Voila! More world-building of the Meta-verse . Last time, we heard Jazz's past as a Spectre, and today, we will learn what drove Slipstream to seek out a career as a medic. Enjoy Observing the clouds pass as the Darksyde idly slid through the night sky was quite relaxing. Slipstream stood at the forefront of the deck, all but leaning against the reinforced crystalline screen as she stared out into the wide expanse of air. She'd never seen clouds before; well, not ones made of water vapour at least. On Cybertron, clouds would be the overhanging layer of chemicals and smog that enshrouded the planet. There was a time Cybertron's skies had been clear once. No air, no clouds, and certainly no acid rains. Not anymore. But these Earth clouds. They were beautiful. They were..... fluffy! That's what the humans defined them as, fluffy. Like massive piles of fluff. Huge piles of fluff floating in the sky, forming bizarre shapes and patterns. Cybertron didn't have fluffy things. A world of metal is never fluffy. Cybertron didn't have water either, and Slipstream was impressed that water, a liquid that covered most of this planet's surface, found its way into the sky to make fluffy clouds. She wished she could go out and fly through the fluff, but she couldn't. As the humans of this world did, the Decepticons set the ship on auto-pilot and went to their quarters to recharge at night. She hadn't gone to, what did the humans say? Oh yes, bed. She hadn't gone to bed yet. She just wanted to look at the clouds a little longer. They were so fluffy, and beautiful...... "Why are you still up?" Slipstream jolted and spun round, the wings of her vehicle mode flipping forward into battle mode like great black swords, the femme assuming a combat stance. Soundwave did not react to her hasty assumption of combat, simply looking at her, waiting for his question to be answered. Slipstream flipped her wings back and shook her head free of remnants of surprise: "Soundwave. I wish you wouldn't do that." "It's in my nature." Soundwave replied, his robotic tone having an almost musical quality to it. "Why are you still up?" It was odd; she was around twice his height, a given since jets are bigger than cars, and yet she felt unnerved at his constant gaze, the yellow visor and permanent mouthplate giving a rather alien feel to his face. Nevertheless, she answered: "Looking at the clouds." With that, she turned away from him to resume her observations, but alas, Soundwave did not leave as she hoped. Instead, he moved forward to stand next to her, his gaze taking in the sight of the dark sky and the grey clouds. "Cloud." He droned. "Earth meteorological definition; a visible mass of frozen water particles and/or various other chemicals suspended in the atmosphere." His computer-like description did not fool her. She knew the sarcastic demeaning behind his fancy talk. She'd known Soundwave long enough to know he subtlely hid insults behind a machine-like facade, to make it seem it was simply habit rather than malice. He was a sneaky 'Con like that. "Say what you will, but I think they're nice." Slipstream said loftily, straightening up slightly to assert her superiority in height. "They're fluffy. Cybertron doesn't have fluffy things." "Such talk is more like a human-sympathising Autobot than a Decepticon." He said critically. "I am not surprised you chose the path of simple repairs if that is your mindset." His accusation rang deep, and she unconciously gripped her left arm with her right hand, rubbing it over the sleek contours of the Energon beam apparatus. Similar to the great scientist Shockwave, Slipstream's left arm had been replaced by a weapon. Well, not really a weapon, but an Energon healing ray, which also doubled as an energy projectile blaster if combat demanded it. "I chose to be a Medic because a Medic saved my life." She muttered, feeling anger boil inside her. "You wouldn't know, would you? The feeling of death gripping you, cooing to you, and yet someone was kind enough to save you from it." Soundwave did not answer, and Slipstream did not bother to continue. She gazed into the subtle reflection upon the screen, and gazed at the green optics that stared back at her. Have you ever heard of the Optic Code? It's fairly simple. Red is the standard of a Decepticon. Blue is the standard of an Autobot. Yellow is the requirement of a Neutral. Orange represented independance and purple represented self-superiority. Green was the required optic colour of a medic, regardless of faction. You can tell a medic a mile away if they have green optics. As a medic herself, Slipstream had green optics, and she'd never forget how it came to be that they were no longer red. ------ Cybertron, many years ago, during the height of the War. Kaon, Flight Bunker 5. "You're not ready." Commander Blackout of the Fifth Flyer