Disclaimer 1: This is fanfic. That means I do not own any of it. I just borrow it to play with for a little while and let people see the pathetic results if they really want to.

Disclaimer 2: I'm not making any money from it. It's just for fun.

Disclaimer 3: What isn't borrowed is all made up. None of this is real or most likely at all realistic. Please don't trust any of the information in here. Most likely you know more about whatever I'm writing about than I do.

Disclaimer 4: Attitudes, views and opinions expressed by the characters or in the story are not necessarily those of the author. Even when writing Science Fiction or Fantasy I do not tend to attempt to create perfect/better worlds in which everybody gets a happy end ... or whatever is best for them. Please accept that some characters will have a bad ending or be unhappy.

Disclaimer 5: I intend no insult to anyone. If I offend anyone I'm very sorry. Please understand that it was an accident as I tend to be very clumsy in these things.

Disclaimer 6: If my characters' conversations seem odd or they appear to be talking past each other the latter might occasionally be intentional, but most likely it is an accident and I'm not aware that they are. It's just my bad communication skills.

Chapter 2: Meeting the Boys

Starscream sighed. The academy was quite a bit bigger than her old school and with all the people bustling about it was hard to see any inscriptions or even doors and small side alleys. She was quite convinced that she'd lost her way again and the huge metal box that held her luggage was definitely not getting any lighter. She wouldn't have sworn that it wasn't gaining any weight though.

It didn't help that most of the people around her were older and bigger than her either. There was just no seeing past them.

Well, only one thing she could do about it, really and that would be fun too!

Starscream transformed and took to the air dragging her box along behind her.

A few older students jumped aside with surprised yelps as the box was hanging down to their chest level.

Starscream didn't give them any attention at all though. She'd just discovered to her surprise that she'd ended up on the main plaza. Now what way to take to get to the living quarters from here?

The main academy building definitely wasn't the place to go. The smaller one behind it was the administrative centre where they'd told her to go left. That meant she'd have to go right from here. Over there was a street going right.

Starscream accelerated and dove in at almost top speed.

"Yow! Watch it!"

She had no time to pay any attention to the sudden voice from below, because something had collided with her luggage shifting its weight out of balance and sending her tumbling out of control.

A quick transformation dropping the box saved her from crashing into the next building.

Still startled from the sudden collision she landed beside the only slightly dented box and the young mech climbing back to his feet beside it.

"Can't you watch where you're going?" she demanded angrily. "I almost crashed because of you!"

"Me? I was just walking down this street! What the smelter were you doing flying in a no flying zone?" the other student yelled back and quickly checked his own luggage box for damage then straightened to glare back at Starscream.

Starscream looked him up and down. He was a seeker like herself only slightly taller and painted mostly in black with only a little pink. Pink?! Well, it didn't look all that terrible with this much black. Still Starscream was glad that no pink had been used in her own paint job.

"I can't see a thing down here and you still weren't looking where you were going." she insisted. "What kind of a warrior are you anyway?"

The stranger blinked at her for a moment, but then shrugged and smiled at her. "You're a first year too, huh?" he asked a little more calmly.

"So?" Starscream sneered.

"I'm Skywarp." he introduced himself. "Want to be my room-mate?"

"Huh?" Starscream made confused at the sudden change of topic and attitude. "Did you even find the living quarters yet?"

"No, but my father said that students at the academy live three to a room. I'd like to choose who I have to share rooms with. Friends?"

Starscream eyed Skywarp suspiciously. First he yelled at her, then he wanted to be room-mates? Did he intend to chose his room-mates by simply taking the first people he met? Then again it might be nice to have a companion to help her find her way.

"Friends." she decided. "As long as you don't make a habit of crashing into me."

"I'll remember that." he promised.

"Any idea which way we need to go?" she asked him.

"I was going to try down this way." he pointed.

"Nope, that's the main plaza. I just came that way. We definitely have to go down the other way."

"But I just came from there!" Skywarp argued.

"And I just came from there so we go that way." Starscream insisted and before Skywarp could protest again she transformed again and dragged her box back up into the air.

"But ... hey wait! We're not allowed ... Oh, scrap it!" he transformed too and followed her as quickly as the weight of his luggage allowed.

"So who are you anyway?" he asked once he'd finally caught up with Starscream. "I told you my name, so what's yours?"


