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Discussion in 'Transformers Fan Fiction' started by Meta777, Mar 11, 2013.

  1. Jamocha101

    Jamocha101 Well-Known Member

    Jun 15, 2012
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    Alright! So unfortunately I have to sort of rush through this review, but I'll try to be as thorough as I would be on any night. There isn't too much that I want to discuss other than Grimlock's amazing showcase in this chapter, let us hop to it.

    The first thing that comes to mind is that, wow, you sure did make some kind of use of that sudden death arc that I so avidly complained about earlier. In some foreign, yet welcome way, I almost feel as though I've been cheated because I grieved so much over the quick, seemingly meaningless death which we suddenly learn is kind of inauthentic because Grimlock turned out to...not really be dead? I don't know how long you've had this turn of events contrived, but if it had anything to do with shock value, I can definitely say that you had me there and it's sort of inverted; instead of being shocked that Grimlock became resurrected over a course of events that extended for a long interval of time, which was what I was expecting, I became shocked that the exact opposite happened and that Grimlock got up under his own power from the dead in two minutes flat. I was so convinced that your set style of writing rendered the "DEAD IS DEAD" rule, but you turned that principle inside out to such a degree that something so predictable suddenly became entirely unforeseen. I'm not sure if I'm making a whole lot of sense to you here, but kudos is what I'm trying to say. And also damn you for making me want to take back most of what I said before now that none of it's relevant thanks to Grimlock not actually being dead.

    Granted, as Ratchet frantically reminds us, Grimlock did appear to have utterly croaked. It's funny how this chapter, for a bit of text-to-text comparison, reminded me of the 1996 Everest catastrophe. I don't know if you know anything about that, but one of the climbers, Beck Weathers, had gotten caught with his teammates in a really bad storm near Everest's summit and had some of the worst frostbite imaginable. At some point, because of his delirium according to one of the guys that was with him at the time, he stumbled forward and seemed to cast himself to the wind, eventually getting knocked over and disappearing through the gale. His teammates figured he was a lost cause but found his body in the snow the next day, surprisingly not dead yet. His face was ice-encrusted though and he was barely breathing, not to mention he had hideous splotches of deep, irreparable frostbite and he was so far gone that the climbers who located him decided that it was best to leave him on the mountain for nature to take its course and kill him off. They were astounded and extremely emotional to find, a couple days later, him stumbling under his own power into camp, seemingly having aroused himself from the dead.

    That's sort of a long story, but there's nothing like good old relating annotation. Grimlock is like Beck Weathers; all but confirmed dead and left for the reaper to taketh his soul and he ended getting up on his own and fighting a battle inside and out to make it through. There could be a "survival of the fittest" moral to be picked out of that, but I think that Grimlock's resurrection was kinda-sorta supernatural, and that's where the speculation that I mentioned comes in. By supernatural, I don't mean like on a spiritual level or anything that he was revived by the Primes a la Sam Witwicky in ROTF, but it's evident to me that something or somebody out there is monitoring him and sort of guarding him. For what purpose, I don't know. But if Grimlock's rule in the war is as sacred as the cavalry makes it out to be and he is SO unexpendable, then maybe he owes his supposed invulnerability to somebody who is making sure that it stays that way. If that's somebody up in a science lab that's using a homing device to keep tabs on him and utilizes a regeneration device implanted in his body from time to time when it's needed (like in situations like these), I don't know. Heck, maybe Grimlock just wasn't ready to die and really was like a robodinosaur Beck Weathers. I guess we'll find out, because there's no way that Ratchet's getting over this before he gets answers. Not to mention that his use of the word "sorcery" encourages my hypothesis.

    Speaking of Ratchet, you know how I felt about him in this chapter. I don't know if it was the comedic dialogue or his resolution or his sudden bloodlust or a combination of all three of those things in this chapter, but he suddenly charmed me enough to get off my shitlist. I don't have sympathy, of course, for anybody who decides that they need to turn around their bullcrap behavior AFTER the fact (after Grimlock is dead in this case), so I'm not sure that it's his arc in that regard so much as it's display of compassion and vengeance regardless of how much he thinks he needs to grow up. Similar to Starscream's arc, I respect that he has a sense of self-evaluation, even if it seemed to be too little too late. Despite it turning out to be quite the contrary however, I'm looking forward to see if Ratchet maintains his big boy visage for an extended period of time. I have faith in him to do so, but it's a show-don't-tell kind of thing.

    Also really loved Barricade in this chapter, more great dialogue from him. Interesting that he's shown that he can be competent in some perverse situations, but I'm disappointed that the others were so eager to leap to conclusions. Especially Starscream, who is so hellbent on flawlessly executing his plans. Despite the questionable nature of their assumptions, however, I'm curious to see just how they're going to handle it when they find out how wrong they were.

    All in all, really cool episode. I'm excited to see where things add up from here; how the new bots will mingle with the old ones, how the cons are going to get Dumbass In Distress-stream out of her fix, how the team will handle their captive, etc, etc, etc. I read this a long time ago so there are probably some things that I'm missing, but if anything comes to mind, then I'll let you know. Also I'm not rereading this, so there are probably many typos.
  2. Meta777

    Meta777 Dr Pepper Fan

    Nov 20, 2011
    Trophy Points:
    Episode 12: Bad Decisions

    Synopsis: Kup's crew settles into Earth, but they find themselves called into action sooner than expected when the Decepticons hope to invokes consequences for the Lieutenant's recent sentiments for the locals.

    It had been around a day, twenty-three hours and eleven minutes to be exact, since Hound had witnessed Evac ushering an utterly battered and bleeding Grimlock into the med-bay in a panic, the truck’s neck torn asunder and barely able to keep his head up. The door had snapped shut when they’d come in but Hound could still hear the tell-tale wheeling of a distressed Bumblebee outside the door.

    Despite his utter horror at such horrendous injuries (Hound felt quite viral himself seeing the exposed innards of the berserker’s neck) and his clearly frazzled neurals, Evac had managed to keep it together fairly decently. Now, Hound was no medic, but he could definitely see just how well Evac was putting Ratchet’s teachings to good use; his analysis of Grimlock’s injuries and the necessary counters was quick and efficient, as was his collection of said counters and putting them into play.

    Offering moral support from his berth, Hound watched as Evac worked on the tanker truck, applying a series of regenerative plates and braces to Grimlock’s neck as quickly he could to secure the damaged section, reconnecting severed valves and neurals to better aid the injured Autobot’s regenerative processes. There wasn’t much he could about the torn chemical tanks that comprised his flamethrower systems until the neck itself was more stable, but that would be another bridge to cross in due time.

    Ratchet would have been proud, he was sure. Evac did very well, all things considered. He kept his cool, applied his techniques with as much professional skill as he could muster and barely even hesitated in his motions to assist Grimlock. To his credit, the berserker was a good patient, remaining perfectly still and complying easily with Evac’s requests and administrations, save that he preferred to remain standing rather than hop onto a berth.

    Nevertheless, truly a picture of medical excellence. Evac was not his apprentice, but Hound was proud of him regardless.

    But that had been hours ago, and the pride in the rookie and his interest in the tanker truck’s compliance had long been replaced with a truly unnerving mixture of unease and fear. Since Evac had left with Jazz after the Solstice had entered to check up on his injured berserker, Grimlock had remained standing in the corner of the med-bay, not even moving, with only the faint hum of recovering systems and the glow of his optics to signal he was offline.

    But simply standing immobile for hours on end was not the only thing freaking Hound out; all Cybertronians could do that if they felt like it. No, what was freaking him out was the expression in Grimlock’s optics.

    They were locked into a continuous stare at the floor of the med-bay yet obviously not the floor of the med-bay, things that only he could see, optics dim yet burning with something unknown. Now, Hound did not possess his apprentice’s knack for understanding the processor through the optics nor the rookie’s more intimate connection with the berserker, but he could read an emotion or two flitting through them and what he read right now was the true freaky part.

    Because there was more than just the usual fiasco of anger, pent-up battle-lust, disapproval, ferocity; there was something else, something darker, something more refined. It was if the usual rage boiling inside was focussing itself, contemplating something, conceptualising something. Like watching a wildfire surround itself with some sort of glassy construct; not the raging whirl of flame it had been before, but now a fragile barrier containing destruction.

    There seemed to be some kind of purpose in his optics now; some kind of revelation bubbling under the surface, a refinement, a decision, an understanding almost. Words and questions shot through Hound’s mind, but he couldn’t be too sure how exactly to describe it. All he knew was that this was unlike Grimlock, that this was honestly kind of scaring him.

    Somewhere inside that animalistic mind was something ominous.

    A burning desire to escape, to get away, found itself manifesting inside of the jeep, and he wasn’t making any attempts to resist it. Ratchet had sternly told him that he should lay low for a bit while his systems recuperated, but Hound really didn’t want to be here right now. Was he worried Grimlock might snap and attack him? Not really; his relationship to the tanker truck had been doubtful but never hostile. Nevertheless, the desire continued to nag at him.

    Maybe it would be better if he got out of here for a while. This wasn’t an environment he found comfortable right now.

    Tentatively, he forced himself up from the berth, his arms wheezing a little and his legs aching with their lack of use, but with some effort and a fairly consuming desire to get out of here, he was able to swing himself off of the berth and slowly onto his feet. He trembled a little, holding onto the berth for support until he distribute some energy to them, before slowly stepping away and moving for the door.

    Grimlock’s optics flicker slightly, suddenly paying attention to the jeep, whom was quick to offer a feeble excuse in sudden panic to justify his attempted escape: “Just going to stretch my legs. Talk to Jazz and, and Evac and… and stuff.”

    Grimlock gave a faint nod before returning back to his contemplations. His dim optics burnt with the flame held in the glass.

    Hound reached the door, which obediently slid open for him, before hesitating, turning back to glance at the tanker truck and offering: “Bumblebee will be happy, you know. That you’re alright.”

    He didn’t respond.

    The lieutenant revved a little and promptly exited the med-bay, shuffling down the corridor as fast as he could when the door shut behind him. Primus was it good to be out of there. He took a moment to rev a bit, relief washing over him, before shuddering again and shuffling down towards the control room.

    When he stopped just outside it, he found he could hear voices talking inside, familiar voices. Recognising them as Evac and Bumblebee, he paused, a feeling of curiosity taking hold now. What would they be discussing? Grimlock was Bumblebee’s best friend, so obviously he might be the subject of their chat, considering his near miss with death.

    Eavesdropping wasn’t really something he approved of, but he wondered what the rookie’s thoughts on all this might be, and he doubted they’d be so willing to confide in him, especially since Evac would just try to usher him back to the med-bay. So, he leaned against the wall beside the door and listened.

    “It’s freaky.” He heard Evac murmur, the medic sounding somewhat unsure. “It’s not something I’ve ever seen, it’s not something Ratchet’s ever seen, and there’s nothing like it in the medical archives. His injuries were healing at an accelerated rate, way faster than any regenerative technique I’ve ever heard of. Heck, if I gave him enough time he’d have probably fixed his neck all on his own, never mind the braces or plates I put on.”

    “Why’s it such a big deal then?” Came Bumblebee’s reply, sounding a tad frustrated. “If it’s helping Grimlock, then I don’t see why we ought to be complaining.”

    Hound repressed a chuckle. Exactly like his precious apprentice to always view the positive outcomes over the ominous insinuations that may present.

    “I’m not complaining.” Evac huffed. “What I’m trying to say is that whatever it is, it’s not natural. There’s this weird energy signal going through him, some kind of… some kind of taint, I guess, to his Energon. It’s originating from somewhere inside the main torso, near the central vehicular connection.”

    “Central vehicular connection?“

    “You know, the part where the tank of his truck mode meets with the cab parts, they sort of like shift forward a bit and meet up and… and never mind. Anyway, I think that whatever’s in there is producing something, adding an effect to his Energon I guess, that makes him heal on a higher level. I mean, Primus Bee, if you’d gone over the battle damages and stuff you’d be kinda freaking out about this too. His processor was shot open, yet it’s perfectly fine now and his mental state is stable. He looked like he was ready for the scrap heap and now he’s pretty much okay.”

    Hound considered these words. Yes, Evac was right; having just left him in the med-bay, he could agree that Grimlock now seemed as though he hadn’t undergone whatever gruelling battle had sent him back to the ship in such a state. When he’d first come in, Hound wondered if the tanker truck could even hold on to life long enough to be repaired, but now he seemed fairly healthy, save for his immobile contemplating.

    But there was one discrepancy here; Grimlock had suffered fairly intense injuries before, during the battle with Barricade and Soundwave over Bumblebee’s freedom. Hound considered that; the tanker truck had taken a lot of hits in that fight, but when they’d returned home for repairs, there was no mention of some kind of unnatural healing factor.

    He concluded his musing with an answer; Grimlock’s wounds had not been critical in that incident, whereas the wounds he’d suffered yesterday had put him on the brink of death, maybe even beyond it. Whatever power lay within him, it seemed only fatal injuries could provoke it.

    He perked up a bit when he heard Bumblebee ask: “What do you mean by taint, then?”

    “I don’t really know. Some kind of weird energetic addition. I got a few samples of his Energon after I patched him up to see if I could find something, but then the taint vanished, like it was never even really there. It’s weird.”

    The Beetle considered that, before asking: “So what’s the medical significance then, Evac? Like, what is it about this weird flunky healing magic stuff that’s got you and Ratchet so wound up?”

    “Bumblebee, think about it! If Grimlock has the ability to recover from straight-up dying, reboot a blasted processor, reactivate systems that were practically collapsing on top of each other, what if we could replicate it? If we found out what causes it, if we could, I don’t know, make more of the components or synthesize the weird energy or whatever, then we could tip the entire war effort! Give one of the mystery healing mods to every Autobot, and even if they get busted up really bad, they can just reboot and heal from it!”

    Hound had been considering this himself, as a matter of fact. Evac was absolutely right; the idea that Grimlock held the key to some sort of hyper-advanced self-healing ability capable of repairing even fatal wounds and rebooting a technically dead Cybertronian was an absolutely phenomenal one indeed. There was no ability like that in current Cybertronian technology, and the potential it could bring to them was outstanding.

    He found it a tad ironic. Grimlock, the infamous berserker, a vicious brute who had slaughtered so many in his time, was potentially a cure for even death itself.

    But even as his processor suddenly stumbled upon a negative factor, his apprentice caught it as well, the jeep hearing him speak now: “That’s great and all, Evac, but is it really, you know, right? Don’t get me wrong, extra healing is awesome and wicked and I’d love something like that myself, but if we just gave it to everyone, what if the Decepticons got their hands on it? The war would never end, ‘cause everyone would just resurrect themselves and continue fighting. It’d be like, like a cycle of viciousness, a wheel that spins with chaos and more chaos!”

    “Oh…. Yeah, good point. No matter how good something seems, there always has to be a downside…”

    “And besides, if anyone else found out, they might try and take Grimlock back to Cybertron and dissect him or something for it! I couldn’t let that happen, Evac.”

    “I don’t think they-“ Evac tentatively responded, only to be cut off.

    “They would, and you know it! No-one ever treats Grimlock like he’s Cybertronian anymore. Sometimes I feel that it’s just me and maybe Wheeljack and maybe you sometimes who can even like him, never mind treat him like, you know, he’s an Autobot like us.”

    This comment from the rookie struck a cold point in Hound’s spark. Prior to coming here, had he himself not just been contemplating Grimlock’s unnatural aspects, trembling at the sight of his disturbingly still and unfathomable stare, to the point he’d rather risk upsetting recovering injuries and make a run for it than remain there? He found himself tensing up, like an organic who’d just tasted something bitter.

    Evac’s response was quiet, so quiet that Hound had to lean against the door to hear it: “I don’t… I think he… yeah. Yeah you’re right; if Cybertron found out about this they’d just cut him open for whatever it is. They wouldn’t even care. Not like you would.”

    A moment of quiet. It pained Hound to hear the rookie sound so utterly dejected over the cold hard truth over the Autobot’s treatment of the berserker. Bumblebee was right. Grimlock’s status had plummeted long ago, and whose fault was that? He could hardly say the Decepticons…

    The sound of wheels rolling across metal now, combined with Bumblebee stating: “I don’t wanna talk about this anymore. I need to talk to someone else.”


    Uh-oh, Hound realised. If his apprentice was coming to talk to him, he needed to get back to the med-bay fast-

    “No, not Hound. He needs resting, not bees pestering. I’m going to talk to Slipstream.”

    Wait what? Slipstream?!

    “Wait what?” Evac squeaked. “The Decepticon? Why would you wanna talk to her?”

    “The last time I talked to her, I got some neat old perspective on things.” The car replied, and Hound could hear him approaching the door and thus quickly backed up into the corner. Though his systems protested it, he promptly activated his holographic generator just as the door slid open. “Maybe if I talk to her again I’ll get some more.”

    Bumblebee emerged from inside the control room, just as Evac called out, causing the car to pause and turn in the doorway: “Well okay, Bee. But just don’t tell her about Grimlock, okay? Don’t let her know he’s still alive. The Decepticons probably think he’s dead, especially with the injuries he had, so we have an element of surprise on our side.”


    Hound was impressed by the strategy implied by the helicopter as Bumblebee turned again, but paused when Evac once again called: “And maybe… maybe don’t tell Grimlock about her either, if you visit him anytime soon.”

    Bumblebee hesitated, and Hound could see the light flickering in his optics, clearly and instinctively attempting to formulate a defence on behalf of his best friend, but apparently failing. Bizarre; Bumblebee rarely if ever hesitated to defend Grimlock’s brutish tendencies. But whatever he did, he hoped it would be quick; his systems were already protesting the hologram and he didn’t want to suddenly reappear right where the car could see him.

    Finally, the Beetle replied: “Sure, Evac. I won’t tell him. See you in a bit.”

    “Bye, Bee.”

    The car wheeled off down the opposite corridor out of sight as the door closed behind him, and Hound thankfully shut off the hologram, revving softly at the effort even that simple action had taken. He really was in bad shape. Curse Barricade to the Pit.

    Still, that had been a fairly intuitive chat between the rookies. They had grown so fast if their topics had now changed from debating fictional human superheroes to possibly war-changing abilities unlocked by a nigh-dead berserker. Part of him felt a little impressed at their growing awareness. Part of him felt dejected by it.

    He considered his options now, as well as the fact that apparently a Decepticon was aboard the ship. A prisoner? A traitor? He didn’t know; Jazz hadn’t mentioned anything to him about it when he’d been in the med-bay, only that the Wrecker Kup and his crew had arrived on Earth and were currently settling in with Wheeljack and Ratchet assisting them. Considering what Evac said, Hound couldn’t be surprised that Jazz had withheld a Decepticon’s presence from Grimlock.

    So, what now? He considered for a moment; he didn’t want to go back to the med-bay, nor did he feel like sitting in his room. Maybe he should go into the control room and talk to Evac. He had said he’d do that, right? The rookie could use some support while his own mentor was away.

    With that, the jeep walked over to the door and opened it, entering the control room. Evac was standing by the main console, running over a hologram of Grimlock’s injured state and comparing it to examples from the medical archives. He perked up upon hearing someone enter and turned around:

    “Back so soon, B- Hound?!” Evac’s curiosity turned into shock as he saw the jeep limp in, immediately rising to aid him. “What are you doing walking around?! Ratchet said you needed to stay on the berth and-“

    “I’m fine, Evac.” Hound stated gently, accepting the helicopter’s securing arms at his shoulders. “I just, I just needed to get out of the med-bay for a bit, alright? Don’t worry, I’m feeling okay.”

    “I, I don’t know, Ratchet said-“

    “I outrank Ratchet.” Hound sighed. “And I say I’m fine, thank you.”

    Evac hesitated, surprised at such a display of ranking from the lieutenant, before yielding and helping him over to the main console. Hound sat down in one of the seats, revving with relief at being able to get off of his aching legs, Evac settling down beside him.

    “How do you feel?” The helicopter asked, scanning the lieutenant now just in case. “Are you sure you’re feeling alright?”

    “Just glad to stretch my legs for once. I’ve been cooped up in that med-bay too long, methinks. It’s nice to actually get out for a bit and see what’s happening in the rest of the ship.”

    “Oh, okay. Well, it’s been a bit hectic lately. Kup and his crew arrived and stuff, so that’s five new Autobots-“

    “Tell about them, who do we have?”

    “Kup, Arcee, Warpath, Hot Shot and Cliffjumper.” Evac recited, optics dimming a bit as he wondered if he’d got them all right. “Kup’s the leader and Arcee and Warpath are his co-lieutenants. Is that actually possible? To have more than one lieutenant?”

    “It is.”

    “Oh cool. Well, um, I don’t know much about them, I haven’t met them yet. Well, actually, I saw Warpath when he was bringing in a Decepticon prisoner. He seemed nice, though a little bit gun-happy.”

    “A Decepticon prisoner?” Hound asked, feigning curiosity and impressment. “Who?”

    “Not Barricade.” Evac offered tentatively. “It was the medic that got caught with Bumblebee in a landslide that one time, called Slipstream. Apparently Cliffjumper caught her by surprise when she tried to steal Kup’s ship. Their ship is in a bad way so she’s staying with us for a bit.”

    “Ah, I see.”

    A pause.

    “So, um, how’s Grimlock?” Evac asked.

    “He’s fine, actually. Just standing there, thinking about stuff.” Hound said airily, ignoring the flicker of unease at remembering the berserker’s eerie posture. “You did very well in recovering him.”

    “I guess. He’s a tough Autobot. Sometimes I wonder if he even really needs medics.”

    “Everyone needs a medic. So, where’s Jazz and Bumblebee?”

    Evac tensed a little, for reasons Hound knew but was pretending not to know: “Bee, he’s, um, he’s just chilling out in his room. He’s a bit upset about Grimlock, so he just needed some alone time. And Jazz is in the forge, doing an Energon delivery. We’re actually delivering Energon now!”

    “Fantastic. I guess we did very well in achieving our mission’s purpose.”

    “Yep, very well.”


    Another pause. Hound found himself grasping for another thread of conversation. Somehow he felt that the rookie’s efforts didn’t seem quite so genuine. Who could blame him though, all things considered? These past few weeks hadn’t exactly been very forthcoming for the younger bots. But even as he stumbled, suddenly Evac sighed.

    “Humans say that sometimes there’s elephants in their rooms, and you should talk about it, but no-one ever does. I don’t know how elephants get into their rooms, maybe it’s just something meta or whatever, but, well… I think I’m going to talk to the elephant. Do you remember when we first arrived here? When we got to this planet and scanned the Internet and all that?”

    “I remember.” Hound said, as Evac fiddled with the hologram, removing the overview of Grimlock in favour of producing a small little bumblebee buzzing around. “I recall you crashed a lot trying out your new wings, so to speak.”

