Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters in this fic; I'm just playing in the toy box…
Author's note: Have you ever woken up after a night on the grog and regretted your actions? I have once, and I highly recommend avoiding head banging near furniture and video cameras because of it… C'mon, admit it! To be honest, I'm not so sure about this chapter; I'm starting to think that maybe I should have left it at Chapter 1. But the ideas were there, and, not being able to sleep as usual, I decided to put them into words. So, in the words of Spongebob, here is "part 2 part 2 part 2 part 2 part 2 part 2 part 2!" Sorry, always wanted to do that!!
A Night With the Decepticons – Crime and Punishment
Soundwave 'woke' slowly; his body ached and his head swam nauseatingly, as if someone had decided to use it as a washing machine. He was laying face down on something cold and hard…it wasn't his recharge bed…possibly the floor?
"Wake up, Soundwave"
"Cybertron to Soundwave…do you read me?"
"We know you can hear us Soundwave"
"Yeah, don't be such a snob"
"One last chance…you gonna wake up?"
"Right, you asked for it…ready Rumble?"
"Ready Frenzy. Ready Soundwave?"
"LA LA LA LA YOU HAVE A HANGOVER LA LA LA LA"
"Rumble. Frenzy. SHUT THE SLAG UP"
"Yeah, Sorry Soundwave"
"But you know, it's rude to ignore…"
Soundwave lifted his mental barriers as far as his inebriated mind would allow, partially severing the mindlink with his obnoxious creations. He had hoped that in doing so he would save himself the agony of having to 'listen' to what sounded like a stadium-full of Rumbles and Frenzys shouting directly into his audio sensors. Unfortunately, his efforts resulted only in a mixture of feedback and static, studded with the sound of half-a-stadium-full of Rumbles and Frenzys shouting directly into his audio sensors. He groaned silently to himself.
…Audio Sensors Online….
A deep rumbling sound joined the cacophony of noise already thumping unceremoniously around in his mind; apparently, there was a primitive human tractor idling loudly beside him…
…Optic Sensors Online…
Ravage. His eldest and most loyal creation. And seemingly, judging by his continued purring, the most evil.
He rolled over and stared up at the ceiling; it defiantly didn't belong to his quarters, he didn't have posters of femmes in suggestive poses messily gaffer-taped to his ceiling…where the slag was he? He turned his head slowly, the movement sending another wave of nausea through him, his vision blurring slightly. He lifted his arm and held a hand over his face, certain that any sudden movements would result in him puking his internals up.
"So you've finally decided to join us then," a deep voice commented wearily. Slowly, Soundwave tilted his head towards the source of the sarcastic comment, and after a few moments of haziness, his optic sensors displayed the form of Skywarp, sitting slumped against the wall.
"Skywarp eject: operation: kill me," Soundwave droned, swallowing hard on what felt like the contents of his fuel tanks making an escape charge.
"Soundwave, as much as killing you would bring me no greater joy, right now is not the best time for me," Skywarp replied in a slightly dazed tone, "if you'll let me take a raincheck though…"
"I hate you all," Soundwave commented in reply, painfully dragging himself into a sitting position. He drew his knees to his chest and wrapped his arms around himself, resting his head on his right knee. Ravage rubbed affectionately against his master and settled down beside him.
Soundwave allowed his mind wander as he watched Frenzy throwing random objects at Skywarp and Thundercracker; he hated being unaware of his actions, and his current state wasn't making his attempts to unscramble his memory banks any easier. After a few frustrating moments, his already clouded thoughts were interrupted once again by Frenzy and Rumble, this time in the form of vocalised singing and other random loud noises, including the sound of Frenzy drumming on the back of Skywarp's head:
"Hava hangover, hava hangover, lalalalalaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!"
Skywarp cast a dark glare at the Communications Officer:
"Soundwave, tell those two geeks of yours to shut the slag up and get lost or I'm gonna tear them both a new tailpipe" Skywarp growled angrily, arm flailing in an attempt to swat his attacker.
"Wassa matter, Warpy, feelin' a little seedy are we?" Rumble teased, dancing just beyond Skywarp's grasp.
