* * *
Fate is just the weight of circumstances.
- "Roll the Bones", Rush
Did it get any more boring than patrol? Skywarp banked and swung along the shore, radar picking up nothing of interest. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, not even one of the human navies sent a submarine to launch torpedoes at the Decepticon ship. The hundredth time, of course, they got assaulted by unkillable sea demons.
The black jet chuckled and barrel-rolled for the sheer joy of it-
-And the shot that would have taken him in the lasercore hit his engine instead. Other blasts followed, and he instinctively teleported ahead two miles.
Skywarp cursed as he levelled out; that was Autobot weapons-fire! Okay, okay, don't panic. Radio base. They needed to know about this. Find a safe landing place and transform. Don't get cocky, just get things done right. He only had a short amount of time before the Autobots caught up with him.
<Soundwave, you read me?>
No answer. He couldn't get far enough away from Soundwave on this planet to keep the spook from hearing a direct hail. So, jamming. Change of plans, land now and transform as soon as possible. There was a secluded area perfect for a careful landing about three miles inland-
-He teleported right into a pair of missiles. One exploded just past his nosecone, and the other against his wing. He disabled his vocoder as he tumble-transformed through the air; no screams. No screams. Oh, Megatron, no screams! If he could just fire his boot-thrusters-
Then his remaining wing found the ground, dug into the dirt, and sent him ground-looping. No screams. He clung to that thought as he skidded face-first across the terrain, leaving a trail of wreckage behind him. The sounds his body made as intakes and armor crumpled and cockpit shattered were screams enough.
When he stopped, the black jet allowed himself a nanosecond of rest before trying to roll over.
A foot stomped down in the middle of his back, and the tip of a rifle pressed against the back of his head. "Got you, Skywarp."
Everything went white.
* * *
Skywarp woke up in the Medical Ward with Scavenger pulling ruined electronics boards out of his cockpit. Someone else with grey hands held his head steady and his shoulders down, but that was odd because that felt like six hands on one person. "Wha-?"
The Constructicon froze for a moment when he noticed Skywarp was awake, then fiddled with a few of the wires inside his chest. Everything faded into blackness.
* * *
Thundercracker was there next time. Skywarp smiled vaguely as Scrapper re-installed the electronics that belonged in his cockpit. "What happened, TC?"
The blue jet set the omnitool he'd been fiddling with down. "According to the report Reflector filed," He said, an edge of dubiousness tinging his voice. "You discovered an Autobot ambush designed for you by flying into it, got shot down by the first half of it but not stopped, correctly identified what would be the second stage, teleported there, and took out Sunstreaker and Sideswipe. You then collapsed from the damage you had taken, and the spy found you because he was returning to base at the time."
Skywarp flashed a blink. "... Huh. That's right."
Thundercracker flicked his ailerons irritably. "Yeah. Not like he's been known to lie to people's faces about how something went down."
"What, you think 'Fleccy could take those two out all by himself?" Skywarp grinned at his friend, then shrieked as Scrapper did a cold boot-up of his cockpit systems.