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10 December 2008 @ 10:21 pm
Last and Alone – Secret 13  

Last and Alone – Secret
Title:  Part 13
Rating:  T
Characters:  Perceptor, Ratchet, Prime, Jazz, Prowl, Wheeljack, Red Alert
Warnings:  Mech x Mech hinted at/mentioned occasionally

Universe:  G1-ish/Last and Alone/Monolith
Disclaimer: I, in no way, shape, or form, own the Transformers© franchise or the characters it contains.  They belong to Has/Tak, No infringement intended.  Any OC’s to my knowledge are solely mine. 
Summary:  Perceptor was once part of a gestalt, but the others were destroyed.  Since he should never have survived the deaths of his teammates, it’s a secret he has kept for thousands of vorns.  Now Jazz is tracking it down.
 



Part 12 - Secret

Part 13

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As Perceptor began the journey back to awareness he slowly perused through the numerous system alerts he was registering.  Dimly he realized that such a slow return to awareness and his lack of anxiousness regarding the alerts must be due to a sedative of some sort in his systems.  That thought was enough to tickle his interest into why he would be sedated.  He chose to ignore the alerts for the moment, none were survival critical and most were not telling him anything he wasn’t already discovering anyway as he looked around.  In general just about every system that made him him was in various states of disaster.  His firewalls were shattered; his memory banks were a mess with a high majority of the files completely mixed amongst themselves. His processor was a dull ache which he knew from experience would become massive the closer he got to full on lining.  So for the moment he was content to hover where he was. 

Recalling his interest in discovering why he was sedated he directed his attention to the disarray that was his memory banks, this time with enough concentrated effort and interest to become somewhat concerned that the firewalls protecting them were of a very basic nature and all bearing the medical signature of Ratchet.  Ratchet?  Had something happened to Tonic?  Yes.  No. Yes he argued again.  He fought to pull the information from his memory.  No.  Ratchet was the Autobot CMO.  Yes!  Tonic was the team’s medic.  If something had happened to him on mission, it should be Tonic’s signatures he was reading.  So yes, something had happened to Tonic as well as himself.  What?  What was the mission they had been on?  What about the rest of the team?  His interest in the questions faded as the sedatives worked on his systems and he let the void claim him once more.

+-+-+-

Ratchet grumbled to himself as he watched Perceptor, the diagnostic machines the Scientist was hooked up to and the energon feed laced with one of the stronger sedatives.  The last forty hours had been surprising, frantic and downright unpleasant to say the least.  From finding Perceptor, Jazz and Prowl in Stasis lock to Perceptor’s waking up in battle survival mode, to his attempt to take his own life, to Ratchet’s own inability to stabilize any of Perceptor’s systems-spark included- for more than a few minutes at a time, to Jazz’s revelations regarding Perceptor and the entire situation.  Yes unpleasant was putting it mildly indeed.   Yet finally, as the evening of the second day turned to night Perceptor’s systems and spark seemed stable outside of a stasis lock.  Well… Red Alert and Sideswipe’s program seemed to be holding the rogue program in Perceptor together; and consequently, Perceptor’s spark as well, thus allowing Ratchet to keep Perceptor merely off line rather than in stasis.  Ratchet’s chronometer beeped alerting him to the fact that he was due to meet with the other Senior Officers with an update.  He adjusted the drug laced feed line before nodding to Hoist who was on shift in the med bay.  “You know what to do.”  And with that he headed out the doors to the meeting.

Ratchet paused in the hall before entering the Officers Mess.  Mostly to collect himself.  The Officers Mess was much smaller than the general rec room that served as the catch all for all off duty activities, and was minimally used since the lines between the officers and the general ranks had become blurred 4 million years ago with the formation of the unit Prime wanted to crew the Ark.  Prime had loaded his unit heavily with officers.  It was almost a one to one ratio of officers to non-officers in fact.  Now, the Officers Mess was where the Senior Officers more typically gathered for non-tactical discussions.  Like for this update on Perceptor he had been asked for.  By gathering here it forced the work-a-holic mechs like himself, Prowl and Red Alert, and to a lesser extent Wheeljack and Perceptor to vacate their respective domains for some refueling and semi downtime.  He could only grumble so much about it; he’d been the one to suggest the idea several years ago when they had awoken on Earth.

