Internal Audio Log #179236: 28 years since the Decepticon-Autobot peace treaty was signed. 20 years since Ultra Magnus and Commander Starscream have started to rebuild Cybertron. 17 years since Iacon was fully rebuilt. 6 seconds since I fought with Wheeljack, It’d be obvious that I lost.
Valleyscreech fell back into a table, holding their faceplate in pain. Their attacker, Wheeljack screamed out, “You traitor!” Two bots behind him rushed to his side and held back his arms, trying to prevent more conflict.
“Easy you two!” The bar owner came out from behind the bar and squeezed between the two. Wheeljack shook off the two bots holding him back, “Tsk,” he glared at his ‘sparring partner’, leaned on a table before making his exit. Valleyscreech lowed himself to the floor, his data processor running at Mach 4. Everything felt sore and a few nicks leaked out energon. They felt the optics of everyone, burning through his plating. The atmosphere was humid and thick as everyone looked around at each other in confusion.
“Screech-.” They turned to their medic friend, Speck, his height matching his name. “We should go, I need to fix you up.”
“I’m fine, just a bit thrown around.” Valleyscreech stood up, placing their weight on their smaller friend.
Speck rolled his optics, “Thrown into a few tables maybe, what did you even say to him?”
Their voice and helm dropped, “Can we talk about when we get there?” Speck sighed and escorted Valleyscreech out the door.
As the doors closed behind them Speck tried to cut the tension, “What’s with you and getting into fights?” He belted out a fake and forced laugh. He looked to his friend’s shaken-up expression, it wasn’t the time for jokes.
The cold air gave ValleyScreech a drink of sobriety, clearing their processor. “I told him what happened with Comet. He then punched me and called me a murderer, then a traitor. To be honest, I deserved it.” Their words built up a rushing wave of repressed guilt.
Speck straightened his mouth as his expression softened, “It was three thousand years ago, you were young.” his servos pushed up his friend’s chest. “You don’t deserve to be treated like scrap.”
“It’s no excuse, I stabbed her Speck. I killed her. That’s why I didn’t leave Cybertron with you, if anyone found out I-” Smoke leaked out the corners of his optics as their voice began to crack and break.
“I know, it’s okay. You’re okay now.” Speck lowered Valleyscreech to the ground, resting them against the wall. “Listen, the war did A lot of things to us. We’ve done things we aren’t proud of. You need to cut yourself some slack. ”
They looked up at Speck, “I’m not even going to ask what that means.”
“It means that you have to be easy on yourself. Now when you’re ready, we can go and get you fixed up.” He took a seat next to them, pulling his kneecaps to his chest plate.
What seemed like megacycles was only a few clicks, Valleyscreech stood back on their peads. Speck followed suit and continued to support his friend’s weight as they made it over to his medbay.
The medbay was a lot more colorful than when they saw it last. “I like what you’ve done with the place. It feels more comfortable.” Valleyscreech traced their servo on the walls painted with pictures of organic life. Amazed with the forms of life, “Is this what you really saw?”
“Yes, what your staring at is from the planet Earth.” Speck lowed Valleyscreech on the table, pulling out a drawer filled with tools.
“What was it like? Did you converse with any of its inhabitants?” They stared up at the ceiling bouncing his leg in anticipation.
“Yes, and I made a few friends. A human sparkling and a three-legged dog. I think they’re drawn somewhere on the wall.” Speck steadied his friend’s leg and lit the blowtorch in his hand. Dragging across the nicked surface, smoothing the metal.
“When did you get the time to paint this?” Valleyscreech calmed his perked-up nerves, still focusing on the ceiling.
“I don’t leave the medbay often and First Aid is stationed off-planet to help the refugees. So it’s just me.” He shut off the blowtorch and kicked on the cooling fan. As the fan ran at top speed Speck searched the drawer for the buffer.
Valleyscreech kicked up a different topic as their friend popped back up with a buffer in a servo. “The archive is doing well, Nevermore and Rewind already are taking a liking to it. I don’t know how I keep track of all of it. New donations come in every planetary cycle.”
As the buffer ran across their chest and torso, Speck listened to his friend’s ramblings about their job. It was nice that they are still somewhat the same bot that he met all those years ago.
“Hey, did you hear about the new interest spike in Decepticon and Autobot romance?” Valleyscreech half-heartedly laughed.
“You’d think it’d be too outlandish, but no! The entire ‘Forbidden Romance’ thing is extremely popular.” Valleyscreech sat up from the table and hushed his voice, leaning closer to Speck. “And you didn’t hear this from me, but I saw the most by-the-book bot read one of these said ‘taboo subjects’”
“Ultra Magnus?! Now you’re lying to me.” He gave his friend a playful push.
“No, I'm serious! I looked over his shoulder and saw it. I can show the data logs of his checked-out tablets.”
“You think he’s got a thing for seekers?” Speck raised his eyebrow and laughed. The single thought of Starscream being in a relationship with someone like Magnus made him burst from the seams.
“I don’t think so, but I’m about as stumped as you as to why he would be interested in that kinda stuff. Research purposes?” They walked alongside their friend as they made their way to the door.
