Transformers: Mirror Mirror @blackbird
Outliers - Part One

Greetings, reader of hopefully mechanical or Cybertronian origin (if this account makes its way to Earth I’m going to have a lot of explaining to do…). In this foreword, I, your narrator, Bitstream of Vos am going to clarify that everything you will find in this document occurred as it is presented. This is an entirely factual piece, compiled from multiple eyewitness accounts, including my own. All the chaotic bullscrap we Cons went through- I was there for it. This document you are either holding in your hands or viewing on a datapad chronicles the latter part of the war between us Decepticons, and the Autobots. I assume that you are at least familiar with both of these faction’s names, unless you live under a rock (in which case, please send me the location of this untouched rock, I would like to join you down there). The war was a hellish and harrowing experience, but the tail end of it was… something else. In this document, you will find a true (as I’ve already explained. I need to reiterate this as things will get fantastical and somewhat insane in the latter part of this… disaster of a war) depiction of this war’s glorious (or terrible, depending on your perspective) end.


Soundwave wanted to say this was just his telepathy picking up a stray thought from one of the other mechs in the room. But... this didn’t feel like a thought in any way shape or form. Stray thoughts were brief, flitting, and usually half-formed. Little mental comments, tiny sentences someone thought of saying, quotes they were recalling. Tiny things. What was in his head now was a sound, a noise, in the back of his mind. It slithered through his thoughts like a snake, as if searching for something. This was not a little sentence about how someone felt like grabbing a snack later, this was a garbled, staticky, terrible noise. One that lingered in his mind, growing louder and louder. It would pause, then repeat itself, like a broken and distorted recording. A cold lump of fear settled in Soundwave’s fuel tanks.

This… wasn’t normal. Something was wrong.

He’d been using his abilities for millennia… never before had something like this happened. The noise grew in volume, drowning half his thoughts out and garbling the ones it didn’t. Soundwave’s vents sucked in a burst of air, and he closed his optic. The jet lowered his helm into his claws, trying to direct his attention to something, anything else. To rip his focus away from the terrible sound invading his very thoughts.

It didn’t go away. It kept growing louder and louder and--

“Soundwave- err, sir. Are you alright?”

Soundwave’s head shot up and he whipped around in his seat, looking down to see Bitstream, a Seeker he worked with, one who ranked almost directly below him when it came to commanding the techies in this room. Soundwave considered Bitstream a good friend- and a good, concerned friend was precisely now what Soundwave needed right then. The black and blue Seeker was staring up at him, optics narrowed slightly in obvious concern. The smaller aircraft shifted from pede to pede, and Soundwave felt half-formed thoughts filter in from the mech. 

“I’m sorry, Bits- what did ya want, buddy?” Soundwave put on his calmest voice, trying to ignore that Unicron-damned sound. Act casual, hopefully he'll go back to working on a project, or go back to making goo-goo eyes at Red Wing and leave Soundwave to his problems. 

Oh, but things were not going Soundwave's way. Not today they weren't. 

“You- you had your hands on your head, and your wings were just going crazy. Is everything okay, Soundwave? Do you need to go to the medbay or something? I could probably cover for you or something.” Bitstream said, the typical bite in his tone that Soundwave had come to expect being absent. Oh how Soundwave preferred being snapped at to being subjected to worry from others. 

Bitstream only continued. “Don’t lie you big fragger. I can tell something’s wrong.” He crossed his arms, wings flicking upwards. “You don’t have to tell me if it’s some weird Outlier stuff, I know your sparks are weird, but please get to the damn medbay if it’s something serious.” Soundwave wasn’t keeping control of his abilities, and thoughts were beginning to rush into his processor. Nonono, this always happened when he wasn't in control- he had to stay in control, or else-

Every pair of optics in the room was on him, and all their concerned thoughts were beginning to bleed over into his mind. They came rushing in, as if a dam had just burst. He could barely tell who was who, voices and sentences overlapping in a chaotic jumble of thoughts, each accompanied by a burst of emotion. 

