One word.


Have fun!!

The easy part was over. Agent Prime had a prestigious reputation, but underneath all of the skill and glory, he really was just another mech. It was like shooting cyber-fish in a barrel. Casually approach him, make sweet small talk, allow Prime's gentlemanly demeanors to do most of the work for him, perhaps even brave a ridiculous dance or two, even though Starscream had specifically told the Agent that he did not dance. It wasn't his idea, Prime simply insisted they dance, because it was a party and he was such a lovely femme and the dress suited him perfectly. Flattery was an art, as it appeared, when left in the hands of Optimus Prime.

But, through all of that, Starscream managed to get the famous Agent 007 alone with him, and such flattery was in the past. Pigment-inducing as it was, he had a mission to accomplish.

As Starscream fixes the two of them a pair of cubes, he peers over his shoulder at the Agent standing by the windows. They were on a much higher floor of the hotel now, and the windows were floor-to-ceiling with the curtains drawn back, giving Prime a glorious view of the Iacon skyline. He was wearing one of his best suits (Starscream didn't doubt it had cost quite a chip) and his arms were folded patiently behind his back. He stood silently, just gazing at the horizon. Though the lights in the hotel room were switched on, the glow from the city outside still managed to cast a pale illumination over Agent Prime's face. Polished blue and silver metal glinted whenever Starscream turned his optics at the right angle, peering just from the corners.

But it wasn't important. Focus, slaggit! Mission…you have a mission!

"It's a beautiful city," the Agent remarks, startling Starscream out of his daydream. The flier clears his throat, smoothing the silk crimson dress over his legs and pours a little more energon into the half-full cube beside it (he wasn't one to hold it very well).

"Err, yes, it is. I quite like the skyline when it's this late at night. It's like looking at a nebula. The lights are the stars." It wasn't a lie, at any rate—Starscream enjoyed occasional overhead flights over Iacon, and from his highest point in the skies, it really was breathtaking. Cubes filled, the flier approaches his target and holds the full one out to the suited mech with a homely smile. "Here you are," he offers, "Top quality—triple-refined."

Agent Prime's optics gleam brightly as he accepts the cube. "Thank you. Triple-refined, eh…? You have good taste."

Starscream's lips twitch in a so-brief smile. He chuckles briefly, and sips from his cube. "At any rate, Agent Prime, there is actually a reason I had to speak with you in private."

"Is that so?"

Prime lifts one hand to the side of his helm, and Starscream hears a small click before his optics go wide. He's caught staring as the facemask retreats, and a set of firm, defined silver lips press against the edge of the cube to consume a portion of the contents. "Enlighten me."

Primus, he'd heard Agent Prime was handsome, but he'd thought that just referred to the mysterious air he gave off with that slagging mask.

Argh! Distractions, distractions! Starscream shakes himself mentally. "Y-Yes…you are on a mission currently, are you not?"

Agent Prime's expression goes still. His optics dim and the light plays with shadows on the bridge of his nose and the curve of sleek silver lips as they turn up in a small smirk. "Miss Starscream, I am always on a mission."

Of course you are, thinks Starscream sarcastically. He chuckles hollowly again, and leans in towards the target. "Well, I'm on a mission, too."

Prime quirks an optic ridge. "How interesting…" he pauses, sipping from his cube, and begins making vague gestures with one hand. "What sort of, ah, mission would you happen to be on, Agent Starscream?"

"The same one as you, it turns out," replies the flier smoothly. He shifts his weight to one leg, his hips jutting out at the motion as he drinks a bit more high-grade. He glances up at Prime from under the brim of his helm. "You see, Agent Prime, you and I are after the same crooked man who killed my father and his partner."

Here Agent Prime blinks his optics. "Your father…?"

"Professor Skyfire, yes," replies Starscream smoothly. "You saw his fluids splattered all over the wall when you were briefed, I assume." He dips his head low, turns his bottom lip out in a slight pout and takes a long sip of his energon. "I miss him terribly…it's a shame how he died, my father." He cycles his vents in a sigh. "I was never made aware of his business decisions, and now I regret not taking better measures to monitor them. It appears he made a wrong decision, and it cost him gravely."

The Agent's optics flicker in sympathy; mentally, Starscream sings. It's too easy. "You cared very much for your father, Miss Starscream," Prime observes. "But you shouldn't blame yourself…his passing was not your fault."

