Do I need to apologize for harvesting characters pretty much as I please across all the universes?
I lived for a time in Portland, Oregon. The landmarks are all real.
The taco consumption referenced in the second part of this story happened in The Starhorse's "The Phoenix." Go read that, in fact read any of her stories or better yet all of them, when you're done here. I received her permission to cite.
This got a bit long for a one-shot. Next week will bring the ending.
Not mine, possession of whatever corporation currently owns the "Transformer" name and/or all previous owners, not for profit.
"They're beautiful," Morgan Fairechild Prime said. "That one's a palomino?"
Her husband smiled. The polo ponies were indeed beautiful; his discerning eye could find no fault. "No," Optimus said. "The papers say his coat color is champagne."
"They're both sound, O.P." Nick Ratchette, setting down the sorrel's foot, stood up in the red horse's stall, slapped the tall shoulder, and let himself out. "Or at least I'll think so until I see them move."
The grooms trotted the stallions out, and then back. Optimus heard Nick say, "Beautiful," under his breath, and smiled again. He and Ratchette had known one another since college: they'd been roommates at Harvard, and then Optimus had picked up the MBA while Nick had transferred to UC Davis for his veterinary degree. Through twenty years, they'd stayed friends, even as Optimus ascended the levels of power associated with making obscene amounts of money, while Nick climbed the ladder of his own chosen profession.
Nick wouldn't lie to him.
"They're brothers?" said Morgan, looking at the horses' pedigrees.
"Actually, they're twins," said the dealer.
"Twins!" said Morgan.
Her husband frowned. With equine twins, inevitably one was weaker. He flipped through vet records: but neither stallion seemed to show any particular sign of frailty. According to Nick's written comments, the sorrel was perhaps the more impulsive temperamentally, which sometimes led to injuries ... but they were not stress injuries, and they were not the injuries one would expect from clumsiness or ineptitude on the horse's part. He had, in the past, attempted to jump a seven-foot wood fence when he was five months of age, a haystack five bales high (from a standing start, twenty feet away) and a twenty-five-foot wide flood spate through the pasture he had been kept in.
Just a rash redhead, that one.
Morgan continued, "But they're still entire, and they're, what, five now?"
The dealer said, "Five, yeah. They've never been separated, though. According to their records, two separate people bought them as yearlings, but both of them were so disconsolate that they were returned to the breeder. He took them back, schooled and made them himself, but as you know his son was killed last year, and he's selling the boy's string."
"Made" them? The dealer was not referring to godlike powers of creation on the part of the former owner, nor to mysterious Mafioso rituals, but the preliminary training of the horses for polo.
"Any foals?" Optimus asked. He flipped over to the training records, to look at the speed of uptake. If there was anything he disliked more than a stupid human, it was a stupid horse.
"Two year olds, yearlings, and at-foots. All their get have been born live so far." The dealer meant by "at-foot" that the foals were still suckling; the older offspring being not more than two years old meant little could be known, yet, of the animals' ability to breed quality.
The man went on, "They've each covered twenty mares a season while they were working or being conditioned. His son played them lightly last season. Terms of sale are that you take both of them."
"Huh. Training didn't take long, either." The sorrel had caught the point of the game in three training sessions, after his brother, who "got it" in two, played against him.
After that, they had required minimum stick-and-ball time, a sort of polo dress rehearsal, to become game-ready.
Optimus was extremely rich; still, trained polo ponies did not come cheap. That the horses were entire, and could sire more polo ponies, would add to their value.
The price asked for both was in excess of $200,000. Still, if they could play, and if that champagne could carry his weight ... "Well, can we tack them up and go for a test drive?"
The dealer nodded and signaled to the grooms, and Optimus' wife smiled. She nodded to their driver, who got out of the town car, and removed boots and polo mallets, along with a bag of balls, from the trunk. "What are their names, again?" she said.
"Registered names? The sorrel is Allspark's Mecha Sideswipe, and the champagne is AM Sunstreaker. They were both raced as two-year-olds, and they're fast enough, but they didn't take rating very well. All-out from start to finish, and that's it."
Said Morgan, "I wasn't thinking of changing their names." Her husband nodded; since the animals had been raced that was impossible anyway. "What are their call names?"
"'Sides' for the sorrel, and 'Sunny' for the blond."