‘Isheokaywhat’supwithSounderswhy’sitgottabenowthathefreaksoutishegonnadieisthissomeoutlierbullscrapiswearifhediesi’mthrowinghiscatofftheship-’ His mind was an incomprehensible mess, with foreign thoughts and that garbled, Unicrondamned sound colliding and melding together, coupled with foreign emotions seeping in. Concern, overwhelming concern, fear, annoyance, all directed at him. He could barely make sense of them- which were even his own? Soundwave’s vents dragged in air, his frame feeling cold and hot with shame at the same time. The jet’s single optic was flitting around his screenface, taking in what was happening in the room but not truly processing anything but what was goind on inside his helm. This always happened when he lost control- voices and thoughts swirled around in his mind. Now, they were blending together with that sound, which was swiftly becoming unbearable. 

Soundwave heard a voice yell out his name, likely Bitstream, but he didn’t react, only curling in on himself, claws tightening their grip on his helm. His screenface shut off, and he let out a keen of distress. 

Far, far too late, he recalled advice he’d been given long ago- focus on something else. Tightening his claws’ grip on his helm so tightly it drew energon, Soundwave tried to focus on the sounds he heard, and what he felt. What did he hear- the clicking of keyboards, the sounds of the room’s ventilation chugging along. He felt his claws digging into his plating, and heard the sound of his HUD piniging him about the damage. Fortunately for him, his Warframe coding prevented the sensation from being painful. Soundwave heard the sound of Bitstream’s voice, sharp and loud, full of concern and alarm. The voices of a handful of others joined in, each trying to drag him back to reality. Focus on what’s outside your mind, that’s what he’d always been told...

Like water in the heat of Hadeen’s rays, the foreign thoughts began dissipating, evaporating like steam- save for that garbled noise that wouldn’t let his thoughts free - and with a click, his face turned back on again, and through his single optic he saw everyone staring at him (save Radar, who was about as concerned as he normally was, which is to say he didn’t even care). A handful of leftover foreign thoughts floated in his mind, mostly disorganized ones from Bitstream, who was practically consumed by worry at this point. Soundwave felt a pang of guilt for worrying the mech.

“Soundwave? Soundwave!” Bitstream’s wings flicked in concern, his optics wide and worried. “Soundwave, answer me? If you turn into a zoned-out husk forever I’ll have to take care of Ravage and I really don’t wanna do that, so please answer me?”

Soundwave quickly blurted out an answer, wanting to avoid explanation. Suspicious sounds? Bitstream would only be further worried by this. “It’s nothing, really! I’m fiiine, Bitsie! Just an- uh- just a helmache!” Frag, Warframes like him didn’t gethelmaches, but it was too late to backtrack now. “It’s cuz of the whole telepathy thing I’ve got going on, I’m fine! Just an annoying lil thing.” He projected a smiley emote onto his facescreen, knowing that there was absolutely no way in the Pits he’d be believed. 

Bitstream blinked, looking supremely unimpressed with Soundwave’s excuse. “Soundwave, while I’m glad you’re still in there, I’ve worked with you long enough to know when you’re spitting out bullscrap. Red Wing, could you please take Soundwave to the medbay? I’ve still got stuff to do, unfortunately. If he dies I’m dumping the nightmarespawn cat on you.” Despite how harsh Bitstream’s voice was, Soundwave could feel the worry still coursing through the cyan and black jet’s mind

The red, black and white Seeker in question stood up and walked quickly over to Soundwave. Red Wing looked up at him, wings flittering back and forth awkwardly. Soundwave could sense concern from the nonbinary Seeker as well. The ground attack jet normally wasn't one to talk (much to Soundwave's chagrin) but right now, it seemed like everything wanted to make extra noise to go along with whatever was in his helm. 