Starscream looks up with wide red optics. "But it is!" he insists. "If I'd done a better job of taking care of him, if I'd had more say in what he did…!" He bites down on his bottom lip, looks away, allows liquid build-up to make his optics shine a little brighter. Agent Prime takes him gently by his chin, turning his head so their gazes meet again. For another moment, the flier is distracted, staring into those deep blue optics…long enough for Prime to get an edge in.

"The past is past, my dear. What matters is the present."

He takes a shuddering cycle in. "And that's why I have to track this man down," he insists. "I have to do it to avenge my father. I can't just—stand by and let him get away with this!"

"I've seen what happens to young people who get involved in things like this for the sake of avenging the dead, Miss Starscream." Agent Prime leans in a bit closer, dark stare flitting across his expression. "Terrible things happen to those people because they realize too late they're dealing with something they can't handle."

Starscream tightens his faceplates, glaring. All the while, he's grinning and laughing in his head, marveling at how ridiculously easy this is. Does Agent Prime fall for every sob story sent his way, or is he just this talented? "Are you suggesting that I step aside and allow you to finish the job, Agent Prime? Because I'm afraid I can't do that."

"You could die, Starscream."

"Then let it be," the flier hisses. "But not until I see that man drop dead for what he did to Skyfire."

There's a small silence that stretches between the two of them. Starscream keeps his optics locked with Prime's; and suddenly becomes astutely aware that the Agent's fingers haven't left his chin. He blinks, and Prime smiles.

"You have a bright spark…a very admirable trait, Miss."

Oh, if only you knew. Starscream smiles, tilting his head with a purr, "So does that mean we're partners now, Agent Prime?"

"As a matter of fact, it does." Agent Prime withdraws, sipping his energon once more. "And the first order of business is, now that we're partners, you've no need to address me formally. 'Optimus' will do."

Starscream's mind lingers again as he presses his lips to the edge of his cube, sipping. He's barely finished the contents and his head is already buzzing. He reminds himself to drink slowly, lest he lose sight of his goal. "Optimus…" he murmurs the name aloud, letting it roll off his glossa. A genuine smile crosses his faceplates. "Alright, Optimus…we should plan for the future, then. For starters, we'll have to bring down a few walls. Partners can't have secrets." Starscream flashes his best coy smile, wings twitching up lightly on his back. "I understand you may have gathered some information I'll need to wrap up this business."

Optimus chuckles, smiling and a part of Starscream can't help but to melt a little as he waves a dismissive hand. "All in good time, Starscream," he says assuredly.

The part of him that was melting hardens again. The smile flips and he laughs nervously. "What could be more important than the mission…? We both have a job to do, yes? We should be working to our fullest capacity to complete it."

"I am aware of that, and I assure you I will not rest until your father's murderer rests in his grave," answers Prime. "First, though…" here, he smiles, swirling his energon, "I'd like to know a little more about you, personally, Miss Starscream."

Starscream gapes. He can't be serious. Is he stalling? Does he know? No, no, nonsense…he's just playing. He couldn't possibly know. I've played my cards right this whole time, my story is air-tight. I've made my alibi. He frowns, giving a sigh. Fine, then. If he wants to chase skirts instead of mobsters, I can play the part a little longer. I need that slagging decryption key.

"You did say we have to break down a few walls," Agent Prime points out.

The flier's lips twitch and he forces them into a deceptively natural smile. "You're right, I did say that. I suppose I can spare a few stories, then. What do you want to know…?"

Two cubes and three fabricated tales later, Starscream is crushing his lips against the smoothest silver surface he's ever tasted in his life. Everything is blending together in a world of color and texture and Primus Optimus is the best kisser…!

But…mission…key…have to get…

Prime tightens his arms around Starscream's waist, smoothing a blue hand over the silk of his dress and squeezes his aft through the material. Add that to the slick glossa darting over his lips and tracing against his own, and Starscream's optics dim and he moans, arms draped loosely over the Agent's shoulders. He melts again, kissing eagerly back, brushing his fingers over Prime's audios and is delighted to get a shudder in response.

The past is past, my dear. What matters is the present.

And oh what a wonderful present it is.

