The Bad Seed.

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The Bad Seed.

Postby Rodimus Prime » Thu Sep 07, 2017 5:18 am

Author's note:
This story takes place in the G1 continuity,
sometime after issue 80 of the US Marvel comics
and before the beginning of Regeneration One.

Hub Capital Iacon: Council Tower

Present Day

The red light just kept blinking. It meant he had a message. Probably more than one. Probably more than ten. His office, though spacious, seemed to be closing in on him. The events of the last few cycles had to be organized. He had to make sure they didn’t arouse any suspicion. If that happened, the attention would focus on him. And he did not want that. Did not need that. They did everything they could to make it look like it was a conflict between Decepticons. They were the more barbaric faction, after all. But were they still a faction? Officially? The war is over. Didn’t that mean the Decepticons ceased to be? Their only objective was to start an open armed conflict. And they sure as hell did that. Lasted 50000 vorns! Damn them! They destroyed the planet, almost ended the Transformer way of life, and...doesn’t matter. It’s over now. The Autobots won, that’s what mattered. Even if the price was staggering. Now, the most important thing was to make that sacrifice worth it. To make sure this never happens again. By any means necessary. Prowl looked out the window of his office. The view was...calming. In one of the tallest buildings in Iacon, his office was only about halfway up, but it still provided him a view over most of Iacon. Prowl was never one for extravagance, but he did insist on comfort when he chose this location. Space, view, and not too high off the ground. Comfort was a cop’s most important ally. Well, Prowl's most important ally, anyway. When he was looking at spaces, he wanted to make sure he was as close to the center of Iacon (and by that token, the center of Cybertron) life as possible. More importantly, he wanted to be close to where all the decisions were being made. Above his head, in this very tower. Here, the council chambers occupied the top third of the tower, with Optimus Prime’s living space at the top, below it Ultra Magnus’s quarters, followed by some of the other heavy hitters and decision makers. Then the council chambers where they actually convened to discuss the goings-on of the planet. And Prowl was in charge of making sure everything was hunky-dory. He was police chief after all.

His official title is Leader of the Body of Iacon Peace Officers and Law Enforcement. What a stupid title. Probably Magnus came up with it. Ultra Magnus. If he wasn’t such a good soldier, Prowl would think he was a worthless blowhard. Always spouting off about rules and regulations, and going by the book. But do the Decepticons follow them? Hell no! Magnus, and Prime, they want to do what they can to reintegrate them into Cybertron life, but some people just can’t be helped. Prowl knows this. He has seen enough of it in his time as a cop. So this time he’s prepared. Unless Optimus Prime decides to play god and risk all their lives. Again.

The blinking finally got to him, and Prowl leaned forward in his chair. He pressed the button on the panel, and the light stopped blinking. It went from red to green, and the message started playing.

It’s done.

The message was short and sweet, and that pleased Prowl. It meant he didn’t have to worry about complications, about cleaning up a mess. Everything went according to plan. He played the next message.

Prowl, this is Red Alert. I tried to reach you on your personal communicator, but I couldn’t. Are you out of range? Do you need a maintenance appointment? You know you should make sure all your systems are always at optimal levels. You never know when you need to rely on them for an extended period of time. I was trying to talk to you about the recent surge of violence in Kaon and the surrounding areas. You know, these confrontations between Decepticons? Seems like they’re fighting among themselves way too much these days. I don’t know, I think there’s something more going on. I just need to...well, we need to make sure that that’s all it is, you know? Get back to me soon. I got a few things I need to talk to you about.

No more messages. Prowl leaned back in his chair and contemplated Red Alert’s message. Why was he allowed to be an investigator anyway? Magnus knows full well his penchant for rash decisions and jumping to conclusions. His paranoia is a detriment, not an asset. Nonetheless, he is a member of Prowl’s police force, and by his past record, his top investigator. But he needs to be directed elsewhere, away from those Decepticon conflicts. But if Prowl transfers him to the other side of the planet, especially now, it’ll look like exactly what it is: Prowl getting him out of the way. Sidelining Red Alert has to be done carefully. But as far as Prowl is concerned, Decepticons killing other Decepticons is just the trash taking itself out. It’s just making life easier for the Autobots. Why bother ruining a good thing?

Prowl stood up. He once again looked out the window. The star providing Cybertron with natural light, Alpha Centauri, was just visible over the horizon. It was daybreak. Prowl knew he needed time on his recharge slab. The coming day was going to be...busy. He walked over to the wall, and stared straight ahead. In the wall, in a space carved out just for it, was his shotgun. The Flintlock-Sureshot Peacemaker 350 Hellfire Special. One of a kind. Prowl had Flintlock forge it for him in the early days, when he was just a rookie right out of the academy. Back then it wasn’t one of a kind, as Flintlock made one for all the old-timers. Kup had one, Ironhide. Probably even Inferno. But over time, they all either lost theirs, or simply traded up. And the old shotguns just went out of style in favor of more sleek, energy-saving weapons. No doubt, the 350 was an energon guzzler. Its shells, when fully loaded, took up almost half a tank of fuel. But Prowl didn’t mind. The 350 might have been big and slow, but in a firefight, it was the deadliest close-quarters combat weapon there was. The shells, after all, were compressed full of energon. And when they impacted a body... Prowl smiled at the thought. He remembered the first time he had it with him, and he cornered a perp after chasing him across half of Iacon. Back then, he was a rookie, and there weren’t nearly as many cops as there are now. But this was before the Decepticons. There wasn’t a huge need for law enforcement officers, as the planet was mostly peaceful. But that young punk… Well, let’s just say he won’t be stealing energon from retired miners anymore.

Prowl turned away from the display, and went back to his desk. He had things to do today. He needed to be organized more than usual. Nothing could be out of place. His desk communicator beeped, accompanied by an orange blinking light. That meant it was a call from inside the tower. Prowl pressed the answer button.

“Yes.” he said.

Prowl? This is Ultra Magnus.

“Hello, Magnus, what can I do for you?” Prowl asked, putting on his most jovial voice. Which wasn’t saying much.

"I need to see you up in my office. Soon. When can you make it up here?”

“As soon as you need me to.”

Good. Can you be here in two breems? I called an emergency meeting of sorts, and I would like you to be here.

“Sure, what is it about?”

I’ll explain everything when everyone is here.

“Everyone? Who else is coming?”

Prime, Grimlock, Jetfire, you and I. This is serious, I wanted all the top level officers present.

“Really? Well, then, I’ll be on my way.”

Thank you. See you soon.

“You bet.”

Prowl turned off his communicator. An early morning emergency meeting with all the shot-callers? This is serious! Scrap! If this is about what Prowl was thinking it was about, it was too soon! But he calmed himself down. There was no need to panic, not until Magnus gave him a good reason to. He just hoped the others covered their tracks properly. Hoped? Of course they did! He wouldn’t have picked them otherwise. Whatever this was about, Prowl had to remain calm and settled. Like everyone knows him to be. If they noticed that he was uneasy about the recent events, it might give them second thoughts about him. And that’s the last thing he needed right now. He composed himself, and headed to his door. He was ready. Well, as ready as he could be.
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Re: The Bad Seed.

Postby Rodimus Prime » Thu Sep 07, 2017 9:27 pm

The Tagan Heights

Present Day

“Come on, Misfire!” Slugslinger said. “You know we need this!”

“Uhh...yeah...but...it’s...so...damn....heavy!” Slugslinger answered.

The two flying ‘Cons dragged the heavy container across miles of rugged terrain, not daring to stop for any rest, at the risk of being discovered by Autobot patrols. Though they rarely come down this way, a stray surveillance drone is all it would take, and a security unit would be on them in a sparkbeat. But they needed this.

“I hope this is...uhh...worth it.” Misfire grunted as they dragged the container some more.

“You know what’s inside.” Slugslinger answered. “If we fly it, we’ll get noticed. Besides, as heavy as it is, I don’t even know if we could take off with it. So we gotta drag it.”

“Yeah, but couldn’t we...I don’t know...get a hauler?”

“Well, if you can find four wheels and a sturdy metal panel, and some way to attach them together, I guess we’re in business.”

“I didn’t realize you were an engineer.” Misfire replied sarcastically.

“I’m not. That’s the point.”

“What...uhh...point?”

“That there’s no other way to take this damn thing but the way we’re taking it! Now stop complaining and keep pushing! We’re getting close!”

‘Close’ was an abandoned warehouse not far from where they were. The Tagan Heights used to be a very vibrant industrial area of Cybertron, where a lot of factories and processing plants were located. All the natural metals and ores that were mined on other planets found their way here via interstellar shipping, where they were turned into all kinds of things. Supplies for Cybertron’s infrastructure, transportation, and later for Megatron’s machines of war.

“You know, amid all this scrap, I can’t believe we didn’t find one single working freight hauler.” Misfire said.

“Like I said...uhh...stop complaining! We’re almost there!”

Suddenly, a loud crash came from somewhere down the road, from the direction they were heading in. Both Decepticons snapped their heads in that direction, stopping their movement. Neither said anything, and there were no other noises. Everything was quiet. Very quiet. They didn’t move, waiting for any other sign that they were being followed or watched. Nothing. The place was a ghost town. Ruined buildings, some half torn down, some half rusted away. Piles of scrap all over the place. Everything was a shade of gray, or dark blue. Shadows were indistinguishable, even with the planet bathed in the light of Alpha Centauri. The Tagan Heights were just...eerie. All the time. Like a graveyard. That’s why Slugslinger, Misfire and the others chose it. It was remote and completely deserted. Or so they thought.

Maybe just some junk finally crumbling under its own weight.” Misfire whispered.

Could be.” Slugslinger whispered back.

Hey, why don’t you take a stroll over there and find out.” Misfire whispered again, a little amusement in his voice.

Not funny!

Okay, so we both go.

They looked at each other, and both drew their blasters. Slowly, they started walking towards the area where the noise came from. With blasters pointed ahead, they scanned the area. Everything was so...quiet. Too quiet.

“Who’s there?” Slugslinger asked loudly.

“Really?” Misfire turned to him in disbelief. “You seriously think if someone was here watching us without wanting to be noticed they would come out to answer you?”

“It was worth a shot.”

They took a few more steps toward the rubble. As they got closer, Misfire noticed the rust dust in the air.

“Something was definitely moving here.”

“Y-yeah.” Slugslinger answered, a little uneasiness creeping into his voice.

“Okay, whoever you are, come out! We know you’re there!” Misfire said loudly.

Nothing. Dead silence. The two ‘Cons again looked at each other, and finally Misfire took a step forward and with his other leg kicked the side of the pile. It gave way, crumbling further to the ground, revealing nothing but more scrap beneath.

“See?” Misfire said. “It’s just scrap. Just stuff rotting away even more.”

“Uh...yeah...I guess.”

“Right, so let’s get the package and get to the warehouse. The others are ready.”

Slugslinger nodded, and they turned to walk back for their loot. But as soon as they did, they stopped dead in their tracks. Behind them, without making a sound, stood the Stunticons. Motormaster, Wildrider, Breakdown, Dragstrip, and Dead End.

“Whoa!” Misfire said. “You guys scared the crap out of us!”

“What the hell took you so long?” Motormaster asked, in an uncharacteristically low and even voice.

The Stunticon commander was usually loud, boisterous and not a least bit rude. But his demeanor was the total opposite. This made Misfire and Slugslinger very uneasy.

“We...uhh...we were…” Slugslinger muttered.

“I don’t care.” Motormaster cut him off. “This is a time-sensitive operation. You should have had this back to the base already.”

“Well, it’s not exactly a light load.” Misfire said, gaining a little confidence back. “Maybe we could have gotten some help.”

“You know the rules.” Dragstrip suddenly spoke up. “If the Autobots spot more than two or three of us together, they become suspicious. We can’t look like anything other than defeated, pathetic losers. It keep their guard down and their attention off us.”

“Um...then what the hell is this?” Misfire asked, waving his arm around at all of them.

“This…” Motormaster replied. “This is the beginning of our new revolution. And it starts with that being put to good use, once it gets down to the warehouse.”

He pointed at the container. The other four Stunticons walked over to it, and each grabbed a corner. They lifted it, albeit not easily.

“Whoa...this is heavy!” Wildrider said.

“Just take it inside!” Motormaster suddenly roared.

The Stunticons said nothing, and carried the container into the nearest warehouse on the right. The rusted walls covered up what was inside, and the doors closed behind them on surprisingly quiet hinges. Like they’ve been oiled recently. Motormaster never took his optics off Slugslinger and Misfire.

“What took you two so long? You should have been back yesterday, before nightfall.” he said matter-of-factly.

“Like I said…” Slugslinger started again.

“It was heavy. Yes, you said that. But it shouldn’t have taken this long.” Motormaster squinted his optics. “Did you make...a detour somewhere?”

“What...what do you mean?” Misfire asked, becoming uneasy again.

“Did you go somewhere you weren’t supposed to?”

“Uhh...no...no we didn’t.”

“Did you have problems procuring the package?”

“No...it was exactly where you said it would be...but…”

“But what?” Motormaster asked, his hands curling into fists.

The movement was not lost on Misfire, who started visibly shaking.

“We...we were held...held up…”

“By who?”

“Autobot security.”

“Where?”

“Uhh…” Misfire couldn’t speak. “Uhh…”

“By the borderlands.” Slugslinger said calmly. “Before we picked up the box. Just a routine patrol. They just wanted to know what we were doing. You know, just harassing us.”

“Uh huh.” Motormaster said, not convinced. “So you weren’t followed.”

“Of course not.”

“Are you sure?”

“We did everything as Onslaught instructed. Everything.”

“Be-besides, if we were f-followed…” Misfire said. “They would be on us by now, wouldn’t they?”

He turned to Slugslinger.

“Right?”

“Yeah.”

Motormaster took a step toward them. The two flying ‘Cons were scared out of their wits. But they couldn’t run. Not now. If they did, they might get away, but their treachery would be revealed. And that would be...unfortunate.

“You two stay out here.” Motormaster said. “We’ll take care of the rest.”

He then turned around and walked to the warehouse door, opened it and went inside, the door quietly closing behind him. Once it was shut, the relief washed over Misfire and Slugslinger.

“Ohhh…” Misfire groaned. “I...I thought he knew…”

“If he did, we’d have been scrapped as soon as we got here.” Slugslinger answered. “But we have to be careful. He’s definitely suspicious.”

“But...but what do you think tipped him?”

“I don’t know. Maybe he’s just that way. You know, suspicious of everyone. I mean, they’re Stunticons. They’re idiots.”

“Y-yeah…”

“In any case, we have to be careful. If anyone finds…”

Suddenly, an explosion blew apart the warehouse, throwing both ‘Cons back. They landed on their backs, with fiery debris raining down on them. As they covered up, bits and pieces of Stunticons and Seekers fell all around them.
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Re: The Bad Seed.

Postby Rodimus Prime » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:52 am

The Ruins of Darkmount

Some Time Ago

“This is so unnecessary.” Blades griped.

“Let’s just get this done.” Hotspot answered.

The Protectobot team, minus First Aid, was about to enter the ruins of the former Decepticon fortress in Polyhex, the ‘Cons’ wartime Cybertron command central. From here, the Decepticons ran the war, beginning with Megatron, then Straxus, Scorponok, and finally Thunderwing. After his death, and the crumbling of the Decepticon hierarchy, the fortress became more or less abandoned. Bludgeon, who assumed command after Thunderwing’s death, never returned here. Then Unicron arrived and ravaged the planet. And even though Cybertron survived, its surface was in ruins. Somehow, the planet began repairing itself, but not before jettisoning the ruined outer layer of its surface. This meant that the ruined buildings, roads, and any other structures that were damaged beyond repair, were simply floating into outer space. This made the Autobots’ search efforts even more dangerous. After his return to Cybertron, Optimus assumed command of the planet from Ultra Magnus, and took over command of the Autobot forces from Grimlock. His first order was to organize all Autobot forces to spreadout over the planet and search out any remaining Decepticons in hiding. They would be given two options: surrender and face the consequences, or be taken into custody by any means necessary. Prime instructed his lieutenants to not take any chances and not waste any time. If the Decepticons do not give up on first command, take them in by force. If they resist, that’s their choice. Most Autobots, much like Prime, were tired of the millions of years of fighting, and were happy to oblige. Some even looked for an excuse to waste some ‘Cons. Hotspot, however, wasn’t one of them. He may have despised the Decepticons, but his first duty was to save life. Ending a life was acceptable to him only if it meant saving someone else. Someone being threatened for no reason.

And here they were, following orders to clear out the former Decepticon high command base. His Protectobots would do their duty, but apparently not without some complaining. They were here without backup, partly because more Autobots couldn’t be spared, and partly because the latest information they had showed that Darkmount, and the entire city of Polyhex, has been abandoned for some time. Combine that with the damage it suffered during Unicron’s attack, and the place seemed like a lost cause. But then Magnus pointed out that the Decepticons might think of the same think and find it to be a very good hiding place. So Prime sent them down here, to flush out any Decepticons that might be around.

“Be careful.” Streetwise aid. “The place could be booby-trapped.”

“Oh, please.” Groove said as he kicked over a broken panel. “There’s nothing here. The ‘Cons gave up on this place a long time ago. We’re spinning our wheels.”

“Hey. Not all Decepticons are giving up.” Hotspot said. “The war is over, but some of them would rather die than give up.”

“I wish First Aid was here.” Blades said. “At least that way if we run into trouble we could combine.”

“Well, First Aid is now the Chief Medical Officer of the Autobots. He has more important things to do.” Streetwise said.

“So then we’re done? No more big guy?” Groove asked.

“Maybe we can…” Blades said.

“Enough!” Hotspot cut him off. “Pay attention to what we’re here to do! We’ll worry about a new team member later!”

“Hmph.” Groove grunted.

“Blades, Streetwise. You take the left side. Groove and I will go right.” Hotspot instructed. “When we approach the entrance, make sure you keep an optic on the walls. Look for holes and any other protrusions where someone can shoot at us from.”

“Got it.” Blades said.

“Copy.” Streetwise acknowledged.

“Fine.” Groove grunted.

They approached the base from the front. Even though a lot of it was in ruins already, it still felt ominous. The high walls, the dark openings. It gave Streetwise the creeps. He and Blades approaches slowly, one of them watching the front entrance, the other the walls.

“Scans are negative.” Blades said. “I don’t see anything. There’s no one here.”

“Just keep going and keep watching.” Streetwise answered. “Cover me. I’m going to approach the front gate.”

On the other side, Hotspot was already at the gate. He waited for Streetwise to walk up to the wall, and then he gave the signal. All for of them aimed their weapons in front of them, and Hotspot kicked in the smaller gate inside the bigger one.

“Nothing.” Groove. Said. “See? Nothing.”

The place was quiet and dark. Scrap everywhere. On the sides, the ramps up to the defense platforms were still intact, as were the huge, dual-barreled cannons that were mounted on the walls. This place was fortified heavier than any other base Streetwise has seen on Cybertron. Of course it was, it was the Decepticons’ home base. That also made him a little uneasy. Who knew what they might find once they got inside and to the lower levels. The ‘Cons committed horrible atrocities during the war, and most of their battle plans were conceived right here. As far as Streetwise was concerned, the destruction of this place couldn’t come soon enough. But until then, they had a job to do. They entered, Hotspot first. Groove followed, then Blades, ad finally Streetwise. They fanned out, each taking a section of the open area in front of the main building.

“Okay, how do we do this?” Groove asked. “Do we clear the outside first, and go in?”

“There’s nothing out here.” Blades said. “I say we go right in and get this over with.”

“No. We should exercise caution.” Streetwise added. “We don’t know…”

“But we do!” Blades said. “Look around! It’s empty!”

“Enough!” Hotspot said again. “We’re gonna do what we came for, and clear this place from front to back, top to bottom. Understood?”

“Yeah.” they all said in unison.

“First, we....”

“Look out!” Streetwise shouted.

The trail of the rocket lit up the dark base at the same time the sound of its launch reached them. The Protectobots all dove for cover, and the rocket slammed into the ground where they were standing. Groove rolled behind a metal post, and being the smallest, he was safe there. Streetwise and Blades got to their feet and ran back outside behind the main gate. Hotspot, being the biggest and slowest, wasn’t as lucky. He scrambled up on his feet to find cover, but the second rocket fired by someone standing in the entrance to the main building found its mark and hit Hotspot square in the back.

Aaarrrgghhh!!!” he screamed as the impact lurched him forward and off his feet, slamming him face-first into the wall next to the gate.

He was knocked out cold, and his back was on fire.

“Hotspot!” Groove shouted, and immediately returned fire.

Whoever was attacking them fired yet another rocket, right at where Groove was taking cover. He saw the rocket coming and dove away. The explosion lit up the entire area, and Groove was totally exposed. He had nowhere to hide. His momentary indecision whether to seek cover or check on Hotspot was his undoing. Suddenly, from other openings in the building, blaster fire rained down on him, hitting him from head to toe. He dropped his weapon, and tried to scramble to cover, but the laser blasts knocked him down again and he was heavily damaged. Blades and Streetwise returned fire from the main gate. They aimed at the newly revealed assailants, who were still in the shadows, but in their panic they unfortunately neglected the ‘Con with the rocket launcher. As Groove attempted to stand back up and limp to safety, yet another rocket sailed out from the front door of the building.

“Groove, get down!” Blades shouted.

But it was too late. As Groove’s optics widened and his mouth hung open, he didn’t have time to do anything. The rocket impacted his upper back, blowing his arms off his body and launching his head off his shoulders. His body dropped to his knees, and before he fell forward, another explosion erupted straight up out of his chest. His spark had overloaded and exploded, killing him.

“No! NO!” Blades shouted. “NOOO!!!

He ran out into the open, firing at anyone he could see.

“Blades, get back here!” Streetwise shouted at him. “Stop!”

Blades ran past Groove’s remains and slid down next to Hotspot.

“Boss!” he said frantically. “You alive?!”

“Uhhhh…” Hotspot groaned.

“Good, good!” Blades said. “Let’s get you…”

Blaster fire impacted over their heads in the wall behind them. Blades ducked down, covering Hotspot’s head. He tried to move the Protectobot leader, but he was too heavy. Across the open area, Streetwise was crouched behind another metal support post, firing at the front entrance to the main building. Whoever was in there was doing the most damage with that launcher, he had to be neutralized. The support post was withstanding the blaster shots, and Streetwise kept firing at the front door. Blades grabbed Hotspot by the shoulders and started dragging him near the wall.

“Uhh...st...stop…” Hotspot groaned. “You...can’t…”

“Well, then get up and help me!” Blades snapped back. “We gotta get out of here! This place is crawling with ‘Cons!”

As Hotspot tried to get to his feet, the rain of fire intensified, and they were both knocked against the wall. Blades had no choice but to cover up, and tried to fire back as much as he could. Suddenly, their worst fears were realized: from around the corner of the building came the Combaticons. Onslaught, Brawl, Swindle, Vortex and Blast Off. Other Decepticons were still firing at them, and Blades and Streetwise returned fire as best they could, hitting some of the Decepticons. But it wasn’t enough.

“Time to finish this.” Onslaught ordered. “Combaticons, combine!”

Dropping the rocket launcher he had been using, a grinning Swindle began his reconfiguration into one of Bruticus’s legs. Next to him, Brawl was doing the same thing. The flyers, Vortex and Blast Off, jumped up and began forming the arms. As Streetwise watched with horror, the five Combaticons joined together, and the monstrous form of Bruticus stood in front of him. The other Decepticons stopped firing their weapons. On the other side, Blades looked up and realized he and Hotspot were trapped.

“Oh, no, no, no, no!” he began scrambling to grab Hotspot and drag him away, but it was no use.

Bruticus took a few steps forward, standing over the Protectobots. They were pinned to the wall, unable to go anywhere. Streetwise ran out from behind his cover, but was immediately met with blaster fire from the other ‘Cons. He dove down, and laid face down on the ground. Most of the shots flew over his head, but the ‘Cons weren’t too worried about hitting him. As long as he was pinned down, he was not a threat. Bruticus, ignoring Streetwise, raised his cannon and amied at Blades and Hotspot. Blades knew this was it. He looked down at Hotspot who was lying face down, his back still smoldering, his face crushed from the impact with the wall. Maybe he’s not even conscious anymore, so he won’t even feel it. Blades thought to himself. He then turned to the hulking Decepticon taking aim at him. He raised his blaster, and began firing.

“Come on!” he shouted. “Do your worst!”

Putting up a hand to deflect Blades’s shots from his face, Bruticus returned fire from his monstrous cannon, almost disintegrating Blades. The burning wreckage of his body slammed into the wall and collapsed in a smoking, smoldering heap. Streetwise just looked on as Bruticus shifted his cannon and fired a shot into the prone, defenseless Hotspot. The Protectobot commander’s body blew apart, his right arm and leg flying towards Streetwise. The limbs landed almost on him, and it snapped him out of his shock. He knew he would meet with the same fate if he didn’t move. Self-preservation took over, and before the Decepticons could react, he transformed from his prone position into his police car mode and reversed out of the fortress. Outside, he spun 180 degrees and sped away, dodging the giant, black empty holes that used to be the smelting pools. Bruticus, way too slow to give chase, fired a couple of shots after him, but they both missed. Surprisingly, no other ‘Cons came after him.
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Re: The Bad Seed.

Postby Rodimus Prime » Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:28 pm

Hub Capital Iacon: Council Tower

Present Day

Prowl entered Ultra Magnus’s office on the 49th floor of the tower. It was no accident or random assignment that this entire floor belonged to Magnus. The floor above, the top floor, was Optimus Prime’s quarters. This is where his hab suite was, where he came to reflect, meditate, or whatever else they wanted to call Prime’s “alone time.” All Prowl knew that the office on the 49th floor should have been his. Anyone having a meeting with Optimus, or anyone attempting to see him for any reason, has to go through Ultra Magnus. The elevator stops on the 49th floor of the tower. From here, only one set of stairs lead up to Prime’s level, from the middle of the floor below. Right behind Magnus’s desk. The reason this irked Prowl to no end was because this blatantly made Ultra Magnus the last line of defense for Optimus Prime. His chief of security. A job Prowl felt he had earned and should have been entrusted to him. He didn’t care about having an office on the high levels. That’s not what it was about. He felt he was cheated. He had stuck by Prime’s side since the beginning. They graduated the police academy together so long ago, back when Prime was still Orion Pax. And Pax was, in Prowl’s opinion, a mediocre police officer, even though he meant well. He had the right motivation, but he was either unwilling or unable to go all the way when certain situations required it. Like with that energon-stealing punk Prowl blew away with his brand-new shotgun way back when. Prowl smiled at the memory.

However, as he entered the inner chamber of the office, where Magnus’s desk - and Prime’s stairs - was, the smile quickly vanished. He was greeted not by the serious-but-cordial Magnus, but by the openly hostile and glaring Grimlock. Prowl and Grimlock had history. After Unicron’s defeat, with his then-dying words, Optimus named Grimlock the new leader of the Autobots. And it was Prowl whom Prime entrusted the task of not only informing but ensuring that Grimlock did not fail. Prowl considered this a slap in the face, given all he and Prime have been through. Prowl would have liked command of the Autobots. He knew he could handle it. He even had temporary command on Earth for a while, when Shockwave kept Optimus prisoner. And the Autobots not only recovered from Shockwave’s total annihilation of them with his leadership, they also freed Optimus Prime and took the Ark back. Sure, the human Buster Witwicky and Jetfire had something to do with that, but had it not been for Prowl’s planning, those events would have never happened. But here and now, the only history Prowl had to remind him of old times was the unpleasant encounters he had with Grimlock over the years. The Dinobot commander said nothing, didn’t even offer a greeting. Just glared at Prowl. He attempted to return the glare, but even Prowl had to admit, he could not match Grimlock in intensity. He didn’t feel bad about it, very few Autobots could. He turned his head away from the hulking brute and sat down in one of the chairs to the side of the desk. Moments later, Ultra Magnus walked into the office from one of the side rooms.

“Magnus.” Prowl said pleasantly.

“Hello Prowl.” Magnus replied. “Grimlock.”

Grimlock still didn’t say anything, but at least he acknowledged Magnus with a nod.

“Am I early…?” Prowl asked. “We’re the only ones here.”

“No, you’re on time.” Magnus answered. “Prime, Blaster and Jetfire are on the way.”

“So what is this about? If we’re all called here…”

“Just a few moments longer.” Magnus cut him off.” “When everyone’s here.”

As if those were the magic words, Blaster and Jetfire walked into the office. They both gestured towards Grimlock, who once again nodded to them as a greeting.

“Magnus!” Jetfire said. “It’s been a while. Nice to see you.”

“You must be busy.” Magnus said. “I don’t see you in Iacon very often.”

“Well, you know, I am in charge of the Autobot air defenses. Silverbolt and I have all we can handle in trying to cover the entire planet. Luckily the newer squads of aerial drones are operating seamlessly. No more glitches.”

“Good, good. Blaster? How have you been?”

“Heh, same as yesterday, when the last time you saw me.” Blaster said, then jerked a thumb toward both Prowl and Grimlock, who were in the same general direction. “What are the grumps doing here?”

“Excuse me?” Prowl said and stood up.

But Blaster’s smirk turned into a smile as he clamped a hand on Prowl’s shoulder and slapped him on the back with the other.

“I’m messing with ya, buddy. Why so serious all the time?” he said jovially.

Prowl couldn’t hide his irritation, and Blaster got the message. He took his hands off Prowl and sat down in a chair on the other side of the desk.

“Alright, so what’s this about?” he asked pointedly.

“Like I told them, we’ll get into it when everyone’s here.” Magnus answered matter-of-factly.

And again, as if those were the magic words, Optimus Prime walked down the stairs to his quarters, appearing behind Ultra Magnus, who sat at his desk. As Prowl stood up and greeted Optimsu with a smile, the smile faded yet again just as quickly as it had when he saw Grimlock. Because Prowl saw someone else he disliked almost as much as Grimlock. Behind Prime, coming down the stairs without a word was Hot Rod. Unlike Grimlock, though, Hot Rod smiled at Prowl, but it wasn’t a friendly smile. It was that cocky, I’m-better-than-you smirk Hot Rod was known for, and it especially grated on Prowl’s circuits, because he knew that Hot Rod had been spending a lot of time with Optimus for some reason. As if Prime was teaching him...no, grooming him. But for what? A command position? That punk? Even if Optimus wanted to give up leadership of the Autobots, there were a lot of bots much more capable of leading than Hot Rod. No, it had to be something else. Had to be. Prime couldn’t be that shortsighted. But this line of thought was not what he needed to concentrate on right now, so Prowl put it out of his mind. Right now, he had to focus on the meeting, which was about to kick off since everyone was here. He had to be alert and ready to process whatever information the others revealed. It could be crucial to his immediate plans.

“Well, then.” Magnus said. “Now that everyone’s here, let’s get started.”

Prime sat down in the chair directly in front of Magnus, and Hot Rod took the seat next to him, between Prime and Prowl. Jetfire and Blaster sat on the other side, Jetfire next to Prime, Blaster next to him. Grimlock remained standing, somewhere over Prowl’s left shoulder. Prowl knew he did it on purpose just to irritate Prowl, but he tried to ignore it. However, he could not help himself to one comment.

“Why is he here?” he asked, and pointed to Hot Rod. “Last I checked, he holds no command position. Should he be present if this is a serious matter?”

Before Magnus could respond, Optimus turned to Prowl.

“He is here at my behest. Hot Rod is learning certain...methods of behavior from me, and this will be a good experience for him in decision-making. He needs to see how things work in our command structure.” Prime said.

“Alright.” Prowl said. “But why…?”

“That is of no consequence.” Prime said curtly. “He is here because I want him to be, and that should be good enough for you.”

Prowl’s jaw was clenched up. He wanted to respond very crudely, but he had to check himself, in consideration of Optimus’s position. But he knew that Grimlock’s face had to be of smug satisfaction right now. Prowl had been verbally reprimanded, even if the words themselves didn’t say so. Instead of saying anything, he just nodded quietly, and checked his wounded pride.

“Alright then.” Magnus said yet again. “Let’s get started.”

“We’re here because of the rash of apparent vigilantism that has been going on recently.” Jetfire said without any preamble. “It’s been very noticeable that Decepticons are being killed in very brutal ways.”

“Wasn’t it decided that it was conflict among Decepticons that led to the killings?” Prowl asked. “That’s hardly vigilantism.”

“Well, your police force has come to that conclusion, yes.” Jetfire said. “I read some reports from your inspectors. But I think it’s more serious than that.”

“What makes you think that?” Prime asked.

“Well, for one, the method of the killings.” Jetfire said. “The ‘Cons themselves aren’t very high profile, so most of these had gone under the radar, until Blaster here noticed a pattern in communications between ‘Cons, as well as the timing and places of the killings.”

“Yes.” Blaster took over. “It seems that whenever there’s a...I guess we can call it murder, several Decepticons alert the nearest Autobot police squad. Now why would they do this, if the killings were results of the ‘Cons policing themselves?”

“And besides, Decepticons have no weapons.” Grimlock said from behind Prowl. “They not allowed to carry firearms.”

“Just because they are not allowed, doesn’t mean they don’t have them.” Prowl answered forcefully, without turning to face Grimlock.

“Yes, that’s quite possible.” Prime said contemplatively.

“But the weapons the killings were committed with were high caliber blasters.” Jetfire said. “In close quarters. They weren’t taken out with a sniper rifle or with a blaster from far away. These shootings were close and with brute force. Like an execution.”

“Yes.” Blaster once again said. “The weapon used in the killings is something powerful yet blunt. Like maybe a modified cannon. Or…”

“Or a shotgun.” Hot Rod chimed in.

Though Hot Rod didn’t look at him, Prowl knew the statement was directed at him. Even though the police didn’t use shotguns anymore, everyone knew that it wasn’t because of Prowl. He had openly voiced his support for his officers carrying the weapon, but Magnus himself had ordered it discontinued and the police force equipped with something lighter and less…how did he put it?...destructive. This was the reason Prowl had to put his beloved Flintlock-Sureshot 350 in a glass case in his office.

“Shotguns are no longer used by the police, or any other Autobot squad.” Prowl said. “No matter their occupation. Which is why we should be looking at Decepticons for this. If, and I emphasize if, these killings are being committed with shotguns, they were acquired illegally, and it’s most likely ‘Cons are doing it.”

“But where would they get them?” Magnus asked.

“The black market, where else?” Prowl said. “When you ordered them obsolete, the police force was required to destroy them. So they were sent to the still-functioning smelting pools. And who did we have running the pools?”

“Decepticons.” Blaster answered. “Because only they knew how. Autobots didn’t have them before the war.”

“Exactly. We had Decepticons operating the pools.” Prowl said.

“So what are you saying?” Prime asked.

“I’m saying that it was Decepticons who handled the shipments of shotguns last, right before they were destroyed, and they could have…”

“But Autobots in charge of smelting pools.” Grimlock cut him off. “We make sure shotguns destroyed. Decepticons only do physical work with Autobots watching closely.”

“Yes.” Jetfire said. “But unfortunately that doesn’t mean every single Autobot is 100% trustworthy.”

Prime and Magnus both gave Jetfire an incredulous look.

“I’m sorry, but the option has to be considered.” Jetfire said. “Some bots are willing to take a little extra on the side to let some things slide. It’s just the way it is.”

“So it’s a possibility some of the shotguns made it out of the smelting pools without being melted down.” Magnus said.

“Looks like it.” Blaster added.

“I still think we’re focusing on the wrong aspect of the situation.” Prowl said, trying to steer them away from the shotguns.

“What do you mean?” Blaster asked.

“We shouldn’t be asking what, we should be asking why.” Prowl said. “That’s usually the starting point in any crime. That, combined with the how, will lead us to the who.

“I think in this instance, the how is a large-caliber hand-blaster.” Hot Rod said. “Or, again, a shotgun. The damage to the victims…”

“Have you even seen a police report?!” Prowl loudly cut him off. “I mean, what the hell do you know about police work?!”

“Alright!” Magnus interjected calmly. “No need for tempers to raise.”

“I’m sorry, but I can’t just let this punk question my experience and…”

“Hot Rod has been assisting me with evaluating the reports.” Prime cut off Prowl. “He has seen everything you have seen.”

“No.” Prowl answered, bitterness and a little hurt in his voice. “He has been looking at data disks of the crime reports. Maybe audio and visual records. But he’s not a cop. He hasn’t...he can’t see what I see when I arrive at a murder scene. And I resent the comparison that he sees things the same way I do, especially after all my experience as a police officer.”

“Look.” Hot Rod said, opening his hands and smiling towards Prowl. “I didn’t mean to insult your...experience and expertise. Of course I can’t see things the same way you do. It’s impossible. But the point is, your own inspectors signed off on the reports, which is as good as if you yourself had signed them, correct?”

Prowl had to admit, the punk got him with that one.

“Yeah.” he said.

“Well, then, the reports, approved by your experienced inspectors, state that the victims, all of them, were killed by a large-caliber weapon at close range. And unless ‘Cons are in the habit of carrying mountable cannons around with them, without security force noticing no less, it has to be shotguns. Procured illegally.”

“Alright.” Prowl grudgingly admitted, knowing that this was a step in the wrong direction. But if he protested any further, he ran the risk of arousing suspicion from the others. “Let’s say they were shotguns.”

“Alright then.” Jetfire said. “We have a starting point we all agree on.”

“Let me ask, why exactly are we all here for this discussion?” Prowl asked. “If this is a security matter, shouldn’t Magnus and I handle this on our own? I mean…”

“Because Decepticons can’t do this and get away with it.” Grimlock said again, from behind Prowl. “This is work of Autobots.”

What?!” Prime blurted out unexpectedly. “How did you come to this conclusion?”

“Simple.” Grimlock said. “Autobots carry weapons. Decepticons not allowed. Shotgun not small gun. Autobots disguise them as other weapons, perhaps even take them apart, and security teams not wiser. Then, when time comes, shotgun is reconfigured or reassembled, and used on Decepticons.”

“Sound theory, but couldn’t the Decepticons disassemble them and carry the parts around without arousing suspicion?” Magnus asked.

“No.” Grimlock said. “Security teams have scanners, both handheld and on vehicles, that recognize parts of weapons, and even more so, ammunition. So even if the guns taken apart, piece of them recognized when Decepticons go through checkpoints. But Autobots get pass, because they have permits. Especially police officers.”

What?!” Prowl snapped, and jumped out of his chair, facing Grimlock. “Are you seriously accusing my officers of this...this...heinousness?!”

“You heard me.” Grimlock calmly replied.

Prowl, with mouth agape, couldn’t respond.

“Okay.” Magnus said, standing up behind his desk. “Enough. Grimlock, I think you’re out of line. Prowl, sit back down.”

“But…” Prowl started to protest.

“I said, sit down.” Magnus said firmly.

Prowl turned around and looked directly at Prime.

“Optimus…” he said quietly. “You don’t...really believe this, do you?”

“It’s not something I had considered, I admit.” Prime said calmly. “But I can’t dismiss it, not matter how small the chance.”

“So...you’re accusing me...my police force, of being corrupt?”

“No, of course not.” Magnus answered instead of Prime. “But like Jetfire said, no one is perfect. It’s possible some Autobots have their own affairs on the side.”

“And that means killing Decepticons?” Prowl asked.

“Not all Autobots are happy about how the Decepticons are treated.” Blaster added. “Some are frustrated and upset about them being allowed to reassimilate. Some believe they should all be imprisoned and executed for the war.”

“If me recall, you were strong proponent of harsh punishment.” Grimlock said to Prowl.

“So were you!” Prowl shouted and pointed at Grimlock. “Don’t tell me you and your thugs didn’t apply your own brand of justice to the Decepticons!”

“We do what we do.” Grimlock said. “But we do in the open. To armed Decepticons. Not defenseless ones.”

“Enough of this.” Prowl said, composing himself. “I reject your theory that these killings are done by Autobot police. Shotguns? Yeah, I’ll give you that. It’s possible. But it’s not by my officers. I’ll swear to that.”

“Well, we’re still looking at more possibilities, of course.” Magnus said. “But we needed to get on the same page, because if these killings continue, the Decepticons will start protesting even louder and will become a problem to deal with. We can’t let them force our hand into treating them unfairly, especially after we agreed to allow them to become a part of our society without harsh repercussions, on the condition that they meet our terms.”

“Alright.” Optimus said, standing up. “Let’s leave it at this: Prowl, monitor these killings more closely. Go over the reports again if you have to, and look for things you didn’t think to look for before. Things that may not have been obvious. Everyone else, just keep doing your jobs, and pay more attention to the ‘Cons behavior. Whether they’re doing this or they’re precipitating it, I think their behavior is the key. We’ll figure this out sooner or later.”

“Sounds like a plan.” Magnus said. “I guess that’s it then.”

Prowl didn’t bother with niceties, he just turned around and walked out of the office, acting the right amount of offended and outraged. But inside, he was more panicked than anything. They were starting to put the pieces together.
Rodimus Prime
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Re: The Bad Seed.

Postby Rodimus Prime » Thu Sep 14, 2017 5:43 pm

The Tagan Heights

Present Day

Misfire sat up, brushing the smoking pieces of metal off his chest. He looked at Slugslinger, who was still unconscious, lying not far from him. He also had bits and pieces of not only the warehouse, but what seemed like body parts around him and on him. Misfire then looked around, surveying the damage. The warehouse was completely gone, in its place a flat smoking area with a crater in it. Smoking and smoldering debris was everywhere around them, in a wide circle. How big was this bomb? Misfire thought. And how long were we out…? Suddenly, he realized the urgency of the situation. They had to get out of here before an Autobot patrol showed up! No doubt the explosion was registered by the nearest security stations, and aerial drones fly over at a regular rate. They have to be on the way here! Misfire scrambled to his feet and stepped over to Slugslinger. He shook his friend by the shoulder, and he woke up.

“Come on, we have to go!” Misfire said.

“Uhhh...what…” Slugslinger said, still disoriented.

“There was an explosion.” Misfire answered. “The warehouse is gone. The others are gone. Let’s go. Before the patrols get here.

“How...long…?”

“It doesn’t matter! We need to leave! NOW!”

Slugslinger got to his feet, and Misfire started away from the rubble.

“Where...where are we going?” Slugslinger asked, as they stepped over smoking arms and legs, and other debris.

“I don’t know. We’re supposed to meet the Autobots tomorrow.”

“Meet…? Misfire, they gave us the bomb! They think we died!”

“What…? No, they told us to deliver the package and meet them back on the edge of the Sea of Rust, by the road back to Kaon! They would help us get to safety! That was the deal!”

“Of course they would say that! They wanted us to do their dirty work for them! Don’t you see? They couldn’t get close to this place, they would have been spotted far away. They needed us to get their little surprise here.”

“Yeah, but they said…”

“I know what they said. But don’t you think that if they were going to honor the deal they would have given us enough time to get out? I mean, the bomb went off as soon as we got it here!”

“Maybe...I...I don’t know…”

“I do. We were doublecrossed. We were supposed to die with the others in the explosion.”

“But…”

“No ‘buts.’ Smokescreen and Bluestreak doublecrossed us. But we’ll get them back! Somehow.”

“Maybe...maybe the Stunticons tampered with it when they got it inside and it went off before it was supposed to!”

“Misfire, listen to yourself! Are you actually going to defend the Autobots who tricked us into delivering a bomb to our own hideout?!”

“No...I’m...I’m just trying to see another explanation...I...I want to get out of here and...not have to worry anymore. I am sick of fighting. Sick of this war. They said they would be able to help us get into Autobot society without having to go through all the programs and other things they make us do.”

“Yeah, then what?”

“What do you mean?”

“Just because we become part of Autobot society, that won’t change who we are. We’ll still be ‘Misfire and Slugslinger, former Decepticons.’ Besides, Onslaught will still find us, after he figures out what happened back there.”

So...so...what do we do?”

“I...don’t know. We can’t trust anyone. Not now.”

“Well then…”

But before Misfire could finish his thought, they heard a roar from down the road. They had been walking on the side of a road leading from the Tagan Heights to the Sea of Rust. They couldn’t fly, for fear of being spotted by Autobot patrol drones. They would have been arrested and taken in for questioning, considering how close they were to the explosion. And for transforming. That wasn't allowed either. The Autobots were taking no chances with Decepticons anymore. Not after the war. They stopped and stepped off the road, trying to find cover behind some piles of scrap. Moments later, Bluestreak and Smokescreen came around the bend in the road, going right past them, towards the destroyed warehouse. They drove down to the destruction and transformed.

“Well, looks like it worked.” Smokescreen said with a smirk.

“Yeah.” Bluestreak said, with an intense look on his face. “The patrol is on the way.”

“I wonder how many we got.”

Bluestreak looked around, spotting severed limbs scattered around.

“We probably got them all. The intel said they were all gathered here.”

“Heh. Those two idiot ‘Cons had no idea what they were doing.”

“Yeah, I guess. But they were so eager to help us. They really just wanted to get away from this conflict.”

“Well, they deserved what they got. They shouldn’t have taken the Decepticons’ side in the first place.”

“I don’t know. Maybe we should have…”

“Bluestreak, you’re not feeling sorry for those ‘Cons, are you?”

“No, I’m not. But…”

“Well, then forget them. Casualties of the war they started! How many Autobots have they ambushed during the war? How many did they…”

“Alright, I got it. Don’t blow a fuse. Should we wait for the patrols?”

“No. Their first question will be why are we here. We’re supposed to be back in Crystal City’s ruins, remember?”

“Yeah. I guess we better get going, then.”

“Yeah. Just had to make sure this worked. I just hope we got all of them.”

They turned around and transformed back to vehicle mode. As they drove back down the road they came from, Misfire stepped out from his hiding place and into the road. Bluestreak came to a stop and transformed, not believing his optics. Smokescreen stopped and transformed behind him.

“Hey…” Misfire said. “You looking for us?”

Bluestreak didn’t know what to say. He was taken totally by surprise.

“Yeah, that’s what we were doing.” Smokescreen said, stepping out from behind Bluestreak. “You said ‘us.’ Where’s the other one?”

Slugslinger stayed in his hiding spot. He couldn’t believe Misfire was stupid enough to expose himself like that. When the Autobots transformed, Slugslinger noticed they were carrying shotguns stored on their backs. The 3 barrels pointing down, the handle sticking out above their shoulders. But those weapons were supposed to be outlawed. Illegal and destroyed. Slugslinger knew this, he had worked in the smelting pools where they were destroyed, back when the pools were still operational. But if these Autobots were carrying them…

“Slugslinger!” Misfire’s call interrupted his thought. “Come out, it’s alright! We’re safe.”

Slugslinger didn’t move. He was sure these Autobots were not being straight with them. Slugslinger had heard rumors of Decepticons being killed in brutal and unclear circumstances. Shotguns like that were definitely brutal.

‘Yeah, come on out.” Smokescreen said. “We need to finish this.”

Still, Slugslinger stayed in his spot. He didn’t like this. Something wasn’t right. He tried to take a peek out to the road. He saw Misfire and Bluestreak standing there, but Smokescreen was gone. Maybe he was just out of sight, standing a little bit further down. Bluestreak didn’t seem threatening. He and Misfire were just standing there, talking. Maybe they were discussing the next step in the plan…? To have Misfire and Slugslinger taken back to Iacon. To have their new lives started…? Could Slugslinger have just been paranoid…? NO! Slugslinger shook the thought from his head. This was a bad situation. They were unarmed, out here alone, with 2 Autobots who had no qualms about blowing up an entire warehouse full of Decepticons. He was right the first time. The Autobots didn’t expect to find them here. They thought he and Misfire were dead with the others. And now…

The faint noise snapped him out of his thoughts, and he turned his head. The 3 barrels of the huge weapon were staring him in the optics. At the end of the gun, Smokescreen was smirking. He had sneaked around and came up behind Slugslinger. He knew where he was the whole time.

“There you are.” he said. “We’ve been looking all over for you.”

“Listen...I…”

“Move.”

Slugslinger started walking out to the road where Bluestreak and Misfire were standing.

“Look what I found.” Smokescreen said as they reached the road.

“Hey…” Misfire said. “What are you doing…? You don’t need that gun. We’re...we’re not armed.”

“Good. That will make this much easier.” Smokescreen said and smashed Slugslinger in the back of the head with the shotgun’s barrels.

Slugslinger dropped to his knees, clutching the back of his head with both hands.

“Hey! What are you doing?!” Misfire protested loudly.

“Just taking care of loose ends.” Smokescreen said calmly, and put the shotgun barrels to the back of Slugslinger’s head.

“No…!” Misfire said, and turned to Bluestreak. “What is this…? This wasn’t our deal!”

Without turning to Smokescreen, Bluestreak pulled his own shotgun and held it to Misfire’s chest.

“Hurry up.” he said. “The patrols will be here any moment.”

“I know.” Smokescreen said.

But before he could pull the trigger, Slugslinger swung his left arm, knocking the gun away from his head. He spun around, still on his knees, and punched Smokescreen in the midsection with his right fist, doubling over the surprised Autobot. With his left fist, he threw an uppercut and smashed it into Smokescreen’s face. The Autobot dropped his shotgun and fell straight back, groaning. Slugslinger reached for the weapon at the same time Bluestreak turned his gun on Slugslinger. But before he could fire, Misfire grabbed it and shoved it away.

“No!” he shouted and tried to yank the gun from Bluestreak’s hands.

Slugslinger picked up the shotgun and aimed it at Bluestreak. He pulled the trigger, but nothing happened.

“What…?” he looked at the gun, and tried again. Nothing.

By then, Bluestreak had shaken Misfire off, and tried to aim at Slugslinger again. Slugslinger, thinking on his feet, grabbed the dazed Smokescreen and pulled him up, putting him in front of him so Bluestreak couldn’t shoot. He held the shotgun across Smokescreen’s chest, keeping him between himself and Bluestreak.

“Drop it!” he said to Bluestreak.

“No chance.” Bluestreak responded, his shotgun aimed at both Slugslinger’s and Smokescreen’s heads.

Misfire was scrambling back to his feet.

Drop it or I’ll kill him.” Slugslinger said.

“Go ahead. Try.” Bluestreak answered. “That gun won’t work for you. It needs his energy signature. The only way that gun fires is if he’s holding the grip.”

So that’s why the shotgun wouldn’t fire! Slugslinger knew he was in deep trouble. He had no options left. If he didn’t transform and take off, he was gonna die here. They both were. But before he could think about it any further, Smokescreen regained his full bearings and grabbed the barrels of the shotgun, wrenching it from Slugslinger’s hands. He then elbowed the Decepticon in the chest, and turned around, swinging the gun towards the ‘Con. The shotgun's handle smashed Slugslinger in the face, and he stumbled backwards. Smokescreen grabbed the gun the right way and pulled the trigger, the shotgun unleashing its full power from all 3 barrels. The energon shells impacted Slugslinger’s torso, nearly disintegrating him and almost separating his waist from his chest. His chest panel flipped up, ripping from its mountings. His arms flew out to the sides, and his legs kicked up in the air as his body fell straight back. Bluestreak turned back to Misfire, but in the momentary confusion Misfire ran. He was already far down the road. Bluestreak put his gun away and transformed. He went after Misfire, but his turbochargers were so loud Misfire heard them all the way from there. He looked back and saw Bluestreak coming for him. There was no other choice. If he wanted to live another day, he had to transform and fly away. That would put him on the Autobot aerial patrol’s radar, but it was still better than getting blown away by these Autobots. So he transformed and flew up and away. Bluestreak came to a stop and transformed.

“Damn it!” he said loudly.

He turned around and walked back to where Smokescreen was. Incredibly, he saw Slugslinger still alive, trying to get to his feet. His legs were barely attached to his torso, which was a smoldering wreck as well, but he was trying. Smokescreen just watched him, the shotgun in his hands, aimed at the Decepticon.

“What are you doing?” Bluestreak said. “We gotta go. The other one got away.”

“Doesn’t matter.” Smokescreen said calmly.

“What? But what if he gets caught by the air patrol? He’ll be taken to a security station for questioning. What if he spills his guts about us?”

“He’ll be a ranting lunatic. Nobody will believe him.”

Slugslinger made it to his feet.

“But even so, the station commander has to file a report on all Decepticon detainees. That report goes back to Iacon.”

“Yes, and Prowl is there. He will see it and take care of it.”

Slugslinger started stumbling down the road, away from the Autobots.

