Categories > Cartoons > Transformers

Bad Day

by Wyntir-Rose 2 reviews

[G1] Ratchet and Wheeljack get caught behind enemy lines in the early days of the civil war on Cybertron. One-sided slash

Category: Transformers - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Action/Adventure - Warnings: [V] - Published: 2007-07-10 - Updated: 2007-07-11 - 10472 words - Complete

"SLAG!" Wheeljack cursed as he jumped behind the bulkhead of a blasted out transport, Seeker fire missing his head by bare inches.

"Will you stay down?!" Ratchet cried, pulling Wheeljack further down under the bulkhead.

"But my invention is out there! The 'Cons'll get it!"

"Yeah, and if they kill us they'll get it too!" Ratchet growled. "Ratchet to Base! Come in! ... Ratchet to Base!"

"This is Blaster commin' at ya! What's the sitch, doc?" Blaster asked

"Blaster! We're pinned down in sector Draxis-259. We need backup or an evac now!" Ratchet cried over the explosions and Seeker laughter.

"Why're you in the Dead Zone? Never mind. 'M sorry, buddy, but we can't help right now! We're up to our vents in 'Cons over here. You think you can find a hidey-hole fer about an orn?"

"What? No! We're- SLAG!" Ratchet yelled as his signal was interrupted and he was hit with feedback. "We're being jammed, Jack."

"Figured as much. That's a Comm officer up there on the roof," Wheeljack said, motioning toward a nearby building and the green Decepticon who stood atop it. "And if he's here then he's got his blasted micro-bots with him too."

"Right, so we can't stay here. And we can't let them get your invention. ... What is it anyway?" Ratchet asked, ducking a low shot.

"It converts matter to energon," Wheeljack replied, taking a quick and wild shot at one of the Seekers.

"Great, we really can't let them get that. ... and we can't get out there to get it, so ..." Ratchet broke off and began firing at the box sitting in the middle of the battlefield.

"What in the Pit are you doing?!" Wheeljack shrieked, grabbing Ratchet's arm.

"We can't get out there and we can't let them get it. You've got the plans in your processor. This is the only thing we can do!" Ratchet said, firing at the small box again. On his third try he hit it dead on and the box exploded in a blinding flash of light.

"Come on!" Ratchet yelled, grabbing Wheeljack and pulling him along behind him.


"Slag!" Red Eye yelled. "Where'd they go? What happened t' th' box?"

"The medic shot it," Backdraft said. He flicked a piece of debris off his shoulder, a look of disgust plastered on his refined features.

"What was it anyways?" Downburst asked, poking at the remains with a delicate blue hand.

"Hmph ... it could have been a box o' slargs fer all I know. Ye'd think that we were th' enemy th' way those upper echelon troops keep information from us," Red Eye grunted, nodding in the direction of the Comm Officer.

"Listen up Seekers, we have new orders!" Frequency called down from the roof. "Find the medic and the engineer. Command wants them alive for questioning!"

"Any other orders, boss?" Downburst asked.

"Nope. And the exact wording was that He wants them alive and able to answer questions. Follow the orders to the letter, and have fun, boys!" Frequency said before turning away to visually scan the area.

"Hmph! Maybe we'll get some fun outta this yet. C"mon, lads! Let's find our wayward Autobots," Red Eye said.

"Yeah, this is a dangerous neighbourhood," Backdraft snickered. "We wouldn't want anything to happen to them."

"Here, Autobots! C'mon out and we'll give you a nice escort home!" Downburst laughed.

"Hey, bro, if that works I'll give you half my rations for the week," Backdraft chuckled.

"Lads, c'mon, let's try t' take this seriously," Red Eye said, "at least fer as long as Frequency's here," he added in a whisper.

The two other Seekers smothered their laughter and began their search for the two Autobots.


Ratchet and Wheeljack had just enough time to get into a burned out building before the flash from the explosion dissipated. They sat is the darkness trying to be as silent as possible as the Decepticons began to search the area. Ratchet pulled back further into the shadows as the tall black Seeker casually glanced into the building. Somehow he didn't notice Ratchet's bright white paint and continued on his way. Once it seemed clear, Wheeljack got up and began to look around the room frantically.

"We can't stay here," he whispered. "There has to be a hatch leading to the maintenance tunnels here somewhere. Help me find it."

"What does it look like? What am I looking for?" Ratchet asked.

"I don't know. It's a door, or a hatch, or maybe a portal. It'll probably be in the floor ... or in the walls," Wheeljack replied, looking under a box. "It might be in the ceiling, but I doubt it."

"Oh. Well that narrows it down. Thanks," Ratchet said, shaking his head.

"Quit griping and help me look," Wheeljack said.

The two moved the debris as quickly and quietly as possible, occasionally ducking behind a box to avoid the gaze of a Seeker.

"Found it!" Wheeljack crowed, far too loudly.

"Shhh!" Ratchet hissed.

"It came from over there!" a voice cried from outside.

"Here Autobots! We promise we won't hurt you too badly!" another voice laughed.

"Am I th' only one takin' this seriously?" a third, lilting voice asked, sounding very close to the door.

Together Wheeljack and Ratchet pulled open the hatch in the floor, wincing as the old hinges shrieked in protest. The door opened partway then refused to budge.

"Well, that'll never shut again," Wheeljack muttered before heading down into the opening in the floor. "This seems deeper than I would have figured," he added when his feet didn't touch bottom. He let go and plunged into darkness.

Ratchet heard a short yelp followed by a splash and the clatter of metal striking metal.

"Jack? Jack! Are you okay?" Ratchet called down, ignoring the sound of the Seekers approaching the building.

"Yeah, but it's about an 80 foot drop," Wheeljack called up from the darkness.

Suddenly the door burst open and Ratchet jumped down the hole, letting out a string of obscenities as he fell.


"Primus damn it!" Backdraft yelled, looking into the hole with distaste. "I will not go down into the sewers!"

"And would ye like t' be th' one t' explain that t' Him?" Red Eye asked, his voice dripping with scorn.

"No," Backdraft replied petulantly, "but can't we just tell Him that we lost them?"

"Oh, an' tha' would go over much better," Red Eye said rolling his optics.

"Yeah, but -" Backdraft's argument was cut off by Downburst's laughter.

"What's so funny?" Red Eye asked, turning on his wing-mate.