    Evac revved: “Very funny, sir. But what I remember is that we… we were happier. You know what I mean? When we got here Bumblebee was nattering about Men in the Moon or something, Wheeljack and I argued about superheroes, Jazz discovered jazz music, Ratchet was all paranoid and stuff. It was funny. Fun stuff. We were happy. Even Grimlock was happier. But now we…”

    Evac whimpered a little: “Now we’re not as happy. We don’t really talk about Men in the Moon or superheroes or jazz music anymore. We’re just sad and serious and worried about Decepticons and you and Grimlock and Kup’s crew and I… I don’t know. I don’t know. I’m a bit sad myself. Do you remember when we were happier?”

    “I remember.” Hound sighed. “I could never forget.”

    A pause, Evac sighing and slumping over the console, both of them watching the buzzing bee hologram for a moment, before Hound offered: “For what it’s worth, Evac, I’m proud of you.”

    Evac blinked at him in surprise and he gave a soft chuckle, continuing: “I am proud. You and Bumblebee, you’ve done very well for yourselves. Against the Decepticons, you’ve held your own and you’ve helped each other and us. You practically saved Grimlock’s life, you saved mine, you saved Jazz’s. I know that maybe our atmosphere isn’t as light as it used to be, but you have grown up so fast and you have handled it very well. That takes phenomenal maturity that even older Autobots can struggle with. You may not be my apprentice specifically, but you are a good friend and a good Autobot and I am very proud of you."

    “I… T-Thank you, Hound.”

    “No problem, Evac.” He stated kindly, leaning over and resting a reassuring hand on the larger Autobot’s arm, understanding that this was something the rookie needed to hear, that regardless of the Decepticon’s continued atrocities he still had friends. “No matter what, don’t you ever forget that I will always be proud of you.”


    “I don’t like it.” Soundwave said simply, currently sat beside his fellow Decepticon in the latter’s quarters as he examined his sonic shock rifle, the weapon’s barrel spinning slightly under its owner’s tinkering.

    “I suspected you wouldn’t.” Grindor replied calmly, not even looking up from the modifications he was doing on one of his turrets. Always so focussed on his work, he was.

    “Yet you did it anyway.” The Lamborghini revved, taking a moment from his examinations to glare at the tank.

    “Indeed. I am perfectly aware of his crude whims, and I am perfectly aware of his potent disregard for this planet’s progeny, but the fact of the matter remains that Barricade is the best suited of us four to retrieve and deliver the human to our trading point. Your efforts are better devoted to maintaining communication networks and applying jamming fields where necessary, Sideways lacks the fortitude to appropriately transport a human and I need to set up our defensive perimeter. Ergo, Barricade is the logical choice for acquisition.”

    “And simultaneously the illogical choice. Who’s to say he won’t frag it up?”

    “We don’t know. We can only hope that he unlocks an inner reserve of interspecies diplomacy none of us would have suspected of him. If nothing else, we can always bluff.” Grindor replied dryly, standing up now from his workbench and giving an acceptant nod to his turret before folding it up and storing into his abdominal compartments. “Well then, we have our modifications settled. You remember the outline of the plan?”

    Soundwave gave a derisive chuckle as he stood up as well and withdrew his rifle: “Of course. Barricade retrieves the human, then he’ll rendezvous with us at the forest. You, he and I form the bargaining team; if all goes well, we hand them the human, they hand us Slipstream. If not, we have your turrets lined up around the place and Sideways on the outskirts ready for sniping to help us fight it out.”

    “Excellent. We’re ready then. Let us go inform the commander that our departure is nigh.”

    The two of them exited the Trojan’s quarters and made their way to the control room. Sideways and Barricade were waiting for them there, occupying themselves with a good game of Super Plasma Adventure 2. Starscream and Nighttrace were by the main console, the former grumbling quietly to the latter, whom merely flicked her antenna now and then. None of the remaining four Seekers were here, nor was Airachnid, though they could at least suspect the latter was pacing around somewhere cursing the Autobots and praying for her friend’s safety.

    Soundwave supposed he ought to be praying too. Slipstream was a Decepticon he could consider a friend; snide and demeaning at times, but ultimately caring and respectful. She had confided her past in him, she had come to help him after the failed capture of the Autobot rookie and he had gone to her aid during the landslide incident. Such events served to strengthen the bonds of friendship, and thus she was most certainly a friend of his; ergo, he would not fail her. Considering Grindor’s impressive (for a Decepticon) moral sentiments, Soundwave knew that the tank was thinking the same thoughts as he.

    Barricade glanced up at the sound of the door opening and scoffed: “Oh finally! You two took your sweet fragging time! You think Slipstream appreciates the fact that you prefer to waste time nattering about whatever pretentious pseudo-intellect scrap slag you morons natter about instead of trying to help her?!”

    “This coming from a Decepticon playing video games before embarking on a mission.” Soundwave replied coolly, narrowing his visor at the other car, whom was swift to get worked up in a tantrum.

    “Shut up, idiot, I have to wait for your stupid blue bumper before I can do anything! Always blaming me for everything, you damn jerk!”

    Sideways was tittering a little at yet another obnoxious argument starting up between the cars, as Grindor walked over to the commander, whom perked up on his approach and said: “Grindor, I trust all your preparations are complete?”

    “Turrets systems have been overhauled and modified with enhanced optical systems combined with neural transmitters. Anything they see, I shall see, and they will ideally ensure that the Autobots will be unable to attempt any kind of treachery without myself being aware. The others have overseen their systems and deemed themselves ready for anything.” Grindor replied. “And what of your preparations?”

    Starscream pouted: “I called Ramjet, asked around the Kaon communication network, but Lord Megatron is keeping a tight leash on our faction. Commanders are reluctant to redistribute their soldiers or delay their own plans to assist us. Unless someone suddenly finds themselves with no objectives whatsoever, we will have no distractions for the Autobots when we initiate the final phase of Operation Harvest.”

    Barricade suddenly chirped up: “Do we really need distractions, Star-“

    “YES WE NEED DISTRACTIONS YOU MORON.” Starscream immediately shrieked, before reining himself in and huffing: “The final phase of my plan requires time, and time will make the Autobots edgy. I can’t risk them hunting around for us and stumbling across my operation before it is complete.”

    Barricade backed down, as Grindor asked: “Surely there are unaffiliated Cybertronians in the galaxies that we could employ for such a task? Ones who are not restricted by our Master’s necessities?”

    Starscream tensed and muttered: “Yes, of course there are. Mercenaries, bounty hunters, freelancers, all that scrap. But truth be told, I don’t think much of them. Bunch of stuck-up self-absorbed troglodytes who flaunt their exaggerated independence around like an Earth peacock in its bid to impress a female of the species. And the cost! They always demand all sorts of expensive slag, like hyper-energised Energon stores, Dimensional Distorters, all that jazz. Quite frankly I’d sooner be caught complimenting Shockwave than putting up with these freelance aft-plates.”

    Nighttrace gave him a pointed look, which upon noticing he immediately snapped at: “Don’t give me that look! I’m only stating my opinion! Am I not allowed to do that anymore, am I not allowed to voice my own thoughts on a particular matter?”

    She just folded her arms and flicked her antenna.

    “Urgh, I don’t know how I put up with you sometimes! Well fine, whatever.” He huffed, dramatically throwing his arms up in the air, before turning to Grindor and adding: “But on the other hand, my oh-so intuitive second-in-command, my most logically inclined lieutenant, the apple of my optics, the guiding star in my dark sky-“

    His gestures grew more and more dramatic and pretentious with each sentence. Grindor raised a brow in dissatisfaction, the other Decepticons started snickering and Nighttrace looked to be a second away from slapping him.

    “-is fairly insistent that perhaps I ought to forgo my prejudices just this once and nevertheless hire an unaffiliated party to serve this particular purpose.” Starscream said, rolling his optics and huffing some heat from his thrusters, before folding his arms, revving and admitting: “And as much as it rustles my plating to do so, I supposed I am forced to.”

    “Whatever ensures the best efficiency for our endeavours, commander.” Grindor replied. “You brought myself and Sideways here for that purpose, after all.”

    “Yes I did. Speaking of purpose, you and your team ought to be getting to yours now. You are aware of which human you’re looking for, correct?”

    “We are, thanks to the radiation readings I tracked.” Grindor replied. “The domicile has been identified and thus so has its current owner; a human female designated Ellen Marie Sherriff. She lives in the town near the forest we seem to spend a fair amount of time at. She will be retrieved with efficiency.”

    Soundwave scoffed at that, leading Sideways to snicker, Barricade to smack him and Sideways to squeak in shock.

    “Very well then. Do what you need to do, Grindor.”

    “As you wish, sir. Sideways, Barricade, Soundwave, prepare to bridge.”

    Nighttrace obligingly activated the ground bridge for the four ground units, the portal bursting into existence before the quartet whom gathered around it, Starscream offering them a ‘ta ta for now’, before they entered it and vanished in the glimmers of bright green. The UAV switched it off and it vanished, leaving just the two of them in the control room.

    “Sometimes, life can be so damnably complicated.” Starscream sighed, pinching his forehead in slight annoyance as he turned back to the console. “I hope they succeed. The last thing poor Slipstream needs is any further length of time crammed in those Autobot vessels with such brutes like Warpath.”

    Nighttrace reassuringly patted him on the shoulder, offering him a gentle gaze that assured him of her faith in the efforts of their comrades.

    “Yes, I agree.” He replied. “Grindor’s a smart con, and Soundwave’s pretty good himself. I’m sure those two can carry this plan and get our medic back; Autobots are always so damn sentimental about innocent little organics and all that slag. And even if not, we’ll just have to try again and again, won’t we?”

    She nodded and gave another pat to his shoulder. There was a hint of pride in her optics and he supposed she was referring back to Slipstream’s first shenanigan in that quarry, trapped in a landslide and rescued by some wayward Decepticons of his. There would no hesitance from him now, not this time. This time, he would not abandon one of his crew. The thought of such development made him smile slightly, before nodding his head and moving on.

    “Well, let’s get to our business, lieutenant. We have a fair amount of bargaining ahead of us with these damnable freelancers if we want a reliable ally sooner rather than later.” A pause. “I don’t suppose I could offer Airachnid or Barricade as an appropriate means of payment, could I?”

    Few moments in life, Starscream supposed, were ever quite as satisfying as coercing a tinkling giggle from the UAV.


    “I’m just saying-“ Cliffjumper huffed as he, Hot Shot and Warpath looked over the holographic displays of vehicles ranging from bikes to airliners. “-That cars and trucks are more practical for this whole robot-in-disguise shtick than a tank is. I mean, none of these humans look twice at a car rolling around, but a tank? Gimme a break.”

    “And I’m just saying that I am an Autobot of warfare. It’s right there in my name; war. Tanks are an acceptable human weapon of war, durable, powerful and surprisingly mobile, and thus they are well suited to my intentions. Pow.” Warpath replied, a tad annoyed at these insults being flung at his vehicle mode of choice.

    “Personally I’m loving all these sports cars and racing cars they’ve got going on.” Hot Shot revved dreamily, gazing at the exotic and streamlined vehicles displayed before him with relish. “Fast and faster, just the way I like it!”

    “And just as totally conspicuous and attention-drawing as a damn tank.” Cliffjumper snorted. “Am I the only Autobot around here taking this whole disguise thing seriously?”

    “You can be the urban reconnaissance if you wish, Cliffjumper.” Warpath said. “We all have our personal preferences and roles.”

    “Yeah I know, but I’m just saying-“

    “I know, but I’m just saying too.”


    “I’m surprised any of you are even bothering with these debates about vehicle modes and their roles.” Arcee said, she and Kup now walking over from where they had been discussing something or other. “These humans have no sense of aesthetic or efficiency whatsoever. Hot Shot could design better vehicles than these organics.”

    “You know, speaking of vehicle modes, I just had a thought that maybe you’d be well suited for a limousine, Arcee.” Hot Shot offered sweetly, causing Warpath to chortle a little.

    She took a moment to look it up, before scoffing: “An impractical glorification of human privilege. I’d sooner be caught wearing a rusted tow truck.”

    “Hey!” A voice called out, and they turned to see Wheeljack entering the control room, a contemplative Ratchet moping behind him and his arms spread wide in defiance. “You watch your mouth about tow trucks, speedy. Them be fighting words.”

    “So sorry, tow-away.” Arcee replied dryly, turning to face him with an air of accepting his challenge. “I hadn’t realised the sentimental stock you’d put into such blocky vehicles.”

    “This ain’t about sentiment.” He huffed, striding over and standing before her in a challenging posture, showcasing his slight height advantage as Ratchet shuffled over to stand beside Kup, the other Autobots leaning in in interest of this verbal duel. “This is about practicality. Tow trucks, they represent comradeship, support, generosity. While you’re racing around flaunting your speed like an egotist on, well, speed, I’m assisting any injured comrades get where they need to go.”

    “Right. You must have had this speech pre-prepared in the event anyone with half a sense of aesthetics discredits your vehicle of choice.” She retorted.

    “Oh, I’m taking this from an Autobot who tried to play that whole cool lone wolf shtick? Ooh, look at me, I’m Arcee, I’m a hardcore robot who doesn’t play by the rules!”

    “That’s big talk coming from grenade-on-a-sword.”

    The other Autobots, excluding Kup, gave a low ‘ooooh’ at that, Warpath hollering that the kablam had been dropped, as Wheeljack blanched and immediately sputtered, Arcee adopting a slight smirk now: “T-That was never proven, that’s just rumour and hearsay! I don’t know where you heard that nonsense but let me assure you that it’s just a whole load of scrap coming from jealous twerps trying to discredit my inventive awesomeness!”

    “You two have only just met today and already you’re getting so bam petty, all this vehicle whining and grenade lamentations.” Warpath chortled. “According to human media, that’s the surest sign of love. You ought to get, what’s the word, marred? No, married, get married and argue forever for our amusement.”

    “As much as I’d watch that show.” Cliffjumper sniggered, Wheeljack immediately protesting again as Arcee offhandedly folded her arms. “I think Warpath’s got a point about the pettiness. Why don’t we ditch the arguments and move onto productive business?”

    “An excellent thought, soldier.” Kup said, now assuming authority over the others, whom were quick to fall in line to listen. “The sooner we choose and adopt native vehicle modes, the better. Have we all prioritised a selection?”

    Warpath, Cliffjumper and Hot Shot immediately confirmed this, with their fondness of tanks, cars, and sportier cars respectively, and thus were granted permission to scan and upload the new vehicle modes. Kup paused, then turned to Arcee, who’d remained silent: “And what about you?”

    “With all due respect sir, I have no inclination to take on a native vehicle mode.” She muttered. “None of them appeal to me. They’d just be a downgrade for me.”

    Kup raised an eyebrow as Wheeljack and Ratchet exchanged a perplexed glance, before stating: “You understand that one of the most important aspects of inter-planetary missions upon inhabited worlds, and one of the most important aspects of our species as a whole, is disguise?”

    “My speed would be more than enough to evade human detection. Their optical sensors are woefully inefficient.” She pointed out, her shoulder thrusters flexing a little as if to emphasize the point.

    The Wrecker considered for a moment, before finally nodding and replying: “Very well then, as you wish. But understand you have a responsibility to be discreet. As for myself-“

    “Wait a moment, wait a moment here!” Hot Shot protested, revving in disbelief and irritation. “That’s a load of scrap right there! If it was me who said I didn’t want an Earth mode just ‘cause I didn’t like them, you’d just tell me to shut up and deal with it, yet when she does it you let her get away with it! That’s favouritism, and that’s rubbish!”

    “Rookie.” Kup stated calmly. “Unlike you, Arcee possesses both the tools and the experience to make good on her claims. When perhaps you have proven yourself to possess similar qualities, then maybe I shall grant you the same leniency in turn. As it stands, that is not the case.”

    Hot Shot withdrew his case in defeat, nevertheless muttering darkly to himself and shooting resentful glares at Arcee, whom coldly glared at him in disregard as the other two tensed a little. Wheeljack and Ratchet exchanged a glance; this wasn’t quite the same environment they’d grown used to in the Zeta-1.

    “As I was saying, I shall select this vehicle mode designated as a military transport truck. Enough reference to civilian vehicles to be able to operate in urban zones yet possessing military authority to avoid challenges from the locals.”

    The console obligingly but slowly put up a hologram of the vehicle referred to and Kup promptly scanned it, offering a slight rev in satisfying at being able to stretch his alternator circuits, before declaring: “Autobots, outside to test our new disguises.”

    “Mind if I come with?” Wheeljack asked. “I haven’t seen any new vehicle shifts since my crew first got here!”

    “Certainly, inventor. Let’s roll.”

    Kup filed out, his soldiers trooping along behind him. Wheeljack made to follow, before turning and asking: “You two coming?”

    “Watching Hot Shot spin nut-dos, or donuts, whatever they call it, doesn’t particularly interest me.” Arcee replied, as Ratchet offered his own response: “No, I need to go over these systems for a moment. But when you’re done, Wheeljack, you and I need to have a talk.”

    “Sure. What about?”

    “I’ll tell you when we have it.”

    The tow truck shrugged: “Alright, whatever suits you. See you in a bit.”

    As he turned and left, Ratchet paused for a moment, contemplating, before shaking his head as he turned to Arcee: “So, um, may I ask about your velocity generator? I haven’t scanned the systems of an Autobot possessing one before and- Arcee?”

    His questioning paused when he realised she wasn’t responding to him. In fact, she wasn’t even moving at all; her frame had tensed and her optics had dulled with a dull expression of blankness. At first he was confused, but then medical expertise kicked in and he immediately recognised what it was. It was an occasional symptom of PMBD that the sufferer’s processor would freeze up now and then in moments of non-action, tormented by the paradoxical blankness and thus causing the body to freeze as well.

    Understanding that the solution to this brief lockdown was merely patience and support, he waited a moment, and when her optics suddenly brightened and her head jolted up with a brief expression of surprise and horror as outside sensation returned, he gently put a hand on her shoulder and reassuringly stated: “It’s alright, I’m here. I understand-“

    “No.” She murmured softly, gazing at him with an expression unbecoming of her usual stoicism, an expression of vulnerable sadness and shame. “No, you really don’t.”

    She shrugged his hand off of her shoulder, lowered her head and stalked out of the room as quickly as she could. But just as she left the room, she paused, turned to him and muttered: "Thanks for caring, though."

    With that, she left and the door grinded shut behind her, leaving the medic behind to stare after her with the sad knowledge and the strong regret of what the Autobots had sunken to in this damnable war.


    Slipstream’s systems rebooted fairly quickly, all things considered. Being a medic had its perks; a stronger connection to recovery-based systems and enhancements in that regard made it fairly easier for them to recover from traumas and wounds. She shook her head a bit, clearing her optics, before taking a moment to observe her surroundings.

    Okay then, she was locked up in an Autobot ship’s brig. It was nicer than her ship’s brig, admittedly, well lit and coloured a handsome gold. Her arms were bound to the wall by powerful clamps, and she was suspected that a majority of her systems, prominently communication, transformation and weaponry, had been shut down. A quick self-assessment confirmed that to be the case.

    Basically, she was well and truly stuck. Imprisoned and helpless, without the means to call her allies or slice and blast her way out, in an Autobot brig. And that’s terrible.

    She supposed she could act positive and find a few comforts in this disadvantageous situation. One such comfort was that she wasn’t on the Wrecker’s ship anymore with the likes of Kup himself and Warpath to contend with; that place had been a piece of scrap, whereas this was fresh and well-tended to. Evidently, she’d been dumped onto the Lieutenant’s vessel, a much more secure and elusive prison than the other ship.

    Another comfort was that Grimlock was dead, so her final scans of his mutilated corpse had stated to her. The last thing she needed was for the door to open and that psychotic monster to come in and peel her apart. The thought of that happening had her shaking for a moment.

    A small ounce of paranoia within her asked a question; was he really dead though? The berserker had a long history of coming out of battles without much hassle, and even their fortunate slaying of them might not have been enough- No, no, don’t think like that. Trust in your medical training; he was dead. No Cybertronian could recover from wounds like that, no matter how tough they might be.

    Well, since he wasn’t here to do it, who would be interrogating her then? Hound? Was that one even still alive after Barricade mutilated him? No, wait, apparently he had survived, when the Autobots had been digging her and the yellow car out of that landslide they’d mentioned to her comrades his survival. Fair enough, but he might not be in a good enough condition for any confrontation with her right now.

    The Lieutenant or the scientist Wheeljack were much more likely; the former was the commander after all and a hard shell to crack, the latter an oh-so exuberant fighter who probably knew a trick or two to stimulate the pain receptors. Innovative inventers like him always had some kind of sick trick up their sleeves. And who knows what the Lieutenant might have planned. Always an elusive enigma, that one.

    Another part of her wondered if Starscream would be preparing any plots to rescue her or something. He’d been willing to abandon her before, despite a later change of spark, and it had fallen to the others to rescue her. But trapped aboard the Autobot ship was a trickier hurdle to overcome than a mere landslide. Airachnid would not abandon her, she was sure, and Barricade would probably be crying his spark out over her, but still. Hmm…

    But whatever; regardless if the Decepticons left her to this, regardless of what the Autobots had planned for her, she would be strong. She wasn’t going to spill any of Starscream’s secrets, none of their plans, nothing, even if defiance would lead to her death. Let them do what they wanted! Nothing they could do would make her betray her comrades!

    The door opened, and she perked up, ready to face the Lieutenant and whatever-


    Oh dear.

    It seemed like a long time ago when the situation had been reversed and she’d been the one walking into his cell, determined to extract whatever information she and Airachnid could get from him. It seemed like a long time ago when she was trapped under tonnes of rubble with him, forced to find solace in the glow of his headlights.

    It had practically just been yesterday since she’d helped to murder his so-called best friend.

    She stared at once bright and sunny blue optics, optics now dull and deadened into a cold glare, and suddenly she was shaking again.

    “Hi, Slipstream.” Bumblebee stated quietly, and she really did not like that his stunners, bristling with electricity, were extended. “Mind if we talk?”
  3. MasterZero

    MasterZero Taking a Break

    Oct 3, 2013
    Trophy Points:
    Don't fail in reading and enjoying the universe after far too long of me being busy and lazy? :redface2:  Time to finally start binge reading.
    1. Love this Jazz.
    2. I know that you being from the UK, your English is different than mine (Or you speak the real version and I'm saying some poor man version, whatever). That's cool. That said, and I know this particular chapter is at least a year old, but I just wanted to tell you as a friend, theorise is not a word. Unless you're making some pun about Jazz rising above trauma, in which case, good job :cool: . But the actual word is theorize.

    I keep thinking about that picture you made. I know the other Autobots are closer to Jazz's size, but I can't get the imagine of Jazz being a little action figure to everyone out of my head. :lol 

    ...Focused only has one S. Sorry! Your story is GREAT. I hate pointing out the little errors, I don't want you to think I'm bagging on it. Just trying to point out little hiccups.