"You want a fight, do you?" Skywarp spat, leaning on all fours and easing himself into a standing position.
"C'mon, bring it on junk pile," Frenzy challenged him, taking his place by his brother's side.
"Rumble, Frenzy," Soundwave interjected wearily, "leave it."
"Killjoy," Frenzy threw back tacitly.
"Ahh…don't you love a good fight in the morning?" Thundercracker chimed cheerily, watching the exchange from the other side of the room.
"How come you don't have a slagging hangover?" Skywarp asked grumpily, casting a dark glare at Thundercracker, "if I wasn't about to throw up I'd come over and thrash you like an Autobot…"
"No, I'd thrash you because I'm better than you…which is why I don't have a hangover and you do," Thundercracker replied audaciously. "Now shut up and drink this," he said cheerfully, offering both Skywarp and Soundwave a liquid-filled cube each, "one sure-fire hangover cure."
Skywarp regarded the thick, brown mixture with contempt, large bubbles bursting on the mud-like surface as he tilted it form side to side.
"You slagging bastard Thundercracker," Skywarp told him, offering the cube back.
"But you haven't tried it yet," Thundercracker responded with a smirk.
Skywarp took a cautious sip of the murky concoction, his face instantly contorting into a grimace.
"You slagging bastard Thundercracker," he spluttered, throwing the cube in Thudercracker's general direction, it's contents redecorating the room, giving it a globulus lava lamp feel. Soundwave pushed his cube aside.
"So where the slag are we?" Soundwave asked, gingerly rubbing the back of his head.
"These are my quarters," Skywarp replied, "not too sure how we got here though…last thing I remember was leaving the mess hall, you were out cold…the rest is all kinda blurry." He paused, waiting for the room to stop spinning, "must have been a good night," he shrugged.
"So this dent in my arm then?" Soundwave questioned, taking note of the mystery injury to his right forearm. He traced a finger around the indentation and prodded the small hole at its centre. "Shouldn't have done that, slag that smarts…" He looked up at his companions accusingly.
"Uhh…I think that might have been Starscream…vaguely remember him dropping you or something…" Skywarp laughed uneasily, "hey, where is Starscream anyway?"
"Ain't seen 'im all morning," Rumble offered cautiously, "wasn't in his quarters when we went 'round looking for Soundwave either."
"Yeah, like he's gonna be opening the door to you two metal morons if he's got a hangover," Skywarp responded harshly, throwing the cassette a look of contempt.
"Trust me, ain't no one in there," Rumble assured him, "after waitin' a while Frenzy here gotta little impatient and kicked the door in. Oh yeah, you're gonna need a new door too, Thundercracker," he laughed, Frenzy giving Thundercracker a grin and a double thumbs-up in confirmation.
"Slagging junk piles," Thundercracker spat in reply to this titbit of information.
"We asked 'round, no one's seen 'im," Frenzy stated, ignoring Thundercracker's contribution to the conversation.
"Possible location: infirmary," Soundwave suggested, now sitting back against the wall. "It wouldn't be the first time Starscream had ended up there after a night on the energon," he thought to himself, suppressing a chuckle as he recalled a recent incident involving a null-ray and a dare from Skywarp.
"Nope, looked there first. After seeing the impressive state you guys were in last night we were certain that you'd end up in a bar fight," Rumble informed them.
"Or stumbling off a cliff," Frenzy continued. "Starscream ain't nowhere on the base."
"Oh slag," Thundercracker exclaimed with a nervous laugh, "we've lost the slagging Air Commander."
"Gee, Megatron's gonna be happy with you guys," Rumble snickered.
"Ooo…high five for sarcasm bro," Frenzy laughed, slapping hands with his sibling like a pair of humans.
"Hey, TC, what's that orange crap on your hands?" Skywarp asked, ignoring the twins and pointing at the spatters on his comrade's fingers. He looked down and examined his own hands, "look, I have it too…"
"Looks like paint," Thundercracker shrugged, still slightly panicked by the thought of Megatron blaming them for Starscream's disappearance. His apprehension wasn't being helped Frenzy's sudden case of the giggles.
