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@  Spiritofeigh... : (20 September 2020 - 05:07 PM)

Cheers pal.

@  wonko the sane? : (20 September 2020 - 04:42 PM)

Welcome aboard!

@  Spiritofeigh... : (20 September 2020 - 04:38 PM)

Hey, new to the boards

@  RichardT1977 : (20 September 2020 - 02:29 PM)

I had an idea for a Spiral Zone/Go-Busters crossover fanfic...

@  wonko the sane? : (19 September 2020 - 06:35 PM)

I loved what was there, and think it's pretty ripe for "renegades" style reboot.

@  Rycochet : (19 September 2020 - 03:13 PM)

It's a shame as I loved Spiral Zone, and the design from the Japanese Toyline of the same name are fantastic, I adore the monowheel motorbike.

@  Rycochet : (19 September 2020 - 03:12 PM)

Hasbro doesn't seem to have any interest in doing anything with the TV show, haven't greenlit any attempt to rerelease it, and there have been approaches, so I think it may be aother one of Tonka's legal carcrashes where everyone involved owns a piece and it's not really worth anyone sticking their neck out to claim ownership.

@  Steevy Maximus : (19 September 2020 - 01:47 PM)

I feel that homages and references would be a fun way to expand the GI Joe brand, and give a little love to lines that are unlikely to be acknowledged beyond such capacity.

@  Steevy Maximus : (19 September 2020 - 01:47 PM)

I was under the impression that Bandai was more the character design aspects, not story or characters.

@  Rycochet : (19 September 2020 - 12:55 PM)

Also isn't it in rights limbo, given how it's loosely based on concepts from a BanDai series much like GoBots?

@  Rycochet : (19 September 2020 - 12:52 PM)

We don't need a Spiral Zone reboot, in a decade or so we'll be living it.

@  wonko the sane? : (19 September 2020 - 12:49 PM)

Yeah, but it would fundamentally change the base premise of both gijoe and spiral zone. It's either not the world spanning threat it was, or the zone riders are backed up by a competent force. Either way, you compromise the context of both.

@  Steevy Maximus : (19 September 2020 - 12:19 PM)

Akin to what was done with Matt Tracker in 2008.

@  Steevy Maximus : (19 September 2020 - 12:18 PM)

Again, not a PURE transplant, but an integration of ideas and concepts into the world of GI Joe.

@  Steevy Maximus : (19 September 2020 - 12:18 PM)

@Wonko The Cobra Overlord, with help from Dr. Mindbender and Cesspool, develops machines capable of generating a mind-controlling fog. GI Joe stalwarts Flint, Airtight, Lifeline, and Psyche-Out are joined by Colonal Courage to infiltrate these zones and disable the machines. Figures would sport hostile environment suits (Eco warriors cross with Spiral Zone) and make new versions of the mono-wheel vehicles.

@  Maximus Ambus : (19 September 2020 - 09:39 AM)

Hasbroverse.2 with bought properties: Bravestarr, Ulysses 31, Galaxy Rangers, Shadow Raiders, Manta Force, Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors, Mighty Orbots, Jem and Bigfoot and the Muscle Machines. Seamless.

@  wonko the sane? : (19 September 2020 - 08:32 AM)

While acknoledging spiral zone would be pretty boss, I doubt they could actively integrate it into anything else: given the scale of the villains deeds.

@  Steevy Maximus : (19 September 2020 - 08:03 AM)

COPS, Spiral Zone, Shadow Strikers, Action Man, Centurions, MegaForce. They wouldn’t replicate the old lines, but simply acknowledging their existence would be nifty.

@  Steevy Maximus : (19 September 2020 - 08:01 AM)

I would love to see GI Joe become something of a “celebration of action figures”. Hasbro has SO MANY old action figure properties, and many could slot into the GI Joe umbrella with relative ease.

@  Otaku : (19 September 2020 - 12:04 AM)

G.I. Joe, CyberCOPS, and M.A.S.K. all seem like something that would work from Animated or Prime, though CyberCOPS might have been a bit trickier from Prime.

@  Sabrblade : (18 September 2020 - 11:02 PM)

Rik Alvarez originally wanted the last episode of Prime to spinoff into a new MASK reboot.

@  Otaku : (18 September 2020 - 08:19 PM)

The failed Hasbroverse reminds me how so many things could have been spun off from Transformers: Animated and (after that) Transformers: Prime.

@  ▲ndrusi : (18 September 2020 - 12:43 PM)

Requiem of the Wreckers was post-Revolution, but it was also, you know, a single issue.

@  NotVeryKnightly : (18 September 2020 - 11:06 AM)

But Roche didn't have a series to keep out from the crossovers since Sins of the Wreckers was before Revolution.

@  NotVeryKnightly : (18 September 2020 - 11:01 AM)

Oh wait, that post said Roche, not Barber.

@  Rycochet : (18 September 2020 - 10:46 AM)

And then seemed surprised nobody particlarly wanted it.

@  NotVeryKnightly : (18 September 2020 - 10:25 AM)

Wasn't Barber among the editorial guys that pushed for Hasbroverse?

@  Maximus Ambus : (18 September 2020 - 10:19 AM)

He did it possibly due to 616 Spider-Mans marriage reset between Civil War and Secret Invasion.

@  ▲ndrusi : (18 September 2020 - 09:20 AM)

Bendis kept a tight leash on Ultimate Spider-Man because it was mostly set far away from Earth?

@  -LittleAutob... : (18 September 2020 - 08:49 AM)

I'm learning so much-

@  Maruten : (18 September 2020 - 04:21 AM)

At its worst it was better than MASK, sure.

@  Maximus Ambus : (18 September 2020 - 02:15 AM)

At it's worst it still stomped all over the failed Hasbroverse. Roberts and Roche kept their respective series well out of that one for the same reasons Bendis kept a tight leash on Ultimate Spider-Man when Loeb and Miller wanted greater control for Ultimatum.

@  Maruten : (17 September 2020 - 06:37 PM)

That's so accurate it's physically painful.

