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04 January 2009 @ 03:08 pm
Snooping Quandary  
Title:  Snooping Quandary

Characters:  Thundercracker, Skywarp

Universe:  G1 AU

Warnings:  Perhaps Skywarp OOC by being described as intelligent, but it is already AU

Disclaimer: I, in no way, shape, or form,own the Transformers© franchise or the characters it contains.  They belong to Has/Tak.

 

Summary:  Thundercracker discovers something in Skywarp’s personal computer which causes confusion in the already less than dedicated seeker.  



Thundercracker was racing through the sky, pushing his engines hard. Seeking escape. Escape from what this time, Skywarp did not know. He could and would guess that it had something to do with whatever had been tying up his friends CPU the past few weeks. Beyond that though, he couldn’t guess. So for now he flew, matching his trine mate, reveling in his ability with the skill needed for this type of flying and the pressure pressing against every surface of his alt mode. 

 

Thundercracker pushed his engines harder yet, reaching for even more speed as he shot across the desert, a mere 50 feet above the ground. Skywarp, separated by a few feet –inches in the case of tailfins- from the blue seeker pushed his engines as well; matching speed and keeping an optic on his wing mate. Suddenly Thundercracker flipped himself over and Skywarp automatically dropped altitude to take Thundercracker’s previous position, their positions now reversed. Another twitch by Thundercracker and Skywarp pulled up, matching his friend perfectly as the two seekers shot up in a vertical climb, this time spiraling in a sharp tight corkscrew maneuver around each other. Now thousands upon thousands of feet up they split apart, looped sharply around to meet again and continue the corkscrew dance as they raced towards the ground. Then they were pulling out of the dive to race again along the surface of the planet, flipping and reversing their positions around each other whenever Thundercracker chose. It was precision flying for their kind and achievable at this level of skill only when mechs had been partnered as long as they had. Skywarp knew it was also the type needed whenever Thundercracker had to flee what was in processor.   He just wished he knew what his trine mate was fleeing this time, though as usual he kept silent on the matter knowing Thundercracker would talk or not in due time.

 

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Thundercracker was both aware and unaware of Skywarp’s presence as he raced the sky. He was grateful and resentful for that presence as well. He flew on, letting his systems do the flying and the acrobatics while at the same time he began to look at the reason he was out here.

 

He hadn’t meant to snoop. Decepticon though he was it wasn’t in his nature. Pit, a lot of being a Decepticon wasn’t in his nature. He could admit it. His faction in general knew it. His trine mate certainly knew it. His Air Commander and Trine Leader knew it. Pit again! Lord Megatron knew it.  Yet he Thundercracker had made an oath, made a commitment. And to him that meant something. He held that commitment even to the detriment of himself. Even as the vorns of war dragged on and his doubts screamed at him louder and louder to be heard, took more and more effort to suppress, he held to the oath he’d given. His honor was all he had left at this point, though how much of that he had left was highly questionable as well. 

So back to his current problem. He hadn’t met to snoop. He hadn’t been snooping! He’d been looking for a map to cross check for possible discrepancies. And who better to get an accurate map from than Skywarp? His wing mate and dare he say friend; the one who’s brilliant processor was dulled so much by the clutter of maps in his memory banks as to make him appear lower on intelligence than he really was. So many maps exquisitely detailed to include the thickness of an interior wall or floor, the height of a ceiling or the pane of glass used for a window or the exact distance between canyon walls. Maps for everyplace and everywhere that it was easy to forget Skywarp could be and actually was quite smart. He just wasn’t capable of “thinking on the fly” so to speak. Which for the Autobots was probably a good thing or his teleporting ability would have been a huge threat. As it was; Skywarp functioned much better when given direction from a clear set of orders. But face it; it took smarts to pull off all those pranks as Skywarp had proven time and time again when he actually had time to sit down and think things over. So yes, Skywarp and his maps had seemed like the logical choice. He’d always been so in the past. And just because Skywarp hadn’t been at the briefing, Thundercracker had seen no reason not to run the battle plan through Skywarp’s computer as the two seekers usually did.