"Starscream? Now that's really odd. How'd you get a name like that?"

"My mother kind of wanted all the family to have similar names, so she started all of us off with star. Starlight, Stardust, Starflight ... I guess she just ran out of words that made sense to combine with star by the time I was created, so she just named me Starscream."

"Large family, huh?"

"Sort of. We're turning right over there."

"No, I'm pretty sure we need to go left."

"Nope, that'll take us even further from the administration. They said it wasn't far there."

"I still think ... Oh, all right. Lets try it your way." Skywarp agreed when he realized that Starscream was going to go right no matter what he said or did.

"Your father went to the academy, too?" Starscream asked deciding that it was safer to steer the topic away from her family before she let anything slip that might betray her as a female.

"Yes, he didn't make it into second year though. Wasn't as agile as some of the other seekers." Skywarp explained. "Fast and agile is how they want us."

"What makes you think you'll do any better than he did, if he's your father then?"

"I'm pretty agile, much better than he is. I got that from my mother, I think. She never got the chance to test out her full speed, but she always was great at quick turns."

Starscream suddenly remembered the technician who'd removed her breasts mentioning that femmes were usually more agile than mechs. For a moment she wondered if Skywarp might be a female, too, but if so it was still none of her business. They both had to be males now no matter whether they really were or not. It wouldn't make a difference to know.

"We're going right again." she announced instead.

"But that'll take us back to the administration. I came this way and I didn't see the living quarters anywhere!"

"Then you probably missed them in all the chaos down there. We're going right."

"That's pointless. Lets try left. Neither of us has been there yet."

"Left's too far off. We have to go right."

Despite their constant arguing they finally found the living quarters and after Starscream started a fistfight with one of the other first years waiting their turn got assigned a room very quickly. On a different corridor than the young mech Starscream had fought with.

Skywarp thought that he knew Starscream well enough by then that he could have told the secretary who was giving out the room assignments that that precaution was unnecessary, but he decided not to bother. Getting a room was all that really mattered anyway.

The third room-mate assigned to them was a slightly larger flyer who probably had a cargo plane transform. He introduced himself as Skylight and mostly talked about his two older brothers one of whom, Astrotrain, was currently in his seventeenth year at the academy while the other had already graduated and was doing guard duty on some moon base or something. Starscream didn't quite catch that, because she'd gotten into a fight over the recharge beds with Skywarp.

Skylight continued his story regardless of the momentary lack of attention. He seemed to be used to being ignored, probably due to the fact that he was the youngest son of his family.

"I have a little sister, though. Mum absolutely wanted a daughter." he explained. "I really don't see why, but they just kept on trying until they got one. ... No idea what they want with a girl really."

Well, this one was obviously a real mech, Starscream decided.

"What's wrong with having a girl?" Skywarp asked Skylight rather sharply.

Starscream was a little surprised at his vehemence. So far he'd seemed a rather placid fellow who'd given in in all of their arguments without ever putting up what Starscream considered a real fight. Another female then?

"Yes, yes, I know all that scrap about needing femmes to balance things out, but mine is a military family. We've got no use for a little weakling girl." Skylight sneered.

"Who says she's got to be a weakling just because she's a girl?" hissed Starscream. "Not all girls are weaklings."

"Have you ever considered the fact that your Mum's a femme?" Skywarp asked a little less aggressively. "Is she a weakling?"

"You two are pretty touchy about your mothers." Skylight observed.

"As any good son should be." Skywarp reminded him. "We owe them our existence."

"And where would the Empire be, if it didn't have femmes to have sons?" Starscream added one of her mother's favourite arguments for girls' secondary school.

"I still don't think they belong in true warrior families." Skylight insisted. "But you two are obviously breed products." he added with another sneer.

"So what's wrong with that?" Starscream challenged stepping up to stand right in front of him. Why the little snob!

"I'm from a civilian family actually." Skywarp bristled. "My parents are scientists, if you need to know."

"Well, that ain't much better." was the last thing Skylight got out before Starscream was on top of him.

That was probably lucky for him, because Skywarp wasn't that far from punching him either and, if he'd continued, he might well have ended up in a fistfight with two angry seekers on top of him instead of just one.

"My father was a warrior too incidentally." Starscream informed Skylight driving her knee into his midsection.

