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March 5, 2009
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The Sparkling shivered in his frame unable to move. He was rarely able to move anymore and when he was allowed, his whole body hurt, not just his head. Fear and pain were his always present companions. He tried to hide the fear, but he was just a sparkling.  During the increasingly rare times he was freed and handled by the huge purple mech, then left alone, he would try to remember the time when being touched had been a good thing. He would try to remember that at one time he had been cared for and protected. That had all ended with the explosion. When he had on-lined again he had been confused, cold, hurt, and hungry. The large purple bot that had come to him then had offered no comfort and no food. Had in fact picked him up by his sensitive wings causing more pain while staring at him with his single yellow optic. “You’ll do.” Was all that had been said before he’d been dropped back into the crate he’d woken in.

^^^

Jazz stepped into the room and stopped in shock and surprise. The stop so sudden and unexpected that Mirage, following him in raised a hand to his back to ward off the collision.

“Jazz, what…” but Mirage trailed off as he sidestepped just enough for a full view of the room.

The job here in the Con base was to locate and destroy Shockwave’s latest weapon. A super tactical computer. Various undercover operatives had been reporting the development of the top secret project for nearly a vorn now. The only thing known about it was that it had been in development. It had been completed and put to use three meta-cycles ago. That it had been activated three meta-cycles ago had not been information Special Operations had needed to provide. It had been very obvious that the computer was active when the Autobots found their afts being handed to them in 93 percent of the major engagements since then. They were barely holding on at this rate. Autobot tacticians across the planet on the battle fronts were screaming for the thing to be shut down. If it wasn’t, then the Autobots would be extinct in meta-cycles.

“Slag.” Whispered Jazz

“And frag” Mirage responded not taking his optics from the site in front of him.

For there in front of them, strapped and plugged into the bank of computers was a sparkling. Its blue optics flickering, indicating some sort of data transfer was in progress.

The two stepped over to the far wall where the sparkling was attached to look the situation over.

“This is the computer?” Mirage said with disgust. “Jazz, we can’t destroy this.”

“Not yet we can’t. Come on, we need to figure out how to get him out of there, because this is the only chance were gonna get. Then we’ll blow the rest.”

Jazz looked carefully at the connections. As soon as he and Mirage started pulling them, alarms would probably be triggered somewhere, cutting into what precious time they had. But leaving the sparkling to die with the mess that he and Mirage were planning on making of this room specifically and the base in general was not an option.

“Mirage, start freeing him, I’ll set the charges, then help you. We’re running out of time.”

It took time. Precious time. A full breem longer than it had taken Jazz to set his explosives; to carefully release the metal straps and clamps and unplug the interface cords from the sparkling.

“Ok I think that’s it. Jazz stated as he freed the last clamp on his side and reached to the lift the sparkling out.

The sparkling’s optics had come on fully the moment Mirage had begun to free him from the tangle. Those optics had stayed focused on him the entire time he worked until Jazz had come to help. Then they had stayed entirely focused on Jazz. Jazz had found anger and frustration growing in him as the tiny fear filled blue optics locked on him. The sparkling had made no sound however so Jazz startled when as he tried to lift the sparkling out it suddenly cried out.

“Ah slag! Shhh little one. Mirage I missed one. Gotta clamp here in his wing.”

Mirage reached around Jazz and released the clamp from where it dug into the wing and Jazz pulled the sparkling close offering soft clicks and chirrs in apology and comfort to ease the sparkling. Even before Jazz had cupped the tiny thing in his hands the sparkling had curled itself into as tight a ball as it was able, shaking and clicking in fear, pain and overall general distress.

“Hold him close and boost your energy field.”

“What?”

“Sparkling’s gain comfort from the feel of a creator’s energy field. He’s not synced to either of us, but boosting the field should still help. And hopefully he’ll stay quite as we get out of here.”

Jazz did as suggested and boosted his field sending a caring caress through it. “How do you know this Raj?”

“The upper classes of the Towers raise their sparklings themselves. You pick up a thing or too even if there are no sparklings in your own unit.”

Mirage watched as Jazz tried to settle the sparkling who unsurprisingly continued to huddle in a ball and click quietly offering no indication that it recognized the attempts at comfort it was receiving. “Jazz?”

“Yeah, yeah, I know. Here, you take him.”

“Me?”

“No matter what, I want him outta here. You’re the one that can disappear. If we need to separate, you get him and the image captures of this thing back to Iacon. Now let’s go before we become part of our own explosions.”

^^^

“What the Slag is that?

“What does it look like?”

Six joors since blowing up Shockwave’s base found Jazz and Mirage standing exhausted just inside the door of the one room Ops cache; the sparkling nestled against Mirage’s chest in recharge. They were facing the third ops member stationed out of this cache, a senior operative named Flex.

“I know it’s a sparkling. And a Con Seeker one at that judging by the wings and the very prominent faction symbols on those wings. Just what the pit are you doing bring it here to the cache?”