“Nobody’s going to begrudge you for having a problem, sir.” Red Wing said, as if his problem was the simplest thing in the world. “Please go to the medics? I’m worried about you, Bits is worried about you, you’re obviously a bit hurt, so please just… go to the medics. They wouldn’t mind, I'm sure of it.” They gave a reassuring smile.

“What the only nice bot in this room said.” Bitstream chirped, gesturing at Red Wing. “Get to the damn medbay, Soundwave. Or go to Starscream, since he deals with Outlier bullscrap all the time. I’m sure he’ll understand what to do with magic Outlier telepathy helmaches or whatever. Oh, and you are not, under any circumstances, allowed to die or turn into a vegetable, got it you big oaf? We care about you, big guy.” 

“I don’t.” Radar called, not even looking up from his work.

“Shut up, Radar.” Bitstream then hissed something out in Vosian. Likely a curse word, considering the fact that Red Wing gasped in reaction. 

Soundwave sighed theatrically. “Fiiine, Bitsie. I’ll go get my aft checked up and get snapped at by The Scream because there’s quite literally nothing wrong with me at all, buddy ol Bits!” 

Bitstream continued to give Soundwave an unimpressed look. “You are possibly the worst liar I have ever met, Soundwave. If you don’t want to go to the medics or Starscream, I think Air Marshal Lyzack would enjoy hearing about this. Technically, as a flier, you’re under her jurisdiction. I know she’s also a good friend of yours.” Bitstream could be a little bastard, but this...

“Now you’re just blackmailing me, dude. Not cool.”

“I’m serious, she’s helped me through some stuff before. If this isn’t a medical problem, it’s an emotional one. There's also no shame in needing to talk to someone because of stress.” There was a howl as Bitstream activated his engines and floated up to be eye level with Soundwave. “I’m not gonna get off your case, buddy ol Soundy.” The black and cyan Seeker poked Soundwave’s fuselage, a smirk on his faceplates. “I can take over here while you’re gone. And I swear, Radar’ll be alive when you get back.”

Soundwave’s wings shifted in discomfort, as he tried to distract from the discomfort in his mind with physical movement. “Alright, Bitsie, you don’t need to convince me anymore. I’ll go to Starscream and get yelled at.” Soundwave’s helm twitched in response to the noises in his helm.

Bitstream nodded, flickers of worry still coming from him. “Okay, back to work everybody.” The Seeker floated back to the ground and returned to his desk, shooting one last look back at Soundwave.

That damned noise only seemed to grow louder and clearer the more Soundwave ignored it, and he knew Bitstream was as stubborn as a mountain. There was no squirming his way out of this one, or denying that there was a problem. “Shall we go get yelled at, Reddie?” Soundwave projected another smile onto his screenface, this one wavering a little. 

Hopefully The Scream wasn’t too busy...

Meanwhile, in the laboratory, Starscream, the Decepticon chief of applied sciences, was having a couple issues of his own, ones also related to Outliers. Today was just not his day… Oh mech, did he not know what was about to hit him…


Blinding white. 

He heard the sound of glass shattering— was it his cockpit? Starscream felt a bitter chill seep through his frame, as if it had been filled with ice. In a split second, that cold morphed to a scorching, frame-melting heat. Starscream felt like he was freezing and burning at the same time, as the deafening sounds of explosions and burning buildings mixing with the wailing of polar winds drowned out everything, even the Seeker’s own thoughts. There was the rumble of engines, and a voice that broke through the noise—

“Wake. Up.” 

The white and black Seeker’s optics shot open, and he felt like he was falling— and then his frame slammed into the cold laboratory floor. Starscream’s optics reset a handful of times as he processed the visual information his processor was so abruptly and rudely feeding him, and the sudden disconnect he’d had. There was no snow swallowing up everything. No fire burning through all he saw. Just... Thundercracker, looking down at him and offering him a clawed servo. The only sound he heard was his dear brother’s engines, rumbling in concern. No winds wailing a death-song. No explosions, roaring like thunder in his audials. Just his brother. Starscream shook his head to clear his jumbled processor, before grabbing his brother’s servo and letting the other jet pull him up.

