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By DarkHunterEcstasy

Thriller / Horror

Chapter 1

"Keep the prisoner at bay no matter the costs. Listen to nothing he says, keep a close optic on him, and offer no chance at refuel whatsoever." The grave voice of the current Autobot division commander rumbled through the processors of the mechs and femmes stationed around the huge transport vehicle.

Jazz shifted, armor flaring as he checked his internal chronometer for the hundredth time. A deep vent left his flared manifolds as he groaned inwardly, his talons clicking against streamlined white armor. 

Bloodstorm looked down at the restless Polyhexian, sensing his darkening mood. Baring long and pointed dentia, he flared his wings wide, golden optics burning. "All will be well, hunter. We will be moving shortly." 

The Polyhexian growled, visor burning bright. "Ah don' care. Ah don' like leavin' him in there alone." He glanced back at the rumbling armored truck, his engine growling in thinly veiled distress. "He'll mess with their heads or somethin'." His optics narrowed as he shook his helm in irritation. "He always does." 

The massive triple changer rolled his optics, fanning his wings in great and powerful strokes. "The beast is subdued, hunter, and he will be so until we arrive at the prison."

From inside the massive transport vehicle, a demonic roar sounded, slicing through the sudden thick silence. With a dark and knowing glance, Bloodstorm and Jazz headed towards the rumbling truck, weapons ready to be drawn and used.

The large and triple-reinforced cybertonium doors were wide open, as well as the four other sets placed inside the vehicle. Two mechs, no doubt some of their new recruits, stood in front of the cell of the prisoner, blasters drawn and armor flared as their gazes remained fixed on the large cell.

A deep and rumbling series of snarling was coming from inside the cell of the prisoner. The mech himself was pressed against the cell wall, enormous bladed wings flared and dark golden optics burning violently. His scarred mouthplates were curled back to expose his huge and pointed dentia. Dark, sleek, and hauntingly beautiful armor was flared, a rising and falling storm of black and silver and scarlet metal.

"What do you think you are doing?" Bloodstorm demanded, his deep and powerful voice echoing throughout the portable cell. The prisoner growled, shuddering as his optics burned a menacing shade of crimson.

The two mechs turned, optics wide with battling emotions. The taller of the two, a slim flier with slanted and bright orange optics and slit pupils, bared long dentia in a disgusted sneer.

"We were merely having a conversation with our guest." His wings twitched and flared, expressing his agitation and anger as his companion murmured a soft agreement.

The triple changer glared down at the two, his massive wings flaring and making him seem larger than normal. "Do you not realize that your conversation could result int he prisoner escaping and terminating all who are currently stationed here?" 

The shackled mech flexed his talons, optics flickering as a dark chuckle rang throughout his chassis. He tilted his helm as if in curiosity, but Jazz knew that he was excited by the idea of causing sweet, sweet chaos.

A fiery orange glare narrowed as a powerful engine rumbled. "I am no fool, though I would not expect you to know that, being the haughty and uptight mech that you are. 

Bloodstorm bared his fangs in his signature cruel and sadistic grin. "Haughty, you say? If you believe that I am conceited, then you know not the meaning of the word."

Jazz shifted restlessly, a whine coming from his engine and vocalizer as he glared at the imprisoned killer. 

The killer caught his stare and grinned viciously, huge and venomous fangs bared. Tilting his helm, the monster curled his claws around the Energon bars creating a barrier between him and the others, wings twitching at the burning pain that most likely aroused him.

A chill ran down the white mech's spinal components as that insane amber glare pierced him. Unable to shake the feeling of unease that now hung over him, he activated his communications link to address his partner.

/Bloodstorm, ya and the two mechs need ta get outta here./

/What is it, hunter?/ The massive crimson responded even as he snarled curses at the two younger mechs, promising eternal pain if they defied the orders that he was giving.

