Disclaimer: I don't own Transformers. I never will. I do own my OC's, however, there won't be any appearing in this chapter.
AN: Thanks go out to my reviewers.
Rating: Rated for some curse words, mentions of death and light aft kicking.
Ultra Magnus found himself drumming his fingers on his desk in rising impatience. Forty-Five minutes late? When I get my hands on them…
The city commander smiled manically: a crazy and somewhat far off look to his optics as he envisioned a certain pair of mechs neck deep in refuse for the next six months. If they didn't show themselves soon, he would begin to add a month to their garbage disposal duties for every single minute they were late. He'd worked right through the last seven duty shifts without a break and he was dangerously low on energy. Every minute they were late, was another minute more he'd have to delay a much-needed recharge.
He was going to personally stand watch over the pair and take unequalled enjoyment in their distress as they sorted several hundred tons of garbage into the proper recycling alcoves. They would be filthy.
Ultra Magnus cackled. Like some sort of crazed, lunatic, Decepticon moron, he shook violently with the strength of the rather out of place outburst. It went on for a number of minutes as his mind came up with various situations that would leave the twins dirty, tired and absolutely, unquestionably humiliated.
A rather human gesture when the source was obviously anything but. The city commander came out of his fit of temporary madness to realize that the mechs in question were standing on the other side of his desk, deeply disturbed by the scene they just witnessed. Ultra Magnus wasn't known for his giggling fits. The city commander was equally startled. How long have they been standing there? Ultra Magnus regained his composure immediately and glared evenly at the duo of troublemakers.
It was the obnoxiously coloured red mech that spoke up first. A sloppy grin casually spread across his face.
"You…wanted to see us, Chief?"
Ultra Magnus responded with a grin of his own.
"I did indeed, how kind of you to remember. Unfortunately, I ordered you to report to me at nine am, sharp. Do you know what time it is, soldier?" Ultra Magnus chirped.
His golden coloured comrade elbowed the red mech with a muffled whisper of 'I told you he said nine'.
His red counterpart looked sheepish.
"It's…ehh…nearly ten." He stammered.
The city commander's grin erupted into a full-scale smile.
"Ahhh, Sideswipe, you can tell the time." The city commander laughed and it sent a very noticeable sliver of terror up the dermal plating of the red twin. "I was all about to forget your tardiness and send you off so First Aid could check both of your internal chronometers for malfunction. But seeing as you can tell the time, it's only fair that you accept punishment for keeping me waiting a whole forty eight minutes and twenty three seconds into my eighth successive duty shift."
Both mechs were stunned, both at the delight that the Commander seemed to be taking in whatever punishment he'd drawn up for them and the fact that the City Commander had managed to get through seven duty shifts without First Aid officially signing papers and having Springer drag him to a recharge berth. An absent Prime, plus upcoming treaty, equals one overworked and very insane City Commander. The thought flickered through Sideswipes cortex. Ultra Magnus continued.
"Ahhh….now, as to the original nature of this meeting. It's been brought to my attention that Windcharger, while under the influence of your home brew, special batch high-grade, somehow managed to get himself lodged between two incomplete sections of wall that were under repairs in sector three." He sighed then, recalling how Windcharger had accidentally activated his own magnetic chargers and been subsequently dragged between the narrow opening. Primus damned high grade.
"Unfortunately, we were unable to free him using any conventional methods, nor were we able to dismantle the wall, which Perceptor has gone and made invulnerable to all but high yield explosives." His voice lost its amusement, momentarily becoming concerned and he leaned forward as though to convey some sort of secret. "You should be aware that Wheeljack wants to test that theory, so I'd avoid that sector for a few days unless you'd like to join him when he inevitably blows himself to kingdom come." The grin quickly returned at a mind warping speed and Ultra Magnus continued as though he wasn't so out of character that Galvatron in a tutu seemed sane.
"Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, after several hours of persistence we were forced to temporarilyI dismantle/ Windcharger in order to free him." The twins exchanged a series of unreadable expressions. Ultra Magnus seemed not to notice. "He will make a full recovery…but as you know, Windcharger has been overseeing the close combat training of the new transfers from Cybertron. He will be off of active duty for the next six weeks during rehabilitation, and I find myself in need of replacement instructors."
The mechs were utterly, absolutely speechless. Both looked as though the Universe was ending, Galvatron had just thrown a tea party to celebrate and they'd just received their engraved invitations. You could have heard a pin drop in the silence that followed.
It was the golden warrior who broke the silence that was buzzing with Ultra Magnus' borderline, self-contained, exhaustion-induced hysteria.
"You…want us…to train them? Us? Both of us? Together? In the same place? And with a group of irritating new transfers?" Sunstreaker didn't look convinced that Magnus was altogether serious. After all. He was obviously insane. "Aren't you afraid of a repeat of the Dromgani incident?" Sunstreaker still couldn't even say the species' name without wanting to hurt someone. They'd earned so much brig time for that, that it wasn't even funny. "Now, don't get me wrong, I know I'm the best fighter in the city, but don't you think this is…shall we say, Iwasting/I my talents? Not to mention the fact that First Aid is going to throw a flying fit when a dozen new recruits come limping on into his med-bay. "
Ultra Magnus resisted the urge to say exactly what was on his mind the moment Sunstreaker started massaging his ego. If you think that's wasting your talents, wait till you see your punishment. He reigned himself in with great difficulty.