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Thundercracker keyed in the pass codes to Skywarp’s quarters, once again grateful that Skywarp trusted him enough to share the codes with him. He needed a map. He had an uneasy feeling about the battle plan in the briefing he’d just come from; and he had a little under an hour to sort it out before they launched. It would have been easier to just ask Skywarp, but the black seeker was on a pre-strike patrol and had not been at the briefing. 

The unusual action of flying a pre-strike patrol could be the cause for his unease. Though in truth, the pre-strike patrol was only unusual in that Megatron had pretty much abandoned them since waking up on Earth. They had been the routine back on Cybertron. It was one thing to use such a tactic when you more or less controlled the planet like they had on Cybertron. In that case, a patrol was not likely to attract glaring attention to your strike area. It was a whole other energon goodie when you were a minority on an organic planet and might draw unwanted attention to your strike area. 

Another something that might be causing the unease was that Skywarp was one of the two on the patrol. Megatron usually kept Skywarp around specifically for his maps, trusting his most loyal seeker to point out a discrepancy or other item of interest based on those extremely detailed maps. Skywarp and his maps had enhanced – he wouldn’t go so far as to say saved - several battle plans in the past by pointing out small, yet somewhat significant points that the planners had failed to acknowledge.

Thundercracker drew his attention back to Skywarp’s room, stepping carefully over to the desk. With the exception of the desk area, his teleporting friend kept a room that could rival scavenger’s junk pile. Thundercracker had once found a couple of detonators attached to their sonic charges in here. He had of course appropriated those before Skywarp could do something foolish with them. Explosives in general and sonics in particular were Thundercracker’s specialty and leaving any military grade explosive, let alone sonics in Skywarp’s possession was just imprudent. His friend might be smart, but sometimes the potential effect of what Skywarp thought would be a good prank overrode the intellect.

The desk area however was always neat. In place above the desk, instead of shelves Skywarp had tubes. Lots and lots of tubes. Each one filled with various printed maps made on paper or an equivalent substance. The left corner of his desk, right between the wall and his computer was a permanent stack of datapads. Each filled to capacity with maps. His computer carefully kept separate from the Nemesis unless he manually linked the two held even more maps. The projector for dimensional viewing of all the holo maps was actually embedded into the wide expanse of desktop to the right of the computer. It was in this clear space that Thundercracker unrolled the paper map he had pulled out. It looked no different than the holo projected one which had been shown in the briefing; less the attack plans of course. Thundercracker let the map roll into itself as he thought. 

Pushing the map to the side out of the way of the projector, he logged Skywarp’s computer on and pulled out the data chip he had on the mission, plugging it into Skywarp’s computer he called up Skywarp’s analyzing program. He keyed in the command for the analysis just as Skywarp usually did. The program plotted teleporting points that had the potential to be significant for Skywarp during the battle. The first points displayed were potential escape points and out of habit Thundercracker memorized the points even though Skywarp wouldn’t have them. Though, he could give them to Warp when they met up he supposed. Thundercracker shrugged his wings as he frowned. Everything looked normal on the map. He’d spent all the time he could on this and he needed to get to the landing platform. About to shut everything down, Thundercracker glanced again at the projected map and paused.  Then for no reason he could name, because he certainly was not going to take them to Warp, he pulled up the attack points Skywarp liked to have. 

Thundercracker had long ago quit paying attention to these second set of points. Since he was no teleporter they did him no good. Skywarp having figured out that his friend only cared about the escape points the teleport might need had programmed those to display first. Then, after Thundercracker had the points, Skywarp would replace them with ones Skywarp cared about. The second set of points now displaying, the ones Thundercracker had ceased paying attention to long ago were supposed to be extrapolations of potential advantages for Skywarp to count coup against the Autobots - there by showing off to fellow Decepticons and annoying the Autobots all at the same time - or that’s what they use to be. 