Luckily that was a rather well armoured part of his body and so Skylight wasn't in too much pain.

"I bet you don't even know his name." he taunted trying to get some leverage to push Starscream off. If he could gain just a little more distance or get on top of her, he could bring his bigger weight to bare.

Starscream shrieked angrily for Skylight's guess was only too right. All she knew about her father was that he'd been a seeker just like herself. Warriors generally didn't care much about the offspring they had with the whores they only dated for fun, though officially it was to create more warriors for the Empire.

Behind Starscream the door suddenly opened and an older student walked in and stared at the fight in slight shock. Skylight stopped struggling immediately, but Starscream just ignored the new arrival.

The stranger caught himself after a moment and demanded. "What the scrapís going on here?"

"Uh ... Skylight made some unfavourable remark about breed borns and Starscream decided to correct his opinion?" Skywarp suggested.

"And why didn't you do something about it?" the older student turned to him.

"Well, I kind of thought two on one was a little unfair and Starscream didnít need any help anyway." Skywarp smirked. "Skylight wasn't exactly polite about my family either, you see."

The stranger glared at Skywarp, but must have decided to let it slide since not breaking up a fight between your dorm mates wasn't really a punishable offence.

Instead he stepped over to the contenders and grabbed Starscream's wing trying to pull her off Skylight, but Starscream kicked out with one foot and one arm and sent him tumbling backwards and he ended up crashing to the floor.

"Ouch! ... Starscream, you said?" he asked Skywarp from his position on the floor.

"Yep, that's his name." Skywarp confirmed.

"Oh, Deathclaw's just going to love that one." the stranger commented thinking that maybe the black seeker had had the right idea when he hadn't interfered with the fight after all. "You sound like you know him. Think you can convince him to stop pummelling your other room-mate and listen to me?"

"Uh ... I can try." Skywarp decided sounding none too sure about it. "Starscream? ... Uh, Starscream?"

"Yeah?" Starscream hesitated for a moment and turned her head to look at her new friend. "What is it?"

"Um ... I think this guy wants something and it might be important."

"Oh." Starscream cast one last disappointed look at Skylight, then let go of him and stepped over to stand beside Skywarp.

Skylight climbed to his feet at the same time as their visitor, but decided to remain where he was instead of going to stand beside Starscream.

"So?" demanded Starscream looking the stranger up and down. He was another seeker painted in a light blue that Starscream thought rather plain and boring. He wasn't much taller than her and Skywarp even though he was clearly quite a bit older.

"I am Thundercracker." he announced. "Currently in my 41st year here at the academy and I'll be responsible for you and the kids in the next two rooms. Consider me your commanding officer."

The three looked rather unimpressed. Skywarp pointedly took another look at Starscream, the point on the floor that had some traces of light blue paint, then Thundercracker once again. "Have you ever done this before?"

"No," admitted Thundercracker trying hard not to seem bothered by the question. "Only students in the 41st to 49th year are made responsible for the first to tenth years."

"Whatever for?" asked Starscream.

"You need adults to take care of you and for us it's command training." Thundercracker explained. "If you want to become an officer after you leave school, you have to do it."

"And why not the 50th year?" asked Skywarp.

"They're too busy with their final exams." Thundercracker glared at the nosy little seekers. "I live in room 5134, just down the corridor if there's anything you need or don't know."

"I think in such cases we'd best ask that brother of Skylight's." Starscream muttered to Skywarp. "What was his name again? Astraltrain?"

"Astrotrain." Skylight corrected.

"Oh right, Astrotrain, sorry. Don't worry about us, Cracker. We'll be fine."

Thundercracker ground his teeth. That wasn't exactly going according to plan. "I will also lead you to your classes tomorrow. In some classes I will be with you as your commander through the whole year, others you will attend alone after the first week. So you'd better try to remember the way to those. Now I'd like to get to know you a little, so how about you tell me your names?" he suggested.

"Well, I'm Skylight and I'm from an old warrior family. My brother ..."

"Oh, bother. Now we've got to listen to all of that all over again." Skywarp sighed, but luckily Skylight gave Thundercracker the short version.

"And you are?" Thundercracker prompted Starscream when neither of the two seekers seemed interested to be next.

