Show tunes and Swindle. Run for your cowardly lives…This would sound SO much better in script-format. However, seeing as we have been denied that happy pleasure ((twitch; twitch)), it has now been re-scribbled in the dead of night by a bored fic-writer. Hey, I needed some light entertainment, okay? So, who's seen Aladdin? Who remembers that song in the beginning? Y'know, the one with the really catchy tune...((flees)) ((pokes head back in)) Oh, and Swindle's lines look like this.

Disclaimer: I own the fic. Hasbro owns Swindle. Disney owns the song. The first line is blatant rip-off, and anyone who knows where it's from gets a kudo. We have plenty to spare. ((herd of kudos stampedes past))

Anything else…well, probably belongs to you…

The Many Lamentations of Swindle the Great

Crumplezone sat beside Black-Out, staring blankly at the wall. The wall stared back. At least Crumplezone had a choice.

What he was doing, in fact, was counting the cracks in the wall. So far, he'd made it up to three hundred and fifty-one. Sooner or later, the Minicon knew, he was going to run out of either cracks or sanity. It would be interesting to see which happened first.

Sounds of chaos and shouting were heard. To his utter delight, they seemed to be coming from down the passageway.

Hmm…let's see now…that way lies the energon storage room… and I haven't seen Swindle for about an hour…

Crumplezone grinned, and sat up, optics fixed on the arch at the end of the passageway.

He did not have to wait long.

(As Crumplezone stared in a manner not unlike an Earth rodent caught in the headlights of heaven and Black-Out continued silently studying his paperwork, loud, jumpy music from no identifiable source began to trickle through the moonbase. Neither seemed to notice.)

And as Crumplezone's audios closed in on the shouting, scrabbling noises, he focused his vision on a hole in the side of the passageway. At which moment, Swindle leapt through it, a desperate gleam in his optics and a sack of what looked suspiciously like twenty energon cubes on his back. To Crumplezone's utter lack of surprise, the red Minicon sang as he leapt down from the hole.

"Gotta keep!

One jump ahead of the breadline

One swing ahead of the sword…"

Starscream's enraged shriek was heard echoing down the hall, and the red seeker himself appeared at the other end of it, closely followed by the other four Decepticons, minus Megatron. As their optics lighted on the trembling Minicon, Wheeljack pointed and accusing finger and said, "THERE he is!"

…whereupon Cyclonus gave an animal growl and leapt. Crumplezone noted with interest that the helicopter's propeller appeared to be missing. To his right, Swindle gulped and continued, trying to look innocent.

"I steal only what I can't afford!

And that's everything…"

Black-Out, at last, raised his optics to take in the scene, as Swindle gave up the ghost and started legging it down the hallway as fast as he could, followed closely by a rabid Cyclonus.

"One jump ahead of the lawmen…"

Panicking, yet still holding fast to his loot, Swindle charged into the throne room, which appeared mercifully free of Megatron. With a whimper, the race car grabbed hold of the nearest set of pipelines he could see, and scurried up the wall like a rat in a drainpipe. Of course, singing all the way.

"That's all, and that's no joke."

The other Decepticons burst into the room. Cyclonus had gotten hold of a club from somewhere, whilst Demolisher was now toting a Really Big Gun. As one, they looked up to see Swindle climbing the upper pipes. The smaller mech glanced down and saluted them with a terrified grin.

"These guys don't appreciate I'm broke!"

With that, he screamed and leapt to a ledge at the top of the room

"Riffraff!"

"Street rat!"

"Scoundrel!"

"Take that!" The last was Cyclonus, as the crazed Decepticon hurled his club at Swindle.

Dodging it by inches, Swindle looked imploringly down on the gathered 'Cons, modulating his vocals to sound as pitiful and endearing as possible.

"Just a little snack, guys?"

Alas, the attempt at endearing failed completely, as Demolisher and Cyclonus charged forth, intent on following him up the wall. Starscream shot into the air to snag his partner whilst Thrust and Wheeljack cheered from the sidelines;

"Rip him open, take it back, guys!"

Swindle shrugged, flung the sack over his shoulder once more and dived out the nearest hole and onto the moon's surface.

"I can take a hint, gotta face the facts,

You're my only friend, Starscream!"

"WHAT?"

As Swindle plunged outside, cackling, Cyclonus aimed one arm at the wall. In defiance of all reason, the shot actually connected with it's target, making the small hole in the throne into a very large hole in the throne room. Regardless of the damage of Megatron's Favourite Place, Starscream swooped out, closely followed by Cyclonus.

Optics wide, Thrust, Wheeljack and Demolisher ran to the entrance and stared at the sight of Swindle running madly over the surface of the moon, chased by two irate Decepticon flyers. Swearing, laser fire and the destruction of many small rock formations ensued. Demolisher and Wheeljack piped up;

"Oh, it seems that Swindle's hit the bottom!"

He's become a one-mech rise in crime!"

Thrust folded his arms in disgust, joining in.

"I'd blame parents, except he hasn't got 'em!"

"Yeah, he's only got Starscream", Demolisher broke off.

"Which might explain a lot", muttered Wheeljack.