Ratchet entered, glancing at who was already arrived and taking note of what everyone was drinking as he headed past the energon dispenser to behind the “bar” area.  There he kneeled and slid his hand over an unmarked panel in the floor, manipulating his energy signature as he did so.  The panel moved aside and Ratchet reached into the revealed space and retrieved a cube of the sweet high grade stashed there.  A flick of his hand as he stood and the panel closed, leaving no trace that it existed.

Prowl and Jazz were already seated on a couch and Prime had taken a chair.  Wheeljack was seated on another couch and Ratchet sat down next to him then looked at Prime.  “Ironhide or Red Alert coming?”

“Ironhide is still on long patrol and Red Alert is currently glued to the Med Bay security monitors.”

“And no matter what I tell him about Perceptor not being a security risk to the Ark, he’s not hearing it.”  Jazz added

“Jazz, he came very close to taking Prowl’s life.  I would think you would be less cavalier about the risk our Second faced, especially as he is your bondmate.” Prime reproved.  A note of lingering annoyance in his voice.

“Exactly.  Prowl knows why I say he’s no risk, as I told you ‘n inquiry, I’ve been in Perceptor’s processor.  But now I’ve also had time to personally share the experience with Prowl.  It’s a much better method than having’ to stand before you and verbally explain my actions ‘n inquiry.”

Prime made to respond, but Ratchet smoothly inserted his own defense.  He knew Jazz had been thru the ringer already, and didn’t really want any remains of that coming out here.  The situation after all was what it was.  They would just have to wait till Perceptor on lined and the Scientist himself stood for inquiry.  “Jazz is right; at this point in time he’s not a risk.  Besides Prime, I’ve already told you that that was a survival protocol running.  Unfortunately it was an unexpected one.  Had I known Perceptor had once been the ancient equivalent of a frontline warrior, I would have treated him far differently.”

Prime directed his gaze and response to Ratchet.  “My friend, I think that is exactly where Red Alert is coming from.  We apparently don’t know anything about Perceptor.  That he should be with us for so long…that he should become m…the Senior Science Officer.  And yet we really know nothing of his history before us.”  Prime paused then continued with stronger emphasis on his next words, frustration leaking thru.  “He was a member of a gestalt for more than seventy three hundred vorns.  That is a good seventy one hundred vorns longer than Devastator and he’s the oldest gestalt the Decepticons have.”

“Exactly my point!”  And all heads turned toward the door where Red Alert stood. 

“Hey Red, thought you weren’t coming.”  Jazz smiled easily.

“I’m trusting that Ratchet has Perceptor sedated enough that he won’t be waking anytime soon.  And I have Inferno on the monitors.”  Red Alert responded as he retrieved his own cube to drink then moved to join the other Officers.

Ratchet nodded.  “Yes he’s quite sedated.  He’s a mess, and needs a chance to fully stabilize and begin internal repairs.  Plus I want to make sure you’re and Sideswipe’s program continues to hold.”

“Hmpf.  It’ll hold.  I hate to admit this, but Sideswipe certainly knows his way with slicing programs.  For Perceptor’s sake, it’s a good thing, because I couldn’t have written what Sideswipe did.  I only offered some reinforcements.”  Red Alert responded as he allowed himself to relax into the chair with his cube.

“And that I believe brings us back you Ratchet.  How is Perceptor?”  Queried Prowl.

Ratchet’s optics dimmed slightly as he thought out everything.  “He’s holding his own.  I’m keeping him off line by the use of sedatives.  I don’t want to send him into stasis again if I don’t have to.  Nothing will get repaired if I do.  His spark seems to be stable, but it is weak.  It suffered greatly when that Reckoning program went hot active.  Sideswipe’s program seems to be working for the time being, and hopefully the Reckoning program will return to its previous state of passive activity.  If it does not, or Sideswipe’s program fails before it does, then the chances of losing him are one hundred percent.  Ratchet paused here and it was evident to all that that admission of the potential guaranteed failure hurt the medic.  “There is just no way that we know of to save a member of a gestalt team when one or more of the team is already dead.  My sending Perceptor back into stasis while Sideswipe looked at the program and came up with his own counter was merely a temporary measure.  It would not have worked for long.  Everything we and the Cons know about gestalts says that Perceptor’s survival is impossible.”

“So there is no way of removing the program from him?” asked Prowl.

