Everybody, I am officially seventeen. Isn't that splendid? It is very splendid, everybody.
So this is my present to you, my most faithful of readers. And gosh, hasn't it been a long time? xO
All my exams are over, and whilst I feel that I have failed them all, I have profusely more time to write now. Updates will be more regular than every five months. ;D
Thank you 9aza, Botosphere, Grumpy Old Diamond, Splatter Fall, SKIDDY, LunaeShark, AquaGrace, Lioness09Wolf, SeekerMutt I-950, Httw, Kotomi Miyamura: the most gorgeous beings out there. GORGEOUS.
As promised last chapter, things are beginning to collapse. Brace yourselves, good people!
Optimus headed towards the Warehouse. "We must hurry!"
"Be careful," Ironhide warned. "We don't know what could be in there."
Prime paused thoughtfully. "But we will not be able to find out unless we actually go in."
Ratchet scowled in agreement and glared forcefully at Wheeljack. "Well?"
The inventor tottered backwards.
"What's in here?" the medic snarled.
Ratchet wrangled the air resignedly. "Prepare for explosives."
Ironhide quickly stepped in front of Optimus. "I'll go first."
"No." Prime pushed him back firmly. "I will!"
"Don't get physical with me, lad."
"Did-? Well, I am going first."
"Don't make me hurt you," Ironhide advised.
Optimus frowned heroically. "I will not let you sacrifice yourself."
"...Oh, sorry," the black mech replied, resolutely moving ahead again. "I didn't realise my life was worth more than yours."
"Ironhide-!" Optimus scowled, immediately blocking the other's way. "Of course it is!"
"When you're not being an aft, you're my friend- being Prime doesn't even have to come into it. So move."
"Your life is worth more to me," the Peterbilt raged.
Ratchet rubbed his nasal plating. "I'll sedate you."
"Sam can rot."
"Did you really just say that?"
The CMO thought momentarily. "Yes. He means little to me bar a laugh and study every now and then."
Prime was speechless. Well, almost. "I can't believe- but-"
"Why, Optimus, do you insist on him?"
"...Because he's Sam!"
Ironhide sneakily edged in front of the red and blue mech before jumping at a large pipe-tunnel overhead. He slammed into a section below the opening and crumpled to the ground.
Ratchet left the wincing to Jazz and continued. "You call that a reason? He's nothing but trouble and stress. You know what? After today, he's going home."
"This is his home!" Prime wailed like a deprived child, somehow oblivious to the Weapons Specialist smashing about the place.
"I don't hear a good reason for him to be here."
"I'll think of one!"
"He's twitchy, useless, annoying, repetitive, time-consuming- a liability! He-"
"Megatron will help me!" Optimus argued suddenly. "We'll show you that Sam is worthwhile!" With that, he turned nobly and saw Ironhide's aft disappearing into the pipe. "'hide! Jazz, you helped him-!"
Jazz looked around guiltily before flipping snazzily up into the tunnel after Ironhide.
"You are all going to the brig!" Optimus roared, striding towards the same entrance.
"For what?" Ironhide's laugh echoed. "For protecting our Prime from heroically charging off into the unknown?"
"...Nyyyyeeeee," Prime shouted angrily, merely stretching up slightly to reach the pipe. He hauled himself in, and valiantly crouched for a moment at the edge. "Ratchet, if I fail to return- presume that I have fallen whilst endeavouring to-"
Ratchet paced towards him furiously. "I'm coming too, glitchface."
"What? No, that's not right- I must face this alone-!"
"Give me help up. Now." The medic arrived underneath the pipe, and decided that unlike some, he wasn't going to sacrifice any dignity by hurling himself at it.
Optimus sulked for a moment, then extended a hand- which Ratchet took after inspecting suspiciously- and tugged him up.
The Hummer stood for a moment, eyeing the construction with even greater suspicion. "...I hate Wheeljack."
Optimus was still pouting. "I hate the way you won't let me sacrifice myself."
"That's what we Autobots are for, you loser. To stop you from doing it."
"But I want to. It increases my heroism!"
"What good is a hero when he's dead?"
"...I came back," Prime muttered unhappily. "I did."
"And caused us much strife and worry in the process. Now stop feeling sorry for yourself. Sam needs us."
The CMO's sharp optics caught the brief flicker of disappointment flood across the younger mech's face. "...Fine, you retard. If there's a moment to be heroic, you can take it. But we're going to be there as well."
Prime beamed. "Then what are we waiting for?"
Ratchet firmly reminding Optimus that this was Wheeljack's territory and that they must tread with caution, so began the journey.
They started off down the pipe at a relatively speedy pace to try and catch up with their fellow Autobots. Minutes passed- not even a sign of them.
