“By the Allspark, this is taking forever!” moaned Optimus.
“I don’t think you should be impatient on the search for his t-cog,” remarked Ultra Magnus as he entered Prime’s office.
“It’s not the t-cog I’m worried about, it’s trying to get into MECH’s head,” replied Optimus. “I’ve been pouring over all the reports of MECH attacks to try and get something, ANYTHING, that would give us a way to stop them.”
“And?” asked Ultra Magnus.
“In the words of Captain Díaz of the Dauntless in Equatorial Imperia,” answered Optimus as he pulled up Captain Díaz’s entry, “‘In their collective state, MECH is utterly driven by one will alone, the will to conquer, our collective morals be damned. Silas, alone, is beyond redemption, beyond reason.’ And there’s Commodore Higurashi. ‘It is my opinion that MECH is as close to pure evil as my people, the human race, can get. They have…’” Optimus stopped when he heard a chuckle come from Ultra Magnus. “What’s so funny?”
“Nothing,” giggled Ultra Magnus as he tried to readopt his usual sober-sided manner.
“Well, I clearly said SOMETHING amusing,” remarked Optimus.
“The way you read Commodore Higurashi’s log entry,” answered Ultra Magnus, “you sounded just like him.”
“Did not!” yelped Optimus.
“Yes, you did,” countered Ultra Magnus. “And you sounded like Captain Díaz when you read his log. Same inflection and everyt’ing.”
“…Never knew I had it in me,” mused Optimus.
“Nothing to be ashamed about,” assured Ultra Magnus. “Jazz does a pretty good Optimus impression.”
“Does he?” chuckled Optimus. “I may need to have a chat with him. Mimicking a superior officer, that’s gotta be a breach of protocol somewhere.”
“Speaking of,” replied Ultra Magnus, getting into his usual manner, “I have four counts of inefficiency.”
“All right,” sighed Optimus, “what are they?” Ultra Magnus handed him a pad and the first item caught his attention. “Slow progress in the medical field?” asked Optimus as he read the subject line.
“Ratchet has made very little progress in finding Megatronus’ t-cog,” explained Ultra Magnus.
“He’s doing the best he can,” sighed Optimus, “given that our base is a blend of Mobian and Cybertronian tech and he’s only got that at his disposal. He’s an old mech, not as adaptable as he used to be. He’s a doctor, not a wizard.”
“He IS aware,” asked Ultra Magnus, “that a t-cog is essential to our biology and Megatronus needs it to be effective when in the field?”
“Ratchet’s not a med student anymore,” argued Optimus. “No one is more acutely aware of biological effectiveness than he is.”
“…Of course,” replied Ultra Magnus. Optimus checked the item off and came to the next one.
“Scouting inefficiencies?” Optimus was confused at the subject line.
“Corporal Bumblebee and Private Cliffjumper had not scouted Grid 305 for Energon,” explained Ultra Magnus, “at the time of my writing that.”
“Because they had just returned from surveying Grids 301 to 304 to log their field reports,” answered Optimus, “per YOUR protocol.”
“…I see,” replied Ultra Magnus. Optimus checked item two off and read the subject line for the third item.
“AWOL Autobot?” quizzed Optimus.
“I don’t recall giving Ironhide permission to leave the base,” remarked Ultra Magnus.
“That’s because I was the only one of his superiors available at the time to give such permission,” replied Optimus.
“Then you can account for why he was covered in coolant?” asked Ultra Magnus.
“Perceptor and Tails were calibrating the Ark’s engines and needed someone for heavy lifting,” explained Optimus. “We should expect a 10% increase in vector thrust.”
“…Very well,” sighed Ultra Magnus. Optimus checked the item off, then became REALLY confused at the last item.
“Complaint Against General of the Army Ultra Magnus, written BY Ultra Magnus?” Optimus put the pad down as he looked to his eldest brother.
“I’ve been noticing that my by-the-book command style,” sighed Ultra Magnus, “is having a negative effect on unit morale.”
