A/N:Well, another story! Enjoy!

Thanks to LadyAnatar for betaing!


Chapter 1

In Which Prime is Introduced to the Pit, and the Visitors Are Confused

"Welcome to Autobot Base 84G1-07MVE-VR5E, Sir," the black and white Praxian standing at attention rattled off to the Prime in front of him. "Autobot Tactician and Commander of this base, Prowl, reporting, Sir."

"At ease, Prowl," Optimus Prime said, slightly amused. Nobot back on Cybertron was as strict as this mech seemed to be. Then again, most of them knew him as Orion Pax, and getting the Matrix and becoming Optimus Prime didn't change much. "Thank you for coming to meet me personally."

"It was no trouble at all, Prime," the black and white mech responded, still expressionless. "I must admit, inspections from the Prime are very rare."

"Well, this is not just a routine inspection," the Prime said as his optics skated over the inside of the courtyard where the shuttle had been put down, examining what he could of the base and offering no more information as to what, exactly, this visit was. Prowl didn't ask.

"Very well, Sir. If you will follow me?"

Prime, Ironhide, and the other three guards followed as Prowl led the way into the base.

It was quiet. A few mechs wandered the halls. They all stared at Prowl's following as they passed, but said nothing.

A few breems into their walk, that all changed. The roar of high-performance engines filled the halls. Prowl, as soon as he heard it, flattened himself to the wall. Slightly confused, the Prime and his guards did the same. A yellow blur sped past, followed by a red.

The red blur slowed for a moment, transformed, gave a snappy salute, shouted, "Welcome to the Pit, sir!" and took off again.

Then the loud blare of sirens made itself known, and a chartreuse ambulance careened around the corner and revved loudly as it sped past, chasing after the red and yellow blurs.

Prowl vented heavily as he pushed off the wall and continued walking as though nothing had happened. The five mechs behind him followed, very confused.

::Prime... What is this place?:: Ironhide commed his leader.

::A little base on the outskirts of the solar system. I found them in the records some time ago and became curious.::

::Yeah, caught that. But... this place ain't no ordinary base, is it?::

::You are correct in that assumption. This base is very far out of the way, and rather unimportant. Sentinel Prime used it as a... sort of banishment. Most of the mechs here are troublemakers, don't play well with others, or simply angered or annoyed my predecessor. He intended for them to offline out here, alone and uncared for. However, they survived, and succeeded beyond what anyone hoped for.::

::How so?::

::Decepticons avoid this sector at all costs.::

::Umm...::

:Wow! Ah'm flatter'd ya think so highly of us! Hey! Prowler!:: a loud, bright voice suddenly interjected, and the Prime and his bodyguard suddenly became aware of another person on their supposedly private comm line.

::What, Jazz?:: the not-quite cold voice of Prowl almost snarled, if a snarl were possible with such a monotone voice.

::Th' Prime here thinks we're successful! He thinks we did'a good job!::

::What- Jazz! Get out of his private comm line!:: the base commander commanded, suddenly realizing what he had been sucked into. ::I apologize, Prime. Jazz-::

::No, it is okay,:: the Prime quickly reassured, glad that his battle mask hid his smirk. ::I know what this place was to Sentinel, and the general reasons as to why you are all here.::

There was a long pause, before Jazz snickered. "Knowin' an' underdstandin' are two very diff'rent things, Prime," he laughed, and the Prime and his guards whirled around to see a sleek silver bot with a twinkling visor lounging against the wall behind them.

"Jazz, are you not on duty right now?" the Praxian at what had been the head of the group asked calmly, golden optics shimmering coldly. Jazz just grinned.

"Nah, traded off wit' Air Raid. He's on punishm'nt detail, 'n Silverbolt want'd him t' run 'n extra monitor shift."

"Then go catch Ratchet before he murders the Twins. Now, please."

"Aww!" the silver mech, but did as the base commander ordered and loped down the hall in the direction the red and yellow blurs, and the chartreuse medic, had taken. The Praxian watched him go, and once he had turned the corner, looked over his shoulder and doorwing to the mechs behind him.

"Let's continue, shall we?"

Slightly shell-shocked, the bots followed the black and white.

"Um... Prowl, if I may...?"

"Yes, Prime?"

"Is this..."

Prowl shot a wry look over his shoulder. "If you are going to ask if this is how the average day here progresses, then the answer is yes. More or less. Generally speaking, Ratchet is red and white, not chartreuse, and the Twins, either one, will stop at nothing when they are on the run. However, Sideswipe apparently thought it prudent to welcome you to the Pit, Sir."

"The... The Pit?"