Ratchet decided to comm them."...Jazz, Ironhide. Where are you? We aren't catching up."
/We aren't going that fast,/ Ironhide replied. /Maybe you're just slow./
"Says you? Whatever. What was your last landmark? We're still in the pipe."
Jazz burst in. /Th'one at th'beginning? That was short, Ratch. We burst outta there like, ages ago./
Ratchet shared a look with Optimus. "...Oh dear."
"I don't understand," the semi frowned. "We went into the same pipe."
They scrutinised their surroundings once more- just smooth walls of said pipe. No exits, nor hidden exits.
"Perhaps we should just blast our way through," Prime suggested.
"Sorry, Ironhide. This is Wheeljack, remember? The whole place could come down."
"Then we must simply struggle on against all odds."
"I wouldn't have put it as dramatically as that, but yes."
They proceeded down the pipe.
"This is mystifying."
"This is ridiculous." The CMO abruptly halted. "My scans show nothing but this useless cylinder for miles!"
Prime trusted his judgement. "And the other way?"
Ratchet paused, stretching his scanners to their limits. "It doesn't end."
"So we're going to end up trapped and slowly rusting in this endless construction?"
"I refuse to meet my end by Wheeljack," Ratchet hissed.
Before Optimus could even blink, the medic's saw had formed.
"Steady, Ratchet. We'll find some way out other than self-termination. ...Ratchet-?"
Jazz was beaming at the sight before him.
Ironhide was beaming too.
"Finally," the saboteur cried, staring through the clear doorway into the interesting room, "finally I can show off m'skills!"
"Finally I can use my cannons!"
They charged in.
Two minutes later they hurtled out, panting, and slammed the door shut- Optimus had commed them.
/What's your situation?/
"Pounding fluffy aft," Ironhide expelled a giant ventilation and glanced back into the room suspiciously. "How's your pipe problem?"
/Fluffy-? We are attempting to rectify our predicament. What have you found?/
"A room entirely filled with-" Ironhide paused and scanned once again. "Large cotton balls."
/Cosmetics objects?/ Prime was audibly frowning. /Then just head through./
"Of the mutated kind."
/What the hell?/ Ratchet suddenly questioned. /Mutated cotton balls?/
"Very muchly," Jazz wailed, pulling at one stuck to his visor.
Ironhide helped the spy rip it away. "...Primus."
Its sharp fangs snapped at him from a huge mouth before it was flung back into the room.
The entire army of mutated cotton balls instantly charged at the door, smacking into it one after the other, jaws snapping and snarling.
Jazz blinked as they slid up and down, teeth grating against the door in attempt to reach them. "...'hide?"
"We should try th'other way?"
You all know that Ironhide isn't easy to scare.
Then again, you all know that Jazz is- well, Jazz.
The two entered another room- Ironhide's cannons rumbling warily, Jazz creeping forwards cautiously.
It was full of what looked like simple squishy pillars, sticking up from the floor but not quite reaching the ceiling. They were placed not too close together, but there were enough of them to block any line of sight.
"Split," Ironhide mouthed, gesturing with a finger.
Jazz nodded and dived to the opposite side of the room.
Ironhide had an uncomplicated theory: if you blasted it and it didn't retaliate/died, then it wasn't a threat.
Thus, after a moment or two regarding the still, squishy pillars, it seemed only natural that they were either lifeless or biding their time until he turned his back- then they would be able to attack him when he was least wary.
"No chance," Ironhide bristled, cannons working into a whirling humming.
The pillar seemed to mock him with its silence- daring him.
Never one to refuse a challenge, Ironhide blasted the stupid inanimate thing- then tensed as it rebounded backwards and forwards at speed, revolving around its base.
"Hyuuhhhuuuuuuhyuh!" it laughed.
Ironhide's optic twitched- now it was definitely mocking him. He fired again-
What in the Pit?
He shot at a neighbouring pillar- the blast slammed into it, his aim true.
"Hyuhuhuhuhu!" it cried mirthfully, bouncing around.
Ironhide recoiled in horror. What was this? "Jazz!"
There was no reply.
Could the saboteur have been taken by these inane, senseless things?
Unwittingly, he stepped backwards, attempting to eye his opponents more critically- but crashed right into another.
"HYUUUYUUUUU!" it roared gleefully.
Ironhide cried out as he stumbled away, crushing another- a chain reaction of hideous laughter began. He fired randomly (attempting to destroy the demons), but the laughing only grew, consuming the entire room with madness.
Through the crazy cawing, Ironhide didn't hear the door opening.
