"So I have your assurance you will not be late for role call any more, then?" Optimus Prime said, wrapping up his lecture of the blue and muave jet. "Yes,sir. It will not happen again."
Shepaused. "I'll be on time, from now on."
"Alright, Jade. But if you are late even once in the next month, I will have no choice but to let Prowl handle his reprimands of you as he sees fit." the Autobot leader said.
Why did he make it sound like he was saving her from the tactician's wrath? maybe he was. But the long winded lectures Prime could dish out would make even Sunstreaker squirm. Having to sit in one place for forty five minutes was bad enough, but Prime really knew how to word things. Who ever thought being late for rolecall would upset the order of things that much?
Don't get me wrong. Yes, a group has to work in an organized manner in order to be an effective militia.
But really. Being late for one rolecall make the Autobots lose the war. HAH!
The femmeseeker left Prime's office, thankfull to be free of the lecturing. She swore if he talked long enough, he could probably put Megatron to sleep. Then again, she decided she'd probably rather have been staring down the gunmetal grey Decepticon leader's arm cannonthan be put to sleep out of BOREDOM.
She headed for her quarters. "I still have about seven hours till my duty shift starts. plenty of time to go hide out in my room and watch t.v. where Mr. Spock can't find me." she thought.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the base...
Prowl studied a datapad as he entered the empty officer's lounge. Had he not been so logical, he would have sworn the twins had done that...Dancing, as they called it, just to annoy him. He reassured himself with the fact that the Macarena had been permanently banned from the Arc. It was not a pleasant experience to have one's processors short-circuit. Like a cross between a headache, and a complete loss of awareness.
Not that the twins would ever understand it. Or anyone else, unless he tried to explain it. And Prowl would never be able to accurately describe the sensation. With his eyes on his datapad, the Datsun slipped his mug onto the dispenser tray.
"At least I won't have to see their faces for another fourty five minutes, twelve seconds, and twenty one nanoclicks." that was when the duo were supposed to report in from patrol. His processors still on the events of the previous day, the Black and white Datsun cop car took a sip of his nice warm energon.
"Pfffsfff! what the?"
Prowl spat out the disgustingly bitter liquid and glared down at his mug, then at the dispenser.
Where the variety of liquid was labeled had been marked out, and written under it in black Marks-a-Lot were the words "Prune Juice"
The tactician narrowed his eyes at the neatly printed writing.
"We shall see who the 'prune' is." he said as he carefully peeled off the label.
"Once analyzed, the handwriting could be the key to finding out who did this. Handwriting is as unique as the personality." he thought.
Unfortunately, the only other drinkable liquid stored in the dispenser was oil-based, and wouldn't providehim with nearlyenergy for the day. This meant the policecar would have to go to the regular cafateria/rec room for his daily energon.
The rec room door slid open with a muffled swish. Prowl silently let out a sigh of relief there was no music. He quickly glanced around the corner before walking in like nothing was wrong. He was not going to let himself be blindsided by any more childish foolishness. The place was, in fact, empty for the most part. Except for Jazz and the twins, Sideswipe and Sunstreaker,sitting at a table in one corner, talking quietly amongst themselves. The tactician narrowed his optics at them suspiciously.
"Plotting, no doubt." he could've sworn it was something red alert would say if he were the target, but still a logical assumption.
"Don't you three have someplace to be?" he asked.
Jade leaned out from behind the trio.
"What am I, Mrs. invisibility now?" the seekerjet said.
Sideswipe laughed. "I think the Macarena messed with his processors more than we thought it did"
"That, or it was the sight of your ugly skidplate dancing to it." Sunstreaker snorted.
Jazz just grinned. "Now guys, be nice. Prowl just doesn't like music. That's all"
Sunstreaker mumbled "He woudn't know it if it bit him on the chevron"
"what's wrong, isn't the dispenser in the officer's lounge working?" Jade asked, with genuine concern.
Prowl turned around, mug in hand.
"no. It seems someone has reprogrammed it to instead dispense . . . Prune juice"
Jade suddenly had a coughing fit.
Sideswipe and Sunstreaker exchanged knowing glances. "Gee, who would do something so mean?" Sideswipe said coyly.
"I have not discovered that yet. But I am certain that when I do, those responsible will regret it.
"Yeah, well we've been accounted for. You can check where we both were last night." Sideswipe added.
Down the hall, Ironhide's voice could be heard reverberating off the hallway walls.
Jazz started to get up. "I gotta go, guys." Ironhide stomped throught the door as the Porsche left his seat.
"I'm gonna be late for m'duty shift." he mumbled apologetically as he hurried past Ironhide and out the door.