/Nothing's wrong...yet. Ah...jus' wanna try somethin'./ Jazz kept his glared on the imprisoned mech, talons flexing and armor shifting 

/Do not do anything stupid, Jazz./ Bloodstorm glared pointedly at the bounty hunter before turning to force the two delinquents out of the transport vehicle.

/Meh? Do anythin' stupid? Ah'm shocked that ya would think that o' meh./ The streamlined mech grinned as the triple changer forced the two young recruits out with a push and a vicious snarl. 

Jazz turned to face the prisoner.

The murderer tilted his helm, wings twitching and engine rumbling. It was silent, until a deep and powerful voice thundered throughout the truck.

"Hunter. It has been a while."

The Polyhexian growled lowly, armor shifting over his streamlined frame. "What do you have planned, mech?"

A hoarse laugh rumbled through the mech's broad chassis. "Why would I ever tell you?" He narrowed his optics, fanning his wings. "Even if I did, the information would not be beneficial to you in any way. You and I both know that I am recognized as being rather...unpredictable."

The white mech smirked, crossing his servos. "This is the most ya've ever said ta meh, ya know?" 

"Do not ruin the moment." The darker mech flicked his wings, sitting on the floor with his legs crossed. Letting out a deep vent, he turned his helm in the direction of the bounty hunter. "Why are you here?"

Jazz smirked, armor rippling. "Wha', Ah can't come an' visit mah favorite prisoner?" 

Long talons tapped an unidentifiable rhythm on sleek dark armor. "I am the only prisoner here." He noticed the smirk that curled back the hunter's mouthplates, and he bared his fangs and snarled. "Do not think of me as a fool. There may be more than one prisoner transport, and you may have disabled my primary sensors, but I always have and know more than what you would care to look for."

"Oh, Ah know." The Polyhexian grinned devilishly as his visor flashed brightly. "Ah jus' wasn't gonna give ya the chance ta attack any o' our officer." 

The black mech gave a horrific imitation of a grin, his optics now two blazing pools of crimson. "You actually care for their lives? My, they should be touched that one of Cybertron's greatest bounty hunters is caring for them."

"Ah don' care fer them. They can rot in prison fer all Ah care. Wha' Ah do care about is you tearing them to shreds and wreaking havoc all over the city." Jazz narrowed his optics, crossing his servos as he leaned against the wall behind him.

"And what is havoc, my dear hunter?" The Incarcerator was staring intently at him now, faceplate devoid of any kind of emotion. His wings fanned the air in slow, deliberate movements as he traced his talons against the cool metal floor. "Our definitions of such a wonderful word no doubt differ."

Jazz tilted his helm, optics narrowing as he shifted his weight. The mech was attempting to manipulate him, of that there was no doubt, but it was what he was trying to get Jazz to believe to think that was confusing him.

Scowling, the bounty hunter snarled and glared at the deranged mech. "Havoc is havoc, mech, no matter how anyone defines it." 

The serial killer smirked slightly, shaking his helm. "That is where you are wrong, hunter."

"Ah jus' realized somethin." The bounty hunter grinned, visor blazing. "Ya don't know mah name, do ya?" Jazz muttered, glancing at the transport door.

Prowl gave a deep and rumbling laugh that chilled the hunter to his core. "I make it a priority to study my prey before I hunt, Polyhexian."

"Ya don't hunt so much as ya imprison," Jazz countered. "Ah know the stories. Ya capture an' torture mechs tha' have either done wrong ta ya or society and those that ya think have done wrong."

"Do I detect a hint of hatred? Or jealousy, perhaps?" The large mech bared his dentia, flaring his wings. "Do not tell me that you hoping to be captured when you baited me." 

Jazz shrugged, shifting his armor. "Ah wanted ta see what all the fuss was about. Ah've seen and heard 'bout some o' the things that ya've done, so Ah wanted ta experience it firsthand."

A strange sound came from the darker mech as he tilted his helm. "I do not think that I have ever met someone eager for me to punish them." A dark and shadowy expression crossed his faceplate. "I will be sure to work you into my schedule."