"You two! That's what's so funn-eh!" Downburst laughed, mocking Red Eye's accent. "Oh, come on! Am I the only one who's actually following the ground war?"

"Yes," both Red Eye and Backdraft said together.

Downburst crossed his arms and looked at his wing-mates in disbelief.

"I don't believe you two!" he said. "Alright, fine, you only care about the sky war. I'll make this simple so I don't bore you. The ground troops took out this area on purpose since it's got a direct line to HQ."

"What? It's not a direct line," Backdraft said clearly confused.

"Yeah, not from up here," the blue and gold Seeker said, stamping his foot on the ground.

Suddenly the light of dawning realization filled Red Eye's optics. "The tunnel only leads one way!"

"And we have understanding!" Downburst cried, raising his arms to the heavens.

"Very funny. Just fer that you don't get t' come Autobot huntin' with me," Red Eye said.

"I still don't get it," Backdraft said.

"The tunnel only leads to HQ, brother," Downburst said, patiently. "In their attempt to evade us, the Autobots have trapped themselves."

"Exactly! Now you two follow the tunnel up here towards HQ. Find a good ambush spot an' I'll herd th' medic an' th' engineer to ye," Red Eye said.

"Sounds fine by me, especially if it means I don't need to go down there," Backdraft said, turning toward the door.

"Jes remember that before ye start complainin' about boredom. It might take me a while to get them properly motivated," Red Eye said as he lowered himself into the hole in the floor.


Ratchet and Wheeljack ran through the ankle deep liquid that covered the tunnel floor, racing away from the sound of harsh Seeker laughter. The tunnel, for all its height, wasn't wide enough for either Bot to transform. While it was a problem for the two Bots it would be more of a problem for the Seekers, with their wide wingspan in both robot and alternate mode.

"We have to slow down! We can't just run from them," Ratchet said stopping suddenly.

"Have you lost your mind?" Wheeljack asked, turning back to face Ratchet. "Even together we're no match against one Seeker, let alone three, and you want to slow down?"

"We're making too much noise. Plus, we have no idea of where we are or where we're going," Ratchet explained. "We need to find a hiding place, or a branch, or something."

"Fine, okay," Wheeljack said, "but we still have to hurry. I've got no desire to be on the receiving end of a Decepticon interrogation."

They walked quickly down the tunnel, being more careful about splashing, both searching for access hatches or anywhere to hide.

"Most of these tunnels were built along the same lines, with access panels at regular intervals," Wheeljack whispered. "We should be coming across one soon. ... Unless they were built into the floor," he added, his head fins flashing an embarrassed pink.

"Great ...," Ratchet muttered as he followed Wheeljack down the tunnel.


Red Eye followed the trail the Autobots were leaving. The space was limited and it slowed his progress, be he was in no rush. After all, they had nowhere to go but straight into His waiting arms. Judging by the sounds coming from further up the tunnel it was obvious that the Autobots had finally grasped their predicament and had slowed. They were probably looking for a hiding place, but if Downburst was right, there was nowhere for them to hide. Red Eye laughed out loud at the thought and was pleased at the sharp echo. It was time to instil some fear in these two.

"Ye can't hide from us!" he yelled. "I know exactly where ye are, so why don't ye make this easier on all of us?"

It wasn't exactly true. He knew they were further up the tunnel, but there was something about this sector that interfered with his sensors. Not that he needed them. He was a skilled enough tracker that he could have found these Autobots in the dark with his optics closed. Also, if he couldn't see them, then they couldn't see him, and that must have had them petrified. As far as they knew, they were being chased by all three Seekers, Frequency and all his microbots. That was exactly the fear that he hoped to instil in them. By the time he was done, the Autobots wouldn't know up from down.

"Here, Autobots!" he cried out, "You can run but ye can't hide! Give us what we want and we'll be ... gentle." He ran a clawed hand down the wall, creating a marvellous shriek of protesting metal.

Suddenly the few lights that illuminated the tunnel turned off with an audible snap and a cry filled the darkness.

"Frag," Red Eye whispered.


Wheeljack had been leading the way down the tunnel when the lights had gone off and Ratchet cried out in shock and surprise. His cry had been cut off suddenly followed by a loud crack. He spun around and shone his lights at the area where Ratchet had stood moments before, only to find the tunnel empty. There was a soft hissing of air behind him, but he received no further warning before a strong arm snaked around his neck, pulling him backwards.

"Shh! You won't be hurt but you need to cooperate and be quiet. Understand?" a voice whispered. As the voice spoke he felt lips brush the back of one head fin and a slightly smaller mech pressed tightly up against his back.

Wheeljack nodded as much as the arm around his neck would allow. The grip didn't lessen at all and he felt himself being pulled closer to the mech behind him and another arm snake around his waist. Then, suddenly, he was let go and sent sprawling to the floor.

"Where's Ratchet?" he asked quietly, rolling over and peering into the darkness.

"He's here and fine," said a familiar voice, one that had a hint of the Towers in it. "I'm glad that you found your friend in one piece."

The strange red and blue mech who had helped him find Ratchet all those months ago stepped out of the shadows.

"You? I didn't expect to ever see you again," Wheeljack said, getting up.

"If you had the sense to stay out of dangerous sectors we never would have met again," the other mech said. He pulled out a small disruptor pistol and motioned toward Wheeljack's side. "Now, be kind enough to provide me with your weapon."

"What's going on?" Wheeljack asked, narrowing his optics.

"That's not for me to say. Now just do as you're told and you'll be fine," the mech said. "The gun, please. And don't try anything stupid. You might get me, but the others will get you."

"What others?" Wheeljack asked, looking around.

The mech sighed. "If you don't believe they're there, then go ahead and try something. ... No? Then hand over the weapon, please."

Wheeljack pulled his gun from its holster and handed it over.

"Good," said the mech. "Now head down that way." He motioned down the tunnel with his pistol.

Wheeljack complied, examining this new tunnel. Unlike the one he had just left, this one was dry, wide enough for two medium sized mechs to walk side by side, and the ceiling was much lower, maybe forty feet high.

"So ... Where are we going?" he asked conversationally.

His captor didn't reply he simply prodded the engineer gently in the back with the pistol.

"Do you have a name at least? I'd like to know who my captor is," Wheeljack said.

"I seem to recall telling you once that names cost, and you're in no position to pay me," the mech said.

"Well I can't just call you 'Hey You'. You've got to be called something, don't you?" Wheeljack asked.

