod…wasn’t likely to last another year, if even a couple more months.  Meaning they located this poor spark just in time….

A dark chuckle took him surprise.  Voltspin looked to see Solarcut looking at the pod’s occupant with a bemused expression. 

“So…even with this…you failed,” Solarcut stated, chuckling once more.

“What?” Voltspin questioned, confused.

“Volt…I believe we found what those fools are looking for,” she replied with a devilish smirk that made his plating crawl.

He blinked, confused on why she seemed so certain. That is until he took a closer look at the individual.  On the chest, barely visible due to the cable blocking his view, was an insignia.  It took him a moment to make it out, but he realized it was an older style Wrecker insignia.

“By the Allspark….,” he breathed.  “How did they even know this bot was in one of these places?”

“This mech disappeared during the time of the Quintesson occupation,” Solarcut explained.  “A disappearance Flashwing arranged himself.  He no doubt gave this information over the Wreckers in exchange for sparing his life once he was moved to private ownership.”

“He must be very important to them if they were willing to let a known Siren live…,” Voltspin commented.  He found it a bit contradictory that Solarcut appeared to know a lot about Flashwing’s actions despite supposedly having ‘little to do with him’.

Solarcut’s plating was flaring a bit in anger.  “Yes…very important.  This mech…is Ebonscream…one of their founders.  He served not only as their trainer but tactician…and was a thorn in the side for many rival groups.”  She was moving toward what was likely the power cable.  “For that reason, they cannot have him.”

Voltspin blinked, briefly shocked by that last statement, before her drawing a sword snapped him out of it.  In a blink, he rushed over and stopped her from slashing the cable.  “What are you doing!?” he demanded.  “He is not a threat!  He’s helpless!”

“Not now, he isn’t!” Solarcut growled, shoving him away.  “But if the Wrecker’s find him and restore him, he will cause all sorts of trouble for Lord Sentinel!”

“You seem so certain of that!”

“He is a Wrecker!” Solarcut reminded him.  “Whom are loyal Optimus Prime, whom we both are certain want to overthrow Sentinel!”

“Even so, killing a helpless mech like this….”

Solarcut laughed.  “Please…look at the state of this equipment and him, it’s only a matter of time before he parishes anyway.  What’s wrong with speeding up the inevitable?”

No no, this was still wrong!  “Why can’t we take him in and restore him ourselves!?” he insisted. “With all time that has passed…all the changes…surely he could be convinced-“

He would never condone slavery in any form,” Solarcut retorted darkly.  “So he would stand against Sentinel.”

“But killing someone for something he hasn’t even done yet!?”

“Oh…he has committed plenty of crimes worthy of death….”  He thought he caught a slight hint of an odd accent in her voice.

“If so…then he should be tried like anyone else first,” Voltspin insisted, feeling more and more uncomfortable by this.

His people as a whole were never tried for their crimes,” she stated flatly.  “And Lord Sentinel is, at present, too focused on his playthings to bring his hammer of justice on those that stand against him.” Once more she raised her sword.  “So it falls to us to do what he will not….”

Once more he stopped her.  This time when she retaliated, she cut a light gash across his chest with her blade.  In shock, he staggered back, looking down at the faint line of energon that was starting to seep through the wound.  “Why are you so willing to become the same kind of monsters the Decepticons were?” he asked.

Her expression was a mix of sorrow and determination.  “My people…were considered monsters by them no matter how noble our goals were….”

What….  A damning suspicion started to form in his processor.

“I am sorry, Volt,” she was saying as she turned toward him.  “But you are in the way….”

Solarcut had leapt at him, her sword raised…

…Then she was on the ground, a smoking hole through her chest, her optics dark.  Voltspin looked down at his weapon, dumbfounded: he didn’t remember shooting her.  It had all happened in a flash, in a split-second reaction.

Now his partner was dead and by his own hand.

For a moment Voltspin could only stand there, staring and shaking, as the reality of what just happened sunk in.  He would be executed for this…or worse…made a slave, when this was found out.  Sentinel wouldn’t care if it was in self-defense or not.  What was he to do?  He couldn’t blame this on a trap, no: even a rookie investigator would determine that wasn’t possible.  His career as an Enforcer was as good as over.

Voltspin paced around the room for several moments, trying to figure out what to do.  When he finally remembered he wasn’t the only ‘living’ being in this room, it hit him.  The lifepod….

He stopped and looked at the helpless Ebonscream floating within, an idea coming to mind…