Jazz gave a short laugh that was more of a bark than a sound of amusement. "Ah don't know if ya know, but ya schedule is put on hold fer a long time. With all o' the crimes ya've committed, ya're lookin' at life in either Garrus-9 or Styx."

Prowl laughed, but when it turned into a bout of harsh coughing Jazz tilted his helm and narrowed his optics.

 "Did ya ever take ya rations?" the hunter questioned, crossing his servos. The killer still had the acid and neurotoxins that had been used to slow down his earlier attack before his imprisonment in his systems. The fact that he had lasted so long with such lethal substances in his system was a thing that disturbed many of the Enforcers. Any normal mech would have been immediately incapacitated, but Prowl had fought relentlessly - for joors, even - while he was temporarily blinded and poisoned. After convincing the Chief and Bloodstorm that no, you can't let the Incarcerator die while he's being transported, no matter how much you hate him, Jazz had made a treatment that would counteract the effects of the poison he had used and gave it to the prisoner every orn during their trip to the prison. It was apparently working, and Prowl did not seem to be having any negative reactions to the medicine. He would, however, deteriorate should he decide not to take the slow-working remedy.

The Praxian wrapped a servo around his torso, near his tanks, baring his dentia in a pained grimace. "My systems automatically reject anything that I have not ingested in the time span of three quartexes, or anything that does not recognize within my core memory. Since I have not taken in your treatment before, the counteracting agents have no effect on me." 

"Tha' must suck when ya go to Maccadam's, right?" Jazz smirked, visor flickering in his dry amusement.

To his surprise, the black mech scowled and flared his wings in sudden aggression. "I would never be caught—dead or alive—in a place like that." 

Jazz tilted his helm, sheathing and unsheathing his talons by force of habit. "Isn't it where ya get your targets?"

Prowl gave a dry laugh, wincing briefly as he leaned his helm back against the wall of his cell. Shuttering his optics, he shook his helm shortly. "That is what you believe? Perhaps I should give you a clue."

"It'd be plenty helpful." The Polyhexian flared his visor brightly, internally delighting at the irritated hiss the dark mech gave at the sudden flare of light. "We wouldn't have ta hunt ya down as much."

 "You only found me because I let you." The Praxian let out a deep exvent and rumbled deeply. "What other chance would you have to gather more information on me? Your medic ran a scan, did he not? He should know all about me now."

 Jazz scoffed, rolling his optics. "The scans revealed nothing, not so surprisingly. Ya have defenses against scans that aren't ya own or those that you approve don't ya?"

Prowl smirked ever so slightly, flicking his wings. "Obviously. Why would I not, with the line of work that I am in?"

The hunter gave a small grin, tapping his claws against his armor. "How does it work?"

Dark armor shifting, the mech snarled softly. "Do you expect me to tell you? You are working for the ones who are attempting to imprison me."

"Ya think Ah'm workin' fer them? Ha!" Jazz grinned, visor burning bright. "Ah work fer no one but mahself."

Prowl's faceplate settled into a mask of cold impassiveness. "Then why are you employed by the Corps?"

Jazz froze, mandible components clenched tight enough that they creaked. "Tha' is none of ya business." 

"It is indeed, hunter." Rising in one fluid and dangerously graceful motion, the black mech was suddenly on his pedes and extremely close to the Polyhexian, or as much as the cell would allow him to be. His optics were crimson once again, piercing the hunter to his core with a dangerous efficiency. "You owe the Corps your life. You would have died and rotted in the streets with no one to care the slightest bit for you had they not taken you in. They trained you to be one of the best of the best, which is why you were hired to hunt me down." A dark purr escaped the mech's vocalizer. "Is that not right?"

The hunter trembled in rising fury, servos clenching into fists. "Ya know nothin' about them, no matter where ya received ya info." 

"You would dare to tell me whether I am wrong or right?" Large and powerful wings flared in thinly veiled irritation. "You must be mistaken with who you are speaking to."