“Ultra Magnus,” replied Optimus, “your service is welcome here. However, this is not the Elite Guard. I remember you telling me Dad’s philosophy. Much like the concepts the words represent, the word ‘Family’ is stronger than the word ‘Army’. We’re not merely cogs in a greater machine, we are brothers. We look after each other.”
“You’re making me nostalgic on purpose,” chuckled Ultra Magnus. “Speaking of brothers, I wonder how Megatronus is doing?”
“Hey!” called a voice. Megatronus jumped. He started looking around. “Down here!” said the voice. He looked down to see Sonic. “You’re Prime’s older brother, right?” he asked.
“M-M-Megatronus P-Pax, at y-y-your service,” answered Megatronus.
“Heard about your mishap in Mazuri,” sighed Sonic. “Shame, really. I wanted to see your alt-mode. Maybe a game will take your mind off of things?”
“S-Sure,” replied Megatronus. “W-What did you have in m-m-mind?”
“Just a video game,” answered Sonic. “Teletraan, pull the last game that was played.”
“Er, Sonic,” gulped Teletraan, “I don’t think…”
“L-Let me s-s-see it,” insisted Megatronus. Teletraan’s avatar shrugged, then pulled up Super Turbo Drift Blaster with the default car in the front. “A r-r-racing g-game? S-S-Seriously?” sighed Megatronus.
“Oops,” mumbled Sonic. “Er, never mind. How about some TV?”
“S-Sounds better,” replied Megatronus.
“Switching to TV mode,” reported Teletraan. Sadly, it was poor timing. It was on a commercial, a CAR commercial.
“The new Prowler 500. It won’t just rock your world; it will TRANSFORM it!” boasted the narrator. Megatronus stared……then screamed in frustration.
“Taking the Auto out of an Autobot is SO not a good thing,” observed Sonic.
“Prowler 500?” muttered Teletraan. “Wait, that’s Prowl’s vehicle mode! It hasn’t been decommissioned yet!”
“Might want to tell Prowl,” replied Sonic.
“Already saw the commercial and informed the police department,” called Prowl as he and Optimus came up. “Urbana Industries is holding an Expo and is using the car as its main event. Mrs. Samantha Urbana is personally running the show.”
“Isn’t she that Cat’s sister?” asked Optimus. “What was his name…Powell?”
“Porter C. Powell, CEO of Powell Motorworks, Urbana Industries’ closest friend,” confirmed Prowl. “At least, in terms of services provided to each other. I don’t think Porter and Samantha are too keen with each other. I think I can reason with Mrs. Urbana. I’m off.”
“Good luck,” bid Optimus.
“And I’M g-going for a w-w-w-walk!” called Megatronus.
“Without a means of shielding yourself from the Energon radiation?!” protested Optimus. “Bad idea!”
“But…!” argued Megatronus. At that point, Ratchet popped up.
“Optimus, I must use the Omega Cross Protocol in light of Megatronus not having his t-cog,” he declared.
“…I really wish you didn’t,” sighed Optimus.
“N-No chance f-f-for refusal?” gulped Megatronus.
“No,” replied Ratchet.
“P-Prime!” wailed Megatronus.
“The Omega Cross Protocol overrides my authority when invoked,” replied Optimus. “Nothing I can do. But, there’s a problem. Ratchet’s the one who’s willing to give up his t-cog, he can’t do surgery while in stasis.”
“Which is why I need to see your hands,” directed Ratchet to Optimus. Optimus gulped, then lifted his hands. Ratchet examined them. “Perfect. You’ll do the surgery.”
“Bumblebee has smaller hands!” gulped Optimus.
“They’re not slender enough to be poking around under my hood,” answered Ratchet. Optimus sighed in defeat.
“N-No worries,” assured Megatronus. “It’s l-l-like using y-your axe.”
“Axes and knives are two different things,” hissed Optimus, “just like the situation right now!”
“That’s enough,” directed Ratchet. “To the Med-bay, at once!”