September 22, 2011, 2:24 PM
(War Room, Iacon)
Having satisfied himself that Prowl is not in immediate danger of overworking, Optimus Prime sets down the last report in his stack (one not pilfered from Prowl, thank you) on the completed pile to be filed, and looks up at the other Autobot. The two are sitting at the large war room table, working while waiting for the latest reports to come in. "Sideswipe and Sunstreaker should be completing their duty shifts soon. Do you plan to brief them today?"
Prowl nods, not quite finished with his own stack and still focused on the datapad he's holding. "Yes sir. I have asked them to report to the War Room once their shifts have ended to go over the details they are not yet aware of." He sets the report aside, picking up one of the few datapads left in his stack. "I have also released Dually from his incarceration with a warning."
Optimus Prime nods with a sigh. "While I am glad that Dually's innocence was established, the implications of an infiltrator with the ability to impersonate Autobots so precisely are exceedingly troubling."
Sideswipe has been thinking of ways to get out of this Prowl-lecture for about two cycles now. He has yet to think up something good enough to allow him absence but far be it for him to admit he's losing his touch. Sunstreaker's fault. Too much of a distraction. "Frag, don't think I can charm my way out of this with Prime there..." A pause, waiting for his twin to catch up.
Sunstreaker finally gets here after a particularly intense training session, a little dirty since he hadn't had time to go to the washracks before he got Prowl's summon. He was in a foul mood because of this, if his slight scowl was anything to go by.
"I would like to sit in on that briefing," Optimus Prime says. It's phrased as a request, but despite his willingness to delegate tactical planning responsibilities to Prowl, he feels keenly responsible for knowing the details of every operation.
"Of course, sir." Prowl agrees, entering something into the datapad with a small frown. "I would expect no less. They should be here shortly." Setting aside the report, he heaves air out of his vents. "And I agree, sir. Whoever the infiltrator is, their ability adds a worrying wildcard, particularly if it is indeed a neutral."
Sunstreaker's mood is easy to pick up on, seeing as he just storms right past. Sideswipe just shrugs it off, internally, moving into the war room and spotting Prowl and Prime. The two are in the exact same place as the doorwinged mech was last time Sideswipe was here. Suddenly he's wondering if he really is going to find out first about whatever the slag is going to happen now with The Rescue. Maybe he's not in trouble! "Prime, Prowl, wanted to see us?" He says enthusiastically, moving swiftly over to the two higher ups.
Sunstreaker just shoot his brother a glare and huff, grumbling something no one could hear, but his displeasure at being here is quite obvious. "Yeah, yeah, should've let me a couple of minutes to clean up... Look at all this dirt..." Sunstreaker points disdainfully ay his stained legs and chest, and then turned his attention to the officers.
"Sideswipe, Sunstreaker. Thank you for coming." Optimus Prime nods gravely. "I am simply here to observe, Prowl will be conducting this briefing."
Sideswipe looks his twin up and down, seeing nothing to worry about. "You're just less shiny. It's fine. Prowl's not big on shiny things anyway, trust me." His voice is low but then his attention is drawn to Prime, wondering why he'd want to observe. "Here because we have to be." There's no venom in his words, smiling as he says it before looking expectantly at Prowl.
Prowl nods, resting his forearms on the table in front of him. "That is correct, Sideswipe. Both of you, have a seat." If he hears Sunstreaker's complaint, he doesn't acknowledge it, though one doorwing twitches in what might be amusement. "We have quite a lot of information to go through on short notice."
Sunstreaker takes a seat and cross his arms over his chest, giving his twin a pointed glare, and pursing his lips a little. Prowl may not care about what he looks, but he sure did care, and he didn't liked looking like he was out of a mud bath. "Shut it up, Sides." Then he focuses on Prowl talking and puts his temper on a leash. If they were here it was to be serious.
Swinging one chair round, he wonders if Prowl really knows /all/ this time. He casts it from his mind. "Shutting up, ugly." The other frontliner's stare burns into him enough to make him look back, smiling innocently. A smooth step and a not-so-smooth drop and he's seated and listening.
"As you are aware, a young mech named First Aid has gone missing from Iacon. What we have ensured very few are aware of, however, is that this mech is part of a combiner team." Prowl begins, straightening his posture the slightest bit. "He and his brothers were created for unknown reasons, by unknown engineers. Unfortunately, there was a security breach, and he has been captured by Decepticon forces. He is currently being held in Polyhex, and a team is being assembled to extract both him and an undercover neutral from the city. Both of you are being assigned to this team."
Sunstreaker lifted an optic ridge at this. This sounded like a dangerous mission, and something to keep him occupied, sating his taste for violence for at least some times. Prowl knew about his tendencies... he shot his twin a glance and had a half smirk. "Anything else we should know? What about the forces there?"
