1. Chapter 1 by Phoenix
2. Chapter 2 by Phoenix
3. Chapter 3 by Phoenix
4. Chapter 4 by Phoenix
5. Chapter 5 by Phoenix
6. Chapter 6 by Phoenix
7. Chapter 7 by Phoenix
8. Chapter 8 by Phoenix
9. Chapter 9 by Phoenix
10. Chapter 10 by Phoenix
11. Chapter 11 by Phoenix
12. Chapter 12 by Phoenix
13. Chapter 13 by Phoenix
14. Chapter 14 by Phoenix
15. Chapter 15 by Phoenix
“Oh Mojo, Mojo, Mojo,” Sam sighed to himself, frowning. He was kneeling on the kitchen floor of his parents house, lovingly scratching around the ears of his mother’s pet Chihuahua. The feisty little dog was loving the attention. Mouth open, tiny tongue poking out, eyes closed. Sam ran his hand over the dogs head, thinking.
His parents had left on their annual holiday sojourn to Italy. Leaving Sam in charge of the house for three whole weeks – it was a glorious time of Chinese takeout, pizza boxes, zero homework time... and lots of Mikaela time. LOTS. Strangely, or perhaps not so, considering the events of the last few months, Sam had not been forbidden from having his girlfriend in the house while the killjoy adults where away. And having Mikaela around had meant... well, fun of a sort different from basketball, X-Box games and huge alien robots.
The kitchen door swung open, “So?”, Mikaela looked at him expectantly, blinking, head inside the door but body still planted on the porch.
Sam straightened up from being on the floor with the dog. Mojo ‘ruffed’ a bark at his new friend Mikaela and bounced over to her. The girl responded by adding a few of her own pats to the dogs head.
“I’ll ask, what the heck, Optimus owes me, like, big time,” Sam said hesitantly. “But they really have to swear not to step on him. ”
Mikaela smiled, “You know they won’t hurt him.”
Sam rolled his eyes at her, slouching his way over to the door with his hands shoved in his jeans back pockets, and joining her outside, “You think so? You believe that?”
“Yep, sincerely,” Mikaela reassured him. They left Mojo behind in the house with the dog door locked securely, and headed across the backyard.
Bumblebee was parked in the back driveway to the house, engine already rumbling and waiting for them. Sam got inside his Guardian as Mikaela slid in the passenger door, and he tried not to freak when Bumblebee insisted on playing the song ‘Who Let the Dogs Out’ as his Camaro form backed up out of the drive and into the rear laneway.
“Cut that out, or you’ll be the one staying home and looking after him,” Sam growled as Bumblebee turned onto the main street and headed for the Autobots temporary base of operations. The radio gave a sudden pop and switched over to generic elevator music.
Bumblebee parked outside the huge hanger doors and transformed after his human occupants had exited his vehicle form. Sam glanced up and could swear his friend was grinning wildly, even if he had no mouth to do so with. The sparkle and slant of the Autobot’s optics were obvious. The yellow bot easily retracted the old hanger door open, allowing admittance for himself and his friends.
Inside, the cavernous building had been transformed (so to speak) into a comfortable living and working space for the occupants; namely, Optimus Prime, Ratchet, Ironhide and Bumblebee. Individual private spaces for recharging were at the rear of the hanger, working and recreational areas closer to the front doors. Not knowing quite what else to do with its illegal alien immigrants after Megatron had been destroyed and the other deactivated Decepticons dumped at the bottom of the sea, the US Government had allowed the Autobots to take over the disused old Zeppelin aircraft hanger. It was a long way out from town, and the bots took great care with keeping their identities and operations secret from the general public.
“Hi guys,” Sam said, as the Autobots looked up at their visitors.
“Sam, Mikaela, Bumblebee,” Optimus Prime’s optics glowed brighter in welcome, a slight smile warming his faceplates.
Mikaela waved, wiggling fingers, “Hi big guy.”
Ratchet looked up from where he was bent over one of Ironhide’s arm cannons on his surgery table, Ironhide himself was sitting impatiently while his arm was immobilised. The medic cocked one optic at them and grunted, “You need me?”.
“Uh, sort of, ‘Ratch. I was hoping to ask you guys a favor,” Sam followed Optimus’ progress as the huge robot’s long legs propelled him around the group to swing around and lean himself back against the vacant side of the table Ratchet and Ironhide was using. The Autobot Leader folded his arms, looking down at the humans with kindly optics, waiting.
“Correction, WE were hoping to ask a favor,” Mikaela added.
“Is it important enough to stop Ratchet working?” Ironhide enquired with a crabby edge to his voice. Still the corner of his mouth quirked up in welcome to the visitors as he gave them a glance.
“I wouldn’t need to be working if you hadn’t been mucking around with your cannon internals again,” Ratchet grumbled back, not lifting his head from his delicate tinkering.
Ironhide’s hand made a fist next to his cannon on the table, “If you could have made the addition like I asked, with minimal effort-”
“An addition that was illogical and ill-advised considering our current battle status,” Ratchet shot back.
Optimus sighed and covered his face with one hand, dimming his optics at the continuing crossfire banter, “Quiet, you two. Manners.”
“Manners,” Ironhide muttered with disdain.
“Not like you have any, programmed them out to make more space for missile trajectory data, didn’t you?”
“ENOUGH!” One of Prime’s feet stomped the floor in anger, causing Ratchet’s instruments lined up on the table to all jump in unison like miniature frightened soldiers.
Bumblebee’s medium sized body was shaking with silent laughter, little high pitched whirring sounds coming from his vocaliser. Ironhide’s expression looked mutinous but he refrained from making any more comments. Ratchet muttered something the others couldn’t catch and reached out a hand to instinctively straighten his equipment. Optimus gave him a foul glare.
“You were saying, Sam?” the Commander asked, settling back into his relaxed position. Mikaela poked at Bumblebee’s leg when he continued to let out bouts of snickering.
“Do you like dogs?” Sam spoke quickly. “You know, dogs, a dog, uh, my dog. Mojo.”
“The rodent?” Ironhide’s head lifted from watching Ratchet’s fingers inside his cannon.
Optimus’s optics blinked slowly, “Dog?”. He was clueless. His data banks informed him exactly what a ‘dog’ was, he just didn’t know what it had to do with him.
“The rodent that lubricated all over my foot,” Ironhide informed him solemnly, head tilting as he stared askance at Sam. Mikaela grinned, rocking back and forth on her feet, hands tucked behind her back.
“Would you like to look after one? I have one, he’s nice, he’s well-trained-”
Mikaela burst out with a laugh, that was so NOT true. Bumblebee moved himself in front of her, making shooshing movements with his hands. Mojo was sweet, but barking non-stop, peeing all over the place and chasing everything that moved was his thing. And the little dog still had somewhat of a crack head problem going on. He had irritable snapping moods.
Sam continued, “and me and Mikaela, we’re going away, and he can’t go to a kennel, he really can’t, Mom’s not home, and I won’t be either, he needs feeding, and walking, and Bumblebee can’t do it, he’s driving us there, and I promise he will be a good boy, so you can look after him, right?” Sam’s words came so fast and without pauses that they didn’t make sense. Optimus Prime didn’t have trouble putting the words together, his thought processes; even more then the other Autobots; were too fast to be measured by any known standard. He just wasn’t sure he got the right impression from them.
He responded slowly, “Look after a dog?”
“Mojo. My Mojo. Just for a week. One week. You said you were in my debt, right? For terminating Megatron with the Allspark?” Sam prompted the large robot hopefully, looking earnest. “I’d like to use just a little bit of that debt. I can, can’t I?”
By now Ironhide was looking thoughtful, Ratchet was frozen with wide optics and Optimus Prime’s arms had slipped out of their folded place across his broad chest and were hanging numbly by his sides. His mouth was open. Sam wanted to entrust the Autobots with a much loved member of his family?
There was silence.
Always cool in stressful situations, Ironhide spoke up, “I knew you had a rodent problem. You should have let me take care of it before.”
Bumblebee stalked forward, snatched up a large pointed tool and advanced on Ironhide with dangerous optics.
“Bee!” Optimus intercepted him and grabbed the tool from the Camaro’s upraised hand. “Primus...” he muttered, pushing Bumblebee away with one effortless shove while dropping the tool on the bench again. He stepped between Bumblebee and Ironhide who were making rude silent gestures at each other.
“We’re going away, Optimus. Sam’s parents are away for the next two weeks. Sam and myself would like to have a week to ourselves. My uncle has a holiday house, at the beach, he said we can use it for a week, which is next week. However,” Mikaela shrugged helplessly, “we need someone to look after Mojo. Dogs aren’t allowed at the beach.”
The Autobots all looked at each other. Ratchet and Ironhide looked simultaneously at their leader and waited. It was his call.
“Isn’t this ‘dog’ very small?” Optimus asked, thinking back to what he had noticed of the so-called ‘rodent’.
Sam nodded, “He’s a Chihuahua. Tiny. You’ll like him.”
A glint of battle tactics flashed in Optimus Prime’s optics, “Then, logically, he would be of a size too small for us to handle safely, correct?”
“What? No, no, he’s ok, you don’t step on us, right? You’d never do that.” Sam brought all the arguments into a list into his head. “I’ve got it all worked out. He can be kept in a fenced off area, so he really won’t be under your feet, all he needs is a bed, food, walking twice a day, a bit of love and attention,” Sam shrugged, “its easy, and its just one week.”
“Walking?” Mikaela once again burst out with feminine laughter. She had a picture in her head of Optimus Prime holding a long, LONG, pink leash with a hyperactive Chihuahua at the end going for happy walkies.
“I’ll provide everything he needs, honestly. Just for one week?” Sam asked hopefully.
“Can’t someone else look after this, er, Mojo?” Ratchet enquired.
“Nope, no one else I know is into dogs, and Mikaela’s parents are anti-dog and allergic to pet hair.” Sam looked up imploringly at the mortified Autobot Leader. “Please Optimus? I’ll bring everything he needs tomorrow and set it up for you guys.”
The big mech sighed, looking at his fellow Autobots. Ratchet was looking thoughtful. “It shouldn’t be that hard. I’ve just accessed all the dog information off the World Wide Web. Seems easy enough,” the medic said, starting to warm to the idea of having a biological creature to study.
Optimus Prime lowered his head, thinking. “Alright, I’m sure we can endeavour to look after this dog for you. It should be.. interesting.”
Sam pumped a fist, grinning. Optimus Prime’s posture sagged from his usual proud stance. Ratchet was contemplating. Ironhide let off a few Cybertronian swear words.
The deal was on.
Optimus Prime stared down at the area of floor under his feet.
He was sitting at a table in the Autobots new base of operations, his oversized legs carefully tucked underneath his chair. He was sure he’d felt something brushing his leg. Looking downwards yet not seeing anything, and not even bothering to use his scanner for such a trivial matter, he went back to reading a whole heap of documents provided by Captain Lennox on the progress he was making with the Government over the Autobot’s situation (the Government was wary of using any digital means to send sensitive information since the Decepticons had so quickly and easily manipulated it despite Earth’s best encryption and firewall technology).
A sniffy snuffle sound came from under his feet. Optimus went still, hands going motionless in the act of turning a report page. His head moved to look down next to his seat once more – and saw the tiny tip of a dog tail next to his right foot. He flinched. Defensive tactics were required yet again. His optics went back to reading his report, while at the same time, he lifted his right thigh, leaving his foot dangling in the air above the ground.
An animal squeak of surprise hit his sensitive audios, followed by the sound of claws scrambling at the floor. Something touched Prime’s other foot. Reacting automatically – he’d been through this many times over the past two days – Optimus Prime carefully but firmly lifted his other foot from the floor too. He now had two feet hovering in the air under the table, out of reach of the dog’s aim to urinate. He knew he looked stupid. Safe, but stupid.
A spastic little bark of dismay punctuated the silence.
“Oh shut up,” Prime growled. “You’ve already done me once, go find someone else to lubricate on.” He then felt an instant stab of regret at speaking so harshly to the little lifeform.
“Dog breech! DOG BREECH!” Ratchets flustered synthesised voice filled the interior of the Autobot’s base. It was the standard warning used by them all to signify the fact Sam’s dog has yet again escaped his purpose built doggie sized compound arranged next to Ratchet’s medbay.
“No one step on it! Watch where you’re walking!” Ratchet’s voice was getting nearer. He was now on search and find duty. Ironhide had maliciously called it search-and-destroy duty the first time the dog had escaped, but he no longer used that phrase since Optimus has threatened to off-line his cannons for the duration of Mojo’s stay.
Ratchet walked slowly into the recreation area, his head bent down and optics watching where he was putting his feet with infinite care. Optimus put down his report. Ratchet looked up at the noise; paused to take in the situation; then smirked. He’d found Mojo. The Autobot Leader with sitting looking ridiculous with his legs held up, the errant dog sitting smack underneath his hovering left foot, looking hopeful at the object over his head.
“He didn’t, er, you know,” Ratchet asked. What an indignity to someone so noble.
“No, he did not. Would you mind putting him back in his compound and fixing whatever he did to get out of it this time?” Optimus’ words were calm.
“Of course,” Ratchet smiled, kneeling down on one leg and calling to the dog, holding out one hand flat on the ground. Mojo eagerly left his current game of pee-on-the-big-mech’s foot, and ran to his next new friend. Without fear, the dog sat happily on the medic’s hand while it was raised into the air. The canine had no fear, he was a Chihuahua after all, everything was huge to him.
“Bad dog, Mojo,” said Ratchet, holding the dog up in front of his face for optic contact, and turning to head back to his medbay. The dog agreed with him, his tail waving with so much happiness his body wove back and forth.
“Bad dog. Nuh.” Optimus muttered at Ratchet’s departing back.
They had all listened so carefully to Sam’s instructions when the dog had arrived.
“Two small meals, twice a day, one morning, one night. I know the dog books say one, but he gets hungry, which means he’ll annoy the crap out of you and drive you insane,” Sam had explained, holding a can of dog food and demonstrating how to fill the tiny dog food bowl. “And no snacks, he gets fat. These treats are only to entice him back to you if he gets difficult to handle.” Sam held up a small package of Beef Dog Snacko treats. “And keep his water clean and fresh, change it daily.” A water bowl was popped next to the bed.
“One dog bed, deluxe model,” a fluffy round cushion was pushed against the wall by Sam, who looked down at his dog, “its not the penthouse Mojo, but you’ll survive.”
The Autobots looked nervously at each over. At least, Optimus and Ironhide did. Ratchet was concentrating on listening to Sam while looking nervous. The two other mech’s had already decided this was entirely a Ratchet-only job. Bumblebee was kneeling on the floor, playing with Mojo while he waited for Sam and smothering some snickers at the dog lessons his elders were receiving. Bumblebee had spent enough time at the Witwicky’s house to know how the dog was looked after, he didn’t need to be taught.
Ratchet surveyed the dog set-up, noticing from his research that something was missing, “Where is the litterbox?”
Sam raised his eyebrows, “Litterboxes are for cats, ‘Ratch. Not dogs. When you take him for his walk outside, he’ll do his business then.”
Sam produced a mound of brown rope from inside his backpack, “Speaking of which, this is his leash. Its the best I could come up with, since his normal leash is way too short for you guys to use properly, you being so tall and Mojo so... short.” It looked like something a tugboat would use to try and save the Titanic. “Clip it onto his collar. Only for walks! Not for keeping him chained up, alright? No way. That’s cruel.”
