A note before we start: This story begins in the past, before Megatron rose to power. The biggest issue the Autobot guard has to face is a few anarchist factions that cause some chaos. It snowballs later.

Somethings you all may need for the long haul of this fic:

Times-

Breem:8.3 minutes

Cycle: 1 hour

Joor: 2 hours

Trimara: 3 hours

Megacycle: 1 week

Solar cycle: day

Steller cycle: year

Vorn: 83 years

Orn: 1 lunar cycle

General Ranking system in lowest to highest order (not including special designations): Private, private first class, sergeants (assorted), warrant officers (assorted), minor, major, specialist (same rank as major), captain, lieutenant (assorted), lt. colonel, colonel, sub-commander (same rank as General), second in command (it's usually a co-occupied position), Prime.

On with the fic.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

The Ark

Earthen Year: 1985

"How'd you two meet anyway?"

"Who?"

"You and Jazz."

"..."

"Prowl?"

"Please hold on for a moment. I'm trying not to remember."

00000000000000000000

Several million years in the past

Stanix, Cybertron

the 112,000 vorn under Sentinel Prime

Diplomacy was nothing more then a war of words. It was a non-confrontational battle of calculated responses, ambiguous language, and strategic negotiations.

You had to be flexible, knowing when to push using harder language and when to capitulate and come to a compromise.

There were five key things one had to know in order to be an effective diplomat in the Autobot army.

"You must be the Autobot Major from Iacon we've been expecting. Prowl is it?"

Prowl looked over the larger mech. There was an overconfident expression on his smug face. It was irritating.

1.) The art of self discipline and tact

Prowl gave a pleasant half smile. "And you must be the Premier of Stanix, Mindpoint. It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance."

"We received your commander's hails some time ago. I must say though, when he said he would be sending one of his top diplomats to speak with us on such an urgent matter we were not expecting one so young," Mindpoint grinned, conceit in his voice.

Prowl knew when someone was trying to belittle him. "I assure you I'm not an unusual age for my rank."

"Yet you are for your profession. Usually the positions of diplomat and negotiator are reserved for ones more aged and more… experienced."

It was a trap to get him riled up, a trap to put him in a position where he'd lose his composure and his credibility but it was not one Prowl would fall for.

With practiced warmth in his optics and a cordial tone he responded, "My leader felt that I could handle the situation. If he felt someone else was more suited he would've sent them instead. If you are displeased with his choice I could contact him, but I'm afraid that would push talks back further."

The look on the Premier's face shriveled into one of disappointment when Prowl didn't take the bait. "No that'd be quite all right. Now then, we probably aught to get down to business if you'd be so kind as to follow me."

"Gladly."

The two walked, Prowl flanked by two lesser ranked Autobot soldiers, the Premier guarded by two Stanix sentries.

Stanix had a local peacekeeping force and a couple of hired bodyguards. They had no standing army of their own. A key point Prowl would have to bring up at some point during their negotiations.

Mindpoint led them through an elegant foyer and into a large, simplistic, yet modern office with large windows overlooking the low built city.

The Premier signaled to his sentries. They backed off to stand by the door just in case they'd be needed. Prowl dismissed his own soldiers as Mindpoint crossed the room and seated himself at a small table strategically placed next to the window that had the best vantage point of the city.

He gestured to the empty seat in front of the table. "Please, Prowl, take a seat."

Prowl complied, and as soon as he did he got straight to business. "You answered my commander's request to send a diplomat yet you ignored the previous calls for discussion regarding the plans for Fort Pax Amora."

A false smile found its way on Mindpoint's face. "Bah, you know how bureaucracies work. Things are always getting lost in the stream."

Lie.

"Imperative information regarding your city's safety getting lost doesn't demonstrate responsible governmental practices."

The Premier's face darkened. "Our government is fine. Stanix has been experiencing nothing but prosperity and peace since it's founding as a separate city state from Iacon Rule."

"I never said otherwise," Prowl replied evenly. "And now that I'm here we can discuss the construction of the strategic base of operations."

"About that…" A look of unease crossed Mindpoint's face.

"Yes?" Prowl incited.

2.) The mistrust of fortune.

"I'm no longer sure I wish to permit the construction of that base."

Ah, so the truth comes out, Prowl thought. "But you agreed to the preliminary planning and the surveys of region we intended to use."

"I know that but… I've had second thoughts."

Prowl gave him a long hard look before speaking. "Under the Cybertronian law agreement, 47-293, Stanix was given independence and the right to exist as its own city state separate from Iacon. This agreement was reached during the 3047th Vorn of Nova Prime's rule many millennia ago, permitted that Stanix did not create an army or militaristic force of its own. This was required so as to keep from threatening the region's stability. However it was also agreed that, since Stanix was not allowed its own militia, under times of possible conflict or when it was threatened, Iacon would step in to protect it from harm."