He could only stare at the pillars in horror- and continue blasting them, of course. If he hit them enough, they couldn't possibly keep laughing-
Ironhide choked and span, cannons snapping to point at the speaker-
A very unimpressed Arcee stood slightly behind him.
The laughter died a little.
Completely stunned, the mech stared at her.
"What's that, Arcee?" Jetfire emerged from behind another pillar, rifle smoking slightly.
"Phalluses. Just look at all the phallus shaped objects in this room. Vile. I think I might purge."
Ironhide recovered slightly. "Would it make you feel better if they were shaped like-"
Jetfire wisely cut across him. "We should leave."
"What was that craziness?" Ironhide asked with a shudder.
The young shuttle subspaced his rifle. "...That's for me to know."
Arcee shook her helm with a scowl and swanked away towards a door on the closest wall. "Mechs. All the same."
"Why are you even here?" Ironhide frowned.
"We heard you might be in a spot of bother- and Prime called near on everyone in."
Ironhide suddenly remembered that his silver companion had disappeared. "Jazz-!"
"Jazz is just fine," Jetfire rushed. "He- he's going through another door. No worries, he claimed he was going to- to meet up with some others. Spread out, make this Sam-finding b-business a bit easier."
"The doors won't open." Ironhide noticed Arcee glaring at the shut exit. "We tried-"
"I am not wasting my time in this slagging-" The rest of the femme's utterance was lost as she pulled out some weaponry and blew the door into pieces.
The mechs fearfully watched her roll her shoulders.
"Well? Are you coming?"
"Definitely," Jetfire speedily assured, hurrying towards her. "I-Ironhide?"
Ironhide trudged over. "I suppose. Not that I'm following her."
"And why would that be?" Arcee hissed immediately. "Because I'm a femme and we're weak and small and-"
"I just don't like you," the black warrior snarled. "I have nothing against femmes!"
"Oh, nothing! So you feel nothing! You don't consider us worthy of any emotion at all-"
Ironhide's cannons rotated loudly.
"And after Jetfire and I bothered to come and save your sorry aft-"
"I didn't need help!" Ironhide instantly refuted. "I was-"
"Being terrorised by giant inanimate objects!" Arcee hissed, hurling an arm out to the side.
"You don't have to be here- just leave," Ironhide demanded. "I will be quite fine by myself."
"You are incapable of looking after yourself," the femme argued. "I will not lose this team-challenge because of your hubris!"
"I do not have hubris!"
"You do! It's all me mech, me have cannons, me shoot, me like boom, me big strong mech! Nobody else can possibly take any glory away from you-"
Ironhide's growl was matched by his cannons snarling.
"Try it," Arcee challenged, continuing to pace down the corridor. "I'd like to see you try!"
The black Autobot snorted. "It'd be too easy. I'd destroy you by accident-"
It was just a theory, of course- but Jetfire, quietly trudging behind his fellows, imagined that this excursion would be rather draining.
It was at that moment that Ratchet smashed through the ceiling and landed on him.
"Ow," Jetfire mumbled, face crushed into the ground and wings bent at an agonising tangent by a rather heavy medic.
"Mmm, comfy," Ratchet declared. "Not a bad landing- who is this? Oh, Jetfire. What are you doing on the floor?"
"You landed on him," came Optimus' somewhat distant voice.
From his new position on the ground and through a blur of pain, Jetfire was able to see and feel the Prime descend from the ceiling, silver feet right in front of him.
The weight from the shuttle's back was suddenly released, and Ratchet was hauling him up, inspecting him with an experienced optic. "I've twisted your wing."
"It's nothing," Jetfire resolutely denied, trying to concentrate on not feeling the slicing pains through his appendage and swaying slightly with bright spots blurring his vision. "I'll be just f-fine."
Ratchet was incredulous. "Your wing is bent."
"Good-goodo," Jetfire blinked, optics attempting to focus after his team mates. "Must go, want to kill 'chuther."
Optimus and Ratchet shared a look.
"Jetfire," the CMO began loudly. "What do you feel?"
Lancing agony shot through the shuttle's bent wing. "I might b-be in some pain," he admitted shakily. "But-"
The medic scanned Jetfire once more, then grasped his arm firmly before injecting him with something. "You're coming with me. No excuses."
Prime was concerned. "Is he-?"
"Wings," Ratchet scowled. "Idiotic, over-sensitive things. This entirely ruins the plan. You'll have to come back to the medbay- I'm not letting you wander around here on your own."
"Ratchet," Optimus sighed. "I am fully capable of handling any situation which could arise. Besides, Ironhide is just over there. If I must be with someone, he will be perfectly adequate." He paused, seeing Jetfire's antennae prick slightly. "How do you feel?"
