A/N: *comes in on hands and knees* GASP! I rewrote this.
Seriously, I cut out about 20,000 words of unnecessary material. I cut out ten unnecessary characters. (Probably more.) I changed whole sequences! While the general plot remains the same...it's also very different. I suggest you reread the whole fricken' thing. Leave a review, if you want. Oh yes, and beat me up if you see any grammar/spelling errors. If I have any of those "then, than" mix-ups still in here, I am going to DIE.
Uh...yeah. For those who haven't even heard of this story before, "The Resurrection Effect" was the first chaptered story I published for this site. I initially conceived the idea in my brief snippet, "Guilt", and became so attached to the idea, I felt that I had to expand on it. It's one of my biggest successes, and biggest failures. But hopefully this rewrite cleared up a few things that were inconsistent in the former version, as I plan to write a sequel by the name of "The Last Autobot."
Long author's note. I suppose I should get on with it.
I do not own "Transformers Animated," not that I want to, because they're doing just fine without me messing things up.
The Painful Reality
It was by instinct that Cliffjumper rose to his feet when Longarm exited his office, a matter of respect as he saluted him. But even as he did so, he knew something was off. Their heroic head of Cybertron Intelligence remained silent, his Autobot blue eyes shifting to the door and back to his personal assistant.
'Agent Cliffjumper, I need to report some vital information to...' he paused, 'Ultra Magnus. Hold my calls...'
'Good,' Longarm made it to the door. 'Oh, and don't enter my office.'
'Uh, yes, Longarm Prime, sir!'
Once alone, the atmosphere seemed unnaturally eerie. Eerie, as in, the kind of atmosphere most Decepticons left behind. (Cliffjumper scowled at the thought.) He gazed at the door leading to his chief's office. Something – he wasn't sure what – didn't feel right, and it wasn't just the comment about "no entry permitted" that spooked him. All this megacycle and last, Longarm had been tense, jumpy, and hadn't given Cliffjumper any hardcore work. As a matter of fact, Cliffjumper was beginning to feel like there wasn't much for him to do.
Cliffjumper liked to think he was on good terms with Longarm. Working in close contact with the head of Intel did that to you. He really admired the guy. Though a part of him still craved the freedom of field agents, Longarm made him like his job. It was a lifestyle he'd so comfortably adjusted to. The more work Cliffjumper had, the less he thought about what could've been. His boss was aware of this, and had taken to piling it on. It was mutual respect, believe it or not. An adequate balance of work and personal life. Here, he wasn't Cliffjumper, the Autobot who hadn't quite made it. He was Cliffjumper, Longarm's personal assistant, who was making some use of himself in Cybertron Intelligence.
He shouldn't worry. Whatever was bothering Longarm would probably pass over in a few days. Perhaps there was too much slagging paperwork.
Life was good.
Well, it was.
'Frag!' Cliffjumper swore. His computer suddenly fuzzed up and died out altogether. So much for drafting those reports. Now he'd have to...
Cliffjumper stopped in mid-thought. The lights flickered. He vaguely wondered what those idiots in maintenance were doing now. But at the same time, the sickening sensation of insecurity and tension became stronger.
He stood. The lights went out altogether. Cliffjumper swore – very loudly – as he hit his knee against his desk.
While he was still nursing the injury, the lights gradually came back on. He glanced out the window. The neighbouring buildings were darkened, like a shadow suddenly covered the city. Nanoclicks later, their twinkling golden lights turned back on.
Okay. Now he was going to go shoot somebody.
And, as if reading his mind, karma brought it to him. His computer having rebooted itself, the screen displayed "incoming message." Eager to distract himself from the unease surrounding recent events, he answered.
'Longarm Prime's office – oh, what do you want?' Cliffjumper demanded.
The face of Rodimus Prime contorted with suppressed anger. 'Knock it off, Cliffjumper. We've got a major problem.'
'You bet we do! First of all,' he raised a finger, 'I'm working, and you're blocking any important messages that could be coming through! Secondly, I got a whole bunch of paperwork that needs to be signed, and my boss is too busy to pay attention to any of it! Last, SOMEBODY'S SCREWING WITH THE LIGHTS! Do I look like I'm in the mood to listen to your "major problem?"'
Panting, Cliffjumper cleared his throat and recomposed himself. '...You're supposed to be in recovery, by the way.'
'I am, that's where I'm calling from,' Rodimus said. 'We just received word from Sentinel Prime on Earth –'
'May I remind you that all communication with Earth is supposed to go through the head of Intel, first.'
'That's what I'm trying to say!' Rodimus exclaimed. 'Longarm's a Decepticon spy! There's solid evidence and eyewitness accounts from the 'bots on Earth! Not to –'
Cliffjumper slammed his fist on the desk. 'LIES! I dare you to come over here and say that to my faceplate!'
They glowered at each other.
Rodimus rubbed his optics. 'Sentinel Prime has recovered evidence and eyewitness accounts from Optimus and his crew. I don't like it either. But even if it's a big mistake, we need to check this out. Where's Longarm?'
'I don't report to 'bots who aren't in the Elite Guard! Especially ones who spend all their slagging time on an asteroid, instead of doing important things LIKE THE REST OF US!'
