Megatron's first act of war is to destroy Praxus.
The Autobots received no warning. There was no declaration of intent or even a hint of what Megatron planned. One minute everything is normal on the Autobot base, the next word arrived that Praxus is burning, and everyone mobilized.
By the time they arrive, it's far too late. There's nothing left but smoking ruins.
Jazz suspects Megatron did this to get back at Prowl for rejecting him, but he can't say for certain. After all, Prowl may not be a Decepticon, but he's not an Autobot either. After so many weeks of speaking with Ironhide, neither is the soldier. He's Prowl's mech now.
As soon as they arrive at Praxus, Jazz and Prowl are gone, racing off into the debris to find survivors. Sentinel and Optimus watch them go. Optimus worries they're giving the two mechs too much freedom, but Sentinel just shakes his head and gets on with organizing the rescue efforts.
Far away from the Autobots, on the other side of the city, an Enforcer is crouched down in the ruins, protecting a youngling Praxian as best as he can. The Praxian is only in his fourth frame, so very young, and terrified of everything around him. As far as the Enforcer can tell, this is the only survivor.
So Ratchet sets to work. He may be an Enforcer by caste, but he's a medic by spark. He's self-trained and talented, and he's not going to let this little one die. So he tries to get the youngling to talk.
"What's your name, little one?"
The youngling just stares at him, trembling, doorwings held as high as he could get them. He's trying to be intimidating, to keep Ratchet as far away as possible, and he's too scared to recognize help when it's being given. He thinks he's defending himself, but unless he allows Ratchet to help, he's only going to die faster.
The sounds of someone running draws his attention away from the half-bit. He looks up and sees two mechs standing just in front of him. He jerks back. "Who are you?"
"Ah'm Jazz." the visored one says. "This here's Prowl. We're gonna help ya."
"I'm not the one who needs help." Ratchet says stiffly. "This one does, if he'll just let me."
Without a word, Prowl slides down in the depression and crouches in front of the youngling. The half-bit relaxes almost instantly at seeing someone from his own city. Prowl reaches out a hand. "It's okay, Bluestreak. You're safe now." he says softly. Slowly, Bluestreak approaches him. Prowl smiles reassuringly. "You have a brother, right? Smokescreen? I'll bet the others have found him by now – do you want to see?"
That works like magic. Bluestreak launches himself into Prowl's arms, shaking and trembling as he tries to bury himself in the smaller mech. Ratchet looks up at Jazz. "The others?"
Ratchet's optics darken. He takes in Prowl, who's whispering words of reassurance to the youngling, and Jazz, who's standing there, taking him in as well. "Since when do Primus's mechs take sides?"
Prowl looks up. "You know who we are?"
"I told him." Ironhide appears by his side. "See ya got yourself in a bit of trouble, Ratch."
"Don't call me that." Ratchet says automatically. "Help Prowl and Bluestreak up. I need to get them to a proper med bay. Was Prowl here when the city was destroyed?"
Ironhide's optics darken. "No. He should be in his seventh frame."
Ratchet startles, staring at Prowl for a long moment before he bursts out laughing. "A street rat prophet. Now that's rich."
"Ah'm the prophet." Jazz corrects. That just makes Ratchet laugh even harder. Ironhide shakes his head and helps Prowl and Bluestreak up.
"Don't mind him." he says. "Ratch has always been a little glitchy. He's an Enforcer, but he's also a gifted medic. That's how we met."
"Patched his sorry aft up quite a few times." Ratchet says, finally getting himself under control. "Well, lead the way."
Optimus visits Bluestreak in the med bay. He's the only survivor of the attack on Praxus, and he's so young. His spark breaks for the poor mech. Ratchet stands guard by Bluestreak's berth. First Aid greets Optimus at the door and explains how Bluestreak's recovery is going. Optimus just nods before continuing to the little mech.
"My name is Optimus Prime." he says quietly. "I am now Acting Prime of the Autobots. I am – so sorry for your loss." Bluestreak looks away. Optimus continues. "I want you to know we will do everything it takes to bring those responsible to justice." There's a long pause. "Is there anything I can do for you now?"
Bluestreak barely looks at him. "Prowl."
Optimus blinks. "You want Prowl?"
Ratchet shrugs. "They're both Praxian. He feels secure around him." He glances at the door. "Besides, Prowl and Jazz have been stalking the med bay waiting for updates about him." First Aid sniggers. He's started warming up to the new mechs, even if he doesn't exactly like them. Optimus sighs.
"Fine. Let them in." He glances at Bluestreak one last time and leaves. As soon as he's gone, Prowl and Jazz walk into the med bay. Bluestreak lights up. Prowl sits on the berth next to him, allowing the mech to lean against him. Jazz just watches from a few feet away with a smile on his face.
First Aid speaks up. "Optimus is going to want you to join the Autobots, Bluestreak." he says quietly. "He'll want you to swear in, pledge allegiance to him. Are you okay with that?"
Bluestreak's response is immediate. "No."
Ratchet smirks. "Not a fan?"
"He didn't save me. You guys did. Even when I was too scared to realize it." He sits up a bit and looks at Prowl. "I know who you are."
"I figured you would." Prowl says. "You're still very young."
Bluestreak nods. "I won't pledge anything to Optimus. My allegiance is with you. You and Jazz."
First Aid almost chokes. "That's treason, Bluestreak."
"It's the truth." Bluestreak never takes his optics from Prowl. "Will you accept?"
Prowl smiles. "Of course. But we're friends now, Bluestreak – you can drop the formality. Ask Jazz." Bluestreak looks over at Jazz, who nods encouragingly. A smile bursts across his face.
"In that case, call me Blue. Everyone does."