Barricade drew back a step as the minuscule and sharp-edged mech darted past him to the computer console. In an instant four hands were flying over the keyboard in what seemed a compulsive need to rifle through the database. Not caring if he was overheard or not, Barricade voiced his opinion. "Spastic little scraplet, isn't he?"

Starscream, standing opposite him, smirked. "But he i is /i very good at his job. I don't care how he goes about it, he has proven he can be discreet. I want you to be his partner."

Barricade constructed an internal image of what the neurotic mechanoid would do while assigned to a stake out. He couldn't see him holding still, nor did he relish the thought of that fidgety thing being within range of his own processor. He was about to share that thought, too, but then the tiny mech began to gibber excitedly. It took Barricade a moment to process that Frenzy was speaking real words.

"Autoautoautobots! Here-in-sector-G-S-eight-two-six! Movements headed south!"

Starscream smiled down at the hacker. "Excellent work, Frenzy. Go with Barricade to those coordinates. I will send Wreckage and Brawl to follow."

Frenzy's eyestalks swiveled to Barricade. In the nastiest tone imaginable he said, "Vroom-vroom." Then he chortled.

Barricade frowned in disapproval but transformed to his armored, four-wheeled ground vehicle alt mode. He allowed the smaller mech to enter the cockpit. Frenzy chortled again as he climbed in. Barricade attempted to ignore him as he peeled out of the underground hangar.

The drive to the Autobot's location was quiet, and Barricade began to set aside his initial criticism of Frenzy. The smaller mech was sitting with his multiple hands intertwined, his optics dimmed.

Suddenly all pairs of his optics flared and Frenzy began tapping on the left side of Barricade's windshield. "Movingmovingmoving!"

"Are you still tracking them?" Barricade asked, wondering how well the hacker's remote data connection could possibly be.

"LEFT!" came the response, obviously not answering his question. Barricade decided to find out later. There were Autobots to exterminate. He turned in the indicated direction while Frenzy began to gibber again. Barricade soon realized he wasn't just making noise, but was talking too fast for it to make sense at first. Yet even then he ignored Frenzy in order to concentrate on catching up to the Autobots without giving away his presence.

As it turned out, Frenzy did not take well to the lack of response. He threw himself against the cockpit hatch, fairly screeching. Barricade jerked to a halt and thundered, "Stop that!"

"You-not-listen! I say five times where we stop and how we fight! Listenlistenlisten!!" Frenzy jammed the hacking connector on his right hand into a port on Barricade's front console. The larger mech balked and sent a signal to the port to terminate any attempt to upload or download data. Then he transformed, flinging Frenzy out in the process. The small mech landed with all of his limbs splayed, whooped loudly, then went scrambling over the ground in the last confirmed direction of the Autobots.

"Hmph." Barricade prepared his weaponry then followed. He remained behind cover as he scanned for Frenzy. To his surprise, the scraplet had covered more than half the distance. After a few more seconds Frenzy sprang up and began a rapid-fire assault of sharp projectiles on the three nearest Autobots. Barricade raced toward the spot and charged in with his own attack. He was glad their backup was still en-route -- if Starscream had actually sent them at all. He wanted to see what Frenzy could do in battle.

From what he could tell so far, the small mech was quick. And the most vicious little exoskeleton ever.

When all the Autobots were down, Barricade watched Frenzy dart from one body to another. He didn't care what he was up to. He was more concerned by the continuing lack of backup. It confirmed his suspicions and made him wonder i where /i that backup actually was. He scanned the horizon and looked for any hint that someone was taking the same path they had driven to the location. Nothing. Behind him Frenzy let out a squeal and began chanting, "Data datadatadatabase...database...Autobot base!"

'Discreet', indeed, Barricade thought to himself. Or does he only do this when he's surrounded by the dead? The last pair of words Frenzy had uttered suddenly registered and Barricade peered down, considering a gamble. "Frenzy," he called, careful to avoid sounding demanding. When the small mech looked up at him -- and stayed that way for over a second -- Barricade went on, "I would like to see another display of your skills. Can you access our own communication records and go back to see when Starscream let our comrades in on this raid?"

Frenzy's eyestalks twitched. Barricade wondered if the test would backfire. Then the hacker emitted a gritty noise that Barricade took as a sly chuckle. A few other unintelligible noises followed, then Frenzy announced, "No such record." He repeated the grating sound, then kicked the nearest Autobot. "Time to go back!" He looked up at Barricade again and when the larger Decepticon didn't move within exactly two seconds, Frenzy began motioning at him. "Transtranstranstransform! Now!"

Barricade still didn't move, waiting to see how far the hacker would go. It wasn't long; Frenzy spewed out a string of curses and motioned violently in several directions at once. Barricade leaned over to pin the other mech with his optics, failing utterly but at least Frenzy stopped cursing. "If I am not mistaken, you and I have something in common. We should cooperate to reach the goal I know we both want."

"Stupid screaming one goes down," Frenzy replied bluntly. "Hail Megatron." Then he laughed again and Barricade smirked, enjoying the sound. He could adapt to the gibbering over time.


(c) 2007 Autumn L. (aka Shiri) This work may not be copied, distributed, or reprinted without the author's permission. All characters belong to Hasbro/Takara/Paramont/Dreamworks.