The couple sat down on convenient hay bales and pulled the boots on over the jodhpurs they had worn to the dealer's yard. Both pulled on the padded vest with a tab at the back of the neck which protected the spine, leather gloves, and helmets.
While he did this, Optimus watched the horses being tacked up. He noted that Sides was quite affable about the whole procedure; Sunny was not, pinning his ears at his groom, who promptly cross-tied him, and cocking a hind hoof when the saddle was placed on his back.
They both took the bit easily enough.
Morgan smiled at Optimus, and said, "You're riding Sunny, aren't you."
"Yes," he said, and leaned down to kiss her. "I like solving management problems."
She laughed, and said, "His head's a bit finer too, and I know you like the pretty ones."
He smiled at her, and tossed her up into Sides' saddle. He did like the pretty ones, but that was the least of the reasons that he had married Morgan.
He left the champagne standing to watch her work the animal before picking up her mallet. The sorrel was tacked up in a pelham, the champagne in a full double - Optimus wondered if that meant the lighter stallion had a mouth like a rhinoceros'.
Not that he'd ever ridden a rhinoceros, actually ...
Morgan walked the red horse in a large circle, not asking for much, just feeling out his mouth on the reins. He was a dark, intense sorrel color: the kind of redhead that a dye job couldn't create, Optimus thought, rubbing a hand over his own hair, perhaps two shades darker than Sunny's coat. The sorrel lipped his bit, tossed his head - less in protest than in play - and as Morgan touched the rein which connected to the leverage-arm of the bit, moved off his forehand and naturally into a bit of collection.
Her knees and heels asked the horse to trot, and he promptly moved out into a collected form of the gait, Morgan sitting like a stone in the saddle.
The double reins a pair of telegraph wires between her mind and her mount, Morgan extended his trot; a creature of beauty standing still, Sideswipe became poetry in motion. She moved him into a collected canter, looking like she was riding an animated rocking horse, and sent him into a large figure-of-eight.
The stallion waited politely for her to instruct him as to this matter of leads? Cued, he promptly changed his leg.
She took him down the straight. He wasn't quite able to make a change of leg every stride the first pass, but when circled and asked for it again, did so with ease, and pleased with himself, snorted. I just wasn't warmed up enough the first time.
He could, and did, side-pass, pivot on the forehand, pirouette, and demonstrate reverse gear.
Optimus' wife rode up to him, laughing. "Quite lovely," she said. "Do you want to try him?"
"I don't think there's much point to it," he grumbled. "You have your heart set on this one."
She grinned. "I'll take the champagne if he can't carry your weight." She bent down to kiss him, and the horse interposed his head between them. Optimus laughed, rubbing the red nose, and went to the other horse.
When mounting, Optimus shortened the outside rein, so that if the champagne attempted to move away from being mounted, or to bite, he would be compelled to move his body under Optimus' leg. But the lighter horse stood like a stone until cued to walk. He had been trained in the matter of opening gates from his back, and stood, sidepassed, pivoted on his forehand without difficulty.
His trot was silk. His canter, effortless. As he was bitted with a full double bridle, Optimus had no trouble balancing him perfectly; the yellow stallion also demonstrated an unnerving ability to turn on a dime and hand you three cents in change.
Although the animal wasn't tacked up for it, Optimus wanted to see if he could jump.
First, though: polo. The grooms showed them to a small ground kept for training, and Nick tossed a ball out.
Both man and wife felt their mounts stiffen, and in that wordless communication between horse and rider, shared the stallions' rising joy.
Morgan grinned at Optimus from clear across the arena, and put her dainty heels into her mount's side.
The two stallions were about evenly matched in terms of athleticism. Optimus outweighed his wife by a considerable amount, so he could expect, he thought, that the champagne would be the slower of the two; but here, he was pleasantly surprised. The horse laid back his ears, and put some kick into it. The two riders arrived at the ball at the same time; Morgan, a little faster than Optimus because she was right-handed, and the game must be played that way, got the mallet down first, and the sharp "Crack!" of the impact drove the ball back the way he had come.
The champagne put down a hind hoof, spun on it like a top, and nearly left his rider in the grass.
In the game of polo, the horse makes or breaks a rider as an asset to his team. Optimus prided himself on being the best, the strongest tactician, the most accomplished player. He needed a horse that could keep him in the game, as aggressive at following the ball as he was himself.