"Starscream. Breed born, no siblings at this academy, father a seeker." Starscream summed up.

"No siblings at this academy." Thundercracker repeated. "That's odd. Why were you sent to a different school than your brothers?"

Starscream shrugged. "I don't really know why, but they sent Deathclaw to my school to do the recruiting this year and my mother didn't seem to mind which school I signed up for. Maybe because this one is reputed to be the best." It was a well rehearsed speech since Starscream had expected to be asked this question. The true reason was of course that she couldn't go to a school in her home region, because someone from her home city might remember her and reveal her secret. Girls always came from different cities than their male classmates for that reason.

"Ah, so you already know Deathclaw." Thundercracker commented subconsciously massaging the spot on his hip where the paint had been scraped off in his fall. "And who's our last kid?"

"I'm Skywarp. My parents are scientists and always moving between cities and bases. I grew up all over the Empire. You could say I ended up here much the same way as Starscream, though my father spent a year here as well."

"Your father failed, huh?" Skylight taunted.

"I'm better than him and he almost made it."

"Well, nobody in my family ever failed." announced Skylight and stuck his nose up in the air.

"Uh ... here's a first tip for you, Skylight." Thundercracker said. "Do you want to sleep in the same room as these two?"

"Yes?" Skylight confirmed sounding slightly puzzled.

"Then I suggest you don't give either of them any reason to cut your main power line while you're sleeping." Thundercracker advised.

Skylight's optics went very wide and he gulped at the sight of the almost identical smirks on his roommates' faces.

The first day of classes turned out to be very interesting for the most part.

Thundercracker assembled his nine first years out in the corridor in the morning where they got in everybody's way thanks to the lack of room and the fact that everybody else was just leaving their rooms as well.

While one of the older students yelled at Thundercracker to use his head and try to find a more practical meeting place next time, Starscream looked over the rest of the group and was thoroughly disappointed.

They were all different models and looked rather shabby to her. The biggest didn't even appear to have wings at all. He looked like he might have a car transform of some sort. A car!

"Hey, what's that?" she asked Skywarp and Skylight just loud enough that everybody overheard her. "Looks like an oversized Autobot. Yuck!"

"Just exactly what do you mean by that, dwarf?" roared the insulted mech.

Indeed Starscream was the smallest of the group, though not by much.

"Well, what do you think I meant?" she challenged.

The big guy stepped closer menacingly, but had to squeeze past Thundercracker to get to her.

"Yeah, come and get me Autobot spawn!" Starscream egged him on.

That got Thundercracker's attention. "Hold it! Stop right there! What's going on? Starscream no, leave him alone! Not another fight!"

The other older student sighed deeply. "SILENCE!" he yelled and grabbed the guy with the car transform by the arm. "All of you, stand against the wall! You, get in line with the rest of them!" He shoved the surprised first year back against the wall then turned to glare at Starscream who was still in the middle of the corridor pouting.

Starscream looked up at him accusingly. "We were just going to have a fight." she complained.

"Not here and now." the older student stated decidedly. "Now get out of the way."

Starscream shrugged and complied muttering "Spoilsport."

For some strange reason that made a group of passing older students giggle.

The stranger however chose to ignore the remark and returned his attention to Thundercracker. "Now get them out of here! What idiot assigned you to a bunch of first years?"

Thundercracker gulped and ordered: "Okay, just march on over to the main plaza."

The first years rushed out in a disorderly mob.

The last thing Starscream heard the stranger say to Thundercracker was: "If that's all you were going to do, you might as well have met them on the plaza in the first place."

"Try being a little more specific with the kids." he suggested once he was sure they were all out of earshot. Oh, and about that colourful little seeker ..."

"Starscream." Thundercracker supplied proud to already know his group's names.

"Whatever." the older student shrugged. "He's trouble. I doubt he can make much worse a mess of the group than you will anyway, though."

After some shouting and yelling about what he'd meant by 'march' Thundercracker finally led them to their first class. Weapons Theory was an interesting subject, Starscream thought, even though she'd much rather have tried the weapons out instead of just hearing about them. Thundercracker promised they'd be starting Shooting lessons in a few days, though.

"You have to have had a few theory lessons, before they'll hand you a real weapon, you know."

Starscream frowned a little, but decided she could live with a few days of waiting.