Jazz responded, his tone hot, but controlled. “First, it ain’t a Con, it’s a sparkling. Second, those wings are not flight wings, their too sharp and narrow; I doubt they will ever develop into flight wings so he ain’t a Seeker, though Primus knows we could sure use one. No, he’s a ground mech. Third, we’ve completely checked him over for tracking devices. He’s clean. And fourth, Raj and I are pretty sure he’s the main component of what use to be Shockwave’s super tactical computer.”

“What?” And there was no mistaking the surprised disbelief in Flex’s voice.

“Come on,” Jazz began tiredly as he and Mirage moved further into the room over towards the energon supplies. “Let us get some energon and we’ll show you the image captures and tell ya all about it while we drink.”

A quarter of a joor later found Flex looking thoughtfully at the sparkling where it continued to recharge on top of a storage crate with a thermal blanket wrapped around it. “You two get a joor of recharge, then I’m sending both of you to Base Cadar with this little guy.

Jazz sat up in his chair. “Why Cadar? Sopac is closer by nearly two joors. That makes for a quicker round trip. We’d be back in eight at the most.”

“Windcharger’s unit took over at Cadar recently and he’s got a full medic with him. Sopac only has a Med Tech. You two did a good enough field job patching this one wing where the clamp gouged it, but he still needs to be looked over by a medic. The sooner the better. But that aside, I doubt either one of you realize that sparklings require a special type of energon. This little one is going to get hungry at some point.”

“Far sooner than we can make it to Cadar.” Mirage mumbled lowly.

Flex still heard him though. “Aiy, you’re probably right. It’ll probably be before you get out of here even.”

Jazz wasn’t done questioning the choice of evacuation point though. “Okay, but why would a medic stationed at a forward base have sparkling energon? It’d be far faster to go to Sopac. We let them know were comin’ with special cargo. They can have a shuttle or a flyer waiting for immediate evac of the sparkling to Iacon.”

“While I agree that Windcharger’s medic probably does not have sparkling energon, he will have the ability to make some or dilute regular energon in a manner safe enough to fill this one’s tank up. I’m not sure a Med Tech will be able to do that. Plus, based on Decepticon movements, the Sopac area may be seeing some action here soon and I’d rather not send you through any of those preparations. We don’t need the sparking falling back into Decepticon clutches, since I’m sure that the Con’s will suspect we took him rather than blow him up with the base.” Flex paused then added sarcastically with a smirk, “that would be are sympathetic Autobot tendencies ya know.” He paused again before continuing in a more normal tone, “No this one’s journey to Iacon will have to begin from Cadar Base. Now, get that recharge.”

A little over a joor later Flex watched as Jazz and Mirage slipped out of the cache with the sparkling huddled once again in a ball in Jazz’s arms. As expected the sparkling had woken from recharge scarred and fearful, and hungry. Flex had attempted to feed the sparkling a dropperful of energon; not wanting to risk the sparkling’s tank or health with a larger amount. The endeavor had been unsuccessful until Jazz had come and taken the sparkling up in his arms where it had huddled, still fearful. The saboteur had managed to coax the sparkling to take the miniscule amount of energon, but whether it was from a sense of trust or just hunger forcing the issue Flex couldn’t say.

Now as Flex watched the group depart he didn’t expect to see either of the younger ops officers again anytime soon. The message he’d received from Iacon in response to his own message while everyone had been in recharge had pretty much said not to expect his team members back; if you read between the lines. The two didn’t realize or understand yet, but by the time they reached the Cadar Base, that sparkling would probably be theirs, its system and energy field synced to at least one of them if not both. There were enough joors of travel involved in getting to the forward base from the cache for that to happen. And few in the Autobot Army would want to traumatize further an already traumatized sparkling by yanking away what little security it had found just as soon as it had found it. He chuckled then, yes, the younger ops officers would find themselves stationed in Iacon for the immediate future he was sure, which would probably put both in a slagging foul mood for a few cycles once they learned of the transfer.

^^^

The head of Special operations himself was waiting to greet Jazz and Mirage when they finally arrived in Iacon with the Sparkling.

“Welcome back to Iacon. It’s been a while.”

“Yes sir.” Was the chorused response.

“Come on, I have orders to escort you three to Medical, so the new CMO can run a full diagnostic on him.”

“New CMO? What happened to Dactyl?” Mirage questioned as he and Jazz fell in alongside their Commander.

“He… retired.”

“Retired?”

“Yup. Quite the sight actually. In what may have been his most impressive display of ranting and cussing to date I have ever had the non-privilege of witnessing he chewed out the Prime in the middle of a Senior Staff meeting and finished it off with a simple, and I quote, I quit. He was out the door and on a scientific shuttle off Cybertron a quarter of a joor later.

“Well I can’t say that’ll I miss him.”

“Uh huh. Wait till you meet the new one, then give me your opinion.”

“As long as the new guy turns off pain receptors before doing work he can cuss and rant all he wants.”

The Commander offered a non-committal sound as they continued in silence to the medical section of the complex. Then as they neared Main Medical the beginnings of what was distinguishable as yelling could be heard. And as they neared the doors to Medical itself it was obvious it was coming from within. Jazz looked down at the sparkling concerned, remembering how it had panicked in the rec room at Cadar Base when a couple of warriors had gotten into a brief argument. Thankfully the sparkling continued its recharge apparently unaware.