"I know that," Mindpoint snapped.

"Then you must also be aware of the fact that several renegade factions are camped out by your borders."

Mindpoint looked up. "Yes, I am, but they haven't caused us any problems."

"And that would be because Sentinel Prime's Autobot Guard has been combating them," Prowl explained, lacing his fingers and resting them on the table. "However it's sometimes difficult to mobilize troops to this region in a timely manner and that is why the construction of the base is crucial. Not only for us but for the safety of your city as well."

"I have no desire to have my city over run by the law of Iacon's senate," the Premier snarled.

It was impossible to talk to an angered mech. Prowl would have to calm him some before they'd be able to get anywhere. "The Autobot guard has always admired the mechs of the Stanix region for their civility and sophistication. We respect your independence and have no interest in infringing on your political sovereignty."

"However you do wish to build a military base in our territory, correct? You call that not infringing?"

"We are not requesting this to usurp your authority." Prowl leaned forward, catching the Premiers golden optics with his serious, blue gaze. "You must realize that your city is in a very strategic position west of the Sonic Canyons. That's where the majority of these renegade factions have set up base. If for some reason they take control of your city, then there'd be nothing keeping them from taking the neutral territories north of here. If somehow they accomplish that then they'd be dangerously close to Iacon."

Mindpoint narrowed his yellow optics. "And how do I know that by letting one foot of the Autobot Guard in I'm not letting the floodgates open for a total occupation?"

3.) The ability to empathize.

"You've misunderstood me," Prowl said smoothly, reassuringly. "I completely understand your concerns of having an Autobot base on your land. You, as a neutral city, have every right to exist as a separate state under the Cybertronian law agreed upon all those millennia ago, but you need to understand that your region is in danger. There has been an increase in violent attacks from the renegade factions, and since you all have no standing army of your own you are at a higher risk. We are merely concerned for your citizens."

"Risk?" there was vulnerability in Mindpoint's optics. His resoluteness had been shattered by Prowl's blatant words of impending threat. A threat he had long ignored.

"In the long run we'd both benefit," Prowl replied casually.

"We don't take sides," The Premier declared halfheartedly.

"We are not asking you to take sides. We just wish for some cooperation. Think of this as an extension of Nova Prime's peace agreement. Let us protect your city and your people more effectively."

"If I agreed to this, to the construction of Fort Pax Amora, who's to say that the base itself wouldn't attract the attention of those renegades you spoke of? Who's to say the base itself wouldn't incite an attack?"

4.) The knowledge of evil and corruption

"They will attack whether or not there's a base. That is not a 'what if', that is a fact. The only real question we need to answer is when will they attack you? Those terrorists' goals are not only the destruction of Iacon but also a complete takeover of the region. Intelligence tells us that in order for them to accomplish that they'd have to go through your city, the last unfortified region in the western hemisphere. If they do attack I can not promise that they would spare your people."

That jolted the Premier. He obviously hadn't been aware of just how real the threat on his borders had been.

"It's a logical decision," Prowl continued, as he pulled out a data pad from subspace, placing it on the table in front of the Premier. "With Pax Amora we can protect your city from attack, and by protecting your city we also protect our capital. It's a win, win situation."

Mindpoint stared long and hard the data pad, weighing his options. There wasn't much he could do though because, quite frankly, Prowl had won the war of words before it had even started. The young diplomat had shattered Mindpoint's verbal defenses, evaded any spoken traps and had essentially led the dance of words since the very beginning.

5.) The strength to overcome opposition

"All right," He gave in, pulling out a special platinum encrusted data-pen out. "You have permission to base in Stanix."

The agreement was signed, Prowl's soldiers there as witnesses, and the two mechs shook on it.

Prowl did not smile, instead mirroring the somber look on the Premier's face. Though it was a critical success for the Senate's goal of global stability and peace, it wasn't a personal achievement for Prowl.

It had been child's play.

00000000000

After several hours on board a shuttle, Valvoluux was a pleasant sight. Prowl had never particularly liked flying but it was a necessary evil (and an unpleasant requirement) of his job.

They landed in Saxum base's air hanger. Prowl stepped off the shuttle ramp only to be greeted by his commanding officer, a large, bulky Red and gold mech.

"Lieutenant Spin," Prowl saluted.

"At ease. Report."

"An agreement was reached. Pax Amora can be constructed whenever the builder mechs are ready."

Spin grinned and slapped Prowl hard on his shoulder guard (denting it), launching Prowl a few steps forward.