Skylight of course had to use the opportunity to inform them all that he was very good with his father's laser and would no doubt pass shooting class with flying colours.

Starscream wasn't the only one who glared at him for that remark.

Their next class, Science, was a familiar subject already, but its use in weapons technology was new and a lot more fascinating than the basic principles they'd learned in primary school had been.

Field Repairs was the last subject that morning and Starscream soon discovered that she had a talent for it. It was a lot like Technology, only that you learned to repair living people as well as machines and you weren't supposed to experiment at all.

After a quick meal and a trip back to their room, to drop off their notes and manuals they met in Thundercracker's room before the afternoon classes.

The room was less crowded than the corridor had been, but Thundercracker's room-mates weren't happy about the invasion and the first years got treated to another episode of 'Thundercracker gets yelled at'.

The blue seeker once again ordered them to march to the plaza and once again wasn't happy with the result. He did seem very happy that their next subject was Formations and Drill however as that was apparently supposed to help with the problem.

He led the group to an exercise field where their classmates were already standing in orderly blocks of three times three with their 'commanders' proudly standing in front.

A few groans and giggles were heard from the orderly troops as they flocked in and Thundercracker started yelling at them again. After a minute or so of that Starscream decided to ask: "Uh, don't you think we ought to try and do what everybody else's doing? They kind of look like they've got a reason for standing like that."

"Brilliant observation." stated a sarcastic voice behind her.

Starscream whirled around to face what could only be their teacher. Luckily the huge mech was glaring at Thundercracker and not at her.

"Are you the one in charge of this mess?" the teacher indicated Starscream and the rest of the troop.

"Uh, yes Sir?" Thundercracker answered weakly.

"And what is your name, cadet?" the glare intensified.

"Um, Thundercracker?" Thundercracker asked.

"Don't you know that for sure?" growled the teacher.

"No, Sir! ... I mean yes, Sir. ... I mean, my name is Thundercracker, Sir."

"Well, Thundercracker, then why donít you listen to this boy's suggestion and get your troop into formation?" the teacher almost yelled.

"Uh, I was just trying to, Sir."

"You were?" asked Starscream surprised.

"It appears, that your troops didn't understand you." the teacher sneered. "Are you aware that to be a successful leader you have to get your troops to do what you tell them to?"

"Of course, Sir."

"And are you also aware that to do what you tell them to, your troops have to understand what you mean?"

"Uh, yes Sir."

"Fine, then next time a bunch of beginners don't obey your orders, make sure they understand, before you start yelling." he turned to Starscream. "Okay then, you stand right there, you ..." he pointed to Skylight. "next to him. No, half a step to the right. Yes, stop there."

It took him about two minutes to set them up in what he called a basic formation. That done he introduced himself as Spoilsport and proceeded to teach them how to stand properly. Starscream had to fight hard not to laugh when she realized why the older students had giggled that morning. That student had really been giving a good involuntary impersonation of Spoilsport.

"Now that you finally know what a formation is, march to the Strategy classroom." Thundercracker ordered once the lesson was over.

The group once again dashed off in a disorderly flock.

Thundercracker stared after them.

"That they know how to stand in formation, doesn't mean they know how to move in it and I don't think they know what march means anyway." commented Spoilsport. "Try to remember that they are just a bunch of civilians still."

Thundercracker sighed. All of a sudden he was no longer sure he wanted to become an officer anymore.

Strategy turned out to be deadly boring. It wasn't as bad as Conversations had been, but Starscream still hated every moment of the class. The teacher was a tall dark blue mech who spent the whole lesson stating the obvious and bothering them with the names of the mechs who allegedly first discovered it.

Starscream strongly suspected that they'd only been the first to be stupid enough to deem it worth mentioning, but for once kept her tongue in check. She wanted to do well at the academy after all and getting on the bad side of a teacher on the first day of class probably wasn't the best strategy for that.

The last class of the day was Hand to Hand Fighting tought by Deathclaw. Now that was just what Starscream needed after all the boredom of Strategy and the standing still of Formations and Drill.

As soon as Deathclaw told them to try out a certain move he'd demonstrated Starscream jumped at Skywarp and soon they were rolling on the ground.

"What the? Will you two stop that?" Thundercracker yelled once again feeling terribly embarrassed, because the whole class was staring at his group.

