Notes: I forgot to mention in previous chapters, the Small Problems fanfic series is now five years old! I can't believe I've been working on this series for so long and I haven't dropped it yet. Hopefully I can still keep going until this thing actually sees the end. Keep up the comments everyone, they help me out so very much. I really appreciate all the support that I've had so far. You play an important role in keeping me going. Much love everyone!

Rising Generations

Chapter 22: Digging Deeper

Jazz gazed over the data, his optic band roving over the different spy reports and satellite photos taken of the Decepticon camp stationed just outside the boundaries of Autobot territory. It had been almost four full solar cycles since the Decepticons first attacked the Autobot's far most outpost. They hit hard and fast, decimating the puny Autobot patrol stationed there. Even the first response team that was sent in to remove the wounded was forced back as soon as they recovered their soldiers.

Megatron won that outpost that day. All the top Autobot strategists were still trying to figure out the purpose of the attack in the first place. It was obvious the Decepticons wanted that area badly, but for what reason? There was nothing special about that it. No real resources to pillage. And yet, reports were coming in that the Decepticons were building their own outpost and doing some major construction out there.

The clock was ticking to figure out what they were up to. If the Decepticons got what they were looking for, it could potentially be bad for the Autobot cause. But Optimus Prime was not going to send out an assault team until he knew what he was risking his soldiers for.

Kup and Ultra Magnus had a go at all the information for cycles. Several theories were posted, but nothing that could be proven. They had gone off to take a break and give it up to some fresh optics. Jazz was now pouring over the information, trying to find something that made sense.

He was so engrossed with the task at hand that he didn't notice a pair of hands snaking out from behind him until his chest was suddenly groped.

Jazz squawked as his headlights were grabbed and quickly wriggled away from the offending hands. Behind him Chromia was grinning.

"Getting a little jumpy there, Jazz."

The Jazz frowned at her. The two of them had once been an item. A not so serious item and so long ago it was hardly worth mentioning. But the history was enough that Chromia thought it was okay to continuously sexually harass Jazz whenever she fancied it. Not that Jazz really minded being surprise groped by femmes, just not attached femmes.

"Do you mind? I'm trying to work here."

"I know, I came to help," Chromia said brightly. "I thought I'd give you a little pick me up."

Pushing Jazz's buttons always put her in a good mood. She then noticed they weren't the only two bots in the room. "Hi Optimus."

"A little more professionalism in the war room please," he said with dignity.

"Eh, you thought it was funny, I know." Chromia punched the large red Autobot in the arm and then situated herself at the table where she pleased. "I asked every femme I could think of to make sure I didn't miss anything. They all said the same thing- the same thing I told you yesterday- there's nothing in that area, no matter how far down you dig. No power, no energon deposits. Not even a whole lot of pipes or wires. Just a lot of big tunnels and open spaces. Nothing really worth fighting for."

"There's got to be something worth fighting for, or Megatron wouldn't have fought for it so hard," Optimus insisted.

"Right, boss," Chromia agreed as she grabbed a data pad to peruse. "We're missing something here, we just to figure out what it is."

"With hopefully no more distractions," Jazz cut in.

Chromia just grinned at him and got to work.

Things weren't going quite as Nightshade had planned when she first confronted Prowl about Blitzangel's attitude toward her. When she complained that Blitzangel had been rude to her and made her feel very unwelcome at Iacon, Prowl had not completely jumped to her side as she would have hoped. Prowl had taken a moment to consider the statement and then ventured to guess that maybe Nightshade had misinterpreted the purple femme's intentions.

"She can be a little abrupt in her speech at times, but she's very kind," Prowl insisted and Nightshade felt a pang of jealousy. "What exactly did she say to you?"

At recalling the last conversation, Nightshade would have flushed a little if she had the ability to do so. "I don't really remember the exact words, I just felt like she really didn't like me. I don't think she is as nice a femme as you think she is Prowl. I felt it very clearly, she doesn't like me."