The scientist's optics brightened. "Super. Fuzzy. Waaaaaaarm. Super. Bubbly. Say fuzzy? Feel fuzzy."
"He sounds like he's overdosed," Prime said meaningfully.
"Whoops," Ratchet deadpanned. "Wings are funny things. If you had some, you'd know his agony. You can never be too sure with dosage strength- and that was all I had to hand."
"Why did you have it to hand at any rate?"
"For you," the CMO freely confessed. "So don't get any ideas about being heroic. I've got my tranquilizers on you."
"Fuzzy!" Jetfire laughed delightedly.
Optimus was horrified. "I could be like that-?"
The CMO nodded smugly. "Now, got to go. Catch up with Ironhide or else." He began to lead Jetfire away, firmly but gently. "Come on, you."
"Arceeeeeee- crazy femme!" Jetfire cried deliriously, glancing back down the corridor. "Ironhiiiiiiiide, Ratchet's got me! G'bye!"
Needless to say, Optimus did not catch up with Ironhide. It seemed far more advantageous to split up- plots always progressed faster when the protagonist was on his/her own. The story just seemed to find them instead of vice versa.
He was well aware that Ratchet had extremely sensitive scanners, so it was a good while after the medic disappeared that Optimus' innocent, slow ambling down the corridor after Ironhide ended. Prime dived into a narrow pipe in the wall, which turned out to be long twisting slide onto some sort of bouncy, cold material.
"...Nice," the commander commented as it shifted beneath his aft and a giant blob of what appeared to be the human substance jelly rose up before him, intent to try and envelope him clearly evident. "Simply fantastic."
Prowl was walking down the corridor purposefully.
"Prowlie is... walking...down the corridor...purposefully," Sideswipe narrated in a manner oddly reminiscent of David Attenborough. "With a purpose."
Sunstreaker nodded. "Prowlie is never without a purpose."
Prowl stopped, then turned his helm slowly.
The twins froze.
After a brief pause, Sunny continued in a whisper. "The Prowlie... has incredibly... acute... senses."
"Hence our... hushed tones and careful... controlled, slow... mannerisms. If we are ...detected, there is a high risk of... confrontation."
"And confrontation... could leave us... potentially... defeated," the golden twin added.
"And this-" Sideswipe frowned, suddenly realising something. "Potentially? Don't you mean definitely?"
"Uh, no. I'm Sunstreaker, remember?"
"Of course I remember, you idiot-" Sideswipe forced himself to stop as Prowl's doorwings stiffened.
Sunstreaker hadn't quite noticed, his voice rising unconsciously. "So how could we- because after all, there's me- ever be defeated?"
"Prowlie knows," Sideswipe nearly mouthed.
Sunstreaker spread his hands exasperatedly. "Prowlie knows everything. Be specific!"
"He knows we're here," the silver brother hissed.
"Don't be ridiculou-"
"You just said he knows everything! How do you know he doesn't know? You illogical-"
Prowl suddenly recommenced walking.
The twins let out a joint ventilation that neither had realised was being held.
"I can't stand this!" Sunstreaker wailed suddenly.
"Nor I!" cried Sideswipe.
Prowl walked on.
They ran after him. "Prowlie!"
Sideswipe dived in front of the older mech, almost jogging backwards to keep up whilst rapidly speaking. "Prowlie, we can't take this anymore! You have to start speaking to us again! We- we don't know-"
"Prowlie, you can't just leave us this way!"
"-what you want us to do, Prowlie!"
Prowl stopped abruptly, widened optics suddenly focussing beyond them.
Oblivious, the tactician passed them both, his gaze fixed onto the ground.
The brothers exchanged a worried glance.
Sunstreaker decided to speak very loudly and clearly. "Prowlie, can you hear us?"
Prowl continued to move away from them, optics boring into the floor.
The Corvettes followed, anxiety beginning to clutch their processors. "Prowlie, what are you doing?"
The second knelt suddenly and peered at something intently.
"What's he looking at?" Sunstreaker hissed concernedly.
"Did you lose control of your legs, Prowlie? Do you need us to-"
"That would be fairly serious," Red Alert commented.
Sunstreaker jumped- then turned the startled mannerism into a smooth turn , spinning niftily to face the mech. "Where did you come from?"
"Down the corridor."
"You just appeared!"
"Nobody just 'appears'- unless they have some innate teleporting ability."
"Creep," Sunny muttered noisily.
Prowl spoke without looking back. "Red Alert- perfect. Could you analyse this for me?"
The medic blinked before passing the dumbstruck Corvettes and crouching down next to the tactician. "Certainly."
Sunstreaker and Sideswipe watched confusedly as the two briefly engaged in conversation.
"Sunny," Sideswipe frowned, "What's going on? I don't understand!"