"Ah know fully well who Ah'm speakin ta!" Jazz roared at the mech, silver-white armor flaring. "Don't think tha' since ya're the greatest killer this world has ever seen that ya can boss meh around!" 

Prowl remained deadly calm, much to the Polyhexian's dissatisfaction. "Who ever said anything about ordering you around? You are the one doing this to yourself by reacting the way you are." 

Before Jazz could respond, there was a tremendous crash. The transport lurched to a jolting stop and bounced, screeching as it veered over and onto its side, screeching as it veered over and onto its side, and the Polyhexian stumbled and crashed into the wall as the lights flickered and powered down. He sat there, dazed as his processor spun and his chassis ached, until he remembered that he was now stuck in a lightless and once-moving cell with a deranged and very resourceful serial killer.

As he clambered up on his pedes with his defense protocols activating, a dark laugh echoed throughout the pitch black room.

/Jazz!/ The rumbling voice of Bloodstorm thundered through his audio receptors, making the bounty hunter wince. /Stay with the prisoner at all costs! His associates are attempting to free him!/

"Associates?" Jazz turned to glare in the direction of the killer, dentia bared in a feral snarl. "Ya were only stallin', weren't ya?" 

The Incarcerator gave another deep and chilling laugh. "You were the one who decided not to listen to me. It is a trait that many seem to have these orns."

"Maybe it's 'cause ya're an insane serial killer?" Jazz unsheathed his daggers silently, warping his electromagnetic field to spread but not enough for the winged mech to sense it. He knew that Prowl would eventually know what he had done, much sooner than he would have desired, but it did give him an advantage. 

"Serial killer?" There was a tsking noise, and Jazz could mentally see the Praxian shaking his helm. "Serial killer...that term is so harsh. I am not a killer. I am merely letting others see the world in a different light. A form of...enlightenment from the corrupted world around us, if you will."

"An' what, exactly, is this different light?" Jazz demanded, dimming his visor to almost incomplete power. "Ya're just murderin' folks. There's nothin' enlightening about it."

An explosion sounded outside, dangerously close. Hundreds of pieces of shrapnel thundered against the vehicle now lying on its side. A handful tore through the thick metal of the truck and embedded itself deep into the side of the Polyhexian, making him wince and gasp in pain as the shard sliced through vital Energon lines. 

A brief flash of light illuminated the truck's interior, and in the temporary glow Jazz could see that Prowl had frozen, his glare fixed on the hunter's side, where the Energon was pouring out. His wings were fanning the air in slow and deliberate movements, and his talons and fangs were extended. Jazz had to force himself not to shudder at the feral hunger that was present in the dark mech's stare. No spilled Energon was an extreme precaution for all who ever had the unfortunate chance of fighting the Incarcerator. It was known (whether it was the scent or taste or just the mere presence) to send the mech into a wild and ravenous frenzy, one that was so powerful that nothing they knew of could stop him.

To Jazz's surprise, the black mech scowled and shook his helm, his optics reverting back to their normal dark amber. He glared at the hunter; wings raised high in a dangerously aggressive stance.

 "Mech, Ah don't know what you're plannin', but it ain't gonna work. You're not gettin' outta here unless ya're a cold and lifeless corpse." Despite the fact that he was currently speaking and ready for any type of force thrown his way, Jazz still had a feeling a unease hanging over him. Something was going to happen, and knowing the Incarcerator, it was going to be something horrific. 

As if solidifying his thoughts, a chorus of terrified screams and hundreds of gunshots came from outside the transport. A flurry of static blared over Jazz's communications link, and through the haze he could only just make out the growling voice of Bloodstorm. 

/Jazz, there are two heading towards you! We could not slow them down, so you had better be on your guard./ 

/Who is it?/ Jazz kept his weapons fixed on the Praxian before him, who was now staring intently, tawny optics a beacon of demented light. 