It was just another memory flux. He’d had them before. Nothing to worry over. Today would simply be a normal day.

“You fell asleep at your desk. Again.” Thundercracker commented gruffly, not even mentioning the nightmare. Starscream knew Thundercracker had felt it through their bond— Starscream certainly felt his brother’s concern washing over him through the bond, mixing in with distant comfort from Skywarp’s end. The blue Seeker didn’t mention what he felt, however. Thundercracker just checked Starscream’s frame over, grumbling at the paint scrapes he found. “Stop falling asleep in your lab. We have berths for a reason.” Ah, Thundercracker’s typical gruffness. Even through his brother’s growly tone, Starscream could hear fondness. 

In response, the white jet rolled his optics, sending through their bond reassurances that yes, he was alright. “Despite what you may believe, Thundercracker, I do not intentionally fall asleep at my workstation. I simply work too late and fall asleep.” Starscream stretched his wings, glancing at what he’d been working on the previous night.

“Then stop working late.” Thundercracker stated simply, his wings flicking. Seemingly satisfied that Starscream was fine (as if a mere fall could damage his armor), Thundercracker grabbed his brother’s shoulder and spun him around to face the rest of the lab. “I need you to do something.” 

“What is it—“ Starscream had barely even thought his question out before his optical sensors were bombarded with an array of searingly bright colors.

Oh. Oh no.

The Rainmakers. 

Always a lovely thing to deal with in the morning. Young Outliers with barely-restrained powers. Outliers were always a pleasant thing to deal with in the morning. 

The brightly colored Seekers in question were rummaging (borderline unsupervised!) through the lab, poking at or picking up anything that caught their interest. The three in question were Ion Storm, Nova Storm, and Acid Storm. These were the three biggest troublemakers on the Victory - no small feat, considering the fact that Fulcrum, Moonheart, and Blackout were all on board as well. These three technicolor gremlins had set his entire fragging lab on fire the last time they were inside it!

“Thundercracker, might I inquire as to why you have brought these three into my lab? Have you forgotten their previous... incidents in here?” Starscream whispered through gritted dentae, his optical ridges raising as he waited for whatever insane reason Thundercracker had brought the accident-prone disaster trio into an area they’d previously caused multiple explosions, several fires, and at least one incident of acid melting through the floor in. This reason had better be a good one, because if not, Shockwave'd be jumping up his aft about this. 

“They’re Outliers.” Thundercracker said plainly, as if that answered the question. As if to illustrate Thundercracker’s point, Acid Storm poked a digit into a vial of highly corrosive acid, commenting about how it tickled. Yes, they were Outliers, mecha with supersparks that granted them ridiculous abilities that only grew with age-

Right. Outliers' abilities grew with age. Both of Starscream’s brothers were outliers, as was he… technically. Outliers were the definition of abnormal, and frequently needed examinations. Nothing to worry about. Well, as long as they kept Nova Storm away from anything explosive. “What might they need?” Starscream asked, watching Ion Storm poke one of Shockwave’s experimental weapons from the corner of his optic.

“Spark examinations. Their powers are growing. Like Skywarp’s and mine did. I’m worried.” Thundercracker crossed his arms, emotion once again bleeding into his voice. 

“Since when did you become their caretaker?” Starscream chuckled lightly, turning to fetch the scanner from the storage panel on the wall. “While you’re watching your new wards, keep a lookout for Shockwave. He’ll rip my head off if he catches those three in here again. It was his invention that started the fire last time, if you recall.”