“We would never do that, Sam,” Optimus Prime said reassuringly, standing with his hands linked behind his back, “He will be well looked after.”
Ironhide fingered his left arm cannon casually, getting it to crackle alarmingly with energy.
Bumblebee re-directed the ball he had been rolling on the floor for Mojo so the solid rubber object hit Ironhide in the side of the head at lightspeed.
“HEY!” Ironhide roared.
The Camaro glowered defiantly up at the enraged bot with expressive blue optics and went to lift a middle finger in a special salute while holding a hand protectively over Mojo.
“Finger DOWN, cannons OFF!” Optimus’ voice was deep and deadly, “Now!”. He placed his bulk so he was towering over Bumblebee’s crouching form while being in a position to physically tackle Ironhide who was ready to blast the hand off the yellow bot with his cannons, in revenge.
“Insolent punk!” Ironhide ground out at Bumblebee. “Lets see who helps who the next time Starscream has a missile cluster aimed up your rear end!”
Sam waited apprehensively for Optimus to REALLY deal out some discipline at such a display of child-like behaviour from experienced warriors. Instead the towering commander blinked once, then started to chuckle.
Optimus turned to Sam, bending down on one knee and leaning over as he always did, “I shall personally ensure the well being of your dog, Sam. He will receive the best care and kindness,” Optimus glanced up meaningfully at Ironhide, “we are able to give. Or else some bots around here will certainly receive a missile in the rear delivered by a mech other than Starscream.” The flash of meaning in Optimus’ astute optics betrayed how serious he was.
As if in understanding at what was being said, Mojo left Bumblebee and wandered over to the kneeling Autobot. He sniffed at Optimus Prime’s gently offered hand, who was watching him with interested optics. The dog walked around him in a circle once. And lifted a leg.
Sam screamed and darted forwards, “No, no, NO! BAD DOG! Mojo, don’t!! Stop! No – oh. God no. Optimus! I’m sorry! Mojo is sorry!”
“Yeah, at least do it on Ironhide, Mojo, consistency is everything,” Ratchet said smugly.
“Sit.” Ratchet spoke calmly, hands propped on his hips, head titled to one side as he studied the dog standing on the floor of his medbay.
The Chihuahua huffed a bark, then squatted on its haunches, tongue sticking out in a pant.
Ratchet nodded approvingly, thinking of another command to try. Sit seemed to work well.
“Roll over?” he asked.
Mojo did a yoga pose and scratched behind one ear with his leg, ignoring Ratchet’s command. Finishing with his scratching, the dog yawned and looked around, bored.
“Mojo, ROLL OVER.” Ratchet repeated, leaning over earnestly with his hands propped on his knees. Mojo wasn’t interested. The dog stood up, sniffing the ground, then started to walk around the enclosed medbay room, looking for good smells.
“The play dead command works well, just shoot it. Easy,” Ironhide rumbled from where he was sitting at one of the medbay benches, scrolling through data so fast the computer screen was threatening to explode in revolt.
Ratchet sent him a malevolent glare and followed after the dog, who was snuffling around underneath the bench where Ironhide was pre-occupied. Ratchet tried to scoop the dog up with one hand, seeing how close the mutt was getting to Ironhide’s foot.
Although Mojo seemed to have tired lately of weeing on Ironhide’s feet. Optimus Prime’s regal feet were now the preferred target. Ratchet wasn’t sure that was such a brilliant idea of Mojo’s, since anyone else who had lethally aimed at the Autobot Leader ended up... dead. Or headless, Ratchet thought, remembering what Optimus had done to Bonecrusher on the freeway. Certainly spark-less and non-functioning, anyway.
“Aren’t you supposed to be meeting with Captain Lennox today?” Ratchet said from under the bench, supporting himself on hands and knees, and missing his attempt at grabbing Mojo when the dog danced sideways away from his grasp. The dog started barking rapidly, his tail wagging; new game, fun!
“Yeah, later - Primus! That noise! Make it stop!” Ironhide growled, looking down irritated.
Mojo kept barking wildly and was now dancing and darting back and forth in a zig-zag motion.
Ratchet tried to hush the dog, “Mojo, quiet! No! Stop that! No barking!”
Mojo disregarded the medic. The barking was so rapidfire Ironhide feared the automatic cannon defence mechanisms installed inside the hanger would begin to react.
“Dog! Rodent! MOJO! Shut up!” Ironhide snapped at the dog and stomped a massive foot. Ratchet thought the shock rebound through the floor might jolt the dog into a backflip.
The dog froze at hearing its name from the one that had never before uttered his name, “Urfff?” he questioned, ears pricked, body trembling.
“You said his name...” Ratchet said in a godly whisper.
“Urrmmm?” Mojo said again in a dog murmur.
“That’s right, I said it, MOJO,” Ironhide leaned over from his chair, locking his optics with the dog’s bright eyes, “and the next time you go on a freaking barking frenzy, I’ll let the auto cannons take you out, since Optimus won’t be able to say it was my fault and then I won’t get in trouble. Dog smudge on the floor and lots of blissful silence, get it?”
Ratchet snickered. “He’s too small, all the shots would miss.”
“Then maybe he’d break his organic neck falling into the cannon craters in the floor,” Ironhide grumbled, going back to his data crunching.
“So now you’re saying ‘he’ as well now?” Ratchet quipped. “Its a ‘he’ and he’s called Mojo. Nice. Only took six Earth days to achieve that.”
“What took six Earth days?” Optimus asked as he wandered into the medbay, still looking only half-alert after his two hour recharge nap in his quarters.
“Ironhide called Mojo by his name,” Ratchet informed him. “And hey, I do think you should take a turn at walking him, too. Mojo goes home tomorrow.”
Optimus halted his long slow steps next to where Ironhide sat. His optics looked askingly at the medic. “And why is that?”
“You won’t get another chance, don’t you want to say you’ve walked an Earth dog? New experiences and all that?” Ratchet got his plan together. Optimus was going to walk the dog. Period.
“No.” Prime’s reply was short and a bit snappy.
“Mojo does like you, he’s easy to walk,” Ratchet encouraged.
“He only likes my feet. And no.”
“Just once? Don’t you want to try?” Ratchet said.
“I’ll get him leashed up and ready to go at the hanger doors for you?”
“No.” Optimus was now starting to think leaving his massive laser rifle anchored to his back rather than sitting meekly in his subspace pocket was a much more intimidating look for him when it came to dealing with Autobots who wanted him to walk dogs.
“But you KNOW we only walk him when its dark, so no one will see you with the dog,” Ratchet insisted. The dog was walked around the outside perimeter of the massive hanger just before dawn and after sunset, Autobot sensors making sure there were no prying humans around to watch.
“No.” Optimus put his best ‘don’t crap with me’ expression on. It didn’t usually work with Ratchet though. The medic had spent too many years dealing with the recalcitrant Autobot twins, Sideswipe and Sunstreaker.
“Sam gave the leash to YOU. Not us. You should try using it. Sam will want to know how you went,” Ratchet explained.
“Oh, walk the damn thing, Prime. It’ll make ‘Ratch happy,” Ironhide glared, wanting peace and quiet. First it was the dog barking and now Commander Femme-Magnet (Optimus) and the belligerent Doctor of Pain (Ratchet) were interrupting his work.
Optimus was about to do the automatic ‘no’ answer when it hit him what Ratchet had said. Sam would want to know if he had walked the dog. Even just once. It wasn’t a lot to ask. Stick dog on leash, walk dog around the hanger, hand dog back to Ratchet and that was it.
“...Alright... just this once.” Prime said reluctantly. Ironhide looked flabbergasted. Ratchet bit back a whoop of victory. “But if he goes for my foot or acts up at all, I’m leaving him tied to a tree and you can go fetch him,” Optimus turned his commanding blue optics on Ratchet.
“Sure! I’ll just get him ready for you,” Ratchet bubbled happily, turning to locate the dog and the leash to put the two together.
“Heh, walkies,” Ironhide grinned sadistically.
Optimus felt another horrible sinking feeling in his wide, buffed up, chest like he’d felt when he had first agreed to look after the dog. The same feeling he felt when the Decepticons were doing something he hadn’t anticipated for. He was so sure this wasn’t going to go at all as planned.
The two Autobots stood patiently just inside the hanger doors, waiting. Even the dog, Mojo, was waiting. The sun had gone down an hour ago, taking all the brightness of sunlight with it, making it safe for alien robots to walk their borrowed dog.
“Is everything ready?” Ironhide asked curiously. He made sure to stand on the opposite side of Ratchet to where the dog was sitting.
Ratchet eyed Ironhide, saying nothing and merely holding up the leash to indicate the dog on the end of it, sitting next to his feet.
“No, I mean is EVERYTHING ready?” Ironhide asked in a lower tone, optics glancing back into the hanger. He was looking and listening for any sign of Optimus Prime.
“Of course,” Ratchet said idly, one optic blinking in a human-like winking
Ironhide didn’t say anything further. Their subject (or victim, as Ironhide now liked to think of Optimus) was approaching, his heavy, wide-spaced footsteps causing Mojo to stand up and look around.
“Wuuuuf!” the Chihuahua got up onto his paws and barked a greeting, his tiny brain working out that this was what he and his tall friends had been waiting around for.
“Hello Mojo,” Optimus pronounced politely. Mojo’s stumpy tail did double-time in response. “Alright, lets do this... thing,” Optimus said, waiting to start.
“Leash,” Ratchet spoke, his optics twinkling as he held out the rope expectantly to his wary Commander.
Optimus took it gingerly, holding it between one metallic forefinger and thumb. He looked down at the dog, who had stepped sideways towards him, following the weight of the rope.
“Use the inside of your hand, like this,” Ratchet instructed, bending and shaping Prime’s hand to hold the leash in a more comfortable grip.
“You know how we used to drag the more unhelpful rogue Decepticon prisoners into the brig with a chain? Hold the leash like that,” Ironhide said helpfully.
Optimus looked askance at his Weapons Specialist, “Tell me you DID NOT do that. You know that isn’t how we treat prisoners!”
“It was just the odd one, the unco-operative ones! They wouldn’t walk, what was I to do? You wouldn’t let me shoot them once they surrendered! Against the rules, YOU said.”
“Ahem,” Ratchet had bowed his head, rubbing at his forehead, “Can we just do the task at hand, please?”
“We shall discuss this later, Ironhide,” Prime’s optics flashed. He wasn’t happy.
“Right,” Ironhide muttered equally unhappily.
“FOOT!” Ratchet suddenly shouted, “look out! Hold the leash out sideways, quick!”
Optimus snapped his arm out straight, taking up slack in the rope and keeping the eager Chihuahua from getting within wetting range of his foot. Mojo huffed and sat down, ears drooping, defeated.
“Good, very good! I think you’ve got it,” Ratchet nodded happily.
“I know Sam said not to use this all the time but it seems very good for control of that bad behaviour,” Optimus said thoughtfully, looking down at the disappointed dog.
“Yeah, yeah, just go walk it, enough with the antics already,” growled Ironhide.
There was silence. No one moved. Optimus seemed frozen, his processor going over several thousand options of what to do next.
“Go on, just walk, he’ll go with you,” Ratchet informed him, his hands waving Optimus onwards.
“...Okay...” Optimus took two steps forward. The leash went tight, taking up all the slack. Mojo didn’t follow. He sat there looking disinterested. Optimus gave the leash a tiny tug. However, a tiny tug for a mech with Optimus Prime’s size and strength meant that Mojo got dragged on his bottom for quite a few feet. Surprised by this development, Mojo rammed his front legs into the dirt and ended up falling on his nose in a sudden stop. His rear end swung high up into the air and over his front end.
“Oh no! Mojo!!” Optimus dropped to his knees, hands reaching out and trying to see if he had hurt the little dog, “Are you okay? I didn’t mean to do that! I apologise!”
Mojo got up, shaking his head, trying to get the soil out of his nose and eyes. He did a micro growl and snapped at Optimus’ finger where the robot was hovering it anxiously over his head. Prime put his hands on the ground and ducked his head down, trying to look Mojo in the face. He wanted to check if he was ok but he just couldn’t get his head that low down.
“We don’t drag prisoners, Prime. You know we don’t,” Ironhide said solemnly. Ratchet kicked him in the ankle. “Ow, hey! Lay off ‘Ratch!”
“Is he ok? He looks ok, well, he looks angry, but ok,” Prime asked Ratchet apprehensively, getting to his feet. He watched the dog do a body shake to dump the dirt off. Mojo did a muffled woof as if he was talking to himself, then looked sideways up at the bad robot that had dumped him on his nose.
Optimus winced, his optics dimming, his great head bowed, “I am very sorry, Mojo. Truly. It won’t happen again.”
Mojo looked the other way up at Ratchet, the nice mech who normally walked him. He looked as if he was trying to say, ‘I don’t want this idiot, can’t you do it?’.
Ratchet chortled, “He’s fine, Earth animals are pretty tough. That’s how they play. Just don’t pull that hard, wait for him to move first.”
“How?” Optimus asked.
“Call him. Say, ‘Walk Mojo. Come.’ That should do it. Make a forwards motion with your head.”
Optimus considered this and then followed Ratchet’s instructions. Mojo relented and started to trot past his new leash master.
“Good! Great! Keep up with him, go on! Around the hanger once,” the medic smiled, folding his arms and turning to watch the odd pair turn round the corner into the evening darkness.
“Keep up with him, he says,” Ironhide dead-panned. While Mojo was trotting flat out, Optimus Prime beside him was taking the tiniest steps possible and waiting for the dog to catch up with each stride. “Mojo running at top speed couldn’t keep up with Prime’s walk.”
“The camera’s are on, right?” Ironhide said quietly into the companionable silence while he and Ratchet waited for Prime and Mojo to return. The aged warrior leaned against the hanger wall, his arms folding across his chest.
Ratchet glanced up at the ceiling, “Oh yes. With back-ups and double copies.”
“Goood.” Ironhide drawled. He rarely smiled this wide.
Meanwhile, earlier on the beach...
“We pick up Mojo tomorrow,” Sam said casually, fluffing some sand into the air with the toes of his right foot. He was lying on his back, hands tucked behind his head. His sunglasses were set at such an angle that he could clearly see the wonderful length of Mikaela’s bikini clad body. And what a body.
“That we do.” Mikaela affirmed, brushing at some ants trying to crawl up her thigh, and re-arranging the towel she was stretched out on. “We, er, haven’t had any calls of distress.”
“True,” Sam nodded, sitting up. He leaned forward and anchored his elbows on his bent up knees, looking out at the sea. It was damn hot.
“Are you going to tell your Mom you left her dog with big robots from another planet?”
“I’m still thinking about that,” Sam muttered, avoiding looking at her. “But you know what?”
Sam smirked at the affectionate name, “Ratchet promised he’d get Optimus to walk Mojo at least once, and even better, provide us video footage of it as a memento.”
Mikaela’s jaw dropped open, and she sat up, “Holy god.. are you serious?” While they had used the idea of Optimus walking the dog as a bit of humorous fun, she hadn’t thought it would actually happen. The big guy? With a Chihuahua? The macho mech who had gone robot-to-robot deathmatch with Megabutt Megatron?
Jesus. This was going to be something. Mikaela was so glad she’d gotten into Bumblebee all those months ago.