"Good work out there today, Prowl," the Lieutenant praised. "I knew if anyone could get that thickheaded Premier to see reason it'd be you. That brings us one step closer to getting rid of those rebels for good before they do any real harm."

"Thank you, Sir," Prowl said tonelessly, trying to refrain from rubbing the sore spot Spin left. "I completed the necessary documents on the flight back. I'll have them in your office in a breem."

"You should take some time off. Refuel and relax a bit. You got us quite the breakthrough."

"I am perfectly fine, Sir."

"I'd prefer if you did," The easygoingness evaporated off Spin's face and was replaced by seriousness, "because I have another assignment for you."

That actually surprised Prowl. Another mission so soon? He had barely stepped off the shuttle and was already being shipped out again. Spin wouldn't do that unless there was something imperative that needed to be done.

"What are your orders?"

"I have to travel to Iacon for a conference with the Senate so Lieutenant Kup will be the one briefing you. Not me."

"Lieutenant Kup?"

"Oh right. You haven't met him. He's an old friend of mine. He just transferred over to our unit to be a combat instructor for some of our young, green troops. Primus knows they need it."

Prowl couldn't help but agree. There had been at least four friendly fire accidents in the shooting range within the last couple of orns.

"In fact," Spin grinned, looking past Prowl, "Look who just walked in."

"So you must be Prowl!"

Prowl turned around and was greeted by an old green Bot who, he couldn't help but noticing, was chewing on a bolt leisurely. To Prowl it seemed a bit unprofessional considering the mech's rank.

"Yes, Sir. You must be Lieutenant…Kup."

What a strange name.

"Ha! Just call me Kup!" The mech barked slapping Prowl hard on the shoulder (exactly where Spin had).

"Kup will be the one filling you in. In the meantime, I have my own flight to catch. I'll expect a report when your mission is completed."

"Yes, Sir," Prowl responded as Spin turned and left.

Kup and Prowl, besides a few maintenance drones working on a few of the shuttles, were the only two mechs in the hanger.

"So you're the military prodigy we've all been hearing about, the master negotiator. Spin tells me it wouldn't surprise him if you become Head Diplomat some day."

That was Prowl's goal, but he was not one to brag. He was humbler then that. "I wouldn't be counting charges before turning on the generator, Sir."

"Guess your right. Though I gotta say you remind me of this one mech I knew way back in Nova's time. Boy, he talked us outa some really big messes, he did-"

"Lieu- Kup. Spin said I was to be briefed on a new assignment."

Kup's mouth tightened into a straight line. "Yeah. "

the old mech chewed thoughtfully on his bolt for a moment.

"The issue," he finally began, "Is with three of our special operation mechs."

"Special Operations?" Prowl furrowed his brow.

"Their names are Jazz, Ellipses, and First Turn. They were on route to Iacon from Kaon, but due to some issues on the way they were to redirect themselves here."

Prowl gave Kup a wry look. "When will they be here?"

"He."

"What?"

"You said they. It's just he."

"Kup, there are three of them. That would indicate plural."

"Well, there were three of them."

Prowl went rigid. "What, do you mean by were?"

"See this is the problem. In order to get here they had to go over the sonic canyons. There they were ambushed by one of the more organized rogue groups: the Decepticons. Ellipses and First Turn…got friendly with a sticky bomb. First Turn's in ICU but Ellipses wasn't as lucky."

Decepticons. They were by far the most organized and destructive of the rogue groups Iacon's Security Services had to deal with.

And the title "Decepticon" didn't necessarily belong to any one group.

The name Decepticon had been used frequently in history and in recent stellar cycles by various groups. Every time a faction who had been carrying the name collapsed or disbanded, there'd always be another set of anarchist who'd snatch the name right back up. The most current holders of the names were by far some of the most successful in causing chaos.

"So two of our mechs were taken out," Prowl assessed.

"Yeah but that's not even the best part." Kup frowned, gnawing on the bolt between his back dental plates.

"Just tell me before I regret asking."

"Jazz, the third operative, is still alive and kicking."

"How exactly is one of our mechs surviving a bad thing?"

"It's bad because we don't have him. They do. Ya see, he was the head of that trio meaning he was the one carrying the imperative secret info during the ambush. They probably took him to their base for interrogation."

Prowl took a moment to evaluate what he had been told. "Exactly what kind of information was he carrying?"

Kup shrugged. "The kind they won't even tell me about. Anyway, we were able to get First Turn conscious long enough for us to get a general idea on what happened and in what time frame. Jazz has been gone for at least 3 megacycles."

"And where do I fit in all of this?"