Thundercracker was no tactician, but he was intelligent.  As a Seeker, especially as a Seeker it was easy to realize - now that he was paying attention - that the points now displaying were not likely to be of any use for attack purposes. No matter how badly the battle went for the Autobots, the points were poor choices for regrouping or retreating. His comm. unit beeped and Starscream’s voice came on ordering him to “get his sorry aft up to the landing bay, or Unmaker help him, Thundercracker would not have to worry about the Autobots, Starscream would see him in pieces first.” Thundercracker acknowledged he was coming, and then with no time to further study the points, he memorized them. He would look them over again later and in the meantime he could give them to Skywarp after all, along with the escape ones, just like the good friend he was and see what happened.

And nothing had happened. Thundercracker had kept Skywarp on his passive scanners the entire battle. He knew for a fact that Warp had not used any of the points. That in itself was not unusual since the points were really just advanced computer guesses so Warp would have pre set coordinates ready to go with only minor adjustments for position needed. But Thundercracker had made it a point to pay attention to Skywarp’s projected points during the next four battles. He’d note the escape ones as usual and then carefully watch Warp all the while feigning his usual disinterest as the teleport learned his own. It had not been a fluke. Every coordinate Skywarp collected were just as poor for Skywarp’s attack purposes as the first set Thundercracker had stumbled on. It was puzzling because Thundercracker knew that Skywarp was smart enough to see that his program was offering incorrect information. In fact it should be glaringly obvious to a map oriented seeker like Skywarp.

Then, after the last battle, while Thundercracker was once again looking over Skywarp’s potential coordinates in private, trying to understand what was going on, he realized that the points would be perfect for something. They would be perfect for a couple of bots wanting to meet up in private. Close enough to the battle site that nobody would question, yet out of sight of most combatants.   This line of thought would probably have gone nowhere except for today’s battle.

Today’s battle had been no different than any other since discovering the quirk in Skywarp’s analysis program, except that today Skywarp had taken a shot thru a wing and lost a tail fin while the trine had been in low level pursuit of Silverbolt and Skydive forcing the teleporter into a semi crash landing. Thundercracker hadn’t been overly worried at Skywarp’s unexpected decent. The passive scans he’d been keeping on his trine mate had already provided him with an estimate of Skywarp’s condition. Painful, inconvenient and enough to take Skywarp out of the air, and therefore the battle in regards to his alt mode, but nothing serious. He’d be flying back to nemesis in root mode.   So Thundercracker had continued on with Starscream until his leader had forced both Aerialbots out of the air thereby guaranteeing that Superion would not be appearing.

He had split from Starscream then as his leader ordered a one on one attack plan and looped back in a lazy pass high over where Skywarp had gone down. A quick check on his friend and he would be off to choose a target. Except that his friend already had a target with him. Or at least he thought he’d seen an Autobot.  He rolled over dropping in altitude and passed over Skywarp’s position again and saw only Skywarp. A broad sensor sweep on the second pass had located no one but Skywarp. So he had radioed Warp, who, along with a healthy string of curses about Autobot gunners had reported “no, there’s no slagging auto morons in the area.” Reluctant to draw attention to his downed mate’s location with yet another flyover, Thundercracker had returned to the battle. And shortly thereafter the Nemesis as the retreat was sounded.

And it still might have all ended there except Thundercracker started thinking. Past experience had shown Thundercracker this was not a good thing. His doubts enjoyed when he thought too much. And sure enough they were enjoying it now. He’d started by not turning in his recording of the battle, instead reporting a malfunction. So right after cleaning up he’d retreated to his quarters and reviewed his recording. Sure enough, what he’d thought he’d seen with Warp was indeed who he’d seen. His recording only caught a glimpse before the bot had cloaked, but in superb frame by frame detail, the Autobot spy was there. Then he started thinking about Warp and his maps. Then for good measure he threw in his own lack of dedication versus Skywarp’s seeming loyalty. Then since it seemed to be the day for it and it would make the voices screaming in his head ecstatic, he added the Nemesis’ resident mind probe and their glorious grey and silver figure head as well.

