Chapter Seventeen: It's a Bildungsroman, Samuel Witwicky!
Sam assumed that humanity had fucking ruined Wheeljack's day on account of not only being able to use radios and things, but also having a spoken language themselves.
The last three days were something like a blur for Sam, and the following ones probably wouldn't be any better.
Three days ago, the program that Prowl had helpfully provided for him sprung him out of recharge around six that morning. He'd been a bit anxious about this whole sleeping alone and unguarded thing to begin with, and he hadn't wanted to be still carjackable in case someone decided to show up at the building they'd hidden behind; a guy would hope a bar wasn't in danger of opening at six in the morning, but Sam would rather be safe than sorry. He was only slightly less anxious when he woke up alone, all of the others having launched a massive search for their missing number and that 'unknown' guy, but at least all his programs had rebooted and he could easily get in contact with the others.
Sideswipe had implied that things weren't progressing all so great. Actually, he hadn't so much as 'implied' that they'd gone badly so much as came out and said that thing were 'fragged to a terabyte or two'. Sam didn't know how big a terabyte was, and he wasn't really all that interested in knowing, either. He knew a few megabytes was quite a hunk of information, and made his Internet lag, and so anything bigger than that was a huge 'do not want'.
The good news was that they had found this Wheeljack character, and he hadn't caused any large amounts of undo damage. The bad news was that they had to search pretty far and wide for the guy they all seemed to be extremely displeased with. Of course, he'd stolen something from them, so Sam guessed that he kind of understood that whole thing.
Consulting with Prowl, he'd relocated further down the state, since that was about where they'd tracked the 'unknown' to, and recharged more completely, since two hours was not enough for the amount of energy he'd put out. It was hard for him to locate a hiding point that he was satisfied with since there was all this being ... whatever car he was. And orange. Orange was not typically a standard color, and was therefore pretty noticeable. That and his programming seemed to have developed a whole new level of paranoia that Sam wasn't completely unfamiliar with as he was a healthily paranoid individual himself ... especially since that whole Allspark thing.
And so not going there.
This was where things started to get blurry. He vaguely remembered coming out of recharge and getting another update from Sideswipe. He'd surfed a nearby wifi hotspot to find out about this whole 'Detroit disaster recovery' project that had been launched. And at that point, he was having to rely on what his programs were telling him must have happened, because he didn't remember a damned thing. Logically, at that point, someone had met up with him so that they could all move after the bot that kept running away. There was a badly recorded -- or badly corrupted -- image in his memory banks dated for that day of Silverbolt in his crazy car mode. The memory of Silverbolt telling him that they'd found the unknown completely by chance and that Sam had been thrown into a power grid was a hell of a lot clearer than anything he retained from the actual event. Which. Um.
Prowl told him that logically, someone had taken a primitive weapon array such as the one that Jolt sported and tried to do something extreme with it. It wasn't unheard of, Sunstreaker told him, for neutrals to do some crazy things. It was the whole secret behind his entire existence, Sideswipe explained, because they hadn't seen anything like him before. Either he himself or some mech out there had rerigged his entire structure, just short of a complete reformatting, Wheeljack said; it probably made his software so unstable that being slagged to the Pit made it more than easy for most of his memory files to become corrupt and unrecoverable, so that in self preservation, his CPC just flushed the system to start all over again.
The thing was, they figured that he'd been a work in progress, and that being introduced to a large amount of power had triggered the mechanism that had been laying dormant inside of him. All the electrons had shifted one way. Then they'd shifted another. Then back. And there had been some massive backlash from Sam and the entire eastern seaboard had gone dark. It had done one or two extremely weird things. First of all, for three hours or so, the entire inert cabling web had lit up with Cybertronian radiation like a Christmas tree. There was, as far as Wheeljack could tell, no real reason or repercussion of such a thing -- no little baby homicidal robots running around, no human injuries or fatalities, no change in the molecular composition of any of the metals between Sam and the coast.
When he finally recovered from whatever happened nearly four hours later, the only apparent change that Sam or anyone else could uncover seemed to be Sam himself. Having run a self diagnostic, he made the discovery that his entire mechanical setup had changed. Well -- not entirely. But he resented it. Sideswipe blew a gear out of alignment simply laughing his ass off because apparently Sam had taken pointers from the various robots that he'd seen.
Because he had doors. On his back. What. The. Fuck.
Of course, no one else had understood why Sideswipe found this hilarious until he said 'mini Prowl', at which point Sam had been soundly laughed at. Neither he nor Prowl had been terribly impressed.
Later, Sam figured that he kind of reluctantly understood why Sideswipe found this hilarious. Prowl looked professional with his doors -- hey, Bumblebee looked professional with those spiffy doors. Even Cliffjumper, who was an Audi and only about seven inches larger than Sam looked okay with those doors -- perhaps because he lost half of the door somewhere along with way. In either case, Sam? Sam looked ridiculous. He suspected it had something to do with the fact that he was kind of thin for a mech.
On the other hand, after he recovered from his eternal shame, he discovered that he seemed to have gone up in the Autobot's estimation. Which wasn't to say he still didn't get called 'Boxy', but Prowl stopped calling him 'child'. Hey, if he had known that all it took was being thrown into a power grid to get some respect, he would have done it hours ago.
Or not. Whatever.
After that, they managed to chase the unknown all the way down to Kentucky, and that was when the real fun began.
"Prowl!" Sam called, stomping (ineffectively, as his feet didn't really have much surface and therefore did not 'clunk') over to the tall dark mech. "Prowl! You keep me away from Sideswipe before I -- I -- do -- something that we'll all regret!"
Prowl shifted in a way that Sam wouldn't have really understood before he'd had doors himself. However, since he'd had a crash course in just how unpleasant it was to get his doors struck, he recognized a defensive posture when he saw it. It was the exact same thing that happened with his receptor spikes. "As ominous as that sounds," Prowl said, "I seriously doubt your moral and physical capacity to do anything truly damaging to Sideswipe."
Sam didn't really have to stand around and be insulted, did he? Well, maybe he did, if he was going to get somewhere away from Sideswipe. "If I have to listen to one more door joke, Prowl, I'm gonna do it! Don't say I won't, I'll do something and then we'll all be sorry!" He mimed choking the jerk, although he wasn't entirely sure that Prowl understood the significance of the gesture. "Seriously Prowl," he said, "and if he actually manages to grab them one of these times --!"