"Let's go talk to her," Prowl then suggested as he led her to the private elevator only high ranking officers used. "I'm sure it's all a misunderstanding. I would really like it if the two of you got along."

Nightshade tried not to balk on the outside. Prowl wanted them to be friends? What kind of hold did this ex-Decepticon femme have on him? Prowl had insisted she join him to speak with Blitzangel, but Nightshade was really not looking forward to the meeting. She didn't want to try and iron things out with the other femme, she just wanted Prowl to believe her and be done with it.

They reached the desired floor and Prowl knocked on an apartment door. He heard a muffled male voice from the other side call for them to come in. It didn't quite sound like Bluestreak, but maybe that was just because there was a door in the way. Having the access code, Prowl let himself in with Nightshade close behind.

She gasped when she saw the extravagant space of the room. Now this was the kind of place she was talking about. Nightshade had always been a femme of taste and luxury. This was the sort of living quarters that would fit her quite well.

There was a group of mechs congregating on the couch while a loud video game coruscated on the screen. Prowl approached them, four mechs in total. Only two of which he was familiar with. He cleared his throat to get their attention.

"Oh hey Prowl," Sideswipe said nonchalantly, only glancing up from his controller. "You want a turn?"

One of the other mechs took one glance at Prowl and froze. Sunstreaker glanced at the petrified mech and nudged him with his elbow.

"Hey, get back in the game, we're losing." He then glanced at his commanding officer. "Prowl, this is Streamline and Drag. They were pulling the last shift with us so we invited them up."

"This isn't your place to be inviting anyone," Prowl shot back, unimpressed. "Where's Bluestreak?"

"I dunno, working. Haven't seen him today," Sideswipe said, optics glued to the screen.

Prowl frowned deeper. "Then who let you in?"

"Angel gave the codes to us. She said we could come in whenever we wanted."

"She gave you the codes?"

"Yeah, said something about too much space and not enough bots around."

Prowl tried to quell his irritation. That was not what he had planned for her, but he couldn't tell her who she could and could not invite to her quarters. "Is Angel even here right now?"

"Yeah, I think she came in a little while ago. She's probably in her room."

Now Prowl was openly disapproving. "Don't come in here when no one is home."

"Sorry Prowl," Sideswipe said. "But Angel said she doesn't mind. Sunstreaker needed a place to hide from R-"

He was cut off as his twin reached over Streamline to slap his brother.

"Get off our backs, Prowl," Sunstreaker barked. "It's none of your business."

Prowl decided he would let this go for now. If Angel was home, there wasn't much he could do about it anyway. He knew she would insist they could stay. Instead he set his concentration on the initial reason they had knocked on her door. He steered Nightshade down the hall to the last door. However, Prowl's hand hesitated to knock.

Nightshade had to smile. Prowl was still adorably old fashioned when it came to things like entering a femme's berthroom.

"Here, I got this," she insisted. "Let me go in and talk to her femme to femme. We'll sort this out."

The black and white Autobot looked pleased. "Sounds like a good idea. I'll wait out here."
Of course he would. Nightshade approached the door to knock and it slid open of its own accord. It hadn't been locked. She shot one more dazzling smile to the mech waiting outside before going in, letting the door slide shut behind her.

By all first appearances, the personal room was empty and bare as could be. It hardly looked like anyone lived there at all, no personal effects of any kind. The berth was impressive, far larger than a femme of that size would need. Nightshade admired herself in a full size mirror on the wall before noticing a shelf with some random items. A crafted metal rose and some sort of mini portable radio. The femme picked up the device, pushing the play button curiously. A melody flowed out in a different language that wasn't part of her impressive language databanks.

"What are you doing in here?"

Nightshade quickly stopped the device and put it back. Spinning guiltily around, she saw Blitzangel stepping out of the shower room, the last bit of cleaning solvent evaporating from her form.

"I'm sorry, I couldn't help but notice-" Nightshade began, motioning to the shelf.

