Shockwave was both furious and proud. Furious, become some low bottom scum had dared attack Blurr despite ample warnings of what such foolish actions would bring. Proud, because Blurr had handled himself admirably. He had proven to the Decepticons that he was not someone to be trifled with. Once he had mastered his daggers entirely they would begin tapering down the speed restraint cuffs and retrain him to fight at full speed. Then he would be nigh untouchable. Shockwave had no doubt that Blurr could become one of the most deadly assassins known to Cybertron if he chose to. The small mech never would though. Despite his talent, he was too soft sparked to ever want to take a life, even in the line of duty. He feared becoming a monster, had been relieved when Megatron promised to end his life if it ever happened. No, Blurr was much more suited to Intelligence work; it was still a relief to know that he could take care of himself. And as soon as this assignment ended he would return and test his lover himself.
This latest position was possibly the worst he'd had in a long time. The Autobots, still reeling from the loss of Ultra Magnus and Sentinel Magnus' ridiculous new restrictions, were apparently developing a secret weapon. The spy had only heard whispers of the weapon in passing, no bot daring to raise their voice above a whisper lest Sentinel somehow catch wind of their gossip. It had taken much longer than Shockwave had liked to track down the rumored location. The security was impressive, to say the least. To the casual observer the building appeared to be a laboratory that focused on viral diseases and the prevention of their transmission. However the inner sanctum was almost impenetrable, requiring several levels of security to enter. Shockwave had no doubt he could manage it, but first he needed to gain access to the building in order to scope out possible modes of entry. This meant getting a job at the facility. The only position that they were hiring was janitorial staff. The spy, currently wearing a non-descript black and tan jeep disguise, was not amused. Still, the job had proven useful.
It hadn't taken long for Shockwave to begin acquiring more and more responsibilities. He went from simply cleaning the floors in the lobby to practically cleaning the entire (legal) laboratory in a matter of rotations. He worked hard, kept his head down and mouth shut. His superiors took notice, and began testing him. They let "confidential" information slip in his presence, and were pleased when they spy said nothing, to anyone. He was sure they were watching him, even outside of work, but he went about his business as an unremarkable cleaning bot with no family and few friends. His lack of communication with the rest of the population seemed to work in his favor, as not long after he was approached with a proposition.
"Scrubber, a word please." Looking up at Focus, Shockwave nodded and wordlessly followed the lead researcher into his office.
"It has come to my attention that our current janitorial staff in the secondary lab is rather ineffective. As a result he is to be dismissed. However, that leaves us in a bit of a bind. We need someone in there because many of those experiments are dangerous and cannot be exposed to contamination. Now, I am aware that your job description does not include working with potentially dangerous experiments, but we would like you to take the position temporarily, until we can find someone more suited for it. There will, of course, be a pay raise, and other benefits as well." Shockwave looked up, arranging his face to show wide opticked surprise.
"Me, sir? Really? I mean, it's such an important position…" he trailed off, trying to balance hesitancy and excitement.
"Off course, Scrubber, we are very impressed with your work ethic and careful nature. In fact, if you find you like the position it will be yours full time. There are, however, some top secret projects being developed that will require confidentiality agreements that, if broken, will see you land in the Stockades." The arrogant scientist tried not to look patronizing and mostly succeeded, but his tone was that of an adult speaking to a sparkling. Shockwave was far too professional to punch him.
"I understand sir. Wow, um, yes, I will take the position. What do I need to sign?"
Groons later Shockwave left the lab whistling a merry tune. This certainly wasn't what he expected when he took the job, but it meant that he would be finished with this assignment decaorns before he had planned. It was a welcome break. He was scheduled to start his first shift this coming dark cycle, and would hopefully complete the mission within the decacycle. Heading to his rented flat the Decepticon decided to send his report to Megatron after the completion of the shift. Whatever the Autobots were preparing, they would be ready to counter it.
