.:Yellow Submarine Syndrome:.
Ratchet was really beginning to wish he hadn’t dropped into the rec-room today, Blaster and Jazz were having ‘Disco Day’. He hated disco music with a vengeance. Disco music was the height of bad taste, it sent him cold all over and set his audios ringing for days afterward but what was worse was the mental replay. Disco, you see, seemed to have an annoying habit of programming itself into his memory modules and replaying itself incessantly to the point where he was half ready to jack into the nearest high voltage power line to be rid of it. But even disco paled in comparison to his current problem.
He sat in his office brooding, his newly acquired Rock Anthems CD blaring at an unhealthy volume in the background to drown out that damn song. Oh yes, it’d been all well and good on the night, Yellow Submarine had seemed harmless enough but in the last 48 hours he’d had a series of visits from the other Autobots all suffering with the same complaint. He’d dubbed it Yellow Submarine Syndrome. The song had etched itself indelibly on their memory banks, they found themselves singing or humming it automatically – as did he – and it drove them nuts.
Prowl had already hit the deck twice on account of it and was now under observation on D Ward. Red Alert had completely fritzed out about it. He was adamant it was a Decepticon brainwashing technique and was currently under heavy sedation in an isolation room where his ravings couldn’t disturb the other inmates. And Gears? Well, Gears, Primus bless him because no-one else would, had set a new record for the number of complaints he could level against one thing. He’d found no less than fifty-six different reasons why he hated the song within 15 minutes, stating them in very blunt terms before demanding a hefty dose of tranquillisers to put himself out of his own misery. He’d come into medical after having spent his entire three-hour duty shift humming it.
Ratchet had obliged, as much for his own sanity as for that of his colleagues; Gears could complain anyone into a state of catatonia. Even First Aid had been driven to the very edge of his tolerance by the minibot’s incessant whining. Suffice it to say Gears was now spark out in the recovery room, blissfully unaware of the chaos around him. The CMO envied him, he really did – and cranked the volume up another notch on his CD player to drown out that damned song as it replayed for the umpteenth time that day in his memory banks.
First Aid poked his head around the door, he waited to be waved into the room as was customary and then announced in a weary tone, “Boss, we’ve got another one…will you take him? – I can’t take anymore of this.”
Ratchet looked up grating through the mental replay, “Primus on high, ‘Aid, who is it now?!”
“Wheeljack, unfortunately,” the young medtech replied evenly, “And he’s threatening to take some rather heavy-handed action to remedy the problem.”
“Perfect. Just what I don’t need.” The CMO got up and trudged out of the office to tend to his highly explosive friend. What he found in the waiting room was a very strange sight indeed. Wheeljack was curled up on a chair, knees hunched up to his torso, head in his hands muttering to himself. The usual tendrils of smoke and scorch marks were nowhere to be seen; in fact he seemed to be in perfect condition.
The engineer looked up pleadingly, “Ratchet, for pities sakes put me out – kill me! Anything! Just get this slaggin’ song out of my memory banks before I join Red in radio la la land!”
Ratchet couldn’t help but snigger, “The way ‘Aid put it I thought you’d blown yourself to Betelgeuse again. What were you threatening to do?”
Fighting back a reprise of the chorus Wheeljack returned flatly, “Strap myself to a nuke and be done with it,” he buried his head in his arms, looking completely pathetic.
“And he freaked about that?” The CMO laughed incredulously, “That’s a normal working day for you, ‘Jack!”
That earned him a sullen glare and a half-playful punch in the arm from the engineer, “If it weren’t for me you’d be off the Autobot payroll anyway,” he cut back archly, “I’m your best customer.”
Payroll? That was a good one Ratchet thought; in all his years working for the cause he hadn’t seen so much as one bent credit for his troubles. He chuckled darkly and reached into his subspace compartment. His hand settled upon a familiar geometric object and a sly half-smile wormed its way across his faceplates. He took the item out and offered it to Wheeljack in mock-innocence, “You could always try your luck with this again.”
