Mind Games

Half-truths.

As Prowl stepped into the med-bay, Ratchet looked up and snorted in greeting.

“Thought I might be seeing you. Come in and take a seat.” Ratchet said in his usual blunt manner, leading Prowl through to the office which the medic rarely used. Prowl resisted the urge to freak out at the piles of datapads littering the medic’s desk.

“Is there anything else you can tell me about Meister that isn’t on your reports?” Prowl asked, directing his gaze away from the clutter to the medic to see Ratchet nod.

“Yes. He doesn’t harm sparklings.” Ratchet replied and Prowl started in shock.

“What?” He asked and Ratchet leaned forward across his chaotic desk.

“You heard me. I’ve had carriers and Sires that were practically ripped apart brought to me with unharmed sparklings clinging to them after they were attacked by Meister.” Ratchet said and Prowl noted that down as well. Perhaps, Meister had morals then? It could be.

“What about younglings?” Prowl asked and Ratchet sent him more files.

“He tortures them yes but I have always been able to repair them whereas with adults he just makes them impossible to save.” Ratchet answered and Prowl downloaded a report that caught his optic instantly.

“So.. Bumblebee’s vocals…” Prowl asked and Ratchet nodded.

“He could have ripped out the main energon line as it is right next to the vocal lines. He didn’t, and if I had the parts the damage would be repairable.” Ratchet replied before leaning back and snorting. “Don’t get the idea he has any morals though, the damage done to every other ‘bot by him is… horrific.” Ratchet finally decided on and Prowl looked over the reports, saw the damage and shuddered inwardly. It was times like this when he did not envy Ratchet his job. Looking at that kind of damage and knowing you couldn’t do anything must be sparkbreaking.

“I know as much.” Prowl answered before thinking of something. “Did Bumblebee ever tell anyone what happened during his capture?” Prowl asked and Ratchet shook his head.

“And please don’t ask. It’ll set back his recovery.” Ratchet said pointedly, and Prowl nodded knowing that if he were to do so he would be hunted down and knocked into the next millennium with a wrench. “If he does tell me anything about it eventually, I tell you what I can though be mindful of medic-patient confidentiality.” Ratchet added and Prowl dipped his helm in response.

“Of course.” He answered and Ratchet looked down at his servos before speaking again.

“I can tell you that the torture he performed on Bumblebee was … unimaginable and has left permanent mental scars.” Ratchet said and this time it was Prowl who looked at the medic with interest.

“Then why did you say he could live?” Prowl asked and Ratchet smiled a little.

“I’m an Autobot. If I said someone could execute him without a trial, I’d be no better than Meister himself.” Ratchet said and Prowl nodded in agreement before standing up and making to leave. The medic had given him more to think about and Prowl made a note to go through his reports on Meister as well.

“Thank you for your time Ratchet.” He said as he left and Ratchet snorted.

“Just go and leave me in peace. I have work to do.” Ratchet returned and Prowl shook his helm – Ratchet’s harsh manner was always the same which was a relief in many ways.

From there, Prowl returned to his office and worked for the remainder of his shift and about two orns beyond that before going to his berthroom with the datapads containing the medic’s reports on Meister he had not yet re-read to try and glean more information on the ‘con. Anything that could help him in interrogation.

Prowl arrived at his quarter and stepped in, the door sliding shut behind him. As soon as they had, Prowl relaxed his doorwings significantly and went over to his private energon dispenser, though he had no interest in pouring a cube for himself. Reaching slightly behind to a lever that was impossible to detect, Prowl made to flick it only to find someone had already tampered with it.

The lever was something he had engineered to loop the camera feeds as he knew Red Alert had bugged his quarters along with everyone else’s for safety reasons. Most of the time Prowl did not mind but tonight it appeared he would be having a visitor.

Taking his time, Prowl decided he might as well pour himself a cube before turning around to face the mech that had seemingly just appeared in a locked room, and completely silently at that.

“Yah insult mah intelligence. Of course ah’d remember tah loop tah feed.” The silver snorted, red visor glinting. Prowl dipped his helm in agreement before going over to the table to take a seat, the smaller grabbing a cube before sitting opposite him.

“I was not expecting to see you here so soon.” Prowl answered and the silver laughed.

“Honestly, yah Autobots thinkin’ yah security is fantastic. It’s realleh quite funneh aft’a all this time.” He laughed as he took a swing of his cube before gesturing to the datapads Prowl had placed on the side when he had walked in. “Interestin’?” He asked and Prowl tilted his helm.