"That's not what I asked," Blitzangel interrupted. "Kindly remove yourself from my bedroom, please."

Even though she was in the wrong, Nightshade was not used to being bossed around by anyone and it annoyed her. "I'm here because the Autobot second in command wants me to talk to you," she said with authority. "So you need to listen to-"

Blitzangel was already out the door, staring down said Autobot second who was waiting in the hall. "Did you bring this into my apartment without asking my permission?" she accused, motioning emphatically at Nightshade.

Prowl was taken aback at the accusation, he struggled for a response. "You've got these other mechs coming and going when you're not even home."

"I told them they could, Prowl. They don't come into my bedroom and snoop through my things while I'm in the shower."

Prowl could see Nightshade flinch in embarrassment from over Blitzangel's shoulder. The green femme quickly slid out of the room over to Prowl.

"You, on the other hand," Blitzangel continued, "brought in this stranger without even asking me."

"She's not a stranger," Prowl defended. "I've known her for eons."

Blitzangel pressed her mouth into a firm line. "May I talk to you in here privately please?"

Prowl looked hesitant to go into such a place with her alone.

"Now, please," she ordered and Prowl found himself obeying.

The door shut behind him and Blitzangel locked it this time. Then she leaned her hip against the tall berth, arms folded across her chest. "What's going on? What did you bring that femme up here and leave her in my room?"

"That was a mistake, I'm sorry," Prowl responded, still not looking comfortable with his surroundings. "She said she was going to talk to you, but I shouldn't have let her go into your room like that. I brought her up here so you could get to know each other better. Nightshade told me the two of you got off on the wrong foot the first time you talked. She said she felt like you were a little rude to her."

"Oh, is that what she said?" Blitzangel shot back, even more irritated than before.

"I know you would never be overtly rude on purpose to someone you just met. I thought you both just needed another chance to get to know one another."

"So you let her into my room so she could go through my things? Now I have to sterilize the place."

"Hey," Prowl warned, "that was uncalled for."

"She is nasty, Prowl. I don't want her up here again."

"You didn't even give it a chance to get to know her. I think you'd really like her."

"Oh I got to know her plenty the first time we talked. I'm sorry, but I don't like her and I don't want her in my apartment again."

"I'm the one who got you this apartment." Now it was Prowl's turn to get irritated. "You didn't even want it."

"Does that mean I have to let any random bot you bring in go through my things?"

"I was hoping the two of you would get along and you could both room in here together."

"And who will get the big room?" Blitzangel challenged. "Do you think your little princess would be happy with Bluestreak's?"

Prowl's mouth opened, but no sound came out as he tried to come up with a response.

"What's wrong with the femme bunkers? They had room for her," Blitzangel continued.

"She said she wasn't feeling too welcome among them."

"Oh come on, Prowl. You saw how they welcomed her! She was a frickin' hero! She's just lying to you to get what she wants."

Prowl growled. "I am not going to stand here and listen to you speak badly about a friend of mine. A femme you hardly even know. I care about her and it surprises me you are being so horrible to her, it really does. I thought you were better than that."

"Fine," Blitzangel said, waving her hands in a form of surrender. "I don't want to argue with you. I'm sorry you're disappointed, but I don't think the two of us will get along. And until you take this room away from me, it's mine. You're always welcome over, but ask before you bring strange bots to my apartment. Now please escort her out."

Prowl looked like there was more he was going to say, but he, too decided he would rather not fight about it any more and left. Blitzangel waited until she was sure they were completely out of the apartment before leaving her room.

"I'm really sorry about how that went," Prowl said as he escorted Nightshade down to a lower level. After they had been asked to leave, Prowl felt he at least owed it to the pretty femme to take her out for a drink since he couldn't yet get her into the new quarters she was hoping for. And he certainly didn't mind any extra time he could spend with her. "Blitzangel is usually so sweet. But she's also been through quite a bit. She's still adjusting to everything in Iacon herself."

"So you care about her," Nightshade pressed, eager for more information about this new femme.

