Chapter 4: Fun with anesthetics

"Hey! Are you listenin'?"

"Whuh?" Airazor muttered, the high-pitched tone of a certain rodent invading what had been a deep (and surprisingly pleasurable) trip down memory lane. Turning in her seat, the falcon met the gaze of a somewhat irritable Rattrap, while simultaneously looking at the wall mounted clock behind him. It was six in the evening.

"You aren't, are ya?" he accused.

"Well…"

"Dat's just typical! Every time someone's got a problem, da rat gotta listen to 'em, but when da rat's got a problem, every one heads for da hills!"

"That's not true…" Airazor offered half-heartedly, knowing full well that was the case.

"Oh? What about Polar Claw, eh? I ask him to help me with a few things, next thing I know he's off scouting da Antarctic! And don't get me started on Optimus…"

"Rattrap?"

"Yeh?"

"You ever think that maybe it's the fact that listening to your problems usually leads to the listener having to undergo something hideously dangerous and painful that everyone giving you a wide berth when you're in trouble?"

"What?!? Give me one example of dat!"

"Okay then," Airazor replied, searching her memory for a relevant example. She found it almost instantaneously. "Ah. Remember last week? The 'Gilgamesh Mafia' incident?"

Rattrap grimaced. "It wasn't dat bad…"

"Or so you told Optimus. Next day, what does he find on the Axalon's doorstep? Seven gorilla sized collectors wanting…how did they put it?…'payment from the tiny annoying one'.

Airazor paused a moment to watch Rattrap squirm in his seat before continuing.

"It's a good thing Rhinox and Grimlock were there at the time, otherwise things might've gotten even messier than they did."

"Yeah, yeah", Rattrap muttered. "I paid for it though, didn't I? Three months monitor duty and a permanent ban on gambling."

"Yeah", Airazor admitted. "Mind you, Optimus might reconsider the monitor duty so long as you stay out of trouble…"

The rest of the sentence trailed off as Airazor saw the half-guilty/half smirk expression on Rattrap's face. She knew that expression meant that the Maximal spy had been up to something mischievous.

"Rattrap?"

"Hmm?"

Airazor took a deep breath. "What did you do?" Then, as the though came to her, "Where's Dinobot?"

Rattrap's expression swiftly changed to barely contained laughter at the sound of the raptor's name.

"Well," he started, stifling a giggle, "Ya know dat big jar of numbing agent dat Rhinox keeps in his lab?"

Airazor's optics widened in reply.

"You didn't…"

"I did. Lessee, it's a delayed reaction formula, I gave it to him three hours ago, so that means he should be here in…", at this Rattrap looked down at his wrist mounted watch while holding up three fingers, "three…two…one…"

Almost on the 'e' of 'one', a very, very, angry scream rose through the ship.

"VERMIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIN!!!"

"Gotta go!" Rattrap cheerfully called as he transformed to beast mode and scampered off. Airazor watched him go as Dinobot stumbled into the room seconds later.

The falcon goggled.

Apparently, Rattrap had somehow administered the numbing agent to the ex-Predacon's legs, which were now wobbling all over the place. Airazor briefly marveled at the fact that Dinobot was able to remain standing, let alone move around.

"Where is he?"

Dinobot's question caused Airazor to look up at the warrior's face, which was now twisted in absolute fury. Both his rotor blade and segmented sword were drawn, ready to rend some rodent flesh.

"Guh?" Airazor murmured, trying desperately to burst out laughing.

"The vermin!" Dinobot snarled, coming dangerously close to toppling over. "I know he was here!"

"Um…well, you see…"

"GAH! Never mind! It will be more satisfying to track him down on my own!"

And with that, Dinobot left the room, his legs alternating from swinging from side to side and moving in a relatively normal fashion.

Once she was sure that the raptor was a safe distance away, Airazor collapsed into a fit of helpless giggles.

*****

Inferno was confused.

Strangely, this was a rare occurrence for the relatively simple minded warrior, who usually went about his business with the sole purpose of serving his Queen.

Ironically, this was the source of his confusion.

Inferno sighed happily as he remembered the first time the Royalty had chosen him as her mate. Him! A lowly soldier ant, chosen by the Queen to help her propagate the Colony! Inferno had always though this thing could only happen in dreams or tawdry ant novels, and yet it had happened to him! It was if he had died and gone to the Matrix.

Oddly, Inferno's fellow drones didn't seem to share his happiness. Their reactions ranged from Tarantulas and Fractyl doing their best to avoid him, Scorponok's optics going a curious shade of green and leaking what human would have called tears, and Insecticon running away screaming. Very strange, given that a sexually sated Queen meant that the Colony could at long last produce new drones. Inferno didn't know why everyone reacted as if it was a bad thing.