"I understand that it is unpleasant," Prowl said warily, perhaps understanding Sam's meaning after all, "but it's something you will have to learn to tolerate. I've had my own experiences --"
"Slag, no," Cliffjumper said. He hadn't been standing that far off, though Sam had thought he was thoroughly engrossed with his discussion with Hot Rod. Now the red mech swiftly came over, followed by seventeen feet of curious chrome commander. Sam had been somewhat startled to discover that Cliffjumper and he were something of brothers in arms. They were of similar make and model, both being chasebots with doors, both favoring the masculine vocal scale, although all of Sam's parts were somewhat smaller since he was on a slighter scale.
Now Cliffjumper got into Prowl's face, just about as much as a mech only a little larger than Sam could. "Slag, no," he said again, "he doesn't have to get used to it." He scoffed in Prowl's face ... or ... more like into his grill, and turned away to face Sam, putting a friendly null on his shoulder. "Now, you just let me bring you in on a little secret," he said, steering Sam a little to the side. "For one, you have a massive sensor array that was just being implemented on mechs when this whole mess started -- which means you have them, but most mechs don't. So, one, they don't understand them, and two, they're really kind of curious about them. You see what I mean? Most don't mean anything by it, but they just can't seem to help themselves."
"Alright," Sam said, a little bewildered by this whole conversation.
He seemed pleased by Sam's acquiesce, making encouraging noises. "Now, you're also a chasebot, right?"
Sam nodded. "As far as I can tell, yeah."
"You're a chasebot," Cliffjumper reassured him bluntly. "So right. That's another thing a lot of mechs are curious about. Most mechs are general use -- they've all got the same basic model, same basic software, same basic hardware. Then you got things that are a little more exotic, like mechs that can fly, and mechs that can equally incorporate more than one alternative form -- and chasebots. Trust me, I tried playing nice; it doesn't work." He shook his head sadly, making a soft, resigned croon. "It just doesn't work." Cliffjumper seemed to linger on that thought for a moment before he looked back up at Sam and his facial structures shifted into what seemed to be an attempt at a human smile. "So I had to turn to ... more convincing methods."
Sam got the feeling that he thought he knew where this was going. "More convincing methods," he echoed, considering it.
Like scenting blood in the water, Cliffjumper began to hum encouragingly -- goading him, actually, since Sam was able to recognize this noise as the same one that Sideswipe would make when he was trying to bring others around to doing what he wanted them to. Not that it seemed to work well on Sunstreaker, but that didn't stop him. "Yup," Cliffjumper said, "a mech gets too persistent, well ... you just gotta show them where the line is."
This whole conversation had started taking on a more sinister tone, which wasn't helped when Cliffjumper lifted his free null and shifted it into a cannon. He jerked the arm, mimicking the backlash from firing it. "This is your line maker," he said with satisfaction, and looked at Sam like he'd just bestowed the greatest secret known to Cybertronian kind.
Sam stared at the cannon, idly correcting the mech: "You mean marker." He pointed at the cannon and gestured between it and Cliffjumper. "So you mean I just --?"
Cliffjumper was nodding when Hot Rod suddenly reacted, spitting out a disbelieving "oh Primus." He quickly pushed his way into the two mech huddle. "Break it up, break it up! Alright, fine -- rookie, you're with me."
"Aw," Cliffjumper said, "com'n, I'd love to see that Sideswipe get his comeuppance ..."
"Stow it, Cliffjumper," Hot Rod said sternly, glowering before he turned to the rest of the group. "Alright," he called, "counterparts, you're with Prowl. Wheeljack with the rookie and myself. Cliffjumper, you're with Jolt."
"Hot Rod," Cliffjumper protested, "come on! If you won't let the rookie do it, at least let me --"
"Cliffjumper," Hot Rod snapped, "you are going with Jolt, and that's final."
Unwillingly, the red mech gave way. "Fine."
"Silverbolt," Hot Rod said, paused, and looked pained. "Silverbolt, with my group."
"I'm practically sparking with excitement," Silverbolt drawled sarcastically, "oh fearless leader."
Hot Rod made it halfway to saying something before he dropped his null and shook his head, declining at the last moment. But while he seemed ready to let it go, Silverbolt didn't quiet.
"Nothing to say?" the silver mech asked. "What? Glitch got your processor?"
"Silverbolt," Hot Rod said, sounding like he was suffering, "mute your vocals and roll out? Can you at least do that? Without chattering like an imprinter?"
"Why you --"
"Silverbolt," Prowl said flatly.
The mech in question paused, started to say something to Prowl, stopped himself, and stood there restlessly on his wheels, his nulls idly clinking and scraping at the folding blades hidden within shifted. The dull red glare of the taillights on his chest flared briefly, but he finally settled and transformed. The silver corvette rolled away a few feet and flashed his taillights again.
"And Hot Rod," Prowl said, turning to the chrome mech, "do not ask of your squad, even the temporary mechs, what you can not do yourself."
"My bad," Hot Rod said dryly.
"Yes, it is," Prowl agreed blankly.
He shot Prowl a look then turned a 'why me' gesture toward the apathetic twilight overhead. "Alright, kids," he said, "let's move."
Sam took a moment to look at the cars he would be accompanying for the time being, if just to escape the Lambo jerks. He hadn't exactly ever seen anything like the car that Hot Rod turned into, but he figured that it was deliberately chosen for it's resemblance to some kind of alien space pod with wheels. Only ... well, much more awesome than that. And there was Silverbolt, of course, in his weird and predatory corvette shape, and Wheeljack who was pretending to be a car that looked completely out of place on the common road instead of being on a race track. Of course, Sam had actually seen this car compared against other small cars. He wasn't too impressed. Miatas were bigger than that thing.
Well, at least in comparison, Sam would actually look normal.
Everyone split into their groups and took off, following the trail the unknown left behind. According to the others, the project that he'd stolen from Wheeljack wasn't completed, and was leaking some kind of energy signature, like a line of bread crumbs. The fact that they could follow this through all of the normal pollution of cities and highways was something of a mystery to Sam. It introduced him to fact that there were more specializations than just his ability to be faster on his wheels than most of the others, and his doors. He'd naively assumed that the feedback he was getting these days was better than the Autobots without.
The fact of the matter was that he, Prowl, and Cliffjumper were incapable of tracking whatever energy leak that this project supposedly leaked.
Sam was pretty much prepared to play the tail end of their game of 'follow the leader' that Wheeljack was leading on account of being the inventor of the project in question. Hot Rod was following a comfortable distance behind, and Sam had naturally figured that Silverbolt would be off doing his own thing.
He hadn't counted on Silverbolt being in a bad mood and spoiling for a fight, so he was caught pretty much unaware when the silver Corvette cut in front of him and would have clipped him if he hadn't dropped back in surprise. Now, Sam was well accustomed to jerk behavior for obvious reasons, so this could have ended there. Except that Silverbolt wasn't just being a jerk, he was trying to start a fight, which he seemed to figure would happen if he gunned his engine and zoomed ahead.