“But what if he doesn’t? What if Magnus sees it first? Or Jetfire?”

“You worry too much, Bluestreak. It’ll be fine.”

Slugslinger was slowly walking away from them.

“What about this one? We can’t just let him go.”

“I know.”

With that, Smokescreen took a few steps forward and caught up to Slugslinger, who was moving like a zombie. He was holding his sides and torso, where his insides were burning and falling out in smoldering chunks. The shotgun truly was a brutal weapon. No wonder it wasn’t used anymore. Smokescreen, however, didn’t seem to share that sentiment. He lifted his gun, with one hand, and put the barrels to the back of Slugslinger’s head. This time, the Decepticon was in no shape to fight back. Without any change in expression, Smokescreen pulled the trigger, and Slugslinger’s head disappeared from his shoulders in a fiery vanishing act. As the pieces flew in every direction, his legs took 3 more steps forward and his body dropped to his knees. His forward momentum then carried what was left of his upper body and he fell chest-first onto the road. Bluestreak looked on in silence, as Smokescreen put his gun away and transformed.

“Are you coming?” he asked.

Without a word, Bluestreak transformed as well and followed Smokescreen down the road. Behind them, one more small explosion signaled Slugslinger’s spark reaching critical level .
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Re: The Bad Seed.

Postby Rodimus Prime » Sat Sep 16, 2017 11:35 pm

The Ruins of Tarn

Some Time Ago

The city that gave the galaxy Megatron had always seemed dark and desolate, even before the war. Did that have anything to do with what he became? Who knows. It was a sprawling, dirty landscape, filled with ominous towers and buildings that all looked the same. They used to be the living quarters for miners, just like Megatron, who lived here and went to work from here. Back when Cybertron was largely unknown to the Transformer race. Back when no one knew anything about Primus, save for a select few in the Autobot hierarchy, old bots who held onto those secrets with their lives. Regardless, as time went on, these old bots and the ideals they beheld became obsolete. A certain segment of the population, calling themselves revolutionaries, rebelled against this system. And it started right here. In this city. Or rather, beneath it.

Down in the depths, away from the prying optics of the Autobots, the gladiatorial life flourished. Led by Megatron, who became one of its most infamous participants, this organized way of eliminating the weak links in the chain of revolution took on a life of its own. Soon, Megatron had all the support he needed, from those who were tired of being on the bottom of the Autobots system, those who wanted more but couldn’t have it, simply because of who they were born to be. Starscream, Soundwave, Astrotrain, even Grimlock. This is where the Decepticon revolution was born and this is where it needed to die, symbolically at least. The revolution, which turned into open war, had been dead for some time, as the Decepticon hierarchy imploded from the infighting and backstabbing it had endured for most of its existence. But to truly showcase its death to the remaining Decepticons, Tarn had to be destroyed. Wiped from the face of Cybertron.

And for that reason, the Technobots were here. Whether it was Prime’s orders, or maybe Magnus’s, Scattershot wasn’t sure. But the order came down: destroy Tarn. Every square inch of it. It was mostly empty, no one lived here anymore. When the war broke out, one of the first things Megatron did was leave this place, as it reminded him of who he was, where he came from. That can be a good thing, but it can also hinder an individual psychologically. So Megatron abandoned it, for the more practical and modern Darkmount base. But some remained, and even now some live here. Remnants of the old Decepticon ways, they stay here, not really hiding, but knowing that Autobots rarely ever come down here, just like Darkmount. Aerial patrol flies over regularly, but it’s been a long time since an Autobot set foot in this place. But here the Technobots are. Doing the dirty work.

The Technobots brought a squad of Autobots with them, simply as back up. They didn’t think they would need it, but there were still some derelicts living here, and they had to be removed before the explosives could be set off. Using the most updated blueprints they could find, the Technobots, accompanied by 2 Autobot drones each, fanned out and placed the explosives carefully, according to Scattershot’s plan. They had contemplated bringing down all the buildings one at a time, but it was deemed that it would take too long, and in the end it would just create a lot of rubble while leaving the underground structure largely intact. So Scattershot convinced Grimlock to allow him access to the Autobots’ nuclear arsenal, taking one large nuclear warhead along with six smaller ones, which would ensure the total destruction of the entire area, above and below ground. Optimus Prime wanted no sign of the gladiator arenas remaining. He called it a ‘cleansing’ of the planet, wiping out a bad part of its history. Grimlock had protested this, as the arenas were the very place Grimlock came from and learned how to fight, and more importantly, how to live. Scattershot had never known anyone personally from the arenas, as they were mostly Decepticons, except Grimlock and Inferno. But even Inferno wasn’t as experienced, as he was in the fights only for a short time, before Megatron finally revealed his grand plans. This made Inferno leave the gladiator ranks and join the Autobots outright. But Grimlock was here until the end, unable to decide which side he was supposed to be on, until Starscream made the choice for him on one fateful day.

But that’s history, and that history is about to be erased. The nukes have been set, the entire city cleared, and the Technobots were going back to their shuttle, to prepare take off before everything went sky high. Most of the Autobot squad that accompanied them was already back. Scattershot, Nosecone, Strafe and Afterburner were at the landing pad, waiting on Lightspeed, who had gone to place one of the smaller nukes. The idea was that by placing the large explosive in the middle of the city, in the lowest accessible level, and fanning out the 6 smaller nukes in equal distance and spacing from each other as well as the center, the explosions would be a chain reaction which destroyed the foundations of the entire city, collapsing the abandoned buildings above onto the underground structures of the gladiator arenas. That is, of course, if the nukes didn’t just outright incinerate everything, but Grimlock assured Scattershot that the nuke wasn’t that powerful, and the smaller ones would cause a ring of explosions, but nothing so powerful that there would be nothing left. Scattershot took Grimlock’s word, and now everything was set. All they were waiting for was Lightspeed’s return.

*** *** ***

Lightspeed’s optics flickered open. At first, he didn’t recognize where he was. His vision was blurry. His head was lit up in pain, and his right side was also on fire. He moved his head, and as his vision slowly cleared, he realized he was looking at his surroundings sideways. He was laying on the ground. What was he doing on the ground? Then it hit him: He had been attacked! But...by who? He couldn’t...he couldn’t remember! He sat up, shaking his head for a minute. The pain in his cerebral casing was subsiding, but the pain in his side...Lightspeed looked down, and his optics widened. He really was on fire! He had been shot! But...he remembered! The Combaticons! They were here! They were hiding down here in the depths! No! They...they took the nuke! Oh no! Lightspeed scrambled to his feet, but the damage to his side where he had been shot caused a fierce pain to shoot through his entire body, and he doubled over, holding his side. He stumbled, fell against a wall, then grabbed a pipe that was sticking out. After a few moments he steadied himself, finally clearing his head of the fog and the pain. He tried to put together the events of the last few breems. He was down here, setting up the small nuke. It had been prepped by the Dinobots, before it ever left the armory back in Iacon. All the Technobots had to do was place them in the pre-calculated spots, and activate the timers. Then...then the shots came. Someone fired on the Autobot drone soldiers who accompanied Lightspeed. After they brought the nuke in, they set it down and went back to the perimeter to stand watch, in case the earlier sweep missed someone who was still staying here. Lightspeed was left alone to complete the procedure, and he did. All except starting the countdown. That was because the blaster shots distracted him, and when he went to the entrance of the space that used to be the fighting arena to see what happened, he caught a shot right in the torso. He remembered now...the impact of the shot threw him backwards, and he fell on the ground. He tried to scramble to his feet as well as draw his gun at the same time, but the pain in his side was too much. By the time he regained his bearings and was able to focus on the entrance, the Combaticons had already got inside. Swindle was first, kicking Lightspeed’s gun out of his hand, followed by Brawl, who swung a fist and smashed it into the side of Lightspeed’s head. That shot didn’t knock him out, just dazed him and drove him back down on the ground. The next shot, however, did him in. As he was trying push himself back up, a direct hit to the back of his head turned his lights out until he came to just a few moments ago. He didn’t know which Combaticon it was, but it didn’t matter. He didn’t even see all of them, just Swindle, Brawl, and Onslaught, who came in just as Brawl punched him. What Lightspeed did know, was that the nuke was gone. He turned on his communicator.

“Uhhh…” he groaned. “Hel...hello…? Someone answer me…!”

Static.

“Scattershot! Come back!”

Static.

“Scattershot, do you copy? Come back! This is...uhhh...this is Lightspeed!”

Static.

“What’s going on…?” Lightspeed muttered to himself.

He then switched the frequency.

“Shuttle, this is Lightspeed.”

Static.

“What the hell is going on?!” he yelled to himself.

*** *** ***

At the shuttle, Scattershot was looking around. No sign of Lightspeed.

“Should we check on him?” Strafe asked. “He should have been back by now.”

“I can’t get him on the comm link.” Nosecone said. “Something’s messing with the signal.”

“Even from this close?” Scattershot asked. “He’s not that far away.”

“I don’t know.” Nosecone replied. “Maybe the nukes are interfering? The radioactive waves?”

“Ugh, don’t remind me.” Strafe said. “The sooner we get outta here and away from thos thinsg the better.”

“Agreed.” Scattershot said. “Let’s get on the shuttle and use the radio from the cockpit. Its boosted signal should be strong enough to reach him.”

“Yeah, but would he be able to answer?” Strafe asked back.

Both Scattershot and Nosecone shrugged, and turned to the shuttle. The drones, along with Afterburner, were standing by the ramp leading up to the side door. At Scattershot’s nod, they started walking up. Afterburner got inside first, and looked down the corridor leading from the cockpit to the cargo bay.

“Hey…” he said. “The cargo bay doors are open. I thought we shut them.

The drones filed in, some going down to the cockpit, some to the cargo bay. Afterburner walked after them, as Scattershot and the others arrived inside and looked down that way.

“What the hell?!” Afterburner said loudly.

The others looked down towards the cargo bay.

“One of the nukes is in here!” Afterburner shouted.

“What…?” Scattershot asked, dumbfounded.

He started walking down toward the cargo bay, but then saw Afterburner running back toward him.

“It’s armed! Get out! NOW!!!” he was screaming.

“How long…?” Scattershot asked after a moment’s hesitation.

But before Afterburner could answer, the corridor behind him lit up in the brightest light Scattershot had ever seen. The moment of realization of what happened and the actual energy blast from the nuclear warhead reached him at the same time. The last image in his cerebral circuits was Afterburner’s open mouth and alarmed optics. The scream froze on his face as the blast instantly vaporized him and did the same with the other 3 Technobots on board, as well as all the drone soldiers. The shuttle exploded in a violent flash of light, a moment later followed by a BOOM so loud it shook the ground for miles around. The nearby buildings also were flattened, and some others further away collapsed from the force of the shock wave as well as their foundations being rocked. There was nothing left of the shuttle or its surroundings, except a ball of fire that expanded up and out, the fire swallowing everything in its path.

*** *** ***

Lightspeed was running towards the shuttle as fast as his injury was letting him. Because of the damage to his torso, he couldn’t transform. He wasn’t even close, and that’s what saved him. He saw the brilliant flash of light coming from the direction he was heading in, and he instantly knew what happened. The Combaticons somehow got the stolen nuke to where the shuttle was, and set it off. He saw the fireball rise to the sky, and as he came to a stop, he turned around to run the other way. But the shock wave that accompanied the blast knocked him off his feet as well as shaking the buildings around him. Some stayed standing, some fell down. But it didn’t matter, in a few moments the blaze would reach here and incinerate everything anyway. Nonetheless, he got up and started running back where he came from, out of the city, as far from the blast as he could, as fast as he could. He was never gonna make it. Not in robot mode, anyway. But to transform...he just couldn’t. He couldn’t! But he had to! He initiated his transformation protocol and began configuring himself. The pain in his torso was unbearable. His shifting insides felt like someone was cutting them out with a laser saber. Finally, after a few agonizing moments, he was in vehicle mode. He couldn’t believe he didn’t pass out from the pain. But here he was, on 4 wheels, and speeding up. As much as it hurt him, he pushed his systems to the maximum, and he reached his top speed in a few seconds. The blastwave was still coming, but now he had a chance. He didn’t dare look back. Just drive. As hard as he could. As fast as he could. He made it out of the city limits, where there were no more buildings, just a flat plain. Lightspeed just kept going, as fast as he could. He outran the fire, which had slowed that far out from ground zero, and the nuke wasn’t that big anyway. But there were 5 more small ones and a big one! And they hadn’t exploded like they were supposed to! The thought brought a feeling of dread to Lightspeed. Had the Combaticons gotten all of them? But at that exact moment, his question was answered. The large nuclear warhead exploded, creating a flash of light many times more powerful than the smaller one. Moments later, the other 5 smaller ones exploded simultaneously, creating a ring of fire around the ever-expanding fireball that resulted in the big nuke. Lightspeed kept his speed up, even though his insides felt like they were burning as if he was caught in the nuclear blast. But he dared not stop. Behind him, the infamous city-state of Tarn was wiped off the face of Cybertron.
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Re: The Bad Seed.

Postby Rodimus Prime » Sun Sep 17, 2017 1:45 am

Hub Capital Iacon: Medical District

Some Time Ago

Streetwise stood outside the emergency room where Hotspot was being kept on life support. Miraculously, not only did he survive the Combaticons’ attack, but he stayed alive until Streetwise made it to the nearest security station. From there, he alerted central security command, and Jetfire himself flew out to Darkmount, followed by the Aerialbots. The Combaticons were still there, though they didn’t mess with Hotspot, probably thinking him dead, or Blades’ and Groove’s remains. They had separated by then, and when Jetfire showed up, they put up minimal resistance, by when the Aerialbots arrived, in the form of Superion, the ‘Cons hightailed it out of there. Some other ‘Cons stayed, or were left behind, and they paid the price. After Streetwise had detailed what happened to Jetfire as he was flying to Darkmount, Jetfire ordered the Aerialbots to combine before even arriving, and that they were to shoot any Decepticons they saw on sight. This would not go over well with Optimus Prime, or even Ultra Magnus, but Jetfire didn’t care. After learning how the Protectobots were trapped and 2 of them executed, he had no patience for the processes of the justice system. If the Combaticons gave up, they were to be taken into custody and put in prison. They likely weren’t going to see the outside for a long, long time, based on not only their actions against the Protectobots, but their actions previously during the war. But Jetfire knew they weren’t going to go without a fight. Sure, Swindle might try to weasel his way out of it with a deal, Brawl was probably too stupid to realize the trouble he was in, the two flyers were gonna do whatever Onslaught did, and the Combaticons leader was all too familiar to not only Jetfire, but to Silverbolt as well, who agreed wholeheartedly with Jetfire’s assessment of the situation. So Jetfire took it upon himself to skip the niceties and arrive at Darkmount with all guns blazing. Despite this, he found himself not only backing down, but close to being cornered in the firefight, until the Aerialbots arrived and took care of business. However, the Combaticons got away while the 6 Autobot flyers were busy with the rank-and-file ‘Cons that were also at the base. Streetwise had warned them about the large number, but Jetfire concentrated on the Combaticons, as they seemed to be organizing some sort of resistance to the Autobots’ new system. After Darkmount was secured, First Aid himself arrived with a medical team on his personal shuttle to see to Hotspot. He was crushed to learn about Groove and Blades, yet relieved when he saw Streetwise at the medical center when he got back with Hotspot. First Aid had taken well the new responsibilities of being the Chief Medical Officer, after Ratchet’s apparent demise on Earth. Both Optimus and Magnus expressed the utmost confidence in him, and he was voted into the new position unanimously by Prime, Magnus, Grimlock, Jetfire and Blaster. First Aid now occupied a seat on the council, being lead medical officer, and his word was just as important as the others’.

Still, his medical expertise did not include miracles, so he had to watch as his former commander held on to dear life with a faint spark. He had survived Bruticus’ point-blank shot due only to his superdense armor which he had installed to battle fires. This is why the rocket which hit him, even though it was an armor-piercer, didn’t do any major damage, and therefore the armor withstood the cannon blast from Bruticus. The impact was forceful enough to disconnect Hotspot’s limb joints, which is why he lost an arm and a leg, but those could be replaced. His spark-casing remained intact, as did his cerebral casing, even though he was in stasis-lock. First Aid knew he had a long way of recovery ahead of him. Damage like this couldn’t be repaired overnight. As the 2 remaining Protectobots stood outside Hotspot’s room, Magnus and Prowl walked toward them in the hallway.

“How is he?” Magnus asked before they even got there.

“He’s very lucky.” First Aid said. “Somehow, the blast hit him in the exact spot where his armor could radiate the impact evenly throughout his body. That’s the only reason he survived. Had the shot been a little bit higher, his spark-casing would have been damaged, or even completely crushed from the impact. If it was lower, it would have completely destroyed his torso, and the resulting system overload would have exploded his spark. So he’s extremely fortunate.”

“And you?” Magnus turned to Streetwise.

“I’m...I’ll be alright.” Streetwise said. “I’m just stressed over Hotspot.”

“You’re probably still in shock over the others.” First Aid said.

“How are you dealing with this?” Magnus asked First Aid.

“Well, I...I have a job to do.” First Aid responded, slightly bowing his head. “I have the entire planet to look after. I can’t stop just for one bot, even if that bot is a fellow Protectobot.”

“But it wasn’t just one bot.” Magnus said. “It was three of them.”

“I know. I’ll process it and deal with it the best I can. All I know is they weren’t the first, and unfortunately, they won’t be the last.”

“That’s true.” Prowl said, joining the conversation. “I think Jetfire was right in his reaction, though. Hopefully that sends a message to the remaining ‘Cons.”

“Well, Jetfire and I will have a chat regarding the situation.” Magnus said. “He’s back out at Darkmount, preparing the site to be demolished.”

“Demolished? How?” Streetwise asked.

“Nukes. We’re going to wipe it off the face of the planet.” Prowl answered for Magnus. “We’re doing it to a few other sites, mainly those that were prominent in the early stages of the war. Optimus Prime wants them gone. Not sure what practical good it will do, but at least it will bring a symbolic end to the Decepticons’ rise.”

“It will also remove scrapped parts of the surface of the planet, so that we can rebuild new and better communities in their places.” Magnus added. “Places that stand for peace and prosperity, instead of death and destruction.”

“I see.” Streetwise said. “And the Combaticons?”

“We’re still hunting them.” Magnus said. “They will be brought to justice.”

“Justice?” Streetwise asked back. “You actually plan to try to arrest them? After what they did?!”

“I understand you’re upset. But it’s the law.”

“Law?! How about their premeditation to murder fellow Autobots?! No way was what happened a coincidence or an accident! They set that up! Aren’t you going to consider that?! Aren’t you going to treat them as lethal fugitives?! So that the security patrol can kill them on sight?! That’s what they deserve!”

“Brother, calm down.” First Aid said, putting his hands on Streetwise’s shoulder and chest.

“Calm down?! Doesn’t this bother you?! They murdered our brothers and they’re being treated like common criminals?!”

“They’re NOT being treated as such, I assure you.” Magnus said firmly. “But, as I said, it’s the law. It has to be applied to everyone equally.”

‘What about the punishment fitting the crime?!” What about an optic of an optic?! What about fairness?!” Streetwise shouted, his whole body shaking in the process.

“Streetwise, it’ll be alright.” First Aid kept calming him. “They will get what they deserve. You know that.”

“Listen to him, Streetwise.” Magnus said. “Everything in its due time.”

“But until then? They get to just run around free? And probably do it to other Autobots?”

“Absolutely not.” Magnus said. “The Combaticons are being actively hunted, their capture the highest priority on the security protocols. They will be apprehended!”

With that, Magnus turned around and started walking back the way they came, but Prowl staying with the Protectobots.

“This is not happening!” Streetwise said. “How can he be so casual about this?”

“He’s doing what he thinks is the most productive.” Prowl said. “For the majority, and in the long run. If the law is circumvented for the Combaticons, soon others will demand swifter justice for other, perhaps lesser crimes as well. If it happens once, it’s easier to do it a second time. And that can only lead to a lawless society.”

“Yes, I understand that.” Streetwise said, a bit calmer. “But what they did, does that not merit a more serious consideration?”

“Of course it does.” Prowl said. “But like I said, Magnus is looking at the big picture. The biggest picture. The society we’re rebuilding on the entire planet. In order for that to succeed, laws not only must apply to everyone, but they must be upheld equally.”

“Ugh, whatever. All I know is, if I ever see a Combaticon again, law or no law, that’s a dead ‘Con!”

“Alright, Streetwise.” First Aid said. “You should probably sit down for a while. You’ve been through a lot. I checked you out, and physically you’re good to go, save for a few wounds from the gunfight. But otherwise, all you need is a nice long session on a recharge slab.”

“Yes...I suppose you’re right…”

“I’ll make sure he gets to his hab suite.” Prowl said to First Aid. “You probably have a lot of patients to attend to.”

“Well, my main concern is Hotspot, he has to be monitored constantly to make sure his systems don’t fail. It’s still a critical time for him.”

“Alright, then. You heard that, right Streetwise? The best thing you can do for Hotspot right now is get your own recuperation on your own. First Aid needs to be here to watch over him, as well as other other patients.”

“Yeah, I got it. I’m just…”

‘You’re still upset.” Prowl said. “And for good reason. But come with me, and we’ll get everything taken care of.”

“Alright then.” First Aid said. “Just go with Prowl, and I’ll check in on you later, alright?”

“Yeah. Let me know if something happens with Hotspot, good or bad.”

“I will.”

With that, First Aid went back into Hotspot’s room, and the other 2 started walking away down the corridor.

“I know you want justice for the others.” Prowl said. “But we have to respect Magnus’s orders.”

“We ‘have to?’ Sounds like you don’t really agree with what he said.”

“To be honest, Streetwise, I don’t. I see way too many reports of Decepticons committing crimes anywhere from simple assault and petty larceny to vandalism and even large scale attacks on Autobot establishments. Not all Decepticons are willing to go along with our new system, even if their only other option is to be outlaws.”

“Not surprising. That’s what they are to begin with, outlaws. You forget, Prowl, that I’m a cop, just like you? I see some of those reports as well.”

“No, I haven’t forgotten. But I know you also like to do things by the book, just like Magnus.”

“Well, just because something works, doesn’t mean it can’t be improved upon, or be flexible under certain circumstances.”

“I’m glad to hear you say that.” Prowl said with a slight smile, and put an arm around Streetwise. “You see, I’ve been thinking along the same lines, but I’m not sure if there’s anything that can be done. Not by me, anyway. Magnus and I work too close together. If I authorize some...how should I say, questionable operations, Magnus and Prime will certainly notice. I know Jetfire also favors some improvements to existing law, to allow for more...er, immediate punishment, but something like that would take a while to implement. But in the end, it would happen. Unfortunately, while Magnus drags the changes through all the proceedings, crimes such as what happened to your brother Protectobots will keep happening. They will keep happening because the perps know they can get away with it. Because even if they’re caught, they will be just thrown in jail until the trial and that could take a long, long time. Meanwhile, their victims, like your brothers, will wait in vain for justice.”

“But what can be done about that?” Streetwise asked. “I mean, it’s the law, and it has to be followed.”

“Yeah, as long as it’s done officially, the laws of the justice system apply to all accused members of our society.”

“‘Officially?’ What do you mean by that?”

“Like I said, the end result will still be the same. Justice will be delivered. But, sometimes it’s worth keeping things out of the justice system to avoid slowing it down even more.”

“Uhh...Prowl, are you saying what I think you’re saying?”

“I don’t know what you’re thinking. I’m simply saying that in the end, the Combaticons will pay for their crimes. They will be hunted down, apprehended or killed, depending on what they do. But if they do get apprehended, they will sit in prison for a while. Then their trial will take place, then their sentencing. And I know the end result will be their execution. But what if all that can be avoided, and they end up the same way?”

“Are you talking about...about killing them without giving them the chance to surrender?”

“Heh...I didn’t say that. I believe in upholding the law.”

“But if the end result is the same...why bother? I mean, I understand Magnus’s argument, but it’s just a big waste of time!”

“Well, what would you have us do? That’s how we deal with criminals. It’s the process.”

“It’s just that...if they can be dealt with much swifter, why waste the time and effort?”

“That’s the way I look at it.”

“Prowl, I’m not sure what you’re trying to get at, but I have a feeling that if I managed to hunt down the Combaticons, and didn’t make much of an effort to arrest them, I could count on you to look the other way.”

“As long as you make an effort, that’s all I can ask. That’s all the law can ask.”

“Yeah...yeah.”

“So why don’t we go someplace and talk about what exactly that means?”

“Alright...First Aid did say I should relax anyway.”

“Exactly.”

The 2 of them walked out of the medical facility, towards the outskirts of Iacon. Somewhere quiet. Somewhere secluded. Somewhere beyond the long arm of Ultra Magnus’s law.
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Re: The Bad Seed.

Postby Rodimus Prime » Sun Sep 17, 2017 11:20 pm

The Sea of Rust

Present Day

“So do you think he made it?” Smokescreen asked.

“I don’t know.” Bluestreak answered. “I haven’t heard anything.”

They were driving through the vast plain, with nothing and no one in sight. On Cybertron, the Sea of Rust was the largest single geographical feature on the surface of the planet. Both the Manganese Mountains and the Sonic Canyons came close, but neither was as large in area. If one is not equipped to traverse this desolate plain, bad things can happen out here. No one has been able to figure out why the Sea of Rust is here. Everywhere else on the planet, the surface is fit to be mined, to be built on, even with the destruction of a long galactic war as well as the attack by Unicron. But here? Out here nothing survives, no matter how deep the foundations are built, or how much new buildings are taken care of. Sooner or later, everything gets rusty. Everything. The Sea of Rust in an oval-shaped plain, resting between the Manganese Mountains to the East, the Tagan Heights to the West, Iacon to the North, and Kaon to the South. It was one of the reasons Shockwave made Kaon the capital of the Decepticon Empire. He built one of his infamous towers on the outskirts of the city, and he could watch Iacon from there, looking straight over the Sea of Rust. It made Iacon and Kaon close together, yet so far away, when the treacherous conditions of the desert were considered. During the day, when the Alpha Centauri star was high overhead, the Sea blazed in the heat, the rust dust burning anyone who dared to walk or drive on its surface. At night, it was cold and unforgiving, many bots suffering its crippling climate if their bodies weren’t properly insulated or maintained. Bottom line, unless a bot was in top notch condition, s/he had no business going through the Sea of Rust by him/herself. It was best to travel in a group, or take a shuttle over. The Sea could be crossed in a day by faster bots, and Blurr could probably do it in an afternoon, but bigger and slower bots are usually prone to breaking down from the dust above the surface as well as overheating or their systems seizing up in the cold at night. But Bluestreak and Smokescreen have done this a few times, and they knew how to prepare. A lot of times they would go around the Sea, staying in occupied territories, but that normally takes a couple of days. This time, they had no choice. They had to get back to Iacon as soon as possible. If Misfire was caught by an air patrol, or by himself decided to go to someone about what happened, they had some work to do to cover their tracks. They had to talk to Prowl, first and foremost, and it was not a conversation that could be done over a communicator. They could be overheard or even just routinely recorded. They couldn’t take that chance, not with what they have been doing.

“Well, I hope we get there in time, this is a mess I’d rather not get into.” Smokescreen said. “I mean, I really don’t care, it would just be a hassle. And to have to listen to Prowl lecture us about taking the necessary precautions. I mean, I agree with how he looks at most things, but damn, he can talk too much.”

“Yeah…”

“Hey. ‘Streak. Don’t worry bro. It’ll be alright. Like I said, even if he gets to spill his guts to someone, it’s a good chance he’ll be written off as a lunatic and thrown into a jail cell.”

“Yeah, that might be. But what if he doesn’t? What if someone actually takes him seriously and reports what he says? And what if the report gets by Prowl, and ends up on Magnus’s desk? Or worse yet, in the hands of Jetfire or Grimlock? You know Grimlock is just waiting for a reason to tear Prowl apart. And finding out that he has been covering up our little off-the-books missions would be just the right reason. I mean, we’re committing murder, for Primus’ sake! We’re…”

“Enough! If you had a problem with this, you should have stayed out of it! Bluestreak, what we’re doing is not ‘murder,’ as you say. It’s justice! Or at the very least, retribution! You know how many Autobots, humans, Nebulans, and other alien species the Decepticons killed during the war? I’m sure there were even entire planets they took over, wiping out entire races of beings! You know how Shockwave planned to win the war! His favorite form of conquest was terraforming! Destroy the environment of a species, and it will die out on its own. Shockwave always thought that Megatron’s ambition was one of his weaknesses, as it led to his brashness and bluster, the way he would go about conquering other worlds. Remember, the Decepticons’ original plan was to take over as many worlds as they could, bringing their rule to the entire galaxy. Sure, they overran Cybertron, but that was never going to be enough. Both Megatron and Shockwave openly said so.”

“Right, but how does that make what we’re doing right? Like you said, I went along with it because you and Prowl made a compelling argument about punishing the Decepticons, but I don’t know anymore. Killing unarmed Decepticons is still...just not right.”

“It’s called getting their comeuppance. Bluestreak, Prowl and I came to the conclusion that the new system being set up by the hierarchy, especially by Optimus Prime and Ultra Magnus, while good for the entire Autobot population in the long run, let’s some Decepticons through the cracks. ‘Cons who are guilty of monstrous atrocities during the war. You think Shockwave and Megatron were the only ones capable of genocide? Of ruthless eradication of innocent beings?”

“No, of course not…”

“Damn right! They’re all guilty! All of them! And with the new system, a lot of them will either spend a lot of time in a jail cell, or be allowed to outright walk around free. And that’s just appalling to me. How are they allowed to be even walking around? After what they did?! And just because the war is over, that doesn’t mean the ‘Cons are done with their ways! You hear about crimes against Autobots on a constant daily basis! So as far as I’m concerned, we’re just taking out the trash without waiting for the disposal unit to arrive.”

“I understand that. I told you and Prowl that I did, way back then. But I thought we would mostly be apprehending Decepticons, throwing them in prison. Not outright killing them.”

“But you had no problem doing it after you joined us. Hell, you even enjoyed it, once Prowl got you that shotgun.”

“No. I never enjoyed murder. The first few times we...we killed Decepticons, it was in self-defense. Remember? They attacked us, we fired on them to get them under control.”

‘Yet they died anyway. And you lost no time on a recharge slab over them. Did you?”

“No. I guess not.”

After that, they drove in silence for a while, keeping a watch on their systems. They were a little over halfway past the midpoint of the Sea, and the rust dust was starting to get thick on their bodies. But as long as they kept it off their cooling system and their wheels, they would be alright. After a little while Smokescreen picked up the conversation.

“So tell me, what made you decide to join our little cause anyway?” he asked Bluestreak. “I mean, I get that you agreed with Prowl about the justice needing to be swifter, but later on, Prowl had us do some things that were questionable even to me. And obviously you have a different idea of what swift justice is than we do.”

“Well, after the first few incidents, I just...I don’t know. I saw how the Decepticons were behaving, and I guess I came to the conclusion that in the end, they were gonna end up the same way. Whether they were tried and sentenced, or if they refused to surrender and had to be...taken out by force.”

“So you figured our way was the more efficient and sensible way.”

“More efficient, sure. Sensible? That’s what I’m having a problem with. Processing the things we’ve been doing lately. Like this last time. Those 2 ‘Cons just wanted to become a part of our new system without going through all the legal stuff. They just wanted new lives.”

“Yeah, without having to answer for their old ones. It doesn’t work that way.”

“But they were willing to do what it took. I mean…”

“Yeah. They helped us kill a bunch of their fellow Decepticons. Don’t you think that makes them even worse?”

“We didn’t exactly tell them what we were doing. They wanted to help, and we...no, you took advantage of that. And then…”

‘Wait! Wait! Are you hanging their treachery on me? As I recall, you were there as well! And it’s not like we had to twist their arms!”

“No. But I didn’t know what you had planned. I didn’t know the crate had a bomb in it. I thought you were gonna have them spy on their hideout so we can alert a security squad, or even Jetfire or Grimlock, and they would go deal with it! And where did you get that bomb, anyway?”

“Prowl’s orders were clear. We were to assess the situation and deal with it accordingly.”

“Prowl? So he gave you the explosives!”

“Yes. Yes, he did. When he said ‘deal with it accordingly,’ that’s what he had in mind.”

“And you followed his order without a second thought.”

“That’s what we agreed on when all this started. That’s what you agreed to when you joined us. Prowl is the boss, he makes the calls, we do the work. He supplies the weaponry, we execute the plan. Simple. In exchange, his hands stay clean, and we stay off the higher-ups’ radar. The Decepticons go down, and the system keeps moving smoothly. The ‘Cons don’t become a burden to our new society. Everybody wins.”

“But not all ‘Cons would become a burden! I think our latest mission proves that Misfire and Slugslinger were willing to become productive members of our society. All they asked was that we help them through the assimilation process faster. They wanted to get away from the Decepticon way of life, and they were willing to do what we asked in exchange. And we still treated them like the ‘Cons that straight up wanted to kill us. That’s what I’m having a problem with.”

“Well, when we get back to Iacon, you can voice your concerns to Prowl. Personally, I’m not going to keep going back and forth with you. It’s your conflict and you have to settle it. I made my choice, and I’m a bot of my word. I agreed to do a certain duty, and I am doing it. I take Prowl at his word that in the long run, what we’re doing helps us. The Autobots. That’s all the reassurance I need if my conscience ever decides to second-guess my actions.”

‘Well...maybe I will have a talk with Prowl when we get back. We’re supposed to meet him somewhere outside Iacon anyway, aren’t we?”

“Yes. We have a safe house on the outskirts, away from prying optics and security surveillance. Prowl carefully searched for it and picked it out a while ago. I have been meeting him there to get our latest assignments. We’ll be there soon. We’re about ⅔ of the way through the Sea.

*** *** ***

Prowl and Streetwise sat at the round table in the old abandoned repair station. It hadn’t been used for some time, as the newer, more updated buildings and equipment became the norm. They weren’t going to be able to use it forever, as Prowl knew the building, along with many like it, was scheduled to be demolished to ‘improve Iacon’s image,’ as Ultra Magnus had put it. But for now, it would do. Prowl would worry about finding another place later, as it became necessary.

“So what do you think?” he asked Streetwise.

“I...I’m not sure. It sounds good.” Streetwise answered. “I mean...it makes sense. But...it’s illegal. I want to help you...I just...I don’t know.”

“It’s only illegal if you consider the law forbidding it. The same law that allows scum like the Combaticons to walk around and do what they did!” Prowl responded, not angrily, but still forcefully. He didn’t want to overdo it and have Streetwise back out. But this was the moment of truth. If he was gonna add yet another Autobot to his cause, he had to keep up the pressure.

“Yeah...yeah, I know that.”

“Well, then? What’s the problem? I’m offering you not only a measure of revenge, and by that justice for your fellow Protectobots, but a way to be more productive in the justice system. Think about it! Every ‘Con you handle on your own will never see the inside of a jail cell or a justice hall. They will never be a burden to our new society that we’re trying to build! And you agree with me, they’re all guilty! All of them! For them, the end will be the same, no matter what road they take. Streetwise, you are a cop, just like me. You have seen what damage Decepticons do when they go unchecked. And I’m not even talking about the war. I’m talking about now. Right now. There’s a ‘Con out there right now, stealing from a hard-working Autobot. Or assaulting an unsuspecting bot on his way home from whatever job he has taken to be a productive part of our new system. And the system to deal with them is just too slow. They will keep getting away with it until someone puts a stop to them. Sure, eventually they will face a sentencing, but when will that be? Who knows? And for worse ‘Cons, like the murderers whom you survived, the system won’t even bring punishment. They will die before they surrender. You know this. So why wait? Why spend the time and resources to try to hunt them down and apprehend them? When in the end they will end up the same? And you won’t even get the satisfaction of delivering justice for your brothers yourself. Some other bot you might even know gets to do it. Or worse, some security patrol drone gets a lucky shot in, and the Combaticon will die thinking he got away with all the atrocities he had committed before he was caught.”

“Okay.” Streetwise said quietly. “I get your point. But how can the 2 of us make a difference? Even if the way we do things brings swifter justice, it’s just us against an untold number of Decepticons out there. How could we…”

He was interrupted by a sound coming from the side of the building. It was a ‘click’ at first, then a louder sound, and finally a ‘bang!’

“What...what was that?” Streetwise asked.

“That…” Prowl said with a smile. “...was the odds getting a little better in our mission to make this planet peaceful again.”

Smokescreen and Bluestreak came into the room and sat down at the table.

“What’s going on here?” Smokescreen asked, already suspecting the answer.

“We have a new supporter to our cause.” Prowl said.

“Your...so you’re involved in this as well?” Streetwise asked.

“Yes.” Smokescreen answered. “It can’t be done by yourself. You need others to help you. And I don’t want to be insensitive, but now that some of your...fellow teammates are gone, maybe it’s time you joined a new team.”

“Yeah...maybe you’re right.”

“I know I am. Since I started this, I feel so much better. Knowing I’m doing something to help our society move forward. To deliver justice for those who may never get otherwise.”

Bluestreak didn’t say anything, but when Streetwise looked at him, he smiled reassuringly.

“You’re doing the right thing.” Smokescreen said. “Trust me.”

“Alright.” Streetwise said. “I’m in.”
Rodimus Prime
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Re: The Bad Seed.

Postby Rodimus Prime » Mon Sep 18, 2017 12:59 am

Hub Capital Iacon: Central Police Headquarters

Present Day

Lightspeed was still on edge. He was at the main police station, arriving here after reaching one of the security posts on the outskirts of the city, then being transported to the Medical District. It turned out his blaster wound wasn’t very serious, he had just aggravated it some by transforming and pushing his systems to the maximum to get away from the nuclear blasts. His naturally fast speed also helped, but he was almost in overload by the time he reached the security outpost. Luckily, he was met by a security squad who was on standby to go to Tarn after the blasts, to begin a sweep for anyone who might have gotten injured, even though the entire area was cleared out. Or so they thought. After all, the Combaticons were there. But how? How could they show up without the security scans picking them up? Either by the aerial drone units or by the shuttle the Technobots had taken? This was bothering Lightspeed ever since he was patched up and brought to Central.

His thoughts were interrupted by the door opening, and Red Alert came in.

“Hey.” he said. “How are you holding up?”

“How?” Lightspeed answered, a bit perplexed. “I just survived an assault by the Combaticons, then outran a series of nuclear explosions. How do you think I’m feeling?!”

“”Yeah, I guess that was stupid of me to ask. I was just…”

“It’s alright. I’m sorry I snapped. I’m just...I’m just a little bit revved up over this. Have you heard from the others? I wasn’t able to get in touch with Scattershot before the blasts, and I haven’t heard from them yet. Have they contacted you?”

“Lightspeed, I...I’m sorry. From what we can gather so far, it looks like nobody else made it out of Tarn.”

“What...wait…what?! You mean…”

“We’re still searching the ruins. It finally settled down, the aftermath dissipated enough to have a crew go over the area with scanners. But the nukes did what they were supposed to do. They destroyed everything. Above and below the surface. Just like it was planned.”

“But...but we had a shuttle...and a squad of drones! They could…”

“I personally reviewed the surveillance recordings, as well as the flight logs for that shuttle. There’s no indication whatsoever that it lifted off before the blasts. I have been in contact with Blaster as well, he’s personally overseeing the evaluation of communication recordings from Tarn from the time you arrived until the moment the first nuke went off.”

“Yeah, I tried talking to them, but couldn’t get an answer...I thought maybe the nukes…”

“No, the nukes wouldn’t cause any interference. That’s not how they work.”

“Then what…?”

“Lightspeed, I got the report from the security outpost commander where you first arrived. It says here that you told them you were attacked by the Combaticons before you could set the final nuclear device. Is that correct?”

“Yes. Why would I say it if it wasn’t?”

“I’m not questioning your honesty. It’s just that you had been through a traumatic experience, when you got there your systems were all maxed out, and that can have adverse effects on a bot’s cerebral circuits. So I just wanted to make sure you can confirm the events now that you calmed down some and had a chance to collect yourself.”

“Yes. The Combaticons attacked me and they stole the nuke I was setting up. Do you think...do you think they attacked the others? I mean…”

“I don’t know much at this point. I’m still waiting on both the survey crew and Blaster’s report on communications. I just wanted to get your statement so that I can start piecing this together. Once we have more, we can start looking for the other Technobots. All we know for sure right now is that all the nukes went off as planned, except for one. It was not in the pre-planned coordinates, so the destruction wasn’t evenly carried out. Tarn is still in ruins, so the desired end result was still achieved, but the security recordings show that the first explosion was on the outskirts of the city, where your shuttle landed. In your statement you said the nuke was gone when you regained consciousness after being attacked, and the other explosions all took place as they were supposed to, so I think it’s safe to assume the nuke that exploded out of place was the one that was taken from you.”

‘Are...are you saying the shuttle was blown up?”

“Yes. And furthermore, I’m working on the theory that since the other nukes went off as planned, the other Technobots had returned to the shuttle after installing the explosives where they were supposed to go.”

“So...so what are you saying? That they all got blown up in the shuttle?! Is that…? No! I don’t believe it! No, they have to be out there somewhere! They’re just out of range, or something! They…”

“Lightspeed, I’m sorry, but so far all the evidence points to them being caught up in the blast. I know this is hard to hear, but I don’t want to give you false hope. But like I said, Blaster’s search could prove me wrong, as well as the survey crew’s findings. They’re going over the ruins right now. We should…”

The door opened again, interrupting Red Alert. Hot Rod walked in.

‘Hey, what are you doing here?” Red Alert asked. “I was expecting Prowl.”

“I just talked to Blaster.” Hot Rod said. He then looked down at Lightspeed, who was looking back at him half dreading bad news, half expecting good news. It made for a strange expression on his face.

‘It’s alright.” Red Alert said. “He has been briefed of my theory regarding his fellow Techobots.”

“Well, unfortunately your theory seems to be more and more accurate.” Hot Rod said somberly. “Blaster reviewed all the communication recordings, and it seems the Technobots never made it out of Tarn before the explosions. Except for Lightspeed here. The last recorded communication was Lightspeed trying to raise them on his comm-link. They hadn’t reported an attack or any malfunction with a nuke. It seems they were just waiting to take off before the explosions. They did try to raise you as well. But there seemed to be some interference to prevent you from communicating with each other.”

“Waiting...for me.” Lightspeed said quietly. “If I hadn’t gotten jumped...if I was more...vigilant, this wouldn’t have happened.”

“No, it’s not your fault.” Hot Rod said. “You did your job and so did they. Somehow the Combaticons managed to sneak in there and attack you. That’s not your responsibility, that’s a security issue. Which means it’s something Prowl needs to get to the bottom of. Someone didn’t perform a thorough enough security sweep before you went in there. We’ll figure it out.”

“Doesn’t matter.” Lightspeed said, still quietly. “ The others are dead. If it hadn’t been for the Combaticons, I would have done my job, gotten back to the shuttle, and we would have taken off in plenty of time. But they were waiting on me. So it’s…”

“NO.” Red Alert said. “Like I said, the first explosion was at the location of the shuttle. It’s not like the others just sat there waiting for the nukes to go off just because you hadn’t arrived. If they noticed something was off, they would have gone searching for you. Everything was going as planned. Until that first explosion.”

Before Lightspeed could respond, Prowl entered the room.

“Hey. I just got updated on the situation. I was…” he started to say, then stopped when he saw Hot Rod. “What are you doing here? This isn’t any of your concern!”

“I just brought Blaster’s report.” Hot Rod replied calmly. “ I thought Red Alert and Lightspeed should know as soon as possible.”

‘Yeah, and it’s my job to coordinate the investigations. Not yours. So why don’t you…”

“Hey!” Red Alert interrupted them. “Is this really necessary? Shouldn’t we be concentrating on getting to the bottom of this?”

“Right.” Prowl said, composing himself. “I just finished with the survey crew, and talked to Blaster. It seems the other Technobots never made it out of Tarn. The nuclear blast wiped away everything, but from all the data gathered, it’s now almost certain that the shuttle didn’t take off. We had aerial drones sweep the surrounding areas, even for the bodies of the others, i case they made it out of the blast zone, but couldn’t make it to a populated area, but nothing. They never left. I’m sorry, Lightspeed.”

Lightspeed didn’t say anything, just bowed his head at first, then buried his face in his hands. He had to face the certainty that his fellow Technobots were dead. Murdered by the Combaticons. He remained quiet for a few moments, then slammed both his hands down on the table.

“DAMN IT!!!” he shouted.

Hot Rod walked over to him and put a hand on his shoulder, and left the room without a word. Prowl also put a hand on Lightspeed’s shoulder, and he looked at Red Alert.

‘It’s alright.” Red Alert said. “I’ll finish here. You should get going on finding out if you had a lapse in security with the pre-blast sweeps. The Combaticons were there somehow, they got past our security checks.”

‘Yeah. I’m on it.” Prowl said and left the room.

*** *** ***

Hot Rod walked outside and stopped. He was trying to piece the events leading up to the explosions together, given Lightspeed’s account, Blaster’s report, and now the survey crew’s findings. How did the Combaticons get in there after Tarn had been locked down? After everyone was cleared out, it was supposed to be under tight security until the demolition. But they got in there somehow. Maybe he should have asked Prowl about it, since security is Prowl’s responsibility. He may not have been there personally, but in the end, he’s responsible for all security decisions. Well, Prowl really has to check with Ultra Magnus, but this was a planned routine operation, so Prowl handled it.

“Hey!” Prowl said loudly behind him, bringing Hot Rod out of his thoughts.

As Hot Rod turned around, Prowl reached him and shoved him in the chest with both hands.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?! Security matters are my concern, not yours! Why don’t you go back to Prime and leave the important work to those of us who know what we’re doing!” Prowl said.

“First of all, Ultra Magnus sent me down here.” Hot Rod replied calmly. “Second, Prime told him to send me, because he expects a report back as soon as possible. Not through the regular channels. It seems the Combaticons have been very busy lately, and it’s making both Prime and Magnus nervous. Somehow they’re getting away with blatantly murdering Autobots, and they keep escaping. Third, if you put your hands on me again, police chief or not, we’re gonna go round and round. Understand?”

‘You little…” Prowl said and swung at Hot Rod.

Hot Rod ducked and shoved Prowl in the back.

“Stop!” Hot Rod said.

Without a word, Prowl turned to him and charged. Hot Rod sidestepped, and Prowl missed again with a tackle. But this time he swung backwards with his arm, and Hot Rod couldn’t avoid it. The fist slammed into the side of his head, sending him stumbling to the wall. Prowl followed up with another punch to the torso, then another to the other side of the head. Hot Rod pushed off the wall, ramming Prowl with his back. Prowl wrapped his arms around Hot Rod and threw him to the ground.

“Now...it’s time you learned some respect!”

He kicked Hot Rod, causing him to fold up on his knees. He went for another kick, but Hot Rod blocked it and yanked Prowl’s leg out from under him. Prowl fell down, and Hot Rod got on top of him, punching him in the shoulders and head. Prowl blocked most of the shots to his head, and Hot Rod got back up. Prowl rolled backwards over his own shoulders and got to his feet as well. They stepped toward each other, and grabbed each other by the chestplate. But Prowl, having police training, got leverage by shifting his body and managed to put Hot Rod into a full nelson hold. Hot Rod squirmed to get out of it, but he couldn’t. Prowl again shifted his body, causing Hot Rod to lose his balance. He went down face first, with Prowl on top of him. Prowl pinned him on the ground, and got his mouth close to Hot Rod’s audio receptors.

‘I don’t care what you have going on with Prime.” he said, half whispering, half hissing. “But stay the hell out of my way, you understand? You will never be my superior. Never. I’ll kill you first!”

With that, Prowl let Hot Rod go, and as he was getting back up, drove a knee into Hot Rod’s back. Hot Rod groaned, but stayed down. Prowl stood up and looked down at Hot Rod. He composed himself and turned around. Hot Rod struggled to his feet, dazed by the physical assault as much as by what Prowl had just said. He wanted to attack Prowl again, but he remained calm. Prowl had just made a big mistake. And next time, Hot Rod would be ready. Prowl waited for a moment to see what Hot Rod would do. But when the young bot didn’t commence an attack, Prowl smirked at his apparent superiority and simply walked back into the police station. Hot Rod slowly walked away, still processing what just happened, and what the repercussions would be. Prowl was a bad cop, and he had to be dealt with. But Hot Rod had to be careful. Prowl still held considerable status in the Autobot ranks, and an outright accusation would be foolish. He needed to be patient. The right time would come.
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Re: The Bad Seed.

Postby Rodimus Prime » Thu Sep 21, 2017 2:55 am

Unbeknownst to Prowl, the real threat to his plans was a lot closer than he thought. The Central Police Headquarters complex was a very large and intricate group of buildings, and even though Prowl was in charge of the entire thing (while still answering to Ultra Magnus), even he wasn’t aware of every single thing that was going on. Most things rarely concerned him anyway, that’s why he had subordinates, such as lieutenants and inspectors, to deal with the small stuff. Things like simple assaults, traffic infractions, and UDAs (Unauthorized Decepticon Activities) like transforming, carrying weapons, congregating in public and flying, among other things. One of these offenses was what brought Prowl’s as-yet-unknown threat into the other side of Central Police Headquarters: Misfire was indeed caught by and aerial squad as he flew away from Bluestreak and Smokescreen, and now here he was, sitting in a cell, awaiting a certain special someone to visit him.

Misfire had complied with the aerial patrol, landing immediately when he was ordered. Upon landing, he demanded to the squad leader that he be taken to an authority figure high up in Autobot security so that he could tell his story. When the squad leader was going to cite him for 1 count of UDA and let him go with his citation detailing his offense and penalty (loss of 50% of energon rations for one week), Misfire reared back and punched the squad leader in the face, prompting the others to tackle and restrain him. Assaulting a security patrol officer, even if it was a drone, is a higher profile offense, requiring the offender to spend one cycle in the nearest security holding station. So when Misfire was thrown into the jail cell on the outskirts of The Tagan Heights, he immediately became frantic, thinking that Smokescreen and Bluestreak would track him there. But as his luck would have it, the commander of the air security forces, Jetfire, was at that very station, doing some routine administrative work. When he heard the report of a Decepticon flyer being brought in who swore up and down that he was almost murdered by 2 Autobots, he decided to question the ‘Con himself. It didn’t take long for Jetfire to deduce that Misfire wasn’t just blowing waste out of his exhaust, and after a basic check of his mental faculties by an on-site medical assistant, he decided that Misfire’s claims had some validity, therefore requiring a more thorough interrogation. So Jetfire himself flew Misfire, in restraints and under guard of 4 air security drones, in a shuttle over to Iacon. En route, he notified Ultra Magnus of the situation. He had thought about contacting Prowl, but he was still contemplating the meeting they had the day before, and decided that Autobot vigilantes was still a sore subject with the police chief, so he took it a step further. He hated bothering Magnus, but police interrogations were not Jetfire’s strong suit, and if there was truth to Misfire’s claims, the matter was too important to be simply run up the chain of command. Magnus had to hear it first hand.

As Misfire sat in the interrogation room in the Central building, he could barely hold his thoughts together. He had escaped an explosion that killed more ‘Cons than he had seen die during the war, then saw his best friend be murdered by 2 ruthless Autobots who tricked them into delivering the explosives for that bomb attack, and finally he somehow managed to escape those 2 Autobots. Incredibly, someone actually believed him when he recounted his story, and not just someone, but an Autobot High Council member! So hopefully this was gonna go somewhere. But whoever they were waiting for had better get there soon, as Misfire’s cerebral circuits were on the verge of shorting out. He looked up from the table he was sitting at, his arms bound to the top. Jetfire stood off to the side, just looking at him.

“So…” Misfire started meekly. “...who are we waiting for?”

“Ultra Magnus.” Jetfire said matter-of-factly. “And you better be telling the truth, because if we waste his time on some scrap you thought would be funny to conjure, I’m gonna be somewhat perturbed. And that’s not something you want to be the cause of.”

“I...I’m...I’m not making this up...I promise. I can tell you exactly where…”

“Save it for Magnus. I believe you, for now. That’s why you’re here. Once you talk with him, he will make the call on what to do next.”

“Oh...alright…”

On cue, the door to the room opened, and Ultra Magnus walked in, barely able to fit his broad and high shoulders through. Behind him was Nightbeat, another Autobot detective.