Starscream's wings quiver as Optimus leads him back against the bed. The backs of his knees hit soft cotton and Starscream starts to fall, but is suddenly lifted off the ground. "Ah—!" he cries, clinging to the agent as he's held bridal style and carried to the bed. He leers at Optimus, and leans up to nip playfully at his throat. "Mmmm, such a gentlemech," he purrs.

"It wouldn't be right if I weren't," Prime insists, setting Starscream down. "Though I admit, your wings are a bit of a hazard—lovely though they are."

"Hmph! Your fault for carrying me…"

Optimus chuckles and makes quick work of the buttons on his tux, shedding the article of clothing and letting it drop as he settles over Starscream on the bed. "It's a fault I'm willing to accept," he murmurs, and then he's kissing the flier again, who hums against his lips and arches, pulling him down; one arm around his shoulders, the other 'round his waist.

They kiss and kiss and kiss and Starscream bathes in the attention. He works fast to pull off the undershirt and tie as Prime's hands roam over his sides, tugging bright red silk over every edge and curve of his form only to push it up over creamy white thighs and a crotch plate a shade darker than the dress he wore. Once he's rid the undershirt, Starscream moans and breaks from one of the Agent's passionate kisses in order to suck and nip at the cables in his throat, skimming his hands over a red chassis, reinforced windows screeching in protest as his thumbs graze the edges.

Agent Prime reaches to press a hand against his closed frontplate. The contact lasts for only an astro-second before Starscream sucks in a gasp through his vents and pushes that savory blue hand away with a twinge of regret. "N-No…please. Let me…"

"Nonsense, Starscream." Prime kisses his throat and traces his jaw with a warm, slick glossa. "You deserve to be treated right. I always place my partner first."

Starscream shudders, but he's suddenly fighting the haze of energon. Prime doesn't press his hand again, but the flier still works to push him away. "A-As do I," he stammers, his vocals catching as Prime's glossa runs over a particularly sensitive cable. "Nnh…th-this is unnecessary, Prime…"

"I told you to call me Optimus," he murmurs. He smoothes his hand up over Starscream's side to reach for the magnetic clasp on the back of the dress; he kisses Starscream again and the flier moans and arches against him as he flicks the clasp open and splits the fused seams down the center of the dress. He starts to take it off, and Starscream stops him.

"Optimus, please, I mean it…!"

But the Agent gently removes Starscream's hands and presses them against the pillows, holding his wrists. "Now, Starscream…nothing you say will change my mind." He smiles, and the expression is so wonderful that he nearly loses himself. "You're a beautiful mech and I won't let you go without being properly treated."

Starscream freezes. Mech…?

Prime chuckles, "You look stunned. You thought I didn't know?"

His vocals can't form words. "I—I—buh—"

"I am truly intrigued by you, Starscream. Your stories were all flawless…" Optimus removes his hands from Starscream's wrists, and begins to slip the dress off, speaking between kisses to the flier's lips, "…except…Skyfire…" the dress is pulled off, revealing inch by inch every sharp jutting curve and sleek aerodynamic plane of Starscream's body. "…Skyfire had a mech…not a femme."

Starscream hisses when a hand is against his frontplate once more. "I—I am a femme," he growls.

"Legally, yes…and I'm sure you have your reasons for hiding like that."

Slagging—! What does he know?! Aah… the flier bites his lip and arches again. Prime's glossa is tracing the slicked seams of his plate. Primus slaggit, how did he know?! Nobody digs that deep into my files! That registry change was vorns ago! He was always pretty and invisible, an admired shadow with a scratchy high-pitched voice and a sleek body worth chasing. No one ever cared if he was mech or femme; they just knew he was beautiful. Nobody ever cared to look that far into him…

…Except, clearly, Agent Prime.

"Is there anything else you've been hiding, Starscream?" Optimus places a kiss against one of the outer seams and Starscream's vents cycle a little faster. "Maybe the fact that you and Skyfire never spoke on the best of terms…?"

"Mngh…" Starscream growls; "picked a lovely time to mince specifics, Agent Prime."

Optimus ignores the pointed misplacement of his name and sucks on the warm metal frontplate, slicking the seams with his glossa when thin clear energon leaks through. Starscream forgets what he was complaining about, shuddering and twisting the pillows beneath his head in his fingers and slides the panel open.

