Joined: 03 Feb 2012
Location: Area 52
|Posted: Tue Dec 25, 2012 6:29 pm Post subject: The Lost (Christmas) Lights
|Um... how did this come about? >> I have no idea, but being invalidated somewhat on Christmas and having time on my hands, I wanted to write something... what began as a silly little idea suddenly became about Ratchet and a possible explanation of some of his pessimism
It's not gold, it's all been written in one sitting and could use a lot of polishing, buuuuut I feel happy enough to post it here for regard, lol, maybe its a little downtrodden for the season even, but I hope not too much =B
With that said, Merry Christmas Lost Light!
|The Lost (Christmas) Lights
"What on Earth is going on?"
"Precisely!" Swerve raised a finger at Ratchet's outburst before plugging in the mass of stripped electronics into the Engex Distillery, causing the tangled mess of wires to burst to life, as several dozen bulbs began blinking on and off periodically. "Merry Cross-Mas!"
Swerve's bar was packed to capacity and dancing in a sea of decorations, chains painted in neon pinks and yellows linked from rafter to rafter, silver sprockets hung from every available nook and in the middle of it all stood a stack of traffic cones painted green and nestled over a set of crates from the cargo hold that had been painted in the most ridiculous and inefficient neon camouflage patterns since Ratchet's second generation.
All in all, it looked to Ratchet as if a set of bots had began renovating the bar, tore off all the wall panels then detonated a stockpile of paintguns over the bare parts.
"Let's try this again," The medic took a vice-like clench to his cranium as he covered his optics, "What. Are. You. Doing?"
"Well, it's Cross-mas on Earth, isn't it?" Swerve shrugged, "So I figure we celebrate in style, right?"
That got Ratchet's attention quickly when he'd glance up and find Swerve gone, "Earth?"
He'd sweep around and see Swerve grabbing a new box off of Blaster before marching right back over to him, "What has anything got to do with Earth?"
"You tell me, you went there, didn't you?" Swerve made his way over to the tree, probing around with a corner of the crate to find someplace to shove it, "Rodimus went on about it once. Sounded like a laugh."
Ratchet looked around aghast at the number of bots who were pushing colorful boxes to one another and revealing what was inside each of them.
Quickly he found his blame gazed back upon Swerve, "But we're not ON Earth, are we, so what's the point?"
"Eth- Swerve, you're making less sense than normal here."
"Well think about it..." Swerve installed himself behind the bar, gathering a set of novelty glasses before him, "Why are half the folks here on this ship?
"They wanted to come out here and see the universe, experience the whole thing and take bits home with them instead of blasting bits out of it, you know?" Swerve then looked around conspicuously, "How many have been to the Pleasure Hive and never tried the legions of blissbots and that sort of thing.
"So every once in a while we get a theme night going, we'd have had Mos Day last week for the Nebulos crew if we had a live jellyfish on board, but Magnus snuffed that one in the bud."
The bartender slid a drink toward Ratchet, "Who cares if it's all stuff and nonsense, I hear a holiday that involves presents and folks getting together it can't all be bad, can it?"
"I suppose it doesn't hurt the tidy profit you'll be making off all this merry making, either?" Ratchet tested.
Swerve held hands up defensively, "Aw, c'mon Doc-bot, you know I'm just here for the fun, when have I ever been about making money?"
A sudden collission of coins hit the bar when a large drawstring bag met the counter and began spilling its contents liberally everywhere, Jackpot continuing on his way as he walked past, the Autobot glancing back in annoyance at Swerve, "Alright, so they DID kiss under the Mistletoe."
Ratchet found his seat, but he couldn't help but look around uneasily. Everything around him was wrong. There was no other word for it.
"Awwww, purple, how did you know?" Swerve addressed an embarrassed looking Tailgate at the bar.
"I just want to know how he got a traffic cone from, out here in space." Commented Hoist aside to Grapple.
"You know, you might want to wait until you get back to your quarters to open this one..." Slapdash patted the crate that he slid towards Atomizer.
"So, it's the exchange of material goods, the slaughter of coniferous plantlife and flightless avians?" Rewind fixed his camera upon Ratchet.
Suddenly Ratchet stopped idling upon the other booths and returned attention back to his own where Rewind was standing in front of him. "What?"
"You were on Earth, right?" Rewind settled himself onto a seat gingerly, "So, you seem like the best person to ask really about any authenticity to Earth customs."
Ratchet felt something interal jar that wasn't on any schematics he knew of. He wanted to be angry, but Ratchet looked at the Archivists innocent expression and caught himself just short, suddenly finding a renewed interest in the untouched drink he had before him. "I... have to head back to the Medibay shortly, Rewind.
"Promise I'll give you the full rundown later, no reason for me to start nitpicking in a party like this."
A flicker went from Rewind's head as the camera's red light, the smaller bot nodding simply before pointing a thumb back in the direction of Chromedome, "I appreciate it, but, if you feel like company, feel free to come over and join us?"
"Appreciate it," Ratchet echoed, taking his first drink from the beaker in front of him to keep his face down.
Scrambling back down, Rewind would make his way back and forth between the bustle of other bots on the floor toward his friend, waving to Ratchet, "And Merry Crossmas!"
Ratchet winced again, it wasn't the tang in the oil that hit him as he put down the alien concoction Swerve had worked up. He just knew it was time to get out of there. It may have only been an excuse, but the Medibay sounded as good a place as any to get away from the atmosphere. Maybe find time to organise all those tools he never seemed to have a use for.
