After a few hours of banging the bottle against the Ark’s wall on the bridge and finally shattering it, Optimus turned to the empty bridge. “Okay guys!” he called. “I finally got it cracked and you ain’t here. Scrap.”
“They shuffled on to the bar at Four Forward,” revealed Teletraan.
“Typical,” sighed Optimus as he slumped into the Captain’s chair. “Abso-fragging-lutely typical.”
“Language,” admonished a voice with a familiar Texan drawl. Optimus turned to the source of the voice.
“Master Sergeant Ironhide, did you, of all bots, just zing me for language?” he said with a slight grin.
“Wait ‘til you’re an old mech like me,” replied Ironhide with a chuckle. “Once you’re my age, you can get away with anything.”
“From what I’ve heard,” recalled Optimus, “there was a mech that never swore. My predecessor, I believe.”
“Now THAT’S a lie,” corrected Ironhide. “I heard Sentinel swear once.”
“Is this a war story?” asked Optimus.
“Well, if you’re really too busy as a Prime to listen to an old mech…,” rumbled Ironhide. Optimus offered the Captain’s chair to Ironhide with a grin on his face. He loved Ironhide’s war stories. Ironhide sat down and Optimus sat Japanese style on the floor. “It was at the Battle of Las Vegas in 2009,” began Ironhide. “The mission was to quietly get some Energon out from the outskirts of the city, but the ‘Cons had gotten wind of the plan. So there I was, holding them off with Sentinel and Chromia. We were getting swarmed all over our left flank! The ‘Cons had a few Insecticons with them and leading them was Hardshell!”
“Ew!” squirmed Optimus. “I saw him in the Stockade!”
“Well,” continued Ironhide, “then you know how Insecticons eat during battle. Hardshell and his toadies were guzzling Energon during the fight. When we were about to run out, Sentinel had just about had it up to his optics and said, very loudly, ‘F***KIN’ POOZITS!’ and fired at Hardshell himself.”
“An Earth swear, no less!” chuckled Optimus. He was about to ask for another story when Prowl’s voice came in on the comms.
“Prowl to bridge, you two are needed in the cargo hold,” he called
“The cargo hold?” repeated Optimus. “What’s going on?”
“Believe me, you want to see it,” answered Prowl.
“On our way,” confirmed Optimus. He and Ironhide left the bridge and entered the cargo hold. The other Autobots and on board Mobians were gathered around a spot. Jazz moved aside to let Optimus and Ironhide look at it. What was “it”? It was a fuzzy creature that could fit in a Cybertronian’s hand. It almost looked like a pale brown ball of fur that had tiny feet and big eyes that added to the cuteness of the creature.
“Whoa! Speaking of Poozits!” exclaimed Ironhide.
“How did it get on board?” asked Optimus.
“I managed to find this on it,” answered Jazz as he held up a collar. Optimus examined the name on it. It read “Fwuffy” in the Autobot wartime language. “Now, the question is, what’s your girlfriend’s Poozit doing on our ship?”
“She must have brought it here,” guessed Optimus.
“Your girlfriend? How?” asked Prowl.
“Teletraan 1, do you still have the mystery bot’s Spark signature?” quizzed Optimus.
“Sure do,” replied Teletraan.
“Run a match test with the sample of Elita 1’s Spark signature I gave you,” directed Optimus.
“Performing test,” reported Teletraan. “Processing…processing…test complete. Match confirmed. Elita 1’s our mystery bot.”
“Now a possibility becomes clear,” remarked Optimus, “infiltration.”
“Optimus?” asked Sonic.
“Elita 1’s joined the Autobot Intelligence Network as a Spy-changer,” explained Optimus. “She’s a lady that’s under deep cover. My guess is that she came here after she was informed of the Harbinger’s flight from Cybertron and heard about its crew.”
“What’s her name in the Decepticons?” quizzed Shadow.
“That, I can’t tell you,” sighed Optimus. “The only ones who are gonna be in the know are the Spy-changers.”
“And your staff?” asked Amy.
“Sorry,” replied Optimus. “Only the Spy-changers are supposed to know.”
“In any case,” mused Prowl, “we have to bring the Poozit to a vegetation intensive world.”
