The Autobots were getting new equipment later in the week. The base was starting to get a little cramped, so they got a lawyer to advise them on expansion. At the moment, Optimus and the lawyer were nowhere in sight, but the Autobots didn’t mind. Well, most of them. Prowl was looking angrily around the base. He found Jazz in the Command Center, telling a joke to Teletraan. “And then, the Chakarian said, ‘Doctor, I thought you were an expert in biology, because that’s not my antenna.’” Teletraan grimaced. “Come on, you can’t tell me you don’t find that funny,” sighed Jazz.
“Yes, I can,” argued Teletraan, “very easily, in fact. I fail to see the humor in reproductive organs or the grabbing of such. It just seems rather gross, given their function.”
“Why do I bother?” muttered Jazz to himself.
“SIR!” called Prowl. Jazz turned his seat around as Teletraan adjusted his cameras.
“What can I do for you, Prowl?” asked Jazz.
“That imp with the Matrix, where is he?!” snarled Prowl.
“He’s in his office with a lawyer,” explained Teletraan, “going over Optimus’ proposal for the expansion for the new equipment coming in on Friday. Anything else we can help you with?”
“You two must find this amusing,” growled Prowl. “You probably conspired with him on this!”
“I conspire with him a lot,” remarked Jazz. “You’ll have to be more specific.”
“Moving my furniture!” snarled Prowl.
“Is THAT what this is about?” muttered Teletraan. “Someone moved your furniture?”
“Not ‘someone’!” insisted Prowl. “Optimus Prime! This is the fourth time this month he’s done something like this! He breaks into my quarters while I’m in recharge and moves everything out of alignment! First, he rotates my dresser three degrees to the right, then my stasis pod two degrees to the left, all while I’m snoozing! Not one item in my quarters is where it’s supposed to be!”
“And that’s a bad thing?” asked Jazz.
“Everything I own,” hissed Prowl, “is carefully and painstakingly arranged and placed! Optimus knows this, and yet he takes a perverse delight in throwing my quarters into complete and utter chaos!”
“I’m a computer,” remarked Teletraan, “so I DO understand a need for order, but even I would be hard-pressed to call three degrees ‘chaos’.”
“Maybe you don’t, but I do!” growled Prowl.
“Ratchet to Prowl,” called Ratchet’s voice.
“Go ahead,” directed Prowl.
“Prowl, I don’t know how things are run in the police,” snarked Ratchet, “but, I would prefer you get to your physical on time.” Prowl rolled his optics but gave no argument.
“Sorry,” he sighed. “On my way.”
“I think we’ll skip the court martial this time,” joked Ratchet. “Ratchet out.”
“Pardon me,” replied Prowl to Teletraan and Jazz.
“Oh, when you DO meet Optimus,” called Teletraan, “say hello to him for me.” Prowl growled and headed to the Med-bay.
The lawyer Optimus met with was Richard Bartley, a portly human in his 60’s, with a moustache, a balding head, and pale skin. He looked past his large, beaky nose at the documentation, then looked up through his bushy eyebrows at Optimus. “So, if I’m reading this right,” he mused, “you think it would be a good idea to go into the mountains behind this base.”
“For underground training purposes and storage,” answered Optimus.
“Optimus, I need to be frank with you,” sighed Mr. Bartley. “That would be a VERY stupid move on your part. You’d be looking at 9.5% with no fixed rate and going too near the territory of someone who’d be very interested in your species of sentient robot.”
“You’re exaggerating, of course,” gulped Optimus, hoping that was the case.
“I’m sugar-coating it!” replied Mr. Bartley. “The area behind the mountains belongs to MECH and they will cut you up the instant they see you!”
“MECH?” quizzed Optimus.
“You mean, you haven’t heard of the vilest terrorist organization, second only to the Eggman Empire?” asked Mr. Bartley.
“I’ve been preoccupied lately,” answered Optimus, not going into detail about his preoccupations. “Tell me about them.”
“All right, but it speaks badly of my species,” sighed Mr. Bartley. “MECH stands for the Mechanically Efficient Champions of Humanity. As you can guess, they don’t place much value in animals, especially Mobian ones. They take any technology, reverse engineer it, and weaponize it for their own purposes, one of those purposes being the extermination of Mobian life, leaving Mobius a human dominant planet once again.”
“But, half the tech you guys have,” protested Optimus, “was conceived in all stages by Mobians. You wouldn’t have the paradise you have now without a Mobian’s help!”
“That’s what sane humans believe,” conceded Mr. Bartley. “However, these are NOT sane humans. They don’t even interact with Eggman on account of his vendetta with Sonic, only steal his technology.”
“Well, as if we don’t have enough problems as it is!” sighed Optimus. “Recommendations?”
“If it IS underground combat you need to train for,” suggested Mr. Bartley, “there’s a cave system beneath the main base.”
“That COULD work,” mused Optimus, “but I was hoping for something with higher ground. Ironhide had to fight inside mountains before.”
“True,” replied Mr. Bartley, “but I think G.U.N can handle that type of combat, given the scale of their average soldier compared to yours.”
“Fair point,” answered Optimus. “In the meantime, we’ll take your advice to Spark and stay out of MECH’s way until they threaten anyone on the planet.”
“Good idea,” praised Mr. Bartley. The door then chimed.
“Come in,” called Optimus. Bumblebee came in, looking grim.
“The G.U.N scouts and I have gathered intel on Shockwave’s whereabouts from one of her previous locations,” reported the young Corporal. “We managed to gather security footage from said location. Take a look.” Bumblebee activated a holographic display on his tablet. It showed Egg pawns moving equipment with Metal Sonic and Shockwave carrying stasis pods.
“Did Shockwave snatch Egg pawns?” asked Optimus.
“Worse than that,” sighed Bumblebee. “A scout team has discovered Eggman building some structure. A sign in front said, ‘This Space Reserved for Shockwave.’ We have reason to believe that Shockwave and Metal Sonic have joined Eggman.” Optimus sighed.
“The last thing we needed,” he groaned, “was an alliance between Eggman and Shockwave.”