- Motto: "Transform and smoke 'em!"
- Weapon: Twin Shoulder-Mounted Rocket Launchers
Wheeljack pulled his hand out of the guts of the replicator once the new circuit board was installed and then secured the cover back on top with one swift motion. Using a clean rag, the scientist wiped away the grime left behind by the smoke that had poured out of it less than a breem ago. Now the invention looked good as new and hopefully it would operate as such from here on out.
The mechanical engineer’s attention was quickly drawn away from the device by the sound of the field medic’s vocal processor. Unfortunately, what Axle had to say wasn’t what Wheeljack wanted to hear regarding the validity of the reproduced Syk. “Well, that’s disappointing,” the white mech replied plainly as he turned his head to look at the Autobot medic. “I suppose you’re right. We should try it again with the new circuit board now in place. I won’t give up until I get it right no matter how long it takes.”
Of course, they didn’t have forever to get the replication process correct. Tracer’s condition was worsening by the astrosecond and she would need her next fix soon if she was going to keep her sanity intact. Taking the original vile into his hand once again, Wheeljack placed it back into the replicator and had the contents scanned for the second time. Afterwards, he placed the vile back onto his workbench and then carefully checked the readouts on the side of his invention to ensure that all of the elements were accounted for.
“Okay, Axle, I think we are ready,” Wheeljack stated with some confidence as he again initiated the replication process and watched the device power up for the third time. “We should be good on this try. All of the ingredients were successfully scanned and included within the program’s algorithm,” the scientist explained, raising his vocals over the sound of the machine so that the field medic could hear him. The replicator then began vibrating again, causing a small amount of panic to wash through Wheeljack’s frame and nerve receptors. However, this time the vibrations were minor and there was no accompanying smoke. The circuit board was holding. Thank Primus it was working as it should.
A few more astroseconds passed and the device started its power down cycle, indicating that the replication process was near complete. Finally, Wheeljack exhaled what he had been holding in almost the entire time and glanced over at Axle again, giving him a relieved nod. The scientist then opened the side panel and reached into the mist that hung within the chamber, grasping ahold of a new vial of reproduced Syk. Pulling it out, ‘Jack held it up to optics level and smiled beneath his faceshield.
“It looks cleaner than the last sample,” Wheeljack commented as he handed the new vial over to Axle for analysis. “It’s not as cloudy in appearance. Perhaps that’s a good sign, don’t you think?” Of course, appearances could be deceiving and they wouldn’t know if the replicator worked perfectly this time until the field medic placed the most recent sample into the electron microscope’s diagnostic computer. Actuators crossed.
Smokescreen smiled as Tracer’s concern for him was revealed not just by her words but by her facial expressions, as well. Even with her optics looking decayed and burnt out, her anxiety still showed through as clear as when her sight had been normal. “I can handle the twins, Trace. Sunny’ll probably be jealous of my new paint job and wish he looked this good. Heh.” The troubled femme then stepped in closer to him and finally agreed to let him go and get Razr. “I’m alway careful or....at least I try to be.”
The diversion expert chuckled slightly as he felt her caress his cheek plate. For a moment, Tracer’s attention broke away from him to check on Wheeljack’s progress. Her concerns were now on the resident mad scientist and that unstable contraption of his that may explode at any astrosecond. She was worried about having to drag both the inventor and the medic down to the med bay all by herself, a feat that she would have trouble accomplishing even if she wasn’t suffering from the effects of the Syk. “Well, I’m sure everything will be fine. Remember, those two did put me back together without blowing the place up. Everything will be okay, Trace. I promise.”
The rallybot nodded in agreement as she told him that he should go before Sideswipe got too restless while waiting for someone to come and retrieve her little pet. However, before she allowed him to leave, the troubled femme gave him one last parting gift - a kiss that he returned in kind. After a few moments, she pulled back and whispered a gentle thank you into his audio receptor.
Smokescreen smiled again as he looked directly into her deteriorating optics. “You’re very welcome,” the diversion expert replied as he gave Tracer a warm embrace before letting go of her and heading for the door. As the steel panels parted, Smokey paused briefly and glanced back over his shoulder plate at the worried femme. “I’ll be back before you know it,” the rallybot assured her before finally turning around and disappearing into the corridor beyond.
Corridor - Near Bounce Chamber
“I never said Hot Rod was in his right mind,” Prowl responded plainly to Nova Strike’s observations. “He clearly is not in his right mind in any way shape or form. His insane words alone spoke volumes which is why I should’ve done something when I had the chance. Prime’s death is no excuse for my inaction.” No matter what anyone said, the military strategist knew that he had failed in his job and now sparks were at stake. It was bad enough that they had lost Optimus, but now the Autobots were fracturing like a bunch of Decepticons fighting over the leadership mantle. It almost made the black and white want to purge his tanks in utter disgust. Still, the ranger was right in that Magnus would set things on the correct path once more and bring those who have strayed back into the fold one way or another.
Bumblebee’s subsequent sentiments echoed those of Nova Strike, trying to show the strategist that he wasn’t perfect and shouldn’t chastise himself over a situation that he couldn’t possibly predict the outcome of. Perhaps they were right to a certain extent. Even Prowl’s logic center couldn’t be correct all of the time especially in the face of such illogical assertions that the former cavalier had made. Still the black and white had a responsibility to protect those under his temporary command and he failed to do so. It was one more reason that showed Prowl was better suited to working behind the scenes and allowing someone else to take the reigns. At least now the situation could be salvaged with the loss of life at a minimum.
“I appreciate everyone trying to cheer me up,” Prowl began to say as the group rounded another corner. “But what’s done is done. Hopefully, Magnus will succeed in his mission which, in my opinion, is just as important and vital as ours. We can’t afford to lose any more of our comrades in arms. There are already so few of us left as it is.” The mission commander’s attention was then drawn to Freeway, whose comment regarding the wayward Aerialbots brought laughter only from the Throttlebot jokester. “Silverbolt and his team are not our concern at this point. They will back us up as needed. We should be able to handle things down there on our own just fine.”
The saboteur’s subsequent question regarding surface-to-air missiles was not one without merit, but it was also something that was already taken care of. “Good thought, Freeway, but I already have us covered with my shoulder-mounted rocket launchers. However, to take your point a step further, I feel that we should all make sure we are fully armed and ready just in case the Decepticons come calling either by air or even land.” The military strategist stopped in the middle of the corridor and turned towards his team. “Therefore, we’ll make a quick pit stop by the armory first and load up on the necessary ammo and weapons before heading down to the surface. By the time we reach the bounce chamber, Magnus and Kup will be well on their way and then we will depart on our mission. Now, let’s move.”
With that said, Prowl led the group of Autobots down towards the ship’s armory where he hoped to find a good selection of incendiary missiles for his shoulder launchers not to mention acid pellet cartridges for his rifle.