Optimus Prime pulled into the parking lot of The Heroesí Garden right on time. He had an early morning appointment, and was afraid heíd be late. The lot was full to capacity, and he could just barely make it into the VIP parking area to drop off his trailer. He found Hot Rod already there waiting for him. Krystal was with him and he had his arms around her.|
"Hey, Optimus, did you know there would be so many people here?" asked Hot Rod.
Optimus transformed, and tried to ignore the people in the parking lot cheering. "They are expecting 25,000 plus," he said.
"Wow, I had no idea it was so big," said Krystal.
"Thatís what you said..." began Hot Rod, but Optimus held up his hand, cutting him off.
"This is a family event, Rod," said Optimus. "Donít go there. Seriously, it didnít used to be such a big event. DairyCon 2012 changed everything. They had one of the greatest exclusive toys ever. Coupled with the disappearance of the lost DairyCon Cybertronians, attendance rose exponentially."
"I should have known," said Hot Rod. "Iím still looking for the 2012 exclusive. One was sold in Washington D.C. last year for 5 million and I heard some rich guy from Texas paid 6.2 million for one last year. He plans to resell it in a few years for double that. They call that con the Transformers event of the millennium. If you werenít there your life was forever unfulfilled."
"So they say," said Optimus. "Have you seen Bumblebee?"
"Not since I left you guys at Club Iacon last night," said Hot Rod. "I thought you two were staying at Trump Tower."
"Bumblebee left with Erector and Gemini last night," said Optimus. "He didnít want Erector going home alone, he was pretty over energized by the time they left. I expected Bee was going to meet me back at the hotel, but he never made it."
"Optimus! Hot Rod!"
Optimus and Hot Rod looked toward the convention center to see Fredbot hurrying towards them.
"Good morning, Fred," said Optimus.
"Iím so glad I found you, Optimus," said Fredbot, worriedly. "Somethingís wrong. Bumblebeeís locked himself in the green room and he says he wonít come out. He said heíd only talk to you."
"Hmm. Thatís not like him," said Optimus. "Come on, Rod. We better find out what happened."
"Think he got himself reformatted again?" asked Hot Rod, unable to hide his grin.
"I didnít think he had *that* much to drink," said Optimus. "I still havenít forgotten the last time...though I did like the Camaro mode. I just wish he had sprung for the voice conversion. If I had to listen to his radio for one more minute, Iíd have knocked him out."
"Iíll catch up with you later, Roddy," said Krystal. "I need to meet Gemini and get our pre-registration packets."
Optimus and Hot Rod followed Fredbot inside the convention center. Whenever they were within sight of fans, the cheers were deafening. They waved politely with promises of autographs later in the weekend.
"What happened to you?" asked Hot Rod when they reached the green room. Erector was leaning against the door with his arms crossed. "Did you both get reformatted?"
"Yeah," said Erector. "I kinda like it. Beeís Goldbug again, but thatís the least of his problems." He explained the situation to Optimus and Hot Rod.
"Heís a dead bot," said Hot Rod. "We should say our goodbyes and see if he has any last requests." He couldnít quite suppress a laugh.
"This isnít funny, Rod," said Optimus. If he had a mouth, a grin would have spread across his face. "Okay, maybe itís a little funny, but we need to help him."
"I donít know about you two," said Erector. "Primus himself couldnít get me to stand between Bee and Six-Shot right now."
"Letís hope it doesnít come to that," said Optimus. He knocked on the door. "Bee, itís me. Hot Rod and Erector are with me. Let us in, and weíll work this out."
"Thank Primus," said Bumblebee, as he opened the door. "Hurry, get in here." He looked around like he was in fear for his life, which of course he was.
The trio quickly went inside and let Bumblebee close and lock the door.
"You look ridiculous," laughed Hot Rod.
"This is no time for jokes," hissed Bumblebee, almost in a panic.
"Heís kind of right," said Optimus. "You do look ridiculous."
"Thanks, Optimus...thanks a lot," said Bumblebee exasperatedly. "Could we focus on the problem? Six-Shot is going to kill me if he finds out about me and Gemini."
"Bee...I donít know what you want me to do," said Optimus. "I canít exactly have him arrested...he hasnít done anything yet. I mean...if he does kill you I can arrest him then...but I know that really doesnít help you much. I swear Bee, if I had a glass of energon for every time you slept with someoneís girlfriend I could retire."
"Yeah, how is it this keep happening to you?" asked Hot Rod. "I mean...donít take this personally...but youíre not exactly a real ladies bot."
"Well...according to Gemini, he is a real animal," snickered Erector. "Itís always the quiet ones."
"THIS ISNíT HELPING!" yelled Bumblebee.
