Chromia was brought out of the familiar monotony that was gun maintenance by by Firestar's heartfelt curse.

"Slagging thing's sticking again."


"Yes. I'm going to have to try something different."

"So that cleaner of Moonracer's didn't do the trick."

"Well, it's shinier than it's ever been. Thought it might be worth a shot, but buildup really isn't the problem."

"Hm." Chromia set down a minuscule screw and picked up the disassembled stock of her handgun. Firestar sat shoulder to shoulder with her, cleaning supplies and the pieces of their respective weapons scattered across the drop cloths spread before them.

Firestar was muttering curses again. She'd reassembled the weapon, cycling it slowly to try and find the exact source of the problem. Chromia set down what she was holding, lifting a hand, palm up. "Let me take a look." Firestar handed it over with some relief. She knew her way around a firearm as well as any of them – an operation as small as theirs couldn't afford a weak link, especially not with something so important – but around here Chromia was the one with that special touch to bring malfunctioning weapons to heel.

"Mm. That is being difficult." Chromia dismantled it before slowly putting it together again, paying careful attention to all the moving parts.

Firestar leaned in close, watching over her shoulder.

Chromia stared down the length of the slide, a frown of concentration twisting the edges of her lips down. She drew a pair of well-used fine-point pliers out of subspace.

What Firestar really needed was an entirely new gun; her current one was a poor fit, scavenged as it had been after her last one went flying over the edge of a very tall cliff. Firestar had relieved the drone responsible of its firearm, sending the drone itself for a long drop in the process. Unfortunately, a Decepticon weapon meant Decepticon manufactured parts, and replacements were not easy to come by.

But entirely new weapons were equally difficult to acquire, these days. They would have to make due. As usual.

There. Satisfaction surged through Chromia's systems as the slide cycled through properly, and again, not sticking once.

Firestar gave her a hearty clap on the shoulder. "You're amazing. Thanks." Chromia let her take the weapon back, watching as Firestar double-checked the slide with efficient, practiced motions.

"You should take that out for some target practice, make sure it actually holds this time."

"It won't. It never does. Besides, Elita might get after us for wasting charge again."

"Elita needs a vacation." Her tone of voice held more worry than humor. Had it been anyone but Firestar, she'd have kept the comment to herself; the others didn't need the added stress.

"Or a really pretty fireworks show." Firestar paused. "One of Shockwave's manufacturing plants?"

"Too obvious; he wouldn't mistake it for anything but an attack."

Firestar tapped at her lower lip. Chromia swiftly began reassembling her own weapon, letting her companion think. She already had something in mind, but with a slight bit of prodding Firestar's tactical programming – originally specialized for search and rescue – could apply itself quite handily to military scenarios. "The patrol route his drones have been taking is moving a little close again. That sector might be due for another cave-in."

Chromia smiled grimly and flicked a switch, watching the power indicator light flicker on. "I like the way you think."