Title: The Glories of eBay
Author: Gixxer Pilot
Summary: Epps buys a novelty chair on eBay. Who could have thought it would bring so much chaos to the NEST base? Oneshot based loosely off Tenshi of Light's Autobot Pranks. If you haven't read it and want to laugh, do so. It's epically hilarious.
Author's Notes: Since I started chatting with Tenshi over the last week, I've discovered my muse for all things humorous in fiction. While this story is pure crack, it's based on a recent real-life case of a Minnesota man who was arrested in Proctor (a small town about 150 miles northeast of Minneapolis/St. Paul) for a DUI while on his custom made motorized La-Z-Boy recliner. The chair is currently on EBay, being auctioned by the Proctor Police Department. As I type this, the bidding is at $40,000. Yes, that's right. $40,000 with another day left on the auction.
If anyone wants pictures or a link to the eBay listing, go to http:// gixxer - pilot dot livejournal dot com. Obviously, remove all the spaces and use the actual symbol for "dot" instead of the word. Also, there is no "www" in that. In any case, I put some pictures up on my blog.
Disclaimer: I don't own Transformers, nor do I have the patience or time to put together a motorized La-Z-Boy recliner. I do like the NHRA theme in the chair, though. Does that count?
"Hey, Sarah. It's Bobby."
Sarah Lennox smiled happily, juggling her cell phone in one hand and Annabelle in the other. "Bobby! How are you?"
"I'm fine. And how's my favorite girl?" The Master Sergeant laughed when he heard Annabelle's bright two year old gibberish in the background.
"She's good, of course. She's into the terrible twos now, so it's a bit of a challenge keeping her occupied for more than a couple of seconds." Setting her daughter's food on the booster seat table, Sarah finally had both hands free to talk. "What can I do for you? I assume this isn't just a social call."
A pause came from the other end of the line. "No, it's not. Sarah, I need a favor. A big favor."
Sensing the serious tone of Epps' voice, Sarah walked into the living room and sat down on the sofa. "Yeah, whatever you need, Bobby. Just name it."
Epps let out a big breath. "Can I use your place for a shipping address for something I just bought?"
"Use our house? Sure, but why?" Sarah asked, slightly confused. "Can't you just ship it to the base?"
Epps sighed again. "Well yeah. I normally would, but this something I want to keep on the down low, if you know what I mean."
Sarah furrowed her brows in confusion and suspicion. She'd known Bobby Epps a long time; he and Will went way back. She also knew what kind of a prankster the Sergeant was. If Epps was trying to conceal the existence of an object or a person, Sarah wasn't sure she wanted any part of it. "I don't know, Bobby. What is it?"
"I can't tell you, but I think you'd like it. So would Will, now that I think about it." Epps wasn't above pleading. "Please, Sarah? Just this one time? You don't even have to open anything. All you have to do is sign for it and have them put it in one of those pole barns I know you guys don't use. Ironhide agreed to help me move it as soon as it arrives."
Sarah contemplated the request. The action itself didn't seem all that dubious, but this was Epps, and therefore, not a normal human being. But, Sarah rationalized, if Ironhide had agreed to help, how bad could it be? Knowing she'd eventually regret it, she relented. "All right, Epps. Just this once, got it? And if Will gets mad, I will tell him you coerced me."
"Yes, ma'am." The smile undoubtedly plastered all over the soldier's face could be heard in his voice. "I'll take all the blame."
"You do that, soldier." Grabbing a pen and a piece of paper from the junk drawer in the kitchen, she rested the phone in the crook of her shoulder. "Now, give me all the necessary information."
Of all the things Sarah Lennox envisioned Bobby Epps buying, the strange item currently before her was certainly not it. Cocking her head to one side, Sarah still wasn't exactly sure what it actually was. Scratching her head, Sarah looked incredulously toward the NEST Sergeant and asked, "Bobby, where did you get this again?"
Epps smiled widely, exposing his bright white teeth. "I told you, Sarah. eBay."
"And you paid for it?" Sarah queried, raising one blonde eyebrow.
"Well, NEST did actually," Epps replied.