"I didn't do it. I swear!" the red twin held up both hands in a surrendering motion.
"What the heck is this stuff, anyway?" the boxy red mech demanded.
"Prune Juice" prowlreplied emotionlessly. The southern-accented mech turned on the tactician.
"And just how would you know! Somebody ripped the label offa the dispenser"
Prowl looked sheepish. He'd forgotten about that.
"I confiscated it in order to analyze the handwriting." the black and white Datsun looked over at the seeker and lambos, searching for any signs of suprise, or any body language that might reveal the culprit.
There were none.
"Well next tahm let sumbuddy know bifor ya go yankin the labels offa things." the red van drawled annoyedly. He fetched a cube from the dispenser and took an experimental sip.
I'll let ratchet know so he can repair it.". Prowl replied. He caught a quick flash of suprise in the femmeseeker's optics, but it only lasted a milisecond"
Ironhide nodded, and made his exit, heading for some other part of the ship. Jade stood up from the table.
"I'd better go. I don't want to be late for my patrol." she tossed her empty cube in the disposal unit.
"Yes, you don't want to be late." Prowl parroted, knowing her patrol didn't start for another half an hour. Jade caught his tone, and pretended not to hear as she walked out. Once down the hall and out of sight of the rec room's occupants, she quickly detoured down a side hall to keep from being seen.
Optimus Prime and Bumblebee were in the control room when Prowl walked in.
"Hey, Prowl." Bumblebee said cheerily. "Any luck finding the resident prankster"
"Prankster?" the Autobot leader glanced at his second in command with a sinking feeling the twins were at it again.
"I wasn't informed of any pranksters"
"I hadn't gotten the chance to notify you yet, Prime." the police car replied.
"Do you think the twins are behind it?" the red and blue semi queried, knowing they were. It was just a matter of time untill his second-in-command tactician could prove it. Then he would come complaining to Prime, who would have to hand out lectures to the both of them, like usual. Sometimes he wished the two Lamborginis would just grow up and act like adult,s like the rest of the Arc's inhabitants.
"I haven't analyzed all the evidence yet." Prowl responded.
He wasn't suprised.
"Anyone could be behind it." he glanced suspiciously at Bumblebee, who glared back as much as any hip-height sunflowercolored minibot could.
"Hey, don't look at me. I'm not that kind of mech"
the Volkswagen beetle transformed and drove out of the room.
Around the corner, he transformed back, leaning in to listen for anything Prowl didn't want him to hear. Then retreated down the hall toward his destination.
Later that night, in the shadows of a dimly lit room, the yellow minibot stepped in, quietly closing the door behind him. The room might have been quite large to a human or minibot, but average size for a regular transformer. The balcony along the back wall was barely visible in the dim light, except for the lamp on the table at one end of the couch, which had it's back against the balcony railing.
"Well, what did he say?" a female voice queried from the darkness.
"Uh, I don't even know why you're pulling me into this." the yellow minibot shifted his weight nervously from one foot to the other.
"Do you want me to tell Jazz who stole all his music and replaced it with the world's most annoying pop music and boybands"
he paused, then perked up slightly as he said:
But you don't want me telling Prowl how replaced the energon in the dispenser with Prune juice, do you"
"Touche' " The owner of the voice turned the lights over the balcony on to their normal level, and turned so she was draped over the back of the couch. "Except I wasn't the one who did it." the strawberry-blonde female grinned.
"well, who did, then?" Bumblebee queried.
Jade huffed, then said half-jokingly "like I'd tell the mech that just threatened to turn me in?"
She turned around and sat facing forward for a second, then got up and turned back around to re-drape herself over the railing. "So what did he say?"
the minispy paused for a second, and considered witholding his information to find out just who reprogrammed the dispenser unit. But decided not to.
He shrugged. "He thinks it's the twins"
The blue-eyed strawberry blonde grinned mischeviously. "Good . . . Let him"
She bounced down the balcony steps and up to the yellow minispy. "you're not going to tell Jazz, are you?" he shifted his weight from one foot to the other again.
"I mean, Jazz woudn't hurt a fly. It's just ...his music is so... annoying"
"No. But, if you want to keep him from finding it, I woudn't suggest hiding it in the storage bay." she replied.
"But.. how did you..."
"I was storing some stuff." she said simply. What she was storing, though, was another story.
"Besides, no sense in letting music go to waste. He'll never find it here." she reassured.
Bumblebee didn't look convinced. If she wanted to, she could turn him in, but he knew for certain she had rigged the dispenser.
"They never suspect the cute one, do they?" Bumblebee knew he'd be the last suspect for that. No matter how crossly Prowl looked at him. And Jade had the only evidence, implicating the femme if they found it in her quarters.
