A somber mood fell over the base. Even the twins were being too quiet as they closely monitored the human's emergency frequencies for signs of Decepticons. Skyfire, Jetfire, and Firestorm were airborne searching possible Decepticon locations. Bumblebee and Blurr were patrolling the base's perimeter to ensure no further attacks. Ironhide paced relentless near his Prime, guilt ridden for being selfish and spending alone time with Chromia away from Boomer. Optimus felt equally guilty only he stood stock still in the command center, arms locked across his chest, determined expression set on his faceplates.
"Anything on Prowl?" Prime asked softly when the saboteur appeared at his side.
Jazz shook his head sadly, his spark aching for his child and his missing mate, both of which he could barely sense through their bond. It was like that for the others who had to strain to feel that their offspring was still alive.
"Teletran still can't locate him. So he's still running silent or the Cons have him and are blocking his signal," Chromia remarked, fingers stabbing hard at the console in front of her, her own spark aching for her son.
"Cons don't have him," Jazz stated. "He'd have gotten a message to me if they had."
"Unless they've done something to him," Ironhide grumbled. "Or he did something to himself."
"What the frag's that supposed to mean?" Jazz snapped, leaping forward and standing ped to ped with Ironhide.
"He just took off! We need him here to figure this out!" Ironhide growled, down at the smaller mech.
"At least he was here trying to do something!" Jazz countered.
"Well he certainly didn't do much before as my sparkling was still taken!" Ironhide snarled back throwing a wild fist at Jazz.
"ENOUGH!" Optimus bellowed, blocking Ironhide's punch before it landed on a defiant Jazz who wasn't backing down. "I said enough! Fighting amongst ourselves does nothing!"
"We're all hurting," Elita said as she moved from the door to Optimus' side. "We all want the same thing, our sparklings back where they belong."
"And we will find them," Optimus adamantly said, taking hold of Elita's hand. "How's Jetstorm?"
"Finally got him to recharge," she smiled sadly. "Grimlock is guarding him. I doubt any Con would even get close to the sparkling right now. The Dinobot is determined to not let that happen. And Wheeljack says Ratchet will be up on his peds soon."
"Sir, Bumblebee and Blurr are reporting from the perimeter," Sideswipe announced as Jazz suddenly took off in a desperate run.
"It's Prowl, he's back," Sunstreaker added.
Ironhide was next to leave after wrenching his arm free from Optimus' tight grip. The others quickly followed unable to keep up with the distressed weapons specialist. By the time they'd arrived outside they found Jazz struggling to get up from the muddied ground where Ironhide had shoved him hard and out of his way.
Optimus' cries to stand down went unheard as Ironhide barreled forward. And Prowl did nothing as Ironhide punched him and threw him hard to the ground. He barely whimpered when he felt the doorwings joints popped out of place on impact. In his processor he deserved it. He failed as their tactician and even worse, he failed as a father.
"You were supposed to keep them safe!" Ironhide growled, yanking the tactician up to his peds. "Why didn't you keep my son safe? WHY?"
The tactician did something he hadn't done in front of the old mech since he was a youngling.
Prowl fell to his knees and wept.
The guilt in Ironhide's spark exploded exponentially. His guilt for not being on the base misguided his anger. And the result made him hurt an innocent mech who felt even guiltier than the rest of them for losing the sparklings.
"I couldn't save my daughter! I couldn't save any of them."
"Shh, it's not your fault," Ironhide murmured, lifting Prowl up and hugging him close. "We'll get them back. You'll figure it out. You always do. I'm sorry I hurt you."
"I deserved it," Prowl choked.
"No, you didn't. Come on, let's get you inside," Ironhide said, nodding his head for Jazz to retrieve his mate. "Sorry, Jazz."
"Don't worry 'bout it mech. It happens."
"Let me get him cleaned up first, Optimus."
"No, it's ok Jazz," Prowl said, straightening up as best as he could. "I stayed as close as I could for as long as I could until the went to far for me to even detect Violet. They left that planet, it's the only explanation."
Nothing but the sound of the rain pinging off their armor sounded as the implications of what Prowl revealed set in.
No one said it but they all knew it - their sparklings could be anywhere.