@  Rycochet : (17 September 2020 - 02:05 PM)

The Red Dwarf of Transformers? An interesting, innovative and genuinely funny series that descended into a self referential mess of cliches that continues long after it should have been put out to pasture and rendered nerly everyone thoroughly unlikeable? That seems about right.

@  Bass X0 : (17 September 2020 - 01:59 PM)

MTMTE and Lost Light are the Red Dwarf of Transformers stories, as opposed to the others which are more like Star Wars and Star Trek.

@  Kalidor : (17 September 2020 - 01:37 PM)

Anyone in CONUS want a Skylynx for $100 shipped?

@  Maximus Ambus : (17 September 2020 - 01:34 PM)

Maybe an acquired taste in that's in that it's from a fan raised on the UK run where Transformers wasn't taken so seriously in many stories, especially some Earthforce standalones.

@  Paladin : (17 September 2020 - 09:47 AM)

so, terrible?

@  ▲ndrusi : (17 September 2020 - 09:26 AM)

Yeah I think at that point Lost Light is just the '86 movie without the soundtrack.

@  NotVeryKnightly : (17 September 2020 - 02:28 AM)

So, exctly what Triangleman just said.

@  Bass X0 : (17 September 2020 - 12:36 AM)

A few of the same characters.

@  ▲ndrusi : (17 September 2020 - 12:07 AM)

Now having actually read Galaxies #10, I don't actually see what it has in common with Lost Light at all besides featuring Ultra Magnus, Chromedome, and a spaceship.

@  ▲ndrusi : (16 September 2020 - 05:33 PM)

So, it's exactly like Lost Light, then.

@  Bass X0 : (16 September 2020 - 01:52 PM)

What if Lost Light was stripped bare of its charm and humor? Galaxies #10 is the answer.

@  ▲ndrusi : (16 September 2020 - 01:49 PM)

I didn't mean "*exactly* 15 years ago and no other time."

@  NotVeryKnightly : (16 September 2020 - 12:27 AM)

I mean, the comment was about a linewide gimmick of 15 years ago, not a gimmick only present in a minority of toys from that year.

@  Maximus Ambus : (16 September 2020 - 12:14 AM)

I'd like a western take on the UT for it's twentieth, like a annual CG or anime movie on Netflix that is a condensed retelling similar to the film Macross/Robotech: Do You Remember Love.

@  Maximus Ambus : (16 September 2020 - 12:11 AM)

Giant Planet had them, Energon had a few. I've been disappointed in Siege for not having something for the Micromasters, Earthrise has with the base bots but they've been wasted here.

@  NotVeryKnightly : (15 September 2020 - 10:47 PM)

Wasn't 15 years ago Cyber Keys rather than Minicons?

@  Steevy Maximus : (15 September 2020 - 09:38 PM)

By and large, even the worst Minicons have some unique engineering or design elements. The nostalgia factor aside, Micromasters got pretty samey after you got several, especially the "proper" 89 series.


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Do No Harm [First Aid]


2 replies to this topic

#1 Sean Whitmore

Sean Whitmore
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Posted 14 June 2020 - 06:56 PM

(Well, I finished a story. It was started years and years ago, along with many others, back when I had plans for a huge, sprawling fanfic universe. That was all abandoned for various reasons. But there was one story that was closer to being completed than any of the others, and for years I thought maybe I should go back and at least finish that one. So I did.
 
It ended up a little longer than I'd intended it, on account of it relies heavily on the backstory of a fanon universe that never took off, and so it's got a lot more explanations in it than it originally would've needed. But it's dialogue-heavy, so hopefully it's still an enjoyable read and doesn't feel too bloated.)
 

 

DO NO HARM

 


The Cybertronian Empire began roughly 7000 years before the current civil war. Vector Prime, Cybertron's ruler at the time, held the twin beliefs that mechanoids were the most perfect form of life, and that Cybertronians were the most perfect examples of mechanoids. With such a grandiose worldview, it was little surprise that the next stop on his twisted road of logic was to share this perfection with the rest of the universe. Whether they wanted it or not.


Fast-forward several thousand years and a half-dozen Primes, and the situation did not turn out the way Vector presumably intended. The empire had grown to be an unwieldy machine that could only be powered by further expansion, and that expansion was halted--definitively--by outside forces. A worse-for-wear Cybertron was left with the precarious decision of what to do with the ravaged, energy-starved planets still under their control. They couldn't effectively police them without stretching their forces too thin. Couldn't let them go for fear they would band together and retaliate for centuries of subjugation.


Enter Zeta Prime, politician incarnate. His policy of laissez-faire imperialism was the perfect solution for a populace that just didn't want to think about the issue any longer and get back to their own lives. Cybertronian access to the colony worlds became restricted, as was travel between the colonies themselves.


More years passed. Zeta Prime was assassinated, and the blame was placed on colonial terrorism. Zeta's replacement, the hapless Sentinel Prime, responded by ordering police action on the colony worlds, overtaxing Cybertron's already-struggling military forces. This created the perfect opportunity for the burgeoning Decepticon movement, led by former general Megatron. The Decepticons overthrew Sentinel in what would come to be known by some as "the Grand Revolution" and other as "The Decepticon Coup", depending on their political leanings.


First Aid wasn't present for any of that. By the time the Decepticon government was formalized, he had already been absent from Cybertron for 50 years, living among the colonies. Like many young bots of his day, he was disgusted by Zeta's policies. Cybertron conquered these worlds and bent their people, their technology, and their natural resources to the service of its expansion for generations. To cut them off now was an inexcusable forfeit of responsibility. Many passionate Cybertronians defied the embargo and set out for the colony worlds, to assist in whatever way their abilities allowed.


Some of the colony worlds were just happy to have Cybertron off their backs and wanted no help in rebuilding their societies, which was completely understandable. But others were amenable to assistance, their cities torn apart by battle and their natural resources all but depleted. And the civilizations with shorter lifespans (the organics and less-evolved mechanoids) had no frame of reference for self-rule; their entire populations knew nothing of life outside of Cybertronian occupation.