“I haven’t looked at those yet but they should be.” Prowl replied easily and the red-visored mech grinned maniacally, revealing his sharp fangs not many who knew about. Most of those who did had not lived to tell the tale. The silver danced over to them and picked one up as he downloaded the contents and chuckled as he received the information.

“Yah medic’s reports are quite flatterin’.” Jazz laughed as he moved on to the next ones. Prowl just watched him as he downloaded the information on ‘Meister’ and prepared to ask his questions.

“They are indeed. I was planning to ask you what in Primus’ name you are doing here? Because if you are planning to destroy my base I would quite like to know.” Prowl said harshly and Jazz laughed again, tilting his helm right back as he discarded the datapads and came to sit straight back at the table.

“Na’w, blowin’ up yah base woul’ be tah easeh. Ah’m ‘ere on ah mission o’ sorts. Nothin’ tah do wit’ Megs, ‘e don’ even know ah’m ‘ere. This ones of ah… personal nature.” Jazz told him and Prowl filed the information away for later. His partner was evidently up to no good again and once more he was going to see if Prowl figured it out.

“Another game, Jazz?” Prowl asked and Jazz’s visor glowed brightly from excitement.

“Yup.” Jazz admitted happily as he took another sip from his cube, as did Prowl although the latter was deep in thought.

“Who are you going to offline if I lose?” Prowl asked and Jazz brought a claw up to his faceplate to stroke over it gently as he pretended to think it over.

“Maybeh mah guards. Maybeh tah Medic. Ah dunno realleh.” Jazz replied and Prowl nodded although that didn’t really make things clearer. He’d rather not lose anyone anyway and he had done a fantastic job of outwitting Jazz in his ‘games’ so far.

“What’s the game?” Prowl asked although he did not expect an answer. As expected, Jazz snorted.

“Yah will figure it ou’ mah mech.” Jazz replied, with a lopsided smile that looked eery in the dim light as it was illuminated by the red visor above.

Prowl sighed, it had been worth a try. It was unexpected to see Jazz on base at least which meant it was probably more serious than the rest of the games they had played.

“Why are you here?” Prowl said, trying a different tactic.

“Ah wanted tah see yah.”

Prowl snorted.

“And the real reason?” Prowl asked and Jazz grinned at him, tilting his helm a little more and revealing his fangs again.

“Tah see yah.” Jazz repeated and Prowl frowned, processors whirring as he comprehended the information. A clue so soon was unlike his partner, but it was appreciated nonetheless.

“Alright then.” Prowl accepted as he took another thoughtful sip of his cube. “A kidnapping?” He asked and Jazz shook his head.

“They ain’ no fun. All tah others wan’ ah turn tah interrogate yah an’ it annoys meh.” Jazz said expressively, in a way that suggested said mechs that had annoyed him were now offlined. So no kidnapping. Stealing information? It could be, although that was technically against the rules.

“I’ll remind you stealing plans is cheating.” Prowl said and Jazz laughed again, the sound filling the room as it echoed.

“Na’w, ah ain’ ah cheater Prowler.” Jazz replied before waving a servo in the direction of the berthroom. “Yah will figure it ou’, ah wanna take advantage o’ mah time outta tha’ cell, not tha’ yah guards are even gonna notice ah’m gone. Yah feed is realleh tah easeh tah loop.” Jazz said dismissively and although Prowl bridled at the insult to his security again he knew anything was easy to hack for someone of Jazz’s skill level.

“Agreed.” Prowl stated as he followed Jazz through to the berthroom, both of them leaving their empty cubes discarded on the table.


The next cycle and Meister was back to grinning at the twins through the camera feed. He’d looped the feed to make it seem like he’d stood that way all night and neither his night guards whom he did not know the designations of or the twins had noticed. Neither had anyone from security.

Useless fragging Autobots.

Although it had been nice to spend some time with Prowl. Now Prowl was in the game too, it would rapidly get more interesting although Meister admittedly had a head-start. This particular game he had been working on for a while, and the plan was going accordingly.

Get to brig. Check. Mess with Prowl’s processor. Check.

Now all he had to do was wait for Prowl to figure out what the game was and then things would really get interesting. These games with his partner were the only things that actually challenged Meister to use more than 10% of his processor and it was for that reason and that reason alone he kept Prowl around.