“You know, the war is over.” Jetfire said to Magnus with a smile. “You don’t have to walk around in your armor all the time. Are you afraid that shiny white paint job will get scratched?”

Magnus replied with a slight smirk, then returned to being all business. He walked around the table and sat down opposite Misfire. Nightbeat walked over to the wall and leaned against it, keeping quiet. As the huge Autobot stared him down, Misfire felt like crawling under the table. Magnus looked like he was about to burst with rage. Unbeknownst to him, Magnus was calm and cool, that’s just how he looked. All the time. Apparently, it worked.

“Well, then.” Magnus started. “It was brought to my attention that you survived an attempt on your life by 2 Autobots. Is that correct?”

“Yes.” Misfire answered timidly.

“Can you identify them?”

“Y-yes. S-smokescreen and...and...B-bluestreak.”

“Are you certain?”

“Yes.”

“What makes you so sure?”

“I...I know their...physical appearances...and...and...they ref-referred to e-each other...by name.”

Magnus considered this for a moment. The ‘Con was obviously rattled, but in the report he was given on the way over included a basic mental evaluation signed off on by Jetfire, stating that Misfire was in control of his mental faculties, therefore he wasn’t delusional. So assuming he was not simply a very good actor, he was telling the truth. Which meant the rumors of Autobot vigilantism were not rumors at all. And if that was true, Magnus had a real problem on his hands.

“Alright.” Magnus said, then turned to Nightbeat and gave him a slight nod, then turned back to Misfire. “I know you’ve been asked this repeatedly, but I would like you to recount the events that led you to being here step by step, beginning with your first contact with these 2 Autobots.”

Magnus then stood up, and walked to the side. Nightbeat took his seat.

“Oh...to...to you?” Misfire looked at Nightbeat.

“Yes.” Nightbeat said. “Please begin. Be thorough and concise. Do not rush anything. Take your time if anything is hard to remember. We have all the time we need.”

“Oh...al...alright.” Misfire said. “I was given an assignment by Motormaster to pick up a crate in Kaon. I was told it would be waiting for me when I got there, and I was to go see Onslaught, leader of the Combaticons. Now I realize that us Decepticons are forbidden by your rules from identifying ranks and squad allegiances, but among us, we still refer to each other as we had during the war. We just don’t say it when we’re around Autobots. So I hope you don’t mind if I use rank and squad identification. You did tell me to recount the events as accurately as possible.”

“It’s fine. You have my permission.” Magnus said instead of Nightbeat.

“Very well. So I get to Kaon and find the designated meeting place. There, I’m approached by Blast Off, one of the Combaticons. He tells me to come to an area more secluded from where we were. It was kinda dark, so I was a little worried. But then, as we headed through a doorway, Slugslinger, my best friend and flying buddy, was standing there. He reassured me that everything was alright. Then we got to the back wall of a building adjacent to the one we met in, and stopped. There was nothing there. I was about to ask if there was a problem, when Blast Off reached down and grabbed what I thought was a piece of scrap metal on the ground. It turned out to be a door handle. He lifted it, and there was a stairway underneath, leading into the ground somewhere. He went first, then I followed, and Slugslinger came behind me, shutting the door over his head. We were in a corridor, and it led straight away from the door, under the building we stood behind just a moment ago. Not long after, we came to a room. On the other side was another door, presumably to more underground areas, but I never found out, because Blast Off stopped me. He told both Slugslinger and I to wait there, that he would be right back. He then went through the other door. A few moments later, Swindle came back, followed by Onslaught, then Vortex and Blast Off carrying the crate on one end, and Brawl carrying it on the other end. As we came to find out, that thing was really heavy. They put it down in front of us and opened it. Inside was an assortment of explosives and ammunition, anywhere from armor-piercing rockets to landmines and even sniper-rifle rounds. I couldn’t believe it. I knew that if a Decepticon was seen so much as walking by this stuff he would be thrown into a jail cell for a mega-cycle! And I was even more stunned by the fact that they even had it! I mean, where did they get it? Anyway, I didn’t ask questions. Onslaught never gave me the opportunity. He simply told me that Slugslinger and I were to deliver this to Motormaster’s hideout in the Tagan Heights. That the Stunticons and some of the seekers were planning a raid somewhere, and they would be using this ammo. So we just agreed to do it, and started to walk back out to the entrance. To tell you the truth, I didn’t want to do it, but Onslaught...well, the way he was talking, it was made clear to me that if we didn’t do this, we would be made to experience a significant amount of discomfort at the hands of the other Combaticons. So, Slugslinger and I just accepted, and we were on our way. The catch was we couldn’t fly it, so we had to take it by walking. From Kaon to the Tagan Heights. And we couldn’t get anyone else to help us, because as you Autobots define it, 3 or more Decepticons together is a congregation, and that’s illegal. The last thing we wanted was to get busted with all this stuff, so we stayed on the ground and out of the way, making it look like 2 lowly ‘Cons carrying some scrap to be disposed of. And we managed to fool everyone. Even the security drones. They checked us for weapons whenever we came to a checkpoint, but for some reason your sensors didn’t pick up on the ammo in the crate. Like it was disguised with something. I don’t know. Like I said, I never got to ask questions. The security guards at the Kaon border had us open it, but there was a layer of old parts on top of the ammo, and we told them we were just getting rid of some clutter from our hab suite. They believed us, and since their scanners didn’t show them anything but harmless parts, they let us go. So we…”

“So at this point you haven’t encountered Bluestreak and Smokescreen yet?” Nightbeat interrupted.

“I’m getting to that. We were about halfway between Kaon and the Tagan Heights, out there where all the old broken down freight-haulers are. I don’t know why we couldn’t get one of them working, so we didn’t have to drag that heavy…”

“Get back on point, please.” Nightbeat interrupted again.

“Oh...yeah, sure. So we’re out there, dragging the crate, because it was too heavy to just simply pick up and haul. Slugslinger had one corner, I had the other, and we’re moving along, slow but steady. Suddenly, out of nowhere, we hear a noise. We stop and turn around. Bluestreak is standing there.

What are you ‘Cons doing? What’s in there?’ Bluestreak asks.

‘Nothing. Just scrap.’ Slugslinger answers.

‘Yeah? We’ll see. Open it.’

‘Why? Are you police?’

‘He said open it. Now.’ Smokescreen says, stepping out from behind a freight-car on the other side.

‘You guys can’t tell us what to do. You’re not authority, and we’re not doing anything illegal.’

‘Here’s all the authority I need.’ Smokescreen says and draws his shotgun from behind him. He points it straight at Slugslinger, then looks at me. ‘Open it.’

‘Smokey…’ Bluestreak starts to say.

‘Relax. No security surveillance out here.’ Smokescreen cuts him off, saying it as much to us as to him.

Misfire opens the crate, and Bluestreak walks over to take a look.

‘What is it?’ Smokescreen asks.

‘Scrap. Just scrap and old parts. They’re telling the truth.’

‘Can’t be. These are ‘Cons. Look closer. Better yet, keep an optic on them. I’ll look.’

Smokescreen hands Bluestreak his shotgun, who doesn’t point it at the ‘Cons again, but has it at the ready just in case. Smokescreen goes to the crate, looks at it from the top. He then crouches down and looks at all the sides, checking for hidden openings and compartments. Apparently he doesn’t want to get all the scrap parts out of it just to check. He walks around to the other side, repeating his actions. What the Decepticons don’t know, however, is that Smokescreen places a proximity mine on the underside of the crate, where the weld seam is and the crate’s side doesn’t touch the ground. The only way to spot it would be if the ‘Cons laid down on the ground and looked up underneath it. But Smokescreen moves swiftly and fluently, and the Decepticons never notice it. They never find out, but Smokescreen sets the proximity mine to be triggered when it reads at least 5 different Decepticon energy signatures. That’s why the mine doesn’t explode even when it reaches its destination, until it’s inside the warehouse. Even with the 4 Stunticons picking it up, it wasn’t enough to trigger it. And apparently Motormaster and Misfire and Slugslinger weren’t standing close enough. But inside, the place was full of ‘Cons, and the mine went off. Smokescreen’s intention was to kill a few ‘Cons with the mine, as he figured there would be more of them coming around, because he didn’t trust the 2 ‘Cons carrying the crate to be just throwing away scrap. But even he had no idea he just attached a live explosive to an entire load of ammunition. So, in the end, blowing up an entire secret gathering of over 20 Decepticons was a totally unintentional accident.

‘Okay, fine.’ Smokescreen said to them after standing up. ‘You can keep going. But I still don’t believe that you’re just throwing stuff away. I think you’re up to something. But, you’re right, we’re not cops. We can’t stop you. But just know, there are security units hidden away even where you don’t suspect. So eventually you
will get caught.’

‘Whatever.’ Slugslinger answered. ‘We just want to get this done. We’re trying to work on getting into your new system, we don’t need any trouble.’

‘Is that so?’ Smokescreen asked. ‘In that case, we may be able to help.’

‘Really?’ Misfire asked. ‘How?’

‘Well, we have certain connections. We could probably speed up the process for you. At a price.’

There it is. Of course these Autobots wouldn’t do something just to be helpful.

‘What were you thinking?’ Misfire asks again, seeming eager to take advantage of the opportunity.

‘Hold on.’ Slugslinger says. ‘If we do something for you, you can get us to Iacon and get us through the security protocols and assimilation process? But you said you weren’t authority. So how can you?’

‘And like I said, we have connections.’

‘Smokey.’ Bluestreak said again. ‘Do you think that’s wise?’

‘Yeah, why not? If these 2 just want to start a new life, we can help them. And we can get a few things done in return. Things that would be...inconvenient for us to do.’

‘So I ask again.’ Misfire said. ‘What are the terms?’

‘Just take this load of scrap wherever you’re going.’ Smokescreen answered. ‘Then meet us on the border of the Heights and the Sea of Rust. You know the road.’

‘Yeah. We do.’ Misfire said. ‘We’ll be there. Tomorrow night.’

‘That sounds reasonable. We’ll talk then.’


“So when did they start shooting?” Nightbeat asked, bringing Misfire out of his storytelling.

“That didn’t happen until later. Until after we delivered the crate. Like I told him over there.” Misfire said, pointing to Jetfire. “The crate exploded once it was inside the warehouse. Clearly Smokescreen did something with it. We figured he put an explosive on it while he was pretending to examine it. But I doubt he even knew what was inside. Maybe he just wanted to kill the 2 of us. But if he did, why didn’t they just shoot us then and there? I guess we’ll never know. Unless you question them.”

“That will happen.” Magnus said matter-of-factly.

“Good. I mean, they killed Slugslinger without any provocation. They would have killed me as well, but I transformed and flew away. So that’s why I think their plan was to use us to kill more ‘Cons. So that they didn’t actually have to do the work. We unwittingly did it for them.”

Misfire then bowed and shook his head. A moment later, he looked back up.

“When we met them the following night, after we survived the bombing, it wasn’t where we agreed on. That’s how I knew they set us up. As soon as we left the Heights, they showed up. Which meant they were either following us or tracking us, just to see where we were going. Smokescreen said he was suspicious of us but couldn’t do anything. Well, he was right, he just didn’t know it. He had expected to kill us and maybe a few other ‘Cons he thought we were meeting out there for whatever reason, but he never realized how lucky he got. But when we ran into them, I could tell they were surprised. I tried to see if there was any reality to what they told us before, about helping us. Slugslinger warned me, but I was too set on trying to improve our situation. I mean, he might have been a jerk to us, but I figured in the end Smokescreen was an Autobot and he wouldn’t hurt us. We weren’t armed, nor were we being hostile in any way. We also weren’t breaking any rules, as far as they knew. But Smokescreen found Slugslinger anyway and shot him right in front of me. With that shotgun he had. Aren’t those illegal?”

“Describe the weapon.” Nightbeat said.

Oh...uh...yeah, it was a Flintlock-Sureshot 350. The kind the police used to use before the war. I guess during the war they became obsolete, because I didn’t see many of them. And after, they were outlawed for being too brutal and energy-consuming. With the shortage of energon, using those energon shells was a waste of energy, especially since there were more accurate and lighter sidearms built during the war.”

‘Yes, they were ordered destroyed in the smelting pools.” Magnus said.

“I know. Slugslinger and I worked the pools while they were still operational. That’s how I knew the Autobots weren’t supposed to have those guns.”

“Anything else you can tell us about the gun?” Nightbeat prompted.

“Uh...well, it had 3 barrels and no stock, just a handle. It was made up of the 2 parts, the trigger and breech, and the barrels. Simple but very effective. Anyway, after shooting ‘Slinger, Smokescreen ordered Bluestreak to shoot me, but it seemed that Bluestreak was hesitant. The few seconds he couldn’t make up his mind was enough for me to take off, and by the time he came after me, I had transformed and flew away. I knew I would get caught by the air patrol, but that was better than facing the business end of the shotgun. You know the rest of the story.”

“Alright. Thank you.” Nightbeat said, turned to Magnus and nodded.

Magnus in turn nodded to Jetfire, who pressed a button on the panel in the wall by the door. A moment later 2 police drones came in, and as they released Misfire’s restraints from the table, they lifted him up on his feet.

“Take him to a solitary confinement cell.” Jetfire said.

“What…?” Misfire said, his optics widening. “But...but I told you everything...I helped…”

“Yes, you did.” Magnus said. “Solitary confinement is for your own good. We will discuss the situation and you will be informed of our decision. But you can not speak about this to anyone until we get to the bottom of it.”

“Oh...I...I won’t say anything. To anyone.”

“You’ll understand if we’re cautious, just in case.” Jetfire said with a slight smirk. “After all, you’re a ‘Con.”

“Uh...well, I don’t have a choice, I guess…”

“I knew you’d understand. Take him.”

After the drones took Misfire away, Magnus, Jetfire and Nightbeat sat down around the table.

“So? Magnus prompted Nightbeat.

“He was telling the truth. The whole time.” Nightbeat responded. “My sensors didn’t pick up any indication that he was making any of it up.”

“Damn.” Magnus said quietly, surprising the other 2. Magnus never cursed. “I was hoping he was full of it, or at the very least exaggerating.”

“I know.” Jetfire said. “Now we have to track down Smokescreen and Bluestreak and question them.”

“I’ll notify Prowl and…” Nightbeat started to say.

“No!” Magnus firmly cut him off. “Absolutely not!”

“Oh...okay. Why?”

“Let’s just say that I have some suspicions about just how much Prowl allows our new rules to be bent.”

“Really? Prowl? He’s such a stickler for rules, though.”

“Yes. But in our last meeting he was...acting odd.”

“Come to think of it, he was.” Jetfire said. “The subject of vigilantes came up, and he was very adamant about it being false rumors. And when Hot Rod brought up the shotguns....”

“He lost his cool. I might be overreacting, but that indicates that he knew more than he led on regarding the subject. So at least until we talk to Bluestreak and Smokescreen, it’s best that Prowl is kept out of the loop. If he makes noise over it, I’ll deal with him. For now, locate those 2, and once you have them here, notify me.”

“You got it.” Jetfire said, and got up.

“And me?” Nightbeat asked.

“I’m not sure. Until we get Smokescreen and Bluestreak in here, I don’t know what else can be done. Wait. I know what you can do. Since Jetfire will go and deal with tracking down those 2, I want you to personally oversee Misfire’s safety. If, for some reason, Prowl does get wind of him being in custody and the story he has, he might interject himself into the matter. You have to keep that from happening.”

“Magnus, you don’t really think Prowl’s mixed up in this vigilante business, do you?”

“Like I said, I’m most likely overreacting, but I’d rather play it on the safe side. The very safe side.”

“Alright.” Nightbeat said and stood up as well. “I’ll make sure no one talks to the ‘Con.”

With that, Jetfire and Nightbeat left the interrogation room, leaving Magnus alone with his thoughts. Thoughts he did not like thinking.
Rodimus Prime
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Re: The Bad Seed.

Postby Rodimus Prime » Fri Sep 22, 2017 11:23 am

Hub Capital Iacon: Cybertronian Police Academy

A Long Time Ago

Graduation was something all the cadets looked forward to from the moment they stepped foot into the Police Academy complex. They all wanted to be police officers, to keep peace on the streets and in the communities of Cybertron. The Transformer race was a mostly peaceful, knowledge-hungry species, even though it had its detractors, like any society does. The governing body was the Council of Elders, but the social structure was based on how its members contributed to society. Each Transformer had his/her own role to play, mainly defined by that person’s alt mode. They did whatever they were made to do. Of course, this did not sit well with some, especially those whose roles were completing the menial tasks it takes to make this society keep moving forward. The miners, the repair workers, the haulers, and the other simple jobs that are required to be done every day, yet no one seems to think of. Then there are the public servants. Such as data clerks, utility maintenance workers, fire squads, emergency response teams, and the police. Above them were the more affluent members of society, like business owners, then above them the politicians and religious leaders, and finally the top echelon consisted of the combination of all three: the richest, most politically influential and religiously revered members, most of them with a seat on the High Council which governed the entire planet. The rules and laws the made were enforced by the grunts of the police force, the newest addition to which were this mega-cycle’s graduates. Among them its top graduate, Orion Pax, and his best friend Prowl. The 2 of them met at the registration office, and got to know each other over the long time it took to wait for being registered. Cybertron took its law enforcers seriously, and even just to get into the academy was a grueling process. Completing the training, not to mention being the top graduate, was a daring challenge. But both Pax and Prowl had the utmost confidence, determination, and respect for the law to become police officers. They both wanted order and justice, but even though they were almost inseparable in the academy, that’s where their main characteristics stopped. Orion Pax believed in the system being fair and equal to everyone, which according to him was what made it effective. Prowl on the other hand saw it as a tool of deterrence: once a criminal is identified, all aspects of the system were to be focused on providing punishment and rehabilitation for that individual. Orion Pax believed in prevention. Prowl advocated retribution. According to him, that was the most effective form of prevention of future crimes: display the punishment for those who commit crimes now, and it will serve as an example for those who think about doing it in the future. Orion Pax saw some merit in this, but he believed that his view on law enforcement was the more beneficial for society as a whole. If an officer could keep a criminal from committing a crime in the present in the first place, it decreases the presence of criminal element which would encourage crime in the future. No matter which side they looked at, their goal was common: keeping law and order on Cybertron. And they took perhaps their most important step towards that goal today: they graduated from the Academy.

“Hey! Pax!” Prowl shouted, as he ran to catch up to his friend.

Orion Pax, a soft-spoken yet assured bot, looked back and smiled at his friend. They had gone through training together, and Pax couldn’t count the times Prowl had helped him out. Pax had the ideologies of a noble law enforcer, but he always had trouble with the practical aspects of training. Things such as specific laws, codes, and even sub-sections of regulations. It was just too much. Prowl, on the other hand, thrived on it. He could memorize the entire Iacon Laws and Regulations Directory, and recite it from back to front. He knew every law that was ever approved by the Council. No wonder Commander Magnus was so high on him. But Pax was the top graduate because he was able to apply said laws to situations with more common sense than Prowl. Prowl was strictly by the book. He had 1 interpretation of the law which applied in a given situation, and he carried out straightforward. Pax could be more flexible, adapting to situations and the people involved in them. He could look at things more than 1 way. He was more personable. His people skills were better than Prowl’s, and to Magnus that made him a better police officer. Prowl was a bit disappointed when he learned about Pax being placed ahead of him, but not too much. After all, they were friends, and it was good to see 1 of them being at the top. But deep down, Prowl believed that he was a better cop, because he followed the law to the letter, and that’s what police officers were supposed to do. That was the only true way the laws could treat everyone equally. If it was applied to everyone equally, and the only way that happened is if it was followed to the letter, because those letters never changed, unlike their interpretations of them did, depending on who the officer was.

“So where are you off to?” Pax asked. “What’s your first assignment?”

“I’m going back to Petrex.” Prowl said, referring to his home city. “I wouldn’t have minded staying in Iacon, but being at home is good too. The city has a small police force, and they all know me there. I think that will make my job easy. Probably boring, as a matter of fact. Not much happening there, unlike here. You’re staying in Iacon, right?”

“Yes. 2nd Division.”

“Oh, that’s great! That’s Magnus’s personal detail! The only better job is 1st Division, which is direct security for the Council!”

“Yeah, I guess.”

“You guess? Don’t tell me you don’t like it! That’s a great job!”

“Prowl, I went to the Academy to be a police officer. To enforce laws on citizens, not be a babysitter. Even if I like Magnus.”

“Well, I think it’s a great opportunity. I wish I could get it.”

“I’m sure you were considered. Don’t worry, the next spot that opens up is probably yours. I know Magnus was very impressed with you.”

“I hope so. We’ll see. Where are you going?”

“I’m gonna visit Sentinel Prime and Alpha Trion. I want to personally thank them for their support. It was them who convinced me I should go to the Academy. You?”

“Nothing so glamorous. I was gonna stop by Flintlock’s shop, maybe see about getting my very own firearms. The police-issued blasters are alright, but I want something that’s more personal. More my style.”

“Like what?”

“Not sure yet. I’ll show you if I get something.”

‘“Alright. I guess I’ll see you later then.”

“Sure thing, Pax. Want to meet back here in a couple of cycles?”

“Yeah, sounds good.”

“Alright, see you then.”

*** *** ***

Prowl arrived and transformed in front of Flintlock’s shop a little while later. The building itself was not fancy, just a huge metal box with 1 entrance in the middle and a sign above saying “Guns Guns Guns” (in Cybertronian, of course). Inside, the building was split into 2 areas: the store where the guns were sold and the shop where the guns were made. Flintlock and Sureshot worked together in creating/building weapons. Flintlock owned the establishment, but Sureshot was the better gun designer, and they split the profits 60/40 Flintlock’s way, since he owned the building and bought all the supplies. But they worked together in building the weaponry, as each had his own talents. Flintlock was better at the larger, more simpler weapons, while Sureshot built smaller and more intricate guns, as well as any special orders they received. Something that couldn’t be mass produced, like a gun that someone specifically wanted built a certain way. Someone like Prowl.

“Hey buddy!” Sureshot called out as Prowl entered the shop.

“Hi. Just stopped in to see if it was ready.”

“Uh...no, not yet. I have the basic gun, but I wasn’t totally clear on your specifications, so I wanted to talk to you again before I built it. But I’ll get it done by the end of today now that you’re here. Just need you to come back to the shop for a minute.”

“Oh...alright.”

“How was the graduation, anyway? You ready to serve some justice?”

“You know I am.”

‘Well, this gun will definitely help you. Did Magnus approve it easily?”

“Well...uh...I didn’t exactly tell him what I was getting. Regulations state we are allowed the Academy-issued sidearm plus 1 weapon of our choosing, as long as it is designated as our backup weapon.”

“And you think a shotgun qualifies? Especially a shotgun with what you want me to do with it?”

Prowl gave Sureshot a half-smile as they entered the work area.

“Okay, whatever. You signed the required documents, as soon as the gun leaves the premises it’s 100% your responsibility.” Sureshot said, and showed Prowl to a side room.

Inside was a table with a mounted apparatus designed to hold the piece being worked on in place, as the work had to be very precise. With weapons, every single part had to adhere to the design plans to the exact measurement it required. There was no room for error. On the far wall were tools and protective equipment, as Sureshot sometimes worked with unstable material to mold and test the pieces he was working on. On the 2 side walls were the parts needed for anything from a small hand-blaster that could be hidden in an arm compartment to a large crossbow that had to be mounted on a bot’s back. They made even larger weapons, but those were more Flintlock’s area and those parts were in his area of the building. But the weapons Flintlock made were easier to build and took less time, so Flintlock spent just as much time up front selling the weapons as he did back here making them.

“Alright, here we are.” Sureshot said, and picked up the plain-looking, nondescript shotgun. “The Flintlock 350. You picked a good gun to start with. Lots of room to apply modifications, and the basic piece is very solid yet simple. I’ll have a lot of fun working on it.”

“Good. I don’t have a lot of things I want to add, just a few to make it more...effective.”

“Effective? Prowl, this gun fires compressed energon shells from all 3 barrels at the same time. You could bring down a combiner with this thing! Well, it would probably take you a few shots, but it’s definitely strong enough. Shooting a single bot? Forget about it! They’ll be dead before they hit the ground, if you hit them in the right spot.”

“That’s exactly why I want it. If my service weapon won’t be enough to take a perp down, I’m gonna need something with a little more...kick.”

“Okay, so what else am I doing to it? I mean, this thing is pretty destructive as it is. That’s why it hasn’t sold too well. Flintlock put a pretty high price on it, because he knows that once a bot buys this gun, they’ll never buy another one from him, because they won’t need to!”

“I need you to convert the bottom barrel. Into a grenade launcher.”

“A…what? Prowl, you know that’s not exactly legal.”

“There’s nothing specific in the regs about carrying a launcher.”

“Yeah, a launcher on its own. But a combo? Especially one you can wield as a gun? That’s kind of stretching the truth, isn’t it?”

“Trust me. There’s no law stating specifically ‘an officer is prohibited from carrying a weapon presented as on type while functioning as another type.’ Besides, if anyone asks, I’ll just tell them it is exactly what it looks like: a shotgun. If they need a demonstration, I’ll have it set on the energon shells and fire one off. It’ll be fine.”

“Alright. Like I said, you have the approved necessary documents. As soon as you step out of the shop with it, it’s your responsibility.”

“Thank you.”

“So just the launcher?”

“Uhh...no. I actually need you to custom fit the barrels so they can be detached at a moment’s notice, as well as have the 2 top barrels be able to attach to the bottom barrel end-to-end, so I have a launcher with the length of all 3 barrels. You know, for a longer shot.”

“Well. Haven’t done that before. I’ll see what I can do. The launcher will be just the basic grenade projectile?”

“Also, no. I want to use the Hellfire package.”

“The…” Sureshot’s optics widened a bit. “Prowl, that ammo is used on vehicle mounted launchers.”

“I know. But I’m sure you can make it work on the shotgun.”

‘Well, theoretically, yeah, but…”

“Then what’s the problem?”

“Why would a police officer need a military-grade explosive projectile on his personal weapon?” Sureshot asked pointedy.

“Because. I want to be prepared for anything.”

“Prowl, just carrying around the Hellfire loads will be a problem, not to mention dangerous! One stray shot in a firefight and you’re history.”

“Sureshot. It’s fine. It’s approved. I’m paying for it.”

Sureshot shook his head, then secured the shotgun to the mounted equipment.

“Alright...come back at the end of the day. It’ll probably take me until then to do it. I have to take the gun apart all the way, and work on the barrels from the inside as well as on the mountings and couplings on the end. That’s a lot of precise tooling.”

“I know you can do it. If anyone can, you can.”

“Yeah, yeah. I just hope you don’t end up blowing yourself up with it.”

“Thanks again, Sureshot. I’ll be back soon.”

Prowl then walked back out through the store area and after a few words of small-talk with Flintlock, he left.

*** *** ***

With their official duties not starting until the following day, Prowl and Pax spent the afternoon walking around Iacon. It was a nice day, and they didn’t know when they would see each other again, considering that Petrex, Prowl’s hometown, was almost on the other side of Cybertron.

“I’m really excited about this.” Prowl said. “Even though I probably won’t have as much fun at my job as you will at yours. Petrex is a small hole in the ground compared to Iacon.”

“Yeah, but look at it this way: you’ll be in a much safer environment, with a lot more time on your hands for even more self-improvement.”

“Haha, are you saying there is a lot wrong with me?”

“No, but no one is perfect. Everyone can improve on themselves one way or another. Use your time wisely, and you will become a much wiser bot as you get older.”

“Heh, sounds like you should have my job, Pax. Want to trade? I sure would like yours.”

“Actually, if it wasn’t for the prestige of being around the High Council and learned about Cybertron and our history, I might take you up on that. But, as it is, I can’t because that would offend both Magnus and Sentinel Prime. They both put a lot of faith in me, and…”

BOOM!!!

The explosion came from up ahead, and it was so powerful it knocked both of them off their feet, along with anyone standing in their vicinity. The sounds of twisted and broken metal were heard, followed by screams and finally a loud crash, as the building which just bore the brunt of the explosion collapsed. It was a smaller building, so the debris didn’t go far, but a lot of people nearby were hurt at least somewhat by the force of the blast and the impact from the flying scrap.

Pax shook his head and got to his feet, propping himself up against the wall of the nearest building. Prowl was also getting up, but he had a long, sharp piece of metal sticking out of his shoulder.

“Prowl…” Pax said, still gathering himself. “...you...you’re...hurt…”

“Uhh…” Prowl groaned, putting a hand to the injury. “It’s...not too bad. I’ll just…”

“DOWN WITH THE OPPRESSORS!!!” a bot running by them screamed. “LONG LIVE THE CAUSE!!!”

Pax looked after him, but his head was still clouded by the blast impact, so he couldn’t follow the bot. Prowl, meanwhile, leaned against the wall as well, and grabbed the piece of debris sticking out of him.

“Wait…” Pax said. “You...should wait...for a medic.”

Without a response, Prowl grabbed the piece of metal and pulled it from his shoulder. A little fluid trickled out, but otherwise it didn’t look bad. The wound was small, and Pax saw maybe a couple of wires.

“Looks...like a ruptured hydraulic line.” Prowl said. “I can’t move my shoulder as well as I should. If I could, I’d run after that punk.”

“Yeah...but, we should go see if people need help. I’m sure there were a lot of innocent bystanders hurt.”

“But what about the bomber? Don’t you think he should be chased down?”

“Yeah, but the injured is our first priority.”

“I’m sorry, Pax, but the injured are already injured. Nothing can be done for them by us. We would serve them better by going after whoever hurt them.”

“Prowl. How can you say that? We were trained in basic medical procedures, in case we need to tend to someone who is in critical condition following a crime. And there are a lot of people hurt over there!”

“Yeah, and there’s only the 2 of us. We can’t help everybody! So we might as well have put our training to better use and caught that perp who…”

BOOM!!!

The explosion this time was further away, and it didn’t affect the 2 of them much. Just took them by surprise.

“By Primus…!” Pax exclaimed with wide optics. “Come on, we gotta get up there! Those people were already hurt, this just made it worse!”

They started going towards the site of the first explosion. People were running in the opposite direction, some going around them, some brushing into them, and some outright hitting them, almost knocking them down. Every time someone bumped into Prowl, he winced in pain. He could barely lift his left arm because of his injured shoulder. The sight awaiting them was not pretty. There was debris everywhere, with people down with injuries anywhere from large wounds on their backs and chests to just simple scrapes and punctures. Pax searched the area with his scanners, looking for critical injuries and even dead bodies. He saw none. As he started to help a stumbling bystander, Prowl walked towards the other side of the mess, to see if he could find where the other explosion happened. Suddenly, as Prowl was about to help another injured bot, someone ran out from the stumbling, groaning crowd, knocking over the bot Prowl was about to help.

“DEATH TO THE OPPRESSORS!!!” the bot shouted as he ran past Prowl. “ALL HAIL MEGATRON!!!”

The rage inside Prowl exploded, and he took off after the bomber, forgetting all about helping people.

“Prowl...wait!” Pax shouted after him, but Prowl either didn’t hear or wasn’t listening. He was gone.

Pax turned back toward the injured, conflicted about whether he should go after Prowl, in case he needed help. He decided that his hands were put to better use here, helping others. He hoped Prowl would catch the bomber, otherwise his efforts would be totally wasted, when he could have helped the injured innocent. Pax shook his head, a bit disappointed in his friend and how he viewed the phrase taught to them by Magnus himself at the academy. ‘To Protect and Serve.’ Apparently it had a different meaning to Prowl than it did to Pax.

*** *** ***

Prowl’s shoulder was killing him. The injury that appeared to be minor at first, grew into a searing pain of fire as Prowl ran after the suspected bomber. He couldn’t transform, as the bot ran in and out of buildings, between them, and through a crowd that was a lot less disturbed than those near the explosions, so if Prowl gave chase in vehicle mode, he’d have to concentrate on avoiding the people instead of focusing on the perp. But he didn’t give up. He was in great shape, his systems top notch, and he kept up the pace. He wasn’t sure how he was gonna handle the perp with one arm once he caught up to him, but he would worry about that then. Startled people jumped out of the way as Prowl and the perp ran through the milling crowd. Buildings on either side kept spitting bystanders out, everyone going about their business. Prowl started to feel fatigue a bit, but wouldn’t stop. He couldn’t. This scrapheap had to be caught! The bomber ran past yet another building with people emerging from it, and he was finally tripped up by someone else who wasn’t watching where he was going when he ran out onto the walkway. Both of them went crashing down, and the moments it took for the bomber to get back up was enough for Prowl to catch up to him running at full speed. He tackled the bot with his good arm and shoulder, both of them smashing into the side of the building and tumbling back down on the ground. Hindered by his bad shoulder and arm, Prowl couldn’t get to his feet right away, and when both he and the bomber got up, the perp surprised him by punching him in the face and knocking him back against the wall. He then pinned Prowl to the wall with one arm and punched him in the torso with the other repeatedly.

“DRONE OF THE OPPRESSORS!!!” he shouted into Prowl’s face. “YOU DO THE TYRANTS’ BIDDING!!!”

As Prowl tried to shove him off, the bot grabbed Prowl’s injured shoulder and applied pressure.

“AAARRRGGGHHH!!!” Prowl screamed as he crumpled under the pain.

He went down to one knee and the bomber grabbed for his brand new badge he had put on his other shoulder at the graduation ceremony.

“No!” Prowl shouted, and got a knee in his face for a response.

It knocked him senseless for a few moments, enough for the bomber to rip off his badge. The bot then took off running again, and Prowl couldn’t follow. He got a good look at the bot, and memorized his every line and color scheme.

*** *** ***

Later, after Prowl sought medical care and returned to the scene of the bombing, he found Pax, still there, helping the injured and the medical personnel. After he told Pax about the encounter with the perp, Pax couldn’t help but lecture him on the foolish choice he made. ‘If he hadn’t run after the bomber, his injury wouldn’t be so bad, he could have helped more people, he’d still have his badge, blah blah blah…’ Prowl wasn’t in the mood. He remained calm and cordial, but he said goodbye to Pax, agreeing that they would meet up the next day before Pax started his first shift of duty and Prowl got on the shuttle to Petrex. Prowl then went by Flintlock’s shop and picked up his new gun. At least something good happened after graduation. As Prowl was walking back to his academy quarters to spend his final night in the place he called home for the last mega-cycle, he was looking at the shotgun, holding it up in his good arm, as his bad arm was in a sling to relieve the load on his bad shoulder. It was a beautiful piece, and even with the pain Prowl couldn’t help but smile. He decided to take a shortcut to get to his hab suite as soon as he could. He walked between 2 buildings, and as he was halfway through the alley, a door opened further down. Prowl thought nothing of it, as he was still looking at his gun. He didn’t have his service weapon, which he could have used earlier, he bemused with a frown. As he looked up, he stopped dead in his tracks. In front of him, with his back turned, was the very same perp Prowl had chased! He wasn’t sure what to do at first, but then he quickly recalled what had happened. Without a second through, Prowl got a stern look on his face, and lifted up the shotgun. He had loaded it with the energon shells in the top 2 barrels, even though Flintlock told him not to. But he wanted to feel it locked and loaded.

“Hey!” he shouted.

The bomber turned around, startled, and his optics went wide, at first with recognition of the gun aimed at him, and then recognition with who was aiming it.

“No...wait!” the perp said, holding out his arms. “I know what you want! Here!”

He then took out the badge he grabbed off Prowl, and threw it at him, the shiny piece of metal landing at Prowl’s feet. But Prowl didn’t even look down. He simply pulled the trigger. The 2 compressed energon shells exploded against the bomber’s chest, blowing him apart and killing him. Prowl lowered the gun and propped it against the wall. He then bent down, picked up his badge, and put it back on his good shoulder. He then picked up the gun, turned around and walked away back the way he came. His facial expression never changed.
Rodimus Prime
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Re: The Bad Seed.

Postby Rodimus Prime » Sat Sep 23, 2017 11:23 pm

City of Helex

Present Day

"I can’t believe it.” Smokescreen said. “They survived.”

“What? Who?” Bluestreak asked.

“The Stunticons. Some of them, anyway. I don’t see Dead End or Breakdown anywhere. Just Dragstrip, Wildrider and Motormaster. And a few Insecticons. Can’t make out which ones.”

Smokescreen was looking through a pair of enhanced binoculars, surveying the area. They were in the foothills of the Manganese Mountains, the former Decepticon city of Helex on the plains before them. It was one of the first 5 cities which came under Decepticon control after Megatron openly declared war, and it was next to last to be liberated, right before Kaon. Kaon had been the Decepticon stronghold for the 2nd half of the war, and the Decepticons fought for it bitterly until the end. But now Helex, much like Kaon, has been scheduled for nuclear demolition, just like Tarn and Darkmount had been before them. But Magnus and Grimlock, the architects of the planned destruction, learned from the massacre at both Darkmount and Tarn, and refused to send in anymore Autobot teams. But the cities had to be cleared ahead of the nukes being placed, otherwise the Decepticons would just do what they did at Tarn, and steal the nukes. Surveillance data showed that Decepticon activity was still high at both Helex and Kaon, even though the Decepticons had been ordered to evacuate both cities. The rank and file did, but some of the more prominent ‘Cons were still there, in hiding. ‘Cons who were wanted, preferably alive, to stand trial and be sentenced by an actual court. To Smokescreen, it was nothing but a circus. These ‘Cons deserved the harshest of punishments, and he was here to administer real justice. Swift justice. This time, however, they had to be more careful. The Autobots had stepped up aerial drone surveillance of Helex and its surroundings, and if Smokescreen and his cohorts acted out in the open, they would be caught even if they were successful. With him were Bluestreak, as usual, and Streetwise, on his first “mission.” After their little meeting at the repair shop, Prowl and Smokescreen had yet another talk with Streetwise, to make sure he was really ready for this. Prowl had approved his participation, but Smokescreen still had his doubts. Streetwise proclaimed his severe disdain for all Decepticon, following the Protectobots’ massacre, but talking was one thing, pulling the trigger of a shotgun in the face of an unarmed Decepticon was yet another. And Streetwise should make no mistake, Smokescreen thought, there was going to be some killing tonight.

“What did they survive?” Streetwise asked, as they crouched down behind some scrap that had been blown up the side of the nearest mountain following Unicron’s attack.

“We had…” Bluestreak started, but then stopped. Apparently he had his doubts about Streetwise as well.

“We had taken a previous opportunity to eliminate them.” Smokescreen said. “We thought it was a success. Apparently it wasn’t.”

“Maybe we should have checked the ruins a little better.” Bluestreak said.

“We couldn’t. The security patrol was on the way. Besides, we ended up having to clean up those loose ends anyway.”

“What loose ends?” Streetwise asked.

“Don’t worry about it. Point is, we thought we killed the Stunticons already, but here they are. This time, there will be no mistakes. Let’s go.”

They began slowly walking down towards the edge of the city, staying behind piles of debris, half-destroyed buildings, and whatever other cover they could find. They dared not transform, their engines would have given away their positions. The Decepticons had lookouts and other security measures, no doubt. This was one of the most important places for them, they wanted to make sure no Autobots intruded on them. After the war, along with the fight against Unicron, the Autobot ranks were depleted, but not as much as the Decepticons’. This was the main reason the Autobots were able to take control of most of Cybertron, even though they hadn’t gotten around to gaining firm control over some of these areas. They wanted to clean up Iacon, Crystal City, and a few other places that were of more importance to them before they got to all the Decepticon hideouts. The other big reason was that now the ‘Cons were without solid leadership. Decepticons who refused to surrender and become part of the new Autobot society, after having paid their penalties for their parts in the war, were in hiding, hoping they could organize once again and reignite their resistance. The closest to a leader they could count on was Soundwave, but he was holed up in Kaon, only sending out his little minions to deliver his messages in person, as any broadcast would be picked up by Autobot surveillance, even if it was sent by a master communicator like Soundwave. His problem was that the Autobots had Blaster, who was just as savvy in communications, and could counter and break any code Soundwave could come up with. The ‘Cons learned this the hard way, but Soundwave was not a fool, and it took only 1 lesson for him to change tactics. So now the Decepticons hiding in areas all over Cybertron had no way of instantly communicating, as everything had to be done in person. This made for a slow and messy organizing of their remaining forces, and this gave the Autobots plenty of time to hunt them and capture or kill as many of them as possible. Those choices were given to every Decepticon, and most of them chose to face judgment. But not tonight. Tonight would be no choice given. Tonight judgment would come at the end of a shotgun.

“So how do we do this?” Bluestreak said in a low voice. “I mean, once we get there. We might surprise them, but it’s still just 3 of us against who knows how many of them.”

“We’re not here to clean up the city.” Smokescreen said. “That will happen soon. That’s why we need to do this now. The Stunticons, especially Motormaster, will never be caught alive. They will cause as much damage as they can until they get killed. Same with the Combaticons and Predacons. But the Combaticons and Predacons are more organized and smarter. So they will have to be handled differently. The Stunticons? We can goad them into an open firefight, and kill them here and now. Think of the Autobot lives we will be saving, when it comes time for this city to be cleaned out for the demolition. Besides, it grinds my gears knowing they got away from our first attempt.”

“So...so we won’t even try to take them in?” Streetwise asked quietly.

“Of course not. Hasn’t Prowl made it clear to you what we’re doing here?” Smokescreen asked, a bit irritated. He knew this was Streetwise’s first time, so of course there would be some jitters, but he was told the facts plainly and clearly by both Prowl and Smokescreen.

“Uh...yeah. I got it.”

“Alright, then. I don’t want any hesitation when the time comes, you understand? It could mean your life, and more importantly, it could mean my life. Got it?”

“Yes. I got it.” Streetwise repeated.

“Good. Now let’s go. We gotta get closer to see how many are we dealing with exactly.”

They moved up, single file, to the first complete building in the city, and Smokescreen peered around the corner.

“Bluestreak, check the other side of the building, make sure there’s no surveillance of any kind. I see Dragstrip and Wildrider, but that’s it. Maybe the others moved back inside.”

Bluestreak did as he was told, and Streetwise took his spot behind Smokescreen once Bluestreak moved off.

“Okay. You just follow me and we’ll get closer on this side.” Smokescreen said to Streetwise. “Your gun ready?”

“Yeah.” Streetwise said, more firmly than before. “It’s ready.”

After their second meeting, Smokescreen gave Streetwise the shotgun, just like theirs. A Flintlock-Sureshot 350. Energon shells in all 3 barrels. Streetwise had never fired one before, as they were outlawed before he became a police officer in the Autobot ranks.So he had to familiarize himself with it. He took to it pretty quick, as it was a simple weapon, considering its destructive force. Load the shells in through the side breech, rack it on the bottom barrel, and it was ready to go. The setting could be moved from single shot, double shot, or 3-barrel, depending on what it was used for. Smokescreen kept his on 3-barrel, as he did not want to waste more time than necessary on a target. He had told Streetwise to keep it on doubt shot, as it would be enough for him the first time out. Once he was comfortable using it in an actual situation, he could set it on full blast. And this way the energon shells loaded into the bottom barrel could be racked into the top barrels once the top was empty, and this way the gun didn’t have to be reloaded as often. Had it been on single shot, the bottom barrel would be used, and the top 2 barrels would hold the extra shells. The shells themselves were simple yet very dangerous. They were cylindrical, and worked pretty much like shotgun shells on Earth, except once the firing pin hit the shell and caused it to be fired, the shell did not spit out buckshot. Instead, its front half, which was full of energon in its closest-to-unstable state, was separated from its back half, which contained the gunpowder used to fire the shell, and the half-shell full of energon and a small amount of explosive at the front end was shot out of the barrel at the target. When the shell impacted, the small amount of explosive detonated on contact, causing the energon in the shell to explode, thus causing the damage. One shell could penetrate a regular layer of armor and destroy most smaller or delicate parts inside a bot, depending on where it impacted. 2 shells could tear through heavier armor, and cause the insides of a bot to not only get ripped out, but whatever was left over inside to burn to nothing, guaranteeing certain stasis lock at the least. 3 shells, which is what Smokescreen always used, could render a bot helpless in moments, or if the shell hit the spark casing, kill him almost instantly, as soon as the energon reached the spark itself. When that happened, the spark overloaded and exploded, killing the bot who was shot.

“Good over here.” Bluestreak said from the other corner of the building.

“Alright. You move in from that side, we go from here.” Smokescreen said. “Remember, our targets are the Stunticons. In and out as fast as we can. Shoot any other ‘Cons if they get in the way, but we’re not here to get bogged down in a crossfire.”

Smokescreen then moved up to the front corner of the building, Streetwise behind him. From there, they could clearly see the open area between that building and the others. Only Dragstrip and Wildrider were out there, and they didn’t seem to be busy with anything. They were just talking. The problem was, from that position, Smokescreen was also more noticeable, if the Stunticons had turned around. Bluestreak was on the other side, and he gave the ready signal. Smokescreen couldn’t make up his mind. The 2 Stunticons were easy targets as they were, but if they attacked now, Motormaster would notice and get away. And Smokescreen wanted him the most, in the worst way. He held up a hand, signaling them to wait. Dragstrip and Wildrider seemed to be arguing about something. Moments later, they began pushing and shoving each other, and then came to taking swings at each other. This progressed into a full-blown fight, and the 2 ‘Cons wrestled each other to the ground, kicking and punching each other all the way down. Smokescreen couldn’t wait any longer, nor could he pass up the opportunity. He motioned for Bluestreak to move in, and he nodded to Streetwise behind him. The 3 of them moved simultaneously, and met at the corner of the building across the area where the ‘Cons were momentarily. Their fight had carried them down one side of the building the Autobots were hiding behind. Smokescreen stepped out from behind the corner, his shotgun raised and pointed at the 2 ‘Cons who were oblivious to him. Bluestreak followed, his shotgun pointed as well, to the side of Smokescreen. Streetwise was last, his shotgun pointed towards the sky. It was getting dark, but there were no light in Helex. Power had been cut out by the Autobots to the entire area, and whatever the ‘Cons did, they had to do it in the dark or by light they made for themselves. Smokescreen was now a few meters from the ‘Cons, who still hadn’t noticed him. Wildrider seemed to be winning the fight, as he was on top. As he leveled his gun at Wildrider’s back, a loud noise came from behind them.

“What is going on out here?” Motormaster’s bellowing voice followed the slamming of the door.

The Autobots were startled, and all 3 of them turned around. Motormaster, equally caught by surprise, froze in place. Before he could recover, Streetwise, to his credit, leveled his shotgun at him and unloaded into Motormaster’s chest. The blast knocked the big Stunticon off his feet, and set his chest on fire. He started screaming and rolling around on the ground. He was heavily armored, so the shells barely penetrated his armor, and didn’t touch his insides. But it still burned, and hurt like hell. Dragstrip and Wildrider scrambled to their feet, not sure whether to attack or run away, as they didn’t have any blasters. The Autobots had their backs to them, so they decided to attack. Dragstrip jumped on Bluestreak, as Wildrider tackled Smokescreen. Bluestreak, the more levelheaded of the 2, shook Dragstrip off, who was also the smallest Stunticon, and tried to aim his gun at him. Dragstrip recovered, grabbing the barrels of the gun, and wrestling Bluestreak to the ground, with the shotgun in both their grips. Smokescreen, meanwhile, dropped his shotgun when he was hit by Wildrider, and now the 2 of them were on the ground kicking and punching. Streetwise racked his shotgun again, and tried to shoot the 2 ‘Cons, but he couldn’t get a clear shot. So he turned his attention again to Motormaster, who was still screaming, but incredibly getting to his feet.

“You…!” he half-screamed half-grunted. “I’ll...kill...you!”

He then ran at Streetwise, who dove to the side, and Motormaster slammed into the wall. His chest was still burning, and the pain along with the smoke in his optics was not letting him think clearly. Instead of turning toward Streetwise, however, he kicked Smokescreen in the side, who was about to get control of Wildrider and was reaching for his gun. Smokescreen tumbled off, and Wildrider scrambled to his feet. But this was just enough time for Streetwise to recover, and he blasted the smaller Stunticon in the chest, same as Motormaster. Wildrider, however, wasn’t nearly as armored, and the blast tore a huge hole in his chest, pieces of his torso flying all over. The ‘Con screamed, and was flung backwards into Motormaster. The big ‘Con threw him down, and charged at Streetwise again. But he never made it, as Smokescreen shot him in the back. All 3 barrels were strong enough to knock him down, and as Bluestreak and Dragstrip were still wrestling to a standstill, Motormaster fell face-first in front of Streetwise.

“Finish him!” Smokescreen shouted, as he reloaded his gun. “Now!”

Streetwise aimed his shotgun at the back of Motormaster’s head, but couldn’t pull the trigger.

“But…” he muttered.

“Now!” Smokescreen yelled. “Remember Groove and Blades!”

Hearing the names of his murdered brothers, something snapped in Streetwise. He gripped the shotgun and pulled the trigger. Motormaster’s head blew apart, and his body shook. Smokescreen got up with his gun loaded, and kicked over the prone body. By now the chest covering had burned away, and Motormaster’s spark casing was visible in his chest. Smokescreen, without hesitation, blasted 3 shells into it, and jumped back.

“Get back!” he shouted to Streetwise.

The energon burned through the spark casing, and came in contact with the spark itself, overloading it and exploding it. The explosion was huge, as Motormaster was bigger and more powerful than a lot of ‘Cons, therefore he required a stronger spark. It also got Bluestreak and Dragstrip’s attention, who stopped fighting.

“No!” Dragstrip screamed. “NOOO!!!”

He started running towards Smokescreen and Motormaster’s wreckage. Streetwise and Bluestreak reacted simultaneously, Streetwise shooting Dragstrip in the chest, Bluestreak shooting him in the back. The impact tore the Stunticon apart, his arms ripping from his shoulders, his head blowing off his body. His legs stumbled and his burning torso fell down. There was barely anything left of it, except his spark casing. By now Smokescreen recovered as well and racked 3 more shells. He walked up to the burning wreckage that was Dragstrip’s remains, and put 3 more shells into his spark casing as well. He stepped back and watched the explosion with a smile on his face. This was retribution. True justice. Bluestreak and Streetwise walked up to him and they all watched the fire.

“Let’s go.” Smokescreen said. “Before the rest of them show up.”

They didn’t bother with being noticed now, as their mission was complete. Smokescreen transformed and took off towards the mountains. Bluestreak and Streetwise followed his lead. They all headed back towards Iacon.
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Re: The Bad Seed.

Postby Rodimus Prime » Mon Sep 25, 2017 8:43 pm

Hub Capital Iacon: Council Tower

Present Day

Ultra Magnus sat in his office, going over progress reports of the reintegration of former Decepticons into the new Cybertronian society. Magnus knew it would be difficult, but this was the only way to move the Transformers forward. Had the Decepticons been allowed to keep their distinction as such, the division between Autobot and Decepticon would have remained, and the Transformers would never be united. The former ‘Cons must understand that if they keep wanting to be separate, they will never be able to live on this planet. And the Autobots couldn’t in good conscience allow them to live anywhere else, knowing what they’re capable of. The only other option Magnus could come up with would be a colony planet, under Autobot control, on which all Decepticons would be confined. But that’s a last resort. And now there’s this vigilante problem. Magnus was hoping this wasn’t really a problem, that maybe it was just a few incidents that had nothing to do with each other. But now, with an apparent survivor of a vigilante attack, Misfire, in custody, it seems that this problem is not only very real, but is of imminent concern. And the possibility that Prowl is involved in any way is something Magnus dreads to even think about. Prowl has been entrusted with keeping order in Iacon since the Autobots made their triumphant return and liberated the planet. True, he was not Optimus Prime’s choice to lead when the time came, but Optimus Prime is not perfect, as some seem to think so. Magnus, for his part, would have chosen Prowl over Grimlock had he been in Prime’s place after the battle with Unicron. But now...Magnus didn’t even want to think about this. It was crazy.

“Magnus.”

Ultra Magnus turned around. Optimus Prime stood behind him. Magnus had been so lost in thought he didn’t hear Prime come down the stairs.

“Optimus. I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you come down.”

“It’s alright. How are we progressing with the Decepticons?”

“About as we expected.”

Optimus walked around Magnus’s large desk and took a seat opposite him.

“How many casualties so far?” Prime asked.