It was these worlds where First Aid and his medical knowledge could do the most good. His med school days were before Zeta Prime's tenure, so organic biology was still offered as an elective back then. Why it wasn't a mandatory course, First Aid could never understand. A doctor's function was to save lives, so why limit one's education to understanding only one form of life?


Kymera was a world of organic humanoids, roughly the size of the "average" Cybertronian (a word First Aid was loathe to use, but it was the easiest way to establish scale when acquiring medical supplies). First Aid had been there for the better part of five years, learning about Kymeran physiology and passing on what useful information he'd picked up from previous worlds. He was a fast study and a fast teacher, and very soon he'd been to most of the planet's city-states.


On this day, First Aid was in a remote village, a thousand miles from the nearest major town. He was accompanied by a group of 7 missionaries, tasked with spreading education and health care to the less industrialized parts of the planet. They were putting the finishing touches on the village's new medical clinic, which they had been constructing for the past few days. Not exactly First Aid's area of expertise, but he could swing a hammer as well as anyone else. By the end of the build, even his hydraulics could register the satisfying ache of a hard job well done.


That's when the Decepticon with the gun burst through the door.


The missionaries were startled, but did not panic. They, like First Aid, had been in the medical profession long enough to know what it was like to be accosted by armed strangers, usually seeking drugs. But unlike the missionaries, First Aid immediately knew that wasn't what this was.


"So there WAS a Cybertronian energy signature here," the Decepticon said. "I half-thought I was malfunctioning."


"This is a medical clinic," First Aid said. He took a step forward, waving at the missionaries to move to the rear of the room. "It's a neutral space, there are no combatants here."


"My name's Flywheels, thanks for asking," the Decepticon said, stepping further into the room. "And it so happens a hospital is just what I'm looking for, doc."


As Flywheels moved, First Aid noticed that the hand which wasn't holding the gun was clutching his side. Energon was flowing through his fingers and onto the floor, leaving a trail behind him as he walked.


"I see you're admiring the hole," Flywheels said. "It's recently acquired. Some friends of mine are fighting some friends of yours a few hundred kliks thataway." He gestured vaguely behind him with the rifle. "I bowed out to find some helpful locals to patch me up, and I don't mind telling you, I was a little concerned. I've never been to this world before, I don't know what their hospitals look like. I don't even know if they HAVE hospitals yet, or opposable thumbs. But then my sensors pick you up, and what do I find but a hospital with intergalactic markings and a shiny Autobot doctor."


"I'm not an Autobot," First Aid said, perhaps a little too defensively.


"I'm not interested," Flywheels said. "You tell your pets to disinfect their fleshy little hands and prep for surgery. And tell one of them to come stand over here, where I can keep him in my sights the whole time."


"That won't be necessary," First Aid said. He raised his hands about his head and took another slow step forward, putting himself between the Decepticon and the missionaries, who were now huddled together in the corner. "It's a minor wound, I can take care of it myself easily. But only if you let the natives go."


"Okay, a counter-offer," Flywheels said, nodding. He lazily raised his rifle so that it was aimed over First Aid's shoulder, in the direction of the missionaries. "Here's my counter to your counter-offer. How about I shoot one of them, and if you do what I say, I promise not to shoot a second one of them?"


First Aid reacted with more speed than the Decepticon expected out of him. He reached out and grabbed the gun's barrel, then jerked it in his direction so that it was aimed square at his head. The shock showed in Flywheel's face, who had to fight the instinct not to pull the trigger.


"You don't get that option," First Aid said.


"What are you, nuts?" Flywheels asked, struggling to pull the gun back. First Aid kept his grip on the barrel, his optics focused on the Decepticon's from behind their respective visors.


"Pull the trigger," First Aid said. "Because the only way you're hurting them is if I'm already dead. In which case, you are scrapped, because there's nothing these people can do to help you. They only live for a couple hundred years, most of their grandparents have never even seen a Cybertronian, much less operated on one."


With a final tug, Flywheels yanked the gun out of First Aid's grasp. The doctor returned his hands to the air above his head. Flywheels' instinct was to aim the gun at him again, which struck him as ridiculous, since that's precisely where it had just been.


"Make the smart choice, Flywheels," First Aid said. Speaking casually now, using his name like they were just any two bots having a conversation. "I'll give you what you're here for. Just let these people go. Compromise."


A moment passed in silence. Flywheels could hear the elevated heart rates of the Kymerans. His olfactory sensors detected their perspiration. The pain in his side wasn't throbbing anymore; it had begun to grow cold.


"How do I know you'll still fix me once they're out of danger?"


"I'm a doctor," First Aid said.


Flywheels smiled in spite of himself. "Y'know what, that is just too corny to be a lie," he said. "Okay, doc, you win. The fleshies can go."


The Decepticon took a performative step back and held his gun-arm out wide, away from the Kymerans. The missionaries remained motionless, unsure of what they should do. First Aid sprang into action, checking briefly to make sure that none of them had suffered a serious shock before ordering them out of the building. He wasn't about to wait for their captor to change his mind.


Within moments, the 7 Kymerans were all assembled outside the entrance of the hospital. First Aid instructed them to head to the nearest town and wait for him there. Don't seek help, don't tell anyone what was happening, just wait and he would join them shortly. The Kymerans, reluctant but too scared to put up much of an argument, turned and headed for their transport when Flywheels appeared in the doorway behind First Aid.


"Tell them to walk," he said. 


"The nearest town is hours away on foot," First Aid said.


"Exactly," Flywheels said. "So if you cross me, I'll have more than enough time to fly after them and kill them all."


First Aid glared at him for a moment, earning nothing but a satisfied smile back for his trouble. Then he relayed the order to the Kymerans and followed Flywheels back into the building.


"Don't look so glum, doc," Flywheels said as the two of them reentered the operating room. "It ain't a compromise unless nobody's completely happy."