Fixing her husband's long time friend with a glare of disapproval, Sarah continued. "Oookay…What's the point?"
A shrug. "I dunno. Does there have to be a point?"
"Normally no, but when a gigantic motorized La-Z-Boy shows up in my barn, then yes, there damn well better be a point! How much was that thing, anyway?"
Epps scratched his head. "Uh, expensive."
Sarah reciprocated by narrowing her eyes. "How expensive?"
Epps muffled his voice by putting his hand over his mouth. "Forty five thousand dollars."
Sarah nearly had to pick her jaw up off the dirt floor. "Excuse me? Forty-five, what? Bobby, are you insane?"
"Sarah, NEST has a really, really big budget, okay? They won't miss the forty-five grand, and the money went to a city, not a private seller. It's a little town, and I'm sure they could use it. Trust me. That money's like a drop of a hat to NEST. And after Egypt, I thought our soldiers could use a reason to laugh."
"I don't know anything about this. I don't want to know where it came from, and I don't want to know how you found it." Throwing her hands up in the air, Sarah turned and started walking off. "Men! I will never understand you. Just get this thing out of my house before my husband gets home and busts you back down to Private!"
Bobby Epps rubbed his hands together in anticipation, eyeing his new toy parked inconspicuously in one of the smallest of the NEST hangers. Ever since he saw story of the Minnesota man arrested for DUI on a motorized La-Z-Boy, he decided he had to have the infamous chair. When the local police auctioned off the vehicle in question, Epps tapped into his inner nerd and purchased the one of kind item. The Sergeant figured it was an "educational experience" for the Autobots, and thus qualified for the use of NEST funds. Either way, he was thrilled.
The La-Z-Boy recliner itself was actually quite nice. It was oversized, black leather with blue piping flames on the side, and complete with a silver steering wheel, shifter and brake. The National Hot Rod Association logo was emblazoned in the leather on the backrest. To enhance the lawnmower engine used to power the strange vehicle, there was a can of nitrous oxide attached to the back, complete with a parachute similar to the ones used by cars in the NHRA's Pro Stock classification. The chair came complete with front lights, a side mirror, and to top it off, a cup holder for any kind of adult beverage.
Epps hopped into his newly acquired chair and made sure the parking brake was on. He choked the engine and fired the starter. The engine roared to life. Grabbing the shifter on the right side, Bobby released the brake and gave a little throttle to the engine. Grabbing the steering wheel, he ventured experimentally around the hanger.
Twenty minutes later, Epps was happily driving in circles and attempting wheelies when Lennox strolled in.
"What the hell is that, Epps?" Lennox asked, gesturing in Epps' general direction.
"My new recliner. Actually, it's the base's new recliner. Like it?" Epps asked, bringing the chair to a halt in front of his off duty superior officer.
Lennox narrowed his eyes warily, the look on Will's face suspiciously mirroring the one Sarah gave him. Maybe she learned it from him, though Epps would bet a year of his salary it was the other way around. "Is that the chair from that DUI in Minnesota?"
"The one and only."
"And I'm sure you had NEST pay for it, right?" Lennox raised his hands. "Wait. Don't tell me. Plausible deniability. I don't want to know!"
"Good choice, man," Epps laughed.
Lennox pulled his hands off his hips and stepped forward. "Now, let me see this damn thing."
Another twenty minutes passed before Epps and Lennox realized that their new toy lacked some serious horsepower.
"Hey Epps, if the creator of this chair was a huge drag racing fan, he would probably like it if we were to use our power and resources to make it go as fast as some of those cars, right?" Lennox asked with an evil glint is his eye.
"Hey, man. I aint' doing none of that three hundred miles an hour in a quarter mile shit. No way!" Epps responded, his dark eyes wide.
"I'm not talking about going that fast, you idiot! I'm just thinking faster than ten or fifteen would be nice," Lennox corrected his friend.
Epps raised his eyebrows and pursed his lips in agreement. "In that case, where's Mikaela?"
It really wasn't hard for Epps and Lennox to convince Mikaela to put her mechanical knowledge to work on upgrades for the base's famous new recliner. A couple of days and a lot of money later, Epps and Lennox were presented with the recliner to beat all recliners: the NHRA La-Z-Boy that would do zero to sixty in just under six seconds.
"Okay you two. Here's what I did. First and foremost, you'll notice that the engine is set up completely different." Mikaela pointed to the black cage protruding slightly from the bottom rear of the recliner. "I took out the lawnmower engine and replaced it with a 2008 Kawasaki Ninja 250 motorcycle engine and transmission. It's got thirty five horsepower now."
Lennox crinkled his nose. "Thirty five? That's it? You could have put more under the seat, Mikaela."
The dark haired teen rolled her eyes. "Yeah, I could have done more if I wanted you to die. The next step up would have been a Gixxer engine, and that a big ass step. The Gixxer's got over one hundred horsepower."
"So?" Lennox retorted, his bravado increasing. "I like fast. I jump out of planes and ride around with Ironhide, remember?"
Mikaela snorted. "Lennox, the Gixxer is the GSX-R, Suzuki's sport bike. It's a race bike with lights. The smallest displacement engine Suzuki makes in that line, the 600, does zero to sixty in three seconds and will go 150 miles an hour all day long."
Will visibly paled at the thought of racing a recliner. "Oh. Okay. Little Kawi engine it is, then."
"All right. So, because I replaced your engine, I had to make the wheelbase sturdier and rebalance it. I used wheels from a pocket bike and shored everything up with new welds and a stronger frame."
Walking around to the front of the La-Z-Boy, Mikaela continued. "The transmission has been redone, but it still shifts the same way with the lever. I had to add a clutch and throttle assembly, so I fabricated a footrest at the same time. The pedals operate as they would in a manual transmission car." Mikaela pointed to three shiny silver pedals on the base of the newly installed and grip taped footrest. "Basically, you guys have a motorcycle under your recliner," she finished with a satisfied grin.
"Mikaela, have I told you how much you rock?" Epps practically crushed the mechanic in a hug. "This is going to be so much fun!"
"Yeah, I know I do. Do you have any idea how much you two owe me for this? It was nearly impossible keeping this a secret from Optimus and Ratchet!" she whined.
Epps and Lennox both hugged Mikaela. "Don't worry. We'll take care of it. You know we'll figure out something for you."
Mikaela muttered, "Just be glad my dad works at that bike shop. Otherwise, I don't know where I would have done this."
Epps launched himself into the recliner, beginning to familiarize himself with the new set of controls. As Epps attempted a burnout, Lennox called, "Don't forget Galloway's meeting us today for a briefing on our budget for next year in a half hour!"
"Yeah, yeah. I got it!" Epps waved his hand in acknowledgement as he sped off toward the human side of NEST headquarters. Epps had no real interest in the President's asshole of a liaison, but tolerated him because he had no choice. Taking the long way, Epps got to his quarters in time to change into a set of BDUs and make his way on foot back toward the operations hanger.
Three hours and several urges to strangle the life out of the prick from Washington later, Epps, Lennox, Ironhide and Optimus emerged from the meeting ready to shoot the first being who said the word 'budget'. As the four split to go about their respective duties, a young Private approached the human military commanders and timidly asked for a word. All four senior advisors stopped to listen.
"M-Major? Permission to speak, sir?"
Lennox took pity on the young man. He looked to be no older than twenty. If Will's memory served, Private Mellman was only eighteen and fresh out of boot. "Go ahead, Private."
"Sir, some of the men were a little restless, seeing as there hasn't been any Decepticon activity since Egypt, and we really don't like that Galloway guy and some of the guys were wandering around the base and they saw that new recliner--"
Lennox internally rolled his eyes at Mellman's run on sentence. "Spit it out, Private."
Mellman blanced. "Y-Yes, sir. Well, someone took the motorized chair and crashed it into Mr. Galloway's personal car, sir."
It was only fifteen years as an Army officer that kept Lennox's jaw from detaching from his skull. "He-- What? Say that again, Private. Who crashed the recliner into Director Galloway's car?"
"Palladora, sir. He got a mean burnout going, but he dumped the clutch and went straight into the side of the car," Mellman timidly answered. "Jackson took him to sickbay."
Lennox couldn't stop the quiet groan from escaping his mouth. Sickbay meant medics, and medics meant Ratchet. Pushing that thought aside to deal with it later, Lennox asked, "Was Cpl. Palladora seriously injured?"
Mellman shook his head to the negative. "No, sir. Just a couple of bumps and sprains. He flew over the car and landed on the other side."
Will hated to ask the next question. "What kind of damage was done to Director Galloway's vehicle?"
Mellman began to stutter again, his answer saved by a very irate National Security Advisor storming toward the group of leaders.
"Lennox! I swear this is the last straw! The last one! One of your people, and I use that term loosely, crashed a motorized La-Z-Boy into my car. I now have a dent the size of Ray Lewis in the passenger side of my personal vehicle!" Galloway hollered, his tie flapping in his face and vein bulging in his forehead.
"Director Galloway, I apologize for my soldiers' conduct. They will be found and dealt with accordingly," Lennox placated, no sense of urgency behind his words.
Galloway nodded viciously as he invaded Will's personal space. "See that they do. And you'll be getting a bill from the highest bidder I can find."
As Galloway turned his back, Will sneered in disgust. "God, I hate him."
Optimus and Ironhide had remained silent through the entire debacle. "What is this recliner, Private Mellman?"
"Uh, it's something that the base recently acquired, sir. I'm not sure from where."
Optimus nodded. "Well, perhaps for the time being, it may be wise to confiscate whatever it is that's causing this problem. Major?"
"I agree. I'll move the chair myself. We can put it in the storage facility in medbay with Ratchet. No one will get to it there," Lennox said, putting an end to the conversation.
"Goddammit, there goes our fun." Epps sulked all the way back to his quarters.
Wheeljack flicked on the lights to medbay, his optics taking a split second to adjust to the change. Moving through the room, he caught his toe on the corner of something that wasn't there when he'd left the day previous. Bending down to inspect the new item, the inventor was instantly curious. A human recliner, his search told him, but with a few modifications. Stroking his chin, Wheeljack began to think. Prime had often told him that his experiments would be more appreciated if they were less explosive. Quickly doing some calculations in his head, the mech devised a way to replicate the human chair for Autobot use.
Two days and a few different tries later, Wheeljack had his luxury chair. It had every single specification the human chair had – power to weight ratio, steering capabilities, top speed, but it would accommodate a mech of even Optimus Prime's considerable bulk. Wheeljack had worked a couple of extra upgrades from the original human design, one a remote control capability and another, full restraints for the user. He had mounted a small camera in the upper portion of the chair and rigged up a simple transmitter to make the remote work. Looking proudly at his invention, complete with a replica NHRA logo, Wheeljack secured his lab for the night and headed off to recharge.
"There he goes!" Sunstreaker nudged his brother as the Corvette twins watched Wheeljack close up his shop for the night.
"Do you think he's done with it?" Sideswipe asked.
"I'm sure he is. I heard him talking to himself today, and he should be finished by tonight."
An expression of humor mixed with a little bit of sarcastic fear briefly crossed Sides' face. "Talking to himself?"
Sunstreaker shrugged. "It's Wheejack. What do you expect?"
"Good point. Now, let's find out if he finished, shall we?" The evil grin on Sides' faceplates matched the expression of his twin.
Creeping silently through Ratchet's darkened medbay, the two Autobot twins were ecstatic to find that the inventor had not changed his passcode, and that the chair of Sunny and Sides' desire was indeed finished.
"Sunny, where's the transmitter and remote?" Sides whispered.
"Right here." Sunstreaker plucked a small remote, complete with a viewscreen, off Wheeljacks's bench and shoved it into a compartment in his thigh. "Let's move before we get caught."
"Everyone should be coming out of that senior staff meeting. We should have just enough time to get this chair into the rec room before tonight's party," Sides said as he pushed the chair down the long hallway towards the Autobot recreation area.
"And then, we just gotta get Ironbutt to sit in it," Sunny finished.
"He's going to shoot us, you know," Sides informed his brother.
"Yeah, but it'll be worth it. I'm willing to ruin my paint job to remind old Ironhide of the gravitron!" Sunny answered. The two Corvettes dissolved into a fit of giggles, thinking back to the infamous Autobot fair. More specifically, they were thinking of the spinning gravitron, which Ironhide had so boldly predicted would be a piece of cake for the weapons specialist to handle. However, after five minutes of fighting an urge to purge all over himself, Ironhide rethought that theory as he stumbled off the ride and offlined on first chunk of solid ground his feet touched.
As the twins entered the rec room and set up their new recliner, the voices of Optimus Prime, Ratchet and Ironhide floating down the hallway. The three senior bots entered and immediately beelined for the high grade dispense. Sunny and Sides exchanged a pleased glance.
"You three look like you've had a day from the pit itself," Sunny said sweetly as he grabbed some low grade for himself.
Optimus sank down gratefully on the custom made Prime sized couch and let his feet dangle over the edge. "You could say that. What is that human expression? T.G.I.F.?"
Ratchet snorted a note of agreement. "I wish you'd rethink that policy of yours, Optimus."
Prime raised an optic ridge. "Which?"
"The harming humans policy," Ironhide gruffly amended from across the room.
"Well, Wheeljack just finished up his latest work. It's a replica of a human thing called a La-Z-Boy. It's supposed to be the epitome of comfort. Why don't you give it a try, Ironhide?" Sides added. "You look like you could use it."
If Optimus hadn't been so exhausted after four days of government meetings while dealing with a rather nasty virus running through his systems, he most certainly would have caught the sickly sweet nature of his normally devious set of twins. He also would have warned Ironhide that whatever was about to happen was probably not going to be fun for anyone but Sunstreaker or Sideswipe.
Ironhide eyed the recliner with trepidation. It did look mighty comfortable, and it didn't look like it would bite him or explode at any moment. Making his choice, the weapons specialist ambled over to the recliner and sat down. "Hmm. Nice. No explosions, nothing failing. A mech could get used to this."
The Corvette twins excused themselves quietly for the night and went back to their shared quarters. From the camera on the chair, Sunny and Sides could see what they needed to see. Fortunately for them, Wheeljack also had the foresight to install microphones.
Optimus' deep baritone rumbled through the feed. "Well, it looks rather harmless, though with Wheeljack, anything's possible."
Ratchet's chuckle came from somewhere to Ironhide's right. "It's more than possible, though this time I dare say we might be okay."
'Famous last words,' Sides thought deviously as he nodded to his twin. In that instant, Sunny pressed a button on the remote. In an instant, a four-point safety harness buckled itself around Ironhide and tightened up.
Ironhide looked around, confused. Prime sat up from his slouched position and Ratchet jumped to his feet. "Hey, what the frag is this?" Ironhide tugged hard on the straps, finding they wouldn't budge. "What is going on here? The chair's slagging possessed!"
All of a sudden, the recliner's backrest dropped to the furthest reclined position and bolted, seemingly by itself, toward the door. "Whoooooaaaaa! What's going oooon?" Ironhide shouted, a mass of black flying past a shocked Optimus and Ratchet. Both mechs jumped to their feet and followed the wayward chair as it sped down the hallway of the Autobot quarters.
Cybertronians and humans alike were sent diving for cover as the motorized Autobot sized La-Z-Boy came thundering down the corridor. Optics and eyes could only stare at the sight of a large and angry mech strapped to the chair against his will, flying down the hallways. Jaws dropped, fingers pointed, mouths gaped and pictures were snapped.
Figuring Sunstreaker and Sideswipe were behind the prank once again, Ironhide alternated between yelling in fear and yelling at the twins. "You little fraaaaggeerrrss! When I get my ha--" Ironhide abruptly cut off his rant as the chair took a corner at neck snapping speed, an un mechly squeak emanating from his vocalizer.
In their quarters, Sunny and Sides were both doubled over in laughter, having to remind themselves to pay attention so Ironhide wouldn't be hurt. "Speed it up, Sunny!" Sunstreaker turned the throttle dial up to high as he saw the opening to the hanger and tarmac on the viewscreen.
Epps and Lennox walked toward the Autobot hanger, talking quietly amongst themselves. "They'd better have a good movie on tonight. I'm getting sick of--" Epps moaned as Lennox repeatedly whacked him on the bicep. "What, dude?"
Pointing, Lennox said nothing. Epps' eyes followed the imaginary line Will's finger was making, and as soon as his brain registered what his eyes were seeing, Epps' jaw dropped to the tarmac. Flying toward them at easily over ninety miles an hour was Ironhide on what could only be described as the Autobot version of Epps' lawnmower recliner.
As Ironhide blew past them and started spinning doughnuts on the tarmac, the only thing that could be heard from the Topkick was, "Soommmeeeoonnneee'ss deeaaddd wheeenn I sttooooppp thiiisss!"
Epps doubled over in laughter as the chair stopped, only to start jumping around as the controllers executed a circular burnout. Locking optic to eye with Epps, Ironhide growled. "You ungraaaateful fraggeeeeer! See if I eeeeever help you agaaaaaain!" Ironhide screamed from across the tarmac.
A herd of Autobots and human soldiers came pouring out of the hangers, all in various stages of disbelief or laughter. Some were being held up by others, while a few bots and humans had given up and were laying on the ground in hysterical tears.
The clutch disengaged, and the recliner snapped forward again at full speed across the runway. Hearing the downshift of the engine, Lennox cringed as the recliner executed a wheelie, the laid back position the chair nearly scraping Ironhide's helm on the ground. Slamming on the brakes, the wheelie turned into a stoppie, throwing the Topkick violently forward in his restraints. Ironhide gave up completely on English cursing and switched to the meanest, most profane Cybertronian oaths he could think of.
Sunstreaker and Sideswipe had wandered out toward the tarmac to see first hand the havoc they were wreaking on Ironhide. As they began to spin big doughnuts with their direct commander once again, Wheeljack's curse kicked in. The transmitter and remote sparked in Sunny's hands and landed on the cement as nothing but a blackened piece of unusable plastic.
Sunny and Sides looked at each other, panic written all over their faceplates. "Oh, slag. What now?"
"Um, hide, I think," Sideswipe said, both bots high tailing it back to their quarters.
The rest of the group was unaware anything was amiss. Optimus pushed his way through the crowd to see Ironhide clinging to the armrests of the chair for dear life, his optics wide and bright in fear. Prime could sympathize, as it looked like Ironhide was once again revisiting the gravitron from the Autobot fair. Assuming someone was controlling the slightly demonic chair, Optimus stepped forward.
It was only when Ironhide and the recliner was just feet from crashing into him did Optimus realize that no one actually had control. As the front of the motorized La-Z-Boy slammed full force into his knees, Optimus grunted as Ironhide was launched into his chest plates. Landing in an ungraceful heap of limbs, Prime engaged his battle mask to cover the laughter that was threatening to bubble to the surface when he analyzed the wild, frightened look in Ironhide's normally intense optics.
Ironhide shook his head to clear some of the cobwebs that had accumulated there during his ride. He pushed off Prime's chest and willed himself to his feet, steadied by Ratchet. Shoving the medic's hand away, Ironhide staggered into the Autobot quarters and down towards Sunny and Sides' room. Practically throwing the door off its hinges, Ironhide snarled and let his cannon gyros spin. The twins backed up on to their respective berths in fear. There was no need to lie.
"You are both dead. I will put you on sanitation duty for the rest of your existence, unless you do one thing." Ironhide locked optics with both Sunny and Sides.
The Corvette twins shook their heads fast enough Ironhide thought their neck servos might snap or short out. Sunny was the one able to find his voice. "Anything. We didn't know it would fail like that. Honestly! What can we do?"
Ironhide paused dramatically. "Fix that fragging chair and get Ratchet's aft in it next Tuesday. I have a service appointment I don't relish keeping."
Sunstreaker and Sideswipe groaned.