"Oh, man, you didn't," Rumble stammered, erupting in a fit of laughter.
"Didn't what?" Skywarp asked suspiciously.
Rumble cast a knowing glance at his guffawing brother before responding, "Someone did some…ahh…redecorating…last night," he laughed, "we sent Lazerbeak to suss out the damage. Oh you're gonna love this… Yo Laserbeak, return," he hooted, speaking into his commlink.
"You guys are gonna get it so bad," Frenzy informed them, bent double with laughter.
Moments later, Laserbeak swooped gracefully into the room and transforming into cassette mode, landed in Rumble's hand.
"Here," Rumble stammered, trying desperately to regain his sobriety, "play this Soundwave."
Soundwave stood carefully and taking Laserbeak from Rumble, inserted the cassette into his chest cavity. Fine, snowy static soon gave way to brightly coloured images of locations across the base, each illustrating a scene of chaos as throngs of Decepticons stood angrily surveying the orange additions to the steely-blue walls.
"Oh slag…we didn't," Skywarp breathed, taking in the images with ever-increasing fear.
"You did…" Rumble confirmed between snorts of laughter.
It seemed that in their drunken state, someone had decided that it would be a good idea to paint likenesses of their Decepticon brethren all over the walls. Unfortunately, that someone had also thought that it would be a good idea to paint those likenesses performing rather 'distasteful' acts with other likenesses, capped off nicely with slogans such as 'Bonecrusher loves Vortex", "Mixmaster for Hook", "Astrotrain loves Blitzwing", and "Megatron sucks tailpipes." Skywarp and Thundercracker looked at one another, both visibly shaken by this revelation.
"Oh, Primus…" Thundercracker muttered in fear "Oh Primus,". He looked up at Soundwave and Skywarp, and then down at Rumble and Frenzy rolling in hysterics on the floor.
"Thundercracker, Skywarp: suggest you seek refuge immediately," Soundwave recommended, his monotone voice displaying no emotion.
"What do you mean Thudercracker and I seek refuge," Skywarp questioned, his voice rising in pitch and volume, "you're just as guilty as we are."
Soundwave looked up from the screen on his chest, "Negative: you informed me I was 'out cold'," he stated simply, a slight hint of smugness colouring his voice.
"Sorry, Soundwave, guilt by association," Skywarp told him, "if we're going down, you're coming down with us."
"Well, actually, ha ha," Frenzy stammered, pointing to the image on screen, "I don't think…ha ha… 'guilt by association"…ha ha… would pay off anyway."
"What?" Soundwave questioned, slightly startled. He looked down at his chest again and saw to his horror a large painting of Megatron, locking lips with Optimus Prime whilst having his leg humped 'earth doggy style' by Shockwave. The image itself would have been hilarious under normal circumstances; however, it was the small 'SW' in neat, measured handwriting signed at the bottom that caused the Communications Officer to drop his normally stoic demeanour and gasp a-loud.
Had Rumble and Frenzy not been reduced to a blithering mess of hysterics, they would have detected the rare waves of panic, embarrassment and self-disgust emanating from their creator. Ravage, on the other hand, did notice. More concerning, however, were the more common waves of lust for revenge. Revenge against those who got him drunk. And those that had encouraged him. Silently, Ravage made his exit.
"First we slagging lose Starscream, now this," Thundercracker laughed fearfully, "what the slag were we thinking?"
"Well, ha ha…if you're gonna piss off Megatron you may as well do it properly," Rumble hooted from his position on the floor. Frenzy slapped his brother on the back in appreciation of this comment, laughing uncontrollably.
Skywarp cast a look of fearful resignation at Soundwave and Thundercracker, shaking his head slowly, "We're gonna be lynched, aren't we?"
Soundwave nodded silently in reply; Frenzy lost control of his lubrication valve, and Rumble laughed even harder as he attempted to roll away from the growing pool of liquid spreading across the floor.