"I'll be happy enough once you're gone," First Aid said. He walked over to a cabinet on the far side of the room and returned to the operating table with a medical bag. "Get on the table. You won't need that gun."


"I disagree with your diagnosis," Flywheels said.


"You don't have to worry about me making trouble," First Aid said, placing the bag on the table and opening it. "I'm a pacifist."


Flywheels carefully maneuvered himself into a sitting position on the opposite end of the table. "Oh, yeah," he said. "Me too, on my days off."


First Aid cracked open a small vial of decontamination fluid and rubbed it between his palms. It was a weak acid, meant for eliminating traces of organic matter on the go. "I don't suppose you'll allow me to switch off your pain receptors?" he asked.


"So you can remove my T-cog or plant a bomb in my back without me feeling it?" Flywheels said. He slowly lowered himself into a prone position, clutching his side tighter to prevent even more energon from being expelled by the movement. "Tempting, but no. You just patch me up, and I'll grin and bear it."


First Aid shrugged. "You're the gunman."


Back into the bag. This time, First Aid removed some exploratory instruments so he could assess the nature and scope of the wound. He nudged the Decepticon's hand out of the way and began his inspection.


Flywheels noticeably flinched with the first prod of the instruments, but attempted to hide the pain behind a grunt of annoyance. After that, he was still. First Aid had seen too many tough guys putting on brave faces over the years to be impressed. Moreover, he was confused by what he was seeing in the wound. Or rather, what he wasn't seeing.


"How's it look, doc?" the Decepticon asked.


First Aid waited another moment before replying. "You're leaking at a surprisingly heavy rate which is not consistent with the severity of these punctures," he said. "Your self-repair systems should have been able to handle a wound this size without any problem."


"Yeah, tell that to the mutt that sank his jaws into me," Flywheels said. "I saw him bite another guy's legs clean off. Your Autobot buddies can sure fight mean when they want to."


"I already told you, I'm not an Autobot," First Aid said.


Flywheels lifted his forearms slightly, approximating a shrug. "Coulda fooled me with that whole hero act back there," he said. "What brings you out to the colonies anyway, doc?"


"Forgive my bedside manner," First Aid said. "But I'd just like to finish this as soon as possible so you can be on your way."


Flywheel scraped an imaginary piece of dirt off the barrel of the rifle with his thumb. "Sorry, I wasn't paying attention," he said. "I was too busy admiring my gun. I say, what brings you out to the colonies, doc?"


First Aid sighed. This patient was a talker, either by nature or to keep his mind off the pain. Refusing to engage was just going to be seen as a challenge. So what the hell, First Aid could work just as well while talking or not. And he did have work to do; this was not just a simple patch job. So he spilled his own guts while he rooted around inside the Decepticon's.


"But the colonies are a no-no, doc," Flywheels said with mock severity. "And sharing our tech with them, what a rebel you are. I'll bet you and your college buddies protested against Zeta Prime back in the day, didn't you?"


"Now I'M starting to admire your gun," First Aid said. "Do me a favor and shoot me with it so I don't have to hear you talk politics?"


"Ah, I'm just breaking your bolts," Flywheels said. "I could give two scraps about the whole thing. I'm not a political bot."


"That's funny," First Aid said. "I thought the Decepticons swore up and down they were a political movement, as opposed to a radical terrorist group."


"Yeah, some do, I guess," Flywheels said. "The ones who were with Megatron from the beginning, the true believers. Me, by the time I joined up, they were just the new guys in charge."


"Meaning you were one of the hundreds of convicted criminals Megatron freed in exchange for supporting his coup," First Aid said. "I think I'd actually respect you more if you believed in the heinous slag you're doing."


Flywheels looked over his shoulder at First Aid and chuckled humorlessly. "Listen to Mr. Inspiration over here, ‘believe'. I bet you got a lot of beliefs, don't you, college boy? You like to count them on lonely nights, remind you how special you are. Real strong beliefs, like your aversion to violence."


"Maybe I'm just a coward," First Aid said with a shrug.


"No," Flywheels said, looking ahead again. "You're an idiot, that's not the same thing. Cowards don't put their lives on the line like you did, especially not for an inferior species."


"You've got something against organic lifeforms?"


"It don't keep me up at night thinking about them or anything," Flywheels said. "But if the universe cared about them, they would've been made out of something that lasts."


"Wow, a Decepticon speciest. What a rare breed you are."


Flywheels chuckled again, but this time it was genuine. "You don't seem to have too high an opinion of us, doc. So why aren't you out working with Optimist Prime and his merry band of Autobots to ‘free Cybertron' and ‘bring us to justice' or whatever?"


Without looking up, First Aid pointed at the rifle and said, "Because of that."


Flywheels turned his gaze from First Aid to the gun and back again, confused.


"Start carrying a gun, might be tempted to use it," First Aid said.


"So, what, you’re saying you wouldn't even kill in self defense?"


"I’m saying I don't believe my life is worth more than another's," First Aid said. Matter-of-fact, like it was the most simple thing in the universe.


Flywheels couldn't help but feel impressed. He propped himself up on his gun-arm and turned to look at First Aid. "So you mean to tell me, you had Megatron on this table right now, you wouldn't--?"


First Aid dropped one of his instruments on the table in frustration, having lost what he was looking for when the patient moved. He took the opportunity to stare back at him. "Let me stop you right there, okay?" he said. "Yes, I do have my beliefs, and they are not fodder for cocktail-party banter. I'm not going to answer whether I would go back in time and kill the Fallen when he was a protoform or any other asinine scenario you can dream up."


Flywheels held his free hand up in mock surrender. "Cripes, okay, moderate your drama circuits," he said. "Do you not believe in having a sense of humor either? What's taking so long with those sutures, anyway?"


First Aid placed his hand on the back of his head in a display of frustration. He looked back at patient's wound. "I'm trying to determine why your self-repair system isn't handling this leak," he said said. "This puncture was not deep enough to nick any relevant wires, and you're obviously not low on power. Closing you up on the outside is only going to do so much if I can't…"


First Aid's voice trailed off as he thought about what he'd just said about power.