The engineer’s expression was a picture; it held a position somewhere between fear, loathing and rage. He raised a dark grey hand, palm outward, stating flatly, “Oh-ho no, no way. I’m not going there again. That thing gave me a fraggin’ neural overload last time I tried it!”
“I tried, ‘Jack. I really tried to help,” Ratchet returned in feigned sorrow, slipping the Rubix cube back into his subspace compartment with a shrug, “The best I can offer is my consolation or a hefty dose of tranqs. No new gadgets to play with? ”
The nuke was beginning to look really inviting to Wheeljack, he buried his head in his hands with a drawn out, “Oy – why?! Why did I ever let you talk me into the campfire sing-song?”
Ratchet did a double take and raised a hand in denial, “Hey don’t pin me for this one, Trailbreaker an’ Hound started it.”
“Yeah, but you had to go give it the all-clear,” Wheeljack muttered sourly, eyeing Ratchet with intent to maim/kill or otherwise kick the medic’s sorry red and white tail plate to the other side of Oregon. He was rarely in such a bad mood but this song was driving him off-road! He’d tried everything short of physically blowing himself to kingdom come and nothing could shift it. He walked down the hall and found himself humming it, he sat in the rec-room and found himself humming it, he even came out of charge in the middle of the night suddenly with chills because he was humming it in his sleep!
Ratchet patted the engineer on the shoulder sympathetically, remarking, “You’re only the tenth case today, pal. How long’s it had you?”
“Thirty-six hours, fifteen minutes and thirty-five seconds too long.” Wheeljack grated, vocalisers flashing a frustrated orange as he spoke, “Slaggit - it’s drivin’ me crazy!”
A sudden inspiration hit Ratchet, it was a long shot but it might just work – if Wheeljack could take that kind of punishment. The medic stood up, offering his friend a hand and announcing, “Come on, I’ve got an idea. But first one thing, do you like S-Club Seven?”
Ten minutes later they were in the rec-room, much to the surprise of Jazz and Blaster. The saboteur and the communications expert had set up a large version of something they referred to as a ‘Dance Mat’ dead centre in front of the main view screen, they’d wired it up to Spike’s Playstation 2 console and S-Club Seven was the challenge of the hour. Anyone who could outlast Jazz in the dance to their ‘Don’t Stop Movin’’ song was up for the grand prize…which was, the Porsche ‘bot announced MC-style, “A kickin’ set of CD’s with the hottest tunes of the year on ‘em.”
Now, in Ratchet’s estimation the aforementioned tracks were so hot they should have been melted to hell and slaggery many, many aeons ago but he bore the insipid drivel regardless, as much for Wheeljack’s sake as to distract himself from the incessant mental replay of Yellow Submarine. Taking a seat as far away from the madness that was the dance mat tournament as he could and casting a wary optic around the room he noted a number of others in attendance.
Bumblebee, Powerglide and Bluestreak were sitting watching proceedings avidly whilst the Lambo twins and Kup were having a heated debate over who’d pick up the ‘trophy’ in the corner near the air hockey table on the far side. While Springer and Blades seemed to be taking bets on the outcome from a few others over by the energon dispensers.
Bumblebee caught sight of the medic and waved calling over happily, “Heya Doc, you come to join the fun?”
Ratchet shook his head emphatically returning with an evil grin, “Not on your function cycle. I’m just here to watch you lot make first class fools of yourselves.”
“Stick shift in the mud!” the yellow minibot called back with a grin of his own before returning his attentions to the showdown.
Wheeljack cast Ratchet a pointed glare and marching over to the medic announced in a no-holds-barred tone of voice, “Don’t think for one minute you’re getting away with this, buddy. If I gotta do this then so do you and no amount of hiding in dark corners’ll get you out of it.”