"If names are that important, then you can call me anything you like," the mech said.

"Right, so how about Blue?" Wheeljack said. "So, Blue, where are we going?"

Blue didn't respond he just poked Wheeljack in the back a little more forcefully.

Wheeljack sighed inwardly and continued on the designated path. After several minutes of walking, they arrived at a blank metal door.

"Open it. Push, don't pull," his captor instructed.

Beyond the door was a short, inclining tunnel leading to a large, domed room. Stadium seating lined the walls and a large podium sat in the middle, illuminated by a single beam of light coming from the ceiling. It was obvious from even a cursory glance that this area had not been used in a long, long time. Four doors led out of the room, one in each of the cardinal directions. From the northern door came Ratchet. Like Wheeljack, he had an armed escort, but apparently he had put up a fight because his hands were in binders and he had a nasty gash below his left optic.

"Ratch! You okay?" Wheeljack called out.

"Yeah, I'm fine," Ratchet bit out, glaring at his captors.

"I would appreciate it if you were both silent," came a voice from the darkness beyond the pedestal.

A silver-grey mech stepped into the light and leaned against the pedestal.

"We've asked you here because you have something we need," the mech said.

"Asked us here? Abducted is more like it!" Ratchet said, outraged.

The silver-grey mech waved dismissively in the medic's direction. "If he talks again, shoot him. He's not the one we wanted anyway."

"What?!" both Ratchet and Wheeljack cried. Ratchet closed his mouth quickly as six high-powered rifles were brought to bear on him.

"We actually need you, Engineer," the silver-grey said, stepping forward. "Or rather we need something you have."

"What?!" Wheeljack asked. "What do you want?"

"May I speak to you in private?" the mech said. "You're friend will be fine as long as he behaves himself. And I'm sure he will."

"We can talk here," Wheeljack replied.

"Oh, I'm sorry. It appears that I didn't make myself clear," the mech said. "I will speak with you in private."

Six guns were made ready to fire at Ratchet.

"Alright, fine!" Wheeljack said quickly, raising his hands. "We can talk anywhere you like, just tell your guys to lay off."

"Wonderful!" the silver-grey said. "Go through that door and I'll be right with you."

With a last look at Ratchet, Wheeljack moved off through the indicated door. Once he was completely out of site, the silver-grey approached Ratchet.

"I had heard reports that you were quite the firecracker, but I didn't believe it until now. I'm going to make this very clear, because there's no point in having lies between us," he said, running his hand over the side of Ratchet's face. "I had planned on using you as leverage to get what I want from the Engineer, but if you put up any more of a fuss I will kill you. And I can assure you that not only will I prolong it as long as possible, but I will make it very, very painful. You're not the only one who knows exactly where to hit to make it hurt." With stunning speed, the silver-grey jabbed a finger into a gap between Ratchet's neck and shoulder, sending the medic to the floor gasping in pain.

"I trust I've made myself clear," the silver-grey said, turning away and exiting the room.


Wheeljack found himself in a well-appointed office. A large metal desk sat in the middle of the room with a large chair behind it and two smaller guest chairs in front. Shelves lined the walls, all filled with datapads and various art pieces. It was truly beautiful, but Wheeljack had the feeling that if he were to scratch the surface veneer he'd find something rotten beneath.

"I'm glad we have the opportunity to speak in private," the strange mech said, entering the room. "First, let us make introductions. My people call me Argent. Please, have a seat. I'd offer you a cube of high-grade, but I'm afraid we've been in short supply of late."

"What do you want?" Wheeljack asked. He remained standing.

"Right to the point, I see," Argent said, sitting in the large chair. "Here's the situation, Wheeljack. My people and I are neutrals. We have no desire to get involved in your war, and yet, the Decepticons are constantly harassing us."

"That's because there can't be neutrals in this war. The Decepticons won't allow it; you're either with them or against them," Wheeljack said stiffly.

"Well, that's not quite true," Argent said, steepling his fingers. "Are you sure you won't change your mind about the seat?"

"I'm sure," Wheeljack said, firmly.

"Oh well. As I was saying, the Decepticons are fully willing to leave us alone if we're able to present them with something to make it worth their while," Argent said.

"And you're going to give them me and Ratchet?" Wheeljack asked.

"Hardly," Argent snorted. "No, what they want is that box of yours. I'm guessing that you either have it or the plans in your possession. Otherwise the Decepticons wouldn't be combing the underground for you. You're going to give me the device and I will let you go in Autobot territory."

Wheeljack remained silent for a long time. Ratchet had been right that his invention had been far too dangerous to fall into 'Con hands. He wasn't about to hand it over to anyone, let alone these unknown neutrals. But he also realized that they had no chance of escaping on their own.

"Look, I'll make it simple for you, Wheeljack. If you don't give me the plans I'll kill Ratchet right in front of you. And if that doesn't convince you then I have several people who will happily delve into your memory core and pull the information forcibly," Argent said. He could have been talking about the weather for all the emotion he showed.

"I ... I can't give you what you want. But if you're worried about your safety then come with us to Iacon. I'm sure you can come up with an agreement with Prime," Wheeljack said.

"That's not going to happen," Argent said sadly. "I think you might change your mind in time. Especially considering that I will get what I want with your cooperation or without it." He stood and opened the office door. "You may as well head back out. I do believe we're done here for the moment."


Red Eye continued to move through the tunnels slowly, searching for any sign of the missing Autobots. There were rumours among the lower ranked ground troops that this area was haunted. None of the Seekers believed it, but it was true that there were some mysterious disappearance of supplies and equipment in this area. Red Eye suspected that there was a nest of Neutrals somewhere nearby.

He stopped dead in his tracks and thought about the possibility of Neutrals. The Autobots had disappeared without a trace. Neutrals would know this area like the backs of their scraplet-crusted hands and would likely be smart enough to figure out that the Decepticons were after the two Autobots. It was time to make a gamble.

"I'm here fer th' Autobots and I'm empowered t' make a deal fer them," he called out into the darkness.

His words echoed on the walls, but there was no other response.

"I know yer out there and I know ya have the Autobots. I can make a deal and I can make this very much worth yer while."

There was a dull scraping noise and a soft splash from behind him. Red Eye turned around slowly, nonchalantly.

"You've caught our interest, Seeker," a voice called out of the darkness. The word seeker was dripping with scorn.

"Tell me where to go then," Red Eye said.

