Disclaimer: I do not own Transformers or any related ideas. Except conspiracy theories.
You were my friend.
That was what she had replied.
No, it was what she wanted to say. She hadn't replied when he asked; he probably wouldn't have believed her.
She stood outside Shockwave's apartment. The door, an unobtrusive gray, loomed in front of her. The manager hadn't cared less what went inside as long as they could show some kind of ID.
The door opened at her command and she stepped inside.
Shockwave's apartment had nothing that set it apart from any other apartment. It was true that Arcee hadn't seen any apartments for a while, but she figured it was what an average apartment looked like.
Arcee wondered where the 'files', if there were any, were. The file cabinets, as well as the terminal off to one side, were both good places to start.
It turned out she didn't have to look far; a datapad with a stack of paper beside it lay on the desk in the corner.
Arcee walked over to and flipped through the paper. Awareness of a beeping in the room was acknowledged in the back of her mind.
It was about her. Forms, complete with Shockwave's, Sentinel's, and Ultra Magnus's signature lay before her, stating she was to be kept in stasis until 'further need'. A full report was included, laying out for her what had happened after she had lost her memory.
A part of her mind wondered where Shockwave was now. Probably in the stockades, if his words were true.
A statement by Perceptor made her cringe.
The document wasn't completely unrelated to the others, yet it felt out of place. It seemed to be written by the scientist himself.
The newest subject I need is unique; one who won't die once I test my newest chemicals developed from the ones found on Rodimus's body on him. Someone with powers, strong powers, yet not an Autobot. Too many inquiries. Decepticon would be my first choice; they are the target and have much stronger armour. I would submit a petition to use the mindwiped femme, but her files have become encrypted somehow. I have a feeling the Security department is working against me. Pity. Longarm would be the perfect bot…
Perceptor was using bots for experiments? That went against every code of ethics Arcee had ever learned, but much had changed since she had gone into stasis. Perhaps too much. The sentence about the Security department and the bit about 'Longarm' made her cringe. She wondered if Shockwave was really right about his imminent death.
Another document, this one completely unrelated to her caught her eye. It was a memo from the previous Head of Security to Ultra Magnus and someone called Nova Prime.
Sir, I have the video files from the organic planet. As you suspected, though three recruits entered, only two came out; Optimus and Sentinel, if you can believe it. I had hoped Elita would make it out alive, but I suppose it is not to be so.
She closed the file in disgust. Arcee would have bet her last paycheck that the Optimus mentioned in the memo was the Optimus who she had spoken to aboard Omega Supreme. Ratchet had told her something about getting kicked out of the Elite Guard. Perhaps that had been the cause.
She rubbed her optics in frustration. This was going in circles. Someone, somewhere, was corrupting the Autobots, from filming Optimus, Sentinel, and Elita as they ran into trouble on an organic planet, keeping her in stasis for hundreds of stellar cycles to allowing scientists to use live bots for tests. Was it the same bot, or more likely, group of bots?
Irritable, Arcee flicked on the holoscreen.
A red minibot with a scowl looked into the camera. A blue and white femme was interviewed the red Elite Guard bot.
"No comment," he said darkly.
The white and blue reporter turned back to face the camera.
"And there you have it Smokescreen. The Head of Autobot Security: Missing. The Elite Guard and the Council have declined to comment, fearing this would hinder their investigations of Longarm Prime's disappearance."
Smokescreen smiled from the screen. "Thank you Chromia. Anyone having any information on the whereabouts of Longarm Prime are asked to call the Cybertron Crime Hotline – Missing Bots."
A number appeared on the screen. Arcee wasvery tempted to call the number and tell them exactly where 'Longarm Prime' was.
She swallowed her irritation at the clueless reporters and walked over to the file cabinet and opened it. Empty, except for a few loose sheets of paper and a…picture.
Arcee picked up the photo and examined it. She recognized herself, a nearly fully-grown sparkling standing between two mechs.
The one on her right had a huge smile plastered to his faceplate. Judging from his basic appearance, he seemed to be a much, much younger version of Longarm.
The last mech, smaller than Longarm and herself, stood off in a corner; a side character compared to Arcee and Longarm. She knew who he was.
A light purple color coated his frame. She couldn't see his expression because he didn't have one.
A sick feeling welled up inside her as she switched on the terminal and accessed the files on Longarm. Two results appeared; she selected the first.