“And no amount of being dragged out of dark corners’ll make me do it,” the medic cut back with a grin, “Best way to distract yourself from something annoying is to go do something else, ‘Jack. Simple fact of life. So get!” He playfully shoved the engineer toward the mat. Wheeljack wasn’t having any of it. He swiftly grabbed Ratchet’s hands and forcibly pulled him to his feet accompanied by a rousing chorus of cheers from the gathering in the rec-room:
“Go-on, ‘Jack, you show him!” came from Bumblebee along with catcalls from the lambos and Bluestreak. It was followed by, “Git yer dancin’ shoes awn, Doc!” from the newly arrived Ironhide, riotous laughter from Hound and a quiet chuckle from Mirage who’d followed him in. The expression on the medic’s face was worth a good fifteen hundred credits to anyone.
Ratchet looked around the room horror struck; this wasn’t going according to plan at all. In fact, it had all gone horribly aft end up on him, a muted “Oh slag…” escaped him. Finally collecting his wits he pulled away from the engineer and backed up a step spluttering, “No way on Earth. I’m not goin’ within fifteen meters of that thing. This medic does NOT dance, clear?”
This brought further peals of laughter and quite a few jeers along the lines of ‘Spoil sport’ from the collected masses.
Jazz, almost completely beside himself with laughter at the scenario, spoke up announcing:
“Ladies, Gents and Mechs – I declare the dance tournament open! C’mon down and dig it! Who’s first?”
The room burst into frenzied activity, as several contenders jostled for places around the mat. Amongst the number were Powerglide, Bumblebee, Chance, Sideswipe and Bluestreak. Hovering around the edges with morbid interest were Mirage, who Ratchet knew couldn’t be forced to do this at gunpoint. Sunstreaker who was just there to take the proverbial out of his sibling when the red lambo eventually landed flat on his skid and Blades who considered himself far too ‘cool’ to do anything this stupid in public. Although the Protectobot flyer evidently had no qualms about creaming a few quick credits out of it, Ratchet mused.
The others, himself, Ironhide, Kup and Springer included were content to watch from afar. Wheeljack stood nearby; he seemed to have overcome his urge to get the medic onto the dance mat. Said medic thanked the creator for small mercies and focussed his attentions on the idiocy at hand.
Powerglide was first up and first down within a matter of moments, flat down on his be-winged aft that was. After trying and failing quite spectacularly to execute a 360 spin and touchdown on the back left corner of the mat in quick succession. The red minibot got up and gave up with a flamboyant bow. Leaving the stage to someone with better co-ordination centres than himself, ace of the air he may be but duke of the dance mat he definitely wasn’t. Chance had a similarly unsuccessful run on the mat and left laughing having mistimed his footing so badly that he landed flat on his back, door wings down, chrome-trimmed feet in the air.
Bumblebee faired slightly better, executing the 360 spin and touchdown flawlessly and getting into the cross step and slide routine before fouling up on a repeating side hop slide pattern and stumbling off into the legs of Bluestreak. The VW ‘bot grinned with his usual chirpy good humour and announced, “Ah well, ‘least I tried and that’s half the battle. Right guys?” he threw the last to the floor, eliciting a number of muttered agreements and a smattering of applause.
Ratchet didn’t miss who the shot was really aimed at though. He held position, leaning against a support beam and quickly quipped back, drink in hand, “Yeah well, someone’s gotta keep check to make sure you defuncts don’t kill yourselves doing this.”
“Yeah, sure you do, Ratch,” Wheeljack chuckled quietly, nudging the medic, “I do believe your paintwork’s takin’ on a yellow tint, buddy.”
“Get slagged,” Ratchet hissed back, giving the engineer a good-natured dig in the arm for his troubles and reaching to set his drink on a table, “Don’t see you up there on that ridiculous contraption anyhow, do I?”
The engineer shrugged, “You first, buddy.”
Silence fell between the two for a few seconds; it was punctuated by Ratchet’s muttering of something best not repeated in polite company, Wheeljack just grinned off the insult though, his vocalisers flashing a vibrant electric blue as he quipped in response, “Defensive shields up at 90% an’ holdin’, cap’n.” He earned himself a sidelong, mildly perturbed glance from the CMO for that one.