“From what myself, Wheeljack and Sideswipe saw, and Jazz has explained; the program was designed to integrate and entwine itself into a bots core programming as well as linking itself to the functioning of the spark.  You yourself took a look at it Prowl.  It has in essence become a small piece of everything that makes Perceptor Perceptor.  The best any of us can tell it is the only thing preventing him from joining his gestalt mates in the matrix.”

“Very well continue.”

“Fine.  As it stands his firewalls are completely shattered and in ruins.  I have loaded some basic ones that will offer some protection but he has a lot of work ahead of him rebuilding his own.  His were some of the best I’ve ever seen aside from some Special Ops bots or Prowl’s.”

Ratchet paused and glanced around as he took a sip of his drink.  When no questions or comments were forthcoming he continued.  “Not to say that none of the already mentioned stuff is not a high concern, but of particular concern to me is that his memory banks are also a mess.  His files are mixed amongst each other and completely out of whatever sequence he kept them in.” Again Ratchet paused for a drink.

“You mean they are corrupted?”

“No, I mean they are completely mixed up.”

“What will the result of that be?”  Prime asked into the break.

Ratchet returned his gaze to Prime.  “It means that I have no idea who might wake up.”

Jazz leaned forward drawing Ratchet’s attention.  “What do you mean by that?”

“I mean exactly what I said.  I have no idea who might wake up.  We might get a bot who thinks he is still working for the …CCC?  Is that what you called them?  Yes, or we might get the Autobots Senior Science Officer.  And since he was a gestalt, and we really don’t understand how the whole memory sharing works, we might get his team’s medic or engineer or navigator.  We might get a combination of any of that.  His files are so messed up, out of place and overlapping, if we’re very unlucky we might get a Cybertronian thief from the golden age.  It’s all going to depend on what Perceptor and his processor does with those files.”

It was obvious to all present that this was a further distressing development for Jazz.  “If we don’t get Perceptor.  I mean if we don’t get the Perceptor we know, what are the chances that his memory banks will correct themselves and we eventually get our Perceptor back?”

“I honestly don’t know.  Neither myself or Jack have ever actually seen memory banks this messed up before.  Corrupted yes.  But these aren’t corrupted in the way we would normally perceive a corrupted file.  Hence our using the term messed up.”  Ratchet looked around and saw the somewhat confused expressions from his fellows. 

“Look, it’s like this.  Think of Perceptor’s memories as multiple chains.  Each segment in a chain linked to the one immediately before and immediately after.  Each chain, a division point based on Perceptor’s own filing system.  Now take at random one of those chains and remove a random number of links at a random number of intervals and drop a random number of those into another randomly chosen chain at random intervals.  But when you drop them in, don’t replace any links from the new chain.  Have the new link acts as a doubled link wherever you place it.  Now you have two memories competing with each other at the same time.  Now do that over and over again with his entire memory.” 

Ratchet paused and Wheeljack took over to give the medic a rest.  “That’s actually similar, as best as we non gestalts understand it, to what happens with a gestalt teams memories every time they merge and unmerge.  So his processor is actually somewhat prepared for this situation.  The problem is that it’s not just his teammate’s memories that are doing this at the moment.  It’s his entire set of memories.  His waking up and not knowing who we are is a worst case scenario, but still possible.”

“How possible Ratchet?  Asked Prowl.

Ratchet swung his gaze to the SIC.  “If this were one of Smokescreen’s pools, I’d bet that he’ll wake with some disorganized memories, but near the latter end of his timeline.”

Prowl arched an optic ridge at Ratchet.

Ratchet huffed but responded.  “I’m not the numbers mech here, but I expect that he’ll wake up right where he’s supposed to be with only some minor overlap.  AS Wheeljack said, because of his gestalt history his processor is already prepared to deal with this situation.  I just doubt it’s ever sorted his memory banks to this extent.  It’s why I’m keeping him fully energized even with the sedatives on board, which seems like a contradiction I know, but to a point, the longer I keep him sedated, the more time his processor can work on repairs.  It will work out.”

Ratchet settled back leaning into Wheeljack as the others digested this information.

Jazz shook his head and Prowl placed a hand on Jazz’s shoulder.  “No one blames you in this.  You have been cleared of malicious wrong doing.”