Starscream got up feeling rather put off at not being allowed to punch Skywarp some more. "What?" she demanded.

"What do you think you're doing?" Thundercracker yelled. "This is a class, Starscream! Can't you ..."

"Ah, my young friend Starscream." Deathclaw interrupted Thundercracker's tirade. "And what has he done this time? Flying in the classroom again?"

"No, Sir." Starscream answered even though the question had been directed at Thundercracker.

She could hear a few excited whispers behind her: "What did he just say? Flying in the classroom? How can you fly in a classroom?"

Starscream decided she had to demonstrate it some time.

"He jumped his friend here." Thundercracker reported. "I stopped them."

"I thought you said to practice now." Starscream pouted. "I tried, but he won't let us."

Deathclaw looked to Skywarp who just shrugged.

"Go ahead then, practice." he said and Starscream immediately jumped back at Skywarp again.

Deathclaw watched for a while then stopped them again. "I see. Who made up the pairings?" he looked to Thundercracker expectantly.

"Er ..." was all Thundercracker said.

"Nobody." Starscream answered in his place. "I just picked Skywarp, because I like him."

"Another seeker might not be the best training partner for you at the moment." Deathclaw decided. "Most opponents will be heavier than you and you ought to get used to that. Maybe I'd better reassign the pairings right now." he looked around and his optics fell on the big Autobot looking guy. "You there! What's your name?"

"I'm Motormaster, Sir." he answered obviously surprised at the sudden attention.

"Okay, Motormaster, you'll be Starscream's partner for the next month and your friend there, will partner Skywarp. Now, you back there ..."

Motormaster grinned evilly as he came over to Starscream.

"Uh ... Sir!" Thundercracker raced after Deathclaw, who'd already continued on to the next group of students. "Sir, I don't think putting Motormaster with Starscream is such a good idea. Those two ... uh ... donít get along all that well."

Deathclaw glanced back to where Motormaster had just gone down with a loud 'clonck!' after Starscream had ducked out under his punch, burying Starscream under his massive body. It looked like Starscream would be the first to untangle herself and get back on her feet.

"They look like a perfect match to me." he told Thundercracker calmly. "Motormaster needs to learn to dose his strength so he won't do himself more harm than his opponent and Starscream will learn to dodge in the right direction. And if they don't get along that has the additional bonus that they'll learn not to fight fairly." he somehow doubted that that would be a difficult lesson for Starscream though. He didn't assume she'd been overly fair when she'd beat up all those older students at her old school.

With a sigh Thundercracker returned to his troops to try and keep the collateral damage to a minimum.

"Argh, I'll get you for that, dwarf!" Motormaster roared still on the floor.

It seemed Starscream hadn't just gotten up first, but also had decided to use Motormaster's unfortunate position to get another good blow in. No, as much as he wanted to Thundercracker couldn't argue the point that this pairing would teach both partners the advantages of unfairness.

Despite the fact that she had to make a little detour to the repair bay on her way back from Hand to Hand to get a few minor scratches repaired Starscream really enjoyed life at the academy.

During lunch break on her second day of classes she accidentally took a wrong turn and discovered the library. Well, she might have missed a meal that day, but she found several fascinating files about flying which she brought home to read and show to a very relieved Skywarp.

"Library? You went to the library?" he gasped. "Why didn't you tell me you were going to the library? I was waiting for you in the mess!"

Starscream just shrugged. "Hey, I was going to the mess, but then I saw the library and decided to take a look inside."

"You'd promised to meet me in the mess! You could have gone exploring any other time. The library won't run away, you know!"

A knock on the door cut their argument short before it could get physical, though. Skywarp pressed the door opener and the door slid open to reveal Motormaster's towering form.

"Eugh, why did you open it?" Starscream sneered. "It's the Autobot."

"Okay, dwarf, be late for History of the Universe, if you want to. I didn't come to remind YOU anyway." Motormaster glared, then looked around the room searching. "Hey, where's that bigger fly-geek? I thought he was with you."

"Skylight's off looking for his brother." Skywarp shrugged. "He'll show up, I guess."

"Yeah, wish we were lucky enough to lose him." Starscream growled.

"Come on Starscream, we've got to get to class." Skywarp grabbed her wing trying to pull her along.

