Hi. This thread will include a number of stories - some short, at least one not quite so - which are intended to help bridge the gap between the end of one of my longer fics, Fate/Trans Form, and the onset of its eventual sequel, Fate/Trans Form: The Era of Consequence. These stories are not in chronological order, but hopefully that won't be too much of an impediment to enjoying them... or, not, as the case may be. First off is this - entered into a writing contest on another forum. -------- Heartbeats by Nerroth Cut off from the Protectors and their Alternity allies, Elita Seven has little time to come to terms with her new synthoid form as she makes a direct intervention. Ba-bom ba-bom. Ba-bom ba-bom. Elita Seven rode along a series of side roads on the back of her motorcycle. From her vantage point, she could see a humanoid Autobot - perhaps a Pretender, or maybe a fellow synthoid - keeping a Decepticon flyer at bay. The humanoid had landed a shot on the flyer’s dorsal hull, causing its stealth system to malfunction. Rather than vanish from her sight when cloaking, its silhouette was intermittently exposed through a series of electric pulses coursing along its form. Hopefully, the humanoid could buy her enough time to engage successfully. As she raced along, she carefully balanced her controls, maintaining a three-dimensional tactical image overlaid upon a local road map, while keeping her own eyes open in the process. Yet, perhaps for the first time, she found other things she had to try and control. Her breathing, for one. She had hardly noticed the need to manually regulate this process while serving as an observer during the Alternity Crisis, recording each event from a relatively safe vantage point. Now, with her Timaeus drive malfunctioning and communications with her comrades sundered, she had to struggle to not fall out of breath as she raced near the scene of battle. All the while, she could hear - could feel - the beating of her heart muscles, as they worked furiously to push blood through her body. She couldn’t help but feel a sense of unease at how little control she had over this. While she could try to breathe slowly, in and out, once and again, it was an indirect means, at best, of helping matters. In her database lay files of reports, from those who had taken pretender or synthoid forms, telling how profound a change that life as a biological entity caused. At this moment, she might have wished she had been more attentive at reading them. Ba-bom ba-bom. This is a part of who I am. I won’t let it best me! Subconsciously, she reached a hand curled into a fist and pressed it against her chest, feeling the pulse even through the riding suit and glove she was wearing. She took a deep breath, trying to centre herself. I can do this. Revving the engine, she raced towards her target point. The flyer was drawn in one last time, reaching out with its engine-claws to grasp the humanoid in one swoop. Let’s go, Windstorm! At her silent command, the boosters in her mount engaged, launching her into the air. Squeezing tightly into the bike’s sides as she swung to one side, she summoned her energon bow and readied an arrow. Ba-bom. Ba-bom. Barely a few metres above the flyer, in the midst of her aerial corkscrew, she loosed the arrow. It took no time at all to bury itself into the flyer’s left wing before exploding violently and blasting it off-course. A few moments later, it had crashed. Elita and her mount went screeching along the ground, leaving a gash in their wake. That felt different, she thought to herself, but I can get used to it. She sat up and removed her helmet, shaking her head as it was freed from its protective confinement. Thus, it was with her own eyes that she would see him clearly for the first time. “Hello, my lady,” he said, offering his hand. “I am in your debt.” Ba-bom... …for a second, she felt her heart skip a beat. “You’re welcome,” she replied, reaching out to take his hand. As she did so, she couldn’t help but smile. Whatever this is, I might just get used to it, too.