“Do you think that if poor Optimus knew he’d be looking after Mojo for a week, back when he was beating the crap out of Megatron, he may have let Megatron kill him?” Mikaela asked.
“Oh yeah. For sure,” Sam smiled.
Optimus Prime watched the little dog trotting so vigorously beside him. The ground shook in tiny earthquakes wherever one of his oversized feet hit the dirt next to the dog but Mojo wasn’t disturbed by it. He seemed quite calm and happy making his way along the track beside the Autobot’s new base. Optimus wasn’t sure how well the creature could see in the darkness. His own vision had adapted using virtual visual spectrum analysis to reveal every detail in the surroundings like it was daylight. Speaking of which, there was a large obstruction in Mojo’s determined way...
“Mojo, stop, swerve, tree-!”
“Ike! Ike! Ike!” Mojo squealed, sitting back on his haunches and shaking his head. One of his front paws came up to rub around his head with quick swipes.
The dog’s nose and forehead had collided with the broad base of a tree as tall as Optimus himself. Afraid of hurting the dog more by pulling on the lead, Optimus had been too worried about the effect of the leash while the dog was in motion to stop him (he also wasn’t sure that if he pulled the leash to the side too hard he’d just pull Mojo’s head off altogether. In which case Sam would arrive back tomorrow to a dog in two pieces, a crying Ratchet, a manically disturbed Autobot Leader and a couldn’t-care-less Ironhide).
“I was telling you about the tree!” Optimus said, and shook his own head mournfully, watching the animal. “Are you okay? Nothing broken or off-line?”
“Urrrf,” Mojo hiccuped. He shook himself, stood up and started forward again.
Brave lifeform, takes a hit and keeps going, Optimus thought to himself as he took a monstrous step over the top of the tree, being careful to keep the leash from getting tangled up. His massive thigh made a distinctive whistling sound through the air as it cleared the tree like a hurdle. Mojo stopped, looking upwards curiously, ears twitching.
“Please listen when I say ‘stop’, alright? You obviously can’t see very well in the dark,” Optimus said down to him. Canine eyes looked up at him earnestly. Then Mojo started viciously scratching at his ear for a flea making ‘ugh, ugh, ugh’ sounds as his body shook.
“You know, that’s the sort of intelligent response I get from some of my troops when I give them serious advice,” he told the dog.
“Urf, urf,” Mojo mumbled and stopped looking up. He glanced sideways, faintly seeing in the darkness a welcoming familiar shape. Oh yes! Just what he needed! He did a sideways hop closer to the much loved object. And lifted a hind leg.
“NO! Get off! Lubricate on the tree, for Primus’ sake, that’s what we’re out here for!”
Inside the hanger, Ironhide and Ratchet were strangling themselves with laughter. Ironhide was bent over, his head resting on the bench and weird squealing sounds of hysteria coming from his vocaliser. One of his fists thumped the bench repeatedly. Ratchet was in a similar condition. He was twisting one of his tools in both hands, trying to keep shrieks of laughter from escaping his body. Prime would definitely hear them. The two were watching and listening intently to what was happening outside using the monitoring system.
“I think we should be WALKING. Move it, c’mon,” Prime said testily. He gave the smallest bare minimum shove he could manage with the toe of his metal foot to the dog’s bottom. Mojo leapt three feet into the air and turned around, snapping and barking like crazy.
Prime winced, watching the dog bark and snap back and forth like a mad thing. The robot’s large gallant head lowered, blue optics focusing intently on the mad dog. “I am not apologising for touching your bottom. Get over it. And WALK, slag it. Sam said you could be silly, and we were not to put up with it.”
“BARKBARKBARKBARKBARK!” Mojo yapped.
“No tantrum! Stop it! That’s an order,” he said firmly.
“You need discipline, dog!”
“Walk! Deactivate! Shut up!”
“Oh, for god’s sake,” Prime growled desperately.
Optimus took two steps forward, leaned over, rested his head on the hanger roof with a sigh and put one hand over each audio receptor. He didn’t notice or see the sudden glare of twin headlights piercing the darkness. He did hear the screech of a car doing an emergency stop. Looking up cautiously, he thought it may have been Ironhide or Ratchet coming outside to help. Or laugh.
Captain Will Lennox had halted his government car and was standing next to the open car door. Speechless. His car’s headlights were illuminating the strangest scene he had ever witnessed in his life (and that DID include meeting the Autobots for the first time).
The giant flame-patterned Autobot Commander was standing with his hands over where Will thought his ears would be, and a tiny dog – a CHIHUAHUA – was yapping frantically around the Transformer’s feet, on a LEASH.
“Wha...? Uh, O-Optimus? What are you... doing? Is that a dog? WHERE did you get a dog – and WHY?” Will stumbled over his words. He had received an urgent call from the Autobot Ironhide needing to discuss ‘a very delicate matter’, and could the Captain kindly come as soon as possible tonight? It had sounded serious.
Prime slowly lowered his hands. The situation couldn’t get any worse, in his opinion. His optics dimmed. He wished he could be suddenly overcome by some kind of fainting sickness that would keep him off-line for the next human year. What utter embarrassment. His optics locked on the dog. It had stopped having a psychotic fit, at least. Mojo was sitting and panting.
Before Optimus could respond to the Captain’s question, Ratchet appeared at the hanger door, dragging Ironhide behind him by one shoulder. The bulky Weapons Specialist was having a convulsive fit. Only glitched snickering sounds were escaping from his vocaliser. Ratchet wasn’t much better off, but at least he could walk. His laughter was long, deep and hard.
“I don’t know what question to ask first,” Lennox muttered, taking in the entire situation, “What is going ON?” he said with more authority. He closed the car door with a thump.
Ratchet let go of Ironhide. The ground shook from the impact. Ironhide’s hands twitched and his air intakes wheezed.
“I am very sorry, Optimus. This was, of course; isn’t it always; Ironhide’s idea of a joke.” Ratchet guffawed. “He invited Captain Lennox over tonight. Just now, incredibly. And guess what he found?”
Optimus Prime covered his face with both hands. Will was sure he heard a sob of pain from the brave warrior.
Authors Note: I have to say thanks again for the stream of great reviews. People seem to be enjoying this fic. I will try to respond to the longer reviews when I have some more free time (what’s that? LOL).
On another note, did anyone else see Ratchet bouncing up and down excitedly, and saying “Yeah, yeah, yeah!” when Ironhide proposes eliminating Sam’s irritating parents in the house scene in the movie? Wicked! I think Ratchet getting a good kick up the diodes (butt) from Optimus would’ve done well there. Or else Op making Ratchet write out (by hand!) “I must not agree with Ironhide’s stupid propositions” a thousand times (Yep, seen the movie seven times now, and I do plan to go again).
On with the fic!
Captain Lennox had eventually gone home. His annoyed looks at Ironhide were tempered with smirks of glee. While Ironhide had called him out with the flimsiest of excuses just for a prank, Lennox was glad he had been let in on the joke. Who wouldn’t want to see the biggest and baddest of the Autobots completely undone by a tiny Chihuahua? Practically crying in frustration with a yapping dog defying every desperate order from the god-like mech?
Optimus Prime stood and watched the tail lights of Will’s car disappear into the distance. His amplified optics were easily able to make out their red glow several miles down the barren road.
After momentarily getting his bodily control back from his comical laughing fit, Ironhide had retreated with staggering unsteady steps back into the hanger. Uncontrolled bursts of snickering still echoed out from the open doorway.
Ratchet observed his leader silently. He had Mojo in the palm of one hand, the tip of one of his fingers gently stroking the dog’s back. Mojo was enjoying the warmth of Ratchet’s metal skin, snuggling in happily. And privately he was enjoying the company of the only sane and dog-friendly Transformer of the whole group (in Mojo’s doggy opinion).
Optimus turned slightly in his stance, pivoting easily on one lengthy leg. His head lowered. Narrowed glowing optics caught onto Ratchet’s patient expression. Ratchet’s spark skipped a pulse. He had to force himself to not step back from such a penetrating stare. Optimus was well aware of how intimidating his presence could be, and outside of battle situations (and other circumstances, including taming the wildest antics of the dreaded Autobot Twins) he carefully did his best to not cause nervousness or fear in his companions and friends. Normally he projected waves of a friendly and caring personality.
Not this time...
“I clearly recall you saying Mojo was easy to walk,” Optimus rumbled deeply. His optics were deepening in color to a nasty blue almost matching the darkness of the evening outside the hanger.
“Uh, well, did I?” Ratchet smiled nervously.
“Yes, you did. Shall I play the sound bite I made and stored?” Optimus propped one hand on his hip menacingly. He thought about thrusting his chest out more but it did that by design anyway.
“Ah, no, no.” The medic looked down at the little dog in his hand. Mojo was looking up at him with friendly earnest eyes. He was happy as can be despite his disastrous walk with the inept Autobot Leader.
Optimus shook his head, turning back to look into the distance. The lights from the inside of their building reflected off the metallic surfaces of his broad armoured back. His sensors casually picked up the far away lights and sounds of the human civilisations in the distance. After a suitable interval of silence, Ratchet spoke up.
“So, what now?” he asked, expecting some sort of harsher reprimand.
“Now?” Optimus’ growling voice sounded all too serious.
Uh oh, here it comes, thought Ratchet. He was startled when the great mech’s head moved to look at him over his shoulder with a wicked grin on his faceplates. “Now we work out exactly how to get Ironhide back for his well-planned prank on my poor ego.”
Ratchet’s optics lit up with an excited glow, “Yes, yes!” he exclaimed. Mojo barked, his tail wagging. He wanted in on it too.
Meanwhile, the kids are on their way back to pick up Mojo from DogCamp...
Sam was in heaven. It was a beautiful day; hot as; and he was travelling in his gorgeous alien-derived Camaro, accompanied by his equally gorgeous girlfriend. He was dangling his left arm out the driver’s window, sunglasses perched casually on his grinning face. Bumblebee playfully kept threatening to upshoot the windowpane underneath his protruding arm but Sam stopped that with well-placed little kicks to the underside of the dashboard.
So it was understandable that Sam shrieked with shock and Mikaela squealed with indignity when the car slammed on its brakes, whipped open both passenger doors and dumped the passengers gracelessly out onto the dirt road.
“BEE! What?!” Sam cried, scrambling to his feet. Further yells of anger were stopped by what happened next.
While Sam and Mikaela watched with horrified eyes, the car staggered in weird jumps and swings on its suspension, turning in a wide slow circle around the stunned humans. Sam shrank backwards, Mikaela pressed herself to his back, wide-eyed.
“Bumblebee, what’s wrong?!” Mikaela cried, brushing and rubbing dirt from her side with one hand while clutching onto Sam’s arm with the other.
The only response they got was the car shuddering and transforming into robot form. ‘Bee was splayed out on his back once the process finished. His arms and legs jerked spasmodically. Shrills and clicks in Cybertronian came from Bumblebee’s apparently anguished form. Sam and Mikaela got closer. Cautiously.
“Bumblebee, please, what’s wrong? What can we do? Tell us!” Sam implored, reaching out to touch his best friend and guardian. Mikaela pulled him back from being hit by one of ‘Bee’s flailing arms. “Can robots have epilepsy?” Mikaela hissed into his ear, worried. Sam just looked wild-eyed, unable to answer.
Finally, the weird whistling and squealing coming from Bumblebee stopped.
“Ironhide...!” Bee gasped, rolling over onto his side to face the two humans.
“Ironhide? What’s wrong with Ironhide? And what’s wrong with you?!” Sam practically shrieked, terrified for his friend.
“Ironhide... Optimus, and, and, MOJO,” Bumblebee awkwardly got out using his still-newly-repaired voice.
It was Mikaela who finally caught on to what was happening. Bumblebee wasn’t in pain or malfunctioning, he was LAUGHING. “Bumblebee? What did Ironhide do that was so funny? He’s not funny, he’s weird, just not funny,” she questioned, squinting cutely at the yellow Autobot.
Another Cybertronian stream of clicks and whistles came from their friend. His body heaved in another spasm of mirth. Bumblebee got to his feet like a human two-year-old learning to get up, snickered, then transformed with several clunks. He opened his doors, inviting them inside, “See!” he urged.
Looking at each other and wondering if it was the sane thing to do, the humans got back into their seats. A small screen rose up out of the car’s dashboard and started to play. It took 3.789 Earth seconds by Bumblebee’s quick calculation before Sam gasped and his face registered what he was seeing.
“That’s Optimus! With Mojo! WALKING Mojo! Oh Christ!! Bee, where did you get this?!”
“Ironhide. Sent it.” Bee’s voice spoke with difficulty. His car form shook as a way of expressing more laughter.
Mikaela smothered her face with two hands, trying to stop the inelegant snorts coming from her nose. This was too precious. There was the huge masculine mech. And there was the tiny puffed up Chihuahua. Each of them fighting to see exactly WHO was in control of this walk. The words of sad desperation coming from Optimus were beyond belief. Mojo gave as good as he got.
“Bee, hurry up,” Sam choked, laughing, “I want to confront Optimus with this. That was insane! Lets go!” He slapped one hand on the dashboard for emphasis. Bumblebee didn’t need telling. He floored it.
Ironhide was not afraid of Optimus Prime. Never had been, never would be.
He sincerely felt, right down to the last scrap of metal in his fearsome twin cannons, that it was the job of Prime’s closest friends to provide their Commander with amusement and comradeship. To supply an outlet for smiles and laughter which could overcome the worst depression and loneliness that came with bearing the weight of the survival of the Autobot species. This happened strictly off-duty, of course.
And the Weapons Expert was proud of himself tonight. While Ironhide’s definition of funny differed from other ‘bots, he was pleased he had provided Optimus with something running through his CPU for this night’s recharge which didn’t have anything to do with death, war or survival.
For what was left of the evening after the ‘Optimus & Mojo Incident’, Ironhide carried out the rest of his duties calmly. The only difference being the snickers and chuckles adding their own melody to the quiet hanger interior.
Even when Optimus sat down across the bench from the old warrior and gazed at him with an intensity which was frightening; while saying nothing; Ironhide did not tremble or pause in his data processing. Finally, sometime after midnight, Ironhide gave a derisive snort and bade goodnight to his companions, heading off for a few hours recharge in his room.
Ratchet put down his tools and turned to his Commander and friend, waiting. Mojo was snoring quietly on his dog bed in the corner of the medbay. Oblivious. His tummy was full of his nightly dinner plus several forbidden dog treats. Ratchet had felt that since this was the dog’s last night with them, he deserved something special.
One of Prime’s optic ridges quirked upwards at his medic’s expression. “Yes, Ratchet?”
“I absolutely know there is something awful running through that sharp CPU of yours,” Ratchet said.
“Awful? No, clever and perfect, maybe. Not awful, Ratchet.” Optimus stood up from the bench, casting an optic over the sleeping canine. “Do you remember Sam saying that Mojo loved riding in cars? Especially large SUV’s?”
“Nooo... and I’m sure you’re going to enlighten me about this piece of secret information,” Ratchet expressed. “This is going to hurt Ironhide, I’m guessing.”
“He won’t be hurt,” Optimus smiled, “he might get tired though. And possibly dirty too. But ‘Hide has never minded a bit of mud stuck to his chassis before.”
Ratchet looked flummoxed, “What?”