The possibilities were enough to send a mech flying. Which was where he was right now with part of the problem, the main part, just under his belly. With the equivalent of a mental sigh Thundercracker allowed full awareness of his surroundings to return before climbing for a safe cruising altitude and settling in at a speedy, yet subsonic speed. Fully aware of Skywarp tagging along and settling off his left wing, he chose to ignore the black seeker as he reviewed what and where his thinking had gotten him.

Skywarp was Megatron's most loyal flyer, if not his most loyal soldier here on earth. That was fact. Everyone knew it. So it didn’t make sense that he would be meeting with Autobots. Of course, that would also be a perfect cover for a spy.  But Skywarp had killed easily - without apparent remorse - plenty of Autobots in the past and more recently the humans that the Autobots were so fond of. And if he wasn’t killing he was probably encouraging his comrades to do it. No, the possibility of him being a spy wasn’t fitting real well.

So Thundercracker looked again at himself. Maybe this was all some elaborate test of his own loyalties. Perhaps, Skywarp’s computer had been rigged for this very purpose? Trines were pretty close to each other. Seekers craved the closeness. Before the war and the factions the trait was a feeling, a loyalty, a tie not easily broken.  Megatron had changed that. Still the Seeker’s had endured and Seeker Trines certainly had a much higher level relationship than was common to see in the Decepticon ranks. And it seemed to him that his trine, Starscream included, took that level of loyalty much further than most trines. Though he wouldn’t go so far as to say it was at the level of pre-war trines. 

So how was he being tested? Could he, would he turn in a trine mate who might be and Autobot sympathizer? Could he, would he turn in a mech he considered a friend? For that was an even rarer relationship amongst the Decepticons. Was there anything to report? Just an accusation amongst the Decepticons could be dangerous. It was ironic that his well known doubts kept him safer than most from accusations.   What potential evidence he had against Skywarp was, in his opinion, vague at best. Of course proof or evidence was not necessarily a necessity amongst the Decepticon faction when accusing someone. Though… Megatron tended to hold his personal unit to higher standards. Megatron had a lot of faults, but he wasn’t willing to toss away an elite high ranked warrior without a pit slagging good reason.  So if he were to accuse, he’d need to back up his accusation. Dare he report loyal ol’ Skywarp? Either way, traitor or not he’d lose his friend; because even if innocent, such and accusation was not something Skywarp would likely laugh off and forgive. And Thundercracker knew he needed the friendship. So if this was the test, he was going to fail.

Then there was always Megatron and or Soundwave. Perhaps they themselves suspected Skywarp? This could easily be a great twisted scheme of Soundwave’s and or Megatron’s to ferret out a traitor or traitors. So something set one or both of them off to looking at Skywarp. That Thundercracker and Skywarp always looked at maps when they had the time after a pre-battle briefing was no secret. Making Skywarp unavailable for a meeting would not likely be enough to stop Thundercracker from looking at the maps. So they did something to Skywarp’s mapping program. No, that didn’t make sense. 

While it was likely that Thundercracker would indeed look at the map the two couldn’t guarantee for sure that Thundercracker would look at the second set of points without Skywarp. But this time, for some reason he had. Had Soundwave nudged him to do that? Aargh! Anyway, he had looked. And several weeks later he finally realizes the points for what they might be. After this much time, and this many battles it means Skywarp is in on this right? After all, the black seeker would have noticed the problem with the map coordinates his program was extrapolating. Unless of course, Soundwave was making him see something different. But the possibility that Soundwave was not tampering with Warp now put what he thought of as friendship with Skywarp into question. And that to was a damaging thought; he really did need the friendship.   