Just before reaching the entrance, the doors slid open and a bright blue and green mech raced out, ducking as he rebounded off the wall across from the doors before sidestepping the Special Op’s officers and racing off down the corridor.

“What in the pit…” Began Mirage before quickly be shushed by the Commander.

“Shhh. Or he’ll hear you.”

“Either come in or leave, but don’t stand out there whispering.” Was the snarled call from inside Medical.

Mirage and Jazz shared and incredulous look. Before following their Commander in.

An average size mech painted mostly white with a few splashes of red stood before them. “Ah Ratchet, I see you’ve scared the bay clear of fools yet again.”

The mech addressed as Ratchet dimmed his optics slightly as he glared at the Special Operations Commander. “Watch yourself Commander. Your Ops miscreants are hardly any better than the average mech around here in avoiding stupidity. Now what do you want?”

“I believe you were advised that a couple of my miscreants were bringing in a special package for you to examine?” I’m delivering them and their package to you.” At that the Commander turned and looked at Mirage and Jazz. “Contact me when you’re done here, I’ll have quarters for you then.” And with that he slipped past his agents and out the door.

Jazz and Mirage shared a quick look then directed their attention at the medic. A couple of nano-clicks passed then Jazz spoke up. “Special Operations officers Lieutenants Jazz and Mirage reporting as ordered with the sparkling.”

^^^

The four cycles since arriving in Iacon had revealed a lot of information. And in Jazz’s perspective, not all of it was good. And in the number one slot on the not-good-news list was his re-assignment to Iacon for the foreseeable future. Number two on the list was that he and Mirage had been designated the official caretakers of the sparkling. According to Ratchet, based on observations while running the diagnostics on the sparkling, said sparkling had attached itself to Jazz and Mirage. Jazz and Mirage had argued that observation strongly saying the sparkling gave no noticeable signs that it was attached to the two of them in any way, and they sure didn’t feel any different. Ratchet had countered them by saying that it didn’t take any special skills to see the attachment, just that a bot needed to look. The rest of High Command had nodded in agreement.

That two junior ops officers knew very little about raising a sparkling had not been a strong enough argument to change the decision of caretaker for the traumatized sparkling. In fact it had been countered that op’s mechs would be ideal since the sparkling would probably need guardians in every sense of the word. The sparkling was after all a highly valuable war prize in the eyes of the Cons. And no one was foolish enough to think that the Cons didn’t have spies and infiltrators in Iacon. Taking it to an Iacon youth center to be raised was completely out.

Jazz knew he should have suspected something was up immediately when he and Mirage were assigned quarters in the area of the residence section reserved for command officers. There was just no way two junior officers, special ops or not would ordinarily rate such luxurious private quarters. The two had expected to be housed as usual in transient troop quarters with any number of other op’s mechs if they were lucky and with common soldiers if they were really unlucky. Yet they had found themselves here, in quarters outfitted with a general use room, a separate room with recharge berths and a third room that was a private wash area. They did not realize that the decision to have them remain as guardians for the sparkling had been made even before they had set foot in Iacon. The conclusion at the time was that the upgrade in quarters was because they were still in charge of the sparkling and would be kicked out as soon as they were relieved of the duty.

Jazz got up from the desk and moved to the recharge room to check on the sparkling. It recharged a lot. Ratchet had said the high amount of recharge was most likely a side effect of the modifications Shockwave had made to the sparkling. The modifications had a high energy drain. And while a fully developed mech would be able to compensate easily for the higher drain, the sparkling’s only recourse was recharge; since a sparkling could only handle so much energon regardless if it was sparkling energon or not. The science team theorized and Ratchet agreed that the sparkling had been receiving supplemental energy through some of the hook-ups it had been connected to previously by Shockwave. Such a method was an unacceptable, unsafe risk to subject a sparkling to and one the Autobots would not practice.

Of the modifications identified in the sparkling, the biggest appeared to be the highly advanced and singularly dedicated battle computer the sparkling was outfitted with. Ratchet had reported that at this point in time it was too integrated with the sparklings systems to disconnect. So for now the hope was that eventually the sparklings systems would realize that running the battle computer all the time was unnecessary, especially without the rest of the equipment the sparkling had been plugged into offering it direction. The information would make no sense to a sparkling anyway. If his systems accepted that reality, the amount of re-charge should drop to more normal levels for a sparkling his assumed age.

Eventually the direction for the sparklings battle computer would come from the sparklings other huge modification; the highly advanced, extremely sophisticated logic and analytical centers, which the medical team agreed had most certainly been tinkered with to get them to the level they were and predicted the centers would eventually be one of the most impressive ever seen in a bot. Combine them with the on board battle computer and the sparkling was destined to be a tactical genius. According to both the medical and science teams, the reason for doing all this to a sparkling was most likely because its systems would adapt, where as a fully developed mechs systems would not be able to adapt to the level of technological upgrades the sparkling had been subjected to. At least not and allow the mech to remain sane and have full access to the hardware. How many sparklings had lost their lives before a compatible one was found and the tech was perfected for use in a sparkling would never be known.