"You stay right there. I'll be acting as intermediary until we're sure we can trust you," the voice said.

"Very well," Red Eye said, sounding bored.

"We have the plans for the device you seek. We will provide them to you on the condition that you move out of this area," the voice said.

"That's not likely t' be happenin'," Red Eye said. "We happen t' like this sector."

"No, this sector is of strategic importance to you. You don't think that we're dumb enough to not realize that this is a direct path to your door?" the voice said. "Our deal is as follows. We give you the plans and we keep this sector guarded from invasion. In return you leave us alone."

"You know, we could just take the plans," Red Eye said.

"Unlikely," the voice scoffed. "If you could do that you wouldn't be talking to me right now. And don't tell me that you're just one mech. I know full well that you and your trine mates failed to catch the Autobots before. What chances do you think you have against us? Especially when your external sensors don't work."

Red Eye took all this in. He could turn this to his advantage, get the plans and then come back and destroy these Neutrals. But he couldn't appear too eager. And he wanted the pot sweetened. He would be in for a glossa-lashing when he got back to base if he didn't have something good to show for his time.

"The plans aren't enough, I'm afraid. Not fer what yer suggestin'"

"Alright then," the voice said. "We can throw in the Engineer as well, but that sweetens the pot a bit too much. We'll need you to look the other way if a few of your supplies go missing."

"We're not about t' be supplyin' a bunch o' Neutrals. If you want a meal an' shelter then you'll have t' join th' cause," Red Eye replied.

"If this device is what we both suspect it is, then you 'Cons will be rolling in fuel. You'll hardly need to worry about a few cases going missing."

"Uh, yeah, that's true. But this deal of yers favours you rather than us. You should know by now that that's not how it's going t' work," Red Eye said, trying to hide his confusion. He really needed to find out what that blasted box had been.

"Well, it's the deal. You can take it or leave it," the voice said.

"Alright, fine, ye've got yerself a deal. But it's conditional. I want t' see th' Autobot. He's of no use t' us if he's scrapped," Red Eye said.

"I'll have to talk to my superiors about that one. You'll have to stay here," the voice said.

"Fine," Red Eye said with a dramatic sigh of defeat. He could always renege on the deal later. In fact, he would.


Argent stepped out of the wet corridor and made his way to the makeshift jail his people had created to house the two Autobots. The Decepticons would surely renege on the deal so he had to be sure that he got a working copy of the plans for himself. Once that was done he'd have the Engineer hollowed out and provide faulty plans to the 'Cons. By the time they realized they'd been had, he and his people would we well out of the sector.

He entered the jail and found Ratchet and Wheeljack sitting in their appointed cells, speaking together in quick, low voices. Wheeljack had his arm through the bars and was holding onto Ratchet's hand tightly. Ratchet was obviously trying to talk Wheeljack into something and the engineer was protesting.

"I won't have secrets here, gentlemechs," Argent said, approaching Wheeljack's cage. "Now, I believe I have made everything clear to you, Engineer. Have you made your decision?"

A quick and pained look passed between the two Autobots before Wheeljack sighed and stood up. "I won't give you the plans," he said. He sounded defeated.

"You're sure about that? You understand the consequences and you still are refusing to provide me with what I want?" Argent asked.

"We both understand quite well. And we're not letting you get the machine," Ratchet said defiantly, but there was a hint of fear at the edges of his voice.

Argent sighed. "I had hoped it wouldn't come to this. I had really hoped that you two would be reasonable. After all, I'm not doing this for profit; I'm doing this so that my people can be safe."

"But we've offered you an alternative!" Wheeljack said, pleading. "Come with us to Iacon. You'll be able to stay neutral and you'll be safe for as long as we hold the sector!"

"Ah, but there's the flaw, Engineer," Argent said. "You Autobots are going to loose this war. And when you do, I want to be friendly with the winning side. Lord Megatron is not known for his compassion, but he also doesn't waste his resources against his allies."

"We won't loose the war. But if you're that worried about it we can get you and your people out on a refugee ship," Ratchet said.

"And end up like the Stormchaser? I don't think so," Argent asked. He stopped when he saw the pained look on Ratchet's face and added, "So you had someone on the Stormchaser did you? That actually explains an awful lot."

Argent motioned to his troops. "Take the medic out to the other room and introduce him to Slice. Let's see if we can't ... persuade our good Engineer as to the error of his ways," he said.

Ratchet shot Wheeljack a determined look before allowing himself to be led out of the room.

"Now I want the rest of you to leave us alone," Argent said to the guards. "I would like to have a word in private with the Engineer. ... Oh, and leave the door open."

Once they were alone Argent pulled up a chair and sat directly across from Wheeljack. He watched the engineer in silence for a long time, until Wheeljack began to fidget. Then, with a smile, he crossed his arms and leaned back casually.

"I understand that you have faction loyalty. And I can certainly understand why you don't want to give us those plans. However, Slice is very good at his job and he enjoys it greatly. He will make what's left of your friend's life very, very painful. So you have to ask who your loyalty really lies with," he said.

A scream echoed through the hall and Wheeljack flinched.

"I ... No. I won't give you those plans. ... And if you don't bring Ratchet back then I'll delete them from my memory core and you'll never get them."

"You're not very good at this are you?" Argent asked. "If you delete those files, then you and your friend are of no further use to us."

Another anguished scream rang out.

"But the Decpticons don't know what the plans are. I can help you create something that'll fool them. By they time they realize they've been had you and your people can be long gone!" Wheeljack said quickly, a desperation edging into his voice.

"My, my! You're not as bad at this as I thought. However, there's a problem with your logic," Argent said with a sly smile. "You see, I had intended on doing that all along, but I was also going to keep the real device for my own uses. So either way, I need those plans."

A third scream cut the silence, this one broken off by the static sound of a vocaliser shorting out.

"Ratchet!" Wheeljack screamed, throwing himself against the bars of his cell in a bid to escape.

"Oh, now that's a pity," Argent said, cocking his head to the side. "Slice always does prefer it when his patients are able to sing."

"You're sick," Wheeljack whispered. "You're no better than the Decepticons."

"I never claimed that I was. You may call me sick, but I'm doing this to save my people. And they're more important to me than your pointless war of ideals. It doesn't matter which side wins because either way, Cybertron and her people loose," Argent said, his voice at cold as frozen steel.