"Do you have any other injuries from that battle?" he asked, looking back at Flywheels. "Joint aches, maybe a buzzing sensation in the circuits?"


"Yeah," Flywheels said. "Yeah, actually, I'm feeling a buzzing in the left side of my head. I just started noticing it a little while ago. How did you know?"


"And your left hand," First Aid said. "That finger that's been twitching non-stop ever since you sat down. I thought maybe you were just nervous, but you don't seem like the nervous type."


Flywheels looked down at his left hand. As if on cue, one of his fingers twitched. "I didn't even know I was doing it," he said.


First Aid promptly walked back over to the cabinet in the corner of the room and started pawing through the contents. He raised his voice so that the patient could hear him clearly from across the room.


"Your self-repair system isn't working because something is interrupting its supply of power, causing it to reboot over and over again. The reboots are quick enough that you don't even notice them, but without a continuous supply of power, your self-repair system keeps starting over from scratch before it's actually accomplished anything. You don't have a bad leak, you have a minor one; your body just can't do anything about it."


Flywheels took a minute to come to terms with the news that his injury was different--and worse--than he'd assumed. "And the buzzing in my head?" he asked.


First Aid returned to the table pushing a tray on wheels filled with larger instruments. "That's because the power that's not going to your S.R. system is slowly building up in your cortex. It's threatening to overheat your cerebral circuitry. Funnily enough, without the leak, we might not have been able to spot it in time."


"Well, fix it!" Flywheels said. "Can you fix it?"


First Aid grabbed a small metal cylinder from the bottom shelf of the tray. "I'm going to have to temporarily shut you down to safely work in that area," he said. "You're lucky I brought this with me from Cybertron; the Kymerans don't have any anesthetic that mixes with energon--"


Flywheels glared at him, all shock or amusement gone from his features now.


"What do I look like to you, a defect?" he said.


"What?" First Aid asked, momentarily too lost in thought to recognize the implication of the question.


"Do you think I'm a defect?"


"I'm not in love with that term--"


Flywheels shot up to a sitting position and aimed his gun at First Aid. "You must think I'm just a RAGING defect, sitting on the ground and playing with my own nuts and bolts, to even THINK that I would fall for such an obvious trick!"


First Aid laid the anesthetic tank back down on the tray and held up his hands. "Okay, calm down," he said.


Flywheels lowered the gun but did not dial back the attitude. "Let's just keep operating on mutual levels of respect here, okay, doc?" he said. "You'll get out of this fine if you just patch me up and keep from torquing me off."


"Noted," First Aid said. "You got it. No disrespect intended. I'll find a workaround."


He worked in silence for a while after that. Flywheels did not lie back down, and instead remained seated on the edge of the table. The most First Aid was able to do was convince him to sit at an angle, with one leg outstretched on the table, so that he could access the wound. First Aid took a miniature magno-clamp off the tray and fitted it in place around the torn metal.


Given the patient's personality, it was hard for First Aid to gauge whether or not that outburst was in character for him. But if he had to guess...and he DID have to guess...he would say a sudden onset of paranoia fit right in with the symptoms of cortical overheating.


"I didn't mean anything by what I said," Flywheels said, suddenly breaking the silence. "I grew up with a guy whose little brother was defective."


"Yeah, where was that?" First Aid asked, not really interested in the answer. What he WAS interested in was the sudden mood shift. Calm again, trying to keep things conversational. Not good.


"None Of Your Business City," Flywheels said. "In the Bite Me Province. I'm just saying, he was a good kid. I don't have any problem with bots like that."


"Yeah, no, it's obvious your spark is full of love for everyone," First Aid said. He had to raise his voice to be heard over the micro-welder he was currently employing. "You're a real ally of the operationally impaired."


"Okay, fair warning," Flywheels said. "Another smart remark like that is gonna get you a smack."


"Might find it a little hard to reach me," First Aid said. "With your leg sutured to the table."


Flywheels acted immediately, and in his panic he moved in two directions at once. He leaned back and turned his head to try and see over his shoulder, while instinctively kicking out with his restricted leg to test its freedom of movement. Except his leg was not actually restricted, so it shot out further and faster than expected, throwing him off balance. Before Flywheels could steady himself, First Aid grabbed the tank of anesthetic and smashed it against the Decepticon's chin with all his strength. Flywheels' head rocked back, sending him over the side of the operating table and crashing unconscious onto the floor.


First Aid knelt down beside Flywheels and inspected his head. As he'd suspected (or hoped, if he was being honest with himself), the blow to the chin had not caused the cortex to rupture. He looked at the tank of anesthetic in his hand, and noticed that the impact had caused the bottom to burst. He watched the green liquid, specially designed to interact with energon to keep the spark burning while the body's operational systems were deprived of power, as it poured down the grate in the floor beneath him. Without that anesthetic, and without the tools at hand to perform a more sophisticated operation, First Aid's time with Flywheels' depowered cortex was now reduced to however long it took the Decepticon to naturally regain consciousness.


"Well," First Aid said. "That puts a timeclock on things."


* * * * * * * * *


It hadn't been a full minute since First Aid laid the micro-welder down on the surgical tray when Flywheels started displaying the first stirs of consciousness. Less than half that time until his optics powered back on.


"Just made it, thank the Matrix," First Aid said under his breath. He looked down at the patient and continued in a more normal tone. "I know you weren't awake to appreciate it, but that was really quite--"


Flywheels smashed his fist into First Aid's face, knocking him down. The Decepticon got up off the operating table and frantically pawed at his own head. "What did you do to me? Why can't I feel anything? What did you do to me?"


First Aid stood and rubbed his jaw. "I saved your life, your pain receptors are still rebooting, and I saved your life," he said.


Flywheels looked around the room to see if anyone else was present. His internal clock was no help in determining how much time had passed. It was probably rebooting as well. "Did you call anyone? The Autobots?"


