An attempt at dastardly TF Mary-Sue by Princess Artemis
© S.D. Green, 2002 'cept fer Hasbro
Jazz was wandering around the Ark one evening, without anything particularly interesting to do. Just one of those days, he supposed. He thought of things that might entertain him, and decided that maybe he should try to drag someone off to a nightclub or something. Unfortunately, most of the other Autobots were out thwarting another one of Megatron's Ultimate Universe Conquering Plans of the Week. He was stuck here because recently he'd been beat up enough in a similar confrontation for Ratchet to make him stay behind. This meant there would be slim pickings in the clubbing companions department.
He tried to think of someone who would still be here. Maybe Wheeljack? Well, he knew dragging Wheeljack to a nightclub wouldn't be easy, but maybe if he was working on something, Jazz might find a little entertainment waiting for it to blow up in his face. So he headed for the lab.
He tiptoed toward the door, not wanting to alert Wheeljack to his presence. He reached the door and carefully peered in. Unfortunately, it looked like Wheeljack was out today, too. "Drat," Jazz muttered to himself.
There was an Autobot in the lab, however. "Double drat," Jazz whispered. It was Perceptor. Not that Jazz had anything against the scientist; it was just that things didn't blow up in his face nearly as often as they did to Wheeljack, so that nixed that idea. Jazz pondered for a moment and realized sullenly that there was even less a chance of getting Perceptor to go to a nightclub with him than there was for Wheeljack.
Then Jazz decided just to stand there for a moment to see if Perceptor said anything amusing to whatever it was he was fiddling with. Jazz was pretty desperate for some entertainment.
Sadly, for Jazz, Perceptor wasn't talking to his doodads tonight. "Triple drat," he grumped, a little louder. Loud enough to be heard anyway, judging by the way Perceptor spun on his heel toward the door and nearly dropped whatever he was holding. Jazz almost decided to make his get away, but he'd been spotted, so there was no use. He walked into the lab.
"Hello Jazz," Perceptor said. "What brings you here?" He wasn't being unfriendly, just curious.
"Mind-numbing boredom, to be honest," Jazz replied, scratching the back of his head.
"Ah." Perceptor paused a moment, then said, "This isn't where Autobots generally come to relieve their boredom. In fact, I think most Autobots would rather avoid the lab because it and its occupants appear to induce tremendous boredom...although I can't say I understand that."
"Eeee...well...there's always the off chance of catching Wheeljack in a self-induced blazing inferno. It's like every time he does it, it's more spectacular than the last."
"It's not as entertaining when you're in the blast radius."
Jazz grinned. "I suppose not." Then he looked up at the ceiling for a moment, tapping his foot. There was no way he was going to ask Perceptor what he was up to; that was a sure-fire recipe for causing near-suicidal boredom at this point. "Hmm." He decided just to go for it. "Ever been to a nightclub?"
"No. Why do you ask?" Perceptor was suddenly wary.
Jazz grabbed one of the round chrome discs on Perceptor's arm and started dragging him out of the lab.
"Jazz! I'm busy! I understand you're bored, but...can't you find something else to do?" Perceptor protested loudly.
"Come on, be a pal! It'll be fun!"
"Why don't you transform? It'll be faster that way."
Perceptor almost smiled and promptly transformed into his very rarely seen tank form, light canon trained on Jazz. He started to creep forward on his treads.
Jazz took a step back. "No no no, microscope!"
This time Perceptor muttered something dark and transformed again. He had his lens barrel leveled at Jazz in such a way that Jazz knew he was being glared at.
"No! Small!" Jazz put his hands together, indicating he meant human-sized microscope.
With a resigned sigh, Perceptor transformed a third time, shrinking until he was the same size as a human microscope.
"That's better!" Jazz said happily, knowing that at least he had company for his trip while also mischievously looking forward to how uncomfortable he knew Perceptor would be at a nightclub. He picked up the little microscope and transformed himself, screeching his tires in his haste to get out of the Ark and do something.
* * *
With the speed Jazz was going, he nearly achieved flight. Much too fast for Perceptor, who had more than once considered transforming while inside Jazz. That would have made an absolutely horrendous mess out of Jazz, while perhaps stopping him from ever again railroading him into going to a nightclub. There were approximately four hundred trillion, three hundred and seventy-two billion, nine hundred and forty-two million, six hundred and forty-seven thousand, two hundred and twelve places he'd rather be than at a nightclub and one of them was staring down Megatron's fusion cannon while it was connected to a black hole.
But that would also mean he'd be roped into fixing Jazz. Besides, he wasn't the type to turn fellow Autobots into scrap just because he was annoyed.
Much to Perceptor's distress, Jazz gleefully announced, "We're here!" while he transformed. He set Perceptor down and allowed him to transform into his normal sized self.
"Splendid," was all Perceptor could say.
Jazz shook a finger at him. "You really need to loosen up a bit. I mean, you spend so much time holed up in your lab you talk to everything."
Perceptor gave Jazz a supremely annoyed look. "It's not a mark of psychosis or 'cabin fever' to talk to things even though I know they can't hear or understand. It's just a habit. I hear humans do it all the time. Besides, telling a precariously balanced object to stay usually works."
Jazz giggled. "You tell things that can't move to stay?"
"It's no different than your proclivity to make gear-wrenching puns. And I don't expect them to listen...they just tend to...stay. Call it a prayer if you like."
Jazz covered his mouth to stifle his laughter. "Oh mighty deities and patron saints of inanimate objects, please allow this one to obey you and not move, amen," Jazz mocked, trying to imitate Perceptor's calm, slightly accented voice while making wildly exaggerated movements with his hands.
Perceptor wiped his face with his hand. "My mistake. Remind me not to give you any more ammunition, please?"
Jazz was smiling nearly audio to audio. "Never!" he declared, then grabbed Perceptor by a chrome disc, and started pulling him toward the nightclub entrance.
When they reached the doorway, the bouncer standing there looked the two over. This was a new club for Jazz, so he didn't know the burly man. He figured that the bouncer wouldn't turn him away, since it seemed as though it was good for business to have a reputation of being frequented by Autobots. The bouncer just shrugged and motioned the two in, and judging by the look on his face, he figured there was no use turning them away when they could just step right over him. It wasn't like he could bounce a 'Bot.
Jazz smiled and waved at the bouncer as he walked by, still pulling a reluctant Perceptor behind him. Unfortunately, this nightclub seemed to be a bit of an anomaly—the doors were actually human sized. Perceptor thought this should be perfectly normal, but Jazz was surprised. Almost all the nightclubs he'd been to had tall, easily entered doors. Not to be deterred, Jazz hunched down and contorted himself until he fit through the doorway. It took a few minutes, but he managed without denting the doorjambs too much. Perceptor just transformed into his small microscope form and let Jazz pick him up from outside. Jazz frowned in annoyance at that; he was hoping to have at least a little snicker while watching Perceptor try to get in the door.
Jazz set Perceptor down inside. Fortunately, the ceiling had enough clearance for the two with some to spare. Perceptor returned to robot mode and smiled at Jazz. "You weren't expecting me to make a fool of myself trying to squeeze through that door, were you?" It wasn't really a question; the grin on his face made it abundantly obvious that he knew that was precisely what Jazz had hoped would happen.
Jazz snorted in response.
Once both were inside, Jazz dragged Perceptor closer to the dance floor. Jazz smiled; the music was pretty good. Perceptor looked around uncomfortably, completely and totally at a loss as to what he should do with himself. Jazz glanced at him and seemed to find this quite amusing. "You're supposed to take in the tunes, soak in the sounds!"
