Before you read this, I just want to say something. Today I was accused of plagiarism by another member. This has upset me very, very much. I have never knowingly used another person's ideas, and I never will. I hope you will still read and enjoy my (own) fics. I appreciate your reviews very much. Please read my profile. Thanks, one sad Purple Aussie.
Hot Oregon Night
"Man, talk about turning up the heat," Jazz grumbled to himself, upending his headrest yet again in search of the cooler flipside.
The summer heat came across the desert in a thick front, and the Ark was right in its path.
Jazz tossed, turned, and eventually gave up the idea of offlining anytime soon.
He sighed, sat up, and checked his chrono.
The saboteur thought the temperature would've dropped at least some by nearly midnight, but he was obviously wrong.
"Scrap this," Jazz muttered and left the room.
He wondered if it was better outside, and decided it couldn't be any worse than in his quarters.
He wandered to the Ark entrance and outside, realizing there was little difference in temperature either way.
Jazz idly wondered how Wheeljack would take the (impractical) suggestion of airconditioning the place.
He leaned on a boulder and gazed at the full moon almost overhead.
Its brightness blocked out most of the stars. Jazz could hardly make out the Milky Way.
"Not a good night for stargazing," a quiet voice commented at the saboteur's shoulder.
"Primus Prowl man, send a mech into systemic failure why don't you," Jazz grumbled, startled.
"Sorry Jazz," the Datsun said sincerely.
"Why are you up at this hour? Do you feel all right?"
"I'm fine, it's just this weather. Aren't you hot?"
Jazz took the tips of the bi-coloured door-panels, one in each hand.
They were as uncomfortably warm as Jazz's own casing.
"That's why you're not in recharge. You can't fool me Sarge," Jazz grinned.
"This deep warmth makes offlining difficult," Prowl admitted.
They moved away from the heat-retaining rocks and the tactician gestured to the nearby coastline.
"There isn't even a breeze off the ocean Jazz. But it is slightly cooler near the water,"
They began slowly heading that way in companionable silence.
Jazz broke the quiet with a chuckle.
"We didn't have heat to put up with on Cybertron,"
"No," Prowl said wryly, "We had cold instead, especially when Energon supplies ran so low."
"Man, I thought it would be cooler among the trees," Jazz commented as they wandered through the warm pine thicket behind the Ark.
Prowl paused and the Porsche followed suit.
"Look Jazz," the tactician whispered with a slight gesture.
A raccoon was perched on a fallen log that bridged the stream, repeatedly dipping a pawful of slender roots into the water.
"Is it washing those?" Jazz whispered in fascination.
"I think it is," Prowl whispered back, just as fascinated, "Remind me to ask Beachcomber,"
The masked mammal gathered its salad in its mouth and strolled off, not taking any notice of the Autobots.
"Amazing what you see at night," Jazz remarked as the sea came into view between the last of the pines.
"You were right man, it is a bit better out h-"
The Datsun suddenly dropped to all fours and yanked Jazz down with him behind a boulder.
"Decepticons," Prowl hissed, "Listen..."
Jazz cocked his head.
He couldn't quite make out the words, but that voice unmistakably belonged to Starscream.
The Porsche cursed under his vocalizer and slowly pulled out his rifle.
The two Autobots gradually pulled themselves to the edge of the cliff, taking care to stay out of sight.
"Thundercracker," Prowl muttered, recognizing the large Seeker's build as they stood on the beach.
"And that four-legged rustbucket," Jazz added, as Ravage joined the jets.
"I told you there'd be no Autobots around; it's the middle of the night," Thundercracker grunted.
"Prime mustn't let his little boys out after dark," Starscream sneered.
Prowl's door-panels drew back just slightly at the put-down of the Autobot commander.
"Little boys?" Jazz growled, insulted.
"Forget it Starscream, let's get back to base," Thundercracker grumbled, "I think I'm melting inside my casing,"
He got to one knee and gave the robotic feline an ear-rub.
"What about you, Savage Ravage? Want to go back to Soundwave?"
The Autobots watched in amazement as the vicious little spy sprawled on his back, openly begging a chin-scratch from the big Seeker.