"Oh slag, just when I was getting started on a good file." Starscream dropped her newly discovered files on the desk and trotted after her friend.

"What're ya reading anyway?" Motormaster asked her on the way out.

"Physics of Flight, but I didn't get around to actually reading any, because you showed up."

"Pah, complete junk anyway. Get a real file." Motormaster snorted.

"You're just jealous, because you've got no wings, Autobot!"

Starscream didn't get to sit down and read until after dinner that day, though and even then the calm didn't last long. She'd only just finished the first chapter when the door slid open and Skylight, who'd disappeared again right after their last class, burst in with two older mechs in tow.

"Hey guys!" he announced proudly. "This is my big brother Astrotrain and his friend Octane."

"Hi, kids," Astrotrain grinned condescendingly. "Want to come go out with us big guys tonight?"

Was it just Starscream's imagination or was Astrotrain's speech a little slurred? Maybe he needed to get his vocaliser checked?

Skylight beamed at the offer.

"Maybe." Starscream said wearily. At a closer look none of the three looked entirely sober. "Where are you planning to go?" As if she knew any place in town.

"The Spaceport Bar." Octane answered. He didn't sound as slurred as Astrotrain, but Starscream wondered whether he always talked this loudly. "To have some drinks and pick up chicks."

"Chicks? You want to take us along to pick up girls?" Starscream clarified and the two older mechs nodded enthusiastically. "Sorry, not interested." For one thing she was too young to enjoy this kind of pastime, for another she was pretty sure that she didn't like painted up pleasurebot girls. She didn't even want to see those sorry excuses for Transformers.

"We don't have to talk to silly girls." Skylight tried to convince her. "We could just stick to the drinks."

Now that sounded a little more tempting, but she'd still have to see those girls.

"I've still got homework to finish." Skywarp shook his head. "Can't do that when I'm drunk."

"What about your homework, by the way?" Starscream reminded Skylight. "You've been running around the campus all day. I doubt you found time to get any work done."

"Oh, I'll do it tomorrow. It ain't due until next week, so what's the big hurry?" Skylight grinned. "And I don't see you working either."

"That's cause I'm already done." Starscream pointed out.

"Yes, looks like we've got a little science genius here." Skywarp teased. "You should have gone to the science academy."

"Too boring." Starscream informed him. "I don't want to be stuck in a lab. Maybe I'll take one of those extra Science courses the teacher mentioned in tenth year. Science officer doesn't sound so bad."

"Come on boys!" Octane headed for the door when he realized that the topic had hopelessly turned to academic matters. "Lets leave those two to their homework and go party."

"Maybe we should have gone along after all." Starscream suggested once the door had closed behind them. "They might make good contacts later and they'd show us where students hang out around here."

"They probably just wanted to have some fun at our expense." Skywarp cautioned. "And that bar sounds more like a place for the older students anyhow. We'd only get in trouble and feel out of place."

"I'd really like to know what it's like to get drunk, though."

"We can try that in the mess." Skywarp reminded her. "On a holiday."

A few days later they did go out with Skylight and Astrotrain. For lunch, though and to a real restaurant instead of some shady bar.

Astrotrain showed up sober and without Octane this time.

"I'm sorry for trying to drag you off to the Spaceport Bar." he told them while they were waiting for their energon. "Youíll find it a lot of fun in another decade or so, once you've hit puberty. Octane and I were both a little drunk and not thinking straight at the time. I'll have to show you the Campus Bar sometime, though. They've got good music and a dance floor and even sell some potent energon. You'll like it much better there. The Spaceport Bar is mostly pleasurebots and some of the stuff they sell is downright illegal and dangerous, if you're not familiar with it."

Skywarp looked to Starscream. "See? Told you we didn't need to know that place."

"I don't know. I think it sounds interesting ... except for the girls." said Starscream. "I'd like to take a look at it."

"You can get expelled, if you're caught there, you know." Astrotrain warned her.

"Expelled?!" shrieked Starscream.

"Then why do you go there?" Skywarp asked.

"Well, Octane really likes the place and they've got that really pretty barmaid I like. And when I'm drunk, I just don't think."

"I had a great time there anyway." Skylight declared proudly.

"Yeah, you only were sick for two days afterwards and missed all your classes." Starscream reminded him. "And in the first week, too. How do you think you're gonna pass, if you're not even there to learn the basics?"