The blue and gray Seeker’s wings flicked indignantly. “I am n—“ Thundercracker began, before he closed his mouth, flaring his wings out defensively. Starscream gave a smile as a wave of grumpiness came from Thundercracker. “I’m just looking out for them. You know they’re the only Seeker sparklings left around.'

Starscream felt a pang of sorrow as he rummaged around in the storage panel, digging through datapads housing blueprints and old scraps of inventions. Starscream made a mental note to clean this damn place one of these days. When he finally pulled out the blasted thing, he immediately heard the metallic clang of something falling to the floor. “Shockwave is going to kill me.” Starscream muttered under his breath. Starscream turned around, internally screaming.

Inventing sharply, Starscream moved away from anything important or fragile. “Alright, all three of you, please stop touching things. Hurry over here, and please—“ the sound of whatever had dropped on the floor crunching underpede interrupted him “—try not to break anything...” he sighed. “Else.” 

The neon-bright trio practically trampled one another as they scampered over to Starscream, crowding around the larger jet, each of them chirping out question after question. 

Nova Storm piped up the loudest. “What’re we gonna do Screamy? Thundercracker mentioned an exam or something-” the pink and black jet was immediately cut off by his brother, Ion Storm.

“He said an examination, not an exam, dumbaft.” Ion Storm snapped at his pink sibling, wings hiking high into the air. “We’re probably sick or something. That’s what examinations are for- telling you what’s broken.” The black and gold Seeker said it like it was an obvious fact. 

“Ohhhh. I must’ve misheard.” Nova Storm didn’t seem fazed at all, his pink wings still fluttering with excitement. “What’s wrong with us then? Is Acid Storm gonna dissolve? Am I gonna disappear forever?” He sounded alarmingy excited about that last outcome. 

“You’re both wrong.” Acid Storm piped up, but was ignored by his brothers.

Thundercracker glanced at Ion Storm, who looked quite proud of himself for correcting his brother. “Ion Storm, don’t be rude to your brother. And where’d you learn to swear?”

“It was Fulcrum. Wasn’t it.” Thundercracker sighed. “First he starts a fight, now he’s teaching the sparklings to curse.” 

Starscream sighed, dragging his palm down his face. “Please just shush and let me scan you. And before you ask, no, it does not require your spark being bared.” As the eyebleeder trio lined up, Starscream pointed the scanner at them.

The scanner clicked on, red light sweeping over each of the three Seeker’s chests, beeping each time it finished a scan. ONce the examination was over, the data was projected onto a little holoscreen, pulled up beside the data from previous scans.

Starscream sighed, dragging his palm down his face. “Please just shush and let me scan you. And before you ask, no, it does not require your spark being bared.” As the eyebleeder trio lined up, Starscream pointed the scanner at them.

Thundercracker glanced at Ion Storm, who looked quite proud of himself for correcting his brother. “Ion Storm, don’t be rude to your brother. And where’d you learn to swear?”

“It was Fulcrum. Wasn’t it.” Thundercracker sighed. “First he starts a fight, now he’s teaching the sparklings to curse.” 

Starscream sighed, dragging his palm down his face. “Please just shush and let me scan you. And before you ask, no, it does not require your spark being bared.” As the eyebleeder trio lined up, Starscream pointed the scanner at them.

“-No, this is entirely normal for Outliers such as yourselves. Your abilities grow as you age. I assume these three have been getting far more destructive lately, Thundercracker?” Starscream asked, quirking an eyebrow ridge.

Thundercracker nodded. “Yeah. Acid Storm’s been dissolving things by accident. Ion Storm blew up three computers by touching them. I think Nova Storm got stuck in a wall yesterday.”

Starscream chuckled. “Seems we’ll have another Skywarp on our claws soon, this time in pink.” He felt a burst of nostalgia. When Skywarp’s powers had first gone on a development spree, he’d been warping into walls every time his thoughts drifted. Seems Nova Storm would be phasing through things every time he lost focus. Once Nova got the hang of it, he'd be capable of doing some pretty amazing things. Unlike... well, Starscream.

