[personal profile] ante_luce
Title: Decommissioned
'Verse: TFA
Characters: Optimus. Prowl. Jazz. Blaster.
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: Angst.


With Megatron in custody and the Decepticon threat fully contained, the New Autobot Council have decided that the military program is no longer a necessary priority...

He came online with a gasp, data flooding his systems in an uncontrollable torrent, one that threatened to send him offline again before the flow eased, slowing to a more manageable speed. Optics flared bright and he sat up shakily, unused to his frame now, unused to gravity and being bound to a static form. Someone said his name and he turned, blinking in the harsh light of the room, looking up at the joyful smile on a red and blue mech's face.

“Prowl!”

His mouth opened, words crackling their way past his lips in an unintelligible murmur. Trying again, he managed a quiet greeting, memory banks sluggishly supplying a name.

“... Optimus.”

Large hands clasped his own, squeezing tight with all the emotion he could see flickering in the Prime's optics.

“You have no idea how good it is to see you.”

“It is good to see you too, Prime. But how...?”

“Long story short, we fought to get you back, and the AllSpark was on our side. No one tried to stop us for very long after that.”

He was pulled into a close embrace, and where once he would have tensed and held still until the other mech let go, this time he patted Optimus on the back, feeling the tiny tremors wracking his team leader's frame as he leant against him.

... Funding previously assigned to military projects will now be channelled into construction and education, bringing Cybertron to greater heights...

He'd been... out of action for a while, it seemed. Cybertron was a little different from how Prowl remembered it. But his team, his friends, were extremely enthusiastic about showing him around, reacquainting him with the sights and sounds of their home planet.

But something felt... off. Something was missing.

“Optimus?”

“Yes Prowl?”

“Will we be going back to Earth?”

“Ah. That.”

His Prime explained that the Council had deliberated on the issue, and in the end, it had been decided that an active Cybertronian presence on Earth would be detrimental to human progress. With most of the Decepticons in custody or deactivated (Prowl had been quite relieved to find Megatron amongst the latter), Earth didn't need their protection like before.

“Sari cried up until she had to leave.” Optimus admitted, his words quiet, expression shamed. Prowl rested a hand on his shoulder, offering what comfort he could, knowing that the Prime would have overthrown the whole Council for the sake of their techno-organic friend if it had been possible.

“She's safe on Earth, Optimus.”

“By the AllSpark, I hope she is. We avoided mentioning her techno-organic state in the official reports. I think her father pulled together a transforming armour pack thing to fool the Council. We snuck it over the space bridge one cycle. No one questioned her bot form after that, because of course organics can't transform.”

Prowl squeezed his shoulder, and Optimus sighed, shaking his head. “Well, is there anywhere you'd like to go now? I think we've covered most of what's changed since you were... gone.”

The cyberninja paused, intakes cycling slowly. Keeping his gaze fixed on the ground, he murmured.

“I find that it is not the places that I most wish to re-familiarise myself with.”

Unspoken was a designation, one belonging to a bot he'd thought for certain would have been right beside Optimus, dragging Prowl from one new sight to another. For some reason, that only made the Prime seem even sadder.

“Come with me. There's one last big change you should probably know about. But... I think you'll need to see for yourself.”

... Under decree 489 of the New Autobot Council, all members of the Elite Guard are to report to Headquarters for decommissioning and reassignment...

Prowl's expression when he saw the building they'd pulled up to was entertainingly dubious, and Optimus chuckled softly.

“It's not quite as bad inside. I was assured that it was all the fault of the owner, who has questionable taste in colours.”

“I do believe we should go inside, before my optics burn out in protest.”

“Yeah, I get that feeling every time too. Come on.”

They entered, and a warm sense of belonging swept over Prowl. The interior was welcoming, almost familiar as he turned on the spot, taking in his surroundings.

“Hey, we've got a pair of early customers, it seems.”

His head snapped up, wide optics meeting a familiar visor and smile.

“Jazz?”

“That's my name, alright. Guess Optimus here's been telling you about us?”

“I-”

Optimus cut in, sparing Prowl the need to respond. “Something like that. But I thought I'd save the details for when I got him here in person.”

