Special thanks go out to Rampage's Girl for writing the part of this chapter with Orcas in it. (the second half of the chapter) Orcus is hers, btw. Thanks RG!
Prime turned away from Teletraan-1. The supercomputer had some of Cybertron's historical records in it's database, but not crimnal records. Prowl looked up from a console across the room where he was working. "It would seem we have little or no information on this person." he noted. The tactician walked over. "I fail to see the logic of investigating something that happened millions of years ago. Howerever, if it pertains to our current mission here on Earth, and it is possible this 'tag' person could be hiding out here, it may be a risk to our crew." he stated.
Prime nodded. "According to the city council leader, Tag was spotted in Iacon right before the Ark took off. According to her, he could very well be dangerous."
"Her?" Prowl echoed.
"Venturi." Prime admitted.
Prowl seemed a little suprised, though he did well to conceal that. "But I thought she was... no longer functioning."
It was true. Venturi, one of Beta's creations, was older than even Elita-1. Beta, who had created Mirage's creator (a femme) had also created Venturi.
Prime simply nodded. "She avoided becoming a casualty of war by siding with the Decepticons when they invaded her city. She apparently retained her position, yet remained neutral at the same time."
Prowl's optics narrowed slightly. "I wonder how Shockwave would allow her to remain in a position of power, especially since she is neutral."
Prime shrugged. "I don't know. But since we don't have any way to link to the judicial archives, we have no way of knowing what happened or where. For all we know it could have been an ops mission the entire time." Prime was referring to one of the underground groups on Cybertron. Autobots who hid out and tried everything they could to sabotage the Decepticons's rule over the planet. Perhaps that was how Tag had gotten away with murdering so many Decepticons. After the Decepticons took the city, apparently Lepton & Meson was so small it had somehow slipped into the cracks of the gridwork, so to speak, and had been forgotten about. That is, until now.
Prime's optics suddenly lit. "Perhaps Venturi wasn't completely wrong about Tag."
Prowl eyed the readouts on Teletraan-1's screen. "Yes, there is one mech we know who likes to hunt down other mechs." he replied, somewhat disgustedly. "But to think Orcas could have once been an Autobot." he looked back at Prime.
"With him, anything could be possible." Prime responded, voice serious. "There's only one way to find out, though." he added.
Prowl glanced at him. It's not like we can just walk up to him and ask. He have no idea where he is currently."
Prime started to type, and teletraan beeped. "No, but I'm sure we can use skyspy to help us find him."
"You can't be serious. How do we know that he be truthful anyway?" Prowl questioned. Prime almost sighed. "I know, but it's the only lead we have. And if he does not cooperate,. perhaps we will be able to finally capture him, and be rid of Orcas for good." there was a note of strong dislike in that statement.
Meanwhile, about 10 miles north of the Ark, a group of mechs and femmes had gathered on the training ground made for the 'novice boot camp' Jade had put together. The mazelike structure looked something like a lasertag or paintball field. Jade just grinned, remembering last time she had to do this. "Okay, now here's how this is going to go..." she knew Ratchet would have caniptions if she used low-level energy bolts for the guns stationed on various parts of the course. If anyone got damaged at all she'd be hearing about it. She was still keeping an optic on Cable and Gunlock, though. She couldn't put her finger on it, but there was something about those two... they knew who tag was. She could sometimes sense things, especially about those connected to her through the Transmognifier. And she couldn't entirely pick out their thoughts from among the other myriad of voices, but they knew... something.
Jazz sauntered up beside her. "You gotta be kidding, right?" the grin that split his features implied he was happy about it, though. Jade rolled her optics. "It's a paintball maze, Jazz. It's supposed to be a training excersise, not fun and games." The saboteur just grinned. "Peice 'a cake!" he hooted.
Jade looked over at the Marauders. Hm. No complaints from them either. "Well, at least nobody's complaining about an impromtu repaint. That's good." she remembered Mic and Needle both yelled at Scythe about their paint jobs getting ruined when they went through this, and that was before they had even started.
Jade explained how the maze would work, Beacon and Cable could go through the small tunnelways, though Beacon had the option to go up on top of the barriers since he could fly. Nobody was allowed to fly all the way across. The object was to run through the maze, get the flag at the other end with their name on it, and come back without getting paintballed. She smiled and informed Jazz that since he thought it was so easy, he could do the balancing act running across the top of the barriers with Gunlock while getting to the end. If they fell off, they had to start the course over. The training would not end until everyone had gotten to the end, gotten their flag, and gotten back. (unlike before, when there had been just one flag)
"Also." jade announced "Do not try to share cover. It will get several guns aimed at you, and those walls." she pointed "Are only big enought for one person to hide behind." she grinned. Mic and needle had gotten two facefulls of paint trying to do that before. "Alright, at the line!" she grinned. She was sure Jazz was gonna love the 'secret panel' atop the barriers. There were some barriers he and Gunlock would have to run across that were only one half a foot-legth in width, and some a full foot length in width. There was a panel on one of those that would spray neon pink paint when stepped on. She grinned wider at the thought. "Ok...go!" the group sprinted forward.
