Meister Ain't My Designation
Disclaimer: I do not own any of these characters.
The mech was laughing at him, Prowl knew it. He couldn't hear the laughter, couldn't see the grin, but the mech was a high speed racer built for versatile racing, easily leading the Enforcers from the surface streets—covered in grit and puddles of oil and acid rain—up to the ribbons of neon light high above the city, smooth, tilted for speed. The way the mech's tires turned just enough to splash up loose bits of pavement, the rolling headlights that danced back and forth on the highway instead of seeking out dangerous curves in the darkness...
Prowl, chief tactician for the Enforcers, rarely came out from behind his desk. His frame could keep up with most of the models on the force, but he was more suited for the quiet calculations of probability than leading a chase through the Praxis superhighways. At these altitudes, amongst the tower spires glowing against the starry backdrop, a spinout would send him crashing through the railing into the dark void, raging only that he hadn't caught the mech racing ahead of him.
Prowl's engine revved hard enough to smoke. The mech was laughing at them.
Prowl's sensitive doorpanels, even shut, shivered at the ice growing along his edges, and the winds blasted his hood and across his back strong enough to scrape his paint. Ahead of several other Enforcers vehicles, Prowl pushed his systems until they sparked, straining for every drop of power in his tanks. His wheels left painful tracks on turns hundreds of meters in the air, brushing the railings as he fought to close the distance between himself and the black car in front.
His radio crackled, scratchy as his components diverted power away. "Agent Prowl! Fall back! You're sparking! You're—"
A dozen car-lengths. Then ten. Then five. Prowl left the Enforcers lagging behind as he charged forward—the black car was almost in reach. He could finally see the blue highlights along the aft, the vanity lights in the wheelwells and the streaks of thin white lines accenting the mech's blurry silhouette.
"Halt!" he yelled, not sure if his voice could even carry at this speed. His speedometer had failed a kilometer back. "Halt, you reckless scrap of—"
The black car whipped a half circle, suddenly racing in reverse without any loss of speed, yielding no ground. Prowl felt the rush of panicky coolant through his systems. That maneuver beggared the laws of physics, of gravity. The mech was laughing because he was playing.
Prowl was about to crack apart from the stress and this mech thought they were dancing.
And then the black car exploded in a burst of sound and light that sent blinding pain across all of Prowl's sensors—overloaded his door panels, crashed his navigation, sent his wheels into a spin. Certain he'd die anyway, Prowl transformed back into root mode. Without wheels to carry him, without his streamlined frame to keep the air flowing, maybe he wouldn't crash through the railing—
Hands caught him. They slid backwards, pedes scraping the pavement. Steel screeched as Prowl bent, overheated, shooting sparks along the length of the road, but the arms around Prowl managed to cushion him from the worst of the slide—cold, a little smaller, rumbling in easy laughter.
Prowl managed to snap a stasis cuff around one wrist before he was dropped unceremoniously to the street.
The sensation of no longer moving was such a relief that Prowl took a nano to vent, amazed that he was still alive. Coughing, his doorwings twitching as they cut off their sensors in self-defense, Prowl pushed himself up on his elbows and spotted his quarry far ahead, a dark silhouette against the Praxian towers.
Bent from exertion but slowly standing straight, the black mech ran a hand along his helm, then turned and faced Prowl, his silver visor lighting his grin.
"Lotsa mechs chase me," he said, "but you...you're the first one to throw yourself at me...Prowl, was it?"
"Get...get back here," Prowl growled, gathering one pede under himself, trying to stand without shaking. "You're under—"
"Arrest?" The mech raised his hand, dangling the stasis cuff at Prowl. Without the other cuff connected, it couldn't deliver a full charge. "Kinda tingly. I'ma keep this as a souvenir, if you don't mind?"
"You arrogant—" Prowl managed to stand, tilted as one pede buckled against the other, his left arm limp and crackling at the shoulder. "You overcharged glitch—who are you—"
The mech laughed again, one hand on his hip, obviously recording everything. "Meister! Call me Meister."
"That's not a designation!" Prowl yelled in frustration, taking an abortive step.
Sirens and tires came closer, the rest of the Enforcers finally coming up behind Prowl. Meister turned, spotting the Enforcers coming from the other side of the road.
"You're surrounded!" Prowl said, flanked by Enforcers coming up out of altmode with guns already drawn. "Surrender!"
Smiling casually as if he were meeting old friends, Meister clapped his hands together and took a couple steps back, feeling the railing against his pedes. When his optics met Prowl's, the Enforcer understood what the mech meant to do. Venting in hard, Prowl raised his hand as if he could catch him.
"Later, Prowler," Meister said, and let himself tumble backwards off the side.
Enforcers rushed by Prowl, all lining up along the side of the road. Someone came up beside him, taking his good arm and supporting his weight. Prowl didn't listen to Bluestreak's concerned chattering. All he heard was his mechs reporting back that they saw nothing—no falling mech, no explosion, no gliding wings.
Nothing but the wind bearing up one last delighted laugh.
Next Chapter: a bonding ceremony