Bluestreak and Sideswipe took the floor in quick succession, the first tripping over his own feet within mere moments and the second being jeered off for a worse-than-lousy performance by his twin. Bedlam ensued with the lambos finally being prized apart by a glaring and distinctly unamused Ironhide, much to the amusement of the medic. It was nice to know he wasn’t the only one that wanted to throttle the rat-slaggin’ little so-an’-so forths.
So far none had bested Jazz’s record of four runs through the S-Club track straight and it looked like no-one was going to either. Not even the bases’ resident break-dance champion, Blaster. The red and yellow mech seemed quite content to listen in on the tunes from a table whilst admiring the track list on the back of the ‘prize’ and casting an amused optic over the feeble attempts of his comrades. Pop music wasn’t his style he preferred metal or dance tracks but Faithless didn’t have anything dance mat compatible in the charts apparently.
Jazz took the proverbial stage once more; just to show the gathering how the job should be done and Ratchet found himself secretly amazed at just how deftly the black and white could do it. Jazz had what humans would term as ‘natural rhythm’ – and more than his fair share of practice on the mat it seemed. He didn’t even need to watch the monitor to execute the step patterns. Step, cross, spin, slide, touchdown and spin again. It wasn’t overly complicated; it was just damned fast.
Wheeljack picked up on Ratchet’s interest and chuckled slightly, “Fifty credits says you’ll never do it.”
Ratchet turned to the engineer, a sly half-smile evident on his face, “Double it and join me. Mano-a-mano as the humans’d say. Doesn’t look that difficult…”
“Whoa! You serious?!” the Lancia ‘bot spluttered nearly choking as his on his drink as his fuel intake was inadvertently re-routed to his cooling system’s intake, “With our builds? We’d never pull that kind of manoeuvre off!” nodding in the direction of a particularly swift spin-touchdown move Jazz had just executed.
“I’m deadly serious, ‘Jack. Deadly serious,” the medic shrugged, “Double the bet and I’ll take you on. As you said: ‘If I gotta then so do you’.”
“One hundred credits,” the engineer slapped the tokens on a table as he called the medic’s bluff, “You’re on, buddy!” Speaking up over the music he called, “Hey Jazz! Clear the stage and let us two show you how it’s done!”
Jazz, shocked by the sudden announcement, fumbled his footing and stumbled off the mat mid-spin. Shrugging and laughing, the black and white waved them on, “Oh, yeah? Bring it on, Wheeljack, m’man! Best-a three tries!”
Ratchet stepped forward, nodding and setting his drink casually on the table, deadpanning, “Done, Jazz. You, me an’ ‘Jack here. Best of three rounds.”
A shocked silence fell over the entire rec-room and all optics turned to the medic in disbelief. Somewhere at the back of the room a quiet snigger was heard followed by one of the Lamborghinis muttering, “Someone get me a video camera…” and some other smartaft hissing “Someone spiked his drink!” Ratchet cast a disparaging look in the direction of the offending comments, “Put your credits where your vocalisers are then boys, I’ll take you on if you’re up to it.”
“Didn’t think so,” the medic chuckled and returned his attention to Jazz, “So, you game or not, Jazz?”
The saboteur grinned and stepped off the mat with a gratuitous bow, “Be my guest, Doc. I’ll take the both-a ya!”
The medic and the engineer shared a meaningful look characteristic of the impending chaos and with a decisive nod made their way toward the mat. The room remained quiet, expectant. Had someone dropped a screw on the floor most of the audience would probably have hit the roof in fright.
“So, which one a’ you fine mechs is up first then?” Jazz asked brightly, “’Jack?”
The engineer raised his grey hands with a slight shake of the head, “Nope,” he patted Ratchet on the shoulder and pushed him forward, “CMO’s up first. This was his crazy call out after all – right, Ratch?”