“Sam and Mikaela said they should arrive about 11am Earth time in the morning. Do you think you can make some excuse to have Ironhide in his car mode inside the hanger for some routine med scans at approximately 10.55am?” Optimus asked.
Ratchet blinked, his optics dimming, “Yeah, I could, he will get suspicious. There isn’t anything wrong with his alternate form for me to look at.”
Optimus walked forwards, placing one hand gently on the medic’s shoulder, “Ratchet, it would mean a lot to me if you could manage this small task.”
“Okay,” Ratchet shrugged, “if this is what you want to do to get payback with Ironhide. You sure you don’t want to fill me in on what you’re planning?”
“Very sure, thank you,” Optimus’ faceplates broke into a sadistic grin which wouldn’t have looked out of place on Megatron himself, “See you in the morning.” Optimus strode off to his own room for recharge with a lightness to his step which was comical.
“Primus, just which bits on which ‘bot will I be putting back together tomorrow,” Ratchet muttered, tidying his bench before he retired.
The next morning, Ratchet made good on his conversation with Optimus, and at 10.55am, Ironhide had been persuaded to be sitting in truck form on the floor of the hanger. Ratchet pottered about the Topkick truck, muttering obscure phrases and poking around to keep Ironhide thinking he was busy.
Mojo was nowhere to be seen. Optimus himself was leaning against one of the medbay work benches, arms folded offhandedly across his immense chest. He was giving off an aura of relaxation and unconcern.
“Ironhide, your right passenger door looks crooked. Have you been in an accident?” Optimus asked easily, scratching one hand along the base of his neck.
“What? No... it feels straight.” Ironhide grumbled.
“Let me see, it doesn’t look right,” Optimus pushed himself away from the bench and carefully kneeled next to the truck. Ironhide popped his door open.
Got you! Optimus thought gleefully. He scooped Mojo up from the crate he’d been hiding in and gently plopped the dog into the passenger seat, closing the door with a slam once the dog was clear.
“WHAT!!” Ironhide’s roar of fury caused his truck body to shake violently. “PRIME!! Get that monstrosity out of me!!” Ironhide flipped all of his doors open, wobbling on his suspension to encourage the dog to jump. Mojo was having none of it. It had been a long time since he’d been inside such a nice, big, car! He wasn’t getting out. Putting his little paws on the dashboard and his hindlegs on the centre console so he could see through the windscreen, he started barking happily.
“Primus, you are really asking for it, Optimus!” Ratchet said with awe, backing away.
“GET OUT DOG!” Ironhide was yelling frantically.
“Stay there Mojo, good boy,” Optimus smiled, he had been counting on the little dog refusing to leave. He’d been right. The dog loved car rides! “Ironhide, I believe you owe our little friend here a ride in your cabin. You haven’t been nice to him at all.”
“WHAT THE &#!!”
“Language. Now shut up and listen. You are going outside and you will drive around the paddock beyond the hanger, non-stop, until I see fit that Mojo has enjoyed himself enough and you can come back inside. Am I clear, soldier?”
Ironhide was so upset he was shaking on his tyres. “Slag it! Slag YOU!!”
“Ironhide?” Optimus prompted sternly, prodding Ironhide’s front bumper bar with one large foot.
“Grrrr... fine. But this ain’t gonna be no funeral procession!!” Ironhide spat out. His engine screamed, the car doors slammed shut, and the truck tore out of the hanger.
Ratchet cursed and jumped back before he got his feet run over, “Don’t hurt Mojo!” he shouted into the dust clouds kicked up by the racing Topkick.
Inside the truck’s cabin, Mojo was beside himself with joy. His barking and tail wagging was endless. Ironhide swerved in loops at top speed around the grassed and mud strewn paddock. Mojo didn’t care how bad his driving was – he leaned into the turns, pushing his paws into the dashboard and riding the hectic motions.
Coming alongside the paddock on the dirt road leading to the hanger, Bumblebee and his two human occupants were startled when Ironhide’s truck form came thundering past them. Dirt flew up and smacked into ‘Bee’s newly washed paint. Cautious, Bumblebee slowed down as he picked up a long string of violent curses in rapid Cybertronian coming from his Autobot friend.
“What the heck was that about?!” Sam demanded, staring at Ironhide’s crazy antics. He was driving like he was a horse that had been bitten on the butt.
“I swear I just saw Mojo’s face in Ironhide’s windscreen,” Mikaela spoke, bewildered.
“Ironhide is... annoyed,” Bumblebee explained, his body shaking with a laugh. “I can’t repeat what he said, but in essence, Ironhide is swearing to do such things to Optimus Prime that he will have great difficulty in being able to spark-join with a femme in the future.”
“Wha... ?” Sam spluttered. “Are you talking about, oh, oww. Man. That’s not right.”
“Ironhide and Optimus had a little fight, did they?” Mikaela asked, smiling.
“This must be about the dog walking incident,” Sam muttered, “C’mon ‘Bee, get us down there.”
Bumblebee accelerated along the road to the waiting hanger. Ironhide tore past him again. The GMC Topkick was becoming covered in mud and grass.
“Barkbarkbarkabarkbarkbark!” Mojo was hanging his head out of Ironhide’s driver side window and yapping at the other car. His doggy face was grinning from floppy ear to floppy ear.
“Mojo!” Sam squeaked. He thrust his own upper body out of Bumblebee’s window, “IRONHIDE! Moron! What are you doing with my dog?!”
Ironhide did a power slide, “ASK THE FEMME MAGNET!!” he screeched. His back tyres spun and he was off again, making long deep tracks in the ground.
“THIS IS NOT RESPONSIBLE PET OWNERSHIP!” Sam screamed back, almost falling out of the window. Mikaela grabbed him by his jeans waistband as ‘Bee bounced over the rough ground.
“Femme Magnet? Hurt Optimus’ private bits? What? Why do guys always bring things down to sex when they get angry?” Mikaela asked despairingly, bracing herself on the dashboard. “And they don’t HAVE sex, Sam!” Mikaela said and poked her boyfriend accusingly.
“My poor dog, my poor dog!” Sam had shrunk in his seat, hands covering his face.
On the other side of the wide paddock, a tiny metallic being was watching the fiasco, enraptured with the behaviour of the Autobot Ironhide.
“Stu-stu-stupid AUTOBOT! R-r-r-racing round like S-s-slag! Dumb!” Frenzy spat from behind the cluster of rock boulders shielding him from view.
“This does not sound like suspicious activity,” Barricade snarled over Frenzy’s comlink. While Frenzy was able to get close to the Autobot base without his spark signature being detected (he was too small and under-sparked to be picked up on sensor scans) Barricade had to stay well away. It had been left to Frenzy to leg it in and make reports. Barricade was determined that any Autobot activities would be carefully logged and recorded for the use of the new Decepticons when they EVENTUALLY arrived on Earth.
“N-n-n-not suspi-icous. Giving o-o-organic Earth creature r-r-rides!” Frenzy warbled. His antennae optics wobbled on their stalks, amazed.
“You like rides too, Frenzy,” Barricade responded.
AUTHORS NOTE: I thought this would be the last chapter, but there is still more to write! Chapter 9 should be the final bit. And then I was thinking of doing more ‘Tales of Mojo’ in a sequel. Maybe. :-)
There is some swearing going on in this. I think the other chapters did too, but I didn’t post a warning! Sorry. As Optimus says, “My bad.”
Bumblebee slid to a stop outside the hanger, the rear end of his Camaro form kicking out sideways. Sam had ‘Bee’s door open faster than the Autobot could spring it open himself.
“BLOODY AUTOBOT! Bring back my dog, Ironhide!” Sam leaned on the fence and screamed at the wild Topkick truck doing wild figure-of-eight’s in the paddock with an unrestrained and unlicensed Chihuahua at the wheel.
A looming shadow appeared over Sam’s head. It was Optimus in his towering bipedal form. “Enough, Ironhide. Bring Mojo back inside,” the Leader said, then he looked down and smiled at the human boy who was craning his head back to look upwards, “Hello Sam! Mikaela.”. He let loose a few shrieks and whistles in Cybertronian at Bumblebee in welcome. The Camaro responded in kind with a digital warble, bouncing on his suspension once.
“Inside everyone, please,” Optimus asked as he ducked back inside the hanger, his feet making muffled thuds as they hit the dirt.
Ironhide stopped revving the crap out of his engine and rolled over to Sam at a more sedate pace. Mojo was still hanging his head out the window, but he did look exhausted and not as enthusiastic as before.
“You’ll make him sick doing turns like that, he’ll chuck all over your seats,” Sam said. Standing on tiptoes, he reached in Ironhide’s window and picked up Mojo, cradling the little dog in his arms while making smooching noises in his ear. Mojo was making short quick ruffing barks to Sam and jamming his nose under his chin, overjoyed at getting his Sam back. His tiny dog body shook uncontrollably in the typical Chihuahua way of showing over emotion.
“Chuck? Chuck what on my seats? Dogs can’t throw any better than humans can,” Ironhide was demanding, his engine rumbling loudly.
“Vomit, Ironhide. Um, the rapid expulsion of undigested food from the mouth,” Mikaela explained. She’d left Bumblebee and was reaching over Sam’s shoulder to pet the dog too.
“SLAG! That’s disgusting! It not only lubricates, it expels from the front too! And you make pets out of creatures like this?” Ironhide shook himself on his suspension, trying to shake off as much grass and mud as he could manage.
“So, he’s been good? He has been good, right? Eating his food? No biting, weeing and things?” Sam asked. He’d already counted how many legs Mojo had, holding him up and inspecting him. He was checking if the dog looked like he’d been flattened by a giant foot and then pumped up like a balloon after being stepped on. His mom was sure to notice details like that.
Mikaela was trying to extract Mojo from his arms to give him a hug of her own, but Sam was twisting around in circles and resisting her. “Mine! My dog! My hugging time!” Sam whimpered, cradling the dog while his mouth was still busy with kissing the top of Mojo’s head.
Ironhide revved his engine, moving slowly forwards past the humans and into the hanger. Bumblebee followed him, nudging ‘Hide’s bumper bar several times and trying to shove him along, flashing his headlights angrily.
“BEE! Back off!” Ironhide growled, transforming way too rapidly and turning to drop his hands on the startled hood of the Camaro, pushing Bee’s front end abruptly down into the dirt. The Camaro reversed rapidly out of Ironhide’s reach, his tyres losing traction on the dirt floor.
Ironhide stood back, planting his hands on his hips in a typical battle pose, chin in the air. “Humph. It was HIS order to take the rodent for a ride,” one black, cannon carrying, stocky arm pointed accusingly at Optimus Prime off to the side, “I did not volunteer to do it just to slag you off.”
“That is true, Bumblebee,” Optimus agreed with a nod, “I did order Ironhide to take Mojo out for a drive.”
Bumblebee’s engine went quiet. Thinking. Then he spun his car self around in a fishtail so his exhaust was facing the wary Commander, and let loose with a loud muffler fart. A large black cloud of expelled carbonised particles whooshed out and completely covered the shocked warrior.
There was stunned god-fearing silence. Even Sam had stopped in his Mojo kissing and was staring in disbelief.
“BUMBLEBEE!” Mikaela screeched, hands covering her mouth. Her eyebrows were up in her hairline.
Everyone was expecting the Commander to go ballistic. Guns, missiles, lasers, swear words, deactivation; the whole enchilada.
Ratchet came out of the medbay, holding a tiny metallic disc in his hand that he was focusing on. He looked up and paused next to the soot covered and blackened Optimus. “Nice,” the medic whistled. “Don’t expect me to clean that off. You do that yourself, buster.”
Bumblebee reversed up a few paces and then transformed. He stood up defiantly, hands in fists by his side.
“Don’t you DARE raise that finger, Bee, you’re in enough trouble!” Sam hissed, standing next to his Guardian. “And Mojo loves riding in cars, he would’ve enjoyed going around with Ironhide, I’m sure. He craves that stuff.”
Bumblebee’s baby optics widened in the biggest expression of ‘opps-my-god-I’m-so-screwed’ Sam had ever seen.
Optimus looked upwards at the roof, shifting on his feet. He muttered something too low for the humans to hear but which made Ironhide bark a laugh. Sam and Mikaela looked upwards at Ironhide quizzically. The cannon carrying soldier only shrugged and smiled in a grimacing fashion. “Tell ya later.”
With a final heavy sigh, Optimus stomped forward in damning steps towards Bumblebee. The other’s weren’t sure if this meant Bee was a few seconds away from being forcibly dismantled and sent back to Cybertron in an UPS courier box.
Prime reached out a determined hand and latched the fingers of one hand onto the side of Bumblebee’s head helmet, in the region of his audio receptors. Bumblebee squeaked, sinking down on his leg joints. Optimus hauled him upright again, faceplate-to-faceplate.
“You will clean ALL of this off me, by hand, right now. Do you understand me, youngling?” Optimus’ tone was so deep and deadly even Ironhide looked tinged with fear. Sam knew how he felt. He’d been faced with Prime’s imposing face inches from his own when they had first met in the alleyway. Geez. Someone had to tell the Autobot to stop doing that. It was possible to communicate without being nose-to-nose.
Bumblebee bounced his head in agreement up and down as much as he could with Prime hanging onto it. The song ‘Don’t worry, Be happy’ blurted from ‘Bee’s speaker system as he scrambled to go get a bucket and cleaning cloths when Optimus released his grip.
“And if you EVER pull a stunt like this again, I will put the fruit the humans call a ‘banana’ up your exhaust. It does terrible things to your internals, or so it says on the World Wide Web,” Optimus said sternly, watching his small scout scuttling around and collecting the tools he needed to wash his dirty Commander with.
Sam dropped poor Mojo he was struck so hard by a fit of laughter. Mikaela was smothering her face with his t-shirt, snorting and squealing while stamping one foot. Who ever would have thought the Autobots were such a hilarious bunch of stand-up comedians?
“You keep saying you’ve got two warriors called ‘The Twins’ who play terrible pranks?” Mikaela asked Ratchet, after she’d gotten herself together. Ratchet had come over to pick up and soothe the dropped Mojo. The dog ruffed a few barks and made himself comfortable in Ratchet’s hand. He liked Ratchet. He was safe and warm. And he had dog food!
“Oh yes, those two,” Ratchet looked disgusted, “Sunstreaker and Sideswipe. Brilliant soldiers, they would go a few rounds with Megatron while calling him weirdo femme names. They have awful manners though. Always getting themselves ripped up and needing repairing. No fear or no working CPU’s, one or the other.”
“Did they ever take classes with Optimus?”
“Er, no.” Ratchet responded.
“And thank Primus for that.” Ironhide sniffed. “Then we would have ‘The Triplets’, instead of ‘The Twins’.”
AUTHORS NOTE: I swear, I thought this would be the last chapter! Honest! I got sidetracked, so this ain’t the last bit. There will be more of this fic to come. Its multiplying out of control. Scary!
And please go and read ‘What Time We Have Left’ by Hearts of Eternity. Its a little piece of genius and wonderfully written. Its a femme/mech angst fic that deserves more attention than its currently getting. You’ll like it! Especially if you like Optimus/Elita or Ironhide/Chromia.
Mojo was tired of waiting. He’d been carefully set down onto his four paws by Ratchet while the big robots yapped insistently with his beloved Sam. Wasn’t it time to go home now? Mojo thought, looking up at the yabbering group. The noise from the big things was irritating.
