It was one thing to hear the rumours, and to account for a certain...flexibility in ones plans, in accordance with those rumours. But as Prowl followed the cheerful mech through the underground tunnel that Autobot intelligence had recorded as being collapsed and unusable, he decided that this was quite something else.
"Where exactly are we going?" he asked as they went, their pace quick over the uneven floor of the tunnel.
"It's a secret!" the mech replied cheerfully as he ducked around a corner. As Prowl went to follow him, the mech suddenly poked his head back around, his brilliant blue visor startlingly close, causing Prowl to jerk back slightly. "Seriously, it's a secret. No one but me even knows it exists. Soon you, too. I think you'll agree with me that it won't need to go beyond us, huh?"
"Er -" Prowl's processor scrambled to catch up as the silver mech continued to watch him earnestly. "Yes?"
"Good!" the mech took off around the corner again, and Prowl scrambled after again, wondering again what on Cybertron had possessed him to follow the fabled 'silver ghost' of the Polyhex ruins. He was becoming more and more certain that he would've had better luck with the squad of Decepticons that had been closing in fast on him after separating him from his own squad. Well, his processor would have had better luck, perhaps.
There had been a moment where he'd been sure that things were just about to take a turn for the better - that had been when the silver mech had pulled an artillery cannon out of what Prowl had previously assumed to be a pile of junk, and aimed it at the Decepticons. Then Prowl's battle computer had pointed out the danger of firing a cannon of that strength in an unstable tunnel. Before he could say anything though, the mech had fired, and when the dust had cleared, the opening of the tunnel had been thoroughly collapsed, the cannon buried, and the silver mech had cheerfully informed Prowl that it was all part of the plan, and to follow him. So now here he was. Running through tunnels, well away from both the Decepticons and his own squad, his processor trying desperately to keep up with what was going on even as it computed just how far away from his squad and the Decepticons they'd gone already.
"I need to get back to my squad," Prowl tried, for at least the tenth time.
"Don't worry, you'll get back to them!" the silver mech replied.
"When?" Prowl asked in exasperation.
"Later," came the easy reply, as per usual, and Prowl growled, picking up his pace so he could reach out and grab the mech. He intended to restrain the silver mech and get some answers out of him, but his grab was countered, and without even thinking about it, his Diffusion training kicked in. A fast and furious exchange ended with them locked in a stalemate in the middle of the tunnel, Prowl's faceplate, clearly showing his surprise, inches from the other mech's. The silver mech let out a low whistle. "Diffusion Master, nice!" Then suddenly the silver mech seemed to almost melt out of Prowl's grip, and he staggered as the other mech took off again. "We can't spend all day playing though. Come on!" Bewildered, Prowl followed on automatic, his battle computer desperately trying to pick apart the last minute and determine what, exactly, had happened. Prowl eventually had to force it to shut down its analysis as it seemed to only get more confused as it went.
He followed after the mech silently for another while, half-heartedly trying to make a map of where he was going, so maybe he could find his way out again later. Eventually, the silver mech came to a sudden stop in front of a door, and Prowl stumbled to a stop behind him. When he looked up, he froze.
"Wha -" he stared blankly at the symbol etched on the door, his processor trying to reconcile it with the location and failing miserable.
"Apparently it's a safe house," the silver mech said. "The first Thirteen had it built after, well, after they became the first twelve. It was to be used if the Allspark ever came under attack. The caretakers figured this qualified."
"Safe house for what?" Prowl asked blankly. The silver mech smiled faintly and touched a clawed hand to the door. Blue shocks of energy crackled across the symbol engraved in the door and over his frame, and Prowl made to step back, only to have the other mech grab him. The energy crackled over to Prowl, and he braced himself for energy surges, activating the necessary protocols - only to realize it wasn't necessary. The energy didn't hurt - in fact, it felt nice on the few wounds he had sustained at the Decepticon's hands before he'd been pulled into the tunnels by the other mech. Fascinated by that, it took Prowl a moment to process the change in location, and when he looked around, he found himself staring at the same door, only from the inside.
Startled, he spun around, and once again found himself freezing in shock. They were standing on a small balcony at the edge of what seemed to be a large sphere, easily twice the size of the senate building. The size and lack of internal supports made the existence of the structure alone incredible, but that was, by far, dwarfed by what was inside the sphere. All around the sphere, save for the immediate area of the balcony, tiny sparks danced and darted about, a swirling mass of light and energy, crackling happily to each other and seemingly oblivious to anything else.
"A safe-house for those that are to come," the silver mech said softly, barely heard, and stepped forward, passing Prowl and putting a hand flat on what Prowl now saw was a low-charge containment field. It didn't seem to exert any repelling charges, it just acted as a barrier. As Prowl watched, one of the tiny sparks darted over, hovering around the silver mech's hand for a moment before darting off again. The tiny sparks swirled in the wake of the first one, seemingly excited, and soon they were pressing close to the barrier, so close that they couldn't be distinguished from one another at all, the barrier a solid mass of spark-light.
"This is impossible," Prowl said in quiet disbelief as he stared. "Sparks aren't formed by the Allspark until they're needed, until there are shells waiting for them."
"I thought that, too," the silver mech said with a gentle laugh. "You can't deny what these little ones are, though."
"No, I...suppose not," Prowl said, stepping forward. The containment field rippled as the tiny sparks shifted, perhaps having noticed him.
"Put your hand on the field. They want to meet you," the silver mech encouraged.
"They're coherent?" Prowl asked in alarm, glancing at the other mech.
"Oh hardly," the mech said, laughing lightly. "They're emotions and instincts, core personality programming. No thought or reason, but they have memory, after a fashion - they recognize me, for example. But they'd forget me if I left them for long enough."
"Oh," Prowl said. After a moment of eyeing the barrier, Prowl gently put his hand up against it, and he felt warmth. An impression came to him of a soothing welcome, followed closely by the impression of being engulfed in a large hug. Other impressions followed, one after another in rapid succession, causing him to gasp and jerk away.
"They're just saying hello," the other mech said softly, bringing Prowl's attention back to the present, and not the impressions of a moment before, and he looked up.
"Why are you showing me this?" he asked. The other mech looked up to the sparks again before stepping away, seeming regretful.
"Because a secret this big cannot be lost," he said.
"Lost?" Prowl asked in confusion.
"My...destiny is not here," the mech seemed to be struggling to explain, now. "I don't know if it's being around so many sparks that are yet to be or if the last caretaker passed on some sort of knowledge of the future or something, but I know...my place is not here. This was my secret to keep for awhile, but if I try to keep it forever, it will be lost. So I had to tell someone."
"Me," Prowl said with a frown, and the silver mech nodded.
"I saw you today and realized you were the one I had to tell," he said, then smiled and reached up to the barrier again. The sparks had drifted away, Prowl noticed, but at the mech's touch, one darted over, dancing around his hand. "Or maybe I'm just biased." The silver mech said with a chuckle, and leaned over to speak in a conspiratorial tone of voice, "This one's ours." Prowl stared, his logic circuits flat-out refusing to make sense of that statement. The other mech chuckled again, stepping away from the barrier and coming up beside Prowl. They stared at each other for a moment, Prowl on the edge of locking up, the silver mech seeming amused.
Suddenly, incongruously, the other mech stuck out his hand.
"I'm Jazz, by the way," he said, his tone conversational. "Nice to meetcha."