Perceptor fidgeted. "I will make a valiant effort, since I don't seem to have a choice at the moment."
Jazz started tapping his foot to the beat. "Yeah, not bad," he said to himself. He looked over the floor, watching the humans in the club dancing. Rather suddenly and much to his surprise, one of them caught his optic. "Whoa. She's a looker."
Jazz pointed. "Her, that lady right there. She's real easy on the optics."
Perceptor followed Jazz' aim and spotted the woman in question. He held his chin. "That is...well...yes, she is, isn't she. How peculiar."
The woman spotted the two Autobots and immediately made her way over to them. "Hey," she said, her voice so silky it gave people delighted shivers.
"Hello!" Jazz said, crouching down so he was closer to her level. "The name's Jazz. Mind if I ask yours?"
She flashed a particularly stunning smile. Jazz smiled back, but it made Perceptor frown slightly. She extended a hand to Jazz, who took it in his thumb and forefinger, actually bending down to kiss it. "My name's Raven Silverstar. Nice to meet you." Her amethyst eyes glittered like fine jewels, and she laughed lightly.
"Nice ta meetcha too," Jazz returned. Then he promptly whacked Perceptor's leg. "Introduce yourself to the lady!"
Startled out of his thoughts, Perceptor said, "Oh! Yes, of course." He also crouched down and extended his hand. "I'm Perceptor," he said politely.
Raven took his proffered hand as best she could. When her hand met his, Perceptor narrowed his optics slightly, but tried not to frown. For some reason he couldn't fathom, it had occurred to him to mimic Jazz' gallantry, but he didn't because he didn't know why he wanted to do that.
Nevertheless, Raven caught the look. "Raven," she said, her tone clipped. She immediately withdrew her hand and returned her attention to Jazz. "So, Jazz, I don't suppose Autobots dance, do they?" She was smiling again.
"Well, yeah, actually we do," Jazz answered. "Some of us do anyway."
"Mind taking a lady for a dance then?"
"No, don't mind if I do."
Perceptor stood and tapped Jazz on the shoulder. "Raven, would you please excuse us for a moment?"
Raven nodded, but not happily.
Jazz stood as well and asked, "What's the matter?"
As quietly as he could, Perceptor said, "Am I alone in thinking this human is actually attractive?"
"No, she's real pretty...wait a minute." Now Jazz was frowning. "That is a little odd, isn't it."
"I find it very odd indeed. There is no conceivable reason for a Transformer to find a human attractive."
Jazz made a thoughtful noise. "That's true. But what's the harm in dancin' with the lady? When we get back to the Ark, you can pick my brain to figure it out. Right now, I think I'll just go with the flow."
"All right," Perceptor said, not particularly pleased with it all. Jazz was right; there wasn't any harm in a dance. Nothing could come of it. It still bothered him though. "I'll be over here thinking about this anomaly."
"OK." Jazz turned back to Raven and said, "Shall we?"
Raven flicked her beautiful red hair, stray light glinting like fire in every strand. "Of course!" Then she walked out onto the dance floor with Jazz in tow. She proved to be a most elegant dancer.
* * *
Sometime later, Jazz, Raven, and Perceptor were sitting at a table at the club. Actually, Jazz and Perceptor were sitting on the floor in an attempt to be at a reasonable height to talk to Raven. It had taken quite a bit of maneuvering on the Autobot's parts to get their legs in a comfortable position under the table, but they managed.
Mostly Raven was talking to Jazz, all about subjects Jazz adored, like music and Earth culture. They chatted about the merits of different types of music, from Michael Jackson to Mozart. Jazz was enormously impressed by Raven's knowledge on the subject; although she claimed no such thing, Jazz was certain she had to have several degrees in various music and culture related subjects. For once, Jazz was talking in jargon esoteric enough that Perceptor had trouble following.
Not that Perceptor didn't know what the words meant; if there were any Autobot alive that could lay claim to the title 'walking dictionary', it was him. It was more that he tended to science rather than art; thus Jazz and Raven's discussions on art were leaving him stranded. He listened attentively, unable to really contribute, but absorbing the information to think about later since he couldn't quite grasp it now. He wondered idly if he was even capable of getting a good hold on the subject.
After a little more discussion, Raven asked, "Do Autobots drink?"
Jazz said, "Energon when we feel like it, but we can drink human drinks."
Raven smiled. "Let me get you something."
"Allow me, Raven," Jazz offered cordially.
"No, no, that's OK, I'd like to get it. Besides, I know how much trouble it was for you to sit down here in the first place." She stood and winked, then turned toward the bar.
Jazz set his elbow on the table, head leaning on his chin. "She's amazing."
"She is quite learned," Perceptor agreed.
"It's a nice change of pace to meet someone ya can talk to like that. Blaster's pretty good, but as much as he likes music, I don't think he appreciates it in the way I do. Music's definitely more his thing, but ya gotta add culture to it."
"I must confess, most of it went over my head."
Jazz turned and gaped. "Really? Caught you outta yer depth? Now that is a change of pace."
"I have never made a study of art. Perhaps I should someday. I lean toward subjects with more defined boundaries, however."
Jazz chuckled. "Sure, give it a chance someday. Start with music. And I'm not just saying that because I like music best. It's the most mathematical of arts, might appeal to yer scientific side."
Before they could continue their discussion, Raven returned with three glasses filled with some form of alcohol. Jazz and Perceptor could just use the alcohol as fuel. "Here we go," she said. But before she could set the drinks down, she stumbled, which to Perceptor's optics looked purposeful, and promptly spilled the drinks on the two Autobots.
"Oh, I'm so sorry," she said, without any sincerity at all.
Whether Jazz and Perceptor heard her or not was moot, for both of them promptly fell over, unconscious.
* * *
When Jazz woke up, the first thing he did was rub his head. The second thing he did was screech in shock.
His hand hadn't met his face with the familiar clink of metal on metal. Rather, it had met with almost no sound at all. It was the feel that made him screech. His head was apparently no longer made of metal.
He sat up, and realized that he'd somehow ended up in a rather decadent bed in a particularly fancy hotel room. He looked at his hand, and barely stifled a second screech. He now had a human hand. He looked at his other hand. Yep, still human. He looked down at his armor. Nope, no armor. Instead, he had the well-defined upper body of a human man. He groaned. With all the trepidation of an unarmed Autobot wandering alone into an army of angry Decepticons, Jazz gingerly lifted the green satin sheet and looked. He set the sheet down. It was as he feared. He was a nude human man right down to his little white toes.
"Not good," he muttered to himself. Then he looked a little more at the room, realizing with not a little horror and a third stifled screech that the bed he was in had been occupied on the other side. He bolted out of the bed as fast as he could, hoping and praying he hadn't done something massively stupid that he didn't remember. Jazz decided a human custom of splashing his face with cold water might help clear his head so he headed into the nearby restroom.
What he found inside just about short-circuited his central processors. The human male mindset took over long enough for Jazz to get a nice extended look at the stunning, nude woman standing inside the room. She was looking at herself in the vanity mirror with a somewhat perplexed but calculating expression. Her hair was jet, shining, but her slightly Asian eyes were crystal blue, and her eyelashes were also black. The rest of her was very nicely shaped, and one of her delicate hands was touching her waist-length hair. There was something familiar about that expression though.