Thing is, he was starting to become bored on the ‘con bases without his favourite source of amusement and Meister had decided it would be much more interesting to have Prowl in the ‘con base permanently. So he had come up with the perfect plan to convert Prowl to the ‘con side and then they could both return and Meister could successfully keep the boredom at bay for the rest of his cycles.

Next on his ‘plan’ list was for the Autobots to schedule a date for his trial. Then he had to attend said trial and get the sentence needed. Then all that was left to do was use the sentence to show Prowl the Autobots morals were a load of slag and once Prowl realised that what reason would his partner have to stay? It was easy.

First things first though, the Weapons Specialist had just appeared on camera with his energon. Now here was someone Meister had been longing to mess with for vorns on end. As Ironhide stepped in, he turned his wide grin on the black mech who intimidated many but would never be feared by Meister.

“Come tah bring meh mah breakfast? Tha’s real nice o’ yah.”

“Can it, Decepticon.” Ironhide growled back and Meister grinned. Oh yes, this one would most definitely be amusing for a few moments although far too predicatable.

“Aww, ah’m just bein’ nice. Ain’ yah got no manners Autobot?” Meister asked as Ironhide shoved the cube through a special contraption at the side of the cell before pulling away and snorting, his black helm tilting to look over Meister aggressively but intelligently as Ironhide no doubt tried to find weaknesses in case of a fight. Smart, but useless.

“Not for the likes of you I don’t.” Ironhide rumbled. “You want respect, you earn it and currently you’re on the same respect level as a scraplet if not lower.” He added.

“Why thank yah.” Meister said easily as he took the cube and downed it in one before going over to the force field to look Ironhide in the optics.

“I also came to tell you that our Medic will be down here to give you a check-up. Standard procedure.” Ironhide stated and Meister gave him his favourite lopsided smile reserved specially for creeping out Autobots.

“Wha’ makes yah so sure ah ain’ gonna offline ‘im?” Meister asked and Ironhide growled, activating his cannon threateningly.

“You even dare and I’ll…”

“Wha’? Ah’m ah better fight’a than yah any cycle. Yah are old an’ rusty scrap metal. How yah bonded wit’ tha’ femme is beyond meh.” Meister said, hoping the mention of Ironhide’s sparkmate would rile the mech up. To his prediction, it did and Ironhide growled.

“You dare mention her designation ‘con…”

“Oh yeah, yah are both ah couple ah piles o’ no good scrap tha’ why she bonded tah yah. How maneh mechs did she frag before yahself, tell meh now?” Meister asked and Ironhide roared, making a move to deactivate the force-field but at that moment the twins came running in to pull Ironhide away, having seen the entire proceedings on the camera feed which Meister had taken off-loop.

“Ironhide leave him! He’s doing it on purpose, just go!” Sideswipe yelled as they managed to haul the mech back . Ironhide gave Meister one last snarl before storming out of the cell and no doubt going to explode something in the Autobot shooting range if this sorry excuse for a base even had such a thing.

When Ironhide had gone, Sunstreaker whirled on Meister with a snarl.

“That was low, even for a pile of rust like yourself.” Sunstreaker said arrogantly, handsome faceplates forming a sneer as he looked disdainfully down at Meister.

“Ah don’ give ah frag.” Meister stated calmly and Sunstreaker growled at him.

“You really are a worthless Decepticon.”

“And I thought Megatron was bad.” Sideswipe added as they turned and left the room. Meister watched them go before taking a seat on his berth and resuming grinning at the camera. That had alleviated a little of his boredom, but this scrap-for-processors Autobots had nothing on him and Prowl’s intelligence.


Optimus Prime was currently on his way to see their newest prisoner, despite the warnings from his mentor, Sentinel and everyone else on base that it was not a safe, clever or logical choice to make. Optimus had made the decision to ignore them and go to see the mech regardless as the Matrix within his chassis was pulling him towards the Decepticon and it was his duty as Prime to obey the Matrix.

Plus he would have been lying if he had said he wasn’t a little bit curious to meet the infamous Decepticon that had destroyed so many Autobots. He also had the belief that every living being deserved a second chance and he was on his way to see if Meister would like his.

When he arrived outside the cell, the twins saluted before Sideswipe made a move to speak.

“I wouldn’t bother with this one, Sir. He fragged off Ironhide just for the sake of it, and he has no remorse or guilt for any of his actions.” Sideswipe said as he sent Optimus a ping with the footage on. Optimus reviewed it before nodding to the red twin.