First Aid shook his head. "You were out cold for less than twenty minutes. After I locked your gun up in the drug cabinet, I didn't have another second to spare."


Flywheels produced a small pistol from a compartment in his arm. "Yeah, well, you should have spared a couple to search for hidden weapons."


First Aid held up his hands. It felt perfunctory at this point. "If I could have, I would have," he said, with a small shrug of his shoulders.


Flywheels aimed the gun right between First Aid's optics and powered it up to a full charge. "Are you just insane, or what?"


First Aid looked at Flywheels instead of at the gun. "I took an oath when I became a doctor to save lives when and where I could," he said. "The only way I could do that in your case was to give you the beating you've probably deserved every day since you were brought online."


Flywheels charged forward, grabbed First Aid by the throat, and slammed him backwards into the wall. First Aid grabbed the Decepticon's arm with both hands and pushed back, but did not have the strength to remove it.


"You wanted to know under what scenario I'd compromise my personal beliefs," First Aid said. "Now you know. Congratulations and have fun pounding that dent out of your face."


For a few moments, Flywheels did nothing but glare at the doctor. First Aid continued trying to dislodge his hand, to no success. Then a smile creeped along the Decepticon's face. He looked away, trying to stifle a laugh, then released First Aid and stepped backwards after he was unsuccessful. The laughter only grew louder, and lasted until Flywheels had to lean back against the operating table to steady himself.


"Your internals should all be back online in a few minutes," First Aid said. "I stemmed the leak, and your self-repair system will close up the wound in no time. As for your cortex, my fix is only temporary, but it'll hold till you can get to a hospital on Cybertron."


"You are the real deal, doc," Flywheels said, getting back to his feet. "I've met generals who don't have sparks tough as yours. We need more like you on our side."


"I'll pass, thanks," First Aid said, massaging the tarnished metal on his throat. 


The door to the operating theater slammed open, causing Flywheels and First Aid to turn with a start. Another Decepticon strode into the room, surveying it like a returning lord.


"Flywheels," the Decepticon said. "It's about time, I've been searching everywhere for you."


Flywheels regarded the other Decepticon with bemusement, but tightened his grip on his blaster. "Well, that was stupid," he said, "I've been right here. Who the hell are you?"


The Decepticon shook his head in annoyance. He might have sighed, or possibly hissed, First Aid couldn't tell. He was larger than Flywheels, and his imperious gait carried him to the center of the room in just a few steps.


"Lieutenant-Commander Hardwing," the Decepciton said. "The new leader of your unit after Commander Flinter was killed in that embarrassing rout you deserted from this morning."


Flywheels stood up and approached him, pointing at the wound in his side. "I was a little busy leaking like a stuck cyberpig," he said. "Unless you think I could've gotten a couple Autobots to slip in the pools of energon at my feet, I don't think I was missed."


"We'll discuss your latest breach of protocol another time," Hardwing said. "For now, we need to rendezvous with what's left of the unit before the Autobots find them. Or us." Hardwing turned back to the door, jerking a thumb over his shoulder at First Aid. "Kill him and let's go."


"Nah, he's cool," Flywheels said, gesturing dismissively in the doctor's direction.


Hardwing had his hand on the door handle, but now he released it and turned to face Flywheels. "He is not ‘cool', you idiot," he said. "He's the enemy. Kill him."


"He's not, he's a neutral," Flywheels said.


"Then kill him neutrally," Hardwing said.


"Listen," Flywheels said. "Hardwing, Hard-Of-Hearing, whatever your name is. I already told you, he's no threat. He's unarmed, alone, and he doesn't have any useful information to give anyone about us. So let's just leave him alone and get out of here."


Hardwing took a sudden step closer to Flywheels, who did not flinch back. "I'm not in the habit of explaining my orders," he said. "But I don't know WHAT he is. I only know he's not a Decepticon, and that's enough."


"Not for me, it isn't," Flywheels said. "I don't just kill people for no reason."


First Aid couldn't help himself. "You threatened to kill a roomful of unarmed missionaries a half-hour ago," he said.


"Because I had a reason!" Flywheels said, throwing his arms up the air in frustration. "Why am I the only one making sense here?"


Hardwing pushed past Flywheels and drew his weapon. "Enough of this nonsense," he said. He took aim at the doctor across the room.


Flywheels, with no expression on his face, lifted his own pistol and fired two rounds point blank through the back Hardwing's head. Hardwing's lifeless body dropped to the ground, like a marionette with its strings cut.


First Aid stared at the body on the ground, in shock. That shock quickly gave way to horror. He looked at Flywheels and asked, "Why did you do that?!"


Flywheels returned his pistol to the compartment in his arm. "I like you better'n him," he said.


"He was your own teammate!" First Aid said.


Flywheels shrugged. "I still like you better."


First Aid ran over the fallen Decepticon and kneeled down beside him. Flywheels watched him with amusement.


"What do you think you're doing?" Flywheels asked.


"Trying to see if I can save his life!" First Aid said.


Flywheels knelt down as well, pretending to really inspect what was left of Hardwing's cranium..


"I think you'd need a time machine for that," Flywheels said.


First Aid was a good enough doctor to recognize a killing headshot when he saw one. Nevertheless, he had to convince himself to drop Hardwing's corpse so he could scramble back up to his feet.

 

"You--you're a maniac!" he said. "How are your superiors going to react to this?"


Flywheels shrugged again. "Depends how good my lie is," he said. "Promote me, I hope."


"Do you hear yourself?" First Aid said. "How can you be part of a group that rewards lying and betrayal?"


"I knew what the deal was when I signed up," Flywheels said. "We're not called Tell-The-Truthicons."


First Aid said nothing. He merely stared down at the corpse and balled his fists in frustration. Flywheels made an exaggerated gesture of holding up his hands in supplication.


"Okay, tough guy," he said. "I think we've tested the limits of your pacifism enough for one day.  A deal's a deal, I'm out of here and nobody got hurt." He glanced down at Hardwing. "Nobody who was in the room when we made the deal got hurt. Think of him as a Cybertronian cadaver, graciously donated in return for your excellent medical care."