"I sincerely hope that an episode as bad the Dromgani fiasco never occurs again." He eyed them seriously, for the first time since the start of the conversation. "You're both seasoned warriors. I hope you know what's best for you and manage to keep all tempers and fist fights in check. Am I making myself understood?" Both mechs nodded vigorously. "Good. As for First Aid, I would have thought getting slagged by Ratchet more times than any Decepticon, would have toughened you up enough to face the wrath of one young, impressionable medic."
Sideswipe recovered the majority of his sense before his brother. However, the moment he started talking it all seemed to crash back down into panic and alarm.
"Have you lost your fraggin' mind, Mags? This is insane!! Did Hot Rod put you up to this? I bet he did. Why can't you get Warpath or Cliffjumper to do it? I'm sure they'd jump at the chance to boss around some newbies. Why us?" The red mech seemed desperate, almost hysterical.
Ultra Magnus plucked a data pad from his desk and began skimming its contents. He responded to Sideswipe's frantic questioning with nothing short of his standard deadpan, though he couldn't conceal the playful glint in his optics.
"That's Rodimus Prime to you, battle fodder, and I can assure you, the Prime is far too busy to be bothered with minor trivia such as this. Now, as to your other queries, Warpath is still mourning the new dent in his canon and Cliffjumper actually lived up to his namesake, somehow managing to jump off a cliff while attempting to tackle Skywarp last week." He left out the part where First Aid had pulled a Ratchet and beaten the warrior mech with an assortment of blunt, heavy tools for his stupidity. "Neither are fit for duty at the present moment."
Sideswipe looked confused and defeated while his twin brother, Sunstreaker, looked positively enraged.
Ultra Magnus grinned so broadly that he was sure his face nearly split in half.
"But wait…I haven't even told you what your punishments will be." Ultra Magnus couldn't disguise the joy he was feeling.
"YOU MEAN THAT WASN'T IT!!!?? Sunstreaker shrieked.
The training hall filled slowly. As far as Sunstreaker and Sideswipe were concerned it was almost as though Elita One herself had decided to play the cruellest joke on them and stop time. It was absolutely torturous. The grunts themselves (the ones that arrived on time; both mechs suddenly discovered how irritating that was) looked lost as they entered and found no sign of Windcharger. Muttering amongst themselves they failed to notice Sideswipe's bored expression and Sunstreaker's darkening glances. Anyone on base would tell you that those were NOT a good combination in any event.
Both warrior mechs were obviously, deeply unhappy. However, while Sideswipe was unhappy for the same original reason of 'Chief Time Waster, wasting my personal time', Sunstreaker had discovered a whole new reason to be pissed to the point of barely contained, homicidal urges.
"Windcharger has had these slaggers for the last three weeks. These sorry excuse for mechs are pathetic. I mean, I've seen human sparklings with more coordination. Exactly what in Primus' name has he been training them to do? Get killed? Get someone else killed? The way they wander around, they look like they've only just discovered gravity."
Sunstreaker's fingers twitched as he examined the recruits and found them seriously lacking. Sideswipe noted his brothers worsening mood and saw an opportunity to ease his own boredom. He just couldn't resist.
"They might get you killed, bro? They will be the ones watching our afts the next time we wrangle us a few conny, bonny playmates. Maybe this is Windcharger's revenge for spiking that high grade. Maybe this is…Karma." Sideswipe snickered.
Sunstreaker twitched once more in response. It was more a violent, full body jerk than an actual 'twitch', Sideswipe noticed.
"Since when do you believe in Karma, Sides? That's all a load of processor clogging, human garbage. If bad things happened to bad people this war would be over and we'd both be dead."
"You seem to know a bit about it considering it's 'garbage'. I happen to think these squishies might be onto something, Sunny. "
Sunstreaker ground out a half felt "Don't call me that" while his brother continued.
"Just think about it. Shit comes back around in the end. Sure, we might like to dish it….but I feel myself an instrument of Karma.
Sunstreaker scoffed, rather loudly as well.
"You would. But whatever…it's all slag to me." He turned away from his brother and once more focused on the new transfers.
"Alright, the party's over!!! Get your fragging afts in gear and stand to attention, soldiers!!!!"
Sunstreaker's aggressive command startled the entire room into stillness. No one moved; they were all too shocked and frightened to do anything but stare blankly.
"I said MOVE IT, NOW!!!!!" Sunstreaker bellowed.
The mechs ran, well, 'scurried' would an accurate term for the chaotic panicking that ensued. There were collisions galore as Autobots ran into each other in an attempt to form an inspection line. It was obvious to both Sunstreaker and his now attentive brother, that Windcharger had rushed into the role like usual, then lost any enthusiasm he'd originally had. Sunstreaker silently cursed the Warrior's lack of something resembling an actual attention span.