The medic tensed momentarily, unable to miss the inflection of a grin and the sardonic note in his friend’s vocalisation, returned a slight smirk of his own and a nod, “Yep.” He then turned to the room and announced, “Oh and if I see one video camera in here, Sideswipe, you’ll come online tomorrow morning and find you’re a delightful shade of neon green with orange spots…point made?”
The red lambo nodded and grinned, “Who said I was the one with the camera, Doc?”
The medic nodded sceptically, mentally praying that he didn’t look as foolish as he felt at this precise moment in time and, screwing up his courage, took the floor. Wheeljack just about died laughing as his friend made an astonishingly abysmal mess of his first attempt, which resulted in him stumbling off the mat and landing in a distinctly ungraceful heap on a nearby chair, “Good call, Ratchet – real smooth!” the Lancia-bot wheezed all but doubled up with laughter.
“Yeah?!” the doc threw back, “Well let’s see if you can do any better. This ten chip says otherwise,” he flicked a ten credit chip in the air and set it on the table, waiting for the engineer to screw up as he took to the ‘dance floor’.
Wheeljack shrugged, he had a slight advantage over the medic in that he was a slightly lighter build. That still didn’t mean he’d be any better at the game than Ratchet though, “No problem, no problem at all!” no one could miss the humorous intonation of the line as he delivered his response.
Jazz reset the track with an amused shake of the head, ‘Jack and Ratchet had been notorious troublemakers in their younger days from what the black and white knew of them. To a certain extent they still were – just you had to get them pretty much wrecked before their respective wild sides showed. The saboteur couldn’t help but wonder what had started them off on this one, from his recollection neither of them had taken enough energon to even be slightly over-energised yet. Still, it was good for a laugh.
The engineer took position, taking a moment to stretch, then nodded and Jazz started the track playing.
“Step, step, cross, slide. Slide back, left, back left, back left, spin, touchdown.” Went the verbal commentary as ‘Jack talked himself through the memorised pattern.
That exclamation announced that Ratchet could keep his ten chip and claim an extra one off the engineer who was now sitting on his skid in the middle of the mat. The CMO said precisely nothing, the look on his face meant he didn’t need to. It could only be described as smug and it earned him a five-point payback shot from Wheeljack in the form of a swift trip off the chair as the engineer passed to get his drink. Suffice it to say that round one went to Jazz.
Round two kicked off in style with a smooth tag-team approach in play from the resident mechanical miscreants, they switched places halfway through the track with a pre-arranged nod and ‘hi-five’ style tag just in time for the repeating step-cross-slide pattern. Jazz’s optics widened behind his visor, “Hey, no fair man! We agreed one take a piece.”
Ratchet and Wheeljack shared a sly look as the engineer answered in a business-like fashion, vocalisers flickering a ‘serious’ white in the process, “Oh, we’re playing by the rules, just decided to take two half-turns rather than a full run through each.” The medic nodded his agreement and stepped off the mat as the first play through of the track ended, “Still counts as one full trip each. Stage is yours, Jazz.”
The Porsche ‘bot puzzled over the impromptu rearrangement of the battlefield and, figuring that he’d still take the challengers down, took to the mat giving yet another flawless performance of the pre-arranged choreography finishing with a flourish and sashaying off to get a drink. He’d have to speak to Prowl about the technicalities of this one; the rules clearly stated one go each per round. Fair enough they we’re still holding to that roughly but how on Cybertron was he supposed to score the match?
The dynamic duo’s final round of the second bout ended on a high, with both having half-fumbled, half-danced their way through their split sets successfully and stumbling off to a nearby table for a five minute breather:
“Matrix above,” the CMO hissed sliding into a chair, his cooling systems striving to draw in more air to compensate for the sudden frenzy of activity, “I’m flat out canned.” He reached for his drink and proceeded to down the remainder of it in one.
“You mean flat out on your can,” Wheeljack chuckled, slapping his partner in crime on the back as he siphoned a hefty shot of his drink, “Need a tune up?”