He stood and moved to the hall. "Your precious medic will stay with Slice. Hopefully you'll change your mind soon. If not, then I'll make your regret your nobility for the rest of your short existence."

When Argent was out of site Wheeljack's legs gave out and he slipped to the ground. He needed to think of a way out of this before they killed Ratchet. He'd never be able to live with himself if he lost the medic, he couldn't imagine life without him ...

"Alright, think, Jack. They want the plans and they'll kill Ratch if they don't get them," Wheeljack said to himself. "But if I give over the plans then ... no, I can't. ... I don't know what to do ..."


Back in the water filled corridor Red Eye cocked his head as his keep hearing picked up the faint sound of a scream, ringing out in the darkness.

"Slag," he muttered under his breath.

The two Autobots were useless to him dead, and it was obvious that the neutrals were trying to get the plans for themselves. He had two choices, he could bide his time and hope that he was granted access to the Neutrals' hive, or he could call in reinforcements. Before he could make his decision he heard the tell-tale scrape and splash of someone entering the tunnel.

"Terribly sorry to keep you waiting, Seeker," a voice said. This was different from the one before. There was the faintest trace of the Towers in the accent and a smoothness that wasn't in the other voice.

"Not a problem. Are ye the one in charge?" Red Eye asked.

"I'll be bringing you to see him and from there, the engineer," the voice said. "If you'd be so kind as to take ten steps forward, turn to your right 90 degrees and then take another 3 steps forward. There's a door with a bit of a step so be careful."

"Why don' ya just turn the lights on?" Red Eye asked.

"I'm afraid that that isn't an option in this scenario. Now please step forward. ... If we wanted you dead Seeker, we wouldn't use such an obvious ploy," the voice said.

After another moment's hesitation, Red Eye did as he was told and quickly found himself in a wide dry corridor. A red and blue mech stepped into the hall after him and shut the door.

"If you'll be so kind as to follow me?" The mech motioned down the hallway, then walked away, pausing to ensure that Red Eye was following.

With a quick look around and a stretching of his wings, Red Eye moved down the hallway until he came to a large, circular, amphitheatre-like space.

"You'll have to excuse our lack of accommodations," the mech said. "It's a bit dusty and ragged around the edges, but you'll find the seats quite comfortable. I will return shortly with Argent. He'll explain everything to you."

The mech bowed slightly at the waist and turned to leave. As he did, Red Eye glimpsed the faintest touch of a smile, pulling at the corners of the mech's mouth.

"Hold on a second there," Red Eye said. "I'll be wanting to see the engineer now, if ye don' mind."

The mech turned and cocked his head to the side. "Of course you do," he said. Again there was that hint of a smile. "If you'll follow me, I'll gladly bring you to the detention area."

Red Eye was getting the firm impression that he was missing something very important.

"Sir, if we wanted you dead we would have done something well before now," the mech said smoothly, spreading his hands. "Besides, we all know the reputation of the Mighty Seekers. Personally I don't have a death wish and I doubt that anyone else here does either. And while Argent would prefer to meet with you first, if you wish to see the engineer, then I will be more than happy to bring you to him. After all, you are the one in charge."

"I definitely want to see the engineer first, and Argent afterwards," Red Eye said. There was still something wrong but he'd deal with whatever it was when it was sprung on him.


Wheeljack paced his small cell. Three steps left. Turn. Three steps right. Turn. He had tried sitting quietly, but soon found his thoughts wandering to Ratchet and whatever was being done to him. He needed to think of a way out and he needed to do it quickly. The neutrals wanted the plans and wouldn't let them leave without getting them. He would have provided false plans, but after having suggested that to Argent, it would never work. Besides, there was no way that he could bluff his way out of this, and even if he could, Wheeljack was convinced that Argent wouldn't let either Autobot leave.

But what if he didn't bluff ... what if he gave them exactly what they wanted. The matter converter was delicate under the best circumstances, and even then, it had blown up four times before Wheeljack had perfected it. Argent had asked for the plans to the device, but he had never said which version he wanted.

His thoughts were interrupted by voices drifting in from the hall.

"Now, is it simply the engineer that you want to see? Or would you like the medic as well?" Wheeljack quickly recognized Blue's voice.

"Th' engineer will do fer now, but I'll be wantin' t' see th' medic too. That can wait until after I've spoken t' Argent, though." Wheeljack froze as he recognized the voice of the black Seeker.

Blue entered the room first, followed closely by the Seeker. Wheeljack stepped back from the approaching Decepticon until he felt his back hit the wall and there was nowhere else to go. He glared at Blue and the Seeker, attempting to look defiant, but knowing that he was failing.

"As you can see, he's perfectly intact," Blue said. "I will admit that he's been a tad more stubborn than we had originally suspected, but we have people working on that as we speak."

A scream rang out and both Wheeljack and Red Eye jumped at the anguished sound.

"Ah, I see that Slice got the medic's vocaliser working again," Blue said, nonchalantly.

"Stop! Please, make him stop!" Wheeljack begged, staring out the door. "You've made your point! I'll give you the plans, just make him stop!"

"Well, truly you should be giving those plans to Argent, not me," Blue said, doubtfully. "I could bring you to see him, Sir, but by the time I get back, Slice may have inflicted irrevocable damage on the medic. .... And if I went to fetch the medic first, then I'd have to leave you alone, and I can't do that. You understand, right?" he added, turning to Red Eye.

"Of course. An' I don' imagine that ye can let me wander about yer base unattended either ... So, why don' you have that guard outside escort me t' Argent? I can tell him th' good news and you haven't left me alone," Red Eye said, smoothly.

"I suppose that could be okay," Blue said. "Yes, in fact I think that's probably the best course of action."

He stepped out into the hall and brought back a small, powerfully build mech.

"I need you to escort this Seeker to Argent. The commander is waiting for him in his office," Blue instructed.

The new mech looked at the Seeker doubtfully and motioned for him to follow. Once both were out of the room, Blue turned to Wheeljack.

"We don't have long. I was supposed to bring the Seeker directly to Argent, and he won't be happy about the delay. I'll see what I can do about your friend, but you'd better make sure that those plans impress Argent, otherwise we'll all be scrapped," Blue said.

He quickly left the room, leaving Wheeljack completely confused.


Ratchet struggled weakly against the bonds holding him to the medical palette. Slice had turned away from his inspection of Ratchet's insides for a moment, but he knew it was only a matter of time before the psychopath began his work again.