Prime admires the slick silver surface for a moment, holding Starscream by the hip while tracing a thumb around the edge of his valve, hot to the touch. Starscream whimpers. "You still have both ports," notes Optimus, briefly running a finger over the snapped-shut port of the flier's spike. Said flier can only bob his head in an enthused nod.

"C-Can't stand…reformation. It's ugly and ffff—!" He stops, moaning and biting his lip as Optimus traces his valve with his glossa. Frag, he was going to have a meltdown over this! "—Fake," he chokes out.

Briefly there was the temptation to note that despite being against reformation, he had clearly reformatted his protoform under the armor to take off most of the characteristic mech-like bulk, and slimmed his figure to something more that of a femme. But then, that must be partly common sense. Without that Optimus doubted the dress would have been as flattering.

"You like to be truthful about yourself," he murmurs, causing Starscream to look down at him with flickering red optics narrowed.

"What the slag are you getting a—!!"

Starscream hits the pillows, vents roaring. His words degenerate into a strangled, elated cry as Optimus delves his glossa into the flier's valve as deep as it can reach. He forgets where he was going with the complaint. Every wire and cable in Starscream's body is both incredibly tense and impossibly relaxed at the same time, and he can't fathom the befuddling switch between straight-up pleasure and dodgy questioning, let alone the wonderful things Prime is doing with that glossa. He arches his back, wings hiking high and trembling against the sheets; his hips push up instinctively against that mouth, and Prime holds him by the hips and restrains him to the bed like that, leaving Starscream to moan and sigh and wring the pillows under his hands as Optimus licks and kisses everywhere, around and in his valve. His systems glitch and he gives minute twitches of ecstasy whenever an electrical charge channels down the sensitive circuitry in the opening, thinking to ask where Optimus learned that but too drenched in bliss to follow through.

His focus condenses until it doesn't even leave the bed, everything becoming a haze beyond Prime's warm glossa and smooth lips. All Starscream knows is the slow traces over his most sensitive wiring and the firm but gentle hands making paths on his frame until one stretches up his side and brushes the flat of his wing. Nearly at once, quite by rapturous accident, Optimus streaks his glossa over a hot spot of neural chips buried between searing copper wires. Sparks of electricity that taste like oil and solder jump at Prime's glossa every time a wire or several brushes the chips, Starscream arches until his back forms a perfect bridge and he quivers viciously in silence, mouth agape. The moan that follows is more of a scream.

"Ohhh—!" Starscream tightens his arms against the bed, his spark hammering in its casing. His head rolls back and his vocals tense to static as he rasps and cries. His systems are so hot that the bed becomes a furnace and he can feel overload approaching, beginning at the base of his spinal column and spider-weaving through his processors like wildfire. The natural failsafe walls in Starscream's systems prevent him from having a single blow-out; thus, he is left shuddering and moaning and twisting in bliss as he overloads, slowly at first until faster and faster, while Prime continues to lap at the energon heavily lining his valve and delectably agitate the neural chips in his hot spot until his processors finally cave. When the walls finally crumble, the flier collapses against the bed, a melted, trembling mess as he sucks cold air through his vents in a vain attempt to keep his core temperature under control.

There's a moment of reprieve, where Starscream huffs and shudders on the bed, arms locked on either side of him, thrusters whirring in his heels. His optics flicker and dim and he feels light-headed, but oh so satisfied. He can't remember any time previous when someone treated him so special. Of course, Starscream had received this sort of attention before, but Agent Prime…Optimus…he was different.

When the reprieve ends, Optimus Prime is lying on top of Starscream, pressing his open frontplate against the flier's, warm and slick. Starscream shivers and Prime hushes him with a kiss, caressing the edges of his wings, which flick up into the touch. He's gentle and slow and gives the flier time to recover from the afterglow, nibbling softly at his neck and making him whimper anew.

"Now, Miss Starscream," the Agent purrs with a smile, "I hope I have treated you right enough…that you might do with me as you like."

Starscream freezes for a moment, blinking up at Agent Prime as he gains his bearings. His bottom lip twitches and he bites down on it before pulling Optimus down into a hard, passionate kiss. He pushes the Agent up, turns him over, and it becomes he who is straddling Prime, legs on either side of him, staring down with nothing but haze-headed lust.