Then suddenly Jazz' right mind reasserted itself, and he gulped and ran out, shouting after him, "Excuse me ma'am! Didn't know it was occupied!" He then proceeded to root around the room, looking for something to wear. He'd never felt a need to before, but he did now.
"That's quite all right Jazz, you didn't disturb me. In fact, I'm relieved that you're here," came drifting out of the restroom. Jazz was stunned into a near stupor and stopped short. He looked back towards the restroom door.
"How'd you know my name, ma'am?" he asked, his insides twisting in knots at the horrified thought that maybe he had done something monumentally stupid while he wasn't looking.
After a short pause, she said, "I'm rather surprised you don't know the answer to that yourself. Of course I recognized your voice."
Jazz frowned. "But how? I don't think we've met...?"
"Of course we have! But I seem to have found myself in a most awkward predicament," she said, and then came to the door.
Jazz fought down an impulse to stare at her, and managed to cover his optics. He'd seen her long enough to notice she didn't seem to be uncomfortable in the slightest just standing there like a goddess. He promptly slapped himself for thinking like that.
There was a long pause. "Oh my. It appears I'm not alone in this situation."
Jazz stood very still for a moment, and hazarded a tiny peep at the woman in the doorway, making sure just to look at her face. She was still wearing that familiar expression. Then it hit him like a bolt of lightning and he staggered. First at the sudden realization that no, he, Jazz, was not the only person in the room that wasn't human yesterday, second, that the woman was Perceptor, and third...third...he'd been gawking at him...her...him... He nearly fainted.
Jazz wanted very badly to curl up in a little ball and hide somewhere.
He heard footsteps coming closer, and then she—HE, Jazz insisted to himself, was standing next to him. When she...he...spoke this time, Jazz recognized the voice, it was just higher pitched. "Are you all right, Jazz?" She...he! had put a hand on his shoulder.
"No I am not all right! I am completely and totally not all right! And please, Perceptor, please for the love of all that is good and right, find something to wear!"
"All right," she said, and Jazz heard her—HIS—footfalls pad across the room and then he heard a closet opening. He fought every male instinct he had in his now, unfortunately, human body so as not to drop his hands and check out the lady's behind. He was also fighting himself on that small pronounal front, too. His humanity rather insisted that this vision of beauty he'd walked in on was most assuredly female. But Jazz the Autobot was equally insistent that Perceptor was neither a 'she' nor a vision of beauty by any stretch of the imagination. So he didn't know what to call him...her...him.
"I found something in the closet, Jazz," she said. "There's something for you also. It would be wise for you to get dressed as well."
"I'm not moving from this spot until you have yourself covered, Perceptor," Jazz said.
Of all the rotten times to get curious!"Because you're making me very uncomfortable!" Jazz did not elaborate.
"Oh," was all she...he...said. Then Jazz heard him...her.... Jazz slapped himself again, wishing someone would come down from on high and make sense of those stupid pronouns. Let's try that again, he thought. Jazz heard Perceptor rustling around with something that was probably cloth. Then he heard a distinctly defeated sigh.
"What's the matter?" Jazz asked, still willing his hands to stay over his optics.
"Well...hmm...there seems to be this minor matter of the proper undergarments for women. I don't know if I can manage this by myself."
Jazz gulped. "Sorry man, but you're just gonna have to put that mind of yours to its proper use, because I am not helping."
"Fine," Perceptor said in a slight huff, "but I don't see why not." Jazz heard more shifting and rustling.
"Well, to me, there are at least a million reasons why not. One of which is that I'm having trouble keeping my optics shut as it is, I don't need to go helping beautiful and disturbingly attractive women gettin' their bras on."
There was a long moment of silence. "'Beautiful and disturbingly attractive'? Oh...of course, I should have realized. You are trapped in a male body; there would naturally be some attraction to a female form. My apologies Jazz, I should have thought of that before. Although I don't see why you would say I'm beautiful...."
"Gah! Just get dressed so I can stop standing here like a moron! Now wait a minute...why didn't you realize that before? You're stuck in a female body. Am I just that ugly or somethin'?"
There was another long pause, and suddenly Jazz realized he was being appraised. "I haven't seen your face, so I can't offer any commentary on that, but I would assume that a normal human female would find you attractive."
And he's not a normal human female. Thank heavens for small favors."Well, OK...I guess. I wish I wasn't having such a hard time with this."
There was a long pause, as if Perceptor were considering responding, but he declined. More rustling.
Jazz muttered and huffed. "Are you finished yet?"
"Yes, I'm finished. I will certainly be grateful once we've found a way to return to our natural forms however. I am beginning to think female human apparel was designed for the specific purpose of torture."
Jazz dropped his hands, happy to be able to see again and doubly happy that Perceptor wasn't standing there like Venus from on high anymore. With his hands no longer occupied covering his optics, he used them to snatch a pillow off the bed and cover himself in a more appropriate human fashion.
Whoever had turned them human had apparently also provided them with clothes to match their original coloring. Perceptor was clothed in a mostly crimson evening gown with certain parts feathering into a nice teal. The dress had black shoulders and was blessedly not low cut—where the red of the dress ended over his...her...his! chest there was some wide white satiny edging. The sleeves were flared out and flowing at the ends, embroidered in silver. Black satin gloves covered Perceptor's hands. Apparently, this dress also came equipped with a red cape of some sort, which was attached to the left shoulder by a silver pin.
"Well...um...you look nice," Jazz said slowly, averting his gaze. Perceptor looked more than nice. She...he...she...looked just as maddeningly gorgeous fully clothed as she had nude.
"Your clothes are in the closet," Perceptor replied.
Jazz shifted a little. "Do you mind, er, turning around? Or maybe going into another room?"
Perceptor didn't seem to understand why, but he turned and walked past Jazz into the hotel room's kitchen anyway, stumbling horrifically on what Jazz assumed were high heels.
Once he was gone, Jazz snickered. The sight of this most incredible looking woman walking as if she had no clue what she was doing had broken the spell, hopefully for a while. And with him gone, Jazz could comfortably stop thinking of him as a her. Relieved, Jazz put the pillow down and went to the closet. His relief was short-lived. While the perpetrators of this body snatching had left Perceptor something nice to wear, they'd left Jazz something that he thought was utterly hideous. The shirt wasn't so bad—it was just a nice white shirt with one horizontal red stripe and one vertical navy stripe, approximately where they should be on his real body, plus a black turtleneck collar. And maybe the jacket wasn't that bad; it was mostly white leather with some curved black on the shoulders. Even the pants weren't horrible, but he'd still feel like a fool in them—plain black leather. It was the boots. Jazz would have rather worn nothing at all than try to get himself into those hideous knee-high white boots with the silly navy and red stripe that went up the sides. If he went outside in them, he just knew he'd get himself killed on sight.
Unfortunately, there was nothing else in the room, and he couldn't go barefoot. So with a loud mental growl of protest, he started putting the clothes on. Fortunately, male undergarments weren't as bad as female undergarments for getting into.
After Jazz had wrestled on the leather pants and the boots, he carried the shirt and jacket into the restroom. He wanted to get a look at himself.
He looked into the mirror and was a little surprised to find that he had the same ice-blue eyes that Perceptor did, framed by the same jet-black lashes. His skin tone was a very pale, light color. He didn't realize it, but many would find the color of his eyes absolutely stunning. His hair was also black, but much shorter than Perceptor's had been. Strangely enough, however, he could almost recognize the shape of this human face—it was very near his own.