In a small coastal village to the south of Decepticon Headquarters sat a small row of neat little cottages, each with a pretty garden displaying a selection of colourful cottage flowers. Walking along this particular row of cottages, one would be overwhelmed with welcoming warmth; the freshly-painted picket fences, the winding cobble-stone paths, even the small assortment of garden gnomes and other trinkets sitting in amongst the flowers, gave the impression that the residents of this neighbourhood were good, kind people.
However, in all streets such as this there is always one house that stands out from the others, one house that stands as a shining beacon of perfection for which all of the other residents, in the view of the owners that is, should strive. And in this particular street, that house belonged to Mr and Mrs Morse.
Mr and Mrs Morse were an elderly couple of the upper-class, and had lived in this cottage for most of their married life. They stood as they did most mornings staring through the gap in the lace curtains, spying on the neighbours, taking note of any imperfections, be they visual, behavioural or otherwise. Like their garden, both were immaculate in appearance, the plump Mrs Morse wearing a cheery floral dress, her silver hair permed and styled just so, and beside her, Mr Morse, wearing a neat shirt and dress pants, round glasses adorning his round, moustached face.
How they enjoyed criticising their neighbours; the faults of others only served to highlight their perfection, something that was very, very important to them. They revelled in their flawlessness; perfect house, perfect garden, perfect clothing; perfect life. But on this particular morning, however, things were not perfect.
Mr and Mrs Morse had a problem. A big problem. And its name was Starscream.
"Turn the sprinklers on it," Mrs Morse demanded of her husband, gazing out with disdain at the unconscious mech lying in amongst her petunias. It wasn't the first time that the couple had found an a drunkard passed out in their front yard, and although generally they were in the form of the teenagers from the next street over and not a mechanical space-alien, the fact remained that the creature was, or at least had been, inebriated. "Disgusting behaviour…" she sniffed.
"But the water restrictions, my love," Mr Morse replied meekly, cowering as he looked out at the robot, "we're only allowed to use buckets. What if old Mrs Johnstone sees us…she'd have a field day," he reasoned, visibly frazzled.
"And what if she sees this thing crushing my prize-winning petunias?" Mrs Morse snapped in reply, rounding on her husband with an air of sophisticated grace. "Turn the sprinklers on him…"
Starscream woke with a start as a sudden torrent of cold water rained down on him, rattling noisily on his metal exoskeleton.
"Wh…what the slag…?" he mumbled angrily, sitting up and pointing his null-ray at nothing in particular. Spitting out a mouthful of mulch he looked around groggily, taking in his surroundings through burring optics. "How the slag did I get here?" He paused momentarily in thought, massaging his temples in attempt to sooth the headache growing rapidly by the minute. "Slagging Skywarp," he concluded aloud.
Gut-wrenching nausea washed over him as he stood slowly, and it wasn't long before Starscream found himself bent double, leaning heavily on his knees purging his tanks all over the perfectly manicured garden beneath him.
"You there," an angry, high-pitched voice called from somewhere behind him, "get off of my petunias!"
"Wh…what?" Starscream turned his head slowly and found to his disgust two humans behind him, an elderly woman standing with hands on hips, face fixed with an angry glare, and an elderly man, cowering behind her.
"That's right, I'm talking to you," the woman barked, "get off of my petunias and go back to wherever you came from, you filthy animal. We don't want your kind here."
Starscream regarded the humans with contempt, his face contorting into an evil snarl.
"Puny flesh creature," Starscream responded harshly, spitting in her general direction partially for effect, partially to get rid of the foul taste in his mouth.
"Why you despicable…" Mrs Morse began, taking a couple of steps towards Starscream.
"Look fleshling," Starscream cut her off irritably, "I have a slagging hangover. All I want to do is sleep it off, and here you are, spraying me with water and yelling at me." He drew himself up to his full height and glared menacingly down at the elderly fools.
"So here's what I think of your slagging petunias;" he lifted his foot and proceeded to crush them angrily, "and here's what I think of you," he continued, lifting his null-ray. Laughing weakly, he watched with blurred vision as the two humans scurried for the shelter of their home.