Suddenly there was a knock at the door. "Iím looking for, Bumblebee," came a low and gravely voice that sounded, as the humans would say, like fingernails on a chalkboard. They all knew it was Six-Shot. During the war, any Autobot who heard his voice and lived to tell the tale never forgot it. They knew they were lucky to have survived the experience. It was said that he would sometimes grind his enemies into a fine powder and make himself an energon smoothie. Six-Shot was well known for his extreme torture tactics, and faced with capture, most would take their own lives to spare themselves.
"I donít wanna die," whined Bumblebee.
"Listen, Bee, heís not going to try anything with all of us here," said Optimus. "I mean...he probably wonít. Iím going to let him in. Just stop cowering, it makes you look pathetic."
Bumblebee brought himself up to his full inconsiderable height. Erector and Hot Rod stood on each side of him for moral support, but neither had any plan to get between Six-Shot and anyone he was planning to kill.
Optimus opened the door, and before him stood the toughest, meanest, most oilthirsty Decepticon who had ever killed an Autobot.
"Hello, Optimus," said Six-Shot. He looked past him to see Bumblebee. "I was wondering if I might have a word with Bumblebee."
"Sure," said Optimus slowly. "Come on in."
He walked in and went right up to Bumblebee. He towered over the smaller Autobot. "I guess you know why Iím here," said Six-Shot. "Gemís never been good at keeping secrets."
Bumblebee nodded. "I didnít know she was your girlfriend," he said pitifully. "I swear to Primus I didnít know."
Six-Shot held out his hand and Bumblebee flinched. "You be good to her," he said.
"Excuse me," said Bumblebee looking bewildered.
"There was a time when Iíd a walked in here, torn off your head, and used it as a bowl for my morning bolts and energon," said Six-Shot in such a matter of fact tone that it made Bumblebee flinch. "But, recently...Iíve found Primus and renounced my old violent ways. Iíve never seen her happier than when she accidentally mentioned you this morning."
"Really?" asked Bumblebee looking even more bewildered.
"Yeah," said Six-Shot. "I just want her to be happy, and if you make her happy, then Iím fine with that. Anyway, I gotta get goiní. Iíve gotta catch a transport."
"Where ya headed?" asked Hot Rod.
"New Cybertron," said Six-Shot. "I volunteered to try and teach manners to the Terrorcons." He shrugged. "Primus guides us in mysterious ways." He headed for the door, but stopped. "Bumblebee, if you do anything to hurt her, Iíll melt you down piece by piece while your pieces are still attached. Donít you forget that." He left them, and the four Autobots stood in stunned silence.
"Well, now that thatís settled, I should get going," said Bumblebee, breaking the silence.
"Where to?" asked Erector.
"To find Gemini," said Bumblebee. "I need to get reformatted back to my old self and try out some of those positions when Iím sober."
Bumblebee left, leaving Optimus, Hot Rod, and Erector standing around, unsure what just happened. "Do I want to know what he was talking about?" asked Optimus.
"No," said Erector. "I wish I didnít know what he was talking about either."
"Anyone else feel like weíre being put through the most bizarre and ridiculous things possible this weekend?" asked Hot Rod, shaking his head. "Itís like weíre all just playing out someoneís really bad joke over and over again. I feel like weíre in a fanfic."
"Yeah, all weíre missing is a time traveler," said Erector. "Thatís all we need." He noticed an odd look on Optimusí face. "You okay, Prime?"
"Yeah...fine," said Optimus. "Come on. We have a convention to attend. Iím glad youíre here Erector. Weíre down a guest with Bumblebee...otherwise occupied."
"I appreciate that, Prime," said Erector. "But be realistic. No one knew who I was before I was reformatted."
"Stay anyway," said Optimus. "Itíll do you good to spend a little time away from the tomb."
"Yeah, and who knows?" said Hot Rod. "Maybe the weekend will get even more f*cked up."
"Letís hope not," said Optimus. "Itís strange enough as it is."
They headed for the door, but before they reached it, Fredbot opened the door. "Optimus...weíve had a...well...a development," he said.
"Devastatorís balls," said Optimus. "What now?"
"You better come see," said Fredbot.
They followed Fredbot out of the greenroom. It only took a moment to see what he was talking about. Megatron, Soundwave, and Starscream were signing autographs.
"I always invite Megatron, but I never thought heíd ever come," said Fredbot. "Starscream just showed up this morning and asked if he could attend. I hate to be suspicious, theyíve been honoring the treaty, but Iím a little worried."
"Donít worry," said Optimus. "Weíll keep an eye on things."
"Excellent," said Fredbot. "Well, you should probably get out in the crowd and mingle. Optimus...do you have that device I asked you about in my e-mail?"
Optimus nodded, and removed a small device from his storage compartment. "Here it is," he said, handing it to Fred. "Just be careful with it. Do I want know what you needed that for?"
"Probably not," said Fredbot grinning. Optimus, Hot Rod, and Erector headed out into the crowd, leaving a very pleased looking Fredbot behind.
"What was that about, Prime?" asked Erector.
"Trust me," said Optimus. "You donít want to know."