He also, at six feet five and two-sixty, needed a horse that could carry his weight and still lend him some speed: he had been told many times that he was too big to play polo. Most ponies were not large enough to carry him at the speeds the game demanded.
The twin stallions, each standing sixteen hands and two inches at the top of the shoulder, were much taller than most polo ponies, but each one was lightning-quick. The yellow stud behaved as if Optimus were feathers, keeping him on top of the ball, having no hesitation about riding off his twin. He caught Morgan's startled grin when that happened.
The groom blew the whistle to signal the end of their impromptu chukkar, and Optimus attempted to rein his mount in. The champagne shook his head, changed his leg, and wanted to go faster. Optimus insisted, however, and when the two horses pulled up snorting and blowing, said to the groom, "Put up a hurdle for me, will you? Three and a half?"
As he suspected, the yellow horse took in stride the cues which set him at the hurdle and slightly lengthened his stride on approach; Optimus felt a surge of power as they left the ground, and the landing was rock-solid. He went around again, taking the jump on a left turn, then a right one.
He pulled up, and tossed the reins to a groom. "Thanks, buddy," he said, and slapped the sweating neck.
The yellow horse tossed his head, and the groom took him away.
Morgan knew the post-tryout drill. She walked demurely with her husband, saying nothing as he dickered with the dealer. She absented herself so the real bargaining could begin, and collected boots and vests and helmets and gloves and mallets and the ball, giving them to their driver to stow in the boot of the car.
Then she seated herself daintily in the back, leaving the door open, and waited for her husband to appear.
His large frame threw a shadow into the car. "They'll be home on Thursday," he said, grinning.
They'd been warned, and so Sides and Sunny were stabled next to one another. Their paddocks were also adjacent, but it became immediately apparent that this did not suit the horses. Sides was inclined to stay at the paddock fence, whinnying for Sunny and knocking the whitewash off the wood with his forefeet, while Sunny performed the same duties at night with the wall between their boxes.
Jack Wheeler, their farrier, made a suggestion. "Removable rubber shoes," he said. "I'll put them on over the regular shoes, so that they can play with each other without killin' themselves." He turned from Morgan to light his gas forge.
Morgan gazed at him in awe. "That's brilliant."
He smiled. "Sure. Can we see the red man trot out first?"
After shoeing the horses, he took casts of their feet, and returned two days later with the overshoes.
The fence was removed. Morgan stayed long enough to watch them run and play together for a half-hour, and made a note to drag Optimus out here to see for himself.
Problems ensued that evening, however, as the yellow horse followed the red one into his box, and refused absolutely, with flattened ears, bared teeth, and slashing feet, to be put into his own.
Optimus, who was home when this happened, shrugged. "Put them into the foaling box."
His wife giggled at him. "I love you," she said.
"I know." As the grooms turned away to give them their privacy, he touched her hair, and said, "And I'm grateful."
Morgan grinned. "Come on, Number Three," she said, giving him his polo designation; he had a ten-handicap at the game, as high as they get, and was the team's leader, as well as its patron, and thereby the man who subsidized the two amateurs they played with. She was the lowly, as she put it, Number Four: defense. She put a hand through his arm, and pulled him out of the barn.
"He's got a beautiful mouth," Optimus said. "I don't want to ruin it."
The team coach, whose Eastern European name had long ago transmogrified into "Prowler" from his habit of stalking the edges of the playing field, said, his consonants betraying his origins, "You can ride him in a hackamore for all I care, so long as you stay on the line of the ball."
Polo ponies are typically ridden in a bridle with two bits, or at least two sets of reins, one more severe than the other. Ponies with soft mouths are sometimes ridden with a single bit. However, it's a given in polo that the rider's balance cannot always be maintained with knee and thigh and seat alone; occasionally, the reins get leaned on.
"It's not a problem with the boy," Optimus said, grinning down at the smaller man. "He loves that ball. He's also aggressive enough to ride off an opponent on his own."
"Have you explained the rules to him?" Prowler said dryly.
In polo, it is legal to "ride off" an opponent by pushing one horse with another. At a gallop, if this is not executed with great care, injuries result. Therefore it is termed "dangerous riding" if the angle of impact is greater than forty-five degrees, and the team which rode off the other is penalized.
"I haven't had to," Optimus said. "This is a very smart horse. He waits and changes his stride so that he impacts them right when all four feet are off the ground, so he can come in at quite a steep angle, and he doesn't have to hit them hard."