Normally, this wouldn't have really irritated Sam all that much except for the fact that he was already annoyed by the whole deal with Sideswipe being a jerk about his doors to begin with. Add insult to injury, and it was pretty much on.
He dropped back to get clear of the stupid silver jerk and made a sharp and aggressive cut to the side, swerving into the next lane of traffic and sped up. He didn't bother making his engine do any stupid human tricks, because it didn't work harder for the speed because that wasn't how Cybertronian engines worked, and he shot pass the Corvette, cutting him off. He leveled back out at just behind Hot Rod, since although Hot Rod wasn't exactly stern like Prowl and Optimus, he didn't think the guy would appreciate those kinds of antics.
Then Silverbolt shot up behind them and swerved around on Hot Rod's other side.
"(Cut it out, for Primus' sake!)" Hot Rod sent sharply. The wavelength rattled around in Sam's processor, and wow, apparently it was possible to 'shout' on radio waves without something like volume.
"(Quit trying to act like you could actually lead anything,)" Silverbolt sent back lazily.
"(We're distracting enough without stupid chasebot antics!)" Hot Rod shot back. "(Primus, Silverbolt, you're not even distantly related to that model!)"
"(Hey!)" Sam objected sharply, a little irked at the whole 'chasebot' remark.
He was summarily ignored as Silverbolt snapped: "(And guess what? You? Not even in the same model scheme as Optimus Prime.)"
Sam assumed that this was the equivalent of saying that Superman was a lie, as there was suddenly deafening radio silence. He decided to get clear a few lanes of traffic, just incase a spontaneous robot death match broke out.
"( ... so,)" Wheeljack suddenly sent him in a completely transparent and awkward attempt to change the subject, "(you used to be a neutral, huh?)"
"Hot Rod," Prowl said disapprovingly, "why did you think it would be a good idea to terrorize the humans?"
"Well," Hot Rod said while he tried to figure out if he wanted to seem taller or shorter than Prowl, "that wasn't exactly what I was trying to do, you see. Since Optimus allied himself with the native fauna, I just figured it would be good to attempt some kind of contact to establish our message of good will --"
"You deliberately convinced Wheeljack to imitate one of their alien contact movies," Prowl said shortly. "Never mind the fact that a general standing order of remaining unnoticed was in effect."
"Ah," Hot Rod said. He glanced back at the others for help, but nothing was forthcoming. Sam kept his arms tightly folded across his chest bits, more than a little irritated. Wheeljack was standing off to the side, fidgeting nervously -- and when Wheeljack fidgeted, he kinda ... really ... urgh. See, Wheeljack displayed a certain amount of disturbing flexibility in daily life. It wasn't that he was any more or less foldable than the others, it was just that he casually used the ability to transform to make simple gestures. It was guaranteed to make any human nauseous, because coupled with those Escheresque body contortions was the LED light displays on his freakin' face that cycled through some colors that Sam wasn't even sure humans could see.
Somewhere behind Sam, he could hear Sideswipe laughing, the jerk. Cybertronians, it seemed, believed in a public dressing down, because the others were also standing around while Prowl proceeded to launch into some Cybertronian lecture.
This whole public humiliation thing could have been avoided if someone had just listened to Sam. Despite the fact that everyone seemed slightly more respectful of him since he'd displayed an ability to crash entire power networks, no one seemed inclined to listen to his advice as far as not poking humans went.
Case in point: In the early morning hours, Hot Rod and Silverbolt got over themselves and actually worked together to goad Wheeljack into making contact with some humans. Despite all that Sam said in an effort to convince them to knock it off, Wheeljack decided that having explored the human culture extensively in the time between arriving on Earth and the others locating him, that he would attempt to do so in a culturally significant way.
This, luckily, was not like the aliens in Independence Day, but rather the way it had gone in the 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind' direction. He was probably inspired by his own LED display, which Prowl had informed him was 'ostensibly for the purpose of communication with alien life forms should they be completely unrecognizable in intelligence and communicative styles', which seemed to be longhand for Wheeljack suggesting organic life instead of robotic life (or at least, non-robotic). Sam assumed that humanity had fucking ruined Wheeljack's day on account of not only being able to use radios and things, but also having a spoken language themselves. Not that the mech ever seemed to imply it, but considering that he had physically altered his body in order to attempt to establish contact with foreign intelligence and it turned out to be unnecessary ...
Anyway, Kentuckens apparently didn't have the greatest sense of humor when faced with flashing lights and simple musical tones. Of course, it was kinda possible they thought it was a terrorist attack or something, which meant that they roughly made the right move when they called the freakin' cops. Either way, it was that moment that Sam discovered that he could run away faster from the police than Silverbolt, Wheeljack, or Hot Rod, the latter of whom had a head start.
Silverbolt, apparently, had only been there at the time to laugh the loudest when the whole thing flopped. Which it had, when the cops showed up, and he had, long and loudly (and over the radio, because he wasn't stupid). Sam kind of understood the whole thing behind Hot Rod deciding to put Silverbolt in their group since he didn't mix well with the counterparts, but he found it hard to believe on account of how Silverbolt continued to prove that he couldn't be trusted to shut the hell up for a moment and listen to Hot Rod.
"(I thought I heard someone say that Wheeljack was some kind of scientist?)" Sam sent to the peanut gallery standing nearby.
"(Yeah,)" Jolt replied, "(but if you're operating under the same premise that the popular culture of humanity is, you don't really understand what the programming codes that result in mechs like Wheeljack do.)"
"( ... alright, I'll bite,)" he said reluctantly. "(What do they do?)"
"(The easiest way to put it,)" Wheeljack broke in, "(is to say that if I retained the safety measures installed in the basic programming of every Cybertronian, common even -- and in some cases especially -- the Decepticons, then our culture as a whole would never advance.)"
Sam was slightly mortified, since he hadn't contacted Wheeljack to begin with, which meant that one of the bots he was talking to had. Then he actually heard what was being said. "(What,)" he said. "(Wait. You mean to tell me that you actually have a legitimate excuse to be a mad scientist?)"
There was an astround long pause, and then Wheeljack said: "(Oh. Oh yes. Yes, apparently, I do. How interesting. Humanity finds experimenting on their own abhorrent? But how could they fully explore the possibilities of their theories on their own organic bodies and chemical wiring?)"
"(Boxy,)" Sideswipe said over a private line, "(get back from him. Quickly.)"
