Prowl sighed, massaging his helm in effort to release the strain. It had been a long day at the Ark, and the officer was looking forward to just going to the wash racks, getting cleaned up, and finally getting some recharge. After multiple false alarms from Red Alert, pranks by the twins, and explosions from Wheeljack's haywire inventions, Prowl had been up to his neck in data pads—security reports to be filled out, supply forms, complaints from many other mechs on board the ship, it never ended. He just needed a little time to sit back and relax.
Unfortunately, that wasn't destined to happen.
Prowl had Jazz pick out a movie that Wheeljack hadn't seen yet from human culture, Ratchet took care of the twins by smacking them with flying wrenches (one almost hit Prime—that ended somewhat badly), and Inferno managed to convince Red Alert to go on patrol so the security director wasn't running around screaming, "Decepticion attack!" every time someone buzzed on the intercom. Red Alert was rather jumpy today. Spike and Carly blamed the fact that it was around Halloween, a earth holiday which was celebrated in younglings dressing up in bizarre costumes, going from door to door asking for treats, bonfires, but mostly paid homage to ghouls, ghosts, monsters, and the undead.
The officer couldn't understand why humans would celebrate something like that, but Prowl had learned not to question strange human traditions. It just wasn't worth it.
Prowl came to the wash racks and pushed open the door. Normally around this time of night it was empty—many bots had either already washed, weren't going to, or were on patrol and were going to wash up the next morning before crashing completely into recharge a minute later. The Datsun wasn't prepared to be met with total darkness and a volley of swearing from four occupants, and a high-pitched scream from the fifth.
Prowl, completely taken aback, flicked on the lights in the dark room. Just as the light was turned on, Prowl caught glimpse of Jazz, the twins, Bluestreak, and Blaster just as a soap dispenser—ripped clean off the wall—flew towards him and hit him in the face, breaking on impact and showering him with liquid soap. Prowl fell to the ground at the sudden hit, totally unprepared, just as he heard Jazz say, "Hey, it's just Prowler. Dude, don' sneak up ahn us like that."
Prowl wiped the soap from his optics, Blaster and Bluestreak helping him up, with Sideswipe saying, "Blue, that was one pit of a shot. How'd you get the thing off the wall so fast?"
"It was an accident! I didn't mean to hit you, I thought you were someone else," babbled Bluestreak. Prowl shook the soap off his hand, glaring at the other mechs.
"What the pit are you all doing in here?" he exclaimed. Sunstreaker, who was standing against one of the walls, glanced at the ceiling.
"They're trying to summon Bloody Mary," the yellow mech said.
"Summon who?" Prowl asked, turning quickly and eyeing Jazz. Jazz grinned.
"Aw, don' worry, Prowler. It's all in good fun. Spike 'n Carly told us 'bout her. It's this ghost who haunts. "
Bluestreak chimed in. "You're supposed to summon her by chanting her name three times in a dark room in front of a mirror. This was the first place we thought of to try it out."
"It hasn't worked yet," added Blaster, "because we haven't gotten Sideswipe to stop scaring Blue long enough to actually try it."
"So it's actually Sides' fault that Blue hit yah with the soap."
"Hey, it is not!"
Prowl held up his hands, shouting, "Hold it, hold it!" as an argument erupted between Sideswipe and Bluestreak. Everyone quieted down and stared at the officer as he continued to wipe soap off his face.
"So let me get this straight: You five are trying to summon a ghost by chanting her name in the mirror in the wash racks."
Everyone thought about it for a moment, before Sunstreaker raised his servo. "I haven't been trying. Sides dragged me into this."
"Shut up, Sunny."
"Don't call me that."
Prowl massaged his temple. "You are all such idiots—"
"You wanna join us, Prowler?" Jazz cut in, grinning like a fool. "C'mon. It'll be fun. The ghost's not supposed t' exist, anyway."
Prowl glared at his friend, but he sighed. The quicker they tried this out, the faster he could get washed up and put the soap sprayed all over him to good use. Then he could finally get some recharge, for Primus' sake! "Sure, fine. Let's get this over with."
"That's the spirit!" exclaimed Blaster, and off went the lights and the door was shut. Prowl could only see four pairs of glowing blue optics, and one glowing blue visor around him. There was some shuffling so everyone could get comfortable, and lots of squawking and complaining.
"Sides, git off mah foot."
"That's not my foot—"
"Sorry, Jazz, that's mine."
"Hey, hey! Watch the paint job, will yah?"
"Oh, stop worrying about your stupid paint job."
"Who said that?"
"It wasn't me."
Prowl once again stopped the arguing with, "Are we trying this out or what? Jazz, don't make me tell Prime that you've missed your past three shifts."