Ratchet went for another round of drinks, shaking his head, “Nope. Just a case of aerobics not being a speciality of mine, I’m the wrong build for this sorta thing.”
The engineer shrugged with not the remotest hint of sympathy, calling after the CMO in an I-told-you-so tone, “You started it, Ratch.” He wasn’t quite as taxed by his exertions as the medic, but that was a bonus of his lighter build and more athletic nature, Lancias always would get the goods on Nissan Vans. “Go easy on the Energon, ‘cos I’m not carting your rusted aft into medical if you get wrecked,” he warned. A pointed look and a mock-salute was all the answer he got from his friend.
Jazz watched their good-natured banter with interest, still pondering how to score the round, by rights Wheeljack was the better of the two on the terrain but Ratchet got the audience going with his impromptu quick-stepping and slick hand jiving between moves. He gave the round to the Engineer on the technicality that he’d missed fewer steps than his team-mate. That left things at one – nil for the first round and one all for the second, he was still leading with an over all score of two – one though.
So, on to round three, by which time a number of others had arrived – gossip spread faster than light through the ranks it seemed and ridicule would spread even faster, Ratchet sighed mentally. As he scanned the room over he noted Cliffjumper, Smokescreen, Trailbreaker and Perceptor had also decided to grace the place with their collective presence. He nodded a very slight greeting to the scientist communicating something along the lines of ‘Don’t say a single word’ with him on a non-verbal level. The red mech smiled very slightly and took an inconspicuous space at the back of the gathering. It wasn’t in his nature to cast aspersions or ridicule others anyway.
“Let’s see this one off, shall we?” Wheeljack muttered, getting to his feet and psyching up for the final round. Ratchet stretched and tensed, warming up again then nodded, an impish grin slipping over his silver grey face, “Ok. Game on – Jazz, you set?”
The black and white saboteur grinned back and sauntered over to the scene of the crime again asking, “Sure am, doc. Think y’can take the heat then, ‘eh?”
Optics narrowing by a miniscule fraction Wheeljack answered for him, “Collectively, as the man said, we can take anythin’ you’re gonna dish out, Jazz.”
“Good!” The Porsche beamed, “May the best ‘bot win. – Maestro,” he gestured flamboyantly to Blaster, “Lay the tunes on us, m’man.”
The Communications Officer did just that with a heavily synthed response of, “Aoow! Look out and shout. Dancin’s what this round’s about.”
Ratchet’s facial expression could be summed up with one word, that word was ‘No’. He turned on the rhyming radio ‘bot and graced him with a longsuffering, flat and yet somehow very sardonic smirk, silencing him in one fell swoop with a sharp, “Blaster, for once in your function cycle, shut up.”
Wheeljack took the mat first as the track started playing, by now the engineer was giving Jazz a serious run for his credits in the dance arena. He had a fluid style all his own and had even mastered the finer technicalities of the spin-touchdown move and flicking deftly to his feet into a slide from it. A two-handed tag to the CMO heralded the switch over and the jive was on again. Ratchet was no-where near as graceful as his explosive associate though, but he made a suitably valiant attempt at the step pattern augmenting it in his own obscure way with what could only be described as a Charleston-esque kick-step complete with the hand gestures before he spun into the final set of compass-point steps.
An appreciative silence fell over the gathering as the pair stepped aside for Jazz, whilst the saboteur contemplated where his medically minded adversary had learned a typically 1920’s era Earthern dance routine – and just where he’d managed to find the time to all-but perfect it.
“Chicago,” the medic chuckled, as if in answer as he clocked onto the Porsche’s baffled demeanour, “You ought to watch it sometime.” Wheeljack, evidently embarrassed, just looked at his colleague and raised the fingertips of his right hand to his brow in such a way that his palm covered his face, “Ratch…please…” The medic’s response was a slalom of feigned innocence, “What?”