The dog sniffed around the feet of the group and detected the distinct earthy smell of the big truck that had given him a ride earlier. Unobserved by the others, Mojo followed the scent, his nose to the ground. It took him through the Rec Area, past Medbay and down a dimly lit hallway at the rear of the building. He stopped at the closed door of a small room. Yes, yes, this was where that fun truck was! The smell was all over the door! Maybe it would come out and take him for a ride again? Mojo lay down on his side and made himself comfortable, leaning against the door. It was cool here, away from the heat outside. He’d wait.
Bumblebee had seen Mojo walk off by himself. The yellow bot had thought to make Sam aware that his dog was wandering and decided against it. He’d follow cautiously after the dog himself. He figured Mojo had been here for a week, he would know where he was going.
When Bee crept along in the dog’s tracks and saw Mojo lying quietly outside Ironhide’s private room, the Camaro’s optics sparkled. Mojo seemed to have taken a liking to the big gruff mech. Sam was right, Mojo liked riding in big cars! Brave, brave dog. Didn’t it know how easily organic things got squished if there was an accident? Bumblebee’s audio receptors detected the sounds of Ironhide moving around inside his room. The big black mech had retreated earlier to his quarters and was cleaning off the mud from his escapade around the paddock.
The door opened. Mojo fell inwards and leapt to his feet, a huge doggy smile of love on his face as he bounced up.
“DOG! Dog out! OUT! What are you doing down here?! This is a dog-free zone!” Ironhide bellowed.
From his position at the entrance to the hallway, Bumblebee squeaked in mirth. Oh dear.
“Out I said! OUT!” That was Ironhide.
“BARK!” Annnnnnd that was Mojo.
“GRRRRRRrrrrrrrr! BARK! PPPhhht!” Mojo again.
“Don’t think you can bite ME, you organic puffball from Mars!” Ironhide roared.
Sounds of a scuffle followed. Ironhide was obviously trying to chase the dog out of the room. It wasn’t working. Bumblebee fully expected to see the dog grow wings and come flying through the air into the hallway. Ironhide was good at throwing things. Bee transformed his arm cannon, anticipating such a move.
If ‘Hide threw his dog, there would be payback... hot cannon plasma up his aft.
“What the?! Oh, that’s it! You get on my recharge platform without permission, you’re dogmeat! OFF!”
This time Bumblebee leaned forwards and pressed his left hand to the mouth of his faceplate, attempting to squash the shrills of laughter breaking forth. Too late. Ironhide appeared swiftly in the hallway, one of his hands holding onto the doorframe and crunching it easily, the metal groaning. His optics were glowing with menace. His big black and grey physique was like a terrifying dark spot in the universe, occupying the hallway.
“You!” Ironhide hissed and pointed, “get it out of my room! I bet you planned this. In fact, I KNOW you did!”
Bumblebee arched one optic ridge, shrugging a casual ‘no’. Ironhide’s hands went alternately into fists and back again. “Whatever, just get it out,” ‘Hide thundered with fury.
Bee made a show of rolling his cheeky optics and moved past the smoldering Ironhide. He entered the room. And choked. There was the dog, sitting triumphantly smack in the middle of Ironhide’s large recharging platform. The dog must have mistaken the platform for a giant bed. Like all pets, Mojo knew that he who ruled the bed, ruled the house. Mojo was very much into asserting his miniature male dominance.
“What is all this commotion?” Optimus Prime’s irritated rumbling voice carried down the hallway, followed by his heavy footsteps. The humans smaller feet dashed to keep up. Prime’s head poked in the door. Ironhide seethed. Bumblebee laughed. Mojo pricked his ears. Sam blinked curiously, he hadn’t been near the bots private rooms before. Mikaela grinned, spotting Mojo.
“Well, well.” Prime paused, straightening up to his full height with a smirk, “It looks like you’ve got a new roommate, Ironhide.”
“LIKE THE SLAGGING PIT I DO!” Ironhide’s twin cannon’s began to whine as they charged up.
“Oh for Primus’ sake, turn them off, Junior,” Ratchet said calmly to Ironhide.
“I second that,” Optimus said dangerously, his head cocked to one side, eyeing off the recalcitrant old warrior. He took one step sideways and aimed a slap at the back of Ironhide’s head with one hovering hand.
Ironhide ducked away, growling, “Fine, fine. Just get it out of here.” His arms were shaking with the strain of NOT raising up his cannons and letting go.
“I’ll get him,” Mikaela offered, moving over to the underside of the large platform. “Just, um, can someone give me a lift?” She couldn’t get her leg up to it.
Bumblebee scuttled forwards, offering himself at her service. He flipped his cannon back into his arm in a quick transformation to free his hand, and the girl was lifted with careful hands and lowered down to grab Mojo. Mikaela wriggled free from Bumblebee’s grasp and stood on the platform, picking up and hugging the dog with smooching noises. The dog licked eagerly at her face, whining.
“You owe me five hundred credits, Ratchet,” Optimus said into the silence.
“Of all the slagging... I forgot about that. But hey! She’s an organic! It doesn’t count,” Ratchet pleaded. The others looked curiously at the pair. Ratchet owed Optimus credits?
Optimus folded his arms, unruffled. “You said it would be over ten thousand vorns before any female got onto Ironhide’s recharge platform again, after the last notorious incident. There’s Mikaela,” Optimus pointed, “and she is female, I believe.”
Mikaela frowned and stuck out her tongue, giving the clueless Autobot Leader a nasty look. Well, duh!
“You didn’t specify the female being inorganic or otherwise, and it is under the time limit,” Optimus said and beckoned at the medic with the fingers of one hand. “Pay up.”
“Of all the frickin’, slaggin’, stupid things to do, Bumblebee! Why couldn’t you have put Sam up there! He’s not a femme!” Ratchet grumbled. He could’ve slapped himself. Why hadn’t he put more conditions on the bet?
Mikaela looked warily down at the recharge bed under her feet, “Oh god, I don’t want to know, really. Bumblebee? Get me off here? NOW?” she pleaded, jogging in place like her feet were on a hot surface. The platform was contaminated! Ironhide and a female? URGHH! Gross!
“I didn’t know you really had females! I thought Ironhide’s swearing outside was a joke!” Sam was spluttering next to Bee’s feet.
“Now you’ve done it. Big mouth.” Ratchet grumbled at Prime accusingly, not willing to acknowledge the startled humans. Optimus did look disturbed at himself. It had completely skipped over his processors that they had agreed not to mention the whole femme thing until one actually showed up and they were forced to explain. And none of them thought any femme would show up, so the subject had been moot. Best to keep the nice gentle humans in the dark.
Ironhide had started up his cannons again, “You made a bet?! On me?! About femmes?! That’s it! I don’t care what you slaggin’ say, YOU’RE IT!” He yelled.
“Oh Primus...” Optimus Prime winced. He could’ve punched himself in the faceplates for making such an error.
Ironhide had ranted and thrown a few things around his room after the ‘Optimus-and-Ratchet-betting-on-the-time-frame-for-Ironhide’s-next-femme-victim’ incident. The humans had withdrawn back to the rec room with a smiling Optimus Prime and mournful, money-losing Ratchet (and Mojo).
While Optimus had settled himself sitting at one of the tables with his head leaning on one hand, Sam was gazing at him with interest. He had questions. Would the giant Transformer answer them or tell him to get lost?
Mikaela played with Mojo on the human-sized couch. She looked up from dispensing kisses and ear scratches when Sam walked across to Optimus.
“I didn’t know you guys made bets. I thought you were, you know holier-than-thou, and didn’t get into that stuff,” Sam started.
Optimus’ optics looked at him down the side of the table. “Of course we do. We do have recreational activities, Sam. Here,” he lowered his hand to the floor and waited for the boy to climb on. He lifted the human up to the table. Sam wobbled when he stepped of the hand, then stood there uneasily, tucking his hands under his armpits. “Better?” Prime asked.
“Yeah, thanks.” Sam smiled. “So, five hundred credits, is that a lot of money? And do you mean credits as in credit cards?” He was carefully working himself up to asking about the whole femme thing. It still blew his mind. Women transformers? Yikes. And what was it that Ironhide had done? He reckoned poor Ironhide wasn’t much of a ladies man, and that it would take a lot of effort for him to get a female interested in him. Like himself, Sam mused, before Mikaela, and the whole hero thing.
Ratchet joined the conversation, leaving his medbay cleaning tasks, “We use credits like you use money. We have accounts.”
“Yeah, but..” Sam shrugged. “For me, five hundred dollars is a heck of a lot to make bets with. If I bet on a racehorse with dad, its like five dollars, each way.”
“Mmm,” Prime nestled the side of his head on his hand again, “if it makes you feel any better, we don’t make any actual transactions. We keep track of the totals owed or lost. Whoever owes the most, is the overall loser.” The Commander pointedly looked at Ratchet, who grumbled something unsanitary.
“Like Poker chips, in card games.” Sam said brightly, scuffing on the toe of one foot on the table, back and forth.
“I’m assuming you’re the outright winner, Optimus,” Mikaela said dryly, rubbing Mojo’s head. The dog had curled up next to her thigh, head in the air for the girl to rub, his eyes closed and mouth hanging open. Enjoying human attention again. Bumblebee sat on the ground in front of the pair. Watching Mojo and occasionally extending his own hand to stroke the dog with one careful finger. He’d missed the mutt too. Mojo never lubricated on him, they had a good relationship.
“You would be assuming correctly,” Optimus’ optics brightened as he answered the girls question, his mouth making the ghost of a smile.
“Eh, frag it,” Ratchet swore lightly. He was a sore loser, leaning himself grumpily against the table Optimus was using.
They were interrupted by the musical melody of Mikaela’s cell phone ringing. With a quick, “Excuse me,” she dug around in her pocket and answered it. There was a short stilted conversation of ‘Hi, yeah, no, yeah, maybe, ok, sure, bye’ then the girl clicked the phone shut.
“Um, guys, my Aunt Helen has asked us over for dinner tonight. She’s doing a barbeque thing. Would you mind looking after Mojo for one more night?” She made sexy pleading eyes at the two Autobots. “Aunty Helen has two Rottweilers, they’ll eat Mojo! He can’t go. She’s asked us to stay the night too. She wants to meet Sam, you know? Please?”
“Meet me..?” Sam’s eyes widened nervously. He wanted to hide behind Optimus, the robot with the big gun. He didn’t know he and Mikaela were up to the relationship stage of Meet The Extended Family.
“YES! Yes, we will! The rodent stays! I insist!” Ironhide’s voice boomed out of the hallway as he strode in, armor gleaming.
All heads turned to stare at the broad shouldered black mech with slack jaws and open mouths. Ironhide wanted Mojo to stay?! Wuh..??
“What?” the Weapons Warrior asked, irritated. “I like the little guy. He can stay.”
“There must be an ulterior motive to this,” Optimus muttered, putting his arms on the table and dropping his head with a ‘thunk’ onto his forearms. Maybe he could go to this barbeque thing too? If it was time away from Ratchet and ‘Hide, it was a good choice.
“Ummm...” Sam shared a concerned glance with Mikaela. Bumblebee’s optic ridges had shot up in wonder. He sent a whistle of communication to Optimus.
Prime didn’t raise his head from his arms, his voice came out muffled, “No, no, Ironhide is definitely not allowed to squash, kill or maim the dog. I don’t know why he said yes either.”
“I think maybe you guys have had enough of Mojo, we don’t have to go to this party,” Sam began uncertainly, looking at the sad hunch of Optimus’ thick shoulders and his slumped head.
Ratchet shooshed him with one hand. “I, for one, have been enjoying the company of Mojo, and would be very pleased if he did stay one more night,” he said. “Optimus? Do you concur?”
Finally, Prime lifted his head, optics dim. “I do. He can certainly stay. I have some affection for the dog also. Its just that...” his head swivelled to look at a smug Ironhide.
“Despite what the two of you, sorry, THREE, of you think,” Ironhide said, and squinted an optic at Bumblebee, who was sitting with crossed arms and staring at him with promised violence, “I have no problem with the rodent hanging around. He’s entertainment. And I am capable of showing affection.”
Ratchet smirked, one hand on his hip, “Oh, we know that already, just ask that poor femme you-”
Optimus Prime’s hand shot up in the air so quick to shut him up, he almost smacked Ratchet in the nose. “QUIET! Enough of that topic, thanks.”
Mikaela giggled raucously, almost rolling over onto Mojo. She looked at them all. They were silly. Really. “Alright, so we can go? We’ll come back in the morning?”
Sam shuffled his feet, looking down.
Optimus nodded, “Of course. We’ll look after him again.”
“YAY!” Mikaela jumped up, “C’mon Sam, I need to do some shopping. And we’ll need to take dessert or something. Bumblebee? Do you mind?”
Bumblebee happily nodded his assent, standing up and walking out the hanger door to transform.
“Thanks guys, love you, bye!” Mikaela dragged Sam after her when Optimus kindly set him down on the ground. The boy looked scared. He waved goodbye to his friends like he would never see them again.
The sounds of the Camaro’s revving engine and wild fishtail slides in the dirt faded into the distance.
“Ironhide,” Optimus said darkly, staring at his friend.
“They needed to have some fun, we can look after it, its no big deal.” Ironhide said, keeping his composure even, not betraying anything. He knew what he was doing. When he had said Optimus was ‘IT’ after hearing about the bet, he had meant it. It was payback time, and he needed the dog to do it with. He didn’t often have such good luck. He was going to enjoy this. Such a pity that Prime wasn’t going to.
The rest of the day and evening had been quiet. Ratchet had walked the dog again. Fed him dinner. Put him to bed. He’d even tried giving him a kiss goodnight like the humans did, but Mojo was having none of that, squirming away.
Optimus had watched Ironhide carefully, looking for signs the strange bot was going to do something awful to the dog. He was confused. The evil minded, tough talking Autobot had been subdued and polite the entire time. Still, Optimus wouldn’t let himself go into recharge until Ironhide had disappeared into his room for the night. It seemed safer that way.
It was late morning when the Commander’s recharge cycle began to cycle down. He was flat on his back on his recharge bed. Nothing unusual about that. His systems came up slowly, one by one. No need to rush. No Decepticons running around to shoot. When his external systems came online, he felt something strange.
He was registering something on his chest. Something causing pressure, and warmth. Something that also seemed to be snoring. His recharge fogged CPU thought about Elita One. She used to put her head there. But wait. She NEVER snored, their species didn’t snore.
He cautiously flickered one optic on.
Both of his optics surged fully online in shock.
Mojo’s head snapped up woozily. His bright dog eyes made close up contact with the disturbed optics of one Optimus Prime. Inches away from each other.
Mojo was sitting on the upper portion of this chest, on his special dog cushion. He hiccuped and tilted his head to one side, staring at the robot with equal curiosity. “Urrmm?” he asked in his doggy way.
“How the heck did you get there?!” Optimus demanded. He brought up one finger to poke at the canine. Mojo growled and snapped at the finger; it wasn’t time to get up yet.
Cursing Ironhide’s name and his creators to kingdom come, Optimus carefully dislodged the dog by picking up the cushion with Mojo still on top. Swinging his feet over the side of the recharge bed and carrying the dog & cushion extra cautiously, he got to his feet and started to walk to the door – and stepped in a small pile of dog poo. Actually, there was more than one. Several piles were stacked neatly in a line from the bed to the door.