Shockwave’s mistake - or more likely Megatron’s everyone agreed - had been in trying to rush the eventual tactical advantage for the Decepticons by hooking the sparkling to peripherals to access the battle computer before the sparkling could mature and do everything on its own, thus putting the sparkling into play and drawing the desperate attention of the Autobots. What was to stop Shockwave from attempting this again, Jazz wasn’t sure. But the Science team had spouted off fancy words, scientific jargon about compatibility and mentioned high time and costs throughout the long explanation that essentially said they doubted Shockwave would go this route again, especially since it had proven vulnerable.

Now when Jazz looked in on the Sparkling he found it awake and sitting up. As usual it had made no sound. The simple guess was that the sparkling had learned quickly that being silent kept Shockwave’s attention elsewhere and thus it avoided any maltreatment. That the Autobots meant it no harm could take deca-cycles or stellar cycles to learn. Perhaps even meta-cycles according to Ratchet. And even then it might be vorns beyond that before the sparkling accepted what it knew. Jazz scooped the tiny thing up cupping it in his hands as it automatically curled into a protective ball, its tiny wings curved as close to its body as possible, which wasn’t much he noted.  Jazz sighed as he exited with the black and white winged ball.

+-+-+

Jazz and Mirage were sitting with a group of op’s mechs in an op’s controlled common room. There were a couple teams and several Lone Agents permanently based out of Iacon plus a couple of teams in transition to new posts present that night. No rookies here, only mechs who had been deployed in the field and successfully completed a minimum of five missions in level three two or one risk categories came to this room, which was why Jazz and Mirage often came here with the sparkling. It allowed them to relax with mechs who had known and shared the same dangers, performed the same often dark tasks, who thrived on the thrill and knew they were the absolute best the army had to offer right up to the moment they were caught and or killed.

Jazz and Mirage had received orders reassigning them to Headquarters as Op’s instructors. While junior in rank as far as the Autobot Army was concerned, the two of them had several vorns of field experience with the majority of their missions in the level three, two and one high risk categories. No mech based out of a cache as close to Con controlled territory as they had been saw anything easier than a level three job, with two’s the most common. To survive as long as they had in the field of this war gave them the right to this room just like every other mech present. And after dealing with rookies the majority of two cycles out of every three, the room was a much needed break. Plus, all the regular teams in Iacon knew how special the sparkling was. And though it mostly hid within the arms of its guardians whenever it was out of their quarters the fact was it had become much a cherished part of these rough necked soldiers lives during the vorn it had been living with them.

Flex was one of the operatives in base this cycle waiting on a new assignment. He had gone solo as a Lone Agent when Jazz and Mirage had been reassigned to the sparkling. And it was he who presented the question to his former teammates that surprised the Guardians. “So are you two ever going to name that thing, or is he destined to be Scraplit, It, Him, Runt, The Sparking, or Little Glitch for his entire life?” Flex nodded at the sparkling where it currently sat, uncurled in Jazz’s lap observing everything.

“Huh? What?” was the chorused and non-enlightened response from the two.

Flex briefly dimmed his optics and shook his head as a smirk appeared on his lips. “You two have been his guardians for more than a vorn now, don’t you think it’s time he had a name?”

The comment was followed by several other razzing comments given in good nature at the sparklings guardians. Then someone called out, “and it needs to be a good Op’s name.”

To which another responded, “Why? We all know Tactical’s gonna get him.”

“All the more reason to give him an Op’s name. So those stiffs in Tact never forget where he came from.”

“Somehow I doubt they will ever be allowed to do that.”

Jazz looked at Mirage, then at Flex. “Well I guess you do have a point. If anyone else was gonna name him I’m sure it would have been done by now. Raj?”

Mirage smiled, his optics glowing, “He’s long overdue for a name.”

Names were tossed out for suggestion, the merits of each discussed and argued over. In the end it was Jazz who tossed out the winning name. The group had just shot down the same Stalker and were racking their CPU’s for a winning name when Jazz spoke up. “Ya know, he’s really quiet. Even his systems run quiet. He’s gonna be really stealthy when he eventually gets upgraded…” Jazz trailed off and someone took the moment to remind the group they had already nixed Stealth, Shadow, Wraith and all combinations of the three.

“Well what about Prowl?” Jazz finally tossed out the name for consideration. Looks and nods passed around and finally Flex spoke up. “Objections anyone? Going once, going twice, Prowl it is then.” He snatched Prowl from Jazz’s lap then and raised him high for all to see, “You are officially Prowl, and you belong to us. Welcome to Special Op’s.” He held Prowl high a moment longer as the rest of the mechs present dutifully chorused welcome to Special Op’s and followed with cheers and clapping as Flex deposited the little one back in Jazz’s lap.

