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10 August 2008 @ 02:54 pm
Last and Alone - Secret Part 7  

Last and Alone – Secret
Title:  Part 7
Rating:  T
Characters:  Jazz, Perceptor, Slider
Warnings:  Mech x Mech hinted at/mentioned occasionally
Universe:  G1-ish/ Monolith AU
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.
  

A/N - The first part is the ending section from the previous chapter that I cut because I thought it was going to flow a bit differently than it did, and the ending part is from the next chapter because it wasn't fitting as neatly as I had oringinally thought it would.  So I smooshed them together here and called it Part 7.





FYI =  ::Speaking in a bond::


Part 6 - Secret 

Part 7

 

Behind his visor Jazz’s optics widened.  Uplinking to another bots systems as he understood the term was completely different than interfacing.  Casual interfacing never went beyond surface thoughts and physical environment, unless you were bonded of course.  Any bot could drop their first level securities and plug into another for a more intense romp in a berth.  There was no more effort or risk involved than when re-connecting to a hub to update and be updated on the goings on after an absence. 

The hubs had been the last great achievement to come from the Golden Age.  By the time the war broke some thirty three hundred vorns later; they were a central part of Cybertronian life and had remained so through the war.  As the hubs had been established the individual uplinking software had become medical specific and it was the extremely rare non medical bot who carried the software these days.  And while some might find it surprising given his chosen war time profession, Jazz did not have the software required for sliding thru the deeper levels of an individual bots system.  Saboteur did not equal interrogation.

“How deep will I need to go?” Jazz questioned thoughtfully.

“Pretty deep, the memory chain for events affecting me in regards to my gestalt is deep.  And I’m not going to be able to help much, so you’re going to have to break some firewalls.” Was Perceptor’s response

Jazz sighed through his cooling system.  If he had to start breaking firewalls instead of using the safeguards of the software – which he didn’t have - he could very well destroy Perceptor unintentionally.  “I don’t have the software.”

“I did not expect that you would and it wouldn’t matter even if you did.  That’s why I said you were going to have to break some firewalls.  To ensure the security of the gestalt, much of the CPU tinkering that was done for the gestalt became in and of itself a security program.   To allow anything more than basic syncing with an outside source was considered too risky for the gestalt.  I’m already bonded to my team, there can never be another; there should never have been a need for another.  Thus, the ability for deep reconfiguring was not considered a loss by the Lab Techs.  Now, I’ll use my software to grant you access, but you’re going to have to force everything else since only a medical bot with the id markers or my own teammates can slip through beyond that.  And you certainly don’t qualify for either of those categories.”

“You sure we can’t just do this thru Teletran?  Or a data disk?”  Jazz so very much did not want to do this no matter how fools proof this would make the information.

 “Even when connected to the various hubs as I have been in the past, even with the option of using Teletran to hub for this, I would never do it.  I’m taking a huge risk giving you access to some of what you could see.  But you need this information and I’m willing to do what will be required to share it with you.  After all, I did bring this upon myself.  But you in turn, need to do what will be required to get it, and unfortunately for me that means you will have to jack my system.”

“Hubs make the transfer of information so much easier.” Jazz sighed.

“Yes I suppose they do.  But they also increase the risk of information getting into the wrong hands.”

“Do you have a lot of experience with up linking?  And I mean the kind you’re telling me I need to do.” Jazz questioned

Perceptor eyed the Saboteur for a few moments before answering.  “Even in my day, the need to go beyond first level for information in an uplink was rare but that’s why we had the software.”

Perceptor paused in his explanation.  He hadn’t really answered Jazz’s question, but he didn’t think his amount of experience or lack was the real question Jazz wanted answered.  No, he was pretty sure Jazz wanted more information on what he was going to have to do.

Perceptor continued “The more firewalls, securities and systems that get reconfigured for a bot during an interface, excuse me, an uplink, the higher the risk of forming an unintentional bond.  That is the reason for the software, it allowed for accessing deeper levels without having to configure each other’s systems for whomever we were sharing files with.  But it was not a perfect guarantee against an unintentional bond that’s why my gestalt bonds prevent anything beyond the first level.  A bond intentional or otherwise, no matter how it might have paled in comparison to my team bonds would still have been disastrous for the gestalt.  So while I cannot voluntarily drop most of my firewalls, they can be broken.  And while I won’t be able to help you much, there is a lot I could do to hinder you, so I’ll be trying very hard not to.  Now, this is the date stamp you want to start with and the approximate location.”  Perceptor finished as he subspaced a datapad and handed it to Jazz.