“What the pit-?!” he cursed and picked up his foot, recognising what it was immediately, the awful smell helped identify it too, “I thought you didn’t do that inside?” he said desperately. Mojo stared up at him. He hadn’t put that there. Not his responsibility. Honest.
Optimus tried to wipe off the disgusting stuff as best he could, and then avoiding the other strategically placed dog poo piles, he proceeded out of the room. He stopped. A huge sign was stuck to his door. Written in neat Cybertronian script were the words, ‘Mojo’s Love Shack’. Optimus growled. He was not amused. He stomped his way over to Ironhide’s room. The door was open and no one was inside. The culprit had fled.
Snarling words of great displeasure he kept going to the rec area, carrying his doggy companion in front of him like an offering to the Queen.
“Primus! What on Cybertron is that SMELL??” Ratchet was staring at him with rapidly blinking optics. “And what are you doing with Mojo? I wondered where he’d gone to. If you wanted to take him to your bed for the night you should have told me, I thought he was missing!”
A few rarely heard curses in Cybertronian came from Optimus. “I did NOT take the dog to my room. Someone else did that.”
“Ohhhh. Right. Ironhide.” Ratchet shook his head. “I knew something was going to happen. I’m going to be putting his arms and legs back on, aren’t I?”
“YES.” The growl was low and malevolent. “Take this.” He handed Ratchet the dog and cushion before withdrawing his rifle from its position on his back. He’d brought it out of subspace.
“AND WIPE OFF YOUR FEET! You smell!” Ratchet called after him as Prime stalked off, a hunter after his prey. Ratchet caught sight of something stuck to Optimus’ backside. Right on his aft was a sticker of some sort. Saying something about ‘I Heart Chihuahuas’. What an odd thing. How had Ironhide put that on there? Didn’t Prime recharge on his back?
Ratchet looked down at the poor dog. “Its just you and me for a while, mate. Ironhide will be hard to catch.”
“Yes, I agree. Listen, do you want to learn how to robot surgery? You can help me with Ironhide when Optimus is finished. But first, lets get you some nice brekky, hmmm? Those bad mech’s shouldn’t make you rush your food. Its not healthy.”
zzzzzzZZZZT! A laser bolt slammed into Ironhide’s posterior.
“Oww! Lay off!”
zzzzzZZT! zzzZZT! Crack! More laser fire.
“PRIME! Stop it! That HURTS!”
zzzzzZZT! zzzzZZT! ZZZZT! Multiple shots hit the wide rear of the target.
“OW! OW! No more!”
Watching all this, Frenzy’s optics were doing their wobble dance on top of his head again. “B-barri-cade!”
“What.” The disgust in Barricade’s voice was dripping. He was out of patience with what the stupid Autofreaks were up to now.
“Big bad b-b-bosss bot is shooting stupid old b-b-bot with stun bolts.” Frenzy watched with more amazement. He thought only Megatron shot his own soldiers. Yet, here was God Bot Optimus Prime lasering the aft off his Weapons Specialist. These Autobots were so much FUN. They seemed to have acquired a group sense of humor since landing on this planet. They took dogs for rides and shot each other for exercise.
“Neh. Frenzy, don’t tell me things that are not important. Maybe you should withdraw.” Barricade was getting tired of this carry on. The Autobots had more glitches in their programming than any of them had first thought. If the Autoprudes ever took over the universe it would be a non-stop circus.
“Nonononono! Like this! Staystay!”Frenzy giggled insanely, his hands dancing up and own. He was far back in the forest of trees behind the Autobot base, using enhanced hacker vision to watch the goings on. He observed enraptured as Ironhide burst through the trees on the other side of his vantage point, running madly. Optimus Prime; who had the longer legs and more prominent athletic ability; was jogging gracefully along behind him. His laser rifle was set on mild stun, and Primus, was Ironhide feeling it. It was quite painful, but it didn’t leave marks or damage armor.
“Goodgoodgood! Shoot a-a-again! Pow! Pow!” Frenzy almost broke his cover, dancing about, one finger on each hand pointed like a gun. Barricade switched off the comlink in repugnance.
Another pot shot landed on Ironhide’s posterior. The black Autobot threw on the brakes, bracing his legs in the dirt and slewing to a halt. “Alright!! Enough! I give in!” He raised his arms in the air, looking back at his pursuer with wild optics.
Optimus eyed him warily. His battle mask drew back from his face. “Are you sorry for what you did?” he asked firmly, walking forwards to his captive and not lowering his rifle. Close up, that much admired weapon looked even more nasty.
zzzzZZZT! SNAP! Another shot. Prime’s rifle was so hot, tendrils of smoke came from the pointy end.
“YES!” Came the answering roar from ‘Hide. He had hunched his hips under himself, trying to make his butt less of a target.
Prime’s optics narrowed, not believing it, “Especially for the piles of dog waste product on my floor?”
“Yes, that too!” Ironhide wanted to rub his aching rear. He forced himself not to. That would give the Femme Magnet too much satisfaction.
Prime had never seen Ironhide’s head look more like a ball on a pogo stick, he was nodding so vigorously.
Previously, Optimus had caught Ironhide easily, the anticipated hunt for the prank culprit had been short. He guessed the mech was feeling that he had gone overboard with the joke. He’d wrestled the stubborn mech to the ground (he’d been lucky with that one, Ironhide was damn good at hand-to-hand combat) and offlined his arm cannons, then re-set his own audio receptors back to normal from Ironhide’s desperate shrieking. No one offlined his precious cannons! EVER!
Optimus just had. After sitting on the wriggling Ironhide and calling Ratchet on his comlink to ask how...
Then as Optimus had stood up, he’d forbidden Ironhide from transforming into his truck mode, swearing that the mech would be under official court martial and in the brig if he did so. Then he’d smirked and told the stunned soldier to start running. Oh yes, Ironhide had RUN... like a startled chicken on crack.
“Fair enough,” Optimus nodded in satisfaction and stowed away his rifle on his back. “Lets head back to base. And don’t forget to apologise to Mojo, I’m sure he didn’t want to be involved in all this either.”
Ironhide lowered his shaking hands and watched his Leader prepare to shrink down into truck mode. “May I transform now?” he asked hopefully.
“Certainly not. You’re walking back.” Optimus replied smugly, transforming into his flame patterned truck mode and revving his engine.
“ARRGH!” Ironhide threw a tree branch at the departing truck. Then he sniffed the air suspiciously. “AND YOU SMELL OF DOG POO!” he roared after Optimus. When the truck didn’t pause or respond, pulling off into the distance, Ironhide grumbled and spat curses, beginning his slow walk back to base.
Optimus arrived back at their temporary home, walking in the door sopping wet. Water ran in streams down his chassis. Ratchet was sitting at one of the tables in the rec area. Mojo was snuggled up on his cushion in front of him, sleeping. The medic looked at Optimus pointedly. “You’re dripping all over the floor.”
Optimus paused in his walk past, looking down at his drenched body, “Would you rather have a wet floor or the dog smell? I washed myself off in the river.”
Ratchet sniffed as the giant mech stalked past him to his quarters, making squelching sounds, “Um, I think you missed a bit.”
Optimus Prime sat and waited in the base rec room, using the seat Sam playfully called ‘The Big Bot Couch’. He stretched his legs out in front of him, leaning back and tucking his hands behind his head. He did some casual browsing of the World Wide Web on his internal systems, reading the latest news from around the world and carefully scanning for any illicit signs of what Barricade and Frenzy may have been up to. Nothing unusual showed up. It was Ironhide’s job to patrol the newsfeeds and infonet in any case.
Speaking of which...
“Fragging glitch of a bootleg, should shove his rifle up his royal aft, damn slagging pit-reared clone. Needs re-formatting with an Earth iPod, etc, etc,” Ironhide’s incessant swearing and muttering reached Optimus Prime’s audio receptors before the bot even put one disgraced metal foot in the hanger door.
Ironhide made it halfway across the room before he looked up. He should have expected the damn evil mech to be waiting. He didn’t even need to gloat. Just sitting there, looking vaguely smug, optics dimmed. Figures.
Optimus raised an optic ridge cynically, not moving from his stretched out relaxed position.
Ironhide stared at him, optics glowing. “You... you.. YOU...” he spluttered.
“Won’t you have a seat, ‘Hide? You must be tired after all that exercise.” Prime’s tone was very patient. He patted one large hand on the seat next to him.
“FRAG OFF!” Ironhide hissed, stomping off to his room. The words “And you still smell!” floated out from the hallway.
Optimus sighed, shaking his head. He looked down at the very small doggy lifeform curled up next to his left thigh. “Do you have to make your waste products smell so much? I mean, really, I’ve washed myself off three times already. What is the strategic point of such an almighty stink?” Mojo merely hiccuped in his sleep, stretching one paw out.
Ratchet came out from his medbay, holding something in his hand. “Was that Ironhide?” he asked.
“Oh yes,” Optimus grinned and flexed the metal extensions on the tips of his feet lazily. “He didn’t seem to want to sit down.”
Ratchet looked displeased, “Oh no, not THAT again. You know I’m the one that needs to replace the blown circuits in his aft plates, it’s not a pleasant job. You’re punishing me as well as him whenever you go off on a jaunt like that.” He stopped in front of where Optimus was sitting and looked down at the snoozing dog. “Still, Ironhide does need to be reminded to stay in line every now and again.”
“Mmm,” Prime agreed lazily. He was more than happy to shoot Ironhide in the butt. Much better than a computer generated holographic shooting range. “And what is that? I’ve seen you carrying that around before.” He focused on the microscopic round metal disc in the medic’s hand.
“This is for Mojo. I wanted to give him a small gift from us. See?” said Ratchet, holding it in front of Optimus’ curious optics, the tiny disc dangling from his pinched forefingers.
Prime sat up and leaned forward, hands on his thighs. “That has to be the smallest Autobot insignia I’ve ever seen. Why would Mojo want that?” The blazing red Autobot head symbol glittered from the light of the twin pairs of optics studying it.
“It’s for his collar. I believe he has earned the right to wear our symbol. Do you not agree?” Ratchet’s tone was the one he used on the Twins. Agree or else. The Twins didn’t often choose ‘else’. ‘Else’ was painful and undignified.
“Uh... sure.” Prime scratched the side of his head. The Autobot symbol was not something bestowed lightly. It stood for a lot of things and came with heavy responsibility.
“Good,” Ratchet nodded, satisfied. He slid gentle hands under Mojo, lifting the sleepy dog onto his feet. “Hold him still for me?”
Prime grunted an affirmative, using the tips of his fingers to hold the dog in place. Mojo blinked and yawned. Ratchet used tweezers to remove the dog’s collar, slide the loop of the metal disc onto the leather, and replace the collar. “There! Doesn’t he look good?” he said proudly.
“He looks, ahem, glorious,” Optimus rumbled uncertainly, gingerly holding Mojo on the palm of his metal hand and lifting the dog up for him and Ratchet to inspect the results. Mojo stared back at them, lifting his chin to expose the Autobot symbol hanging under his neck. “What is he supposed to do if he meets a dog wearing a Decepticon symbol?” he asked, cocking his head at his CMO. “Maybe we should outfit him with shoulder cannons too.”
“Now you’re being silly. Cannons wouldn’t aim well from his short height. He needs self-guiding missiles,” Ratchet huffed, taking his dog friend from his Leader and walking off. “He’s a silly mech, isn’t he Mojo?” he commented.
“Bark!” Mojo’s tail wagged happily. This was his friend Ratchet! Whatever he said was ok! And missiles, gosh, that would take care of that nasty Doberman dog down the road.
Optimus watched the pair go. What was Ratchet going to do with himself when Mojo was picked up by Sam? Optimus had never seen the medic be so openly nice and caring about practically anything. The dog was so totally indulged and spoilt by Hatchet, he was sure many of his past patients would’ve been laughing their aft’s off.
Outside the hanger, Frenzy was hanging upside down by his knees from the tallest tree he could find. He’d gotten himself much closer to the Autobot base, wanting more entertainment. Barricade may have given up on the Autobot’s doing anything of importance, but Frenzy hadn’t.
“Moremoremore! C-c-come ooooout to play, Autobrats!” he babbled excitedly, clapping his spindly hands together rapidly.
He got his wish. Coming down the dirt road at an incredibly slow pace was the yellow Autobot, Bumblebee. He was driving slowly and balancing a stupid squishy male on his roof.
“SAM! SAM STUPID-HICKY! Get DOWN!” a human female demanded from the passenger window, long hair waving in the wind.
“I will not allow him to fall, Mikaela. Although I honestly do not agree with such foolishness, I do not see the fun in standing on my roof,” Bumblebee’s scratchy voice was attempting to calm the irate female. He was driving barely fast enough to register more than a few miles per hour on his speedometer.
“Bee, you promised! It’s part of my birthday present! And its called surfing, dude!” Sam was concentrating on his style, arms splayed out, hanging ten with his bare toes on the edge of Bumblebee’s windscreen.
“God help me,” Mikaela put one hand on her forehead, sighing. Sam gets an alien car and he wants to surf on its roof?
“He will not fall, Mikaela, he will be caught before he gets anywhere near the ground, please let me do the worrying,” Bumblebee insisted again, driving at a crawl around the potholes in the road.
“Bee, play the song, please? For me?” Sam asked, squinting his eyes from the bright sunlight. In answer, the song ‘Surfing In The USA’ came booming from the car. Mikaela sobbed once. Trent would never have been this un-cool. It would’ve been fun to see the Numb Nut fly off the windscreen at sixty miles per hour, though.
Frenzy blinked. Nuh, this wasn’t fun! Bring back the Big Dumb Leader with his gun and the Stupid Black Truck! His optics watched the car come closer to his position. Hmm, unless... Oh yes! This was going to be goodgoodgood!
Frenzy didn’t think, he just acted. He wanted more amusement and he was going to make it. Chuckling manically, he launched himself off the tree like a gymnast and landed right in front of Bumblebee. “B-b-booo!!” he cackled, dancing up and down.
Bumblebee lurched to a stunned stop and Sam went flying off his roof head first in a slow tumbling arc.
“SAM!” Bumblebee shrieked, he accelerated forwards over the top of Frenzy, morphing the metal of his hood into a large yellow scoop and catching the boy like a baseball into a glove. He fishtailed to a stop. Dust filled the scene with huge billowing clouds.
Frenzy groaned. He sat up. At least, his body sat up. His head was hanging by one wire off his shoulders and his hands reached up to grasp it, having a hard job since his head bounced around with every movement, “STUPIDSTUPIDSTUPID,” he grumbled to himself, “Dumb s-s-slag bot run Frenzy overoverover!”
“That’s not all we’ll do,” a cold hard voice suggested.
Frenzy’s unbalanced bent optics looked up, straight into the long wide shaft of Optimus Prime’s heavy rifle pointed at his forehead.
“Eeeeep!” He slumped back down to the dirt in surrender and opened up a comlink channel with his Decepticon partner, Um, ‘Cade? H-h-help Frenzy?
Bumblebee cradled Sam on his back in his cupped hands, carefully watching the boy with desperate optics. Sam was unharmed after his tumble through the air, yet Bee wasn’t going to put him down.
“Bee, I’m fine, please put me down!” Sam whined, for the fourth time in as many minutes. He turned over awkwardly and peered down through a gap in Bee’s fingers at Mikaela, mouthing ‘Help!’ silently. She frowned and pointedly ignored him. He deserved to be held ‘captive’ by Bumblebee for being so reckless and silly.
