Another quick one-shot of the Meta777-verse. Got a bit of world-building for Jazz here . Enjoy! Wheeljack strode down the corridor towards Jazz's quarters with the pride of one who has accomplished the impossible. Specifically, he had successfully created a new device, and his attention span had lasted long enough to avoid any mistakes that would have led to some horrifyingly painful malfunction. As such, it had not horrifyingly/painfully malfunctioned and the scientist of the Ztea-1 had seen fit to show it to his commander. If approved, the schematics of his new toy may be sent to Cybertron for mass-production! What was his invention, you ask? Why, it was an energy rifle that had been modified to shoot, rather than the standard energy blast, capsules containing a special gas. This gas, which Wheeljack had proudly named Glass-Gas (named after the glass that humans used in their windows and stuff), attatched to metals, such as those that made up a Cybertronian, imprisoning it within a layer of silicon material that prevented movement. It would revolutionise the capture of intended prisoners or vital targets, and may even be used to further restrain captives in the Autobot prison centres. Yes, Wheeljack had come up with something good this time. Jazz just had to see it! He reached the door, and was just about to knock, his vocal components powering up to deliver an most rousing run-through of his device, when he froze. He heard Jazz speaking to someone, the words too faint to make out. But when he, against his better nature, pressed his audio receptor to the door to listen, he heard another voice; deeper, smooth, cultured. He'd never heard it before, and the voice said: "While I understand you have moved on, so to speak, I would still recommend that you return to Cybertron, Lieutenant. Times are difficult, and your aid would be great appreciated." Jazz's voice was quite cool, maintaining respect yet asserting independance: "I appreciate your vote of confidence, Z, but I have a mission here, and I'll see it through." From his position at the door, Wheeljack felt a flicker of confusion; what did this 'Z' mean by Jazz having moved on? Was it an old friend, an old commander? What- "Very well, Lieutenant. I respect your decision. Nevertheless, I hold hopes you return to us one day. Primus smiled upon you when you were a Spectre." "Smiles on me still, Z." Jazz replied cheerfully. "Thanks for the update. Jazz, out." There was the flicker of the transmission turning off, but Wheeljack didn't hear it, for his mind was processing exactly what he had just heard. He was stunned into stillness, all concept of introducing his invention to the commander gone as he ran it over and over in his head, the stunning revelation he had just uncovered. Jazz had once been a Spectre. No Decepticon, and very few Autobots themselves, knew about the Autobot sub-faction, the Spectral Forces. Heck, Wheeljack himself only knew of them when Jazz told him and the others, just before they left Cybertron. As with the Wreckers, they operated outside the normal chain of command, but unlike the Wreckers, they focussed on the concepts of stealth and infiltration rather than all-out Pit-fuelled violence. Only the elite could join the faction that technically did not exist, and the fact that their commander had once been one was absolutely stunning. Which meant he had been talking to none other than the commander of the Spectral Forces: Zeta Prime. An enigmatic individual, one of the few Autobots with purple optics, he held himself with an air of superiority and authority. They say he was more powerful than Optimus Prime, yet preferred to keep to the shadows. Some treated him with suspicion, others with awe, and yet very few knew of his true role as the Spectral Force's leader. And the most amazing thing was that Jazz had somehow earned this character's respect- The door open and he jumped back with a yelp of horror, the lights on each side of his head flashing brightly in surprise. Jazz stood there, hands on his hips, his visor retracted to show his bright blue optics, one brow raised in bemusement. He stared at Wheeljack, who was in quite an odd pose (on one leg, arms above him almost comically), before grinning: "Hey, 'Jack. What's up?" For a moment, the Autobot scientist considered just staying still in the hopes that Jazz would be unable to see him. But that was stupid. So, he assumed a dignified stance that did not imply he had caught off-guard or eavesdropping in the first place, and replied: "Commander! I just wanted to show you this new device I've come up with, that I'm certain will bring great benefits to the off-world War effort." Jazz tilted his head slightly, expression both amused and curious, before replying: "Sure. So long as it doesn't do what the last one did." The sports car seemed unsure: "'Jack, you positive you sorted out the kinks in it? 