“Well, there have been a lot more Decepticons than Autobots. You know about the loss of the Technobots, and the attack on the Protectobots. Those are the main incidents. Otherwise, only some skirmishes and minor attacks, mostly resulting in instantly treatable injuries. On the Decepticon side, who knows? We had some reports regarding them fighting each other, and some of them had to be taken down by Autobot security squads, but otherwise, we don’t know. Not until all Decepticons are accounted for.”

“Do you think we should have handled it differently?”

“What do you mean?”

“Their reintegration. Should we have...put them all in detention first, then released them little at a time, allowing them time to get used to the way things are now?”

“I don’t know. Honestly, there’s no right way to do this. I think doing it the way we are doing it shows them that we’re willing to treat them as equals, despite all they have done, as long as they’re willing to play by our rules. Had we simply thrown them in jail to begin with, that might have made things less messy, but in the long run it would have done more damage, as they would never have trusted us.”

“I tried to be civil about this, knowing that a lot of them were manipulated or even intimidated into joining Megatron’s cause. Not all Decepticons are bad. But they still made that choice to support them instead of fight against them. This gives me a lot to be concerned about. I’m also dealing with trying to restore the Matrix, and it’s beginning to wear me down. I’m afraid that with all that has happened, I’m not the same as I was before Unicron arrived.”

“Of course you’re not, Prime. You’ve been through so much. The struggle against the Decepticons for all that time, experiencing death, more than once, and now, the burden of reuniting our race. It’s an immense amount of responsibility.”

“Something you know a lot about, isn’t it? Magnus, I hope you don’t think I’d forgotten what you have done for the Autobots, for this planet, while I was gone. You, Xaaron, the others. You kept this planet from being completely overrun by Decepticons. Their ambition and ruthlessness was a lot to stand up against and you did it without so much as a complaint. I can never thank you enough.”

“I was only doing my duty. Order on the planet is my first priority. You’ve known me ever since the Academy. I taught you a lot about being not only a law enforcer but a leader. But what you’ve had inside you from the beginning is what got you where you are. It’s why the Matrix chose you.”

“Yes, perhaps. But I can honestly say I don’t know if I had been able to lead as steadily as you have for as long as you did in my absence. And even after everything, you’re still here, working every day to make sure the planet returns to its once glorious prominence.”

“I appreciate you saying that. But I can’t help but wonder, if Cybertron ever returns to prominence, do you plan to lead it?”

“I...I can’t say. I mean, not that I don’t want to tell you, I mean I don’t know. The work I have been doing…”

“With Hot Rod.”

“Yes, with Hot Rod. It seems...it seems that the Matrix has become attached to hm.”

“Attached? How?”

“When I...died, the moment I released the Matrix’s energy against Unicron, in the subsequent explosion, I was shown the future of our race, even if only glimpses. It showed me...you, Grimlock, and Hot Rod.”

“Me? Doing what?”

“You and Grimlock were standing behind Hot Rod. But somehow, he was...different. More...mature. But when I returned, after the Last Autobot...revived me, I was certain that Hot Rod will be my successor as leader of this planet during its next golden age. And that it was my responsibility to get him there. My time, much like other Primes before me, will come to an end. I have done my share of leading, my share of fighting. It will be up to the next generation to take us into the future.”

“And you think Hot Rod will be the leader of the next generation of Transformers? He seems…”

“I understand your doubts. This is why I’m telling you what I saw. You and Grimlock...need to make sure he becomes a great leader. I will teach him everything I know, everything I learned through experience. But I can’t make him experience those things. The Matrix chooses Primes based on what times are ahead of us. I was chosen because the Matrix believed that I was best suited to carry us through this great conflict with the Decepticons. It recognized something inside me that even I didn’t know was there, when I was Orion Pax. But the Matrix knew. It always knows. And now it is pointing me towards Hot Rod. Whatever the future holds for our race, Hot Rod is the best choice to lead us through it. But he will need your support. Just like I did.”

“I suppose it’s something we will face together when the time comes. But until then, we do have some things we need to discuss.”

“About the Decepticons?”

“About these vigilante attacks. About who might be behind them and what that might mean for us.”

“Alright. Do you have any theories?”

“I have...suspicions. And you will not like them.”

“Let’s hear them. Maybe we can come up with something.”

“How much do you know about it?”

“Not much. I haven’t really kept up with everything that’s happened. I am still trying to come to terms with what to do about Megatron and how to proceed with the rebuilding of Cybertron. And I also have Hot Rod to worry about.”

“Alright, then let me start from the beginning. Soon after you returned, declaring the Decepticons defeated, a lot of Autobots actually began letting their guards down, thinking it was all over. I suppose the long time of fighting had worn them out. But when the Decepticons, some of them anyway, were allowed to return to the planet, even under the conditions we set up, a lot of Autobots became uneasy. They worried that the war wasn’t over after all, and that they had to be forced back to the fighting they thought they were finally free of. Well apparently some of them thought they weren’t going to let it go that far. At first, we were convinced it was Decepticons committing assaults on each other. But we had stripped them of all weaponry and placed strict rules on them. It would have made it very difficult for them to so brutally attack each other, especially with the evidence showing that they used powerful firearms. Even if they had obtained weapons without our knowledge, they would have used it against Autobots by now. Considering the Autobots’ high tension toward the continuation of conflict, combining that with the Decepticons presence and it makes for a very possible argument that there are rogue Autobots out there eliminating Decepticons so that they don’t have to be dealt with.”

“And I’m sure the murders of the Technobots and some of the Protectobots hasn’t helped.”

“No. But we have identified the Combaticons as the lone aggressors in both those situations, and we are actively hunting them as we speak. Somehow they still have armaments and with their military knowledge can apply them the most effectively.”

“The sooner we catch them the better. I would like answers to how they managed to arm themselves.”

“Prime, that could be a number of ways. Who knows how many Decepticon safehouses there are still on Cybertron. That’s why we haven’t been able to catch them or any other high profile Decepticons. The Stunticons, the Firecons, even the more higher ranked seekers. We simply don’t have the numbers to go over every single corner of the surface of Cybertron. And I don’t even want to mention all the underground tunnels and storage spaces still uncovered.”

“Yes, that is one of my main concerns. It’s why I can’t decide on how to rebuild Cybertron. Do we just fix the surface damage and go below once things are in order? Or do we rip it apart from the core and rebuild completely?”

“That would take a long time, Prime. And a lot of work. We have the time, with the war over, and I’m sure the Autobots are willing to do the work, but we simply don’t have the individuals.”

“But it would be the better way to go. Find and get rid of all of these secret hideouts. Clean up the entire planet once and for all. The attack by Unicron had began the process for us. He ripped apart so much of the surface, and even after his defeat, Cybertron kept falling apart.”

“We had decide that was due to the essence of Primus losing its influence on the planet’s physical realm, considering the psionic attack by Unicron on Primus himself, as well as the release of the Matrix energy which weakened Primus’s physical body, which is the planet itself.”

“Yes. Primus himself is the core of our planet, and he is still down there, slumbering. He has to keep himself unconscious, as being awake drains so much energy from the planet itself, especially now. That’s why the planet is falling apart. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. If we let all the wrecked parts simply detach and float away, we could rebuild without cleaning up first. It would save us a lot of time.”

“That might be, but the work can’t get done unless we’re all on the same page. And until the Decepticons are properly assimilated, that won’t happen. We have to deal with the conflicts we’re facing now.”

“That is why you’re in charge of the policing and security of the planet, Magnus. You know how to handle the matters better. And you have Prowl and Grimlock helping you, as well as Jetfire and Blaster. I am trusting you to make the everyday processes of the planet and the new Cybertronian society work. Along with having to train Hot Rod, as well as trying to come to a conclusion about the future of our race, my conflict with Megatron is still not finished. He’s still out there somewhere, most likely on Earth. Until he, or his body, is recovered, I can’t look past him, and neither do the Decepticons. So I will be preparing to go back to Earth in the near future to begin my search for him. For now, you’re in command of Cybertron, I trust your judgment to handle all matters as you see fit.”

“Thank you for that, Optimus. I never doubted your confidence in me. And I am glad to know your view on things. However, the matter of this vigilantism is something I have a hard time figuring out. I was hoping you could give me some insight, perhaps help me decide.”

“Yes. You said you had suspicions.”

“I do. Unfortunately, it concerns you more seriously than you would suspect.”

“Really? How so?”

“Prowl.”

“What about him?”

“It’s not my opinion, but it has been pointed out to me that Prowl seems to be rather...dismissive of these vigilantes. He doesn’t seem to think there’s any real substance to it.”

“And you, what do you think?”

“As far as the vigilantism is concerned, it’s hard to ignore facts. I also came in contact with a supposed survivor of a vigilante attack who named specific Autobots who attacked him, using the same shotguns we discussed in the last meeting. But just because Prowl spoke out against both the vigilantes and the use of banned weapons, doesn’t make him a part of it. I like to think that with the history of service Prowl has had, he wouldn’t even consider such a thing, much less look the other way or even less outright joining it.”

“So why bring it to me?”

“Because. I am truly undecided. On one hand, I have almost concrete proof of this going on, at the hands of Autobots. On the other hand, I am left to wonder, how could this go on without our knowledge? If our police force and leadership is as solid as I think it is, why haven’t we stopped this yet?”

“And your conclusion?”

“I don’t have have one. That’s why I’m coming to you.”

“Well, Magnus, the way I see it is simple: let the facts speak for themselves. No one is infallible. No one. Not me, not you. Not Prowl. No one. So put personal feelings and views aside, and look at this strictly from a law enforcer perspective.”

“You’re right. That’s exactly what I should do. I have been concerned about what repercussions that would result in, and it kept me from seeing the big picture. Thank you, Prime, that makes it easier.”

“So what do you intend to do regarding Prowl?”

“He’s my direct subordinate, should anything happen to me he will take my place not only as the head law enforcer on Cybertron, but he will also get my seat on the Council. So I was very hesitant to even consider his involvement in this in any way.”

“I graduated the Academy with Prowl, you know that. He is a good cop. Very good. But as I said, no one is perfect.”

“What are you saying?”

“I can’t tell you what to do, Magnus. You have to make your own decision and live with the consequences. All I can tell you is you have my full support, no matter what you decide.”

“That’s good to…”

A blue light began blinking on the console on Magnus’s desk.

“Excuse me.”

He pressed a button.

“This is Ultra Magnus.”

Magnus, this is Jetfire. We have a problem.

“What happened?”

I’m in Helex. There was another vigilante attack.

Magnus and Prime looked at each other silently.

“Who?”

3 Stunticons. Motormaster, Dragstrip and Wildrider.

“Witnesses?”

Yes. And that is the problem.

“What did they say?”

That there were 3 assailants. 3 Autobots. With high-powered weapons, shooting explosive rounds.

“Did they identify them?”

Just 2 of them. Bluestreak and Smokescreen.

Prime leaned back in his chair, his optics wide.

“Are the witnesses reliable?” Magnus asked.

Well, 2 of them are ‘Cons, and one is a scavenger. A NAIL. So, that’s not 100% reliable. But considering what we know about those 2 already, can we take the chance?

“I suppose not. Where are you in tracking them down?”

That’s the other thing that gives this merit, Magnus. I went over their routines, and according to their last check-ins, Bluestreak and Smokescreen were supposed to be at the Southern end of the Sonic Canyons, overseeing a routine cleanup crew. They weren’t far from here. I was on my way to meet with them when this came up.

“Any indication on the supposed 3rd Autobot?”

No. Just that he was similar in build to Bluestreak and Smokescreen, and he had a red, white, and black paint job. But that doesn’t narrow it down much.

“No, I suppose not. I’ll contact Prowl and have him run down some profiles, see if anyone matches the paint scheme and was assigned to that part of the planet.”

Prowl? Are you sure?

“Yes. I talked it over with Prime, and I decided Prowl has to be involved. If we keep him shut out, we might miss something. If he is involved, his reaction to this will give me some idea about what is going on.”

Alright. Just be careful. Prowl isn’t stupid, and if he is indeed involved, then he has a bigger mean streak and we previously thought.

“I’ll handle him. You get those 2 in a security station and try to get to the bottom of this.”

I will. Keep me updated on Prowl, so I know what to expect.

“I will. Magnus out.”

Magnus disconnected the call, and looked at Prime.

“Looks like my decision will be tested sooner than I thought.” Magnus said.

“Yes. Let me know what happens. Personally, I hope you’re wrong about Prowl. Unfortunately, having known him since we were in the Academy, I can’t discount his involvement.”

Prime then stood up, and walked back around the desk, and back up the stairs, leaving Magnus to ponder that last statement. What did Prime mean by that? Has he known Prowl had a dark side all this time? If so, why did he keep it a secret? Does Prowl have something over Prime?
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Re: The Bad Seed.

Postby Rodimus Prime » Mon Sep 25, 2017 10:48 pm

Several floors below Magnus’s office.

The same time:

Prowl sat behind his desk, contemplating the events of the past few days. The meeting, his confrontation with Hot Rod, followed by his recruiting of Streetwise. He had to figure out how to keep himself away from Bluestreak and Smokescreen, yet at the same time keep them under his control. This situation was becoming unstable. Prowl had counted on the shotguns being identified, but he had expected those 2 to do a good enough job of making everything look like it was ‘Cons assaulting ‘Cons. He didn’t want even the mention of Autobot vigilantes in a small regional security center, never mind in the Council Tower itself. He had to get ahead of it somehow. What to do? What to do?

*knock knock*

“Who is it?” Prowl asked.

It’s Lightspeed.” the voice on the other side of the door said.

Prowl pressed a button on his desk, and the electronic locks clicked on the door, opening it. Lightspeed walked in and looked around the office.

“Wow. Nice.” he said.

“What can I do for you, Lightspeed?” Prowl asked, getting to the point.

“Uh...yeah. I was...I was wondering, would you be able to help me out?”

“With what?”

“I...uhh, have been thinking. After what happened in Tarn, I really don’t have any place to be regularly. I mean, with the other Technobots gone, I really don’t know what to do. So I was wondering if you could find something for me.”

“Me? Why me?”

“Well, you’re the police chief. You assign which Autobot goes where in the police force. And I want to do something to get back at those Decepticons. Now, I can’t ask you to put me on the squads hunting the Combaticons, but I would like to be a part of a police squad, going after ‘Cons in some way. I want to be useful.”

“Lightspeed…” Prowl started, then paused. “Have you been medically cleared yet?”

“Uhh, yeah, First Aid said I was good to go.”

“I mean, are you all together?” Prowl asked, tapping an index finger to the side of his head. “Up here.”

“Y-yeah...why wouldn’t I be?”

“Because. You suffered a serious emotional trauma. Your entire team was murdered. That doesn’t go away easily.”

“Prowl...I have been lost since they died. You understand? I feel worthless! I need something to do! Something productive, something towards capturing the Combaticons!”

“Lightspeed...sit down.” Prowl pointed to a seat opposite his on the other side of his desk. Lightspeed took it. Prowl pushed a button on his desk, and the door to his office closed and locked.

“Listen. Putting you on a squad to hunt the Combaticons is…” Prowl started.

“I didn’t ask for that!” Lightspeed cut him off. “I know that is out of the question. No matter how much I would like it.”

“Lightspeed. Please. Let me finish. Putting you on a squad to hunt the Combaticons would be exactly what I would do. Nothing gives a bot more motivation that seeking personal justice.”

Lightspeed couldn’t believe what he was hearing. His mouth slightly hung open, but he said nothing.

“However.” Prowl continued. “It’s not my call. And Ultra Magnus would never allow it, for the reasons you yourself stated. But is it something you would like to do, regardless of consequences?”

“What...what do you mean?”

“Would you want the chance to hunt down the Combaticons, even against Magnus’s orders, and face possible consequences, if it meant catching them and delivering justice to them?”

“I want nothing more than making those butchers pay for what they did to my brothers.”

Prowl smiled slightly.

“Good. Because I think there might be a way for you to do just that. But it comes with a price.”

“Name it. Whatever it is, it can’t be too high.”

“If I were to put you with other individuals who...let’s just say, feel the same way about Decepticons in general, as you do about the Combaticons specifically. And then, all of you together carry out special assignments on my orders, away from official police business.”

“Are...are you asking me to join a vigilante squad?” Lightspeed asked tentatively.

Prowl didn’t respond. He wished Lightspeed hadn’t used that word. It meant that he had strong feelings on the matter, one way or another. Prowl just couldn’t tell which way. If he asked Lightspeed to be on his squad and Lightspeed did not approve of such actions, he could tell someone that Prowl had asked him. And that’s almost as good as Prowl getting caught with a shotgun in his hand. But if Lightspeed was agreeable, he would be an asset. As Prowl told him, there’s no motivation like personal reasons to seek justice when someone feels they have been wronged. Lightspeed wouldn’t be doing this for the Autobots, or just because Prowl asked. He would be doing it for himself, and for the memory of his lost Technobot brothers. But what if he refuses? That would leave Prowl exposed. But Prowl thought it was worth the risk. And in the end, if Lightspeed refused, Prowl decided in an instant, he would never leave this office alive.

“I am asking you to deliver justice for your fallen brothers.” Prowl finally answered. “Let me ask you: if the other squads are successful in tracking and cornering the Combaticons, do you think they will be captured alive? Or do you think they will fight until death? Knowing what they have done, they must know that if they’re ever captured, they will never see the outside of a jail cell again.”

“Yes, I think they would force the Autobots to kill them first. Unless somehow they are totally caught by surprise.”

“So you agree that it is almost an overwhelming certainty that the Combaticons will die before they’re caught?”

“Yes.”

“Do you care who who brings them down, as long as they’re brought down? Or do you want the personal satisfaction knowing you’re the one who delivered justice for your fallen brothers?”

“I...I don’t know. I…”

“You know, I read the report on what happened in Tarn.” Prowl said in a softer tone. “Including your statement. That you were jumped by them. Shot in the back and then beaten down. The weapon responsible for your brothers’ deaths stolen from you.”

“Well...I...got shot in the side…”

“The principle is the same. They surprised you and attacked you when you least suspected. Then they subdued you and used the device for which you were responsible to murder the other Technobots.”

“What...what are you saying? That I share the responsibility in my brothers’ deaths?”

“No...of course not. But if you could have, would you have set off the nuke, killing yourself along with the Combaticons, if it meant keeping them from killing your brothers? If you knew then what you know now?”

“I...yes, I would have. To save them, I would have.”

“That’s the kind of resolve I was looking for. That’s the kind of resolve that gives a bot a titanium spine and bearings of chrome steel. That’s the kind of resolve I require from a bot who wants to join my squad to take care of business when the law moves too slow to do so.”

“So...you want me to be a part of your...squad?”

“I want you to carry out the punishment for the crimes perpetrated by not just the Combaticons, but all other Decepticons. You yourself said it, the Combaticons will die before they’re ever brought to trial. So why bother trying? Why bother wasting time and fuel to do something that will never happen. And I will take it one step further: I believe all Decepticons deserve harsh punishment for what they have done. All of them. Ultra Magnus and Optimus Prime are willing to let them back in with open arms. Well, I’m not. I can’t officially order Decepticons to be executed, because I have to follow orders. But I don’t have to agree with them. And I don’t have to sit idly by as the Decepticons bring down our society from the inside. So the bottom line is this: if you join me and the others already committed to cleaning up Cybertron, there’s no going back. You do as I say, when I say it. You become a part of another group, perhaps as close or even closer than the Technobots were. You will once again belong. Your life and actions will have noble meaning, you will further the progress of the Transformer race by eliminating all of its ills and wrongs. At the same time, you will not only get justice for your fallen brothers, but you will prevent their fates from happening to others. But the price of this is that you can’t say anything to anyone, especially not to those in charge. It is something you will have to keep to yourself until the day your spark expires. Is that something you’re prepared to do?”

Lightspeed didn’t answer. He sat quietly, first staring at Prowl, then starting at the wall behind him. Prowl did his best to project confidence, assurance and determination. To show Lightspeed he had absolute conviction in his words and in the actions they represented. This was the moment of truth. If Lightspeed agreed, he would become one of them, and Prowl will have strengthened his force. If he refused, Prowl wouldn’t let him leave the office alive. After a few more moments, Lightspeed refocused his optics on Prowl and leaned forward in his chair.

“If the system wasn’t so lenient on the Decepticons,” Lightspeed said, “and they weren’t treated as lightly as they have been, the Technobots would still be alive, because the Combaticons would never have been allowed to roam free as they were. I believe that while Prime and Magnus mean well, their justice system is ineffective and broken. The Decepticons have to be dealt with more thoroughly. That’s what I want to see done, and that’s what I want to do, if given the chance. I want to join your squad, for all the reasons you mentioned, and because I’m tired of seeing these ‘Cons get away with way too much. So yes, absolutely count me in.”

Prowl slowly started to smile, and finally reached across the desk with an open hand. A hand that was momentarily on the grip and trigger of a Flintlock 350 shotgun secured to the underside of Prowl’s desk, aimed squarely at Lightspeed’s torso. Had Lightspeed refused, it would have been the last thing he would have done. But instead, he grabbed Prowl’s hand and shook it, then they both stood up.

“So what now?” Lightspeed asked.

“I want you to go to an address I’m going to give you. There, you will meet the others, and they will fill you in on everything.”

“Alright. I’ll head there right away.”

“Good. They should be just returning from their latest mission. If you get there and no one else is there, just wait.”

“Got it. And thank you for offering this to me.”

“I trust you will not let me down. Not let Cybertron down. It’s time that we clean out the scrap and see Cybertron towards a bright future once again. A future without the rampant corrosion caused by those who are only out for themselves and are willing to step on anyone else to get their way.”

“You can count on me. Just tell me what to do.”

“Alright. Here’s the address.”

Prowl gave Lightspeed a small datadisk. Lightspeed inserted it into a drive port on his forearm.

“Once you arrive there, destroy the datadisk. The place is an abandoned repair station, and from then on, you will remember it by directions only. I don’t want the address to be seen by anyone else.”

“Understood.”

“Alright. After this, it’s highly unlikely that we’ll meet again, unless it’s an official matter. I haven’t participated in the squad’s missions, only gave the orders and arranged the means. That will not change. You will take your orders from Smokescreen. He’s in charge when I’m not present.”

“Smokescreen? He’s…”

“You will see when you get there, and will have everything explained to you. Good luck, and welcome aboard. Your dedication will go a long way in securing Cybertron’s peaceful future.”

Lightspeed then turned around as Prowl unlocked and opened the door from his desk, and walked out of the office, the door closing behind him.

*** *** ***

Not far away, only several floor above, Grimlock also sat in the office that was given him as a member of the Council. It was a space he rarely occupied, preferring to be out with his fellow Dinobots and overseeing the Autobots’ arsenal of weapons. His job is to maintain military control, as well as to defend the planet itself if any situations should arise that are non-terrestrial. Grimlock works closely with Jetfire in patrolling the nearby space, as well as looking out for the 2 moons Cybertron has, which are stations for both space cruisers and military operations. Weapons such as the nukes used to wipe out the former Decepticon cities and bases are stored on Moon Base 2, under heavy guard by the Dinobots themselves, and no Decepticons are allowed to travel in space between the planet and the moons. And after what happened in Tarn, Grimlock has refused to allow anyone access to more than simple ammunition for basic blasters, even to Autobot patrols. Any and every artillery and larger than a service blaster used by a peace officer is to be under strict Dinobot control. Magnus didn’t like it, but Grimlock gave him no choice. Prime, to his credit, stayed out of it, and First Aid, Jetfire and Blaster all agreed with Grimlock, so Magnus was outvoted. Now Grimlock focused on his highest priority: tracking down the Combaticons. Capturing them? If they were able. But Grimlock wasn’t very high on the theatrics of a trial either. He would much rather drive his energo-sword through Onslaught’s chest plate. But, that’s not the way they all agreed on, and Grimlock was willing to play by the rules, as long as he saw results.

*knock knock*

“Come in.” Grimlock said. His door didn’t work like Prowl’s, someone from the outside could open it. Grimlock wasn’t as paranoid as Prowl had become. He had no reason to be.

Hot Rod entered his office.

“I’m surprised to see you.” the young bot said. “You’re usually…”

“What you want?” Grimlock cut him off gruffly.

“I wanted to talk to you about Prowl.”

“What about him?”

“Well, I think what we discussed at the meeting may have more merit than we thought.”

“Just spit it out, Hot Rod. Me not Prime or Magnus. No need to dress it up.”

“Alright. I think there’s something to this vigilante business, and I think Prowl is involved. And if he isn’t, he at least knows more than he lets on.”

Hot Rod then proceeded to recount his encounter with Prowl at Central Headquarters.

“Interesting.” Grimlock said. “But not prove anything. Prowl always a dirty player.”

“But don’t you think he has an ulterior motive? I mean, isn’t that enough to make him a suspect?”

“Prowl always have ulterior motive. Prowl ambitious and shady. Not make him murderer. Me not like him, but me not ready to condemn him.”

“So am I overreacting, even with what happened between us?”

“Not what I said. But you need to be careful. Prowl old hand at politics. Magnus and Prime trust him. You need solid proof before making accusation.”

“Yeah...I guess. I..I suppose I just needed to talk to someone. And as you said Prime and Magnus still favor Prowl, so I didn’t think that was a good idea. I just wanted someone else to know that Prowl threatened my life, just in case…”

“In case what?”

“In case something happens to me.”

“Not worry. Too many optics around here for Prowl make move. And you always with Prime.”

“Yeah. But still. Thanks for the talk.”

“No problem.”

Hot Rod then turned around and walked out. Grimlock leaned back in his chair, and contemplated what Hot Rod just told him. Would Prowl really be bold enough to outright threaten Hot Rod with death? Even if no one believed him, just having Hot Rod talk about it would at least get the attention on Prowl. And if he is indeed involved in the vigilante attacks, it would be very arrogant to bring it on himself. But, Grimlock had to admit, arrogance was something Prowl had in spades. Grimlock was just surprised Prowl apparently also had an equal amount of stupidity to go along with it. He would have to keep a closer optic on Prowl from now on. Prime and Magnus may be blind to his underhanded ways, but Grimlock has seen through Prowl for a long time now. And sooner or later, he knew Prowl would make a mistake. Maybe this was it.
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Re: The Bad Seed.

Postby Rodimus Prime » Sun Oct 15, 2017 9:56 pm

The Ruins of Vos

Present Day

"Quiet.” Vortex said. “We don’t need to be making any more noise than necessary.”

The Combaticons walked through the debris, left over from the bombing raids conducted by the Aerialbots when the Autobots made their push to round up all the Decepticons left on Cybertron after Unicron was defeated. The first step in the plan devised by Grimlock and Ultra Magnus was to destroy any cities that were known to be Decepticon strongholds, and Vos was one of these, being one of the first five cities to fall during Megatron’s ascent. The next step would be ground troops sweeping the city, either capturing or killing any Decepticon they saw. Then finally, Vos was to be wiped off the face of Cybertron with nuclear weaponsin the effort to cleanse the planet of the ruins left by the war, and in essence the dark part of its history which was the war. But that hasn’t happened yet, and Onslaught knew for a fact that they still had time. Vos was the 5th city on the Autobots’ list, behind Darkmount, Tarn, Kaon and Helex. Places like Praxus and Tesarus were also on the list, but they weren’t of high importance. They were smaller and had been easily pacified by Autobot ground forces, and they were also easier to keep secured. But Vos was larger, though not as big as Tarn or Kaon, and that’s why the Combaticons chose it as their hideout. It was also the closest big city to Iacon without having to cross the Sea of Rust. And when the final phase of their plan was initiated, distance would make a big difference. Things would have to move fast and the Combaticons would have to make their way to Iacon as fast as possible. Thanks to their associate in the Autobot ranks, they were safe here. For now. They wouldn’t be searched for. But Onslaught knew that wasn’t forever. But it didn’t have to be.

“Do we have everything?” Swindle asked.

“Why are you asking me? Aren’t you supposed to have everything hooked up for us?” Vortex replied.

Blast Off and Brawl moved about without saying anything and Onslaught opened the door to their actual hideout building. It was an empty warehouse, with several metal crates the kind they gave to Misfire and Slugslinger sitting by the wall on one side. Onslaught walked in and made his way to a smaller enclosed area which used to be the office back when this warehouse was used for storing materials for shipment. He closed the door behind him and sat down.

“What’s with him?” Swindle asked.

“I don’t know.” Vortex replied. “He’s been acting like that ever since Tarn. Maybe there’s something wrong that he’s not telling us.”

“With the plan?”

“I don’t know. Why don’t you go ask him?”

Brawl and Blast Off walked in, each carrying a smaller metal crate. They set them down by the wall next to the door. The warehouse was dark, no lights. Its dark walls and high ceiling made it seem ominous, but it was an ideal place for a hideout, as it would be harder for the Autobots to trap them here if they found them. Brawl walked over by a wall and sat down on some debris that was solid enough to support him. There was scrap scattered all around, some stuff left over from whatever was stored here, and some pieces of the walls and ceiling that caved in during the bombing. Autobot patrol squads regularly walked through the city, but they never checked every building. So if they kept quiet and stayed out of sight, they would be okay. Besides, Blast Off set up some crude warning systems around the warehouse, so they would know if someone was getting close. Swindle walked over to the smaller room and knocked on the door.

“Come in.” Onslaught said.

“Hey boss.” Swindle said as he came in and closed the door behind him. “Everything okay?”

“Fine.”

“You sure? I mean…”

“Everything is fine.”

“Well...alright. What about the next phase of our plan?”

“It’s ready. We wait for the word.”

“Listen, maybe you should tell me who the contact is. I mean, in case something...you know, happens...to you.”

Onslaught stood up from the chair he was sitting in and rose to his full height in front of Swindle. Swindle, being the smallest Combaticon, was barely tall enough to reach Onslaught’s chest.

“Well then you better make sure nothing happens to me.” Onslaught said evenly and without emotion. “You’re a Combaticon. I am your commander. My safety is one of your responsibilities.”

“Y-yes…”

“Shut up. My responsibility is making sure this plan is effective, as well as knowing where and when to use you and the others to your fullest capabilities. That includes the contact. You don’t know who it is because you don’t need to know. All you need to know is when and where to be ready to do your part and this I have told you. So you and the others just wait until I say the word and then do as you’re told. Now get out. I need to go over the final details and wait for our signal.”

Swindle slowly backed out of the office without a word and shut the door behind him. Onslaught never was a very emotional bot, but this time he was especially cold and unnerving.

“So?” Vortex asked as Swindle walked up to the others. They were all sitting down now, everyone finding a spot to settle for the time being.

“So what?” Swindle asked annoyed.

“What do you mean ‘what?’ shorty?” Brawl spoke up, “What did he say?”

“He said we should just wait. And that he’s the boss and all we need to worry about is having his back, he’ll take care care of everything else.”

“Wait for how long?” Brawl asked.

“I don’t know. He didn’t say. Go in and ask him yourself if you want to know that bad!”

“Alright!” Vortex said. “Enough. He said we wait, so we wait. We all know what we need to do when the time comes.”

“Do you think this will really work?” Blast Off asked quietly, sitting behind them.

“Of course.” Vortex said as he turned to him. “We have it all planned out. Step by step.”

“How are we going to make it all the way to the Council Tower? Without being stopped?”

“It’s all arranged.”

“So Onslaught says.” Brawl said. “I still don’t see how it will work. The five of us and the crates? And are they even enough to do the job?”

“Everything will be fine.” Vortex said sternly. “Stop worrying.”

Inside the office, Onslaught sat quietly. The place was bare except for his chair, a desk against the wall, and a console on the desk. It looked old, parts of it were rusting on the outside. Some wires were showing, and the dust on it was thick. Onslaught looked at it stoically. Did it even work? It was supposed to. This is where his contact was going to call him. He was about to reach for the console receiver to check it when the blue light on it lit up. Incoming call. Onslaught pressed the button.

“I’m here.” he said.

Good. Is everything in place?” the voice on the other end asked.

“Yes. We are ready.”

Good. I have arranged for an unmarked transport vehicle for you and the cargo. It’s supposed to go to the spaceport so it the route will take it past the Tower. Once you’re there, you will have a limited window. I will make sure you can enter the ground floor and go to the underground storage area. The spare energon and the security squad’s armory is stored down there. You should be able to get better weapons and the fuel should make the explosion even bigger.

“When will it be here?”

It won’t. You will have to go get it. I couldn’t have it brought all the way to Vos without suspicion. You are to go to the old station on the border road to the Sea of Rust. It will be waiting for you there. Like I said, it’s unmarked, so it won’t look out of place. But that doesn’t mean you should take it for a joy ride. Just load it up as fast as you can and come to Iacon.

“Understood.”

You know the rest of the plan.

“Yes.”

Well, then this will be the last time we speak. If you fail, you will NOT get another opportunity.

“We will succeed.”

I expect you to.

The line went dead and Onslaught turned off the console. He stood up and walked out of the office.

“Vortex. Brawl. I have a location.” he said as the others all got on their feet. “Go to the old service station on the border road between Iacon and the Sea of Rust.”

“That’s on the other side of the city!” Swindle said. “It’ll take forever!”

“Patience. We can’t do anything rash. We have to stay under the radar. That means doing things methodically and inconspicuously. You 2 will pick up the transport vehicle and drive it back here.”

“What about us?” Swindle asked. “Me and Blast Off just wait until they come back? That could take…”

“No. You will go too. But you will be the decoys.”

“Decoys?” Blast Off asked.

“Yes. Once the transport vehicle is picked up, it cannot be stopped for any reason. Brawl and Vortex will have no documents with them, and the Autobot patrol won’t just let 2 Decepticons drive away without proof of proper occupation. So you will each take a skysled and travel ahead of the transport. Any time you come across a patrol, you occupy them long enough for Vortex and Brawl to drive by like it’s an ordinary delivery. If for whatever reason the transport does get stopped, you create a diversion.”

“How?” Swindle asked.

“I don’t know. Use your head. Just get the patrol’s attention away from the transport.”

Onslaught then gave Vortex a dataslug.

“Here’s the address. Once you command the transport, destroy the dataslug. If things should go wrong and you get stopped, you tell them you found it abandoned and pick it up to strip it for parts. Understood?”

“Of course.”

“And needless to say, do NOT lead them back here.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Alright. You all have your assignments. Get started. Our timers are synchronized, if you’re not back here by the designated time, I will consider the mission a failure and evacuate this area.”

Without a word, the other 4 Combaticons left the warehouse and Onslaught remained standing in the middle of it, looking at the crates by the wall, contemplating the planned events of the next couple of days. If all went as he planned, the Autobots’ rule would be short-lived and chaos would reign on Cybertron once again, allowing the Decepticons to take control once again.

*** *** ***

Iacon: Central Police Headquarters

Present Day

Red Alert and Hot Rod walked down a corridor toward the holding cells.

“So what do you think?” Hot Rod asked. “Is Misfire’s account enough to bring in Smokescreen and Blue Streak? At least for questioning?”

“Yeah, I think so. Jetfire is out looking for them right now. I mean, they were spotted near where the Stunticons were killed. That can’t be a coincidence.”

“I hope we’re wrong about this, honestly. To think that 2 decorated Autobots like Blue Streak and Smokescreen would do something like this…”

“I know. It’s tough to think about. But you know, I have suspoected something for a long time now.”

“Really?”

“Yes. You went through the reports, you didn’t see it?”

“I didn’t know what I was looking for at the time. Just that there were brutal killings among the Decepticons. The only thing stood out was that they were increasing in frequency. Then we found the shotguns.”

“Exactly. And by the way, those shotguns should have been destroyed.”

“Yeah. We figured out that some of them were stolen by the Decepticons who ran the smelting pools. I still haven’t gotten the records from back then on which Autobots were responsible for overseeing the pools’ shutdown. Once I have that maybe I can connect some more bots to this and get closer to whoever is responsible.”

“Do you have any theories?”

Hot Rod didn’t answer. It was too soon to mention any names. Besides, Red Alert worked for Prowl. And he was paranoid. What if he blabbed that Hot Rod had Prowl on his radar for the vigilantes? No. Hot Rod would keep his thoughts to himself.

“Hot Rod?” Red Alert prompted him.

“Oh...no, nothing solid. The evidence just isn’t there yet.”

“Oh. Alright. Well, what does Prime think? You’ve been spending a lot of time with him.”

“Yeah. There are some other things going on. Prime isn’t making these vigilantes a priority. That’s why I’m the one going through all the reports and doing these meetings. Ultra Magnus is keeping an eye on the progress as well, but for right now, the main investigators are you and Nightbeat. I’m just basically a messenger to keep Prime up to date.”

“I know. I have to answer to Prowl who makes the decisions with Ultra Magnus.”

They arrived at the processing hub where all the prisoners get documented before they get put into a holding cell. It wasn’t very busy, only a few Decepticons in restraints and a few Autobot guards and officers. 2 drones posted at each entrance.

“Okay, so where do we go from here?” Red Alert asked. “I mean, until Blue Streak and Smokescreen are brought in, we’re kinda stuck.”

“Yeah. I need to see Nightbeat and compare notes with him, and them I’m going back to the Tower. I have a few other things to attend to. What are you gonna do?”

“I’m gonna go through the daily reports from the substations, to see if anything else has come up or even looks suspicious. No detail is too small. I don’t want to overlook anything.”

“Alright. I’ll see you later then.”

They parted ways, Red Alert going toward his office down another corridor, while Hot Rod made his way down by the holding cells. He was looking for the one with Misfire in it. He knew Nightbeat would be in there, making sure no one (especially Prowl) has access to their witness. After checking with the desk droid, he went to the holding cell and entered the code given to him by Magnus. No one knew the code but Nightbeat, Magnus, and Hot Rod. No one else. Inside, Misfire was sitting by the wall, his restraints removed but his right leg was still in a single energo-shackle which was connected to the wall.

“Hot Rod.” Nightbeat greeted him.

He had a small desk set up in the opposite corner from Misfire, with a console on top of it. He was looking through reports as well, searching for any more clues in other assaults and murders. Like Red Alert said, no detail was too small.

“Nightbeat. Anything new?”

“Not yet. I was hoping I might find more similar crimes, so that at least we would have more witnesses, but nothing has jumped out at me.”

“Yeah, Red Alert is doing that as well, I just spoke to him.”

“Oh? I thought he was running down the leads on the Combaticons.”

“Well, maybe he’s doing that as well. But he told me he would look through the assault reports to see if he saw anything.”

“Well, an extra set of optics can’t hurt, I suppose. Anything new from Prime or Magnus?”

“No. Just keep doing what we’re doing. To be honest, though, I don’t think Magnus is sharing everything he’s considering. Especially when it comes to Prowl.”

Nightbeat looked at Hot Rod with a hint of alarm on his face. He then looked at Misfire and then back to Hot Rod. Hot Rod looked over at Misfire, then back at Nightbeat.

“I’m not worried about him. He isn’t going anywhere. He won’t talk to anyone.”

“Well, just be careful. Magnus ordered me to not let anyone near him besides the three of us. But Prowl is still the police chief and everyone in this building answers to him. If he finds out why Misfire is here he might want to get involved. Now, I’m not accusing Prowl of anything, but I’m going on Magnus’s word here. No one is to have any contact with the prisoner, espeically Prowl. If for whatevere reason he comes in contact with anyone else, I don’t want him blabbing about what we’re discussing here.”

“Come on, Nightbeat. He’s scared out of his wits. He won’t talk. He doesn’t want to be found by the vigilantes. No matter who they are.”

“Bottom line is, he is a Decepticon. They’re not to be trusted.”

“True enough.”

Hot Rod looked at Misfire again, then back at Nightbeat, who was back to perusing the reports of the day. Cybertron was no a crime-infested scrapheap, but it was still a large planet, and there were still Decepticons loose out there. And of course there were some Autobots as well who weren’t model citizens.

“Alright, I guess I’ll head back to the Tower. If anything comes up, you know where to reach me.”

“Right.” Nightbeat answered without looking up.

Hot Rod then punched in the code and the door opened. He walked out, the door closing behind him. As he made his way back down the way he came, Red Alert came around the corner in a hurry, bumping into him.

“Whoa!” Hot Rod said. “Something wrong?”

“Uhh...no...yes...no.” Red Alert answered.

“Well, which is it?”

“Uhh...come with me.”

They started walking down the other corridor towards Red Alert’s office.

“What?” Hot Rod asked impatiently.

“We just got a tip. It’s pretty solid.”

“On what?”

“The Combaticons. We may have found their hideout. It was reported by an anonymous caller that they were somewhere in Vos. In a warehouse.”

“You’re sure it’s reliable?”

“99%. We have a raid squad en route.”

“Alright. I’m going as well. Give me the location.”

“You’re sure?”

“Yeah. They’re the highest profiled criminals on Cybertron. I want to make sure we do everything possible to take them alive.”

“Alright. Vos is not close. Grab a shuttle and I’ll have the coordinates uploaded. You should arrive about the same time the team does.”

“Okay. Who’s the squad commander?”

“Well, we’re so certain of it that Prowl himself is taking charge.”

Hot Rod didn’t say anything. He just walked out toward the police shuttle bay and commandeered a prisoner transport vehicle. He had to get there before the strike team did, especially if it was led by Prowl. Hot Rod had a bad feeling that Prowl might have his own interests in mind above enforcing the law.
Rodimus Prime
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Re: The Bad Seed.

Postby Rodimus Prime » Wed Oct 18, 2017 12:23 am

Outskirts of Iacon: Abandoned Repair Station

Present Day

"So we just wait?” Blue Streak asked.

“Yeah.” Smokescreen answered. “Until Prowl contacts us again. In the meantime, we got a job. We just need to wait until they get here.”

“Who?” Streetwise asked.

Blue Streak looked at Smokescreen. The three of them sat around the same table Streetwise and Prowl sat at when Streetwise joined this crew. He had gone on his first mission with them, and he did well. Even though he hesitated, on the way back Smokescreen reassured him that is was fine, that it was his first time and he needed to go through that. But that he should know that what he did was the right thing, they took 3 very dangerous Decepticons off the streets of Cybertron. Streetwise felt better after that and he tried to get past the fact that he killed an unarmed Decepticon execution-style. But isn’t that what Prowl had told him they would be doing? Taking out the trash? And Streetwise had agreed. He knew what he was getting into. But talking about it and actually doing it were 2 different things. Still, Smokescreem was right: they had made Cybertron safer. The Stunticons were known not only for their recklessness but also for their ruthlessness, especially Motormaster. Combine that with their limited intelligence, and ability to combine, they were a very dangerous crew. They had to be dealt with. And Streetwise knew firsthand the kind of damage they had caused during the war. For some reason, Megatron had preferred Menasor to any other combiner team, and that gave the Stunticons a certain amount of freedom. Whereas Shockwave had made the Combaticons and Predacons his top soldiers, Megatron saw the Stunticons’ lack of control as an asset instead of a hindrance. Streetwise just had to get used to this, that’s all. It was for the good of the future of the Transformers, just like Prowl had said. Some bots simply slipped through the grasp of justice, but that didn’t mean they weren’t guilty. Streetwise didn’t feel bad about 3 violent Decepticons dying. But the way they killed them still bothered him. He had been a cop, after all. He had sworn to serve the members of the Transformer race with honor and truth, just like Prowl. And now here he was, taking out the worst of the worst. Just like Prowl. Except, Prowl wasn’t actually here. He may be orchestrating all this, but he doesn’t actually pull the trigger. He doesn’t actually see the sparks overload and explode, wiping their carriers off the face of the planet. Did that make Streetwise more responsible, he wondered. Has Prowl ever done anything above or outside of the law? Or does he just talk a good game? Did he ever…

*knock knock*

The knock on the door brought Streetwise out of his throughts. Before he could even turn his head, both Blue Streak and Smokescreen were on their feet. One moved to the front door, the other to the back door. There were hidden cameras covering both exits, and the small monitor in the sidepanel next to the back door were showing no movement by outside.

“Clear.” Blue Streak said in a low and steady voice.

“Up here.” Smokescreen answered.

Streetwise walked up to the front door and joined Smokescreen, followed by Blue Streak. On the screen in the wall they saw a single lone bot standing outside. It was Lightspeed.

“No one back there?” Smokescreen asked.

“Yeah. It’s clear.” Blue Streak answered.

“So this is who Prowl sent, huh?” Smokescreen asked, and opened the door.

Lightspeed took a step back when the door opened, on the other side were Smokescreen, Blue Streak, and Streetwise, pointing a shotgun at him.

‘Whoa, whoa.” he said, putting his hands up. “Prowl gave me the address to this place. He told me to…”

“Yeah, we know.” Smokescreen cut him off sternly. “Get inside before you get spotted.”

Lightspeed stepped inside, his hands still up in front of him, as Streetwise still had his gun up.

“Hey. Put that down.” Blue Streak said. “He’s a friend.”

Streetwise slowly lowered his gun.

“Y-yeah. I’m a friend.” Lightspeed repeated.

“Do you have the datadisk?” Smokescreen asked.

“Here.” Lightspeed said, and handed it over. Smokescreen took it and crushed it in his hand.

“I also brought a transport vehicle.” Lightspeed said. “It’s what I used to get here. Prowl told me to bring it, that it would be needed. It’s outside. A heavyload carrier, with a covered cargo space, unmarked.”

“Yeah, he told us.” Blue Streak said. “But it’s not for us.”

“It will be picked up by someone soon.” Smokescreen said. “And we’re all taking a ride to our next mission.”

“In the cargo transport?” Streetwise asked. “Where are we going?”

“To Vos. Prowl got a positive on the Combaticons’ location.”

“Who’s going to take us?”

“Don’t worry about it. Someone friendly to our way of delivering justice. Just be ready to go soon.”

“Alright.”

“So...so what exactly do you guys do here?” Lightspeed asked. “Prowl didn’t explain anything, he said you would tell me.”

Smokescreen looked at Streetwise, then at Lightspeed.

“It seems that both of you went through similar circumstances to get here. Both your former teams were ambushed and massacred by the Combaticons, and nothing was done to punish them. Yeah, Magnus and the others claimed that they were looking for them. But, honestly, if the Autobots really had as firm a control on the planet as they claim, wouldn’t they have found them by now? So you’re here because Prowl thought your personal motivation to see the Combaticons punished might be useful. Streetwise has already proven himself on his first mission. He got a taste of what we do, and I suspect he understands it better than he did when he joined us. So I will let him explain it to you, and let you get used to it. Blue Streak and I have been doing this for a while, having had a common reason to join. You two also have a common reason to join, seeking justice for your murdered fellow teammates. Let that be what keeps you guys together, and know that you’re each other’s backup and we’re all your new teammates.”

As Smokescreen was speaking, Blue Streak came up to them and handed Lightspeed a shotgun. Lightspeed took it, his optics wide with wonder and surprise.

“Do you know what that is?” Smokescreen asked.

“Uh...y-yeah.” Lightspeed answered. “It’s a Flintlock 350 shotgun. And it’s supposed to be illegal. Right?”

“Heh. Yeah. I’ll let Streetwise explain that to you as well. Blue Streak and I gonna go out and check out our ride. In the mean time, you and Streetwise can have a talk and he can bring you up to speed on what’s going on. Like I said, it’s better that he does it, because he’s fairly new as well and you have a similar viewpoint on this whole thing. We’ll be back in a few.”

“Alright.” Lightspeed said, holding up the shotgun, admiring it. It was sleek, with 3 black barrels and a silver handle and breech with chrome highlights. No stock.

As Smokescreen and Blue Streak walked outside, Lightspeed put the gun on the table and he sat down with Streetwise. Outside, Smokescreen and Blue Streak were standing in front of the transport vehicle, but they had no intention of looking it over.

“So what do you think?” Blue Streak asked. “Is this gonna work?”

“Of course. We went over every step 4 times. The plan is flawless. As long as those 2 in there are in the back of the carrier when the Combaticons pick it up. Who knows what they would do if they saw the ‘Cons, considering what had happened to the other Protectobots and Technobots.”

“Do we wait until we’re in Vos, back at the ‘Cons’ hideout? Or do we take them out before we get there? Together they could be more dangerous.”

“Well, there are supposed to be 2 of them coming here to get the carrier. We’re supposed to take them out. The other 3 are Prowl’s problem. He said he would take a special assault squad and deal with them.”

“Alright. But we have to make it look like we’re seeing them for the first time, and let those 2 in there go after them. That’s what Prowl said, anyway. Let their need for vengeance do the work for us. Once they kill the Combaticons, there’s no going back. They’ll be with us. I mean, Streetwise already showed us that he can do it. But if he wants to remove all doubt, he has to do it again.”

“When are they getting here?”

“No idea. They have to walk, and it takes a while to make their way here, especially now that they’re wanted. But I’m sure they’ll manage. They’ve eluded that Autobot patrols thus far.”

“Alright. Let’s go back inside and wait.”

The 2 of them turned back to the door and walked back inside.

*** *** ***

City of Tesarus

Before the War

The police shuttle flew slow and low over the landscape, coming up to the border of the city. The pilot had made the decision not to fly directly into the populated area, as it would tip off the terrorist group ther were after. This raid was top secret, they wanted to grab these bots at all costs, not only for what they did to Iacon, but to find out if there are more bombings planned. On the shuttle was a 6-bot team, as Magnus thought any more officers would arouse suspicion as soon as they got off the shuttle. As they were, they could pass for a simple routine reinforcement squad. But they were anything but. Along with Magnus, the shuttle held Sureshot, the sniper. He would cover their raid from the outside, in case their targets had backups. Rook, the bomb specialist. He was here to disarm and dispose of any explosives they would encounter. They were dealing with bombers, after all. Smokescreen, the raid expert. He is on the Iacon SWAT team, and his experience in gaining entry and capturing the suspects would be needed. He would be the point bot. Then there were the 2 rookies: Prowl and Orion Pax. Magnus wanted them here for a few reasons: first and foremost was backup. They would be last in line, behind Smokescreen, Rook and Magnus. Their main duty was controlling the suspects once they made contact and subduing them if needed, so that both Smokescreen and Rook can do their jobs, clearing their safehouse of other suspects as well as any explosives they might find. Magnus would coordinate the operation, getting physically involved only if it was necessary. The secondary reason for Pax and Prowl being here was experience. Magnus had held both of them in high regard, as they graduated their academy class in the top 2, and gaining experience in an anti-terrorist task force would only make them better police officers. Finally, they were both there when these so-called “freedom fighters” bombed those buildings in Iacon, they had seen the destruction first-hand. The bombers, calling themselves Decepticons and acting in the name of someone called Megatron, were holed up in a closed-down factory that used to make parts for heavy-duty mining machinery. According to intelligence Magnus was given, they were miners, disillusioned with the social system of Cybertron, where they were relegated to the lower ranks due to their alt modes and spark-levels. Magnus had spent a lot of time gathering information on this so-called movement, as well as its leader, this Megatron. He had not come across any hard evidence on this bot, nothing besides what was given in reports from other various parties. However, Magnus had come across another name several times as he was trying to connect some dots: Megatronus. This bot was apparently a miner, and an outspoken critic of the Cybertronian caste system. It seemed like he was present at a lot of rallies and demonstrations, as well as supposedly secret gatherings. It seemed that he was a “community organizer” among these demonstrators, spurring on the actions of others. This made Megatronus high on Magnus’s list of suspects, and he intended to get a location from the suspects they were attempting to arrest today, so that he could come face-to-face with this dissident and put an end to this uprising which these Decepticons called a “ freedom movement.” But the question still weighted heavily on Magnus: who was Megatron? Was he Megatronus, with his name simply shortened? Or was he someone else completely, someone in the shadows, controlling everything. The fact that he couldn’t find anything solid on him made Magnus question if this Megatron was even real, or at the very least if it was an alias for someone else. But more and more of the public demonstrations these Decepticons took part in featured their now-apparent battlecry: All hail Megatron!” So whoever this Megatron was, he stoked the fire of rebellion, causing mass murder and terror in Iacon and other cities. And Magnus intended to catch him and put an end to this nonsense in the swiftest way possible. Once these thugs were rounded up, Magnus himself would get everything out of them he needed to find this so-called leader, and that would be the end of this civil unrest. But for that to happen, these bombing suspects had to be caught alive. One had already been found dead in an alley in Iacon, his upper body blown apart by what appeared to be explosive charges. Did he commit suicide? If so, why didn’t he do it publicly, bringing even more attention to their so-called “cause?” There were no witnesses to his death, and security wasn’t very sophisticated in that area, so his last moments would forever remain a mystery. But Magnus doubted that the bomber had killed himself. He had a strong suspicion that someone tracked him to his hideout and dealt with him personally, vigilante style. He was investigating that theory as well, but it seemed to be a dead end. Right now, however, capturing the other 2 bombers was more important, and that’s what he was focusing on. If this raid was successful, no doubt the suspects would shed light on past and possible future attacks and give Magnus more suspects to go after, until finally he will find this mysterious Megatron.

