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Sunday Night Snippet

In lieu of vacuuming, or cleaning my bedroom, or other householdly duties yesterday, I wrote a thing! This takes place before Barricade "captures" First Aid, during his first winter with the hatchlings.

“Ok, ok, I’m sorry, I’m sorry!”

The cow flattened her ears against her head and made a loud bellowing sound, glaring at Barricade with an expression he had never seen before, but he assumed indicated extreme displeasure.

“Cows don’t like being carried. Gotcha.” Barricade grimaced as he limped a few steps away to reconsider his options. Attempting to lift a fairly solid bovine organic over a fence hadn’t done his battered frame any favors, although at least he’d chosen one of the smaller ones, a youngster from the summer who was at least slightly smaller than her parent. Mom cow was also giving him the stink eye, he noticed, standing close to her offspring.

“Look, I’m sorry,” he told them again. At least they weren’t running away. “It’s just…I really need your help, ok?” The wind swirled gusts of snow against his knee components, making them ache. Temperatures were almost endurable today, compared to the bitter deep freeze they’d been for nearly a week, probably why the cows were out at all as opposed to whatever shelter they went to on the other side of the field. But it was still far too cold for him to leave the hatchlings, and things were getting critical.

“I’ve got to go find fuel, but I can’t take the hatchlings with me, and I can’t leave them alone either, not in this weather.” Not after what had happened the last time he’d left them to get fuel - he could shut down systems and enter sleep mode to conserve energy, but it seemed that hatchlings did not have the same ability. They’d shut down all right, but then they’d kept shutting down, to the point of near-deactivation. He’d gotten them warmed up again, but they’d been alarmingly listless and reluctant to refuel for days - it was only in the last day or so that they’d recovered some energy and started acting hungry again, but he’d burned through his hard-won fuel supplies just keeping his systems running hot enough to keep them all warm. He had barely enough energon in his lines to keep himself upright, let alone handle another round of feeding.

“I was hoping you’d help keep them warm, while I was gone.” One furry ear flicked his way, listening. He knew the cows had limited processing power and wouldn’t understand the words in English, let alone Cybertronian, but he’d gotten into the habit of talking to them, and at times it felt like they understood his intent, if not the actual words. At least he wasn’t being bellowed at anymore, which was reassuring. This particular cow he’d watched grow up with breakneck speed from a wide-eyed youngster drinking from her mother’s fuel supply (an arrangement he’d envied, feeling his scarred fuel lines twinge from the most recent hatchling feeding) to this fine example of young cowhood, processing organic vegetation into energy and waste products with single-minded efficiency. She’d followed him and the hatchlings around with fearless curiosity, and the adults had followed suit. He just hoped he hadn’t ruined their trust in him forever. “I know, that was rude of me to just go picking you up like that. I should have explained better. I don’t know. I’m going about this all wrong. Just…wait here a moment, ok? Don’t go anywhere, I’ll be right back.”

She made a snuffing snorting sound, breath steaming in the cold air, and Barricade took that for acknowledgment as he stepped back over the fence and went back to the barn, where he was met by the plaintive beeps of fourteen hungry hatchlings. Their plating had cooled, even in the short time he’d been gone, despite being burrowed close together in their nest of straw, and he felt despair and panic rush through him again. Maybe he should try keeping them all in his alt mode while he foraged? Did the need for fuel outweigh the risk of discovery? It wouldn’t work, he’d never be able to move swiftly or stealthily enough…

Barricade pulled himself back from that line of thought with an effort and quickly snagged up the two strongest hatchlings and held them close to his chest, sheltered as best he could from the wind as he headed back out to the field. The other twelve made worried, protesting squawks and cheeps as he shut the door securely again - hopefully they’d burrow back in and not chill themselves further trying to follow him. The two on his chest clung silently, and he revved his engine hard, burning through the last fumes of his energy reserves as he did his best to warm them while he dismantled a section of the wooden fencing. The cows watched curiously.

