Semantics

Sideswipe, Prowl's voice crackled to life over the red warrior's comm link, please report to my office.

No, thank you, Sideswipe sent by way of reply.

There was a brief pause, then, Excuse me?

I said, Sideswipe sent politely, no thank you.

It wasn't a request.

You said please.

Yes, I did.

Meaning, Sideswipe explained, 'if you please'. And since it would not please me, I don't please. So, no thank you. But thanks for asking.

Fine then, came the sound of Prowl audibly narrowing his optics, Sideswipe, get down to my office NOW.

Define now.

I mean this instant.

Which instant?

THIS INSTANT. NOW.

Well, Sideswipe transmitted, you keep changing your story. Every time you say 'this instant', it's a new instant. During which instant do you require my presence?

Sideswipe…Prowl's vocalize rolled dangerously over the airwaves.

Yes, Prowl?

Get to my office right now.

But 'now' is 'now', Sideswipe countered. And since 'now' is now 'past' by several seconds, you have asked me to do the impossible. Prowl, I'm not a magician.

Sideswipe, Prowl snapped, if you don't get your sodding afterparts directly down to my office, I am going to show you the meaning of sorry.

Well, now Prowl, let's be realistic, Sideswipe replied. What you really mean is that WHEN I get my sorry afterparts down there, you're going to show me the meaning of sorry. I mean, by the sounds of it, you're already pretty peeved, which means that you're going to penalize me whether I come down there or not. Which means that any rational mech would definitely NOT want to come down there now that you've offered a threat. Which, logically, defeats the point of your threat in the first place.

Have it your way. Prowl's clipped tones were beginning to suggest that some kind of emotional hull breach was imminent. Get down here AND I'll show you the meaning of 'sorry'.

Well, now I REALLY don't please to come down there.

Sideswipe, get down here right now! That is an ORDER!

Do I look like a happy meal? Sideswipe sent, voice shot through with mock hurt. Do you think you can just order me up with fries? I have feelings, you know.

Which I'm going to stab to death with an energy sword the next time I see you, you son of a glitch, so get down here!

Well, there you go using hyperbole, Sideswipe pointed out. Have you ever noticed that overstatement actually weakens an argument?

You Primus-fonging, glitch-ridden humper droid, get the SLAG down here RIGHT SLAGGING NOW!

Which 'now'?

click


"That," Sunstreaker commented as he fiercely punched the X-box controller with his thumb, "is the most unprofessional, immature, and unnecessary thing I've seen you do in a year."

"Wow," Sideswipe replied, sounding truly touched, as he wrestled with his own control, "thanks, bro. Coming from you, that's something."

Several zombies flew into bits, as the sounds of digital chain saws reverberated out of the speakers. "So," Sunstreaker asked, "you going down to his office?"

"Nah," Sideswipe shook his head, face screwed up in concentration as he hacked through another throng of the undead. "Gonna make him come fetch me."

"Yeah," Sunstreaker nodded, "that's what I'd do."

Several more minutes passed, during which time the zombie underworld suffered more carnage at the hands of the twins. At length, Sunstreaker commented casually, "Do they serve fries in Hell?"

Sideswipe shrugged. "Hope so."

Sunstreaker smiled without taking his optics off of the screen. "Me, too."