“Alright, listen up.” Magnus said. “We want these bots alive, at all costs. It was pure chance that we found their hideout, and they will not make the same mistake again. We have to catch them and get more information out of them.”

The others, all sitting on the left side of the shuttle’s personnel area, looked at him without a word. The shuttle was smaller than a regular civilian transport, it was designed to carry a team of 10 police officers, including the squad commander. On the left were the benches for the members of the team, on the right were utility lockers and storage units for weapons, ammunition and protective gear. A small walking path divided the benches from the storage units. This walkway went all the way to the rear of the shuttle, where it ended in a T formation, to the left were 6 holding cells for caught suspects, to the right was the rear loading double doors of the shuttle. Each member was given the standard raid gear, consisting of extra upper body armor as well as a helmet with built in radio and visual enhancement equipment. Members were required to use their own police-issued blasters, or if they brought their backup weapons they were allowed to carry that as well. Explosives, such as grenades and timed devices, were strictly under the supervision of Rook, and used under the discretion of Magnus.

“Here’s the plan of attack.” Magnus continued. He was standing in the front of the personnel area, between the benches and the door to the cockpit. His back was to the door, and he was holding onto the overhead bars for stability as the shuttle descended. “We move in on the building, scanning for any hidden alarms and booby traps. Sureshot will take up his firing position on the tallest building within reasonable distance where he has the widest field of view. This will allow him to cover 3 of the building’s 4 sides. Now, the chance of any reinforcements arriving without being spotted by him is 25%, but that’s a chance we have to take. We might not get another opportunity like this. Once we gain entry, with Smokescreen leading the way, we clear every area on every floor. The building’s schematics should be uploaded in your databanks. Use them as you make your way from the ground to the upper levels. The building consists of several large manufacturing areas as well as a lot of smaller storage rooms and spaces that were offices before the operation shut down. Sureshot has infrared scanning, so he will be able to tell us the exact location of the suspects and how many of them there are inside the building. That is, of course, if they don’t have the equipment activated to cover their spark radiation. Prowl and Pax, you’re new at this. I wanted you here because I felt you could be useful as well as learn a few things. Also, you were at the last attack locations of these thugs and have seen the damage they have done, so I thought you might like to get some measure of justice. But remember: you’re not in this for yourself. You’re not judge and executioner. Your duty here is backing up Smokescreen, Rook and myself, and contain the suspects once we make contact. Understood?”

“Yes, sir.” Prowl and Pax answered in unison. They sat next to each other on the 2nd bench, with Smokescreen and Rook sitting in front of them.

“Good.” Magnus continued. “Now, once we clear the building and capture the suspects, Sureshot will send the signal to the shuttle, and it will arrive and hover over the building. By this time it won’t matter that others will see it, as we will have captured the bombers. But we must get back on the shuttle quickly, in case reinforcements are tipped off and try something. There are only 6 of us, we can’t go against an unknown number of the bombers’ associates. Our objective will be to make it to the roof, and there Sureshot will be able to cover us better. Anyone who wants to do something about us being there will have to get up on the roof as well, and will present an open target. Sureshot, do not shoot to kill, only to wound, unless it’s absolutely necessary to subdue the other suspect. This may lead to us being able to capture more suspects than just the 2 bombers, thus providing more sources of information for their plans. Clear?”

“Yes, sir.” Sureshot said, sitting on the very last bench, going over his sniper rifle.

“Good.” Magnus continued. “Rook, Smokescreen, this is not yor first time, you know what you have to do.”

Rook and Smokescreen both just nodded without saying anything.

“Alright. Get ready.” Magnus said.

Right on cue, the shuttle landed smoothly, and the rear doors opened. The team all picked up their protective gear and disembarked. The bombers’ hideout wasn’t far, and they made it there without bringing too much attention to themselves. Some bystanders wondered wat they were doing, but there were only 5 of them, so most people didn’t think it was a high profile operation. Sureshot had gone a different way, and he didn’t have protective gear, as he wasn’t participating in the entry. Magnus would have liked to do this at night, guaranteeing that they would go virtually unnoticed, but he couldn’t take the chance of the bombers moving on, so he had to greenlight this operation as soon as possible. Everyone was ready, and Magnus gave the signal. Smokescreen entered the building through the side door, and scanned for alarms and booby traps. He found none. These bombers were either very confident that they wouldn’t be found, very arrogant, or very incompetent. Or maybe a combination of all 3. After all, they didn’t bother disguising themselves or making a stealthy getaway after they set off the bombs, identifying themselves as Decepticons in front of everyone on the streets of Iacon as they ran from the destruction they caused. The rest of the team followed as planned, and they cleared the ground floor without any surprises. Sureshot had informed them that 4 spark signatures were in the building, all on the 2nd floor, slutered in one corner. If they were able to get the drop on them, they might catch all of them at once, without any resistance. Sureshot informed Magnus that the suspects had not reacted in any way to them entering the building. So far so good.

They quickly made their way up to the 2nd floor, with magnus taking point, followed by pax and Prowl. Rook began sweeping the area for explosives, either ones set to repel any intruders or even unarmed ones which would be used in future bombings. Magnus was sure there would be more. Smokescreen at this point was watching Rook’s back. Magnus, the commander of the police academy, had experience in abundance with all types of police operations. He could do this kind of incursion with his optics deactivated. Of course that didn’t mean it was to be done. Pax, right behind Magnus, was simply following protocol, just as he was taught at the academy. He had his service blaster at the ready, with no backup weapon. Prowl, behind Pax, had his shotgun locked and loaded. Magnus had questioned Prowl’s decision to use the weapon, as it was cumbersome and unwieldy in small areas. And they were there to capture suspects, not eliminate them. But the shotgun was Prowl’s backup weapon, and it wasn’t against the rules to have it. So Magnus let him bring it. As Rook and Smokescreen went down one hallway on the opposite side of the building where the suspects were, the other 3 made a straight line for the area where the bombers were according to Sureshot. They were almost there, but as Magnus took a peek around the last corner in the corridor, one of the suspects happened to be looking out the entrance of the room in his direction and spotted him.

“We got company!” he shouted, and the other could be heard scrambling, knocking over whatever equipment was in the room.

“Damn it!” Magnus cursed and drew his service blaster.

He charged in, the other 2 following. He had not yet become “Ultra” Magnus, and did not have the extra armor provided by his trailer in vehicle mode. He was smaller, only slightly bigger than Orion Pax, and could move more soothly in the small space, allowing the others a view of their targets. 2 of the suspects ran to the right after exiting the room, the other 2 went through another entrance to the left side.

“I got these 2!” Magnus said, motioning to the first 2 suspects. “You get them!”

Prowl and Pax nodded and took off after the other 2 Decepticons.

“Rook, Smokescreen!” Magnus said into the radio in his helmet. “2 suspects coming towards you!”

We’re ready.” came Rook’s reply.

Down the other way, the 2 Decepticons split up at the end of the hall, one going left, the other going right. Prowl and Pax said nothing to each other, they simply reacted. Pax being the first, took off to the left and Prowl chased the ‘Con going to the right. Prowl recognized him as the 1st ‘Con who ran past him after the explosions in Iacon. Regardless of the others’ involvement, this was the actual bomber who got away. Prowl relished the chance to catch him. On the radio, Sureshot informed them that the 3rd ‘Con that Pax was chasing had made a half circle and was now coming towards Rook and Smokescreen as well. The other 4 had quickly cornered and subdued the 3 suspects, but Prowl was now on his own with the last one. He had made it to a stairwell and began going up to the 3rd floor. Sureshot was in Prowl’s radio, guiding him as he could see the bomber’s spark signature through his rifle scope. The ‘Con made it up to the 3rd floor, but Prowl was right behind him. He didn’t have to worry about surprise attacks, as Sureshot told him every move the ‘Con made. Prowl got to the top of the stairs and went through the entrance. He was in a narrow corridor, with openings on both side.

He’s in the 3rd room on the right.” Sureshot’s voice came through the helmet. “He stopped. He’s fiddling with something. Be careful.

Prowl, acknowledge.” Magnus’s voice came over the radio. “We’re coming to your location.

“Got it.” Prowl said in a low voice. “Are the others in custody?”

Yes.” Magnus replied. “Don’t engage the last suspect unless you have to. We’ll be there in a moment.

“Acknowledged.” Prowl said and clicked off his helmet comm-link. He moved forward, the shotgun gripped in both hands and pointed forward. He reached the entrance to the room. He peeked inside, and not seeing anything, turned into the entrance, then stepped into the room, disobeying Magnus’s last order. The ‘Con was standing in the corner, his back to Prowl.

“Turn around.” Prowl said quietly but sternly. There were no lights in the building, and Alpha Centauri was already below the horizon. There was barely enough natural light to see.

The ‘Con turned around, with one hand up in front of him, the other moving towards the side of his head.

“Stop.” Prowl said. “Both your hands out in front of you. Do it now!”

He heard Magnus and Pax reach the top of the stairs and come through the entrance to the corridor. They would be here momentarily.

“You can’t stop us.” the Decepticon said. “You can’t stop the movement.”

His left hand had reached his head, and he had stuck something into the side. Prowl hadn’t seen it before, but it was a device to fry the cerebral circuits, erasing memories without killing the subject. This way not even a mnemosurgeon could find out what the suspect knew.

“Megatron will be victorious!” the ‘Con said, and twisted the device, activating it, just as Pax reached the entrance.

“He will be dealt with. Just like you.” Prowl said coolly and evenly, and pulled the shotgun’s trigger.

“Prowl, no!” Pax shouted, but it was too late. The dual energon shells exploded out of the top 2 barrels, impacting the ‘Con in the chest and left shoulder. He never got the chance to experience the memory wipe, and died with Prowl’s last words in his mind. His body was thrown against the corner by the chest explosion, and his left arm was flung off to the side by the impact of the shell on his shoulder. It landed almost next to the opposite wall. However, the memory wiping device was stuck in his head and activated, doing its job as the ‘Con’s lifeless body crumbled in the corner. His spark ignited, just as Magnus stepped into the room. Prowl and Pax covered up, shielding their faces from the explosion. The protective gear did its job and covered their bodies. Magnus stepped back out at the last moment, and the explosion didn’t affect him.

After everything calmed down, Pax and Prowl were walking back to the shuttle. They would each have to file an official report, and Pax was troubled by what he had seen.

“Why did you shoot him?” he asked Prowl point blank.

“What do you mean?” Prowl asked. “He was gonna charge me with what he had in his hand. I thought it was an explosive.”

“Prowl. I was here I saw it. He was standing in the corner, not making any moves. You shot him. He didn’t even have a weapon on his. Just the circuit-fryer.”

“I didn’t know that. I was getting dark. I thought he had a grenade. Pax, these bot were bombers. Magnus even told us to look out for explosives that they would use against us.”

“He had no weapons or explosives on his. And he was standing still. And you shot him. I saw it. I have to put it in the report.”

“You walked in when everything was already going down. You saw it wrong.”

“I don’t think I did.”

Prowl stopped walking and turned to Pax.

“Listen, put whatever you think you saw in your report. I’m not telling you otherwise. And I will put what actually happened in mine. I was there, you weren’t. End of story.”

Prowl then walked away, leaving Pax standing there, wondering what was happening. Was he just overreacting? Or did Prowl take a wrong turn somewhere and was now going down a dangerous path? What happened here tonight, combined with how Prowl reacted to the bombings back in Iacon, Pax felt doubt if Prowl was truly honoring the oath he took as a police officer. He knew one thing for certain: the words and actions of his friend were not those of a pubic servant but those of a vengeful and misguided individual. A vigilante. At that instant, Pax knew that things between he and Prowl would never be the same as before.
Rodimus Prime
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Re: The Bad Seed.

Postby Rodimus Prime » Sat Oct 21, 2017 12:54 am

Outskirts of Iacon: Abandoned Repair Station

Present Day

*knock* *knock*

“That’s them.” Smokescreen said.

“Alright. I’ll go out and deal with them, you keep these 2 inside.” Blue Streak said. “They can’t see the ‘Cons!”

Blue Streak walked outside, while Smokescreen went into the other area and sat down with Lightspeed and Streetwise. The 2 newer members of the vigilante squad were still talking about their new roles in the Autobot penal system when the Combaticons arrived. As far as they were concerned, they were preparing for a raid on the Combaticons’ possible hideout and the knock on the door was from 2 transporters sympathetic to their cause who brought extra weapons and ammo. Lightspeed was still checking out his new shotgun. He had never held one before, as they were decommissioned then outlawed by the time he arrived in the Autobot ranks. He was familiar with the model, as he had researched it along with some others in his spare time as a hobby. He even wondered sparingly what it would be like to hold and fire one. Now he got to realize that seemingly faraway dream. He and Streetwise discussed many things regarding their new place, including their initial reluctance to join. They talked about the tragedies to their respective teams and how that motivated them, if only to seek justice against the Combaticons. They had no idea how close they were to achieving that goal. If only one of them just got up and walked outside…

“So.” Smokescreen interrupted. “You got a better picture of everything?”

“Yeah.” Lightspeed said. “It’s still new, but it’s good to have someone who had just gone through it. I mean, I’m committed to this, but it’s one thing to talk about it and another to actually act on it.”

“That’s for sure.” Smokescreen replied. “Did you have any problems driving the transport vehicle down here?”

“Uh, no, no one stopped me.”

“That’s not what I mean. Did you have any difficulty actually operating it?”

“No. it’s just a basic transport. A power plant, a steering system, 4 hover pads, 2 seats in the front, a covered cargo space in the back. I mean, it was empty when I brought it, and I don’t know how heavy our cargo will be and what we’re gonna be carrying.”

“Not much. We’re each responsible for our own shotgun ammo, the only ammunition in the back will be a case of grenades and a heavy blaster in case we need to go through a wall or a reinforced door. And of course myself and Blue Streak will be sitting back there as well. You 2 need to be up front, driving. The destination will be programmed into the nav.”

“You want me to drive?”

“Yes. Apparently we had witnesses when we took out the Stunticons. Blue Streak and I can’t be seen for a while, we’re being sought for questioning.”

Lightspeed didn’t react, but Streetwise’s optics widened in alarm.

“Relax.” Smokescreen said. “It seems Blue Streak and I were vaguely identified, along with a third bot, who wasn’t seen clearly. So you’re safe. I think we’re alright as well, if they had certain evidence against us we’d have a city-wide warrant out for us. Right now it’s just Jetfire looking for us to talk to us by himself. So they have nothing. But someone who saw us pointed the finger, and they have to follow every lead. We’ll get through it. Especially if this goes down the way we planned it. No one knows about either of you, especially you.” he pointed at Lightspeed. “So if you drive you won’t be stopped.”

“Alright. How long will it take?”

“We’re going to Vos.”

“That’s...a pretty far drive.”

“We’ll be there sooner than you think. Besides, the travel time will allow us in the back to be fully prepared. So when we get there, we can hit them right away.”

“It’s the Combaticons? For sure?” Streetwise asked.

“We have good intel. Prowl relayed it himself. I think he even said he was gonna join us with some reinforcements. You know, to make it look legitimate. But we don’t plan on taking any of them alive. Who knows, you might even get to pull the trigger on a couple of them yourselves.”

“Won’t they fight back?”

“I’m sure they will try. But from what I understand, they’re all together holed up in an old warehouse, thinking they’re perfectly safe. They won’t see us coming. So if all goes well, we’ll breach and make contact before they even get a chance to pick up a weapon. But like I said, we won’t bother with trying to restrain them. You see one, you shoot. Even if they’re unarmed, they’re very dangerous. You know this from personal experience.”

Lightspeed and Streetwise looked at each other then looked at the table. They they looked back up at Smokescreen.

“We’ll be ready.” Streetwise said.

“Good. No more hesitation like with Motormaster.” Smokescreen said firmly, with a light hint of a threat.

“No hesitation.” Streetwise said, and gripped his own shotgun. “The Combaticons deserve what’s coming to them.”

“Yeah.” Lightspeed affirmed.

“Good. That’s what I like to hear. Now you 2 get ready, we’ll be leaving in a breem or so. I’m gonna go back outside to check on everything.”

“No need.” Blue Streak said from behind him, as he walked into the room. “Eveything’s set.”

“Alright them.” Smokescreen turned back to the other 2. “Let’s go.”

*** *** ***

Hub Capital Iacon: Council Tower

Prowl prepared for his departure. He had been waiting for this for a while. This was the culmination of a plan he had put in place long ago, when he and Smokescreen got together and decided to take matters into their own hands. But he still hasn’t decided how this was going to end. Will he take down the Combaticons in Vos, thus dealing a major blow to the Decepticons’ remaining resistance? Or will he stage a firefight with them and let them get by, bringing the crates of explosives he knew for certain they had all the way to this very tower, in a vehicle he himself provided? If that happened, the Council Tower would be brought down, along with it the current legal system which Prowl knew to be faulty and despised. After the Combaticons are proven to be responsible for bombing the Tower, even Ultra Magnus will have to take a harder stance on not only punishing ‘Cons, but a second look at whether integrating them into Autobot society is really the best way to go. After all, bombings in Iacon is how the Decepticon movement got started, way back when. Prowl and Pax were witnesses to its violent beginnings, and Magnus was there as well, unable to bring it to a halt. Maybe he has learned in the millions of years since, and this time he will not go so easy. But if he and his crew take out the Combaticons on Vos, he won’t get to have his chance at affecting change at the top levels of government, but it might not be needed. Without the Combaticons, who have been the main force behind the violent outbursts of the remaining Decepticons, the rest will be so dejected that they will practically give up. Smokescreen and Blue Streak have taken care of most of the other violent ‘Cons who would put up an armed resistance, through years of careful missions behind the scenes, making it look like those ‘Cons were casualties of their own kind. Now all that was left is killing the heart of the resistance. The only Decepticon combiner team still functional. The only viable threat to the Autobots’ final victory. But ironically, Prowl’s greatest asset in trying to bring fundamental change to how the new Cybertronian legal system will be implemented. No matter what, the Decepticons can not be allowed to regain any power in any facet of society. If they all have to be killed or imprisoned for this to happen, so be it. They made their choice a long time ago. They gambled on a megalomaniacal dictator and lost. Now it was time to pay the price.

As Prowl gathered his tactical gear, he contemplated. He truly couldn’t decide which way to go. Finally, he came to the section of the wall in his office which housed his Flintlock-Sureshot 350. He looked at it for a moment and slow smile creased his face. Symbolically, just as it had materially in the past, the shotgun made the decision for him. The Combaticons couldn’t be allowed to live. No matter what. Only Onslaught was aware of the bigger scheme orchestrated by Prowl, but even he didn’t know all of it. But still, he could point an accusing finger if he was caught. And even if no one believed him, it would still bring at least a minimal amount of unwanted attention to Prowl, and he couldn’t have that. So the Combaticons, especially Onslaught, had to die. And it was more of a sure thing to take them out in Vos than it was to allow them to get to the Tower, and have them possibly die in the explosions, or during their escape afterwards, or, the worst option, have them be captured by the other Autobot security forces. Because the assault on the Tower itself will surely bring everyone to the ready. Hell, probably even the Dinobots will come down from Moon Base 2. Prowl deactivated the transparent shield in the wall and reached in for the shotgun. No one knew he still had it, it was illegal to possess one. But it had been with him literally since the first day he was a police officer, and this weapon had helped him make some difficult decisions as well as saved his life on more than one occasion. He couldn’t get rid of it. Just couldn’t. Not only was it one of a kind, but Prowl felt an unconditional loyalty toward it, because the weapon had never failed him. It was loyal to him always, and he could be no less to it in return. And Prowl wasn’t loyal to many other entities in this life besides himself. He took the gun out and gripped it. Still felt just as good as it did on that first day. Of course, when someone else came into his office, he would have to close the secret compartment the gun was in. But when he was alone, which was often, by his own design, he would have it out in the open, and some days he would just admire it, remembering his times as a police officer before the war broke out. The good old days. He and Pax, each patrolling their own home cities, meeting once in a while socially or at a law enforcement function. Prowl had realized that soon after the Decepticon uprising began, Orion Pax had begun treating him differently. They used to be so close, but after those first bombings, Prowl’s response to them, and then that incident in the raid on the bombers’ hideout… Then Orion became not only a member of the Elite Guard, eventually he became Prime. Prowl shook his head. It was still surreal to him at times. But it’s the way things were.

Prowl expertly took apart the shotgun with a few swift moves and hid the pieces among his other gear. It was time to finish this once and for all. He headed out of his office, down to the police shuttle that was waiting for him with a squad of Autobot drones on board. He had contacted Red Alert about the Combaticons’ hideout, but by the time Red Alert got there with his own police contingent, Prowl will have finished the job with Smokescreen and the others. He called Red Alert to simply make things look legit.

*** *** ***

Hot Rod was almost there. He thought that maybe he should wait, knowing how dangerous the Combaticons are, but he couldn’t chance Prowl getting there first. Hot Rod had a bad feeling. He couldn’t place where it came from. It was just there. Maybe it had something to do with what Prime saw in him. Who knew? Maybe Prime was right. Maybe Hot Rod did have something inside him that proved that he was meant for bigger things, as Prime had told him. Hot Rod himself had not seen it, he always thought of himself as just a regular bot, having fun when he could, fighting the ‘Cons when he had to. Just living life. Putting up with Kup’s griping, Springer’s antagonizing, and Arcee’s sometimes inappropriate interactions with him. Hot Rod had to chuckle at the last thought. He and Arcee had been friends for a long time. Sometimes, though, he wondered. Would he be able to enter into conjunx endura with her if she ever asked? Or was she waiting for him to ask her? If she was, he considered it a wasted opportunity on his part. There weren’t many bots like Arcee on Cybertron. But the signs were never there, or at least he hadn’t seen them. And he and Arcee got along so well, he didn’t want to risk ruining that by exploring it further. Did that make him a coward? Or was his hesitation for a good reason, one which he has yet to understand? If he is meant for bigger things, perhaps taking Prime’s place in the future (Hot Rod had to wonder about that. Him becoming a Prime? What would he even call himself? Hot Rod Prime? Hotimus Prime? Rodimus Prime? Hot Rodimus?) then a conjunx endura was out of the question. He couldn’t be devoted to a single other bot when an entire planet looked to him for guidance and protection. Hot Rod shuddered at that last thought. What an immense responsibility. But Prime seemed to think that’s where his teachings were headed. Regardless, all that was in the future. He had to concentrate on the present. And the present revolved around Prowl and his shady motivations. If Hot Rod had had any misgivings about it before, after his confrontation with the police chief at Central Headquarters he was certain Prowl was not a selfless law enforcer. He may do the daily routine of a police officer, as well as show himself to be a responsible and capable police chief, but underneath all that there was something else. Something sinister. Hot Rod just knew it. And whatever divine spirit was inside him, it was pointing him towards Vos, where Prowl was preparing for a showdown with the Combaticons. A showdown that will end only one way. Unless Hot Rod got there first.

*** *** ***

Hub Capital Iacon: Central Police Headquarters

Before the War

"So tell me again.” Magnus said. “What happened exactly.”

He was looking at Prowl sitting across his desk. Prowl’s report on the raid was on the screen on the desk in front of him.

“It’s in the report.” Prowl said, nodding toward the screen.

“I would like to hear it from you. After all, you were in there. Pax didn’t get there until the end. Correct?”

“Yes. The suspect had concealed a device in his hand. Upon my instructions to turn around and put his hands up, he had revealed it to me, either by accident or on purpose, I couldn’t tell. But regardless, I felt that an unidentified object was an immediate threat. I told him once to drop it. Instead, he raised it towards his head. I ran all the possible scenarios in my cerebral circuits, and came to one of 2 possible conclusions: either he was preparing to attack me, or he was preparing to harm himself. Given that your orders were to capture them alive at any costs, except our safety, I decided that the only course of action was to disarm the suspect. Due to my distance from him, I was unable to use hand-to-hand techniques, I had to resort to my firearm.”

“But a shotgun?” Magnus asked, his voice rising slightly. “That much destructive power had only one outcome. You should have known this.”

“Yes, sir. The shotgun was in my hands, as it was my preferred weapon of choice. I believed going into the operation that our service blasters would be ineffective, unless the suspects were completely unarmed, which was a very unlikely scenario. I was prepared for the worst possible case.”

“Well, unfortunately that’s what ended up happening. But in Pax’s report, he stated that you fired on the suspect as he was standing in the corner, not making threatening moves.”

“With all due respect, sir, Pax wasn’t there for the entire interaction. He couldn’t have seen the suspect reveal the device and make threatening motions with it.”

“But the device was a circuit-fryer. He couldn’t harm you with it unless he stuck it in your head. And considering your training, I highly doubt the probability of that outcome.”

“Yes, sir, but I didn’t know that at the time.”

“Did you ask him to identify the device?”

“No. I asked him to drop it. Removing it from his possession would have neutralized it, no matter what its nature was. This was my top priority.”

“Yes, just as you were trained at the academy. But I cannot simply dismiss Orion Pax’s report as a witness that you fired on a suspect that wasn’t moving toward you or attempted to use any live firearms against you.”

“Sir, if you disapprove of my actions, then I expect you to act accordingly. But I maintain that I was not acting outside of the police department guidelines regarding armed incursion of a suspected armed perpetrator’s dwelling, and that I followed protocol regarding appropriate response to hostile behavior by said suspected armed perpetrator. I don’t believe I was wrong in my actions.”

Magnus looked at Prowl for a long moment. As Prowl said his previous statement, his optics narrowed somewhat, as if he was challenging Magnus to refute his report and punish him for killing the bomber. Prowl had utter conviction regarding his actions, and he wasn’t going to be intimidated into changing his stance by anyone. Not even Magnus, commander of the police academy and his superior officer during the operation. Magnus, for his part, detected the slight change in Prowl’s demeanor, and it helped him to come to his conclusion. Prowl had acted in a manner other than required of a police officer. He would have to face the consequences.

“Considering Pax’s report, I can’t just dismiss the uncertainty around your actions. I cannot punish you for anything specific, as there were a lot of mitigating circumstances. But I do get a certain degree of discretion in these matters, and I believe your actions were out of line. You will be informed of your official hearing on the matter in the next couple of days. At the hearing you will get the chance to officially defend your actions in front of a panel, and depending on the outcome of the hearing, you may face disciplinary action. Until then, you are suspended from duty. You’re dismissed.”

Prowl’s face was tight, and he never betrayed any emotional reaction to what he was hearing. He simply stood up, saluted Magnus and left the office. Outside, Smokescreen and Orion Pax sat on opposite sides of the entrance. Prowl gave Pax a dismissive look as he walked out.

“Pax!” Magnus called from the office. “Come in.”

Orion Pax stood up and walked inside, never saying anything to Prowl. Smokescreen stood up as well, and walked after Prowl who was heading down the corridor toward the exit.

“Hey!” he said. “Wait up!”

“What?” Prowl curtly asked.

They both stopped in the hallway, and Smokescreen lowered his voice.

“For what it’s worth, I think you did the right thing.” he said. “That perp deserved to be blown away, and if you hadn’t done it, I would have. I think sometimes this Decepticon movement is treated too lightly. It needs to be brought to an end swiftly, by any means necessary.”

Prowl wasn’t sure at first if Smokescreen was simply kowtowing to him.

‘You really feel that way?”

“Yes, of course. I’ve been a cop long enough to see the worse in most bots, but this new uprising is worse than anything I’ve seen. It needs to be eradicated with force before it has the chance to grow. And for that to happen, there need to be more officers out there like us.”

Prowl slowly smiled.

“Yeah, you’re right. But right now is not the time. We’ll discuss it more later.”

“Yeah, of course. Let me know. Believe me, there are more bots like us out there who feel the same way.”

“Alright. Right now I have other things to deal with.”

With that, Smokescreen went back to take his seat by the office and wait his turn, while Prowl left the police station.

In Magnus’s office, Pax sat quietly as Magnus looked over Prowl’s report one more time. Finally, he spoke.

“I decided to punish Prowl.” he said matter-of-factly. “Yes, the situation was unstable, but he was still out of line. I put merit into your account and came to the conclusion that he should have handled it differently. He acted rashly and it resulted in not only an unnecessary death, but obstruction of our investigation. He will face the consequences at a hearing very soon.”

“Alright.” Pax said quietly. “I...I wasn’t trying to get him in trouble.”

“No, of course not. I know that. You were just being honest. You did the right thing.”

“Alright. Sir, honestly, I’m confused. You have my report, and if you decided to go with it, why am I here?”

“Because. I have something I want to ask you. Something personal. Something off the record.”

Pax didn’t say anything just leaned forward in his chair.

“I believe that Prowl is losing his way as a police officer.” Magnus went on. “There’s...there’s something inside him. I don’t like to speak of uncertainties, but I can’t make it any clearer than that, and if I want to figure it out, it might be too late.”

“For what, sir?”

“To save Prowl. To save him from himself.”

“I...see. And what do you want me to do?”

“Pax, I believe you have greatness in you. I have known it from the first day at the academy. Prowl has a very strong sense of justice, but his moral compass is...compromised. Yours is not. I believe you’re strong enough to do what I am about to ask you.”

“Well, I appreciate that, sir. I will certainly try my best.”

“Pax, I have no right expect you to carry this burden, but because of my belief in your moral strength, I will ask. I want you to become personally responsible for Prowl.”

“How so?”

“Not his actions. For him. I want you to keep him on the straight path, as much as possible. Become his keeper. He has a strong spirit inside him, and we must fight for it. I have seen corruption of good officers before, and Prowl has shown signs of this as well. But I believe if we stay by his side and keep him walking the line, he will become a great law enforcer.”

“You...you want me to be his keeper.”

“Yes. But this must remain between you and I. if Prowl learns of this, we will lose him forever. You must stay by his side, guide him gently if you can, be forceful with him if you must. But I don’t want to lose him. Much like you, he is rare. But that doesn’t mean he’s not vulnerable to stray from the path of righteousness.”

“I understand. I will do everything to the best of my ability for as long as it takes.”

“Thank you, Pax. I...I feel regret placing this burden on you, because it is really my responsibility. But...I can’t be there on the streets all the time. I need someone I can trust to see this through.”

“I will not fail you. I will not fail Prowl.”

“Thank you, Pax. I am counting on you.”

With that, Orion Pax stood up, saluted Magnus just like Prowl had done, and left the office. He nodded to Smokescreen and walked out the same way Prowl had done. But Orion Pax had a much different fight ahead of him than Prowl did.
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Re: The Bad Seed.

Postby Rodimus Prime » Sun Oct 22, 2017 1:23 am

The Ruins of Vos

Present Day

Hot Rod landed his police transport among a group of destroyed buildings. He didn’t need a shuttle port, or even an actual landing pad, as the prisoner transport was fairly small. A good pilot could fly it right over the streets in a bigger city where the streets were wide enough. But here in Vos, there was plenty of space. Most buildings were a pile of rubble instead of actual edifices, with walls and roofs caved in. A lot of the damage was from the bombing raids to drive the ‘Cons out, but they weren’t very good at keeping their cities in good condition in the first place. They had no respect for other living beings, why would they respect anything as trivial as the place they lived in? On the transport were 6 temporary holding cells, 3 on each side of a corridor that went from the back of the transport’s rear door to the door of the cockpit. There were 2 seats facing the cells for the 2 guards required on each transport, plus the seats for the pilot and co-pilot on the other side of the wall. Most of the time the co-pilot could act as the 3rd guard if he was needed. But right now, Hot Rod was all by himself. He looked at the transport navigational system, and saw that he wasn’t that far from the location of the warehouse Red Alert loaded up for him as his destination. Hot Rod thought of Red Alert, and wondered if he should wait. After all, there were 5 Combaticons, and who knows how many more Decepticons in there. When the Combaticons attacked the Protectobots, they had help. Lightspeed didn’t see any other ‘Cons in Tarn when they attacked him, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t there. The sensible thing was to wait for backup, Hot Rod thought. But if that backup was going to be Prowl, Hot Rod still had that feeling that he should get to the Combaticons first, or at the very least make his presence known so that they would be prepared for when the others came. This was crazy! Did Hot Rod actually contemplate warning a bunch of the most wanted Decepticons on Cybertron just so they could put up a better fight against a law enforcer that Hot Rod had serious misgivings about? The Combaticons were murderers! And Prowl, for all his asinine behavior, was still an Autobot! But he did threaten Hot Rod’s life. There was that. And he seemed to not only to have his head up his crankshaft when it came to this vigilante business, but it seemed to Hot Rod that he actually tried to actively steer Magnus’s attention away from that problem. Did Prowl sanction the vigilante attacks? Or at the very least, turned his optics away from the problem?

Hot Rod knew that Prowl and Smokescreen were very tight, and Blue Streak could be considered in that crew as well, because he was Smokescreen’s running buddy for a long time. Not to mention they all share the same body schematics. They’re not spark-brothers as the term is defined, but the fact that their sparks all acclimated to that specific body type the smoothest meant that their sparks were at the very least similar in their basic nature. The same basic nature that also defined their personalities. Hot Rod had learned a great deal recently about sparks and their natures and how that affected a bot. It was one of the extensive lessons Optimus had been preaching to him. Hot Rod knew that Smokescreen and Blue Streak were wanted for questioning in the murders of at least 2 Stunticons, Motormaster and Drag Strip. The 3rd, Wildrider, somehow survived the assault and was now barely clinging to life in stasis lock in a ward in the Medical District, ironically just down a corridor from Hotspot’s own room. If he ever recovers, he could also be a witness and bring some clarity to these vigilante attacks. Magnus had inquired about performing mnemosurgery on his, but First Aid forbade it, saying the trauma could be the deciding factor in Wildrider’s already fading spark going completely dark. So they had to wait until at least when his spark recovered somewhat. He didn’t have to be conscious for the procedure, but it does take a toll on a bot when someone else goes digging inside his cerebral circuitry, even if it’s a supremely skilled mnemosurgeon like Chromedome. The other witnesses who put Smokescreen and Blue Streak, along with an as-yet unidentified 3rd bot, on the scene of the attack, were not very reliable, but it was all they had to go on. But Hot Rod had an inkling that Smokescreen and Blue Streak were mixed up in this, and just by their past association with Prowl, he was also involved. And something told Hot Rod that the Combaticons were going to meet the same fate the Stunticons did if Prowl was allowed to have his way here. Unless Hot Rod did something about it first. Hot Rod shut down the transport’s engines and turned off the control panels. He didn’t want any kind of detection even by accident. Before leaving the cockpit, he activated the transport’s comm-link.

“Dispatcher.” he said into the mouthpiece.

Go ahead, transport.” the automated voice came back. The dispatcher wasn’t actually a living bot, it was a computer program at Central Headquarters which linked up all the prisoner transports with the processing stations all over the planet. Contact with a superior officer could be made upon request.

“Patch me through to code 003-938.”

One moment.

Static.

Yes?” the gruff voice came from the other end.

“It’s Hot Rod.”

What is it?

“Remember what we talked about the last time I saw you?”

A moment of silence. Then:

Yes.

“I have a feeling my suspicions are about to come to a realization. I need you to monitor my location. I am sending you the exact coordinates. Can you keep an optic on the developments, just in case?”

A few seconds of silence. Then:

Yes.

“Thank you. Hopefully this is just a precaution, but somehow I don’t think so. But if things go the way I planned, this vigilante business and those responsible for it will be exposed and can be dealt with.”

Good luck.

The line went dead. Just as well, Hot Rod thought. This was no time for chit-chat. He turned off the comm-link and exited the cockpit, then the transport itself through the rear door. He was armed with his dual blasters and a handful of grenades. He didn’t bother with extra protection because he knew it would slow him down. He was faster than all 5 of the Combaticons individually, and if it came to a chase, only Vortex and Blast Off had even a slim chance of keeping up with him, and that would require them to transform, thus drawing the attention of the aerial patrols. But the security forces should be alerted by now anyway, it’s protocol. Hot Rod knew that even if Prowl didn’t send out the alert, Red Alert would do it. If it came to a firefight, Hot Rod had no chance. The Combaticons lived up to their name, they excelled in combat. So a shootout was not an option. In hand-to-hand fighting, Hot Rod could possibly take out Swindle and Vortex, as they were the smaller ones, and maybe Blast Off if he got in a few lucky shots, but Brawl was way too strong, and not to mention a complete imbecile, and of course Onslaught was bigger and stronger than the others as well as Hot Rod and wielded abundantly superior firepower. So how was Hot Rod going to handle this? Maybe he should have thought about it more before he ever got here. But time was short, and something had to be done. He was walking towards the warehouse that the Combaticons supposedly occupied. Everything was quiet and dark. Alpha Centauri had disappeared below the horizon a while ago, and everything was thrown into pitch black. There were no lights anywhere, as Vos was not occupied. It was a ghost town. The many ghosts of the Decepticon uprising and subsequent destruction lived here. And tonight, some ghosts would haunt Cybertron once again.

*** *** ***

Road to Vos

Present Day

The unmarked transport vehicle glided along the road, its hover pads keeping it above the surface at the minimum height. Smokescreen had ordered Lightspeed to travel slow and cautious, but not too much. They needed to look inconspicuous, like a routine delivery. Lightspeed and Streetwise sat up front, while Smokescreen, Blue Streak, Brawl, Swindle, Blast Off and Vortex were in the back. Lightspeed and Streetwise couldn’t know that the very ‘Cons who murdered their former teammates were now getting a ride with them. The cargo area was separated from the driver’s space, so unless either of them actually looked in the back at the rear, they wouldn’t know what or who was back there.

“This is not what Onslaught told us.” Blast Off said. “We were supposed to split up, 2 of us driving the rig and 2 of us being blockers. There was no mention of any Autobots coming along.”

“Well, this is how it’s going to be.” Smokescreen said firmly. “We supply the transportation and the access, you supply the muscle and the fireworks. I believe Onslaught and our boss have everything squared away.”

Swindle looked at Smokescreen warily.

“And what about those?” he asked, pointing at the shotguns both Smokescreen and Blue Streak were carrying. “Those aren’t exactly legal.”

“Oh yeah?” Blue Streak answered. “Well, you ‘Cons being here isn’t exactly legal. And neither is you being around all that explosive you say you have.”

“Point taken.” Swindle said. “But for the record, I’m still suspicious of this whole thing. Why would you bots want to destroy your own center of government?”

“Let’s just say not all of us approve the way things are being run out of that place.” Smokescreen said. “And so far talking and debating hasn’t gotten us anywhere. So it’s time to be more...persuasive.”

“Well, demolition is a specialty of ours.” Brawl spoke up unexpectedly.

The others looked at him, caught off guard by his exclamation. Brawl was usually quiet, letting his fists and cannon barrel do the talking.

“Good to know.” Blue Streak replied a bit condescendingly.

“So how will this go down exactly?” Vortex asked. “The boss didn’t tell us specifics.”

“Well, you will load up your ordnance into this transport and one of us will drive it to the edge of Iacon.” Smokescreen said. “There, we will switch, and one of you will take the controls. There will be surveillance and we cannot be seen driving the vehicle that will deliver the explosives used to bring down the Council Tower.”

“Then what?”

“Then...I don’t know. You will be carrying out the assault, you should have that planned out. We weren’t told of the specifics, only to stay away from the Tower once we hand over the transport to you. I assume you will drive it to the Tower, either slowly and undetected, or as fast as possible to avoid getting caught, and once you’re there, detonate the explosives, destroying the Tower’s foundation and bringing it down. Getting out is your responsibility.”

“Unless you plan on making it a suicide mission.” Blue Streak added with a grin.

Without a word, Brawl stood up, having to lean forward, as his head would hit the ceiling if he stood straight.

“You’re committing suicide by running your mouth like that, scrapheap.” he said.

Blue Streak picked up his shotgun and racked it.

“Hey!” Smokescreen said, pointing to Blue Streak. “That’s enough!”

“Sit down.” Vortex said to Brawl. “We have more important things to do.”

Brawl and Blue Streak just started at each other, neither making the first move. Finally, Blue Streak put the shotgun back down next to him. Vortex flashed his optics at Brawl and the big Combaticon sat back down. Vortex and Smokescreen looked at each other and exchanged exasperated looks. Then Smokescreen’s personal comm-link beeped. He pressed a button on the inside of his left arm.

“Go.”

A moment of silence, as whoever was on the other end talked, and only Smokescreen could hear it.

“Understood.” he finally said. Then he pressed the button on his arm again and looked at the others.

“Slight change in plans. We have a problem. An unwanted visitor to your safehouse in Vos.” he said to Vortex.

“What? But no one knows…”

“Apparently someone saw you. Because there is an Autobot there, snooping around the warehouse. He’s by himself, so it seems he’s just following up on a possible tip. Is Onslaught prepared for such inconveniences?”

“Uh...of course.” Vortex said. “But...who is this Autobot? Why is he alone?”

“Not sure why, but the who is Hot Rod.”

“So what do we do? We’re getting close.”

“Our order is to eliminate him.” Smokescreen said firmly. “We can’t have any witnesses to our operation.”

“But...why is he there?”

“Like I said, I have no idea. Maybe just a case of wrong place wrong time. Point is, if he doesn’t leave before we get there, we have to take him out. The boss was clear.”

“Whose boss?” Swindle asked. “Yours or ours?”

“Ours, of course.” Smokescreen said with a touch of condescension. “I don’t talk to Onslaught.”

“Well, it’s just one Autobot.” Brawl said. “Won’t be a problem for the 8 of us.”

“9.” Swindle said. “Don’t forget Onslaught.”

“10.” Smokescreen corrected him. “Our boss is there already. He’s waiting for us. He was the one who spotted Hot Rod.”

“Fine.” Swindle responded with a wicked grin . “10 on 1. Seems fair.”

“They’re not gonna like it.” Blue Streak said to Smokescreen, nodding toward the front of the transport.

“Don’t worry. They don’t even know the parameters of the mission. We’ll stop the transport away from the warehouse and tell them to stay with it, and the 6 of us will approach on foot. We can handle it.”

“Back to 8 on 1.” Swindle chimed in. Both Blue Streak and Smokescreen looked at him with contempt.

*** *** ***

Hub Capital Iacon: Council Tower

4,000,020 Earth Years Ago

"Prowl.”

At the mention of his name, Prowl turned around.

“Oh. It’s you.” he said to Optimus Prime as he approached.

They were on the ground floor of the Tower, Optimus having just come from a meeting with the council members. Bumblebee followed him, but the little yellow bot didn’t stop to talk to Prowl, instead he just waved and went outside. The war had been raging on for quite some time. The Cybertronian society they had known was on the brink of collapse. Over time, the Decepticons had gotten stronger and began openly attacking communities, taking over transportation hubs and manufacturing plants. They even seized total control of 6 Cybertronian cities, and openly defied the council’s attempts to reach a diplomatic solution to the conflict. Megatron’s response to the council’s request for a meeting was to send in a demolition squad and completely destroy Crystal City, one of Cybertron’s cultural centers. It was a place Prowl had spent a lot of time, and its destruction hit him pretty hard. He had already harbored disdain for the Decepticons, but after Crystal City, it grew into complete hatred. On more than one occasion Prowl killed Decepticons, even though standing orders were to detain them, taking their lives only when it was absolutely necessary.

Orion Pax had become Prime not long ago, apparently chosen by the entity the council called The Creation Matrix. Prowl didn’t know its exact nature, only that it was mystical and ancient, and was revered by the Elders. It now called on Orion Pax to lead those Cybertronians who chose to take up the fight against the Decepticons uprising, renaming themselves Autobots, to distinguish their ranks from those who were unwilling or unable to fight back. Thus the 2 factions clashed all over the planet, vying for control of territories, fighting from community to community, city block to city block. To Prowl’s utter disappointment, the Decepticons were winning. Something had to be done. Had he had his way, every Autobot would be ordered to kill any Cybertronian wearing the Decepticon insignia, as the simple declaration of allegiance to Megatron amounted to treason in Prowl’s optics, regardless whether the Con had actually done anything or not. Before the uprising escalated into open conflict, Orion Pax had Prowl transferred from his home of Petrex to Iacon, and had him become part of Pax’s unit, which was Magnus’s personal detail. Prowl never understood this, but he accepted the position. It was something he wanted since becoming a cop, but he wanted to do it on his own, not have someone he knew do favors for him. But it was a highly regarded job, and Prowl wasn’t stupid. He wanted to get ahead any way he could. Then Pax joined the Elite Guard, and they were separated by rank once again. Pax was now his direct superior. It seemed to Prowl that no matter what happened, Pax wanted to make sure Prowl stayed close to him. And now, with the war in full force, he was the head of the newly minted Prime’s security. He was with Pax all the time.

“How was the meeting?” Prowl asked.

“Troublesome.” Prime answered. “It seems that not only do we have to contend with the Decepticons, now there’s an outside threat to our planet as well.”

“Outside threat?” Prowl asked, unable to contain his surprise. “An alien race?”

“No. It seems that our planet will be crossing into the path of a bypassing asteroid cluster. Our astronomers detected it coming from the nearest system, Sol.”

“Really? And how will it affect us?”

“They seem to think the asteroids are large enough to cause widespread destruction to the planet, even annihilate at least half the population.”

“Is...is this for certain?”

“Yes. The asteroid cluster will be directly in Cybertron’s orbit in 2 megacycles.”

“So...what do we do? I mean...we don’t have planetary defenses, and whatever artillery we do have is set up to combat the Decepticons.”

“Yes. But there is a solution, or at least a plan. And we have only one chance to execute it.”

“Oh? You already came up with something?”

“No, not me. The astronomers who detected the cluster brought it to the attention of the Elders, and they instructed Emirate Xaaron to begin formulating a plan to defend the planet. Ultra Magnus couldn’t be tasked with the burden, as he was fully immersed in our conflict with the Decepticons. So Xaaron and his advisors devised a plan which has a high probability of success, but we have only one chance to execute it.”

“Sounds...complicated.”

“Yes and no.”

“Do you know the specifics?”

“Yes. That’s why I was called to the meeting. They want me to be in charge of the plan’s execution. I had recommended that they send Magnus instead and let me stay to combat the Decepticons, but the Elders feel that Magnus is a superior military strategist and his skills are needed here on the planet.”

“On...the planet…?” Prowl’s optics flashed. “Meaning...you will be going off the planet?”

“Yes. You see, the plan involves us being proactive. Instead of waiting for the cluster to reach us and trying to destroy the asteroids as the approach the planet, we’re going to travel to the cluster and destroy it in space. Or at least enough of it so that Cybertron can safely pass through.”

“How?”

“Emirate Xaaron has already arranged for construction of a giant space vessel, in secret of course. No one knew about it until the meeting, not even the Elders. Only Xaaron and the construction crew that is going to build it. There is a secure area of the planet, deep under the surface, of which the Decepticons know nothing about. The starship will be built there, and will launch from there with a crew to operate it and the equipment it will be carrying.”

“What equipment? What crew?” Prowl was now totally in disbelief.

“I am not sure of the exact nature of the equipment, but I was assured I wouldn’t need to worry about it. Those who can operate it will be on board the vessel. My task is to oversee the operation when it happens, and pick out the rest of the crew before we take off. And of course, I want you to come with me.”

“You...you want me to fly up into space with you and destroy some rocks?” Prowl asked, part of him incredulous, part of him flabbergasted.

“Yes. It may sound…”

“It sounds insane!” Prowl cut him off. “The ship would have to be nearly the size of an entire city to have enough artillery to destroy asteroids!”

“It will be.”

“It will be...what?”

“It will be that big. That’s why it’s being constructed secretly. It will take a long time to build it and it will be an immense spacecraft. If it was out in the open, the Decepticons would surely see it and either try to sabotage it or once it is finished try to take it from us.”

“Prime...Pax...Prime…” Prowl couldn’t decide what to say. “I...I can’t…”

“Listen. This threat is immense, it’s imminent, and it’s very, very real.” Prime said calmly. “I have to pick out a crew that can execute the plan flawlessly. I have already picked out some bots, but I need you to not only vet them but to help me pick out the rest. And of course, I want you to come with me. We have been together through a lot since the Academy. Some good, some bad. But in the end, we always looked out for each other. That can’t stop now, especially with the danger being as grave as it is. Not only to the Autobots, but the entire planet.”

“I...alright.” Prowl said. “Let me have the list of those you have chosen, and I will go through them. Then we can sit down and come up with the rest.”

“Good.” Prime said, obvious relief in his voice. “I...I don’t know if I could do this without you, Prowl.” he said, putting a hand on Prowl’s shoulder.

“Don’t worry, Pax...er, Prime.” Prowl smiled. “I got your back. As usual.”

“Glad to hear it.” Prime said. “Now I have to go meet with Ultra Magnus. We have to plan ahead to prepare to combat the Decepticons while we’re away.”

Prime then turned away from Prowl and began walking back to the center of the Tower, where the elevators would take him to whatever floor he wanted.

“Hey!” Prowl called after him. Prime stopped and turned around.

“What is it?” he asked.

“Does it have a name yet?”

“What?”

“The starship. Has it been named yet?”

The Ark.”
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Re: The Bad Seed.

Postby Rodimus Prime » Tue Oct 24, 2017 1:41 am

The Ruins of Vos

Present Day

Onslaught sat in the warehouse room that used to be the office. He was waiting for the others to get back, and then finally the revenge of the Decepticons would begin. Onslaught didn’t trust Prowl, but he was willing to take a chance if the reward was big enough. And Onslaught thought in this case it was as big as it could get: the return of the Decepticons to prominence. The Autobots had returned to their oppressive ways after defeating the Decepticons in the millennia-long war. Everything Megatron said was validated. The Decepticons were held down, confined by rules and threats of imprisonment and even death. For all his benevolent speeches and grand gestures, Optimus Prime was a tyrant, the very thing the Autobots had portrayed Megatron to be. Yes, Megatron’s goal was galactic domination. He wanted to make Cybertron the centerpiece of a Galactic Empire ruled by the Decepticons. There were so many planets in a galaxy, every Decepticon would have his own planet to rule. An entire planet! Megatron had wanted freedom at first, from the oppressive yoke placed on Cybertron’s lower ranks by the High Council and its puppet government. Those wretched, ancient zealots! They used religion, old stories of the Knights of Cybertron, and the threat of Unicron himself to keep their lot in line, and used those gullible sparks to oppress those who dared to suggest that there might be something else out there for the Transformer race besides their duty to protect the universe from the Eater of Worlds. But then Unicron did come. And it seemed the end was at hand. And the Transformers did what they were meant to do, according to the Elders: they destroyed Unicron. But were the Transformers even necessary for this? Onslaught couldn’t help but shake his head at the thought. In the end, it took only one: Optimus Prime, commanding the power of Primus through the Creation Matrix, flying into the mouth of Unicron, sacrificing himself in the process, and opening up that ancient artifact, releasing the Eternal Light into the Universal Darkness, bringing an end to the Chaosbringer. And it took only one. So why were the other Transformers forced to stay and toil away on this planet for all those millennia? Yes, Megatron wanted to rule the galaxy, but at first he wanted only to be free. Only to be able to do something other than spend his existence in a dark mineshaft doing the Council’s bidding. Then Onslaught raised his head at another thought: what if Megatron had stayed as a worker in the mines? Sooner or later they would have reached the center of Cybertron, if the revolution never took place. What if it was Megatron who discovered Primus lying dormant at the heart of the planet? The thought gave Onslaught pause. Would Megatron have turned out as he did if by finding Primus he would have gotten deterred from speaking out, because he would have thought the Council was right all this time? That the sole purpose of the Transformers was to protect their Creator and defend him from the Universal Dominator? If that had been the case, there would be no Decepticons to begin with. Who else would have done what Megatron did? Onslaught couldn’t come up with another bot. Could he have done what Megatron did? He was very good in the gladiatorial arena during the beginning of the revolution, this is why Megatron chose him to be one of his lieutenants. And he was very apt at strategy and planning. But speeches and social skills have never been Onslaught’s strong suit. And his charisma was at a level somewhere near a scraplet’s waste disposal port. So in the end, he had to admit that he served the Decepticons’ cause better as a soldier than as a leader.