    Awww...Humaitron. I like that. That's cute.

    So how long until Riva Li blows up?

    A GOLD Hound? Neat!


    But seriously. I love how they're fanboying over Earth. That seems like such a rare thing in Transformers. Yeah, the bots will love Earth movies or culture, but Earth biology? That's pretty cool.

    Well, that ruined the fun. We were talking about oxygen and glucose!

    I do like how its the Autobots following the Cons instead of the other way around.

    I like the almost father/son dynamic between Evac and Ratchet. But man, Ratchet seems like he's down in the dumps. Wonder why? I mean, I know there's plenty of reasons to be unhappy. A coming battle, bots getting injured, even losing friends, and Evac could fall apart under pressure. Just wondering which it'll be.

    My Primus...Bumblebee is a puppy and Grimlock is an old, grumpy cat.

    Ha. Shock.

    Glad to see Grimlock taking this stance. Also liking Jazz's comeback.

    Book End!

    Heh...That was fun. I liked it a lot.
  4. Gerth

    Gerth Genderfluid hug god.

    Dec 2, 2014
    News Credits:
    Trophy Points:
    If I were ever to write a fanfic with Starscream in it, he would be killed within the first chapter, just can't stand the character he's made out to be, and he kinda deserves it for always double crossing everyone.
  5. MasterZero

    MasterZero Taking a Break

    Oct 3, 2013
    Trophy Points:
    ...(Googles it) I think you mean Antarctica. There's another C.

    Yeah, Americans use Z and the UK and other parts of the world use S. So I guess its not an error(?). Just keep doing what you're doing, Meta.

    Someone give Jazz a Nobel Prize!

    The two burst into laughter at that, as the ship idly flew on past the pale sphere that Earth called the Moon. That was literally the name, the Moon (though a dead language referred to it as Luna), the planet's sole satellite. It was rather bland in terms of composition and size, but the silvery glow was pleasant to look out, and Bumblebee, his face pressed up against the observation panes (humans would refer to them as 'windows'), was staring in utter awe at the beautiful little satellite.[/quote]I like how alien you make the Autobots. Its very cool.

    ...Rise of the Guardians? Err...Or the books based on them?

    Also, man...Bumblebee's innocence is just going to stomped to scrap by the end, ain't it?

    ...I just realized something. The Autobot military is okay with sending this...little bot to war? I mean, he couldn't be very old if you translated his maturity into Earth ones. That's brings some...disturbing questions about the Autobot government.

    Approximation has two Ps.

    HA. Peepee. I'm immature.

    I think this is the first time the Transformers landed and start their adventure in Britain. Cool!


    Earth is very beautiful, Jazzy.

    But I checked, and its reverently. Still. Good scene. Love the awe they have of the planet.

    Our heroes!
    BB: AHHHH!
    J: WHOOO!
    R: Primus, Unicron, Guiding Hand, HEEEELP!
    H: I want my motherboard!

    Ha! My American brain was confused there for a second.


    Also, insert BB or Rattrap saying 'We're all gonna die.'

    ...Yeah. Grimlock is gonna be real good at not being seen.


    I THINK stubbornness has two Ns.

    Imaginative. And yes, we are.

    Sorry! I don't want you to think I'm trying to be annoying when I point our spelling errors. And I am trying to make sure I avoid words that are just in their UK version. TRY being the key word.

    Huh. That's...convenient.

    ...I'm sorry, Ratchet, did you say something?

    ...Well, scrap.

    :lol  Poor guy.

    I love how the symbol of the vehicle matters to him, just as much as size.

    Love how you describe the whole process and getting used to a new body.

    ...Welp. He tried.


    As in, "Grimlock is super stealthily sneaking around."


    HA. I like this Grimmy.
    God...So adorable.


    Substantially. Its a tricky word.


    Good chapter. I'll start reading more later!
  6. Ømnidrive

    Ømnidrive I HAVE A MANE!!!

    Oct 6, 2011
    Trophy Points:
    .....Bee has gone dark I like it :popcorn 
  7. Meta777

    Meta777 Dr Pepper Fan

    Nov 20, 2011
    Trophy Points:
    This must be a cosmic joke, these morons being our heroes!

    Nah it's cool. I appreciate that you're taking the time to go over things so I know what to clean up. Just as Jamocha's been challenging me narratively, you can challenge me grammatically :p 

    If it's any consolation, this Starscream here is more about earning his position, with hard work and competence. Yeah he's a dick, every Starscream is a dick here and there, but at least he's a hard-working dick.

    That's what happens when you murder someone's best friend. We'll see where he takes it.

    Anyway, I'm sorry for not uploading anything in like 4 million years, I've been a tad distracted with university and crap. To make up to you lot, I can confirm that the next chapter is coming along. But first, let's throw in a preview for the next episode!

    Episode 13: Mutual Dislike

    Synopsis: Considering the Lieutenant's most recent and utterly gratuitous failure, Grimlock decides to finally take matters into his own hands and secure his rightful place as the leader of the earthbound Autobots. Meanwhile, the Decepticons continue their campaign to finalise Operation Harvest.

    "Ratchet." Jazz stated slowly, calmly, too calmly, his visor locked onto the berserker. Even with his optics covered, no-one could miss the lethality of his glare, the sheer hatred boiling within his valves: "Call Kup for me. Tell him and the rest of his crew to meet us at these coordinates."

    Not even breaking his faze, his fingers tap the console and bring up a holographic display of said coordinates as he finishes: "I want everyone to be there so they can watch me beat this disobedient animal into the dirt and put him back in his cage."

    The sheer coldness of his statement, the sheer callousness of his insult, had every other Autobot barring his rival shuddering. None of them, except perhaps Wheeljack, had ever heard him speak so lowly of someone, to speak so vehemently of violence towards someone. Bumblebee cowered in fear as he clutched to Hound's side, the jeep horrified by what he was seeing, while Evac trembled behind Ratchet, whom looked as though he was witnessing the end of all hope and Wheeljack was shaking in disbelief.

    Contrasting the others, Grimlock tilted his head back and gave a throaty chuckle, an ecstatic chuckle: "Good boy, Jazz. At last, you're facing your problems head-on. Make your girlfriend proud."

    "When I'm finished with you, Grimlock, when I'm done putting you back into your place." Jazz said simply. "I'm sending you straight back to Critico. You're going to spend every waking moment regretting everything you've ever done, while you rust."

    "Jazz." Wheeljack murmured, stepping forward now to confront them. He almost withered under the combined force of both aggressor's glares locking onto him, but he stood fast: "This isn't what we should be doing. Okay, I get it, you two hate each other, fine, and I know we've had problems, everyone has problems, and I know you're both filthy liars, everyone's lied at some point, but we can't just waste our time fighting each other-"

    "Fighting implies that the match would be even." Grimlock sneered.

    "The Decepticons are plotting their scrap right now, RIGHT FRAGGING NOW, to take over the world, to give Megatron an edge, and all you two wanna do is kill each other!"

    "Killing would be a good thing for Grimlock." Jazz snorted. "I'm not that merciful."

    "But Jazz, we can't-"

    "Wheeljack, that's enough."

    "No, no, it's not enough, you two need-"

    "Wheeljack, stand down."

    "Jazz, this isn't the way-"


    Jazz's sudden roar had the tow truck flinching back in shock, as every Autobot froze in utter horror.

    Jazz never lost his cool. Jazz never threatened anyone like that. Never. Never.

    What was wrong with them?

    Jazz glared at the inventor, engine revving furiously as he regained his calm, before he strode up to him, right up in front of him, and whispered: "This is how it's going to go down. Two of us in the ring, one of us left standing. Once we've sorted that out, you'll have all the time you want to whine to the winner. But until then, step back into line."

    Wheeljack's optics flickered around for any support from the others, but none came. Alone, he whimpered: "But... Jazz, we-"

    "Step back into line. Now."

    The tow truck bowed his head and shuffled backwards.

    He knew when he was beaten.
  8. Ømnidrive

    Ømnidrive I HAVE A MANE!!!

    Oct 6, 2011
    Trophy Points:
    Okay a rivalry should never go this far amongst the autobots........I WANNA SEE THIS GO DOWN!!! :D  :popcorn 
  9. MasterZero

    MasterZero Taking a Break

    Oct 3, 2013
    Trophy Points:
    Soundwave? SNICKERING?

    I love it.

    You misspelled Decepticons in this paragraph. Loving the fear Grimmy delivers just by namedrop.


    Also, Starscream has lost it. Whether he ever had it is in question, to be honest.
    It being his sanity.

    Discernible. A tricky word to be sure.

    ...I can't tell if Conciller is an actual thing, or if you tried spelling Councillor and just missed a key. Sorry.


    At first I was all like, "Viral?" then I got it. Sick. Clever!

    Ratchet: Fashion MASTER.

    Ratchet: I can save human lives!
    Jazz: I offer amazing comfort!

    You can be my wingman, anyday.
    Top Gun reference.
    Well that was...somber...

    I love this Ratchet.

    ..."I escaped by walking away."

    I LOVE it.

    The fact that they can connect like that is gross.

    But so fascinating...

    Autrio...I don't know who they are, but they sound cool.

    Okay. I'm assuming Conciller is an actual rank. Cool.
  10. Meta777

    Meta777 Dr Pepper Fan

    Nov 20, 2011
    Trophy Points:
    Author's Notes: Oh look, an actual update for once in my life. Finally.

    “Ah.” Slipstream stated slowly. “Well, um. Hello there, Bumblebee. Nice to, um, see you again.”

    He simply wheeled to the centre of the room, stunners sparkling and cold optics locked onto her with an intense dislike she didn’t like. He looked as though he was torn between sinking into despair and outright shooting her, a look she could admit that she’d never expected to see on a rookie’s face.

    But of course, she did help kill his so-called best friend, didn’t she? What else could provoke this change in him? He’d spoken highly of Grimlock when they’d been trapped together, and now the berserker was dead. That had to hurt, and when people were hurt, one of their more prominent desires is to try and make whoever hurt them hurt in turn.

    It was morbidly funny in a way, like a sort of create-your-own-monster kind of funny. She probably deserved it.

    “I might say the same to you.” He replied softly. “But there’s been a slight complication to whatever relationship we might have established. Bear with me a moment, let me just see if the little Autobot rookie can remember why… Ooh, oh I know, I know why we’re not on such good terms anymore. It had to something to do with-“

    Suddenly he’s lunging forward, latching onto her torso, clambering atop the larger Cybertronian until his face is before hers and his expression, his optics, are contorted with fury as he brings up a stunner and aims it right between her own optics, the weapon crackling menacingly.

    ”-The fact you murdered my best friend. You and those other Decepticons killed Grimlock. YOU KILLED MY BEST FRIEND!”

    She doesn’t appreciate being scared of a rookie, she really doesn’t, but when said rookie is right in her face, possible demented with grief, bearing electrical weaponry that might end up being put to painful use, she can’t help but quake a bit. It’s not a comfortable situation, not a comfortable situation at all, and she’s immensely regretting not being more cautious aboard the Wrecker’s ship.

    She flex her plating a bit as he revs furiously before her, stunners continuing to spark and sputter, before nervously asking: “So is that your motivation now, Bumblebee? To get revenge on me, on everyone who took down your berserker? Are you going to kill me right here and now?”

    His fury seemed to halt in its tracks at such a question, expression flickering into unease before dissolving into something akin to dejection. He revs a bit and his postures sags, though he remains clung to her. Alright then, classic symptoms of agonised grief; desire to hurt yet inability to apply it. Such a basic analysis soothed her somewhat; perhaps his reluctance to cause actual harm may see her spared from pain.

    “I don’t know what to do.” Bumblebee admitted, optics blank and lifeless as they stared into her own. “I want to go to my room and I want to shut down forever. I want to find someone and hug them and wait for them to make it all go away. I want to run away, to drive into the sunset and drive and drive until I can’t drive anymore. I want to, I want to…”

    His gaze hardened with anger again and he raised his stunners, their electrified tips sparking mere inches away from her widened optics, and when he speaks again, his tone is wracked with agonised fury.

    “I want to hurt you like you hurt him.”

    She revved uncomfortably, relieving unpleasant memories of watching Barricade getting electrocuted in front of everyone, the crackling stunners taking up her view, before, mercifully, he pulled them back. Bumblebee hesitates for a moment, before sliding off of her torso, back onto the floor, and wheels backwards a bit, looking quite shocked, as if horrified at the thought that he’d been close to following through on his words.

    In unease at his fluctuating mood, wishing that her scanning systems hadn’t been disabled, she stared at him for a moment. He stared right back, before shuddering a bit and muttering:

    “But doing that… even if it did make me feel better, even if it might avenge Grimlock… would it bring him back? No. Would it make me any better than you, or any of your faction? No… Hurting you, or killing you, it… it wouldn’t do anything. Nothing at all.”

    “Well, um, it would remove an enemy medic from the ranks, feasibly impeding them somewhat.” She said, a tad bewildered that she was actually digging herself a hole in response to his little sentiment. “Not that I’d be content with that notion, but just letting you know that the world is bigger than your particular moral perception.”

    He just shakes his head and murmurs: “Hound asked me once… if I wanted to kill Barricade. After Barricade had hurt him, nearly killed him, he asked me if I wanted Barricade to die, to die for what he did to him. Do you remember that, if Barricade ever got back to your ship and talked about how he hurt Hound?”

    Slipstream was surprised at the idea of Hound asking the Beetle something like that. Granted, she barely knew much about the hologrammer another than his cowardly reliance on cheap tricks and that apparently he was the defining motivation of the rookie’s moral sentiments, but she’d never painted him as someone to ask their apprentice if they wanted to kill someone.

    And she did indeed remember. Part of Barricade’s frantic excuses over stealing the nodule before he was brutally tortured by Starscream was that he had mutilated one of the Autobots, later clarified to be his nemesis. She shuddered a bit before, now curious, she first elaborated on his question before asking her own: “I do remember. What did you say to that?”

    “I said… I said no. I told him that to kill Barricade because I… because I wanted revenge, to pay him back, would just be sinking to his level. And if I did that to you, or any of those other murderers, then that wouldn’t make me any better than Barricade either. I don’t want to be like him, some kind of hateful monster who lives only for hate. No-one should be like Barricade.”

    In a sense, she somewhat agreed with him.

    Bumblebee revved deeply, before declaring: “If I ever… If I ever had to kill someone, I’d want it to be done because I… I had no choice, no way out, no loophole. Not because I hate them, not because I want to hurt them, but because it’s the only thing left to me. That’s what, that’s what the Autobot ideal is. We don’t take life unless we have no other options.”

    He reared up straight then and met her gaze fiercely: “That was what Optimus Prime always believed in; that even in the middle of the war to stand above all other wars, we could still keep our heads held high and not sink into the darkness. That we could still shine a light even in times of struggle and uncertainty. That’s what he always said, that’s what he always believed in. That we don’t have to be monsters. That maybe there is hope for peace.”

    Slipstream is stunned by his fervour, stunned at the utter respect flooding into his voice in mentioning the most prominent of the Autrio. She’d known that he tended to spout the values of other Autobots, recalling his consistent mentioning of Hound and Ratchet, but he hadn’t spoken of them like he spoke of Optimus Prime. When he spoke these words, he spoke them with invigoration, with true belief, with meaning.

    Clearly he held the Autrio’s noblest in high regards.

    But one part stuck out to her, and she finds it in herself to criticise: “So if you can’t avenge your friend, what will you do then? If you can’t bring yourself to kill even me, never mind anyone else, how do you expect. You don’t really believe that we can have peace, do you? After everything that’s ever happened, the Abominus Initiative, the Infusion Process-“

    He raises a hand and she pauses, and he mutters: “Before… before you carry on, just tell me something.”

    “Like what?”

    “Infusion.” He says, and she suddenly tilts back a bit, perplexed. “Tell me about Infusion.”

    “Did they not tell you? Surely your mentor or the Lieutenant or someone must have told you what it is.” She finds it hard to believe that the senior Autobots would have neglected to tell the rookie the truth about the process. But then, this was the same rookie who’d tackled her into a collapsing canyon.

    “They told me I was infused when I was sparked, that’s about it. They never really went into the details, only that they didn’t like it much, despite that we needed it.”

    “And you never looked it up?”

    “It never gave me any thought.” He admitted. “But recent circumstances have taught me that I should really start thinking about things as they come instead of waiting for the aftermath. So tell me about it.”

    She revved a bit and grudgingly informed him: “It’s a simple process, really; you take a new spark born from a Spark Well and pump it full of Energon until it’s near maturity. Stop it then, pop it into a body, voila, you have a new soldier who’s battle-ready but still young enough to make good use of gaining experience before the spark reaches full maturity by itself. Happy?”

    “Not particularly. What about it makes it so taboo?”

    “Because it’s…” She hesitates slightly, bewildered by his dependence on her explanations. “… Can’t you figure it out?”

    He considers, before shaking his head.

    Dejected, she revs: “Fine. The reason no-one likes it is because… well, no matter how useful it is as a mechanism of warfare, it’s utterly depraved. Viral, despicable, born from desperation and nothing else. Think of it like this; imagine a human had a baby, and right as it’s born, that baby is taken away and forced to grow up within a minute, straight into an adult body. There is no natural growth, no time to learn and consider and adapt, no time even for memories. One moment a new life, the next a slate to be moulded into whatever is needed. It’s not just about being forced into warfare, Bumblebee. That’s bad enough by itself in concept, but it’s also about having your childhood stolen from you. So many experiences you could have learned, all forced into you within a mere moment and leaving you with nothing but a faux past and a future filled with conflict.”

    “I see.” He said slowly, the gears turning in his head as he processed her words, before adding: “Okay then, that’s all I ask about it. What were you saying before?”

    She recollected it and then replied: “If you truly believed our conflict could be resolved peacefully. Now, call me cynical here, rookie, but I’m afraid to say that I don’t share that opinion. When you’ve seen this war start, lived through it since its beginning, seen exactly what it can spawn, you find that the hope for peace dies a little more every day. What could possibly drive you, then, to have it?

    “Because when we were in that cave, trapped by all those rocks, the others helped each other to help us.” Bumblebee replied, fervent now as he challenged her view. “Autobot and Decepticon, working together for the sake of their friends! And we helped each other as well; I kept the lights on for you, you didn’t try to explode me, we learned from each other- In that one moment we were all working together, and we accomplished something good, something meaningful! Maybe we could have peace, Slipstream, maybe I can believe in peace, so long as we’re still capable of helping each other!”

    And then his voice suddenly gave out, choking in his neck, and all that he managed next was a whimper as his frame shuddered: “And yet… yet… you just turn around on peace. Despite what we went through, despite the fact that cooperation got us all out of there okay, you turned around and helped kill Grimlock. Even after he helped save you, you just turned around and killed my best friend!”

    “Save me? Save me? You delusional demented ditzy piece of scrap.” Slipstream was hissing now, her contemplation overwhelmed by fury, the Autobot recoiling at her suddenly piercing tone. “He would have killed me the moment he saw me under those rocks. He would have taken that bladed tail and jammed it through my head. The only reason he didn’t murder me on sight was because you stopped him, the only reason he didn’t murder everyone else then was because he had to rescue you first. Don’t you fragging make excuses for that animal; saving me was just a nasty side-effect of getting his little mouthpiece back.”

    Bumblebee made to protest, but she silenced him quickly, her tone levelling out into cold harshness now:

    “You’re sad about him dying, fair enough. But this is war, Autobot. And no war goes without someone suffering, someone dying. To you, Grimlock was your best friend, the sweetest fragging dinosaur you ever knew. But to us, he was the monster who tore apart countless members of our faction, without regard for mercy or restraint, without care for reason or rationale. He lived to kill, and he died attempting to kill. Praise his memory if you wish, but your memory is not that of the Decepticons.”

    He hesitates, and she carries on, sensing weakness now: “And you know what? I think you knew that. You always knew that. No matter how friendly he may have been to you, you saw the hate in his optics, you and your cute little power to see what lies in them. You knew of the lives he had taken. I bet you even know that he’s killed other Autobots before. He may have been a friend to you, but to everyone else, he was a monster, plain and simple. And there’s nothing you can do to change that.”

    A long pause, and then his head dropped. The Beetle fell to his knees, body sagging and engine whining softly. Never before had she seen someone look so defeated. His optics dimmed to the point they were nearly complete dark, and he murmured: “Alright. Alright. You win, Slipstream.”

    “Win? No, there is no victory here, Bumblebee.” She replied dully, a spark of pity whimpering in her neurals, born out of some sense for sadness for him, possibly for how utterly low she’d realised both of them, all of their race, had sunken. “Do you know what there is though? A sad little rookie who lost his friend and a disenchanted little medic who lost her freedom. The only victory we’ll find is when one of our factions destroys the other.”

    Her green optics hardened, narrowed as they locked onto him: “And even you know it will come to that, don’t you? This war has gone on for so long, we’ve sunken to such depths, that only annihilation will provide liberation. The only thing we can do is hope that it is our side that wins. But understand this, Bumblebee; this war won’t be won by who was right. It’ll be won by whose left.”

    He had no response. He stared at her blankly for a moment, struggling to formulate something, anything, before he lowered his head and slowly began to back away, tires feebly rolling him backwards as his processor continued to desperately reach for a response, for anything that might contradict her, challenge her, anything. But he had nothing.

    Grimlock was dead, and nothing he could do now would change that. With a final weak glance at her, he turned and fled.

    As the door shut behind him, Slipstream wondered if she ought to feel guilty for breaking a rookie like that, for shattering the sunny demeanour she had known before into yet another disillusioned little sap, before shaking her head. No, there was no point in feeling guilty. What guilt was there in killing Grimlock, a monster consumed by hatred and fire? None. No guilt. No guilty whatsoever.

    There was no room for guilt. Such was war.

    But outside, her guilt is meaningless; Bumblebee took a deep rev, flexing his tires and doors with a sense of relief. Admittedly, the conversation had taken a turn he hadn’t liked, a turn he hadn’t really wanted to go down, but in a way he’d kind of needed that. Perhaps it hadn’t been enlightening, but it had been relieving in a way, in that he could debate fiercely, he could see the perspective of someone else, that he could expand his mind.

    He was still young enough to adapt, after all. Perhaps he hadn’t put up the fight he’d had when they were buried, but he had learned. He had learned. In his beliefs being challenged, he ought to justify them then. If nothing else but to prove her wrong.

    And hey, at least he seemed to have convinced her that Grimlock really was dead. With a hum of satisfaction, he wheeled off down the corridor. He had thinking to do.


    Really, Ellen Sherriff had to find more hobbies other than nature walks. Right now, she was sat in her house, curled up on the couch and idly munching on some crisps whilst watching some old monster movies, something about mutant turtles or whatever. A lazy Saturday, as it tended to be; no work, no bills, no motivation. Urgh, she hated being lazy, but at the same time she was just too lazy.