/Praxian frame. One is as large as our prisoner. Black armor and crimson optics. There is a small one, navy blue with gold and crimson decals on his wings./ There was a pause in which the triple changer's heavy ventilations could be heard as he snarled order at someone before addressing the Polyhexian once again. /Jazz, the little one alone tore more than half of our force apart in a matter of a few breems./

/Got it./ The Polyhexian turned back to the imprisoned mech, armor shifting.

Prowl laughed deeply, flaring his wings. "You are an immense amount of difficulty dealing with my brothers, are you not?"

Jazz scowled, passing his daggers from servo to servo in an attempt to calm his frayed nerves. "Mech, is everyone in ya family as messed up as ya?" He grimaced as his motions tore the sides of his wounds, fresh Energon trickling from them. "An' why in the world do ya brothers work fer ya?"

"They do share the same mindset as me, but they do not work for me." The enormous mech glanced through the shredded door, wings flicking. "You may want to move aside."

Before Jazz could question the mech's motives, he was suddenly shoved to the side, crashing into the wall once again. A sharp cry of pain escaped his vocalizer as black darted in and out of his vision. Gasping, he pushed himself up on his servos, hissing as the force pulled at his wounds, and watched as the prisoner transport vehicle was breached. 

A strange and musical laugh sounded as the side wall of the transport vehicle was torn open by a pair of clawed servos. Two pairs of optics, one a molten pool of crimson and the other a shade of burned amber.

Crimson optics fixed on the injured Polyhexian as a low growl rumbled throughout the mech's chassis. "Brother, should I incapacitate the nuisance?"

The Incarcerator muttered beneath his ventilations, curling his talons around the Energon bars that blockaded him from the outside world. "Leave him. He is rather exceptional at finding me. A worthy hunt he will be, I am sure." 

"Brother does not want, right? Pursuing is not in favor of your desires." The smallest mech peered around the side of the obsidian mech, a curious and excited expression on his faceplate. His dentia were bared in a wild grin, long and jagged points coated in Energon that was most likely not his.

"It is not, little one." Jazz was intrigued by the brief warmth that flashed in the killer's optics. The Praxian more often than not displayed no emotion, and if he did it was fury, irritation, hunger, or exasperation.

It was sure to be a weakness of Prowl's.

As if hearing his thought, the Praxian turned to look at him, tawny optics dark. The crimson-opticed mech beside him growled darkly, wings flaring wide.

"Do not be so tense, brother." The Incarcerator glared pointedly at the injured white mech. "He will not harm the young one if he knows what is good for him." 

Jazz bared his dentia, pressing his backstrut against the wall behind him. "Ah'd yell at ya if Ah...could." He grimaced and shuttered his optics, pressing a servo over the largest of the multiple wounds in his side.

Prowl chuckled hoarsely, wings flicking into a neutral position. "You are always one to attempt to lighten a mood." Faceplate darkening suddenly, he fixed his amber glare on the obsidian mech. "Why are you here?"

"Little one does not like having big brother away." The smallest mech crossed his servos, pouting as he stared up at the larger and imprisoned mech. "Little one has no one to play with at home." 

It would have been cute if the little one had not brutally torn apart almost all of the officers stationed outside. 

"I was speaking to your brother, little one, not you." The largest Praxian was glaring intently at the obsidian mech. "I will not ask again." 

The stare that was pinned on the other mech was enough to make even Jazz shudder. But the black mech did not seem perturbed by it and merely flicked his wings in irritation as his ruby optics flared brightly.

"Did you really believe that we would let you be taken by these inane excuses for Enforcers?" He was glaring back, crimson optics alight with the same furious fire as that of his relative. "None of us will ever stand for that!" 

"You will only stand for something should I approve of it!" The Incarcerator's voice thundered throughout the damaged cell with a dangerous power and efficiency. "You two should have never come here! It was not your right!" 

"And who are you to tell us what are rights are?" The crimson-opticed mech snarled, wings rising dangerously high. "You cannot have jurisdiction over every single little thing that we do!"