The thought of him being a loyal soldier brought back even older memories and Onslaught’s thoughts then drifted back even further. To the time before the war, before the revolution even started. To the time when he was a freelance soldier for hire. A mercenary. He and the others. Before there were Autobots and Decepticons. He was a part of a group even back then, and he wasn’t even the leader. They were all free to choose to be part of missions, and received generous compensation for their services. But even then Onslaught had to answer to someone else. Someone who had held him back, just as others had held Megatron back. And many other Decepticons. He got along with everyone in his unit, and a couple of them even stuck with him when he decided to join the Decepticon movement. Brawl and Vortex had been with him ever since their days of doing for shanix what they do now for free. For survival. Kicking skid plates and blowing **** up. But the others, Kup, Hound, and Alpha Bravo, did it for a better living. Of course, they came from a different side of Cybertronian society, so they looked at things differently. But in the end, they were all part of the same group, and when it came down to it, shanix was the ultimate equalizer when it came to differences of opinion regarding the state of the planet and its society. But eventually, all good things must come to an end, and long before Onslaught decided to join Megatron, he had contemplated breaking away from their unit, as he never really got along with their commander. Magnus was just too much of a straight arrow. A hell of a soldier, but limited in his vision of prosperity. Then, before Onslaught could decide to branch out on his own, Magnus ended their sweet little enterprise. He had saved enough to live well, and in addition, as Onslaught found out later, he was offered the position of a commanding officer in the Cybertronian Police Academy, eventually becoming its commandant. He had never said a word of this to the others in their group, and Onslaught had resented him for it ever since. Had Magnus just retired from being a soldier-for-hire, Onslaught could have just assumed command of their unit. Everyone wanted to keep it going, even Hound and Kup. Alpha Bravo was unable to decide for himself, but then again, he had always been a flake. Onslaught had never liked him. But that’s a story for another time. Right now, Onslaught couldn’t help taking a slight feeling of pleasure in the knowledge that sooner or later he would personally deliver the means of destruction to the Council Tower, on top of which resided the 2 bots he considered most responsible not only for the Decepticons’ misery, but for his own personal misfortune: Optimus Prime, the dictator-in-disguise, and Ultra Magnus, his former commander.

As Onslaught began going over the steps of the plan once again, a red light began blinking on the console sitting on the desk. This time, however, it wasn’t an incoming call. One of Blast Off’s rudimentary alarms had been tripped. There was someone approaching the warehouse. Onslaught immediately stood up. Could they be here? But if it was the other Combaticons, they wouldn’t have tripped the alarm, because even if Blast Off didn’t deactivate them upon their arrival, they still knew where the sensors were, and they wouldn’t have tripped them. No, this was someone else. Someone who didn’t know about this place. The question was, was it someone just passing by, or was it someone here to cause trouble? Onslaught walked out into the main area of the warehouse, and picked up his laser cannon. The weapon had been with him since the beginning, and he relied on it like a trusted old friend. Whoever was outside was going to be in for a big and painful surprise.

*** *** ***

Hot Rod had observed the warehouse for a few breems. Nothing. No lights, no movement. If this indeed was the Combaticons’ hideout, they concealed it very well. But then again, the Combaticons had always been a very disciplined unit, even that imbecile Brawl and that loudmouth Swindle, when it mattered most. And Hot Rod supposed now was when it mattered most, because they were literally Cybertron’s most wanted and he knew the Combaticons would never be taken prisoner. They would die fighting first. So Hot Rod came prepared. As prepared as he could be. He had decided not to wait for either Prowl or Red Alert’s squad of backup, because once they got here, the element of surprise would be gone and the Combaticons would come out all guns blazing. They might even combine into Bruticus, and that would be a bad day for the Autobots, no matter how many squads showed up.

Hot Rod moved closer to the warehouse. He had looked around, and checked with his sensors for any boobytraps, but he couldn’t detect anything. Then again, he didn’t have a sensor for every kind of device, so he had to be careful. He made his way to the shorter side of the warehouse, as it was a rectangular building, not a square. There were tears and holes in the walls, but the side he was on seemed the most complete. Previously Hot Rod circled the warehouse a couple of times, observing it from afar with his visual enhancing visor, and saw no movement. None of the ‘Cons were outside on guard duty. So Hot Rod was pretty sure there were alarms set up around the building, but he couldn’t find any. So either they were hidden really well, or the Combaticons truly thought they were safely hidden away. He made his way along the shorter wall, looking around and even up, checking for any type of monitoring devices or defense mechanisms. Nothing. The building was a huge, silent, dark box. Then Hot Rod found the door. There was a small door, just big enough to let a bot his size through, in the wall. It was concealed well, a bot would have to be standing in front of it to see it. Hot Rod took a couple of steps and peeked around the corner. Nothing. No one. He went back to the door, and looked at it. His enhancing visor was activated, and he scanned the door for a trap. There was a handle on it, and Hot Rod tried to figure out if it opened inward or outward, without actually touching it. It could have been wired to blow. He knew the Combaticons liked their explosives. Nothing showed on the scans. Hot Rod took a moment to decide. He couldn’t take too long, as he was sure reinforcements were close, and things were going to get out of control really fast. He would have loved to surprise the Combaticons, and detain at least a couple of them, if for nothing else than to rub it in Prowl’s face and give himself some personal satisfaction. But then again, he didn’t tell anyone other than Red Alert that he was going to be here, so there was a small chance, however unlikely, that he might get mistaken for a ‘Con and be blasted by the arriving security units. So he had to act. Now. In the old days, he would have just taken out both his blasters and kicked the door in and went in both guns blazing. But now, after spending so much time with Optimus, learning the finer points of how to make decisions, he decided on stealth instead of bravado. He grabbed the handle of the door, and tested which way it went. Pushing it, the door didn’t move. So Hot Rod tried to pull it, and it slowly started moving towards him. So it swung outward. Hot Rod kept pulling slowly, listening to any squeaking noise the door might make, in which case he would stop immediately. This area had been run down for a long time, and no upkeep was performed on anything around here. And Hot Rod would have hated himself if he allowed a simple squeaky hinge to give away his position. So he slowly, an inch at a time, pulled on the door. He listened not only to the hinges, but to any noise that might come from inside. He looked through the small opening he had created, and all he saw was darkness. He activated his visor once again, and scanned for spark radiation, but found nothing. The warehouse seemed to be totally empty, except for a few crates and smaller containers against the far wall. Was Red Alert’s tip a mistake? A false alarm?

Hot Rod was about to pull on the door a little stronger, when suddenly it exploded into his face, smashing him in the side of the head and the left shoulder, knocking him backwards and sideways. He fell down, dropping the blaster in his right hand. Immediately he scrambled to his feet and turned towards the door, but all he got was a foot in his face. A pretty big foot. He stumbled backwards again, but this time he didn’t go down. Instead, he blindly aimed his blaster in the direction of the door, and fired a few rounds. A violent hit knocked the blaster out of his hand, and Hot Rod finally saw his attacker. Onslaught. The leader. The Combaticon stood in front of him, a full head taller and his right fist was flying straight at Hot Rod’s face. Hot Rod ducked, and as Onslaught missed, he drove his right shoulder into the Combaticon’s side, knocking him off balance. For some reason, Onslaught had decided on attacking Hot Rod with hand-to-hand combat instead of shooting at him. Hot Rod knew that the Combaticons were always armed, they loved their guns just as much as their explosives. So why was Onslaught fighting with his hands? Maybe to avoid bringing attention from the random aerial patrols? They wouldn’t notice 2 bots simply fighting on the ground unless they were looking for that. But a gunfight would definitely draw their attention. Hot Rod had fired his blaster already, so maybe keeping things quiet was a moot point anyway. And why did Onslaught confront Hot Rod himself? Why didn’t he send the others? Hot Rod never got the chance to contemplate answers to these questions, as Onslaught regained his footing and was immediately on the offensive again. He moved with both his arms and one leg at the same time, supporting himself on the other leg, and Hot Rod couldn’t avoid all 3 limbs coming at him. He blocked the right arm and the kick with one of his own legs, but Onslaught’s left fist smashed into his side. He groaned and leaned to the left as Onslaught reared back with his right arm once again. Hot Rod put up his arms to cover his head, but a moment too late he realized it was a diversion, as Onslaught’s left foot came up and kicked him again in the same spot he had punched him earlier, which was now exposed with Hot Rod’s arms raised up. The kick was a lot worse than the punch, and Hot Rod felt the crunch of his armor under his arm as the pain shot through his entire side, all the way up to his fingertips and down to the bottom of his right foot. He lost control of his body and involuntarily doubled over, allowing Onslaught to grab him by the head and drive his right knee straight up into Hot Rod’s face. The blow hurt like hell, and the bridge of Hot Rod’s nose was smashed in, the wound spewing fluid in the air as Hot Rod fell straight back. The dual impact of the knee and his head hitting the ground jarred him and he lost his bearings for a moment. The fluids from his smashed nose began to pour into his optics, and he had to activate his visor to be able to make out his surroundings as well as blocking any more fluid from covering his optics. He saw Onslaught’s big foot coming down at his face, and he instinctively turned on his side, the stomp missing his head by inches, and deactivated the visor. The fluid from his optics flowed down his face, and as he tried to scramble to his feet, he wiped his optics with a hand. He stumbled forward and felt Onslaught come up behind him. The entire time the Combaticon made no sound, other than a grunt or 2, and it was a weird feeling. Fighting in total silence and darkness, Hot Rod felt an imminent need to get away creep up on him. Onslaught, after all, was a soldier and very good at hand-to-hand combat. Hot Rod had no doubt that unless he got his blaster back, he would lose this fight. Or maybe he would get lucky and the reinforcements will arrive before he got beat into a scrapheap. But right now, all he could think of was putting some distance between himself and Onslaught. He reactivated his visor and tried to gain sure footing, looking for a way to get away from the ‘Con, whether he could run or better yet transform and drive away. Onslaught might have been much stronger, but he was slower than Hot Rod in both modes, so if he found an open space, he could just turn on the speed and put some much-needed distance between him and the Combaticon.

*** *** ***

“Okay, we’re here.” Smokescreen said, as the transport came to a halt.

They were on the outskirts of Vos, but not that far from the warehouse. Smokescreen had instructed Streetwise and Lightspeed to stay with the vehicle, as the Combaticons and Bluestreak got out the back. Smokescreen was the last one off, and he made sure the ‘Cons went straight back so the 2 up front couldn’t spot them if they happened to lean out the side of the driver’s space.

“From here we go on foot.” Smokescreen said. “Remember, we’re looking for a red-and-yellow bot with…”

“We know what he looks like.” Brawl cut him off. “Let’s get this over with.”

The Combaticons weren’t armed, as they had to make their way through Iacon to get the the abandoned repair station. If they were spotted with any kind of weapon, they would have been arrested on the spot. Bluestreak and Smokescreen had their shotguns, and they were fully loaded.

“So what about us?” Swindle asked. “We need weapons.”

“No, you don’t.” Smokescreen asked. “Besides, we’re gonna head for the warehouse, and if we make it there before encountering Hot Rod, you can pick up your weapons there.”

Smokescreen didn’t like letting the Combaticons arm themselves, but Prowl’s instructions were clear: take out Hot Rod first, then deal with the ‘Cons. And the best way to do that was to let them do the work. This way, even if somehow Hot Rod survived the actual attack, it would seem that he was attacked by the Combaticons and not anyone else. But Smokescreen knew that if Hot Rod saw he and Bluestreak here, there would be no other outcome than Hot Rod’s demise. They couldn’t be seen in any kind of collusion with the ‘Cons, especially if something went wrong and the ‘Cons were able to get away, or if the fight went on long enough for other security units to show up. Prowl had taken steps to keep this operation on the down low, but nothing could be hidden completely, especially if blaster fire was involved. Smokescreen loved his shotgun, and it was a glorious weapon of mass destruction, but it was really loud, and if multiple shotguns were fired in succession, as he expected his and Bluestreak’s guns to be used liberally tonight, it sounded like an explosion, and that would surely draw unwanted attention.

Why did Hot Rod have to be here? Bluestreak’s thought was distracting him from the task at hand. Bluestreak didn’t sign up for killing Autobots, no matter the reason. He had a hard time killing the Decepticons at first, but after a few kills, he got used to it. He kept telling himself that they were all war criminals, and not only deserved to be taken out for past actions, but if they weren’t eliminated, the ones that refused to be detained would only cause more destruction and take more Autobot lives. Bluestreak had been able to live with himself and killing ‘Cons using this reasoning, but now the situation had taken a dire turn. They were about to kill an Autobot. And not just any Autobot, apparently someone Optimus Prime was very high on. Bluestreak couldn’t help but think if maybe that had to do something with this. Prowl had said Hot Rod had to be eliminated because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and there couldn’t be any witnesses to them taking out the Combaticons, but surely there was a better way to get rid of him than killing him? Maybe if he sees the Combaticons, he’ll take off. Hot Rod might be a bit of a hothead, but he’s not an idiot. A 5-on-1 fight against the Combaticons was a losing situation no matter what manner of combat was involved. Bluestreak shook his head and silently wished Hot Rod away from here, otherwise he would have a very hard choice to make: allow a fellow Autobot to be killed, either by ‘Cons or by Smokescreen, or do something to try to save Hot Rod any way he can?

*** *** ***

Prowl made his way from the police shuttle toward the warehouse. He was supposed to have a squad of police droids with him, but he came alone. Coming alone would be easier to explain after the fact than bringing an entire squad with him and ordering them to stay on the shuttle during the raid. He could always say he wanted to get there as fast as he could, knowing that Red Alert was coming behind him with reinforcements. He counted on this small window to be able to get the job done, especially if the others were here. Prowl had planned to trap the Combaticons in the warehouse after they had arrived. He told Smokescreen in his comm-link to take the ‘Cons to the warehouse, while he would make his way to the transport and get Streetwise and Lightspeed. Then the 3 of them would go to the warehouse and he counted on Streetwise and Lightspeed to spot the ‘Cons, and their rage and need for vengeance to kick off the firefight. By then Bluestreak and Smokescreen would have separated themselves from the ‘Cons and joined in the fight. It would be 5-on-5, but the element of surprise, along with Smokescreen and Bluestreak’s close proximity, would decide the fight in their favor. Then he saw Hot Rod there. Prowl’s immediate instinct was to call off the operation, and actually let the Combaticons take the transport while the Autobots would meet up with him and they would all leave. Then when the ‘Cons attempted to attack the Council Tower, Prowl would be ready and try taking them out that way. But then his strategist’s programming went to work, and he realized he had a prime opportunity (no pun intended) to deal with another pain in his cerebral circuitry. He didn’t know why Hot Rod was here, or who else knew that he was here, but it didn’t matter. If he acted fast enough, the problem would be dealt with swiftly. And he wouldn’t even have to expose himself to do it, he could blame it on the Combaticons in hindsight. Prowl felt a slight disappointment at being cheated out of pulling the trigger on Hot Rod himself, but he was always good at playing the long con, and he was willing to make the small sacrifices to attain the larger goal.

He was looking for Hot Rod, as he had lost track of the bot when Hot Rod decided to check out the warehouse and went to the far side of it, away from Prowl’s landing spot. He thought that if he could get the drop on Hot Rod, maybe he could finish this himself once and for all, before anything else got started, and the rest of the plan would go back to how it was originally intended to be executed. He didn’t see the others, but they should be making their way to the warehouse as well. None of the other Combaticons besides Onslaught knew that Prowl was their conspirator in attacking the Council Tower, but that didn’t matter any more. If they found out, so be it. If everything went according to plan, the Combaticons wouldn’t make out of here alive. But Prowl was never one to leave things to chance, so even now he had tried to conceal his identity as much as possible. This is why he also gave Smokescreen and Bluestreak the instruction that they were to target Onslaught first. Even if somehow the fight managed to last long enough for Red Alert to get here, and then the unlikely scenario of the Combaticons giving up, Onslaught had to die. He knew too much. Prowl would make sure the leader would be silenced, but he had a feeling he wouldn’t have to worry too much about it. The Combaticons were soldiers, they were fighters, and they were the most wanted ‘Cons on the entire planet. They knew what awaited them if they were caught. So Prowl counted on this fight to be to the death. But, he never did give in to many feelings, save for perhaps his disdain for Magnus and later Prime, and what now appeared to become outright hatred for Hot Rod. But even Prowl really didn’t know why. He just knew Hot Rod was bad news for him and his future plans, and he had to be eliminated.

So here he was, advancing towards the warehouse, keeping an optic out for Hot Rod. But everything was quiet. Then, suddenly, loud bangs, followed by blaster shots. Prowl immediately went on alert, and raised his shotgun. The Flintlock-Sureshot Peacemaker 350 Hellfire Special. One of a kind. Both top barrels were loaded with full-load shells, maximizing their destructive force, and the bottom barrel was ready to launch the Hellfire rounds Prowl had it specially designed for, which would end things pretty quick if the fight came to that. The amount of explosive firepower Prowl was wielding made it dangerous for him to carry the weapon, as a stray shot impacting it would probably set off the charges inside the gun, at the very least blowing Prowl’s arms off, if not maiming or outright killing him. But he was sure-handed with the gun, having used it countless times in the past, and even having it put away in his private display case for so many years hasn’t diminished his skills in wielding it. It was really an extension of his physical form, at least Prowl felt that way. He had the utmost confidence in his ability to use the gun to its fullest destructive potential. And it looked like he was going to get the opportunity to do just that. As he made his way down to a corner of the warehouse, he took a look around the side, and saw Onslaught taking the fight to Hot Rod. The smaller Autobot defended himself as best he could, but in a fist fight he was no match for the big ‘Con. Prowl couldn’t help but smile at seeing Hot Rod taking the punishment he was taking, and he allowed the thought that he may not even have to do anything to get Hot Rod eliminated, as a few more lucky shots from Onslaught would at least immobilize him, and if Onslaught didn’t kill him, Prowl would take the risk of revealing himself to Hot Rod just long enough to put 2 full-load energon shells into his spark-casing. And he would even get to pull the trigger himself, adding the small satisfaction of taking care of the irritating hothead by his own hand.

*** *** ***

Hot Rod was looking for a way out. Any way out. It seemed that there was nowhere to run among the debris and ruined buildings. All he could do was stay one step ahead of Onslaught, who still didn’t take out a firearm of any kind, choosing to chase Hot Rod on foot, trying to finish this fight with his fists. But Hot Rod couldn’t apply his speed to the situation, as every time he got a head of steam he either ran into a wall or almost tripped over a pile of scrap. The place was like a maze of junk. He managed to keep Onslaught a couple of paces behind him, but eventually something had to give. Either he would come to an opening, where he could either take off running or transform and burn out of there, or he would come to a dead end and would be forced to defend himself, and even Hot Rod, as confident as he was in himself, realized that that would have only one outcome: his mangled, brutalized, and possibly dead body lying in the middle of an already ruined shithole that wasn’t much of a place to look at even when it was all in one piece. Hot Rod knew one thing for sure: this was not where he wanted his spark to take its last pulse. So he kept trying, looking around for any openings, but saw none. A small bit of panic started to set in. His internal systems had made the necessary repairs to his face that he was no longer leaking fluid, but those same systems told him that his right side was pretty much caved in, and it was limiting his movement and some of his inner functions. As he swiveled his head from side to side, trying to find something, anything, to use to fight back, he didn’t watch where he was going and tripped on some scrap that was laying around. He tumbled over the pile, rolling on his shoulders and his back, and scrambling to his feet. But this momentary misfortune was enough for Onslaught to close the few steps’ distance Hot Rod had built up, and he was again right in front of Hot Rod, reaching for him. So Hot Rod did what Kup had taught him long ago: when in a jam, do the unexpected. He lunged forward, dipping his head and shoulders, and drove his whole body into Onslaught’s chest, the impact not only halting the ‘Con’s momentum, but actually driving him back. It wasn’t enough to take him off his feet, though, as Hot Rod couldn’t get full leverage due to his damaged side, as well as because Onslaught outweighed him significantly. Hot Rod thought he would get momentary separation with the move, but instead Onslaught grabbed him by the sides, and lifted him off his feet, flinging him sideways into the wall of a demolished building they were up against. Hot Rod groaned as he first hit the wall, then crumpled to the ground. Onslaught moved in and placed a swift kick to Hot Rod’s torso. The Autobot curled up at the impact, and tried to cover up his already damaged body. He fully expected Onslaught to simply produce a gun of some kind and end the fight right there and then. But for some reason, the Combaticon kept punching and kicking him, instead of blowing his head off. Nonetheless, the shots were still taking their toll, and Hot Rod felt himself beginning to fade. He had to do something. He had to. He wouldn’t be able to take much more of this.

*** *** ***

They were out of sight of the transport now, Blast Off leading the way. He was out front so he could deactivate any of the alarms and traps that he set up, and the other Combaticons followed behind him. Smokescreen was next, then Bluestreak. Swindle, the last ‘Con in line, kept glancing backwards at Smokescreen. He didn’t like the thought of having a heavily armed Autobot behind him, especially when Swindle himself was unarmed, even if they were temporarily on the same side. But to Swindle even that was suspect. He had orders to follow, though, and he kept walking. But this entire situation was going to come to a head soon enough one way or another, so he didn’t have to worry about it much longer. A few breems later, they came around a row of destroyed buildings, some of them still barely standing, and were greeted by a surprising sight: Onslaught beating a cowering and seemingly defenseless Hot Rod. After a few moments when everyone could process what they were seeing, Swindle turned back to Smokescreen.

“See?” he said with a grin. “We didn’t even have to lift a finger. The boss took care of the problem for us.”

Smokescreen didn’t say anything, he just gave Swindle a sharp look. Behind him, Bluestreak clenched his jaw, closed his optics, and gripped his shotgun. The image of Hot Rod being mercilessly beaten was in his head, and he felt his anger rising by the second. He opened his optics again, and all he saw was Swindle’s smug, grinning face.

“You…!” he half-grunted, half-hissed through a clenched jaw and raised the gun.

As Smokescreen turned around to respond, Bluestreak aimed the shotgun at Swindle and fired.
Rodimus Prime
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Re: The Bad Seed.

Postby Rodimus Prime » Wed Oct 25, 2017 1:19 am

Onslaught had had enough. He could have kept going, but by now Hot Rod was helpless, trying to defend himself any way he could and failing. Fluids were leaking from open wounds all over the Autobot’s body, and he was a mess. It seemed to Onslaught that incredibly Hot Rod was still conscious, covering his face and pulling his knees up to his sides. He was lying on his right side, up against the last standing wall of a ruined building. Onslaught had worked him over with punches and kicks, and even dropped a couple of knees and elbows on him just for fun, and now he saw that his own feet were badly scuffed and his hands were also damaged at the knuckles and finger joints. He had gotten so frenzied during the beating, he didn’t even notice the damage he did to himself. But now his internal sensors were giving off all kinds of warnings that the motor functions in his limbs were in jeopardy of shutting down due to bent and broken inner parts. So Onslaught decided to bring a quick ending to this confrontation and pulled his blaster from its place on his back. As he aimed at Hot Rod’s head, a loud boom came from somewhere behind him and Onslaught snapped his head around, thinking someone had just attacked him from behind. But there was no one, and the loud bang was followed by momentary silence. There were no other sounds, and Onslaught figured it was one of the damaged old buildings finally giving out and collapsing. But before he could return his attention to Hot Rod, unintelligible shouting came from the same direction. Onslaught couldn’t make out any words, but he did recognize the voices of his fellow Combaticons. Something must have happened, they seemed very panicked and under stress. Did something happen with the Autobots? Onslaught felt he needed to go to where the commotion was, but he also had to finish this first. But Hot Rod was near stasis lock, he wasn’t going anywhere. He took a hesitant step towards the shouting, and then thought about it. It would only be one shot, wouldn’t take more than a second. So he turned back to finish off Hot Rod, but to his surprise, the Autobot was standing up, and swinging a long piece of metal right at Onslaught’s head.

It caught the Combaticon by surprise, and he couldn’t avoid it nor could he block it. The piece of a long metal girder that used to hold up the roof of the collapsed building they were up against smashed him directly in the face, cracking the side of his head and shattering his optical covers. He dropped his blaster at the same time as he fell backward, his senses totally scrambled from the impact. Hot Rod had put everything into the hit, knowing this was his only shot, and he had no more strength left. The momentum of the swing combined with the impact wrenched the metal piece out of his hands and his body lost all stability as he fell down almost at the same time as Onslaught. Ironically, or perhaps luckily, he fell right on Onslaught’s gun, which he had dropped a split second earlier. He made a feeble attempt at grabbing it, but his joints could hardly respond. Inside his head, damage alerts were frying his cerebral circuits, telling him he was injured all over his body, as if he didn’t know. Finally, his fingers curled around the handle of the big gun, but he couldn’t even lift it. His hydraulic systems in his arms were totally gone. The gun felt like a thousand tons of deadweight, and Hot Rod could only muster enough strength to drag it a few inches. In his hurried panic, he tried to simply turn the barrel toward Onslaught, who was rolling over onto his side facing Hot Rod and his gun, groaning and grabbing the side of his head. He didn’t have to lift the gun to pull the trigger. All he needed was for it to be pointed in the right direction. Just as he got the gun in place, Onslaught regained his bearing, albeit he had only one functional optic. He grunted and grabbed the barrel of his cannon. Hot Rod had no chance in hell at keeping it from him, as he had no strength in his grip. But instead of just taking it from him, Onslaught ripped the gun out of his grasp and flung it away from both of them. Whether he did this out of delirium or rage, Hot Rod couldn’t tell. But it was a lucky break for him. Or was it? Because now Onslaught was slowly getting back up, and Hot Rod couldn’t even roll away from him, much less stand up. Still, it took Onslaught longer to get up than Hot Rod thought, and it gave him enough time to find another piece of scrap laying around that he could use, this time much shorter piece of metal with a very sharp end. As Onslaught turned to him to finish the job with a good stomp, Hot Rod concentrated all his strength into his right shoulder, elbow, and wrist, straightening his arm and gripping the sharp piece of metal as tight as he could, and driving it into the bottom of Onslaught’s foot as it came down towards his head for the final crushing blow. The sudden and unexpected pain threw Onslaught off balance and his foot came down next to Hot Rod’s head, the force of the stop driving one end of the metal shard into the ground and the other end straight through Onslaught’s foot, and up through the top of it by his ankle. He let out a loud scream, and dropped to his other knee from the loss of balance, and his injured foot was effectively pinned to the ground, even if temporarily. He groaned and grunted, trying to free himself, wrenching the shard from side to side. Though he was loosening it from the ground, he was also doing more damage to his foot. All this time, Hot Rod’s internal repair program was working in overdrive, trying to reconnect all the small parts that were broken or disconnected inside him. He had a long way to go for recovery, but the basic connections had been made inside his knees, and he managed to stagger to his feet. He could barely use his arms, and instead of bracing himself against the wall, he simply fell against it with a shoulder, wincing at the pain from the already broken parts smashing against the wall. Moment by moment, he felt his strength slowly returning. Not enough to effectively defend himself from Onslaught if he resumed his attack, and certainly not enough to go on the offensive and try to neutralize the big Decepticon. But maybe, just maybe, enough for one more shot. He could now brace himself, and with one hand still on the wall, he reached down and picked up the piece of metal he had used to hit Onslaught the first time. It seemed even heavier now, but Hot Rod managed to heft it onto his shoulder. His legs were giving him some more support now, and he could grip the metal piece with both hands. Whether his shoulders and elbows held up would be another story, but there was only one way to find out. Onslaught had finally freed himself, but he was hobbling around in a small circle, trying to gain his footing on a bad leg. Hot Rod, taking a stance he saw on Earth made by a human in the game humans had called “baseball,” he tightened his grip on the long metal piece as much as he could, and aimed at Onslaught’s head, who once again was turning to face him. At the exact right moment, Hot Rod swung the metal rod off his shoulder with everything he had, fully extending his arms, and connected with the same side of Onslaught’s head he hit earlier. This time the already weakened cranial casing simply broke apart, taking Onslaught’s faceplate with it, and with a simple grunt, the Combaticon dropped to his knees, then fell face-first into the scrap they were standing in. Hot Rod once again dropped the found weapon, and leaned back against the wall. He was about to take a step forward to check on the seemingly incapacitated Onslaught, when a sharp stabbing pain hit his right side, which was caved in by Onslaught earlier. Apparently the swing he took ripped apart whatever repairs his internal systems could make, and Hot Rod involuntarily doubled over in response.

But as soon as his head went down, the wall behind him exploded. He dropped to his knees, as much from the pain as from surprise, and tried to look up at what had happened. But all he saw was darkness. Then...a flash, which he recognized as discharge from a gun barrel. Someone was shooting at him! He dropped down onto his chest, flat on the ground, and whatever was shot at him went over his head, impacting the wall once again. But this time, the explosion was much bigger, shattering the wall and blasting debris all over, some of it raining back down onto Hot Rod. That wasn’t blaster fire! That was a high explosive! Probably a grenade! Hot Rod knew it didn’t take long for a grenade launcher to be reloaded, so he rolled to his side and scrambled behind the nearest pile of scrap. Whoever was shooting at him had the drop on him, and the next time he probably wouldn’t be as lucky. Hot Rod figured it was one of the other Combaticons, but he dared not look, unless he wanted to give away his position. Instead, he stayed low, on his elbows and knees, and scrambled away from the scrap pile, his joints screaming in pain with every move, but he had to get away. He had to. Once he was behind another wall, he managed to get to his feet and started staggering away, leaning to his right, holding his right side.

*** *** ***

The first shot had caught Swindle dead center in his chest, and he flew backwards off his feet, taking Vortex down with him. Smokescreen ducked his head at the last second, and even though he wouldn’t have gotten hit, Bluestreak was close enough to him that the discharge from the barrel that was the result of the energon igniting in the shell and propelling it out of the shotgun would have burned his face. All at the same time, Smokescreen regained his senses, Bluestreak reloaded his shotgun, and the remaining 2 standing Combaticons, Brawl and Blast Off, began shouting. Smokescreen locked optics with Bluestreak, and saw a fire in them that he had not seen before. Something set him off, and he was losing control. He saw the shotgun come back up again, and before he could protest, Bluestreak fired in the direction of Brawl, who dove for cover, as did Blast Off. The Combaticons were unarmed, so Smokescreen didn’t feel they were an immediate threat, but he readied his own gun anyway. The completely caught-off-guard Vortex was regaining his bearings and was getting back up. He shrugged Swindle’s unconscious body off himself, and looked around. He saw a seemingly crazed Bluestreak stomping towards him while reloading his shotgun, as Smokescreen was attempting to talk him down. He turned his head to see Blast Off and Brawl running towards the warehouse. Such honorable teammates Vortex thought, then the reality of the situation hit him: they were all unarmed, being threatened by a heavily armed Autobot who seemed to have gone crazy. Suddenly, running became the most sensible option to Vortex, and he took off after his teammates, leaving Swindle’s damaged and prone body behind.

“Stop!” Smokescreen shouted directly into Bluestreak’s face. “They’re gone! Stop!”

The effort seemed to have some effect, as Bluestreak suddenly changed expressions, looked at Smokescreen, then at his shotgun, and lowered the weapon. He then looked down and the burning wreckage that was Swindle, and looked back at Smokescreen.

“I...I…” he started to say. “He...h-he…”

“Are you alright?” Smokescreen asked him. “Are you in control?”

“Y-yes...I…” Bluestreak said, but he couldn’t say anything else.

“Well, I guess that puts an end to any kind of collaboration to find Hot Rod.” Smokescreen said. “Let’s just get the others and finish off the Combaticons. They probably heard the shots anyway.”

Right on cue, Lightspeed and Streetwise came running up to them.

“What happened?!” Streetwise asked loudly. “Are you alright?”

He then saw Swindle’s body and stopped.

“Whoa!” Lightspeed said. “You found them!”

“Yeah…” Smokescreen replied, a bit exasperated. “We did.”

*** *** ***

Prowl couldn’t believe it. Onslaught had Hot Rod at his mercy and he couldn’t finish the job. All he had to do was take out his blaster and fire it. Once. Once! Prowl shook his head as he loaded the Hellfire grenade into the bottom barrel. He couldn’t see Hot Rod anymore, and his attention was also drawn to the side, to some kind of commotion going on not far from him. No doubt it was Smokescreen and Bluestreak, along with the Combaticons. They were supposed to all converge on Hot Rod’s position, take him out, then his crew would turn on the Combaticons once Prowl called Streetwise and Lightspeed from the transport. But something had gone wrong. And now Prowl had to do damage control. He top priority was Hot Rod. He couldn’t let the punk get away, not now. Not when he was so close to eliminating him for good, and having the perfect alibi to do it. As good a strategist as Prowl was, even he couldn’t have planned this out so well. He was making his way down to where the fight between Hot Rod and Onslaught happened, and he was reloading the top 2 barrels with energon shells. He loaded the Hellfire round first, because it took less time and had a much more destructive effect, but now he had time to fully arm the shotgun. As he came up on Onslaught’s prone body, he saw the damage Hot Rod did: Onslaught’s head was caved in, his cranial casing shattered, his face totally gone, and his right foot mangled, the metal shard still sticking out of the top of his foot. And this was after Onslaught had beat him almost into stasis lock. The kid had a lot of guts, Prowl had to admit. He somehow survived the worst trashing Prowl saw anyone take in a long time, and now he was on the run. But before he could take off after Hot Rod, he had one loose end to tie up. As he walked by Onslaught’s body, incredibly the Combaticon’s arm was slowly moving, his fingers twitching. There was a faint grunt coming from his face, his voice box still functioning. But could he see Prowl? It occurred to Prowl that it didn’t matter. Without breaking stride, he swung the shotgun towards Onslaught’s body and unloaded with the top 2 barrels. He was far enough away that he just had to turn his head to avoid the explosion, but he knew the 2 energon shells were enough to finish the job. After the explosion died down, he turned back. Where Onslaught once was now lay a burning hulk that seemed to sprout legs and an arm, the other arm and head having been blown off the body. Prowl could see the spark-casing melting, and Onslaught’s spark would overload momentarily, extinguishing in a brilliant display of fire. As he began reloading his gun again, he turned toward the building Hot Rod disappeared behind and behind him Onslaught made his final mark on the scarred and mangled surface of Cybertron.

*** *** ***

The others saw what Prowl did, and even Smokescreen had to take a second to process the brutality with which Prowl acted. Streetwise and Lightspeed were anxious to go after the other 3 Combaticons. Enraged was more like it. Just as Prowl had planned, the thirst for vengeance had taken over them.

“Why doesn’t he wait for us?” Bluestreak asked.

“I don’t know. Seems like he’s still going after Hot Rod.” Smokescreen answered.

“But why? Obviously our original plan is scrapped.”

“Like I said, I don’t know.”

“Hey! Guys!” Lightspeed said. “You’re going the wrong way! Aren’t we supposed to get the Combaticons? They ran this way!”

“You go after them!” Smokescreen said. “We have to go see if Prowl is alright. But be careful! Don’t do anything rash. We don’t know what kind of reinforcements they have.”

“Okay! Let’s go!” Lightspeed said eagerly to Streetwise, and the 2 of them ran off towards the warehouse after the Combaticons.

Smokescreen and Bluestreak hurried after Prowl and caught up to him shortly.

“Hey!” Smokescreen said. “What’s going on?”

“He saw us.” Prowl replied curtly.

“What do you mean?” Bluestreak asked.

“Hot Rod. He saw me and Onslaught together.” Prowl lied. “He took off, and before I could do anything, Onslaught went after him. He caught up to him, and, well, you saw the rest.”

“But why didn’t you do anything?” Bluestreak asked. “Why didn’t you stop Onslaught?”

“Bluestreak, Hot Rod was gonna run back to whatever transport he took here and go back to Iacon, screaming his head off that we were in collusion with the Combaticons. I wouldn’t have had the chance to explain things to him, to tell him the true nature of our plan. And if he got back to Iacon, it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. The Combaticons being the most wanted on this entire planet, combined with the scrutiny we’ve been facing regarding our secret activities, just hearing that I was having a conversation with the leader of the Combaticons would be enough for Ultra Magnus to throw me in a jail cell, and even though I wouldn’t tell on you, you would most certainly be in the cell next to me anyway, because you got sloppy when you took out the Stunticons, and you were seen. So we have to take care of this right here and now, because if I get mixed up in this, I can’t help you once Jetfire and Magnus catch up with you!”

“What…” was all Bluestreak could say.

“You heard me!” Prowl was now agitated. “You left witnesses. Not to mention one of the Stunticons survived! It’s just a matter of time until he regains consciousness, and you’re behind bars!”

“Which…” Bluestreak said again.

“Wildrider.” Smokescreen answered. “He was the only one we didn’t finish off. I figured the point blank shot he took would be enough. I should have made sure. Damn it!”

“Okay, no point in getting upset about it now.” Prowl said. “Let’s deal with one problem at a time. If we take care of Hot Rod, I’m not in danger. So when this goes down, I can help you. But I can’t do that if I’m in jail with you. You understand?”

Smokescreen nodded, while Bluestreak just looked at the ground and gripped his shotgun. Why did Hot Rod have to be here? he thought once again.

“So let’s go. He can’t have gotten far.” Prowl said. “Remember, we have to take him out. He left us no choice.”

“This whole thing…” Bluestreak started to mutter. “This whole thing is out of control. It should have never gotten this far.”

“Out of control…?” Smokescreen asked quietly. “The only one out of control is you!” he shouted. “If you hadn’t lost you cool and shot Swindle, we wouldn’t even have this problem! Hot Rod would be gone, and we would be finishing off the the Combaticons right now!”

“But I wasn’t ready to kill another Autobot!” Bluestreak shouted back.

“ENOUGH!!!” Prowl yelled as loud as his vocal processor would allow. They were wasting time. “Right now, we have to catch Hot Rod. Then we finish the ‘Cons. After, we’ll sort everything out! Got it? Now let’s go! Red Alert could be here any moment with backup! I’m surprised he hasn’t shown up yet!”

Both Bluestreak and Smokescreen stayed quiet, and Prowl started walking. They followed, their shotguns at the ready. The thought of them spending a long time in prison for the things they have done weighed heavily on both Smokescreen and Bluestreak. But the way they handled it was different. It made Smokescreen resolute in wanting to finish this, no matter what it took. Bluestreak, on the other hand, was having an attack of conscience. Yes, they had killed a lot of Decepticons since they started this. A lot of ‘Cons. But never once was an Autobot’s life in danger. But Hot Rod had found out about their secret activities. If Prime and Magnus found out, they were all going to prison. He stood between them and freedom. And when it came down to it, Bluestreak liked his freedom. He wasn’t willing to hurt Hot Rod, but he couldn’t allow the younger bot to ruin everything, even if he stumbled on it by chance. So he had to be dealt with. But Bluestreak wouldn’t do it. He would let Prowl and Smokescreen handle it. But wasn’t not doing anything to prevent it the same as doing it yourself?

*** *** ***

The Combaticons had gone in the same side door that Hot Rod had approached. It was damaged from the violent kick Onslaught gave it when he attacked Hot Rod, so it didn’t shut correctly. This drew Streetwise’s attention, whose cop skills were put to good use in tracking the ‘Cons. He came up to the building first, Lightspeed behind him.

“So what do we do?” Lightspeed asked quietly. “Smokescreen said to be patient.”

“I know. But I want these ‘Cons. Bad. We deserve to take them down for what they did to us.”

“Yeah. I know. I feel the same way.”

“Alright. I’ve done this before. Just listen to me and cover my back.”

“Okay.”

Streetwise then opened the door slowly, and peeked inside. Darkness. No movement, no light.

“I don’t see anything.” he said quietly. “But I know they’re in here. I saw them go in.”

“Maybe they already got some weapons. Maybe we should wait.”

“No. We can take them. Come on.”

They entered the warehouse, and moved slowly along the near wall. The place was big and empty, except for a few crates against the far wall.

“Keep your optics on that side.” Streetwise whispered quietly. “There could be hidden doors.”

Lightspeed nodded, which was barely visible in the darkness, even with their optics having adjusted. They stayed together, but watched opposite walls as they advanced. Then Streetwise saw it. The door to the small room that used to be the office.

“There.” he whispered again. “You see it?”

Lightspeed had to strain his optics, but he finally pinpointed the the door’s outline.

“I got it.” he whispered back.

“Let’s go.” Streetwise said, and they quickly made their way down to the door, all the while keeping watch other 2 long walls on the side.

“Unless there’s a hidden doorway in the floor, this is the only place they could have gone.” Streetwise whispered. The place has no upper level or other doors. This has to be it.”

“Okay. So how do we proceed?” Lightspeed asked.

“Your gun ready?”

“Yes.”

Streetwise then nodded, took 2 steps back, and kicked in the door.

*** *** ***

Hot Rod had a hard time just walking, never mind running. He didn’t know if whoever shot at him was still after him, but he wasn’t gonna take a chance. He was leaking fluid badly, and his internal systems were cutting out intermittently, causing him to seize up and stop from time to time. He couldn’t keep running. Whoever was after him would catch him sooner than later. He didn’t have his guns, all he had were a few grenades, which miraculously didn’t go off back there when Onslaught was stomping him into the ground, and he was in no shape to defend himself physically. How could he anyway, against a grenade launcher and what appeared to be some type of high caliber weapon. He had to find a place to hide, and quick. Before whoever was after him closed the distance. He stopped to gain his bearings and looked around. Nothing but piles of scrap, big holes in the ground, and torn up buildings. The Aerialbots sure did a number on this place he thought. Nothing seemed to be a good enough place to conceal him. But he had to try. He looked around some more, and finally he saw it. The building was still in one piece, and it was a 2-story. If he made it up to the 2nd level, he might have better point of view. He didn’t have a gun, but he could throw a grenade more accurately, and maybe get lucky. Even if there are more than one Combaticons, which there were, he could conceivably get them all with one blast, if they stuck close to each other. It was worth a try. Besides, he couldn’t come up with anything else.

He got inside the building and looked around. In the darkness it was good that he had his enhancement visor, which was still functional, but only with basic options. He could enhance his optics, but couldn’t zero in on faraway objects, nor could he measure their distances. That would have been useful. Around him were some abandoned pieces of equipment. This must have been a factory of some kind, or maybe a repair station. He moved through the rusting hulks, trying to find a way up. But he couldn’t find any steps. He didn’t think an elevator would still work, even if he found one, but he didn’t. Then he came to the far corner of the building, where he found the mostly destroyed stairwell. The bottom 3 steps were intact, but the rest was gone. So much for getting to high ground. He thought about moving out again and trying to run, but he spent too much time looking around in here. No doubt the Combaticons were close by. Maybe they wouldn’t start searching and just walk right past. Hot Rod crouched down, still holding his mangled side, and leaned back against the wall next to a big piece of machinery. He looked down and noticed that he was still leaking fluid even now. He hadn’t paid much attention to it, but now it dawned on him that he might have left a trail of fluid which could lead his attackers right to him. He hoped that wouldn’t be the case, but his night hadn’t gone that well so far. He took out his grenades and set them down next to him. Then he remained quiet and still and maximized his audio receptors.

*** *** ***

Prowl and the others were looking around as they walked. There were a lot of ruins here, and some of them could prove to be effective hiding spots. They all had their optics maximized to recognize small details, as anything out of the ordinary would give Hot Rod’s position away, such as a sliver of his yellow spoiler, or his bright red paint job. As they were scanning, they kept up a fairly quick pace. Prowl knew that Hot Rod was badly hurt, and he couldn’t move fast. So he wasn’t worried about losing him due to speed. And they were moving away from the warehouse, which was also good, because that’s where Red Alert would be arriving when he showed up. So even then Prowl would have time to take care of this problem. But it still had to be done quick. Things were getting cut too close for comfort.

“Look.” Smokescreen said quietly.

Prowl looked at where Smokescreen pointed, and he saw the bright green trail of fluid, accompanied intermittently by bright blue fluid.

“Seems like he has a lot of internal damage.” Smokescreen said. “Let’s follow it.”

Prowl nodded, and the 3 of them began following the fluid trail. It brought them to a building that was still standing amid all the rubble and half-destroyed buildings, and Prowl realized that Hot Rod must be inside, trying to hide.

“He’s here.” he said quietly. “He has to be. We would have caught up to him by now if he kept walking.”

“Yeah.” Smokescreen said.

“Okay.” Prowl said. “Surround the place. Make sure you keep an optic out for any openings. I doubt he had any weapons, but we can’t be sure.”

“Got it.” Smokescreen said and moved to the left.

Bluestreak didn’t say anything, he just quietly moved to the right. Moments later, they had the building in a triangle. Prowl wasn’t sure what to do next. Should he reveal them, forcing Hot Rod into facing the realization that he had nowhere to go? It might make him do something rash, and they could take advantage. As Prowl was debating whether to make their presence known, his enhanced optics caught something flashing out of the building. Something small, metal and kind of round. A grenade! he dove for cover as the explosive flew toward him, but not right at him. It landed as he rolled on the ground, and a few moments later exploded, throwing up a lot of debris, but leaving Prowl unscathed. The others rushed back to him.

“You alright?” Smokescreen asked.

“Yeah. He wasn’t aiming it at me. It was just a lucky throw.” Prowl said as he got back up. “I don’t think he can see us.”

“Let’s get behind cover just in case.” Smokescreen said.

“Yeah, good idea.”

They all took cover, and waited. A few moments later, out came another grenade, once again in their direction, but not right at them. They backed up, and it exploded far in front of them.

“He can hear us but can’t see us.” Smokescreen said.

“Yeah.“ Prowl said. “I don’t know how many of those he has, but it can’t be many. Let’s spread out and divide his attention. Then on my signal, start shooting.”

“Why?” Bluestreak asked.

“We have explosive rounds.” Prowl said. “These energon shells can do a lot of damage. We’re gonna bring the building down around and on top of him. If we get lucky, he might even get crushed, or at least knocked out. If not, it might make him come out. Then we waste him.”

“Okay.” Bluestreak answered.

“And remember.” Smokescreen said to Bluestreak. “It’s him or our freedom.”

“I got it.” Bluestreak said, but his face betrayed the disgust he was feeling.

They did as Prowl instructed, and once again surrounded the building. One more grenade came out, in Smokescreen’s direction. The result was the same, just an explosion without any damage. Prowl raised his shotgun, and fired 2 energon shells into the spot where the grenade flew out. Apparently there were small openings in the walls and the roof, and even if Hot Rod couldn’t see them, he could throw the grenades out. Prowl concentrated his fire on making these small openings much larger. After he opened fire, the others did the same. They kept reloading and shooting in succession, so that Hot Rod was under constant fire. He couldn’t move, and all the while the building was coming down around him piece by piece. After a few minutes of constant barrage, the building was halfway crumbled, the upper level dangerously close to collapsing on Hot Rod. Before Prowl began firing again, his ego allowed him to take one risk.

“I CAN’T LET YOU LEAVE HERE!” he shouted, and began the shotgun assault once again.
Rodimus Prime
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Re: The Bad Seed.

Postby Rodimus Prime » Fri Oct 27, 2017 3:59 pm

Streetwise made one crucial mistake: he had forgotten that the shotgun wasn’t nearly as fast as a regular blaster, even if it did much more damage with each blast. When he kicked in the door he came face-to-face with Brawl, and he discharged a double-shot on compressed energon into the Combaticon. However, by the time he racked the shotgun again to shoot at the others, they had both unloaded on him with their blasters, and even Brawl, who was mortally wounded, still fired back as the energon took a longer time to burn through his thicker-than-normal armor. The shots did their damage, as Streetwise took hit after hit, dropping the shotgun and attempting to scramble back out of the small room. Lightspeed, who was right behind him, blocked his exit, at the same time inadvertently using him as a shield, and Streetwise fell down from the impact of the blasts. Lightspeed answered by blasting over Streetwise’s head, hitting Vortex in the shoulder as he attempted to dive out of the way. By now Brawl also fell down, unable to control his motor functions due to the damage he suffered. He still tried to fight, crawling towards Streetwise, who himself was trying to crawl out of the room. Over them, Lightspeed reloaded the shotgun, but not before taking a few hits from Blast Off, who was still unharmed. He managed to fire the shotgun again, but Blast Off got out of the way. Lightspeed then grabbed Streetwise and dragged him out of the room.

“Uhh…” Streetwise groaned. “...my...gun…”

“Don’t worry.” Lightspeed reassured him as he racked the gun again. “We’ll get it back.”

Inside, Blast Off kicked the door shut, and checked on the others. Brawl was propped up against the wall, barely conscious. The armor was completely gone from his chest, and Blast off could see his insides. The energon load from the shell had burned off, and his spark casing remained in tact. But he couldn’t take another hit, because that would kill him. So Blast Off moved the desk around to cover Brawl, just in case the Autobots decided to come in again. Vortex, on the other hand, was kneeling in the corner, grunting and whining, his left arm lying on the ground not far from him. He took the blast square in the shoulder, and it destroyed his shoulder joint. He held his blaster in his other hand.

“Can you fight?” Blast Off asked him.

“Uhh...y-yeah…” Vortex answered.

“Alright. Because I have a feeling we’re gonna have to make a run for it. We can’t wait for more Autobots to arrive.”

“Alright...let’s...go…” Vortex said, and struggled to his feet.

“What about him?” Blast Off asked, nodding toward Brawl’s prone body.

“Well...uhh...if we take out those 2 outside, we...might get some time. We could...get him and take him to safety.”

“Alright, we’ll worry about him later. You ready?”

Vortex raised his one good arm, gripping his blaster.

“As ready...as...I’ll ever...be.”

Blast Off nodded, raising his own blaster, and pulled the door open.

*** *** ***

Hot Rod knew he didn’t have much time left. One more barrage, and the building would come crumbling down on him. He was kneeling down, in a corner made by one of the rusting hulks that used to function in this building, doing who-knew-what, and one of the crumbling walls of the building. He figured the Combaticons didn’t have his exact location, but it didn’t really matter, as they would just bring the building down on him. And if that didn’t outright crush him, it would at least disable him to he couldn’t fight back. His internal systems managed basic repairs to his joints, but his side was ruined and would need medical attention. He could barely move his right arm. His legs worked alright, and his optics functioned well, despite the damage his face had taken. But then one of them shouted something to him. I can’t let you leave here! Hot Rod recalled the words. It bothered him, as it didn’t sound like any of the Combaticons, much less something a Combaticons would say. But if that’s not who was out there, then who? Hot Rod shook his head, realizing it didn’t matter who was out there. They wanted him dead, and that’s what he had to prevent. He was barely capable of moving, he had no firearms, and only one grenade left. He had hoped that by following the noises they made outside, he could surprise them with a couple of accurate throws, but judging by the damage the building took after he threw the grenades, there were still at least 3 of them. Hot Rod knew Onslaught most likely wasn’t among them, as he had left the Combaticons leader near stasis, and he figured at least 1 of the Combaticons stayed back to see to their boss. So that left 3. But how to get himself out of this situation? Surely, sooner or later they’ll get tired of the shooting and will try to come in here. They might not know what Hot Rod has to defend himself with, but eventually, one of them will take a chance. Think!

Outside, Prowl was contemplating their next move. If he kept firing on the building, it might collapse on Hot Rod, maybe crushing him in the process. But that might take a while, and Prowl knew Red Alert and the reinforcements had to be almost here. It’s been a few breems since this whole things started. They couldn’t waste any more time.

“Bluestreak.” Prowl said. “Go in.”

“What…?” Bluestreak responded.

“Go in and check. If he’s still conscious, you know what to do.”

“I...I don’t…”

“Hey!” Smokescreen said. “Remember what I told you? If he lives, and identifies us, we’re done for! This has to be done.”

“But...but he only saw Prowl…”

“What?” Prowl asked incredulously. “You want me to get caught? Is that it?”

“No...but…” Bluestreak muttered, but even he didn’t believe those words. He just wanted this to be over. It had gone way too far.

“We don’t have time for this!” Smokescreen said. “You know what? Go back to the warehouse. Help Streetwise and Lightspeed. There were 3 ‘Cons left anyway. Prowl and I will handle this!”

Bluestreak looked at the ground for a moment, then back up at them. He felt both ashamed that he couldn’t do what was asked of him, and at the same time relieved that he didn’t have to. He didn’t respond, just turned around and started walking back towards the warehouse in a fast pace.