Kup paused to pluck the bolt he had been chewing on out of his mouth. "You, Mr. Master Negotiator, have got to go negotiate Jazz's release. If he's alive that is."

0000000000000000

It was way easier said then done.

The rebel factions that so plagued the stability of Cybertron were concentrated on the western and southern ridges of Sonic Canyons.

And so that's how Prowl found himself with a small band of Autobot's on the border of Valvoluux.

An issue had been sent out to the region, demanding a temporary truce to discuss a prisoner of war. It had been blatently ignored.

The whole negotiating thing never really got that far. Prowl hadn't even gotten a chance to open his mouth and activate his vocalizer. Infact, they hadn't even stepped into the canyon when they were attacked.

Prowl felt like he should have been surprised, but in all honestly he had suspected something like this was going to happen. The rebel factions did not follow any customary rules of conduct when regarding war.

They had been setting up camp discussing their strategy when the first armor piercing shell hit. Half the group had been taken out in the blast.

One of the soldiers flung Prowl out of the way just before he was mowed down by machine-bolt fire. Prowl tripped over the rugged terrain and went backwards, just missing being shot again.

Prowl felt himself in vertigo, unable to get his bearings. There were explosions, screams and the sound of rapidly fired weapons. His team was being picked off one by one.

"Return fire!" Prowl yelled, not sure of what else to do. "Return-"

The last thing he saw was a fist coming at him and then there was an explosion of white.

00000000000000

When Prowl woke up, much like when he was knocked out, he saw another explosion of white.

He sat up slowly, joints aching from being in stasis on the floor for several joors. At first he was unable to concentrate on anything and his processor was fuzzy.

But like a nova exploding clarity hit him with full force and he realized his situation.

He had been taken hostage.

He internally cursed at himself. Getting caught was immensely counterproductive to what he had been trying to accomplish. Instead of freeing a comrade he went and got into a mess himself.

But what of his team? He did a count in his head and grimly came to the conclusion that the list of those who may have survived was much shorter then the one of those who didn't. They probably kept him alive because they knew he was valuable to the Autobots.

He needed to keep his cool. He needed to stay calm. Never before in his career had he been in a situation like this. Never before had he been in an enemy territory like this.

His military career was relatively short. Yes, he had graduated from one of the finest military academies in Iacon and yes, he completed basic training with more then decent marks. He knew how to fire a rifle. He knew bits and pieces of hand to hand combat. However he never really had a chance to apply that knowledge. With the First and Second Great wars long gone and over, in times of peace there wasn't much action to be seen… besides the occasional rogue factions causing trouble.

But as long as you nipped those in the bud there weren't many casualties (on Sentinel Prime's side) and not much harm done.

This though, he had never dealt with this before.

Prowl was experiencing hyper vigilance, excessive alertness. He found himself scanning and searching the room with a tense expectancy.

There was nothing noteworthy in the cell. The metal walls were barren. There were no windows and the only possible escape he may have had was blocked with a charged energy field.

What was he going to do?

He specialized in diplomacy, in negotiations. How do you talk your way out of an empty cell?

Prowl scooted back and leaned his head back against the wall. His hands were free. Obviously they didn't consider him a threat (big mistake). His comlink had been taken offline as well as his GPA, but when he checked his subspace compartments, to his surprise, the acid rifle he had grabbed as a second thought was still on him. They hadn't been thorough in disarming him.

He found that he was surprisingly calm despite his circumstance. Even though he knew he was in deep trouble, and would probably be used as a bargaining chip like that captive Autobot Jazz, he didn't find himself getting worried. Probably because he knew he couldn't afford to be worried.

He'd have to think logically. He'd have to get out.

"So, you the Autobot. We've been waiting for you to get up."

Prowl looked past the force field to see a lone, wiry mech.

"Lucky that we got to have Racket's shift today. We haven't had a prisoner in a while."

The Decepticon was probably grinning from audio to audio like photovoltai-cat that caught a robo-rat. The mask on his face made it hard to tell though.

"You know what we gonna to you, Autobot scum? We gonna peal your dermal plating off strip by strip. Trade Wind wants you alive, but he didn't say in one piece."

Prowl analyzed the mech in front of him.

Big. Stupid looking. Referring to him self as "we" meaning he was probably neurotic in some manner. This mech looked to be a lap behind the field, and mechs like him were criminally easy to rile.

And riled mechs were easy to trick. You just needed the right words.

"Yes, an we gonna pluck out your optics out of your face slowly, watching each nerve wire snap. And your fingers, let's see how far they bend back before breaking. You hear this Autobot filth? We gonna break you." The Decepticon began to jitter with anticipation.

"I'm sorry. Did you say something?" Prowl enquired, looking utterly bewildered.

