Well, here it is, the promisedsequel to Playing the Game. This one promises to be a dark ride, so here's hoping you all enjoy it

Disclaimer-Idon't own, youdon't sue. Comprende?


Playing the Game- Rematch

Setting the board

It was a surprisingly quiet day at the Ark. The Decepticons had received a sound drumming during the last skirmish, Autobot casualties had been minimal, and Wheeljack hadn't blown anything up for at least a week.

Prowl was manning the control room when Jazz entered, the Porsche whistling a random snippet of tune. Prowl had never quite figured out how Jazz managed to whistle. Ratchet had deemed the feat a medical impossibility, as a tongue was required for whistling and no Autobot actually had a tongue in robot mode. But then Jazz was Jazz. If he didn't know something was impossible there was a fair chance that he'd do it.

"Y' said ya had a message fer me?" Jazz queried.
"Yes, Priority One. Text only." Prowl said as he handed over the high-security data pad. The other black and white took it and entered his identification code before seating himself in one of the empty chairs and scrolling through the message.

The 2IC returned to his work, only to be interrupted by a sudden exclamation.

"Oh no. Oh slagging Pit-fire no!" Jazz cursed, jumping out of his chair and hurrying to the communications panel, swearing under his breath as he entered in a specific frequency. "Jazz, what happened?" Prowl asked, rising from his seat.
"Something frelling bad, that's what." Was the terse reply.

An image of an orange femme wearing medic's brands appeared on the main screen. "This is Commander Respite of the Medical Corps, what is it?" She asked.
"I'm Special Operations Officer Jazz. Tell me it didn't happen."
Respite shook her head. "I'm afraid it did."
"What the slag were you thinking!" Jazz demanded. "Four guards and a field medic ain't nearly enough, especially for him."
"I know that now."
"Put me through to her, I gotta get the story from the source."
"But she's…"
The femme trailed off as Jazz leaned in closer to the screen, his voice low and dangerous. "Put me through." He repeated.

The image on the screen changed to a view of a ward. Another medic appeared. "Yes?" He asked.
"Lemme talk to Shadow." Jazz ordered.
"I'm sorry, but she's still recovering." There was a commotion off-screen and the medic was suddenly shoved aside, replaced by a battered looking grey and black femme that Prowl assumed was Shadow. Half her face was replaced by a temporary patch, her crest was bent askew and a web of weld scars laced the visible portion of her frame.

"Jazz, it's true. Deck's got CFS, he's out of control." Shadow said in response to Jazz's unasked question.
"What happened?"
"It was after a mission. He got back in the base and snapped, killing eight mechs in the process. They managed to subdue him, and I was assigned to go pick him back and take him to the medical base for treatment. Unfortunately, he came back online in mid transport. I think you can guess the rest."

"Excuse me, but what is going on?" Prowl interrupted.
Jazz sighed. "One o' my old Black Ops buddies went nuts yesterday. He's got something the docs call Combat Fatigue Syndrome, CFS for short. Something shorts out in th' neural net from some sorta emotional build up. It's a kind of temporary insanity. If it ain't treated quickly it becomes permanent." He explained, then turned back to the screen. "What happened after that?"

"He killed two of the guards and would have slaughtered the rest of us too if Gauntlet hadn't been on a fly-over and stepped in." Shadow said. "Last we saw of him he'd stolen a shuttle and was breaking out of orbit." The femme leaned in a bit closer. "He's coming for you Jazz."
The Porsche offered a half-shrug."Then I'll make sure he finds me."
"Are you defective!" Shadow demanded. "He's twice your size and packing enough weaponry to bring down a gestalt! Ultra Magnus has already assembled a retrieval team, they're en-route right now."

"Yeah, but even if they left within th' breem of Deck escapin', he'd still get here first." Jazz pointed out. "Like it or not, I gotta deal with this. You just concentrate on getting back t' full strength. After that, if somethin' goes haywire you get th' team together an' pick up where I left off. You copy?"
"I copy." Shadow answered reluctantly. "Be careful." The screen winked out as she cut the link.

Jazz sighed and let his head hang for a moment. "Man oh man, this ain't gonna be pretty." He muttered to himself, then stood straight and looked over at Prowl. "Prowl, I need ya t' get Prime an' the rest of th' officers t'gether in the conference room, pronto."