"She is under my care so her welfare and health do concern me."

"Ah, so she's more like your ward. You're takin' care of her."

"Yes, that's somewhat the situation."

"She's a young femme?"

"Very young," Prowl confirmed.

"Ah, that makes a lot of sense then," Nightshade said, satisfied.

Prowl tipped his head curiously at her.

"She's jealous Prowl. She's used to getting all your attention and now ya'll are spendin' it elsewhere. She's acting out like she's newly sparked."

Prowl paused with the energon almost to his mouth as that new thought hit him. Blitzangel never struck him as the jealous type of personality. But Nightshade could be right. It's very possible she had gotten used to all the attention she received from everyone. Prowl especially had always been very focused on her. Now that his attentions were divided with another femme, maybe she was feeling a little left out. She was still young after all.

"Perhaps she's even developed a crush on you," Nightshade needled. "Young femmes 'kin respond that way ta male mentors. Now that you and I are together again, she could even see me as a rival."

Prowl sat still, letting that even more foreign idea wash over him. That seemed less likely than the first suggestion. He was nudged out of his thoughts as Nightshade leaned closer, slightly nuzzling the side of his helm.

"Do ya think you could still locate some nice, personal quarters for me in the tower?" she whispered in a sensual tone.

It made Prowl's door panels quiver, though he tried to quickly compose himself. "I'll see what I can do. Though the tower is packed pretty tight right now. It's usually just for higher ranking officers and officials."

"And your little ward, for some reason," Nightshade pointed out. "It hardly seems fair. You can find her a room, but not me." She moved in closer, optics wide and hurt. "Don't you care about me as must as you do about her?"

He put his hand on hers. "Of course I care about you. Very much. I said I'll see what I can do, but even I have to adhere to the rules. It will take some time. Are you sure it's really that bad for you living in the femme bunkers? They seemed to think so highly of you."

"Yes, they did," Nightshade huffed. "They were very grateful at first that I brought one of their own home. But at the same time, you know it's only natural they would be jealous 'a me. I mean, I've lived this exciting life among the stars while they all've been stuck here on this planet. I tried to keep peace with them, but I can't help that they envy me. You understand."

Prowl pressed his mouth together in thought, hand still on hers. He didn't want her to feel unwanted here on Cybertron. He was well aware she still owned a shuttle. She could leave anytime she wanted and Prowl did not want her to leave.

"Please be patient. I promise I'll do whatever I can for you."

Nightshade smiled in satisfaction. "I know you will."

Blaster lightly slung himself onto the high stool where two other Autobots were sitting at a tiny, round table. He sipped his energon as he eyed the blue mech to his right.

"So, how did it go last night with Moonracer, huh?"

Mirage shot him a dark look.

Blaster put his energon down. "That bad, huh?"

Mirage allowed his shoulders to relax and vented some air. "No, it wasn't that bad. It's just... it's always the same every time we're together. She acts happy, we have fun spending time with each other, but she doesn't seem interested in taking the relationship further and I don't know why. I always see her hanging out with different mechs. She goes out with anyone who asks her."

"Yeah, that's Moonracer," the little yellow femme sitting with them confirmed. "She loves hanging out with anyone and everyone. The boys won't leave her alone. But I really don't think she wants a romantic partner right now."

"I suppose not," Mirage sighed. "I just... it seemed like we had some sort of connection the first few times we met. Maybe it was just me."

"Don't give up yet," Blaster encouraged. "Maybe she'll come around later. And if not, you're a good looking mech and there's other lovely femmes to be had. You can find someone else."

"I suppose," Mirage relented, though it hurt his pride.

In the heydays of Cybertron, Mirage was rich, well educated and high in social stature. All he had to do was look at a femme back in those days and he could have her if he so wished. Here he wasn't any more important than anyone else. It wasn't bad to be a soldier, but it was different from how he had been raised. And it was frustrating to have a femme not return his interest for the first time.

