Lesson 8: Cable Television

While the humans were out, as well as Jazz and Bumblebee, things around the warehouse grew a little dull for the 3 remaining mechs. It wasn't as if the rather giant and eye-catching vehicles could leave and explore the city streets whenever they wanted, so they sought to entertain themselves with what they had.

Ratchet made it his priority to learn more of Earth culture, and so turned to the television that Sam had set up in his corner of the facility. Moving the couches aside, the doc bot sat himself down on the concrete and remotely turned the primitive piece of technology on. He was immediately bombarded by images of a young female human hidden under the brim of a baseball cap and behind large, dark glasses as she did rather mundane things. Holding a bag of comestibles, exiting a vehicle, walking with a small canine on a woven tether. Why was she an individual of such importance? Bah, humans were so confusing at times.

"Ugh, that Britney Spears creature again? Change the channel, would you?" Ratchet turned his head to see Ironhide standing behind him, rotating the barrels of his canons like he did when he got fidgety.

The medic gestured at the diminutive screen. "You're familiar with this human?"

"Yes, and she's no better than a bag of spare parts. I've got no clue as to why the humans pay so much attention to her. From what I understand, she hasn't done a damn thing worthy of praise in her whole slaggin' life. Here. Put on ESPN."

Ironhide switched the channel abruptly. Ratchet now saw a field of green, with small white figures scrambling across it, tossing a brown dot between them. He heard the topkick take a few excited steps closer when the lumbering soldier leaned in over Ratchet's shoulder.

"Ah!" he grunted. "Who's playing? Chargers and the Patriots?"

Ratchet let out something similar to a groan from his vocalizing unit before changing the channel to something more worthy of his time: Discovery Health. A small smile formed from the mechanical bits of his visage.

"Hey!" 'Hide exclaimed. "I was watching that!"

"The operative word in that sentence is 'was'. Now you're watching brain surgery."

The screen changed back to the football game with 8 seconds on the clock, causing Ratchet to scowl. It abruptly turned back to the surgery. Then back to football. Then back to surgery.

Ironhide stood up and pointed one of his canons at the medic accusingly. "I hope you can knock dents out of your own aft!" he growled. "Because you'll have plenty if you don't let me finish the game."

Ratchet just remained where he sat, and looked nonchalantly at his companion's canon, hot and a few feet from his face.

"You're not actually going to shoot me for not wanting to watch your mindlessly aggressive sports, are you?"

He remained as he was, and narrowed his optics at the old medic dangerously. "You never know," he growled.

It was a staring contest for a few moments. Air intakes were silent, leaving only the raucous cheering and thunderous footfalls of the humans on the TV behind them, and the gentle hum of even the mech's slightest movements.

Ratchet's optics narrowed into bright blue slits and set his jaw unit in a display of tenacity. The channel jumped back to the operation.

"Why, you've got some titanium-coated ball bearings..."

The medic stood up, brandished his nested circular saw blade, and set it spinning at 3000 RPM. "Why, yes. Installed them myself, too."

"All right. Know what? Let's take this outside. Winner gets undisputed control of the television for the duration of Sam's absence."

"Oh, you are most definitely on."

But suddenly, the channel changed without either of the influence. They shut up for a moment and both turned toward what was now displaying on the screen.

"Like sand through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives..."

"That's where it's going to stay if you can't decide on what to watch, you two." The unmistakable voice of Optimus Prime filled the space. His subordinates looked his way to see him shaking his head.

"What?" they blurted out in unison. "NO!"

Ratchet and Ironhide proceeded then to change the channel at whatever cost. So panicked they were to get away from that daytime soap opera, that before long sparks began to erupt from the back of the cable box and the TV screen filled with white snow.

The two of them stood there, staring at their fine handiwork. Optimus chuckled to himself. "That's more like it."

They were silent for a while after that, looking forlornly at their weapons before putting them away.

"I, uh..." ventured the medic. "I better get started on fixing that before Sam gets back."

"Er... that might... be good," mumbled the truck. He thumbed in the direction of the warehouse door. "I'll.. I suppose I'll get to work on finding another television set so this, uh... so this doesn't happen again."

"Good... good thinking."


"Well, I'll be getting to work now..."

"Yeah, I guess I'll be leaving..."

"I'll see you later, then."

"Right. Yes. See you later."

The two of them glanced at each other for a while. Neither of them actually moved a single servo.

"You know, this would not have happened if you hadn't insisted on ESPN..."

"Well, if you would pull that stick out of your tailpipe, you might've actually enjoyed the game."

"I apologize that pointless displays of aggression are not my cup of energon."

"Oh, and lessons on removing malignant growths on a body part that Cybertronians don't even have is?"

"I'm terribly sorry that the concept is beyond the likes of you, but that knowledge could potentially come in handy in a future cycle. Quite unlike the knowledge gained from a ballgame."

"I think that you're just bitter, because the last ballgame you played resulted in my kicking your aft."

"Only because you cheated."

"Oh! Pointing fingers, now?"

"I am not pointing any fingers. I'm merely stating facts. And the fact is that you only won because you cheated..."

The argument continued on for quite some time. Optimus looked on as they went back and forth at each other, laughing to himself as he went into recharge. There'd be slag to pay if they weren't quiet by the time he came online again.