Author's Note: This story was inspired by two things: a comment my little sister made to me and a random idea I got for a future chapter of "Metal and Neon". No, I am not finished with "Metal and Neon;" I am merely taking a time-out to get this written. It will explain a scene in a future chapter of "MaN." This story fits in between "Burning Skies" and "Encounters of the Weird Kind." And yes, I know, the title is stupid. It was all I could think up.
Disclaimer: The characters of Ultra Rodimus, Falcon, and Benji are mine. Everyone else belongs to someone else.
Several months had passed since the death of Jennifer Murdoch and the discovery of Ultra Rodimus's new ability to turn human at will. The young Autobot leader had been using the time to adjust to his human body. A human form had much sharper senses than any robot, even his own robot form, despite its own enhanced senses. There was a great deal for him to get used to.
During his time amog humans, he'd noticed most often their reactions to certain tastes, especially of different kinds of food, and had often wondered just what those foods tasted like to a human. Now that he could become human himself, he was taking the opportunity to experiment with his senses. And since Magnus could also experience taste through their lifebond, he was working with First Aid on changing what were chemical signals to humans into electrical signals for robots, helping the medic and Perceptor design a new system that would closely mimic human senses and allow robots to detect minute differences in tastes, textures, smells, etc.
Ultra Rodimus was sitting in Metroplex's cafeteria, reading a datapad and being bored out of his mind by it, when he heard footsteps approaching and looked up. One of the children residing in Metroplex (their parents lived and worked in the huge city) was walking toward him. He recognized the child as Benji Jones, one of the very few small humans who weren't afraid of the giant alien robots.
The little five-year-old trotted up to the young Prime, climbing onto a chair and depositing the bag he was carrying on the table. Ultra Rodmus eyed it curiously, then turned his attention to the boy.
"Hey, Roddy," the boy chirped pleasantly, still not quite able to pronounce the Prime's full name and falling back onto his common nickname.
"Hi. What are you doing here?"
"Nothing," was the response. "What're you doing?"
Ultra Rodimus sighed. "Nothing interesting. Being bored out of my mind. What have you got there?" He gestured at the bag.
Benji grinned at him. "Chocolate. Want some?"
The young Autobot thought it over. Chocolate was something he hadn't encountered yet, but he'd heard that it was delicious. After a few moments of thought, he nodded, thinking to himself what damage could a bit of chocolate do?
Some time later, Ultra Magnus looked up from his work, a slight frown on his face. He could sense something strange. After a moment he realized it was coming through his lifebond with Ultra Rodimus. Leaning back in hs chair, he turned his attention to the bright spark in his mind, the bond that connected him to his young commander. Reaching it, he extended his awareness through it in an attempt to discover what was going on.
His mate's mind, normally a sea of calmness except when someone was really pushing his buttons or when he was too tired to keep a tight rein on his temper, was chaotic, churning, as if it had suddenly been set on hyperdrive. Fragmented thoughts whirled past, too quick to hold onto and making no sense at all. Everything was random, as if his thoughts had been put into a blender. Whatever was going on, it had impaired Ultra Rodimus's ability to think clearly.
Concerned, the city commander reached for his comlink and contacted Jazz.
"What's up, big guy?" the black and white bot asked.
"Have you seen Roddy lately?"
Jazz thought for a moment, then shook his head. "Nope. Sorry."
"Could you see if you can find him?"
"Sure." Jazz tilted his head, slightly puzzled. "Can't you locate him with your bond?"
Magnus sighed. "No, I can't, and I'm not sure why. I've been trying but his thoughts aren't making any sense."
The other Autobot nodded, accepting the explanation. "I'll see what I can do for ya."
"Thank you." Magnus closed the link.
Spike Witwicky had been standing nearby when Magnus had contacted Jazz. He walked over to the tall bot and tapped on his leg to get his attention. Jazz looked down at him.
"I thought I saw Ultra Rodimus in the cafeteria a couple of hours ago," Spike said. "Maybe he'll still be there."
"Let's go find out."
The two headed for the cafeteria, wondering what was going on this time. Jazz lifted Spike onto his shoulder, giving him a better perch from which to spot the Autobot leader.
"There he is." Spike pointed.
Among the crowd in the room, Ultra Rodimus stood out. No one else had skin that shade, a tanned gold, or hair of that color and length. His golden skin and long silver hair made him easily distinguishable from everyone else.
"Yeah?" Spike shot Jazz a look, puzzled by his odd tone.
"Is he supposed to be twitching like that?"