First Aid did not look up at him. He wouldn't give the Decepticon the satisfaction. A few minutes passed, maybe more than a few, he didn't keep track. When he finally looked up again, he was alone.


* * * * * * * * *


After retrieving the Kymerans in the transport, First Aid called the incident in to the local authorities. They, in turn, somehow got in contact with the Autobot forces who had fought the Decepticons earlier that morning and apparently stuck around afterward. What that suggested about the relationship between this Cybertronian colony world and the technically-criminal Cybertronian rebels, he did not know and did not care.


The Autobots arrived at the hospital quickly to claim Hardwing's body and search the surrounding area for Flywheels. First Aid thought it a futile gesture, but it was their time to waste.


A large Autobot by the name of Ironhide took First Aid's statement. What authority he had to take a statement was, again, questionable, but not something First Aid felt like arguing. He was a guest on Kymera, and if they wanted the Autobots involved, cooperating with one was the same as the other.


Ironhide had a Southern Cybertronian drawl, and a practiced apathy about violence and death that suggested he was either a soldier or a cop before the war. From the amount of questions he asked, and the number of those which were just rewordings of previous questions, First Aid figured cop.


"There's one part I'm hung up on," he said. "I get wantin' to protect the natives, but why in the world didn't you try to escape while he was offline?"


"He would have died without my help," First Aid said.


Ironhide nudged his datapad in First Aid's direction, as if to remind him that a record was being kept of what he said.


"Okay, look," he said. "Before I commit pen to screen, here, are you sure you're comfortable with the words ‘help’ and ‘enemy combatant’ bein' used so close together?"


"I'm not ashamed of what I did," First Aid said.


Ironhide sneered. "Yeah, that's what I'm gettin' at, doc," he said. "You should be."


Before First Aid could reply, the door to the operating theater opened. He half-expected it to be another Decepticon, but that couldn't have been more wrong. Standing in the doorway was Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobot rebellion.


First Aid had only ever seen him on newsfeeds, and they did not prepare him for the presence the bot had. He was massive, larger than the bulky Ironhide and twice the size of the Decepticons from earlier. But he didn't move like a large bot. His movements were swift and natural, unlike Hardwing's practiced gait, and he'd crossed the room in what seemed like the blink of an optic.

 

"Ironhide," Optimus said. His voice was not harsh, but nonetheless commanded attention. "I'd like you to go outside and supervise crowd control."


Ironhide regarded his leader with confusion. "But Optimus, there's no crowd out there."


"I know," Optimus said. "But if one arrives, I want you to be ready for them."


Ironhide stared blankly at Optimus for just a moment more before he realized that he was being politely dismissed. Without another word, Ironhide nodded in assent, clipped the pen to his datapad, and left the room. First Aid was glad for the respite, and even appreciated the genteel way in which it was handled.


Optimus held his hand out. "I'm told your name is First Aid?" he said. It was not really a question, but the tone left room for correction.


First Aid shook his hand. "That's what it says on the diploma. And you're Optimus Prime?"


"That's what it says on the wanted posters," Optimus said.


Technically, it wasn't. The Decepticon government dissolved the office of Prime when Megatron took power, and that title was left off of all official documents issued from Cybertron. So to his followers he was "Optimus Prime", but on the Cybertronian newscasts he was "Optimus the crazy terrorist."


But First Aid was fairly certain Optimus knew all that. He was agnostic about the issue himself; in his opinion, the "Prime" title lost a lot of its luster after Zeta. If Optimus wanted to restore some of that shine, it didn't cost First Aid anything to respect that decision. Hell, he wished him luck. "Thanks for the rescue," he said, pointing a thumb at the door through which Ironhide exited.


Optimus gave a brief nod of his head in acknowledgement. "Ironhide is a good mech," he said. "But passionate. He's lost many friends to this war, and he well knows that we're nowhere near ending it."


There was a sad undercurrent to the Autobot's words, First Aid noticed. Genuine sadness, not the superficial kind adopted by politicians when they opine about "the horrors of war". He wondered how many friends Optimus had lost.


"But we didn't lose any today," Optimus said. The grief in his voice now replaced with steel, as if a switch had been flipped. "And thanks to your bravery and quick thinking, the Kymerans didn't lose any either."


First Aid had the sneaking suspicion that a pitch might be forthcoming. "It was really nothing," he said with a dismissive wave. He turned away from Optimus and pretended to fiddle with a medical datapad on a nearby surgical tray.


"You saved 9 lives," Optimus said. "That isn't nothing, it's everything."


First Aid almost said thanks, then decided it would sound silly. "There were actually only 7 Kymerans with me," he said instead.


"I was counting you," Optimus said. "And the Decepticon."


First Aid turned back to look at Optimus. That hadn't been what he'd expected to hear, and he was unsure how to respond. He looked away again, his optics catching a glimpse of and locking onto the dark energon stain on the floor where Hardwing's body once lay.


"I didn't do much for the other one," he said.


Optimus reached over and placed a hand on First Aid's shoulder. "That was not within your power," he said.


First Aid looked up at him again...cripes, he was tall...and Optimus removed his hand. "You know," First Aid said. "Your reactions are not what I expected from a rebel leader. I would've thought that you would look upon a Decepticon surviving as a negative."


"Don't misunderstand me, doctor," Optimus said. "This is a war for the survival of our people, and I will ultimately do what it takes in order to win it. But I still recognize that any loss of life is a shame, and unnecessary loss of life is abhorrent."


Optimus crossed his arms over his chest and leaned back against the operating table. His gaze turned from First Aid to the energon stain on the floor. "The war is going to be over someday," he said. "And the winners are going to have to find a way to live with the losers."


"How are you going to manage that?" First Aid asked.


"Hopefully this thing," Optimus said, flicking a finger against his chest to indicate the Matrix of Leadership within. "Will be generous with the Cybertronian wisdom we were all brought up to believe it contains. But that isn't a problem I'll be burdened with unless we win."