Prowl seemed to calm without warning, but his wings remained at their authoritative height. "How am I to have jurisdiction over everything that you do when you decide to shut me out anyways?" 

The other mech faltered, wings twitching and falling ever so slightly. "Brother, that is not what I—" 

But the other mech did not want to hear a single word. "Kill all who have seen you, and then leave. I cannot have reported sightings of my accomplices." He turned his back to them to them, refusing any form of optical contact with either mech.

"Brother..." The black mech stopped forward, wings now pressed against his backstrut. "Why are you—?" 

"Do as you are told." Prowl's optics burned a violent crimson as he whipped around to glare viciously. "You do not want me out there with you while I am like this." 

"Now, w-wait a minute." Jazz used the nearby wall as a means to steady himself while he lurched to his pedes. "Ah can't let ya go out' kill everyone here." 

The Incarcerator narrowed his optics at the struggling mech. "You cannot possibly believe that you will be able to get by my brothers. Not while you are in that condition."

"White mech not very smart, right, brothers?" The small mech stepped forward to stare almost disapprovingly at Jazz. "Brothers will tear him to pieces, tiny pieces."

"Ya're not gettin' outta here." The Polyhexian growled deep in his throat, armor flaring from his frame in barely concealed aggression.

Prowl stared at him for a moment, battling emotions flickering through his optics. After a while, he vented heavily and faced his brothers. "Kill everyone but the crimson triple changer, the trio of specialized Enforcers, and the commanders." Momentarily golden optics fixed on the two younger Praxians. "Do what you wish with the others."

Jazz glared as the two meche grinned viciously, wings flaring wide. Forcing himself to face the imprisoned mech, he bared his dentia in a feral snarl. "This'll be on your helm fer a long, long time. Ah hope ya know that."

"I thought you did not care for their lives." The Praxian mech watched as his relatives left the transport before glancing back at the snarling mech. "If it is what you wish, you may try and stop them. But this is your only warning: Little one tends to be very irrational when he is hungry, and my middle brother is almost more protective than I am."

A pained snarl and a furious roar echoed throughout the area as multiple gunshots sounded. Prowl laughed hoarsely and flicked his wings. "It seems that one of your guards has irritated the middle." His crimson optics fixed on Jazz, cutting straight through his visor. "You are going to go out and make sure they are not inactive, correct? Or at least, not anyone important?"

Jazz scowled, shuttering his optics as black darted in and out of his vision. There was a tense moment of silence, and then the Polyhexian flinched as icy digits trailed over the side of his faceplate. Onlining his visor and optics—how had he ended up on the floor?—Jazz looked up to see Prowl looming over him. With a glance behind him, Jazz could see that the other mech had somehow forced apart the cell bars without him hearing it.

"Remain still, hunter." The Praxian's voice was a strangely soothing rumble, sending waves of sound over Jazz's audio horns. 

"Stay away from meh," The hunter growled, optics burning as he futilely attempted to move away. "Ah don't want..."               

"Enough." The larger mech growled deeply, cutting off the other's statement. "You are severely injured." The icy claws tapped against scarred armor with an almost gentle touch.

"An' why are ya helpin' meh? Ya could just let meh bleed out an' all o' ya troubles would go away." He winced as pain tore through him, attempting to vent heavily as his chassis began to overheat.

The Incarcerator narrowed his optics, digging his talons deep into the silver mech's faceplate and smirking at the cry of pain and outrage. "Now, why would I do that? You are the source of the most entertainment that I have had in centuries." 

"Glad ta know." Jazz shuddered once more as ice crept over his armor and into his dermaplating. "Mech, what in the Pits are ya doin'?" 

A soft rumble came from deep within the larger mech's chassis. "My chassis temperature is much lower than what is considered normal. The cold will numb the sensor surrounding the wounds." 

"An' they'll come back online?" Jazz panted, relief washing over him as the pain dulled to an ache tolerable enough him. "Ya're not goin' ta leave meh like this?"

