therizinosaur: (Default)
Nellasaur ([personal profile] therizinosaur) wrote2011-12-13 12:31 am

[FANFICTION] Mercenary Medicine, ch 4/? [TF: PRIME]

Title: Mercenary Medicine
Fandom: Transformers: Prime
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Knock Out is a freelance medic-- he works alone and he likes it that way. But when he finds a corpse that isn't as dead as it ought to be at the bottom of a pile of bodies, it puts his entire careful operation at risk.
Chapter: 01 || 02 || 03 || 04 || 05 || 06 || 07 || 08 || 09 || 10 || 11 || 12 || 13 || 14 || 15
Notes: Set way before what we see in the show and nowhere near Earth. Contains copious amounts of worldbuilding and headcanon. Thanks are due to Elemental for beta-reading this for me, and SixthClone for helping me write Breakdown. I couldn't get him right without you, fluff.


When Knock Out's systems stabilized, he was sprawled on the floor and the hand he'd used to hit his patient's spark chamber was numb to the elbow. He had not much longer than a decicycle to catalogue all that before there was a rather sizeable shape launching at him with a roar, and his automatic self-defense routines had kicked in and drowned out higher cognition.

Knock Out threw himself to the side just in time to avoid being squashed and was on his feet again an instant later, desperately shaking out the numb hand. His assailant lumbered to his feet, swaying like he was badly overcharged, and it was only then that Knock Out realized the blue and white apparition was Breakdown.

He would have been a lot happier at that if the mech he'd just miraculously managed to reactivate wasn't trying to swing at him with very large fists.

He managed to dodge the blows, but it was a close thing, and there were already crates bumping at his legs. Ducking another flailing swing, Knock Out stepped to the side and vaulted himself up onto the makeshift berth, scrambling over and dropping lightly to the other side.

Apparently, he was moving too quickly for his erstwhile opponent. Breakdown seemed to be having trouble tracking him, his optics focusing slowly and all his movements sluggish and uncertain. He was reacting like a mech suffering from wide-spread systems trauma, which admittedly wasn't that far off from the reality of his condition.

“Damn it,” Breakdown mumbled, his words just as slurred as his movements, “will you hold still? I need to hit you.”

Knock Out held up his hands, conspicuously empty of weapons, and forced a laugh. It was a little more nervous than he would have liked, but he was counting on the other mech being too disoriented to realize it.

“Now now,” he said, “is that any way to treat a doctor? And one on your own side, too!”

The punch was already coming at him from across the table before he'd finished speaking, and he ducked it before his brain even caught up with what his processor had already parsed-- that there was a sizable hammer instead of a hand on the end of that arm, extending Breakdown's reach. He scrambled back into the haphazardly stacked cartons of supplies, temporarily sacrificing his maneuverability for the very vital distance between them.

His assailant made no move to follow. The hammer fell to Breakdown's side and the big mech blinked, the sound of his processor in his chassis clearly audible in the sudden quiet of the room.

“...You're a Decepticon?”

Knock Out was quick to nod. “And we're in Decepticon territory. So why don't you put that away and let's talk like rational beings, hm?”

Breakdown twisted the hammer somewhat, staring down at it like he couldn't even remember evolving the weapon. Maybe he couldn't-- coming out of stasis in battle mode did strange things to a mech's mind, and apparently the assault on his spark had been enough to override the affective block Knock Out had left in there against this very possibility.

Either that block was actually starting to dampen the other's emotions properly, or Breakdown was starting to calm down-- either way, the hammer disappeared and the big frame relaxed a little. “This ain't the canyon,” he said, looking around curiously. The motion made him sway slightly. “This is...our base?”

“Well, your base,” Knock Out said. The other mech's aggression seemed to have drained away, so he picked his way cautiously back out into the open space between the berth and the crates.

“Right,” Breakdown said absently. His eyes tracked back to Knock Out, who for the first time realized how strange they were, blank bright windows in the place of proper optics. “Who're you?”

“I'm Knock Out.” He spread his hands. “I'm the doctor who fixed you up.”

The strange orange-yellow eyes narrowed. “You? Where's Dead End?”

Before Knock Out had a chance to even attempt an answer, a visible tremor shook Breakdown. The other mech reeled into the makeshift berth, hard enough to rock it, and grabbed at the frame with big fingers to keep himself upright. “Where's.... anyone?” He pinned Knock Out in the gaze of his strange optics, his words flat. “Where's my team?”

“They're, ah...offline.” There was no point in trying to sweeten it, but it came out tersely; this wasn't exactly news he wanted to deliver.