At his back, a lost looking purple femme had stepped onto the same level. Blaster was the only one who noticed her and he sat up a little straighter. Bluestreak had noticed her, too and hurried to meet the femme. They talked for a moment and then Bluestreak pointed out their table. Blaster's optics brightened and he smiled wide as she approached.

"Blitzangel! Good to see you!"

Mirage sat up from his depressed slouch and looked behind him with alert optics. "Oh, hey. Blitzangel."

"Hi Blaster, Mirage," Blitzangel smiled sweetly, obviously happy to see them after so long. "Haven't seen you guys for a while. And it's just Angel if you want. I kind of like that better."

Blaster got up from his seat, smiling wide. He was still so much taller than she was, even though Blitzangel's new body gained her a few inches from her old.

"How you doing, kid? Is it alright if I give you a hug?"

"Of course!" Blitzangel grinned back brightly.

The words were barely out of her mouth before Blaster swept her up in a tight embrace, the tips of her feet barely scraping the floor. He held her there quietly for a few moments before setting her back down. The femme was still grinning. Blaster always gave the best hugs.

"It's good to see your pretty face again," he then said. "I hope I get to see it more often."

"That can be arranged," the femme smirked.

"Oh, this is Twilight," Blaster then motioned to the yellow femme sitting at the table with them. "She hangs out with us a lot. I think you two kind of know each other?"

Blitzangel suddenly looked shy at the smaller femme. Twilight was one of the femmes that had been taken to Xartin with her. She had seen Blitzangel's darker programming at its ugliest. It wasn't something the purple femme was proud of.

"Hi," Twilight said brightly, no judgment in her voice. "I'm glad to see you're doing much better now."

The little femme mouthed silently "thank you" and Blitzangel felt warm. Twilight knew somehow that it was Blitzangel's agreement to fight in the bloodiest battles that had saved the tiny femme from dying in the savage ring herself.

Blitzangel quickly jumped back into the conversation for the mech's benefit. "Uh, yes, thank you. I've had a lot of the... bad programming worked out of my system." She then turned back to Blaster. "Can I have a moment of your time? Are you busy?"

"Lady, you can have anything of mine any time you want," Blaster grinned appreciatively eying her up and down. "Why don't you turn around for me?"

Blitzangel grabbed his arm good-naturedly, pulling him away. "Same old Blaster, I see."

"Always," he played back as he was dragged off. "Blaster will always be here for pretty femmes like yourself."

"Uh huh," she agreed noncommittally.

She led them to a more private area with out any prying audials, their meeting partially concealed behind a support beam.

"I have a really big favor to ask, it's kind of important. I'm not sure if you can do it," Blitzangel said, suddenly serious as she pulled out a disk from her chest compartment. "This has footage of my old life on it. My old, old life. It's been damaged so I don't know what's really left on it." She gazed sadly at the cracked disk. It had been through almost as much abuse as she had. "If you could see what you can salvage from this, I'd like to keep what I can. But at the same time, I can't let it stay the way it is, you know what I mean?"

It was Nightshade snooping through her things that made Blitzangel act. The intruding femme wasn't anywhere near the disk containing the home movie footage of her younger self and her family, but if she had found it- if anyone outside that small circle of knowledge had found it- what would happen then? It hurt, but Blitzangel knew he had to do something with it or forever worry about the risk of it being discovered.

Blaster took the disk from her, now all business. He knew the weight of the task he had been given.

"Yeah, I gotcha. I can translate the language into Cybertronian. I can probably do something with the picture, too. It will change a lot of what's on here, but the basic idea would remain the same."

Blitzangel ached to know she was going to be losing certain aspects of her beloved tape forever, but she nodded. "That's all I can hope for."

"It will take me a while to do it, too. I don't know when I'll be able to finish."

"Whatever you can do is fine. Thank you, Blaster."

He touched the side of her neck, the thumb of his large hand easily reaching up to rub her cheek. "Hey, anything you need, babe. You know I got your back."