"The troops' name for this base. I believe it was Ratchet who called it thus when he first arrived, and the name stuck." Prowl smirked. "If you will come this way, Sir, I believe that you would enjoy some energon before the inspection is started in full. It is a long journey from anywhere to here."

"Ya've got that right," Ironhide mumbled under his exvents. The Prime shot him a look, which the hulking black mech ignored.

The group of mechs entered the commissary to see... a couple rather out-of-the-ordinary things.

One, there was a big, gray box simply sitting in the place of one of the booths. Everyone seemed to be deliberately avoiding looking at it, as well as giving it a wide berth. . The newcomers kept sneaking fleeting glances at it, wondering why, exactly, there was a space around it that absolutely no one would enter.

Two, a large red, white, and black mech was holding another, smaller, red, white, and black mech in the air by his scruff bar. The smaller mech was getting a lecture by the larger, all the while holding his arms crossed tightly over his chassis and trying to retain as much dignity as possible, while his sensory horns sparked blue and his pedes dangled feet above the ground.

Three, a posse of minibots were working at trying to get something out of one of the vents in the walls. Rather unsuccessfully trying, if their expressions were anything to go by.

Four, a red and white visored mech was happily examining the internal workings of the arm of a massive red, orange, blue, and silver bot with strange wings and an odd helm protrusion. Eight other bots sat around them, seemingly separated into two groups, all of them apparently used to one of their number examining the uninjured insides of another.

Five, a red, white, and green mech with flashing helm fins sat alone at a table, tinkering with a bundle of something. Everyone was giving him a wide berth, even wider than the strange gray box, and casting nervous looks in his direction.

Prowl vented as he entered.

"Wait here, please. It will be safe to enter in a moment."

Wondering why it wasn't safe at that moment, the five bots waited. Prowl stalked into the room.

He headed first to the minibots.

"What has gotten stuck in the vents this time?"

"Some weird robot thing," a small yellow bot said, before being cut off by a slightly larger red bot with some sort of barrel on his shoulder.

"Forgive my intrusion, Bumblebee, but it is not just 'some weird robot thing'. It is a highly advanced surveillance and maintenance drone which, once programmed properly, will be a great help around the base. I-"

"Perceptor, can you get it out?"

"-understand that... Perhaps?"

"Do so. Employ the minibots' help as you see fit. They can fit in the vents."

Prowl turned, ignoring the protests of said minibots, and glared at the gray box. "Mirage! Hound! Trailbreaker! No interfacing in the commissary! How many times have I told you? Everyone knows just what's happening behind that hologram and forcefield of yours."

The gray box shimmered away at the end of Prowl's speech, revealing a standard booth with benches, and a slightly dented and scratched green mech, whose fans were running rather louder and harder than would be considered usual or healthy. His servo appeared to be wrapped around nothing above him. A larger, black mech was acting as the green mech's backrest, a smirk on his faceplates, also with fans running hard.

"Mirage, show yourself."

A similarly smirking blue and white mech shimmered into existence, showing that Hound's arm had been wrapped around his waist and his servo around the blue mech's spoiler.

"You three... Just get out. You all have perfectly functional quarters and berths. I suggest you use them."

Without speaking, the three mechs stood and walked out of the commissary, servos interlinked.

Prowl turned to the next 'problem'. "First Aid, you are to conduct repairs in the Med Bay, and the last time I checked, this is the commissary, not the Med Bay."

"Him First Aid not do repairs. Him just look," the oddly shaped bot with his arm plating open said.

"Mm hmm," First Aid murmured as he poked something. Prowl scowled.

"Nevertheless. First Aid, please move this to the Med Bay."

For a long moment, the red and white bot didn't move away from the other mech. Then he vented and pulled the armor back over the exposed wires. "Come on, Swoop," he said brightly as he stood. Swoop stood with him, as well as a few of the other bots around them.

They left, and Prowl turned to the two red, white, and black mechs. "Inferno, what is wrong now?"

"Red was on shift fer three orn straight," the larger mech rumbled, sending a soft glare at the smaller.

Prowl vented. "Red Alert, take a break. No one is going to attack. Inferno, set Red Alert down."

The huge firetruck did as instructed. As soon as the smaller sports car's pedes touched the ground, he took off, speeding out the door and down the hall. Inferno took off after him.

"RED ALERT, YOU GET BACK HERE!" he shouted as he ran down the corridor after the retreating mech.

Prowl just turned to the last oddity, and stood a short ways away from the tinkering mech. "Wheeljack, is it safe to approach?"

"Hmm... just connect... Ah, sure... I think..."

"Wheeljack!"