"Nor I," the golden brother replied loudly. "But I intend to find out!"
Prowl, meanwhile, was grimly satisfied with whatever he had heard. "I see. Thank you."
"Not a problem, sir." Red Alert stood, following the other mech's lead. "I take it you have heard the latest from Prime?"
"No," Prowl admitted. "I silenced my communications channel."
Red Alert was momentarily taken aback. "...He asks for reinforcements in Wheeljack's Warehouse."
Prowl was already moving. "As in?"
"Everybody." The medic followed.
"Is he in danger?"
"He did not mention any threat in the message- just that multiple mechs- and femme- would speed up the process of finding the boy."
"Naturally," Prowl mused. "Are we to split entirely and walk alone?"
"As ever, Prime asked us to remain with at least one other." Red Alert paused, then continued awkwardly. "I see that you have encountered some sort of dysfunction within your team, and so you are most welcome to join with us until said relationship is repaired-"
"Your choice of words is inaccurate," Prowl replied. "For a relationship to be repaired, there must initially have been some sort of relationship."
Red Alert considered this. "Surely there is always a relationship- albeit could simply take any form."
"Yet it is my stance that there is not one to be salvaged."
There was a slightly awkward silence as the Autobots continued their rapid walk.
"I am not entirely sure how I will find Ratchet," Red Alert mused aloud. "He claims that his scanners are working, but the rest of we 'undeveloped glitches' won't find that too useful. Apparently our sensors will be jammed upon entry to the construction."
"You will find him," Prowl assured. "You have some innate ability for-"
"Ratchet stalking?" Sunstreaker interjected rudely.
"-fact," Prowl was still speaking, "You would be a valuable asset for something I have in process-"
"B-but you don't need him! You have us!" Sideswipe declared loudly.
Red Alert was growing increasingly uncomfortable. "If you are having difficulties-"
"What difficulties?" the tactician enquired.
Red Alert tried not to glance at the horror-struck Autobots behind Prowl. "Team-wise?"
"A matter I will be discussing with Prime."
"He wants to be rid of us!" Sideswipe wailed.
Sunstreaker wasn't able to comprehend this. "But- but I'm beautiful!"
Sideswipe abruptly noted that the second hadn't even twitched in their direction. "Prowlie- Prowlie, are you ig-ignoring us?" he asked suddenly, voice catching slightly.
There was no response.
"Confirmed!" Sunstreaker shouted, dropping to his knees- although this melodrama was instantly ruined as he sprang up again to keep up with the swift pace. "...I don't understand!"
"Prowlie, don't be this way!"
"It can't end like this-"
"It will never end! We will follow you fo-"
Prowl resumed his conversation with Red Alert. "I suppose you will be joining with Ratchet. He accompanied Prime originally on this Sam-exploration, I believe."
The medic nodded. "Presuming Ratchet does not object violently, you would be most welcome to acco-"
The twins shook with rage.
"I will be better purposed if I intend to find our continuously in peril Prime," Prowl politely declined. "Thus our objectives will clash."
"He has us!" Sunstreaker proclaimed.
"If I am in any need of assistance, I will call for the twins-"
There was a shout of jubilance-
"Mudflap and Skids," Prowl continued.
The rest was lost on the stunned Corvettes.
They weren't aware of much until they realised that they were no longer moving and Prowl and Red Alert were out of sight.
It wasn't so much a conscious decision. More that everything seemed to just stop working. Optics continued staring after, legs still bore them- but nothing was noticeable. Time itself became irrelevant as the twins simply existed silently, trying to understand that Prowl didn't want them anymore.
"I don't understand," Sunstreaker whispered brokenly. "The- the twins-? Mudflap and-?"
They tried to fathom this.
"But we are the twins. We are."
Sunstreaker and Sideswipe stood in their anguished befuddlement, lost to reality.
"Do- do you think he means it?" Sunstreaker suddenly asked.
"We can't know the processor of Prowlie."
"Especially not if Prowlie doesn't want us."
"But we need Prowlie," Sideswipe miserably concluded.
This didn't need justification.
"Why?" Hot Rod appeared, inexplicably and inappropriately as Hot Rods tend to do.
"What- what do you mean, why?" Sunstreaker demanded aggressively.
"Why do you need Prowl? Seems to me he doesn't even like you."
"That doesn't make a difference!" the silver brother fiercely shot back.
Bumblebee abruptly charged into sight and headed for them, bright optics urgently wide. "Keep moving on!"
"Yeah, I know," Hot Rod scowled. "I'm just trying to help these two- not that they will be helped. Some mechs just don't know, Bumblebee-! They just don't know a good thing when they see one! That's me! I'm the good thing," he added loudly. "I am."