Jazz smiled as he looked down at Prowl who had tolerated being handled by Flex without a click or wiggle of protest. It was a first for Prowl who always pitched a fit when handled by anyone other than his two guardians or with reluctant acceptance, the Medic Ratchet. Jazz tilted his head and looked at Mirage who nodded back with a smile. He had also noticed. Perhaps, more progress than just a name had been achieved this night.

+-+-+-

Two full vorns passed and the war continued, showing every sign of further escalation.  In that time, safe within the halls and territory of the Iacon Autobase claimed by the Special Operation mechs, Prowl became the darling of Special Op’s. No seasoned Op’s mech was immune to the quiet that was Prowl.  And while he still fussed and squealed, or huddled shaking in silence when handled by unfamiliar mechs or huddled quietly within the arms of his guardians when out in the general parts of the base, the black and white sparkling accepted and moved among the seasoned warriors within the Special Op’s halls with a cautious ease.

Still Prowl had yet to show affection or true happiness. Neutral was probably the most positive word one could apply to Prowls emotions and behavior. He sought comfort when desired by going and sitting at the feet of a chosen mech until he was noticed and scooped up. And he accepted the attention lavishly laid on him by the Op’s bots in general, but always with a quiet reserve, caution showing clearly in his optics, as though waiting for the pain to start and his world to collapse. And he had yet to speak a single word. Ratchet continued to say Prowl was developing well for his young age bracket of four to six vorns considering what he had been through during part of his first vorn or so of life and that he was currently being raised by the entire group of special op’s miscreants. That he showed no signs of adding a few spoken words to the click and whistle language of sparklings was hardly a surprise and that what seemed to Jazz like very little progress was actually impressive indeed.

Then a startling and unexpected thing happened one cycle when Jazz was in one of the Iacon facilities training rooms with Prowl watching one of his rookie op’s teams run a simulation. The sparkling froze.  Various attempts to get Prowls attention failed to pull the sparkling out of the freeze and eventually the sparkling fell off line.

Jazz had raced for Medical in a panic.  Ratchet had been waiting for them to arrive and after a wide-ranging examination of the off line sparkling, decided everything would be all right. He then warned the slightly less panicked Guardian that the incident was likely only the first of several during Prowls time as a sparkling.  The reason was surprising, yet simple. It appeared the little one was actually attempting to access the highly advanced and sophisticated logic and analytical centers Shockwave had modified within his CPU and he was doing so vorns sooner than a normal sparkling of his age bracket would have been expected to access unmodified ones.  While not damaging to Prowl, it would produce a glitch that resulted in his motor functions freezing up and locking while processing power was directed to the specialized centers within his CPU.

The medic suggested that in order to counter the lock up, physically stimulating the sparkling immediately following a freeze might be enough to compel his processors to redirect some of the power back to the motor functions and thus prevent the off lining that had panicked the Guardian more than the actual lockup. Ratchet told Jazz that the glitch would most likely correct itself once the sparkling had matured enough to access and handle the logic center as required; still that was likely to be vorns away.

Several more glitch incidences over the next stellar-cycle while the Op’s mechs tried to figure out exactly what external stimulus was bringing them on finally led to the agreed upon conclusion that the glitch appeared when the sparkling was observing information that appeared incomprehensible or more difficult than sparkling average to understand. Rubbing the edges of the tiny chevron on the front of Prowl’s helm was the quickest way to free the sparkling from a lock and thus life moved on.

+-+-+

A routine convoy was being readied to take supplies to an Autobot Watch and Relief outpost located two joors travel from the outskirts of Iacon. At one time the outpost had been a way station for ground travelers in between Iacon and Uraya. Now though, with Uraya a victim of the war the only travelers were Autobots. Usually small patrol groups taking the chance to clean up, resupply, hear the most recent news and let someone else perform watch for a couple of joors, and the occasional larger platoon that would bivouac outside the walls.

Jazz and Mirage had made the trip to the Outpost IU3 as well as various others many times at the request of Roadblock, who in addition to being part of the high command and an advisor to the Prime, was in charge of organizing and leading the supply convoys. For the Op’s Instructors the requests offered a means to get some semi-real work experience in on their trainees while providing a few extra bodies in the convoy guard for Roadblock. Being so close to Iacon, it was relatively safe work. Army regulars in fact considered it dull. Worse than routine late cycle patrol in Iacon, because the amenities available at the outpost were somewhat lacking for bots use to the amenities of a full and still functioning city at the end of a work shift. There had only been three attacks on such convoys in the five vorns Jazz and Mirage had been stationed in Iacon. And all three attacks had been successfully fended off by Roadblock’s battle command skills. So when the order came down from on high that Jazz and Mirage were to take Prowl along on the most recent trip so that the sparkling could have a change of scenery and see there was more to life than a military establishment, Jazz had questioned Ratchet.  Ratchet had had a few choice words about High Command in general and the order specifically with Jazz before reluctantly admitting that the sparkling might, and he had stressed the word might, benefit from seeing something new. Still Jazz had left the meeting with Ratchet with the feeling that the CMO’s been over ruled in his objections and was agreeing because he had been ordered to. The two Guardians shrugged off the vague feelings of unease with the order as there was little they could do about it.