Jazz shrugged and pulled the shirt on and then the jacket. He realized there were things in the jacket pocket, so he pulled them out. One was a pair of black leather gloves, and the other...it was a pair of fancy shades that were almost exactly the shape and color of his visor. "Hey, that's cool," he said, and he slipped them on. He looked even more like himself with the sunglasses; then again, he also looked more like a miserable, style-impaired fool by human standards. Either that or he looked like Bono. "I just know I'm gonna get the energon beat out of me in this get up," he muttered to the mirror. Then he walked back out into the main room.
"It's safe, you can come out now Perceptor!" Jazz called, and shortly Perceptor walked out of the kitchen, still stumbling a bit, but looking as though he had been practicing trying to stay upright in his heels.
Perceptor put a hand to his chin and looked Jazz over.
"Cut it out, I know I look like an idiot," Jazz grumped.
"Oh, I was thinking you looked more like certain human motorcycle riders I've seen. The leather would protect you reasonably well should you fall."
"I still look like an idiot."
"The colors match your real colors fairly well."
"That's not what I mean, O Oblivious One. These ain't the sort of clothes a human would just wear on any kind of social occasion at all. You lucked out—you got the nice clothes."
"I got the pantyhose and high heels. I would hardly consider myself fortunate in that regard."
"Leather pants aren't exactly what I'd call comfy."
"Then let's trade."
Jazz thought about that for a moment. Of course they couldn't trade—Perceptor was currently both shorter and slimmer than he was, and even if they could, Jazz would much rather be wearing ugly guy clothes than pretty girl clothes. And that wasn't even factoring in the discomfort of certain female garments. "Can't do it, man."
"I'm quite aware of that."
"OK...here's something I have to have sorted out for me. What do I call you? He or she? You got 'fine lookin' lady' written all over you, but I know you ain't nothin' of the kind."
Perceptor fiddled with the cape for a second. "I would prefer 'he' unless we are in a human social situation where that would be inappropriate. I don't suppose there will be any occasion to call me 'he' for the duration however."
"All right, I'll try to keep that in mind. Now shall we go kick some can or what?"
The two ex-Transformers thus exited the nice hotel room, Jazz trying his level best to keep his optics off Perceptor.
* * *
The room wasn't the only nice thing about the hotel. The elevator was a glass one, allowing a panoramic view of the area. Jazz and Perceptor boarded the elevator and Jazz pressed a button for the ground floor. The elevator was fast and when they reached the main floor, both stumbled out dizzy, not used to equilibrium as humans understood it. It was a little harder on Perceptor since he had to maintain his balance on heels. A few steps away from the elevator and he lost it. One of Perceptor's feet turned under him and Jazz tried his best to catch him before he fell. Jazz caught him but he hadn't recovered his own balance yet so they both ended up falling to the floor.
This presented a problem for Jazz. Now he had this most stunning woman sprawled over him. He shook his head hard, trying to dislodge all the untoward thoughts that seemed to have sprung up from no where. Fortunately, Perceptor was quick to move, allowing Jazz to recover his wits a little. Jazz didn't know what he was going to do with this massive physical attraction he felt...it was bad enough that he had to feel it at all. That it was Perceptor making him crazy was almost enough to drive him to tears.
Perceptor sat up next to Jazz, ignoring all the other hotel patrons' stares. Jazz sat up and tried to ignore the stares, but he felt very self-conscious, blushing slightly.
Then, with absolute and total disregard for Jazz as well as any human propriety, Perceptor pulled his dress up over his knee and held his leg up, looking at his ankle. Jazz smothered more thoughts as he tried very hard to pull his optics off that nice, shapely calf.
"Don't do that!" Jazz shouted, grabbing Perceptor's dress and pulling it back over his leg.
Perceptor gave Jazz a pained look. "What? I was examining my ankle. I believe I may have twisted it, judging by the pain."
Jazz sighed. "Man, just find a way to check that doesn't involve showing off your legs, all right?"
Perceptor didn't answer. He went about trying to find a position that he could look at his ankle without upsetting Jazz. Finally, he said, "It doesn't appear as though I damaged it. Still hurts."
"Can you stand?" Jazz asked, although it felt like an odd question.
"I don't see why not," Perceptor answered as he tried to stand. He promptly fell back with a pained hiss. "Perhaps I hurt myself more severely than I had first thought?" Normally if he had only minor damage, he could ignore it enough to continue as if nothing had happened.
"It's probably a human thing," Jazz suggested. "They get hurt real easy you know."
"Yes, but...what am I to do about it? We can't stay here."
Jazz squirmed a bit. "Here, lemme help you up and you can lean on me. Maybe we can find some, what is it...some aspirin or something." Jazz then stood and helped Perceptor up, ignoring yet more thoughts that cropped up and a very peculiar feeling he couldn't identify. It all got worse when Perceptor leaned on him enough to stay standing.
"Now where shall we go to inquire after some aspirin?" Perceptor asked, wincing slightly.
As it turned out, they didn't need to go anywhere. A man dressed in a tuxedo stepped up to them and said, "Are you all right, ma'am? Is there anything I can do for you?"
"As a matter of fact, yes. Do you know where I might acquire some aspirin?" Perceptor asked.
The man nodded. "I do. The hotel has a few shops that sell things like that." He offered his arm. "Come with me, I can help you get there."
Jazz frowned in a sudden flash of anger. "No, hhh...I can take her there just fine, thank you."
"At least allow me to help," the man said. "Unless you know the way?"
Jazz fumed. "No, we don't know the way. We'll follow you."
But the man was insistent, so Perceptor allowed him to help. The three of them moved slowly around a large circular planter with small water fountains playing in it. Jazz tried his level best to stop glaring daggers at the man in the tuxedo.
While they walked, the man said to Perceptor, "I'm sorry I haven't introduced myself. My name is Jordan Holloway. May I ask yours?"
"Her name is Percy," Jazz interrupted.
Perceptor winced. "Percy."
Jordan gave Jazz a heated look. Jazz returned it full force. "The name's Jazz."
Jordan almost sneered. "I imagine it is."
Jazz had no doubt in his mind the jab was a direct result of his ostentatious clothing. "Look man, my mom was seriously into Coltrain, all right? She took it a step far."
The three arrived at the hotel shop, not a moment too soon as far as Jazz was concerned. He wasn't sure why, but Mr. Holloway was really rubbing him the wrong way. Jordan picked up a small packet of vastly overpriced Advil and handed it to Perceptor. "Here you go."
Perceptor looked at it, somewhat consternated. "Expensive..."
"If it is too much, I would gladly pay for it, Percy," Jordan said cordially. Jazz ground his teeth, but Jordan's offer was a good way of getting the stuff without having to say that neither he nor Perceptor had any human currency on them.
"Thank you," Perceptor said, and Jordan paid for the little packet.
Then Jordan turned to Perceptor. "My lady, may I be so forward as to ask why you put up with this badly dressed ill-mannered dog?"
Perceptor narrowed his eyes slightly, not sure what to say to that. Jazz, however, had plenty to say. He moved around enough to grab Jordan by one lapel and yank him forward. "She's my wife, you ugly son of a retro-rat!"
Perceptor wisely decided to postpone comment on that.
Jordan shoved Jazz' off him, then straightened his coat. He turned to Perceptor, took his hand, and kissed it. "If you ever decide to leave this chauvinistic boor, I would be glad to treat you better." Jordan then quickly slipped Perceptor a card, presumably with his telephone number on it. Then Jordan turned and walked away.