“Here, here you go,” he said, holding out one of the hatchlings. “No more grabbing, I promise. It’s one of your friends. Come and say hi.” The hatchling in his hand let out an excited beep at the sight of the cows, and the cows responded, coming close enough to snuffle with their olfactory openings, first the hatchlings, and then Barricade. He carefully rested his hand on the youngest one’s back and then stroked gently, and she lipped along his hip armor, leaving a cold, slimy trail.

“I’m glad we’re still friends,” he murmured, and she flicked an ear back in response. “Please. Please, will you come with me?” He backed slowly, and the cows followed, first through the fence, and then through the door of the barn, as peaceful and orderly as if they did it every day. The hatchlings, distracted from their hunger, greeted them with excited beeps and squeaking, and the cows snuffed them and nosed about through the straw, seeming disappointed that there was nothing tastier. One of them lowered herself to the straw with a contented groan, and the hatchlings burrowed in next to her. Barricade added the two from his chestplates.

“No claws, Pit Spawns,” he warned them. “No climbing. Cows don’t have armor.” Several pairs of red optics blinked up at him, but they were too low on energy to get into too much trouble. He hoped. The air in the barn already felt warmer, moist with steam from melting snow and bovine exhalations. Barricade swayed a little on his feet, wanting nothing more than to lay down in the straw with the cows and recharge forever, but time was short, and he didn’t like the dimness to the hatchlings’ optics, especially the one that always seemed a little weaker than the others.

“Thank you,” he said. The youngest cow licked his hand when he held it to her, and leaned in when he rubbed along her chin, by which indication he presumed he was forgiven. “I’ll try to find some…cow food. Some hay or something, while I’m out.” There had been bales of it, he remembered, in one of the other fields, not so long ago. It hadn’t been there the last time he’d driven by, but maybe it was stored somewhere nearby.

“Thank you,” Barricade said again, to them all, feeling his spark waver between hope and despair. He was so tired. He couldn’t keep this up any longer. He went to the door anyway, and braced himself for the cold again.

“I’ll be back as soon as I can.”

This entry was originally posted at http://playswithworms.dreamwidth.org/179838.html. Please comment wherever you wish.


( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 10th, 2017 04:13 am (UTC)
Jan. 11th, 2017 12:37 am (UTC)
Hee hee!
Jan. 11th, 2017 02:42 am (UTC)
Aaand I just realized that yesterday, when I posted this, was not Sunday night but rather Monday night. Hope I didn't confuse anyone!
Jan. 11th, 2017 03:12 am (UTC)

Oh! I've been meaning to ask! What prompted TC to want to live on Earth and be a hatchling caretaker? ::chinhands:: 8D
(I'm also v curious about how TC and Prowl end up snogging, which leads to questions re interface in this verse - spark-mediated snuggles and snogging seem to be in ok... ;D)
Oh! And does Bee get accepted into the Hatchie club before or after Quig et al show up?
Jan. 12th, 2017 03:12 am (UTC)
Hm, I think when I originally wrote it I was thinking that TC wanted to be with Starscream and Skywarp and help take care of them once they were spawned.

Not sure how TC and Prowl ended up snogging - I think that's probably something I absorbed from Borealisverse, because, well, of course they are! And I really hadn't settled on any sort of interface method - since wasn't really planning to write it and it's not required in order to produce hatchlings, so...feel free to get creative! ^^ I did very much love the cosmic spark snuggles you did in the Fall Challenge <333333 but who knows what other options might be available! :D

Bee's in the hatchie club pretty quick - well before Quig and co. show up: he keeps them entertained and he brings them back tired and they all recharge like a pile of little hatchie logs all through the night, and Barricade gets the best sleeps he's had in years. What were they ever fighting about? He can't even remember now...
Jan. 12th, 2017 08:06 am (UTC)
Well I'm right embarrassed I didn't think of that. Ah well. I do tend to pair him with people other than the standard fandom trine. u.u;;;;;;;;; So anyway of course that makes complete, elegant sense. I am rather interested in the whole process of Galvatron gathering in his folk and explaining to them what all happened to him, and to Optimus and what his intentions are going forward... This can't have gone entirely well in some quarters. But then again, most of the heavy-hitters - as far as we know - were dead at this point.