"Says the mech who slept through two Strategy lessons." Skywarp commented sarcastically.

"At least I was there." Starscream pointed out.

"I don't need to learn the basics." Skylight declared. "It's all simple stuff that only fools from civilian families need to actually study to know. I've known these things all my life."

"Not all you learn in first year is that easy. " Astrotrain told his brother. "I remember some of the tests were really hard."

"I can still afford to miss a few beginners' classes without much trouble." Skylight shrugged it off. "After all I don't have any problems doing my homework."

"No, you only got both of us in trouble when you copied mine after you were sick." Skywarp complained.

"Hey, you didn't even get punished after Starscream told on me!"

"It was still pretty embarrassing when the teacher asked us in front of the whole class and you just lied and said it was my fault." Skywarp glared at Skylight.

"And I only told the truth. You could have confessed that you were sick and claimed you couldn't manage it in time, but you lied and tried to get my friend blamed for it." Starscream hissed.

"I thought I was your friend too! You always take Skywarp's side. It's not fair."

"Calm down boys!" Astrotrain intervened before fists started to fly. "I'm sure it won't happen again. And Skylight, you're the one who turned on a friend first, it appears. If you do that, you can't expect your other friends to help you out."

Skylight pouted, but shut up.

Starscream however shrugged it off and turned her attention back to Astrotrain. "You said some of the tests were hard? Which ones? What did you have to do?"

Astrotrain smiled at the youngster's eagerness. That Starscream was cute despite his terrible temper and he was ambitious enough to make it through the academy, too. He wasn't sure about Skywarp though, but at least he seemed to be a hard working student and that had helped many less talented warriors through. And to be honest, he hadn't seen either of the two seekers fly or fight, yet. Skywarp might be more talented than he seemed on first glance. Maybe he shouldn't have prevented that little fight just now. It might have given him a chance to judge their talent.

"Well, Strategy for one was hard among the simple data subjects, so I'd recommend you stay awake for it in the future." he grinned at Starscream's grimace. "The sciences proved a difficulty for some people as well, but the most important are the physical subjects. Shooting, Fighting and Flying are where you can get the most points, so you'd better be in top form for those. I heard that the flying tests were especially hard for seekers." he added remembering who his listeners were.

Skywarp looked a little worried about it, but Starscream had already had the opportunity to compare her flying skills to those of the other students and found to her surprise that none of them could match her for speed and very few for agility. Hand to Hand Combat and Shooting would require a lot of work, but Flying only needed the usual regular practice.

Motormaster still gave her trouble as an opponent, but aside from his usual snide remarks about her size he'd stopped bothering her for fun. Maybe she'd managed to convince him that she was a worthy opponent after all, or maybe it had something to do with the fact that she'd helped him out with a Technology problem he hadn't understood. When the teacher had caught her at Motormaster's workstation, she'd claimed that she was just helping him with the small parts, because Motormaster's huge fingers were too clumsy. She wasn't sure whether the teacher had actually believed that, but he hadn't said anything more.

Motormaster had glared at being called clumsy, but since the teacher had accepted the explanation and he'd really needed Starscream's help he hadn't denied it.

Shooting however had turned out to be much harder than Starscream had expected. The standard projectile guns they were using at the moment were too heavy for her and she had trouble aiming them correctly. The first time she hadn't been able to hit the target at all and the teacher had just shook his head at her. What was even more embarrassing was that both Motormaster and Skylight proved to be excellent shots.

Skylight had gloated about it all day, but after a sharp reminder of his helplessness in Technology Motormaster had stopped teasing her and suggested that she ought to ask the teacher to let her use the target range to practice after class hours. To her surprise the teacher hadn't seemed to consider that an odd request at all. Instead he'd informed her that the target range was open for practice at certain times.

Since then she had practised regularly usually with Skywarp, but for some strange reason Motormaster had joined them on a few occasions as well. Unlike Skylight who told her that he didn't need to practice his best subject Motormaster had seemed to enjoy the practices, even though he didn't get his wish to try out a larger gun. When he'd tried to check one out the computer had informed him that he could only use weapons that had been authorised by his teacher.

Despite her problems in Shooting class Starscream felt very happy and at home at the academy by now. It was definitely a lot better than her old school.

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