*** *** ***

Lightspeed had reloaded his shotgun as soon as they got outside, and that’s what saved him. With a move they pulled on the ‘Cons, the ‘Cons did the same thing, bursting out of the room, blasters firing. Streetwise was up against the wall, and that kept him largely out of the line of fire. Blast Off was out first, shooting in the general direction he thought the Autobots would be, but he missed. Lightspeed returned fire and hit Blast Off in the side. The Combaticon screamed and went down, his blaster clattering and bouncing away. Vortex was behind him, and he took a better aim at Lightspeed, who needed the second to reload his shotgun. But before Vortex could shoot him, Streetwise tackled Vortex, taking him down on the ground. Unfortunately for Streetwise, Vortex held onto his blaster, and because Streetwise was weak from being shot, he couldn’t control the ‘Con. Vortex raised his blaster and shot Streetwise in the face. The Autobot’s body fell over and was still.

“NO!” Lightspeed shouted, and as Vortex sat up to aim at him again, Lightspeed fired 2 energon shells into his chest.

The impact slammed Vortex back onto the floor, his blaster also flying out of his hand. His legs kicked a couple of times, and he flailed his arm as the energon burned through his chest. He made no sound, and moments later his spark was compromised, resulting in an explosion that completely destroyed his upper body, leaving only his legs somewhat intact. Lightspeed shielded his face from the explosion, and once it died down he made his way to Streetwise. The Autobot’s face was totally gone, along with half his cerebral casing. His spark was still pulsing, but it was weak. Lightspeed bowed his head for a moment at possibly losing yet another teammate, but a scraping noise brought him out of his thoughts. Blast Off was still alive, trying to crawl to his blaster. He was almost there. Lightspeed, filled with rage as red as his paint job, stood up and calmly walked to the struggling Combaticon. As Blast Off was almost at his weapon, Lightspeed stepped on his outstretched hand. Blast Off didn’t make a sound, just looked up. Lightspeed kicked him in his already damaged side, and Blast Off grunted loudly as he turned over. Lightspeed raised the gun and aimed it at Blast Off’s chest.

“This is for the other Technobots.” he said calmly and pulled the trigger.

The impact tore Blast Off’s chest open, and Lightspeed backed up as he knew what was gonna happen. The unstable energon burned through Blast Off’s spark casing and overloaded his spark, resulting in an explosion almost identical to Vortex. Once again, all that was left was a pair of twitching legs. Lightspeed then looked back at Streetwise, then at the door to the side room. He just remembered that Brawl was still in there. He was about to go check when a loud noise came from behind him. He turned around, his gun up at the ready. But he held his finger off the trigger at the last moment. It was Bluestreak.

“Hey!” he said, as he came up to Lightspeed, his gun also drawn up. “Are you alright?”

“Uh...yeah. But...Streetwise…”

“Is he gone?” Bluestreak asked.

“No...not yet.”

“The ‘Cons?”

“I think...I think we got them. I was about to check…”

The blast came out of nowhere, slamming into Bluestreak’s torso and knocking him back and down on the floor. He dropped his gun and rolled on the ground screaming and grunting. Lightspeed turned around, and saw Brawl, on his knees, propped up against the door frame, holding Streetwise’s shotgun. It wasn’t the same as Smokescreen’s and Bluestreak’s where his spark signature was required to operate it. They hadn’t had time to modify it yet. So the gun could be used by anyone. Without a word, Lightspeed raised his gun and aimed at Brawl. But when he pulled the trigger, nothing happened. He pulled again. Click Lightspeed looked at the gun. It was empty! He had no more shells! Frantically, Lightspeed threw down his gun and scrambled for Bluestreak’s. He grabbed it and picked it up. He once again aimed at Brawl, who was now reloading Streetwise’s gun, and pulled the trigger. Click. Again. Click. Lightspeed couldn’t believe it! Bluestreak’s gun wouldn’t fire either! Brawl had the shotgun reloaded and was raising it up. Lightspeed saw Vortex’s blaster nearby. He stepped over and reached out for it, and as he came up with it the shotgun went off, both shells hitting Lightspeed in the chest. With his last move, he fired the blaster and caught Brawl, who had dropped the shotgun, in the chest with a lucky shot, hitting him directly in his spark casing. The impact wasn’t enough to penetrate the casing, but it was enough to knock Brawl back and unconscious. Lightspeed fell back, his chest bursting with flames. He tried to roll over, knowing what was going to happen, and tried to put out the flames. But the energon shells were designed for blunt force trauma, and the energon burned through his chest pretty fast. He screamed as his spark casing began to melt, and he tried standing up one last time, but only made it to his knees before his spark was compromised, and he blew apart in a display of fireworks, once again leaving a only pair of legs, this time kneeling on the floor in a grotesque display.

*** *** ***

Prowl and Smokescreen walked around the building, trying to find the best spot to go in. They knew Hot Rod wasn’t well armed, but it didn’t hurt to be cautious. They finally found the spot, and Prowl motioned for Smokescreen to go. But before the Autobot could follow through, they heard a loud rumble coming from above. They looked up just in time to see a shuttle come around, still high in the air, trying to find a landing spot.

“Damn it!” Prowl said. “He’s finally here!”

“Who?” Smokescreen asked.

“Red Alert! He was coming with reinforcements!”

“Okay, so what do we do?”

“I’m gonna get back to the warehouse! You get out of here! Like you were never here!”

“And Bluestreak?”

“I’ll send him after you, depending on what happened at the warehouse! Hot Rod didn’t see us. We can still blame this on the ‘Cons!”

“Right. But you have to take them out! They can’t be taken prisoner!”

“Yes, I know that! Go!”

With that, Prowl headed back toward the warehouse, taking his shotgun apart as he went. It didn’t take him long, and by the time he got there, he had the pieces hidden and his regular police-issued blaster out. Smokescreen disappeared into the ruins the other way. The shuttle set down not far from the warehouse, much closer than Prowl’s own transport. The side door opened, and Prowl was about to put on an act to Red Alert, but it wasn’t Red Alert who came out of the shuttle. Prowl’s face turned from a smile to a sneer as he recognized Grimlock’s hulking outline fill the shuttle exit. He was speechless, especially when he saw Snarl and Swoop pile out of the shuttle as well.

“What...what are…you doing here?!” he asked loudly and incredulously.

“Hot Rod!” Grimlock said loudly. “You seen him?!”

“Hot…” panic filled Prowl’s spark. “...what? No...we’re...the Combaticons…” he managed to stutter it out, as Grimlock walked past him without even looking at him.

“Swoop! Transform and begin search!” Grimlock ordered. “Shuttle scanner pick up Hot Rod spark signature nearby!”

“Hey!” Prowl said, by now regaining his composure. He grabbed Grimlock’s right arm, and attempted to pull the Dinobot back to him, to no avail.

Grimlock, instead of just shrugging Prowl’s hand off, grabbed it with his left hand and squeezed hard, crushing Prowl’s knuckles in his fingers.

“Aaaarrrggghhh!!!” Prowl screamed and dropped to a knee, clutching his damaged arm with the other one.

Grimlock, without letting go, leaned down and looked Prowl in the optics.

“Me not Ultra Magnus, or Optimus Prime.” he said calmly. “Me not like you, and me not like hands on me. Do it again, and you lose arm. Understand?”

Prowl didn’t even respond, he just groaned and nodded his head. Grimlock let go of his hand, and Prowl bent over clutching it to his chest.

“Snarl! Search warehouse!” Grimlock ordered.

“The...ware...house…” Prowl said, as he slowly stood up. “...is the Combaticons’...hideout.”

“They still in there?”

“I was about to check when you got here.” Prowl said, picking up his blaster and walking towards the warehouse. “Red Alert gave me the tip that they were here, and I came out here right away, making sure they don’t get away. He was supposed to be behind me with a squad of reinforcements.”

Just as Prowl finished the sentence, right on cue, an Autobot police transport arrived and touched down behind Grimlock’s shuttle.

“Must be them.” Grimlock said. “If Combaticons in there, you handle them. Me look for Hot Rod.”

“How do you even know he’s here?” Prowl asked.

“He send me coordinates. He know he might be in trouble. I follow movement. Then I see explosions. Hot Rod signal.”

Signal! Prowl’s optics flashed at the realization. Hot Rod wasn’t trying to use the grenades on them, he was calling for backup! Damn it!

“Well…” Prowl started. “...maybe...maybe he ran into the Combaticons.”

“Maybe.”

Prowl then decided to take a chance.

“I...saw Onslaught’s body, or what was left of it, not far, next to the 2nd building behind the warehouse. Maybe that was Hot Rod’s doing.”

Grimlock didn’t answer, just started walking toward the spot Prowl gave.

“Swoop, anything?”

No. No sign of Hot Rod, boss.

“Look for any Combaticons.”

Prowl didn’t know what to do. Should he follow Grimlock? Or should he go inside after Snarl? No doubt Snarl would be walking into a mess. The Combaticons…how is Prowl going to explain the others’ presence? But before he could decide Red Alert walked up next to him.

“What’s going on?” he asked. “Did the Dinobots come to help?”

“Uh...no...well, yeah, I guess.” Prowl said. “They’re looking for Hot Rod.”

“Oh? He told me he would be coming out here.”

“Hot Rod? He told you? When?”

“I guess right before we got ready to come out here. I got the word from headquarters about the tip, and he happened to be standing there. So he said he would come out here as well. But he didn’t wait for me.”

“Why was he at police headquarters?”

“He was there to see Nightbeat about what to do with Misfire.”

“Misfire? The Decepticon? Why is Hot Rod interested in Misfire?”

“Well, I guess you have heard, being the police chief, that Misfire survived an attack from these supposed shotgun-wielding Autobot vigilantes.”

“WHAT?!”

“Oh, you...didn’t know…?”

“No, I didn’t know! Why wasn’t I told?!”

“I...I thought Magnus would have told you. He was down there to personally interrogate Misfire when Jetfire brought him in.”

Prowl felt his head spinning. First, a Stunticon survives the attack, now Misfire? If any of the Combaticons get caught, they will surely name at least Smokescreen and Bluestreak, and…Bluestreak! Prowl didn’t even answer Red Alert, he simply turned around and started running toward the warehouse. Snarl had already gone in, and the squad Red Alert brought were also going in. Prowl ran up to the entrance, followed by Red Alert, and went in behind the police drones.

*** *** ***

Grimlock had reached the spot where Prowl said Onslaught’s body would be. He saw what once could have been Onslaught, but now was a pile of smoking scrap, with a few brown and white panels scattered about. He then saw an almost intact foot, with a sharp piece of metal sticking out of it. Finally he saw the other leg, in a bit more complete state. It was laying a little further away, apparently blown off when the upper body exploded. Hot Rod must have hit him dead-on with a grenade Grimlock thought.

Boss, I got him!” Swoop’s transmission came in.

“He alright?” Grimlock answered into his comm-link.

Not really.” the reply came. “I mean, he’s conscious, but he got beat up pretty bad. He said he ran into the Combaticons.

“Me there in moment.” Grimlock answered and turned off the comm-link in his arm.

*** *** ***

Prowl got inside, and stopped. The drones had fanned out, covering all parts of the warehouse. Snarl was walking by what appeared to be dead bodied on the floor. He was going towards a small room off to the side. Red Alert came in and bumped into Prowl.

“What...the…?” he asked.

“Looks like a shootout.” Prowl said.

“But...but there wasn’t supposed to be anyone else here.” Red Alert said.

“Sir.” the commander of the drone squad came up to them. “We have identified the bodies on the ground. They belong to the Autobots Lightspeed, Streetwise, Bluestreak, and the Decepticons Vortex and Blast Off.”

“Are...are you sure?” Red Alert asked.

“Yes. Positive identification was verified.”

“Alright.” Prowl answered. “Make sure the area is secured. We still have 2 Combaticons unaccounted for.”

“Yes, sir.” the commander said and walked away.

“What were they doing here?” Red Alert asked. “And how did they find out…?”

Prowl and Red Alert walked over to the bodies. All of them destroyed, except for Streetwise. His head was mostly gone, but Prowl noticed otherwise he was intact.

“He’s still alive.” he said to Red Alert. “You have more medical training than I do. Check him and stay with him until the medical unit arrives.”

“But…”

“I can handle any other Combaticons who might show up.”

Prowl then walked toward the small room, where Snarl was coming out, dragging another body. Prowl recognized it as Brawl. Was he still alive? Prowl thought to himself. He couldn’t deal with another witness. And Brawl was certainly a credible witness, he had been in the transport with Bluestreak and Smokescreen.

“This one is still alive. Barely.” Snarl said. “Otherwise, the place is clear.”

“The medical unit is on its way.” Prowl said. “They’ll deal with him.”

“Really? After all they have done, we help them?” Snarl asked.

“Yes. We have to.” Prowl answered. But you have no idea how badly I want to let them die he thought.

“Alright.” Snarl said, and simply dropped the prone body. “Boss!”

Prowl turned around, and saw Grimlock enter the warehouse.

“So?” he asked. “Did you find Hot Rod?”

“Yes. Swoop find him.” Grimlock said. “Patrol find Swindle’s dead body out there too.”

“So Hot Rod was attacked by the Combaticons?” Prowl asked, trying to keep his voice from betraying his hope.

“Look like it. Swoop put him in Dinobot shuttle in medbay. We take him back to Iacon. What happened here?”

“Well, looks like Streetwise and Lightspeed came for revenge.” Prowl said, gesturing to the bodies lying all around. “Bluestreak was also here, though I can’t explain that. But it looks liek they killed Vortex and Blast Off in a shoot out, and Brawl over there barely survived.”

“Okay. We go back to…” Grimlock started to say, but stopped. Something caught his attention. He walked over to one of the bodies and reached down. He grabbed and picked up a shotgun. “This familiar?” he asked Prowl, a hint of sarcasm in his voice.

“Uh...no...is that…?”

“A shotgun.” Red Alert answered. “One of the illegal ones.”

Prowl could have kicked Red Alert in the head just then.

“Yes. And there are more.” Grimlock said. “Snarl, pick up shotguns. Secure as evidence.”

“Got it, boss.”

Prowl couldn’t even protest so he just kept quiet, trying to come up with a plan. Soon after, a medical shuttle arrived, with First Aid on board, and Streetwise and Brawl were taken back to Iacon. Most certainly, Streetwise was treated much better than Brawl. The police squad brought by Red Alert gathered up the other remains and transported them back to Iacon as well. Grimlock took Hot Rod back, and Prowl flew back on his own, just as he arrived. This gave him some time to think about what to do next. There were quite a few loose ends to tie up. He had to find an excuse for Bluestreak having been there, and he had to make sure Brawl didn’t talk. And Misfire! He couldn’t forget about Misfire. He would have a talk with Nightbeat once he got back, but he knew that probably wouldn’t go anywhere, because according to Red Alert, Nightbeat was under direct orders from Ultra Magnus, and even Prowl couldn’t override that. Ultra Magnus. What did he know? Prowl dreaded returning to Iacon, even though that’s where he needed to be in order to fix this situation. If it was still fixable.
Rodimus Prime
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Re: The Bad Seed.

Postby Rodimus Prime » Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:56 am

Hub Capital Iacon: Council Tower

Present Day

Prowl sat in Ultra Magnus’s office. Magnus wasn’t in yet, no doubt he was following up on the previous events. Magnus was by-the-book, and that meant getting a report from everyone involved. Everyone. As Prowl looked around the office, he couldn’t help a smile. One day, this would be his. Maybe. If what just happened doesn’t come back on him. He could explain the presence of Streetwise and Lightspeed, and even pull a trick out for why he went alone instead of waiting for Red Alert and backup, but the shotguns would be a problem. He should have gone in before Snarl and the drone squad. Picked up the shotguns, maybe put them somewhere. They could have been passed off as the Combaticons’ weapons, but Bluestreak’s gun was coded to his spark signature, and there was no way to explain that away. The only relief Prowl had was that Bluestreak was dead, and as much as he hated doing it, he would have to hang the vigilante attacks on Bluestreak. Smokescreen got away clean and without a trace, and the other 2 didn’t have coded weapons, so them having shotguns will be hard to prove. But then, Streetwise was still hanging on. Barely. But Prowl was certain that First Aid, just as he had with Hotspot, will personally see to Streetwise’s care, and unless something happens to him in the Medical District, he will pull through. If that happens, Prowl will have something else to worry about. Because no doubt Magnus will press Streetwise on the vigilante business, and Prowl is willing to bet that Streetwise is not a martyr, he will eventually give up Prowl’s involvement in order to get better treatment. Then there’s Misfire, who apparently survived an attack by Smokescreen and Bluestreak and was now in custody. And what did Red Alert say? Jetfire was looking for Smokescreen and Bluestreak? Well, he can call off the search for Bluestreak Prowl thought. And Smokescreen has been doing this a long time, he was too good to simply get caught. And that Stunticon was still alive somewhere. Which one was it? Wildrider. Prowl shook his head. So many things to fix. But it can be done. If he had the time. And he was about to find out if he did. And how could he forget about Hot Rod? But thankfully that wasn’t that big a deal, not unless Prowl gets connected to the Combaticons. Then, Hot Rod would know that Prowl was in on the attack on him, especially after what happened at the Central Headquarters. But one problem at a time. Right now, he had to get through Magnus’s interview (More like an interrogation Prowl thought) without incriminating himself. As Prowl kept looking around the office, admiring the awards and other things decorating the walls and representing Magnus’s long career and successes as a law enforcer, he couldn’t help but think How did all this survive the war? The Decepticons had nearly razed Iacon to the ground! This tower used to be nothing but a burned-out husk. The only reason it didn’t get demolished was because the Constructicons accompanied Megatron on the Nemesis when he attacked the Ark. The thought took Prowl back to that day, but before he could get lost in the memory, the door behind him opened and Magnus walked in. The trip down memory lane and the reflection on why he and Optimus were no longer friends would have to wait.

“Prowl.” Magnus said as he walked around the desk and sat down.

Prowl stood up out of respect, but Magnus motioned for him to sit back down.

“What a mess this is.” Magnus said.

“Yes. Yes it is.” Prowl replied. He knew he would have to keep his answers short and not give Magnus anything he could use against him. Prowl knew Magnus would be zeroing in on the fact that the shotguns were at the scene, because he has had the vigilante situation on top of his list right underneath finding the Combaticons. Now the 2 are linked, so Magnus knows if he figures out one, he would have the other. But how will he come at Prowl?

“I have gone through all the reports, repeatedly.” Magnus said. “Even Grimlock turned one in, which is as you know a rarity.”

Of course he would turn one in this time. Prowl thought. “It’s procedure.” he then said. “He’s a member of the Council. I would think he understands the bad example he would set if he didn’t turn one in. It wouldn’t look good.” Besides that, he hates my guts, and any way he can get me in trouble he would.

“No, it wouldn’t. I even got one from Snarl, even though he didn’t do much, just secured the warehouse. And found Brawl.”

Brawl! Prowl had forgotten all about him! If the Combaticon survives, this is all over! He would surely snitch on Smokescreen and Bluestreak, and the hunt would be on for Smokescreen. And if he got caught, then Prowl might as well turn himself in, because he and Smokescreen had started this a long time ago, even before the war escalated. Right after that fiasco involving the bombers. But again, this wasn’t the time to time-travel.

“How...how is he?” Prowl asked, trying to sound calm and objective.

“He’s in bad shape as well. He took a lot of damage, but it looks like that he was the most armored of the Combaticons and he will get through it, barely. His spark casing was exposed, and if it had taken one more hit, it would have exploded.”

One more hit. Just one more. Damn it. Prowl thought. “Oh, alright.” he then said. “Is he in the Medical District?”

“Yes. They’re all there. Streetwise, Hot Rod, and Brawl. The remains of the others were also brought back for forensic testing.”

“Who else?”

“All of them. I’m having Nightbeat and Red Alert personally go through everything. I want to know what happened there. Everything. The Combaticons and the vigilante attacks were somehow involved with each other. We have a chance here to get to the bottom of both of them at once.”

Magnus had said “we.” But did he refer to the police force, including Prowl? Or was Prowl on his suspect list? Magnus liked lists.

“Ah. Alright then.” Prowl answered. “Well, of course wherever I can help, let me know.”

“Yes, you’re the police chief. And you were there. But you didn’t go inside. Why?”

Here we go.

“I was waiting for backup. For Red Alert to get there. To my knowledge, I was by myself against the entire Combaticon team, as well as possibly other ‘Cons. Streetwise’s report had stated that when the Protectobots were attacked, there were other random ‘Cons with them.”

“Why didn’t you just wait at Headquarters and go with the squad shuttle?”

“We got the tip on the Combaticons and I felt that someone should go out right away, if for nothing else than to observe the site. This way, if they decided to move out before the entire squad got out there, they could be followed. Or, if it was a false tip, it could be disproven.”

“But why did you go?”

“Well, you yourself stated, the Combaticons were the top priority. If they were indeed there, I wanted to make sure the situation was handled with the utmost care. After all, these weren’t just random run-of-the-mill ‘Cons. And if a confrontation occurred, I wanted to make sure the right decisions were made.”

“But you never went inside until the Dinobots got there.”

“I didn’t go inside even after. The Dinobots weren’t there for the Combaticons, they knew nothing of them. Grimlock told me they were there for Hot Rod. Apparently he had arranged for them to watch his back and sent them a distress signal once he got attacked by the Combaticons.”

“Hot Rod’s report states that he was only involved in a fight with Onslaught. Not the others.”

“Oh?” Prowl couldn’t hide his surprise. “As I understood it, the Combaticons attacked him after he got away from Onslaught.”

Someone attacked him. He didn’t actually see who it was. You just assumed it was the Combaticons. But if you were there way before Red Alert or even the Dinobots arrived, you had to have seen the Combaticons come back into the warehouse. After they attacked Hot Rod.”

“I didn’t see anyone.”

“But then how come the ‘Cons were all inside and not out where Hot Rod was? Grimlock’s report corroborates Hot Rod’s that he was in a crumbling building a few blocks away from the warehouse.”

“I…” Prowl had to be careful. Magnus didn’t have him trapped, and Prowl couldn’t walk into it on his own. “I don’t know. He must have been there long before I got there. I mean, I never saw Hot Rod. I never knew he was even there until Grimlock arrived.”

“Red Alert’s report states that he had told Hot Rod about the tip right after he heard it from you. And if you didn’t wait for the strike team to assemble and just went in by yourself, to, as you said, observe and follow if necessary, then you had to have gotten there even before Hot Rod did.”

DAMN IT! “Hot Rod had to have gotten there before me. If he got there after me, I would have never let him close to the warehouse.”

“Alright. But if he was already there when you got there, you should have seen his transport already on the ground. It was a police transport he commandeered from the Headquarters shuttle bay, so there was no mistaking it for the ‘Cons’ shuttle.”

“The Combaticons didn’t have a shuttle.”

“Exactly. So why didn’t the presence of an Autobot police transport vehicle alert you to the possibility that another Autobot was nearby?”

Scrap! I walked right into that one! “I...don’t know. I mean...I saw it, but...I guess I was more focused on the Combaticons. And like I said, I didn’t see anyone when I arrived, and my shuttle didn’t alert me to anyone else’s presence.”

“When did you find Swindle’s body? I understand it was far away from the warehouse, near another transport vehicle, an unmarked hovercraft.”

“Uhh...I...I didn’t know about it. Grimlock told me after I had entered the warehouse and he had recovered Hot Rod. Apparently Swoop spotted it from the air as he was searching for Hot Rod.”

“Yes, that was in the report. But if the body was already there, why didn’t you see it when you arrived? It wasn’t very far from where you landed.”

“I didn’t notice. Maybe it wasn’t there yet?”

“Alright. But then you had to have heard him getting killed. I mean, the body was mangled. He died violently. If you were just observing and waiting for backup, like you said.”

I have to stop walking into these traps! “Okay, so it was already there. Because I didn’t hear anything. But I didn’t notice. Like I said, I was focused on the Combaticons.”

“Swindle was a Combaticon.” Magnus answered sharply and with a hint of condescension in his voice, something very uncharacteristic for him.

“I meant I was focused on the warehouse, which I believed at the time to be the location of the entire Combaticon team.” Prowl replied, a bit of edge in his voice as well. He was becoming agitated. He had maintained his composure, even with Magnus baiting him into a couple of traps already. But so far he had managed to not incriminate himself. But now Magnus was adding snide comments to his questions, which totally surprised Prowl, as they were out of character for Magnus. But Magnus made a mistake: by attacking Prowl verbally like this, he had tipped Prowl off. Until now, Prowl wasn’t sure if Magnus was simply trying to get the facts or was interrogating Prowl as a possible suspect. He had prepared for an interrogation, but had tried to act like he had no idea he was even considered to be anything other than an innocent bystander in this. Someone who was there because it was his duty. Now he knew. And now he had to exert control over himself, because if Magnus was treating him as a suspect, he knew he couldn’t get upset. It was textbook interrogation technique to get the subject riled up and trick him into making a mistake. Prowl had used it many times himself.

“Okay.” Magnus simply said, a faint smile playing at the corners of his mouth. The psychological game was on.

“Magnus, I’m not clear on what you’re trying to achieve here.” Prowl said, going on the offensive. “I turned in my report, it detailed my activities from the moment I received the tip to the moment I lifted off from Vos. Is there a discrepancy in the reports of the others?”

“Not so much as a discrepancy as...missing pieces.” Magnus said. He didn’t want to reveal his plan yet. “I’m just trying to get a concrete account of all the events from every point of view. You know how the investigation procedure works. Establishing a timeline is one of the first things to do. But there are missing steps in the timeline made up by all the reports I received. I mean, the others’ reports are from the time they landed, so the only one who can shed light on what happened before Red Alert and Grimlock got there is Hot Rod, who was apparently there around the same time you were, but somehow you two didn’t know about each other. And somehow you weren’t aware of him getting almost beating into stasis lock by Onslaught. Good thing Hot Rod knows how to fight.”

More like he’s really lucky. “Their confrontation took place away from the warehouse. Like I said, after I arrived, I didn’t see anyone coming or going.”

“So then Bluestreak, Lightspeed, and Streetwise were already inside. You didn’t hear any noises coming from there? Any signs of an armed confrontation?”

“No.”

“So by the time you got there everything had gone down. Blast Off and Vortex were inside dead, as were Lightspeed and Bluestreak. Streetwise and Brawl were offline but still alive. Swindle was dead. Onslaught was dead. Is that right?”

“Yes, except for Onslaught. His body was away from the warehouse, I didn’t become aware of that until I entered the warehouse. Or rather, until the Dinobots reported finding it.”

“But then if you were there the same time as Hot Rod, how could the Combaticons have attacked him without your knowledge? And, after attacking him, how could they return to the warehouse without you noticing them, if you were watching the warehouse the whole time?”

“Hot Rod could have been there significantly sooner than me. The attack on him could have happened before I ever got there.”

“Well, that’s one of the missing pieces I’m having trouble finding.” Magnus said, his expression turning grave, even threatening in Prowl’s view. “Hot Rod’s report said that the attack ceased only about a breem before Swoop found him. So logic dictates that whoever was attacking him broke it off because they noticed the Dinobots arriving. But if that’s the case, the attack was going on while you were there already. So that makes Hot Rod’s arrival in relation to yours irrelevant. He was attacked by and got away from Onslaught before you got there. That’s plausible. But then he was cornered and attacked by at least 2, but Hot Rod suspects 3, other individuals. And the attacks involved heavy artillery, or at least large caliber weapons. Like shotguns.”

Prowl felt that last sentence like a searing saber through his gut. Magnus had him cornered in this office much like he had Hot Rod cornered in Vos, but if Grimlock showed up it wouldn’t be to bail Prowl out.

“I can’t testify as to how Hot Rod was assaulted.” he replied as calmly as he could. “Is it possible Hot Rod is mistaken? He did suffer a lot of trauma.”

“Mistaken regarding what?” Magnus asked. “Red Alert examined the area where Hot Rod was pinned down. He found a lot of damage caused by explosives and traces of energon was all over. This is why I suspected the shotguns. And we did find shotguns inside the warehouse.”

“But that would mean it wasn’t the Combaticons who attacked Hot Rod.” Prowl said, and as soon as the words were out of his mouth, he regretted them.

“Exactly.” Magnus said, this time the smile on his face blatant.

No! NO! I just handed him the ammunition to incriminate me with! Prowl was panicking inside. He had to find a way out of this.

“So then by that theory, it could have only been Streetwise, Lightspeed and Bluestreak.” he said. If he tried to back out directly, it would give him away as trying to cover his involvement. He had to go through it and come out the other side without getting linked to the others. They would get the blame, but they were dead.

“Yes.” Magnus said. “But the fact remains that they were inside the warehouse and they had to return there after they broke off the attack on Hot Rod. And you had to have noticed them returning, if you were observing the warehouse the whole time. The point is, not who was doing what, but how come you didn’t see anyone coming or going, as you stated earlier, when clearly whoever attacked Hot Rod was in the warehouse when you and the others finally entered, regardless of whether it was the Combaticons or the apparent vigilantes.”

There it was. The V-word. Magnus had just verbally pointed the accusing finger at Prowl, without actually coming out and saying that he believed Prowl is involved with the vigilantes. He wanted Prowl to hand it to him, just as he had given him the other damaging info earlier. But Prowl had to be smart. This was the moment of truth. Prowl’s future, and fate, would depend on his next answer. So Prowl did the only thing he could to escape the trap he was in. He got someone else to take his place.

“What if there were others there besides the Combaticons and these so-called vigilantes?” he asked back.

The question took Magnus by surprise. He had thought he worked Prowl into a corner and had him pinned down. This is not the response he expected at all. He expected Prowl to either get upset and give a haphazard answer in an attempt to deflect the accusation, or even simply confess. Magnus was by now almost 100% convinced Prowl was involved with the vigilantes. His past as a police officer with a questionable record, combined with his deflection of both the shotgun and the vigilante issues in the previous meeting put him on Magnus’s radar. And now the hunch had become a full-blown inner warning. Could he have been wrong? After all, there was no actual evidence connecting Prowl to the vigilantes. That’s why they were here. So Magnus could get something out of Prowl that would either connect the dots or clear him of the suspicion. Did Magnus lose his objectivity and actually decided Prowl’s guilt before the evidence was validated, proving the outcome, regardless of what it was?

“Others?” he simply asked back. “What do you mean?”

“Well, if I didn’t see anyone coming or going from the warehouse, which I didn’t, and both you and Hot Rod are absolutely certain the attack on him took place while I was already there, then the only logical conclusion is that his attackers didn’t come to the warehouse after breaking off the attack.” Prowl was walking a dangerous path, but he could see the way out. He just had to make sure he didn’t rush and take a wrong step.

“So you think there were more of them?” Magnus replied. “Vigilantes, I mean. After all, all the Combaticons were accounted for.”

“No, not vigilantes.” Prowl said, gaining a bit of confidence. Magnus’s seeming willingness to follow him on this path was giving him a head of steam. “Remember what I said earlier. The report by Streetwise stated that when they were attacked at Darkmount, there were more ‘Cons present besides the Combaticons. Could they have isolated Hot Rod and pinned him down?”

“But…” Magnus paused, partly because he didn’t expect Prowl’s counter and wasn’t ready for it, and partly because he had to choose his words carefully so he wouldn’t seem eager to want to incriminate Prowl. “...the damage to the building. I fully trust Red Alert’s analysis that it was made by high impact weapons, ones which used energon-based artillery. That points to the shotguns. And the shotguns mean the vigilantes.”

“Not necessarily.” Prowl said. He was now going full steam ahead. “Just because your so-called vigilantes had them, doesn’t mean other ‘Cons didn’t. Remember, quite a few of them went missing from the smelting pools. We found only 3. And, Red Alert’s evidence proves only the type of ammunition used. Not the weapons.”

Magnus had to admit that was true. The evidence was only circumstantial, and it wouldn’t hold up without something more concrete. Or maybe he was getting ahead of himself, and Prowl really is innocent.

“That’s a possibility.” he said. “I guess we’ll keep the hunt going for more possible suspects. And maybe if or when Streetwise and Brawl regain consciousness they can add some of the missing pieces. Until then, we’ll just have to put the shotguns aside. I’m also going to send Red Alert back out there to go over the scene again, and this time Nightbeat will go with him. Maybe they initially missed clues as to the exact nature of the weapons used against Hot Rod. I’m also going to step up the search for Smokescreen. He was spotted with Bluestreak prior to these events, even implicated in a previous vigilante attack. Perhaps he can give us some more information. Maybe he was even involved. He could be your missing attacker.”

Prowl had hoped Magnus would come to that conclusion. He tried to steer the conversation that way, but he had to let Magnus get there, he couldn’t just give it to him, it would have looked like Prowl was implicating Smokescreen to save himself. Which is exactly what he was doing. But even that was a stalling tactic. Prowl knew Magnus could never have this same meeting with Smokescreen. Smokey couldn’t handle himself like Prowl did, and he would end up breaking. And if that happened, Prowl was finished. So the only thing left for Prowl was to get to Smokescreen before he was caught.

“Alright. That seems possible, however unlikely.” Prowl said, acting hesitant.

“It’s something I intend to follow up on. Until then, you can go back to dealing with the rest of the planet’s crimes.” Magnus said, his tone returning to the weird mix of all business and somewhat jovial. It made Prowl uncomfortable, like Magnus was putting on a show, placating him. Something he didn’t think Magnus would ever do. But nonetheless, it was Prowl’s cue to leave, signaling that he has safely made it out of the danger zone. For now.

He stood up and smiled at Magnus, though careful not to over sell it.

“I guess we’ll pick this up later, then.” he said.

“We will.” Magnus said, and nodded. Prowl knew this meant he was dismissed. So he simply turned around and left the office.

Once Prowl was gone, Magnus filed all the reports on the incident in Vos, to be reviewed and updated later. Suddenly, the communicator on his desk began to blink blue. He had an incoming call. He reached over and pressed the button.

“Yes.” he said.

Magnus. This is Jetfire. I found Smokescreen.

“Do you have him in custody?”

I didn’t arrest him. I just asked him to come with me to Iacon to answer questions. He came willingly, no resistance. We’ll be there shortly. I thought you should know, in case you wanted to question him.

“I do. Very much so. Bring him to my office.”

On our way.

“Where are you now?”

Central Police Headquarters.

“Leave there immediately. Come here right away.”

Alright. Like I said, we’re on the way. Is everything alright over there?

“Yes. We’ve had some developments regarding the Combaticons and Hot Rod. Developments that bring a lot more questions. Smokescreen can possibly answer some of those. I want to talk to him as soon as possible.”

Okay. We’ll be there shortly.

“I’ll be here.”

Copy that. Jetfire out.

The call ended, and Magnus stood up. He was relieved that this loose end would get tied up so soon, but he had to be careful with Smokescreen. He was a veteran and was a cunning individual. If he was involved in this as long as Magnus suspects he was, it would be difficult to get him to admit anything. So he had to devise a series of questions to get the answers he was looking for. Smokescreen might not be as cunning as Prowl, but it wouldn’t be easy. But if he could get to him, he could use Smokescreen to get to the bottom of this whole vigilante business, no matter who was down there. Magnus then heard a noise behind him. He turned around and saw Prime standing at the bottom of the stairs to his quarters.

“He was lying.” Prime said.

“What? Who?”

“Prowl.”

“How do you know?”

“I have known him since the academy.” Prime said calmly and steadily. “You yourself told me to keep him close to me, so I did. Before the war and even during. This allowed me to get to know him better than anyone else. I think I know him better than even he knows himself. I was standing on the stairs, out of sight, listening while you were talking to him. He was lying the whole time.”
Rodimus Prime
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Re: The Bad Seed.

Postby Rodimus Prime » Thu Nov 02, 2017 7:59 pm

Bridge of The Ark

4,000,018 Earth Years Ago

"I think that’s it.” Wheeljack exclaimed, unable to hide the joy in his voice.

“Yeah, looks like it.” Prowl added. “Now we can go back to Cybertron.”

“Whatsamatter, ya scared?” Ironhide ribbed him.

“We’re pretty far away from Cybertron.” Prowl replied. “We’ve been lucky so far, but with all this equipment on board this huge ship, something is bound to malfunction. I just want to feel the solid steel of Cybertron’s surface under my feet.”

“Aww, c’mon officer, just enjoy the ride!” Jazz said as he slapped Prowl on the back, causing a grimace to distort Prowl’s normally serious face.

“Alright, that’s enough.” Optimus said. “Cliffjumper, an update please.”

“Sure, Prime!” CJ replied in his usual upbeat tone, and punched a few buttons on the Ark’s control panels. “Looks like we did it! No more asteroids that are big enough to cause damage to the surface of Cybertron. The smaller ones might cause some dings and dents, but otherwise we’re in the clear!”

“Sounds like a successful mission to me!” Trailbreaker said, and put out a closed fist. Bumblebee bumped it with his own closed fist, albeit yellow and much smaller.

“Yes, let’s go home.” Bluestreak exclaimed, with more relief than jubilance in his voice.

Their mission, clearing the asteroid cluster that threatened their home planet by floating into its orbit from the nearby solar system, had been successful. They brought an immense amount of energon with them to power both the ship itself and the gigantic pulverizers that were mounted on the top, bottom, and sides of The Ark. Wheeljack had designed the special equipment, which used compressed energon loads projected at a near-Mach 1 velocity to blow apart the larger space rocks in the cluster. The energon had been stored and heavily guarded for the over the past 2 years, as it was becoming a more and more precious commodity. The war, which was now raging full force, had consumed a large part of not only the planet’s resources, but the lives of its population. Most Transformers now belonged either to the Autobots or Decepticons, with very few neutrals left. Those who didn’t agree with the conflict, or simply refused to take part in it, either left the planet in small shuttles and flew Primus-knows-where, or went underground. That is where this starship had been constructed and kept, and even Optimus was surprised that the Decepticons never discovered it. But here they were, dealing with a grave threat from space, while a grave threat from back home was looming over them. Megatron had conquered nearly ⅔ of the planet, even though the Autobots had put up stiff resistance. Of course, most of his gains was done before Orion Pax became Prime, and since that had been ordained, the Decepticons and Autobots had fought to a standstill, mostly due to Prime’s ability to select Autobots who were very capable of not only defense, but taking the fight to the ‘Cons as well.

Until Pax’s appointment, the Autobots were under questionable leadership. The Elders had treated the Decepticons as a minor nuisance, but when Megatron made his grand speech in the Council’s chambers, offering himself as the next Prime, the revolution of the so-called downtrodden became very real. With the Council’s (and really, the Matrix’s) rejection of Megatron as the next leader of the planet, the Decepticon forces began openly and mercilessly assaulting cities. They razed, robbed and killed everything and everyone in front of them. With his rejection, Megatron had seemed to become unhinged. Someone who had started as a fighter for the oppressed, with a message of equality, had now become a power-hungry megalomaniac. But isn’t that how it is with most figures who are thrust on the forefront of conflict? They become manipulative and self-absorbed, using the very cause they championed to their own ends. They forget what, or who, they’re fighting for. It becomes about them. More often than not, figures like these meet with a violent end, sometimes justified, sometimes not. As Optimus stood on the bridge of the greatest starship the Transformers had ever seen (and maybe ever would see), he couldn’t help but contemplate the inevitable: sooner or later he would come face to face with this murderous tyrant, and he wondered if he would have the inner strength to justify the Matrix’s choice. But if he didn’t, would the Matrix have chosen him to begin with? Or was he just the better choice, given who the alternative was? Was Pax simply holding the Matrix, and leadership of the Transformer race, for someone more worthy who would come along in the future? He pushed these thoughts out of his mind. One battle at a time. Right now, The Ark’s energy levels were low, its fuel supplies depleted. But it did its job. It had carried Prime and his hand-picked crew to clear the way for their planet’s orbit to pass through this asteroid cluster. Now it was time to turn around and go home. The starship would undoubtedly be seen by the Decepticons, if it hasn’t been already, but by then it will be too late: if they do attack, they will only fight for a massive energon-guzzling piece of machinery that would probably never fly again. Not with the disappearing levels of resources available. That is why this mission had to succeed. They wouldn’t have had enough fuel to try it again, even if the planet was far enough away from the cluster to give them time. But that was of no consequence now. The mission was a success, and when they returned to Cybertron, Optimus planned on setting The Ark down right in the middle of the Sea of Rust, where it would serve as a station for those traveling across the massive barren landscape. No doubt, over time the rust would claim the ship, but like Prime thought: it probably wouldn’t fly again anyway. And if the Autobots can successfully defend it, it would give them a base located halfway across the planet, allowing them to take on the Decepticons on yet another front. But first, the ship, and its occupants, had to make it home. And with the size of the ship, this would be no small task.

“Ironhide, how long until we’re turned around?” Prime asked.

Ironhide, who had been piloting the ship with Sideswipe as co-pilot, turned in his chair.

“Not long, now that we’re not haulin’ all that extra weight.” Ironhide replied. “I know energon is scarce these days, but with all our stockpiles expended with the pulverizers, this big tub sure is easier to maneuver.”

“Sounds good.” Prime then turned to the comm-link on the console in front of him. “Prime to cargo bay. Come in.”

Brawn here, Prime.” the answer came. “What can I do fer ya?

“I’m just checking in. Everything in order with the equipment?”

So far so good, big bot. Mirage an’ Sunstreaker are makin’ their rounds now.

“Good. Just letting you know, you might want to secure yourselves. Ironhide and Sideswipe are beginning our return journey and the first move is turning the ship around.”

Aw, Prime, why do ya let that ancient bucket o’ bolts an’ that no-account blowhard control this ship? We’ll never make it back!

“What…?” Ironhide almost jumped out of his seat. “Ya little scraplet-infested waste of energon, I’ll show ya ancient!”

Hahahahahahahaha! Easy, old-timer! Don’t wanna blow a gasket!

“Alright, that’s enough.” Prime said, albeit with a smile in his optics. His faceplate didn’t allow him to actually smile.

Read ya loud an’ clear, boss bot. We’ll strap in down here.” Brawn said.

“And tell the others they did very well. We’ll be home soon.”

Will do. Cargo bay out.

With that, Prime shut off the comm-link and took a seat in the captain’s chair, behind the pilot and co-pilot. He could see the panels of instruments over and between their shoulders. The Ark, being as massive as it was, didn’t have an actual front window. Instead, what it had was a gigantic screen surrounded by smaller screens, all connected to recording equipment built into all sides of the ship. They had a 360-degree field of vision around the entire ship, even though they couldn’t actually look outside. A small part of Optimus wished he was looking through an actual window into space, but he also knew this was much safer. It didn’t matter, as the ship would most likely never fly again. And if it ever did, that meant the war was long over, and they would have the time and resources to make modifications on it. Prime just hoped he would be around to see it.

“Comin’ up on the planet, Prime.” Ironhide’s report brought him out of his thoughts. Optimus had decided, with the advice of his navigator, Jazz, that they would fly around the 3rd planet of the solar system they were in, using its orbit to slingshot them back in Cybertron’s direction. This way they would use as little fuel as possible, and would have plenty of space (no pun intended) to turn this 'big tub,' as Ironhide put it, around. Once they were facing the right direction, the ship would be put on autopilot, and it would take them back home at the optimum fuel-consumption rate.

They were all looking at the planet they were about to fly around. It looked so alien. No metal anywhere on the surface. ¾ of it was covered with some kind of liquid, and the rest was made up of different types of terrain. It would be fun to explore it sometime, Prime thought. It’s not even that far from Cybertron. Not now, anyway. Once Cybertron passes by, it will go back on its orbit to the other side of its own solar system, of which Cybertron is the only occupant, aside from it's moons and the Alpha Centauri star, and it will be a long time before it comes back this way again. Perhaps, by then the war will be over, and maybe Prime would get the chance to…

“PRIME!!!” Prowl’s shout brought him back to reality. “They’re here!!!”

“What…?”

“The Decepticons!” Prowl answered in an alarmed tone. “They’re boarding us!”

“But...how…?” Prime couldn’t get the question out. It seemed impossible, or at the least implausible, that the Decepticons had a spaceship of their own that was big enough to match The Ark. But looking at the screens in front of him, Prime realized that they did.

The Decepticon warship, long, sleek and dark, looked menacing compared to the light blue-ish metallic color of The Ark. It had arrived in a split second, no doubt powered by a transwarp drive, otherwise they would have noticed it approaching, no matter how fast it was. How did Megatron get a massive ship like this? Prime’s thoughts had him paralyzed, he was gripping the armrests of his chair. The Decepticon ship had attached itself to the side of The Ark with tractor-beams, and even though they were miniscule compared to the ships, Optimus could see Decepticons coming across the vacuum-sealed boarding planks which protruded from the side of the massive purple menace. But The Ark doesn’t have entrances on the sides. How will they… Prime couldn’t finish the thought, as the ship shuddered under the first assault of the Decepticons, carried out by Megatron’s immensely powerful fusion cannon. That’s how. They will just make an entrance. Prime now moved around the bridge, as the others scrambled for their weapons.

“Ironhide, you and Sideswipe stay here.” Prime instructed. “You keep control of this ship at all costs!”

“But Prime…”

“We can hold them off, but the ship cannot stray off course! Otherwise we won’t have enough fuel to make it back! And with the Decepticon ship attached to us, we can’t use auto-pilot.”

“But yer gonna need all the guns we got to defend ourselves!” Ironhide protested.

“We can handle it. The boarding party wasn’t big. They’re counting on their brute force combined with the element of surprise. We can repel them.”

“Alright.” Ironhide replied grudgingly and turned back to the controls. Sideswipe didn’t say anything, just gave Ironhide a look and also turned back to the console.

The others moved to the bridge entrance. From here, a long corridor led to the back of the massive ship. It was the central space of the vessel, having access to every single part of the ship from the bridge to the engine room to the carbo bay.

They’re in!” Gears’ voice came through the intercom in the corridor.

Prowl stepped up to it and pressed a button.

“Hold them there if you can, we’re on the way!” he said and turned off the com, not even waiting for a reply.

“Prowl!” Prime said. “You stay with me.”

“But...aren’t we going down there?”

“No. The rest of you, take up defensive positions along the corridor.” Prime said.

“But Prime, tactically that’s not sound.” Prowl said. “We should all go down to the point of entrance and try to contain them.”

“No. If they manage to get past us down there, there will be no one between them and the bridge. If we spread out, we’ll make the fight long and time-consuming, instead of fast and brutal. We have to make them fight our fight instead of the other way around!”

“I don’t think that’s a good idea. Prime, I…”

“That’s enough, Prowl. Do as you’re told!”

While Prowl and Prime went at it, the others simply followed Prime’s order and took up defensive positions all along the long central corridor. However, Prowl wasn’t along for nothing, as Prime brought him to be his tactical advisor, as well as because he had promised Magnus long ago that he would keep Prowl close. But even Prime had pangs of doubt over this decision. Maybe he should have followed Prowl’s advice…?

But Prime would never get the chance to find out, as out of nowhere a purple-and-black Decepticon materialized right in front of them, and without a word began shooting at them. One of them can teleport! Prowl thought, as he took aim at the ‘Con. But before his shots hit home, the ‘Con disappeared just as fast as he appeared. Prowl could see him appearing further down the corridor, attacking and disappearing again. He was disrupting the defenses, as the others were slowly advancing. Very smart tactic, Prowl thought. By harassing us, the ‘Con takes our attention away from the main boarding party, and they can advance without encountering an organized resistance. Prowl stepped to the intercom again and pressed a button.

“This is Prowl. Situation report!”

The situation is, we’re gettin' fragged!” Huffer’s voice came back. “Where is our backup?

“Do your best to hold them there, we’re in the corridor, in case they make it past you.”

That’s idiotic! Who came up with that plan?!

“Prime’s orders.” Prowl said, the words making the insides of his mouth feel like he just guzzled expired Engex.

We’ll try.” Huffer came back after a moment’s hesitation.

“I’m sorry.” Prowl said.

Me too, buddy. Me too. But...BOOM!” the explosion came through the com and then static. Prowl knew immediately he probably just heard Huffer’s last words.

Damn him! Prowl was furious at Prime. Is this the kind of decision a supposedly all-knowing leader makes? But before he could actually turn his ire at Optimus, he spotted the Decepticons advancing up the corridor. Out front were 2 ‘Cons Prowl didn’t recognize. One all-blue, with some red stripes on his wings, the other red and blue, with white wings and legs. They looked just like the one that could teleport. Must be spark-brothers. Like Sideswipe and Sunstreaker. Except there’s 3 of them. Prowl thought. But he didn’t have time for anything else, as the shots were already slamming into the walls around him. The Decepticons were powerful, and they were advancing fast. Prowl could finally see Megatron, walking behind a couple of other ‘Cons, his fusion cannon thundering and blowing holes in the insides of The Ark. Prowl then saw something he never thought he would see. Optimus Prime...his friend, Orion Pax…retreating.

“What are you doing?” Prowl asked him. “You said to make a stand here, so they don’t…”

“I was wrong!” Prime cut him off. “Fall back to the bridge. We can use the bulkhead as cover, and they will be trapped in a crossfire in the corridor.”

As Prowl and Prime were backing up, they kept firing down the hall. But even as their shots were hitting their marks, causing damage to the ‘Cons, they kept coming, taking out the Autobots in the corridor one at a time. Prowl and Prime backed into the bridge.

“What’s goin’ on?” Ironhide asked. “We’re hearin’ an awful lot o’ commotion!”

“They’re almost here!” Prowl shouted back. “Grab your weapons!”

“But the ship…” Sideswipe said.

“You stay here.” Ironhide told him. “Just keep it pointin' forward.”

The old bot then got up, shouldered his cannon and joined Prime and Prowl by the entrance to the bridge. The ‘Cons weren’t far now. Even though a few of them fell, the 2 winged ones and Megatron were still coming. They seemed to be the most powerful. Blasts slammed into the wall all around them, one even flying by and smashing into one of the screens.

“Whoa!” Sideswipe shouted. “Shut the doors!”

“Yes. He’s right.” Prime said. “Move!” he motioned to Prowl and Ironhide, and hit the control panel on the wall. The bridge doors closed, the Decepticons’ blasts slamming into the other side.

“That won’t keep out Megatron.” Ironhide said.

“I know. But it will buy us some time.” Prime said.

“For what?” Prowl asked.

“To set up defenses here. Once they break through, we’ll take them down one by one, from behind fortified positions. If we get into a firefight in the corridor, they’ll beat us. They’re stronger.”

“Prime, we lost this fight the moment you ordered us not to go down to the cargo bay.” Prowl said with disdain. “If we had concentrated our firepower down there, we could have stopped them.”

Prime didn’t say anything, he just started at the door for a moment. He then turned around and walked over to Sideswipe.

“Set it on autopilot.”

“But Prime, if I do that, the ‘Con ship will…”

“Set it! We need every gun to defend the bridge.”

“Yes, commander.” Sideswipe said and pressed the buttons.

Prowl and Ironhide both knew combat tactics, and they began moving equipment around the bridge to construct the most effective defenses. Sideswipe joined them, while Prime stayed back at the controls. The blasts were denting the doors, and finally one broke through. Megatron’s cannon, no doubt. Then another. And another. Soon, the bridge doors looked like swiss cheese. As soon as Decepticon body parts showed, Prowl, Ironhide and Sideswipe began shooting them. At first they were successful, but soon the ‘Cons took up cover positions and started shooting in. They weren’t hitting the Autobots, but they were causing damage. All kinds of warning lights and sounds came on the consoles. Prowl looked around, not even knowing what half the warnings were. He then spotted Prime, still at the controls. He had his back to them.

“Prime!” Prowl said. The others seemed not to notice, they were busy returning fire. “Why aren’t you fighting with us?”

“We can’t win this.” Prime said quietly, almost muttering.

"What?” Prowl asked. “What are you doing?"

“They can’t get this ship.” Prime said.

Prowl walked up next to him.

“Come on, we need you to fight next to us!” he said. “You’re the strongest of us!”

“Prowl, you were right. This fight was lost the moment I made the first decision.”

Prime pressed a few buttons, and a panel in the console opened. A smaller, raised panel came up, with 3 buttons on it.

“What are you doing?"

“This is a failsafe I had Wheeljack build into the ship. Only in the event of absolute desperation.”

“What...what does it do?”

But before Prowl got an answer, a scream distracted them. Sideswipe took a direct hit from Megatron’s cannon, and was laid sprawling on the floor of the bridge, his chest and left arm scrapped to the skeleton. He was unconscious, most likely in stasis lock.

