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Custody Battle

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Optimus Prime eyed the mech standing at attention in front of his desk warily.

Prowl’s doorwings twitched ominously in a way that indicated either irritation or an upcoming crash. He hoped it was the former, if only for Ratchet’s sake; the medic was a very unhappy mech himself and he wouldn’t react well to the stress of having to care for Prowl atop repairing the injuries sustained by various Autobots during the earlier… altercation.

“If you will, Sir, I’ll present you a copy of my report.”

“Prowl, it isn’t…” Optimus started.

Prowl acted as if he hadn’t heard. “At 6.07am this morning, an attempt by Wheeljack and Perceptor to create a Space Bridge for our use resulted in an anomaly that the various scientist members of our crew have yet to be able to explain. At 6.11am, the unstable vortex ended up spitting an unknown entity into the lab and a security was immediately dispatched, lead by Security Director Red Alert and Ironhide. The security team quickly secured the area and apprehended the entity, who appeared Cybertronian in nature.”

“Prowl, I know…”

“A 6.25am, Security Director Red Alert brought the unknown entity to an interrogation room. The being was identified as not only Cybertronian in nature but also as a potential Autobot, an idea based on the symbol painted on his chain, which represented a modified version of the emblem. Fearing he might be a spy, Security Director Red Alert started the interrogation right away, later joined by Special Operation Head Jazz and myself as co-interrogators before being ultimately joined our direct superior, Optimus Prime.”

“Prowl, please, we already…”

“The unknown Cybertronian identified himself by the moniker ‘Blades’ and demonstrated the ability to transform into a helicopter. He also claimed to belong to a subgroup of the Autobot faction called ‘Rescue Bots’, who according to him are mostly civilian workers specialized in Search and Rescue operations and not part of the main conflict. Claims were also made about belonging to a team and being closely associated with a family of human first responders, under the orders and benediction of Autobot leader Optimus Prime. As no such faction as ‘Rescue Bots’ exists in our databases, the closest to the position being the Protectobots team, and as Prime confirmed having never heard of them nor met the new arrival, it was first thought ‘Blades’ was lying despite his insistence to the contrary. Suspicions were immediately brought up that this ‘Blades’ might be an attempt at cloning Protectobot team member Blades, who possess a similar altmode. Probing made by Chief Medical Officer Ratchet showed that ‘Blades’ had indeed additional transformation seams allowing for another mod. However, upon demonstration, ‘Blades’ didn’t transform into a Gestalt limb but into a flying dinosaur altmode similar to that of Dinobot Swoop.”

“Prowl, please, stop,” Optimus sighed. “I know all of that already, I was there. Remember?”

“I need it out of my system, Sir,” Prowl replied and Optimus sighed, making a gesture to allow him to continue.

“While the possibility of dealing with a clone wasn’t rejected, Special Operations Head Jazz took to lead the interrogation, pulling details out of ‘Blades’ through conversation. The helicopter turned out to be very chatty and gave numerous details on his life, including the fall of Cybertron during which he was apparently in stasis, his work on the island of Griffin Rock, the composition of his team, the names of his human allies and his fear of flying – which made Security Director Red Alert look into the possibility that ‘Blades’ might have been an attempt at combining coding from different Autobots, namely Protectobot Blades, Dinobot Swoop and Aerialbot Leader Silverbolt among others.”

“By 2.39pm, however, Perceptor and Wheeljack introduced the theory that ‘Blades’ might belong to another dimension altogether, one were events had turned out different from our own timeline. While unconvinced of its validity, Security Director Red Alert acknowledged the possibility. Chief Medical Officer Ratchet’s check up showed that ‘Blades’ definitely was Cybertronian and of a relatively young age as well as lacking combat programs. A search made on him by Ironhide also revealed ‘Blades’ to be unharmed, leading to his claims to be a civilian worker to be quite credible, making Optimus Prime declares that ‘Blades’ was welcome to stay on the Ark until an answer to the mystery of his arrival and his ‘home dimension’ could be found as well as a way to send him back there if possible.”

“I hope you don’t intend to make me regret it, Prowl,” Optimus warned.

The doorwinged mech gave him a look. “Far from me the idea, Sir. By all means, you did the right thing. Refusing asylum to a fellow Autobot, no matter who he is and where he comes from would be against our Code. Besides, Blades has no weapon and no combat training; to let him on his own would be like signing his death warrant if he came across a Decepticon. So no, I don’t blame you for providing shelter to a lost mech who is obviously just as naïve as Fireflight or First Aid.” His optics narrowed. “I blame everyone else.”

“In a way, it’s my fault,” Optimus murmured. “I should have found him a place to recharge and rest before he had a chance to go to the Rec Room and meet everyone else.”

“I’d be more incline into putting the blame for that on Jazz than on you, Sir,” Prowl corrected him. “He’s the one who alimented the rumor mill and let everyone know about our guest before you even had a chance to finish debriefing him. As such, it’s his fault if the…” he searched for the right words to use before nodding to himself “… if the ‘custody battle’ got kick-started.”

“I just don’t get how it happened; do you?” Optimus asked curiously.

Prowl sighed. “More than I wish I did. You see, Sir, we basically dropped a very friendly but awkward mech who has no taste for violence, a fear of height and an unusual third mod into a room where the Protectobots were lying in wait, intrigued by this new ‘Blades’ who didn’t sound or act like theirs but was obviously a Protectobot in its own way. Then there were the Aerialbots, who are already happy to meet a new flyer and whom, in Silverbot and his own fears and Fireflight and his general ‘oh, shiny’ personality, had much to relate to with the new arrival. And finally, we got the Dinobots, who got very insistent upon meeting the ‘new Dinobot’ and wanting to show him their grotto. And I’ll pass up on Perceptor, who wanted to grill Blades on dimensional differences as well as a few others who should have known better than to take a side in the argument when the dreaded question: ‘Where is he going to recharge?’ was asked."

“So everyone offered, nobody wanted to back down, and Grimlock threw the first punch?” Optimus asked.

“Actually, that was Perceptor.”

“Perceptor?!” Optimus exclaimed in disbelief.

“Yes, I could hardly believe it myself,” Prowl commented, sounding tired. “When there is something that could help his understanding of science and inter-dimensional travel and physics, it turns out he can be very insistent. It didn’t help Blades confessed to having traveled through time in his own dimension.”

“How…? No, I don’t want to know,” Optimus sighed. “I trust you took the necessary steps to clean up the mess?”

The black and white mech nodded. “Of course. Now you just have to visit the brig and talk with everyone insides and shame them over their conduct and impress on them that they should never do it again.”

“You make me sound like their Creator,” the Prime smiled behind his mask. “That said, where is our guest currently recharging, then?”

“In Bumblebee’s quarters,” Prowl replied immediately. “Bumblebee offered once the dust had settled and someone managed to pry Blades from behind the energon dispenser; the brawl apparently scared him out of his Spark. He took the offer very well, from what I gathered. Apparently, according to Spike, he looked ‘as if Christmas had come early’. I’m not sure I fully understand the expression”, he admitted.

Optimus shrugged in shared incomprehension – not over the expression, because he had spent more time with humans than Prowl and had a better grasp on their idioms and how to make them relate to Cybertronian sayings. What got him was how happy Blades was to share a room with Bumblebee. He knew Bumblebee was friendly, but such a strong reaction?

It escaped him entirely.