“Sideswipe to Autobots?” the red Lamborghini called through a secure line. “Sideswipe to Sunstreaker? Optimus Prime? Prowl? Slag, I’d even settled for Gears at this point! Anyone reading me?”
Static met the front liners inquiry. He sighed, cringing at the abnormal groan from his chassis as he sank lower on his wheels. The battle had been over for nearly an hour. Sideswipe, having been playing with the jets, was nearly a hundred miles from home. Thundercracker sported a new racing stripe, before making a hasty retreat back to his faction. Sideswipe suffered from numerous injuries from the attack, many caused by a jet rolling on top of him as they scuffled on the ground, where Sideswipe had the advantage.
Now, several dings, dents, scrapes, and blown gaskets later, the red Lamborghini was taking refuge on the outskirts of an exotic car dealership. The place was locked up, preventing the front liner from taking a position inside to blend into his environment in case Thundercracker decided to return with his trine. Sadly, Sideswipe was stuck on the outside of the perimeter, his usual pristine shine now dulled and abused, one wheel protruding slightly due to a faulty transformation. The only thing for the warrior to do was lay low and allow his self repair systems to engage and get him stable enough to return to the Ark.
Cycling his repair systems, Sideswipe allowed himself to drift into recharge mode, oblivious to the world.
Dawn broke with a rather strident blare from a horn. Sideswipe snapped out of recharge, ready to yell at his brother for the wake up call, when he realized he wasn’t in his shared quarters with his brother. He was outside of the base. Alone. No backup. Surrounded by annoying humans. And fragging cold from the rain that started to patter on his chassis.
Checking diagnostics, Sideswipe let out a grumble of protest.
“Only 78 percent?” he muttered, starting his engine and pulling away from the curb. “I must need a tune up!”
Traffic barely allowed him access, and after a block, a full stalemate kept the commuters in tightly packed groups. Cursing his luck, Sideswipe tried his radio, hoping his repair nanites had seen fit to give him a voice so he could alert the other Autobots.
“Sideswipe to Ark,” he said, voice already strained with the early morning commute.
“Red Alert here,” came the welcomed, yet unwelcomed response. Red Alert wasn’t one of Sideswipe’s favorite mechs. They rarely saw optic to optic and Red had a nasty habit of figuring out pranks that were works of art. “What’s your status, Sideswipe?”
“Currently stuck in traffic, approximately one hundred miles away with only seventy-eight percent functional capacity.” Sideswipe cut his comm. so he could verbally abuse another driver that dared to inch his domestic sedan so close to the Italian masterpiece. “Tell Ratchet I should be there in a couple of hours and I expect his regular bedside manner.”
“I shall inform him of yet another visit,” Red Alert said, not bothering to sound sympathetic. “Prime ordered search parties for you after the battle. They are still out on patrol. I can find the nearest to have you escorted to the base.”
“No favors or anything,” Sideswipe grumbled, allowing his engine to idle on high for a moment before settled back into a soft purr. “Nice to see that some bots care about us lowly front liners.”
“Prime cares about all under his command,” Red Alert added, not raising to the challenge the Lamborghini had a habit of starting. “Prowl and Sunstreaker are nearest and should meet you at these coordinates in half an hour.”
Thinking it was way too early in the morning, Sideswipe gave a sigh and added, “Transmission received.”
“Base out,” Red Alert said without waiting for a response.
‘Fragger,” Sideswipe snapped, laying on his horn and scaring the hell out of the early morning motorist. He really wasn’t a morning mech.
Fifteen minutes later, Sideswipe nearly jumped out of his plating when a flash of blue appeared in his rear view. Soon the caterwauling sounds of a siren blared beside him, and being in an exceptionally generous mood despite current circumstances, he eased into the slow lane to allow the officer to pass. His generosity quickly evaporated when the officer followed suit, trailing his bumper by a few feet and showing no signs of passing. With a growl Sideswipe pulled over.
An officer, mid twenties with sandy blonde hair, approached and tapped on the window. He was fully expecting to see one of the pampered brats that race through town behind the wheel, offering him a jeering sneer and a lazy demeanor. He wasn’t expecting to see a vacant car. He frowned, leaning against the door as if to peer into a back seat, and jumped back in surprise when the car protested.
“Do you mind keeping your oily human hands to yourself?” Sideswipe snapped, just feeling the fingerprints burn permanently into his polish.
“Hey… you’re one of them Autobots…. “ the officer started, but Sideswipe quickly cut across.
“Yes, I’m a member of the Autobots. No, you can’t have an autograph. No I will most certainly NOT let you drive me. Yes, I understand the traffic laws and yes I understand that you have the power, however limited it may be, to enforce those laws and basically cause me to have what has not only been a bad day, but a bad week. And no, I’m not getting an attitude, I already have one and it is extremely limited on patience.” Sideswipe shifted on his tires irritably, wishing he could just crush the annoying humans and have Prime kiss his aft. Some things were just below a mech. Sucking up to inferior beings was one of them. “I’m not a morning mech and I need to get back to base and get repaired, no doubt enduring some medical malpractice and then, quite possibly, getting reprimanded for engaging the enemy and getting hurt in the first place.”