The mission is almost completely forgotten and Starscream loses himself to the night and to the arms of Agent Prime. They overload three times that he can remember, each more blissful than the last. When day breaks through the city skyline, Starscream is nestled into the sheets, his wings folded straight back so as he can lie on his side in peaceful recharge, curled up with his arms around the sheets.

It's the sunlight that wakes him up, combined with the sounds of a steam shower just being finished. Starscream's optics flicker online and he shields them from the sun for a moment to sit up, moaning softly, sighing and stretching every able wire in his body from the stiffness of recharge. He sighs, thinks on the events of the previous night and smiles…

…and then remembers to his horror that he never got the decryption key.

Starscream panics, his mood tanking. Slag, slag, slag, slag, slag!! Way to go, glitch-head! You REALLY screwed up this time! Not only had he forgotten to snatch the key, but he had slept with the enemy. The nerve of him! Ashamed at himself, Starscream jumps from the bed, clutching the sheets to his slim form, and ends up tripping over the mess of it, falling to the floor with a cry and an echoing THUMP as he hits the carpet.


He jumps at the call of his name, and looks up to see Optimus—no, no, Agent Prime!—gazing at him in concern from the doorway of the bathroom. Starscream sputters and clambers to his feet, still wrapping the bed sheets around his form. "A-A-Agent P-Prime…!"

He chuckles, stepping into the room. There's nothing on him but a towel around his hips that is still helping to absorb the last of the condensation from the steam shower. "I thought I told you, just 'Optimus' will do."

His faceplates spit steam. "L—Look—about last night—it wasn't—I was overcharged, I can't hold my energon well—"

Agent Prime frowns and has the mood to act surprisingly hurt. It's the first time he's ever heard a bed partner trying to make up excuses for sleeping with him. Still… "Are you saying you didn't enjoy it?"

"That's not—!" Starscream's vents skip a few cycles and his spark suddenly aches. Words get choked in his vocalizer and he can't make sense of them. He shakes his head in disbelief. "I…no, I…I just…"

"You just…" Prime steps forward. He winds an arm around Starscream's waist, and internally steels himself—there's no point in wasting words. "…Work for the enemy?"

Every fluid-pumping cable in his system runs cold. Starscream spits static and stares aghast at the Double-O, shock rendering him speechless. And then he glares. "You knew?"

"Oh, no, but I suspected. My suspicions were cleared when you told me yourself…" at the horrified gasp, Prime adds: "In a metaphorical sense, I mean. You see, when you fall into recharge, you have this peculiar habit, it seems, of speaking in your sleep, Starscream." Prime loosens his arm around the flier's waist; then he tightens him closer. "You kept repeating things, very quietly, and I put the pieces together. 'I hate you, I hate you, Mr. Prime, I wish you dead,' you would whisper; and then, 'Damn him, damn Skyfire, damn him!'"

Starscream's expression hardens. He snorts. "Congratulations, Agent Prime," he drawls. "I don't suppose you've deduced my ulterior motives, as well?"

Strangely happy to reveal this, Prime's optics squint in a slight smile (his facemask is back in place), and he answers, "I have, in fact, now that you mention it. Based upon what I heard you whispering—it was a wonderful sound, might I add, very sweet—and the information I came across doing a background check on you, I believe perhaps that, as I thought all along, things were not well between you and Skyfire as you made them appear. In fact, I believe, Miss Starscream, that you may have even hated him.

"Now, I'm not quite sure why you hated him, and perhaps you could enlighten me on that; but this does not change the motive. I also recall that you had a small but prestigious influence over a fraction of Skyfire's company decisions, and this led me to believe that, perhaps, the grave business mistake that led to his end was not Skyfire's fault. It was yours. You staged his demise, playing the puppet master, pulling the strings of the very man I've been hired to kill, and you ordered him to kill your father. Thundercracker, of course, he—"

"Was collateral damage," Starscream snaps, voice cracking for only a moment. "I've heard enough, Mr. Prime. I'm sure we could both stand here for joors while you relay my life story to me, but I have places to be, and things to retrieve." Starscream slides one blue hand down a sleek white thigh, where a crimson-red garter still remains strapped around it, intricately woven and decorated with fine rubies and diamond studs.