Spike looked again. Ultra Rodimus's visible leg was bouncing, his snakeskin boot tapping rapidly on the floor, the vibrations making his long braid dance slightly. He couldn't seem to sit still, twitching constantly, and he seemed to be muttering to himself. When he looked up, his eyes were unusually bright. He didn't look deranged, just not himself. He regarded them with those too-bright eyes for a moment, then erupted out of his chair and bounded out the door. Jazz and Spike stared after him. Ultra Rodimus was definitely not acting like himself.
"Could you put me down for a minute?"
Jazz complied. Spike made his way over to the table Ultra Rodimus had been sitting at, surveyed what was strewn across its surface, and groaned.
"What?" Jazz asked.
"Trouble." Spike scooped everything into a convenient bag. "You'd better get all of the command staff together."
The confused Autobot stared at him for a moment, then pulled out his comlink and called the Autobot command staff to the briefing room. Then he picked Spike up and headed out to join them.
When the two arrived, everyone else had assembled. The only one missing was Ultra Rodimus, and the others kept glancing at his empty chair. Jazz put Spike down on the table and pointed at him, directing everyone else's attention to the human.
"We have a problem," Spike announced.
"Tell us something we don't know," Kup retorted. "Where's Ultra Rodimus?"
"He's the problem."
"Oh? In what way?"
Spike upended the bag he carried. "Apparently somebody decided it was time to introduce him to chocolate. But they gave him too much. To put it bluntly, he's on a sugar high."
"A sugar high?"
"Yes. I'm sure Magnus has noticed."
The big bot nodded.
"And just what does this 'sugar high' mean?" someone asked from the far end of the table; it sounded like Silverbolt. "What will happen?"
"Symptoms include inability to think clearly, inability to sit still, and far too much energy. Those vary depending on how much sugar the victim has actually ingested." Spike looked down at the pile. "And he's had a hell of a lot."
The others stared at the pile. It included two empty chocolate Easter bunny boxes (left over from Easter), a pile of wrappers that was all that remained of a fairly large bag of Hershey's kisses, a dozen Smarties boxes, and more assorted bar wrappers than could be counted.
"All I can say is that he has an amazingly high sugar tolerance if it took all of this to set him off," Spike murmured.
"So the problem is...?"
"Your bossbot is now completely hyperactive and unable to form even a ghost of a coherent thought," Spike translated. "And people in that state tend to get into a lot of trouble."
"So what do we do?"
"Find him and hold him somewhere until the sugar is out of his system."
"That doesn't sound so bad," Hot Spot commented.
"That's what you think. Trying to catch someone who's running on sugar is a lot harder that it sounds. There's no telling what he might do. With this much sugar in him he'll do things he would normally never even consider doing, completely randomly. So it's easier said than done."
Magnus sighed. "What else could..."
"Don't say it!" Spike yelled.
"...possibly go wrong?" Magnus finished.
A loud crash, accompanied by a chorus of shouts, echoed from somewhere down the corridor. Under it was the sound of something large hurtling through the halls, clear evidence that Ultra Rodimus was back in his robot form. And that he was bounding through the city like a pogo stick on crack.
Everyone glared at Magnus.
The Autobot second groaned and dropped his head onto the table with a loud thud. "Me and my big consumption orfice..."
"I told you not to say it!" Spike scolded. "Saying that is guaranteed to make things worse! Before all we had to deal with was a six-foot, six-inch human. Now we have to deal with a 50-foot-plus robot whose armor is practically impenetrable!"
The others sighed as they got up and headed for the door. First Aid headed for Repair Bay to prepare some tranquilizer darts, just in case. The rest of the group spread out, attempting to corral the hyper Prime.
As Spike had pointed out, it was easier said than done.
No matter how hard they tried to pin him, Ultra Rodimus managed to evade them. It was a combination of sheer speed (he could outrun a NASCAR racer on foot and was capable of running a Formula 1 car into the ground over short distances) and ferret-like agility. While he did have lightning reflexes, he was too far gone into the sugar rush for them to come into play. When the others did manage to corner him, they discovered that nothing short of knocking him out cold would stop him. He was more than strong enough to dislodge anyone trying to get hold of him, and the strength of his exo-armor allowed him to plow into (and through) most obstacles without breaking stride. Grabbing him by the hair was definitely not an option; anyone who tried would get mauled.
After several hours of trying to catch Ultra Rodimus, the command staff regrouped to try and find an alternate solution. Their overactive leader had somehow managed to get out of the city, and everyone was glad they were sufficiently far away from any human city to keep Ultra Rodimus from doing any real damage.