This Longarm had been born within the same hundred stellar-cycles as her. Studies and tests had shown an aptitude in medical treatment, which was as far away from Intelligence those days as anything could be.
The day after his upgrade into an adult form, he had gone missing for two days. He was found critically injured in a back alley, the body of one of his 'pod' beside him. A robbery gone bad was the official report.
Longarm, upon his recovery, had switched his training field from medicine to communications.
A blank space occupied the next section. Arcee assumed it was during the Great Wars, with the spotty records and censored information of the time, not much was likely there, and moved on.
After the Great War, Longarm had begun a campaign for the Autobot volunteers who had been permanently disabled during the War. After a successful fund was set up for the Medical Centre, Longarm disappeared to one of the colony worlds.
Arcee sighed and rubbed the sides of her head. She would bet that Shockwave had killed Longarm and had been living under the name for stellar cycles. She accessed the second file. This one, bearing almost no resemblance to the first, was about Longarm Prime.
He had been 'sparked' hundreds of stellar cycles after her. Details of sparklinghood were scarce; he had been in a strictly lower class family. Until 'Longarm' had reached boot camp and helped a son-to-be Elite Guard washout uncover the spy Wasp, he was a relative unknown.
After that, paragraphs were written about his knowledge of Decepticon strategies and forces.
Then a final sentence:
Longarm Prime was officially declared missing in action after an expedition into the tunnels in search of another MIA Intelligence Agent. His whereabouts are now unknown.
She wondered what had possessed her to look up the history of Longarm, or rather, Shockwave. Memories of her own sparklinghood were hazy at best, absent at most. Neither Sari nor Shockwave had been able to restore all of her memory to its original state.
She recalled enough of her early stellar cycles enough to know that she, Longarm (the real one) and Shockwave had been close friends. That saddened her. The only bots she seemed to be able to associate with were either dead or Decepticons.
A thought nagged at her processor. Perceptor wanted a test subject. Shockwave, not known as Longarm to the public, would be put on trial and killed. Now, Arcee was beginning to doubt the 'killed' part.
The chances were getting good that Perceptor would be getting a test subject soon. And no one would know any better. Arcee wondered if anyone would even care.
Shockwavewas going to die a slow, painful death. A fate he had saved her from when he had abducted her from the Medical Centre.
With this, Arcee wondered what she would do with her new outlook on the Autobot Council.
Inspiration hit her. The mech mentioned in the note to Nova Prime and Ultra Magnus would be the most likely one to believe her. Telling Ratchet was not an option. He wouldn't believe her at all, and then would probably send her off to fix her 'glitch', as he would call it. No, for Ratchet to be of any help, she would need concrete proof of the Council's wrongdoings. Not a few old memos and a picture.
She tapped the picture of her past self with more than a little regret. The beeping had increased to a steady tempo. That shouldn't be happening. Everything electronic was powered off. Unless…
Arcee cursed to Primus. The room was probably wired, waiting for any Decepticon (or Autobot) –looking for Shockwave of course-- stupid enough to enter without disabling the device. It was probably time-oriented; the bomb wouldn't go off unless a bot stayed inside for too long.
She checked her chrono. Almost a megacycle. Eight more cycles to go before detonation, if the increased beeping, now almost a steady hum, was anything to go by.
Slag. She racked her processor. What would Shockwave have done? Not entered the room until it was secure, that much was certain. She really wasn't used to this kind of stuff.
If, theoretically, Shockwave had somehow entered the room, and found it to be wired, what would he have done?
Disabled the bomb or jumped out the window. Arcee glanced out of the window. Even though her frame was immeasurably tougher than a human's, she doubted she could survive the fall unscathed.
Slag. Slag. The beeping was now a hum. She had four cycles left.
Arcee had an idea. Shockwave would have been proud of her.
She switched on her comlink.
"I'd like to report a suspicious-looking bot in apartment complex B, building ninety-four, room forty-two. I'd hurry. He looks kind of mad. And I can hear a very loud beeping."
Needles to say, the effect was instantaneous. An intercom controlled by the Elite Guard ordered everyone to get out within a minute, Arcee included. She was a block away, along with all the other bots in the complex when the bomb finally went out.
Clutched in her servos was a bag filled with datapads, papers, and a picture.