    She considered any other options she might have to do today other than watching old films. She could give Jazz a call, see if he was up for anything; maybe meet one of those friends he liked to talk about. Or perhaps head into town, see if the shops had something interesting. The gym perhaps, meet a girlfriend there and work out. All good options, but…

    Well, there wasn’t anything fundamentally wrong with being lazy now and then. She exercised enough to make up for it, right?

    She shrugged to herself and snuggled further into the couch, munching on another crisp. Ah well, at least the movie was fun-

    Her attention was drawn then by the sound of a passing car’s engine. Normally, this would be no significant thing; after all, cars passed by houses all the time. But what struck her was that the engine was idling, indicating the car had stopped. And it had stopped right outside her house.

    Bizarre. She wasn’t expecting anyone today, and the postman had already done this road. A surprise visit from one of her sisters? Dad popping by? Someone else entirely?

    Curiously, Ellen got off of the couch, turned off the TV and meandered over to the window, drawing the curtain back somewhat to investigate the noise. Much to her shock, the idling engine belonged to a police car, a bulkier vehicle than the usual fare, with its driver just now exiting the vehicle. Why were the police here? Had something happened? Was she in trouble?

    Oh boy. No-one ever wanted a surprise visit from law enforcement. Paranoia hissed at her before she stuffed it down and darted to the door; the least she could do right now was to be prompt, polite and hopefully evade any trouble. Smoothing down her clothes, smoothing down her hair, trying to look halfway presentable, she reached the door and snapped it open as soon as she heard a knock on it.

    The police officer, a stunningly beautiful and curvaceous woman, was waiting outside, her uniform pristine and well-kept and her composure almost painful in its professionalism. Sharp eyes, deep brown in colour and vaguely reminiscent of gleaming knives, proved so intense that Ellen had to take a moment to regain herself after being struck down by them locking onto her.

    “Um, hello! M-may I help you, officer?”

    “That depends if you’re the person I need to speak to.” The policewoman replied, her voice every bit as inviting as the rest of her and yet as dangerously sharp as her eyes; Ellen’s spine shivered unpleasantly. “You are Miss-“ She checked a notepad. “Ellen Marie Sherriff, correct?”

    Tentatively, Ellen nodded, feeling very uneasy inside: “Yes, yes I am. Is something the matter?”

    “Unfortunately so. My name is Officer Betty, and I’ve been sent to personally inform you that your sister, Mrs Katie Sherriff, has been inducted into hospital.”

    “W-what? My, my sister, in hospital?!”

    “We believe she was involved in a car crash. She’s been taken into intensive care, and the rest of your family has been updated. We presumed you would want to come see her, so I’d be more than happy to take you there to her.”

    Ellen doesn’t quite hear her, because she’s swaying on her feet in horror at the idea of her sister, her precious and beloved sister, in any kind of peril, in intensive care even. The idea of Katie, strong and confident and enthusiastic Katie laying in a hospital bed, Katie who had always looked out for her brought down by a car crush, had her stomach churning sickeningly.

    “Is, is she okay?!”

    “Last I was told, she appeared to be stable, still under care.” Betty replied. “But things can change. I think it would be best for you to see for yourself how it may progress. I’ll wait in the car if you need to finalise anything. Let me know if you’d prefer to stay here.”

    But as she’s turning to head back to the car, Ellen is already racing upstairs. She’s not staying. Her sister needs here.

    Up in her room, she grabbed everything she might need, phone, wallet, keys, ID, rummaging through the drawers of her bureau lest there was anything else she might need-

    She suddenly paused upon brushing past something in her drawer, something that caught her attention for whatever reason. Noting it to be her Taser, a gift from her sister just in case, she hesitated, wondering why she was even contemplating the tool. Who would need a Taser just for a trip to the hospital? But then, there had been that shiver down her spine, hadn’t there? Some odd sense of worry born from those sharp eyes, the gentleness yet underlined danger of that voice…

    And if experience had taught her anything, one ought to pay attention to when their spine shivered. Better safe than sorry.

    Snagging it and sliding it into a back pocket, she decreed herself ready and rushed down the stairs. Around the house she runs, making sure everything is locked, shut off, ship-tight, and only when her home is secure does she go for the exit. Reaching the front door, she spun round and shut it, locked it, before darting to the police car. Officer Betty was waiting inside, examining a message on her phone, before noting the other female pulling the door open and sliding in next to her, shutting the door behind her and snapping on her seatbelt.

    “Okay, I’m ready. Shall we go now?”

    The police officer nodded, a tad bemused at the haste and intensity of the other woman, before starting up the engine in a feral roar and pulling the car out, promptly heading down the road at an intense pace. Ellen was a bit stunned at such speed being pulled on an urban street, but at the same time she was too anxious to reach her family to put much care into the thought.

    Speaking of family, she rings her mother, to see if she was already by her stricken daughter’s side, and receives confirmation that, yes, she was there with her, and that other relatives were on their way. She promised her mother that she would be there soon and hangs up, lost in her oncoming worry. She has to reach her sister. She has to.

    Officer Betty can only offer that she’d go as fast as she can, within reason of course. Grief over the possible loss of family was not something she was well-adapted to counselling, so her method of sympathy was to ensure the distraught female got to her family as swiftly as possible.

    And to be fair, she’s true to her word; their journey is going quite swiftly, Officer Betty not hesitating even slightly to use her sirens to coerce any cars in the way to move aside. Of course, there was still a fair while to go before they reached the hospital, given they are only now exiting town and heading for the forest. It makes Ellen anxious, to have this time passing between her and her sister; each moment could see her slipping away, each moment could be a blessing or a condemnation.

    She doesn’t know what she’ll do if her sister has… she doesn’t know. She doesn’t know-

    As their drive takes them past the forest, Ellen was suddenly shaken out of her thoughts when the car began to slow down, casting a bewildered glance at the driver.

    “We need to make a stop here.” Officer Betty muttered, bringing the car to a halt on the side of a walkway. “I have to double-check some details from my superiors quickly, and I’ll be done faster if I’m not multi-tasking.”

    She paused, glanced at Ellen, and added: “Besides, you look like you could use some fresh air. Probably be good for you to have a quick walk-around.”

    “I’m worried…” Ellen murmured, rubbing her arms unconsciously as she peered out of the window towards the treeline, the forest that has comforted her for a long time. “I’m really worried… Katie, she’s my best friend, the best sister I could have asked for. I can’t stand… I….”

    “I know what you mean.” Betty sighed, reaching for the handle and opening the door. “One of my friends is in a bad way herself. Here’s hoping it all ends well, right?”

    “Right.” The passenger replied, promptly reminded of when Jazz had spoken to her about one of his own friends being hurt. The friend had recovered, thankfully, but it made Ellen wonder; why did good people always end up suffering the most?

    Ellen opened the door and stepped out into the fresh forest air with a deep shuddering breath. It was a familiar air, and for all her fears right now, it comforted her somewhat. Officer Betty sidled over to the front of the vehicle and leaning against it, tapping onto the headset nestled in an ear and murmuring to someone or other as her passenger strode a few metres away, pacing in a circle with grave uncertainty.

    She had no idea what she might find when they got to the hospital. For all she knew, her sister could be dead or on the brink. For all she knew, it had been a mistake and it wasn’t her sister at all, or maybe she was recovering even as she thought this through. Personally, the latter thoughts were more reassuring than the former.

    But the waiting, the waiting was always the worst part. Getting there, getting into the hospital, finding her sister, not knowing what she’d find. It made her heart stutter, it made her lungs tighten. Every moment could see her precious sister coming closer and closer to death, or to salvation. She doesn’t know, she doesn’t know, and it terrifies her. She has to grip her own arms to keep under control.

    A minute passed, as these thoughts had her growing more and more restless, before she decided she couldn’t stand it anymore and asked: “Should we get going now, Officer?”

    She turned back to the car and its driver as she said this, but then she froze in stunned disbelief, because Officer Betty had vanished. There was no sign of her, neither around nor in the car, by the road, by the trees, nothing. For all her assessment of the area was, it was as if she’d never been there.

    “Officer Betty?” She called, tone promptly and uneasily worried. Where had she gone? She wasn’t around the car, and there had been no sound of her running away or something else. What was-

    “So sorry, but Officer Betty had to be reassigned.”

    Ellen froze, because the voice of the very person she was looking for had just sounded, taunting and cruel, but it was louder now, distorted almost in some kind of mechanical fashion. Frightened, she glanced all around her, body tensed up in fear, but there was still no sign of her. What was this?!

    “But don’t worry, you won’t be left alone.”

    And then the car itself broke apart. Panels, doors and the roof flung open as the vehicle begin to twist and turn on itself, as if some invisible force were ripping it apart. But it wasn’t ripping apart; the amalgamation of metal was beginning to reform, convert, rearing higher and higher before her.

    Thunderstruck, Ellen could only stare in incomprehensible horror as claws emerged from the bottom of the abomination, thick arms protruded from the side and it seemed to all lockdown at once into a robotic form. The ground shook as it took a step, the human wobbling and falling backwards in her dazed state as it began to lean towards her.

    Ellen’s world was spinning around her, panic flowing through every nerve yet her muscles remained paralysed and useless, as the robot’s arm split apart to reveal a glowing blue cannon, mind reeling in a horrific mixture of confusion, fear, and sickness. This couldn’t be happening, this was impossible, what was going on, what was this thing, was her sister okay, what if this monster had-

    Atop the metal monstrosity’s chest, formed from the car’s rear, extended a head, crimson eyes flaring to life as the hideous metal face gazed down at her with a vicious smile. Leaning in towards the trembling and panicked organic, it sneered in a different voice, a deeper and sharper metallic voice: “I’ll be your escort now, Miss Sherriff.”

    The cannon aimed at her and then her ears, her brain, her entire body, began ringing with the most atrocious high-pitched noises she had ever heard and she couldn’t even cry out before everything went black.


    “I’m astounded, Barricade.” Soundwave said, legitimately impressed as he took the human from the police car, gently settling her onto the grass as the other Decepticons gathered around to inspect the hostage. “You actually managed to lure her in with some amount of efficiency, you actually had the foresight to link me to her relatives lest she tried to call any of them and you actually incapacitated her harmlessly. I’d have thought you’d have crashed yourself in some petty argument with her halfway here.”

    Barricade snorted: “I’m a con of many talents, Soundwave, unlike you and your one-trick sonic shtick.”

    “Hmm, good rhyme. Can’t argue with that.”

    “Of course you can’t.”

    “So if we have the human now, do we call the Autobots?” Sideways asked, tentatively poking the unconscious organic. “I mean, humans don’t last long, do they? They need foods and drinks and toilets and stuff, otherwise they die. It’s weird; they die so easily if you think about it.”

    “She will survive; my scans see that her nutritional levels are adequate. For your primary question, yes, we will call the Autobots now.” Grindor elaborated, calmly grasping Sideways by the shoulder and pulling him back lest his poking wind up causing too much bruising or something equally unfavourable to human anatomy. “I have pre-prepared a message for them, a message which Soundwave possesses and, if he’s willing, will now transmit.”

    “Consider it accomplished, Grindor.” The Lamborghini replied, folding his arms with satisfaction. “All we need to do now is wait for the Autobot’s response.”

    “Very well. Sideways, assume patrol around the outlined border. If this trade does not end adequately, we’ll require long-ranged support. Barricade, Soundwave, remain here with our guest whilst I conduct a final examination of our defences.”

    “Sure Grindor! I’ll do it, no worries!” Sideways squeaked, before darting off on his single wheel, pulling his sniper rifle from his back as he vanished through the trees. Grindor watched him go, before striding off to inspect the defensive perimeter he had constructed.

    In the meantime, the two cars settled down next to the unconscious human, silently contemplating what they would do when the Autobots came. Both of them held the view that Grindor would take most of the responsibility, but while Soundwave simply hoped things would remain pacifistic, Barricade was dreaming of a fight breaking out and Autobots necks breaking in his hands.

    Of course, the whole plan depended on the Lieutenant responding to his conscience in saving the human he’d put into harm’s way. They were fairly certain he would, given the predictable sentiment of Autobots, but at the same time there was always the chance that he might not, which would render this operation a waste of time. Alternatively, other Autobots might come along seeking a fight, which would be a tad irritating given the aim here was to bargain.

    Well, at least the berserker wouldn’t be amongst these options.

    “Nice new outfit, Barricade.” Soundwave offered to break the silence, looking Barricade’s new details up and down; his body was the same in terms of overall appearance, but with small differences ranging from the colour scheme to the sirens on his shoulders, which had replaced the previous vehicle’s spoilers. “Based upon native law enforcement, if I recollect.”

    “Yes indeed.” Barricade replied smugly, flexing said sirens on his shoulders. “I figured the best way to lure out a human was to take on a shape humans could trust. There’s few things sweeter than watching dumb little morons walk right in my claws.”

    “You impress me yet again. I ought to give you a gold star for such strategic consideration.”

    “I ought to get a gold star just for existing. Anyway, it’s just a temporary get-up; I prefer my old look personally. I think the crimson muscle car suits me much better than some law-keeper or whatever.”

    “Yes, your previous vehicle form relays your crude temperament quite nicely.”

    “This coming from the fancy-pants piece of scrap car you’re wearing.”

    “Forgive me for attempting to bring some amount of sophistication to the Darksyde-“

    And then he froze, and Barricade’s bubbling retort/curse froze as well, because both of them became abruptly aware that the human just moved. She had remained unconscious throughout most of their discussion, but both of them now noticed that there were signs of her inevitable recovery; limbs moving now and then, faint little whimpers coming from her fleshy little throat and occasionally a dazed fluttering of the eyelids.

    Of course, Barricade hadn’t put his cannon to full power when knocking her out so that her systems didn’t stay offline to the point it risked a fatality. Which in turn meant that her recovery would be swifter.

    Both of their optics brightened a bit in unease; neither of them were prepared to deal with an organic hostage so soon. All Barricade knew was how to scare humans, and Soundwave felt like he wasn’t ready to deal with it so soon. So, naturally, they called upon who would best known as the adult of the situation.

    Soundwave rose his voice: “Grindor, she’s waking up. Should I put her back under?”

    “No.” The tank replied, striding over to them now, his examinations complete. “It is best she remains awake for this, lest the Lieutenant assume her dead and attack us immediately. Besides, perhaps he may have relayed to her secrets that we could use to further exploit him.”

    “I doubt that, but I see your point. What would you have us do then?”

    “Considering Barricade being Barricade, I doubt she will appreciate seeing him again so soon, and you, though far more hospitable, would only provoke further fear in her at just how many of us there are. Both of you retreat for a moment whilst I ensure she remains calm and updated of the situation.”

    Glad to be free of possible pressure, the two of them just did that, darting away from the human and the Trojan and standing by some nearby trees, curious to see how Grindor would handle it.

    Kneeling down by the human, Grindor waited for awareness to return to her. And awareness returned indeed; she was soon moving with a tad more focus, a tad more reason, eyes blearily fluttering as they attempted. And then they locked onto the tank, a gigantic mass of metal topped with glowing red eyes. She gave a piercing scream that had the onlookers flinching and immediately attempted to beat a retreat, a sudden burst of adrenaline reinvigorating her dazed awakening.

    However, disorientated as she was, her efforts to crawl away proved quite futile and somewhat amusing. Nevertheless, Grindor leaned over and pinned her down with a claw, halting her struggles as he firmly declared: “Human, calm down. I’m not going to hurt you-“

    “Oh-oh-oh my, oh my, oh gosh-“

    “Calm down.” He repeated. “I’m not going to hurt you. Just calm down.”

    “But the, the police car, Betty, she, it, the monster told me my sister, my sister was, my sister, she-“

    She was rambling now, incoherent in her panic and confusion and fear, and the Trojan employed a combination of both firm force and diplomatic intent.

    “Ellen.” Grindor said strongly, and the sound of her name had her pause in surprise. “Please. Relax. Give me a chance to explain. I promise, I will make it clear to you.”

    He waited, eyeing her curiously, but she had fallen silent now, breathing deeply to try and calm herself. It took her a while, eyes staring wide and fearful of him throughout her efforts to recuperate, to finally reach the point where she had somewhat calmed down to a reasonable level, her neurological activity dimming somewhat. Her head turned to see the other two standing nearby, and he wondered if he would panic again, but seeing their awkward postures must relay to her that they were no threat.

    Her eyes flickered back to him, confused, not understanding, and he murmured: “We won’t hurt you. I will explain everything. Will you listen?”

    A moment’s silence, the two of them gazing at each other, before she, very slowly and awkwardly, nodded.

    Grindor released her then, and when she didn’t make a move to try and flee, instead merely sitting up and regulating her breathing to keep herself under control, he spoke: “First, and most importantly, your sister is perfectly safe and unharmed; the idea of her being hospitalised was merely a deception we employed in order to bring you here. She is in no way hurt or even aware of us.”

    She froze upon hearing this, at first dancing between fear and relief, but when she seemed about ready to protest, he added: “I know it was unfair to lie to you like that, but it was the only way. My comrades and I, we have a mission to conduct upon your world and you may be the one person capable of helping us.”

    He sat back and declared: “We are autonomous robotic organisms from a world far, far from yours. We have come to your planet in pursuit of dangerous criminals, criminals who seek to exploit your kind’s resources in the hopes of leading a rebellion against my home’s government. My name is Grindor, and I am leading the hunt for these criminals.”

    “Robotic organisms? From a… from another planet? So… basically, you’re… you’re alien robots? From space?” She asked slowly, speaking at last with her voice frail in her rather unstable state, mind attempting to comprehend the sheer scale of what she was undergoing, now examining him bewilderedly in her revelation of the alien life-form before her.

    “We are robots, as in we are mechanical entities.” Grindor replied. “But we are not completely as robotic as what your human perceptions may assume. Primarily, unlike your robots, we have the ability to think and feel for ourselves; we have emotions, consciousness, philosophies and dreams. We are not another species’ creations, nor are we emotionless machines. As your kind do, we grow and we learn and we forge our own paths in this universe.”

    She considered that, before murmuring: “And there are… criminals? Criminals of your kind, here on Earth?”

    “Yes. They have come here to plunder your planet’s resources. Think of them as pirates, self-serving degenerates seeking only their own glory.”

    Ellen considered that, before tentatively looking over at Barricade: “Okay. I… think I get it, but… if you’re here to catch criminals, then how do you explain him? He, he scared the life out of me, he put some sort of energy gun to my head. If you’re, if you’re the robot police, then why-”

    “He is Barricade.” Grindor replied, Soundwave idly waving at the human when her gaze went to him. “No need to be afraid of him, though; despite his crudeness, he too seeks only the imprisonment of our enemies. The gun you speak of is merely a sonic distorter, designed only to incapacitate. I’d hoped he’d had enough confidence for you to remain conscious throughout the trip, but alas, he doesn’t have much tact.”

    “That’s what it’s called on your world?” She ask, disbelieving. “Luring people to the middle of nowhere, scaring them to death and knocking them out with some kind of sonic weapon? You call that a lack of tact?”

    “You’ll have to forgive us, Ellen; our rationale is somewhat different from your kind.” Grindor replied. “Nevertheless, I apologise for his misinterpretation and assure you-“ A sharp glare at the car. “-That he will not do that again.”

    “Of course not.” Barricade replied coolly. Soundwave merely rolled his optics around, keeping whatever sarcasm he had to himself for the moment, as the police car focussed his attention on the human and added: “Sorry about that, by the way. When you’re dealing with viral frags like the bots we’re chasing, you kind of forget how to handle the little things.”

    Ellen just gulped a little, unsure of she should believe that or not, before deciding that the best thing to do was to just forgive, forget and never talk to him again. Returning her attention to the leader, she asked: “And the other one?”

    “Soundwave, our communications expert. Fairly pleasant once you get past his sardonic quips.”

    Soundwave waved again: “Hi.”

    “Okay… So why then? Why did you send, um, Barricade after me? Why am I even here?”

    “We have taken you here.” He explained. “Because you have unknowingly associated with one of our greatest enemies; the Lieutenant, a commander of the enemy faction and one who has eluded us to the point that even his name is unknown to us. For whatever reason, he has seen fit to interact with you, and thus we hope that, in coercing him to follow you, we can negotiate with him in releasing someone he has taken from us, or perhaps even outright capture him, given our ultimate ideal is to return him home to face justice.”

    “R-Really? One of the, the criminal robots?”

    “Yes, their leader. As you must have seen from Barricade, we possess the ability to mimic your species’ technology and vehicles, and we project crude holograms as well, allowing us to interact with humans without them realising our true nature. One of our scouts discovered your interactions with the Lieutenant, ergo beginning this chain of events.”

    “This Lieutenant then… who is he?” She asked slowly, as if someone in her mind were bothering her as she took it in. “What does he even look like?”

    “These are the vehicle forms of his band, gathered from previous attempts to capture them. The Lieutenant is one of these vehicles, and we believe we know which it is, but it would best for you to confirm which one, in case he may have changed it.” Grindor said, optics flickering and projecting a crude hologram of seven vehicles. Ellen stared at them, briefly in wonder at how these robots could mimic all these vehicles with ease. There was a Search-and-Rescue helicopter, a massive vehicle that had her shuddering at how huge the being inside must be, a jeep, a tow truck, a tanker truck and-




    A Pontiac Solstice. Sleek, silver, tinted windows, hardtop-

    It even had the license plate.

    No. That couldn’t be possible. Her whole stance changed, suddenly leaning forward intently and blinking rapidly as if she were making sure her eyes weren’t betraying her. How could it be possible? Was it even possible? That the owner of the Solstice was… was an alien robot criminal? How could that be?

    But she had seen it, hadn’t she? Grindor had said his kind could take on the forms of technology, and she seen for herself the one called Barricade revealing himself from a police car after. And Grindor clearly had tank treads and tank armour on him. The other one, Soundwave, had car bits too.

    And he said they could make holograms. The display here was one, and Officer Betty must have been one as well. If they could do all of that, then… that meant…

    Trembling, she pointed a finger at the Solstice: “That-that car. I’ve seen that car. I’ve been in that car. The driver, he, he stopped to help me one day, and I… I thought-“

    “Then that car is the Lieutenant, enemy of my homeland and the traitor we seek.” Grindor said softly, voice understanding and compassionate. “The vehicle is nothing more than a disguise, and its driver is nothing more than a holographic lie.”

    A lie, he said, just like Barricade had lied. But this was worse. So much worse.

    Because Jazz had… Jazz had been her friend. He’d helped her one day, he’d confided his secrets

    And all along, he’d been a robot from space? An alien deemed traitor by his own kind? A criminal? Dangerous?

    A liar.