All of the command staff were in one way or another dented, bruised, battered, or simply exhausted from chasing after a bot who made a cheetah look slow. Panting heavily in an attempt to cool their overheated systems, they convened in a watchtower that had a good, clear view of the surrounding area, where they could keep an eye on their Prime, who was literally bouncing all over the place, never stopping. No sooner did his foot touch ground than he was off again.
"This is hopeless," Springer gasped out, bent almost double, panting, overheated lubricants creating oddly-colored streaks across his green armor. "He's too fast."
"And too strong," Scattershot agreed, looking at the huge dents on his right side, left when Ultra Rodimus had literally body-slammed him out of the way the one time they managed to corner him.
"There's got to be some way to stop him! We can't just wait for him to work it off; there's no telling what he might do!"
"What else can we do?" Arcee asked. "We all know that he's practically impervious to attack, he's too fast to catch and too strong to hold."
"That's why I took the precaution of preparing these." First Aid produced a flat metal box and opened it to reveal nine loaded tranquilizer darts. "The drug in these trips a failsafe switch in his CPU, knocking him off-line."
"But how do we get the drug into him? Those won't penetrate his armor."
"That's why he brought us." Sandstorm, Ultra Rodimus's aide, and Sureshot, one of the best sharpshooters on Cybertron, stepped forward to join them. "I know all his vulnerable spots, and Sureshot can hit them."
"Will that work?"
"The dosage has been precisely calculated according to Ultra Rodimus's size and body weight, and the amount of sugar he's consumed has also been taken into account. Yes, it should work."
Before anyone else could say or do anything, Magnus's comm beeped. The city commander sighed and answered. "Yes?"
"Sorry to interrupt, but what I have to say is very important," Eject announced, completely serious.
"What is it?" Magnus was immediately all business.
"Long-range sensors have picked up an anomaly heading this way. We're trying to determine... oh slag!"
"What is it?" Kup demanded.
"That's no anomaly! That's a Quintesson cruiser!"
"Where are they heading?"
"Right this way at a very high speed!"
The Quintessons had been watching the warring Transformers since Hot Rod, Kup, and the Dinobots had crashed on their planet, reminding them of their mainly ignored runaway property. They'd observed the Autobot leader in particular, evaluating him from a distance, making notes of his visible strengths and weaknesses. Finally they'd decided that he must be more carefully studied and had dispatched a team to bring him in for experimentation. They hoped to either find a way to control him or copy his abilites as a way to regain mastery of the Cybertronians. Their specially-built ship had slipped right past the base on Pluto completely unnoticed and hadn't been detected until they passed Mars and entered the range of Metroplex's more advanced sensor systems. But by then it was too late to do much about them; they were too close and it would take too long to mount an effective resistance.
"Take us in!" the Quint captain commanded.
The ship dove.
Instead of landing and trying to overwhelm the Autobot leader, this time the Quints used a new tactic. Their ship flew low over the ground, using a tractor beam to grab Ultra Rodimus and drag him on board without slowing long enough for the Autobots to start shooting. In seconds they were rising up through Earth's atmosphere and away from the shocked Autobots.
Magnus cried out in alarm, his exhaustion utterly forgotten. "No!"
Autobots began pouring out of the city, scrambling to figure out exactly what was going on. Without their leader to give them clear orders they were reduced to racing around in a panic like a flock of chickens with their heads cut off. Magns finally managed to get them to listen to him and began shouting orders. Glad of having some idea of what to do, the Autobots obeyed him without question. Not that they would have questioned his orders; he was their drill instructor and Primus help anyone who crossed him. As quickly as they could, they began preparing to go after the Quintessons.
The Quintessons, however, had a problem of their own. Despite all the data they'd collected they'd severely underestimated Ultra Rodimus. He was much stronger than they'd thought, and that made him much more dangerous. That didn't take into account his current state of mind, and he was proving to be an extremely difficult passenger.
"Can't you wretches control him?" the head scientist bellowed at the Sharkticons attempting to trap the young Prime. "Hold him down!"
That was proving to be far easier said than done. Ultra Rodimus was catapulting all over the place like a neutron in a particle accelerator, evading the Sharkticons' attempts to grab him and damaging everything else in the process. His armor was strong enough to prevent even a full-speed impact from doing any damage to his internals, but if he was hit often enough and hard enough it would result in internal damage. In the ship's brig he wasn't bouncing off anything hard enough to even rattle his circuits, but whatever he hit didn't fare so well. Delicate machinery had been reduced to wreckage, the walls and decks were now featuring large dents and were beginning to creak from the stress, the restraints had been mangled, and several Sharkticons who had been in his way were laying in heaps of crushed metal. If that wasn't bad enough the young robot seemed completely unaware of what he was doing. He was simply bounding about randomly, not even noticing the Sharkticons and Quintessons, eyes bright but somewhat glazed, singsonging some incomprehensible gibberish made up of over one hundred different languages mishmashed together at the top of his lungs.