It took First Aid a moment to recognize that the "we" was meant to include him.


"I have a ship," Optimus said. "It's not a large one, but it's fast. I use it to bounce from world to world so that the Decepticons can never track my presence to a particular colony and use that as justification to launch an assault against it. I help out when and where I can, but the fact of the matter is I'm a lightning rod and if I stay in any one place too long, I risk it becoming a warzone." He spat out the last part as if the words left a bad taste in his mouth. "So that's why I have the ship. I want you to be its chief medical officer."


"So this IS a job offer," First Aid said.


"This is a cry for help, First Aid," Optimus said. "I need bots like you by my side. I need bravery and I need skill, and I need for those qualities to be tempered with wisdom and compassion. I need someone to stand as a constant reminder that hate isn't our primary motivator. I need that desperately."


"Do you not have any Autobots like that?" First Aid said.


"I have a hundred Autobots like that," Optimus said. "I'm hoping that by the end of this conversation, I'll have a hundred and one. Then as time goes on, Primus willing, a hundred more after that."


First Aid walked to the center of the room, clutching the back of his head with his hand. "It's not that I have any love for the Decepticons," he said. "I just don't want to play any part in wiping them out, either. I know the fighting is going to continue whether I'm there to patch your Autobots up afterwards or not, but at what point do I become complicit in the violence?"


"If you had it to do over again," Optimus said. "Would you still save Flywheels' life, knowing he would then kill Hardwing?"


First Aid froze. That was the question that had been playing over and over in his mind for the last several hours. And he knew what the answer was the first time he thought of it. The answer was yes, he still would have saved Flywheels' life, under any circumstance. What First Aid didn't know was what that answer said about him.


"You want guarantees, First Aid?" Optimus said. He held out both of his hands to display they were empty. "I'm fresh out. Honestly, I didn't have that many to give before the war, either."


Optimus stood and faced First Aid. "I can tell you that it's not my intention to ever place you in a position where you'd have to do anything but save lives," he said. "But we're both big bots and we understand that intentions only go so far. So I'll tell you what. If the day should ever come where I give you an order that would force you to sacrifice your beliefs...just pretend I'm a Decepticon holding a gun to your head and tell me to go to hell."


First Aid laughed at that. Which he regretted, because once he started, he couldn't stop. The weight of the day's events, the absurdity of it all, was suddenly bearing down on him. And First Aid knew that if he stopped laughing, that weight would bring him to his knees.


Optimus politely waited for however long it took First Aid to finally get a grip on himself. He'd no doubt witnessed stranger outbursts in his relatively short time as a revolutionary commander.


"Can I think about it?" First Aid asked.


"Please do," Optimus said. He removed a thumb drive from a compartment in his wrist and handed it to First Aid. "I have to leave this world, but the information on this drive will allow you to contact my ship no matter where it is. The codes are changed every couple of days, so--"


"You'll have my answer before then," First Aid said. Then, finding himself at a loss for words, he said, "Till all are one, Prime."


Optimus nodded. "Till all are one, First Aid."


And then he was gone.


* * * * * * * * *


Later that night, after the Kymerans had gone to sleep, First Aid returned to the operating theater with cleaning supplies. The last vestiges of Hardwing's energon had dried up, leaving a dark stain on the floor. And there were still bits of Flywheels scattered on and around the operating table. Under other circumstances, there would have been educational benefit to the Kymerans watching this. First Aid had instructed them about how best to clean up mechanical blood and viscera, and how to properly sanitize the area afterward, but seeing was always better than just hearing. But there would no doubt be similar opportunities in the future for them to witness such a thing, and they'd had a hard day.


First Aid looked from one mess to the other, unsure of where to start. Or, really, just unable to reconcile the life that was saved with the one that was taken.


But then, two lives were saved, weren't they? Flywheels' and his own. Hardwing was undoubtedly going to kill him, so there was no denying that Flywheels saved his life. Any way it shook out, three bots had entered that room and only two would ever leave it.


It didn't change anything, really. It didn't mitigate the guilt First Aid felt over Hardwing's death. It didn't make Flywheels any less of a murderer. It wasn't significant at all...except it was, wasn't it?


As monstrous as the act was, Flywheels committed it to save a life. He chose the life of an enemy, for all intents and purposes, over that of a comrade-in-arms. He wasn't a "true believer" in Megatron's despotic rule, he'd said that himself. It wasn't…his intentions didn't absolve him of anything. But they mattered, didn't they? They HAD to matter.


First Aid's mind drifted back to what Optimus Prime said, about the winners and losers having to find a way to live together after the war. It would be a difficult thing to make happen. Insanely difficult. But maybe not quite impossible.


On second thought, the cleanup could wait till morning, when the Kymerans could witness it. First Aid didn't think he'd be sticking around long enough to show it to them later.


Edited by Sean Whitmore, 15 June 2020 - 08:52 PM.

PSN: SeanWhitmore

Switch: SW-7452-6932-0513

3DS: 0490-6399-8582

I did a new video thing:
https://www.allspark.com/forums/topic/159447-whos-the-right-arm/
And a fic thing:
https://www.allspark.com/forums/topic/169332-do-no-harm-first-aid/


#2 blueskyscribe

blueskyscribe
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Posted 20 June 2020 - 12:54 AM

I really enjoyed this!  Great character study of First Aid (and Flywheels, who I just love).  Also a great explanation of how a pacifist ended up working for one of the armies.

 

BTW, if you did ever decide to publish other fics from your same universe on AO3, they have an option for you to create a series to link fics.  Very useful!



#3 Sean Whitmore

Sean Whitmore
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Posted 23 June 2020 - 08:39 AM

Thanks very much!


PSN: SeanWhitmore

Switch: SW-7452-6932-0513

3DS: 0490-6399-8582

I did a new video thing:
https://www.allspark.com/forums/topic/159447-whos-the-right-arm/
And a fic thing:
https://www.allspark.com/forums/topic/169332-do-no-harm-first-aid/




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