“No Sam, Ratchet said that while you have no injuries, you may still go into shock. This is apparently a potentially deadly condition to organics, and as your guardian, I wish to be as close as possible to render assistance if this happens.”
“So that means carrying me around like Paris Hilton does to her pet dog?! And you watch too much House, Bee!” Sam was slightly ruffled that he was considered too fragile and precious to stand on his own two feet. He’d done in Megatron for crying out loud! Fallen off a thirty storey building! Evaded being shot at and tossed around like a salad! And Bee thought he couldn’t stand on his own feet after falling off his car hood?
“Aww, I love you too, I’m using extra wax in your next car wash,” Sam practically purred, patting one of Bee’s fingers and giving off kiss-ass vibes, hoping it would convince the Autobot to put him down. “But still, you know, can you...?”
“No Sam,” Bumblebee responded patiently, brushing aside the sucking up attempt. He was watching the others who had the Decepticon Frenzy trapped in the Autobot circle they’d made. Only Ratchet looked up now and again to cast a careful optic over Sam in Bumblebee’s hands.
“Why are you here?” Optimus Prime asked again, his voice was set low, with no emotional overtones. He still had his rifle in his hand, but it was no longer pointed at Frenzy’s head. Frenzy had hastily jammed his head back onto his shoulders after Bumblebee ran him over. Ironhide and Ratchet had helped form a neat circle of containment around the micro bot, both were bristling with unsaid threats. Hide’s cannon’s were spinning their gyro’s noisily and Ratchet did his best bad-ass-medic expression.
“Ffffffffft! Frenzy no t-t-talk to to silly botbots! Go walk d-d-dog againagainagain!” Frenzy snickered, making exaggerated walking motions with his arms. A series of recorded dog bark’s that sounded suspiciously close to Mojo’s characteristic voice came from Frenzy.
“If you saw that, it means you have been spying on us for longer than I previously thought.” And does everyone have to know about the dog incident?! I’ll get to the end of my days and someone will mention it as my poor spark does its last flutter! Optimus thought despairingly. I’ll be the poster boy for Decepticon recruitment – ‘Join us instead of the Autobots, our Leader wouldn’t be caught dead walking dumb Earth lifeforms on a leash!’
Ironhide increased the speed of the energy pulse running through his cannons. His shoulders lifted up and his optics darkened with menace, “I say we kill him.”
“NONONONONO!” Frenzy crouched on the ground, holding his spindly arms over his head and trembling. His optics on the end of their long arms sagged, hanging over his face in fear.
“No, Ironhide,” Optimus said sternly, giving Ironhide a filthy look.
“YESYESYESYES! Agree with dog walking bot!” Frenzy shrieked, his head bobbing around.
“Would you shut up about the dog?!” Optimus growled at him, irritated, taking one step closer. He loomed the bulk of his frame over the tiny Decepticon, cutting out the sunlight. Frenzy ‘eeeped’ and sat on the ground cross-legged, motionless.
“Speaking of the dog... here comes Mojo,” Ratchet murmured, pointing a finger. Mojo had followed them out of the hanger and was sniffing around in the dirt behind Frenzy.
“I’ll grab him!” Mikaela spoke up, walking towards him.
“Mikaela, wait, don’t. At least, not yet,” Optimus stopped her with one hand out, a glint in his optics of something brewing in his CPU.
“No?” She asked the Leader with raised eyebrows. “But he’ll... you know.. on the bad robot.”
Optimus smiled, “Oh, I’m hoping he will.”
Mikaela snorted, returning to her position next to Bumblebee. “I thought you guys didn’t do torture?” she commented.
Frenzy took one look behind him and sprang to his feet. “D-D-Dogdogdog!” he spluttered. He wasn’t afraid of it. The stupid organic creature couldn’t hurt him. Could it?
The Autobot’s and humans watched as Mojo proceeded to sniff Frenzy’s legs.
“You touch or hurt that dog in any way and I WILL give the order to terminate you, Frenzy,” Optimus said coldly.
“Yeah, run over him again, Bee,” Sam added. Bumblebee revved his engine beneath his chest. Frenzy had enough courage left in him to stick up a middle finger at the yellow bot. Bee responded in kind, putting Sam into the grip of one hand and flexing his finger.
“Bumblebee, stop that,” Optimus commanded. He was needing to reprimand the yellow mech too often when reacting to their foes. The youngling was becoming brash. They needed to talk. He pondered that Bumblebee was, perhaps, too good at integrating himself into other alien cultures. While in almost every other way, Bee was polite and conscientious, he was even picking up and assimilating the rude bits.
“He did it first,” Sam muttered at Optimus, hanging his head over the edge of Bumblebee’s fingers. He was guarding HIS guardian.
Someone snickered as Mojo sniffed carefully at Frenzy’s legs. Everyone knew the routine and what was coming next. The Decepticon was holding his arms in the air to keep them away from the marauding canine. Mojo gave a doggy sigh and casually lifted one leg.
A stream of urine splashed over Frenzy’s feet.
“IIIEIEIEIEEEEEEE! NONONONONO! No lubricate on Frenzy!” The Decepticon shrieked frantically.
“Good boy, Mojo!” Ratchet cried. Even Ironhide was smiling. Optimus Prime’s optics glowed with obvious approval. Sam whistled and clapped. Mikaela shook her head; Males.
“Nice work, Mojo,” Prime said, watching as Mojo casually kicked some dirt over his latest victim with a flex of each hindleg and moved on.
“I told you, what did I say, he’s entirely deserving of his Autobot symbol,” Ratchet said proudly.
“Autobot what..? What did you do to my dog?” Sam asked nervously.
Frenzy stood there miserably with smelly wet lower legs, too scared too move. B-barri-c-c-cade... they hurt Frenzy... he wailed sadly over his comlink.
The response was the frantic roar of a Mustang engine thundering down the dirt road. Brown dust kicked up where the black pseudo police car was sliding around the corners and racing onwards at a crazy speed. All of the Autobots spun around, rifles raised and arm cannons transformed. Bumblebee scooped up a surprised Mikaela with one free hand and held both of his humans close to his chest, backing up as the bigger Autobots moved forward. Ironhide had the forethought to pick up Frenzy by one thin arm and dangle him in the air to stop him running.
Optimus put himself at the front of the group, legs splayed with braced thighs, his rifle lifted and pointed. “Get ready, but hold your blasts until I give the word,” he ordered. Sam watched Ratchet and Ironhide respond with quiet efficiency. No words, no sarcasm. One warrior on either side of their Commander and packing heat – Ironhide less one cannon, since one hand still held on to Frenzy.
Barricade jammed on his brakes twenty or so feet from the Autobot group, and sat there, engine rumbling. The car shook, its chassis rocking on its suspension. Sam and Mikaela watched with particular interest. The last time they’d met this Transformer, he’d threatened Sam about the glasses and had to be beaten off in a robot death match by Bumblebee. Sam was curious to see what a robot as big and deadly as Optimus would do to the nasty bot. Bee was smaller and quicker, having to fight for every inch. Sam was proud of his Bee, but Optimus was just something else.
“Frenzy!” Barricade snarled, beginning to transform. His conversion sounded much deeper and more wicked compared to the Autobots. Optimus didn’t react to the car transforming, as long as Barricade made no other movements.
Not moving closer, the black Decepticon looked over Frenzy for damage with narrowed optics. “You hurt him,” he growled out viciously. His voice had a strained digital quality to it.
“We did not purposely injure him,” Optimus responded sternly. “He threw himself in front of Bumblebee and got run over. It was unavoidable.”
Barricade roared, lifting his arms, a cannon on his right arm glowing while a spinning blade was held in his left hand. Ironhide reacted first. He lifted the little bot higher and stuck the open end of his other arm cannon into Frenzy’s face. “Do it and you’ll need to find a replacement mini psycho,” Ironhide dared Barricade.
The bot squealed. Barricade halted abruptly, uncertain. Autobots didn’t generally shoot their captives.
“Cadecadecade, helphelphelp!” Frenzy chanted, waving his free arm frantically. “Annnnnnd, oh slag, look o-o-out behind YOU!”
Mojo was sniffing at the new bot. This one smelt funny. Different from the others. Like donuts? Mojo liked them. He wanted some. Almost as good as pain pills! He started barking.
Barricade stared at the tiny thing bouncing around and making noise. What the pit was this? He caught the glint of an Autobot symbol under the things chin. What the..? A new Autobot? They must be glitched to recruit something as hopeless looking as that, and organic to boot! “Call off your... your.. whatever, Prime,” Barricade demanded. He made as if to kick it to kingdom come and changed his mind. He grabbed at it.
“Ike! Ike! Ike!” Mojo wailed, trembling in Barricade’s tight hand.
“We have an impasse, Autobots. You’ve got Frenzy, I’ve got your... uh..” Barricade’s threat wandered off, red optics looking puzzled. He didn’t know what it was.
“MOJO!” Sam screamed, wriggling frantically to get free from Bumblebee who was hanging onto the struggling boy.
“Your Mojo,” Barricade finished with disdain. “I propose an exchange. Yes or no.”
“YES!” Sam screamed. Bumblebee and Mikaela were staring helplessly at Optimus Prime. Where was the ‘yes’? Optimus looked hesitant...
AUTHORS NOTE: Two incredibly nice reviewers have done fanart for Mojo Mayhem. I am very humbled and delighted at such dedication to my little fanfic!
Wiccan Witch did a beautiful picture of Optimus with his hands over his audios, leaning on the base roof in despair while Mojo does a crazy jive around his feet. I have an email copy and you will need her permission if you wish to see it.
Ghost of the Robot has done art of Mojo proudly wearing his Autobot symbol hanging off his collar, on her DeviantArt page. Very sweet! Like a mini Superman!
Again, thank you very much guys. I never thought I’d write anything that people like so much!
Mojo sat in Barricade’s grasp. The Decepticon had loosened his grip, opening his hand, and the dog had stopped yelping and was sitting, contemplating. Mojo heard Sam scream his name and jumped up onto all four legs expectantly – his Sam was calling!
“Bark! BARKBARKBARK!” Mojo yelled back, responding. He wanted to get down! When Sam called, he needed to go. It was in the dog rule book, when the Owner calls, you run! Mojo looked down. It was too far to jump. This thing that was currently holding him had to put him down, didn’t it realise this?
He waited a few moments more. Still no sign of movement. Mojo got annoyed. He wanted down, NOW.
Mojo turned around to face the thing holding him, “Grrrrrr! PHHHHT! YAPYAPYAPYAP! BARK!”
Barricade paused in his negotiation with Optimus Prime to free Frenzy and focused narrowed red optics on the thing in his hand. “Cease that noise, organic creature! You have no say in this!” he hissed.
Mojo went quiet for a second, then flattened his ears nastily and opened his mouth.
“BARKBARKBARKBARKBARKBARKBARKBARKBARKBARK!” A deep doggy breath and a final “BARK!”
Barricade took a hesitant step backwards, staring down at the crazy creature. Mojo bared his teeth, growling. Little bits of drool dripped onto Barricade’s metal flesh. Mojo’s Autobot symbol on his collar flashed angrily in the sunshine.
“Wow. Awesome. Go Mojo!” Sam called, “Bite his ass! Give me back my dog, you Megatron wannabe!”
“Sam, please, quiet,” Optimus commanded, he switched his gaze back and forth between the Decepticon and the human, trying to keep control of the situation – and the peace.
“...should’ve installed those missiles on Mojo...” Ratchet muttered quietly from his position behind Optimus Prime’s back.
Ironhide was irritated by the talking and general carry-on. He wanted action. Enough with the yabbering! Seeing his chance while Barricade was distracted by Mojo’s brain meltdown, the Weapons Specialist shot a short & quick barrage of armament rounds at Barricade’s feet, nicking the metal.
The Decepticon shrieked from the pain in his feet and jumped backwards, startled, flipping Mojo into the air. The dog was free!
“MOJO!” Ratchet dove forwards into a sharp roll-and-catch manoeuvre. The dog was yelping at twice his normal volume and he didn’t stop even when Ratchet sat up in the dirt, cuddling the terrified dog into his chest.
“You’re okay, you’re okay, there’s a good dog, I’ve got you,” the medic soothed the frightened animal. Mojo hiccuped, calming down. Then he barfed, bringing up undigested dog food onto Ratchet’s chest. Ratchet held the dog away from his body, looking down at the mess covering his chest plates. “Oh, whoops. Don’t nobody throw the dog again. He ejects.”
Ironhide dropped Frenzy and leapt at Barricade, ramming the Decepticon onto his back with one large arm in a body slam and keeping him there with one oversized foot planted on his chest. His ferocious cannons whirred as they were jointly shoved firmly into the ‘Con’s face. “You grabbed our DOG? He has no weapons of defence! NO MERCY!” Ironhide roared, his optics burning with blue fire.
Frenzy screeched and tossed himself onto Ironhide’s back, hanging off his shoulders with legs braced on muscle cables and pummelling fists into the hard black impenetrable armor, “NOKILLBARRICADE!!NONONO!”
Ironhide grabbed one quick hand onto Frenzy’s arm, ripping the micro ‘Con off his body and tossing him straight at Optimus. The Leader ducked hastily as Frenzy flew by, still screaming.
Optimus Prime’s head moved in disbelief between the poor sick looking dog in Ratchet’s arms, Frenzy lying in a sobbing messed-up tangle on the ground and the Decepticon that Ironhide was set to blow the head off. He let loose a sigh, allowing the tip of his rifle to sink down. “Ironhide, do not kill him,” he said tiredly.
“I said no.” He glared at the angry black mech, letting his mood speak for itself.
Ironhide snarled back, “Fine.” He took his foot off Barricade’s chest, allowing the warrior to begin to get up warily – and the Decepticon was instantly smashed back down into the dirt by Bumblebee’s flying mass slamming into his chest.
“Bumblebee!!” Optimus cried. Ironhide grinned, chuckling.
The Camero was sitting with his thighs on either side of Barricade’s neck, his arm cannon was blazing lethal yellow plasma – ready to fire - and held inches from the ‘Con’s stunned faceplate. His other hand was jabbing a pointed angry finger into Barricade’s nose area in fury. Bee was angry. Very angry. NO ONE treated his Sam’s dog as a hostage!
“NO.” Now it was Bumblebee’s turn to look startled as he was lifted up into the air and off Barricade by Optimus Prime’s hand grabbing onto his rear neck armor. “We will NOT kill or injure him! Enough already!” Bumblebee was dropped on his rear into the dirt with a thump by a despairing Autobot Commander - when had his troops gotten so volatile and started to act like rampaging sparklings? Perhaps this mission away from home had gone on for too long.
Barricade lifted his head up and looked around warily, staying on his back. He was waiting for someone else to hit him. These Autobot’s had serious glitches in their programming. Really.
Sam was helping Ratchet clean up his chest with his t-shirt while Mikaela held Mojo in her arms. Optimus had sent both Ironhide and Bumblebee to stand behind him in disgrace. Ironhide slapped a hand onto Bee’s shoulder, congratulating him. “Onya Bee, nice work. You’ve got a real warrior in there somewhere, kid.” Bumblebee glared at him, putting a hand on Ironhide’s chest and shoving him backwards. Ironhide chuckled, still proud.