Swindle came rushing back in past them as a new hole was blown in the base, this one at ground level. The Minicon was completely unharmed, clinging to his energon and yodelling his head off.

"Gotta run to live, gotta steal to run,

Tell you all about it when I've got the tiiiime!"

Starscream and Cyclonus burst in after him, both looking battered, singed and madder than hell. With a private 'eek', Swindle transformed and careened around the room, Cyclonus hot on his heels. With a mad laugh, the Minicon darted through Wheeljack's legs and sped out of the throne room.

Wheeljack look up and screeched like a little girl as he was mown down by the flailing weight of Cyclonus.

Meanwhile, Swindle was happily tearing through the base as fast as his engines could carry him.

"One jump ahead of the slowpokes

One skip ahead of my doom!"

With a shriek, he nearly screeched to a halt as Thrust materialized in his path, giving a triumphant cackle. The tactician's delight was, sadly, curt short as the red Minicon gave a rather more unpleasant cackle of his own, speeding towards the stealth jet and riding over his foot. The result was a whine of pain as Thrust clutched his damaged limb and howled threats after the disappearing race car.

"Maybe",Swindle mused, "shoulda used a nom de plume…"

The next second he was flung backwards by a shot that hit the ground two inches from his front tire. Transforming, Swindle turned and gulped at the sight of Cyclonus, advancing on him with a crazed grin and an Even Bigger Gun.

"One jump ahead of the hitman,

One hit ahead of the flock,

I think I'll take stroll around the block…"

Thus declaring, he uttered an unholy scream and ran for his life.

99999999999999999999999999999999999999999999

Megatron emerged from his quarters, a satisfied smirk on his face. Thus far, it had been a productive day. A new Minicon had been captured that morning and, so far, he hadn't fallen prey to any of the multiple hazards of living in a base full of Decepticons. Yes, thought the warlord, it was nice to see that things were finally starting to-…

His internal monologue was cut short by the high-pitched whine that seemed to be drawing rapidly closer. Frowning, Megatron listened carefully, wandering in perhaps a new also had been installed…no, in fact, it sound exactly like the engines of a car…

Freezing in place, the Decepticon turned slowly to his right.

A look of utter horror flashed briefly over his pale features, before the warlord was run over by the combined force of Swindle, a large sack tied to his wheel, and the shouting, insult-flinging mass of the Decepticon Elite.

"Stop, thief!"

"Vandal!"

"Get 'im!"

"SWINDLE!"

Megatron groaned, wallowed in abject misery for a few seconds, before forcing himself from the floor.

Swindle, meanwhile, was backed against a wall. Flipping out of vehicle-mode, he held up his hands before the numerous glares, and tried to winning smile.

"Let's not be too hasty…?"

The glares intensified. So much for winning smile. Demolisher lunged forward, catching the little Minicon and bringing him up to eye-level, a horrible grin on the tank-bot's face.

"I'll bet Minicons are quite tasty!" he rejoined, drawing back a fist. Not quite fast enough, as Swindle yelped, dealt his nose a vicious kick and, in the ensuing chaos, scurried onto Demolisher's head. Jumping from Starscream's cannons to Thrust's wings, he made his getaway.

"Gotta eat to live, gotta steal to eat,

Otherwise we'd get along!"

"WRONG!"

As the hitherto unnoticed jumpy music picked up in pace, the red Minicon raced back down the passage the way he came. To his horror, Megatron stood at the end of it, optics blazing with bloody murder. A strangled yelp emitted from his lips, Swindle bolted for the nearest hole and lunged in. Far away, it was just possible to make out the muffled yells of the Decepticons.

"One jump ahead of the slagheads!"

"Vandal!"

"One mile ahead of the chumps!"

"Street rat!"

"One trick ahead of disaster…"

As he emerged, the starry sky glowed peacefully above. Hearing a cackle behind him, Swindle gulped and turned to face the Decepticons' finest, Megatron included, all advancing toward him with sharp implements of one kind or another. The only one who seemed to be missing was Starscream.

"They're quick, but I'm much faster…", he muttered as he backed slowly to the end of the ship, feeling the drop beneath him and noting no visible escape root. On the verge of giving up all hope, Swindle started as the sound of jet engines was heard behind him.

Then he gave a sinister grin. And a shrug.

"They're quick, but I'm much faster!" As Cyclonus charged, a bloodthirsty yell torn from his vocalizer, Swindle dived to one side, snatched up his energon sack and whirled it above his head.

"Here goes, better throw my hand in

Wish me a happy landing…!"

And, before the horrified optics of all present, flung it.

As the bundle of highly unstable energy cubes reached the top of its arch and started to descend, Wheeljack was the only one with enough sense to duck.

As explosions rocked the moonbase, and the groans of the fallen rose into the air, Swindle turned to the edge.

"All I gotta do is…

"JUMP, YOU IDIOT!", Starscream screeched.

Cackling maniacally, the red Minicon leapt out into Starscream's cockpit.

The jet sighed to himself as he rose into the sky, his giggling partner clinging to his seat. Somehow, he suspected it would be a few days before they would be allowed back at base.

The End.