The officer felt his jaw hanging and immediately closed it. He had heard of the Autobots and had seen footage on tv, but never had he encountered a real, live talking car before. He had thought them all kind and generous and friendly to the human population. This ruby masterpiece apparently didn’t get the memo.
“Well, I know you’re new to the planet,” he started.
“Yeah, only been here for four million years before waking up and having to endure this filthy mudball,” Sideswipe couldn’t help but interject.
“But we got some rules,” the officer finished, trying to ignore the irate car. “And one of those rules is having a license plate with current tags.”
“What are you talking about?” Sideswipe grumbled, getting the feeling that he was being scolded by the little meatsack. “I have a license plate and registration. I don’t have a drivers license, seeing how I’m the car, but the government made exceptions.”
The officer glanced over the interior, unsure where to direct his gaze and ventured to the back of the Lamborghini. He pointed at the back bumper. “You don’t have a license plate.”
The officer screamed bloody murder when the car transformed, cursed fluently, slammed down a monster sized foot in frustration and twisted himself around in an unnatural way that would have meant certain death to a human.
“Slag it all!” Sideswipe yelled, causing the officer to jump again. He looked down at the human, barely mid calf high to him and added, “Apparently someone has stolen my plate. Must have happened last night when I was in recharge.”
“Wow,” the officer breathed, his jaw hanging near his knees again.
Any further complaint on Sideswipe’s part was halted as another vehicle crested the horizon. It’s glimmer of gold caught the front liner’s attention. Sideswipe’s call of greeting was lost as the sound of transformation permeated the air and suddenly the warrior was flying backward off the road, feet disappearing in the thicket.
“Fragger! What were you thinking, taking on a seeker without backup?” Sunstreaker snarled, stalking to the edge of the road to glare at his brother trying to extract himself from the thorny hedge. “Are you suicidal?”
“I had it under control,” Sideswipe snapped, hauling himself up and moaning when a long line of text started scrolling across his internal HUD. “Slag it! Down to seventy one percent!”
Sunstreaker drew back his fist for another punch, when Sideswipe’s optics flared, his face contorting in anger. “Knock it off of I’ll beat the slag out of you!”
Sunstreaker quelled his actions, but still pierced his brother with a murderous glare.
Another vehicle joined the group, the sound of transformation smooth and perfect. Prowl glared at the twins, then to the stunned police officer and knelt beside the man.
“My apologies,” Prowl stated, making sure the man was focusing his attention on Prowl and not the two Lamborghinis exchanging death threats. “Has Sideswipe fractured yet another law?”
“He…. He….” The officer tried but found his voice falter.
“Someone stole my license plate last night while I recharged,” Sideswipe added, regaining the road and transforming with his back bumper presented to his superior officer. The move had a double meaning. Prowl let it slide.
“We will see to it that Sideswipe is returned to legal status as soon as possible,” Prowl said, motioning toward the horizon for the twins to start on their way. His attention remained on the officer who still stood agape at the mechanical beings. “Is that all?”
The officer snapped himself out of his stupor with the roar of twin engines. He looked from the Italian masterpieces to the being still kneeling on the asphalt and asked a sputtering, “Could I have your autograph?”
The twins chose to remain silent on the way back to base. As they rode side by side, Sideswipe couldn’t help but note his brother’s condition, so much like his own. Numerous dents and scratches adorned his immaculate paint job and there was a nasty scrape that ran the length of the golden twin’s body. Sickly Constructicon green, if Sideswipe’s guess was correct. Apparently Sunstreaker had seen fit to augment his color scheme in a rather brutal fashion.
“Nice stripe,” Sideswipe jeered, knowing how much his brother hated being seen in public when he was less than perfect.
“Wasn’t allowed to get repaired until your worthless aft was found,” Sunstreaker groused, swerving a little too close to Sideswipe and causing the ruby twin to careen off the road.
“Slagger. Not like I planned any of this,” Sideswipe mumbled, knowing his brother would have no problem beating the slag out of him. Sunstreaker was already a banged up mess. The splash of blood red from his twin wouldn’t bother him, not when he was already so colorfully decorated.
Prowl remained in the background sending updates to the Ark and thanking Primus his patience circuits were so resilient. The twins were enough to drive anyone insane.
00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
Two weeks later and Sideswipe received a package from the Department of Motor Vehicles. He snatched the packet from Red Alert’s grip before the security mech could run his routine three hundred and seventeen security checks on it to consider it cleared. He disappeared in his room before Red could protest, and even if he did, the ruby twin wouldn’t have paid him any heed anyway. Neither party took the other seriously. Sideswipe’s mandatory sentence of remaining on base until legal had driven nearly all of the Ark residents to insanity, Sunstreaker the only one that didn’t show any difference of demeanor.
Sideswipe came parading out of his room a few minutes later, a definite swagger to his posture.
“Custom plate with magnetized edging and specialty screws that no human tool can manipulate,” he boasted, before transforming and displaying his new plate.
“Let’s see them swipe this,” he yelled, racing out of the Ark toward freedom, his back bumper adorned with the new identity, ‘1SEXYMEK.’