Heeee! I mean, right? XD
Not that I intend to dive right into heavy pwp or anything, but I like to have all the data in my head, or as much as reasonably achievable. ;D And I didn't want to veer into territory you didn't want in this particular verse. Hatchies vs sparklings, etc... ;D
COSMIC SPARK SNUGGLES! Which would be epic between Aid and Optimus! Double the cosmic! Unless in this verse that would be weird, given their relationship. ^___^;;; Do they tend to be monogamous? Or serially monogamous? Trigamous? Primes gather everyone in? Is Cade a particular prude or a 'typical soldier'? Or, to be fair, the internal repro stuff might be all that's wigging him out...

Wheeljack raises Pbots. Pbots raise Wheeljack... <33333333333333333333333333333

EEEHEEEHEEEHEEEHEEE! Hooray for Bee! Cowboys! <33333333333333333
Cade: I proper love you.
Blades: That's not what you sa--
Hot Spot: SHOOSH.

Also! Any ideas on why Prowl freaks Cade out so much? (I feel like I may have asked before, but during the original posting so I don't remember what you might have said. u.u;) Was Prowl military? A particularly daunting senior officer? (In the comics he did seem to be some kind of security chief...) Some kind of personal run-in before or during the war, or is Prowl's reputation just that fearsome? Or maybe something specific about Prowl and his rep gives Cade the heebie-jeebies? Prowl's particular brand of exacting competence, to someone who just wanted to keep his head down and color? Prowl's wartime tactics resulting in mass Decepticon casualties? The details of those battles being particularly horrifying? Because Cade was definitely on the Nope Train to Nopeville and it was ADORABLE. And yet he also responded to the comm like Prowl was his CO?????

What? So I've lost count of rereads? ;D <3

Edited at 2017-01-12 08:14 am (UTC)
Jan. 13th, 2017 03:52 am (UTC)
Yeah, I went traditional there with the seeker trine, lol
Hm, and Galvatron's big reveal...he had to bang a few helms together, but mostly it went pretty good? As in "oh thank Primus you're no longer obsessed and unpredictable! sanity and fixing Cybertron, we'll take it."

Oh golly, I hadn't really thought about any of the 'gamys! I think in my headspace I have them all as fairly asexual, but not aromantic, which probably reflects my personal disinterest in writing the sexytimes, but I'd be delighted if someone else wants to take on the writing of the sexytimes in whatever way shape or form seems most fitting! And hmmm, I have enough of an incest aversion that I probably wouldn't write Optimus/Aid myself, but enough of a "hey, aliens! That live millions of years! incest is kind of pointless ey?" mindset that again, I would quite enjoy if someone else writes it *pokes* :D So for Barricade, he's not particularly prudish, just the idea of parasitic lifeforms living inside you gives him the heebie jeebies!

Perceptors around here, somewhere...*pats about*

*sporfle* shhh, Blades, yeah, don't ruin it! XD

For Prowl, I think it's just Prowl's reputation was just that fearsome, and that he's probably already figured everything out everything there is to know about Barricade, and there's no hiding from him because Prowl can predict every move he'll make when Barricade doesn't even know himself yet. And Prowl just gave him money and freedom and promised to end anyone that hurts him. Utmost respect in response shows utmost respect!

Hee! <3
Jan. 14th, 2017 08:35 am (UTC)
Well it's going to get interesting there, so yay!
Ah, yes, stable and reasonable - plus bonus sense of humor! The rank and file - the majority who weren't in it so they could kill people without consequences - will be overjoyed! :D ::St3v3 waves a little flag::

Asexual panromantic! Or thereabouts! You do have the distinction of mechs and femmes, and Sentinel seemed to think the femmes were lesser for whatever reason, but ace/rom is interesting! It'll be an interesting challenge -- and if I really feel compelled to add a little more cable-tossing I can, eh? OK. ;D White Aster's latest edition to Prima's Blessing certainly gives on ideas... 8DDD
I'm not specifically into incest, although it only squicks me if heterosexual, for some reason. o.O I was just thinking Primes! Squared! IS THE UNIVERSE READY???