There was of course what he had seen today. The Autobot Spy Mirage with Skywarp. And Warp had taken no damage from the encounter. Enemies in such close quarters with an active battle going on nearby should have been trying to tear each other’s spark out. Then again, maybe the spy was a hologram, meant to draw Thundercracker further into this test of loyalty. But who was doing the testing? Skywarp? Megatron? Soundwave? Someone else?

So what was his best course of action? Report to Starscream? No. Decepticon Second though he was and leader of the trine, he would never believe Skywarp of disloyalty. Being both trine mate and the trine leader of the seeker in question actually worked against Starscream if Skywarp being a traitor was truly the situation. Screamer’s natural need to protect his trine members would interfere and bias him.   Of course, then Thundercracker would be off the hook, so to speak, because he would have reported it. So yes that was a possibility after all.  But now that he had decided that was a possible course of action he found himself fighting his own natural need to support and protect his trine mates. Report to Soundwave? Report to Megatron? Ask Skywarp? The thoughts, ideas, possible outcomes, everything that made up this knotted quandary he found himself in continued to flash thru his processor. 

Thundercracker paused again in regarding his relationship with Skywarp. He and Warp indeed had an unusual relationship amongst the faction. They were indeed friends and very attuned to each other. And while the trine as a whole may not be, he and Skywarp individually were pushing dangerously close to a pre-war seeker trine mate relationship. It was not surprising that Skywarp had gone flying with him this night, keeping a watchful optic and offering a comforting presence while Thundercracker fought his doubts. Pit, they shared door codes with each other. They covered each other’s back even when off the battlefield. Off duty time was often spent together doing any number of activities. No the relationship was very un-Decepticon. It was almost…almost…almost Autobot!

Thundercracker transformed in mid air, immediately losing speed till he came to a hover. He was shocked, unable to believe that thought had been generated by his processor. Skywarp followed suit, transforming and maneuvering around till he was facing Thundercracker as they hovered in the night sky miles above the planet’s surface, yet mere feet from each other. Thundercracker starred with bright optics at Skywarp. Thundercracker shook his head slightly. It didn’t make sense. Warp enjoyed the carnage of the battlefield. Didn’t he? It was Thundercracker who did not. And yet, at this very moment, in this very spot above the Earth and below the moon, a multitude of curious situations and incidents with Skywarp during the many vorns of war made sense. They had needed to be viewed as a whole. Puzzled, softly, hesitantly, he spoke “Warp…”

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 “We really need to be careful. We’re getting sloppy and we’re going to expose him because of it. In fact I’m not so sure we didn’t do that today. Mirage thinks Thundercracker may have seen him.” Jazz looked at Prime and Prowl, frustration written on his face.

“I understand the need for caution with your agents Jazz, and I would have not have ordered the contact if I thought it unnecessary, but it was, and we could do far worse than Thundercracker in naming Cons who might discover Skywarp.” Prime replied evenly to his Special Operations Officer.

“This is true Jazz” added Prowl in support of Optimus Prime’s statement. “And if Thundercracker has indeed discovered Warp, let us hope that the relationship Skywarp has cultivated with him coupled with Thundercracker’s doubts about the rightness of the Decepticon cause is enough to keep Skywarp safe.”

“And if it’s not? I’ve lost enough agents; I don’t want to lose one of the two highest placed ones I have. And I have no way of getting Warp out quickly if he is revealed.”

“I agree the loss of Skywarp would be a major blow to our cause after all this time, and should his relationship with Thundercracker not keep him safe, I believe him capable enough to solve this problem just as he has solved previous ones.” Responded Prowl.

“I don’t know Prowl.” Jazz shook his head with sad frustration. He understood the action Prowl was referring to without saying it, but he didn’t think Skywarp could offline Thundercracker. “As much as I hate to down talk one of my operatives, especially one as good and long placed as Warp, I fear it is his relationship with Thundercracker that may cost him.”