"Sheesh," said Prowler. "So you can drop your hands, and he'll still play polo."
"I could train him to carry the mallet in his mouth, and send him into the game without me, and he'd still play polo."
"Now there's a thought," Prowler said, head on one side. "He wouldn't have a ten-handicap to overcome."
Polo season ended, but by that time, Optimus had a pretty good idea of his yellow horse's capabilities. "I want you to train him for three-day eventing in the off-season," he said to Morgan on a weekend morning.
His wife's eyes widened. "You'd trust me with Sunny?"
"I'd trust him with you. Evil-tempered yellow bastard that he is, he's a smart horse, and he needs a challenge. And he's impatient, but he isn't - " he paused, looking for the word.
"Or maybe malignant. He's got no grace, but he isn't mean. If we don't work him, he gets bored and angry. Angrier."
"Well," she said, laying aside the grapefruit she'd consumed, "I'll do that ... you know he won't compete until next year."
"Yes, and you'll have to start at the lowest level, but I have confidence in you. And in him."
"Good," his wife said, and returned his smile across their sunny, spacious south-Florida breakfast nook. "Because I want a favor for Sides."
"And that is?"
"He's better-tempered than Sunny, but he gets bored too. He also tends, as we know, to get into mischief pretty easily."
"Tell me about it. Tell Nick too."
Morgan smiled. "Nick likes Sides."
"How can you tell from the swearing?"
"That's partly it. I've never seen him get so - so incensed over something an animal does, as he is over Sides' latest escapades."
"True. So what had you in mind?"
"I've contacted Sam Witwicky to train him for cutting," Optimus' wife said. "I think it'll keep him out of trouble."
Sam Witwicky arrived with a trailerful of nondescript cattle.
"Did you bring them with you all the way from Texas?" Optimus asked, bemused. Morgan could not be there, to her intense regret.
The strong tang of the Longhorn state in his speech, Witwicky said, "Nah, bought 'em yesterday in Naples."
The cows, freed, found a half-acre field just to their liking. Sam and Optimus went to look at Sides.
"Wow, ain't he pretty?" Witwicky said. "What makes you think he'd be a good cutter? He's built more like a stadium jumper."
"He's easily bored, and very smart. He's one of my wife's polo ponies. The yellow one, his twin brother, is one of my mounts, and my wife is schooling him into eventing."
Sam laughed. "That's the thing with polo ponies. You gotta keep 'em entertained." He turned back to his truck. "Kinda bridle he usually wear?"
"Hm. 'Spose we put him in that, then, and I'll use my cuttin' saddle."
The stallion snorted when the saddle was put down on his back, turned his head to his own side, and gave it a thorough snuffling.
Sam, not much dismayed, said, "Yeah, other horses've been wearing this, ain't they, buddy?" He set the girth, and put the breastcollar into place, patting Sides easily.
Sam was smaller than Morgan, but didn't bother to use the stirrups to mount, leaping into the saddle from the ground. Sideswipe, not used to this, snorted and tossed his head. "No, easy, there," Sam said, picking up the snaffle reins, and leaving the curb reins lying on his neck.
The saddle was heavier and the rider's weight carried differently than with the tack the horse was used to. Sam took him to the field the cattle were in, and commenced teaching him balance under the new gear.
Optimus watched from Sunny's back as the sorrel was introduced to the cows. (Cows, your tormentor for today; Sides, your new playthings.)
Cutting cows requires that one cow be separated out of the herd, and prevented from returning to it. Cows are a prey species, and in the wild, where they evolved, their safety lies in the herd; they want with their whole being to get back to that safety.
Further, these cows' experience was that a man on horseback among them was bad news. In their collective past, his presence had led to being roped and branded, herded into strange metal things to be squeezed while two-legged creatures gave them shots, or on one memorable occasion, castrated. This was not their idea of a good time. They fled before Sides as if he had some kind of plague.
Sides, for his part, was enchanted. His ears had pricked forward until their tips almost touched, and his eyes brightened.
Sam called across to Optimus, "One thing about the polo pony trainin', they already give you a good collected turn. I was hopin' he'd be interested in the cows on his own, 'cause if they ain't it's real hard to make a good cutter out of 'em, but it don't look like that's going to be a problem."