"(This is fascinating,)" Wheeljack continued, finally looking away from Prowl and Hot Rod. "(You have fully adopted the human culture, have you not? Then, would you find it objectionable if I were to --)"
"Wheeljack," Prowl said suddenly, staring at the small bot. "No."
Sam was just managing to process -- to really understand -- what it was Wheeljack was getting around to asking when both counterparts, not making the least humored noise, came up behind him so quietly that he would have missed the action but for the change in the electrical fields that his sensors were keyed into.
Wheeljack glanced up at both of them, not looking in the least intimidated, before he turned to Prowl. "I was only going to --"
"No, Wheeljack," Prowl said simply, "you were not." There was no variation of tone, nor was he displaying any kind of emotional response; he was speaking as evenly as if Wheeljack had suggested the sky was green when it wasn't.
"Ah," Wheeljack said slowly, glancing at the trio of larger bots, "so I wasn't."
This earned an affirmative noise from the large gray bot.
"(So,)" Sam sent, aware of the agitation he was broadcasting over the radio, "(anyone care to tell me why Wheeljack thought it was okay if he -- I don't know -- ran experimental tests on me?)"
"(It's what Wheeljack does,)" Sideswipe said, and he made nothing to indicate how he felt about that, which kind of gave him away. Abruptly, his hand landed on Sam's shoulder. "Boxy's coming with us," he informed everyone. He glanced back and relaxed a bit to actually say, carelessly, "Cliffjumper and Jolt can come, too."
"Oh, really?" Hot Rod said flatly.
"Or we can take Prowl," Sideswipe said lightly. "It'll be just like the good ol' times!"
The only one not surprised by this offer was Sideswipe himself. Prowl stared at him over Sam's head, then looked at the others. "Someone must uphold order," he said reluctantly.
"Aw," Sideswipe crooned, "I knew you liked us, Prowl!"
"Sideswipe," Sunstreaker said, "Shut up. For the love of Primus. Shut. Up."
So, private robot conversations were only private so long as no one decided to update someone else. That and Wheeljack was a scary, scary individual. That was what Sam took away from Kentucky and what he learned all over again in Tennessee.
Actually, he reluctantly acknowledged, all of the Cybertronians were frightening creatures. It was easy to forget when they all put on the kid gloves when handling Sam. They were, after all, a people who had been fighting a war so long that most of them forgot how to stop. They didn't trust the war to stop. It kind of said something about their war when the leader of the 'good' side one day decided that maybe he'd be better off dead, just to prevent a powerful artifact from reaching 'Con hands. Sure, it would have saved them from a horrible fate, but it wouldn't have saved anyone, really. Cybertronians kinda didn't need an unlimited power source to destroy anything.
Even with the fights, even with the 'Con threat looming in the back of Sam's mind, it was easy to forget that these odd, silly characters were people who had killed, and would kill again without even rerunning the calculations once.
Bumblebee was a killer. And so was Sam, and he'd do well to remember that. He was a killer, and in the quiet and the darkness, he felt the quiet certainty that he'd kill again, if provoked. (And maybe that frightening certainty of his murderous inclinations in the wake of Mission City had just been the programming settling in. But one thing remained true between the humans and the Cybertronians: when something tried to kill you, you try to kill it back.)
Not that Sam thought it was actually an option where Wheeljack was concerned, since the counterparts clearly had a strong bias against Wheeljack, and neither of them had tried anything. Yet. That Sam knew of. Which he was sure he would, because as far as he could tell, Sideswipe and Sunstreaker were as subtle as a piano dropping out of the sky. Also, somehow everyone came to the conclusion that it was fine that Sam should participate in Wheeljack's newest studies. Supposedly, this was some kind of weapon or tracking device or something that was supposed to help them locate the unknown guy, who apparently had some sort of superhero ability to be invisible. Literally. Which was why Sam, Cliffjumper, Sideswipe and Sunstreaker had ended up in a unused lot out of human eyesight to test out his technology. The idea was to be able to trigger some obscure aspect of Cybertronian technobiology without the unknown realizing it. Wheeljack had reasoned his victimology in this way: Two chasebots with extremely sensitive sensor arrays, plus two mechs of average susceptibility, meant that they had all spectrums covered.
Sam, who was actually somewhat of a logical individual if only so that he could BS his way out of every situation he didn't like while sounding somewhat reasonable, figured out that two of each extremes did not count as 'covered' and that Wheeljack was just trying to find some way of experimenting on him. He was not in the least bit excited about this, but at least the counterparts were there. Although they had gotten a little less focused on him since they had other robots to harass now, they still occasionally had his back.
Still, considering their general dislike for Wheeljack, he was a little surprised they willingly agreed to be part of the testing group. Well. Up until he got hit with a few of those strange pulse things and once he got over being deafened by them, he realized he was now very, very tipsy. Contrarily, this also made him less than pleased.
"Is this how Wheeljack tests everything he invents?" Sam asked unhappily while Sideswipe pried him off the ground for the nth time that day.
"Just about," Sideswipe said with the air of someone very drunk and pretending they weren't.
"Oh, that's just about great."
Then things really went to hell.
The All Spark's conversion to a mech hadn't gone the way it had intended, Jazz was sure. Aware as he had been that the All Spark continued to live and that the last container it had inhabited had been Sam -- a Sam who had been a long way toward converting fully to metallic compounds, Jazz had taken the time to familiarize himself with the shape and size of the prototypes. The mech he was looking at didn't match the prototypes but in the most abstract ways, which Jazz figured had to do with him doing it out in the world somewhere instead of in the safety of Ratchet's medbay.
That and he had assumed that without proper materials, the All Spark would have driven the conversion toward the more conservative size, but it seemed content to continue to defy all reaction forecasts.
"(Jazz,)" Optimus sent sternly, "(this is not the time nor the place. Respond, Jazz.)"
It had been a bad idea to immediately let everyone know that Sam was alive, obviously. Jazz actually felt a little embarrassed over his reaction, especially considering that immediately afterward, he'd been bombarded by every mech in his squad. Bumblebee had been the first to let up when Jazz continued to refuse to answer their questions, this wasn't because the young mech understood anything. Ironhide had been next since he had more investment in getting into contact with the counterparts than he had with Sam. And it was too difficult for Ratchet to continue to communicate through Blaster without giving anything away for him to keep it up.
Which left Prime.
"(Well,)" Jazz sent, finally relenting, "(I'm kinda trying to save my own wires here, Prime.)" He scanned again for any suspicious shapes, but just because he didn't sense them didn't mean they weren't there.
Optimus was exasperated. Jazz could tell, and he didn't need radio signals to know it. "(If you had just provided us with Samuel Witwicky's contact codes immediately, this could have been avoided.)"
