Title: Going To The Dogs
Author: Koi Lungfish
Disclaimer: Based on characters and situations from The Transformers ((c) 1986 Hasbro, Ltd). Used without permission. Text (c) 2007-2009, Koi Lung Fish (Mark of Lung. All Rights Reserved.)
Continuity: G1 cartoon, Season 1.

"Dogs," said Red Alert.

"Yes," said Prowl.

"Dogs," repeated Red Alert.

"Yes," Prowl repeated. "Dogs."

"Are you trying to worry me into nervous collapse?" Red Alert asked. "Because it really seems to me as if you want me to become incapacitated by this persistent harassment, this constant infliction of ever more security risks." Inferno smiled; he suspected he was the only Autobot who could tell when Red Alert was joking. "Or possibly you want me to become so overloaded with trivial tasks that I won't notice some seditious plot of yours?"

Okay, maybe I can't tell ... Inferno thought.

"The dogs are necessary," Prowl said in his calm, collected, this-is-my-explaining-things-simply voice. "Dogs come as part of the package."

"The package I told you was a bad idea," Red Alert reminded Prowl, tapping his fingers on the console in front of them.

Inferno stayed silent, watching Jazz as he leant on the back of Prowl's chair and grinned like a loon at the verbal volley. I know whose idea the dogs were, he thought.

"The tours are a vital part of our outreach program," Prowl continued. "It's crucial to our integration with the humans that we let them see that we have nothing to hide."

(Watch out,) Inferno radioed to Red Alert, (He's gone and written the brochures already.)

"The tours will be regularly scheduled. They will be following a single pre-checked and pre-sealed route," Prowl continued. "Jazz, either stop leaning on my chair or turn your engine fans down, please."

Red Alert sighed over the radio to Inferno. (Be useful and knock him out for me...)

"The humans will follow a single path that has no access to any vital centres, under guidance and supervision by local law-enforcement," Prowl continued in what Inferno could only consider a lecturer's drone.

(If I did that, you'd have to lock me up!) Inferno protested.

(You should've been locked up long ago,) Red Alert muttered. "And the dogs have what to do with this? It's bad enough that we're going to let untold numbers of unidentified and uncleared humans into the Ark on a daily basis without them bringing along unnecessary unintelligent quadrupeds. Besides, we already agreed local law-enforcement wouldn't need to bring canine units into the Ark."

"Some humans can't see," Jazz said, chipper and helpful as ever he was. Prowl looked pained.

"Is something wrong with the upgrade facilities in this area?" Red Alert asked, sounding a trifle bemused.

"Humans don't work like that," Jazz replied.

Red Alert looked at the saboteur very dubiously. "I suppose a nice, old-fashioned necessary minimum specification list is out of the question?"

"'You must be this tall to ride this spaceship'!" Jazz exclaimed with a laugh. Everyone looked at him blankly. "Okay, too obscure. See, humans call that 'discrimination'. It's a big deal for them."

"And the dogs come into this how?" Red Alert asked, attempting to look down his nose at Jazz - difficult, since he was both shorter and seated.

"Humans who can't see get dogs," Jazz informed them.

There was a moment of silence.

Prowl frowned, looking mildly vexed. Inferno wondered if it was just the debate, or Jazz's engine fans tickling his back. "Wait. Humans don't have in-built remote connection capabilities. They can't interface with the canine visual sensors."

"Nope," Jazz grinned. "See, what they do is -"

"Use remote-connection cybernetics?" Red Alert asked hopefully. "We could monitor those."

"Wrong again!" Jazz said. "These dogs, they -"

"They ain't telepathic, are they?" Inferno asked.

Everyone glared.

(Inferno!) Red Alert protested, glaring.

"There are no confirmed instances of telepaths amongst the native life-forms," Prowl said, back to his lecture tones. Inferno wondered if he hoped to get tenure as resident professor of talking-down-to-people. "Inferno, do you need to revisit the orientation presentation? Jazz, I have already asked you to stop doing that."

"Yup," Jazz said merrily.

Inferno said nothing, but couldn't stop himself from grinning. Prowl and Red Alert glared at him.

"Jazz, if you could explain the dogs...?" Red Alert asked, resting his head against his hand.

"These dogs ... " Jazz started, then looked around for the interruption. "Okay. These dogs, see, they got way better hearin' and smellin' than humans, so they ... uh ... "

Red Alert looked at Prowl. Prowl craned around to look up at Jazz. Jazz grinned and shrugged and held up his hands.

"So you cannot tell me," Red Alert said dryly, "why blind humans need dogs?"

"Guess I shoulda checked before we started," Jazz said, taking a step back. "I oughta go ask Spike or Sparkplug."

"You do that," Prowl said tightly. "Perhaps one of them can look at your over-active engine fans. In fact, ask one of the humans if they could come and help us with some of these other points before we continue."

"On it an' out," Jazz said with a smile, spinning around on his heel as he transformed and shot out the door, tyres screeching.

Inferno leaned over Red Alert's shoulder to read the display. "What's a 'wash-room'?"

"It's where humans wash. Obviously," Red Alert said, still drier than a sterilised operating workshop.

"Humans are gonna take baths here?" Inferno wondered.

Red Alert glared at Prowl. "Possibly they intend to wash their dogs."

Author's notes & addenda:

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