"Sometimes you just have to walk away,"Bumblebee replied, jerking his helm in the direction of the corridor and bouncing lightly on his feet, suddenly blasting a howling man through his speakers. "We got to go- we got to go!"
"Fine, boy-lover." Hot Rod cast the yellow mech a patronising smile, then turned back to the Corvettes. "He's all distressed about his human being kidnapped. You two coming?"
"Prowlie doesn't want us," Sideswipe mumbled, almost to himself.
Bumblebee's optic ridges furrowed slightly.
"He's- he's chosen them over us," Sunstreaker hissed miserably, involuntarily curling a lip and narrowing his optics.
"You don't know what you got till it's gone-"
"We do! You know how much we-"
"You can't always get what you want," Bumblebee reminded them gently.
"But 'bee, Prowlie makes us whole," Sideswipe said sadly. "He's all we want."
"Besides a shiny paintjob," Sunstreaker absent-mindedly added. "And a nice bright colour."
Hot Rod eyed them. "Say, Bumblebee. I can just see you getting all cut up like this over me. I'll tell you now, I won't stay forever. One orn you-"
"Prowlie doesn't want us," Sunstreaker mumbled quietly.
"We don't always want-fst- what we need," the Camaro mournfully noted, antennae and doorwings softening slightly.
"Just stop it, 'bee!" the golden twin snarled and stormed away, fingers tightening into tense fists.
Sideswipe was desolate, following him automatically. "Maybe- maybe Prowlie would be happier if we just let him be."
"For the best?" Sunstreaker snorted bitterly. "Who benefits here?"
"For Prowlie's best," his brother conceded.
"Then what choice do we have?"
Arcee narrowed her optics suddenly. "I sense a sudden lack of intelligence."
She span, eyeing the space beside a confused Ironhide. "Your shadow disappeared."
"My-" Ironhide turned, then kept on turning. "Jetfire-? Where could he have gone?"
"He's probably been killed."
Ironhide's cannons protested furiously with a low grumble. "He's tougher than you, femme."
"That's rubbish and you know it. He's useless. A pacifist is absolutely of no worth to a war."
"At least he's got the courage to be one," Ironhide snapped suddenly. "We all have our own less important agenda. He'd do what was right by the Autobots before anything else, even if it tore him apart to do it."
Arcee retorted after an astrosecond. "You know nothing about him!"
"More than you think," Ironhide disagreed. "What would you care? You just sneer at everything- it startles me that you even know his name-"
"If you cared at all you would have noticed him disappearing!"
"So this is my fault!"
Arcee pointed accusingly. "He was behind you, not me!"
"He was behind both of us, you glitched fool!" Ironhide roared.
"I was busy leading the way," the femme justified indignantly. "You were just following and sulking like a-"
I'm interrupting this now because Ironhide and Arcee will never stop: this argument won't end, dear reader.
We'll end up spending all of our time on them when we could be doing more productive things.
Let's switch to elsewhere in the Warehouse. Who shall we watch?
Ah, here we are! This looks interesting.
I espy a large room with our erstwhile Decepticons and boy inside. What are they doing, I hear you cry? We shall go closer and have a look.
Megatron was busy assaulting Sam with his optics and looming over him. "Boy, you're puny."
"I feel it," Sam replied miserably, eyes darting about the room for some place to hide.
"Ooooh," the Decepticon suddenly sighed. "The suspense is building."
"For-for what?" Upon saying this, Sam didn't think it was going to be good- so he rethought and flung himself across to Starscream. "Please help-!"
"Help you do what, fleshling?"
"Starscream can't even help himself," Megatron reminded witheringly.
Starscream scowled. "Neither can he."
"The boy doesn't have to. He is a mammal."
"That is not a reasonable argument!" Starscream eyed him, hurt. "Then tell me- where is he in the hierarchy of things?"
Megatron mused for slightly less than a split second. "Above you."
Sam felt sorry for the dejected Seeker. "I don't m-"
"Shut up, fail. Starscream, you have been... demoted. You are no longer my top Fail. You are Fail #2."
Sam thought this sounded quite good for the Decepticon, actually. Almost like a compliment, in some bizarre way- but Starscream's entire face fell, his optics expanding in disbelief.
"You heard me," Megatron responded smugly. "I have no need of your fail services. Go back to base."
Sam slowly backed away and dove behind something reassuringly solid.
At that precise moment, Optimus burst through the door, bristling with weaponry. "Megatron!"
"Megatron." Optimus paused. "...I see you're not torturing Sam."
"No. We were about to have a good old chat."
"I've interrupted you, I see-"
"Gatecrash," Sam wailed, peeking out from behind his solid shield. "Optimus, please gatecrash!"