Once he was out of earshot, Perceptor gave Jazz a peculiar look. "Your wife? Percy?"
The lady at the cash register just shrugged and ignored them.
Jazz led Perceptor out of the shop and the two went looking for a drinking fountain. "Sorry, man, I had to say something to get ridda him. Wouldn't do havin' you give your real name either. I can get away with mine...sorta."
"You seemed inordinately angry."
Jazz sighed. "I know. I'm gettin' real confused...dunno what's up with me, like I can't think straight."
Perceptor didn't say anything, but he did file that away for consideration. They quickly found a fountain. Perceptor fumbled with the little package but found he couldn't open it with satin gloves. Jazz took it and managed to rip off the top and extract the Advil. "Here," he said, handing them to Perceptor, who took them and swallowed them with a sip of water.
"Mmm. The water is quite good." He took a longer drink.
"Lemme taste." Perceptor moved and let Jazz at the fountain. "Hey, not bad at all," he said after a drink. Clearly human sense of taste was a good bit different than Transformer...at least now it made sense why Spike wouldn't eat a tomato and why Sparkplug was so adamant about what flavor of soft drink he purchased.
"Let us go find Raven. I strongly suspect she is the one who caused our transformation."
"Raven?" Jazz asked. "Why do ya think she did it?"
"When she tripped, causing the cocktails she was bringing to spill on us, I noted that the movement was not only uncharacteristically clumsy, but that it was also purposeful."
Jazz shrugged. "Was kinda clutzy for her... She was a pretty smooth mover."
"It is quite suspicious. I wonder if she would be here?"
"I dunno. Why did we even end up here anyway?" Jazz looked around. "That human was dressed pretty nice...hmm...maybe there's a fancy shindig goin' here somewhere."
"Let's find out."
Jazz pointed toward a small gathering of other well-dressed humans. "Why not hit them up for some info?"
"All right," Perceptor said. Jazz and Perceptor walked toward them, slowly, since Perceptor was limping slightly. Fortunately, he didn't lose his footing again.
When the two ex-Transformers reached the group of humans, they saw that they were milling around in front of a tall doorway that opened to a ballroom. The room was filled with many more finely dressed humans. As soon as they approached, every pair of male eyes turned their way. A sudden silence descended on the group. There were a few low male whistles accompanied by swats, slaps, and rib nudging, all perpetrated by the women who were with the men now staring at Perceptor.
"Enough to make ya feel like ya didn't even exist," Jazz muttered.
"Or rather wish one didn't," Perceptor replied. "This is extremely uncomfortable, although I am quite amused by the reactions of the women."
"Heh. Well, maybe I should feel good 'cause I got the most stunning woman on Earth on my arm and I know all those guys are seething in jealousy!"
"Jazz, need I remind you that I am not the most stunning woman on Earth?"
"You are now." Jazz was suddenly feeling pretty good about the situation. Judging by the reactions of all the humans, he had the hottest chick in the house with him, and his own horrifyingly bad clothing didn't even seem to be registering.
He blinked and shook his head, trying to clear it. "I'm sorry. Still not sure what's with me."
"Let's just see if Raven is inside."
"OK." They found it surprisingly easy to enter the ballroom, as the humans gathered in front of the doors parted as if royalty were walking in their midst.
Once they entered, the two scanned the room for Raven. Although normally Perceptor would be the one to spot something he was looking for the fastest, this time Jazz beat him to the mark by a mile.
And all Jazz could do was gape. If Raven had been beautiful and attractive before, she was the stuff of legends now. Helen of Troy sprung to mind. If Jazz could get his mind functioning long enough, he might have considered fighting a war just for her.
"Jazz, are you all right?" Perceptor asked, prompting Jazz finally to tear his eyes off Raven. He pointed lamely in the direction he had been looking, and Perceptor again followed his aim. "Ah. I see." He didn't sound pleased at all.
Jazz turned back to gaping at Raven. She was wearing a slim black dress, very elegant. She started walking towards the two with gliding, entrancing steps. A sudden swat to his arm snapped him out of his drooling gaze.
"You think she's prettier than me, don't you?" Perceptor demanded. Jazz looked at him and was surprised to see tears welling up in Perceptor's eyes.
"What? Yes...no...yes...huh?" Jazz could barely think.
"You do think she's prettier!" Now Perceptor was really crying. He...she...started sniffling and tears spilled onto her cheeks.
"Uh?" Jazz suddenly felt an overwhelming desire to wipe her...his...Perceptor's tears away. Seeing him...her...cry like that was making his gut twist up. He shook his head, trying to get his rational mind around all these weird feelings. Jazz shoved his hands in his pockets to stop himself from involuntarily drying Perceptor's tears. "Wh...why are you crying?"
Still sniffling, Perceptor looked at the floor, and Jazz recognized the expression on his face. He was thinking again. "I don't know," he said, hiccuping slightly. Apparently, this was the first time that being in a female body had affected Perceptor and it was a rather odd way to start.
Jazz couldn't stand it anymore and he did end up wiping away a few of the tears on Perceptor's face. Somewhere off to the right there was a low growl. Jazz looked over and saw Raven stomping toward them with all haste.
Jazz just didn't know what to do with himself. Now he was caught up gazing at Raven again, which prompted more sniffles from Perceptor, which made Jazz look back to him...her...which made Raven angrier, starting the whole process over and making Jazz' head spin. But for some inexplicable reason, Jazz found himself favoring Perceptor more in this battle of divided attentions.
Raven finally reached the two, and she put on her best face. "Hello handsome," she said in her silkiest voice. Jazz went back to gaping at her.
"Hello," he replied, choking slightly. He could feel Perceptor fuming and sniffing next to him.
Raven frowned and gave Perceptor a vicious glare. Jazz found this remarkably upsetting...but Perceptor was having none of it. "He's mine, you slut!" he yelled and rushed her.
Much to Jazz' eternal confusion, right there in front of him, Helen of Troy and Aphrodite were actually getting in a fight! Perceptor and Raven were clawing at each other, pulling hair, biting, hissing, and growling...it was dirty fighting and looked dangerous. Jazz backed up a step and let the two duke it out...no wonder humans called fights between women catfights. He had to admit it felt good to have two gorgeous women fighting over him, as long as he didn't think too hard about the identity of at least one participant.
Suddenly something clattered onto the floor and rolled away. Instantly Perceptor went after it, abandoning the fight with Raven, not that Raven was finished. Perceptor snatched the glass object while kicking at Raven. Jazz snapped out of his confused amazement and grabbed Raven, pulling her off Perceptor. For some reason, Jazz didn't feel anything odd doing so...not even one strange thought entered his head.
"Let go! That's mine!" Raven shouted, struggling to get out of Jazz' grasp. Jazz didn't let go, just looked at Perceptor, wondering what he'd found.
Perceptor stood up and dusted himself off; apparently, his ankle didn't hurt anymore. "It's Sueage," he said, holding up the object. It was a vial with some liquid in it. "Now I understand." He looked over calmly at Raven, all the anger and crying completely gone, replaced by Perceptor's normal calm expression. "We're Mary-Sues. So they are real after all."
Raven squeaked and redoubled her efforts to get away from Jazz. She managed to jab one of her stiletto heels into Jazz' booted foot hard enough to make him flinch and let go. Then Raven bolted from the room, running for an exit that led outside.