The mech laughed. “Good idea, wouldn't want to spoil the whole experience for him. Grab a seat, your usual table's free. But it's early enough that you could have your pick of the lot.”

“Are you performing today?”

“Mm, just dropping by after work. Blaster's got a new act in, I just fill in when he gives me a distress call, y'know? But I could take a song or two, depending on demand.”

“There's always a demand for your voice, Jazz!” The mech turned to face the bot who called out to him, grinning brightly before replying.

“And flattery will get you everywhere!" He looked back at Optimus and Prowl, shrugging lightly.

"I'll see what I can do. Been meaning to try out some of those new tunes the boss bot,” Prowl hid his flinch at hearing the familiar nickname applied to someone other than Optimus, and from the looks of it, Optimus had needed to do the same thing, “just got his hands on. I think you'll like them.”

Jazz shot the pair a teasing wink. “Dunno how he managed it, but Blaster's got music from Earth. Be a nice trip down memory lane, huh Prime? I gotta head 'round back now, hope you both have a great time here.”

And with that, the mech turned and vanished into the back of the dim club, calling out cheerfully to someone and waving as he passed through the staff-only doors. Prowl suddenly realised the frame walking away from them was no longer the crisp black and white he associated with his fellow ninja, and dimly registered his Prime steering them towards a booth, one with a clear view of the stage.

“Optimus?”

“... I'm sorry, Prowl. But you wouldn't have believed me if I told you.”

“... What happened?”

He hated how lost he sounded, how thrown he must look. The Prime bowed his head and whispered.

“Decommissioning.”

... We thank the Guards for their unwavering loyalty and support. It is now our turn to repay you, who have given so much to us and for us...

Some bot, painted a bright, garish orange that reminded Prowl of Wreck-Gar, passed by their table, placing two cubes of mild high grade in front of them.

“Compliments of Jazz.”

Optimus nodded at him, smiling faintly. “Thank you, Blaster. How's business?”

“Booming. We're actually broadcasting parts of the show over the networks now, and bots are swarming the joint to get a taste of the 'exotic organic planet' now that it's been declared off-limits.”

“Is that why your establishment's outer facade resembles that of a speakeasy?”

Prowl regretted the comment as soon as he'd made it, but Blaster only laughed, long and loud, clapping the discomfited ninja on the back.

“Precisely, my mech. My little gamble paid off, big time. Well, I should get to work. Can't make Jazz do all the heavy lifting after he's already spent most of the cycle slogging away at the shuttle depot.”

“Shuttle depot?”

“Mmhm, Jazz's a great singer, but it's the shuttles that take care of his bills, since he won't allow me to pay him. He makes the fastest flights between Iacon and... well, any place he's going, actually.” Blaster's voice dropped to a conspiratory murmur. “Between you and me, I think he won't take my credits because he knows it means I'll weld him to that stage permanently.”

“He's that good?”

“I'll put it this way. There are bots who listen to us just for him.” The orange mech grinned, then glanced away at the shout of his name. “And that's my cue to go. You two enjoy yourselves.”

Prowl risked a glance at Optimus, and the Prime met his gaze with a quiet, resigned expression. The club filled and the noise swelled around them before Optimus spoke again.

“It's... It's not so bad. He's doing something that he loves.”

“At what cost? Who else, Optimus?”

“... The Primes and the Magnus were exempt from the process. But nearly every Guard has been 'repurposed'.”

“How can they just do that?” The ninja gritted out, sounding pained, and his friend sighed, speaking low and into his cube of high-grade, the words just barely audible to Prowl.

“I know. Sometimes I wonder if Megatron might not have had the right idea. Not that I agree with him, but... he knew there was something rotten and that something needed to be done.”

“That something being taking advantage of the situation to place himself in power.”

Optimus looked up sharply. “I never said I agreed with his methods or his philosophy. Freedom should be the right of all sentient beings.” He glanced back down again, frowning. “What they did to Jazz, and all the other Guards... That can't be freedom.”

Prowl reached out, resting his hand on one of the Prime's. “No... It isn't.”

Every citizen is key to upholding the peace and security of our beloved planet. Let us all work together, for a brighter, better future, for our home, our Cybertron.


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