^^^

Jazz was mad. He was beyond mad. Controlled fury rolled through him as he surveyed the remains of the convoy while watching the remaining mechs split off to carry out their orders. “And locate that jammer, we need comms!” was Jazz’s snapped demand reminding everyone that that was a priority over the other orders he had just handed out. Then he turned to Mirage. “I’m betting that jammer is in one of the vehicles and Roadblock activated it with a wireless command. Once they’ve salvaged what they can and secured the wounded get going to the IU3. If you haven’t cleared the jamming range in a hic or so then it’s amongst whatever you took with you. Have everyone search again.”

“And you?”

“I’m going to get Prowl back.”

“I want him back safe and revenge on that pit spawn as much as you, but you’re shoulder is a mess, you can’t even transform. And the amount of damage Roadblock did to the convoy just on his own indicates this was a well staged plan. He’s prepared. You should be taking this convoy and letting me pursue.”

“No, if I go with the convoy too much time will be wasted while I argue with whoever attempts to prevent my return to the field. You came out with just dings and scratches. Get the convoy moving to the outpost, call for assistance as soon as you clear the jammer. I’ll mark the trail, you follow when you have some reinforcements. And if it’s quicker to take whatever the outpost will give you for troops, take them rather than wait for our own people out of Iacon. If we don’t stop Roadblock here, it’ll be vorns, if ever before we locate Prowl. Now…” Jazz trailed off as a green mech approached “What?”

“Designation’s Hound. I’m a Scout. One of your wounded said the convoy commander and three others took one of your mechs. I expect you could use someone to watch your back.”

Despite the situation Jazz found a bit of humor in a Scout offering to lead and back up an Op’s agent. “Appreciated, but I don’t think so.”  Jazz turned back to Mirage in a sign of dismissal to the scout.

The scout stepped back to leave and Mirage spoke up. “Hold a moment.” Assured the scout now waited he turned to Jazz. “If it’s quicker to make use of troops immediately available to us, then we shouldn’t wait for our own people.”

Jazz glared at Mirage as the blue and white mech tossed his own instructions back at him. “Fine.” Jazz continued to stare at Mirage. “Hound locate me a trail.”

Hound nodded to the op’s mechs back and headed off.

^^^

“I’ve got something” Hound said as he scanned ahead, his terrain program running at full magnification. “That way Sir.”

Jazz, squatting next to the scout stared out at the surrounding vicinity then back at the scout. “you’re sure?”

“Yes, that way, quarter of a hic, and there’s a ridge.”

Jazz looked out again. “I can see a quarter hic, there’s no ridge.”

“There’s a ridge Sir.”

“Lead on.”

^^^

“The ridge eventually joins up with higher ground here.” Hound drew a curved line on the ground with a grease stick and then crossed it, “buildings here.” He drew a circle near the end of the cross piece. “Not a full base, but certainly an established compound. They’ve been here a while. Power generators are in this building behind the main central one. Communications are in the main building. On the left is a set of three barracks; ten or twelve mech deals. Three more on the right, one for officers, one for flyers and one for heavies. Figure troop strength of eighty max; all with standard Decepticon armament, personal blasters, rifles, knives and swords. Armory and brig are most likely in the main building.

“How familiar are you with this area? Are the buildings new or something that has been converted?”

“I’m one of two scouts tagging along with the convoy to IU3 as a transfer. Apparently their previous scout team did something foolish.” Jazz didn’t ask for an elaboration. Doing something foolish usually meant someone had made a mistake and that the doer was dead. “And beyond what I could get from the few maps I could locate in Iacon, which were considerably lacking in detail, I’m not familiar with this ground. However, these buildings look like they’ve been fixed up and converted for this use. Maybe a retreat of some sort before the war? Somebody drops a couple of engineers in there for two, three cycles and you have yourself a secure enough compound in less than an orn. If Roadblock is holed up in there with your mech, he’s got the advantage at the moment.”

“And you’re sure they’re in there?”

“Unless they got a flight out, yes sir. I scouted a perimeter about a quarter hic out from their own perimeter line. Residual energy markers indicate a trail in, but I found no trail coming out.”

“So he’s waiting for someone.” Jazz turned and looked in the direction of the hidden buildings.

“Or they are already with him.”

“You said only the one trail in.”

“Unfortunately I cannot say one way or the other if flyers have landed for the range I scouted. I can’t even guarantee a shuttle hasn’t landed and departed. But I saw no flyers large enough for shuttle alt modes. And considering how elitist Decepticon flyers are, I can’t imagine two willing lug a prisoner off to where ever when they have him secured in a base already.”

Hound had mistakenly assumed from the beginning - and Jazz had seen no reason to correct him - that the captured mech was an op’s agent. Part of that mistake could be attributed to the surviving trainees with the convoy who had smartly not mentioned all the details regarding the captive, not that they knew much about Prowl themselves. The speculation into Prowl’s history had become a pastime of all op’s trainees over the last five vorns. And while there were variations in the stories, the common theme had Prowl as the creation of a now dead op’s mech and now a sort of mascot of the deceased’s peers. And while it might seem odd that Special Op’s mechs were being allowed to raise a sparkling on a military base in the middle of a war, who really was going to argue with them?

