Transformers © Hasbro. I'm just playing with them.

AN: Major credit here goes to Prowlersgirl for letting me bounce ideas off of her, giving me ideas, and also a kick in the aft to get me going again. So here's to you! (holds up a Cade toy) Sorry I didn't get it up in time. The muse hates my fragging guts.

part one

It was incredibly stupid of him to get caught.

After all, he was the Chief Tactical Officer for the Autobots, as well as Prime's second in command. He practically had a massive target painted across his doorwings. For that reason alone, Prime was reluctant to let him onto the battlefield.

This wasn't the first time he'd been captured, but it was the first time he'd been this badly damaged.

His thoughts came to a halt as his captor stepped in front of him. Starscream. That was embarrassing enough, right there. The prima donna shouldn't have been able to land a lucky shot like that. Starscream grinned. "Megatron wants the honor of interrogating you." he said smugly. Prowl simply gave him a look. Starscream didn't even seem bothered. "You think you're tough, Autobot. You're not. Megatron will have you singing in five minutes, tops."

"I don't think so." another voice said. The brig was dark, but Prowl recognized the shape as the only Praxian on the Decepticon team. Barricade. "Look at him. He's not afraid."

Starscream snorted. "Of course he's afraid. He's nothing but a tactician. Prime was a fool for allowing him onto the battlefield." he said darkly. "His mistake will be our gain. Megatron will break him."

"Maybe not." Barricade observed, his voice carefully neutral. He was watching Prowl with a hunter's gaze, sizing up his prey. A small, barely-there smile curved his lips. "Maybe this one will prove too much for our mighty leader's skills."

"You think you can do a better job?" Starscream scoffed. "Even I know when to admit that Megatron is better than me at something, and no one is better than him at interrogations."

"You forget – I'm a Praxian. I know all the sensitive spots."

Starscream shook his helm. "I'd keep that to yourself, Barricade." he warned. Barricade merely smiled as he followed Starscream out of the brig.

For a moment, Prowl thought he might get some time to brace himself. No doubt the Autobots would launch a rescue mission. He just had to hold out until they got there. For a moment, he thought he might get the time he needed to build up his firewalls again and brace himself for the physical aspect of torture.

Three seconds after Starscream and Barricade walked out of the brig, Megatron stalked in.

Prowl wasn't going to get his prep time.


Barricade watched from the monitor room.

He wasn't really sure what made him do it, either. It wasn't like he made a habit of watching Megatron's interrogations. In all honesty, they tended to make him a bit queasy. Long, drawn-out deaths really weren't his thing, even though he was rather talented at it. He was an assassin, not a torturer. He took more joy in a clean kill.

He had been known to beat certain mechs (Starscream) within an inch of their lives for fragging him off, but he really didn't think that counted. After all, it wasn't like he wanted to kill them or anything. Just get a point across.

So he watched.

He waited.

Sooner or later, the noise would come, and Barricade would have to either leave or risk exposing his weakness to the only other mech in the monitor room. When that happened, Barricade could finally call his curiosity satisfied and never have to come back here again.

Megatron would let him know when he wanted the body disposed of.

It took Barricade a long time – a full session, which this time lasted five hours – to realize that the dreaded, hoped-for noise hadn't come. He stood and left the monitor room. He was going to have to come down here again, next time. He didn't like watching torture, but something about this one was different. The Autobot tactician was different from all the others Megatron had 'interrogated'.

He hadn't screamed.


An: Yes, extremely short for chapter one. They'll get longer.