Barricade’s optics met the despondent gaze of Optimus Prime. The Leader shook his head, muttering discontentedly.
“You may stand, Barricade,” he finally said quietly, “But do not make any sudden moves or I will fire.”
Barricade was quite happy to listen to that order. He was on Prime’s side if it meant he stopped his troops from sitting on him. Frenzy got up and skittered over to his partner. Optimus let him go, dipping his head and watching him run past with appraising optics.
“Cade, Cade!” Frenzy squeaked, jumping onto the Decepticon’s sore foot and hugging his lower leg.
“OW! Zee!” Barricade growled, snagging a finger onto Frenzy’s arm and lifting him up for inspection. “You require repairs to your head support structure,” he said, seeing where he’d been hit by Bumblebee’s front bumper bar.
“Uhhuh, uhhuh, uhhuh,” Frenzy agreed. A quiet whirring sound similar to a cat’s purr emitted from the hacker.
Barricade shook his head and opened the side of his chest, gesturing for Frenzy to get inside. The little bot complied, hitching himself up and disappearing. Prime’s finger tightened on the grip of his rifle, ready for anything. Barricade’s chest panel closed without incident yet Frenzy’s excited talking could still be heard. The Decepticon rapped a fist on the closed panel, “Quiet!” he barked. The talking stopped.
The Autobots and lone Decepticon stared at one another. Hesitant.
“Now what?” Sam murmured, standing next to Bumblebee with Mikaela.
“We will not kill him. Nor will I hand him over to the United States Government. We have all seen what they can do to one of our kind, despite their overall good intentions. And yet...” Optimus’ optics dimmed with sadness, thinking. “It is not for us to imprison him, either.”
“What kind of slag is that?” Ironhide burst out, stepping forwards, gesturing angrily, “You cannot mean to set this pit-bred slagheap free!”
Ratchet spoke up, seeing where Optimus was going with this, “While Barricade and Frenzy did indeed murder several humans BEFORE the Allspark was destroyed, they have not caused any deaths, or even damage, in the many months since. We have been scanning for any sign of this, and found nothing. Am I not correct?” The medic’s words were meant for all of them but he aimed a cold stare at the Decepticon.
“You are... correct.” Barricade was confused. He HAD been keeping to himself. The worst he had done was get Frenzy to carry our surveillance on the Autobot base. He had no chance against the Autobots as a group and anything out of the ordinary would have attracted their intimate attention. He siphoned oil and fuel from mass pipe transit lines, yes, but it wasn’t in large enough amounts to be noticed by anybody. Did they actually mean to set him free?
“He has stolen supplies from the humans!” Ironhide desperately tried to get his own argument together. “That’s theft, where do you think he’s been getting his energon from? Saying ‘please’?!”
Optimus Prime locked stern optics with Ironhide, and then with the rest of the Autobot group. “Until such time as he causes concern, we must let him go. I will not keep him imprisoned indefinitely. There is nothing else we can do.”
“Nothing else? NOTHING ELSE?! You fraggin’ glitch! ARRGH!” Ironhide threw up his hands and turned around, stalking off, “Be it on your own CPU! I’m not helping you!” he yelled at Optimus over his shoulder.
Optimus did not respond. He would deal with Ironhide later. He looked down at Barricade standing uneasily in front of them. “Go, Barricade, but know this – damage, kill or otherwise disturb any humans and we will hunt you down. Give us reasonable cause and I will order your termination. Keep to yourself. Am I understood?”
“...yes...” Barricade knew the score. While he would be a ‘good bot’, he was only waiting for his Decepticon comrades to return. Until then, it was a waiting game, and they all knew it.
They all watched with different degrees of trepidation and concern as the Decepticon transformed without another word and accelerated down the dirt road away from them.
Sam laughed as Frenzy’s hand suddenly popped out of the Mustang’s window and shoved a backwards middle finger up into the air, defiant.
Barricade wasn’t the one to worry about. Frenzy was the crazy one!
Optimus Prime carefully lifted Mojo up from his position on Ratchet’s medbay table, inspecting the dog critically for himself. “I’m glad you’re okay, Mojo. It was a terrible thing for us to let Barricade get his hands on you. I am sorry.” He held the dog on the palm of one hand, at optic-to-dog-eye level, looking sincere.
Mojo huffed, propping himself on his haunches and panting. His tongue hung out the side of his mouth and his eyes squinted. He was a happy dog.
It was early evening, the Autobots had insisted on thoroughly checking Mojo over with medscans and a physical examination before the teenagers were allowed to take him home at last. It had been a laugh for the humans, standing on the table with the dog and watching Ratchet and Optimus carefully conduct exams on the worried dog. Ratchet had downloaded all the Veterinary information from the World Wide Web. He was fascinated! He could barely contain himself at the chance to play real animal doctor with the placid canine.
Long-suffering and patient Optimus had helped keep the dog still for Ratchet’s gentle prodding and poking. He contained him in two cupped hands and said soothing words when Mojo got uptight. Prime knew what it was like to have Ratchet’s intimate attention - professional but unpleasant! At least the medic was putting a soothing bedside manner on for Mojo, not all his patients were so blessed.
Ratchet smiled indulgently, leaning both hands on the table top and watching his Leader handle the mutt with critical optics. “He passed his first test as an Autobot with complete success, and he is perfectly healthy,” he said, “I still think we should consider upgrading him with his own weapon, though. Think about it – all Mojo needed to do was put one missile through Barricade’s forehead at close range, and wham!”
“RATCHET! Don’t you go putting weirdo missiles and shit on my dog! God almighty, what would Mom say?! It’s not on, dude!” Sam burst out, cringing at the thought of his hysterical mother swearing to hunt down the Autobot medic and beat the crap out of him with a baseball bat when Mojo was delivered home with shoulder missiles and side cannons. He still didn’t know wether he should let his parents know the Autobots had done ‘dog babysitting’ while they were away.
Ironhide groaned from his position on the other side of the table, propped against a spare bench. His enthusiasm for the dog was only one notch higher than before the Barricade incident. “Ratchet, you are one life-fluid thirsty mech.” There was a loaded pause. “I like it!” he said brightly.
Optimus put the dog down on the floor carefully, letting him get his balance on all four legs before he released his grip, and then helped Sam and Mikaela down from the table as well. The Commander straightened up, looking back and forth between his two high ranking soldiers with pity. He sighed, looking down at the floor, “I believe I have finally run out of clever things to say about the remarks you two come out with. Retirement is looking good,” he grumped, turning on one foot and heading with long strides to drop himself butt first on the Autobot ‘couch’. He needed recharge and peace. Retreating early to his room was looking good.
Ironhide came to stand next to Ratchet and the two studied the large tired Leader mech as he sat and stretched the muscle cables of his powerful legs out, leaning his head back over the headrest with optics blinking off. Ironhide nudged Ratchet with one armored elbow, “He’s missing Elita,” he muttered conversationally.
Ratchet nodded, leaning over and murmuring back, “...it has been a long while since he last had some alone time with a female, you know how cranky and sour he gets. He doesn’t process his energon efficiently.”
Sam lifted his head to stare up at the two bots, his lips pursing; more female references! Maybe this would be a good time to ask questions. Mojo was sitting by his feet, sneezing, not interested. Wasn’t it dog food time?
“Will you guys stop it?! Like he said, give him a break, he looks after you lot like wayward children,” Mikaela huffed, walking over to Optimus and reaching out a hand to pat Optimus’ leg in sympathy (it was all she could reach from the floor, even if the giant bot WAS sitting down!).
There was a whistling noise and two empty energon cans went sailing through the air to collide with Ironhide and Ratchet – ‘Hide got hit in the head, Ratchet in the chest. Even empty, the cans were heavy enough to leave scuff marks.
“OW! HEY! What the-” Ironhide started up his cannons, getting their gyro’s to squeal at top speed.
“BUMBLEBEE! Frag off! Delinquent youngling!” Ratchet growled, feeling around blindly behind his back for a sharp medical tool to throw back at the feral bot.
“Heh.” Optimus had lifted his head, optics burning bright blue looking at his yellow scout appreciatively. “Thank you, Bee.”
Bumblebee nodded happily with a digital squeal at Optimus and blew a recorded raspberry at the Weapons Master and Chief Medic.
“THATS IT! You’re mine!” Ironhide roared, charging forwards in a black blurr of thumping thick legs and crackling cannons.
Bumblebee shrieked in fake horror - a sound byte from a horror movie - dashing out of Ironhide’s way on nimble feet. He wasn’t going to get caught! That was the trick with Ironhide; he wasn’t allowed to shoot fellow Autobots, Optimus absolutely forbid it; yet he was too slow at running to catch his prey. But if he DID get his hands on you, may Primus help you in the afterlife...
Optimus sat up, concerned, “IRONHIDE! Desist!” he began, but stopped cautiously. Mojo was moving towards the combatants.
“BARK! Barkbarkbarkbark! Grrrr!” Mojo had intercepted the fuming black Ironhide and brought the mech to a sharp, optic-shuddering, halt. The dog was standing in front of an astonished Bumblebee and defending his friend.
Tiny dog against large, black, weapons bristling, Autobot.
“Good dog!” Bumblebee’s crackly voice congratulated his saviour. He leaned over, patting gently at the dog’s head with one metal finger, scratching around the back of his ears. Mojo ruffed sweetly at him, pleased he was being acknowledged as having done the right thing.
Ironhide glared, “The rodent won’t be there all the time, runt. Just wait.” He walked off with pounding strides, muttering, standing at the hanger door and crossing his arms. He stared out into the evening sky with a sullen expression, ignoring them.
“Mojo, geez you’ve got a death wish,” Sam scooped up the dog, cuddling him close. “Hey, Bee? Time to go home, I think.”
“Yes, I agree,” Mikaela added, looking down at her dirt-smudged and smelly self. “We need showers and some sleep time guys, we better get going. Thank you so much for looking after Mojo. He couldn’t have had better protectors.” The girl smiled up at the Autobots.
“Yeah, yeah, I second that. You guys are legends. We so owe you. Thanks! Mojo says thanks too, don’t ya?” Sam added, holding Mojo up at them and wiggling the dog gently so his head bounced. “I reckon he’s had the time of his life here. He’ll get bored being home again. He’ll be soooo naughty.”
Optimus leaned forward, putting his elbows on his knees. His faceplates formed a smile, his optics looked down at them. “I must say, it was a pleasure for us to have Mojo here as well, despite, er, the incident.”
More like multiple incidents, Ratchet thought, suppressing a snort, thinking of all the things that had happened to Mojo. Weeing on everyone in surprise attacks, getting walked by the most fearsome warrior in the universe (Optimus!), riding in Ironhide, infiltrating Ironhide’s room and claiming the recharge bed (now that was special! So rare an accomplishment!), being held hostage and battling Decepticons, and not to forget SLEEPING on Optimus Prime’s chest!
Ratchet frowned as sorrow washed over his CPU. No more Mojo. No more fun. He watched as Sam collected up Mojo’s bed and food from the medbay, bundling them into a bag. “Thanks Ratch! You’re the best!” Sam gave him the thumbs up and a cheesy grin.
“You’re very welcome, Sam. We will... I will.. m-miss him.” Ratchet cursed himself furiously for the hesitant catch in his voice. Everyone turned to look at him. Even Ironhide, staring over his shoulder curiously.
“What?” Ratchet demanded, trying to cover himself. “Mojo is a good Autobot!”
Optimus and Ironhide glanced at each other meaningfully. Bumblebee snickered, grinning, standing over his two humans who were looking at Ratchet curiously.
“I was expecting this,” Optimus Prime said softly, gazing at his CMO with understanding and standing up.
“Expecting what? There’s nothing to expect!” Ratchet huffed, holding up empty hands, trying to fend them off.
“Oh Ratchet, you really will miss him, won’t you?” Mikaela had walked over to him, putting a hand on his leg and looking upwards sympathetically. Sam frowned; would she stop putting her hand on the legs of other men? And robots, at that! Gross!
Ratchet wasn’t trusting himself to speak. His optics flickered over the faces of every human and mech in the room. They were all looking at him. “I will miss Mojo. Yes, alright? There’s nothing wrong with that.”
Sam spoke up, “Ratchet, you can come and visit him, y’know. Just drop by! Mojo can use his dog door, he’ll come running out to you. And hey, now we know Mojo can come here, the next holiday we have, we’ll bring him back. How’s that?”
Ironhide’s air in-takes froze, horrified. More dog?! This wasn’t going to be a one-off event? He had to find new lodgings! Urgently! Primus, Captain Lennox had a spare garage, didn’t he?
Ratchet perked up slightly, “I didn’t think of that, Sam. Of course I’d like to visit, with Optimus’ permission, of course.”
“You have it, Ratchet. Go whenever you have time off,” Optimus confirmed, relieved. He hadn’t thought of Ratchet ‘visiting’ the dog either. Thank Primus for quick thinking organics.
“And Ironhide, if you’d like to-” Mikaela tried to extend the invitation.
“But Mojo would-”
“He likes rides in trucks!”
“Oh, okay. Nevermind.” Mikaela smirked. She’d been deliberately rattling Ironhide’s cage. That bot would never come by to visit the dog – unless he needed weapons target practice.
“Look, you’re all welcome to come over whenever you want, just, you know, keep it discrete, and weekends are better, not school nights. I’d love to see you guys more, and not just for official purposes. You creep around too much, we’re friends, come visit!” Sam added his opinion.
“Thank you, Sam, we will make sure to drop-by,” Optimus thanked him, inclining his head. It would be nice to be sociable without war duties interfering. They would make the effort.
Bumblebee was looking cautious. If Ratchet put his leg over the backyard fence and stepped on him while he was recharging on the lawn, there would be discussions! That medic weighed as much as Megatron did!
Eventually the humans, Mojo, and all possessions, were bundled into Bumblebee’s car form, and the group sped off into the night with vigorous car horn beeping from the Camaro and human arms waving from windows.
Ratchet caught sight of Mojo perching himself on the inside ledge of Bumblebee’s back window, front paws on the glass, his little face staring back at the Autobots standing in the light spilling from the base as Bumblebee drew away down the road. The medic focused his optics on the dog until he could no longer make out details in the night darkness. A hand dropped onto his shoulder.
“Its alright, Ratchet. You’ll see him again.” Optimus reassured him.
Ironhide barked a laugh, bending over, “Ratchet loves Mojo! Priceless!”
“SHUTTUP!” A smack landed on Ironhide's armor.
“Ow, Ratch, what is this, pick-on-Ironhide-week?” Ironhide rubbed the back of his head sorrowfully.
Optimus ignored the both of them, turning away, “I think I need the longest recharge of my life. The best thing I can say is the dog is alive and not missing any important components. Right, no one bring me on-line early unless Megatron returns from the dead or the Earth blows itself up. See you in the morning; LATE morning.” The Autobot Leader stalked off to his room with a casual wave.
“Eh. Whatever. Hey Ratch, you want to try that poker game thing again?” Ironhide asked, feeling the sudden weight of the emptying base on his shoulders.
“Sure, why not,” Ratchet shrugged, it would be a good distraction from a Mojo-vacant medbay, “Don’t cheat again or I’ll remove your arms, with no pain killers.”
“Primus, you’re aggressive. I like that.”
And there is a sequel (of sorts) hopefully coming soon. Ratchet visits Mojo and meets the Mother Of Mojo – Judy Witwicky. Heh.