"Keep talking and I will consider it." Prowl bared his dentia in a grim warning. "You should be lucky that I have some experience in medical training and research."

Jazz huffed out a laugh, cringing as his body protested. Involuntarily, he shifted and scraped his back against the wall, dislodging the talons and further incensing the mech looming above him.

"For the love of Primus, stop moving!" The killer's grip tightened to nearly unbearable levels, but he seemed to be restraining himself from crushing the silver-white mech beneath him. Leaning close, he growled softly in the Polyhexian's audio horn. "Either let me momentarily heal your wounds or I will give you to my brothers and you will become a living, breathing, and screaming chew toy."

Jazz relaxed, armor flattening against his frame. Prowl rumbled deeply above him and extended his talons to points that were longer and sharper than what was considered normal, even for him. Jazz’s optics narrowed and he snuffed the urge to shift uncomfortably. What was the mech going to do to him?

The Praxian must have noticed the other mech's rising unease and vented heavily. "Do you want your wounds to be infected? From the time of the explosion to now, there is a high possibility that there are still pieces of shrapnel and overall debris caught in the gashes." He revealed the needle points of his fingers and glared at the Polyhexian. "My talons will help pick them out, unless you are eager for me to cauterize your wounds with metal still trapped inside." When the silver mech did not respond, a dark smirk curled back his mouthplates. "Good. Now be a smart mech and let me work." 

It was silent until Jazz spoke in a soft voice. “Ya still haven’t told meh the real reason ya’re helpin’ meh.” 

Prowl’s wings rose the slightest bit as he bared his fangs in a soft snarl. “My motives are clear, saboteur.”

“No, they’re not.” The Polyhexian cringed as the needles prodded at a sensitive internal Energon line. “Hey, stop tha’ and listen ta meh. Ah know ya. Ya’d never help anyone in need. Ya’d probably kill them or eat ’em.” At the killer’s pleased huff, Jazz scowled and kicked at his leg, visor blazing in warning as a feral growl escaped the mech’s vocalizer. “So Ah’ll ask again: why in the world are ya helpin meh?" 

Prowl froze at the question, talons retracting as he straightened to be at optic level with the smaller mech. Jazz hesitated ever so slightly as the light of his visor illuminated the mech’s face. Yes, he had looked at the mech before, but most of the time it was to glance at him and look away. But now was...different. It was almost shocking how handsome the killer was, and it was only made a bigger shock when the bounty hunter thought about how insane the mech was. 

But...what was this feeling rising deep within him? It was...unusual, to say the least. Jazz had never felt anything like it before.

He decided that he didn’t like it.

“Hunter.” That strange, thunder-like baritone shuddered through both of them. His burning amber optics flickered with some unknown emotion. 

But Jazz’s confusion slowly turned to rage as he caught a flash of fangs, and then the talons were buried deep within his torso, cutting directly through the already painful wounds. A cry of pain escaped his throat, and he shuddered violently as the Energon began to flood around the claws and splash against the floor.

The last thing he saw was the almost disappointed look in the Praxian’s murderous glare.

Smokescreen stood silently a few feet from his youngest brother, servos crossed over his broad chest and engine rumbling faintly as he glared over the field of corpses. He could not understand why Prowl had reacted the way he had. Normally he would have ordered the massacre of this entire and pitiful thing called an army, and even that of the nearest cities, but he had not this time. 

It was all because of that Polyhexian. He was changing his brother, and he did not like it one bit.

“Young one.” He turned slightly to address the little mech, wings twitching to display his irritation. “Have you had your fill?” 

The tiny Praxian looked up from his meal, which happened to be the leg of a femme that had shot at him. He bared his fanged dentia at the larger, amber optics blazing with a ravenous fire as he clutched the appendage closer to him.

With a heavy vent, the obsidian mech kneeled at the youngling’s side, running a comforting servo over his back even as the blue mech sunk his teeth deep into his unoccupied servo. “My apologies, child. Pay no mind to me and continue on.” 

