“So… so! An engineer, a xenobiologist, and a metallurgist walk into a bar. Only the engineer ducks. The medic refuses to fix the dents.”
“Really, Wheeljack? Really? Perpetuating a negative stereotype?”
“And what about us? ‘The xenobiologist expanded on how organics evolved ways to go under or around bars?’”
“They made it into a game and call it limbo…”
“And the metallurgist, what, extolled the virtues of the bar’s exact chemical makeup, explaining how the fusion of the alloys made it resistant to rust…?”
“I get it, I get it! I’m sorry! I won’t make a joke like that again!”
“If you really expect us to believe that, you must think we hit our heads on that theoretical bar.”
“Well… it is time to raise the bar on my joke repertoire…”
“I’m going to hurt you.”
“I believe I am entirely too sober for this.”
“Agreed. Kindly pass the high grade.”
There was a whimpering noise, and Wheeljack whined. “I’m not that bad…”
The three other mechs lounging in Skyfire’s quarters all made varying sounds of disbelief as Skyfire handed Perceptor another cube of glowing high grade.
There was silence for a moment as all four mechs enjoyed their rare cubes high grade. Here on Earth, there was sufficient energy available to make various grades of Energon, but the Science Team didn’t indulge often.
Too many responsibilities.
Too few shifts where they were all off at the same time to use the largest mech’s quarters - because everyone else’s rooms were just uncomfortably small for the shuttle.
Additionally, in the case of Wheeljack’s quarters, too many other explosives nobody wanted near their drinks.
Today, though, was the anniversary of Skyfire’s arrival at the Ark. Not really something most mechs on board would expect them to celebrate, as the three other members of the team had been together for a very long time; long before the Ark launched, let alone came up as a viable plan, honestly. Skyfire’s arrival, though, was a reason to rejoice; the mech had been listed as dead for longer than the war had existed… and he’d been here, on this planet, that they’d crashed on by chance.
While he’d turned the tide in some battles by lifting injured mechs from the battleline to get them to Ratchet before they expired...
And while he very thoroughly distracting Starscream any time they were both on the battlefield at the same time...
The Science Team celebrated the arrival of another dedicated scientist. His arrival had led to an increase in the Autobot’s Energon creation and efficiency. And improvements in how they approached the biological needs of their human friends and allies. Small things, perhaps, when looked at in the light of a millenia-long civil war, but important to the Earth-based Autobots nonetheless.
Perceptor - normally a reserved mech - had been positively delighted with Skyfire’s arrival, and he’d actually hugged the much larger mech once they’d been out of sight of the crew at large. They’d worked together, back when Skyfire had been a student at the Iacon Academy of Science and Technology and Perceptor had worked there as a researcher. The larger shuttle had been one of Perceptor’s only friends, up until that ill-fated outsystem trip with Starscream had left the former microscope thinking the shuttle was dead.
They’d spent time reminiscing before Perceptor had brought him to meet the rest of the Science Team, at one of their off-work get-togethers.
Ratchet had been the most skeptical about the new mech’s presence, in part because of his history with Starscream, and in part because he hadn’t personally cleared the new mech to be out of isolation. (Perceptor would hear about that later. In volumes) Who knew what kind of structural damage - or strains of rust - the mech had acquired in that icy trap. He’d been left in isolation in the medbay for a reason, under First Aid’s supposedly watchful optic (Ratchet blamed Perceptor for Skyfire’s presence more than he did First Aid, who was still a rather meek mech - especially for a medic) while the scanners ran thorough checks. With a huff he’d stood up to start scanning the mech for dangers - the others could talk while he worked.
When Skyfire presented Ratchet with files from a medical journal he’d thought long destroyed, the medic had relented slightly. He’d still insisted on a full scan while they sat there, and that Skyfire submit to a full physical the next work day… he’d been slightly less brusque about it.
That had established their unofficial working relationship. In the beginning, at least. Over time they’d relaxed around each other - enough for Ratchet to start throwing things at him any time he got caught in one of Wheeljack’s experiments. ‘He wouldn’t throw things at you if he didn’t like you’, Wheeljack had promised him after one such event, while the medic was in a storage room.
And Wheeljack… Wheeljack had been infamous even before Skyfire had disappeared. And while Skyfire had a healthy respect for his insanity, he respected the engineer’s brilliance more.
Not his ability to tell jokes, mind, but his engineering brilliance. Even when things exploded, they tended to be amazing examples of craftsmanship. Just not always stable…
Frequently not stable.
Skyfire smiled into his cube, and flexed his wings before slouching just slightly into his chair, chuckling quietly as Ratchet ranted at Wheeljack about the qualities of a good joke. He and Perceptor offered random suggestions when the tirade seemed to be winding down, just to keep the entertainment going.
No, they didn’t normally celebrate the anniversary of someone joining such a small team, but Skyfire was glad Wheeljack had suggested it.
He’d always miss Starscream - the Starscream he’d known back at the Academy, not the twisted mech wearing his name and paint - and the way Cybertron had been before the war and the unrest, but life was okay now.
Not perfect, maybe, but - as he watched Ratchet threaten to remove Wheeljack’s vocal unit if he ‘didn’t stop with the horrible joke attempts immediately!’ - it was good.