"I really appreciate it, too. Oh! Let me sync with you, I'll give you the digits to my personal quarters."

His optic ridge rose with intrigue as she grabbed his wrist and learned his personal frequency.

"Aren't you so straightforward now."

"Don't even try to take it the wrong way," she shot back playfully. "It's a huge empty space, really nice. A great place to hang out. And it's too quiet. I like having other bots there to make some noise. You can share this with others but, you know, be selective with this information. Prowl's already throwing a hissy fit about me sharing the wealth."

"And yet that hasn't stopped you."

Blitzangel grinned. Recalling her argument with the second in command earlier, she felt more than vindicated to piss him off a little.

She was about to leave when she noticed a certain femme that seemed to always show up just in time to ruin her day.

Nightshade was on the same level, but thankfully nowhere near Blitzangel this time. However, she was snuggled up to Smokescreen, practically in his lap and they weren't being too shy about showing affections for one another.

It disgusted Blitzangel's sensibilities. Didn't that Nightshade do anything beside throwing herself at mechs? Wouldn't she be expected to do something around this base to pull her own weight? Or did she use her sex appeal on mechs such as Prowl so her laziness would be overlooked?

Suddenly Blitzangel felt bad for Prowl. He deserved better.

Blitzangel wiped the grease from her fingers and more paint flecked off. Her hands were looking a little pathetic these days after putting in so much work between Iacon and Drift's pet shuttle. She wondered if Ratchet wouldn't mind touching up her fingers. He seemed to enjoy it when they lived at the Ark. But things were different at Iacon. He was busier now. Maybe she should just do it herself.

Wheeljack pulled himself out from under the massive consul and arched his back strut, making a popping noise.

"That should do it," he announced. "All new wires, no more sticky buttons."

"It's about time," Red Alert huffed. "You would think when some of my equipment goes down, it would immediately be at the top of the repair list."

"A sticky control panel is not a high priority when all your cameras and radios still work just fine," Wheeljack responded.

"Not even my fault. The jokers in my absence thought it was okay to bring energon into the surveillance room. Well no more. I run a tighter ship than that."

Wheeljack just patted the shorter Autobot on the shoulder and looked at his work list. "We're really knocking them down today, Angel. We've gone through more than twice the orders I thought we would."

"Happy to help," the femme smiled as she swung her feet back and forth.

Red Alert frowned at her a bit for sitting on the equipment desk, but she wasn't hurting anything so he let it slide.

"There you are," Jazz announced as he stepped into the room.

Wheeljack internally groaned at the possibility the second would give him another repair job. But Jazz zeroed in on Blitzangel.

"Man I've had a slagging day." He plopped himself in the nearest chair and wheeled it over to Blitzangel's lap where he promptly buried his face in it, arms hanging at his sides. He let out a tired moan. "I can't look at another schematic, my processor will explode."

"Poor baby," she cooed, rubbing the base of his neck cables, "you have been working so hard."

"I have," Jazz insisted, milking the sympathy. "I've been running the same data through my head over and over and not getting anywhere. And Prime's not going to let me stop going through it until we figure out what those slagging Decepticons have been up to."

"What does Prowl think they're doing?"

"I haven't heard a slagging word from Prowl all day," Jazz grouched. "We sent him all the information. He said he's being studying it and he would let us know if he comes up with anything. But from what I understand, he's found himself rather preoccupied with other things."

"Yeah, I've noticed he's been... making a pest of himself elsewhere," Blitzangel mumbled.

Jazz lifted his head to look at her curiously.

"Anything I can do?" she then asked.

"Can you do it elsewhere?" Red Alert cut in with annoyance. "Stop canoodling on my instrument panel and clear my control room if you please."

Wheeljack left to finish the rest of his work list alone since Jazz insisted he needed Blitzangel to be his muse on whatever it was he was working on. The second in command led them to the small elevator that was key coded for only high ranking officials. For a moment Blitzangel thought he was just going to escort her back to her room. But Jazz pressed the button for a higher level- almost clear to the top.