    Her throat constricted. She suddenly felt the full weight of this situation, the full horrors of what all those times with Jazz had been. Because all of their talks, all of their interactions, their hanging out, their banter, even her dumb little crush on him, had all been nothing but a lie perpetrated by a robot from space. And for what reason? What reason? Why?

    Tears were leaking from her eyes now as she stared blankly at the display; even the picture of the robot next to the car confirmed it; the black visor and the smug grin reeked of the friendly man she had grown so fond of.

    Jazz was an alien space robot criminal that the other ones had come to apprehend, someone who had come to plunder her own planet, and he spoken to her so kindly, so sweetly, all while plotting how he might ruin her planet.

    Was that it? Had it all been a sick joke for him, to toy with the natives and laugh at their ignorance? Just a twisted sense of amusement, exploiting others around him, ruining their lives. Just like he had quite well planned to ruin hers…

    “Why’s she leaking?” Barricade whispered to Soundwave, bewildered by the fluids leaking from her eyes.

    “Overwhelming emotional dilemma brought on by crushing reality regarding the Lieutenant’s true self.” Soundwave responded quietly. “Clearly she’d come to see him as a friend, a confidant, and thus this revelation of him being a criminal robot from space has shaken her to the core.”

    “Ah…. Humans are such pansies.”

    “Shut up.”

    As they did this, Grindor shut off his display, somewhat pitying of the human before him and her silent tears, her suffering the consequences of this revelation. It wasn’t fair for her to have go through this, and yet there was no choice but to force her into it. He lamented how the innocent had to suffer for the supposedly righteous to achieve their objectives, before deciding to comfort her.

    “Ellen…” Grindor said softly, gently tilting a claw under her chin so he could raise her head to meet his optics, crimson lights dim in their sympathy as his other claw moved in to wipe away a tear. “I know this is overwhelming for you, to know that a friend of yours has been nothing more than a liar, but I assure you that we will bring him to justice, for both the crimes he has committed against my home and the deception he has uncaringly put you through. Thanks to you, we will make sure his crimes do not go unpunished.”

    “But… but why? Why me? Why would he…” The human whimpered, seeking any kind of enlightenment within crimson optics.

    Alas, the tank merely shook his head dejectedly: “I don’t know. Perhaps a rare display of compassion for another, or perhaps an ulterior motive. Since he has not seen fit to harm you, I wonder if his intentions may be innocent, but I cannot say for sure until I can interrogate him. Again, Ellen, I’m sorry that you have to go through this.”

    She can only nod as he wipes away her remaining tears, softly murmuring her thanks for his sympathy. This had been a harrowing day for her, all of this happening at once, and she just wanted nothing more than to go home.

    “You are such a fragging sap, Grindor.” Barricade snorted.

    The Trojan rose up then and cast an irritated glare at the car, declaring: “Barricade, I understand that Hound’s sins against you have long provoked your callousness, but kindly do me the honour of shutting your mouth and having some amount of basic courtesy.”

    “Whatever.” Barricade huffed, waving his hand dismissively but otherwise unwilling to challenge the tank as Soundwave’s tires span slightly in amusement, before he paused for a moment, systems picking up some interesting readings, before he spoke up:

    “Grindor, I have detected a ground bridge signal appearing at the edge of the forest.”

    Grindor nodded slowly: “Very well. Our enemy has arrived.”

    Rearing up to his full height, noting the sudden fear on the human’s face, Grindor said: “Ellen, if all goes to plan, you won’t even see conflict today. The Lieutenant’s first priority will be to engage in diplomacy, and then have one of his minions take you to safety. Only when you are secured will he dare engage in battle with us. Both our need of you and whatever reasons he has for interacting with you will end, and thus you need never hear from our kind again. Your life will resume normalcy.”

    “Normalcy… I kind of doubt that, to be honest.” She mumbled, wiping away any remaining tears that yet persisted, before her tone became worried and she spoke up: “But if he attacks you-”

    “We will be fine. Go to Soundwave now and stay close to him; Barricade and I will greet the Lieutenant whilst he ensures your safety.” The tank said, before gesturing for the police car to come to him and stepping around the stunned human, the ground shaking with each step he took as Barricade stalked after him, casting a bemused glance at her. She stared after them for a moment, before turning her attention to the other robot, who was gazing curiously at her before eventually beckoning her to come over.

    Tentatively, she got to her feet, a little bit unsteady, and teetered over to him, the robot obligingly offering her a massive hand when she stumbled a bit. His fingers were sharp like claws, but they were warm and sturdy to the touch. Up close, she could see the wiring and joints of his fingers and wrist, seeing them go into a blocky arm laced with glowing speaker-like mechanisms.

    A moment of brief fascination at his appearance, before she was distracted by his mechanised tone.

    “Don’t worry, Ellen.” The blue robot, Soundwave, said softly, looking down at her with a gleaming yellow visor that comforted her a little in its soft light. “Everything will be fine.”

    “Are… are you sure?”

    She didn’t know these robots; one of them had kidnapped her. But between them and these criminals they hunted, between them and the treacherous Lieutenant whom she had believed to be her sweet friend Jazz, she could extend concern for them.

    “I’m positive.” He replied reassuringly. “You’re in safe hands.”


    “C’mon, c’mon!” Hot Shot was whining, hopping around outside with his panels shaking and his optics gleaming. “Hurry up you slow cogs! I haven’t transformed in ages! I gotta get the alternators flowing!”

    “For once I agree with you, Hot Shot.” Cliffjumper mused, smiling slightly at such a possibility. “I’m practically bursting at the seams ready for a transformation. Knowing my luck though, my alternator circuits will probably give up halfway.”

    “I bet you they do.”

    “Two Energon cubes, rookie?”

    “Done and done. Say bye-bye to tonight’s refuelling, Jumper!”

    Warpath was simply flexing as he sauntered down the ramp after them, Kup and Wheeljack on his heels as the inventor offered: “I know what you bots mean. When I first got this mode, I was practically buzzing to shift into it. These Earth vehicles, they really get into you, both figuratively and literally.”

    “I think I worked out the literal part myself, Wheeljack.” Warpath replied jokingly.

    “Hey bot, I’m just saying.”

    The quintet settled themselves into a circle outside the ship, the four soon-to-be converters about ready to transform for the first time in a long time. There was an edge of apprehension, admittedly; going too long without shifting could result in the alternator circuitry becoming sluggish, but there was excitement as well. Even Kup seemed to have a brighter shine to his optics with being able to get out and transform at last.

    Wheeljack clapped his hands together and declared: “Alright, alright, we’ll do this one at a time. I wanna see some good shifting today. Okay, um, Hot Shot, little buddy, you go first.”

    Hot Shot let out a whop of excitement before darting into the centre of the circle and recommending everyone take a step back lest the aura of awesomeness he was sure to exude frazzled their circuitry. Somehow the others all doubted that.

    Regardless, his vehicle form was impressive once he got down and shifted into it; some kind of bright orange race car, a one-seat aerodynamic vehicle clearly designed for speed and speed alone. Quite cool, though not circuitry-frazzling. They offered their approval, before looking for the second participant.

    Warpath was next, and he wasted no time in converting to his Earth mode. His transformation was heavier, noisier and took longer than the rookie, but it was an impressive sight to see crimson panelling form around the body, treads and plating and a turret all locking into place, forming a stunning depiction of an Earth tank, though recolored from the general greens and greys of typical tanks into a gleaming crimson.

    “Not bad, Warpath, not bad. I see you picked your own colours for this vehicle though.” Wheeljack mused. “How come?”

    “Red is the colour of blood on this world, at least for more advanced organisms.” Warpath replied, testing out his tread as his turret swivelled to and fro. “In their honour, I paint myself in their blood, their vengeance spilling against the Decepticons.”

    “Morbid. Very morbid. But cool! Who’s next then?”

    Cliffjumper glanced at Kup, whom simply nodded in confirmation that he was allowed to go next, before declaring: “Looks like it’s me. Stand back, Autobots, and let Cliffjumper show you how it’s done.”

    Hot Shot merely scoffed, rocking on his tires as he and Warpath obligingly reversed to make room for their comrade, whom ventilated slightly before initiating his transformation. He wasn’t as quick as Hot Shot, nor as hefty as Warpath, and his vehicle form, a brighter red than Warpath’s dark crimson, seemed to be a Dodge Challenger muscle car. It was stocky, but functional, and Wheeljack supposed he had no reason to dislike it.

    “Hey hey, I did it!” He crowed triumphantly. “Didn’t even freeze up! I’m looking forward to have some extra Energon tonight, Hot Shot.”

    “Oh phooey to you, jerk.”

    “Not bad, not bad.” Wheeljack mused. “Not much flair, but seems practical. Can’t argue with it. Right, and then there was Kup. Show us what you can do, Wrecker.”

    Kup proceeded to do just that, taking a step backward and converting into his newly acquired vehicle form. Like Warpath, his vehicle was military standard, but unlike Warpath he retained the dark green of the template. The truck he turned into was a flatbed, a tad more compact than most but still a rugged and durable vehicle capable of carrying loads in the rear. Wheeljack could already imagine a smaller Autobot sat in it, firing happily at others. Cool.

    “Awesome!” Wheeljack crowed, stepping amidst the four vehicles, all examining their capabilities and flexing doors and windshield wipers. “Finally, some extra variation in the ranks! Got a tank, a truck, a race-car, a regular car- Wait, scratch that, just the first three then.”

    “Go to the Pit, Wheeljack.” Cliffjumper offered kindly.

    “It is interesting.” Kup noted, flexing his steering wheel. “These vehicles are clearly designed for occupants. These additional mechanisms and protrusions are insignificant to overall function, yet perfectly suited for obeying the demands of their organic creators. I feel a tad spacious, though it is not unpleasant.”

    “I’ll got a spoiler!” Hot Shot crowed, flexing said spoiler. “It makes me even faster, and it looks awesome too! Heck, it’d look awesome anyway, what with me wearing it.”

    “The treads are alright.” Warpath mused. “Not quite as versatile as hovering systems, but they have a nice sense of substance. I wonder what it would be like to run them over a Decepticon?”

    “Ha, always thinking with your violence, Warpath.” Cliffjumper chortled.

    “What can I say, I live for the pow-“

    Suddenly, there was a voice sounding from the hatch, and all of them turned (well, Wheeljack turned, the rest of them sort of aligned the fronts of their vehicles modes towards it) to see Arcee at the doorway, her expression sullen and her tone displeased: “I hate to break up your car party here, but Ratchet’s just received some bad news.”

    With that, she darted out of sight, and the Autobots around Wheeljack promptly resumed their robot forms in a mass conversion, Hot Shot the first to finish his shift and thus the first to start asking: “What was that about? What’s she asking for?”

    “Didn’t you even listen?” Cliffjumper said, bonking the other Autobot on the head. “She said Ratchet got bad news, so we got bad news. We need to check it out!”

    “Agreed, soldier.” Kup declared. “Autobots, we’ll have to put our vehicular tests on hold. File in.”

    He led the way back up to the ramp, striding up it to the door with Hot Shot bouncing at his heels. Cliffjumper followed after, contemplative, leaving Warpath and Wheeljack to bring up the rear. The tank saw fit to ask: “So, what ka-blam do you think is happening?”

    “Considering previous ‘bad news’ scenarios on this planet, I’m willing to bet something irksome.”

    “Just irksome?”

    “Very irksome.”

    Ratchet was standing by the main console when the group reached the control room, his expression a bizarre mix of unease, anger and shock. It wasn’t an expression Wheeljack could say he liked, upon entering the control room after Kup and catching sight of it. Granted, Ratchet tended to wear it a lot, but Wheeljack liked to think he had a good idea of when it meant that something that simply had the medic paranoid and when it meant something actually bad was going on.

    Arcee, standing next to him, wasn’t too fazed by whatever news had perturbed the medic. If anything, it seemed to simply frustrate her. The tow truck wondered what sort of incident had coerced such two different reactions. Of course, it would have something to do with the Decepticons, given the fact the console a fairly weak hologram of their insignia.

    Wheeljack idly remembered the last time he’d seen such a sight, the enemy’s logo portrayed before them. Of course, that time had been rather taxing on all of them, considering who was at stake. He could only hope this round wouldn’t be as neural-wracking.

    As they all filed in, Kup, ever the leader, promptly stalked forward to the other two Autobots and demanded: “What is it, medic? Is it a Decepticon incursion?”

    “Unfortunately so.” Ratchet murmured, shaking his head slightly as he was having a bit of trouble comprehending it. “But it is not a… standard event. My crew experienced a scenario similar to this current situation before, but the stakes were far higher and the reasoning more plausible. But now it is… I think you’ll have to hear it to believe it.”

    The Autobots gathered around, before Ratchet activated the message. The insignia changed the head of a Decepticon that Wheeljack promptly identified as one called Grindor, whom spoke:

    ”Autobots of planet Earth, I am Grindor, engineer of the Decepticons. I send you this message in the hopes of striking a bargain with your fabled Lieutenant. We have uncovered his secret, the friendship he has made with the human named Ellen Marie Sherriff, and as such we have seen fit to take her hostage. But don’t fear, Lieutenant; we have no intention to harm her. All we ask is that, in exchange for her safe return, you will return our medic Slipstream to us and thus allow all of us to part ways with our friends by our sides. I do not wish to spill innocent blood, Lieutenant, and I know you don’t want that either. Meet me at these coordinates, and we shall see whether or not you truly care for Miss Sherriff.”

    With that, the message ended and the hologram died down, leaving only a simple set of coordinates and the Autobots standing in the darkness staring blankly at where the Decepticon’s face had just been.

    And then Warpath said: “What?”

    Wheeljack revved with annoyance whilst throwing his arms outward in a dramatic cry of irritation, causing the other Autobots to perk up in surprise at the normally cool tow truck acting this way, before he declared: “Fantastic! Fan-fragging-fastic! Just what I needed today! Right then, lemme set all of you straight; long story short, Jazz made a human friend, and now that human friend has been captured, and now Grindor is out to make us trade the medic con for her. Make sense?”



    “Oh dear.”

    “Jazz has human friends? Can I have one?”

    Kup revved slightly in irritation as he made his own deductions, asking: “So essentially, the Lieutenant’s sentiment has put an innocent in jeopardy and given the enemy an opening to exploit.”

    “Pretty much.” Wheeljack replied brightly. “And if I know certain helicopters like I think I do, then we ought to hear a message just about-“ He immediately paused and tapped into his com-link, cheerily stating: “Oh hey Evac, I was just talking about you. No, all good things this time- Shut up, I never said that. Anyway, our ship picked up the message right? Yeah, figured as much. Jazz really sucks sometimes, doesn’t he? No, I’m allowed to say that, I don’t care how high his rank is. Yeah sure, whatever. Listen, I’m just gonna talk it out with Kup for a bit. You go tell our bright and intelligent commander, bring him up to speed, and then tell him to ring me in a bit, okay? Okay cool. See you later, bye.”

    He cut down the communication and continued, addressing Ratchet: “Right then, our crew knows what’s up. Jazz will ring us in a bit.”

    “Naturally. This is something he ought to be concerned with, after all.” Ratchet grumbled. “He’d assumed I was merely paranoid in wondering if his little friendship might put us in jeopardy, he’d told me to let it go. But lo how the tables turn on him now. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Decepticons have already killed the poor human.”

    “If it’s Grindor hosting the trade…” Wheeljack mused, a finger tapping his chin in thought. “Then we don’t have to worry so much about whether or not they’ll hurt Ellen. He’s not the back-stabbing bully that Starscream is, he’s actually got some sense of a moral compass. I doubt he’ll let anyone else with him lay a finger on her.”

    “Regardless of whatever morals he might possess, the fact remains that he is Decepticon, as if any who stand beside him.” Warpath said. “And Decepticons care little for the lives of those they deem weaker. The sooner we act, the better.”

    “How did the Decepticons even find the human in the first place?” Cliffjumper asked.

    “Her interactions with Jazz led to exposure to his spark radiation.” Ratchet promptly enlightened. “Since humans lack shielding of such energies, this led to forming an abnormal variant of spark radiation permeating her that thus drew the Decepticon’s attention. Clearly, they followed home with it and thus lured her into the current predicament.”

    “Exactly. We’ll see what Jazz has to say about it all when he phones up in a few seconds.” Wheeljack said.

    Hot Shot revved a bit: “Well he’s the one who screwed this up to begin with, why do we have to-“

    Wheeljack raised a hand to silence him as he tapped into his com-link and stated cheerily: “Oh hey Jazz, I was just talking about you. Yeah, we got the message too. You really screwed up today, huh? Hey don’t talk to me like that, I’m just saying it like it is. Yeah, I know, I didn’t see it coming either. Well, this is what you get for going in without protection. Regardless, we need to do something about it. Yeah, no scrap. What’s your plan then?..”

    He paused, evidently listening to what the Lieutenant had to say, actually giving a wee ‘oh’ or an understanding ‘ah. The other Autobots exchanged some glances, somewhat amused by the inventor’s informal relationship with his commander, before he finished up: “Oh, oh okay, sure. I’ll let them know. Cool. I’ll ring you back later. Bye.”

    “Your promptness is as impressive as it is blunt, inventor.” Kup noted as the tow truck finished his chat, just a tad bemused by his uncanny ability to predict the actions of his comrades. “So, what does the Lieutenant plan to do?”

    Wheeljack considered, searching for a nice way to put it, before failing and thus deciding to be blunt: “Here’s the thing; the Decepticons captured her because they know Jazz will feel guilty about it and come to save her himself, since the rest of us don’t have any friendly attachment to the girl, no offence to her. So what Jazz proposes is that you bots, provided you’re in good enough condition, will go to the trading spot instead of him. You’ll make it look like you were just itching to kill Decepticons after spending so much time stuck in space, then you can wallop them, get Ellen back and make the Cons think that they were wasting their time and thus never bother Ellen again. Make sense?”

    “In short, the Lieutenant is asking us to clean up his mess for him.” Arcee replied coolly, disinterestedly examining her fingers. “Wonderful.”

    “I warned him.” Ratchet revved sullenly. “I warned him against interacting with the locals, but did he listen? Did he stop to think? No, no he did not.”

    “Well, what’s done is done.” Warpath stated, shrugging his shoulders. “The least we can do now is to make up for his mistake, rescue that human and teach those Decepticons why they shouldn’t even think of messing with innocents, pow.”

    “And do that we will, Warpath.” Kup agreed. “Alright then; Autobots of the Resurgence, we stand to meet the enemy again sooner than expected. But this time, an innocent organic is at stake. Our greatest priority is to remove her from danger.” He turned then to his smaller co-lieutenant: “Arcee, you are the fastest of us; your goal will be to extract the human as soon as the option becomes possible.”

    “I’ll get her to safety before she can even blink.” Arcee assured her commander.

    “Good. Rookie, you will patrol the road by the forest, near the coordinates the Decepticon supplied. Arcee will deliver the human to you and you will take her to the Lieutenant, after which Arcee will return to the forest in case the rest of us need assistance. And I promise you, if you disobey on this mission as you disobeyed the medic yesterday, you will know my displeasure. Do you understand that?”

    Hot Shot trembled a little bit, but nevertheless murmured his confirmation.

    Kup turned to the other two members of his squad: “Soldier, Warpath, you two shall venture into the forest with me to confront the Decepticons. Remember, if the Lieutenant’s plan is to work, it is of utmost importance that we make it appear we are unaware of their true purpose; we stumbled into the forest because of the abnormal signature emanating from the human, not from any message they sent. They will have no choice but to believe it; some of them have seen the inadequate condition of our ship.”

    “No problem, boss bot.” Cliffjumper said. “Keep it simple, keep it stupid. We can do that.”

    “And Warpath-“ Kup added. “-I trust you will restrain your destructive urges until the human is out of danger?”

    Warpath’s optics flashed bright red in disgust: “Do not accuse me of that. No matter how the Decepticons deserve their deaths, I will never put an innocent in harm’s way. You know that.”

    “I do. But sometimes it’s hard to remember given your typical exuberance.”

    Warpath revved slightly in irritation, which Kup ignored as he went on: “Medic, inventor, you two shall remain here and operate the ground-bridge. Avoid communications with us unless we initiate the link to update you if need be. Inform the Lieutenant of what I have told you.”

    “No problem.” Wheeljack replied, as Ratchet attended to the console, powering up the ground bridge.

    Satisfied, Kup asked: “Autobots, are we clear on what we are to do today?”

    “Yes sir.” They chorused.

    “Good. Then let’s teach the Decepticons a lesson in hostage negotiation. Roll out.”

    With that, he folded down into his vehicle mode, an impressive display of panels shifting and tires reforming, followed by the rest of his squad, as Ratchet opened the ground-bridge portal before them. Engines rumbling and tires and treads rolling, the five members of the secondary Autobot team headed off into the portal, vanishing in colourful flares of blue and green on their first official mission on Earth.

    As the Hummer watched them and then closed the bridge behind them, the tow truck spoke up, free of any other listeners: “You know, would it kill that bot to actually refer to us by name at any point?”

    “Kup’s one of the greatest Wreckers that ever lived, Wheeljack. He has high standards for the rest of us.”

    “I didn’t realise having high standards meant being a condescending jerk who freaking objectifies us.”

    Ratchet smiled grimly: “Such qualities tend to go hand-in-hand. Well, since it may be a while until we next hear from them, I suppose I’ll use this opportunity, after I talk to Jazz, to initiate that conversation I mentioned earlier.”

    “Oh yeah, I remember that. Any chance you’ll tell me what I can expect from it this time?”

    “How’s this for a tease?” The medic asked dryly, a faint hint of black humour in his optics now as he prepared to radio Jazz. “Were you ever aware that Grimlock may have done some dabbling in the art of necromancy?”


    And then: “… What?”


    Evac was feeling just a tad on edge today. Jazz had already stormed off after getting the message from Ratchet, cursing himself and every Decepticon, and Wheeljack hadn’t sounded impressed when he’d been talking to him on the phone. To be fair, he couldn’t blame either of them; Jazz had to be worried about his friend and Wheeljack had to be irritated with Jazz’s lack of foresight.

    Still, Evac doesn’t really have Wheeljack’s defiance; while he can acknowledge his commander’s mistake, he wouldn’t rub Insectoplasma into the wound, because that would be just petty and aggravating. The poor human needed help more than the Autobots needed blame.

    But it is a sad turn of events; they’ve been compromised now, just like they were when Bumblebee had been stolen, unsure of what to do lest the enemy simply kill their hostage. Sure, they’d got him back, but would they have the success here that they did then? He didn’t know. He was worried; the human wasn’t his friend, sure, but she was an innocent caught up in things she shouldn’t have to deal with. The idea that anyone, even Decepticons, could hurt a little organic over this war made him viral.