Like the Pit it would have been. As far as he could tell, he was the only one perhaps except Sam who knew just what the secret behind his conversion was, and he wasn't going to risk that being revealed just because he suspected he was the only one old enough to actually decipher enough of that Ancient Cybertronian that Sam's programming was written in. He didn't know for sure, and it was better not to make any kind of mistake, especially with Wheeljack around.
Luckily, before anyone had caught onto Jazz's strange reaction to the mech in question, the others apparently caught up to whoever it was they were chasing, and the counterparts had been more than happy to have 'Boxy' stay behind with Jazz. After a few initial bombardments as to if everyone was okay since he'd been gone and things like that and having Jazz only absentmindedly respond, Sam had turned his attention back to the counterparts. Probably. He was being too still and quiet for the Sam that Jazz vaguely remembered, and he assumed that it must be because he was in connection with the others of his group.
"(Hey,)" he sent, "(just gimme a minute, okay? Let's not let the baby-bot rush into a situation we're not sure about.)"
Not that Jazz was in the least concerned that there wasn't a personality matrix with the Witwicky kid's whole neurotic profile on it. The conversion might have turned out this spindly mech with more spikes than the average Decepticon, but a sharper, warier Sam was still a Sam. And later. Jazz would think about it later, what it meant that the entire frame had been so carefully converted into the typical body style of neutrals common in these vorns ... a whole cast of mechs that Sam couldn't have the first byte of information on.
He scanned on last time for any indication that Bumblebee had managed to track them down and then completely turned his attention to the mech crouching alongside him. "Alright, kid," he said, startling Sam a little. Although his transceiver array had held still at the time, now they began to shift restlessly. And it was still Sam's face, somehow, that the mech was looking at him with -- Jazz hadn't known the kid long, but his visual pattern recognition programs lined up the angles and shapes to the exact image of Sam's face that first night when he looked up at them all. "First thing first. We're going to have to do a quick and dirty translation of your files. Does that make any sense?"
"Actually, yeah," Sam said with not-Sam's voice except that the inflection was exactly right. "My -- my little ping thing. It doesn't make any sense, right?"
"Oh," he said, "it makes sense, but I don't think you want to roll around identifying yourself that way. If I rig up a translation program, do you think you could use it?"
He thought it over for a second -- rather long for a 'Bot, but as Sideswipe told him that Sam had only stopped imprinting a day or so ago, it was still acceptable. "Probably, yeah. I've used programs Prowl wrote up, so it shouldn't be a lot different, right?"
Jazz was momentarily side blinded by that admission. "Prowl," he repeated. "You mean -- oh, yea tall, likes to lecture, with a stick at least this big shoved in his axle?" Forgetting himself for a moment, he said the name of the bot he was indicating and tested it against the human word, and didn't miss the way one of the transceivers ticked up in response to the language. It was possible that someone had translated his name into 'Prowl', although that was a little more ... expressive than the mech usually was.
"Yeah," Sam said with that same young mech curiosity, "at least, I think so. I mean, he had to write his own programs because otherwise he couldn't use them at all, because they shouldn't have worked. Or. Idunno, something like that."
Oh Primus. That was Prowl. "And," he said, "how long did you say you've been rollin' with the bigbot?"
Sam was clearly onto him, which by the things that he had gleaned from the other mechs was something he should have expected. The kid wasn't dumb, and Jazz didn't think that having a processor as massive as a Cybertronian's or as extensive as a chase class mech was really going to change that. Still, he reluctantly said: "not long, really. Just like --" he quickly calculated "-- well, maybe not even a day altogether."
Jazz relaxed. They'd gotten lucky on that one because Prowl caused enough trouble as it was without influencing an imprinter to be just like him. "Well, he hasn't been down here long then, s'ats good," he said, just to throw Sam off the trail. "Anyway, you should be able to use this program."
Not that the program would do a lot of good, but it would translate the outgoing and incoming signals into something that Sam would understand. Jazz didn't have the time or the inclination to attempt a full system translation ... besides, there were few surer ways to prevent a hack than all the files being in a language that wasn't easily decipherable. Install a few firewalls, and he'd be one lucky mech.
"You got that installed?" he asked. When he got the affirmative, he pinged Sam again, since someone had clearly trained him well -- probably Sideswipe. This time, the information came back in clear Cybertronian, identifying Sam as a Chase class mech, ally of the Autobots, but with no identifying tag other than that. "Alright," he said, "that should prevent any further misunderstandings."
"I don't know," Sam said doubtfully. "It didn't teach me Cybertronian or anything like that."
Jazz hummed with amusement. "You don't think we just downloaded English, did ya? We learned it. Besides, Cybertronian is riddled with 'slag' meanings, and definitions that vary from 'bot to 'bot. You'll have to do it the hard way."
"Joy," he said dryly. His transceiver ticked again, and he said: "oh. They got him. Ow. Yes. They caught the guy the counterparts left to go help with."
"Sideswipe's excited?" Jazz inquired, amused. It was like Sideswipe -- even as young mechs, when he and his counterpart had been practically the same mech down to the last code, Sideswipe had been the more boisterous. It had only gotten worse the more they'd gotten around and experienced.
"Kinda, yeah," he said, gently tapping the base of his receivers.
"Well, let's not leave them hangin'," Jazz said, taking a few steps to get clear. He scanned the area one more time before transforming and rolling away to clear some room for Sam. The chasebot followed him easily with the simplistic movements of every young mech who wasn't entirely comfortable with moving with their whole body. The quiet, somber murmur of his ERT shifted into an anxious humming as his sensors went on alert, a flash of light from behind the plates protecting the delicate crisalyn structures -- Sam must have always been emotive, but Jazz hadn't been in a position to appreciate it before now, as his electronic body gave him away.
"(What about the others?)" Sam asked intently, following Jazz as he rolled clear of the human structure. "(You said they were okay -- you said some came with you. Where's Bumblebee? He's here, right?)"
"(We'll be meetin' up with them sooner or later,)" Jazz assured him. "(But until then, let's you and me go provide some interference, alright?)"
"(Sooner or later is great,)" the mech said as his ERT waves increased in frequency. "(Personally, I like sooner -- let's do sooner. Sooner just sounds funner than later, so let's do that one. Like. Now.)"
A little exasperated, Jazz said: "(Alright, we'll do it sooner than later, but first let's go make sure that this whole takin' that bot into custody thing is workin' out.)"