Jazz looked at his bonded.  “I know we’ve already gone over all this.  But I blame me.”  Jazz looked around at the rest of the officers, then the floor.  “I acted irresponsibly using the excuse of being responsible.  I didn’t listen to my own doubts about what I was doing.  I may be an expert in cruising thru hubs, but I should never have uplinked with another bot like that.  Pit, this wasn’t even an uplink, what I did was a jacking.  I put myself at risk.  I put Prowl at risk.  I put Perceptor at risk.  I attacked and broke a fellow Autobots firewalls; I unlocked Perceptor’s final memories of his gestalt team, which were obviously blocked away for a purpose.  Because of that his team’s final program went active and attempted to fulfill the one final task it had failed to do ages ago by releasing Perceptor from its hold.  By putting myself at risk like this….  And this wasn’t an op’s mission I was on.  Perceptor is not to blame in this.  I saw his reasoning for letting me uplink.  He was hoping to contain a potentially explosive situation.  And ya know what?  After having been given access like that to everything he is and seeing his memories and the reasoning behind his choices, if it hadn’t all gone to the pit there at the end, it would never have gone beyond myself.”

Prime spoke before Prowl could respond.  “Jazz, no matter what you say, you must see that Perceptor is at fault.  He has lied to the Autobot faction in general, his unit, friends and myself specifically.” 

Jazz interrupted.  “That’s getting close to making this personal Sir.”

“No matter the excuses, there is blame here.”

A touch by Prowl to Jazz’s arm and a lean against their bond stopped Jazz from a counter response and he settled back against Prowl

The other officers settled back in their own thoughts as well, there was little enough to say that had not already been said or dissected before or since Jazz had stood before Prime, Prowl and Red Alert and revealed in detail what he had done.

+-+-+-

Perceptor came once again to vague awareness.  This time he was greeted with fewer alerts.  He took note again that his firewalls were shattered and in their place ones placed by Ratchet.  And again he wondered about Tonic.  Then his attention was drawn to a non-descript but very specific alert.  His concern about the alert was enough to power his way past the effect of the sedatives and he raced thru his systems for a very specific set of memory.  Located away from his main memory, buried deep out of the way, completely unremarkable, unless you knew what was there.  And only the rest of the team should know.  Even the firewalls for the area, while impressively complex and strong were completely inconspicuous.  The first firewall was shattered, showing it had not avoided Jazz’s attack.  The second, though it had not failed, was no longer useful.  The condition of the two firewalls gave Perceptor pause as he reevaluated and boosted his estimate of Jazz a bit higher.  Then to his relief he found the final two walls remained hidden and as strong as ever.  No evidence that the information protected by these had been accessed, or in any way compromised.  With the knowledge that the GN rifle and the weakness of the gestalt merge point was safe, and therefore his team safe, Perceptor allowed the sedatives to once more claim him.

 
 
 
tainry: PerceptorCoopertainry on December 11th, 2008 06:18 am (UTC)
AUGH! Don't stop there!!!!!
Interesting how Prime's taking this rather personally, as Jazz says.
Heh, very intriguing continuation - glad you've picked this up again. :D
cmdrtekkcmdrtekk on December 20th, 2008 06:04 am (UTC)
Hmmm. Yes Prime is taking it a bit personally. Thanks for reading and commenting.
Myrrhibis or VAharleywitchokami_myrrhibis on December 11th, 2008 04:45 pm (UTC)
YAY! More Last & Alone!! Interesting end-bit there - looks like Perceptor's combining both 'timestreams', for want of a better term... pre-Gestalt-death & current time.
cmdrtekkcmdrtekk on December 20th, 2008 06:05 am (UTC)
Yes, Perceptor's memory is a bit of a mess at the moment. But I'm pretty sure his processor is up to the task. Thanks for reading and commenting.
mmousemmouse15 on December 20th, 2008 04:01 am (UTC)
I'm sorry I forgot to comment on this chapter! This is a solid, beautiful chapter that gives us so many details and so much information - really well written and fun to read. Interesting how Prime's taking this so personally and how Jazz is defending him. I love all the details on how the officers came together to help Perceptor.
cmdrtekkcmdrtekk on December 20th, 2008 06:10 am (UTC)
Just cause he's Prime doesn't mean he's above all the petty personal issues. Will have to see how it goes. DOn't worry about late commenting. I'm so out of the loop on stories right now and it's amazing to me I got this chapter up, plus the next one.

Thanks for reading and commenting. I hope it continues to be interesting.