Hollow Vessel: A G1 "Spotlight"-style story

Discussion in 'Transformers Fan Fiction' started by SuzyPrime, Jun 17, 2012.

  1. Anodythe

    Anodythe Well-Known Member

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    The moment of truth...wherein Mirage must decide, does he stay a "neutral" not espousing any belief or does he turn to the Autobots to achieve what he wants for his people.
    It's great to hear from you again Suzy!
     
  2. ARCTrooperAlpha

    ARCTrooperAlpha Well-Known Member

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    I like, the beginnings of Mirage's invisibility powers
     
  3. SuzyPrime

    SuzyPrime The friendly lurker

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    It was hard for Mirage to keep up with the passage of time after he slipped into stasis lock in Lowroad’s trailer. He experienced sporadic sensations during the first few days. He remembered harsh overhead lights when he first came back online. Vibrations. There was the discomforting pressure of fluid injection and the prickling of medicroids crawling along his plating. He remembered an energon infuser against his chest and the warmth of a recharging chamber. There were the faces of the medics looking down at him with just the right amount of concern that professional detachment would allow.

    Ratchet was perpetually present -- but just outside Mirage’s field of vision – offering treatments and giving orders to his staff. And if Ratchet was in charge of his care, that meant Lowroad had obeyed Mirage’s request and they were at the medical facility in Autobot headquarters. Mirage stole a moment when no one was looking and glanced around the bay: the newest equipment, stocked shelves, beds full of the war wounded and the presence of the Autobot’s chief medic. This had to be Iacon.

    The week of convalescence he did remember was monotonous, interrupted early on by his asylum application and brief hearing in front of a panel of Autobot officers and their leader, Optimus Prime. Unable to walk at the time, Mirage had been carted into the hearing room without much advance warning. A large metal graft still covered the chest wound that had nearly taken his life.

    Mirage had looked around the room anxiously for familiar faces. Would this be the place and time where he could lift the mask and finally reveal all he had done for the Autobot cause during the last 100,000 years?

    “This hearing will come to order.”

    Everyone had been polite and unattached. Testimony was read out loud for the record, including what he had written on his asylum application. There were no indications that any of these Autobots knew who he was, his significance in the past, the secret messages hidden in his trash, his wayward business deals.

    And perhaps most disappointing of all was Prime himself, who had spent most of the hearing whispering to others or tapping on a terminal keyboard.

    A white-plated officer with a blue visor asked Mirage questions about his identity, his intentions, his politics and his future plans. Mirage answered without giving specifics. Prime and his officers conversed and then the visored-bot announced that his asylum decision would be announced in two weeks.

    He was wheeled back to the medical ward in a stupor. The colossal disappointment of the entire experience was numbing. “What have I done all this time?” he muttered as two medics lifted him from the chair back to his bed. “What was it all for?”

    His request for a tablet was granted. His inquiry about Bekla’s condition came with a curt response: “Offline.”

    Offline. Mirage lay in bed the next day thinking about the implications of the word. Bekla and his crew were a species physiologically unlike Cybertronians, but still intuitive and curious, patient observers. They were kidnapped, abused, and murdered. But to these bots here they were just “offline”…the contents of metal cylinder on Ratchet’s desk and an alien ship listing powerless in orbit. He shuddered at the obscenity of it.

    Mirage opened the tablet he had been given and connected to the nets. He pulled up a ticket broker for orbital charters. Expensive. What about high-altitude cargo transports? They could push into the heliosphere for a couple of hours, couldn’t they? The broker required energon up front. No credit.

    He had no energon, no liquid assets to use for anything. No credit available. No accounts. Or did he?

    Mirage dialed into the portal to Central Monetary. There was one hope. Could it be possible that it still existed? He punched through seven layers of passwords and encryptions, dug through the accounting systems of two shell corporations and finally entered a programming backdoor to find it.

    Account 43466251 and its small fortune was still there. Whatever had become of Graft, the little Deception shill hadn’t made it to Uraya in time to get the password and retrieve his money. Mirage made some discrete transfers disguised as accounts payable transactions and moved the money over to three holding companies of which he was a silent partner.

    No more brokers and charters. He plugged back into the nets and went straight to the open market for transports. A small space-faring ship, non-sentient, with enough fuel for an orbital trip would take up nearly half of the money in 43466251. Mirage clicked on the transfer and downloaded the title and necessary receipts to the tablet. He now owned a ship.

    He looked over to the office and saw the cylinder that held Bekla’s remains on Ratchet’s desk. It would be easy enough to saunter in there after hours and take it. By this time in two days he would be on that ship and doing what he needed to do for Bekla’s sake, for the sake of his own soul.