Jazz accepted the pad and looked it over.  He could admit it to himself, he was nervous.  He was delaying.  Hacking hubs and stand alone computer systems was one thing, jacking a fellow bot entirely different.  That by Primus was what interrogators and tortures did.  For all his skills and life experience he had never been the instigator of a bot to bot uplink for information.  The hubs had all been online at the time of his creation so there had never been a need.  Sure Medics had linked with him in the past, but that’s what medics did.  Now as Perceptor sat across from him, their chairs pulled close to face each other, Jazz saw resignation along with fear in his optics.  Jazz reached out and took hold of the wrist Perceptor offered.

“I could stick this all on a data disk for you Jazz, but you could never be sure I hadn’t failed to give you something.”  Perceptor said sadly.  “Plus the disk while informative, would lack the full effect.  And a disk is no more secure than the hubs.  And I’m the one who’s being jacked into here.  Any pain you feel should be negligible.”  Perceptor recognized his babbling for what it was and stopped.

Jazz revved his engine in annoyance to cover his unease.  Then pulled a cord from his wrist and before thinking too much more on it, shifted his grip to Perceptor’s forearm and plugged into Perceptor’s wrist port.

Though Perceptor had not configured his system for Jazz, he had activated his uplink software and it was ready to accept Jazz’s presence.  Thus no alarms flared when the Saboteur entered as the software readied to assist in the retrieval, transmittal and sharing of files.  Jazz took a moment to poke around the program seeing the differences between what this software did versus how a mech adjusted their own firewalls for a simple but intense berth romp.  Then Jazz gathered his thoughts, readied his own systems and slipped from the program moving to go deeper. 

Perceptor flinched as tinges of pain hit and alarms flashed on his HUD that his systems were being breached.  Queries were being sent for him to activate additional defenses.  He shut off the warnings and tossed off some coding in an attempt to temporarily convince his firewalls that nothing was wrong.  It wouldn’t last he knew.  The labbies had known what they were doing when they had tinkered with his CPU and it was quite capable of initiating the basic defense plan on its own when it realized Perceptor was not responding to the threat.  Though without Perceptor helping, ‘simple’ was as complicated as it was going to get.  Still, his firewalls were excellent and quite durable, though not impenetrable.   Perceptor flinched again and a moan of pain escaped his vocalizer.  Jazz had just broken the first firewall.

Jazz gave Perceptor’s arm a squeeze as an act of comforting support even as he worked to break another firewall while countering the simple yet persistent and annoying defensive attacks.  Another wall down and Jazz paused, again looking for the coding that would indicate he was in the vicinity of the file he wanted.  Perceptor had said deep, and the information on the datapad had indicated the same.  With Preceptor’s defenses hounding him, Jazz realized he was going to have to do something creative otherwise when he locate the files he’d never get to look at them.  He paused to gather himself before the next firewall.  Then in a particularly vicious move he attacked the firewall at the same time launching advanced coding of his own at every other firewall he could currently perceive.  The attack on multiple fronts worked and Jazz distantly heard a shrieking scream of pain and felt Preceptor’s attempts to pull free physically from Jazz as firewalls shattered all around exposing Perceptor’s mind, his feelings, programs, memories, everything that the scientist was. 

And in a blink Jazz was overwhelmed with loss, pain, anguish, guilt, fear, misery, hopelessness.  The negative feelings were everywhere, pervading everything that was Perceptor.  So invasive were the feelings Jazz found himself loosing perspective.  Nearing panic as he himself became lost further in the whirlwind of despair Jazz franticly reached for his own bond seeking to reassure himself that it was intact and that Prowl still lived. 

::Jazz?::

Jazz latched onto that voice, wrapping all that was Prowl, all that he himself was, all that his bond was around him like a blanket.

::Jazz!::

::Sorry:: he sent as he worked to gain control. 

::What was that?::

::You felt all that?:: 

::Yes::

::Sorry, bad memory, I’m good now::

::You’re sure?  That was… unusual::

::I’m sure, gotta go:: and Jazz firmly shut Prowl out.  He had no time to explain now.  He needed to get through this.

As he turned his attention back to the uplink he discovered that throughout his panic, he had somehow managed to stay firmly entrenched in Perceptor’s systems.  As he refocused his attention back to his task, he suddenly understood how and why Perceptor could have faced Dirge and not found it debilitating.  Then he shoved the emotional whirlwind to the background like he would with a song on his radio.  He could do this.  Jazz could feel Perceptor had stopped his struggle and was forcing his body to relax once more as the pain from the shattered firewalls began to slowly recede.

Then Jazz found the date stamp Perceptor had said started it all.

*-*-*

As Perceptor entered his quarters, a quick glance around the small main room confirmed that his roommate was back from break as well.  Perceptor had been the last of the two of them to leave for the break and the place had been in far better condition upon his departure than it was now upon his return.  Not that Perceptor would consider himself an orderly mech, but Slider was certainly less so than him.  It always fascinated him that a mech of Sliders creation background could be so untidy.  The couch, spare chair, desks as well as desk chairs and the counter in the energon storage area were all stacked with a variety of items.  From the looks of things it seemed Slider had been back for several cycles at least, but again, knowing Slider he had probably only been back for a couple of joors.