"There's very little point in fighting. You can't break the bonds and even if you could, you couldn't get out. So just sit back and let me finish my work," Slice said, without turning around.

Ratchet exhaled slowly, preparing to pull again against the restraints when he felt a light hand touch his arm. A blue and red mech stood there, the same mech who had escorted Wheeljack into the auditorium. He shook his head and the look on his face made Ratchet cease his efforts.

"Slice? Argent wants this one put back into his cage," the red and blue said.

"What? But I've only just started!" Slice said, a petulant whine tingeing his voice, a sneer etched on his pink and yellow face.

"Well, I'm sure you'll have the opportunity later. I seriously doubt that Argent will just let these two go. From what I've heard, this one is likely to be CMO within the vorn," the red and blue said, poking Ratchet painfully in the side.

"Hmmm ...," Slice hummed, leaning in to look at Ratchet with his one good optic. "Hmmm ... All the more reason to keep him here. Tell Argent that I know what's best. I'll return him once I'm done with this battery of tests."

"I think that Argent wants him back in his cell now." There was a dangerous edge to the red and blue's voice and Slice looked up sharply.

"Argent doesn't want him back at all, does he?" Slice asked, narrowing his optic. "I always knew you were a danger, Sm- ARGH!"

Slice's voice was cut off as the red and blue threw a small bead at his head. The bead exploded on impact, filling the air with a thick, choking fog. Ratchet felt his intakes begin to clog and he shook with silent, wracking coughs. He heard a crash and a sickening thud, then hands were moving over his body, removing the bindings, closing his chest, helping him to stand, and the next thing he knew, they were in the hall.

"I need you to come with me quickly," the red and blue said.

Ratchet opened his mouth to speak, but found himself quickly silenced by a light blue hand.

"Be quiet. No questions. And if anyone asks, Slice sent you back to your cell. Nod if you understand," the red and blue said.

Ratchet nodded and allowed himself to be led away from the psychotic's lab.


Wheeljack sat in the corner of his cell, readying the plans that he was going to give his captors when Argent walked into the room, followed closely by the Seeker.

"So I hear that you've finally seen reason, Wheeljack," Argent said. "I was wondering if you were ever going to come around."

"I'll give you the plans, but please, you have to bring Ratchet back," Wheeljack pleaded.

"Are we back to this again?" Argent asked, exasperated. "You'll give us the plans, and then I'll consider returning the medic when Slice is done with his tests. This isn't a negotiation."

Wheeljack hung his head, looking as defeated as he could. He noticed as he did so that the Seeker looked amused by the whole thing.

"Fine," he said. "Give me a data pad and I'll give you the plans."

With a superior smile, Argent produced a data pad and handed it to the engineer. Wheeljack quickly uploaded the plans and handed it back.

"There, you have what you want, now let us go," he said.

Argent snorted indelicately. "Hardly. You and the medic will stay right here until we've built the device and confirmed that you aren't trying to pull something."

Wheeljack allowed himself to collapse in defeat as Argent and the Seeker left the room. He had known all along that they would never be set free, but his plans were complicated enough that he had bought them a few days. Now he just had to figure out how to get Ratchet back.

"Yes, I'm sure that Slice said he could come back," Blue's exasperated voice floated in from the hall. "Why else would I have him? Now are you going to let me in or not? He's heavy!"

"I think I should probably confirm this with Slice ...," came the unsure voice of a guard.

"Slice took off to get his secret supplies," Blue said sarcastically, "and you know how long it takes him to get those. So are you going to make me stand here until he gets back or are you going to let me in?"

"Well, I guess it's okay," the guard said hesitantly.

The door to the jail opened and Blue stumbled in, Ratchet leaning weakly on his shoulder.

"Ratch!" Wheljack cried out.

"Shhh!" Blue hissed. He pressed a few buttons and the door to the cell came open.

As soon as he could Wheeljack jumped forward and took Ratchet, holding him close.

"You both have to get back into the cell," Blue said. "I can only spin this so far and if you try to escape now they'll kill you for sure."

"I ... I understand, I think," Wheeljack said, leading Ratchet back into the cell and allowing Blue to relock it.

"I'll do my best to get you out, but you'll have to be a bit more patient," Blue said before walking out of the jail.

"Ratch? Ratch are you okay?" Wheeljack asked, looking into Ratchet's face, his fuel pump fluttering with fear.

"Yeah, I'll be okay, I think," Ratchet said, hoarsely.

"Thank Primus!" Wheeljack cried, sweeping Ratchet into a hug.

Ratchet froze for a moment, before returning the embrace.


Red Eye followed Argent through the halls of the neutral hive, making note of the personnel, equipment, and layout. Argent's troops were well armed with the latest in Decepticon technology, likely taken from a recent shipment that had gone missing. It was obvious, though, that the mechs holding the weapons, didn't entirely know how to use them and were too under-fuelled to put up much of a fight.

Still, after watching Argent operate, he was sure that the neutral commander would not let him go willingly, and would have no problem using his own people as cannon fodder in a fight. Truthfully, Argent would have made a good Decepticon. It was a pity that his ego would likely not allow him to take a back seat to Megatron. The Supreme Commander did not allow dissent among the ranks, as many an arrogant Seeker had learned.

Red Eye continued to consider the best way to turn all this to his advantage, when he realized that Argent had stopped walking and was speaking to a lightly built red and blue mech.

"You will stay with Red Eye and provide him with everything he might need to make his stay comfortable," Argent said.

"Of course," the red and blue said, bowing slightly at the waist. "I will treat him as I would you, Commander."

"Good. I will have my people start working on this device. We'll let you know when it is close to completion," Argent said. Then, with a respectful nod, he turned and walked away.

"If you would care to follow me, Sir, I'll show you to the quarters we have prepared for you. We've set things up as best as we're able, but if there's anything else you need, please let me know, and I'll see what I can do."

This was perfect. This mech was obviously a toady, and an easily manipulated one at that.

"I will need t' check in with my command. Unfortunately, my communicator doesn't seem t' be workin'," Red Eye said. "Do ye think ye can help me out with that?"

"Oh, yes, of course," the mech said happily. "We have a field damper in place, but I can bring you to our communications room. You can get a message out from there."

"That would be wonderful. ... Are ya sure that ye're allowed t' let me?" Red Eye asked.

"Of course. Argent did say that I was to treat you as I do him," the mech said.

"An' might ye be able to do me one more favour?" Red Eye asked.