The mech jumped. "What?" he yelped, then looked down at his project. "Oh, slag."

"HIT THE DECK!" someone shouted, and everyone, including the newcomers, who were used to such orders (though those orders usually occurred on the battlefield), dove for the floor.

A bright flash and a loud bang later, they stood back up. Wheeljack was still sitting in his seat, his front charred and scorched, the table smoking remains in front of him, helm fins flashing happily.

"Ooh, that was a good one! Did you – I mean, uh, sorry, Prowl."

Prowl just shook his helm and flicked his doorwings as he stood up. "No more tinkering in the commissary, Wheeljack. Please. Ratchet gets mad enough when it's only you he has to repair. Now go."

The mech, his helm fins still flashing happily, stood and made his wobbly way to the door, already muttering under his exvents about what went wrong and how to fix it.

A slightly charred Prowl walked back to the mechs in the door, doorwings stiff behind him. "Sir, it is safe to enter."

Ironhide stepped hesitantly into the room and glanced around. "You sure about that?"

"As much as I can be, on this base of lunatics. Energon is right over there. Feel free to take as much as you want. Perceptor managed to get a good solar harvester running, and we have plenty of it."

Slowly, the group of five mechs walked over, while Prowl went to talk to one of the other occupants of the room. Nothing of consequence happened as the newcomers reached the energon dispenser, drew cubes for each of them, and went to find an empty table.

Refueling was uneventful. Prowl sat and talked to his companion for a time, then moved to the table where the newcomers were seated.

"Once you have finished," he announced, "we will continue our tour. I believe the Command Center is our next destination?"

"Very well," the Prime said as he drained the last of his energon and dispersed the cube. His guards followed suit, draining the last of the rich energon and following the Praxian from the commissary.

"So..." the Prime started as he walked at Prowl's side. The base commander hid a flinch.

"Wheeljack blowing himself up is an ornly occurrence. Most of the time, the explosions take place in his lab, which has proper shielding and ventilation systems. What happened today is rather uncommon."

"Ah."

::Prime, you're seriously considering these mechs for your command? They're all certifiably insane!::

::By Sentinel's examiners. I believe that anyone would go insane surrounded by mechs such as these, for orn after orn. It is only logical. However, they have survived. Thrived, even. Perhaps a bit of insanity is what this war needs. What the Autobots need.:: The Prime shot a glance over his shoulder and gave a half-wink to his old friend, as a full wink would be rather un-Primely. ::These bots could be the solution to the war.::

::If you say so.::

::I do. And so does the Matrix. It's been sending me happy pulses since we got here.::

Ironhide didn't deign that with a response. For a long stretch of the hallway, nothing happened and nothing was said. Until, once again, the two streaks of Red and Yellow raced past with all the force of a hurricane. Prowl frowned when no medic appeared behind.

"Prime, I apologize, but I must catch the Twins... Leaving them loose, to their own devices, is not a good idea. I will comm another mech to show you around."

"Of course."

A klik later, Prowl nodded. "Bluestreak is on his way. Excuse me."

And with that, Prowl raced after the Twins, sirens blaring and tyres squealing, with all the force of a solar storm.

Half a breem later, a slightly smaller, gray Praxian strolled up, grinning widely.

"Hello, Prime, sirs! Prowl told me that I should show you around, because he had to chase the Twins, 'cause they were loose again. You know, if they spent less time pranking and running, Prowl would be able to get his work done faster, which would let him relax, which would probably make him a little more lenient, but they don't get it no matter how many times I try to explain." A slightly crestfallen look, which quickly turned back into a smile. Much too quickly for any of the newcomers to speak. "Anyways, they never do stop, and it is amusing, and I think bashing their helms in is a good stress reliever for Ratchet, which is always good, because he did get his nickname for a reason, but – Oh! You wouldn't know his nickname, you don't know him. Everyone calls him the Hatchet, but don't call him that in front of him, because last time someone did that, well, we don't like to talk about it. So, we should get to the Command Center." The bot finally stopped and looked at the Prime hopefully.

Blinking at the huge stream of words and abrupt subject change, Optimus Prime, bearer of the Matrix, leader of the Autobot army, High Priest of the planet Cybertron, and the Speaker for Primus, could only say one thing: "I can see why you're named Bluestreak."

"Oh, yes, everyone always tells me I talk too much, except Prowl. He just listens, which is really nice, and he doesn't care. The Twins don't either, usually, and when they do they're really nice about it, and don't ever yell at me and I'm doing it again, so I'll just mute it and take you to the Command Center," the bot rattled off, then smiled innocently, turned, and started walking. Slightly dazed, Prime, Ironhide, and the others followed.


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