    But it was Grindor hosting the trade. He wasn’t as bad as other Decepticons, right? His message had said he didn’t want to kill her, and he had been amongst those who had helped save Bumblebee (well, and Slipstream as well) that one time. But what if he was lying? What if…. What if….

    He hated what ifs. With a groan, Evac slumped over the console, wondering how this situation could be rectified. Hopefully Kup’s crew could succeed, but Evac didn’t know if they were stable enough for this, what with all their years in space, with cases like Warpath’s preference for violence and Arcee’s PMBD. He just didn’t know…

    He hears a voice behind him, doesn’t quite recognise it in his dejection: “What’s wrong, Evac?”

    “Didn’t you hear already?” The helicopter mumbled, not even bothering to look up from his slumped position. “Well, you know how Jazz has a human friend, right?”

    “The hitchhiker? Yes.”

    “Well, the Decepticons found out about her, so now they’ve kidnapped her and now they’re putting her up for ransom and the only way we can save her is to hand over whatever they want, but I don’t even know if we’ll get that far ‘cause maybe they’ve already killed her and I don’t know what to do, but Kup might do ‘cause Jazz sent him and his crew to handle it but still, I don’t know. Why does it always have to turn out bad?”

    Whoever was behind him considered for a moment, perhaps surprised at Evac’s speed in elaborating, before softly asking: “The Lieutenant’s friend is compromised, essentially? The Lieutenant’s sentiment has put us at a disadvantage?”

    “Yeah, pretty much.” Evac mumbled. Grim way to put it, but accurate.

    The voice considered, before stating softly: “Ah. Grimlock sees how it is. Thank you, Evac.”

    “Yeah, sure.” He revved sadly, as the other Autobot turned and walked off. “No problem, Grimlock.”

    Urgh, the brief chat had only compounded how bad the situation was. That poor human, trapped in the claws of the Decepticons, having to rely on potentially unstable Autobots like Warpath and Kup. It made him so uneasy, to the point that-



    Wait a minute.



    Evac suddenly sat bolt upright, optics widening in horror as he spun in his seat to face the door; it was already closed, the truck having already left.

    “Grimlock?” He whimpered, before turning back to the console and smacking his hands to his face in horrified realisation of just what he had let slip. “Ooooh… ooh… oh no. Oh no no no no….”

    Author's Notes: Evac, you done goofed.

    Man, writing Ellen's bits out were a tad tricky. Why do I struggle with conveying basic human emotion? Damn it. Oh well, live and learn, practice and perfect.
  11. Ømnidrive

    Ømnidrive I HAVE A MANE!!!

    Oct 6, 2011
    Trophy Points:
    THIS IS GOING TO BE SO DAMN EPIC!!!! :popcorn  :D 
  12. Meta777

    Meta777 Dr Pepper Fan

    Nov 20, 2011
    Trophy Points:
    The heavy rumble of the tank was the most prominent amongst the quintet of vehicles emerging from the ground bridge, the portal flaring out into the edge of the forest and scaring ambient animals away from it. The huge turret swivelled around in examination of the environment, before steadily trundling on, the other four vehicles slowly wheeling behind him as the portal faded away.

    There was a moment where all of them paused, simply to get a feel for their environment

    “Not as cold as the other one.” Arcee noted, flexible vehicle frame lifting her chassis up slightly in prompt distaste of the environment. “But much more filthy. I suspect this entire rock is a case of picking your Insectoplasma.”

    The red Challenger gave a low rev as his scanners assessed his surroundings: “Never mind that, check out these readings. This is place is stuffed with organics. Got flying things, tiny things, even those tall things are organic.”

    “Trees, to be specific.” Kup noted. “Referenced as being harbingers of life for most land-bound creatures, given their ability to convert energy from the sun into organic sustenance and their manipulation of atmospheric elements. Resilient and long-lived as well. My kind of lifeform.”

    “I’m gonna need a trip to the decontamination chamber after this.” Hot Shot grumbled, shaking his lowered frame slightly to dislodge some leaves. “There’s all sorts of yuck stuff trying to cling to me! Is this even safe?”

    “Perfectly safe.” Kup said. “The Lieutenant’s crew has survived multiple incursions into such environments before with barely any hassle. The only thing at risk here is the life of that human.”

    “And the lives of those Decepticons once I get my bam hands on them.” Warpath added.

    “Ah yes, how could I forget? Well then, let’s not keep them waiting. Arcee, perimeter watch, circle us constantly and keep your distance when we confront the enemy. When battle breaks out, you need to move in and secure the human as quickly as possible.”

    “And don’t go too fast that the poor thing gets reduced to scrap.” Cliffjumper chipped in.

    Had she been in her robot mode, she might have rolled her optics: “I know human speed limits, Cliffjumper. I’ll get her out. See you.”

    With that, she twisted off and drove into the woods, gone from their sensory range before they’d even advanced another metre.

    “Rookie, this is your cue to leave as well. Take to the nearby road and patrol it. Arcee will contact you for delivering the human to the Lieutenant once she has secured it.”

    Hot Shot whined a little bit: “I hate backseat work.”

    “If you will be at all contented, roads do not have mud. Move out.”

    With a rev of delight at the prospect of no mud, the racing car turned and drove off, awkwardly attempting to lift his low-hanging chassis off of the grass and mud. Once he was gone, Kup transformed into robot mode, front tires extending and unfolding into hands to move himself upwards as his front flipped around and folded into his chest. Cliffjumper followed his example, flipping up into robot mode, whilst Warpath stuck to being a tank.

    Kup took a moment to let his optics take in the mixtures of green and brown in this forest, sturdy trunks and blades of grass, with flickers of colour from prominent protrusions called flowers, before nodding and stepping forward into a brisk pace. Cliffjumper flanked him, already deploying a gun from one arm as he assessed his surroundings, with Warpath trundling behind them.

    Any other time, they would have taken longer to enjoy the beautiful scenery, to admire a planet brimming with life, but alas, their duty called. So they diverted their optics from flowers and animals and maintained their focus on what prove to be an upcoming battle.

    “Stay alert.” The truck advises softly. “If you see a Decepticon, approach cautiously. Warpath, do not attack until I give you permission.”

    “They probably know we’re coming. What do you think they’ve got in store?” Cliffjumper asked.

    “Undoubtedly they know we’re coming, and they will have likely set up some form of perimeter defence secure their position. A single human alone is not enough security against encroaching Autobots; they will have other tricks lying in wait.”

    “Excellent. I love walking right into a trap!”

    “So do I.” Warpath sighed whimsically. “Adds a good thrill to life.”

    “That’s not what I meant-“

    “Save it, soldier. Whatever they can throw at us, we can take it. We are Wreckers, after all.”

    “Well, you are, but-“

    Kup raised a hand to silence him, immediately tensing, because he had just become aware of the sound of something heavy moving in the distance. He scanned intently, but found no sign of the source of the noise. But if he had to guess, it would be a Decepticon. Another step forward, and he considered what tricks they might have. He was vaguely aware of Grindor, and knew that he was a Decepticon with a reputation for construction. Since he was in charge of this trade, it stood to reason that he had brought some toys with him.

    He glanced up at the trees after musing on this, but detected nothing but the flying organics called birds. Not a sign of a tripwire or a turret. Nevertheless, his suspicions were aroused, and he defensively deployed his face-mask, a reinforced sheet of armour with a dark blue visor. His visor had failed to deploy before, in the battle against the space barnacle, but additional time to recover from his stasis had booted it back up. Though it limited his more perceptive systems, the additional defence was the optimal standard right now.

    “Cliffjumper, close to me.” Kup muttered, extending his shield from his back and gripping it, flipping it out to its full size, and upon the smaller Autobot scampering up to his leg, he added: “Warpath, stay behind, cover fire. Exercise restraint.”

    The tank gave a dry chuckle as the trio continued forward. They were slower now, cautious, observing and ready for anything. Not even an organic moved, such was the stillness of the forest. According to the Internet, most times a forest went silent was due to the presence of a predator stalking around, or something worse.

    Kup had not been in the filed for a long time, but one did not survive a war for as long as he without gaining a sense for when danger was near. And he could feel it in the air; they were close to their enemies. All that mattered now was whether the Decepticons had the strength to face them.

    And then, past a dense cluster of trees, there they were. Three Decepticons, two of them adopting a front most position, the latter staying behind. The biggest one was a bulky tank of a robot, with long tread-laden arms and a scoop protruding from the back, and his face was that of the one who delivered the message: Grindor. Next to him was a black-and-white car robot, crimson optics flashing threateningly and claws flexing; alas, Kup did not recall this one’s name. The one in the background was navy blue with a bright yellow visor and arms embedded with vibrational amplifiers, clearly the one they called Soundwave.

    So, one armoured brute with a plethora of gadgets and two presumably quicker soldiers, one of which renowned for sonic weaponry. As it stood, Kup supposed his team had the advantage; Warpath alone could match Grindor and certainly outmatch both cars, he himself was no slouch against such foes and Cliffjumper could take a car by himself. Plus they had Arcee waiting in the wings. But of course, it depended on whether or not it was just these three Decepticons, without any others lurking around.

    Appraising his foes, he could see that just barely peeking out from behind Soundwave’s leg was the human. Ellen Marie Sherriff, she was called, a tiny timid thing compared to the mechanical beings she stood with. Kup idly turned his scanners on her, comparing her readings to human medical records, and was pleased to see that she was unharmed and fairly healthy, albeit distressed. Interestingly, she seemed more distressed from his crew than the Decepticon she clung to; clearly they had been feeding her some potent lies.

    The tank moved slightly forward and he returned his attention to him.

    “Kup.” Grindor noted casually, tilting his head in slight curiosity. He barely seemed fazed by the fact the approaching Autobots were not the ones he’d asked for; clearly a more adaptable foe than the usual fare. “I must admit, you’re not the Autobot I’d expected to see here. And my, you’ve brought Warpath as well, alongside… my apologies, I can’t recollect you.”

    “Cliffjumper, just for the record.” Cliffjumper added, a little bit sullen on not being known.

    “And Cliffjumper. I shan’t forget that.”

    “Decepticons.” Kup interjected coldly as he paused in his walk, Cliffjumper sticking by his side, and Warpath slowly settling himself behind them, turret swivelling from con to con. “Might I ask which Autobot you were expecting?”

    “The Lieutenant, if you must know.” The tank elaborated, the black-and-white Decepticon beside him looking as though he wanted nothing more than to dig his claws into someone. Sensing the potential for an attacker, Kup waggled his finger at him, and Warpath’s turret focussed on him. “I arranged this meeting purely for him and him alone, and yet he sends you here in his place. If I were a tad more sentimental, I might have been upset at his rejection.”

    “The Lieutenant has sent me nowhere. My crew and I picked up ground-bridge readings from this region, and suspected it to be Decepticon activity. You’ll understand that we’ve been quite pent up with our time in the void and sought out our old enemies.”

    He returned his gaze to Soundwave, specifically at the human by his leg, and noted: “And it appears you are not all that lies here. Since when does your kind entertain the idea of pets?”

    Ellen did not seem affected by his deliberate callousness; if anything, she seemed to be observing them, as if trying to ascertain them of something. Perhaps she was noting their vehicular details, perhaps she was seeing if his words matched up to what the Decepticons might have told her. Kup supposed he could respect such awareness despite the presence of much larger and stronger entities, all of which could crush her on a whim.

    “She is no pet of ours, but merely a victim of your commander’s twisted whims. We have brought her here to expose the Lieutenant’s lies and coerce him into seeking a diplomatic option. But since he has apparently seen fit to neglect us, Kup, I may as well offer my proposal to you. Has your commander informed you of certain circumstances that might well have provoked a desire for us to want to meet him?”

    “If I recall, it may have had something to do with the Decepticon medic that snuck onto our ship in the hopes of taking it.” He replied dryly. “My soldier here incapacitated her, and we saw fit to transfer her to a more secure location. If this human is important to the Lieutenant in some way, then I suppose you desire a trade? Her life for your medic’s?”

    “That is the ideal option.” Grindor stated, looking somewhat pleased at the truck getting his point. “The Lieutenant will return to us our comrade and in exchange we won’t even dream of bothering the human here, or any human for that matter, ever again.”

    Warpath gave a condescending chuckle, and Cliffjumper saw fit to ask: “Yeah right. Since when does a Decepticon ever hold their word?”

    “I may ask the same of you, Autobot. After all, it is the Lieutenant’s deceptions that have brought us all here to begin with.” The tank replied, and Kup narrowed his optics; clearly he wouldn’t be baited into exposing his own deceptions and clearly he knew that the Autobot’s could not deny their commander’s role in this. Starscream had chosen wisely in having this Grindor host the trade. “But I can assure you that we would not bother the human again; our enemy is the Lieutenant, not humanity.”

    “Your enemy is all who oppose your plans.”

    The black-and-white one revved a bit, blue and red lights gleaming on his shoulders, and Grindor simply chuckled: “Which would be you then, Autobot. But right now, we simply would like to have our comrade back. Return Slipstream to us, and the Lieutenant need not condemn you for neglecting the human.”

    “And if we refuse?” Kup asked coldly.

    The human tensed a little bit; perhaps she had been wondering this herself. Grindor tilted his head a bit, before politely replying: “Then I would request that you allow me to talk to the Lieutenant directly.”

    “And to refuse that as well?”

    Barricade, growing restless, leaned in towards his fellow Decepticon and growled: “These fraggers are wasting our time. Let’s just kill them already and bait in who we’re really after.”

    Grindor ignored him, just as Kup spoke up: “Cease your whispering, Decepticon. It makes my friend here rather nervous.”

    A meaningful gesture to Warpath’s turret, aimed right at the car’s head, but alas the Decepticon was not so easily dissuaded. If anything, he seemed to take offence to that and was ready to retort, only for a thick arm to bump his chest and force him back

    “There is no need for aggression.” The tank stated firmly, glaring at the frustrated car before returning his attention to the truck. “But if you refuse me even a most basic courtesy as speaking to your commander, Kup, then I suppose I would have no choice but to force you.”

    Kup gave a chuckle: “That is all I could expect from you, Decepticon.”

    He leaned forward, shield brought before, as Cliffjumper deployed his second gun. Barricade snarled and bared his claws, whilst Grindor gave an incredulous look: “You seek battle then, Kup? You would put the human at risk?”

    A flex of his claws, and Soundwave obeyed the gesture by moving back further, ushering the human towards safety. She seemed shocked, concerned even, eyes worriedly roaming over the Trojan. His deceptions must have been potent then for her to have any kind of fear for him.

    Kup replied: “Whatever she is to the Lieutenant, she is not to me. We will not return your medic. Instead, we will return you to the Pit.”

    Grindor sighed slightly, before shrugging: “So b-“

    Warpath fired, a blazing shell blasting straight towards Barricade’s head. Quick as a flash, Grindor shot his arm out and pushed his comrade out of the way, the shell exploding a tree behind them in a flare of fire. Ellen gave a shriek of shock at the sudden explosion, nevertheless shielded from it by Soundwave defensively crouching over her.

    And then the forest lit up with the sounds of energy fire, as a plethora of turrets burst out of the wood of multiple trees and opened fire on the Autobots, peppering their armour with light blasts, forcing them onto the defensive.

    “Cliffjumper.” Kup declared, crouching under his shield. “Destroy the turrets. Warpath, aid him and lay fire on the car. I’ll deal with Grindor.”

    As his orders were given out, Grindor too gave his commands: “Soundwave, get Ellen out of here! Barricade, go for the tank. I shall deal with the others.”

    Rolling back to his feet, Barricade obeyed immediately, dodging the next shell Warpath shot at him before vanishing under his cloak, as Soundwave grabbed the human and fled from the battle zone. Cliffjumper was already mobilising, his legs converting into powerful piston-like variants that promptly launched him into the air. Some of the turrets tried to track him, but his ascent was too quick and he was soon blasting at them with his weapons, aided by Warpath’s secondary turret.

    Grindor came for Kup fast, tread whips flinging through the air. Kup blocked them with his shield and lashed out with a punch, which Grindor avoided. The Decepticon kept his distance, lashing out with his whips at the truck’s head, torso, legs, whatever was not being defended by the shield.

    Kup blocked each attack before charging forward, shield held up like a ram. Grindor caught it, feet digging into the ground as he struggled to hold his ground against the oncoming truck, before sidestepping; Kup briefly fell forward, enabling Grindor to wrench the shield from him and smack him with it to the floor.

    Seeing this, Warpath turned his turret upon him, but he suddenly felt something land on him, and then came the sharp pain of claws digging into him. Barricade revealed himself now as he dragged the turret away from pointing at Grindor, screaming: “PREPARE TO BE REAPED, FRAGGER!”

    His arm deployed the vibrational amplifier so kindly installed into it by Slipstream and he jammed it into the turret’s joint, distorting it with sonic power as Warpath snarled in pain. The tank’s weaponry was being knocked off-line by the sonic pulses, so he opted on a more physical approach; transforming, he reared upright as Barricade clung to him, arms reaching back to grab him.

    Barricade managed to avoid the grasping limbs and seized Warpath’s head, attempt to twist and pull at it as his claws tried to gouge into optics. Irritated, the tank jerked his body forward, Barricade thrown off-balance and into the tank’s grip. Pulling the car off of him, Warpath promptly held him up by the legs and torso, intending on ripping him in half.

    The car responded by giving the Autobot a face-full of sonic pulses, forcing him to toss him aside less the disorientation grew too potent. As the car hit the ground in an upheaval of dirt, Warpath assessed his systems; he was alright, but his turret was offline. Clever trick the police car had employed, but it would not save him.

    The tank made to finish off the downed Decepticon, but then Grindor came in, wielding Kup’s shield as he smacked the other tank. Warpath staggered but quickly recuperated, seizing the shield when it next came at him and tossing it aside before delivering an uppercut that knocked Grindor back, following it up with a thrust kick that had the Trojan sprawling on the ground.

    “Ah, frag this!” Barricade snarled as he got back to his feet, seeing Grindor on the losing end of the fight. “I’m going psycho!”

    His data chip tapped into the device embedded onto his neck, which alit with its crimson glow, ready to infuse him with the fury that had nearly dismantled Hound. But just as the nodule activated, Barricade slammed to the ground by a hefty kick from Cliffjumper, who had finished destroying the turrets and was now joining the fight. He rolled backwards and smashed into a tree, which collapsed on top of him, and did not move.

    “No psycho today, freak!” He hollered gleefully, right before he was knocked away by a shot of sonic energy.

    He managed to roll back to his feet and turned to see none other than Soundwave, whose yellow visor flashed menacingly as. The Lamborghini had left the human somewhere so he could return to aid his comrades then, as he raised a hand and beckoned the Autobot to him challengingly. Well, Cliffjumper always did like a challenge.

    Cliffjumper pulled out his hammer from his back and dodged the next shot as he leapt towards his foe. As he came down, hammer swinging, Soundwave revealed an axe, and the two weapons clashed in a flare of sparks.

    Grindor could see that the battle was not going very well. Though Soundwave had returned, he was occupied with the Autobot car, Barricade wasn’t getting back up and now he was facing off against both Kup and Warpath. The former pulled out a heavy-duty energy pistol, much stronger than the usual fare, and aimed it at him; thinking quickly, Grindor leapt forward and grabbed the gun arm, pointing it at Warpath who promptly received a face-full of high-powered energy, stunning him.

    Grindor managed to wrench the gun out of his foe’s grip and tossed it away, but then Kup jabbed at him like a human boxer, causing the tank to raise his arms up as shields to block his blows. The truck retaliated by lashing out with a leg, catching Grindor’s side and staggering him. He attempted to follow this attack, but Grindor’s third arm snapped forwards, smacking Kup’s armoured face and forcing him back.

    The two faced off, bracing themselves, before Grindor lunged forward with his tread whips, snapping them at the truck. But even without his shield, Kup’s knack for defence was impeccable; folding his hands up into tires, he deflected the whips and darted forward, slamming Grindor’s head in-between his tires. The Trojan was briefly stunned, giving the truck the opportunity to start pummelling his torso.

    But Grindor’s armour served him well, holding off the attack in time for him to recover and retaliate. He grabbed Kup’s shoulders and thrust his head forward, head-butting the truck before delivering a powerful punch that sent him staggering back. Grindor threw another one at him, but Kup caught his arm and promptly punched his free fist into one of the joints. The Decepticon snarled in pain as his arm briefly dislocated, before bringing in his other one to claw at Kup’s side.

    The two robots grappled with and struggled against each other, attempting to push and shove the other down. Grindor attempted to strike with his third, but Kup grabbed it and wrenched it down, attempting to pull it off as the Trojan tried to pry his grip away, the two locked in their stalemate.

    From the corner of his optics, he could see Ellen, a few tens of metres away from the fight, staring at him from behind a tree. He knew she was worried, given the efficiency of his sympathy for her plight, and thus wanted to see if he would be alright, but now was not the time to have her life risked. Yes, he knew she was currently their only bet of negotiating with Jazz, and thus needed to keep her close, but it would not be worth the risk of her death.

    Even with Slipstream depending on this, Grindor could not bring himself to keep an innocent in harm’s reach.

    “Ellen, get out of here!” He thus roared as he struggled against the truck. “Run, run as fast as you can!”

    Ellen hesitated, but he shouted it at her again, demanded it of her, and thus she turned and she ran as fast as she could. Grindor watched her long enough to make sure she was running before kneeing Kup, stunning the truck long enough for him to punch him back. But then Warpath re-joined the fray, swooping in from the side to punch the Decepticon in the face.

    “That was a pretty selfless act, Decepticon, letting your hostage run free.” Warpath stated as Grindor regained himself. “Maybe if you weren’t what you are, I might have regretted this. Pow.”

    Another punch and Grindor was slammed into a tree. Spitting Energon from his damaged mouth as he straightened up, the Trojan retorted: “You do not know regret, Warpath. But I shall teach it to you. I shall make you regret you ever stood against the Decepticons!”

    With that, the two lurched forward and collided in a vicious scrap.

    As he got back to his feet, Barricade’s optics were shaky, fuzzy, his systems shuddering violently. The nodule had activated by now, reconnected to him despite the kick. But something was wrong; yes, there was fury, there was anger, but where was the direction? Where was focus? He staggered, bewildered, and collapsed to the floor, shaking his head as he struggled to comprehend.

    Something had gone wrong, something had gone wrong, he could feel it in his neurals. The nodule was out of alignment, it must not be connected properly, yet he could not bring himself to disable. The promise of spilt Energon was too much to-

    But then he looked up and he saw the human running in the forest, and then the nodule finally focussed, fuelling directed violence onto him; the sight of weak prey fleeing triggered an unnatural predatory response, the desire to hunt and kill a moving target.

    Yes, it made sense now. Kill the human, kill the little piece of flesh. Make the Lieutenant mourn, make the Lieutenant suffer. Kill the human, kill her, rip her apart and deliver her head to the Lieutenant. She deserves to die for association, all Autobots deserve to die and he would kill them all. The nodule promised him death, and he would have it.