“Alright.” Jazz paused “Look, you did your job, you found him for me. Getting in and out of places like this is what I do. Stay here and wait for the reinforcements. I’m going to get things ready for when Raj arrives. As long as my mech appears safe and unharmed, I’ll hold off starting the party for as long as I can. Hopefully Raj will be able to get here in time and he brings enough support to just storm the place once I’ve retrieved my mech.”

Hound looked like he wanted to argue the decision, but a barely perceptible shake of the head from Jazz had him hold back. Instead he said, “light steps and easy tracking to you Sir.”

Jazz nodded as he slipped away towards the buildings. He had a sparkling to save.

^^^

Dots as they were called, were small marble sized explosives that were encrypted to a mechs own frequencies and could be instantly on command or time detonated depending on how an agent programmed them. They stuck easily to just about anything anywhere, thus were easily placed without notice as a bot walked past any given location. All it took was a hand brushing a surface here, fingertips touching there. The charges they carried didn’t cause a lot of destruction, mostly a lot of distraction. Still, no self respecting op’s mech no matter how much they preferred high damage toys would be found without at least a handful of Dots stashed somewhere in his subspace. Jazz routinely carried far more than a handful of the tiny things. Now he put his collection to use. Everywhere he paused outside or in he tapped the ground, every wall he pressed against, corners caressed as he glided around, a shuttles landing gear, a ground transports cab, some fuel barrels,  a door frame here, a window ledge there, a chair, a desk, a picture frame.

The computer office in the hanger as expected was linked to the main base computer so getting information on Prowl’s location as well as blueprints of the base had been relatively easy; a simple hack, nothing more. That Prowl was listed as being in a room in the Medical Section, Jazz was not sure whether to be worried for his health or feel relief that he wasn’t locked in the more difficult to access brig area. Now, one hall from where Prowl was he ducked into a room locking the door. A quick glance confirmed a medical or science room as the base blueprints had detailed. From here he would access the vent system for the medical section and Prowl.

He located Prowl locked in a small office off the main room. The sparkling had appeared unharmed for the most part, but then it was hard to confirm his condition as he was huddled in a tight ball on the floor in a corner, his frame shaking occasionally. As much as Jazz wanted to go to him, he realized that as long as Prowl was left alone by his captors, it would be better to give the rescue party as much time as possible to arrive and offer other things for the Decepticons to worry about. Thus he settled into wait.

^^^

We’re in position, go ahead and get the package.  You’re good any direction. We won’t do anything until you’re clear unless you signal.

Copy that, getting the package.


Jazz slipped from the vent to the ground and hacked the door lock to the office. He crossed to Prowls corner in two strides and scooped the sparkling up. “Hey Prowl, it’s gonna be alright. Let’s go home.” He was rewarded with Prowl uncurling from his ball and cautiously chirping at him.

“Now I need ya to be real quite. Can you do that?” Jazz asked and was rewarded by cautious Chirr. “Ok here we go. Shhh now.”

^^^

Jazz sent the command to the dots and all across the compound a multitude of explosions went off. It was enough to startle the two Cons’ in front of Jazz. Jazz backed off and slipped down a different hall as larger destructive explosions from Raj and the reinforcements rattled the building outside in counterpoint to the alarms now blaring on the inside.

The wall ahead exploded and Jazz spun around offering his back to the explosion as he hunched down tucking Prowl under him. A couple nano-clicks as debris bounced off his armor and he was up moving through the hole and into the compound yard.

Mechs were running everywhere as the yard and various items within the yard exploded. A quick sensor sweep told him every mech in site was a con, which meant Raj and what back up he’d brought had chosen to stay on the high ground surrounding the buildings. A smart advantage as Jazz was sure Raj hadn’t brought anything close to the forty three mechs the computer had told Jazz were stationed here.

Jazz was off racing across the compound just another running mech amongst a crowd, Prowl held close to his side when the Autobot comm. lines came to life with voices he didn’t recognize.

:Drones incoming!

Where slag it!

West from the west!

Slag! It’s Shockwave! Autobots fall back!


And then Mirage Belay that, we cannot fall back until we have what we came for. before connecting with Jazz on a private line. Location now, I’m coming for you. Jazz sent his coordinates and where he was planning on exiting.

Please tell me we have troops on the way.

out of Iacon, but I took what I could from IU3. That’s all we have at the moment.

I hope you requested some heavies. There is no way we can take on Shockwave without…
>

An explosion sent Jazz flying and he awkwardly tried to twist so that when he landed it wouldn’t be on Prowl. He came down on his previously damaged shoulder joint and heard it collapse and tear. Pain signals flared from the joint as alerts flashed that the arm was no longer attached and he had taken damage to a main fuel line in his chest. On top of that his head had been jarred hard enough to scramble his processor a bit and cause his optics to fritz. He struggled to his feet only to collapse back on his knees and found himself facing Roadblock just as the yellow con snatched Prowl from his remaining arm.