“Slider?” Perceptor called out as he headed towards the room where the berths were to drop his gear.

“Cep.  Welcome back buddy.  Was the call from the wash room beyond the berths.

Perceptor stepped to the doorway and looked in.  “Slider, the name is Perceptor.  After this many vorns I would expect you to understand this.”

“And after this many vorns I would expect you to be glad I don’t call you Percy.”

“Hmpf.”  Perceptor’s shudder was followed by a smile at the familiar response to his routine complaint.  “So when’d you get back?”

“Oh, a few joors ago.  How was your break?”

“I got to spend it with a group of your former peers.”

“Oh?  And what are the slaggers up to these days?”

“Taking guided trips into the wastelands or to organic planets.”

“I can sorta understand the whole organic planet thing, well ok, I can’t, but why the wastelands?”

“For the danger of it I’m sure.  It’s not really my position to ask why.  Just to guide and make sure they all return in functioning condition.”

“Slaggers.” was Sliders response as he moved out of the wash rack past Perceptor and into the main room where he sat down at his desk and computer having shoved the occupying stacks out of the way.

Perceptor followed his roommate out and after clearing the stack from his own desk chair sat down.  “So how was your break?” 

The dark blue and black Standard Class sized bots optics glowed brighter causing the blue visor they hid behind to glow a tad more brightly.  “Oh, the usual, busy transferring lots of credits for this next set of classes.”

“He’s going to catch you one of these times.”

Slider laughed at that.  “Sure Cep.  Just like he has the past however many vorns I’ve been doing it.  There ain’t nobody better at hacking and slicing than me.  But if it makes you feel any better, I went for a couple of senators expense accounts.  They should have a fun time explaining where the credits went to the watch groups.”  And Slider followed it up with another laugh.

“Frag, you are becoming a criminal.”

“I’m only a criminal if I get caught.  Isn’t that what you used to say?  And I’m not going to get caught.  Besides these are the same guys who are responsible for your scholarship being cancelled.  What was the excuse you got?”  Slider paused as if he had forgotten though Perceptor knew better.  “Oh yes, lack of funding available for the continued support of non-productive areas of study.”  He paused then continued slyly, “You know, I was going to put it all in your accounts.  Then maybe you wouldn’t have to spend every break and cycle you have off working.”

Perceptor exploded, frantic “You didn’t!  I …”

Slider interrupted “I said ‘was,’ you dumb aft.  Who am I to stop a mech from working during every free moment he has.”

“I enjoy scouting and guiding.” Perceptor defended

“Yeah I know, and I don’t give you grief about it, so don’t go giving me grief about my hobby.”

“My hobby as you call it relates very well to my chosen field of study, plus it’s legal.”

“Yeah, well I can see how guide work compliments Organic Studies.” Slider replied sarcastically.

“Hey now, one does need to be able to scout when studying organics.  And your one to talk!  How does Art have anything to do with the best computer skills on the planet?  You should be in some sort of computer track; programming or tech work, or if you’re really out to frag off your creator, then the martial academy.  They I’m sure they can always use good computer cryptographers.”

“Because the last thing I want is to be stuck on some stupid remote outpost guarding a bunch of low life colonists.  And that is exactly where my attitude would land me.  No, I’m a civilian city bot.  I like the good life.”  Slider paused then added “besides, I might get stuck to close to you, because that my friend is most definitely where Organic Studies take place.  And Art is the furthest thing from computers I have any skill at.”

“And that skill is not very good.” Perceptor responded frankly.

“It’s passable.” Slider defended.

“Not if you want to make a career of it.”  And Perceptor waved off the retort he knew was coming.  “So how about you use those computer skills of yours and tell me if I’ve got any interesting messages waiting for me.”

Perceptor watched as Slider quickly accessed the academy’s systems and pulled up Preceptors comm. log.  “Hmm, let’s see, creator, creator, co-creator, co-creation, academy registration, creator, man don’t you contact them when you’re on break?  Oh, here ya go, academy finance department, we already know what that one says.  Your employer, didn’t you just see him?  And Gestalt Industries.”

Perceptor sighed, Slider knew exactly why he did not contact his creators very often.  All those two wanted was for Perceptor to grow out of the ‘current phase’ he was in and rejoin the unit business.  Perceptor wanted nothing more to do with being a thief though.  Over the vorns he had paid his creators back many times over - so to speak- for his creation.  Now he was going to do something real.  That’s why everything he had done since breaking from them had been very straight and legal. 