Optimus laughed. "I'd say not!"
Sam guided Sides until the pair had separated out one particular cow. He gave the horse minimal cues to keep the animal away from its herd until Optimus saw the horse suddenly get it. It's like polo, only with a cow! This is great!
Fifteen minutes later, Sam dropped his hand, and Sideswipe worked a cow all on his own. When Sam picked up the reins again, Sides swiveled his ears back and forth, back and forth, indicative of where his attention was. Can we do that again?
Sam let him work six cows, about ten minutes of very hard work.
Optimus knew that Sunny had a hock cocked up under himself, resting one leg. Not bored, as his ears were forward and he was watching his brother with interest, but not engaged. "No cow tag for you, then?" he said to his mount, and was rewarded with a snort and a full-body shake.
Sam brought the lathered and sweating Sideswipe to the rails. "You got yourself a winner here," he said, slapping the sweaty neck. "Normally, I'd say it's a year before the horse is ready to show, but this boy, I'd like to ride in a show here in Florida in two weeks. It'll cost you a little extra to enter him at short notice, but he's ready to go. I'll be by to ride him twice a week, and I'd appreciate it if nobody else cut on him. Ridin' a cutter looks easy, but it ain't."
"I'm hoping," Optimus said calmly, "that you can teach me the skill. My wife rides this one in three-day events, since I'm too big to ask a horse to jump with, but I'd like to do this with the red guy. I don't ride him much otherwise."
For answer, Sam dismounted, and handed the reins to Optimus. "Try it," he said.
Optimus learned that the cutting horse works hard, but the rider works somewhat harder just to stay on top of an animal who is having himself the hell of a lot of fun. He touched the reins, and Sideswipe stopped, gathered into a position of readiness to do whatever might next be asked of him.
"That was all right, wasn't it?" said Optimus, and reached down to rub the crest. Sideswipe arched his neck and bowed his head. You betcha.
Sam rode out on Sunny, and Optimus was interested to see that the cutter wizard, as he was called, had as good a seat on the flat saddle as he did in the cutting rig. "So, waddaya think?" he said to Optimus.
"I've got some things to learn," Optimus said wryly.
"Yep, but you ain't bad for a beginner. I think you can probably show this boy in two weeks, but I want you to do some prep work. I'm going to send you one of my old horses, and you can cut a little every day on him. Never for more than five minutes at a time, all right? Cut one cow for a minute, then another for forty-five seconds, and a third for another forty-five seconds. In competition, you've got two minutes and thirty seconds to work three cows. So get used to doing that. Let my old man teach you balance and stability in the cutting rig. The last three days before the show, you and ol' Red and I will work together. And if you decide you're serious about this, go down to your saddler's and have them build you a saddle and breastplate combination to fit you both." He paused. "You got any cowboy clothes? Appearance don't matter much in the ring, but you might want to get jeans, and a shirt, and a hat."
The first time she saw him in them, Morgan burst out laughing. "You look like John Wayne," she said.
Three-day eventing is designed to be a test not just of a horse's training but of his temperament and his athleticism. The first day is generally given to the dressage test; the second to the most tiring of the three parts of the competition, the cross-country. The last day encompasses the physically demanding show-ring jumping.
Sunny and Sides (who later that day would place second in the Novice Cutting Horse event) had been taken out for a twenty-minute trot in the morning, the day before the three-day started. To keep him entertained, Morgan had entered Sunny in the walk-trot, basic-level dressage class. She rode the stallion through the horse show grounds in the afternoon, and then took the half-hour warmup allowed all competitors. Just to get Sunny focused on what they were doing here.
His concentration sharpened wonderfully. If Allspark's Mecha Sunstreaker had a fault, though, it was that he was never "submissive" to his rider, a requirement for dressage horses. He went along with what you wanted for the moment because it suited his purposes. Morgan hoped that he would figure out that he had to at least fake submitting to his bit to get the attention and petting he believed was his due.
He faked it well enough to place third, with an average score of 65, which meant that next time, Morgan thought, accepting the ribbon and doing her victory lap with it, they could compete at a higher level. She brought Sunny back to stand quietly behind the judges, where he could watch the presentation of the second- and first-place ribbons, and the trophy. She thought that nothing else would teach the vain horse that a ribbon was fine, but he could get quite a lot more fuss made over himself if he got the trophy. She hadn't quite figured out how to connect that to learning to fake the requisite submissiveness for him.