“But none of us can teleport? How would we have another Skywarp?” Nova Storm sounded quite confused, the black and neon pink jet glancing at his brothers, looking for an answer. “I don’t get it.”

Ion Storm opened his mouth, his expression already condescending, before Acid Storm abruptly clapped his servo over his brother’s mouth. 

“Nova Storm, he means that we’ll have another Outlier who’ll get stuck in the walls every day.” Thundercracker’s voice was soft. “Ion Storm, I already told you not to do that.”

Ion Storm’s wings flicked in irritation, a burst of electricity ran from the base of his wings to their tips, before dancing back and forth between his wings. As the gold and black Seeker crossed his arms once again, charge raced through his frame, making his frame’s biolights brighten.

“Nova Storm, he means that we’ll have another Outlier who’ll get stuck in the walls every day.” Thundercracker’s voice was soft. “Ion Storm, I already told you not to do that.”

Ion Storm’s wings flicked in irritation, a burst of electricity ran from the base of his wings to their tips, before dancing back and forth between his wings. As the gold and black Seeker crossed his arms once again, charge raced through his frame, making his frame’s biolights brighten.

“Nova Storm, he means that we’ll have another Outlier who’ll get stuck in the walls every day.” Thundercracker’s voice was soft. “Ion Storm, I already told you not to do that.”

Ion Storm’s wings flicked in irritation, a burst of electricity ran from the base of his wings to their tips, before dancing back and forth between his wings. As the gold and black Seeker crossed his arms once again, charge raced through his frame, making his frame’s biolights brighten.

“Nova Storm, he means that we’ll have another Outlier who’ll get stuck in the walls every day.” Thundercracker’s voice was soft. “Ion Storm, I already told you not to do that.”

Ion Storm’s plating flared out in frustration. “I’m not mad!” The charge lingering in his frame flared out with it, shooting out in all directions. Starscream shrieked in alarm, grabbing Nova Storm and Acid Storm’s arms and pulling them being him. Fortunately, due to Starscream’s armor, only a handful of systems would glitch due to the electricity 

Acid Storm covered his optics, grumbling. “We get it, you’re pissy. No need to blind us!”

"Curious..." Starscream said, though he fast regretted saying that. 

Ion Storm’s plating flared out in frustration. “I’m not mad!” The charge lingering in his frame flared out with it, shooting out in all directions. Starscream shrieked in alarm, grabbing Nova Storm and Acid Storm’s arms and pulling them being him. Fortunately, due to Starscream’s armor, only a handful of systems would glitch due to the electricity 

“Both of you, quit it.” Thundercracker barked, his wings flared. “I won’t have you two insulting one another. I’m sorry, Starscream. I thought they’d at least try to behave.” The dark blue and gray jet sighed. “You three, come with me. Let’s leave Star be.”

The three younger jets trailed Thundercracker, Ion Storm glancing around for someone to blame, Acid Storm looking downcast, and Nova Storm glancing back at Starscream, giving a tiny wave goodbye. When the door shut behind them, Starscream flopped down in his seat, his vents letting out a long hiss.

“Well, that was a disaster.” He grumbled to no-one but himself. Outliers… everything seemed to go wrong with them. Mecha born with fiery red sparks, and gifted or cursed with world-shaking abilities. Starscream should have been one of them.

His spark was red, with an output level that was nearly above the correct ranges for Outlier supersparks, but… he couldn’t do anything. No abilities, nothing. If he was being honest, he would enjoy being powerless, if it meant he didn’t have to deal with all the craziness associated with being one. But, it spilled over to him either way. He was a fluke, helping others with their powers. Starscream would be lying if he said it didn't frustrate him a little bit. Starscream sent a pulse of reassurance across the bond when he felt guilt bleed over from Thundercracker’s end. A smile crossed his face, glad that his brother was there for him. 