They emerged onto a rather unremarkable floor, full of meeting rooms and offices. Jazz led them to one far more cluttered than the others, full of wall to wall charts posted haphazardly everywhere. More were spread on the table, sprinkled with data pads.

Two mechs were in the room. Optimus Prime, who's back was to the door as he poured over a large data screen projected in front of him. He didn't even bother to turn to see who had entered.

Prowl, who was fiddling with different charts on the large round table, did look up to inspect the new arrivals. His optics widened a little when he saw that Blitzangel was with his fellow second. He looked a little uncomfortable to see her. Probably because of their argument earlier. Blitzangel half expected him to ask Jazz to escort her right back out, but Jazz spoke first.

"Nice to finally see you around, Prowl. I hope you haven't been shirking your duties." Jazz plopped himself heavily in the nearest chair. "We've been going around in circles up here."

"I'm fully capable of multitasking," Prowl insisted. "I have analyzed all the same data you have while taking care of other responsibilities. You on the other hand..." His gaze wandered back up to Blitzangel. "I wonder if you can keep such focus with distractions in the room."

Upon the mention of distractions, Optimus turned around to finally notice the femme in their company. "Hello, Angel. How have you been?"

"I'm fine, Optimus Prime, thank you. Um... is it okay for me to be here? This seems like important stuff. I can go."

"No, no," Jazz insisted patting the chair next to him. "I need her Prime. I need a sounding board. I'm trying to find a fresh perspective on this. Maybe she can help me."

Optimus thought about it. These floors were for authorized officers only. But Blitzangel wasn't one of his soldiers either and this wasn't exactly top secret information. Whether she knew or didn't know about what was in this room mattered little.

"That's fine. Though you may leave any time you wish if Jazz becomes too annoying."

Aforementioned second threw his leader a look but let it slide. Prowl didn't look happy about it, but kept silence and turned his frowning attention back to the files in front of him.

"So let's get to work," Jazz said, grabbing the arm rests of Blitzangel's chair and pulling her closer so they were almost touching knees to knees.

"Okay," she responded, "so... what's going on anyway? Can you explain it a bit what you're trying to figure out?"

"So the Decepticons attacked our outpost, right? Burned it to the ground. Now that they have control of that area, they're digging."

"Digging for what?" Blitzangel wondered.

Jazz raised his finger in an "Ah ha" type gesture. "That's what we're trying to figure out. They obviously want whatever it is bad enough to spend a lot of energy and bot power on this. But we have no idea what it is."

"Maybe you should ask some of the femmes? They probably know what's down there."

"They do," Jazz agreed. "And we've asked them. All they've said is there's just a whole lot of nothing under that area for levels and levels."

Blitzangel leaned back thoughtfully and her chair squeaked.

"So what do you think?" Jazz pressed. "You were a part of the Decepticons for a while. You also lived deep down there with the Deceptifemmes."

"I only lived with the Decepticon femmes for like four days," she replied. "It wasn't really enough to memorize what's under the surface of the entire planet."

"He may be going after the female Decepticons themselves. They're the only resource down there worth looking for," Prowl offered.

"We've covered this already," Jazz sighed. "If you'd have been here, you would've known. We had Chromia up here earlier and she said it was unlikely. For one, while we don't know the exact location of the Deceptifemme base, she was quite sure it wasn't anywhere around there. Two, the Decepticons have known the Deceptifemmes are still around for over a year. So why be so desperate to root them out now? And three, even if the femmes were in the area, why would Megatron spend so much time and energy attacking us and then digging for them? That's quite an expensive enterprise to root out a few femmes with hardly a scrap of energon between them.

"It just doesn't make any sense. Megatron wouldn't put lives on the line and spend so much energy digging into our back yard for petty revenge. Not unless he's finally gone off his nut. And last I heard he's been reported to be as sane as usual."

Blitzangel began rocking back and forth in her chair which squeaked with every movement. She didn't seem to notice though Prowl glanced up with annoyance at the sound.