Anyway, the reason for Inferno's confusion was that during the first night in the Queen's recharge bed, she had produced a long, thin, impressively sized organ. The ant knew enough basic physiology to know that this particular organ was pretty much exclusive to males, meaning…  

"Megatron to Inferno!"

The voice that sounded (to Inferno, at least) like a choir of heavenly angels singing a mighty ant war anthem brought Inferno out of his current line of thought. He eagerly tapped the 'respond' button on his com-link.

"Yes, Royalty!"

"Waspinator and Terrorsaur haven't turned up for their morning shifts. I want you, Vice Grip and Insecticon to find them and bring them to the throne room for punishment."

Inferno frowned. "But Royalty, I thought that was reserved for me?"

"Not that kind of punishment you fool!" Megatron yelled. "Just bring them to me, on the double!"

"As you command, Queenie-buns!"

"And stop calling me that over the coms!"

*****

"Would you please let us go!"

Blackarachnia looked up from her hand held game at Terrorsaur, who at this moment was wrapped in a web cocoon suspended from the ceiling over a pit of lava. Beside him was Waspinator, in a similar state.

"You know the deal", the spider replied. "You tell me how you found out about…that incident…and I don't give you a fiery death."

"But we can't!" Waspinator buzzed. "Wazzzzpinator not want to anger…"

Waspinator trailed off as Blackarachnia's gaze swiveled onto him.

"Anger who?"

"For the last time, we can't tell you! He'd murder us!" Terrorsaur yelled.

"Okay then," Blackarachnia muttered, transforming to Beast Mode and leaping to the ceiling near the web threads preventing her comrades from taking a swim in the lava. "Give my regards to the Pit Keeper."

"NOOOOOOO!" the duo screamed simultaneously. "It was Tarantulas!"

At the sound of the other spider's name, all eight of Blackarachnia's eyes narrowed in fury.

"Taran…tulas?" She repeated, her voice far too calm to actually be calm.

"Yeah! Wazzzzpinator and Needlenose in Big Bang Sex Shop this morning…"

"WASPY!" Terrorsaur screamed in embarrassment.

"…when spider-bot come in with tape to copy and sell. Shop owner played tape for quality. Wazzzzzzpinator think quality VERY good."

Blackarachnia couldn't believe what she was hearing. "Are…are you telling me that Tarantulas somehow managed to tape…that incident…had it copied, then sold it in a sex shop?!?"

"Uh…yes."

A thought occurred to Blackarachnia. "Do…you guys have copies?"

Terrorsaur and Waspinator shared a guilty look. "No."

With a small growl, Blackarachnia reached for Terrorsaur's cord.

"Okay! Yes, we do!" Terrorsaur cried. "We even have three back-ups in case we loose the originals!"

The black widow stared at the pterodactyl for a second before burying her face in two of her legs.

"This is not happening. This is NOT happening."

"What big deal?" Waspinator asked curiously. "So spider-bot gay. No biggie."

Almost instantaneously, Blackarachnia got in the wasp's face, anger apparent on her face.

"Get it through your rheanmium-thick skull, bug boy. I AM NOT GAY!!!"

"If spider-bot say so."

"I'm not! I'm as straight as…"

"A bent pole?" Terrorsaur offered.

"Yes, as straight as a…NO! Dammit!"

Annoyed beyond belief, Blackarachnia leaped to the ledge, transforming back to robot mode as she went. Muttering to herself about how Tarantulas would pay, she left the cavern beneath the Darkside. Waspinator and Terrorsaur watched her go in silence.

"Spider-bot a dead man."

"Mmm-hmm."

*****

Meanwhile, not far from the Darkside, a long forgotten stasis pod's scanners activated, searching for a life form to reformat its occupant into. Said occupant's original spark had long since been extinguished, but now the protoform carried a spark that was the very definition of evil and treachery. A spark that had a score to settle with the Maximals and Predacons. It had taken him a while to return to this particular area of time and space, and even longer to find a protoform with which to mould into a brand new body for himself, but at last everything was coming together. Revenge would soon be his.

"Scanning complete."

With a hiss, the pod opened, releasing a red, blue and white vulture from within. He had a look at his new body using the reflective metal of the pod.

"Hmmm…I guess this'll do. Let's see how my robot mode turned out. Starscream, TERRORIZE!"

Complying with the spoken command, the ex-Seeker's body shifted to its robot mode. The vulture head took position on his chest, his wings folded onto his back and his vulture legs mounted themselves on a shoulder each as the requisite head, arms and legs also emerged. When it was finished, Starscream was pleased to note that his new robot body was a decent copy of his original, stunningly handsome (if he did say so himself) one. It even had null rays! He cackled loudly in his traditionally high-pitched voice.

"YES! Watch out, Megatron, Primal and the rest of you Animal Cracker rejects! I'm coming for you! BWAHAHAHAHAHAA…"

Just then, Starscream felt a hand come down on his shoulder.

"EEEK!"

To be continued…