The gangly Con froze and looked puzzled for a moment. He walked closer to the energy field. "You heard us filth. You heard what we're gonna do to you."

"Actually I did not. You're going to have to repeat what you said. You see, this mark on the ceiling is just so strangely fascinating." Prowl pointed up at the nonexistent mark.

"Huh?" Despite the mask the Decepticon managed to look extremely confused. "Hey! No changing the subject!"

"From what?" Prowl feigned confusion.

"From us maiming you! You hear! Maim you!"

"But there's only one of you."

"What?"

"You said we. But there's only one of you."

The mech stood snarled, "Shut up! Shut up! We are going to rip your limbs off! You hear!"

"Alright then."

"We're gonna!... Wait, what?"

"I said alright then."

"But," he paused sounded confused, "we gonna hurt you."

"I'm aware. Go ahead." Prowl shrugged.

The Decepticon stood looking more then a little lost. "We thought you were supposed to be smart."

"Your assumptions. Not mine. Just one question."

"What?"

"How are you going to get in here?" Prowl discreetly pulled his rifle out of subspace behind his back, hiding it from view.

For a split second the Decepticon looked torn on what to do, but ultimately disappeared from view. A few seconds later the force field trapping Prowl in the cell powered down, and the Con reappeared.

With a wild war whoop the masked mech charged with a small energy blade.

"Thanks," Prowl gritted. As soon as his adversary was just an arm's reach away from tackling him, Prowl nailed the Decepticon in the head with the butt of his acid rifle, knocking him clear onto his back. Green beads of energon began pooling out his audio. He was out cold.

Prowl stepped over him and and simply walked out of the brig.

The base was shoddy, and it was obvious the rebels were not well funded. Walls and floors were cracked and as far as Prowl could tell there weren't any security cameras he'd have to watch out for.

It was just too easy. This was the threat that had been plaguing Iacon?

And not a breem later the alarms went off.

Prowl knew he was in deep trouble. The last Con had just been an idiot but he knew better. Prowl knew that despite popular belief not all of the rebels were complete morons. There were some dangerously intelligent ones, particularly the leaders.

He peered around the corner into a hall before tentatively walking into it.

He was in enemy territory, alone. If he ran into a Decepticon like this that would probably be it.

Speaking of which...

"Did you hear something?" A voice echoed down the hall.

Prowl froze.

"I got a notice from Trade Wind. The alarm went off because our prisoner escaped. Maybe it's him. Let's go check it out!"

Footsteps began to grow louder in the distance. Prowl frantically looked around then dove through the first door he saw.

He leaned against the door he had entered through and was relieved when he heard the loud stomps of the Decepticon rebels pass his hiding place.

Prowl knew he was still at a tactical disadvantage since he was on the enemy's turf, but perhaps a moment of peace would allow him to regroup his thoughts and come up with some kind of escape strategy.

When he looked up, so as to better acquaint himself with his new makeshift base of operations, he was horrified to find that he was staring at, and was being stared at, by a darkly painted, red visored mech. A red visored mech wearing a very obvious Decepticon insignia on his chest plate.

The two stood motionlessly, Prowl leaning up against the door, the other mech with his head turned toward Prowl, fingers hovering over a large keyboard.

They both stared at each other petrified, speechless, as if the slightest of movements would ignite the tension saturating the air.

The visored mech lowered his hands. Prowl went for his acid rifle. The visored mech in a blur tackled Prowl to the ground. The two rolled and fought, each trying to gain some kind of advantage over the other.

Prowl finally found an opening and was able to throw the enemy mech off but in the fray his rifle had gotten kicked away. Without a moment's hesitation they simultaneously dove for the weapon. The visored Con reached it first but Prowl was also able to get a hand on it and valiantly tried wrestling it away.

The other mech's voice was smooth if not frantic. "Stop. STOP! You're gonna-"

Prowl kneed him hard in the side, successfully winding and silencing the mech. He swiped his rifle up, the prize for winning their skirmish, and scrambled away as his adversary wheezed in pain.

"Stay where you are, Decepticon," Prowl ordered.

"Owww," the mech rasped hunched over.

Prowl trained his weapon on the downed mech and slowly backpedaled toward the door.

"Stay where you are or I'll shoot," Prowl commanded assertively.

The mech looked up, a look of irritation on his face. "I- Au-ot." He coughed, still recovering, and made to a stand.

"Stay where you are!" Prowl charged his weapon, taking better aim.

"I'm an Autobot!" the enemy declared hurriedly so as to avoid getting his face shot off.

Prowl narrowed his optics. "As if I'd fall for such an obvious trick."