Breakdown's orbital ridges narrowed into an incongruously quizzical expression. “No,” he said, that uninflected flatness still in his voice.

“I'm.... sorry,” he said awkwardly, not used to having to express condolences. “I know it must be a blow--”

“It’s a lie, is what it is. Can't be true,” Breakdown interrupted bluntly, shaking his head.

Knock Out had dealt with a lot of strange reactions to being told a comrade or a teammate was dead, but outright denial was rare enough that he was bemused. Weren't the members of combiner teams supposed to be able to detect one another anyway? Shouldn't he know? “...Why not?” he asked.

“'Cause if they were dead, I'd be dead.” He said it simply, like a statement of the purest fact. “So what happened?”

Bewildered, Knock Out could only spread his hands. “There was a battle. I don't know any of the details; I came to the field after the fact and found four bodies-- and you.”

“And I was alive?”

“You... weren't offline,” Knock Out said delicately, shrugging. “Stasis-locked with a weak spark signal, so it was close, but--”

“Then I oughta be dead.”

Knock Out wasn't used to being interrupted, and having it happen for a second time was enough to render him speechless.

“If they're dead, I should be too,” Breakdown insisted. He looked away, hands curling into fists. “It ain't right, me still being alive if they're not.” Abruptly, his gaze swung back to Knock Out. “This is your fault, isn't it?”

His voice was still flat, quiet and even, but for the first time there was something distant and unnerving in his otherwise blank stare. Knock Out was suddenly acutely grateful for the affective block that had to be holding the full impact of the loss of his team at bay in the other mech's head. He didn't want to even consider how Breakdown might be reacting if he was in full possession of all his emotional faculties.

It was only because of that block that Knock Out felt safe nodding an affirmative. When he saw Breakdown's eyes narrow dangerously anyway, evasive subroutines in his systems started to boot. He had a very well-tuned flight reflex, and it was telling him that it would be in his best interests to remove himself from this situation as soon as possible.

The door cycled open unexpectedly, startling Knock Out badly enough that his engine gave an audible rev. He recognized Blackout an instant later and throttled himself back down, but it took an effort. As unobtrusively as he could manage, he sidled in the massive Decepticon's direction.

Blackout was so busy staring at Breakdown, he didn't even seem to notice. “You're awake?” he asked, disbelief clearly audible in his voice. Then turned the most blatantly unwelcoming expression on Knock Out that he'd ever seen in his life. “You. You did this, didn't you?”

Knock Out had never been asked so accusatorily if he'd been responsible for saving a life, and he didn’t like it. He was affronted enough that he forgot he was trying to escape; he planted his feet and drew himself up to his full height. Unfortunately, measured against the other two, even his full height was unimpressive. It wasn't often that Knock Out regretted his rather diminutive stature, but right now he couldn't help but wish he was a little taller, a little broader, a little less dwarfed by these two rather sizable Decepticons.

“Yes,” he said, head tilted proudly, “I did.” He jabbed a finger at Breakdown, meeting his blank optics defiantly. “I saved your life.” He turned to Blackout, whose expression was a lot more openly malicious, and refused to flinch. “And I don't see what's wrong with that!”

Blackout scoffed. “That's because you're a moron.” He moved into the room, turning towards Knock Out with a litheness belied by his huge size. A trickle of alarm skittered up Knock Out's spinal struts, his flight routines booting back up again as Blackout backed him into a corner between an overfull rack of tools and a massive crate. It took all of his self-control not to flinch when the other mech's big finger poked at his chest. “It wasn't your place to bring him back.”

“Don't touch me,” Knock Out snapped, batting the finger away from his plating. He looked over at Breakdown, unconsciously seeking validation.

The expected gratitude of a mech who had a new lease on life because of him was completely absent.

Knock Out's attention was jerked back to Blackout when the big mech's hand impacted with the crate behind him, freezing him in place in the corner. Blackout leaned in close. “I think you ought to leave, freelancer,” he growled.

“I think you're right,” Knock Out agreed. He forced a smile and ducked out around the big Decepticon, backing quickly towards the door. Sounding awkward and unnaturally forced, the words tumbled out of him. “I'm sure you gentlemechs have, ah, a lot to talk about, so I'll just take my leave, shall I?”
The cold weight of their answering silence alone was more than enough to chase him from the room, and it was only the last remaining tatters of his pride that kept him from running as he made his escape.

white_aster: (Default)

[personal profile] white_aster 2011-12-14 04:31 am (UTC)(link)
Poor Breakdown. I can totally see where he and Blackout are coming from, but it's really gratifying to feel Knock Out's confusion, because HEY, he did GOOD WORK there, and no one seems to appreciate it!