"He's hot too," the blue Seeker complained to Starscream, who ignored him.
Ravage rolled to his feet, shook the dry sand off, and puddled one front paw in a wave's backwash.
"That's not a bad idea," Thundercracker grunted and proceeded to slosh elbow-deep into the surf.
Jazz and Prowl exchanged a glance, and moved backward to avoid being spotted by the big Seeker.
"What are you doing!" Starscream shrieked, startling the Autobots and Ravage.
"I'm not fighting off a Kraken for you Thundercracker!" the younger Seeker shrilled in a panic, "Get out of the water!"
"What's a kraken?" Jazz whispered, puzzled.
"A very large squid Jazz,"
The saboteur snorted back a laugh.
"Old Screamer's scared of a squid?"
Prowl looked at the Porsche with his minimalistic smile.
"Jazz, the Kraken grows to thirty metres, minimum. There are documented cases of them attacking ships and submarines. And they are the only creature in the ocean with the nerve to challenge whales,"
Jazz paused, envisioning this leviathan of the sea.
And had to grudgingly admit he wouldn't really want to come face-to-face with one either.
Starscream transformed and circled the blue mech, who'd moved into much deeper water.
Thundercracker sprayed his wing-mate with handful after handful of salt water, taunting him.
"What's wrong, Screamer? Scared of the waves?"
If there was one thing Starscream hated (and there wasn't one, there were lots) it was another Decepticon hinting he was a wimp.
The Autobots watched the silver Seeker plunge into the ocean, transforming on his way.
Ravage had paddled out to Thundercracker's depth, where the big jet had snagged a bit of driftwood.
The cybernetic panther was happily bobbing about on it, hind legs and tail in the water, rising and falling with the swell.
Starscream surfaced, coughing, spluttering, and floundering about until Thundercracker grudgingly let the silver jet grab his forearm.
"Thanks," Starscream muttered.
"Aww, Decepticon bonding," Jazz aimed a finger down his throat, "'Scuse me while I upchuck,"
He raised his rifle, aiming it at the incapacitated Decepticon second in command.
"Jazz, wait," Prowl hissed, pressing the saboteur's arm down, "I don't think they're going to cause any trouble, so we won't either,"
The Porsche stared at his fellow black and white in complete disbelief.
"Prowl! Didn't you hear-"
"Sshh," Prowl warned, "I've got a better idea. One that won't bring the entire Ark out here,"
Even through the silvery night, Jazz saw the gleam in the sapphire optics.
And it made him grin.
"We'll have a few minutes of cloud cover Jazz," Prowl whispered, gesturing to the slowly fading moonlight, "Let's make the best of it,"
Prowl led the Porsche away from the cliff, taking care to keep them both out of sight, and down to a tiny, sandy cove.
A line of ancient rocks, polished smooth through the relentless waves, neatly concealed them from the distant, splashing Decepticons.
Prowl outlined his idea as gentle, curling waves washed against their feet.
The easterly swell had brought in masses of seaweed, and it rolled up with the surf like aquatic tumbleweeds.
"No nine-point-nine-five dive this time Jazz, just stay under the seaweed," Prowl finished quietly, "There's more than enough to cover each of us,"
The Porsche was almost splitting his sides already, choking back his glee.
The cloudbank smothered the moon, blotting and blending light and shadow into one.
The Autobots moved into the water, the rush of deeper ocean waves covering their slight splashes.
Once they were chest deep, Datsun and Porsche submerged and swam.
The water drag on his door-panels hindered Prowl, and he shifted them back as far as he could.
One of the last times Autobots had been in the ocean -following Prowl's daring plan to rescue Sparkplug- Ratchet had had a fit when he'd discovered some of them had accidentally swallowed the salt water.
Jazz and Prowl had agreed not to speak anyway, not wanting to give themselves away.
They were close enough friends to understand each other's looks and gestures.
Jazz raked a handful of seaweed away from his visor -the stuff was everywhere- and looked up.
The moon was almost hidden, but Cybertronian optics had no trouble penetrating the suddenly murky water.
Then the Porsche spotted Ravage's back end dangling from his piece of driftwood.