    “Barricade, what are you doing?!” Soundwave shouted at him when he noticed the police car beginning to slowly crawl after the human’s path of retreat, distracted from continuing to attack Cliffjumper. “The fight is here!”

    Soundwave’s words bore into his processor, but not the logic behind them, and he found himself replying without even bothering to so much as look at the other Decepticon.

    “She can’t leave!” Barricade shrieked dementedly, one final part of his rationale responding to Soundwave as he continued to stalk forward, his body torn between the conversation and the surges of violence. “We can’t have witnesses! She has to die!”

    “We need her alive!” Soundwave shouted. “Don’t you want Slipstream back?!”

    “They don’t care! Neither do I! If I can’t have Slipstream, then the Lieutenant can’t have her!”

    With that, he abandoned all reason and flung himself after Ellen on all fours, deluded by his fury and drawn in by easy prey, claws ripping up the ground with each of his movements. Soundwave attempted to stop him, aimed his sonic shock rifle at him, but the resurgence of Cliffjumper’s attack caught him off-guard, forcing him to defend himself with a wave of sonic energy. The Autobot was briefly forced back, but powered on through and slammed into the other car.

    “Barricade, no!” Grindor roared when he saw the police car taking off, unfortunately withheld from stopping him with his wrestling with Warpath. “Leave her! The fight is here! Barricade!”

    But with his processor lost to the nodule, the police car paid him no mind. There was only the predatory desire to hunt and kill, and it had pushed him to pursue the easiest victim available. With nothing left of rationale, he surged into the woods after the human, vanishing from sight.

    “Damn it!” Grindor snarled, before returning his attention to his foe. “See what your aggression has accomplished, Autobot!”

    His leg shot out and kicked out one of Warpath’s, uprooting the tank’s footing. As he staggered, Grindor seized his arm and swung him around, slamming the Autobot to the ground. The truck was vulnerable now, and it seemed that victory would soon be his. Pinning the Autobot down with a foot, he quickly took a moment to contact Sideways:

    “Sideways, Barricade’s gone rabid and is pursuing the human. Get her out of here!”

    ”B-But Grindor, you cons need me! You told me to provide cover fire-!”

    “That’s an order, Sideways! Don’t bother fighting Barricade, just get her to safety. Now!”

    Sideways squeaked an affirmative and cut off the communication as Grindor resumed stomping down on the struggling Warpath. Perhaps it was overly sentimental of him to have Sideways rescue Ellen instead of providing support as he had planned, but then perhaps if Barricade lost his prey, then he could be persuaded to return to the true fight.

    But just before he could make anything of his advantage, Kup rammed into him and knocked him off the tank. Grindor rolled back to his feet just in time to clash with the Autobot, and the two struggled viciously before Kup suddenly jerked to the side, turning the Trojan’s own force against him as he fell to the floor.

    Before he could get back up, Grindor was knocked back down by Warpath’s powerful kick, the tank having regained himself and now flexing his arms as he advanced on the vulnerable Decepticon.

    “We’ll finish this one and leave the smaller one for capture.” Kup declared as he stomped on the Trojan. “He’s well-armoured though, if you-“

    “Normally I’d prefer to finish with a bam, but the runaway jammed my gun.” Warpath growled. “But I don’t really care; I’m always open for something more primitive.”

    Grindor swiped at them, attempting to cover his recovery, but Warpath evaded the attack sent at him with ease and lurched forward, smashing his fists onto the downed Decepticon and forcing him back into the dirt, rearing his arms back as he continued to punch and pummel his helpless victim.

    Kup, adding to the mix, raised both arms, gathering as much power as he could, and slammed them down onto the Decepticon. Grindor’s armour dented at the blow, and he feebly attempted to swipe at his attackers as they continued to land blow after blow on him.

    Soundwave knocked Cliffjumper back, before hearing Grindor’s cries of pain and turned to see his comrade pinned down and being viciously beaten by the two Autobots. Horror shook his neurals, before he raised his sonic shock rifle and aimed it at them, but then Cliffjumper got the first shot, energy crackling off of Soundwave’s armour as the blasts struck him.

    He turned and fired at the car, forcing him back but not dissuading his fire and retreated to cover, contacting the only help he had right now:

    “Sideways, where are you?! We need support!”

    ”Grindor told me to rescue the human! What’s-“

    Soundwave was not as sentimental as the Trojan, thus he snarled: “Forget about her! Grindor’s pinned down and I can’t get to him! Get back here now befor- Oof!”

    Cliffjumper swung by his hiding place and his hammer slammed into his chest, knocking him to the ground with his rifle flying off to the side. He hit the dirt hard, spraying grass and such everywhere, as Cliffjumper attempted to deliver a leaping attack; Soundwave stuck out a leg and kicked the Autobot back before rolling to his feet and readying his axe.

    This had all gone to slag. Damn Barricade.


    Ratchet was fiddling with one of the consoles, examining the wiring and valves inside to see what could be fine-tuned, as the tow truck paced around the control room.

    “So what you’re saying is…” Wheeljack murmured slowly, finally ceasing in his motions and turning to the Hummer. “Is that Grimlock was, for all intents and purposes, dead? Like, deader than an Earth dodo dead?”


    “And then you’re telling me that despite being literally dead, he came back to life?”


    “Due to some unknown and unnatural energy source that vanished as quickly as it appeared?”


    “Right. Now, um, I don’t mean to be rude or demeaning or distrustful or anything, Ratchet, but I think you can understand me if I say that I don’t really quite actually buy that.” The tow truck said, folding his arms as the medic finally turned his attention from the console to him. “Like, seriously. Crazy energies undetectable by scientific means somehow bringing a dead robot back to life?”

    “You can check my readings if you want.” Ratchet offered, already compiling a note on it via his data chip and offering it as a message to the other Autobot. “Maybe give Evac a call and ask for his notes on Grimlock’s repairs. This energy may hide, but scans don’t lie.”

    “It’s just… I dunno, unscientific.” Wheeljack mumbled as he accepted the note. “I’ve spent my entire life building stuff, studying stuff, maybe occasionally exploding stuff, but there’s never been anything like this in our history.”

    “Until now, apparently. Miracles have to start somewhere.”

    “I guess.”

    Silence then, as Wheeljack went over the medic’s readings and Ratchet applied some of his tools to the console. Ship mechanics were not his forte, and such work on the Zeta-1 was always left to Wheeljack, but simple patch jobs were within his realms of possibility. Reconnecting split wires and replacing frayed ones ought to have the main console becoming more responsive, which was always a good thing.

    He idly wondered how Kup and his crew might be getting on. Had they met the Decepticons by now? Were they being diplomatic, or were they just getting into fights? Was the human alright? Urgh, he hated not knowing how things were going. It made him worried, and he really didn’t like having five Autobots who’d been left to rot in space for so long being the ones sent on a sensitive rescue mission.

    Well, if Jazz hadn’t been an idiot, none of this would have happened. Some days he wonders how that Autobot ever got such prestigious positions in the army. It certainly wasn’t with his interspecies communications.

    “Well damn.” Wheeljack said, briefly attracting the Hummer’s attention. “That’s intense. Injuries like these would kill even bots like Megatron. How the Pit did Grimlock get out of this?”

    “Check the life readings on the second file, specifically the anomalous ones.”

    “Sure… whoa, crazy stuff. Man, this scrap is intense. And now there’s no trace of them?”

    “Correct.” Ratchet sighed, standing up from the console and closing the hatch before tapping on some of the buttons to test responsiveness. A minor improvement, but he’d need Wheeljack to handle the rest. “These readings had emanated from a bizarre energy source permeating Grimlock’s Energon during his, as I have thus dubbed it, revival period. It is unlike any energy source I have ever seen before, and whatever it is must be responsible for his rejuvenation. I had Evac go over Grimlock in search of it, but so far he has had no luck, barring the possibility of it originating from somewhere in his vehicular connections.”

    “Vehicular connections?”

    “You know, where the cab of his truck form meets the tank. The source of the energy must be nestled deep in his body in that region and it would require intense open surgery to examine. And I highly doubt Grimlock would be willing to be subjugated to that.”

    Wheeljack revved: “Yeah, that’s understating it. So what are you going to do now, Ratchet?”

    “Well first I’d like you to actually help me with fixing this ship.”

    “Oh right, sure, sorry.”

    “It’s fine. But on a serious note, we must considered the implications of this situation. I know we’ve already established it, Wheeljack, but it bears repeating; Grimlock died, literally physically died, and came back to life. How did he do that?”

    “I… Well, I have no idea. I’m an inventor, not a doctor.”

    “I am a doctor and I have no idea either. But this is nothing I’ve ever seen before, nothing anyone’s ever seen before. I had Evac go over the archives, nothing. I went over every medical condition and procedure I know, nothing. Whatever this is, it defies all logic. No, more than that, it defies all science.”

    Ratchet suddenly locked his gaze onto Wheeljack and muttered: “I have to find out what caused this, Wheeljack. What sorcery lies here, I must know. We are faced with the possibility of defying death itself, we are faced with the possibility of making sure no Autobot will ever fall to this damnable war again. I have to find out. I have to.”

    Wheeljack was just a tad unnerved right now, at the intensity in both the Hummer’s tone and gleam in his optics.

    “Ratchet.” The tow truck, deciding to try and diffuse the situation for his own sake. “It’s… it’s okay, bot. Relax. Grimlock’s got a fancy power, yippee. We’ll figure it out, don’t worry. Just relax.”

    “It… it just eats at me, Wheeljack, knowing all the lives I failed to save throughout this war and yet Grimlock had the cure to it all along. If I had found out sooner, if anyone had found out sooner, then maybe they would have survived.” Noting the look the tow truck gave him, he added: “I don’t blame Grimlock, before you make that assumption, because how could he have known himself? No-one ever really believed he could die, quite frankly, and this process seems to have only been provoked by his death.”

    “Yeah, never thought he could die. Until Airachnid found out his weak spot.”

    “True, but…” The Hummer hesitated, before murmuring: “But now that you mention it, here’s something else. I scanned Grimlock personally. His end came about when his chemical tank ruptured, damaging his neck and rendering him vulnerable to the Decepticon assault. But none of their weapons seem to have provoked that reaction. There was no plasma residue, no energy particles, nothing that matched their weaponry. But there were shards buried in there, shards that matched those of a light frag grenade…”

    “One of them had a grenade then. Grenades aren’t rare, Ratchet.”

    “Yes, but none of those three have been observed to use grenades in battle. You’re right, it is possible that one of them had brought some, if they knew they would face Grimlock, but at the same time, I can’t help but wonder if I’m missing something…. Right. At some point, I’m going to inspect the weapons of Kup’s crew.”

    Wheeljack was surprised at that, his lights flashing as his optics widened at the implication: “You’re not blaming one of that lot for killing Grimlock, are you?”

    “No, of course not. I’m going to analyse the situation. I’m going to find out everything I can. Only when I have an appropriate conclusion will I blame anyone for anything. But something is not right here, Wheeljack, both on Grimlock’s survival and how he died to begin with. I must know. I must.”

    “Alright. You do what you want, I guess.”

    “And Wheeljack?”


    “Don’t tell anyone about this.”

    “My lips are non-existent, but if they did exist, they’d be sealed.”

    “Good. Thank you.”

    “But can you do something for me?”


    “Don’t tell Cybertron about Grimlock. Not even Moonracer, bot. You and I both know what would happen.”

    The tow truck’s gaze was poignant with his words. Ratchet hesitated just for a second, before steeling himself: “You’re right. If they found out, Grimlock would assuredly be taken in for dissection. I have failed him before in my prejudice, but I will not fail him again. This is Earth business only.”

    With their conversation thus finished, the two fell into silence as they occupied themselves with repairs, both of them lost to their own contemplations and the implications of all they had discussed. Grimlock had gone from their greatest warrior to their greatest mystery, the potential to cure death itself may been on this very planet and that there was a possibility, however small, that one of their own may have been, in one way or another, responsible for Grimlock’s death.


    Airachnid stood in the control room of the Darksyde, staring out over the expanse of space, with the blue curve of Earth in the corner and the gleam of the sun behind it. Under normal circumstances, she might have admired the beauty of what she was seeing, but as of now, all she could see was a rock, a rock that had something near and dear to her hostage.

    The Autobots had Slipstream, hidden somewhere on the planet. They would not be foolish enough to keep her on the Wrecker’s ship; undoubtedly she was on the Lieutenant’s ship, somewhere outside of their sight. And thus, Airachnid knew the rare sensation of fear.

    Slipstream was her friend, of course. They’d been friends since before the war, since their days as cadets, even after they had gone their separate ways. Slipstream was off roaming around with Commander Strika, healing whoever needed it, Airachnid busy on Shokaw, but nevertheless always in contact, always thinking of the other. They had always had each other even as others fell, always been able to know that the other was alright.

    And now that status quo was broken; Slipstream had been snatched away from her and she knew no not of where she was, how she was, if she was even still alive.

    The idea of her friend now trapped in the Autobot’s grasp, all because she had sent her on her own into an enemy ship as well, bit at her like a ravenous Insecticon. Was she already dead, slain by the notoriously brutal Warpath? Being tortured right now, the Autobot medic slipping laser scalpels under her plating? Left to rust? Buried alive as she had been once before? She had no idea. All she could do now was wait for Grindor to bring anything back.

    Now Grindor, she could trust in that he would have something prepared, and Soundwave wasn’t so bad, but Barricade and Sideways, she had no faith in. The former a crude and idiotic moron who leapt without looking, the latter an obnoxious coward who couldn’t even snipe without being guided by someone better. It was only a matter of time before one of those two screwed up whatever plan Grindor had concocted; she could feel it in her struts. And then what would become of Slipstream?

    She supposed it was only ironic that she fret over Slipstream the very fears she herself had inflicted on countless Autobots. But then, just as it had been with Slipstream herself, she’d always be hypocritical in that sense, because her faction came first. And Slipstream came before her faction.

    If anything happened to her, then Airachnid would kill every Autobot on this rock. Slowly, painfully, without mercy, one by one-


    Alas, her lamentations soon lost whatever peace they might have had when the eternally loud Starscream began screaming in the background.


    Starscream angrily slammed his fist on the console, severing the communication link, before snapping at Nighttrace: “Ban that communication code from this ship, and when Soundwave gets back, have him double it up! I will never ever call him or have him call me again! The neurals on that fragger!”

    Nighttrace rolled her optics, but nevertheless complied, typing in a rejection code onto the ship’s communication archive. With that done, she flicked her antenna at him, prompting his frustrated response: “Look, it’s not my fault that none of these deals have gone through! You saw his attitude! They’re all the same, a bunch of self-absorbed self-righteous fraggers who think they’re so much better than everyone because they’re not tied into a faction! It’s total scrap!”

    He revved with frustration, before forcing himself into calm and acknowledging: “Still, we must continue to dig through the muck. Someone has to be amiable enough to actually negotiate with. I mean, how hard is it to find someone to just distract some stupid Autobots? Urgh, they’re all idiots, all of them.”

    “Starscream.” Airachnid said dryly, turning from her vigil to gaze at the fuming jet, having come to terms with the fact she wasn’t going back to her musing with him there. “Have I ever told you your knack for diplomacy is utterly astounding?”

    “I am not in the mood, Airachnid.” He snarled, his calm promptly lost as he immediately threw a rude hand gesture her way. “These mercenaries are pieces of scrap spawned directly from an Insecticon Feeder’s excretory systems! How they ever survived independence I’ll never know. But hey! If you think you can do a better job than me, come right up and get to it!”

    “No thank you. Mercenaries prefer to avoid dealing with representatives of Shokaw. Shockwave is a somewhat intimidating presence to them, given the underlying threat of being tracked down and used for his experiments.”

    This gave Starscream pause, and he, genuinely curious, asked: “Really? Has Shockwave ever done that before?”

    “Oh yes. There was this one Neutral medic, a sweet bot who helped both sides whenever possible. Shockwave tracked her down through a communication she made to Motormaster, dragged her to Shokaw and used her as a test subject for a cyber-mutagen derived from Insectoplasma, purely on a whim I might add. I remember him telling me he chose her because no-one ever misses a Neutral, especially one that aids the Autobots as much as they aid the Decepticons.”

    “Eww, an I-plasma cyber-mutagen? How did that go?”

    “After administration of the agent, the poor bot suffered approximately three Earth days of agonising internal rupturing and external dislocation followed by total neural collapse, resulting in a processor-dead lump of mutated metal and corrupted Energon, miraculously surviving all that I might add. Well, miraculously from a scientific point of view. Sentimentally, she’d have been better off dying after the first few seconds. We fed her to that Feeder you saw during your visit after the test was deemed a failure.”

    Starscream stared slack-jawed and wide-eyed at her in disturbed horror, utterly frozen with the level of disgust surging through his neural network. Nighttrace, by contrast, simply looked disinterested.

    “That is…. That is horrific. That is beyond horrific, that is Overlord levels of horrific. What the actual frag? Why didn’t you just end it when it had clearly gone wrong?”

    “Shockwave hoped that it was just a delayed metamorphosis type of thing, but that did not come to pass. It was pretty brutal, even by my standards, but the screams she made before vocal desolation were so exotic. We still have them on the recording systems. Shall I ask Shockwave to send a copy over?”

    “No, no, no, please do not, never, ever do that, NO NO NO NO NO.” Starscream protested. “You know what, never mind this, I’m putting this project on hold and I’m going to my room and I’m going to listen to, what do the humans call it, heavy metal tunes until I can flush everything you’ve said to me out of my damn processor. Fragging freak.”

    With that, he turned and darted away as fast as he could, straight through the door and off to freedom.

    Nighttrace watched him go, before turning back to Airachnid and giving her a sharp glare, flicking her antenna in distaste.

    “Don’t give me some sort of knowing look.” The helicopter revved impatiently, shrugging off the UAV’s glare. “I’m not as attuned as your silent gig as he is. Don’t expect me to magically guess each and every insinuation you give me. But hey, I think I can guess this one, so allow me to respond. Oh, oh please forgive me, I’m so sorry for making your precious jet feel a bit viral, boo hoo. Go install some artificial tear ducts and cry me a river.”

    Nighttrace flicked her tail in the direction of the door and folded her arms. Clearly, she was not letting up until she had made some sort of point. Airachnid revved a bit; such personalities were normally tolerable, until they pointed at you. Oh well.

    “Fine, you wanna play charades? Let’s see how I do.” Airachnid scoffed, examining the other Decepticon closely before guessing: “Hmm, let me guess… you’ve got a sort of contemplative look there. I think that you think I… freaked him out on purpose? Is that it? That’s a fairly obvious thing for me to do, isn’t it?”

    She nodded, before her optics dimmed a bit, relaying a sympathetic glimmer.

    “Okay, I can tell when you know if I’m freaking people out for fun. That’s good, I guess. Right, what else are you implying… Um, frag, I don’t know your body language, um…. Okay, how about… do you think I… oh, you’ve got some sort of sappy look in your optics. Do you think I wasn’t just doing it to annoy him?”

    She nodded again.

    “Okay, okay then. I dunno how you’d pick that up but whatever. I’m pretty good at this. So then, I suppose that means you think I’m anxious over Slipstream and thus I’m taking it out on Starscream, classic coping technique. Is that it?”

    She nodded again, appearing satisfied.

    Airachnid gave a dramatic rev and threw her hands up: “Well aren’t you just the most observant fairy fluttering around? Fine, I’ll admit it, I can admit it, I’m worried about Slipstream. I’m worried viral to my spark about Slipstream. Best I can do to deal with it is to make Starscream leak transition fluids, since it’s been left to fragging Barricade of all Decepticons to get her back.”

    Nighttrace shook her head and flexed her tail.

    “I know Grindor’s leading the mission, and I know Grindor’s a good Decepticon and all, but still, I can guarantee you that Barricade is either in the middle of fragging the whole thing up or he’s about to frag the whole thing up. And that just… it just eats at me, I guess. I should be down there, wringing the Lieutenant’s neck until he releases her, but instead I’m up here, doing nothing, because I have to be the medic until Slipstream is recovered.”

    Nighttrace fluttered over to her and gently laid a hand on her shoulder. Airachnid turned to look at her, somewhat impressed by just how sincere the depths of Nighttrace’s sympathy was. She really did appreciate what she was going through, wasn’t she?

    Nevertheless, she gave a small smile and shrugged the hand off, muttering: “Don’t get sappy with me. I’m not Starscream. I’m not going to whine over every problem that flies my way. One way or another, we’ll get her back.”

    Nighttrace might have responded to that, when both of them were distracted by a faint beeping emanating from the helicopter’s side. Bewildered, she open an abdominal compartment and pulled from it a data-pad, which was flashing red with a stream of data. Nighttrace was unaware on what it meant, but Airachnid knew immediately.

    “That’s interesting.” Airachnid murmured, examining the data-pad intently. “It seems that the Battle-Inducement Nodule has been activated…. Oh. Oh dear. The readings are weird, even with Barricade’s odd connection to the device. Has it been misaligned?... Oh, oh I think something’s jolted it and now the neural readings are going crazy.”

    Nighttrace tilted her head curiously, before giving the other flyer a pointed stare.

    “You figured it out too?” She replied grimly, turning back to the observation panes and glaring at the smooth cure of the Earth. “If this has happened, then we safely say that Barricade’s fragged it up.”

    Author's Notes: Finally, an update. Took me long enough.

    Anyway, shenanigans. The plan's gone to heck with Barricade losing his nuts-and-bolts and now the Decepticons are losing badly. I wonder what will happen next?

    I love writing Grindor, I really do. He's smart, he's amiable, he's got better morals than the other cons and he's a badass. I mean, he took on Grimlock that one time and held his own, and here he is again doing pretty well against Kup and Warpath. Sure, they're on the verge of beating him to death, but he did alright for a two-on-one fray.
  13. Coffee

    Coffee (ง ಠ ෴ ಠ )ง

    Mar 1, 2013
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    Just popping in to say I'm still reading this... but I'm nowhere near caught up. I'm glad to see you're still continuing with this. :) 
  14. Meta777

    Meta777 Dr Pepper Fan

    Nov 20, 2011
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    Grindor wasn't even moving at this point; each blow from the two Autobots assaulting him rattled his frame, impacted armour, but there was no resistance or fight left in him. If the pain had not overwhelmed him, then his simple acceptance of his fate had. Passiveness would not spare him, the end would not come any quicker, but he could at least have made his peace.

    But while that might suffice for him, the altruistic fool he was, it would not suffice Soundwave.

    Shaking his head on having received a hard hit from the third Autobot, the one called Cliffjumper the Lamborghini struggled to pull himself back together; he’d knocked the attacker away with a sonic pulse, buying him some time to recuperate, but it would not be long before battle returned to him. If he was going to act, he would need to act quickly.