    To be continued...
     
  4. SuzyPrime

    SuzyPrime The friendly lurker

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    Continued

    “…after a successful rerouting, the patient showed moderate improvement. Approximately 60 percent of usage to the limb returned. Further therapy is recommended.”

    Ratchet dictated the last few surgical notes into his terminal and sat back. His office faced the rows of beds that made up the trauma ward at Autobot headquarters. Med techs, mechanics and drones were attending the wounded and ill under his watch.

    A metal cylinder on the side table across the room caught his gaze. He stood up, but stopped himself. He didn’t have time for exobiology side projects today, not with a full surgery schedule. Mirage’s mystery creature would have to wait until a calmer day, or a direct order, for a complete post-mortem.

    He looked up and started. Optimus Prime stood in his doorway, his knuckles poised to knock on the door frame. “Doc.”

    “How are you so big and so quiet at the same time? Visiting hours are over, so come back later.”

    “How do you know I’m not here to see you?”

    “You don’t visit me. You call me. You don’t visit.”

    “I visit you…on occasion...sometimes…” Prime trailed off. He stepped into the room and closed the door behind him. “You’re right, I’m not here to see you. I need to claim command privilege on this one and ask you to bend the rules.”

    Ratchet waved his hand toward the beds. “Fine. Granted. Go at it. Visit all you want.”

    “I do want to talk to you first. Do you still have those remains?”

    “I’ve stabilized them from decay, but that’s all I’ve done.” Ratchet pointed to the cylinder on the table near the door.

    Prime picked it up and opened it. “I don’t recognize the species. Do you?”

    “I’ve got nothing on file about that specific kind. It went offline before I could make a comprehensive diagnosis, but it obviously needed fluids and tissues that I couldn’t synthesize, not without more study. It was obviously in severe pain,” Ratchet trailed off. “Does it matter? Mirage said the organic wasn’t involved in his asylum request.”

    “That is his most obvious lie.”

    “How do you know that?”

    “Because I know a rescue operation when I see one.” Prime placed his hand over his eyes, then on his chest, and then covered the creature with the same hand. It was a gesture of respect for the dead that Ratchet hadn’t seen done in a long time. He closed the cylinder, put it back and sat back down. “Your deposition for Mirage’s asylum case? I read it through. Not exactly glowing.”

    “Mirage tried to kill me. That’s hard to let go.”

    “Are you going to press charges?”

    Ratchet scowled. “Press charges? In Praxus? What justice can an Autobot expect in a neutral city?”

    “He has a non-violent past, and he was a pacifist leader for millennia. I’ve never met him personally, but even I know that.”

    “Words versus actions, Prime. You can say one thing in front of cameras and at peace rallies, but when it comes down to it, Mirage proved he’s just another rich sympathizer hiding in neutral territory. Why else would he have a Decepticon communicator?”

    “We pulled this from the open nets this morning.” Prime handed him a tablet. A pixilated picture of Mirage floated above a number with several zeroes. Ratchet didn’t read much Decepticon script, but he recognized the phrase “dead or alive.”

    “Decepticons don’t put bounties out for sympathizers. ”

    “He crossed the wrong ‘con. So what? A bounty on his head proves nothing. You are too trusting. You believed him about his ridiculous warning of a Praxus invasion, and what came of that? You sent in two squads to reconnoiter. What did they find? Nothing. No trace of the enemy. ”

    “I never said I believed him.” Prime leaned against the desk and rubbed his faceplated chin with his fingers. “I don’t believe him. His asylum application is superficial. His hearing testimony was unconvincing. But I’ve recently been shown evidence that contradicts everything I think I know about him. He’s a mixture of motives and ideologies, and only he knows where his spark really lies.” Prime stood.

    “Well, deportation it is, then. Send him back to Praxus, and good riddance. ”

    “Why do you hate him so much, Ratchet?”

    “I don’t hate him. I-” The doctor paused, stood and walked around the desk. He looked Prime in the eyes. “He betrayed my trust once, and it hurt me. I never imagined I’d have to warn another bot about making the same mistake, least of all you.”

    “Noted.” Prime said and squeezed his shoulder. “Mirage will have to defend his actions, right now. Let’s go have a talk-” Optimus turned and stopped. The door to Ratchet's office, the one he had closed before their conversation started, stood wide open.

    Ratchet spoke. “The cylinder is gone.”
     
  5. Anodythe

    Anodythe Well-Known Member

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    Oh Mirage...what a coiled web you've placed around yourself. Suzy, it is good to hear from you again. This is a very complicated tale...how will it end, where will Mirage end up, what is he going to do in the far future? Trust is an extremely hard practice for him...I wonder if he even trusts himself.