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This fic was for the [ profile] redxinferno February Challenge "Beginnings". The results (and thus authors of the fics) for the challenge were released today. Didn't win, but the fact that I actually had something in there was a big step for me. :)

Title: Up in Flames
Characters: Inferno, Red Alert
Continuity: G1
Rating: PG-13
Summary: A day of work for Inferno.

Inferno exploded out of his bunk at the station’s klaxon, rushing towards the exit even as he received the information on the emergency. A residential building was on fire. Building schematics were included, as well as the public information about the residents. At present, only one family unit occupied the space. Inferno and his fellow responders hashed out a rough plan as they raced to the location, sirens blazing to warn others to get out of their way.

The lower level of the building was engulfed when they arrived. The door in the main entrance was smashed open and the lower level windows were smashed in, restless flames licking out of them. A crowd had gathered already, but the fire crew ignored them as they got to work trying to beat back the fire.

Inferno was the closest to the building when he heard a frightened cry over the roar of the fire. Instincts kicked in and he ran for the entrance, one of his crewmates shouting his name at his back. He slowed down as he passed into the building, not wanting to rush and cause the integrity of the building to degrade faster, and not wanting to miss any potential victims. A quick search of the areas he could safely reach showed nobody, so he carefully worked his way up the stairs.

The first room off of the stairs held two bodies, but as Inferno carefully checked them, he felt that each had a large hole in their chests. Movement and another, quieter yelp had Inferno abandoning them to move to the next room.

Inside this room was an older youngling who was trying to stay away from some of the flames that had managed to get into the room. His wide, terrified optics latched onto Inferno as soon as he entered, and he didn’t move away at the large mech’s approach.

“C’mon, let’s get you outta here!” Inferno yelled, pulling out a rescue cover. He could hear the building frame groan as it started to heat and expand, and knew they didn’t have much time to get out. The red mech quickly had the youngling wrapped up to protect him from the fire and hauled him up in his arms, quickly heading down the stairs and out the exit.

Inferno had just set the youngling down well past the safety line when he heard the building’s main support struts give way with a final groan, the upper story crashing down into the lower.

* * * * *

Inferno was quickly released from the required medical check-up. His paint had been scorched and his air filters had needed to be replaced due to excess smoke, but his high-heat armor had done its job and protected him from the worst of the fire. As soon as the doc ‘bot had given him the all-clear, he went to go check on the youngling.

An Enforcer was just leaving as Inferno arrived, and he pulled the mech aside. “What happened?”

“A robbery gone bad.” The Enforcer shook his head. “He has no living family. He’ll have to be placed in a care cen-“

“I’ll take ‘em,” Inferno interrupted with the same rashness that sent him into the burning building to find the youngling. “You don’t gotta worry ‘bout finding him a place.” His sister would be mad at not being consulted, but Inferno knew that she wouldn’t be able to deny a newly-orphaned youngling either.

The Enforcer sighed. “I’ll note it in the write-up. I don’t think there will be a problem with placing him in your custody, but where he goes is not my decision to make.”

Inferno nodded and let the other mech go, then entered the youngling’s room. In the clear light of the medical facility, he could see that the youngling was mainly white and red. He also had to be close to his final upgrades. He was sitting up on the berth, his knees pulled up to his chest with his arms around them and his face buried in his knees.

“Hey,” Inferno said softly to get his attention, easing himself onto a stool by the berth. “We didn’t exactly get to meet properly earlier. M’name’s Inferno. What’s yours?”

The youngling looked up warily at Inferno’s voice, but nodded and replied, “Red Alert.”
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Flyby Stardancer

October 2011

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