Then, he heard the door to the lab whoosh open. Oh no, oh no. Did they need something else? 

“Please don’t tell me Ion Storm killed someone…” Starscream sighed, turning around, only to be met with the mono-opticed face of Soundwave.

The jet gave an awkward wave with his claws. “Heyyy Screams! How’s it going down here, down where all the nerd stuff happens?” His voice sounded strained, and his optic was twitching. Red Wing stood awkwardly by his side, the nonbinary jet flicking out a greeting in Wingspeak.

“Please don’t tell me your powers are acting up.” Starscream looked up at Soundwave, a tired expression on his faceplates. “Soundwave, I’m begging you.”

“How’d ya know, Scream-bean?” Soundwave projected a smile on his facescreen.Starscream sucked in air harshly through his vents, standing up. “What is it, and why are you here, Red Wing?”

Red Wing piped up. “Bitstream asked me to take Soundwave here, to make sure he actually went. You know... how he…” they trailed off, their wings flicking awkwardly. 

“How I get when it comes to labs and medbays, yeah yeah.” Soundwave grumbled. “I’m not being strapped down this time, and I don’t think Screamsie’s one to be hacking off body parts, so you really don’t need to worry ‘bout that, Reddie.”

“Is there an actual issue, or did you just a newfound preference for morbid humor?” Starscream asked. Was Soundwave okay?

“My… processor. It’s.. y’know how I have that funky telepathy stuff? Weell, it went and broke.” Soundwave said. "I need some help, if you can provide?"

“It what?” Starscream raised an eyebrow ridge. “Are you no longer an Outlier?”

Soundwave shook his helm. “Nope, I can still read your mind - also, by the way, Screamer, you really need to take in some good vibes sometime, you are grumpy as hell - but there’s this… noise thing. In my mind. It’s not a thought, well, I don’t think it’s one, but it’s there and it’s getting louder and kiiiiiiinda driving me insane? So, flyentist, know what this might be?” Soundwave's voice was full of forced calm and desperation.

Soundwave shook his helm. “Nope, I can still read your mind - also, by the way, Screamer, you really need to take in some good vibes sometime, you are grumpy as hell - but there’s this… noise thing. In my mind. It’s not a thought, well, I don’t think it’s one, but it’s there and it’s getting louder and kiiiiiiinda driving me insane? So, flyentist, know what this might be?” Soundwave's voice was full of forced calm and desperation.

Starscream’s optics narrowed. “What are you hearing? Have you been able to block it out?” The Seeker’s wings began to flitter in concern when he realized Soundwave’s helm had claw marks in it. Something was seriously wrong. “Soundwave, I’m not sure if I can help you, but I’ll damn well try. Can you block this sound out?” Starscream's processor was racing, searching for potential possibilities or solutions. He was a scientist, and he was a damn good one. Soundwave needed help, and Starscream would do his best.

Soundwave chuckled. “I tried, really fraggin hard, but I kinda sorta failed? Horribly?” Soundwave let out a strained and forced laugh. “I don’t know what I can do and it’s getting louder-” Soundwave’s claws flew to his helm. “It feels like- like something’s pawing through my damn processor.” Despite how nonchalant the mech tried to appear, Starscream knew he must be terrified. 

Starscream’s spark sunk into his tanks, replaced by a swirling mess of fear. This situation required a delicate hand- and time had only sharpened Starscream’s talons. While kindness had once come naturally to him, it did no longer. “Soundwave, it feels like something is going... through your processor?” Starscream tried to speak slowly and evenly. It would be of no use to anyone if he lost what little cool he had, and Soundwave likely would appreciate Starscream remaining calm. “Do you think that there could be... another telepath around here?”

Soundwave’s single optic shrank in annoyance. “I’m the only one! Dont’cha think I’d know if th-there’s someone else who can read minds here?!” Soundwave snapped, his wings flaring out. “I’d have probably been told! And this sure isn’t something that’s attempting to have a friendly chat! This is a Unicron-forsaken noise that’s practically scraping the very walls of my helm!”