“What? No!” protested Optimus. “If you’re worried about breeding, then forget it. Elita had it neutered. On top of that, it had a veggie replicator in its habitat on Cybertron.”
“It’s not the breeding I’m concerned about,” explained Prowl, “it’s a certain genetic signature I’ve found. It matches that of a Nebulan.”
“So we keep it away from Fwuffy,” assured Optimus. “If I recall correctly, Poozits don’t like Nebulans.”
“Can I take a picture of Fwuffy?” asked Amy.
“Go ahead!” replied Optimus with a grin. Amy took out a camera as Optimus knelt down to stroke Fwuffy. The Poozit closed its eyes as it cooed. Amy then took a picture of the cute scene.
“Wow, never thought I’d see the day,” chuckled Sonic.
“Huh?” asked Optimus.
“Maybe if we meet her,” mused Sonic, “Elita 1 will want to see that picture.”
“Oh, shut up!” protested Optimus, his face turning scarlet.
“Optimus, I really must protest keeping the Poozit with us!” insisted Prowl.
“Who’s Prime?” asked Optimus as he got in a little too close to Prowl. There was a bit of silence. “Thought so,” remarked Optimus as he backed off. “Now then, I’m off to make a habitat for the little guy. You bots do whatever you wish. Teletraan, alert us if there’s a problem.” He then headed to the transporter room. Ratchet followed as well as Bumblebee, Cliffjumper, and the Autobots’ organic allies. Jazz, Prowl, and Ironhide stayed on the ship. Prowl was going to leave so he could get familiar with the ship, he stayed on the bridge during the trip from Cybertron, when he noticed that Jazz and Ironhide looked at the door Optimus left through.
“Is everything alright?” he asked.
“He’s my best friend,” replied Jazz, “and I love him like a bro, but the instant this attitude of his bites him in the aft, I’m gonna point and laugh at him.”
“Get in line,” directed Ironhide. “Family friends have dibs on it.”
“Prowl, did Prime say anything to you after the fight over the Tox-En?” asked Jazz.
“Nothing that would sweep my experience as a Praxian Internment Camp survivor under the rug,” assured Prowl, “but I did see evidence of jackholery. The naming ceremony for the ship, and just a few nano cycles ago are good examples.”
“Recommendations?” quizzed Ironhide.
“Optimus is still a young bot,” remarked Prowl, “but he is old enough to know better. He may need a refresher in watching what he says.”
“Are you suggesting…?” asked Jazz.
“We have to monitor Optimus Prime,” suggested Prowl.
“Spy on him?!” yelped Ironhide.
“Absolutely out of the question!” declared Jazz. “The Grand Auto-Codex, our code of law…!”
“Has already been violated,” interrupted Prowl. “You landing here has caused some damage, sir. It’s given Optimus a huge ego, on top of him being the youngest bot to inherit the Matrix. All we can do now is minimize that ego”
“By snooping in on him? By acting like Decepticons?” asked Jazz.
“By letting him know that his actions don’t go unnoticed. Letting him know that this has to stop or we take action against him,” explained Prowl.
“2nd Lieutenant Prowl,” hissed Jazz, “I cannot, I WILL not, snoop on my best friend and my Prime on account of him being a bit of a jackhole. To snoop on a bot with just that, and no other probable cause, violates the very essence of the Grand Auto-Codex!”
“Like it or not,” remarked Prowl, “he is a dangerous bot. If this attitude of his gets out of hand, he may say the wrong thing.”
“And you think that wrong thing will be directed to the Decepticons?” asked Ironhide.
“Exactly,” confirmed Prowl. “And that will lead to diplomatic repercussions, in-fighting, attacks on both sides, and then the Pax Cybertronia is null and void and Cybertron is at war once again.” That sentence hung in the air like a vast, predatory bird.
“Horrifying,” sighed Jazz. “Prowl, you once lived under constant watch and in constant fear that you would displease Shockwave if you tried to do anything aside from following orders. That constant watching over you has made you paranoid to a very small degree. Now, you want to introduce that paranoia to our leader? No! We’re going to find another method to tell Optimus to be mindful of his actions.” He motioned for Ironhide and Prowl to follow him to the transporter room.