“Appreciated Sideswipe, but I will see him nonetheless.” Optimus said in a tone that left no room for discussion. Sideswipe looked down and nodded once before standing aside. Sunstreaker punched in the combination to open the door and Optimus walked in to see Meister there with a wide grin on his face as he stared at the cameras.

Optimus took a seat and waited for the Decepticon to notice his existence. He suspected Meister was not going to until it suited him as a test for Optimus. After five breems, Meister moved into the chair which was opposite Optimus. They were separated by only a force-field that Meister could deactivate any time but the thought did not scare Optimus.

“Prime.” Meister sneered at him.

“Meister.” Optimus replied formally with no hint of disrespect.

“Wha’ brings ah ‘bot o’ yah status tah mah cell?” Meister asked with layers of disrespect, although curiosity was there as well.

“I am here to visit you.” Optimus said truthfully with sincerity. There was a pause, and Meister began to laugh at him.

“Come tah make meh an Autobot? All tha’ ‘second chances’ slag? Well ah can assure yah it ain’ gonna work. ‘Bots ‘ave alreadeh tried tha’ an’ failed.” Meister said gleefully and Optimus smiled at him kindly as instructed by the Matrix.

“I believe every living being deserves a second chance. Even you.”

“Sure yah do. Ah can tell yah fer a fact tha’ no matter wha’ ah say tah yah, ah’ll still be foun’ guilty an’ put tah death at mah trial. Second chances mah aft, unless yah ‘ave ah say in tah aft’alife?” Meister stated sarcastically as he waved his servo offhandedly at Optimus before folding them behind him and tilting his helm up, dimming his visor as though he were falling into recharge.

“If you truly desire a second chance, we would adjourn your trial which would affect the outcome.” Optimus said seriously and Meister laughed again, evidently not believing him.

“Tha’s ah load ah slag. Tah only thing tha’ will get yah tah reconsider is if ah become an Autobot an’ give yah all mah information on tah ‘Cons.” Meister snorted and Optimus frowned. Did the mech truly believe he would be forced to give up information if he defected? And if so, they why? Megatron, probably.

“We would not force you to do anything and rest assured we would reconsider.” Optimus replied and Meister ceased his laughing to pause for a moment and lift his helm up to meet Optimus’ optics, brightening the red visor again as he gave Optimus his full attention.

“Ah don’ believe tha’ fer one second, an’ ah’m gonna prove yah wrong. All o’ yah hypocritical Autobots. Yah will see.” Meister said darkly and the Matrix stirred a warning of something yet to come that Optimus could not avoid even if he tried. Whatever happened, it seemed Primus had something big planned for Meister even if he did appear to be completely sparkless.

“On the contrary, I believe it is we who will prove you wrong.” Optimus replied and Meister gave him another snort along with a servo wave.

“Sure yah will. Yah may ‘ave all o’ yah sub-bordinates fooled wit’ yah ‘Merceh’ and ‘Forgiveness’ slag but not meh. Tah ‘bots are just as bad as tah ‘cons an’ yah are all hypocrites who think yah are better than tah other side.” Meister said and Optimus tilted his helm in interest.

“Are you not a Decepticon?” Optimus asked, waiting with curiousity for Meister’s answer.

“Ah serve Megatron ‘cause it suits meh, an’ ah wanna be on tah winnin’ side. Tha’s tah only reason. If yah Autobots were tah stronger side, ah’d defect but yah won’ ever be ‘cause yah so-called ‘Morals’ get in tah way all tah time.” Meister snorted and Optimus thought it over, processors whirring.

So Meister served the illusion of strength then as he believed the Decepticons were going to win. Interesting. But if they could somehow convince Meister their morals were not ‘a load of slag’ and show him strength did not have to be physical then perhaps there was hope for Meister yet. It was a start at least.

“Thank you for your time. I will be back later.” Optimus said meaningfully and Meister shrugged.

“Wha’ev’a. See yah.” The silver ‘con said as he moved back to the berth and lay down as though he were about to recharge as Optimus left the cell. On his way out, Optimus commed Ratchet and informed the Medic to give Meister his check-up A.S.A.P. The Matrix was telling him his Medic would be good for the ‘con trapped in a cell that was appeared to be more mental than physical.

Although Optimus did not understand the ideas of the Matrix entirely, he commed Ratchet nonetheless and returned to his office to wait patiently for the outcome.


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