"We have to catch her!" Perceptor exclaimed, grabbing Jazz by the hand and pulling him after.
"What's going on?" Jazz exclaimed, more confused than ever.
"I'll explain later! We can't let her get away!"
"All right, all right!" Jazz said, and ran.
But Raven had already exited the hotel. When Perceptor and Jazz reached the door, they just caught sight of Raven racing off in the back seat of a taxi. Jazz looked around and spotted the nightclub they had been at earlier down the street a good ways. "She's probably headed that way," Jazz said, and then he, completely forgetting he was a human, made a spectacular swan dive into the asphalt and curled up. "Ow."
Perceptor nearly lost his composure laughing. "Jazz, you can't transform."
From his curled up position on the street, Jazz said, "I realize that now." After one more deeply embarrassed moment, Jazz stood, rubbed at his elbows, and adjusted his sunglasses. "Well, now what do we do?"
"Instead of catching Raven, I think we should head back to the Ark," Perceptor replied. "I need to formulate an antidote...I don't how we'll get there however."
Jazz looked back down the street and spotted something, or rather someone, familiar. "Ah HA! I have an idea. Come on."
* * *
Tracks was annoyed. Here he was, stuck in traffic. He wondered to himself if he should just transform and walk to the nightclub or perhaps flip out his wings and fly there. "Traffic," he sighed to himself. All he wanted to do was relax after pounding the Decepticons and thwarting their plans once again.
Blaster was sitting in Tracks' passenger side seat, in boom-box mode. "We'll get there, don't worry about it. Whoa!"
"Check out that lady there!"
Tracks scanned around for a moment and then he spotted her. "She is very pretty," Tracks said, "attractive even."
"I know! It's scary! I don't know if it's as scary as that man with her...get a load of those ridiculous boots. Who does he think he is, Bono?"
"Horrifying style," Tracks agreed. Then he yelped, "Wait!" The aforementioned woman had popped his hood and started rooting around inside. He could feel it easily enough; the woman had disconnected some wiring that allowed Tracks to transform. Then she and the man opened Tracks' doors and climbed inside. "Oh bother, I'm being carjacked again!"
"It could be worse...Raul isn't nearly as pretty," Blaster said happily as the woman picked him up and set him on her lap. She looked down at Blaster and sighed.
The man in the ugly boots grabbed Tracks' steering wheel with one hand and started flipping switches with the other. Tracks' wings unfolded. "Now wait a minute! How did you two know how to do that?"
"Sorry Tracks, we need a lift to Autobot HQ! Yesterday would be best, but ASAP will have to do," the man replied in a distinctive and very familiar voice.
"Jazz?!" Blaster and Tracks shouted in unison.
"It's a long story, man." That said, Jazz fired up the engines and flew Tracks as fast as the flying Corvette would go.
* * *
By the time the four reached the Ark, Tracks and Blaster were near gibbering messes. Jazz had explained the situation to them, and although he had tried to avoid it for their sake, he had to tell them that the 'pretty lady' was Perceptor. After that, the two Autobots had absolutely flipped out, and Blaster had demanded that Perceptor put him somewhere, anywhere, other than on his lap.
Jazz landed Tracks and drove him headlong through the Ark's hallways until they reached the lab. The two humans piled out of Tracks as fast as they could, and Perceptor quickly repaired Tracks' transformation mechanism. As soon as he did, Tracks transformed and set Blaster down. Blaster also transformed and then the two ran away, rambling about scrubbing their optics with steel wool.
"I feel bad for them," Jazz said, walking into the lab.
"As do I. However, it confirms my hypothesis, even if it is particularly disconcerting," Perceptor replied. "Would you hand me the vial, please?"
"Sure," Jazz said, pulling the small container of liquid out of his pocket and handing it to Perceptor.
He took it and then stood still for a moment. "Blast it all!" he shouted.
"Whatsa matter?" Jazz asked.
"I need a microscope!"
Jazz stifled a snicker. "And I needed wheels. Well, there oughta be one around here somewhere." With that, Jazz started rummaging around all the places he could reach at his current height. Witwickys were known to come in here often enough; one of them surely had to have a human sized microscope.
Meanwhile, Perceptor tried not to have a fit about the whole thing. He also began going through the human level shelves, looking for any sort of magnifying device, which he felt to the depths of his being that he of all creatures did not need.
"Hey, will this work?" Jazz asked, producing a loupe from one of Sparkplug's cabinets.
Perceptor looked at the loupe and said, "It will have to do. I can't find anything more suitable."
"I'll keep looking," Jazz said.
Perceptor poured a tiny drop of the liquid out of the vial and onto a bit of glass. He examined it with the loupe, but after a moment he grabbed the silver pin on his shoulder and tore the red cape from his dress in frustration. "Where is my lens barrel!" he growled angrily.
Jazz smiled but decided not to comment. Then he said, "Here we go!" and pulled out a dusty microscope from the far back of Sparkplug's cabinet. "It's a little dirty...probably because it doesn't get much use with you around."
"Are you intentionally trying to rattle me, Jazz?" Perceptor asked, swiping the microscope out of Jazz' hands.
"Ah...well...yeah," Jazz answered honestly.
Perceptor muttered something under his breath while he set up the microscope. "This is quite exasperating," he said, "I shouldn't need you, you imprecise, low-powered waste of good optical quality glass..."
Jazz laughed out loud. He'd never remembered hearing Perceptor insult inanimate objects before, but he understood the annoyance. Jazz had been just as annoyed that he couldn't drive them to the Ark himself. After a second taken to savor the moment, Jazz asked, "You findin' anything?"
"Yes, in spite of this crude piece of scrap. It is just as I feared. The substance is the mythical Sueage."
"So that makes you a...what did you say?"
"A 'Mary-Sue'. Also a mythical creature...I didn't know any actually existed. In fact, they shouldn't exist; a Mary-Sue could conceivably destroy the very fabric of space/time, warping reality until it became so unstable it would implode. They are highly dangerous."
"Try not to do that, all right?"
"I will make every effort. However, there are in fact two Mary-Sues on the loose! I will try to change us back and eliminate one threat, but we will have to find a way to trap Miss Raven Silverstar and reverse her own transformation. I don't know where she managed to find Sueage, but I am quite surprised that she made a mistake when she used it on us."
Jazz looked confused. "Why is that?"
Perceptor looked at Jazz levelly. "A Mary-Sue rarely makes a mistake. They are perfect; it is their perfection that is so dangerous. Why do you suppose we thought she was attractive in the first place? It was her mystical power: the power to cause every male creature to fall desperately in love with her. Its effect on us was substantially reduced at the time because we were machines not predisposed to finding human women attractive. And you saw what happened to Tracks and Blaster; I am unintentionally causing the same reaction. Her mistake was making me female and thus creating another Mary-Sue. Sueage cannot make a female that is not a Mary-Sue."
Jazz winced. "But what about now? I'm human, why am I not drooling incoherently and trying to buy you flowers?" He shifted uncomfortably. Now that he was actively considering it, he found it would be all too easy to fall all over himself gazing worshipfully at Perceptor.
"I suspect it is because until recently, I was not aware that I had that power. If I should use it... It doesn't bear thinking about."
"Good heavens no. But what about Raven? I wasn't on her like white on rice, and she's a full-powered Mary-Sue!"
"I'm afraid to say this but... After you became human, simply put, you saw me first."