"M'not lyin'!"

"Red optical visor, Decepticon insignia-"

"Oh for Primus' sake!" The dark mech, no longer caring that Prowl's loaded rifle was aimed at his head, slammed the side of his fist into the insignia on his chest. It crackled with electricity and then morphed into the somber crimson face of the Autobot symbol.

Prowl was taken aback and let his weapon drop. "You're really-"

"An Autobot," the mech spat. "Ya idiot. I was tryin' ta tell ya that in the beginning."

Prowl took a moment to assess the new development.

He finally was able to come up with a response. "You jumped me."

"You were gonna shoot me!" The mech gestured wildly with his hands.

"You look like a Decepticon."

"I'm under cover!" He yelled and then slapped his hands over his mouth alarmed by the volume he let his rich voice reach. "And you just about ruined it. We gotta keep the noise down."

Prowl let both of his arms drop and scrutinized the surreptitious mech. An undercover Autobot? The odds of him running into one were preposterous. Unless…

The dots were connected.

"You're the Autobot Jazz."

Prowl assumed he was right by the sheer surprise that flashed across the incognito Bot's face.

"How'd ya know that? My disguise is perfect an' I've never seen ya be- hold up. Hold up. Why're you here?"

"I was with a small band of mechs looking into the disappearance of…you, or rather your information. I was to negotiate your release. We instead were attacked."

"You got caught? That means you were a prisoner and you escaped an'- AH! They'll be lookin' for you, man! Why'd you come here? They can't find me like this!"

"Wait, what's going on?" Prowl was confused. He hated being confused. "You disappeared several megacycles ago. How are you undercover?"

"Disa-? Oh frak. Frak, frak, frak, frak, frak. Why does this always happen? Always! Didn't you guys get the memo? Why are ya infantry dudes always bustin' in on our Special Ops? What part of highly classified do ya folk not get! I never went missin'. "

"First off, I'm not infantry. Second off, the only memo I received was one saying that an Autobot Special Ops was taken hostage. Although I can assure you that my being here has little to do with that. I came to negotiate your release for the intelligence factor," Prowl stated coldly.

"Well, I see how well that went," he spat. "And ya missed the part where they didn't catch me, didn't even know I existed, and because of that I was able to infiltrate their ranks." Jazz activated his insignia and it transformed back into the Decepticon symbol. He stalked back to the computer he had been at before the scuffle and began typing furiously. "This seriously sets me back, Man. I was on a tight schedule, down to the clik. I have to cover my tracks before-"

"Come out wherever you are Autobot! I know you're in here!" a voice reverberated through the hall. "You thought you were so clever, fooling Dust like that but I bet you didn't account for the tracking device!"

Both Autobots froze.

Jazz, horrified, dashed over to Prowl and began pawing at him before ultimately plucking a tiny bottle green shard off his back.

They both stared at it slack jaw.

"You idiot!" Jazz hissed.

Prowl sure felt like an idiot. How did he miss something so obvious?

Jazz began to look wildly between Prowl and the door before seemingly coming to a conclusion. With mighty force he put a fist through the computer screen he had been working at, ripped the keyboard out of its panel and the quickly bounded over to Prowl.

"Sorry, You. I'm gonna go ahead and apologize for this ahead of time," he mumbled as he began pulling something out of subspace.

Prowl didn't even have time to open his mouth and ask what his fellow was going to do when he felt a pair of magnetized handcuffs clasp over his wrists. Jazz grabbed his arm, pulled at him with surprising strength, and stomped through the automated door leading out to the hall.

Jazz somehow was able to make his voice gravelly and deeper because when he yelled "On your knees, Ground Dweller!" and kicked Prowl roughly in the back of his knees, he didn't recognize it as the Autobot he met not moments before.

Prowl, on his knees, tentatively looked up to see a large tank-class Decepticon staring down at him.

The large, grey Decepticon barked out a laugh. "Ha! Great job, Racket! You caught the little fragger."

For a moment Prowl was unsure on who Racket was but came to the conclusion that it was Jazz's undercover name.

"He was trying to hide! Trying to hide," Jazz sang-songed neurotically. "But I followed him, Brick, and found him hiding in the Administrative Sector." He then gave Prowl a rather heavy kick in the side for good measure.

Prowl doubled over and wheezed, and couldn't help but think that may have been payback for when he had kneed Jazz.

"Nice. Can't let this piece get away from us. Can't wait to see what the guard'll give to us for him." Brick activated his comline. "Hey Trade Wind. The jail bird was found," He relayed.

"Good. I'm on my way."

"Hey, Brick," Jazz enquired with that scratchy, low voice. "Let me take him to the brig. Please let me take him to the brig."

