(('Kay. Decided to do a one shot fanfic. This one takes place in the original cartoon sometime between the events of the movie and Five Faces of Darkness. Pipes was characterized as something of a mechanical genius in the show, and I wanted to play with that idea a little.)) Pipes stared at the keypad lock for the longest time before he finally lifted up his hand to tap in the code. The screen flashed green for a brief moment before the doors slid open. With a heavy sigh, Pipes stepped into Wheeljack’s old lab. The place seemed old and decrepit now without the constant sounds of chemicals bubbling in beakers or the clanging of metal against metal or the unmistakable sound of a welding torch fusing two metal sheets together. The place had been left untouched by anyone but the engineer and his various failed experiments. Tools were strewn across the floor and tables, there were a few test tubes knocked over here and there, and blast marks decorated all the walls just as always, but the silence left an aura of unease. A few days ago, this place would’ve been buzzing with activity as Wheeljack made another scientific discovery, for better or for worse. And now Wheeljack was dead. Just one of many poor souls on the list of casualties from the battle of Autobot city. It was cruel, really. Not so long ago—maybe a quartex or so—Pipes had sat down and talked to the Autobot engineer for the first time. He had always viewed him as being more than just a mad scientist with a low success rate—he saw him as one of the bravest Autobots to be brought online, taking risks on a day to day basis for the benefit of his peers. Pipes idolized Wheeljack. He was initially overwhelmed when he was sat down to talk to him, but after he got past the awkward small talk he discovered that the two of them weren’t so different. Both were mechanics in different senses, both had somewhat eccentric tastes in art, and both were willing to pay a hefty price to help the Autobot cause. And Wheeljack had paid the greatest price of all—his own life. Pipes could never forget entering Autobot City to clean up the wreckage and finding his personal hero’s lifeless shell lying still as can be, a laser blast cut clean through his chest and dead optics staring into the abyss. Hound followed Pipes in with a stack of labeled crates and set them down by the entrance. The Minibot reached for a beaker, but hesitated. “Something wrong, Pipes?” Hound asked. “It feels like I’m dancing on his grave.” “I… what?” Pipes turned around to face the scout. “Wheeljack didn’t pass that long ago, Hound. Neither did Prowl, or Ironhide, or Optimus, for that matter. And one quick little funeral service and here we are rummaging through his belongings. This hardly seems like respect for the dead.” He sighed, pinching the bridge of his olfactory receptors. Hound walked up to the little semi cab, knelt down, and placed his hand on his shoulder. “Listen, I know this is hard for you,” he replied. “You really looked up to Wheeljack. And I can see why. He was dedicated. He knew he had a job to do and he stuck to it ‘til the end. And he’d want you to be just as dedicated as his successor, right?” Pipes looked up at Hound. “I guess so…” Hound nodded. “Exactly. Wheeljack knew his job came with risk after risk, and regardless to the fact that he could’ve easily done himself in with a tiny miscalculation, he kept at it. He never stopped trying to help his fellow Autobots. It never mattered to him how badly he was hurt, he’d keep trying until he made the proper working invention. And then he’d just move on to the next one, and so on, and so on. He wouldn’t want you to sit there and mope, Pipes. He’d want you to carry on where he left off—helping the Autobot cause the only way he knew how.” Pipes nodded. “Yeah… Yeah. I see.” Hound smiled and patted him on his shoulder. “Atta boy.” He god back up to his feet and walked over to the shelves. “I’ll help you get the items on the higher shelves down.” Pipes nodded and picked up a wrench. I may not be you, Wheeljack, but I’ll do my ever-lovin’ to live up to your legacy, he thought. That’s a promise.