"So what do we know for sure is down there?" Blitzangel mused.

Jazz grabbed a large schematic, tugging it away from Prowl. The second looked even more put out with the situation now.

"See here," Jazz said, pointing at the location the Decepticons were occupying. "They have several solid layers they have to dig through, which is why they've been digging for so long. But after that, there's literally a whole lot of nothing. A big open space where the guardian manufacturing plant used to be."

Jazz tossed Prowl back his schematic and grabbed a different one.

"See, the guardians were these massive bots, like Omega Supreme. Back when this level was the surface of the planet, they built them here and then shipped them to anywhere on Cybertron they were needed through these massive transport pipes."

It's faster to go through the planet than around it, Blitzangel recalled from her excursions with Drift.

"Those tubes would be big enough to ship an army," Blitzangel said quietly. "Move them quickly to any part of the planet."

"Right," Jazz agreed. "But again, why ship them? Where? What's Megatron's plan? What's he after?"

"I do know the Deceptifemmes chose to live down so deep because the tunnels were too small for most Decepticons to fit," Blitzangel offered, still being obnoxious, rocking with her squeaking chair.

"We've been over this," Prowl cut in, sounding perturbed. "Spending so much energy on a full army for petty revenge is not Megatron's style. He would only be going after the Decepticon femmes if they had something he wanted very badly." Prowl raised two fingers as he checked them off. "Megatron's favorite things are weapons and energy. And according to you, Blitzangel, those femmes don't have a surplus of either. They're down there trying to scrape together a living, not guarding some awesome power supply."

The squeaking stopped abruptly and Blitzangel went stalk still in the silent room. All optics were on her. Even Optimus had turned around.

"They might have something," the femme said hesitantly.

"What?" Prowl asked, a bit harsher than he needed to.

"Um, they might possibly have a power generator that... creates energy on its own."

"You mean they have a device that just generates its own power?"


"Where did they get such a thing?"

Blitzangel's voice was tiny as she looked directly at Optimus Prime. "I built it." Right after I got out of Vector Sigma. Right after Alpha Trion showed me how.

She wasn't sure if she could even build another. The technology felt almost like magic to her, even now. The knowledge came and went as it pleased. She had no control over it whatsoever.

Prowl and Jazz stared at her slack jawed. They were both scrambling to come up with questions, she could see it on their faces. Maybe she should have mentioned something about it in the report. How was she supposed to know it would be so important now?

"Well now we know what Megatron's after," Optimus said, cutting short any interrogation his seconds were about to perform. "Now the question is how powerful will it make him when he gets a hold of it?"

"It doesn't make energon," Blitzangel continued, only looking at him. "The energy produced is not compatible to living bodies with sparks. The femmes would use it to power their lights, their early warning systems, so they could conserve the energon for themselves."

"Does Megatron know this?" Optimus then asked.

Blitzangel shrugged. "He didn't get any information about it from me. Probably from Soundwave or possibly Ravage. I don't know if either are aware of its limitations."

"But the Decepticons do have top scientists," Prowl stated. "If they got their hands on that technology it's possible they could develop something else with it. Something that could create unlimited energon."

"And that would tip the scales heavily in the Decepticon's favor," Optimus finished.

"So what say you, boss?" Jazz asked. "Do we assemble a strike force to kick Megatron's can?"

Optimus Prime remained silent, lost in thought as all optics watched him closely.

The loud speaker clicked on before he could answer.

"Prime, this is Blaster in the main communications room. I got an urgent message on the line and you're not going to believe who it is."

"Go ahead Blaster," Optimus said.

"We're receiving a transmission coming in from down in Cybertron. I mean way down. I got female Decepticons hailing us on the line."

Prowl and Jazz looked at each other. Blitzangel clutched the arms of her chair.

"And what do they want?" Optimus asked.

Blaster's response was completely unexpected. "Believe it or not Prime, they're asking us for help."