"Hey calm down you Nut," Brick said grinning from audio to audio. "You did good catching him but we should wait for Trade wind."

"But Trade Wind'll want him back in the Brig," Jazz whined sounding as if he was on the edge of having a fit. "Let me do it! Let me take him to the brig for some… correctional treatment."

It shocked Prowl. The voice, the speech patterns, the mannerisms… Jazz had made himself into a completely unrecognizable mech.

"I don't know," Brick started off unsure.

"He won't mind! He won't mind," Jazz jittered with anticipation. "Let me take him to the brig! Pleeeease?"

The chilling manic glee on his face almost made Prowl believe, just for a moment, that if he went with Jazz something awful would probably happen to him.

"I guess It'd be alright," Brick finally decided. "Just make sure he's still functioning when your done."

Jazz heaved Prowl to his feet by the arm and saluted The Tank mech with his free hand. "Aye-aye, Sir!"

He pivoted and half dragged half lead Prowl down the hall away from the Decepticon.

"Jazz?" Prowl whispered as soon as they were out of audio range.

He was ignored.

"Jazz?" Prowl tried more heatedly, mild panic setting into his voice.

"Yeah?" Jazz's voice, once again smooth and melodious, was a welcome sound to Prowl's audios.

Prowl let out a hiss of air that he hadn't been aware he had been holding in his intakes. "That was an overly convincing performance."

"Glad ya think so, but my cover's blown."

"What? How? You almost made me believe you were a Decepticon and I knew you weren't." He tried to hazard a look back but Jazz roughly pulled him along.

"Don't look back, and I'll explain." Jazz's didn't slow or let up his long strides. "That was Brick. Brick's an idiot," he relayed quickly. "The guy on his way, his superior officer Trade Wind- not so much. He'll be all over that control panel like rust on a corpse."

"What does it matter?"

Jazz pulled him in a little closer. "He's gonna know, Man! He's gonna know! In order to route the classified info I stole to Autobot HQ I needed to send a pulse wave. Which is what I was doin' before you went and barged in."

"But that leaves a distinctly Autobot non-sinusoidal waveform frequency," Prowl gritted, softly.

"Don't you think I know that?" Jazz snapped back.

"Maybe your cover's not blown. Perhaps they'll just think I did it."

"No, they won't. In order to hack that computer you'd need several classified codes and lots of time. You didn't have either. Even though I broke it, it'll take mere kliks ta run a scan, and two and two will be put together."

"You complete imbecile!" Prowl whispered heatedly. "And you're a special Ops? Why would you take that risk! Your supposed to keep information secure and deliver it in person if the risk is too high to- "

"Wouldya can it? I didn't have time to deliver the critical Intel in person. Those coordinates and schematics were too important. And I tried ta cover my tracks but there was no time."

"You broke protocol!"

"Forget protocol! It woulda worked out dandy if ya didn't blow my cover!"

"Cover? You were in an unlocked Administrative Facility. If anything you're lucky an Autobot walked in."

Their bickering was cut short by the intruder alarm sounding off. Red emergency lights flickered on and off, emphasizing the sudden threat level.

"That was quick," Jazz noted somberly.

"Attention all Decepticons." A booming voice echoed through the transmitter system. "There is an Autobot spy in our midst. I repeat, Racket is an Autobot spy and he is assisting the escaped detainee. Orders are to shoot to kill."

Jazz cursed but due to the siren whatever word he used was completely lost on Prowl.

"Look." Jazz began unlocking the cuffs on Prowl as they walked even faster then before. "We're gonna walk, turn this corner, then run like hell. Got it?"

Prowl was not sure if he wanted to follow Jazz, but the mech had probably been in the base for some time and knew the layout better then he did. Logically, going along with him would make more sense that going it alone.

He nodded.

The two approached the corner at the end of the hall.

"Ready?" Jazz asked.

Prowl nodded tersely. Jazz gave the command.

"Go."

The two mechs fled like the inferno was at their heels.

Their shadows were cast as elongated silhouettes against the wall every time the red emergency lights flashed. The echoes of their heavy steps were drowned by the intruder alarm.

"Alrighty," Jazz started, keeping calm. "Right now we're in the B hall. If we keep goin' this direction we'll pass the Commissary Facility and find the Utilities Sector. We should be able ta escape through the Utility Sector's piping system."

The two ran as fast as they could. They went left, straight left again, and fortune was apparently on their side for they ran into no enemies.

"This is it!" Jazz barreled through the large automated door at the end of the hall. The moment he entered he ground to halt, almost causing Prowl to run into his back.