"Hey, how come Jazz is getting off so easy? Last time I tried to skip my shift, Prowl had me welded to the wall by Ratchet."
"That's because Jazz is special."
"No," replied Prowl, "it's because unlike you twins, Jazz will make up the work." Prowl nudged Jazz with his arm (or at least he was pretty sure it was Jazz—the visor had to connect to something), lowering his voice, "By the way, you still owe me two more reports."
"I'll git them to yah tomorrow mornin'," Jazz whispered back. "First thing."
"Now, who's doing the chanting?" someone asked. This led to a whole new conversation.
"Hey, how 'bout Blue does it?"
"Wh-what? What if Bloody Mary tries to scratch my optics out?"
"That's what Prowl's for. We'll use him as a shield."
"Hey, I heard that, Sideswipe."
"Just kidding, Prowl."
There was some more shuffling around, and then Bluestreak cleared his vocal processer. He glanced around, his blue optics lightly illuminating his terrified face. Then extremely quickly, he spun around to the mirror, stuttering, "Bl-bloody M-Mary, Bl-bloody M-Mary, Bl-bloody M-Mary!" before diving out of the mirror's sight and into a shower rack, hiding behind who was most likely Blaster. All six mechs waited for something to happen.
Prowl sighed. "All right, we tried it. Now out—I want to get some recharge."
"Naw, Blue didn' say it right!" exclaimed Jazz.
"How do you know that he didn't say it right?" asked Sunstreaker. Prowl felt Jazz shrug, hitting his shoulder.
"Well, this Bloody Mary's supposed t' be scary, right? Maybe we've gotta do it in a scary voice or somethin'."
"Yeah, that makes sense! Blue, say it in a creepy, spine curdling voice."
"I don't think you said that right, bro."
Blue optics peaked out of a nearby shower rack. "Do I have to?"
Four voices commanded, "Yes!" simultaneously.
Bluestreak crept out of the shower rack. Once again, he cleared his vocal processer once again, and chanted. This time, Prowl jumped a little when Bluestreak spoke. The young gunner's voice had quickly turned coarse and haunty.
"Bloody Mary," Bluestreaker rasped. Prowl was slightly impressed. Not only could Bluestreak talk a mile per minute, he could also do a fairly good Vincent Price impression. "Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary!"
After Bluestreak had finished, Sideswipe whistled. "Wow, Blue. Nice."
"Hey, you said scary voice!"
"It was good, Blue," Prowl said, hoping that this meant that this crazy endeavor was finished, and he could finally get some peace and quiet. Just as Prowl was about to flick on the lights, Sunstreaker's voice drifted over the commotion.
"Hey, guys?" he asked. "What's that?"
The way Sunstreaker had said it, Prowl guessed that the yellow mech was pointing at something. Though no one knew what Sunstreaker was pointing at, everyone quickly turned to the mirror. Prowl's digit was frozen, still in position to turn on the lights, but never carrying out the action.
In the dead center of the mirror, surrounded by five pairs of glowing blue optics and one glowing blue visor, was a bright white mist. It was small, at first, coiling and turning inside the mirror, but slowly it began to spread. Instead of looking in a mirror, it was almost as if those six Autobots were looking through a window. It slithered up the mirror, snaking and crawling, until it reached the bottom and top of the mirror. It began to take shape into…something. Prowl wasn't sure what it was.
Then there were two, big glowing red eyes that appeared.
That shout brought Prowl back into reality. With the sound of ripping metal, the smallest figure in the room—Bluestreak—seized a second soap dispenser (the first left discarded in the hall) and chucked it with all his might and deadly accuracy. It smacked the mirror with a shattering crunch, causing the mirror to crack. There was a shriek, and the white mist and glowing eyes quickly shot out of the mirror.
Six terrified mechs screamed in fright. Prowl, closest to the door, pulled it open as quickly as the mirror shattered, letting light stream into the dark wash racks. Bluestreak was the one out first, screaming all the way, followed by Blaster and Sunstreaker who were letting out guttural shrieks as well. Jazz pushed Prowl out of the wash racks, but the two were shoved aside by Sideswipe, who was shouting for his brother to wait up. Jazz was knocked on top of Jazz in the red Lamborghini's haste, and Prowl tumbled to the ground. With a heavy, metallic clang, Prowl's head smashed against the ship's interior. Jazz tripped over Prowl's outstreatched arm and smacked against the wall.
Prowl turned to look back. Whatever it was—the mist, a mass hallucination, whatever, because there was no way ghosts existed—was now standing fully formed in the wash racks, glowering evilly at Prowl with its blood thirsty eyes. It stretched a weathered, translucent claw towards the officer, and Prowl shouted, "Jazz, get off me!"