And of all things for Sam to have picked up from anyone, it would be this one thing. Because with the sudden burst of speed so typical of the very class he was, he took a step forward and bent toward Jazz, one null striking the ground with unintentional strength and the sharp claws goring the asphalt like it was so much elasyn beneath Silverbolt's blades. "(No, Jazz,)" Sam said, ERT silent while stray electrical pulses rocketed down wires and lit every last light emitting diode in his body, "(No. Jazz, you answer me -- where's my car?)"
Jazz supposed that answered just who it was that had taken care of Sam for most of the time that he'd been imprinting. It wasn't that Sam was incapable of having his own temper, since his occasional talks with Bumblebee had proven that much. It had proven that Sam had his own way of letting things build up quietly before he reacted. It was starting to look a lot like he only let you get away with enough that you thought you were safe.
He wasn't inclined in the least bit to try to fight Sam whether he would have and could have knocked the little bot back into his base components -- but Sam didn't seem to agree as far as that went, and Jazz was in his alt mode while Sam very much wasn't. That gave the chasebot quiet a bit of an advantage in speed and initiative, and while normally, Jazz would have said he was safe because Sam's basic personality matrix was pretty harmless ... well, that was like saying that he was safe when Bumblebee was getting agitated. The babybot might be basically a good mech, but -- well, he had his moments.
Survival was survival. There was a reason why Prime wouldn't let imprinters fight, and this had everything to do with it, because there was a whole phase of it that Sam had been out there and unprotected for and there was no one who could tell him what kind of subroutines had been written into his hard drive in that time.
"(At this moment, only the babybot himself could tell you that,)" Jazz sent, making an attempt to create soothing sub frequencies. "(And I wouldn't suggest running into him right now.)"
Sam didn't so much as twitch a gear. "(What are you talking about?)" he sent, and it was beyond obvious that he'd been imprinting off the counterparts, because there was nothing to that transmission but the inquiry itself. Jazz wasn't even sure that it was happening intentionally -- with the counterparts, it was the overcompensation of their social protocol routines, but it was possible this was a helpless mimicry.
"(I'm just sayin',)" he sent. "(You'd better let the shock process out first. We were all operating under the basic assumption that you were dead.)"
There was a squeal of metal as the claw clutching into the ground withdrew. "(But I'm not. You told him I'm not, right?)"
"(That's not exactly the problem here,)" Jazz said. "(Come on, man, let's get you back to the others. Prowl's probably at least assumed some responsibility for you if he's writin' programs and lettin' you use them.)"
In a single inelegant but conservative move, the mech stood and circled around to stand in front of Jazz. "Then tell me what is the problem here, Jazz?" he asked intently, breaking the silence. "Why are you -- " he gestured aimlessly in frustration. "Why are you doing this -- whatever this is? What the hell, Jazz?"
While not a particularly vain mech, Jazz didn't like having to put effort into maintaining his pigment nanites. Easing backwards, he sent: "(Man, you don't really want to hear this. Just let it go, okay?)"
"(No, Jazz, I don't think that I am going to let it go,)" Sam sent angrily, "(so why don't you just tell me what the hell the problem is?)"
This was not how he wanted this to go. "(Not to be cruel, man,)" he said, "(but the problem is you.)"
And he probably shouldn't have said that, but it was done, and Sam fell silent and withdrew. He turned and took a few steps one way and another, but it lacked the natural speed and intention, and as if realizing the same thing he came to a stop. "(Alright,)" he said, making no indication whether it affected him one way or another, "(let's go run interference.)"
This whole neutral catching thing was clearly the idea of some glitch who didn't know the first thing about making a half decent plan. Whose idea had it been? He briefly searched his memory banks while carefully monitoring the mech beneath his nulls; the program eventually came back the fact that no bot in particular had come up with this idea. Apparently, beyond the general consensus of retrieving the project in question, no plans had been made. It had been himself that suggested hunting the mech, as bored as he had been.
Then Jazz and apparently all the other Autobots had shown up, and Hot Rod had finally cornered the neutral and was calling for backup because he was a slippery glitch, and so they'd headed out. Once they'd actually caught up, the general consensus had seemed to be 'slag the frag out of the glitch' until Hound strongly suggested that wouldn't be the best move considering the facts at hand -- such as Optimus Prime being a handful of miles away and on his way.
In which case, senselessly beating bots of the neutral party would be frowned upon, even if they were hostile ones.
So that was when things took a more Prime Autobot Core turn, and that fragging neutral actually managed to hold his own for a bit. Oh, sure, Hound himself finally managed to pin the glitch and his horror show of Pitawful sensor scrambling radiation display, but not before he knocked Streaker a good one.
... Primus. Boxy might have helped him write an entirely too handy human-behavior patch. He checked Sunstreaker out again, but his counterpart was no closer to rebooting. That neutral was just fragged lucky that he knew the point-blank sonic blast to the headplates wasn't actually damaging in any way, shape, or form, or frag what Hound and Prime said, Sideswipe'd reduced his Pitslagged components to scrap metal. It might have been fun to find out what reformatted from that mess.
Speak of the glitch. Sensors snapping to more external affairs, Sideswipe quickly spotted the little mech urgently approaching. There was just something hardwired in him that found the whole sensory array on a speedy bot just absolutely ridiculous, not even factoring in the redundancy of the entire setup. The fact that Boxy had lost what little respectable bulk he had to shaping the array was just corroboration in the multicore.
Boxy arrived on the scene and proceeded to freak out just a little, shifting around and demanding who they should call, and it took a moment before Sideswipe realized what he was glitching over.
"Boxy, slow down," he said, shifting another scan down toward his counterpart. "He's out cold, not hurt."
Boxy seemed ill inclined to believe him, but at least he stopped mincing around like he was going to run off somewhere. Sideswipe had resigned himself to this sort of behavior since it came natural to an Chasebot when their programs all synch'd into a SNAFU mess of trying to assess a danger that their programs couldn't pinpoint to calculate. The orange mech scanned over Sunstreaker himself, as incapable of trusting what he couldn't verify at least with three different sensors as ever.
"You showed up quicker than I thought you would," Sideswipe said. "Jazz went all weird on us for a moment there when he first made contact. I thought for sure he was going to glitch out and hide you for a vorn or two."
"What?" Boxy said blankly, "no. What --?" It was only noticeable because he was shifting around so much, but Boxy stilled for a moment while he centered his visual feed on Sideswipe. Then he skittishly focused away, looking over to the neutral who was pinned to the ground and sitting still, even if what Sideswipe assumed were natural defensive protocols were still fully in action, making it impossible to get a firm fix on him.
"So what are we doing with that guy?" he asked, nodding toward the neutral even as he looked back to Sideswipe.