...and that he's probably already figured everything out everything there is to know about Barricade, and there's no hiding from him because Prowl can predict every move he'll make when Barricade doesn't even know himself yet.
I LOVE THIS A LOT. Prowl. He's tracking everything. All the time. And everyone has predictive avoidance software, because it's handy, and those who didn't keep up got dead. But Prowl. Prowl's is turned up to 12. O.O
Also, yeah, that would tend to make an impression on someone. XD

So is there a special friendship between Prowl and Jazz? Is that something that could be a bond between Prowl and TC? ::eyebrow waggle::
Or is TC the most tactically adept of the trine, even if Starscream handled actual strategy, TC might have had a good head for the details in SS's grand plans... And Prowl does both, in spades. Or, the vicissitudes of hatchie care... close proximity and they're both hot... IDK, just fishing around.......... ;D
Jan. 16th, 2017 12:34 am (UTC)
Galvatron notices all the hard work St3v3 has been putting in, going above and beyond rebuilding Cybertron, and sends him a lovely handwritten note thanking him and a cube of extra fine energon ^^

Toss those cables! Or go full on sticky or get creative with cassette-docking sex, if the spirit moves you! XD

I haven't really come up with any good explanation for mechs and femmes, or why Sentinel might think they are lesser (I have some vague idea that The Fallen might be secretly wanting to get rid of femmes for some reason, and this is why there aren't very many of them, and none of the ones he spawned were femmes. But what would be the reason? I have no idea! :DDDDDD )

I suspect that's how universes get created: two (or more) Primes having sex, yep *nodnod*

So is there a special friendship between Prowl and Jazz? Is that something that could be a bond between Prowl and TC? ::eyebrow waggle::
Or is TC the most tactically adept of the trine, even if Starscream handled actual strategy, TC might have had a good head for the details in SS's grand plans... And Prowl does both, in spades. Or, the vicissitudes of hatchie care... close proximity and they're both hot... IDK, just fishing around.......... ;D

The answer to all of these theories is...yes! *runs*
Jan. 16th, 2017 03:17 am (UTC)
Awwwww!!! St3v3 keeps the note in a little cache for the rest of his life. <3 And shares the energon with his squad!


Blame it on Fallen, yes. I don't know either, but that would be a direction to poke at. Hazardous, but possible. I mean it still goes down the road of 'wimmin an their speshul bbmakin powers yo' or the gaffe JRo made with Nautica's spark being somehow different so IDK maybe there's no good way to explain the difference? Other than that the Fallen and Sentinel are asshats and have mistaken information/icky opinions; which doesn't make them right.
Tricky. ::ponders::

Baby universes! \o/ <333333333333

Bwahahahahhaa! Well all rightee then. XD I'm fairly focused on the snow suit ficlet at the moment, but sure and this'll be handy later... ;D <3

Oh! I was also gonna ask: for the spawning procedure - if I happen to want to portray that, which. I may not, but, yanno? - would what I wrote in ch 2 of "Course Correction" be okay? Little, darker spheres coming up through the back, then expanding to blue ovoids as they hit air/cooler temps. Also the Prime needing/wanting to cool down right after, helping the series of slits in their back close. Unless you have other ideas! Any ideas re what the whole spawning thing actually entails! :D

Edited at 2017-01-16 06:12 am (UTC)
Jan. 17th, 2017 03:28 am (UTC)
At least in Project Resetverse, the Primes (or the Allspark) make the babies, so the Fallen can't be after the femmes because of their reproductive threat. Maybe just some obscure prophecy that he'd be destroyed by a femme, so he gets rid of as many as he can (and then Optimus pulls off his helm just before he stabs the Fallen through and yells "I am no femme!"...)

