Ratchet was called up to the Space Colony ARK. It had been a week after the fight between the Autobots and Shockwave and endless combing of the planet has yielded no results so far. Optimus decided to learn how Shadow uses his signature chaos move-set, so he practiced on the ARK with the red emerald the Specter gave him on Christmas. Ratchet was on standby for the attempts. Shadow was tinkering with the controls of a machine on the ARK when Ratchet appeared via Warp Ring. “You bots ready?” asked Shadow.
“On standby when needed,” reported Ratchet.
“Let’s do it!” declared Optimus with a grin.
“Safety fields engaged,” relayed Shadow. “Whenever you’re ready, Optimus.” Optimus had the red Chaos Emerald in his hand and was concentrating on the other end of the room.
“CHAOS CONTROL!” he shouted. Instead of warping to the other side of the room, however, a small orb of yellow light practically threw him to the other side of the room. He crashed into the wall, backside first.
“Optimus!” shouted Ratchet. “Are you okay?”
“I feel like a barrel full of fairy kittens!” said Optimus in a loopy tone. Shadow turned the safety shields off as Ratchet helped Optimus back onto his feet.
“That’s the third attempt in a week,” sighed Shadow. “Maybe you aren’t Chaos sensitive and we should abandon this line of research.”
“I’m not ready to call it quits yet, dude,” countered Optimus as he massaged his head and recalibrated his gyroscopic systems. “It took me forever to learn how my magic weapons work and it probably took you the same amount of time to teleport yourself across a room, much less three people across a planet. Speaking of which, have you seen Rouge and Omega? I haven’t seen them since the fight with Shockwave.”
“They’re on a mission in Spagonia,” rasped Shadow. “The details are classified. I can get a Tech wing there if you need them.”
“Just wanted to know where they were, that’s all,” answered Optimus. “Besides, I need the Tech wings working on the new Sky Spy. Those two are like wizards, they’ll appear when the situation calls for it.” He straightened out his back with Ratchet’s help. “Anyways, we need to focus on building new weapons. When Shockwave and Metal Sonic show their mugs again, I want the combined arsenal of the Autobots and G.U.N. at its pinnacle. On that note, any peep from Shockwave or Metal Sonic?” He had asked this to both Shadow and Ratchet.
“Tails and I haven’t found them,” replied Ratchet. “We’re using another monitoring tactic.”
“G.U.N. hasn’t found them either,” supplied Shadow.
“Slag it!” cursed Optimus. “I thought for sure we’d find them if we used Shockwave’s spark signature as a reference. The fact that she’s able to hide it is worrisome enough, but we don’t know the full extent of her or Metal Sonic’s abilities.”
“I hate to say, ‘I told you so,’ but I told you so,” rasped Shadow. “You should have just let Shockwave go through the Space Bridge and then destroy it.”
“One,” countered Ratchet, “we have a Space Bridge platform of our own on Cybertron, deep in Decepticon Central, aka Kaon. She could have hijacked that end and turned it here to send a whole invasion force to take over the planet. Two, Shockwave would have set up defenses to keep us from destroying the one she built on Mobius.”
“Besides,” remarked Optimus, “if we didn’t meet Shockwave, the N.E.S.T. division wouldn’t have been formed.”
“What was the acronym again?” asked Ratchet. “My neural clusters aren’t what they used to be.”
“Non-biological Extraterrestrial Species Treaty,” grunted Shadow. “And G.U.N.’s been enriched so far in this alliance! How many times have things blown up in our face whenever you let us examine your weapons?!” Optimus blinked.
“…Someone’s a bit tetchy today,” he observed..
“Yeah,” muttered Shadow, “I don’t know what’s going on, but I feel like something is whispering in my ear.”
“Considering your unique genetics,” remarked Ratchet, “I wouldn’t be surprised if a small remnant of the Black Arms were trying to get into contact with you. It probably isn’t, but I don’t want to run the risk. Let’s do a full check up and see if anything’s out of the ordinary for you.”
“Understood, but it doesn’t feel like the Black Arms,” replied Shadow. “Their method of controlling things requires a non-rhythmic sound. This one is rhythmic.”
“Hm,” mused Ratchet. “If it’s rhythmic, it could be mechanical in origin. It might be Shockwave trying something. The fact that you’re able to resist shows that she’s functioning on limited resources. Remind me to mention that at our next conference with G.U.N.”
“Maybe,” growled Shadow, “but all I hear is the whispering.”
“Better for Ratchet to check,” replied Optimus. “The last time I didn’t listen to a doctor, I ended up being carried away on a stretcher with a neck brace and an I.V.”
“Wait a cycle,” yelped Ratchet, “Red Alert told me about a patient who didn’t just take the I.V.! That was you?!”
“What happened?” asked Shadow.
“Well,” muttered Optimus, “that was a few years after I became the new Prime. A disgruntled Decepticon didn’t want an Autobot as Prime, so he set up a bomb designed to snuff out my spark. It failed, obviously, but I was pretty banged up. Red Alert was in the area, so she responded quickly.”
“‘You’re leaking Energon,’ she revealed. ‘We need to set up an I.V. and get you to a hospital.’”
“‘I.V.?’ I asked. ‘This is just a cut, barely a boo-boo.’ I saw the needle and it was long. ‘Whoa! Lady! Ain’t that overkill?!’”
“‘This is protocol,’ she sighed. ‘Now shut up and sit still. This is no time for belonephobia.’”
“‘You know,’ I gulped, ‘I’d prefer no I.V.’s. Seriously, get that thing away from me.’ My hand covered the wound on my arm.”
“‘Optimus, do not test me right now,’ snarled Red Alert. ‘Move your hand!’”
“‘I’m Prime, and I say no way!’ I yelped as I backed away.”
“‘Well, I’m the doctor,’ she hissed, ‘and my authority in medicine supersedes your authority whenever you’re a patient!’ She tried to stick me quickly, but I kept her at bay with my non damaged hand.”
“‘You’re crazy!’ I shouted. ‘I’m not letting you stick me with that!’”
“‘Stop acting like a slagging sparkling!’ roared Red Alert. ‘We can do this the easy way or the hard way!’”
“‘Well, it’s gonna have to be the hard way,’ I foolishly said, ‘because you’re not poking me with that thing!’ Red Alert put the needle away and…man, she can really swing a right hook! I ended up being taken to the hospital in a neck brace and on a stretcher on top of the I.V.”
“A medic punched you?!” gasped Shadow.
“We do what we can to administer first aid,” remarked Ratchet. He turned to Optimus. “I hope you learned a lesson that day.”
“Never argue with a medic, they’re above even a Prime whenever first aid is involved,” answered Optimus.
“Exactly,” confirmed Ratchet. “Speaking of which, your physical eval is up after I look over Shadow.”
“Understood,” replied Optimus.