Jazz turned and walked to an orange metal wall and proceeded to bang his head against it several times. "This is so unfair! Is today official 'Pick On Jazz' day? Gah...! Her Mary-Sue powers of instant love didn't work because I was already in love! This sucks!"
Perceptor didn't say anything for a while, feeling as though there really wasn't anything he could do without upsetting Jazz further. But then he came up with a plan. "Wait...yes...that's it!"
"What's it?" Jazz asked miserably, his head set against the wall.
"It will be dangerous, very dangerous. But I think I know how to both solve your problem and trap Raven Silverstar. She won't be prepared for it."
"Why's it dangerous?"
"If it doesn't work, reality will not simply implode: it might actively commit suicide."
"Oh great." Jazz started pounding his head against the wall again.
Perceptor poured some of the Sueage into three vials. He kept some in the original vial. "The reason this transformation has bothered me as little as it has is because as a Mary-Sue, I have 'all the cards'. It only became a problem when faced with a situation in which a Mary-Sue would typically react in a specific way. However," he continued, "once I reformulate the Sueage, I can use it on you so that you will also have 'all the cards'."
"Oh?" Jazz sounded hopeful.
"Yes. I shall make enough Anti-Sueage for Raven and myself. That should return us to normal. I shall also adjust the formula, invert it, so to speak, to create Stu. I'll also make some Anti-Stu for you." Perceptor explained while he began mixing new ingredients into the three vials.
Perceptor nodded. "Another mythical substance with the power to create the male counterpart of the Mary-Sue—the Gary-Stu."
"Whoa, hold on! You mean to make me into a Gary-Stu?"
"It should cause a feedback loop that will destroy my inadvertent power over you. And you will have none over me, so long as we both realize what is happening."
"All right, I'm game. I'd rather be a threat to life, the universe, and everything than have this deep seated need to jump you."
Perceptor wore a rather sardonic smile. "I appreciate the thought."
"Zip yer lip and make the Stu."
"Yes, sir," Perceptor replied, shaking his head and mocking a salute.
It didn't take long for him to finish the Anti-Sueage, the Stu, and the Anti-Stu. Perceptor held up the Stu in his gloved hand and examined it for a moment. Then he handed it to Jazz. Jazz took it and looked at the liquid. "So, I splash it on myself?"
"I think you should drink it. It will most likely knock you unconscious for a short time."
"All right. Bottom's up!" Then Jazz gulped down the Stu.
* * *
Jazz wasn't sure how long he was out, but this time when he woke up he didn't screech or anything. He did say "Ow," though.
"Well, you should have at least sat down before you drank it," Perceptor said.
Jazz shrugged. "My head hurt already from banging it into the wall." He got up and adjusted his clothing. "Well, let's see...do I feel different? I guess a test is in order!"
He moved so fast that Perceptor didn't have a chance to get away. Jazz picked him up at the waist and kissed him.
But Jazz was grinning ear to ear. "Nope, not a thing!" He set Perceptor down and started to do a little happy dance. "Not a thing, didn't phase me a bit, wee!"
"Well it worked, didn't it?"
"YES! But...but...JAZZ! Augh!" Perceptor was not happy. He wiped his mouth on the back of his satin glove. "Couldn't you have picked something less...gah! Jazz! I can't believe you did that!"
"At least I didn't do it when I wanted to."
"That means it didn't do a thing for you either? You're immune to my awesome charm?" Jazz was still grinning like a fool. Mostly because he was happy that his normal self seemed to be in control now: Jazz the Autobot, not Jazz the human. But there certainly was a good deal of amusement present at having reduced Perceptor's formidable vocabulary to inarticulate noises.
Perceptor favored Jazz with the blackest expression Jazz had ever seen on him.
"I'll take that as a no." With some effort, Jazz smoothed out his face. "Sorry about that. Just thinkin' we all needed somethin' that couldn't be doubted."
"I am not doubting. Plotting to kill you perhaps. But I am not doubting."
Jazz laughed. "That's not like you! Plotting to kill me...I should tell Optimus Prime about that."
"In such an eventuality, I would be forced to inform Ratchet that you didn't stay in the Ark like he told you to."
"Gyeh! OK, OK, so I won't tell Prime that his geeky braintrust is plotting to kill one of the top dudes on the Autobot totem pole."
Perceptor sighed, then picked up the cape he had torn off his dress. After that he rounded up the vials of Anti-Sueage and Anti-Stu and handed them to Jazz. "Let's get back to the nightclub and find Raven."
"How do we do that?"
"I doubt it... Did you hear him and Blaster? I'd be surprised if they could still see!"
"Do we have another choice? I would rather not involve any other Autobots at this juncture. Perhaps you would like to throw yourself on the ground, curl up in a bizarre attempt at contortionism, and drive us there?"
Jazz made a face. "All right, but it's gonna be a hard sell."
Perceptor nodded and walked out the lab door. Jazz followed him and the two made their way through the passageways of the Ark, trying to ignore the strange feeling of being so small. They figured Tracks had gone to his personal quarters, so that's where they were headed.
Unfortunately, there were a lot more Autobots around now then there had been earlier. It looked as though the latest Decepticon Bid for Universal Domination had been stopped and everyone was home. This made it a bit difficult for Perceptor and Jazz, as now they had to dodge Autobots as well as convince Tracks to take them back to the club. They were succeeding surprisingly well, however. Jazz began wondering if Mary-Sues and Gary-Stus came with stealth camouflage after they had successfully avoided their tenth Autobot.
The eleventh Autobot, however, was not to be avoided. And of all 'Bots, it had to be Optimus Prime that spotted them. The leader of the Autobots towered over the two humans. At least they were used to that, since Optimus Prime towered over them in their normal form anyway.
"So, two humans. Who are you?" Optimus looked down at them, his expression annoyed but not angry.
Jazz spoke first, trying to disguise his distinctive voice so as not to give himself away. The last thing they needed was Optimus Prime in on all this. "This is Percy and I'm Ja...mmm, Ja—"
"Joshua," Perceptor interrupted. "He's Joshua."
"Joshua. Yes," Jazz agreed.
Optimus tilted his head in suspicion. "Joshua and Percy. I'd like to know how you got in here." Much to Perceptor's discomfort, Optimus looked at him the whole time.
Perceptor exhaled in a barely audible sigh and then shrugged. When he spoke, he tried to lower the syllable count to disguise his own particular way of speech. "Tracks brought us here. We were in a bit of trouble. It's probably blown over by now and we were trying to find him to give us a ride back to our hotel."
The Autobot leader gave the two appraising looks, or rather, he gave Perceptor an appraising look. Jazz tried hard not to smile about it, secretly glad that Optimus was all but ignoring him. Finally, Optimus spoke. "I'd be glad to take you back myself if you'd like."
Perceptor blanched. Jazz said, "We don't want to bother you, sir. Tracks knows where we need to go."
"It would be my pleasure," Optimus replied. "My name's Optimus Prime; sorry I didn't introduce myself before."
Jazz shot Perceptor a 'now what?' glance and Perceptor shrugged in resignation. For a second Jazz was scared to death he was going to agree. Then Perceptor said, "I'm sorry Mister Prime, but as kind as your offer is," he motioned to his evening gown, "it would make a bad impression at the ball we were attending if we arrived in a semi." After a beat, he hastily added, "We've seen you on TV a few times."
"Oh, all right. I understand." Optimus extended his communicator from the side of his head. "Tracks, please meet me in passageway 2B."
Over the comm line Tracks answered, "Yes sir."