Optimus Prime was not having a good cycle. Not that any cycles since his team's forced return to Cybertron could be considered good. Yes, the Decepticons had left Earth, but the Prime had no doubt they were not finished with the young planet. There was too much technology there, primitive though it may be, that could be adapted for the Decepticon cause. Not to mention Soundwave was still running wild with his mini mechs in tow. But Sentinel would hear none of it, recalling the team and assigning them to the most menial of jobs. Optimus had gotten stuck as a janitorial bot in a high security lab where they could "keep an optic on him". He was not ashamed to admit he was doing the bare minimum work to get by. Even begging for credits on the streets would be a step up from having to deal with lecherous optics every day.
Besides having to fend off lewd propositions and wandering servos, the young Prime had quickly become discouraged working in the lab. Not only was the menial labor thankless work, the projects they were developing sickened his spark. Cosmic Rust looked like a harmless virus compared to Combustive Corrosion, a toxic gas that corroded a mech's insides until they produced a high enough level of heat that would interact with the gas and cause the victim to spontaneously combust. Not only was the corrosion hellishly painful the actual combustion would kill mechs within a hundred foot radius of the victim. And these so-called Autobots laughed at the idea. Worse yet, all of the projects had to be approved by the senior officers in the chain of command. The Autobots not only approved of these torturous projects but they actively encouraged the scientists to come up with more.
Sighing despondently, Optimus half sparkedly scrubbed a stain that would never come off the floor, given that it was burned into the titanium. He could hardly wait until they fired him. Surely they couldn't possibly still think he was a threat. Not only did he have barely any means to support himself, let alone start a mutiny, he hadn't been in contact with his team since they arrived "home". He was alone and no one would listen to him.
A soft sound dragged the truckformer from his thoughts. It almost sounded as though a sparkling was crying. That was impossible, however. No mech would be dumb enough to bring their younglings to a workplace filled with deadly chemicals and other assorted weapons. Still, his spark flared protectively, and the young mech knew he would never forgive himself if a sparkling really was in danger and he did nothing to save it.
Following the sound deeper into the lab, into the corridors he was highly encouraged to stay away from, Optimus found himself standing in front of a simple gray door. He half expected it to be locked, but the metal slide aside easily at his command. Stepping into the room, the young mech almost threw up. Two cribs were set up, one on the wall to his left, and the other on the wall to his right. One sparkling occupied each, both screaming and crying and reaching for each other. Tubes were fed into their delicate plating, fluid pulsing at a steady rate into their tiny veins as various monitors took readings. He could see their sparks through the clamps that held their cockpits open, the tiny balls of light beating in time with each other. Wing nubs flickered agitatedly as they desperately tried to escape their prisons.
Staggering back against the doorframe Optimus tried to collect himself. The Autobots were experimenting on sparklings. Twin Seeker sparklings. Where had they come from? There were no Autobot fliers. Kidnapping immediately came to mind and disgust rolled through him once again. He had to choke down bile, lest he actually puke. The former commander knew had to do something. The seekerlings were obviously in a great deal of pain. He could not let them suffer. He would have to act quickly. He would smuggle them out tonight at the change of shift. None of the scientists would be around come dark cycle. He would simply have to get past the new janitor. He could do this. Optimus would get the sparklings out or die trying.
Blurr was lounging comfortably on Megatron's berth while the older mech reviewed reports. He had been spending more time with the tyrant while Shockwave was away. It was strange, he mused idly, how comfortable he was in the Decepticon Commander's presence. He was the mech from Autobot nightmares, the one that everyone feared meeting in battle. Blurr could easily understand why; he had been training with Megatron for a not insignificant period of time and the mech could still take Blurr and his daggers on unarmed, with one hand and come away from the fight without even looking winded. But despite his fearsome abilities (Blurr had no doubt he could kill a legion of Autobots single handedly as some of the rumors went) Megatron was a good leader. While the mech could not be considered kind, he was fair and looked after the needs of his people. There were mechs and femmes on this ship that he had thought long dead, slain in the battles of old, that Megatron had simply pulled out of the public eye when the Autobots began employing assassins. There was upwards of one thousand Cybertronians on board, and thousands more living on assorted colonies across the galaxy, yet all were well fed and maintained. Say what you want about the mech, but he took care of his people.