The room they were in was absent of any waste reclamation facilities and pipes. Instead there were four energon dispensers lined up against the back wall, five long bench tables perpandicular to the door and a large trash shoot in the wall.

"This is a mess hall," Prowl noted tonelessy.

"Uh, yeah. I think we were supposed ta go right at that last turn."

"This is a mess hall," Prowl enunciated each word carefully.

"Look, Man. I was a prison guard. I didn't leave the brig much."

As far as being a spy, prison guard was the perfect position. They were generally unnoticed, and not cared about. It was perfect for snooping and also good for keeping on optic on any Autobots that may've gotten captured.

Still.

"You, Jazz, are by far the most incompetent Special Operations mech I have ever had the displeasure of meeting," antipathy was making itself apparent in Prowl's deceptively flat voice.

"You ain't exactly sunshine and rainbows yourself, Chevrons," Jazz retaliated.

"Chevrons?" Prowl sputtered.

"There they are!"

Three Decepticons rounded the corner and began firing off shots at Prowl and Jazz.

"Flip the tables!" Prowl yelled as he and Jazz leapt over the nearest bench. With a mighty heave it was turned on its side acting as flimsy cover.

"Now what?" Jazz scooted his back as close to the table as he could as bits and pieces of their cover were shot off.

Prowl was looking around rapidly trying to come up with some kind of a plan. Their cover wouldn't hold for very long, and besides the large door the Decepticons were holding there weren't many places they were able to go.

Except for that one hole in the wall.

"Let's go!" Prowl latched onto Jazz's arm and bounded off toward the trash shoot, dodging laser fire.

Jazz's face lit up with terror as he was all but dragged by Prowl closer to the hole in the wall. "No! Don't! That's the-ack!"

Prowl leapt headfirst into the trash chute dragging a completely unwilling Jazz along with him. Metal scraping on metal, Jazz's cries and the hollow sound of thin walls being banged around echoed softer and softer until it faded away completely.

The Decepticon rebels all sort of shifted where they stood, unsure of what to do.

"Um," one of them broke the silence. "Did they just jump into the incinerator?"

"Well that sure makes our job easier."

00000000000000000000

The incinerator was only shut off once every three hundred solar cycles.

Luckily for Jazz and Prowl it had been the three hundredth solar cycle. Both of them had landed in a knee deep pile of ash, soot, and metal scraps that had been melted down and twisted into new forms. The incinerator room was pitch black and both mechs had to adjust their optics to night vision mode.

"That was some crazy ride." Jazzed teetered as he tried to stand. "I can not believe we're alive right now."

"At least now, we'll have some time to come up with a better escape plan." Prowl futily tried dusting himself off, but the ash just got everywhere.

"Yeah but ya know what, Chevrons? If ya wanna die so bad, one, leave me out of it and, two, at least go down in style! Not down in flames. Crazy aft mech jumping down an incinerator...I still can not believe we're alive right now." Jazz couldn't stress that enough.

"We were about to get shot at."

"We coulda been burned to death!"

"Could have is not quite as bad as would have. Could have has better odds." Prowl continued dusting himself off.

"Don't jive me, man. I wasn't built yesterday. I know when someone's use'n their semantics on me." Jazz sounded too tired to yell any more. "I still can't believe we're alive."

"Yes. We're alive," Prowl affirmed.

"So, now what?"

"They took my comline offline. What about yours?"

"It's still stuck on a Decepticon frequency. I'm pretty sure we don't wanna be callin' them right now."

"So…"

"We walk." Jazz shrugged and pulled a small, round object out of subspace. He pressed the button at its center and a large holographic map lit up the darkness. "We're here in the incinerator." He pointed at one of the rooms on the map. "There should be a door or somethin' somewhere that leads to the maintenance tunnels. If we could find it we could get out that way."

He deactivated the map and started walking. Prowl just stood where he was unsure if he wanted to follow Jazz again (that just worked out so well last time).

Well at least Jazz had a map this time.

"Ya coming, Chevrons?"

"My name is Prowl," he growled.

"Well, then let's get a move on, Prowlers."

Prowl scowled.

And that had been Prowl's very first taste of life with the Jazzmeister.

In Prowl's opinion it left a bitter aftertaste.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

This only the start you two.

So here it is. Another when Prowl met Jazz fic, just my take on it. Maybe it's just me but I couldn't see them as mechs who'd like eachother on their first (or twentieth) meeting. I'd figure their friendship would end up being a long arduous march through the years, and would take some serious effort to work.

This fic starts before the war, before megatron came to power, and is relatively early in Prowl and Jazz's career so they're not quite as experienced, and battle hardened as we're used to them being. No one starts at the top anyways.

Reviews are loved. CC is appreciated.