Prime was horrified. "What gate? ...Boy, if you're referring to that short period when the Autobots were in your garden, I apologised. I apologise again, but I maintain that I never crashed into a gate."
"See, boy? I would never ruin your garden- and if I did, I certainly wouldn't lie about it."
"OPTIMUUUUS!" Sam howled.
Something seemed to snap into the Autobot. "Megatron, hand me Sam!"
"Or I get nasty."
"Pah," Megatron scoffed. "You think pointing your finger in someone's face is nasty."
"Depends on the nature of the pointing," Prime scowled, affronted.
"It isn't threatening at all, you prat-"
"I would like to test that," Optimus challenged, guns subspacing before he flexed his fingers.
"Come on, weakling!" Megatron snarled, claws twitching enthusiastically.
Prime strode forwards, then stopped abruptly a pace away from the Decepticon. "How do you like that, eh? Feel threatened yet?"
"No," Megatron snorted. "I'm taller than you. Why would I feel-"
"Height isn't everything!" Optimus snapped.
"It is when you're an evil antagonist. Name me a short villain who was actually successful and feared-"
"Mojojojo?" Sam suggested, seeing Optimus frown.
"The boy is babbling again," Megatron sighed.
"Oh, I didn't say it right-" Sam hurriedly amended the error. "Mmmooojooooojojo!"
The Cybertronians shared a concerned glance.
"Are you done trying to be threatening?" Megatron asked. "The boy is having another fit."
"No! I am threatening!" Prime maintained, giving the mech a brief and dismissive glance.
"Did you just look me up and down?" the Decepticon hissed, insulted.
"I'm even sneering about it," Optimus declared nonchalantly. "See how my lip curls?"
"Nobody gives Megatron the up-down look!"
"You fool, I just did-! Now take this!" Optimus jabbed a finger at Megatron's face whilst speaking.
"Get that out of my face-!" Megatron snapped immediately, bristling.
"Or what? Or you'll feel intimidated?" Prime rumbled, corkscrewing the finger meanly.
"I am Megatron! Impossible! You take that grubby finger-"
"Grubby!" Optimus gasped-
"-out of my face before I give you the same treatment!"
"Never! I will not comply with your demands-!" the Autobot nobly denied, stabbing at the other's optic.
Refusing to budge, Megatron merely shuttered the optic furiously. "Fine!" His right arm shot up, claws twitching ominously- after manoeuvring one dangerously close to Optimus' face, he wiggled it menacingly.
The Prime's battlemask snapped into place.
"Getting serious, I see! Feeling threatened, I see!" Megatron gleefully shouted, prodding the armour.
"I might catch a disease from your rusty digits," Optimus sniped, his own finger thrusting viciously at his brother's forehelm. "Better safe than sorry."
Sam was finding it impossible to tear his eyes away from the sight of the two huge beings engaging in some sort of poking war.
"How do you feel about this, eh?" Prime snapped violently, wiggling all of his fingers at Megatron simultaneously.
"Why, you-" Megatron bit one.
Optimus winced, immediately cradling his hand. "You brute!"
"I'm sorry!" the Decepticon groaned in apologetic earnest with a sympathetic cringe. "I couldn't handle the pressure-!"
"I find you an unfit guardian for the boy!" Prime cried. "You could easily lose control and murder him!"
Megatron paused for a moment. "NEVER!" He ran suddenly, charging out of the room.
"There's no escape!" Optimus cried heroically, chasing valiantly after him down the corridors.
Left alone in the room, Sam tried to wave but it failed half-heartedly. "I'm- I'm right here? Weren't- weren't you supposed to find me?"
The fiery chase culminated as Prime rounded a corner and saw Megatron cornered on a platform with no further pathway. He looked down- a scarily steep drop to what appeared to be safety netting. "Megatron! Your escape is done!"
"Never! Never! You underestimate my power!" the Decepticon cried, then jumped suddenly.
"No-!" Optimus reached out desperately to stop the suicide, but Megatron was suspended in midair and moving away. The Autobot glanced up- Megatron was holding onto what seemed to be poles.
"Monkey... bars," Sam panted, having finally caught up. "Swing- swing on them and pull yourself onto the next one-"
Megatron was struggling already. Prime flung himself after his brother in pursuit, then realised he had no idea what he had to do.
"Sam?" he asked helplessly, dangling from a rail.
"Swing!" Sam shouted. "It's all in the hands- don't forget to swing your hips, make it easier!"
"But what do you do?"
"You- you just use momentum to carry yourself forward! Grab onto the next bar and keep going!"
"What is the point?" Megatron snarled.