Starscream grips the garter, and snaps it off his thigh with a tug. The smooth silk object stiffens and the lace on its edges scrunches and tightens into razor-sharp teeth and the studs crackle with electricity. He holds the handy new blade out to Agent Prime's facemask, snarling, "And you have something I—"

Agent Prime holds up a tiny, blue, rectangular USB key. "Is this what you want?"

The flier freezes, blinking. He stares incredulously at Prime. "Wh…Is…Is that…?"

"This is the decryption key to Skyfire's personal computer. You came searching for it, correct? Perhaps because you could find no one skilled enough to hack through his ingenious security system and the endless firewalls…you need this key to access his personal accounts." Prime gazes unwavering into Starscream's optics. "Am I getting warmer? If my guesses are turning cold, you need only say."

But Starscream can't say anything. He slowly lowers the garter-blade, squinting at Prime in disbelief. "And what…?" he growls, "You're just…holding it there…and you're just going to…" realization dawns, "…Are you giving it to me?"

He can't see it, but he still knows Prime is smiling. "Your observations are astute as always, Miss Starscream."

Starscream wasn't sure what to be angry about, but either way, he exploded. "Are you BLIND?! Are you STUPID?! What kind of Double-O Agent are you, Mr. Prime?! You're going to let the enemy win?! Or is it simply that you are deluding yourself into believing that you know me well enough, after spending a drunken night in bed with me, that you have the right to extend your sympathy?!" His optics flare bright red and his wings quiver with rage. "You are the most careless, insubordinate—!!"

"What happens to Skyfire's personal accounts is not my concern, Miss Starscream." Agent Prime replies calmly. "My job, my only job, is assuring the death of Megatron. I have a feeling that you are after Skyfire's billionaire fortune as much as Megatron is, and, in the end, I believe you may end up draining him of most of his resources. And if that will satisfy your vengeance on Skyfire, Starscream…whatever it may be…then I think I can allow it."

Starscream is silent again. He is angered and confused. He stands, tightening his fists and glaring.

Agent Prime takes Starscream's free hand and opens the palm. Starscream doesn't resist—not even when, to his cold shock, the decryption key is placed in his hand and Prime curls his fingers in to hold it firm.

"Take it, Starscream. It is yours to do with as you will."

The flier stands, in stunned skepticism, blinking at Agent Prime. He opens his mouth to say something, and his jaw merely hangs. No words escape. He clenches his fingers preciously around the decryption key, not quite believing what he's seeing. He doesn't trust himself to think.

In his disturbed state, Starscream regresses, leering. "…You would never understand," he hisses. "You would never understand what it's like…to be considered good for one thing, and one thing only…based on a pretty face and a mismatched voice."

Prime's expression is blank. "Did Skyfire…"

"He used me, slag you!!" He screams, shoving Agent Prime away viciously. "All of those business deals he made—the ones that landed him those billions of dollars?! They're mine, all mine, bought for him with my body! I was his slagging meal ticket and I couldn't stand the wretched sight of him! I hated him! HATED HIM!! And I still hate him, may the fragging Pitspawn rot in the scrap yard where he was buried!!"

Starscream suddenly straightens as his helm is pinged by a communications link. Snarling, he turns his head, simultaneously hearing the roar of oversized engines.

Megatron is growing impatient, Starscream! What the frag are you doing in there?!

A looming, deep-violet hover-plane blocks the morning sun streaming in from the balcony, and Starscream and Agent Prime both shield themselves as deafening gunfire shatters the windows, engines screaming in their audios, the sheer gravity of the transportation vehicle creating a miniature torrential wind storm in the room.

Astrotrain… growls Starscream.

Stop acting like a defect and get in! Snaps Astrotrain. He begins to lift off, opening a large door in his side and unfurling a metal ladder as he rises. Starscream's optics widen as he realizes Astrotrain is only giving him a small window of opportunity—he goes for the balcony, hesitating to look over his shoulder at Agent Prime. But he doesn't even stop to see the expression on the Double-O's face as he runs for the ladder, sheets fluttering around his femme-slimmed body. He jumps; clasping the ladder tight with an elbow locked around one rung, grasping the key in his hand.

He holds it out, showing it off to the Agent. "Thanks for the memories, Mr. Prime!" He sneers, putting on his best wicked face that he can muster.

