Interlude May 22, 2021

“System repair cycle initiated. Estimated repair time 8 hours. Please enter low power mode.”

Overload sighed, he disliked low power mode so much. It was not as bad as stasis lock but he always felt helpless while undergoing repairs. He checked the connection between his arm’s direct charging port and the generator beside him, making sure the flow of energy was stable. There was a twinge of pain, something he learned his organic allies would call a rumble in their belly when they were hungry. While his body could indeed convert other energy sources, he felt as if he was starving, his very spark craving the purity of energon. As his body settled, his optics shut as if he was asleep.

He began to pour through the data his internal systems had been processing without his direct intervention: schematics for a crude energon growth system to develop new crystals to allow him to cultivate a true food source, calculations on battle data from their fight with the feather stalker to improve his hammer, transformation cog systems reporting integration of the new armor plating he had been gifted were progressing properly.

Then his mind’s eye drifted to a new directory his archival system had established during the race and his broadcasting across the net as a ‘racing commentator.” There were messages stored, and others drifting in. He read them, some were hate mail calling him a fake and a poser as he didn’t have any grasp of the proper terminology and his bias against Ratrod. Others were more flattering and complementary as he was different and his style was not bogged down by corporate sponsorship or ad placements. Several small chat groups had already been forming, the contents of one Overload found amusing as the users in it were convinced his body was a full power suit and he was keeping his true identity a mystery…after all, they argued, there was no planet or system logged called Cybertron. Overload was tempted to respond to some of these ‘reddits’ but decided against it as he did not wish to spoil the fun these individuals were having with their arguments for or against him being a real machine.

His mind drifted back to the city of Velocitron, and the massive raceways that were a strange mix of sport and religion to the Cybertronians that sped along them at speeds that pushed their bodies to their very limits. Overload had loved spending time there, while his body was not built for speed he understood the draw as his mother’s seeker form was all about the need for speed in the skies. He had volunteered many hours there as a race maintenance tech, insuring the stability of the tracks as they arched up to the sky and curved into spirals and loops.

One of his fellow Combaticons, Firebreak, had worked alongside him on many such days, both of the brothers in arms sharing a love of the races and glad to be able to help even if they were not able to compete. He could sense the small fragment of his friend still bonded to his spark from their combined form as Bruticus, and it seemed happy that there were races even here to watch. He began a subroutine to start downloading stats and terminology of the racing leagues and learning the pilots and their styles, the data gathering as his computer filtered out extraneous info from the sites.

A part of his true personality had slipped out today, and he wasn’t sure if he really should hide it. He had adopted a quieter and more withdrawn image as he learned to handle being in this society with so many different customs and peoples, but the races had shown a mirror directly onto his old self. These new friends, they deserved to be trusted enough to know him for himself…but the calm stoic mechanic identity had served him well… perhaps there was a balance to be had.