Ultra Rodimus bounced off the ceiling and landed on top of one Sharkticon, his weight flattening it like an empty pop can, and rebounded into the wall without a pause. The wall, having already surpassed its tolerance level, simply couldn't take any more punishment and ruptured. The Autobot leader fell through the hole into the cargo bay, landing on his side, but was back on his feet and in the air in seconds.
"We can't control him!"
"Use the stun rifles, you idiots!"
Dim-witted Sharkticons couldn't be trusted with the weapons, so the Quint Enforcers grabbed them and opened fire on the Autobot. To their shock and surprise, the stun bolts bounced off his heavy armor like pebbles. He wasn't even slowed down.
"What is that armor made of?"
"This is impossible! If we try to hold him he'll destroy the ship! We have to take him back!"
As much as the Quints hated losing so valuable a subject, they had no choice. It was simply too dangerous to try and take their captive all the way back to Quintessa. With the state he was in, their ship wouldn't last even half the trip. They didn't have anything that could hold him and their most powerful stun weapons couldn't get through his armor shell.
Gritting metal teeth, the Quint captain ordered the ship turned around. They had to take him back to Earth.
The Autobots were about to board their shuttles and take off in pursuit of their leader's captors when Metroplex reported that the Quint ship was coming back. Everyone stopped what they were doing and took up any weapon that was within reach, ready to fight. But the Quints didn't attack. The ship came in low, the cargo bay door opened, and something was ejected.
"What in Primus's name...?" Kup began.
As soon as Ultra Rodimus was out of the ship, the Quints turned tail and ran as fast as their now-battered ship could go. The Autobots watched in surprise, then turned to look for their leader.
Ultra Rodimus had landed on his feet and was already off. Magnus wondered if he'd even noticed that he'd been caught. Somehow, he doubted it.
The sharpshooter loaded a trank dart into the rifle, then looked at Sandstorm for a target.
"His armor is thinnest around his jaw, and there's a seam in his armor behind his ear," the pacifist told him. "But since he has his helmet on, your best bet would be to get him just under his jaw, where the major fuel lines are close to the surface and a small, sharp object can get through." Sandstorm indicated the target area on himself.
Sureshot nodded, lifted the rifle, and took careful aim. Once he was certain of his aim, he pulled the trigger.
With a subdued hiss, the small but powerful dart erupted from the barrel and buried itself in the Autobot leader's neck. Ultra Rodimus didn't even notice. For a long moment nothing happened. Then he bounded over a small ridge and vanished.
"He's down," Magnus reported.
"Are you sure?" Arcee asked.
"A minute ago his thought processes were running on hyperdrive. Now they've slowed to a crawl. Yes, I'm sure."
The group trotted over the hill and found Ultra Rodimus in the tall grass. He'd apparently been in mid-bounce when the drugs had kicked in, and had dropped right out of the air. He lay on his side, eyes closed, out cold, breathing slow but regular.
First Aid pulled the small dart out of his commander's neck and put it away. Sureshot handed him the rifle and looked down at the unconscious Prime.
"Now how do we get him back into Metroplex?" he wondered.
Magnus knelt and carefully lifted Ultra Rodimus into his arms. His mate's body was completely limp. The Autobot second-in-command rose back to his feet, cradling his beloved against his chest, and began walking back to the city.
The route from city entrance to Repair Bay was suspiciously empty of Autobots, unusual since it was normally a busy corridor. Magnus glanced around curiously, wondering where everyone had disappeared to.
"I guess they want to leave him some of his dignity," Kup commented.
The bigger bot glanced at him, accepting the explanation. He had a pretty good idea of how Ultra Rodimus was going to react once he was himself again.
First Aid decided to keep the young bot sedated until the sugar had worked its way out of his system. Magnus kept watch over his young mate, a silent, constant presence at Ultra Rodimus's bedside. Sandstorm was in and out, both to check on Ultra Rodimus and to make sure Magnus got at least some rest during his vigil.
Two days later First Aid heard a groan from the room and went in to investigate. Ultra Rodimus had finally come around, rubbing his eyes groggily. Magnus was hovering.
Blurry emerald eyes turned in his direction. Ultra Rodimus blinked until he could properly focus on the medic. "Did anyone get the license number of the planet that hit me?" he asked, voice somewhat scratchy and rough. "Oh, my aching head. What the hell happened?"