    His hydraulics huffed fiercely as he forced himself back to his feet, his armour rattling slightly from the systems wheezing within. Shaking the pain out of his processor, Soundwave’s visor drew itself onto the sight of his comrade being demolished piece by piece by the marauding tank and truck. The Trojan had done nothing but help him, help all of them, since he had first joined up with them, and the very notion of him meeting his end in such a way sent thrills of horror through the car.

    War claimed all, but if he could, it would not claim this. If he could do anything, it would be to deny Kup and Warpath their brutality and rescue Grindor.

    “Grindor…” He wheezed, charging up the vibrational amplifiers in his arms; if he could just get close, a powerful sonic pulse might be able to repel them long enough to get Grindor back to his feet, into a ground bridge, anything. If he could just reach him, if he could just help. The energy crackles in his arms, reluctantly at first, but slowly powering up as he starts to stagger towards them. If he could just reach them-

    The fist hits the back of his head and his visor is obscured by the dirt when he hits the ground face-first. He scrapes across the grassy floor before coming to a halt, hydraulics hissing as he revved in pain. He lies there for a moment, processor rattling from the hit and his amplifiers dying down uselessly, before attempting to push himself back up. Alas, this attempt is promptly dissuaded by a thick foot slamming down onto his back, pinning him to the ground.

    “Ah ah, Decepticon.” A voice crooned from above him, the foot taking a moment to dig into his back and make him squirm in pain, and the tell-tale sound of a plasma weapon powering up. “You so much as make a move, I’ll blow your head off.”

    Trapped, then. Pinned and clearly held at gunpoint, with not much chance to retaliate, escape, anything. Even trembling in frustration, fear, any kind of sensation, could well see him dead. The only thing he can do now is to watch helplessly from beneath his feet as the other Autobots continued to lay their beat-down. They cared not for the ineffectiveness of it all, only that it drew out the Decepticon’s end in a way that satisfied their long absence from battle in space.

    In a twisted way, it wondered if this is what it had been like to have been the yellow Autobot when he and Barricade had captured him; helpless, unable to do anything but watch as his own comrades fought to the death. This was not a perspective he needed right now, not when Grindor was on the verge of joining the afterlife and he could do nothing about it-


    He froze, going completely still under the Autobot’s foot as he registered the communication. That Grindor could even muster this ability of conversation in the midst of his brutal demise was astonishing. Visor scanning the beat-down for whatever hope may have presented itself, he could see the faint gleam of Grindor’s optics, flickering as he endured the Autobot’s brutal beating.

    They flickered, and gazed right at him, as if he was looking into his very spark. Soundwave was unsure if he’d ever felt more fearful in his life.

    ”When I am finished, ensure that Barricade regains control, and that the human returns safely to her dwelling. We are Decepticons, not barbarians. I’ll give you time to escape. Make it count.”

    Suddenly, the wheels of Grindor's thick arms opened outwards and promptly began spitting out metallic spheres. Soundwave recognised them for what they were, recognised them for what they would do, and in some kind of horrified disbelief, he shouted: "Grindor, no!"

    "Do it, Soundwave. Grindor out."

    Kup and Warpath saw the spheres too, and the latter roared: "Grenades! Back off, back the bam off!"

    The two threw themselves away from the final desperate attack of their opponent, and Grindor managed to give a haunting laugh, just as the spheres rolling around him glowed red, gave a sharp beep, and exploded in an all-consuming inferno.

    All those grenades together, the explosion they provided proved immense. Putting himself as close to the ground as he could, Soundwave’s whole body from the raw force of their shockwave as the fires flared into the sky, the raw force of the blast knocking Cliffjumper off of him with a screech of shock. Kup and Warpath, closer to the blast, were knocked to the ground hard, throwing up hefty bursts of dirt on impact.

    The shockwave rippled over the downed Decepticon, rattling his neural systems, before it passed, leaving only the leftover heat and smoke from the blast. Disorientated, but free, the Lamborghini managed to dig his claws into the dirt and push himself up, shakily getting back to his feet. He staggered a bit, woozy, before redirecting non-essential energies into rebooting him more quickly.

    Soundwave scanned the aftermath intensely, going through every vision mode he knew, but he could detect no signs of life through the fire and the smoke. No sign of Grindor whatsoever, save the final remnants of his last laugh echoing in Soundwave’s audio. He felt appalled, stunned even, hesitating where he stood in the emotional flux, before forcing himself to move past it and prepare to leave.

    There was nothing he could do now. Grindor was dead. The least he could do was honour his last wish, get out of here before the Autobots recovered and find the human and Barricade. Turning from the carnage, Soundwave sheathed his weapons and threw himself into vehicle mode, panels and doors locking into place as his wheels hit the dirt and tore it up. The car fled into the trees, away from the battle, away from the burning grave of a good Decepticon.

    As he vanished into the forest, the Autobots managed to pick themselves up, shaking their heads as their systems continued to rattle from the raw explosive force they’d just beholden. None of them were damaged, thankfully, just a tad shaken up, which is better than they could say for the Decepticon that had been in the middle of it all.

    It was hard to scan through the heat and smog thrown up by the blast, but it would seem fairly obvious that their quarry had destroyed himself in a final act of defiance, and he was likely nothing but scrap and charred wreckage now. To think he had had the neurals to finish it like that, to end it on his own terms. One could suppose that such a notion of defiance was to be respected.

    But as it stood, two of them were unimpressed and the third seemed simply unnerved.

    “Primus above.” Cliffjumper murmured, moving over to join the other two, looking uneasy as he tried to peer through the smoke, quite surprised at it all. “Didn’t see that coming.”

    “Shame we didn’t finish it ourselves, but the con’s dead either way.” Warpath stated, utterly unfettered barring a touch of distaste on not being the finale. “I suggest we get on with things and pow the others.”

    “And we must find the human too.” Kup added. “Otherwise this whole endeavour-“


    None of the trio had much time to look around, react, when a small figure came barrelling out of the trees on a single leg, red optics gleaming with violent intent and one arm raised, hand clenching an energy knife. It moved so fast, they barely saw the blur of purple before it leapt up and latched onto Kup’s back, a spurt of Energon bursting out as it jammed the knife into his back.

    ”YOU KILLED HIM!” The bike screamed, swinging around on the truck’s back as Kup struggled to dislodge it with shouts of pain, repeatedly stabbing into the thick amour of the Autobot. ”YOU MONSTERS KILLED GRINDOR! I’LL KILL YOU!”

    The Autobot staggered under the multitude of stab wounds, swinging wildly in his attempts to reach the Decepticon. Cliffjumper pulled out his guns, hesitating as Kup’s movement kept him getting a clear shot, as Warpath moved in, likely aiming to simply pull off the attacker himself. But fear not; his leader had it in hand.

    Kup managed to get an arm round and seize the swinging leg of the bike, grunting with irritation as he swung him around off his back and through the air. The bike struggled violently as Kup hoisted him up before him, swiping at the truck with his knife as his exhaust pipes spewed out smog. The truck was unfazed by the smokescreen, instead growling: “I’d stop that if I were you, less I tear you in half.”

    ”I’LL TEAR YOU!”: The Decepticon scream, trying to jam his knife into the Autobot’s face as the smog began to envelop them. ”YOU KILLED GRINDOR! YOU KILLED HIM! I’LL KILL ALL OF YOU!

    Irritated, Kup seemed on the verge of ripping him in half anyway, reached up to the grip the knife arm with his free hand, but just before he could fasten his hold on the little Decepticon, a sudden force slammed into him, knocking him to the ground as Sideways was tossed into the air with a scream. Warpath and Cliffjumper saw it, stunned, and wound up having to raise their arms defensively when they were suddenly shot at by bolts of energy, staggering them and preventing a decent response.

    Kup swiftly got back to his feet, ready to fight, only to pause in surprise, and he muttered: "Grindor?!"

    The Trojan was still alive after all. Badly damaged, his armour blackened and torn, Energon leaking from multiple sections and one of his optics offline, but alive. Grindor managed a wheezy chuckle as he cradled Sideways in one thick arm protectively, his single optic glinting weakly but triumphantly as he began to back away from the Autobot.

    "It'll take more than you, Autobot." He murmured. "Or rather, more than me. Farewell."

    He turned and ran, right into the gleaming green portal that burst into existence directly in front of him. It was barely there for a second, long enough for him and Sideways to vanish into it, and then it was gone, rippling through the smoke as the energy vanished into nothingness.

    His return and escape was sudden enough that the trio took a moment simply to stand there and comprehend it, stunned, before comprehension returned to them and. Their enemies were gone, fled into the forest or the portal, and now it once again just them, alone in a forest, with no signs of their enemies yet every anticipation for them.

    Finally, Warpath broke the silence, sounding both irritated and disappointed: “Bam. I hate it when they get away.”

    "Props to him, though." Cliffjumper mused, a contemplative sense of respect on his face. "Con blew himself up and made it look authentic. You don't see that kind of processor every day, or the sheer metal to actually survive it."

    Kup merely retracted his armoured mask and grunted: "It matters not what his metal is or how his processor runs. He has wasted enough of our time. We need to find the other Decepticons, as well as the human, and ensure both their destruction and her extraction."

    "Last I saw, the crazy one was going after her, and I'm guessing Soundwave did too." Cliffjumper said. "He's still blocking our communications, so I can't check in with Arcee or Hot Shot."

    "Very well. Soldier, you and Warpath scout the woods, see if you can't find them. I'll head to the road, meet with the rookie, and we'll hopefully converge on the Decepticons from there."

    "Yes sir." Warpath and a promptly more sullen Cliffjumper replied, before their commander retrieved his fallen weapons and stalked off into the woods with an impatient air around him. They watched him go, and readied themselves to set off, though not before pausing and gazing at the area they were about to leave behind.

    It was quite brutal. The ground was blacked and smoking hot from the blast, multiple tree has been torn apart and grasses around the area were softly burning away. There were no animals anywhere near this area by now, having fled the horrific destruction or unlucky enough to have been consumed by it. In short, it was yet another of the scars of a foreign war imposed in an innocent place.

    Neither of them were happy with that. No one was ever happy for innocent life to suffer from a war that was not theirs. The creatures of this forest were just animals, simple beasts trying to live out their little lives, and for alien warriors to strip that away from them… it was just cruel. Unnecessary. Viral.

    Warpath finished his observation of the fiery remnants of Grindor's grenade-trick and shook his head in regret: "Always a shame. The bam stays with you, but only at the cost of what it took. Wonder if we’ll have to see more of these on this planet."

    “It’s… it’s bad business, really. For these things to happen.” The car replied, himself feeling just a little discontent over the carnage but opting to focus on other things, highlighting this by adding: “C’mon, big bot, we need to find the human, and the Decepticons too, preferably before they find her first.”

    Cliffjumper was already moving away as he said this, folding his hammer into his back before leaping into vehicle mode and driving into the woods in the direction Soundwave ought to have gone. Warpath watched him drive off, offered a last glance at the scene of destruction, before shaking his head in distaste and copying his comrade, shifting into vehicle mode and sullenly trundling off into the forest.


    In the med-bay, Airachnid considers that maybe she ought to have taking those medical lessons from that one con, what was it, Knock Out? Because, by Unicron below, acting as a medic was not quite her forte. Oh sure, she knew how to dissect, rearrange and twist, she knew a fair amount about the intricacies of Cybertronian metallicology, but focussing purely on healing? Not quite her style.

    She and Nighttrace had had quite the surprise earlier when a ground bridge had opened in the ship’s control room and spewed out a horrendously injured Grindor cradling a panicking Sideways. The poor bike was unharmed and perfectly fine, barring his outrageous frenzy of worry, but his big friend was quite the opposite; utterly calm, but brutally damaged. His armour was seared, dented, torn, pieces of him outright blown off, his legs wheezing and his hydraulics panting. In short, it was a miracle he was still conscious, never mind alive.

    The first and hardest part was prying Sideways off of the tank; the bike had been clinging to Grindor like a space barnacle on a derelict vessel, and only upon the tank himself requesting to be left in peace so he could properly rest did the bike finally relent in clinging to him. Nighttrace had gone with him, to console him, and Airachnid was thankful for that; the UAV was ten times better at being a good listener and confidant than she was. Still, she was left with the equally imposing task of fixing Grindor. Oh dear.

    Fortunately, the tank knew a thing or two about patch-jobs himself, and as she went over the data-files detailing the specific medical routines she needed (good old Slipstream, leaving behind the manual), Grindor would chip in with tips on how best to solder wires back together and which plate types were best for which area. She wondered where an engineer found the time to go over medical details, but then again, Grindor tended to be prepared for anything.

    Alongside Nighttrace and Slipstream, and arguably Soundwave, he managed to elevate the atmosphere above Starscream and Barricade’s idiocies and provide a competent and intelligent processor to the fray. Even if he did let a runt like Sideways hang off him, the con had some good neurals. Airachnid would be quite dismayed if she had to see him die, so even she felt the need to brave her medical inadequacies to help him.

    Slipstream would call it the obligation of any self-respecting Decepticon. Airachnid would rather term it as ‘not wanting to lose a close thing to intelligent conversation in this dump’.

    “You have some neurals of Trilithium, I’ll give you that much.” She’s currently chuckling to him, going over the joints in his left arm to ensure none of them were misaligned. “Putting yourself in the centre of all those grenades? I’m amazed you even had it in you to get back up.”

    Grindor just gave a weak chortle; though she’d hooked him up to some Energon-transfer tubules to keep him online and stable, his systems were still worn out: “My grenades are capable of redirecting a chunk of their force towards a particular direction. Add in the fact my armour has specialised repellent systems symbiotically attuned to the specific energetic output of my grenades, surviving them was not quite as difficult as you might think. I wouldn’t design my own weapons if I didn’t have some capacity to withstand them.”

    She laughed: “Always prepared, aren’t you? I didn’t realise you’d set up a remote link to the ship’s ground-bridge as well.”

    “I was meaning to set you and the others up with it as well, so that we can remove the need to call someone for it. Alas, I got a bit distracted.”

    “Running off on Starscream’s errands?”


    She considers probing him further about Starscream, whether he actually enjoyed running around for the jet when really he should be carrying out Operation Harvest and such, but decides against it. Now wasn’t the time to see if anything else shared her dislike for the jet, not when she ought to focus on fixing him.

    It was tough, being a medic. She could handle the small jobs, she had him giving her advice, and she had Slipstream’s notes on fixing injuries related to explosions, but she didn’t quite have the experience or the mind-set for it. It was a fickle business, and one that she really had no place in mucking about it.

    Funny; she’d be as precise as a beam rifle if she were aiming to dissect or torture someone. But fixing them? Her neurals got a bit clustered and she had to disable some mobility options in her fingers to keep them nice and still. That might a good discussion point, she figured, the discrepancies in finding it easier to unmake than to heal. If Slipstream were around, she’d get right on that, but with the less familiar Grindor, she decided to save it for later.

    Grindor gives a long shuddering rev as she pokes around the side of his torso armour, examining some torn strands of metal and deducing that they ought to be removed and replaced, and she briefly wonders if she’s done something wrong, but it seems he’s only stretching. That’s a relief.

    His single optic, flickering now and then, peers at her, likely assessing her, and thus she opts to restart conversation. The way he looks at her reminds her of Nighttrace, a sort of probing gaze that looked like it might peek into your spark; he’s not as potent as the UAV, but he’s a close second, and she doesn’t like probing much.

    “Well, now that you’re not facing death itself, how did the ransom go?” Airachnid asked, and it’s a pretty stupid question because for Grindor have come back like this, it would have had to have broken out into carnage. Sure, she wanted a distraction from his Nighttrace-esque knowing gaze, but she could have voiced it better.

    Fortunately, Grindor is a Decepticon who doesn’t point out the obvious, and he says: “Barricade lost his mind and chased after the human. I had Soundwave go after him whilst I held off the Autobots. It didn’t go well for me, so I decided that possible self-destruction would be better than being beaten to death.”

    “Barricade, of course. When is it ever not Barricade?”

    He chuckled: “The count is too high at this point.”

    “Indeed. But why have Soundwave chase Barricade? Surely he would have been of more use aiding you against the Autobots?”

    He contemplates that for a moment, as she finishes peeling off a damaged plate and tosses it away, as if the answer he considers is embarrassing in some way, before he shakes his head, steels himself and replies: “I sent Soundwave after Barricade not just to stop his madness. I had aimed for him to rescue the human, whom Barricade was pursuing. It did not feel right for me to have allowed her to flee, only for her to meet her end at the degenerate’s claws.”

    She stared at him in disbelief for a moment, frozen in her moment of realisation, before she gave a frustrated rev and shook her head in disappointment: "We're at war, Grindor. You shouldn’t have wasted your allies on running around looking after a mere organic when they could have fought beside you. Sentiment has no place in warfare."

    Grindor blinked his functional optic slowly and turned to look at her with an expression that conveyed both sombreness and curiosity: "I see. If that is the case, then why persist in attempting to reclaim Slipstream? Is it not more practical to simply leave her as their prisoner and continue with our more urgent endeavour in fulfilling Operation Harvest?"

    That gave her pause. Just a moment, just enough for her whole body to freeze up slightly, but enough for the tank to see his comment had affected her. That said, he did not seem satisfied with how his comment had affected her; if anything, he just seemed more sombre, as if dejected by himself for bringing it up.

    She gave a soft rev, one that conveyed and muttered: "Hm. Got me there. But still, there's a difference between our friend and some random organic. Slipstream is a vital asset to our operation here, whilst the human is a disposable piece of a replaceable species numbering in the billions."

    "Some might consider that." He murmured, flinching just a little as another charred plate was snapped off. "But I like to hold the idea that maybe warfare will not entirely control us. That perhaps we can still make decisions based on what we believe is good, rather than what will most efficiently kill the next enemy. A human she may have been, but a life she remains."

    Airachnid gave a weak and dull laugh: "Morality doesn't survive long in carnage, Grindor. The depraved and the merciless hunt it down and exploit it without care. They beg for mercy, then kill the bot who hesitated to finish them. They take advantage of the weak, to lure the strong into the range of their knife. I can understand your desire, because it’s the same thing that tells me to go and get my friend back no matter the cost, but at the same time I can't quite condone it. It'll only compromise you in the end."

    "Maybe it will." He whispered, leaning back into the berth with a weak wheeze of his hydraulics. "Maybe one day I will die because I simply did not destroy someone when I had the chance, or some other scenario that reeks of a cruel irony. But... at the same time, Airachnid, I don't want to just surrender myself to some notion that I cannot maintain whatever moral standings I have. I don't want to be a machine oiled by warfare. I want to be a Decepticon, who can make a choice, even if it may come back to haunt me."

    She considers that as she solders a few more cracks shut. It’s a sentimental view, certainly, but it does ring with a sense of logic, the notion that one should always have some capacity to make their own choices for their own merits, not necessarily what war would entail. She can’t quite agree with it, but she can’t demean it either.

    Should the need for war overmatch the need to maintain one’s integrity? It’s not a question she thinks about much, because it’s one she abandoned years ago, when she’d stepped into Shokaw with blades raised and victims trembling before her. She did not need morality or some sense of being ‘good’ or ‘better’, not when she had Shockwave’s twisted whims to carry out and deadly weapons to invent.

    Ooh, she knows she’s a bad robot. She’s killed bots, and loved it. There had been nothing but satisfaction when she’d put a blast through Grimlock’s head, just like all the other times. Screams were music, pain was perfect and spilt Energon was magic. In battle or in the lab, there was always time to sink her claws into some poor sap’s metal. Why should someone like her ever consider the moral side of things?

    But then there is Slipstream, who had always been her friend even after centuries of warfare. Slipstream, who still roused sensations in her spark entirely unrelated to her claws or blasters or any other violent and depraved act she could commit. Slipstream, who she cared for, not just as some mere asset or a convenience, but because she genuinely liked her. And she is in danger, and she wants to save her.

    Could even a twisted torturer like her hold someone close to the spark? She knows the answer is yes; Slipstream is her best friend, her equal, her opposite. She’d do anything for her. Do the amoral consider the moral only when it directly affects them? It seems so.

    She’s probably hypocritical, telling Grindor he was wrong to try and ensure the human’s survival over trying to win his battle, when she herself dreamed of storming the Autobots purely to get her friend back. But then, there is a difference between a human and Slipstream; she has known Slipstream for centuries, whereas humans she has no care for or affiliation with. By their standards, it was choosing between family and a hamster. But what did Slipstream always say? Life is life, right?

    But Slipstream did not adhere to that herself, and she sees no reason to care for life unrelated and insignificant to her, certainly not simplistic organic life. So is that it then? Does she not care for morality beyond the tiny part that simply wants her friend safe? Most likely. But then, should she really condemn it overall? Maybe not. It’s a nice thought, but it’s just not her thought.

    Well, that’s why the universe had people like Grindor, who could think the thoughts for her.

    Eventually she comes up with a vocal response: "I've done many things that quite a lot of bots would consider... amoral, at best. Atrocities in the name of science, torture, murder, the like. I'm not moral. The closest I ever came to moral was the day I told Slipstream she was my best friend no matter what, and even then someone might just say that I'm just possessive. Still, I guess I can't condemn you for holding it close. We all need something to get us through the times of war."

    She shook her head then, and muttered: "But please, Grindor. Try not to kill yourself just to uphold it. Don’t throw away your chances just so you might be able to keep that conscience a tad clearer. Morality is nothing without a host."

    He chuckled: "I will survive, Airachnid. I shan't deny you your moral foil just yet."

    "Good. I need someone I can physically sneer at for trying to be a better person purely over procological conundrums."

    "And I need someone who I can look right into the optics of and have the privilege say 'I have more standards than you'."

    "You’re too short to do that with me, but alright then. I'd shake on it, but your hands a bit fragged."

    "Maybe when I'm better."

    "Maybe when you are."

    And with that, they fell into silence, leaving nothing in the med-bay but the faint hissing and glow of her welder and an unspoken air of mutual consideration between them.


    Author's Notes: I think it's about time I put this series on hiatus, or maybe outright shutdown. As it stands, I'm just not feeling the spark for it I used to have anymore. Might as well make it official and close the curtain for now, slap out one last wee chapter and a moment of awesomeness for both Grindor and Sideways. Kinda sucky to end it when the episode ain't even finished, but such is my ineptitude. Hopefully I'll get my grand machine's cogs back in line again one day and come back to this, but for now, I bid farewell to my named-after-myself word fest of robot shenanigans. It's been a ton of fun.

    Thanks for reading :) 
  15. Ømnidrive

    Ømnidrive I HAVE A MANE!!!

    Oct 6, 2011
    Trophy Points:
    I NOW SHIP GRINDOR AND AIRACHINID!!!....I blame you :lol 

    Keep it up :popcorn 

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