'Not this conversation again, Cliffjumper. Please, where's Longarm? Or do I have to send Ironhide and Brawn over?'
He hesitated. Several scenarios of slaughtering Rodimus Prime played with his imagination, but Cliffjumper forcefully pushed them back. (For now.) Much as he hated to admit it, Rodimus was a Prime – technically his superior. Grumbling, he slapped his faceplate.
'He's not here, you glitchhead! He had to report to Ultra Magnus!'
Rodimus nodded to someone standing off-camera. 'We need to act quick and I don't have any time for your attitude! I need you to search Longarm's office for evidence. Stop looking at me like that, Agent Cliffjumper. This is a very serious situation. I'll be sending over a team to assist you.'
'WHAT? I don't need any assistance, and Longarm Prime hasn't done a slagging thing!'
'It's protocol! You, of all 'bots, should know the rules! Now search the office and in a few megacycles, my team will...' Rodimus turned to stare at something – or someone – that evidentially terrified him. 'I have to go. You have your orders. Rodimus Prime out.'
The screen went blank. Cliffjumper resisted the temptation to shoot the slagging thing away.
How dare they even consider this! What did Sentinel know? Friends they were, but Cliffjumper was smart enough to recognize that the mech's arrogance usually got the better of him. If there was a traitor in the building, Cliffjumper would know about it. And it most definitely was not Longarm Prime.
Rodimus sure was going to look stupid after this. Cliffjumper grinned at the thought. Perhaps a demotion was in order. Perhaps he'd be able to attend the court martial.
Traitor? No way...they were thinking of Wasp.
He gazed absently at Longarm's office. An order was an order. Yet Rodimus wasn't in the Elite Guard, so did it even count? Why was he barking out directions to guys lowly repair 'bots didn't interact with? Rodimus had already chosen his own destiny, and that destiny didn't involve Decepticon spies, let alone interfering in official Cybertron Intelligence business. He could be stirring up trouble for the heck of it!
'No fragging way,' Cliffjumper muttered.
But even as he said this, he was standing before the entrance. He convinced himself that he wasn't doing this because Rodimus said so. It was to prove Longarm was loyal. The greatest head of Intel they'd ever had.
Who knows? Maybe Longarm would be so grateful, he'd get a promotion.
The lights automatically flicked on when he entered.
Everything appeared to be normal. The computer, mounted on the desk, flashed the log-in screen hopefully. Some random shelves and drawers. The layout of the building overlooked the city just outside the Metroplex. Photographs were in their place, as were datapads, your casual reminder...the general clutter of an office. Everything was normal.
Cliffjumper rounded Longarm's desk for a better perspective. What it must be like to sit here and have power over all the Intel agents. This is where he – Cliffjumper – could be sitting. Once Longarm retired, of course.
Cliffjumper Prime. Had a nice sound. He wouldn't need to take orders from Rodimus.
He sighed and examined the desk space. For the head of Intel, he wasn't very neat. Datapads were strewn every which way, many piling up to a considerable height. Maybe this paperwork was the source of stress Longarm had been experiencing lately. Cliffjumper sure felt pressured whenever a large amount of office work was laid on him. Only it was worse for Longarm because he was so busy, even without all this stuff.
Years of working as a secretary had caused Cliffjumper to adopt strong organizational and sanitary habits. He began to arrange the datapads according to priority. Simple task he'd done before. But if he hadn't done this, he wouldn't have noticed the remote buried deep underneath.
Cliffjumper paused and gazed at the device. He picked it up and stared, mouth slightly open in a wave of sudden confusion. It didn't appear to operate anything. There was no high-tech communications system and the computer didn't require one.
Well...seeing as he was supposed to be investigating.
He pressed the largest button there was.
Suddenly, the entire desk was swallowed by the floor. He jumped back as it spat out a glass case. The guns on display were about half the size of his body, sleek, and...very intimidating. Cliffjumper recognized the designs at once.
Decepticon. The enemy's crest was branded quite visibly on the side of each machine. It was a haunting reminder of what they had been constructed for, to destroy the Autobot scum.
Cliffjumper began to feel a tinge of alarm. No, no, there had to be a perfectly good explanation as to why Decepticon weapons were stored in the floor of his boss's office. He clicked another button. This time, blinds lowered over the windows. The open door slammed shut. All of the lights were cut, and for a minute there was nothing but the eerie silence. A florescent purple glow reflected off his armour.
In the darkness, an array of weapons had revealed themselves. Most were guns, others energy swords, and a titanic bazooka was mounted over the door. Cliffjumper couldn't react. His optics lingered on each deadly weapon of mass destruction, personally familiar with the styles and designations. Reports passing underneath him had explained the use of these tools in painful detail. The insignias of their enemies glared down at the meek red Autobot.
And every single slagging thing was hidden in the office of Longarm Prime. Their Longarm! Their friend, comrade...The Decepticon tattoos were unmistakable, and for the first time Cliffjumper felt mildly inclined to believe Rodimus's far-fetched claims.
Longarm had just gone to see Ultra Magnus.
He could only think of two reasonable words. 'Uh oh.'