Yeah, parting Jazz and his misic was a major no-no,considering the Porsche spent all his spare time listening to it, and couldn't stand to be without music in some form or the other. But the vision of Jazz and the Lamborgini twins doing the Macarena entered the yellow volkswagen's processor, and got hastily shoved away. Bumblebee instead wondered just how loopy the the poor black and white would get without his music to listen to...
The yellow minibot hurried out of the jet's quarters and down the hall, not even noticing the black and white mech approaching the room from down the hall behind him.
The human picked up a cd case from the coffe table. "well, since the joke's gone this far, no sense in letting good music go to waste."
Jade got up and put the cd in the stereo, turning the volume down so it couldn't be heard out in the hall.
"I wonder just how dingy the Porsche will get without his music." she snickered.
"I dunno Jade, Why don't you ask him." a voice sounded from the doorway.
The black and white saboteur was leaning casually against the side of the open doorway.
"It wasn't me, I swear"
"Uh-huh. Jus like the twins jury rigged the dispenser in da officer's lounge?" Jazz walked over to the balcony.
"they did! really!" she nodded enthusuastically, strawberry-blonde hair bouncing.
"One, the handwriting was too small ta be a regular-sized Autobot. Two, it was written in black marker. And three..." he rested his chin on his arms folded over the balcony railing with, giving her a pleading look.
"Can I have my music back, please"
She eyed him for a minute. "Just don't tell Bumblebee whre you found it, that's all I ask"
now it was the Porsche's turn to be suprised.
"Bumblebee! but why? wha'd I ever do ta him"
The human shrugged. "I guess Prowl's allways blaming the pranks around here on the twins, and he thought he'd have a chuckle or two.
"Yeah, but...waitaminute." the saboteur's blue visor darkened for a second, and he pegged her with a suspicious look.
Long enough to make her uneasy.
"How'd you get my music"
"look, I admit I might have given him some...ideas." she admitted.
"But I wasn't directly involved in it." she quickly added.
She went and retrieved the box of the cds from the cabinet next to the stereo.
The "We - I" and the pause said loudly the human was hiding something. And the black and white Autobot was going to find out what.
"Ya know I'm gonna have to report this to Prowl"
her shoulders fell slightly at the thought.
"Why, it wasn't you"
"Prowl is gonna think I was involved anyway"
She knew although Jazz had his moments of immaturity and even the occasional joke, he was still duty-bound enough to report the activity if Prime and Prowl were demanding answers.
"I still have your music." she was half-joking.
"I can tell Prowl you were da mastermind." he was, too.
"You wouldn't dare." She looked up at him grinning, but he wasn't.
"Maybe I was wrong about him being sardonic. Well, I can't blame him for getting cranky without his music." she thought.
she stifled a snicker.
The young woman hefted the box and set it on the couch where he could reach it.
"Seriously, please don't tell him. Bumblebee will tell Prowl I was in on it to save himself"
The Saboteur knew from experience that Bumblebee would never lie. Especially to save himself by passing the blame to one of his comrades. One of the things Bumblebee was known for was his honesty.
"So it was 'bee, then."
" mm-hmm" the young woman nodded enthusiastically from the stereo
"so where'd he get the idea for prune juice. From you"
"huh?" her head shot up.
The Porsche grinned good-naturedly.
"I shoulda suspected him. Dat writing coulda been done by a minispy. And it was too neat ta be yours"
He carefully watched her reaction. Body language speaks volumes, so to say. And the emotions could be hidden quickly, but not before he would see them. First there was suprise, then a little pride at the mention of neat handwriting.
"It wasn't him. I told you"
"And how do you know that for sure?" He knew she could easily give herself away with her answer. Or accuse Bumblebee, which meant Jazz would go have a chat with him, and she knew he'd give her up. Either way, if she was in on it, her respose would give her away.
she paused. "I don't"
She took the cd out, utting it back in it's case. She dropped the cd into the box on the couch with the others, then looked up at him, face pleading.
"Please don't tell Prowl. It was all just in good humor. I know he's just looking for a reason to get back at me"
"for what? You didn't do nothin'."
"I was late for rolecall several times. Did you forget?"
He shrugged. "I don't see why yer worried, though." He grabbed the box and turned to walk away.
"Jazz." he glanced back.
"I don't want to give him any reasons to put me on monitor duty or something. Please"
"Well.." he gave the now-shut door a glance.
" Alright, I won't tell Prowl you're plannin any pranks on him."
Jade breathed a sigh of relief. Hey waitaminute!
the Black and white saboteur grinned deviously. "If you let me know what's goin on..."