A soft chirr came from the child, and he tilted his helm at his older brother as he removed his teeth from his arm and pulled back, wings fanning the air softly in his confusion. 

Sensors flaring suddenly, the larger mech abruptly rose to his pedes and swept his gaze over the land. Growling roughly, his servo transformed into a sleek photon blaster and powered up with a whirr.

“Enough of that.” A familiar yet muffled baritone sounded behind him. Whipping around, he saw his eldest brother limping his way towards them. His wings were spread to help maintain his balance, and his optics were flickering from a chilling gold to a murderous crimson as he kept a servo over his nasal ridge and mouthplates.

“Brother!” Smokescreen moved with immense speed and was immediately at the larger mech’s side, steadying him gently. “Are you injured? Did that Polyhexian do this to you?”

The Incarcerator made to answer, but his ventilations hitched in his throat and he gagged, buckling as if under a heavy load. Smokescreen scowled and helped him to the ground, moving out of the way as the tri-colored mech purged his tanks violently.

“No, he did not.” Prowl shivered and drew his wings closer to his chassis, shaking his helm to deny any assistance. “I am merely attempting not to destroy this field and everybody in it.”

“Brother is unwell?” Bluestreak, the youngest, had made his way over to them silently, optic ridges creased in worry. Energon stained his mouth and hands, as well as part of his upper torso. “Brother in need of the favor of medical attention?”

The Incarcerator growled suddenly, optics burning bright crimson. “Stay back, little one. You smell so...delectable—” Baring his fangs, he made to lunge at the smaller, but he was restrained by the black mech lingering behind him.

“Enough, brother!” Smokescreen hissed, keeping out of reach of the larger mech’s fangs. “Calm down and speak to us.” 

“Take me away from here,” the enormous mech muttered, wings flattening against his back. “Just get me away.”

Smokescreen nodded sagely, wings flicking. “Very well. Come, young one, and help me with your brother.”

“Jazz! Jazz, wake up!”

With a snarl, the Polyhexian snapped out of a black recharge and unsheathed his daggers, pinning the nearest mech or femme to the berth he had been on with a startling thud.

A pair of crimson optics glared back at him out of a slender faceplate, and fangs were bared in an attempt to nullify the urge to attack. 

Venting heavily, the white mech slipped off of his prey and groaned, cringing as pain washed throughout his body. “Bloodstorm, Ah told ya not ta wake meh up like tha’.”

The triple changer sat up with a snarl, brushing unseen filth off of his sleek crimson armor. “It was either that or letting you offline, which even you cannot be crazy enough to actually want.”

 Jazz laughed hoarsely, shuttering his optics as he lay back down. “Wha’ happened?” 

“We found you in the prisoner’s transport with a gaping hole in your abdomen, which is why you are in so much pain right now.” Bloodstorm rose to his massive height and stared down at the weakened mech.

“Not ta meh.” Jazz coughed, bringing up dark and bitter Energon. “Ta tha...prisoner.”

“No trace.” Before the bounty hunter could snap, the large mech raised a servo and gave a dangerous glare to cut him off. “My first priority is your life, not the capture of this madmech. The medic was just barely able to patch up your wound with supplies he had to waste on saving your deranged aft. We have no idea where he went, but you should take a look out of the window to your right and see the present he left you.”

Wincing as he sat up once more, the Polyhexian pulled back the curtain and stared. 

It was a nightmare, even for the normally fearless mech. The field was covered in corpses, all torn to pieces with their limbs strewn in every direction. If he narrowed his optics and enhanced his field of view ever so slightly, Jazz could make out the helm of the very mech that had decided it was a good idea to antagonize the prisoner. 

Suppressing the urge to purge his tanks, the Polyhexian continued to look until his optics locked onto the message formed by the bodies of a few mechs and femmes. 

It was all your fault. You did this.

And then, there was the signature in the corner.

Your dear friend, the Incarcerator. 

Have a pleasant recovery.

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