Maelstrom 6

Dating: Part 3

Author's note: This story is part of a LONG series called Maelstrom. It is strictly Gen. 1 - sorry, but that was all that was out when I started writing back in the late 1980's. It began as a fan-publication so the first chapters are in the form of a comic book! If you have not read the nine original Maelstrom Comics and the preceding text stories, I strongly suggest you do. This is a complex universe. They can be found at http// illmatar. deviantart. com (I have put double spaces between the addy here or FF . Net eats the link.) The comics and art which accompanies this series are there...and believe me I am a better artist than writer.

Most chapters of this series contain strong language and violence. Rated M for adult themes! Really! Transformers characters belong to Hasbro. Critiques adored!

When Neon's shuttle landed she was trembling with suppressed energy. She reminded herself firmly to maintain the decorum fitting of someone mated to nearly the highest ranking officer in the Autobot army. She was expecting some kind of welcoming committee however. She got off the ship. No one was there. WELL! Heads would surely roll when her mate found out who got the arrival time wrong! She strode into Metroplex as if she owned it and was incensed when none of the busy Autobots scurrying around paid her the slightest heed.

She stopped one as he went by.

"You!" she said, addressing the tall red robot. "Who are you?"

"Howdy, little lady! This's Blaster here to make your day! What can I do for you?"

"I'm Neon," she said self importantly. The name did not have the impact she was hoping for. She expected him to act surprised, upset, something - anything like you would assume someone would act if he just missed the arrival of his commanding officer's mate.

Instead he acted.....a little amused.

"Oh YOU'RE Neon! New recruits report to Kup for room assignments and duty rosters. Follow the maps on the walls to the security office," Blaster said.

She didn't like the twinkle in his optic one little bit.

"Where is Ultra Magnus?" she said huffily.

"Oh, he's in a meeting with the Captain and the young Boss. Now outta my way, little lady! It's a busy day!"

"Well!" Neon said, "Incompetents like that will just have to go! My mate is just too soft on his people if they get away with that kind of thing!"

By the end of the day, Neon was convinced most of Metroplex's permanent staff would have to go. She felt she was treated with indifference wherever she went -- meaning basically she was treated like any new addition to Metroplex's staff. No one was really rude, but they didn't treat her like royalty either. Kup refused to let her put her belongings in Magnus' quarters. He assigned her standard rooms (much smaller in Metroplex than those on Cybertron) and duties fitting a Autobot of her rank and qualifications. She regarded that as his "putting her in a closet for slave labor!" He had informed her the City Commander would be in to inspect her quarters at the end of the day, and suggested she get her gear stowed as fast as possible. Partly in anger, and partly in spite (to show Kup she could do as she pleased in HER mate's city) she threw her things all over the place.

Kup heard her at it and smiled to himself. He smiled wider when he saw Magnus and Rodimus waiting around the corner.

"Are you going to do it now?" Kup asked.

Rodimus shrugged and looked at Magnus.

"Let her stew until morning," Magnus snarled. "When's she due on duty?"

"First shift," Kup said.

"Perfect," Magnus said.

"You're bad," Rodimus said. He grinned proudly.

"I have your fine example to live up to, Hot Rod," Magnus said.

"You're both crazy," Kup said. For once though he seemed to approve.

x

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The next morning when Neon reported two minutes late for her shift Magnus was more than ready. Rodimus leaned on one of the consoles and watched Magnus carefully position himself opposite the door - a foreboding tower of merciless doom. Rodi grinned to himself, remembering facing that tower himself more than a few times as Hot Rod. He briefly wondered if the fact he'd survived relatively unscathed was part of why the Matrix had chosen him. Anyone who could survive that! He tried to feel sorry for Neon but failed miserably. If you wanted to work in Metroplex, you had to put up with the Major General, simple as that.

"Ultra Magnus!" Neon said with delight, as she sauntered in.

"You're late," Magnus said grimly.

"I had to be sure I was ready for you Magnus," Neon said with a seductive wink. Rodimus raised an eyebrow, but Magnus' expression didn't even twitch.

"No one who shows up late for duty in my base is ready for me, Neon," Magnus said.

"My aren't you a grouchy boy this morning!" Neon said. Rodimus caught the slight widening of Magnus' optics and cringed.

Right on cue Magnus erupted. Almost every new addition to Metroplex suffered at least one such tirade before they adjusted to the standards Magnus set for his city. The only real difference was that most of them were prepared for it. Everyone knew Metroplex was the foundation of the Autobots' defenses on Earth and no one expected to be allowed any slack. Magnus' reputation was well known and most Autobots were responsible enough to know it was not only justified that he expect the best from them, it was crucial. Neon on the other hand was expecting special treatment - something he wouldn't have given her even if they had been mated.

Magnus tore into Neon like she was the rawest of recruits. He rebuked her for everything from the her tardiness to the way she stood at attention when he rebuked her for not doing that from the beginning. Used to Elita's small band, Neon was very out of practice saluting and standing at attention. She hadn't done it in centuries. Somehow the very idea that she would be expected to follow military protocols had never crossed her mind. She had been thinking in terms of redecorating Metroplex not in terms of living in an operational military complex. In her mind the war was over and Metroplex was just a really big dwelling to settle down in.

Magnus took sadistic pleasure in enlightening her.

At one point, Neon looked to Rodimus for support. She couldn't believe her "mate" was treating her this way and expected some kind of defense from the personable young Prime. He looked at her in surprise, as though he couldn't understand why she seemed upset. It was actually a good performance on his part. What Rodimus really wanted to do was laugh at her especially when he could see Blaster, Blurr, Kup, Springer and a few others making excuses to walk by the open door to watch and snicker behind Neon's back. Magnus was more than their City Commander - he was their friend - and they were not kindly disposed to Neon for embarrassing him.

By the time Magnus was done with her in the command center she was nearly in surges. By the time he was done inspecting her quarters she was in a rage.

"How DARE you speak to me this way you cretin!" Neon snapped when he told her her pretty metal sculptures were against regs and would have to go. No one got between Neon and her sense of good taste.

Magnus grinned inwardly, and threatened to bring her up on insubordination charges.

"OOOooo!" Neon fumed. "I simply will not put up with this kind of treatment!"

Magnus suggested she join the Decepticons.

"THAT'S IT! I'M ANNULLING OUR VOWS!" Neon cried.

Rodimus was fairly certain he saw Magnus nearly jump for joy.

"Oh, no. Anything but that," Magnus said flatly.

"It's too late, Mr. City Commander! Rodimus! I want an immediate transfer back to Cybertron!"

Rodimus couldn't help himself, "Well...I don't know....I went to a lot of trouble getting you here..."

Magnus' hands actually jerked towards Rodi's neck before he controlled himself. Rodimus managed not to crack up entirely.

"No! I simply can not abide being here one single minute longer!" Neon said, as though it was the most important issue Rodimus would ever have to deal with.

"I suppose...if you really feel that strongly about it," Rodimus said, still sounding reluctant. Magnus leaned towards him with an expression that was half cry for mercy and half death threat. "OK Neon. I'm sorry things didn't work out. Pack up, and we'll have you back on Cybertron in a few days...err, hours!"

"I should hope so!" Neon cried. "OUT! Leave me in peace to pack! I'll never forgive you for this, Ultra Magnus! Never!"

Incredibly, she nearly pushed them out the door. She couldn't slam it of course, but she left the impression that she did.

"Ah shall never forgive you, you brute, you cad!" Rodimus said, holding one hand to his forehead dramatically and pretending to swoon. Rodi did a pretty poor Scarlet O'Hara, but Magnus laughed anyway.