But Slider was correct, he had to spend his entire free time working to earn much needed credits.  Since leaving his creation unit, he had learned that making an honest living was a lot harder than making an un-honest one. Especially when you were as good as he had been at said un-honest job.  There were cycles when the unit business looked very good.  Especially with a roommate who at times seemed to be on the opposite path of Perceptor .  That was probably why they were still roommates.  They each understood the other.  Both were above the below and below the upper when it came to living.  Perceptor shifted his thoughts back to the messages. 

“Gestalt Industries?  What’s that one say?”

“Uh, let’s see, we blah blah blah, participants yadda yadda, extra credits, if interested contact.”  Slider looked back at Perceptor.  Translation, their looking for saps who need extra credits to participate as glitch mice in a study.  Looks like a couple cycles every orn, and you get paid for your time.  Sounds like some sort of a scam if you ask me.”

“Huh, check them out for me.  If their legit, put the info on a datapad for me.”

 A couple breems later Slider handed over the datapad.  “The company’s legit, but there is some heavy, bad aft encryption in areas of their system.  I might have to give it a look sometime when I’m bored.  Oh, and this study is a contract from Cybertron Colonial Command.”  Slider watched in silence for a moment as Perceptor read the entire message.  “You’re not really thinking of doing that are you?

Perceptor looked up at Slider.  Not all of us are super hackers with super wealthy creators.   I need to consider any sources of credits I can.  If this fits my schedule, and it’s really as easy as they are advertising, you know I need to consider it.”

“Just run a job or two for your unit if you really need the credits.”  There had never been any doubt about it in Perceptor’s processor, Slider was impressed that his roommate was a thief.  And apparently a good one for the amount of vorns he’d done it and never been caught.  The problem was Slider did not understand the intricacies involved with being in the top of the business.  He felt that for a bot created to be a thief, it should be as easy as the hacking of computer systems was for him.

 Perceptor huffed in exasperation. “I’m not blowing off vorns of hard work just to risk it all on a job.  The last thing I need is to be caught by law mechs and marked.  Besides, you already said they’re legit.”

“Yes, but it’s the CCC!”  Slider exclaimed

“Just because that’s where the funding comes from, doesn’t mean I’m working for them.”

“You keep telling yourself that.  And after a pause Slider continued “let me know how it goes though.  If it’s as easy as they’re saying maybe I’ll join you.”

Perceptor gave him a long disbelieving stare.  “You work?  Since when?”

“Hey now, you’re always saying I need to get a job.  Learn how a slagging real bot makes a living.  Right?  Might as well give this one a try.”  Slider smiled 


Part 8 - Secret )



 
 
 
Kyra Neko-Rei (Kyra Cat-Soul)kyra_neko_rei on August 10th, 2008 10:24 pm (UTC)
Hmmmm . . . wow.

Impressive description of the hacking process, and I'm liking how this begins.
cmdrtekkcmdrtekk on August 11th, 2008 05:37 am (UTC)
Thank you.
kirin_sagakirin_saga on August 10th, 2008 10:55 pm (UTC)
I love the uplink and the explanations... and the memory! I wonder, if Prowl can sense the memories through his bond with Jazz (and Jazz is going to have a lot of explaining to do).

So now Jazz will slowly get the whole story? Or at least bits nd pieces. I wonder what he thinks of all this.

And I wonder if anyone heard Perceptor screaming.

I love Slider's and Perceptor's interraction and how Perceptor is trying to separate himself from illegal activity (activity that is probably second nature to him) while Slider seems to be trying to... slide into that profession. And I love this saying: I’m only a criminal if I get caught.

Wait... Did Perceptor and Slider know each other before Perceptor gave up being a thief?

Another excellent chapter!
cmdrtekkcmdrtekk on August 11th, 2008 05:39 am (UTC)
Yes, Jazz will have some explaining to do.

Thank you for following along.
mmousemmouse15 on August 11th, 2008 03:31 am (UTC)
Hmm. I see what you mean. This doesn't flow as well as the other chapters; I think because it's difficult to write Jazz jacking into Perceptor. It's awkward there. The second half, Perceptor's memory, flows better. That said, I have no suggestions on how to improve it.

But!! You are your own worst critic, because I like it. It advances the story, gives us an idea of Jazz's abilities, and leads to a great memory from Perceptor. I, too, love Slider and Perceptor's interactions and their easy friendship. It's really neat to see the friendship they have and the tolerance for each other.
cmdrtekkcmdrtekk on August 11th, 2008 05:45 am (UTC)
Even with the smash job I did for this part it still took three versions to get to this much.

I definitely like the memory part though. And surprisingly enough, I have had some really great reviews on ff.net for this. They are slow to come, but the quality has been great.

All these good reviews between here and ff. are amazing.

Thank you for following along.