The reference didn’t elude Jazz though, his face broke into an audio to audio grin as he cut back musically midway through a slide, “An’ all that…” he twirled into a north-south splits jump and finished with a perfect Charleston hand flicker, “Ja-ha-hazz!” drawing laughter from several smaller members of the crowd and exasperated groans from others. Given the choice, the Porsche ‘bot would play well to any audience but more often than not his jokes went down like a lead balloon. He’d hit Ratchet’s footwork and style dead on though and finished his set by striking the classic Stayin’ Alive pose, thereby earning himself more than a smattering of applause from the minibot contingent.
“ ‘S the score, Jazzman?” All optics turned to Chance and then to Jazz.
“Oooh, lemme see, kid. Somewhere ‘round two sets to their collected one,” the Porsche purred, eyeing his adversaries with a sly smirk, “An’ I’m reckonin’ they ain’t gonna do it on this one.”
Ratchet stepped up with a slow nod, “Wanna put a few credits to that? – Blaster, play the damned song.”
Jazz fell silent, watching with interest as the CMO spun and kicked his way through the first half of the song in near-perfect time, missing a total of four steps. He tagged the engineer and they switched places with a flourished twirl, the medic collapsing into a chair somewhere between mirth and exhaustion.
Wheeljack knew it rested on him but he didn’t care, he was simply having too much in the way of fun by now. Hotstepping his way through an anticlockwise compass point spin and shimmying into the slide pattern again he was quite literally lost in the music, all shades, chords and choruses of Yellow Submarine evidently and thankfully forgotten. Ratchet picked up on this with no small measure of relief and applauded his friend as the set ended before greeting him with a drink as he stumbled off the mat and sunk down onto a chair.
“Well, ‘Jack?” he asked, viewing the engineer with an inquisitive air.
“Well, what?” came the reply as Wheeljack siphoned a hefty amount of the energon – coolant cocktail he’d been presented with.
“What’s on your mind?” a grin slowly began to form as Ratchet waited for his answer, taking a sip from his seventh beverage and feeling ever-so-slightly light-headed for it.
The engineer paused for a moment, vocalisers glowing a dimmed, thoughtful light blue, and then answered, “Nothing!”
“Excellent!” the medic enthused, “Now, let’s get out of here before they clock us for another run on that confounded contraption!” He got to his feet and raised the remainder of his drink in toast, “Thank you, gentlemechs, here’s to your continued health – an’ my sanity!”
The room responded warmly but as the pair made their way toward the exit they were stopped by Jazz, “Ain’t you guys f’gettin’ somethin’?” he presented the ‘trophy’ with a grin before slapping the medic on the shoulder and sauntering off to socialise, “Enjoy, doc!”
Ratchet and Wheeljack shared a momentary look of stunned disbelief.
“How the heck did we…?”
“Slagged if I know, pal.” Ratchet shrugged, second-guessing his friend’s line of thought, “But I doubt we’ll ever live it down. – You want this?” he handed Wheeljack the CD, “Might come in handy as ‘Con repellent some day.”
The engineer’s vocalisers flickered in conveyance of a grin, “Got that right, Ratch.”
Wheeljack sat alone in his workshop enjoying the quiet both physically and mentally, he had to give Ratchet brownie points for the way he’d dealt with the problem. He’d have never thought of it himself. Stylus between his grey digits he absentmindedly drummed a rhythm on the workbench before him and softly started humming. Then it dawned on him and his optics widened in horror, “Oh, no!”
Ratchet was in his quarters, having just finished his shift. Prowl and Red Alert had been cleared for active duty again and all was well with the world. The faint buzz of his internal comm registered and the medic opened a channel:
“Ratchet here, go ahead.”
“It’s me, buddy.”
“Ah, ‘Jack. What can I do for you?”
The engineer’s tone held the mildest hint of desperation as he returned, “Find me another song, please! Anything, just not S-Club Seven!”
Ratchet buried his face in his red palms and sunk down onto the edge of his bunk with a groan of exasperation, “Oh, holy Primus above. Here we go again.”