'Cause I'm really not liking that sound it's making." The tow truck laughed: "C'mon, Jazz, I didn't spend two hours on this for nothing! This new generator will make Energon production so much easier and then-" As he spoke, he flicked a switch, presumably meant to activate the machine's primary function. The device shuddered, ejected a puff of smoke, before, with a cough of mechanics, falling silent. For a moment, Wheeljack was disappointed in the device's failure and Jazz was relieved that it simply shutting off had been the worst thing to happen. Then it exploded. Wheeljack ignored this and stepped inside the other Autobot's quarters. Jazz had the same layout as the others; the berth to the side, storage compartments, a computer console and monitor, panels along the wall that controller various functions. But Jazz had added a few personal touches that was similar to how humans decorated their homes; there was a picture of him and his crew on the wall, a few dashes of silver paint scattered across the golden metal, a stack of tires in the corner and most amusingly, a disco ball hanging from the ceiling. Of all the Autobots here on Earth, Jazz had taken to its culture like a duck to water, as a human would say. Regardless, Wheeljack turned to Jazz and showed off the rifle: "Looks just like an ordinary energy rifle, right? NOT ANYMORE! I have specially modified this one to launch a unique chemical I myself-" "How much did you overhear?" Jazz asked. The question was not one of anger or annoyance. It was casual, something that would be expected. And it caught Wheeljack off-guard, though to be honest, he really should have been prepared for this. Just because Jazz was far more friendly and casual than other Autobot commanders doesn't mean he was no less capable; of course he knew that Wheeljack had been eavesdropping. With this in mind, Wheeljack sighed and replied: "The bit about Zeta Prime wishing you'd go back to the Spectral Forces. I.... I didn't think he respected anyone but Optimus Prime." Jazz tilted his head again, the tell-tale sign of curiosity, before he simply said: "Fair enough. So, tell me 'Jack; what do you want to know?" Wheeljack was surprised, but once again, he should have expected it; Jazz always had a gift for knowing what someone was really thinking. He wasn't the second-in-command to Optimus Prime himself for no good reason. So, the inventor blurted: "How come Zeta really respects you, then?" Jazz laughed: "Long story, 'Jack. Sit down, I'll tell you all about it." "It was a long time ago, when the war was just starting up and Optimus Prime had established the Vectors." Any Autobot knew of the Vectors; different sections of the Autobot Army that focussed on different talents, such as Scouts, Medics, Scientists, Warriors, Flyers and so on, so forth. "I was just a rookie then, never seen battle in my life. I joined the Scout Vector, mainly 'cause I was one of the fastest things on Cybertron. Humility came to me later." He laughed at that, then carried on: "I served under a guy named Trailbreaker. He was a good guy, tough, smart, knew his thing. He taught us the tricks of the trade, how to swerve like the road was ice, the best way to utilise quick-transforms, aiming on the move, all that good stuff. We did many missions, scouting and all that. I never fought a Decepticon, though; always driving, never brawling. I was the best in our unit, hands down. I had a gift, they said. Learnt everything by spark, applied it better than the others. Scouting was my talent in life. Or so it was, until Trailbreaker took me into his quarters and told me he'd sent a word of recommendation to Zeta Prime. He sat me down and told me about the Spectral Forces. Guess I was too skilled to stay a simple Scout. I was moved to their quarters, and I began training. They say life is the Pit when you're a Wrecker. Well, 'Jack, training to be a Spectre ain't exactly the bee's knees itself. Toughest damn time of my life. But I passed, barely. I was made a Spectre. And I felt proud. I sent my old friends messages on my success, wished them the best. I was so damn proud. Not for much longer, though. I was a Spectre when I made my first kill in the War." At this, Jazz paused, before turning to a cupboard and opening it. Rooting around inside, he pulled out a small container, silver with the Autobot insignia on top. He handed it to Wheeljack, who eagerly opened it, excited to see what treasure from his commander's past he may see before him. Inside the box was a weapon, a dagger that looked very similar to the