Meanwhile, just inside the tree-line, the entire thing was being watched by a somewhat bored werewolf. Though he seemed to be a tad amused at the sound of paintballs flying and cries of
"Get out of the way!" (Cable) and
"You're attracting more of them than I am!" (Beacon)
"They're PAINT! they're not magnetic!" (Cap)
And Jade laughing in the background.
Orcus was lying on a branch in the tree, in his robot mode, watching the fiasco. He had planned on snatching one of them to cure his boredom, but until he could get one or two of them alone, this would have to suffice.
For the moment, anyway.
His energon-and-blood-covered claws tapped onto the hard wooden outside of the tree, and his demon red optics watched them. Snow-white ears flicked after a moment of nothing, and he was about ready to look up when there was the sound of a ton of paintballs being fired at once, and then a voice yelled:
"SEE?! They ARE magnetic!"
A throaty chuckle escaped the werewolf's vocaliser, and he pushed himself up into a position so he was sitting up straight and straddling the branch. After another moment, he slid from his perch and onto the ground, transforming as he did so. Grass, and the dead deer he had killed out of boredom, crunched under his foot as he landed. His ears twitched again, and he began to leave, expecting to go back to his base.
He was not expecting to come face-to-face with Prime's rifle.
Normally, any Transformer (Decepticon or Autobot) who came face-to-face with Optimus Prime's rifle would near about faint at the sight of it, or tremble. But Orcus didn't even sweat.
Instead, he just looked up at the Autobot leader, monotony evident in his red optics. Orcus flicked the blood off of his claws, and asked, "To what do I owe this honor?"
Prime"s optics flashed like lightening; the cockiness of the Decepticon wolf was overbearing, and very much so. The Autobot leader opened his mouth to say something, but Orcus beat him to it, "You want something from me, I presume?"
"Possibly." Prime watched the wolf carefully, even though Orcus was making no hostile signs. Then again, this was the Decepticon with which one could be having a civil game of Chess one minute, and then the next, you'd be at his mercy with his hands around your spark.
Orcus's ears perked up, "I see. And judging by the way you haven't shot me yet, I figure it's information you can get from no one else," as he said this, he sat down against the tree, back to the bark, and looked up at him, "Have my actions brought some age old investigation into a new light?" By the way Prime tensed, Orcus knew he had hit dead on the mark. A fang-filled smile spread over his face. "Which would it be? I can tell you I had nothing to do with the Green, Yellow, Red, You're Dead case."
"Tag." Prime managed to force out, only just containing a growl. He was the Autobot leader, he could not loose his cool in front of a Decepticon. Or anyone.
"Tag? Well, well, I didn't know I was being compared to him." Orcus chuckled, and pulled something off of the ground. Prime readied his rifle, only to realize that the wolf had merely picked a flower, and was now examining it, "Tag."
The flower was lifted to Orcus's nose, and he sniffed it. His red optics lifted to meet Prime's cool blue ones. "Well, this is a horse of a different color, ey?" He stood, "I'm afraid I am not Tag, though I'm deeply honored you think that. He was one of the best." Orcus spun the flower in his fingers, "However, if you're interested, I may just know who he is."
His muzzle opened, but then shut itself. He looked down at the flower as he thought. After a moment, he looked back up, "Why ruin your fun? After all, you're doing so well on figuring this out on your own, why should I stop you?" His voice was maliciously teasing the Autobot Commander, "Plus, I enjoy watching you Autobots scramble about, trying to find answers, trying to stop what is in motion, try to find what is lost."
"Orcus." The rifle raised.
"I'm afraid I've told you all I'm willing to, my dear Commander. However, I suggest asking some of your officers, maybe they know who should be in prison, wearing the black and white." He winked. "Goodbye."
And, before Prime could ready to fire, Orcus was in the tree and out of sight. Something caught Prime's optic. He raised his gun. Only to lower it when he realized it was nothing but the purple flower the werewolf had picked. It landed by Prime's feet, and the commander sighed.
Orcus had escaped his grasp.
End Notes: Black and white is a hint Orcas is giving. I don't know if Prime will recognize it, though.