There was hardly an Autobot who had not felt the robotic felinoid's wrathful claws.
The resulting wounds were painful, slow to heal, and attracted infection like magnets.
And leave lasting scars, Jazz told himself, thinking of the Datsun's healed but slashed, claw-lined door-panels.
He back-paddled until he was standing on the ocean floor, then kneeled and pushed his hands into the heavy sand, trying to keep his weight on the bottom.
He felt a hand on his shoulder, and when Jazz turned his head, Prowl pointed to two sets of Seeker legs.
Starscream had found some confidence, apparently, because the leg pairs were reasonably far apart.
Seaweed was hovering about the Datsun, but even so, Jazz could see that glint in Prowl's optics
The Porsche grinned, tugged out one hand, and thumbed Ravage's legs.
Prowl nodded and scoop-pushed some of the seaweed strands to the saboteur's back.
He made a wide gesture, meaning It's everywhere, just stay in it.
"See, it's not so bad is it?" Thundercracker asked of Starscream, still lazily treading water.
These humans don't have such stupid ideas after all, the blue jet thought, This swimming business isn't bad.
Starscream was awkwardly flitting about, trying to appear unconcerned, and determined not to get out of the water until after Thundercracker.
Neither Decepticon noticed Ravage suddenly disappear off the driftwood with a small plop.
Jazz had grabbed both hind feet, quickly and neatly "ducking" the small Decepticon, almost to the ocean floor.
At that moment, Prowl wrapped both arms about Starscream's ankles, and quickly pulled.
He let go just as quickly, and melted into the seaweed cloud.
Starscream wasn't stupid.
He surfaced, choking and flailing.
"Autobots!" he shrieked, "Thundercracker, fire!"
A frantic Ravage burst out of the water close to the silver jet, clawed his way up Starscream's back, and clung panickedly to the Seeker's air intakes, hissing wildly.
"Get off!" the Decepticon second in command shrilled, flinging the felinoid into the sea behind him.
Jazz grabbed Ravage around the middle as he tumbled and began sinking.
The saboteur nearly broke up laughing as the little spy transformed out of panic, and quickly sent the Casseticon skimming through the water like a frisbee.
Prowl dodged as a couple of laser shots zinged through the water, sending up miniature sand mushroom clouds.
"Starscream! Stop shooting! Where's Ravage?" Thundercracker exclaimed.
Prowl deliberately drifted up a bit, making sure he was still concealed.
"There's something here!" the silver Seeker bawled, and awkwardly turned base over apex to stick his head under water.
All he saw was the drifting seaweed.
Starscream had a moment of rash bravery, and dived into the seaweed swarm.
A glimpse of ghostly white brought the nightmarish image of the Kraken to the Seeker's CPU.
Starscream frantically tried to right himself and get to the surface.
Something suddenly wrapped itself tightly about his midsection from behind, and pulled him almost to the ocean floor.
Sand dust fluttered around, obscuring all vision.
Starscream struggled wildly to free himself from the tight hold.
"Let go! Let go! Arghh!" he squalled, feeling the tentacles trying to squeeze his life away.
He tried to fire his forearm weapons, but his arms had been gathered to his sides and were in the monster's hold.
Starscream flailed and kicked, but his legs made no contact with anything other than seaweed.
That slimy mass further terrified him, no way of knowing what else it concealed.
Thundercracker had launched himself out of the water and was hovering, still in robot form, a few feet above the ocean.
"Starscream?" he called suspiciously, "Ravage?"
The blue jet looked around carefully, but apart from heaps of seaweed, saw nothing.
The big Seeker began to feel apprehensive.
Had that idiotic Starscream been serious about that...that Kraken? What if...it was real?
"Great," Thundercracker grunted, "What do I tell Megatron? "We went swimming at the Autobots' private beach, and now some water monster is sucking the Energon from your second in command" ? Great, just great..."
He trailed off.
Oh Primus in the Pit.
Soundwave was going to tear his casing off, piece by piece, and probably make him swallow it into the bargain.
"Ravage!" Thundercracker bellowed.