"There isn't much- it's just fun," Sam feebly suggested. "Fun- and muscle-building, good for your body? It proves how strong you are."
"SEE?" Megatron roared immediately- sounding slightly pressured as he clung to the bars dementedly. "See how strong I am!"
"Your claws cannot support you!" Optimus tried nobly, a leg waving through the air."Desist your venture and return here!"
"Shut up!" the Decepticon howled. "I am fine!"
"He is right, my liege." Starscream was nodding shiftily. "Your spindly claws will not be able to sustain your mass-"
Optimus suddenly caught sight of the Seeker, who was calmly skulking around the perimeter of the room. "How-"
"There is a walkway," Starscream glowered with an angered flick of his hand towards his feet. "Normal mechs would use it."
Megatron saw the opportunity. "You shouldn't be on it, then."
Starscream chose to ignore this comment. "We'll see who looks the most dignified when you fall and crash down into that netting."
"Netting is weak!" Megatron cried. "It will never hold me down!"
"This is reinforced netting," the Seeker replied delightedly. "I have already examined it. Not only will it hold your weight, but it is sticky. You will be trapped."
"Never! I am Megatron!"
"You're an idiot," Starscream snapped. "Use your thrusters and stop fooling around."
Megatron's forehelm furrowed, then cleared slightly. "...Ahhh."
"'Ahhh'." Starscream echoed vehemently, highly unimpressed with the sight of the commander not making any attempt to fly.
"I see what this is," the large Decepticon began. "This is you trying to prove your dominance over me. You wouldn't be able to do this, so you want me to lose the challenge!"
Optimus kicked at him. "What challenge?"
"Nobody's challenging anyone," Sam cried. "You're delusional!"
Megatron laughed dramatically. "The only delusion in this room is- oh, shut up."
"There is absolutely no point to this," Starscream pleaded. "Stop this foolishness at once. How undignified-"
"You can hardly discuss dignity!" Megatron snapped.
"What is that supposed to mean?" the Seeker hissed, wings bristling.
"Your voice, for one thing," the commander grunted, swinging onto the next bar, optics brightening as he succeeded. "You sound like you're being strangled-"
Stunned, Starscream blinked. "What has that to do with anything?"
"No second in command should sound like he's being strangled!" Megatron insisted.
"You promoted me, hypocrite!"
"Then stand down if you want the Decepticons to win this war," he huffed.
Starscream was dumbstruck. "My voice has absolutely nothing to do with my capabilities as your second in command and you know it."
"So you're just useless all around-!" Megatron concluded, kicking Optimus. "You could blame your failings on your voice, but no- very valiant of you, claiming that it is your fault-"
"I hope you die!" Starscream snapped. "You're so mean!"
"Your voice makes me angry!" Megatron snarled.
"That isn't my fault!"
"Yes it is! If you were a good soldier who cared, you'd just shut up so I didn't have to hear you! Oh, I know why I promoted you now. It's so that I can hear your voice more frequently and thus become berserk-"
"I resign!" Starscream screeched hysterically. "Find yourself a new scapegoat!"
"I'm not finished being furious," Megatron shouted. "You- wait, what did you say?"
The Seeker was viciously scraping his talons across his forehelm. "I resign!"
"What the Pit are you doing, you fool-"
"I am annulling my faction insignia, you insane, domineering glitch-" Starscream hissed. His hand slashed away from his face- the newly scarred symbol was instantly visible. "I hope it brings you great joy!"
With that, the Seeker shot into the air and blasted his way through the ceiling, disappearing within seconds.
There was silence for a moment before Optimus suddenly worked out the premise behind the monkey bars, and easily swung himself back to Sam.
"What just happened?" the human enquired.
"Just a tiff," Prime assured as Megatron burst into profusely violent bursts of Cybertronian before engaging his thrusters and flying off down another tunnel.
"This happens a lot?" Sam wavered.
"Not for me to presume," the Autobot answered. "The Decepticons are laws unto themselves."
But he had never seen anything quite so dramatic.
"You- you have something stuck on your armour," Sam helpfully pointed out, staring oddly at the Autobot's leg.
"Mmm?" Prime looked down.
"It looks like- like jelly or something."
And thus Optimus was unpleasantly reminded that somehow they still had to survive getting out of the Warehouse.
Now is the time I hope everybody remembers Mojojojo and I'm not just a crazy psycho along with the boy. You remember Mojojojo, right? Please tell me I'm not alone.
Well, this was traumatising to write.
Especially Team Three. Oh, Prowlie.
Next chapter, we'll continue struggling through the Warehouse- and maybe Optimus will have a really good idea which will fix everything! Maybe. Who knows?
Keep kibbling till then, everybody! C: