Author's Notes: Gah! WTF? How did this happen? I've written a 12,000 word, plotted, chaptered crackfic. *facepalm* I really, really need a life. As with the last chapter, this one is based off something I did to an unfortunate roommate in college. I figured it was fitting as a "teaching experience" for everyone's favorite twins. So, this is it, I promise you. There will be no more of The Glories of eBay after this chapter. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: Mine? Nope. Don't sue. Also, this is another one of those, 'Don't try this at home' chapters. I did, and though the prank and end result were epically hilarious, the punishment was not. You have been warned.
Optimus laid his massive body back on his recharge berth with a content cycle of his vents. It had been quite a while since he could recall having the morning to himself, and Prime was really hoping for nothing more than to catch up on some reading he'd long been neglecting. Maggie had recently taken Optimus' lack of relaxation on as a person mission, insisting the giant leader didn't spend enough time taking care of himself. She was kind enough to send him Kindle versions of several books she thought he'd enjoy, mainly consisting of the classical Russian authors Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Pushkin and Chekov, all in the authors' original language. He certainly appreciated the effort, and he actually was enjoying the reading.
Halfway through Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, Optimus heard the argument well before he saw it. He initially thought perhaps his comm system was malfunctioning, since the voices of Ironhide and Ratchet sounded tinny and echoed terribly. But he stopped short when he realized that particular system hadn't activated through his processor or CPU. Prime got up and poked his head out into the hallway to investigate, only to find Ratchet and Ironhide were, as per usual, verbally arguing at a decibel level completely inappropriate for 0600 in the morning.
Some days, it truly didn't pay to get involved and maybe one day, Optimus would learn not to stick his noseplates where they didn't belong. But before he could turn to go back to his quarters, Ratchet's angry voice stopped him in his tracks.
"Optimus, get your aft in here, now!"
Prime cycled his massive vents. After being nearly dragged through the door by the Topkick, the Autobot leader stood and casually observed his weapons specialist and medic. Ironhide, much like a grizzly bear, was cranky from being woken before his recharge cycle was complete, and Ratchet…perhaps a visual definition of his current state wasn't appropriate given the sheer mess he was.
Ironhide was the first to speak. "Permission to offline Sunstreaker and Sideswipe as slowly and as painfully as possible."
One yellow hand shoved Ironhide out of the way with enough force to knock the weapons specialist off balance. Ratchet shouldered his way in front of Ironhide to make his point heard. "No way, 'Hide. I get 'em first. Look at me!"
Ironhide crossed his arms over his chest, recoiling at Ratchet's touch. "Are you forgetting I took a ride on that fragging Chair of Doom first, or does that not count in your esteemed opinion?"
The medic fired right back, pushing one yellow finger into the Topkick's heavily armored chest plates. "You did not get dunked in the humans' waste disposal tank, bolts for a processor! That ride on the chair did you good."
Prime held up one large hand to stop the argument before it began anew. "Could you two just start at the beginning, please? What on Cybertron happened here? And what are you covered with, Ratchet?"
A low, animalistic growl escaped from the medic's vocalizer. "The Corvette twins happened, Prime."
Optimus shuttered his optics. "Ah. The Sunstreaker and Sideswipe variety, I assume?"
Ironhide and Ratchet nodded, both too angry to speak.
"And this has something to do with that chair of Wheeljack's, the one inspired by that human from the snow-covered state in the northern part of the United States?"
"Very astute," Ratchet confirmed sarcastically.
"Just tell me what happened please. I'd like very much to get on with my day." Prime paused, then added, "And also so Ratchet can go wash up." Optimus joints groaned, the large mech lowering himself into a sitting position on Ironhide's recharge berth. It was far too early in the morning to have to deal with Sunstreaker and Sideswipe's antics, and mornings like the way this one was shaping up usually ended with a processor ache for the Autobot leader.
Ironhide and Ratchet took Optimus' sitting down as their cue. The two laid out, in fine detail, what had transpired during the last twenty-four hours. Ironhide rehashed his ride on the Chair of Doom, though he cleverly omitted the small detail that was his order to Sunny and Sides to find a way to make Ratchet the chair's next victim. What Optimus didn't know couldn't hurt him, and it certainly wouldn't bode well for Ironhide should anyone find that out. The weapons specialist did admit he'd gone harder on Sunny and Sides as payback, but figured Prime wouldn't mind too terribly.
Ratchet took over and proceeded to give the version of events to Prime from the medic's point of view, beginning the night previous. The Autobot leader arched an optic ridge at the planning the prank must have taken, though he said nothing in response. When Ratchet finally explained why he was covered in human waste, Optimus engaged his battle mask to keep the smug smile from becoming visible. As much as he respected and cared for his two senior officers, sometimes it was good for their respective egos to be taken down a peg or two. And although the pranks were crude and without mercy, Optimus silently admitted they were good.
Ratchet finished up his report, straightening to his full height in order to preserve what little dignity he had left. "So, I ask you, Prime. Permission for me to offline Sunstreaker and Sideswipe in a matter as heinous as the slag I'm covered in."
Prime paused, retracting his battle mask. "Denied. For both of you."
Ratchet and Ironhide both gaped at their red and blue flamed leader, the Prime sitting ever so serenely on the weapons specialist's recharge berth. Ratchet's jaw fell open and his optics widened, too stunned to speak.
Ironhide was incensed. "You've got to be kidding me, Optimus! Look what they've done!" Motioning with his thumb, 'Hide continued. "Normally, I wouldn't care what those two did to our dear medic, but this is too far for even the likes of someone as cranky as him."
Ratchet answered with wrench-swinging forehand winner to Ironhide's shoulder.
Optimus cleared his vocalizer. "Are you two finished?"
Grumbling Cybertronian expletives under their breath, both Ratchet and Ironhide nodded.
Prime smiled slyly. "Good. Because I have a plan."
Ironhide and Ratchet looked at one another in confusion. It had been eons since they'd seen a mischievous look such as the one currently stuck all over Optimus' faceplates, and it meant he was accessing a part of his processor that hadn't been given such a workout in a few thousand years. It was only the arrival to Earth of the two sets of twins that had recently perpetuated the need for more creative ways to discipline his soldiers. Though he wasn't as good as Prowl, ingenuity in punishment was something at which Prime was quiet proficient.
"What do you have in mind, Optimus?" Ironhide asked. Before even hearing the plan, he already liked where it was headed.
Clearly, the idea the Prime had was brilliant, would cause no physical harm other than to the 'Vette twins' egos, and would be damned amusing to boot. The problem was going to lie in the execution, the requisitioning requiring some very creative wording. It would take a joint effort by the three senior 'bots, but given their recent pranks, Optimus figured he'd get Ironhide and Ratchet's full support.
"We all know how vain those two are," Prime began, standing up with his hands locked behind his back. He cycled his vents once again and paced a slow circle around 'Hide's quarters. "I have an idea, but I need to figure out how to justify a dozen pallets of super glue to the U.S. Government."
If Ratchet or Ironhide were surprised by the suggestion, they both did a good job of not showing it. Tilting his head, 'Hide chimed in, "We have an expense account. Why don't we use it for once?"
Ratchet smirked. "Ironhide, I knew there was a reason I've managed to keep your sorry aft on line for this long."
Optimus walked through the central command area of NEST, his long legs eating up the distance between the tarmac and the hanger. Nighttime was a nice time at Diego Garcia. Most humans were sleeping, and those that weren't were sequestered in a small room tucked deep in the operations hanger. It was a time that Prime liked to use to clear his processor by walking about the base. Dog watch's quietness was also a blessing, given the prank the Boss Bot was about to pull.
Out of the corner of his optic, he spied two dust trails in the distance. Giving a quick flick of his optic enhancers and activating the night vision, he was able to see that it was Sunstreaker and Sideswipe. Perfect. The Autobot leader stood stock still, his silver hands planted lightly on his hips as he waited for the 'Vette twins to arrive.
Sunny and Sides transformed while they came to a screeching halt in front of the operations hanger. At the sight of their leader, both twins straightened up subconsciously. "Prime. What can we do for you?" Sunny asked.
Optimus' voice boomed over the twins' heads. "How was patrol? Do you have any news on Decepticon activity?"
"Nothing Earth shattering, Prime," Sides answered. "It's pretty much same slag, different day."
Optimus nodded and let out a quiet, "Hmm. Well, keep me apprised, please."
"Well will," Sunny assured.
"Oh, Sunstreaker? Sideswipe?" Prime said as he turned to make his way back to his office. Over his shoulder, he said, "I believe Ratchet has requested your presence in his medical bay upon your return."
Two sets of optics flicked toward the other twin. Though nervous in his CPU, Sides did his best to project a certain air of nonchalance. "Did he say what he needed? I mean, we have work to do and a report for Jazz."
"No he didn't, though he said he said it was an urgent matter. You know how Ratchet gets when you keep him waiting, so I'd suggest you go immediately." Optimus was halfway through his transformation sequence, mainly to hide the smile he knew would have otherwise been visible.
"You got it, Prime," Sunny responded.
The two 'Vette twins walked slowly down the hall like two men being marched to the gallows. Arriving too quickly at medbay, Sunny and Sides took in the green light above the door. Of course Ratchet couldn't have been busy as to give the twins an excuse to come back later. Before they could formulate a reason to turn and flee, the doors whooshed open and the twins felt the negative pressure of medbay pull air in from their backs.
"Sunstreaker. Sideswipe," Ratchet nodded, polishing one last wrench and setting it in its designated place.
"Ratchet," Sunny acknowledged, not completely successful in masking the slight quiver to his vocalizer.
The medic stopped and looked up from his work. "How long has it been since you two had a service?"
Sunny and Sides stopped dead in their tracks, the voice of the Autobot medic slicing into them like a plasma cutter. "Service? Uh, I thought we just had ours done."
Sideswipe added nervously, "Yeah. Wasn't it just a few Earth months ago?"
Ratchet shifted, one hand still on the berth in front of him. He checked his databanks achingly slowly, the medic relishing the obvious discomfort of the two mechs in front of him. "According to my records, you two are far, far overdue, and Prime has ordered me to catch up on all the housekeeping that has fallen by the wayside since we all started landing here on Earth. You two are up."
Sunny and Sides shuffled toward the medberth, both eyeing it as if the metal would suddenly sprout teeth and claws.
"You know, Ratchet, I'm good. I feel great, and there's nothing wrong," Sunny said. "Seriously. Healthy as can be."
Ratchet's face remained annoyingly blank. "I don't tell you how to do recon, so don't tell me how to be the medic. Get your afts up here, both of you."
The red and yellow 'Vettes cycled their vents as silently as they could. They both knew there was no point in arguing with Ratchet, especially since Sunny and Sides both valued their paint way too much. Arguing only meant a wrench to the head, and dinged parts to go with it.
The twins hauled themselves up onto separate berths, the medic coming over to run cursory scans and to plug in some instruments.
"Now, you two are going to need to be offline for this checkup. I'm going to administer a light sedative so you two don't feel any pain. Can't have you hurting too badly now, can I?" Ratchet asked, his voice oozing sarcasm. The Hummer touched a small probe, extended from each of his hands, to the neck area of each twin.
"No, wait! I can take…" Sunny tried to argue before the drugs began to take hold.
As the darkness nibbled at their respective subconscious, both Sunny and Sides couldn't help but think how much of a mistake it probably was to be unconscious with The Hatchet.
"How long will that sedative keep them out?" Ironhide walked through the door from Ratchet's office in medbay, the place the Topkick had been hiding since the 'Vette twins wandered into their "appointment".
"Oh, until tomorrow morning. I gave them enough to knock even Prime out," Ratchet answered.
"Good. I don't really want them waking up, especially when we still don't know what Optimus has planned." Ironhide moved around to lift Sideswipe as Ratchet did the same for Sunny.
"What the frag have these two been eating? They're as heavy as you, 'Hide." Ratchet grumbled as he lifted the dead weight of an unconscious Sunstreaker on to the anti-grav sleds so nicely provided by the U.S. government. Apparently, the sleds were a Sector Seven contribution, envisioned from some human entertainment called "Star Trek".
"Would you shut up and do your part? We have to get this done, and I don't really need the whole base knowing we're the ones behind this," Ironhide shot back, lifting Sideswipe easily on to a twin sled. "We're supposed to the responsible ones, remember?"
"The day you're responsible is the day I turn in my tools."
Ironhide rolled his optics, comming Optimus. :Prime? You ready?:
:The hanger is clear for you both. We have ten minutes.:
:Ratchet and I are on our way.:
Sneaking through the base proved to be easier than either Ratchet or Ironhide had anticipated. Apparently. Prime had done his part in clearing any unnecessary humans or Autobots from the most direct route from Medical to Ops. Arriving in the towering structure of Operations, Ironhide and Ratchet brought their sleds to a halt.
Optimus walked over to several large crates covered with tarps and pulled the camouflaging material back. He cracked the crates open and began pulling out five gallon buckets full of a clear, somewhat odiferous liquid. Prime grabbed two brushes and dipped the ends into one of the open buckets. Flipping it bristle end up, the Autobot leader held out the small instruments to his officers.
Ironhide looked at the paintbrush with confusion. "What am I supposed to do with that, Prime?"
"That, Ironhide," Prime started, pointing at the bucket, "Is what humans call Superglue. It's been modified to be relative to our weight and strength. I thought you two could figure out some ingenious use for it, and if I happened to be here, then I may consider lending you a helping hand. I am taller than you, after all."
The weapons specialist was still confused. "Yeah, and?"
Ratchet snorted in disgust, his glee over Prime's prank and his exasperation of Ironhide's thickheadness warring with his facial emotion. "Oh, for Primus' sake, 'Hide! You are dense!" The medic marched over to Sunstreaker, pulled him off the sled, and flipped the yellow 'Vette on his front. Grabbing a bucket and the paintbrush, the Hummer began to liberally applying the Superglue to the back of Sunny's leg. He grabbed another bucket when the first was empty, only making it to the knee joint of the unsuspecting 'bot.
Ironhide stared, earning a deep chuckle from his boss. Optimus leaned over and pointed to the label on the bucket and the inclined his blue optics up toward the ceiling. Ironhide's optics flared and widened in recognition.
"You're not suggesting…" The Topkick trailed off, incredulity mashed all over his faceplates. "We're gluing them to the ceiling?"
Prime gave a quick lift to his optic ridges but said nothing. Instead, he offered the paintbrush once again to his weapons specialist.
A genuine smile breaking over his face, 'Hide snatched the paintbrush and grabbed ten buckets. He hummed a song, woefully out of tune as he started to paint Sideswipe.
Five minutes late, Sunstreaker and Sideswipe were covered in a liberal amount of Autobot strength Superglue, a triumphant and grinning Ratchet and Ironhide standing over them. Prime picked up the twins, one at a time, and pressed them up to the ceiling braces. He made sure to press each body part to the ceiling so the twins would be completely helpless, unable to move their legs, torsos or arms. Optimus made sure to hold them for the recommended time to allow the glue to set. When he was satisfied Sunny and Sides would stay in place, Prime released his hold.
The Autobot leader took a step back and admired his handiwork. There in front of them, Diego Garcia's resident Terror Twins hung innocently by their backs from ceiling braces of the Ops hanger.
"I think we can call this a job well done," Prime said proudly. "Let's store all this stuff and get some recharge. I think we all have earned it."
Ratchet shot a glance toward Ironhide. "Some more than others."
Sunny's systems came online slowly. That sedative Ratchet gave surely packed a punch. Before he onlined his optics, Sunny decided a full body stretch would feel great. Trying to move his arms and legs, he was reasonably disturbed when he discovered they wouldn't move. Panicking, the yellow 'Vette onlined his optics and nearly shrieked when he saw he was somehow suspended over the…was that Operations?
Sunny opened a comm channel to his brother, Sideswipe just waking up. Sides' identical reaction sent a jolt of fear through their bond as brothers.
"Sunny, what the frag is this?" Sides whispered. "And why are we stuck to the ceiling?" The humans had yet to make their way into the hanger, as shift change was still an hour away. A blessing and a curse, the 'Vette twins were thrilled no one was yet here to witness their prank superiority demise, but then again, there was no one to help them find a way to get down, either.
"The more important question is how do we get down from here?" Sunny answered.
Sideswipe shook his head, which considering all the glue, meant the range of motion was a few inches at best. "No, the bigger question is who did this."
"Right." Sunny sighed. "I guess we wait and kiss our dignity goodbye while we're at it."
"Why do you all insist on waking me up at the ass crack of dawn? You know us humans value our sleep!" Lennox complained for the third time in Ironhide's cab. Dawn was just beginning to break over the horizon as the Topkick transported a half-asleep Major to Diego Garica. "What is so goddamn important it couldn't wait another couple of hours before I had breakfast and a cup of coffee?"
"I would think you'd want to see this, Major. It'll be worth the disturbance to your recharge, I promise." Ironhide's somewhat scratchy voice cut through the speakers of his alt form.
Ironhide pulled up in front of Ops, opening his door so the Major could exit. He triggered his transformation sequence and stopped short of his human charge.
"Yeah, 'Hide. This is Ops. I've seen it a few times."
"Not like this, you haven't," Ironhide retorted.
Pointing, Ironhide said, "Look up, Will."
Lennox's eyes followed his guardian's finger. When his brain registered what he was seeing, Will doubled over in laughter, his standing position only supported by Ironhide's toe. Will could barely believe what his eyes were seeing. Sunny and Sides were suspended from the ceiling, both wearing growls of annoyance and embarrassment. Lennox belatedly wondered if Cybertronians could blush. As the Major began to slowly recover from his laughing fit, Ratchet was rolling in with Sergeant Epps, the latter even more irritated than Will had been.
Epps hopped out of Ratchet's alt mode and stormed up to his commander. "Hey, man, this ain't--"
Will smacked his friend on the arm, still not trusting his voice to work properly.
Bobby stopped as he followed the same path with his eyes as Will had just a few minutes earlier. "Holy shit. Now that's some good pranking right there." Epps gave the 'Vette twins a little wave. "How you two doing up there?"
Ironhide and Ratchet leaned down to the humans' level. Ratchet, seeing Will's raised eyebrow, explained, "We just thought you two would enjoy this little show. There have been some unacceptable antics going around this base the last few weeks, and we thought Sunstreaker and Sideswipe needed a reminder who's in charge here."
"In other words, you two were pissed about taking a ride on the chair and being dunked in the waste tank," Epps chuckled. "That's good, dude. Ingenious."
"Though I won't confirm nor deny any part in this prank, thank you," Ironhide answered. "But, I have work to do, and I'm sure you do, too."
"Yep. We do. Have a good day, you two," Will added as Ironhide and Ratchet turned to go about their business.
Lennox and Epps staggered out of the Ops hanger, still laughing at Sunstreaker and Sideswipe's misfortune. Their punishment was certainly deserved; they'd managed to prank not one but two of the senior Autobots, and prank them in epic, public fashion. Still, Will couldn't help but feel the smallest percentage of responsibility, since it was the chair Epps ordered off eBay that had started the whole mess.
Somehow reading his friend's thoughts, Epps looked over and said, "Hey, man. They did really bring that on themselves, you know? You don't mess with a dude that cold, especially the one that puts you back together. It was all good what they did to 'Hide, though you'd better not ever tell him I said that, but what they did to the medic? That's just wrong on a level there ain't even words for."
Will grunted in acknowledgement, the two piling into the non-Autobot Hummer to run across the base. "I won't deny it, Epps, but next time, can you pick a novelty item that won't result in shenanigans like this?"
Bobby smiled brightly. "I think Wheeljack could make a paperweight an interesting device. Dude's got mad skills." Sobering momentarily, he added, "But I'll keep that in mind, sir."
"See that you do, Sergeant." Exiting the vehicle, Will and Bobby parted ways for the day. Epps trotted off to visit the Minor Twins for their daily lesson on successful human integration, and Lennox turned and walked down the hall leading to the human and Cybertronian officers' personal work areas.
He was halfway down the hall when a thought slapped him in the face like a cold wave of water. Sunstreaker and Sideswipe were glued to the ceiling. To the ops building's ceiling. That particular structure was over forty feet high with a slightly peaked roof. There was no way anyone would be able to reach that high without help from an Autobot-sized step stool. Running a quick mental inventory of all the service equipment on the base, Will couldn't think of one non-sentient thing that would fit the bill of requirements. There were plenty of things that were tall enough, but there was nothing strong enough to assist even Ratchet, one of the tallest 'bots, in securing the Terror Twins by their backs to the beams.
No, the only thing tall enough to glue two unsuspecting Autobots to the ceiling at Diego Garica was…
Will stopped in the middle of the hallway and began to laugh. The Major had always thought that, behind the Autobot leader's smooth voice calming logic and gentle, guiding hand lay a mischievous but dormant fun processor. If the flag-rank officers Lennox encountered in his career were any indication, the Cybertronian higher ups were probably much of the same, though they had a few million years to learn to prank. Lowly humans only had a few dozen. And now Will finally had the proof to go along with his theory about Optimus.
On his way to his office, Lennox felt the telltale vibrations of Cybertronian footsteps approaching from behind his position. Judging by the distance between steps and the rumbling of his feet, he knew it was Prime. As the Autobot leader strode by, the Major locked optic to eye contact with the Prime. Optimus' gaze flicked down, and before he raised his optics back up, Will swore Optimus looked him in the eye and winked.
'Secrets of command,' the Major surmised, tucking the information away for use at another time.
Chuckling to himself, Lennox made his way through the door to his office and sat down at his desk. He began the arduous task of sorting through the K-2 sized mountain of paperwork precariously piled on his desk after the weekend. But, before he disturbed the paper and set off the impending avalanche, Will thought perhaps he should check eBay for any new or unique items.
*raises her right hand* I do solemnly swear that, when I did the suspend-your-unsuspecting-roommate-from-the-ceiling bit, I did not use superglue. Instead, I used duct tape. It was safer, made less mess, and did the least amount of damage. Not that I'm encouraging anyone to try this, honestly!