"I'm not certain if this is a question you find yourself often upon the other end, but are you alright, Ratchet?"
Ratchet turned, having to crane fully round before he'd see the only other bot at a booth alone other than him. Small of frame and stature, Rung sat there with a crate in front of him.
For once the eyebrows sat impassive and the optics hidden behind the lenses told nothing to Ratchet of the other Autobots thoughts on the matter, for a moment he wondered whether or not to answer. He sat between his welled up thoughts and the apathy that he'd dragged with him ever since he had boarded.
"I don't like thinking about Earth." Ratchet finally said aloud, drawing on his free drink, now determined to leave as soon as it was finished. "There are a lot of bad memories for any of us that went there."
Rung's mouth could not have been more even if he had installed a spirit level within, fixed on Ratchet he continued to delicately handle his parcel. "Ratchet, I must express, that I haven't spoken to you since we met on the first launch day?"
"I don't believe I've had ample chance to say thank you for your repairs and patience." Slowly Rung's eyebrows slid into a concerned frown. "Would you please allow me to purchase you a drink?"
Ratchet hesitated a moment, glancing at the glass he'd emptied, fingers fumbling for a moment, he regarded Rung carefully, "Alright."
A few moments later and Ratchet was sat opposite Rung, a new set of drinks before them both, Ratchet wishing he had Rung's eyebrows to reflect the quirk he held on Rung's choice of beverage, "Mudders Milk?"
Rung paused mid-swig, clearing his throat, "Strictly non-caustic, I dislike the idea of being unsound of mind or body.
"It also happens to remind me of MacAddams." He finished after a pause, "It makes me feel a little more at home here."
Ratchet wasn't sure where to start: certainly Rung was as much an anomaly to him as Tailgate, one of the only other bots on the ship he'd never treated until they had met on launch day.
What little Ratchet knew of the psychiatrist thus far was that Rung was another esteemed physician, if only of a different field than himself. But they had more than that in common.
There they were, sat there, two bots far away from home."Ever have any regrets joining, Rung?"
Rung had the world's worst poker face as eyebrows shot up high at the question, "I believe I only have as many reservations as any other Autobots here, but it occurs to me you can only ask me that question if you yourself have regrets joining."
Ratchet struggled for a moment to find an answer there. This journey, this 'quest' was not for him, it wasn't something out of choice other than necessity now. "I suppose if I'd chosen differently.
"Regrets are often a complicated matter," Rung took a pensive pursing expression, "Certainly in my field, certainly something I'm familiar with.
"It's only natural many of us carry such connotations." Rung continued, one brow raising above the other, "So many years and so many worlds we've each flown to."
Ratchet turned his gaze down at the level of his drink and took his time, thinking on it, "So many farewells."
Finally Rung fixed upon his point. "May I ask who it was you said farewell to on Earth?"
Ratchet's grip seized all at once, he flung a look at Rung that would have made those eyebrows spin before he'd stop. He looked around the room once more, all of the decorations, all of the crew in merriment.
Then Rung, passive and calm.
Finally, it just couldn't stay bottled any more. "There were three humans... three local lifeforms.
"It was my fault they were dragged into our war, that they became 'involved'. Insubordination, rash actions, I can't believe half the things I did on that planet now when I think about it... how I let myself implicate three humans... three children, into the middle of our mess.
"Nor how often they convinced me into letting them..." Ratchet fixed his gaze into the drink before him, "We all became attached so quickly. Even had them flying off with us..."
"I'm sorry to hear it," Rung's eyebrows fell sadly aside for him, "Loss is something we've all had to learn a great deal more than anything."
"But that's just it, I don't know if they're alive or-" Ratchet stopped himself, shaking his head before he'd place down the glass, half empty or not. "I've said too much already."
"Ratchet?" Rung's voice was a bit sharper, with just a slight touch of panic to the concern there, "I'm not asking you visit me in my office... but, if this is something that troubles you, it's within my concern, as it will likely be for every Autobot in this room that they would wish to help you."
"Is there someone, anyone, with whom you would feel comfortable discussing this?"
Ratchet was halfway off his seat when Tailgate appeared to break the silence, the diminuitive robot barely passed the height of the table rim as he peered between them both, "Hey guys! Did you hear? Santa Claws is coming?"
Suddenly the door burst open and standing there, garbed in red tarp white security tape, wearing a cylindrical hat and dragging a bag behind him was Whirl.
"Now then, who's been Naughty or Nice?"
"That's where I leave," Ratchet informed before getting up.
Ratchet didn't return to the Medibay however.
He headed through the lines of Habitation Suites, knowing that the occupant he was after was not present at the bar. Likely for the same reason Ratchet had been uncomfortable.
He'd taken time between the bar and here to think on the matter.
And Rung, accurate or not had been right about one thing.
There was someone he could talk to.
Ratchet raised his hand to the intercom aside the door and spoke three names. "Hunter O'Nion, Verity Carlo, Jimmy Pink."
There was a pause, then the door slid open, as Ratchet nodded curtly to the bot standing there, "Alright if I come on in, Sunstreaker?"
There was silence, only followed by the sounds of the medic stepping through the berth and the door closing afterwards.
Many things changed.
Time went on with war, battlegrounds changed and many things were forgotten.
But the bonds they'd made and the lives shared. Those Stayed. And would not be forgotten that Christmas Night between those two.
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