division spoke with very few words, but with intense meaning. His titanic size dwarfed even the fairly tall Slipstream, and his deep red optics stared into her until she couldn't help but look away. "I am." She mumbled, trying not to seem like a coward for not looking at him, and failing. "No." Blackout replied. Simple as that. She felt a tad indignant now, the insult of it pushing down previous nervousness, and she snapped her optics back up to glare at him. She knew her capabilities, and she knew this mission was within her capabilities and yet he had the nerve to say no. "I am." She said, louder now. "How can I ever prove myself if you never let me?" "You are not ready." Blackout replied calmly. "I am." She snarled, yet louder, the thrusters upon her back puffing out flickers of fire in her growing anger. "This is a mission I can do! I can provide air-support to Onslaught's unit with ease! Can't get easier than that!" With such insubordinate anger being shown, most other Decepticons would have punished her, but Blackout remained impassive. Whether he simply didn't care, was too confident in his power to feel challenged or merely disliked punishing his soldiers was up to debate. "Ambush attacks and bombing runs do not equate skills upon actual battlefield." He said. "This is a major conflict. Onslaught seeks to seize Spark Well from Autobot clutches. Precision required." "I am precise." She insisted. "Sir, I have the best shot in the unit! I can take out any Autobot no problem!" Blackout tilted his head: "You are persistent. You are determined." "I am." Slipstream stated proudly. "I'll never give up. This is my chance to prove myself that I have learnt well and am ready for front-line duty." He stared at her for a moment, before stating: "If you are right, then you will have spread your wings and flown beyond what I have taught you. If you are wrong, you will die." He paused and appeared to contemplate something, before adding: "One cannot spread their wings if wings are tied...... Fine. I suppose it is your choice now." She was shocked, and yet felt a thrill like no other when he said: "Prepare for deployment. Onslaught prepares at the Warrior Vector; you will go to him with my permission." Blackout handed her a Decepticon insignia, with the same rune upon its back as the one on his shoulders, and Slipstream knew, truly, that her time had come to prove her abilities to the Decepticon cause, and that she would make her commander proud. ------------ Explosions rained around her, and she cowered behind a mass of metal torn up by a particuarly vicious bomb. The heat of fire and ordanance hissed at her sensors, and she heard screams, constant screams as both Decepticon and Autobot died. A missile streaked by her hiding spot, slamming in the ground nearby and she yelped at the rush of noise. Two Decepticon scouts rolled by, onboard weapons firing at whatever foe they targetted, and dog-fighting flyers flew overhead, exchanging blasts and missiles. On all sides, she saw Cybertronians rushing into battle, and yet none of them noticed her. Her black colouring blended in with the shadow of the torn metal, and she was thankful for that. The terror was gripping, and Slipstream struggled to find whatever resolve had brought her in the first place, clutching Blackout's permission in one hand, her beam rifle in the other. She stared at the signature rune upon the Decepticon insignia, and shuttered her optics. She would never betray her commander's trust. He had trusted her to come here and battle the Autobots, and she would not let him down. Tucking the insignia into a comparment upon her thigh, she poked out of her cover, bringing her rifle to bear. She caught sight of an Autobot grenadier firing upon her allies, and took aim. The first shot took out a leg, bringing him to one knee, perfect for the second shot that pierced his head, downing for good. The satisfaction of a kill strengthened her, and she fired at another Autobot, hitting their chest at least four times before they went down. Another Decepticon stopped nearby and lobbed a plasma grenade, before calling to her: "Flyer! Get airborne! We need to take out that mortar over there!" She didn't see the mortar, but she knew she should get back in the sky, where she would be at home. She leapt out of cover to achieve adequate room to transform, but alas, she had chosen the wrong moment. An Autobot warrior, a hulking brute, lurched onto the scene and locked onto her, charging at her like a runaway train. With a screech of shock, she forgot about getting airborne and brought her rifle to bear, firing wildly. But her panic caused her to miss any vital target, and the brute reached, seized her gun and the arm that held it and ripped it clean off. She staggered back, pain searing through her as she screamed, before a blade, the very blade upon