The gold warrior's energon practically bubbled in agitation as he watched mech after mech continue fall about, trip over their own feet and stumble in front of him. He marched towards the increasing line of scratched and dented soldiers.
"Now, I don't know what Windcharger has been doing with you! I don't particularly care, either…but…" His optics flared a brighter blue and his mouth pressed into a harsh, sinister line. "THIS HAS TO BE THE MOST PATHETIC DISPLAY OF MILITARY PROCEEDURE, I'VE EVER SEEN. YOU ARE AN ABSOLUTE DISGRACE TO THE AUTOBOTS!!!!"
Sideswipe watched all the goings on with renewed interest. He hadn't seen a bunch of new recruits so scared since the days of Ironhide. That old glitch could put the fear of Primus into you with a look. Not just any look, the look. Not to have been confused with Optimus' patented 'uber glare'. He mentally smiled. Ironhide represented a breed of warriors that were almost extinct these days. The kind that fought on till the end, till their bodies were drenched in energon and they could hardly stand. They were the 'shoot first' kind that upon loosing an arm in battle would pick it up and use it as a club.
That was one of his fondest memories of all time. Imagine, looking up to see the 'Hide chasing a Decepticon around the battlefield, brandishing his own severed arm as the primary weapon. While he'd never openly admit it, Sunstreaker, his twin, had actually engraved 'Go chew on a microchip' on Ironhide's memorial plaque. Truthfully, they'd both tormented the old mech, but out of all the Autobots, they respected him the most as a comrade, a soldier and a friend. Sideswipe knew that many of the newer Autobots had seen him as more of a liability, but the fact remained that you couldn't have been safer knowing that Ironhide had been watching your aft.
But they were all dead and gone. Like Optimus, the Hatchet (Primus, no mech had an aim like that. Absolutely unnatural.) and even Prowl had fallen. He'd always thought of them as invincible, indestructible forces. In truth, he'd realized staring at their broken, mangled bodies, that they were every bit as mortal as the rest of them. It gave him a newfound respect for Jazz, who somehow managed to hold up despite the fact that he was one of the only mechs to survive out of all the senior command staff. But they really were legends, every single one of them. From Prowl's incorruptible sense of duty, Ironhide's ability to lose various limbs and still send the 'Cons running for their miserable lives, all the way to Ratchet's wrench throwing and closet partying. Even Red Alert's unfathomable, glitch fuelled paranoia. They were family. Always would be. No one would ever forget them. And as far as he was concerned, Optimus would always be Prime.
Both twins had thought it a joke that someone younger than Bumblebee had made it to Prime. It was beyond laughable.
Sideswipe was snatched from his distraction as the limp body of some unnamed, puke green mech sailed over his head and collided with the wall behind him, with a resounding, and rather painful, clang.
He spared a glance over his shoulder as the mech tried to drag himself up with a muffled groan. Sideswipe winced as hydraulics whined and the mech collapsed face first to the floor in defeat.
He turned his head back around to find Sunstreaker glaring icy daggers at him.
"What?" Sideswipe quipped.
Sunstreaker crossed his arms and widened his stance. Sideswipe could have sworn he was mimicking Ironhide just then. Whether it was conscious or unconscious, the glare and the posture made him look like Ironhide as he was about to lay into some raw recruit. If he weren't being stared down by the most psychotic of all Autobots ever, Sideswipe would have laughed. He knew better though. There were some things he could push with sociopath 'Sunshine', simply because he was his twin, but those who knew Sunstreaker, joked that the only reason he didn't join the Decepticons was because the insignia would clash with his paintjob. Being his twin, Sideswipe knew that that was only one of two very valid reasons.
Sunstreaker relented upon realizing that Sideswipe was daydreaming again and probably had no intention of even attempting to interpret his silent request.
"I need to demonstrate some proper sparring techniques for these….useless... slagging afts."
Sunstreaker spat out the last three words as though they were the names of the most hated Decepticons in the Universe. He sounded positively evil. Every mech behind him took a step or two backwards.
His twin looked unenthusiastic. Sure Sideswipe was all up for a fight. In fact, usually he would be the first one running head first into the fray but unfortunately today he had plans and he was definitely not gonna come out un-dented when his brother was in this type of mood. 'Carried away' wouldn't even begin to describe how out of hand things could get when they decided to stop pulling their punches.
"Why can't you spar with one of them?" Sideswipe countered.
Sunstreaker pointed over his twins shoulder to the poor mangled heap of a mech that was still face down on the floor and in stasis.
"Fine…but leave me the use of my appendages. I'm planning to repaint Magnus' office as a token of our 'gratitude'." He appeared thoughtful. "In fact, your unconscious friend has given me inspiration for the colour."
Sunstreaker smiled momentarily, considering the green against the burnt orange background of Metroplex. The dam gave way and both twins erupted in a chorus of loud, raucous laughter. The mechs that had gathered round (at a safe distance) put just a few more steps between them and the twins.
First Aid was going to be busy today. Very busy.