Jazz was cracking up badly, one hand over his mouth to prevent swallowing any ocean water, kneeling on the seabed watching Starscream's hysteria through the seaweed.
The Decepticon kicked and flung his head like a toddler having a tantrum, trying desperately to free himself.
Suddenly Starscream managed to twist away, transformed, and shot straight up out of the water, still panicked and squalling.
"Oh slag!" Thundercracker startled in mid-air at his commander's abrupt appearance.
"It's down there, it's the Kraken!" Starscream shrilled, "It had me! It's all your fault! Help! It squeezed me-"
"Shut up Starscream," Thundercracker snapped, "I've lost Ravage!"
"Who cares about that cat! I'm getting out of here!"
With that, the Decepticon second on command took off, engines roaring, heading over the ocean.
Thundercracker held his head, briefly, contemplating what his life would be worth after telling Soundwave he'd lost one of his Casseticons.
He transformed and made a wide circle.
Then, luck of luck, the moon reappeared, turning the stretch of beach silver.
And allowing the big Seeker to spot something small and black laying on the sand.
Thundercracker swooped in as the panther shakily transformed and hissed his general contempt.
Jazz bobbed up, before he swallowed any more Pacific Ocean trying not to laugh.
Just in time to see Thundercracker deposit Ravage in his cockpit and take off with his customary roar.
Jazz threw a handful of ocean to the sky, laughing himself silly as he trod water.
"A hot night, two restless Autobots, and lots of seaweed plus three wandering Decepticons equals-"
Here Jazz cracked up again.
The saboteur couldn't finish his sentence for his mirth, and sank to chin-level.
Prowl broke the surface then, actually startling Jazz.
The seaweed draped over his door-panels and caught behind his crest gave him a swamp-creature appearance.
Jazz broke up again.
"Primus man, look at you!"
"You don't look much better Jazz," Prowl pointed out, pulling a handful of seaweed strands off the saboteur's head.
Jazz pressed both hands to his midsection, in genuine hysterics, and promptly sank.
Prowl pulled him up by the elbows with a slight smile.
"Come on Jazz, before a Kraken gets you,"
"Oh man, shut up," Jazz gasped, sputtering and laughing at once.
They swam back to the beach and wandered back to the Ark the way they'd come.
Once out of the pine thicket, Jazz threw himself to the grass, face up, still chuckling.
"Oh man, I would give anything to have a holo-image of Screamer's face when you pulled him down the second time!"
"Well, I did get one souvenir Jazz,"
Prowl reached into a subspace pocket and displayed Starscream's right forearm rifle.
Jazz cracked up again.
"Hey neat trophy man! That'd go great in the common room!"
"I'm sure Thundercracker will be hearing about his decision to have a swim for a long, long time Jazz," Prowl said with amusement.
"I watched Screamer fighting like a demon to get away," Jazz grinned, "How did you keep him down like that man?"
Prowl gave him a slight, satisfied smile.
"There's a submarine cable on the seabed Jazz. I just wedged my feet under it,"
"You amaze me Sarge. He was convinced you were some sea monster,"
Prowl shrugged innocently.
"I kept my hands filled with seaweed. I can't help it if he thought it was something else,"
"You are evil man!"
Prowl glanced at him out of the corner of his optic, and Jazz grinned as he saw that glint again.
"I'm impressed you were willing to hang onto Starscream for so long. I'd be afraid of catching something," the Porsche joked.
"Well, he's not something I'd want to be hugging every night," Prowl confirmed with distaste.
He checked his chrono,
"I suppose we should be in recharge," the Datsun said reluctantly, not really wanting to go back to his stuffy quarters.
"I'm staying right here Sarge," he grinned, laying back, "I'm finally cool."
Prowl tried to protest, but then he couldn't really think of a good reason to dissuade the saboteur.
Prowl settled on the cool grass, a little way from Jazz, and carefully unloaded the Seeker rifle.
Jazz leaned on an elbow and watched.
"I was serious before man," the Porsche said eventually, "That'd go great in the common room,"
"I was just going to give it to Wheeljack Jazz; to study or pull apart,"
The saboteur grinned.
"We all know how them things work Prowl, he doesn't need to dissect it,"
He sat up.