“Sorry for giving a suggestion!” Starscream growled in reply, immediately regretting his decision. “I’m suggesting possibilities- I’m as confused as you are!” He then invented, calming himself. It was a foolish decision to snap at Soundwave- he was obviously just confused and stressed. “I’m sorry for snapping at you, Soundwave. I shouldn’t have done that. Can we both just… remain calm?”

“Sure! Fine! I’ll be chill and groovy over here while it feels like some unidentified noise is poking through my brain! Completely calm over here, no concern in the slightest!” Soundwave hissed. “I knew I shouldnt’ve come here, there’s nothing you or anyone else can prolly do.” The jet grumbled, crossing his arms.

“Hey!” Red Wing piped up. “Soundwave, sir, you said there’s a presence in your mind, right? Don’t you read others’ minds often… sir?” The tricolor jet said, their voice somewhat quiet.

Starscream blinked. “Thank you for stating the obvious, Red Wing. Your input is greatly appreciated.” The white and black jet snapped, internally berating himself for for failing to keep his emotions in check. “You finally pipe up for once and it’s to say this- wait, hold on. When you read another mech’s mind, properly do it I mean, isn’t that effectively the same as ‘pawing through it’?”

Soundwave nodded impatiently, optic twitching. “Are both of ya just gonna say the obvious?!”

“Has anyone ever… frag, how do I phrase this without sounding like ‘m talking about mnemosurgery… forced you out of their mind?” Starscream asked.

Soundwave nodded. “Yeah… yeah, it’s happened before. I was always on the other end, though…”

“That, that might actually work…” Soundwave froze, his single optic widening. 

“Soundwave? Soundwave?” Starscream asked, his wings flittering back and forth anxiously. Red Wing’s optics widened, and the ground attack Seeker turned to Starscream for an answer.

The stealth jet didn’t respond, he didn’t even seem to hear Starscream. Soundwave’s single optic wavered, and his frame began to tremble.

“Remember, stay calm.” Starscream said this more for himself than for the other Seeker. “Stay calm.” Starscream’s spark was spinning, swirling and writhing around in his chest. What if this caused a serious issue with Soundwave’s spark? Starscream was a scientist first and foremost, he knew that Outliers’ abilities were linked to their sparks, in fact they came from them. Supersparks like Soundwave (and… his own) were tinted a violent crimson due to their abilities. Strain of the powers would likely cause strain of the spark… which could severely damage or kill Soundwave. Starscream’s vents sucked in air, desparately trying to cool his panicking frame. What if Soundwave offlined? What if his mind was permanently ruined? What if his memories were erased- no, no...

Stay. Calm. Panicking only got mecha killed. Starscream knew that all too well.

“Stay calm…” He mumbled once again, as Soundwave trembled more, his plating rattling. 

Like a sparkling’s toy with its supports cut, Soundwave crumpled. Despite being so much smaller than him, Red Wing quickly caught the stealth jet, and helped by Starscream, they lowered him to the ground. Acting quickly, in a blur of motion, Starscream grabbed the spark scanner once again.

“Red Wing, grab the scan cable and pad on the wall there and jack it into Soundwave’s neck port. Do not tell me I need to show y-” Starscream was cut off by the scans appearing. Soundwave’s spark output was fluctuating rapidly, flaring and flickering. 

“Sir, his processor is, to put it politely, a mess.” Red Wing said, their voice quiet. “There are two sets of readings, one that… isn’t even Cybertronian.” The nonbinary Seeker showed Starscream the readings. One set was clearly Soundwave’s, his processor’s readings quite high, characteristic of stressed processors and high emotion. The second set was off the charts- only the lowest readings on it even came close to what Soundwave, a telepath, displayed. 

1. Outliers - Part One 5931 0 0