"Waiting for Prime to decide, of course," Sideswipe said, rising from his counterpart. "You can't really finalize and lock any action courses until Prime approves it, or else you'll regret it."
"Yeah," Boxy said, "right. Sure."
Sideswipe refocused on the chasebot, helplessly clicking with approval. Although he really couldn't have expected Boxy to have any real idea of what Prime was to a mech, or to the Autobots, the fact that Boxy retained his basic chasebot independence was at least somewhat reassuring. At least with all these Autobots around and Boxy's increasingly evident ability to begin looking after himself, the Pull had let up quite a lot. Which was always good, since Sunstreaker got a lot more tolerable so long as Sideswipe wasn't subject to the Pull.
Boxy looked to him again, but before Sideswipe could expand on his approval, Prime rolled up.
Now, Sideswipe kind of understood that he really wasn't in much of a position to say much about alt modes, but he had chosen his as quickly as he possibly could after the unexpected solar winds had scrambled his sensors and made him misjudge the gravity well of the Earth. Oh, sure, he kind of understood what the average human vehicle looked like now, and he understood that he hadn't chosen the best camouflage, but at least he wasn't so gaudy as Hot Rod or Silverbolt. None of them were exactly subtle alt modes. But they also weren't towering, rumbling, chrome-and-fancy-paint-covered work vehicles that Sideswipe had archived as more often than not as pulling trailers. "(Is that Prime? Really?)" he sent Boxy.
"(Yeah,)" Boxy answered, bluntly honest and seemingly completely unaware of what Sideswipe found so incredible. Then again, it had been some while since he'd been around Prime. He was kind of a big deal.
Prime unfolded, and Sideswipe momentarily sympathized with how tightly he must have been compacted. To even fit in these compatible shapes, he and his counterpart had to expand the shell, but then they'd had to do so once again in order to be more comfortable. Once he made it fully standing and all of his parts came to a stop, Prime observed the scene, and Sideswipe did not miss the way that his visual field centered even so briefly on Boxy.
Several bots shifted and there were quite a few visual checks performed as Optimus communicated with them all briefly, before he focused his attention fully on the still mech pinned to the ground. He clicked a query to the neutral, and for a moment, Sideswipe thought that the neut was going to decline a response.
Then, reluctantly, the neutral responded to the query in the same open dialogue format.
"(Wait -- what are they saying?)" Boxy asked.
Ah. Right. Boxy lacked the interface software that could decode their open dialogue data exchange. "(Basically,)" he said, listening with one receiver, "(Prime gave his identification and credentials, and requested a collaboration of information -- it's pretty standard stuff when meeting someone you don't know. Jerkface on the ground agreed and disagreed with the information, and now they've both agreed that Hot Rod and his lot were Autobots, were clearly Autobots, and that Jerkface, as a member of the neutral faction, had stalked them and deliberately if not maliciously committed thief, having been aware of the entire civil situation at hand.)" He murmured with exasperation for a moment, saying: "(Boxy, I gotta summarize this, I'm falling way behind. So: Jerkface's pulled a one-eighty, sayin' he'll give up the project without a fight, and allow Prime to take him captive, yadda yadda yadda. Looks like we're gonna have a captive neut around the base.)"
This did not please Sideswipe in the least, and from the sound of it, he wasn't the only one. Which meant he felt totally justified in objecting to the plan at hand, rather loudly.
"Prime," he said, "you've got to be kidding me! Taking this jerkface back to base is the number one bad idea ever! He's a fraggin' neutral, Prime!" He gestured toward the mech, who had stopped with his nauseating sensor display within the first few data exchanges with Prime. Although he had the characteristic unidentifiable shell modifications of all Neutrals, he also had design aspects that put him as probably having been activated before war broke out. Sideswipe felt no hesitation in pointing that out, although he knew he wasn't exactly the best judge of things and that therefore, the other's had to know. "He chose a side already! He's a loose fraggin' cannon!"
Prime glanced his way. "I am well aware of your prejudice against neutrals, Sideswipe. It is not necessary to remind me."
"Prejudice --" Sideswipe echoed, surprised to hear it put that way. Of course, it could just have been the human language that did it -- the Cybertronian equivalent was much less 'charged'. "I am not prejudice against neutrals," he protested, gears churning with indignation. He glanced over and pointed at Boxy. "Some of my best friends are neutrals!"
Boxy jerked at the sudden move, shooting him a reproachful look. This somewhat reminded Sideswipe that he was probably acting according to the 'jerk' personality defect, since Boxy identified himself as being an ally these days; he made a gamble and chose to shrug to acknowledge it. It seemed to be the appropriate human response to make, since the mech shook his head but relaxed.
"Frag that," Cliffjumper said heatedly. "Look at this, Prime!" The red mech took a few sharp steps forward and displayed his sensor array, the left which one had a gash. While normally considered cosmetic damage due to the complete lack of liquid loss, the shear amount of obvious circuitry was enough to make Sideswipe wince, and he didn't have anything nearly approaching a sensor array. "Look at the glitch, Prime! You can't say that it happened on accident, he doesn't have the capability for misjudging that way! You can't just let him into the base!"
"You heard his story," Prime said sternly. "We came to an agreement over the matter."
"A human concept!" Silverbolt protested. "And look how well that turns out for them!"
"Stow it, Silverbolt," Hot Rod snapped, his fauxnulls snap-clicking with agitation. "Prime's made his decision."
"A decision that's gonna end badly, and your programming's glitched if you can't process that!" he spat.
"Silverbolt," Prime said sharply, "you've only been on this planet for a few days. Our cooperation and coexistence with the humans has changed our standard operating procedures. Even the Decepticons are unwilling to risk mass exposure after the events of the last battle. Were the humans not here, or had the humans never discovered a method of inflicting injury upon us, it would be different." He nodded at Hound, who lessened his hold on the restraints on the neutral and stepped back to allow the silver mech to rise to his feet. Prime took another moment while the neutral got comfortable to look over the gathered Autobots, but since no one else was protesting in any way other than being disgruntled, he returned his attention to the neutral, informing him to quickly adjust and prepare for their current human-based communication formats.
"(This is fraggin' glitched,)" Cliffjumper snapped. "(Taking a neutral in? I'm not completely scrambled, I know my codes aren't one-hundred, but this doesn't sound right at all.)"
Sideswipe examined the comlink. "(Well, that's kind of Prime's call,)" he offered, "(especially since this is his base with the humans.)"
"(You're kinda relaxed about this,)" Boxy sent dryly. "(What happened to all that loose cannon talk?)"
"(Well,)" Sideswipe said, "(Prime kinda had a point, and you were one, too, right? So he blasted 'Streaker in the face. Only thing hurt is the fragger's pride. Besides, jerkface stood against a handful of Autobots. He's got skills.)"