Spawning procedure! I haven't really come up with anything I like for the actual spawning, and I do very much like your back-slits and spheres bubbling out method, so yes, feel free to use! :D
I have some half-formed notions for further chapters of Astrogensis where Optimus gets charged up to spawn his first clutch by floating around a star that happens to be very similar to Earth's sun (particular spectrum is just right, and was also the type of sun Cybertron had for awhile) - and an energy absorbing solar-sail-type-thing extends from his chest, and some time later, newsparks! And for outside "contributions" of spark code, the contributer opens chestplates with the Prime, and the sparklets choose whether they want to interact with this other spark and download bits of spark energy/code to themselves (and maybe even jump to the contributer and decide to stay there, in which case the contributer develops spawning morphology and carries it/them to term. Don't tell Barricade.)
Jan. 17th, 2017 08:06 am (UTC)
XDDDDDDD Totally plausible. u.u Sentinel picked up some bad vibes...

Groovy spectrum!
OMG BARRICADE WOULD FLIP HIS SHIZZLE!!!!!!!!!!!!! XDDDDD Wow. Imagine finding that out for the first time. Poor Ratchet. He wasn't ready. Eventually of course First Aid will write the treatise of reclaimed knowledge about the subject.
Jan. 18th, 2017 03:08 am (UTC)
And of course, plz feel free to do your own thing via spawning - playing in my sandbox you are entirely welcome to add your own sand! or toys! or dump out the sand and grow some vegetables, it's all good :D
Jan. 18th, 2017 08:00 am (UTC)
My dear. <3
Your sand is perfectly lovely.
...I might occasionally add toys, though, sure. ;D
Feb. 17th, 2017 06:34 am (UTC)
I had a thought the other night that maybe Fallen's problem with femmes has to do with Solus Prime - to take a page from Aligned continuity...although not the whole page, can we skip the teeth-grindingly awful love triangle plzkthnx... 9_9

But maybe Solus was instrumental in foiling his plans, and her descendants were frametype-distinctive enough - good generalists, Solus' progeny - that he was enraged by the very sight of them. IDK. More gnawing at the problem. ;D
Feb. 18th, 2017 02:16 am (UTC)
Hm, I like it! I think I had a one-line mention of the Librariobots and Optimus as descendants of Nexus Prime (since there was something about him being the original combiner? hence the P-bots and Librariobots going gestalt), but maybe Solus did quite a bit of contributing to his clutches, and a large proportion of them turned out to be femmes, or with Solus-like characteristics, so by the Fallen's standards they're tainted.

(And Sweet Primus yes, dump the love triangle thing forever *nods vigorously*)
Feb. 19th, 2017 09:27 am (UTC)
::nodnod:: Yes you do.
Solus contributing to some of his clutches! And he contributing to hers! Eee! Yes!
Jan. 10th, 2017 04:30 am (UTC)
heh, heh, heh
Poor Barricade - his conversation expectations have gotten so low, he talks to cows!
Cows who cannot, will not respond to his pleas or bribes.
Though, apparently, little ones are enough to get the youngest one's attention.

Yeah! He found a solution to keep pit spawn bitty-ones warm! or, at least, keep from freezing to death on top of starvation.

Poor Barricade, needing a break; mentally and physically. (Boy, seeing and catching First Aid had got to be the luck of the primes! Maybe not when he sees the Gestalt staring him down, but with their fueling lines and more bodies to help keep the heat up, yeah - very much for the good).

Now the cow (moo) from the first chapter makes sense. Apparently this cow (and the herd that followed her) became friends/had a meaningful impact on those more aware and moving.
Jan. 11th, 2017 12:50 am (UTC)
Re: heh, heh, heh
Cows may not be much for long, deep discussions, but they are very good listeners! And hatchlings are the best bribe - I think the cows think they're calfs, lol. It's a pretty clever solution, as long as Phyllis doesn't get worried and go looking for her missing cows when they don't come back to their regular barn.

Barricade really needs a break, but this is only his first winter with the hatchlings - it'll be another year before he "catches" First Aid; he's in for a very long haul here, poor guy.

Barricade's cows are very special cows indeed ^_^
Jan. 11th, 2017 12:51 am (UTC)
Re: heh, heh, heh
Or calves, so to speak, lol - I seem to have forgotten the plural of baby cows.
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )


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