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The things I do for you

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Rustshift hated spy missions.  Took too much time and usually amounted to a lot of waiting around doing nothing.  However, his partner had exhausted all other ‘legal’ options, so had asked him to try to find out the information ‘the shifter way’. 

He had wanted to smack him for that.  Berylstar knew he wasn’t a traditional shifter, even if the reason for it was not within his control.  His flaw made it so much harder to avoid being compromised, so doing these kinds of ‘favors’ were always risky.  Still, Berylstar always made it up to him, regardless if he succeeded or not. 

Thus, began the multi-joor task of a lot of snooping around.  Following, listening and so on. Making this even harder was that his target was a Spec Ops agent, the type of bot that would know all the spying tricks.  On top of that, shifters were not exactly trusted to begin with, especially after most of them sided with the Decepticons.  It was only due to his own connections that he was able to avoid the fate they did after the Autobot’s won the war. 

Rustshift wasn’t confident that his connections would save him if he was caught, however.  He knew Sentinel and his supporters didn’t like that he was walking around free.  One slip up, one mistake and he’ll become a slave.  Why oh why did he have to be color locked?  This would be so much easier if his color nanites worked like normal shifters…. 

So it was a bit of a relief after several close calls that he caught a break.  His target and a friend was going to the ‘Rusty Tank’ tonight, an establishment he was well acquainted with.  Not only was he friends with the owner, but the aesthetic matched his color scheme of rust and electric blue.  Rustshift made sure to be arrive there before opening time, slipping in via a back entrance and made arrangements.  By the time the target showed up, the table Rustshift was disguised as was the only available one for him to sit at. 

His optical sensors were a bit muted in this form, since they weren’t really needed for an immobile object.  They were good enough, however, to visually confirm the target was seated at him.  Rustshift ensured his audio sensors were receiving clearly, most of them focused toward the target, while keeping one or two toward the rest of the bar.  Never know when a fight may break out and cause complications. 

Initially, they only discussed the friend’s relationship problem.  Ugh.  Seriously, the mech needs to just stop giving that slagger second changes!  What’s the saying?  Love can be blind?  Definitely applies here! 

Then as the high-grade started to flow, things got more interesting. 

“Bah…me’be I should just cheat on her see h-how they like it!” the friend was grumbling.  “Say…wha-what about that seeker co-worker guy ya used to crush over.  He available?” 

There was a distinctive short from the target.  “Ne’er a crush on him…,” he slurred.  “Jus’ an act ta keep ‘em off guard.  Always thought something fishy about ‘em, ya see?  Got proved right when found evidence of him dealin’ with the Cons.” 

“So he all locked up now?  A pity, looked like a nice piece of aft.” 

A laugh.  “By now that nice aft is likely all sc-scarred up.” There was something sinister in that mech’s tone.  Rustshift had to suppress a shudder.  “Been keepin’ track of where he wound up after throwin’ him with the Cons.  Was recently sold to one of them sadism places.” 

“Bah…a waste,” the friend lamented.  “Say…wazzent he the guy that made that one stuff?  The stuff that helped out with th-that…outbreak orns ago?” 

Outbreak?  Now this was what he really needed to listen in on.  Rustshift eagerly adjusted his audio sensors so he didn’t miss a scrap of dialog between these two. 

“Th-that is classified,” the target grumbled.  “He don’t deserve recognition for that miracle.”  He felt him slump against him.  Bot was at his limit, nearly on the verge of falling into recharge. 

Come on…I need a name!  So close, if this bot falls asleep now it may be joors before he got another chance.  Granted the stuff revealed so far would really narrow things down, but a name would definitely seal the deal. 

“Messed up that bad?” the friend was saying.  “What’e’do?” 

“I told ya…,” the target growled.  “Flashwing tried selling intel to the Cons!” 

And there it was.  That was exactly what he needed!  Whatever they talked about next or they could go into recharge, he didn’t care.  All he needed to do now was wait for the bar to close and all the patrons to leave. 