Shortly, Tracks arrived, and he started rather badly, optics wide. Then he promptly covered them with his hand. "I'm here," he said in a shaky voice.
Optimus turned to him. "I'd like you to escort this lovely lady and her date back to their hotel."
Tracks audibly gulped. "Uh...um... That is...ah...,"
"Ghuuh, erm, yes sir." Tracks transformed with what could only be called enormous reluctance. Jazz and Perceptor ran over to him and climbed in.
"Thank you, Mister Prime," Perceptor said, smiling politely and hoping against all hope that Optimus didn't think it 'lovely'.
Tracks screeched his tires and sped off as fast as his wheels would carry him. Optimus Prime watched them go and said to himself, "That was a surprisingly attractive young woman. How strange." Then he went back to whatever it was he was doing before he spotted the two ex-Transformers in the Ark's hall.
* * *
"I can't believe you got Prime to make me give you two a lift," Tracks groused. "Couldn't you have found some other poor Autobot spark to work your evil charms on, Perceptor?"
"Optimus offered. I would rather not have him wondering about who we were. He was already staring at me," Perceptor said with a shudder. "Very disconcerting."
"You are not, I repeat, not allowed to talk to me. At all! Not one word. I don't want to hear you, I don't want to see you...it's bad enough you have to touch me!" Tracks yelled.
Jazz said, "Look man, we understand how uncomfortable you are, but if you keep that up, Perceptor's gonna start cryin', and you don't want that, believe you me."
"Crying?" Tracks shouted incredulously. "Why?"
"It's real hard to explain. Just trust me on this."
Tracks growled low. "Has anyone told you what an utter fool you look, Jazz? I hope no one sees you. It would reflect very badly on me."
"Just shut up and take us to the nightclub, Tracks."
"As fast as physically possible," Tracks muttered in reply.
* * *
True to his word, Tracks made remarkable time. The very instant it looked like he might have to slow down on the street, he flipped out his wings and flew the rest of the way. The moment Tracks touched down in front of the club, he opened his doors. "Out," he demanded.
Jazz and Perceptor climbed out with Tracks grumping the whole time. There was a crowd, and every eye was on the blue Stingray and the two humans. As soon as they were clear, Tracks slammed his doors and hissed, "Do I need to stay?"
"No, we'll be fine from here," Jazz said.
"Good. I'm leaving." Then Tracks took off so fast he kicked dirt into everyone's faces.
Jazz just shook his head at Tracks' vanity and then he and Perceptor turned to enter the nightclub. The same bouncer they had seen earlier that day was present, and again, he waved the two in without hesitation.
Inside, the two ex-Transformers were again treated to the 'every eye turning their way' phenomenon, but this time as many eyes were on Jazz as were on Perceptor.
"We need sticks," Jazz remarked.
"Whatever for?" Perceptor asked.
"To beat all these people off us."
"Let us find Raven before it gets to the point where we actually would need sticks then, shall we?"
The two wandered around the club for a little, asking a few random people if they had seen a beautiful redhead around. One person directed them to an outdoor area, so they headed that way. Jazz picked up two drinks along the way.
The person was correct: Raven was sitting at a table in a small open-air portion of the club. She looked upset. Jazz exchanged a nod with Perceptor, and then poured some Anti-Sueage into one drink and Anti-Stu into the other drink he had acquired. Then he walked alone over to where Raven was sitting, leaving Perceptor in the shadows. As he walked, Perceptor could tell he was turning up the charm as high as it would go. For a brief instant, Perceptor was convinced that Jazz was The Sexiest Man Alive. But he shook it off and countered the strong Gary-Stu vibes with his own Mary-Sue powers. Somewhere in the distance, thunder rolled...the universe was getting upset apparently. Perceptor hoped this went quickly; such a concentration of unnatural energy in one place could get dangerous fast.
Raven, as predicted, was absolutely and completely unprepared for a full-powered Gary-Stu assault. She turned to look at Jazz and fairly melted into a puddle of mushy goop right then and there. Jazz smiled at her, and she melted even more. He sat down and silently handed her one of the drinks.
It was almost too easy. Raven didn't even have to be prompted, she just took a sip of the drink...and then her head fell to the table, unconscious. Quickly, Jazz and Perceptor drank their own antidotes, and they too went out like lights.
* * *
Reality was much relieved.
* * *
All three came to at roughly the same time. Perceptor rubbed his head, thankfully metal now, because he had forgotten to sit down before drinking the Anti-Sueage. Jazz sat up from his position on the floor. His now fully Autobot body had been a good deal more than the chair he had been sitting in to take and it had flattened under him. Raven lifted her head and shook it a little. Then she frowned deeply. Both Perceptor and Jazz were very glad to see that she was no longer unduly attractive, although they thought she was still quite pretty by human standards. Her hair was still red, just not as shiny and her eyes were still purple, just lavender now instead of amethyst.
Perceptor stayed in the corner while Jazz stayed sitting on the floor. He asked gently, "Why'd ya do that, Raven?"
Raven set her head in her hands. "My name's Martha Neuenschwander."
"Oh. Why'd you change yer name?"
"It doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, does it." Martha sighed.
Jazz shrugged. "It's not that bad. Still...what did you go changin' us into humans for?"
Martha sighed again. "I always see you guys on TV...always liked you Jazz. Wouldn't have a chance with you like you are now though."
"Yeah, well...just the way it is."
"I wanted to change it!" she shouted. "And someone gave me that liquid...promised me it would make me irresistible and that I could turn you human with it. Worked too. Woulda worked better if that jerk over there hadn't come here too."
Jazz frowned. "You knew I would come here?"
Martha nodded. "Yep. The old lady said I could make you come to me."
Perceptor spoke up. "Do you still have any left?"
Martha directed a dark glare at Perceptor. "No. You stole it all."
"Are you able to acquire more?"
"NO. I don't know where that lady went." Then Martha sighed again. "I turned you into a girl because you annoyed me. Supposed to be irresistible, even to Transformers."
Perceptor shrugged. "It was just as well." He didn't feel like explaining the danger she had put the universe in if she didn't even know what she had turned herself into.
Martha snorted then looked back at Jazz. "Now you hate me, huh."
"Nah. I don't hate that easy. I'm a bit annoyed, but I don't hate ya."
She set her head on the table. "I can't even remember what we talked about before. It all made sense then...gone now."
Jazz looked a bit unhappy. "I remember. I could explain it to ya if you wanted."
"I don't even like music."
Martha grumped. "You guys better just go."
Jazz frowned and stood up. "All right. For what it's worth, I think you'll find someone of the right species. Yer certainly pretty enough, and I can't imagine all that smarts being completely faked."
She just waved him away in annoyance, clearly wanting to end the conversation, so he turned and left. Perceptor followed him. Fortunately they were already outside and the only thing keeping the two Autobots in the club was a high spiked fence that they stepped over easily.
Once they were back on the street, Perceptor transformed into small microscope form and Jazz picked him up and transformed as well. "Nice to be back in proper form," he remarked.
"Indeed," the little microscope in the passenger seat said. "I shall not miss being stared at by human men...or Autobots. I still have to kill you though. Please don't ever drag me to a nightclub again."
Jazz laughed as he started off towards the Ark.
* * *
Inside the Autobot's lab, Wheeljack looked down at one of the Witwicky-sized tables. There was a microscope there and a small vial of liquid. "Wonder what that's for," he said to himself, picking up the tiny vial and giving it a critical look. "Hmmmm...."