* * *
"You! Get down to the training arena now!" Blitzwing pointed a finger at the Decepticon in question, then jerked his thumb in the direction of the arena. "We're gonna spar."
Saberstorm glanced over his shoulder. "How could you possibly think that, triple-changer?"
"With swords." Yeah, ignore that I'm your superior officer, leech, Blitzwing thought.
"You? A swordsmech? Heh. Well, don't think I'll go easy on you because you're a beginner," The jet sneered, but he turned to follow Blitzwing down to the arena. Good thing for him, too, since Blitzwing would have just trashed him right there in the hall if he'd refused a second time. Risking a court-martial was worth it for what this idiot had pulled. Blitzwing didn't like guaranteed kills getting turned into escaping Autobots.
They headed down to the arena, Saberstorm stalking along behind him. The jet always stalked, which set Astrotrain on edge. He didn't like it when someone acted like they were still on the battlefield when they were back at base. (Millenia later, if Blitzwing ever thought of Saberstorm while on Earth, he was thankful that Breakdown had never met the jet.) Astrotrain on edge meant Blitzwing got snarled at, sucker-punched, and generally irritated into leaving their shared quarters.
Inside the arena, Saberstorm went to stand in one of the smaller sparring circles. Blitzwing grunted and went over to the rack of practice weapons. Decent enough weapons, all in condition to kill someone... if you were really good. Few Transformers would do better with a practice weapon than with a half-charged blaster when fighting for their life.
Saberstorm was one of them.
Blitzwing caught the movement as the jet flicked his ailerons. Not quite blatant enough to be an insult; he could have been just checking their functionality.
But then he opened his mouth. "A practice weapon, Blitzwing? Don't you have a real sword?"
Was the jet really that stupid? Blitzwing looked at him silently, the churning unpleasantness in his mind finally solidifying around one idea. Some people liked to collect bodyparts from their enemies as trophies; well, he'd take Saberstorm's wings.
The jet's ailerons flicked again as he watched, a bit faster than before, almost nervously. He wondered why; only later, when he got a look at the security footage, would he realize that his fury had been written all across his face in that moment.
He reached over his shoulder and drew his sword out of the subspace compartment in his turret. It ignited as he stepped into the ring, a wash of energy running from the guard to the tip of the blade. Anyone who knew anything about blades would recognize the signature activation of an electron scimitar. They disrupted electrical systems with even a near miss of the blade. There were perhaps a dozen of the swords in existence, all hand-built by Shockwave for his favored warriors.
Any swordsmech worth his core would kill to get their hands on one, something Blitzwing had used to his advantage before.
The jet's optics brightened as he pulled out a pair of his own swords. Neither was the monomolecular-edged sword he'd used in the battle earlier, Blitzwing noted, but they were still plenty sharp. Both energo-swords; long, slightly-curved blades with a simple hilt. Master's swords. They made Blitzwing's sword look clunky in comparision, but the triple-changer himself often looked clunky compared to jet'formers. The thing was, he was a hell of a lot stronger than any of them.
The triple-changer would get some gashes in his armor before this was all over. Saberstorm would get his wings torn off. He considered it a fair trade.
The ring on the floor hummed softly and a low-level forcefield formed a pillar from floor to ceiling. Strong enough to keep a mech from getting casually knocked out of the ring, but not strong enough to prevent a more forcible exit.
They began to stalk around the edge of the ring. Well, Saberstorm stalked. Blitzwing didn't have the proper kind of feet for stalking; he didn't really have feet at all. But when you could fly, feet weren't all that necessary.
Saberstorm darted forward suddenly, and Blitzwing charged. Metal screeched against metal, the Seeker hastily crossing his swords to parry and hold Blitzwing's blade away from his head. It wasn't enough, not with the strength behind Blitzwing's blow. The jet had to almost drop to his knees in his effort to hold the blade away from him. His left optic flickered on and off spasmodically, the energon scimitar just close enough to affect it.
The jet kicked out, catching Blitzwing in the abdomen with a clang. It didn't even dent the triple-changer, but then Saberstorm activated his thruster-heel. Heat seared Blitzwing's paint away and scorched his armor, and the two mechs tumbled apart.
Saberstorm lunged while Blitzwing was still recovering his balance, snapping his right-hand sword up and across- neatly slicing Blitzwing's throat.
The triple-changer snarled and knocked Saberstorm into the forcefield. The jet's wing hit at the wrong angle with a very audible crack. To his credit, though, Saberstorm didn't cry out, didn't even flex the wing. Just dropped back into a ready position.
So, the jet was as good as he'd thought. Maybe a little better. Blitzwing swiped the back of his hand across his throat, flicked the spilled lubricant into the forcefield. It evaporated with a sizzle.
Saberstorm's head didn't so much as twitch towards the sound. Heh.
Blitzwing leapt into the air, sword raised to hew the jet from head to foot as he descended. Saberstorm's optics flashed in a blink even as he kicked off from the ground himself. They clashed in mid-air, Blitzwing's sword smashing down towards the jet's face-
- The Seeker half-turned to evade the blow, thrust a sword into Blitzwing's wing and smacked Blitzwing's arm with the other- And then they were past each other.
Both whirled, the jet just a half-second faster than Blitzwing. Their blades smashed together a little too close for comfort, throwing off sparks, and then they broke apart again. Blitzwing barely had time to grin before the jet threw himself forward once more. Sword hit sword in a flurry of exchanged blows, too many of Saberstorm's strikes getting through his defenses. Long gashes and cuts appeared on Blitzwing's arms, but he managed to parry the most dangerous blows. And then Saberstorm zigged when he should have zagged-
- Blitzwing smashed his sword down on the jet's wing, grunted as it snagged midway through and jarred his shoulder, twisted the blade, and hacked off a quarter of one haze-grey wing. The jet howled and cut his thrusters. Even as he dropped, his swords slashed out and cut into Blitzwing. A finger and three finger-joints from the triple-changer's left hand clattred to the floor.
"You've got chutzpah, triple-changer." Saberstorm spit lubricant on the ground. "I'd love to meet you on a real battlefield."
Then he lunged into the air again, blades flashing.
* * *
Astrotrain took a drink from his cube and leaned back, watching Blitzwing mount a haze-grey wing on the wall. The wing had a hole punched clean through it, and the side usually attached to the rest of the jet was one long ragged tear.
"Art protesting the mass production of certain Transformer lines?" He guessed.
Blitzwing paused to stare at him, pressing his stump-arm hard into the wing to keep it from sliding down the wall. "No."
"Enh." Astrotrain took another drink.