Which was…a few breems away.  Slag.  Maybe he should take a nap to pass the time…. 

“Ya slimy slagger!”  a voice cried out in another section of the bar.  “Ya cheatin’!” 

“I am not!” someone else countered. 

Rustshift felt his anxiety spike.  Sounded like a dispute over a card game.  Hopefully it got resolved without- 

“Lair!”  There was the sound of crashing metal and a few cries of surprise. 

“Great…trouble….” Rustshift heard his target groan.  “Let’s go be’ore it gets to us.  Las’ thin’ I need is the boss ta get mad a me for getting’ caught in a bar fight….”  He watched them get up and start to stagger out of the bar. 

Lucky you!  You can just walk out!  He couldn’t.  To revert to robot mode now would be pretty much suicide.  Sure he might be able to slip out in the chaos, but if even one of those drunk bots remembers seeing a table transforming into a bot the next morning?  He’s fragged.  The excuse of ‘I was doing the barkeep a favor’ probably wouldn’t fly considering the reputation shifters had. 

All he could do was just remain a table and hope the fight remained contained to that area of the bar.  Unfortunately, Amalgamous decided to have a bit of fun with him.  The bar was packed at this time of night, which meant there was a good chance that fight would spread to the whole bar.  

Good chance meaning…a hundred percent.  Which meant not only did the fight spread, but the involved patrons started using furniture as weapons.  It wasn’t long before one of the fighters picked him up and started swinging. 

Scrap!  Rustshift quickly disabled his vocalizer to keep himself from crying out as he was slammed into another patron.  Pain shot through his frame and the impacts kept coming.  Not being the most resilient of mechs, he quickly lost consciousness…. 

-- 

Ugh…  Oh, his head hurt.  His spinal strut hurt…frag…his whole frame hurt.  

As his systems booted up, he became aware that somehow he had ended up in the bars kitchen.  Frag…by some miracle he held on to his table form.  He could tell he was covered in spilled-high grade and some frame fluid.  Ugh…that had to have been a nasty fight. 

Beryl…you really owe me after this one.  After confirming he was alone, the reverted back to robot form.  And immediately had to sit down due to how much the room started to spin. 

“Oh good, you’re awake,” a familiar voice called out, sounding relieved.  Moments later the barkeep was kneeling beside him.  “You alright?” 

“I feel like I’ve been through a crusher…,” Rustshift groaned, rubbing his head.  “Did you have any furniture left?” 

“Primus…that was the worse fight I’ve had in here in vorns,” his friend sighed.  “Gonna take joors to repair the damage.  Had ta pull you in here so the Enforcers didn’t get suspicious.” 

“Oh…so I was the only intact table left then…wonderful.”  Wait…Enforcers?  “Are they still here?” 

“They are,” the barkeep grumbled.  “They are having a field day trying to get anything coherent out of the drunks that are still conscious.  I predict a bunch of them are going to the drunk tanks tonight….” 

“Let’s hope none of them remember a particularly resilient table in the morning,” Rustshift grumbled. 

“If they do, they’ll probably assume it was the high-grade distorting their memory,” his friend assured him.  “Best you get going, before the Enforcers decide to check in here for more witnesses.” 

“Yeah, good idea.”  With a bit of effort, he shifted into a bike-frame with a femme-styled voice before getting to his feet.  He still ached and was a bit wobbly but was steady enough to make his way to back entrance he used to get in earlier in the night.  “Thanks…I owe ya.” 

“Don’t mention it…and take care.” 

After reaching the door, he cautiously opened and checked to ensure the back alley was clear.  Fortunately, the side street was also clear, as the Enforcer and other emergency units were focused at the front of the bar.  So no one paid heed to a random rust and electric blue colored bike driving past the scene. 

Berylstar owed him a lot of loving after this.  Knowing that made the pain and humiliation he suffered tonight worth it. 

However…worth it or not…he still hated spy missions….