Megatron also seemed to be personally invested in Blurr. To this day the young racer had no idea what he had done to catch the Warlord's attention. Whatever it was, he was thankful. Where his near rape had definitely left marks on the former Autobot the lessons Megatron and Shockwave instilled in him gave him a confidence he had never felt before. He did not feel ridiculed in their presence, or like they were simply tolerating him. Megatron would even listen to him babble at times, mind still running a million miles a klik, and had even asked for his insight into Autobot culture at times. The vaguely uncomfortable feeling of betrayal had long since been pushed from his spark, replaced by a flushing feeling of warmth that he was not yet ready to examine too closely. He had a home here; with a mech he had loved for more orns than he cared to think about (even if that love had been severely tested when Shockwave's deception was uncovered) and a Lord that valued him for more than just his speed. Blurr resolutely did not think about how his Lord was just as attractive as his lover.
The speedster was jerked from his thoughts by a loud commotion echoing in the hallways. Curious, Blurr left his Master's quarters to follow the sound. There were several mechs yelling, but about what he could not decipher. But above the din he could hear Shockwave. Ice flooded his energon; his lover was not supposed to be back for several groons. Something had gone terribly wrong. But Shockwave did not sound hurt. He was in control, his voice terse but steady as he issued commands. Rounding the corner Blurr was stunned to find the undercover agent cradling a streamlined truckformer in very familiar colors. Two small seekerlets hung on the mech's shoulders, covered in the Autobot's energon. Despite Shockwave's field repairs Optimus was still leaking heavily, his bright armor turning gray around the edges of his many wounds. Blurr couldn't even begin to categorize them all. And the Decepticon spy has a non-insubstantial number of wounds, but mostly those seemed to be superficial.
Starscream's arrival on scene brought a whole new level of chaos to the situation. The Prince of Vos shrieked at the sight of the seekerlets, no doubt furious with their poor condition. Two seekers rushed to gather the tiny mechs, but the little ones were having none of it. They bared their sharp fangs, hissing and lashing out at those who dared to try and take them from their Chosen. Blurr was surprised to note that Starscream's face softened for an instant, before his haughty mask snapped back in place.
"Give me the mech, Shockwave," the second in command demanded. Red optic flashing, Shockwave rounded on the flyer.
"He is dying, you fool. The medical team shall deal with him. You may speak to him when he has recovered."
"He has been claimed by Seekerkin of Vos. He is mine, and my medics will attend to him. Do not test me in this." The cold, commanding voice made the speedster shiver. Many forgot that there was a reason the arrogant seeker was second only to Megatron. Where Blurr had no doubt Shockwave could take him much energon would be spilled. And Optimus did not have time to wait for them to come to an agreement. Luckily, Megatron's arrival put an end to the feud.
"Shockwave, give the Autobot to Starscream. Starscream, he had better survive your medic's care, intact. I am very interested in how this particular mech ended up here. Last I was aware he and his wretched team were stationed on Earth. I am sure there is a reason you brought him here, Shockwave."
"Yes, my Lord. I have much to report."
"Then come," Megatron beckoned for Blurr as well. The other mechs who had crowded the hall (including the general medical team, who were glaring at the seeker's personal team as though the seekers had offended them) began to clear out as the seeker medics rushed their cargo, which included two screaming younglings who bit anyone who came near them or their Chosen, to the Vosian wing. Blurr followed meekly after the two much larger mechs to the throne room. He quietly took a seat at the foot of the throne once Megatron had sat down. Shockwave knelt respectfully, optic trained on the floor. Megatron, in a rare moment of unprofessionalism, burst out,
"What the frag happened?"