"Don't think your inferior human architecture will protect you, stupid fleshlings," he called after them. Blasting a large hole in the front wall of the cottage with his null-ray, Starscream stumbled off into the distance, hurling a string of Cybertronian and Earthen expletives at anyone or anything that passed him by.
Megatron had an apoplectic fit; the sound of the proverbial pitchforks being sharpened could be heard all the way from Decepticon HQ to a small coffee shop in the northern suburbs of Adelaide, South Australia.
Security footage had betrayed the four mechs – it turned out that Starscream had been the mastermind behind the art exhibition and Soundwave had indeed regained consciousness long enough to contribute – and three of them, Soundwave, Skywarp and Thundercracker, now found themselves being berated by Megatron with an angry audience looking on.
"Incompetent fools," he bellowed with malice, "your insubordination will not be tolerated and you will be punished." His claret optics burned malevolently as he glared at his three lieutenants, his arm-mounted cannon humming ominously. Unfortunately for Starscream, he chose this moment to stumble into the room, and found himself greeted by a laser-blast to the chest. Whoops of vengeful approval rang out from the throng of onlookers as Starscream stumbled backwards and landed heavily on his aft, his open wound smouldering slightly.
"As for you three," Megatron continued, holding out a powerful hand to silence the crowd behind him, "you are to scrub the base from top to bottom. Every corridor, every room, every corner. Spotless. When you have finished with that, you will remain on night-duties until further notice."
A hushed buzz of dissent filled the room at Megatron's decree, the mumbled conversations little more than disconnected words to the audio sensors of all but Soundwave. Lifting his hand again, Megatron turned and addressed the throng, his voice cold and stern:
"I know that you all want your revenge, and rightly so. But now is not the time. We cannot afford to lose four highly ranked officers to petty in fighting. I have dealt out appropriate punishments, and that is the end of it. Anyone found taking the law into their own hands will be punished."
Ramjet, disgruntled with the lack of violence involved in punishment and still mighty pissed about being accused of 'playing the meat in a Dirge and Thrust sandwich', ignored the warning and threw a laser beam in the direction of Soundwave. Megatron gave Starscream a companion to smoulder with in response.
Ignoring the howls of pain coming from his latest victim, Megatron turned to face his insubordinate officers once more, an evil smile pulling at his lips, "that said…" he spoke quietly, once again addressing the crowd behind, " I do not have any qualms about any accidental spills that may occur, or about messy quarters that someone might be 'too busy' to clean..."
Items of rubbish suddenly seemed to appear out of nowhere, the Decepticon's lust for revenge seemingly giving them a great opportunity to clean out their sub-space pockets. Empty energon cubes, spent cartridges, even a couple festering human carcasses all of sudden found themselves spread across the room. Thundercracker shot Skywarp and Soundwave a look of annoyance as the pile of crap grew before their very optics.
"This is all your fault, Starscream," Thundercracker spat as he dipped the human-sized toothbrush into a bucket of soapy water and resumed scrubbing.
"Shut up TC, at least you don't have a slagging hole in your chest," Starscream responded in a pained voice, leaning heavily on the wall in an attempt to gain some sympathy.
"Don't be such a slagging wimp, Screamer," Skywarp called angrily, not looking up from the spot he was scrubbing.
"You want a matching hole, junk pile?" Starscream retorted, throwing his toothbrush at Skywarp and hitting Thundercracker instead.
"I'll give you another slagging hole if you do that again"
"You want a missile up your tailpipe?"
"Go screw yourself"
Ignoring the exchange going on beside him, Soundwave stood in silence, methodically scrubbing at the wall. Despite his calm exterior, Soundwave's mind was working overtime. For a master of emotion, the humiliation of this punishment was easily suppressed and of little concern. It was the situation itself that had his mind reeling, for it brought about a great opportunity ripe for exploitation. Silently, he laughed to himself, Ravage had been right: revenge would be fun.
So there you have it. And I must admit, it's a nice feeling to have completed it, even if it is dodgy; it's the first work I've finished in quite some time!
Please read and review (thankyou to those of you who have already), and let me know if you spot any errors etc… Cheers :) iratepirate