Suddenly, something clicks in Sideswipe's mind. That neutral he was talking to the other orn, the one with the 'guardian'...Streetwise, yeah that was the name. He'd said that he had a brother; First Aid! Primus, he didn't even realise until now. Realising only now that he's helping a friend now as well, he finds it hard to contain his excitement. "Yes! This is on! First Aid is as good as home-free." That smirk is shot right back at his brother. "Yeah, what exactly are we up against?" Sideswipe doesn't know what the frag a combiner team is but he can guess. Still, he doesn't know why he and his twin are being told this. Yeah, okay, First Aid is important. He knows that already!
"First Aid is being held in Polyhex itself," Optimus Prime interjects calmly before the two frontliners can grow too overconfident. "This won't be a simple mission."
Prowl resists the urge to huff air out his vents in annoyance. "This is an /extraction/ mission. If all goes as planned, there will not be any fighting to do. Since the Decepticons seem to take enjoyment in ensuring my plans do not work out, both of you will be there to provide assistance, should anything go awry." He explains, "As for the 'forces' you would be facing should that happen, they amount to almost the entirety of the Decepticon army. Barring those out on patrol or missions, of course."
Sunstreaker remembered where he'd heard that name now! First Aid, of course, one of Sideswipe's friends! His twin had so many he sometimes had trouble keeping count. He did look disappointed that they may not have to fight at all, because now, his entire spark was telling him to go slag some Decepti-creeps for daring to harm a friend of him (his twin but since they were so close, he considered what was Sides to be his too). "Understood Prowl. Extraction, no fighting. You have a way to spoil my fun, you know that?"
Sideswipe visibly deflates, his smirk losing its edge. The entire 'Con army sounded like a challenge to him. Sounds like fun still, he sends silently to Sunstreaker. "Yeah, Primus. There's going to be a front line of some kind at some point. We get it though; stealth, got it." A sideglance, then an amused glance at his twin. "Sunny, I think you've got it covered. That dull, molten slag colour your going for really makes you blend in." It's only the truth! Though even though he's grinning and making fun, he understands what Prowl is saying. Knows the importance of this. Before Sunstreaker can scowl at him, he looks away. "And hey, danger is practically what we were build for."
Optimus Prime narrows his optics slightly, not particularly happy with how lightly the two frontliners are treating the mission, although he does know better than to expect a very different response...
"I make it the goal of my existence to keep you from any fun you may possibly have, Sunstreaker." Prowl responds flatly, twitching a doorwing in annoyance. "Returning to far more important matters than your amusement... Elita One will be leading this team. I expect you to follow any order she gives you without hesitation. We are unaware of First Aid's current status- he is to be presumed alive but heavily injured until otherwise known, and may be incapable of leaving under his own power."
Sunstreaker elbowed his twin for his smart-aft comment and sent him a jolt through the brotherly bond, making sure to get to the point. His paintjob wasn't a joking matter, ever! Prowl was now talking about the Leader of the mission, and when he heard Elita's name, he looked slightly surprised, but also pleased. She was one badaft femme... She may be light and look frail, but she'd whooped his aft on training a few times already and got his undying respect. "Elita One is leading? I get it."
Although it physically hurt, Sideswipe won't let Sunstreaker have the satisfaction of seeing him wince. He sends a flick to the helm-fin right back, making sure it hurt but it doesn't distract him. Sending something over the bond is as easy as cycling. A subconscious thought is enough. Right now, the red mech can feel his brother's admiration for Elita One. It's then that he loses most of his humour, leaning forward onto the table. "But you have intel that says he's critical? We'll have a medic inbound on our position once we're in, right?" Between the two superiors his optics flick, imploring for honest, non cryptic answers.
<Autobot> Optimus Prime says, "Chromia, please report to the war room for a briefing at your earliest convienence."
Prowl stays silent for a few moments, considering the question carefully. "...The undercover neutral you are retrieving is a medic. She will hopefully be enough to keep him stable long enough for air transport to get there, if necessary. Our intelligence does not indicate he is critical at the moment, but it is better to assume that he is in case of further injuries before the extraction occurs."
Chromia raps on the door twice as is protocol, frowning. Frag, what was she in trouble for now? Almost punching Sideswipe for running his mouth? Yeah, that was probably the situation, she thought. Slagger was apparently a bit of a tattletale. "Solider Chromia reporting to the War Room as requested, Sir."
Optimus Prime pings the door to unlock it, and it slides open. "Chromia. Please come in and sit down so that Prowl can brief you for a mission in approximately ten joors."
Sunstreaker turned his head to look at Chromia when she finally gets here, he was unaware other bots were to be involved in the affair. He had a nod for her, but his jaw was set tight and hard, and his optic reflected his own desire to slag some Decepticons. Tomorrow was supposed to be going nicely though... But things always had a tendency to go haywire. "Chromia." He greeted the femme.