Sunstreaker watched, ears flickering. He learned. He placed in the top five in the dressage phase of the three-day event.
Cross-country was another place where Sunny needed to learn a thing or six. He was adamant that he, and he alone, set pace, stride length, and take-off point. Morgan sat still, somehow retained her seat through a number of bumpy landings and a soaking when he miscalculated the width of a water-jump. He accepted a suggestion at the last three obstacles.
So he was learning. He was just faintly tired when she mounted the next day for the arena jumping. Perhaps it was his level of fatigue, but he accepted guidance until they came to the last three jumps.
At the last component of a triple jump, three oxers spaced so that if you hit the first one right, you had to shorten stride to hit the second correctly, and lengthen it again for the third, Sunny decided that he was driving. He set his mouth, took his bits, and somehow made it over the last oxer. He cleared the water jump with feet to spare, and a jaunty twirl of his tail.
The last jump they faced was the largest and widest in the arena that day. Morgan did her very best to show Sunny the thin rail that crossed the top of the wider X below it, but Sunny knew best, or so Sunny thought.
She had enough control to keep him from hitting that top rail with his front legs, but he brought it down, flinging it forward into his own belly, with his hind legs.
Sunny flung up his head and snorted, and with the four faults that earned them, they didn't make the cut.
Morgan walked him out until he was cool, and then brought him back to watch the awards ceremony.
She could feel that Sunstreaker simply lost interest right at that point.
"Well, how about steeplechasing, then?" Optimus said that night, when they had returned to the house. "Or maybe just the arena jumping?"
"Why don't you take him hunting?"
"That's an idea," Optimus said slowly. "That'll keep him busy before polo season; there's about three months in there, though, when he won't be doing anything."
"Oh yes he will," said his wife darkly. "I am going to teach that horse proper dressage if it kills us both."
It didn't kill either of them. Sunstreaker hunted with Optimus in the saddle until he was fourteen, when he fell quite heavily at a simple jump, slipping in the November mud on takeoff.
Nick Ratchette shook his head. "I think you should retire him from jumping. He's beginning to show signs of aging, Optimus, thinning cartilage plates, slower reaction times. He's very likely sound for polo only for a few more years."
The end of middle age for a horse also cost Sideswipe his enthusiasm for cutting cattle.
"A fine time for you to grow up, old man," said Sam Witwicky, rubbing the sorrel nose. "I'll miss ya."
Sideswipe blew down his nostrils and bobbed his head in agreement. Sam looked at Optimus in the saddle. "Interest you in another one?" he said.
"I don't know, Sam," Optimus said honestly. "Let me think about it."
At the age of seventeen, both brothers lost their enthusiasm for polo within weeks of one another.
"Wow," said Nick Ratchette. "Optimus, I haven't seen a horse go downhill this fast in quite a long time, and it's both of them. All their bloodwork's good, and honestly, they don't look sick. They don't look like horses that are in pain; you know that look as well as I do. It's more like they've done what they wanted to do, and now they're finished."
"Yeah." Optimus fondled Sunstreak's muzzle. But the old stallion simply turned away, not bothering to flash his teeth or flatten his ears.
Sideswipe had not even come to the open half-door of the stable.
"What do you want to do?" Nick said quietly.
"If you're sure they're not in pain," Optimus said, "I think we'll let them have their retirement in peace." Morgan, ashen, nodded.
Inevitably, there came a morning when the red horse did not get up. The yellow stallion stayed at his side, fending off grooms and even Optimus, Morgan, and Nick, until he was tranquilized and led away.
They couldn't persuade him to eat or drink after that.
"I can give him fluids under the skin," Nick said, four days after. "It'll keep him going, and he might pick up later."
Morgan looked at her husband. "I don't think so," she said quietly. "He's lost the only person he ever really loved. It's too hard for him to go on alone."
Optimus put an arm around her shoulders, and nodded to Nick. With a heavy heart, the vet tranquilized Sunstreaker until he was almost asleep on his feet, and then gave him the overdose of anaesthesia that stopped his heart.
Yellow-lidded optics blinked open.
"You feel okay, Sunny?" Ratchet said.
"You slagging son of the Pit," the yellow Lamborghini snarled, leaping up off the med table and reaching for Ratchet with both hands, "you killed me!"