“If your agent has erred and truly become too close to an enemy, is that not a risk of the game then?”

“Not when rescue could be this close! Not when we've been sloppy.  I’ll not sacrifice him!” and Jazz slammed a fist down on the table in front of him.

“Jazz, Prowl.” Prime interrupted before his two officers could really start in on each other. His tone making the Command Decision he was about to lay down obvious for what it was despite the speculative wording. Prime knew it would put Jazz’s other agent at risk as well, and tactically Prowl wouldn’t like that one bit, but such risks might be needed at this point in the war. He’d committed enough bots to the matrix by his decisions; he would take this tactical blow if the situation came to it.   But he also had complete faith in the skills of Jazz’s second agent. “What will happen, will and if Skywarp has a problem or one arises that he truly cannot take care of himself, then Starscream may have to intervene.”

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The End
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It's a one-shot.  At this point there is no more to this storyline from me.

A/N: This is a continuation of a scrap I did for the 10 song meme a long while back.  This is one of several I have always wanted to return to.  The song prompt at the time was Iron Eagle (Never Say Die) By King Kobra.  The result from the meme is the first two paragraphs (more or less) of this story short.  The rest is spawned very loosely (because I only took an idea from it) from the bunny by
dreamer_way at the LJ TF bunny farm October 3, 2008, bunny # 1.

 
 
 
Kookaburrakookaburra1701 on January 5th, 2009 01:35 am (UTC)
Ha ha, I love the twist at the end. Poor Thundercracker doesn't know the half of it!
cmdrtekkcmdrtekk on January 5th, 2009 02:49 am (UTC)
No he sure doesn't. Glad you liked. Thank you for reading and commenting. It is appreciated.
mmousemmouse15 on January 5th, 2009 04:20 am (UTC)
You know, Thundercracker is my favorite Seeker, because he thinks and has depth, or at least that was my introduction to him. I loved this version of TC - his thoughts, the whole step-by-step process he went through, his disbelief but his thorough investigation despite his disbelief, and his arrival at the truth. You wrote that so well I'm in awe.
Brilliant and beautiful read. Thanks for it.
cmdrtekkcmdrtekk on January 5th, 2009 03:45 pm (UTC)
A far as fanfic is concerned my intoduction to TC was much the same as yours. In the original cartoon I can remember always wanting to see more of both Thundercracker and Skywarp.

I am pleased so many people feel the whole step by step process TC went through in his head worked so well. I spent a lot of time not showing enough, then I figured I had way to much. But apparently finally settled at the right amount.

Thank you for reading and commenting. It is much appreciated.
nightstrike09nightstrike09 on January 5th, 2009 10:15 am (UTC)
Awesome story. I liked the characterization of Thundercracker.
cmdrtekkcmdrtekk on January 5th, 2009 03:46 pm (UTC)
Thank you for reading and commenting. I am glad you think I did well with this one.
Catraven: smileycatcatraven on January 5th, 2009 04:27 pm (UTC)
I really like this, and I'm glad you expanded the drabble. The twist at the end made my day!

Thanks for sharing!
cmdrtekkcmdrtekk on January 8th, 2009 01:06 am (UTC)
Thank you for reading and commenting. It is appreciated.
Myrrhibis or VAharleywitchokami_myrrhibis on January 8th, 2009 03:24 am (UTC)
Well, THAT's a twist I didn't see coming - either dbl agent...

Good job. And TC feels very right/IC.
cmdrtekkcmdrtekk on January 8th, 2009 05:48 am (UTC)
Thank you for the compliments. The general one and the TC specific one. The are appreciated.
arkredarkred on January 9th, 2009 10:12 pm (UTC)
Yaay! Spy-Seekers!!

Great fic, i love TC insecrities and doubs. Thanks for sharing.