“Regardless, try not to get into any more fights, okay? I’m heading for a recharge and you should too.” Speck pushed Valleyscreech out the doorway.
“See you then.” They gave Speck a smile before they flipped into their alt mode and drove off onto the street.
The streetlights flashed by as they zoomed out onto the main road. Seekers bolted across the dark sky as they headed toward the brightest part of the city. As multiple other vehicle modes joined their side along the road, Vallyscreech spaced out. They remembered the old sound of cars and trucks racing on the road, back before the war, back when the planet looked alive. They remembered how crowded the streets were, lined with shops and bars.
They pulled off onto an exit and drove down to his street. Placed there was his library, with the closed sign still plastered on the front of the doors. ValleyScreech jumped out of his alt mode and tapped at the passcode tablet near the doors. The doors smoothly slid open and a few overhead lights flickered on. They slinked through the doorway and made their way to a door behind their desk. Placed there was a hovering monitor screen, walls of information and data logs were displayed. They squeeze behind the desk and input a different password into the tablet. An elevator door opened, it still smelled of new metal. They climbed inside and immediately felt their peads being lifted from the ground. Valleyscreech turned their helm to the spying window, watching the floor move farther away. The elevator came to a slow stop then a small ding was heard. Valleyscreech stepped off and continued to travel down the hallway. Another door stood in the way, but no password was required this time. They simply stepped close enough to the door and it opened.
“Home Sweet Home.” They said to themselves. A few posters and pictures hung from the walls. One caught their optic. A simple photo of Comet and Wheeljack by their side. It came with an inscription at the bottom: “To Rust or Bust!” While that phrase was usually reserved for married couples, it felt appropriate to use at the time. ValleyScreech sadly reminisced, “Friends to the end. To the very bitter end.” They put the photo down on the desk and climbed on their bed. Listening to the roar of traffic, they close their optics and power off.
The atmosphere smelt of spilled energon, mucky and nauseating. Sounds of guns and metal clashing were heard from around the corner. Valleyscreech raced closer and closer to the epicenter of the noise. It was too late, as they flipped out of their alt mode. One bot was already laying there dead. A beautiful black seeker laid on the ground, coughing out his last words. “Tell Valleyscreech I’m sorry.” His spark caved in and whispered out. Valleyscreech stared in disbelief, he went out without a fight. “What did you do…?” They looked up to Comet hunched over the seeker’s body. Bright pink stains of energon crept up her peads and legs.
“What did I do? What did you do?” Comet snapped back, sheathing her blades.
“He was unarmed!” They motioned towards Midnight’s corpse, and the panic in his spark began to rise. They rushed towards the body’s side, checking if there would be any hope that he was still alive. There was no beat, a pit formed in their tank.
“He’s one of Megatron's highest-ranking warriors, I couldn't care less if he was unarmed.” She pulled Valleyscreech away from Midnight, “You’re the one who’s out of their processor! Do you think I didn’t notice that you constantly come to this spot doing Primus knows what?” Comet shook Valleyscreech’s frame, but they just stared blankly at her. “Then I follow you and I find you’re-” She stammered to find the right word to use to describe the relationship between them and Midnight. “-fraternizing with a Decepticon! Are you insane?”
They tuned out Comet’s words as they stared at Midnight’s body. As everything finally clicked in his motherboard, the pit in his tank bubbled with white-hot rage. They barged out of their trance and heard Comet once more. “Are you even listening to-” Valleyscreech unsheathed their blade and plunge it into Comet’s abdomen. They clenched their teeth as they stared into Comet’s optics. She held a dazed and confused stare as her spark began to slowly go out. Their anger slowly was replaced by despair. They slowly laid Comet on the ground, being careful to not take the blade out or plunge it deeper.
Valleyscreech whispered to themself,
“What have you done.”
“I’m s-sorry.” Their voice was unstable, and they frantically looked around for anyone to help them. Comet, voice weak and hushed, “I never thought you would be the one to offline me. I’m not upset, maybe this is better anyway. You’ll be the last face I’ll see instead of a Decepticon laboratory.”
Their words weaved together in a panic, “Nono- I’ll get help. We’ll get you fixed up and-”
“And be expelled from the Autobot cause and exiled from any Autobot-held territory. That’s basically suicide, even if the Decepticons don’t catch you. You need to finish the job, just stab my spark and be done with it.”
“No, I can’t do that! Don’t worry about me, just save your energy.” Smoke escaped the vents in their optics.
“Please, save yourself and take care of Wheeljack. He’ll go crazy without us.” She pulled them into a hug. “See you when you get to the Allspark.”
“No, No! Comet stay with me!” They frantically called out into their commlink, “Base to Valleyscreech! Comet is down!” There was nothing but static.
“Just stab me in the spark already! This hurts me way more than it hurts you.” She gripped their blade, guiding it out of her abdomen. Valleyscreech turned their helm away as they slid the blade out and hovered it over her chest.
As the blade dove into her chest, reality shattered around them. Everything went into a black void. Comet was no longer in their arms and Midnight’s body was nowhere to be found.