Enough to keep him stable or enough to offline him for good when they least expect it? Sideswipe's experiences with neutrals have been mostly positive but they're still /neutrals/. He doesn't /do/ missions with neutrals. This time, he guesses he has no choice. For once, he's mercifully without words. That is, until Chromia's voice cuts through his CPU. Turning almost fast enough to topple the chair, he glares at the smallframe. "Oh great, it's the complain-o-matic bot." Oh frag, he shouldn't of said that. She knows about Iahex!
Chromia salutes sharply as Optimus Primes addresses her, her spine stiffening sharply. She knows her better manners when such a high command chain is in the room, so she doesn't unleash her foul language on Sideswipe like she normally would, or even give him a rude gesture. Instead, she frowns at him, but otherwise ignores the younger mech.
Prowl narrows his optics, looking between the two of them. "Is there a problem between you two?" He asks sharply, doorwings flaring out in annoyance. If some sort of petty squabble wound up forcing him to change the team, or compromised the mission...
"Huh?" Spinning back round, Sideswipe puts on his easiest, lovable grin. Not that it's ever worked on Prowl but it's worth a shot. "It's just banter, Prowl. Put your wings down." That kind of slipped, his optics flicking to Optimus to see if he's in trouble yet.
Chromia slides one more glance at Sideswipe before saying evenly, "I have no issue with him." She'll keep your secret, Sideswipe, long as you keep hers. Punishment detail is the last thing she wants...again.
Optimus Prime is definitely displeased. "If you cannot conduct yourself professionally, Sideswipe, you will /not/ be a part of this team, or any other combat mission until you can demonstrate a level of maturity that is not a potential liability to your teammates."
Fine, Sideswipe thinks aloud over the bond to Sunstreaker, don't save my aft when I most needed you to! Of course he's half playing. After all, Chromia just did that for Sunny. Steady blue optics set on the femme briefly, wondering what her deal is. What is she going to blackmail him with when they leave this room? Optimus' tone, combined by the sheer timbre of his voice brings him to his senses right then. Almost humbled, "I..I know, sir. I want First Aid back in one piece just like everybot else and to slag the 'Cons who did this...when I can. I wouldn't /let/ myself become that liability!" His jaw is set and his optics hard; he means it.
"I should hope not." Prowl says, giving Sideswipe one of his familiar 'I will deal with you in a few moments' looks before turning his attention back to Chromia. "Chromia, you have a long and... /Colorful/ record of insubordination. However, I believe your skills would be of help to the mission we are planning. Before I brief you on the details, I need your solemn oath that you can and /will/ follow any orders given to you; failure to do so could easily result in your death or the deaths of those around you. Can you agree to that?"
Chromia nearly replies with "Depends on who I'm taking orders from," but immediately thinks better of it, nodding curtly. "Yessir!" She meets Sideswipe's eyes for a brief instant. She has no plans to blackmail him...at least not yet anyways. Maybe she'll consider it if he gets mouthy again.
Optimus Prime nods to Sideswipe. "That is acceptable, Sideswipe- I don't doubt your commitment to this cause, or this mission in particular." He's well aware that the red frontliner is very likely considering how frantic he would be with his own brother caught in such a situation.
"I'm- we're not going to let you down!" Sunstreaker being back is a relief to his spark but is odd to his psyche. The red frontliner has forced himself to be be solo and now he's having to re-adjust. Just then Sideswipe catches the femme's optics again, with that look of determination set on his faceplates still. Another bot that doesn't like to play by the rules, huh? Maybe he should try to get to know her again. Optics wandering back to Prowl, he has to ask, "Jazz and who else is with us?"
Prowl examines Chromia carefully for a few moments, expression unreadable. Finally, he nods, apparently satisfied with her answer. "To inform you of what you have missed, Chromia, all three of you have been selected as part of a small extraction team, lead by Elita One, to infiltrate Polyhex. Your mission is to retrieve an Autobot named First Aid and assist in the extraction of an undercover neutral medic. The extraction team will consist of Elita One, Jazz and the three of you. Obviously stealth is a heavy concern, as you cannot risk taking on the entirety of the Decepticon forces at once. However..." Here Prowl's lips twitch upward slightly, and he almost looks smug. "We have a suitable distraction planned."
Small enough team to get the job done. As long as he and Sunstreaker get all the 'heavy lifting', Sideswipe's happy. This sounds like Prowl kept to his word about making him first to know about all this, too. At the mention of the next part of the plan and on picking up Prowl's confidence, he's on the edge of his seat. " 'Guessing that this distraction isn't free energon goodies."
Prowl manages to smooth out his expression again, though there's still an odd gleam in his optics. "If it were that simple, the war would have been over long ago, Sideswipe." He responds, leaning back slightly. "But the nature of our distraction will be discussed at the full briefing before the mission. For now, you are all dismissed."