human weapon called a sai. The ornate hilt had the Autobot insignia at the middle, and the long blade had a thin purple line down the middle. Jazz gently picked up the blade, twirling it in his had as he stared at it in contemplation. Wheeljack said nothing, eager to hear what story lay behind this knife, most likely the weapon he had made that first kill with. "These things, they're called Ghost-Cuts. Funny name, sure, but it suited them. Standard issue melee weapon for a Spectre. It's not the strongest weapon, ain't got nothing on an Energon sword. But it doesn't need strength. It just needs to hit a weak point." Jazz paused, then simply said: "Scan it, 'Jack." Hesitating, Wheeljack took the blade, switched his optic settings and did just that. It took mere seconds to uncover the secret to the Ghost-Cut's greatest advantage: "Cyber-venom. Primus, Jazz, this is the nasty stuff! They put this in every one of these?!" Jazz nodded: "One of the nastiest venoms ever-developed, 'Jack. Once it gets in, you've got fifteen seconds of unending pain as it inflicts a virus on the pain receptors. And while that's happening, it paralyses the joints and vocal receptors, incapacitating and shutting up the victim in just a second. Finally, with the systems destabilised, it shuts off all connections to the spark and processor. Fatal, no antidote ever made. That's how I killed someone once. I was on a mission, snuck into a Decepticon bunker. I was to tap any console and snag any data that might prove useful. I found a piece that made mention of a new Decepticon unit being set up. Just as I snagged it, a 'Con found me. It was a tough fight, toughest fight of my life. I gave it everything I had, all the stuff Trailbreaker and the Spectral Forces taught me. I nearly died when he got my throat, tried to crush it, but I jammed this in him. Venom got him instantly, down on the floor, jamming up, shaking like a human in winter. I was shocked; I didn't know the weapon had venom. I watched the guy die. Felt like an eternity before he finally went limp. But in that eternity, his optics stared at me. I can't begin to describe what his optics said to me, what they were feeling from the inside. It scared me, scared me right to my spark, so many things went through them. And all the while, I kept thinking; why won't you die already? When will you stop looking at me?" Jazz paused now, troubled, and Wheeljack had honestly nothing to say. He waited for the car to continue, and when he did, it was a mournful tone: "If there's one memory I'll take to my grave, Wheeljack, it's that one. I'll never forget what I saw in his eyes." Sighing, he continued: "That's it, really. I made a vow then; never underestimate what a War can do to you. I made a vow to never put anyone though that pain again, to always be quick and decisive. I put this thing away, went to the Science Division for new weapons. I worked up the ranks of the Spectres, became one of their best. But I couldn't forget what I did that Decepticon, even though I killed others after that. I quit, eventually, joined the normal chain and eventually got to my current position." Jazz took the Ghost-Cut off Wheeljack and placed it back in its container: "So, that's why Zeta Prime respects me, wants me back. Because I was one of his best, maybe the best, and he doesn't like giving up the best." He put the container back in the cupboard and turned to the tow-truck, smiling now: "You know, this is the first time I've ever told anyone why I really quit the Spectral Forces. Feels kinda nice, knowing you know, you know?" Wheeljack chuckled at that, before replying: "To be honest, sir, I'm.... I'm still a bit unsure what to say, really.... you went through a lot back then." Jazz shrugged: "We've all been through a lot 'cause of this War. Best we can do is hope it ends soon, hopefully with us as the winners." The inventor nodded, before asking: "One last question, sir..... Um, were the weapons you got from the Science Division your pistols?" Jazz grinned: "Got it in one. My own design." Wheeljack was impressed, and expressed this with a low: "Wow. You really are as awesome as Evac and Bumblebee are always saying." "I'm hurt you ever doubted it." The car laughed. "Thanks for listening, 'Jack. Helps me a lot, I guess. I think I'm gonna go see if 'Bee wants a race." Laughing still, Jazz strode off with the confidence of one who has the world fawning over him. Wheeljack watched him go, running the story through his head, how Optimus Prime's lieutenant had once been a Spectre that even Zeta Prime had respected, how he gone from a Scout to the elite, how his first kill had changed his outlook on life, when he realised: "Hey, you forgot to look at my new toy!"