Astrotrain lifts Starscream away into the sky, waiting until the flier has pulled himself up into the hover plane's insides before reeling the ladder back in.

"What the frag took you so long?!" demands Astrotrain, his voice echoing throughout the vast empty space.

"It wasn't as easy as I thought it would be, alright?" Starscream snaps, shivering as Astrotrain closes the door. He catches the sheets with the door, and as Starscream does not notice this, when he walks far enough they are jerked out of his hands.

He gasps, crying in embarrassment and running back for the sheets just as Astrotrain projects a Starscream-sized hologram of himself into the massive belly of his hover-plane form, arms crossed. "Right—the mission wasn't easy, but he was?"

"SILENCE!!" Starscream shrieks, his voice breaking the boundaries of sound and echoing off of the walls. He points an accusing finger at Astrotrain. "What happened in there is none of your business! It was my mission, not yours!"

"Fine, whatever," grumbles Astrotrain, optics rolling. "I don't care what you do. Just remember that Megatron might."

Starscream snarls.

"So you got the key, right?"

Starscream, deciding he's already lost his last shred of dignity, stands fully bared before Astrotrain and holds it up. "It's right here," he growls, tossing it to him. Astrotrain catches it with skill, hardly bothered by Starscream's promiscuous behavior. He grins at the flier mech and waves the key in the air.

"Good work. At least you got something done outside of the bedroom."

"Astrotrain, if you say one more word, I swear by Primus I'll rip out every wire in this fragging alt-mode of yours," Starscream hisses, his voice threateningly low.

Astrotrain shrugs, heading towards a vast expanse of computer panels, where a single, wafer-thin silver laptop sits waiting. A picture of Skyfire toasting with one of his business partners is the screen saver. "Whatever you say, lady," the hover-plane says. "I'll just hook the computer up while you go find a proper change of clothes."

The flier only hisses and grumbles and snarls, storming off to go and look for where Astrotrain is obviously keeping a spare set of clothes for him. Starscream eventually finds where Astrotrain has hung a dress for him (red, of course), and quickly changes into it, hastily throwing himself together and setting a new garter around his exposed thigh. He also makes sure to give a quick polish to any visible areas to lessen the chances of Megatron discovering his horrible betrayal. Then he makes quick work of the bed sheets by dumping them out of Astrotrain altogether.

He has just completed doing this when a large flat-screen TV flickers on and Starscream's vents hitch as he looks up into a gunmetal-grey face that is sneering down expectantly at him. Megatron is sitting in his chair, his pet Ravage in his lap as he pets her from head to tail.

"Your mission took longer than I initially expected, Starscream."

Starscream straightens, his expression instantly imploring. "S—Sorry, sir…but I got the key for you!"

"Let me see it," Megatron says, voice a natural rasping hiss on its own. Starscream snatches the thing from the table when he sees where Astrotrain placed it, and holds it up. Slowly, a pleased grin splits the mob mech's face. "Excellent work, Starscream," he purrs. "For once you haven't produced an utter failure."

Just as Starscream is beginning to feel praised, the smile fades and Megatron's expression is back to its usual sneer. "Astrotrain, transport Starscream back to headquarters. I wish to crack those irritating computer codes before the orn is over."

"You got it, Boss."

The screen goes black. Starscream stares at it, expressionless. Astrotrain's voice reverberates as he chuckles. "Rewarding mech, isn't he?"

"…Yeah." Starscream tosses the key down and slams the computer shut, storming away. "Rewarding."

"Are you alright, Optimus?"

"I'm fine," sighs Agent Prime, adjusting his tie as he finishes buttoning his suit. He sits back in the seat of his car, shaking his head. "I honestly do feel a bit sorry for Miss Starscream, though. It's a shame she has to work for such terrible bots."

"A tragedy," agrees the automated voice in the car. "Speaking of which, the tracking device was placed as you asked. Shall we follow the trail?"

Agent Prime stares down at the GPS, where a blinking red light indicates the rapidly distancing decryption key. His vents cycle in a sigh again and he grips the wheel.

"Yes, KITT, of course…forward march, on we go, and all that."

Shifting into drive, the sleek black car races off down the streets, and Agent Prime keeps one optic on the GPS at all times. Sorry, Starscream, he thinks privately, but the money actually is somewhat important on this mission.