Boxy looked at him. "(I told you that way back at the NAIAS, you know -- only no one ever listens to me. I mean, really, why listen to the guy that might actually have a frame of reference, huh? It's obviously useless. He's probably -- you know. Wrong. Jerk.)"
Cliffjumper blared a huge dismissal at the two of them, clearly disgusted. Sideswipe shrugged again, because he sympathized with the damage done to Cliffjumper's sensor panels, but the mech had vorns and vorns now to decide whether or not he'd wanted them, and he could have gotten them removed if he couldn't handle melee battle with them. So really, it was his own fault.
Prime began to speak again, regaining everyone's attention. "As we have agreed, you are under protective custody, neutral. None of my people will harm you unless you break our agreement."
"Splendid," the neutral said, not sounding relieved or relaxed in any way. "I've adopted this awkward and easily misunderstood culture as per your requirements. Now, please acquiesce to my own and let us go to your headquarters so that you may presumably lock me up and throw away the key." He cast a despairing look around and amended his statement. "I take that back. I fully expect that you will render me offline and cannibalize my systems."
The Autobots collectively began to run a gamut of calculations and system diagnosis in sheer disbelief of what they were hearing. First of all, Sideswipe wasn't very familiar with the workings of an Autobot base, because he and Streaker only came back to visit them every once in a vorn when they either became too damaged to heal on their own, or they wanted to see what kind of weapons Ironhide might be willing to fix them up with. But he was pretty sure that Prime was pulling a lot of pages out of Humanity's book so far, which was odd but so far not outrageous. Although woefully behind technologically, Humanity had a lot of social ideas that weren't strictly unreasonable and that overall agreed with basic Autobot programming -- which Sideswipe did share in, believe it or not. The fact that this neutral still processed should have been a big enough sign of their good will, and the mere fact that he seemed honestly certain that they were going to cannibalize his systems ...
"Well," Boxy said finally. "You got to give the guy some credit. I don't know anyone else who made so many enemies within ten seconds. You were right, Sideswipe. Mech's got skills."
"No," Sideswipe said as he crossed his nulls and shook his head, "I take that all back. Frag the glitch and the wheels he rode in on with the code that supports his basic personality matrix."
Boxy clearly saw the merit in that, since he raised his null and said: "I vote we call this guy Jerkface -- Sideswipe's been doing it, and it's really starting to sound just about right."
Now that was what Sideswipe was talking about; he knew there was a reason why he tolerated the chasebot. Warming up to the idea, he turned to the others and said: "He can be like Boxy! Who really needs a designation when that explains everything right there?"
"Having no actual designation can be the new rage," Boxy agreed.
With a few distasteful clicks, the neutral cut in. "Your witticism is quite astounding," he said. "Tell me -- do you program your processors with that code?"
"Enough," Prime said with disgust.
"Yes," Hound agreed. "There isn't any need to be openly hostile. I'm sure he has a designation anyway. What do your friends call you?"
The silver mech regarded Hound warily, proving that he actually had a memory bank since it was Hound anyway to managed to subdue him, and any of that pacifist facade was just that because Hound was nice but he was about as unyielding as the fusion chain of any stellar body. "I don't have 'friends'," the neutral informed them tartly, "but you may refer to me as Mirage."
Sideswipe was so beyond not impressed, and he barely spared the attention to allow the comlink from Boxy. "( ... yeah,)" the chasebot sent, "(surprise? So totally not what I'm feeling right now.)"
Wasting no time, he raised his nulls to gesture. Mimicking the neutral's chosen vocal patterns, he replied: "(My designation is Mirage and I am a lonewolf neutral and all you lowly Autobots are junkware scum, nyah nyah nyah.)"
"( ... right. Real mature, Sideswipe. You haven't been watching tv on the Internet, right?)"
Sideswipe ignored the slightly reproachful query and the mech in general, shooting the neutral a look that went unseen as he grumbled: "(I'll program your processors with my code.)"
"(Wow. So this is what being in a Salvador Dali painting feels like. Good to know.)"
- OH SAM, YOU ARE ONLY DISCOVERING HOW THE READERS FEEL LIKE ALL THE TIME.
- The idea was to be able to trigger some obscure aspect of Cybertronian technobiology without the unknown realizing it. - They nicknamed it the Pregnancy Ray when three months later, Mirage's previously unknown glove box opened to reveal a pair of cute iphones. They were promptly named HTTP and Horizon.
I kinda wrote parts of these chapters on cold medication, yes. I am totally surprised no one ever asked me what Mirage wanted with Wheeljack's wacky invention! SON, I AM DISAPOINT
Also, regarding British Mirage (British SPOCK Mirage, at that), I suspect because I decided the McLaren belongs to 007. Readers suspect I was actually being somewhat logical and was thinking of Brit royalty. 007 OR ARISTOCRACY? You decide! I foresee this becoming awkward when BBB enters the picture, and will totally NOT be impressed. They will have a BRITOFF. Which is like a dance off, but with more scones. 8D
- I LOVE JAZZ. He's got the most fucked up, skewed POV on Sam EVAR. Of course whatever demented and violent reactions Sam has are because of the counterparts! It could never be part of the human DNA programming that was preserved in the transfer! NEVAR! JAZZ WILL NOT HEAR OF IT. COUNTERPARTS ARE TO BLAME. ALWAYS.
- OH GOD WHY AM I SO MEAN TO BBB? Answer: I know it's been a while, but reread the first ten chapters. THIS IS WHAT I DOOOOOO. Also, more terrible things will happen to people, as I have been planning ever since Version 1.0 :3
- Although I'm not sure I ever flat-out said this, I'm saying it now. Radio communications and the Cybertronian language happen liek suppafastdesu. English make it slow down a lot, which is why Sideswipe had to switch from a technical translation for Boxy to loosely summarizing it. Radio communications in English take longer, but not as long as walkie-talkie talk cos Cybertronians can actively process faster than the human brain.
- I'm really not digging the way all of this story comes out sounding like I hate Prime. I don't, cos he's one BBMF, but he keeps trying to portray himself as some kind of Paladin/PureHero type and ... haha, no. OH, PRIME. You sacrificed BBB to the humans (or the humans to BBB) in the first movie, and then went completely batcrazy in the second and began destroying your enemies FACES. wot? JUST BE ONE WITH THE BAMF WITHIN, PRIME! Resistance is futile.
- These A/Ns read like Capslock: The Revenge. Also, it reads the way my brain sounds. SO YEAH.
Reposted as of Mar05 for corrections