"I'm tryin', Prowler!" he cried, but Prowl realized it was too late. The ghost shot towards the two mechs, cackling and howling at a blinding speed. Prowl looked away, and unlike everyone else's reactions, Prowl's was incredibly different.
He was utterly pissed off. All he had wanted was a shower. Not all this madness. It took a lot to get the tactical officer angry, but ghosts, stupid soldiers, and the wear and tear of the day had finally gotten to him. "Jazz, get your lazy aft up now! My optics are not going to get scratched out by that thing!"
And with his statement, Prowl drew his gun from the subspace compartments, and fired. The laser shots shattered the mirror, shooting through the ghost directly through its middle. It shrieked in anger. Prowl prepared to fire again as Jazz scrambled to his feet, revealing his gun and also firing. Over the loud blitz of firing, there was a massive crackle—almost like a sharp rumble of thunder—that shook the Ark. With a zap, the ghost disappeared.
Jazz and Prowl stared at the empty wash racks, dumb founded.
"What th' slag just happened?" asked Jazz.
Prowl sat up, dusting himself off as he warily eyed the room, half expecting the ghost to reappear. A flash of blue light ejected from the wall, lighting the wash racks up for a moment before frizzing out.
Getting to his feet, the Datsun dared to step into the room, gun still drawn, prepared to fire. He flicked the lights on.
On the wall, disused as a dryer, was an odd mechanism dangling by a few wires. Prowl prodded it with the tip of his gun, and it fell to the ground, clattering and chipping on the cold metal floor.
"Is this what I think it is?" Prowl asked himself. Jazz stepped over to Prowl and the odd device, peering over his friend's shoulder to get a better look.
"Well, whaddya think it its? 'Cuz if it's what I think it is, 'Jack's in a heap of trouble."
"It is what I think it is. Why is Wheeljack putting hologram devices in the wash racks?" Prowl shook his head, grumbling to himself, "I swear, I will never understand that mech."
It was at that particular moment that a new voice spoke up.
"I must inquire, why are you two dismembering my devices? It's rather rude."
Prowl and Jazz turned around, the hologram device in hand, to see Perceptor eyeing them, somewhat peeved. "I worked for hours to get the syndications and timing correct on that holographic projector. There was no reason for you to fire rounds at it."
"Wait…wait a click," said Jazz. "It was you that put this thin' up?"
"Yes," Perceptor replied, cranky. He took the device from Prowl, cradling it in his hands. "It was part of an experiment of mine. Wheeljack was watching a human film—Ghostbusters, I believe—and I wanted to see if our species reacted the same when faced with an obstacle such as paranormal activity just as humans do. Considering the reactions of my test subjects, I must concur that we do. I planned on relocating the device after three cycles so I could gain more data, but now I will have to rebuild it if I wish to continue."
Jazz and Prowl sighed simultaneously. Prowl rubbed his helm.
"Perceptor…" he said. "Could you please refrain from testing your many theories on the members of the Ark? And if you must, could you at least fill out the proper paperwork for it?"
Perceptor scoffed, turning on his heels. "At least my inventions aren't as dangerous as Wheeljack's. He's attempting to create an exctoplasmic containment unit for possible specters in the vicinity. I believe it was on the verge of exploding last time I was in the lab."
Prowl sighed. "…I'll take care of it in the morning. Hopefully, one of these showers still works. Jazz, finish that paper work, and make sure to explain to the twins, Bluestreak, and Blaster what actually happened. We don't need them spreading the word that there's a ghost haunting the Ark, since it appeared to be a huge misunderstanding."
"Got it, Prowler," Jazz said, flashing a nervous grin. Perceptor curtly nodded and left the wash racks, complaining under his breath about the complexity of his machine and how it would be such a waste of his time having to be rebuild it. Jazz started whistling some human song—by the Beatles or something—as Prowl turned on the hot water and sighed.
Finally, much later, after getting the soap from being hit with the soap dispenser, Prowl retired to his room. It was nice to be able to get some recharge after a long day. Easing onto his recharge berth, he flicked off the lights, and prepared to shutter his optics.
Right before he did, something caught his attention—out of the corner of his eye, standing off to the side in the dark.
It was a human, bloody, ratty hair, floating in the corner of his room. She smiled at him, nodding in his direction. She even winked at him. Prowl, dumbfounded, could only stare. She waved at him as if to say, 'Hello.'
Then she was gone.
Prowl decided that there would be no more movies about ghosts for either scientists. Things were just getting too weird around the Ark.
Prowl decided to ignore it. He'd had enough spooks and ghosts for one day.
It was just as well, because Prowl—or any other member of the Ark, for that matter—never saw a ghost again.