"On the other hand," Jazz chuckled, "A Decepticon Seeker forearm weapon on display, not won in battle. That would raise some interesting reactions don't you think Sarge?"
Jazz produced a scarred piece of driftwood.
"That little metalmite factory was clinging to this. You can see where he dug his claws in,"
He held it out, and Prowl took it thoughtfully.
Jazz lay back and comfortably stretched out on the grass.
"Told you they wouldn't be far Prime," Ratchet said wryly.
Optimus Prime looked at the Ark's two black and white mechs, peacefully offlined in the morning shaded side of Mount Saint Helens.
Prowl stirred and, sensing another presence, sat up.
"Good morning Prowl," Prime said in a tone of amusement and curiosity.
"Uh, morning Optimus, Ratchet," the Datsun said, giving Jazz a discreet wake-up nudge.
Jazz groaned and mumbled.
"Five more astrominutes man..."
"Morning Jazz," Prowl said firmly as he got to his feet.
Jazz sighed, sat up, and brought his optics online.
"It's going to be as slagging hot today as yester..."
He trailed off as he caught sight of the Autobot commander and medic.
"Hey guys," he grinned and got up.
"May I ask why you two decided to vacate the Ark and worry your commander?" Optimus Prime asked.
"It was too hot inside Prime,"
"You both smell like the sea," Ratchet realized.
Optimus Prime picked a strand of dried, crinkled seaweed from behind his second in command's crest.
Ratchet pulled one out of Jazz's grille, and spotted something on the grass.
Prime saw it too.
"That's a Seeker arm rifle," Ratchet diagnosed.
"Yes. And judging by the colour, I'd say that belongs to Starscream," Prime said dryly.
He turned to his saboteur and tactician.
"Anything you want to tell me Prowl? Jazz?"
The two black and white mechs looked at each other, then the Autobot commander.
"There's really nothing to tell Prime," Prowl said honestly.
"Yeah man, nothing to tell," Jazz added, "Sarge, ready for some Energon? Let's move,"
"After that, I would strongly recommend a thorough wash," Ratchet said firmly, "Salt water is not that beneficial to an Autobot, surprisingly enough,"
"Just on our way man," Jazz grinned, and they quickly moved off, leaving Prime and Ratchet wondering.
An unusual display appeared in the common room the next afternoon.
A Seeker forearm rifle, mounted on a piece of driftwood.
Carefully preserved so that the little bit of sand and seaweed stuck to it would always remain.
A small plaque read, Spoils of a hot Oregon night.
"Where'd that come from?" Cliffjumper gaped, and turned to his second in command.
Prowl was studying a datapadd map grid, while Jazz arranged the rest of the stack into an impressive domino-style tumble track.
Prowl laid down the padd and tilted his head to study the display.
"Someone must have found it. Maybe one of the Decepticon jets lost it on a flyover."
The Minibot snorted.
"They don't just fall off Prowl! You have to really rough up a Seeker before you can yank one of those off 'em,"
The red Porsche glanced at it again.
"Plus it's got sea grass and sand on it,"
"So someone found it on the beach," Jazz shrugged, carefully lining up the last few datapadds, then protecting the whole thing from a sudden breeze.
A cool change had swept through, bringing temporary relief from the heat.
"You won't be offlining outside tonight," Cliffjumper remarked, feeling the breeze.
"No man, in our own beds tonight," Jazz agreed, eyeing the track he'd nearly completed.
Prowl handed his datapadd to the saboteur, who carefully added it.
"Did you two go in the ocean last night too?"
"Yes. It was hot," Prowl reminded him.
"I'm told saltwater will bleach your paintwork,"
"We washed it off,"
He tripped his leader datapadd, and they watched the stack fall with perfect precision.
Cliffjumper looked at the Seeker rifle again as Jazz gathered the datapadds.
"I don't think Ravage would like sitting up there all day every day, hey man?" Jazz chuckled.
"No Jazz," Prowl said with a slight smile, and the Minibot eyed them, puzzled.
"Huh? What's Ravage got to do with anything?"
"Nothing," Prowl said innocently.
"It was just a hot Oregon night."