"You have to."
"Dude, no way this surfer is ever gonna be the big kahuna here."
Thundercracker scowled, pulling up the translation program Megatron had written for them to parse just what Soundwave meant when he fell into his stranger way of communicating. Once he got the gist of it, he cycled his vents in frustration.
"Megatron's out of action. Starscream took severe damage to pull his frame out of that ambush. Shockwave is too impulsive, and the grounders would resent it like slagging crazy if I take the lead. It's just until Megatron is back in action."
Soundwave looked very unimpressed with the explanation, an expression mirrored by all six of his symbionts surrounding him, and Thundercracker had to grasp for anything to convince the other mech.
"Look, the whole army knows you have been with Megatron since before he went underground. You're his best friend, you've been in on the plans from the first glimmer of war. That's the most pressing reason for why you need to take the lead while he's out!"
"Totally bogus," Soundwave said, tone going dejected and dragging out the syllables as his shoulders slumped.
"'s'okay, boss; we got your back," Rumble promised, and Thundercracker felt relief sweep through him as he realized he'd won.