“Prime! Prowl!” Ironhide shouted, but didn’t turn around. He kept the ‘Cons from advancing into the bridge by covering the entrance with blaster fire. The doors were nothing but a few charred strips of metal hanging off the walls by now.

Prowl turned to fire at the ‘Cons, and a direct blast slammed into Optimus’s back. Prime lurched forward, hit the console and fell down. He was still conscious, and started to scramble back up. Prowl returned fire. But it was no use, as the black-and-purple winged ‘Con from earlier appeared out of nowhere again, right behind Ironhide.

“No!” Prowl shouted and fired at the ‘Con, hitting him at the same moment the ‘Con shot Ironhide in the back of the head. Ironhide’s motionless body crumpled to the floor, the ‘Con stumbling forward over him. Prowl shot him again, but he had enabled his teleport mechanism and was gone. Prowl then turned back to Prime, who was now standing up, leaning on the console. He had his back to Prowl, and to Megatron, who now entered the bridge.

“Prime.” Megatron said with a loud yet measured tone. But Optimus didn’t acknowledge him. He was pressing the buttons on the smaller raised console. The failsafe. Prowl, turning back to Megatron, began shooting at him. Megatron stopped and took cover behind the makeshift defenses that were supposed to keep him out, while his apparent lieutenant, the winged ‘Con with the red chest and white legs, returned fire at Prowl. He scrambled back to the console, taking cover behind Sideswipe’s seat.

“Prime! What are you doing?” he asked, his optics wide.

“They can’t get this ship.” Prime said, now more firmly than earlier. “This is our only option.”

“What?! What does it do?!” Prime shouted.

“It will shut off the fuel to the engines, turning them off, and allowing this planet’s orbit to take control.”

“To do WHAT?!” Prowl asked hysterically, as he exchanged fire with the winged ‘Con. Megatron, strangely, stayed back. Maybe he was waiting until he had Prime all to himself.

“To take the ship down. To crash it on the surface of this uninhabited planet.” Prime’s voice was strangely calm and even.

“And...what about US?!” Prowl shouted.

“We will most likely not survive the impact. But neither will the Decepticons.”

“Suicide?! THAT’s our option?! NO!” Prowl shouted.

“With Megatron gone, the war will be over! I’m doing this for all Transformers. So that Cybertron can go back to the way things were.”

“NO! Prime! STOP!” Prowl stopped firing at the ‘Cons and lunged for Prime’s arm. But a well-placed blast hit him in the side, slamming him against the console. He dropped his blaster, and fell on the floor. He looked up at Prime as he pressed the red button in the middle of the raised console.

“Prime! PAX!!! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?! “ Prowl shouted, ignoring the ‘Cons who ceased firing and were now walking across the spacious bridge toward them. Maybe they were talking, but Prowl couldn’t hear. Between his physical pain and the fury he felt for his once-best friend, now-commander, his focus was solely on Optimus Prime.

“No sacrifice, no victory.” Optimus Prime said, and the released the red button on the console. Prowl could feel through the floor the shudder of the engines coming to a stop. As Optimus turned toward him, they locked optics.

“You just killed us.” Prowl said quietly. “You just murdered me.

But before Prime could respond, they were all thrown up against the huge screen, Megatron and his ‘Cons as well, as The Ark yielded to the planet’s gravity and began its final descent toward the surface. But the landing wouldn’t be a soft bump. It would be a violent, fiery crash, killing all aboard, those who weren’t dead already from the firefight. Prowl’s final thoughts weren’t pity or sorrow as he tumbled about the bridge like a pinball. The Ark not only nosedived, but it seemed to be tilting as well, going down sideways. It had been pulled to one side by the attached Decepticon ship, which was now detached and remained in space. But The Ark was headed to its final landing, taking up its new role as the mangled and charred tomb of its occupants.

As Prowl held onto a piece of equipment that was secured, he looked at the gigantic screen in the middle. Even with the cracks in it, it was still functioning, and it was showing the planet becoming larger and larger. As it filled the screen and its surface became more and more detailed, Prowl hoped that if there was life after death, he would face Orion Pax one more time and make him pay for what he has done. And then static spread out over the huge screen a split second before the impact shattered it and drove the wall inward and everything went black in an instant of fiery pain.
Rodimus Prime
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Re: The Bad Seed.

Postby Rodimus Prime » Fri Nov 03, 2017 5:28 pm

Hub Capital Iacon: Medical District

Present Day

Prowl walked into the main building in the center of the entire district. It was a sprawling, vast corner of Iacon, with rows of identical buildings built to accommodate any type of injury a Transformer could suffer. Anywhere from a simple wire-crossing to total stasis could be treated here. All the buildings were interconnected, a bot would never have to go outside to traverse the entire district. Considering that a lot of confrontations and physical altercations came from the Decepticons being allowed to assimilate into the new Autobot society, a large number of patients were Decepticons. Having their weapons taken away, they were less able to defend themselves in the face of an assault, and thus suffered more injuries. But First Aid never once thought of refusing medical help to a Decepticon, regardless of who he was or what he did previously. First Aid did not live in the past, and he had sworn the oath to aid any Transformer in need of it, regardless of consequence or pre-existing conditions. He wasn’t a peace officer or a judge. Punishment was not his job or desire. But now First Aid had a tough choice to make, and it would be a telling test of his character. Because now, in one of the medical stations in the district was Brawl, the last surviving Combaticon, one of the bots responsible for the murder of 2 of First Aid’s Protectobot brothers and the critical condition in which both Hotspot and Streetwise now were.

First Aid was in a location he rarely sees: his office. He was sitting down, reports of the Vos incident in front of him. A total work-up of all injured parties involved lay across his desk. As he stared at Streetwise’s chart, his mind traveled back to the past, back to Earth. Where they were brought to life by The Creation Matrix at the command of Optimus Prime, to defend the Autobots and Earth from the Decepticons. What Prime never knew, however, was that Megatron had access to residual Matrix energy from the process of the Aerialbots being created before the Protectobots, and thus was able to bring the Stunticons and Combaticons to life. So was it Prime’s fault that the Protectobots suffered the fate they did? Probably not. Prime’s intentions were nothing less than noble, but the fact remains that due to a lapse in security the Combaticons were brought to life and eventually were the cause of the Protectobots’ demise. But First Aid had to purge these thoughts from his mind. Yes, he started out as a Protectobot, but now he was simply an Autobot, and Chief Medical Officer at that, responsible for the well-being of the entire population of Cybertron. Ratchet was presumably killed in the explosion and 2nd crash of The Ark, and his remains have never been recovered. First Aid would have liked to bring closure to the memory of his mentor and friend, but he didn’t know if he would ever return to Earth.

So here he was, with a choice to make: does he provide the utmost care to Brawl, allowing him to return to full health and stand trial and possibly be convicted of crimes he’s being accused of, or does he administer the minimum of aid, simply keeping the Combaticon alive. Technically, that would fulfill his oath, but First Aid was never a fan of technicalities. He did have faith in Ultra Magnus and the Autobots’ justice system, and he was confident Brawl would pay for all the despicable things he has done since being brought to life. But even so, Brawl was low on First Aid’s list. He would provide him top quality care, but when he got around to it. There were injured Autobots, some of them gravely, who needed his attention first. Among them his own Protectobot brother, Streetwise, who suffered serious trauma in Vos and his spark was barely holding on. But he will recover, even with the damage to his cerebral circuits. As a matter of fact, biased or not, First Aid put Streetwise at the top of his list. Then he would see to Hot Rod, and then check back in on Hotspot, who has made some progress. Then he might go by and take a look at Wildrider and Brawl, but for now the orderlies can handle them. They won’t be going anywhere anyway, they have armed guards posted at their stations.

First Aid organized his files and got up from his desk, preparing to make his rounds to the most extremely critical patients, the very first one being Streetwise. As he left his room, he nearly ran into Prowl, who was walking down the hall seemingly in a hurry.

“Hey!” First Aid said. “Everything alright?”

“Oh…” Prowl said. “Y-yeah. Yeah.” he seemed to be deep in thought as he walked by.

“Where are you headed?”

“I...I was just going to check in on Streetwise and Hot Rod. I also have to follow up on the security detail to both Brawl and Wildrider. They’re Priority 1 prisoners, according to Magnus. You know, that vigilante business and all.”

“Right.” First Aid said. “I’m going to see Streetwise, you’re welcome to come with me.”

“Sure.”

As they walked, Prowl was looking around.

“What?” First Aid asked. “Expecting something?”

“Huh…?” Prowl replied. “Oh, no, I was just checking for security units and cameras, you know see how the system is set up. Can’t be too careful with ‘Cons like Wildrider and Brawl in custody.”

“Yeah, that’s true.”

But Prowl had an entirely different reason for scoping out the security system. As far as he was concerned, there were 4 loose ends to his shady dealings scattered throughout this medical facility. Well, really 3 loose ends and one personal indulgence he was having a hard time letting go of. Even though Hot Rod could never identify him, just the thought of the punk laying on a slab practically helpless was too tempting for Prowl to pass up. He could still get Hot Rod, it just has to look like an unfortunate medical development. And he had his mind made up, Brawl, Wildrider and Streetwise had to be silenced, at all costs. Especially Streetwise. He knew too much. Brawl didn’t actually see or hear Prowl, but Prowl didn’t know what Smokescreen or Bluestreak might have revealed on the trip from Iacon to Vos in the back of that hover transport. So Prowl wasn’t taking chances. And Wildrider, well he was just a mess to be cleaned up. A mess that Smokescreen made, and for which Prowl would hold him accountable, sooner or later. But right now, on top of his list was Streetwise, just like he was on the top of First Aid’s list, but for a much different reason. As they walked, they didn’t talk. They both had things on their minds, and Prowl never cared much for First Aid anyway. He didn’t dislike the bot, but Prowl thought he could never live up to Ratchet’s legacy. But then again, once upon a time, Ratchet was new at this job, too.

“This is it.” First Aid brought Prowl out of his thoughts. If he hadn’t, Prowl would have walked right past Streetwise’s room.

“Oh. Sorry.” Prowl said, and turned to the right, following First Aid into the room.

Prowl looked up towards the ceiling and in the corners to check for any type of surveillance. Nothing. No cameras, no posted guards. Since the ‘Con patients were kept in a different section of the facilities, there was no need for constant armed security here, just the occasional patrol, which consisted of one bored guard drone walking the halls. Perfect.

“How is he?” First Aid asked the orderly drone, who just happened to be in the room, going over the equipment to which Streetwise was hooked up.

“He is stable. But barely improving.”

“Alright. Just keep a watch on him, his spark signature is weak. Any small mishaps could exert stress on his spark. This equipment is reliable, but not perfect.”

Just what Prowl wanted to hear.

“It will be done, Chief.”

“Good.” First Aid said, then turned to Prowl. “There’s not much to be done for him. His spark has to become stronger before we attempt any other function, such as bringing him out of stasis. So you will have to wait to talk to him.”

“Alright. Do you know how long it might be?”

“No. These things are touchy. But It will take time. Honestly, I’m surprised the stress of the damage didn’t cause his spark to overload and explode.”

“I thought only a direct hit to the spark casing can do that?”

“Not necessarily. Every part of a Transformer’s body is connected to the spark casing, and if the damage suffered by the various body parts is large enough, the resulting shock could cause the spark to overload from registering all the damage at once. It doesn’t happen often, but it has happened.”

“Are you sure you can trust the equipment to take care of him?”

“Well, it’s regularly maintained, so I don’t see any problem. But you never know, which is why there is an orderly to check on patients in every section of every building.”

“I see.” Prowl said, a plan formulating in his head.

Then they made their way to Hotspot’s room, but there wasn’t much to discuss there. Then it was onto Hot Rod’s station. He was sitting up on his slab, checking the wires going from his body to the surrounding equipment when First Aid and Prowl walked in.

“How are you feeling?” First Aid asked.

“Do I really need these?” Hot Rod asked without looking up.

But then he did, and his face became dead serious.

“What do you want?” he asked Prowl, a scowl on his face.

“Easy.” Prowl said. “I’m just checking on you. I’m still the police chief, remember? Just because you have special privileges with Optimus, that doesn’t exclude you from the responsibilities of an Autobot.”

“Whatever.”

First Aid, who had been checking the readings on the equipment, now stepped between them, facing Hot Rod.

“Looks like everything is in order, you’re healing nicely.”

“So I can go?”

“No, not yet. You took a lot of damage, I want to make sure your internal systems are at 100% before you leave. Your dents and scrapes you can take care of yourself.”

“But you said everything was good.”

“Yes, but I also gave my word to Optimus to keep a watch on you until you’re completely healed, at least on the inside.”

Hot Rod grimaced and shook his head.

“How much longer?” he asked.

“Should be no more than 2 days.”

“2 days?” Hot Rod asked surprisedly and stood up. “I have to stay here hooked up to this stuff for 2 more days?”

“It might be sooner, but you suffered a lot of damage. I want to make sure everything gets repaired.”

‘What if I leave on my own recognizance? I’ll give you my word I’ll stay away from any stressful activities. I just want to go back to my own hab suite.”

“Well...maybe. Let me go check on something.”

First Aid then left the room.

“I have nothing to say to you.” Hot Rod said to Prowl calmly and evenly.

“I don’t expect you to. And quite frankly, I don’t care.” Prowl replied with the same calm. “But the fact is, I’m the chief law enforcer on Cybertron, and…”

“The hell you are!” Hot Rod snapped at him. “Ultra Magnus is!”

“Regardless, I’m still an authority figure, and you’re under that authority.” Prowl replied, still calm. “The doctor says you’re still messed up, so you’re staying here, no matter what. At least for another day.”

“What? But if he says…”

“Doesn’t matter. Even if he says you can leave, I can still make you stay.”

Hot Rod gave Prowl a look of hatred but didn’t say anything. He just sat back down on the slab as First Aid walked back in.

“Well, you’re well enough to walk out of here, but I wish you would stay, at least….”

“Forget it.” Hot Rod cut him off. “I’m staying.”

“Oh. Very well. Good to hear that.”

“Whatever.”

“Why the change?”

“I had a talk with the young bot here,” Prowl answered, and again he couldn’t help but appease his ego for just one moment. “And I made him understand that in good conscience I can’t let him leave here.”

First Aid just nodded, as Hot Rod laid back down, looking at the ceiling. First Aid then walked out of the room, followed by Prowl, neither saying another word. Outside, in the hallway, First Aid turned to Prowl.

“Well, I guess this is where we part ways, unless you care to accompany me on the rest of my rounds. I won’t be going to see the Decepticon facilities for a while yet, unless there’s an emergency.”

“Oh, alright.” Prowl said. But there will be some emergencies over there soon enough. he thought.

They then went in opposite directions. As soon as First Aid rounded the corner, Prowl took a quick glance in every direction. No security surveillance, no guard, and no orderly drone. He slipped into Streetwise’s room and walked over to his life support equipment. He didn’t know much about medical procedures, but he had a basic knowledge of equipment. He removed a panel on the back of the spark-regulator, which was the machine that kept Streetwise’s spark from fading by supplying him with a special medicated form of energon. He then simply pulled loose the wire supplying the machine with power. He didn’t disconnect it all the way, because that would raise an alarm. But he pulled on it enough so that the connection became very weak. Soon, due to the current load it was no longer able to sustain, the wire would burn out, shorting out the machine. If Prowl was lucky, the whole thing would explode, erasing any sign of tampering. But even if not, it can be blamed on a simple malfunction. Bottom line is, the energon will stop flowing to Streetwise, and by the time they hook him up to another machine, his spark will simply fade away and stop pulsing. As Prowl replaced the panel, he couldn’t help but glance at Streetwise’s helpess body. He didn’t feel good about doing this, but it had to be done. His own survival was at stake. He couldn’t take the chance that if Streetwise regained consciousness he would talk, involving Prowl in the vigilante attacks. He quickly walked to the door, but didn’t step out. He listened for a moment, and when he was sure no one was around, he stepped out into the hall way. It seemed deserted, but it was just really quiet. As quiet as Streetwise’s saprk would be very soon.

*** *** ***

Council Tower: Ultra Magnus’s Office

Present Day


“Sit down.” Magnus said tersely, as Smokescreen walked in, followed by Jetfire.

There was no one else around, as Magnus didn’t believe Smokescreen would get out of control. But he still wanted Jetfire present, just in case he needed backup, as well as because Jetfire was the one who tracked him down and brought him in.

“What’s this about?” Smokescreen asked. “Flybot over there didn’t tell me anything.” He jerked a thumb toward Jetfire, who took a step back and stood by the wall.

“I want to talk to you.” Magnus said. “About something serious. Have you heard about the recent attacks on Decepticons, those which some attribute to Autobot vigilantes?”

“I had heard a few rumors, but I don’t pay much attention to that stuff.”

“Where were you 3 days ago? I have a report saying you were present at some operation down by the Sea of Rust, along with Bluestreak.”

“Uhh…” Smokescreen said, trying to stall. “I...I’m not sure. If Bluestreak was with me, maybe he can tell you. Have you asked him?”

“Bluestreak is dead.” Magnus replied matter-of-factly.

Smokescreen’s optics widened. This really was news to him. Last he saw of Bluestreak, he was heading toward the Combaticons’ warehouse hideout. Magnus saw the reaction, and he was surprised himself. If Smokescreen and Bluestreak were in this together, he expected Smokescreen to know that Bluestreak was dead.

“I...I didn’t know…” Smokescreen replied, the surprise genuine, but the shock feigned. He then tried to put on his most thoughtful expression.

“Cut it out.” Magnus said. “I know it’s an act.”

“What…? What do you mean?”

“Smokescreen, you’ve been buddies with Prowl since before the war.” Magnus said, getting to the point. “I know well that you 2 share the same point of view regarding law enforcement and treatment of Decepticons in general. I also have multiple witnesses placing you at the locations of vigilante attacks. So if I order a complete scan of your hab suite as well as you, am I going to find a Flintlock-Sureshot 350, either assembled or in pieces?”

Magnus’s stare was straight ahead, piercing through Smokescreen. He knows. Smokescreen thought. He knew Ultra Magnus very well. He wouldn’t make such a blatantly open accusation if he couldn’t back it up with evidence. It was time to decide where his priorities lay, and Smokescreen decided in an instant.

“If I talk, I walk.” was all he said.

Behind him, Jetfire tensed up. Magnus had been bluffing mostly, as the only witness they had was Wildrider, but Smokescreen didn’t know that. And that lunatic wasn’t very credible. But with the tension Smokescreen was already under, combined with the news of Bluestreak’s death, and perhaps the effects of what happened the night before in Vos, he broke. Apparently he didn’t know Magnus as well as he thought he did.

“That depends on what you talk about.” Magnus said.

“Well…” Smokescreen said, somewhat composing himself. There was no backing out now. “You tell me what I get for talking, and I will decide how much talking that is worth.”

*** *** ***

Medical District: Decepticon Facilities

Some Time Later

The security was much heavier here, but Prowl knew how to get around it. Under the pretense of attempted interrogation, he gained entry to not only the facilities, but to both Brawl and Wildrider’s stations. Wildrider was completely out, his spark weak, his body in stasis lock. He would be the easier one. Once inside, Prowl instructed the guard to remain on duty outside, that he was simply checking on the condition of the ‘Con. The guard didn’t understand why Prowl bothered, Wildrider was in stasis lock, he wasn’t gonna get anything out of him. But he was the police chief, so the guard just did as he was told. Prowl walked over to the equipment Wildrider had hooked up to him. It was the same as Streetwise’s. So Prowl did the same thing he did in Streetwise’s room. He then nonchalantly left, throwing a salute to the guard on his way out.

In the next building over, he came to a room guarded more heavily than Wildrider’s. Prowl knew this is where Brawl was, and he knew Brawl was in much better shape than the Stunticon, even if he took what appeared to be 2 shotgun blasts directly to the chest. Prowl was amazed the Combaticon was still alive. He had 4 guards on his room, 2 on each side of the door. Inside, Brawl was restrained, but still hooked up to medical equipment. He was not in stasis lock, but most of his systems were turned off to preserve energon and spark energy, at least until he was stronger. Prowl talked with the guards for a moment, and then he was let in. The door was kept open and one of the guards stood in the doorway. He wasn’t paying attention to what Prowl said and did, but this was necessary in case the ‘Con becomes unruly. He was only resting, after all. Standing by Brawl’s slab, Prowl was between the guard and Brawl, shielding the ‘Con and what Prowl was doing to him from the guard’s view. Prowl was talking, spouting random things about crimes, justice, and Brawl paying for what he had done. As he was doing this, he opened a small compartment in his torso, under his chest, carefully keeping his hands out of view. His doors also helped to block anything someone behind him might see, but he was careful nonetheless. This was the most crucial part of his plan. From the hidden space under his chest he took a small device, wrapped in some type of cloth. It was unusual to see anything non-metal-based on Cybertron, but Prowl had spent time on Earth and he learned a few things from humans. The piece of cloth-like material shielded the small explosive from being detected as he came to the Medical District. Having dangerous ‘Cons for patients required a high level of security, and this inscluded detectors for explosive devices, whether they be on or in a bot’s body. And everyone was scanned as they headed in. Even Prowl. But this little bit of material shielded the explosive from the scanners, and he was able to bring it in. He slightly leaned over Brawl as he talked, making it look like he was just talking tough to him, trying to intimidate him. But in reality, and what the guard didn’t see, he was placing the small explosive under the patchwork covering Brawl’s chest, next to his spark casing. It would be enough to rip open Brawl from the inside, and overload his spark, blowing him apart, and probably destroying the room, even killing or at least injuring the guards. But it had to be done.

The most crucial part was up next, however. It’s not what Prowl did, it’s what he would say. He set the timer on the explosive to 10 seconds. That should be enough for him to get far enough, but not enough for the bomb to be disabled. He pressed the little button marking the countdown.

“Whoa!” he then said loudly, gaining the guard’s attention. “What’s this?”

8 Seconds.

The guard walked over, as Prowl pointed at the device.

6 Seconds.

“That’s…” the guard said, and the realization hit him.

4 Seconds.

“Out!” the guard shouted. “NOW!!!”

3 Seconds.

Prowl lunged for the door, the guard right behind him.

2 Seconds.

The other guards looked at them, alarm in their optics.

1 Second.

“Self-destruct device!” the guard behind Prowl shouted as he cleared the doorway.

000.

***BOOM***


*** *** ***

Back in the minimum-security facilities, Hot Rod was laying down on his slab. He had a lot on his mind. All the things Prime had been teaching him. This business with these supposed vigilantes getting out of hand. Then his own violent and brutal brush with death. He had been lucky, and he knew it. If the Dinobots hadn’t arrived when they did, the Combaticons would have killed him for certain. They even said so. Hot Rod hadn’t seen them, but it had to be them. He had just taken out their leader, so of course they would want to kill him. It was stupid to go there alone, even if his instincts told him to do it. Or was it something else? Whatever. All Hot Rod knew was that from now on he had to be more careful. Like Prime said, he had to stop being rash and think things through clearly. ‘A leader cannot afford to make mistakes,’ Optimus had said, ‘as it will be his followers who will suffer for it.’ To Hot Rod it seemed Prime was saying this with great regret and feeling of guilt. But over what? Had Optimus made decisions before that cost the lives of others? Even if he did, it must have been during the war. And then, he can’t be faulted. It’s the fault of the aggressors. Right?

His mind brought him back to his near-fatal confrontation in Vos. How he got away from Onslaught. How he was cornered in the abandoned building. Would he make the same decision? Sure, if it was a mistake, it would only cost him his own life, no one else’s. But if he were to become a great leader, as Optimus seems to think he will, he can’t take these decisions and consequences lightly. If he were become Prime, everything would depend on him. Everything. And he almost lost that possibility in Vos when he was trapped. What did that ‘Con say to him? ‘I can’t let you leave here!

I CAN’T LET YOU LEAVE HERE!

The words exploded in his cerebral circuits. He knew he had heard them somewhere recently, as soon as Prowl said it earlier!

PROWL!

Hot Rod knew something had bothered him all this time, ever since that happened. He couldn’t tell what it was but now he had it figured out. He had never thought about the voice that said those words, just the words themselves. But now he knew. He assumed it a was a Combaticon who said that, but the voices didn’t match. But today, hearing the same words in the same voice, it finally clicked. Hot Rod sat up straight on his slab, his optics wide open, the wires connecting him to the medical equipment stretching out. He snatched them and ripped them from himself, ignoring the pain at the points of attachment. He stood up as he removed all the wires, setting off a bunch of alarms on the equipment in the room as well as outside at the monitoring station. A moment later an orderly drone came in.

“Is there a problem?” he asked.

“I have to go!” Hot Rod replied loudly, and tried to get past the drone.

“But you’re not cleared to leave.” the drone said and put a hand on Hot Rod’s arm.

“I’m fine!” Hot Rod shouted and tore his arm out of the drone’s grip.

He stormed out of the room, and started running down the hall. As soon as he got outside, he would transform and drive back to the Council Tower, injuries be damned. He had to talk to Ultra Magnus.

*** *** ***

Medical District: Decepticon Facilities


“What happened here?!” First Aid asked, looking at the destruction.

“Apparently, Brawl was wired with a self-destruct device.” Prowl answered.

They were sitting at the monitoring station down the hall, as the debris was being cleaned up by a crew. The explosion had been contained to the room, but it tore out the inner wall between the room and the hallway. The walls between the room and the adjoining rooms withstood the blast, but barely. Incredibly, no one else was hurt. The guard who was behind Prowl on the way out got thrown over Prowl by the explosion as Prowl dove down and he crashed against the far wall, but he would be alright. The other guards suffered minor scratches and dents.

“How did it get in here? I mean, we scan for those things.” First Aid said, shaking his head.

“It was next to his spark chamber. Maybe the signal was distorted by his spark signature. Besides, it could have just slipped through in the commotion. Wasn’t Brawl brought in on the Autobot side, along with Sideswipe and Hot Rod?”

“Uhh...y-yeah. Yes.”

“See? Less security on that side.” Prowl said. “It was an oversight, but luckily no one got hurt. Well, except Brawl. He’s all over the place.”

Prowl didn’t smile at the attempted humor, and neither did First Aid.

“I’m sorry First Aid, but I can’t feel sorry for him. He was a murderous ‘Con. And everything else can be rebuilt. No one else was hurt.”

“Right.”

“Then what’s wrong? You seem...out of it. Like your thoughts are somewhere else.”

“Streetwise…”

“What about him?”

“Prowl, he almost died earlier. Just after we visited him. It was the weirdest thing. His life support malfunctioned.”

“What…?” Prowl said, his voice filled with genuine shock, but not for the reason First Aid thought. “Is he going to make it?”

“Yeah...well, apparently the sudden loss of energon to his spark jolted its pulse out of rhythm and it almost faded out. We barely got the backup machine hooked up. He will most likely live, but I don't know what further damage has been done to him.”

“That’s...First Aid, I’m so sorry.”

“And it’s...just a coincidence, I guess, but the same thing happened to Wildrider just a few breems ago. That’s why I was already here in this facility. “

“What…? The same thing?” Prowl asked, acting incredulous. “Like, exactly the same?”

“Yeah. His machine got fried as well, cutting off the energon feed. And his spark just quit. Like it was already gone, and only the energon supply kept it going.”

"So he died?"

"Yes."

“That...is...I don’t know what to say.”

“Nothing to say.” First Aid said and stood up. “Sometimes, we experience the opposite of a medical miracle. It’s just the way it is.”

“Sir.” A guard drone interrupted.

“Yes?” Prowl asked.

“I just got a transmission through dispatch. Apparently they couldn’t reach you on your personal communicator.”

“Yeah...must have gotten damaged in the blast. What did they want?”

“Commander Ultra Magnus requires your presence at the Council Towers. Immediately.
Rodimus Prime
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Posts: 18914
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Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2002 8:31 pm

Re: The Bad Seed.

Postby Rodimus Prime » Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:22 am

Hub Capital Iacon: Council Tower

Present Day

The elevator stopped on the 49th floor of the Tower. Prowl waited as the doors built into the wall slid apart. The elevator itself wasn’t a box raised and lowered by cables, like on Earth. The Transformers were much more technologically advanced than humans, and the humans’ method seemed very simple and ancient. Instead, all this elevator consisted of was a flat platform being guided by 4 rails in each corner of the shaft, and lowered and raised by magnetic levitation. Even this technology was considered basic on Cybertron, as maglev was applied to a lot of other operations all across the Transformers’ world. Anywhere from freight transportation to military applications, it was everywhere. It was cheap to operate and easy to maintain, having minimal parts needed. Just some rails and the pieces to run in them, which are connected to whatever needed to be moved. In the case of the elevator, there was a thin console rising up in the middle of the platform, with basic controls on it. It basically looked like a small table with one leg in the middle. On top were the set of 49 buttons, indicating to which floor the occupant wanted to go. Of course, the Tower had a 50th floor, but that was off limits to any visitors, unless they went through Ultra Magnus first. It was probably one of the reasons some bots viewed Prime with some disdain. He had closed himself off to the public, even though any time someone wanted to see him, they could. They just had to check in with Ultra Magnus. The buttons were neatly arranged in a 7 x 7 formation, making them a perfect square, the odd numbers in yellow, the even ones in black. On each side of the table was also a red button for emergency stopping. The platform moved very fast, and there was no waiting for someone else’s floor whenever an occupant was using it. He simply got on the elevator, like Prowl just did on the ground floor, and pressed the button corresponding to the floor he wanted to go to. If there was someone wanting to use the elevator after the occupant had pressed the button, the platform would travel to the occupant’s selected floor, and then go to the floor on which the next occupant was waiting. In the event that someone got on the platform on the same level the previous occupant got off, whatever floor this new occupant chose would be traveled to after the already waiting would-be occupant was picked up. This seemed complicated and time-consuming, but the maglev platform moved so fast it was only a miniscule difference. Of course, if it was used by the humans’ box-and-cable method, it would have been a very slow operation. But the speed of the platform negated any delays and unnecessary travel time by any of the occupants. Everyone got to the floor of his choosing in the order he requested the platform by pressing the button in the wall of whatever floor he was on. The speed also wasn’t a problem, like it would be for humans, as Transformers did not have organic insides, and thus they did not get motion sickness.

The elevator was located to one side of the Tower, inside the wall but not in the center, and when an occupant arrived at his floor, he simply waited for the doors to open and when he stepped out of the shaft, he was immediately in the area of his destination. In the case of the council members, when someone stepped off the platform and through the sliding doors, he was in the council member’s quarters immediately, without passing through any other public areas. This applied only to the offices of the council members, so only the 49th-43rd floors were designed this way. The 43rd floor was the council chamber itself, which took up an entire floor, even though there were only 6 council members (Prime(50th floor), Magnus(49th floor), Grimlock(48th floor), Jetfire(44th floor), Blaster(45th floor), and First Aid(46th floor).) The floors were the council members’ offices and hab suites as well, but Grimlock and First Aid rarely spent time here, as Grimlock preferred to stay with the Dinobots on Moon base 2, and First Aid had his 2ndary quarters in the Medical District, where he had his office as Chief Medical Officer. The 47th floor was reserved for Fortress Maximus, if he ever came back to Cybertron, but it was considered only symbolic, as Maximus’s binary bonded Headmaster partner, Spike Witwicky, would never survive on Cybertron long term, unless he had a steady supply of oxygen and organic fuel. Even if he had that, he might still go insane without other humans around. Nonetheless, when the new system was set up, Grimlock insisted on a seat be saved for Max, as well as a vote on the council. Blaster had supported the notion, Magnus had been against it, reasoning that a council member should always be on-planet for decisions, and Prime, First Aid and Jetfire were indifferent. Not out of disrespect for Max, but because they partly agreed with both Grimlock and Magnus that even though Max deserved a council seat due to all his previous accomplishments and contributions to the Autobots’ efforts to win the war, a council member should be present for all votes and decisions. They reached a compromise that Max would have a seat (and an entire unoccupied floor of the Tower that went with it) on the council, but until he returned to Cybertron or recused himself from the council, Optimus would carry his vote, making Prime’s vote count double. Thus the 6-member 7-vote council. This way there was never a tie.

Prowl had hoped that being police chief, he would get the 7th seat, even if only temporarily, if Maximus ever decided to return, but when he brought it up, Prime said that the council was set up so that 1 seat would represent a facet of the new Cybertronian society. Magnus represented law enforcement, so that left Prowl out of luck, even though he was 2nd in power under Magnus. (Blaster was for communications, Grimlock for military and space travel operations (the Autobots used Moon base 1 as their main spaceport and Moon base 2 as their main military base), but if or when Max returned, space operations would be given to him, if he wanted it. First Aid for medical and other social services, Jetfire for aerial operations (this included police air patrols, on which he collaborated with Magnus, and aerial transportation) and Prime was on the council because, well, he was Prime. The next member in line was Perceptor, who would represent scientific research and development, but that segment of the population was rather small, and Prime couldn’t decide if it was enough for Perceptor to be given a vote.) There were other layers of society, but these were the most basic, and until everything was organized and settled down, there would be only 7 members (or rather, 7 votes) on the council. As the new Cybertron became more complicated and intricate, more members would be added. The warring factions of the Transformers had returned only recently, and after surviving the attack by Unicron, followed by their defeat of the Decepticons, Optimus decided that Cybertronian society had to be rebuilt from the ground up, much like the planet itself. This was why he wanted to include the Decepticons, but only if they denounced the Decepticon name and way of life. If they refused, they were considered war criminals (as refusal to give up the ‘Con ways meant they wanted the war to continue) and imprisoned.

Prowl stepped off the platform and into Magnus’s office. The floor was one big room, with the exception of a couple of smaller areas that were closed off. No one had ever been in there, so nobody knew what Magnus kept in them. Prowl could see Magnus’s desk all the way on the other side of the office, and past it the stairs that went up to the next floor. Prowl always thought that it was a mistake for Prime to have his quarters at the very top, as it made an easy target for an aerial attack. Sure, Decepticons were prohibited from transforming, but they could still fly in robot mode, and even though they were also prohibited from flying, it’s not like they could be immediately shot down if they decided to get in the air and try something. Luckily, Jetfire and Magnus had coordinated the aerial patrols fairly quickly, and most of Cybertron’s airspace was under control pretty fast. Also, in robot mode the Decepticons couldn’t fly as fast as they did in their vehicle modes (those who had flying vehicle modes). The office was empty. Magnus wasn’t here, and Prowl was curious why. The guard in the Medical District had said Prowl’s presence was required here by Magnus immediately. Prowl had contemplated not coming, as he was fairly certain what this was about: his secret operations were discovered somehow, and it was time to face the consequences. Prowl was sure this meant prison time for him, as he couldn’t be connected directly to the vigilante murders, and the only way he could even be involved was if Smokescreen or another witness talked. But who else was there? Prowl wondered. Bluestreak was dead. Lightspeed was dead. Streetwise was in stasis lock, fighting for his life, apparently surviving the life support malfunction. (And Prowl would certainly attempt to rectify that soon enough.) He had also dealt with 2 more potential witnesses, Brawl and Wildrider, but they would have only been able to identify Smokescreen and Bluestreak. Apparently, there was a witness left, Misfire, and he could also only point the finger at Smokey and Streaker. But would that be enough to make Smokescreen turn on me? Prowl thought as he reached Magnus’s desk. He took a seat in front of the desk, contemplating the upcoming meeting. If he was found out and implicated in the past events, the only one who could connect him to anything is Smokescreen. And the only way Smokey would do that was if Magnus had him dead to rights. But for that to happen, Magnus had to put everything on a Decepticon’s word. One. ’Con. Prowl felt pretty sure that he was safe.

His thoughts were interrupted by footsteps coming from the stairs. Moments later, Optimus reached the bottom and turned toward the desk. When he saw Prowl, he momentarily stopped, but then began walking toward the desk.

“Prime.” Prowl said. “Do you have any idea why Magnus wanted me here? And do you know where he is?”

“Yes.” Prime answered and pulled out Magnus’s chair. “And yes.” He sat down.

“So? Why am I here? And where is he?”

“He’ll be back momentarily. He went to...be certain of some things.”

Prowl became alarmed. Prime was being evasive and cautious.

“Okay.” he said, trying to get an idea of what was about to happen. “So what does it have to do with me?”

“Everything.” Prime answered, his optics locked with Prowl’s.

“What do you mean?”

“Prowl...we know your involvement in the vigilante attacks.” Prime stated matter-of-factly. “This is not an accusation, it’s a plain fact. I don’t know what Magnus has in mind for you, but you can safely consider your life as you know it to be over.”

“What…?” Prowl tried to feign shock. “But...I have no idea…”

“Save it.” Prime cut him off. “Prowl....” Prime looked down at the desk, and then back up at Prowl. “All I want to know is, why? Why did you feel the need to take matters into your own hands? Why couldn’t you allow the new system to take effect?”

“Prime, I didn’t do any…”

“No, you didn’t!” Prime cut him off again. “But Smokescreen did! Bluestreak did! Apparently even Lightspeed and maybe even Streetwise did!” Prime said, raising his voice. “And you KNEW about it! The WHOLE TIME! You condoned it! MURDER!”

“They were Decepticons!” Prowl raised his voice in return, attempting to defend himself. “They were the murderers! And you were going to let them live among us! How many of use have they killed in the war?! HOW MANY?!” Prowl leaned forward over the desk. “They deserved to die for the pain and devastation they caused, not just to us and this planet, but to countless other species and worlds!”

“It was not your decision!” Prime said in a measured tone. He didn’t want this to become a shouting match. He wanted to talk to Prowl before Ultra Magnus came back and this whole thing would take a different turn. “A majority of those ‘Cons followed orders. They were pawns, foot soldiers only. Don’t you remember back before the war? When Megatron first saw prominence? How he could get Cybertronians to follow him by the droves, simply by holding community rallies?”

“But that’s not an excuse for galaxy-wide murder and destruction. It’s not like Megatron made them pull the triggers of their blasters!” Prowl answered, but he kept himself in check as well. He didn’t want to get into a social debate with Prime. He was more interested in his own fate and wanted to find out as much as he could about what they had on him before Magnus came back.

“Prowl…” Prime’s voice returned to normal level, and his face and tone became more contemplative. “You know very well how manipulative Megatron is. And most Decepticons come from the lower levels of what Cybertronian society was back then. They were...the simple bots. That’s why they were relegated to the simpler tasks, such as mining and maintenance and other services. That’s what Megatron used to get them under his control. By telling them that the upper classes thought they weren’t good enough for anything else. The opportunity to advance was there for them, but they had to better themselves to get ahead. And most of them either didn’t do it or were simply incapable of it. So they were where they were because of their own existence, not because someone forced them into it. And Megatron used that to fire them up against the Elders and the higher ranks of society. By instilling fear into them. The fear of never being able to advance and have a better life. Most Decepticons simply didn’t know any better. They were tricked into thinking the higher classes kept them under their control.”

“So...so what? They were innocent tools? To be used by Megatron and his cronies to incite a war disguised as a revolution? So that Megatron could take control?”

“Yes! Of course! Remember, the war didn’t break out until the Matrix chose me over Megatron as the next Prime. Megatron wanted control of Cybertron. And when he was denied it through the diplomatic way, he chose the only other option left, to take it by force. And for that, he needed a massive amount of the population to follow him. Most of these ‘Cons thought they were fighting for freedom. For a better life. They had no idea how Megatron really was.”

“That doesn’t excuse what they did.” Prowl said pointedly. “They’re murderers and destroyers. They’re a detriment to our overall progress and a rust spot to our society. A disease that must be eliminated! A disease that can’t be cured any other way. Unless it’s entirely eradicated, it will keep coming back!”

“Well...I’m sorry you feel that way.”

“You did too, once. And you were willing to sacrifice even our lives to cure the disease.” Prowl said with a slight smirk. “Or have you forgotten?”

“What? I don’t know what you mean.”

“50000 vorns.” Prowl’s smirk faded, replaced by a stone-cold stare. “That’s how long we were out. Thanks to you.”

Now the memory came rushing back to Prime. The last moments on The Ark before it crashed on Earth. Before he made it crash.

“You...blame me for the war lasting as long as it did?” he asked quietly.

“Of course. I told you then not to press that button. That it wouldn’t lead anywhere except death. And you did it anyway. You were ready to sacrifice our lives just to eliminate the Decepticons. To eradicate them. Just like I allowed others who saw things my way to do it. What was it that you said back then? Right before you were certain we were all going to die? Oh yeah. ’No sacrifice, no victory.’ Well, the only things that got sacrificed were our planet and our way of life. The Decepticons certainly survived. And thrived!”

“But Megatron was gone with us! How much worse would things be if he had been allowed to take The Ark back then and…”

“He wouldn’t have taken it if you only listened to me!!!” Prowl snapped at Prime, once again leaning forward in the chair. “If you had done what I told you to do, as your tactical officer on the mission, everything would have been fine! The Decepticons would have either gotten beat or at least would have retreated back to their ship. We wouldn’t have lost The Ark, we wouldn’t have lost almost 50000 vorns of time, and we wouldn’t have lost Cybertron! But you had to play the hero! Like always!” Prowl settled back into his chair. “Orion Pax, the savior. How you were chosen Prime, I’ll never understand. Back then you said you did what you did for all of us. I knew you had a noble streak from our time in the academy, but I really thought you had made it past delusions of grandeur once you became Prime. Because, you had achieved that grandeur for real. But that wasn’t enough, was it? You had to become a martyr. The ultimate hero. ‘No sacrifice, no victory.’ Bah! Sounds like something a human would say.”

“So...all this time…” Prime said slowly. “You...blamed me for the war being prolonged.”

“I blamed you for the consequences of the bad decisions you made! And the one you were making when we finally took back the planet.”

“The decision to allow Decepticons to live among us? Even if they denounce themselves?”

“Oh, please! Only a fool would believe that! Once a ‘Con, always a ‘Con! They would have lived among us for a time, waiting for their chance to strike again. For the next Megatron! Or better yet, for Megatron himself to return! Do you even know where he is, by the way? Huh?”

“I…”

“No, you don’t. So how can the war be over, if the leader of the other side is still running around freely?”

“So you decided to take matters into your own hands by eliminating the problem before it ever became a problem?” Prime asked. “But you were always that way, even before the war.”

“I saw things the way they were, not the way I wished them to be. If the Decepticon movement had been dealt with decisively and swiftly, it would have never escalated to all out war. I never regretted doing what I did then, and I don’t regret doing what I did now. I wouldn’t have had to do it if you were better at making decisions.”

Before Prime could respond, the elevator doors slid open. Prime lifted his head, and Prowl turned around in his chair. Magnus stepped out of the elevator, followed by Hot Rod. Prowl sneered at the younger bot, but only momentarily. His expression changed to shock when he saw what Magnus was carrying. Before he could say anything, Magnus had reached them and threw Prowl’s Flintlock-Sureshot 350 on the desk. It slid across the top and stopped in front of Prime, who just looked at it. If he had had any doubt at all about Prowl’s involvement, it was gone now. He then stood up as Magnus walked around the desk. Prowl had returned to his office after the incident at Vos, reassembled his gun and put it back into its secret storage. Apparently, Magnus had searched his office, and no doubt using a special scanner, found the hidden space in the wall. Prowl thought he had it concealed very well, from most detection devices. But Magnus found it somehow. And how did he get in Prowl’s office anyway? Only Prowl knew the security code, and his door and locks were reinforced. Magnus, instead of sitting down, put his hands on the desk and leaned forward. Prowl remained sitting, the expression of shock gone. It was replaced by apprehension and a hint of dread. Hot Rod didn’t say anything, he just walked around the desk as well and joined Prime who now stood behind Magnus. Magnus leaned all the way across his desk, his face only inches from Prowl’s. To his credit, Prowl didn’t cower away, but it took everything he had to not shrink into the chair under Magnus’s stare. He was careful not to be defiant, as he knew it would only make things worse, but he didn’t want to show any weakness either. So he just sat there, not saying anything, just locked optics with Ultra Magnus, whose optics burned red hot (instead of the usual cool light blue) with anger.

For a long moment, nothing happened. There was total silence in the office. Then Magnus’s expression relaxed, albeit only a miniscule amount, and he straightened up. Without a word, he picked up the shotgun in both hands, one hand on the grip, the other on the 3 barrels, and without seemingly much effort, he snapped the gun in half. It wasn’t loaded so nothing happened, and the gun was made up of 2 pieces anyway, but it snapped at the connecting parts, which were just as strong as the rest of the gun, and was ruined. The inner ends of the barrels were mangled, and the breech and loader part was twisted out of its normal state. The gun was now useless scrap. Magnus threw the pieces down on the desk and they landed in front of Prowl. Prowl looked down at them and then back up at Magnus. Magnus’s expression relaxed just a little more, his optics no longer fiery red. They were now orange.

“That is what I would like to do to you right now.” Magnus said calmly and evenly, but somehow that made it sound even more dangerous.

Prowl didn’t say anything. He looked at Magnus with simple apprehension, then at Prime with a little bit of curiosity mixed in, and then finally at Hot Rod with the apprehension gone and loathing replacing it. He then returned his look at Magnus, this time with the curiosity replacing every other emotion.

“So...now what?” he asked, trying to sound as non-threatening as possible. He sensed that even though Magnus had seemed to calm down considerably, it was just a facade. Underneath he was still seething, boiling with rage at being deceived and fooled. And Prowl knew all it would take was one wrong word or movement and he would share the fate of his beloved shotgun.

“Now…” Magnus said as he sat down. “...you answer for everything you have done.”

Prowl, strangely gaining a little confidence back, leaned forward.

“And what is it you think I have done?” he asked, trying (and succeeding) to keep the challenging and snide tone out of his voice, keeping it totally innocent.

“I don’t think anything. I know.” Magnus answered. “I had a long talk with Smokescreen. You see, he was very helpful in bringing this vigilante investigation to an end. He confessed to being your trigger bot, because he was facing a long time in a cell on Garrus-9. In exchange, he avoided imprisonment, but his life by no means will be easy. But I was willing to concede some measure of punishment in order to get to the bottom of everything.”

“You...you think I had something to do with the vigilante attacks?” Prowl asked back, with a little disbelief in his voice. After all, his previous conversation with Prime had no witnesses, Magnus didn’t hear Prowl’s confession.

“Don’t.” Magnus answered calmly. “I have allowed your activities to continue for a long time, mostly because I was not aware of them, even though I have known for a long time what you’re capable of. Long before the war ever started. I should have never let you take it this far. But I thought you could be...guided toward a better way.”

“What are you talking about?” Prowl asked with genuine confusion.

“I knew even when you were in the academy that even though you had a strong sense of justice, you also had not only a mean streak, but a bit of a self-centered outlook on things. You wanted justice done, but you wanted it your way. And your way wasn’t always the same as was written in the laws. I couldn’t prove anything back then, but I did recognize it. Inside you was a bad seed. And I was determined to prevent that seed from manifesting into a full-blown rotten being. It seems that unfortunately I failed. Or rather, we did.” Magnus then slightly turned his head to the right, looking off to the side.

Neither Prowl or Hot Rod understood the gesture, but Optimus Prime did. After all, long ago it was Magnus who had asked him for a favor: to watch out for Prowl, to keep his less-than-honorable tendencies from taking over him. And Ultra Magnus was right. They failed.

“So now I am left with no other choice.” Magnus said, looking directly at Prowl now. “I cannot, in good conscience, allow you to be free. What you have inside you is not curable. Therefore, sooner or later it will manifest itself again. And who knows what you will do then.”

Prowl’s optics were wide. He remained silent, but every instinct told him to jump up and get out of there. But he knew that wouldn’t do any good, he would be chased down and caught. Unless…

“Wait.” Optimus broke the silence. Everyone else in the office looked at him. “You’re right, Magnus. We failed. We did. So whatever Prowl has done, it’s on our heads as well.”

Both Hot Rod and Magnus looked at Prime with a lot of confusion and a little shock.

“He cannot be punished solely for all our shortcomings.” Prime continued. “We all made decisions we regret and have to live with.” He looked at Prowl, and Prowl instantly realized what Prime was referring to.

“But Prime, he not only knew of the killings, but he condoned them!” Hot Rod said.

Prowl wondered if Hot Rod had figured out that it was he who tried to kill him in Vos. Even if he did, there was no evidence. But Hot Rod wouldn’t be here if he didn’t know. It gave him the reason to see Prowl punished, at least for crimes he could be punished for.

“Yes, and Smokescreen actually committed them. Yet Magnus let him walk. All he had to do was hang the responsibility on someone else. Someone who was higher ranked and in more control. So why don’t we do the same for Prowl? After all, we are also to be blamed for what transpired. A lot of things had happened to bring the...what did you call it…the bad seed to fruition.”

Magnus didn’t respond, but he knew Prime was right. He should have dealt with Prowl way back then, but he allowed him to continue on his path, putting his faith in both time and Orion Pax to guide Prowl away from his inner darkness and toward the light.

“So now I am asking you for a favor regarding Prowl, much like you asked me back then.” Optimus continued. Hot Rod, not knowing what had transpired ‘back then,’ simply looked on with disbelief. “Spare Prowl’s freedom, and perhaps allow him the chance to make penance, if not truly redeem himself. He does have good qualities, you said it yourself. Those can be useful.”

Ultra Magnus didn’t say anything, he just stood up. He walked around his desk, and stopped in front of Prowl, who was looking up at him. Suddenly, he reached down and ripped the badge off Prowl’s left shoulder. He crumpled it in his huge fist. He then looked back at Prime and threw the badge on the desk in front of him.

“Fine.” he said, turning back to Prowl. “You can go free. But you will never step foot in this Tower ever again, nor will you wear a police badge as long as you function. Like Prime said, you may have uses for the betterment of our new society, and I am certain I will find ways to punish you. But as far as law enforcement goes, you’re finished. And considering how badly you wanted to be a cop, and how much you have coveted my place, I’d say that’s a good start to your punishment. And personally, I don’t even want to see you again, much less speak to you.”

Magnus then started walking away without looking back or waiting for a response from anyone. He was halfway to the elevator when he stopped.

“Hot Rod, please inform the building maintenance crew that the office on the 28th floor needs a new door. And a new desk. And a new…everything.” he said without turning around, and then walked into the elevator and the doors shut behind him.

Prowl knew that was his office, or used to be. He also knew he didn’t need to bother going back there to collect his stuff, as it was all a pile of scrap by now. In a way he was relieved. Magnus had taken his frustrations out on Prowl’s office rather than Prowl himself. He looked back at Prime and Hot Rod, neither of whom said anything. Prowl then stood up without a word, took one last look at the crumpled up piece of metal on the desk, then turned around, walked to the elevator door as well, and waited for it to come back up. He just hoped Magnus didn’t come back up with it. When it arrived and the doors opened, it was empty. Prowl stepped on the platform, and pressed the button for the ground floor. Moments later he was down there, and he walked off the platform and out onto the street. He would never step foot inside the Tower again, much less inside the council chamber where had had wanted to be for so long. He couldn’t even do the one thing he had always loved doing, and that was being a peace officer. Even though he didn’t end up on Garrus-9, he already felt like he had lost his freedom.

Before he could transform and drive away, however, the elevator had gone back up and come back down while he was contemplating his future.

“Hey! Prowl!”

Prowl turned around at the voice calling his name. It was Hot Rod. The punk is going to rub my face in it Prowl thought. And if I do anything about it, I’ll be arrested and sent to Garrus-9 anyway. But Hot Rod simply stopped in front of Prowl and smirked a little.

“I know it was you.” he then said, his face now dead serious.

“What?”

“In Vos. It was you who attacked me. You and your shotgun buddies.”

Prowl didn’t answer, he didn’t even change expression.

“You were the one who...how did you put it?” Hot Rod said, the smirk returning. “Couldn’t let me leave there.

Prowl’s optics widened for a moment, and then his expression turned to nonchalance.

“You have no evidence of that.” he said. “Nothing you can do.”

“Maybe not.” Hot Rod said. “But you will never set foot in this Tower again. I, however, will be the next Prime. And I know damn well that will eat you up inside. Having to do anything and everything I order you to do.That’s payback enough for me.”

Hot Rod then turned around and walked back inside, leaving Prowl standing outside the Tower, both angry and dejected over what he had to look forward to and having lost what he could have had. If only he hadn’t been born of a dark spark.

A bad seed.

THE END
Burn wrote:Alpha Bravo...He's a helicopter in a team of jets. That's just dumb.
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My fanfics: the-bad-seed--p1909021.php#p1909021 and stories-from-a-wild-and-crazy-con--t109626.php
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