“Screech, what did you do?” Valleyscreech whipped around finding Wheeljack behind him. His optics were just as black as the rest of the world, lifeless and voided. Valleyscreech jumped up, reaching out for Wheeljack, “Please don’t leave!” Wheeljack turned and walked into the void as Valleyscreech begged for him to not leave. Valleyscreech couldn’t move their legs. They just watched his only reminder of the old world leave.
Before Wheeljack fully faded from view, Valleyscreech felt a cold hand place itself on his shoulder. They turned around to see Midnight hunched over, optics just as blacked out as Wheeljack’s.
“Why did you leave me?” Midnight whispered. He wrapped his arms around Valleyscreech, “I thought you loved me. Why weren’t you there?” Midnight was spark-chillingly cold and that only upset Valleyscreech more.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I’m sorry to all of you. I’m sorry I let you all down. And I’m sorry Midnight, that I wasn’t there for you.” Smoke blinded everything in Valleyscreech’s sight as they held on to Midnight. No matter how many times Valleyscreech tried to wake up, the nightmare never stopped. They continued to sob out clouds of smoke as they felt Midnight’s embrace consume them. Soon, their legs regain function, and Valleyscreech stood up. Midnight slowly morphed into chains clenching their wrists and ankles.
His voice became distorted as he begged out, “Please don’t leave me, don’t leave me again.” The chains felt like they were burning through Valleyscreech’s metal. They pushed forward and looked out on the blackened horizon. There stood an orange silhouette, blankly looking at the sky. As Valleyscreech trudged forward, it became clearer that it was Speck. Speck turned his helm to Valleyscreech and locked optics with them. Something felt off about Speck, which was proven right when his jaw unhinged. A slender metal tendril flew from his mouth as his body continued to contort.
Valleyscreech swore under his breath, “Slag.” Before bolting off in the opposite direction. It didn’t matter if the chains burned, they needed to hightail it. There was no use switching into their Alt mode, the chains would easily disrupt that. Every step they took became more and more weighted. As the demented form of their friend crawled closer, it shrieked out. It gained closer to Valleyscreech, its twisted tendrils grazing their frame. It felt cold, everything felt cold.
The floor gave way into a liquid mess when Valleyscreech felt a sudden weight leap onto their shoulders. Their body began to sink into the void, the monsters of their mind pulling them down.
Valleyscreech separately screamed out, “You’re not real, this is a dream!” They thrashed against whatever clung to their back. It wouldn’t let go, no matter how violently Valleyscreech threw themselves. The melted floor and walls consumed Valleyscreech’s body, dragging them deeper into the abyss. They called out again, “Wake up! Wake Up! This isn’t real!” Falling deeper and deeper into the void, their energy started to wane. One last time they fiercely screeched for help, using the last bits of their energy.
Before they could succumb to their exhaustion and drown, Valleyscreech felt the cold metal floor of the bar. There were no more chains, no more monsters, and the bar was completely empty. There were no tables or stools, just a lonely door leading to Primus-knows-what. Light leaked out the edges of the door, almost seeming to call to Valleyscreech. They took a deep inhale before placing their hand on the door and sliding it open. Valleyscreech walked into the light and let it engulf their body.
“Wait, Wait, Stop. They're waking up!” Speck waved his hand, hunched over Valleyscreech. He pushed his step stool closer to the medical bed.
“What happened?” Valleyscreech held his helm, feeling a sting of pain. They squinted their optics and the sudden appearance of bright light.
A strange voice called out, monotone and slightly scratchy, “You went into some sort of trauma coma. It’s become fairly common in the pasting years.” The bot retracted his fingertips from Valleyscreech’s helm.
Speck butted in, hanging over Valleyscreech’s chest plate, “This is Chromedome, Rewind’s conjux. Rewind called me after you had been gone for a few days. It was like you disappeared.”
“How long was I out?” Valleyscreech rubbed their forehead.
“2 Weeks, I’m surprised you haven’t rusted yet.” Chromedome rubbed his wrists, his fingertips clicked back together.
Speck jumped into Valleyscreech's arms, embracing them. “I thought we were too late. I was so scared.”
“Yeah, I can see.” Valleyscreech wrapped their arms around Speck, almost engulfing him with their arms.
“I’d recommend booking an appointment with Rung. You could have another coma and could never wake up. Therapy is the best option.” Chromedome leaned against the medbay walls, being careful not to scratch the paint.
Valleyscreech gave him a nod before Chromedome waltzed out the door, probably to talk to Rewind who was waiting outside. They turned their attention to Speck, still in their arms. “Are you okay?”
“I should be asking you that. You’re the one who was asleep for 2 weeks.” Speck flipped around and leaned against Valleyscreech’s abdomen.
“Don’t apologize to me. You’ve done nothing wrong.” Speck patted Valleyscreech’s leg.
Both sat there in silence. Listening to the muffled city noises inside the medbay.
Valleyscreech looked down at Speck, “Do you wanna grab a drink at Swerve’s? I need to pay him for the damages anyway.”
Speck smiled and shrugged, “Sure, I could use a drink.”