The Protectobot medic was about to answer when Ultra Rodimus's head shot up and the young Prime fixed a wide-eyed stare on his mate. Magnus had clearly chosen to show him what had happened.
"You did," Magnus informed him.
Ultra Rodimus groaned and let his head drop back onto the med table, covering his eyes with his arm. The stripes marking his armor turned bright red, reflecting his embarrassment.
First Aid quickly ran a few tests, then declared that Ultra Rodimus was free of the sugar and could return to his own quarters. The young Prime lost no time in bolting for the door as fast as he could despite the fact that he wasn't completely steady on his feet. Magnus rolled his optics at the medic and followed.
"Where's Roddy?" Kup asked a couple of days later. "I haven't seen him since you carried him to Medbay."
"In our quarters, trying to hide," Magnus answered. "He's really embarrassed about his behavior."
"He'll have to come out of there eventually."
The big robot walked down the corridor to the quarters he and Ultra Rodimus shared, entering and heading for the other chamber. He found his mate stretched out on their shared bed, staring at the wall. Sandstorm was nowhere to be seen. Magnus settled onto the side of the bed, resting a gentle hand on his companion's back.
"You can't hide in here forever," he commented softly. "They need you."
Ultra Rodimus sighed heavily. He didn't say anything, but Magnus could feel his toughts and emotions. His young leader was worried about how the others would behave around him now that they'd seen him acting so foolishly. He was deeply concerned about losing the respect of his troops.
"You won't," Magnus assured him. "You're young; certain lapses in behavior are expected of anyone your age. It's normal. When I was your age I behaved even worse than you did and look at me now." He looked down at his mate. "Actually, not facing the others would be even worse. Running from your mistakes is far more likely to degrade their confidence in you." Reaching down, he scooped Ultra Rodimus into his embrace, wrapping his strong arms around the younger bot's slender frame and just holding him. Ultra Rodimus rested his head against Magnus's chest and closed his eyes, allowing his mate's calm confidence to soothe his worry and nervousness. The older bot began to stroke his back gently, murmuring reassurances into soft silver hair. Eventually, the tense youth fell asleep in his arms. Magnus let him, not stopping his tender caress, knowing how badly his lifemate needed some comfort.
The next day, Ultra Rodimus finally emerged from their quarters back into the public eye. He kept his expression carefully blank and business-like, but Magnus could tell that he was a bundle of nerves behind that mask.
To Ultra Rodimus's surprise, the only difference in the way the other Autobots treated him was a new easiness in their voices and their body language, acting more casually and less formally, greeting him as one of them instead of as their commander. Puzzled, he looked at Kup for an explanation.
The old warrior grinned up at him. "Now they know that you're still normal."
Silver eyebrows met in a confused frown. Ultra Rodimus waited for a better explanation.
Kup indicated his leader's armored form. "Ever since your rebirth, your strength, both mental and physical, your new abilities, your skills in battle and in diplomacy, and the relative ease with which you tamed the wildest, most difficult-to-control bots in the army, all have conspired to leave most Autobots in awe of you, to look at you as being almost godlike. Now that they've seen you acting like any young bot would, they know that while you are special, you're still just chips and wires and steel, not some supernatural being. And because they know that, they can relax around you."
Understanding lit Ultra Rodimus's eyes, and he couldn't help grinning. Magnus trotted forward to stand beside the two.
"I told you so," he pointed out, poking Ultra Rodimus in the ribs. "Every other leader in our history kept their feelings behind their shields, hid from their comrades. You're not so guarded, and everyone respects you for that. Seeing you with your shields down will only increase their love for you. Of course," he leaned in a little closer, "none of them will ever love you the way I do."
Ultra Rodimus chuckled, shaking his head at his mate's antics and not-so-subtle hints. "Seeing me acting like an idiot for a change may actually help my image, but you can bet that this is one little episode I'm never going to repeat!"
I hope you have as much fun reading this fic as I did writing it. The idea for this fic sprang from an idea for a future chapter of "Metal and Neon", actually. In a future chapter there will be a scene referring to an incident with Ultra Rodimus and his first encounter with chocolate, and it kinda went from there. It's amazing what you can think up for a plot idea at 3:00 in the morning. I know I should've waited until after I finished "MaN" before writing this, but have any of you actually seen a plot bunny on a sugar high? If yes, you have my deepest sympathies. If no, count your blessings and hope to Primus you never do. Plot bunnies on sugar highs are a million times worse that five-year-olds on sugar highs. Now you know why I wanted to get this fic out of my head as soon as possible.
Ok, now it's your turn to do the typing. Write me reviews telling me what you think of this story. Feedback is good!