"Anything! Just ask and I'll happily help you in any way I can!" the mech replied.

"I'll be needin' t' contact the rest of my Trine. Would ye be able t' show them in when they arrive?" Red Eye asked.

"I ... well, I'm not sure," the mech said. "But I suppose that I wouldn't prevent Argent's friends from coming by, and he did tell me to treat you like him ... But maybe I should ask him first ..."

"Of course, go right ahead," Red Eye said smoothly. "I'm sure that Argent won't view that as questionin' his orders."

"I ... oh, he might at that ... Well, I guess that it would be okay," the mech said slowly. "Just let me know when they'll be arriving and I'll show them to your quarters."

"Perfect," Red Eye said with a smile. "By th' way, what should I be callin' ye now, lad?"

"Oh, people call me Blue," he said with a smile.

They walked through the base for a distance, with Blue happily giving a full guided tour. He proudly pointed out all the sights the base had to offer, making note of the labs, general quarters, and armoury. Red Eye took this all in quietly, all the while pitying Argent for having such a fool under his command.

"Well, here we are, Sir," Blue said, pointing out the communications room. "I've ensured that you can make your call in private. I'll stay out here and make sure that no one disturbs you." He turned away from the door, then turned back to face Red Eye. "You know, I'm glad I got to meet you, Sir. You're nothing like what Argent told me to expect."

"Oh, and what did he tell you to expect?" Red Eye said, amiably.

"Well, don't take this the wrong way, but he said that all Seekers were arrogant and easily fooled. You don't seem anything like that, Sir. I don't imagine that we'd ever be able to pull one over on you."

"I'm glad you feel that way," Red Eye said smugly. This peon was turning out to be even more stupid than he had originally thought. "You know, should you change your mind about neutrality, we could always use loyal mechs like you among the Decepticons." /As cannon fodder/, he added silently.

"Oh, I don't think that I could ever leave Argent, Sir. But I appreciate your confidence in me," Blue said, obviously preening at the perceived praise.

Red Eye hid his smirk and entered the communications room, closing the door behind him.


Wheeljack stared at the door, absently stroking Ratchet's chevron with one hand as the medic slept, his head on Wheeljack's lap. He looked down at his friend in concern. It had been two days since he had come back from Slice, but his recharge cycle was still plagued with nightmares. It was obvious that every time he lay down to rest, he was back in Slice's lab, and he refused to tell Wheeljack what had happened there. It seemed that the only time that he was able to rest peacefully was when he was near Wheeljack, and that was tearing the engineer up inside.

Ratchet moaned slightly in his sleep, then his optics opened slowly. He looked at Wheeljack and smiled sleepily.

"Hi," he whispered.

"Hi," Wheeljack replied, feeling his fuel pump flutter at the sight of that smile. "Are you feeling better?"

"I am now," Ratchet replied, sleepily. He reached up and stroked the side of Wheeljack's face, fingers coming to rest on a particularly sensitive bundle of nodes.

Wheeljack inhaled sharply, then relaxed, his hands beginning to move slowly over Ratchet's prone form. A voice in the back of his mind was screaming at him that this was wrong. He was taking advantage of his friend in his time of need, and he had to stop. But another portion, a much louder portion of his mind only cared that Ratchet shared his feelings, that he was finally able to be with this mech he had cared for secretly for so long.

Ratchet moaned softly as Wheeljack ran his hand over his chest, arching up into the touch slightly.

"Hmmmm ... Arclight," Ratchet whispered.

Wheeljack pulled his hands back suddenly as if he had been burned. He felt like he had been slapped, like he had been punched in the chest.

"Ratch?" Wheeljack said with a catch in his vocaliser. "Ratch, you're dreaming, you have to wake up."

Ratchet opened his eyes, looked at Wheeljack in shock, and was across the small room in a single, panicked motion.

"What happened?" he asked, looking around the room.

"I ... nothing. You were having another nightmare," Wheeljack said quietly, drawing his knees up against his chest and crossing his arms. "We, uhm, I still haven't figured out how to get out of here, and I haven't seen Blue for a while, so I don't know what's going on outside.

"And I guess your communicator still isn't working any better than mine is," Ratchet said, appearing to relax, but still staying away from Wheeljack.

"Nope, I think the Neutrals have some kind of a field damper in place around this sector," Wheeljack said, his vocaliser still catching painfully. "It would explain why this sector is so blind."

"Yeah, it would ...," Ratchet replied, slowly. "So how much longer do you think it'll take them to build the matter converter?"

"If he's got skilled people here, then he could be done today or tomorrow," Wheeljack replied, uncomfortably aware of the awkwardness of the conversation.

"And then what?" Ratchet asked.

"I don't know. But I do know that they'll be in for a surprise if they try to turn it on," Wheeljack said with a blue-white smile lighting his head fins.

The smile faded away and he sighed miserably when he saw the preoccupied look in Ratchet's face.


Blue moved silently through the halls making his way to Argent's office. Things were going exactly as he had planned, but these next few days would be the lynchpin in his plans. He had to be very careful in his juggling of the three Seekers and Argent. Any mistake at this point would result in his death, and worse for the two Autobots.

He'd often wondered to himself why he cared about these two. It wasn't as if he was an Autobot, or had any desire to join their cause. He argued that Argent had come completely unhinged and was a danger to himself and everyone else. This matter converter wouldn't change anything for the neutrals because Argent wasn't about to share the results with anyone. He had been with this commander for long enough to know that mechs were disposable to him, and that everything he did was to further his own cause, whatever that cause happened to be.

The Autobots were simply a tool, a means to an end. More than likely Argent was planning on using them and the converter to bargain a place within the Decepticon forces. By helping the Autobots, Blue was hindering Argent, nothing more. This was how he argued the point with himself, even though he knew that, in truth, he was intrigued with the engineer and his silly, pathetic admiration of the medic.

He arrived at Argent's office and shook his head to clear it. It was time to become simpering, toadying Blue, and he needed all his attention focused to pull off that role.

"Sir?" he called out, knocking gently on the door. "Sir, may I speak with you for a moment?

"Enter," Argent called.

Blue entered the room slowly, carefully, looking at the ground in deference to the great mech before him.

"Sir? I've done as you asked, but there may be some problems," he said softly.

"Problems?" Argent asked, not looking up from the data pads on his desk.