Prowl dangled from the Decepticon Commanders hand by a wing screaming as the con turned his attention on Jazz. “I’ve put up with too much you simpering Autobots to let you take this from me. Shockwave will reward me well for its return.”

Jazz would have tried for a reply to the Con, but his blurred optics were drawn to the large purple mech approaching from behind Roadblock. His spark quivered. “No.” he whispered in despair.

“Commander Roadblock well done. Give me the sparkling.”

Roadblock smirked at Jazz and turned slightly lifting Prowl towards the purple mechs hand. “As you command Sir.” As Roadblock released Prowls wing three things happened nearly simultaneously. The first was Prowl dropped right through Shockwaves outstretched hand. The second was Roadblock falling back as his chest suddenly exploded from several rounds of armor piercing explosive darts as they impacted it. The third was Shockwave vanishing and in his place the green mech Jazz remembered to be the Scout, Hound, stood and neatly caught Prowl before his small body could hit the ground.

Jazz had an astro-second to recognize relief and identify Mirage to the side of the scout before his systems took him off line.

^^^

Jazz on lined in Autobase Medical. He carefully sat up and glanced over at his shoulder. Yup, all put back together.   The diagnostics program he had initiated flashed its report then, all systems at eighty eight percent or better. So his chronometer was correct then when it indicated he’d been off line for two full cycles. He glanced around again but still saw no one other than the three mechs also on berths in the recovery room. Slipping off the berth he stepped out into a main work area and spotted Ratchet coming in his direction.

“Welcome back to the world of on line parts Captain.”

“Captain?”

“Hmpf, yes. You and your friend apparently impressed somebody. How are your systems?

“Fine, shoulders a bit stiff. Thanks.”

“You're welcome.”

“Um Doc, what do you…” Jazz was interrupted as doors across the work room opened and Mirage came in with a chirping Prowl. “Never mind” he mumbled.

In a surprising first time ever move, Prowl reached out with his arms towards Jazz. Jazz smiled and took the sparkling from Mirage and held him close. Then Prowl reached up and patted Jazz’s cheek with a small hand “Jass.” He said with a smile.
Link to Holding Out For A Hero Bonus Scenes 1-4



This entire story grew from a drabble that was the result of a writing excercise.

Edit: As of April 20th, Veriraziel on LJ claims Prowl's sparkling glitch and its resolution as her idea. So credit offered.

The initial drabble from which the story grew; as well as the part that goes with this picture [link] by *plantman-exe are the very first two sections.

I had no intention of posting the full thing here as I keep most of my writing in my Live Journal or on FF.net. A friend however informed me that I was just being lazy in regards to posting it here. and to just do it.


Title: Holding Out For A Hero
Rating: PG
Characters/Pairings: Jazz, Mirage, Sparkling Prowl, Ratchet, various others - some canon some not.
Warnings: some sparkling torture and battle scenes
Universe: G1
Disclaimer: I, in no way, shape, or form, own the Transformers© franchise or the characters it contains. They belong to Has/Tak, No infringement intended. Nor do I have any claim to the songs used.
Summary: WW or G1: A small glimpse at Prowl’s history as a sparkling and how he came to be raised by Jazz and the Special Operation Mechs in the Autobot army. Expansion of a drabble from the Song Meme. Song was Holding Out For A Hero. People on LJ requested, seconded, thirded, fourthed, begged, pleaded and even groveled for a continuance of the story.
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:iconharajukuterasu:
Harajukuterasu Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2012  Hobbyist
Yay! Happy Endings!!! :D
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:iconcmdrtekk:
cmdrtekk Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2012
Only if you stop here and don't read the extras.

Thank you for reading and letting me know you liked/enjoyed the story.
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:iconharajukuterasu:
Harajukuterasu Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2012  Hobbyist
KK, & Np
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:iconkatea-nui:
Katea-Nui Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2011
That was so FRICKIN ADORABLE!!! Baby Prowl is soooooo cute!! I wanna baby Prowl!!
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:iconcmdrtekk:
cmdrtekk Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2011
:) Thank you for taking the time to stop by, read and leave a comment.
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:iconkatea-nui:
Katea-Nui Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2011
^^ I meant it. I wanna baby Prowl! Itwas a great idea there, using Shocky as Prowl's reason for his BC and Logic Centers.
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:iconjazzgirl84:
Jazzgirl84 Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2010
I love this, can't wait to read the rest! I can't believe I missed this for so long!
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:iconcmdrtekk:
cmdrtekk Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2010
Thank you. Did you head over to FF.net for the rest? I actually have all the bonus scenes up here on DA. I did not realize that I had never linked the beginning with all the bonus scenes here on DA so just finished doing that in the artist comments area. Thanks for helping to point that out.

Thank you for taking the time to visit and read.
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:iconinvaderali:
InvaderAli Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2010   General Artist
I had been wanting to read this for a while after seeing =plantman-exe's pic that goes with it. I'm glad I finally did.
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:iconcmdrtekk:
cmdrtekk Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2010
:) Thank you.
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