her severed arm, drove into her abdomen, tearing through circuits and Energon-veins. The agony was overwhelming, her optics unable to focus properly as blue Energon spilled from her wounds, the femme falling to the ground in agony. The Autobot beared down on her, but just before he could finish her off, the Decepticon that had told her to get airbone leapt in, jamming his Energon knife into the warrior with savage frenzy. Caught off-guard, the Autobot went down and was finished off swiftly. Slipstream's emergency systems kicked into gear, sealing off Energon flow to the severed appendage and shutting down higher processor functions to dull the pain. Dizzy and unfocussed, Slipstream felt the Decepticon pull her back into cover, felt an odd soothing come over her, and she realised that could only be death's tempting embrace. Her spark pulsated violently, and before everything went black as she was laid down, she noted her savior's green optics. -------- Blackout was there when she came back online, cradling something in his arms. The Decepticon that had saved her stood next to him, muttering to him. Her commander noted her recovery and stated: "Slipstream. I am glad to see you are alright." Memory circuits clicked into gear, and she remembered the brute that had torn off her arm. A swift glance to her left side caused her spark to pulsate in horror; her left arm was still gone. She was in a med-bay, laid against a berth. A table of medical equipment was next to her, and the Decepticon with green optics, signifying him as a medic, said: "It was tough to get you stabilised. While the injuries themselves were not truly fatal, your spark nearly exerted itself to death out of trauma. Nevertheless, you pulled through. How do you feel, soldier?" Slipstream hesitated, before muttering: "Armless. Embarassed." The medic laughed at that, and Blackout did not react at all. The former said: "Well, I can understand the first part quite well. We've been running short on spare appendages, to be honest. But luckily, Commander Blackout came up with something. A quick salvage of your missing wing, a repair ray kindly donated from Scalpel, and here it is." Blackout held up the object now. It was a repair ray, modified with extra metals and the long angular form of her left wing, in the form of a forearm. Slipstream stared at it, and Blackout asked: "An adequate replacement?" Her reply was soft, but meaningful: "Perfect." --------- She stood in Flight Bunker 5 before Blackout, as she had before her fateful mission. Her new arm fitted well and was compatible with her transformation. There were spindly appendages to act as fingers upon the barrel of the ray, an odd change to how her left arm had been before, but she was used to it. "Are you sure?" Blackout asked, and Slipstream wondered if she heard amusement under his stoic tone. "I am." She replied, holding up her arm for emphasis. "I was scared, sir. On that battlefield, I acted like an Autobot coward and I am ashamed of it. But maybe outright combat is not for me. Maybe I didn't know what I was ready for. But I believe I know now." She took the insignia out of her thigh and gazed at the rune upon its back, before saying: "I want to become a medic." Blackout simply nodded: "Very well. Report to Scalpel. Take that as my permission. You are no longer under my direct command, Slipstream." She bowed to him: "It was an honour serving you, Commander Blackout." "It was an honour having you, Slipstream." He replied. She turned to leave, before stopping, and, turning back to face him, asked: "You didn't seem surprised by this. Did you expect me to change my mind about my future in the Decepticon army?" "I did not expect it." He replied. "I simply hoped. You are persistent, and you are determined. Apply to healing as you did to all your other goals, and you will do well, Slipstream." She was surprised, almost impressed by how he had known her better then she had known herself. But she smiled, bowed again, and left. When Blackout next saw her, it would not be red he looked into, but bright green. ----------- Earth, present day When she looked to her side, Soundwave was gone. She was a bit surprised. She had thought he would remain until she herself left. But it mattered not. Slipstream wondered how her old commander was getting on. She hoped he was well. He had taught her well during her time in the Flight Vector, even if she had left for a new goal in life. She still had the insignia with his rune upon it, safely stored in a compartment upon her thigh. Nevertheless, she smiled to herself, taking pride in the green optics that looked back at her from the screen. She turned her attention back to the clouds outside, and she liked how they were still fluffy. Big massive piles of fluff, making bizarre patterns and shapes, fluffing up the Earth sky. She liked clouds.