Against my better judgement, I actually have ideas for two more Transformers stories in my head. I expect both of them to be much shorter than this one.
"... is an important development," said Jazz after taking the data pad from Rewind. The little bot had come scurrying in moments before, waving it eagerly to get the interim leader’s attention. “Time is crucial on this one. Autobots, transform and roll out!”
There was a loud “CHA CHA CHA” of four robots leaping into the air and transforming into their alternate modes. As they bounced to their tires, Jazz gave a throaty growl of his turbo engine, Hound emitted a rumble of big block torque and Skids revved whatever generic engine he had under his hood.
Rewind clattered to the floor and lay there, unmoving.
The other three bots backed up and turned to focus their headlights on the still cassette.
“Didn’t really think this one through, boss,” said Hound.
“Riiight,” said Jazz. “Little bro, why don’t you stay behind and hold the fort with Blue…Smoke. With the creepy twins,” he finished quickly.
The little cassette said nothing, but its tape reels squeaked a reluctant, sad quarter turn of acknowledgement.
“Sorry, little guy,” said Skids. “It’s not that we don’t want you along, it’s just that we don’t really have much use for a tape cassette.”
“The world has moved on,” agreed Hound. He swished his windshield wipers a couple of times in thought. “I mean, maybe you could learn to transform into something kind of useful like a smart phone…”
“…or a portable gaming console,” suggested Skids.
“Oooh, I could totally rock a Nintendo Switch,” said Jazz, “though I mention that at risk of saying something that’s an unnecessarily topical pop-culture reference that isn’t going to age well.”
“So where are we going,” asked Hound.
“Some vague place for an ill-defined purpose,” said Jazz. “We’ll just peel out down this hewn stone hallway in a segue to show that we’re not just sitting on our tailpipes while the boss is risking his life.” He gunned his engine again. “Mostly I just looove saying Autobots, transform and roll out! It just rolls off the tongue.”
“Autobots, transform and roll out,” said Skids. “Oh, I see what you mean. That definitely makes me all tingly in the lug nuts.”
“Wait, let me try,” said Hound, honking his horn excitedly. “Autobots, transform and roll…”
“…out!” commanded Ratchet. He had his shoulder braced in the small of Cliffjumper’s back, and his engines revved as he tried to push the reluctant bot out the station egress. The other bot had braced both hands and pedes against the metal doorframe and refused to be budged.
“You can’t send me back out there, doc,” he said, his voice modulator nigh panting with fear and strain as the larger bot’s weight bore against him. “There is nothing but death out there.”
Outside the door from them lay a placid lunar landscape, gleaming brilliant in the angled sun and contrasting with the stygian black of the eternal vacuum above. A spec of lunar dust perching precariously on the face of a rock looked like it might consider tumbling to the surface within the next millennium or so, but otherwise the scene was still.
“I can understand your reluctance, kid,” said Ratchet, modulating his vocalizer with a medically calculated tone of commiseration, “but you’re overstating things a bit.”
“A LUNAR PROBE FELL OUT OF ORBIT AND SNAPPED OFF MY HEAD!”
“Well, yes,” conceded Ratchet. He carefully blended some reassurance into his speech pattern. “Look, we contacted the humans and they said it was a one in a million thing. Apparently, the guy who maintains their orbits was away engaging in some human activity called a bender, and his replacement had trouble reading his cursive handwriting. The human space agency says they’ve added something called a sticky note to the instructions to prevent it from happening again.”
Cliffjumper’s blue optics narrowed and his thin lips set stubbornly. In spite of the medic's carefully placating tone, he made no move to release his grip on the doorframe. The doctor modified his facial geometry to match the tone of his verbal emissions.
"I understand where you're coming from," he said. "But we need to complete this space thing-a-ma-jig that we're building for some important purpose, and you're good at affixing parts to each other to build these things." He put an arm around Bumblebee and clapped the yellow minibot firmly on the shoulder. "Besides, spare-parts-boy and I will be with you the whole time, keeping our optics on the sky for any sign of trouble. Isn't that right, B?"
"Bleee," agreed Bumblebee. His eyes were pointing different directions until the medic slapped him gently on the back of the head and made them roll straight.
"Fine," said Cliffjumper, finally prying his digits free from the dents they'd left in the edges of the exit. "But I want to know if you see anything larger than a dust spec moving in our direction." He bent down to pick up the spanner he'd dropped by the door and turned to leave. "Let's get this..."