"Yes Sir. The Seeker has somehow found a way to contact his Trine and they've just arrived," Blue said, allowing a hint of fear to creep into his voice. "I didn't know what to do, and I didn't want the Seeker to be suspicious, so I let them in and brought them to his quarters."

"You did what?" Argent growled, looking up and glaring at Blue.

"I ... I let them in? Should I not have? I'm sorry Sir, but you said that I should treat him like you so when he gave me an order I followed it, and I'm really sorry Sir!" Blue cried, shrinking away from the incensed commander.

Argent moved in quickly and towered over Blue. Blue leaned back against the shelves, cowering against the rage that was building; preparing himself for the strike that he knew was likely to come. It would hurt, but Blue was sure that Argent wouldn't kill him outright. Not yet anyway.

The strike never came. Instead, Argent stalked away and threw himself back in his chair.

"Well, it's done, and maybe I can use this to my advantage. Maybe I can salvage this situation, even through you're mistake may have slagged us all," Argent grumbled. "I want you to go back and make yourself available to them in any way they need. Convince them to talk and then report back to me."

"Uhm, Sir?" Blue said tentatively. "I already heard them talking. They're hoping that they'll be able to steal the device from you by sheer force. They plan to get you on their good side, and then when you aren't expecting it, they'll strike. I heard the whole thing, Sir!"

"Hmph. Do they honestly think that I'd be taken in by such an obvious ploy?" Argent snorted. "Those Seekers are more arrogant and stupid than I had originally thought. ... Go do as I ordered and report anything else you find."

"Yes, Sir," Blue said with a slight sigh.

He moved slowly from the room and allowed the door to slide shut behind him. As soon as he was clear, he moved quickly down the hall. It was time for the troops to hear about how Argent was working with the Seekers and not against them as he claimed.


Ratchet sat on the floor of the cell watching Wheeljack pace nervously.

"I suppose that we could try to get the guard in here and then overpower him ...," Wheeljack said. "Or if I could borrow some of your tools I might be able to -." He broke off awkwardly as he looked at Ratchet.

"I don't think my tools can get through those bars," Ratchet said, avoiding Wheeljack's gaze.

Wheeljack looked at his friend for a long moment before turning away and leaning against the bars.

"Jack?" Ratchet said, a tentative note in his voice. "Jack, I'm sorry, I just-."

"Never mind," Wheeljack interrupted, trying to force his head fins to light up with something other than the grey of misery. "If we can't break out then we'll just have to go with plan A. I'll call in the guard, we'll get him to come in here and then we'll overpower him."

"Jack, I don't think that's going to work," Ratchet said. "And avoiding the-."

"Come on Ratch!" Wheeljack said, walking up to Ratchet. "He's small, and the space is tight, I'm sure between the two of us we could-."

Suddenly an explosion rocked the base, sending Wheeljack tumbling onto Ratchet's lap.

"What the frag is going on?" Ratchet whispered, helping Wheeljack to stand, the recent awkwardness forgotten.

"Argent's plan has backfired quite badly," Blue said, running into the room.

He pulled pressed a few buttons on the wall and released the gate of the cell.

"Come on!" he said. "I don't have long to get you two out of here."

"What? How do we know we can trust you?" Wheeljack asked.

"You don't. Maybe I got your friend away from Slice so that I could get the plans for myself. Or maybe I'm trying to help you," Blue said. "Either way you have to make a decision. Come with me or stay here. And if you stay here then either Argent or Red Eye's going to get you. It's your choice."

Blue opened the cell door then turned to leave.

"Come on," Ratchet croaked, grabbing Wheeljack's hand and pulling him along. "Anything's better than here."

They ran through the halls all but ignored by the panicked and fighting troops in the Neutral base.

"What's going on?" Wheeljack asked, as they were forced to duck around a corner to avoid laser fire.

"I told you, Argent's plan backfired," Blue said. "You're invention failed, and now everyone thinks that Argent betrayed them or has been killed."

"Yeah, but why are they fighting each other?" Ratchet asked.

"Who knows? Someone must have told them that the position of top mech is up for grabs," Blue said with a soft chuckle. "What you are seeing is a military coup of the worst kind."

"Yeah, but what happened to cause this?" Wheeljack asked. "It has to be more than my invention blowing up.

"It is," Blue replied, leading them through little used back corridors of the base. "It seems that Argent tried to turn the machine on without the Seekers present. They took offence and nearly had it out right there, but they managed to put their differences aside for the sake of unity and greed. When you're machine blew up, both sides though the other was to blame. Last I saw two of the Seekers and most of Argent's Elite Guard were down, and Argent and Red Eye were trying to rip each other's vocaliser out."

Blue's description of the events was punctuated by the sound of far away laser fire and the smell of a distant electrical fire.

"Just follow me and I'll get you safely to Autobot Headquarters," Blue said, opening a door to the sewers. "It'll be the long way around, but it's safer than the direct route. You just have to trust me."

With a look of misgiving, Ratchet and Wheeljack followed Blue into the sewers.


In later recollections, neither Ratchet nor Wheeljack were able to fully remember the harried flight away from their captors. Blue led them on a forced march through subsurface passages that neither knew existed, and on the few occasions when they moved above, they were always in Decepticon territory. More than likely Argent was far too busy dealing with Red Eye and his Trine-mates to chase after them, but still, every time they stopped to rest, they were haunted by the sounds of pursuing feet.

Finally, after an exhausting flight, they arrived at Autobot HQ in Iacon. With a sigh of relief Ratchet and Wheeljack moved to enter the city, until they realized that their benefactor was remaining behind.

"Aren't you coming?" Wheeljack asked.

"Nope," said Blue. "I'm not quite sure I belong in there. I'm fully willing to help out, but I think I'm probably of more use out here."

"But what about Argent? He's still out there. We can keep you safe," Ratchet said.

"I think that Argent has his hands full with the Decepticons. I'm not too concerned about him," Blue said with an indelicate snort.

"Alright, fine. But if you change your mind let me know okay?" Wheeljack said.

"Will do," Blue said, then leaning close to Wheeljack he added in a whisper, "And if you ever get tired of waiting for the doc to come around, let me know. I'll be nearby." He stepped back and threw a mock salute to the Autobots then turned away.

"Hey, wait a minute," Wheeljack said. "We still don't know your name."

"I told you before, that information costs, and you can't afford it. Not yet anyway." He transformed and drove off into the ruins, masking his trail with a puff of smoke.

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