The DairyCon festivities were a tremendous success. While Optimus and Hot Rod remained suspicious of the Decepticons, they stayed on their best behavior and seemed to be genuinely enjoying themselves. Even Hot Rod had to admit it might be time to let go of the past.|
Optimus found himself standing on the edge of the crowd leaning against a wall, looking out over the dealer room. He was pretty sure he had signed an autograph for and taken a picture with every single person at DairyCon, and he finally had some time to take things in without being bothered. The final events of the convention were underway and it would end with the Alcove of Honor ceremony and the big after party later in the evening.
"It's a magnificent event, Prime," said Megatron, as he walked over and leaned against the wall beside Optimus. "I should have attended years ago."
"Do I look like I have a bumper sticker on my rear chassis that says 'stupid'?" asked Optimus. "I know you too-well to ever not be suspicious around you."
"Prime…you wound me," said Megatron sarcastically.
"Believe me, Megatron…I'd like to," said Optimus. "As long as energon flows through your twisted fuel pump, you will always be a threat to peace. Don't think I don't wonder every day if I did the right thing talking them into sparing your life."
Megatron laughed. "Some things will never change," he said. "What if I told you…I do have something planned?"
Optimus just stared at Megatron.
"Relax, Prime," said Megatron. "A little harmless fun, nothing more." He hung his head. "Even you, who finally have the peace you fought so long for, must feel a little bit useless. You were a warrior and a leader…and now you're a politician. I'm just having a little fun to break up the monotony of my existence. I promise, no intelligent being will be harmed today. I swear on Cybertron herself."
Optimus nodded. "I will hold you to that," he said.
"I would expect nothing less," said Megatron.
Erector tried to enjoy the convention, but every so often, he'd see someone point at him and say something like, "who's that, I saw him with Optimus earlier?" The quick reply from someone else was usually, "that's nobody." He couldn't say he disagreed with them.
He wandered over to the Custom-Built-Life-Sized-Jumpstarter racetrack and spied Krystal watching the races. She was leaning against a railing beside the track. Hot Rod was nowhere to be seen.
"Hi, Krystal," said Erector.
"E! I almost didn't recognize you!" she said excitedly as she looked him over. "Wow, you look great. I love the new look. A little taller, I like that."
"Umm…thanks," said Erector. "So…um…who's winning?"
"Not sure," said Krystal. "Didn't catch his name. Something Japanese…they build all the best stuff over there."
Erector shifted nervously from foot to foot trying to think of something to say. "So, where's Hot Rod," he said. "I…um…thought you two would be together."
Krystal laughed. "You know Roddy, he's off somewhere enjoying his fame," she said. "Hey…why didn't you ever tell me you were a war hero?"
Erector placed his hands on the railing and leaned on it. "I'm no hero," he said, as he watched an Uncle Whiskey Breath homage miss its landing mark and topple head over heels into a parked rainbow colored Twin Twist. "I was just the one that lived to tell the tale…and didn't."
Krystal hooked her arm around his and leaned against him. "After the party tonight, let's go somewhere quiet and have a drink," she said. "You can tell me all about it. I'm a good listener."
Erector's fuel pump almost stopped as she rested her head on his shoulder. "Are you asking me out?" he asked.
She laughed. "Well, one of us had to ask," said Krystal. "And I've been getting the feeling it's not going to be you."
"But…what about you and Hot Rod?" asked Erector.
"I love it when Roddy comes to town, it's always a good time," said Krystal. "But it's not like we're dating or anything. I can really only handle him in small doses. He's just a bit too…cavalier for me. He can't help it. It's his function in life. I prefer the strong silent type…not to mention super cute. She leaned over and kissed him."
Erector was really glad he stayed at the convention.
It was standing room only at the Alcove of Honor ceremony. Rows of chairs lined the event field, filled with convention goers, both human and Cybertronian. Optimus, Hot Rod, and Erector were standing by the tree line looking at the stage sitting in front of the alcove on the other side of the field. A new plaque was on the wall, covered by a sheet.
"I wonder who won," said Hot Rod. "Have you heard anything Optimus?"
"Just rumors," said Optimus. "The frontrunners appear to be Yellow Dune Buggy Autobot Mini Spy, Decoy Bluestreak, and Action Master Breakdown."
"Really, a Decepticon?" asked Erector.
"Well…the toy is a convention favorite, so they might elect him on that," said Optimus. "I tend to doubt it. My money's on Blue Jeep Autobot Mini Spy."
Erector just shook his head, and Optimus put his hand on his shoulder. "Don't let it bother you," he said.
"Yeah, easier said than done," said Erector.
"Anyone seen Krystal?" asked Hot Rod, searching the crowd for her. "I wanted to see if she's free tonight."
Erector grinned. "She's around somewhere, but she's busy tonight," he said. "We're going out later." He wished he had a camera. The look on Hot Rod's face was priceless.
"Hello, Optimus, Hot Rod…whoever you are," said Starscream as he walked by the three of them heading toward Megatron and Soundwave who were standing at the corner of the field. He was going to so enjoy this. He couldn't wait to see Megatron's face.
Soundwave saw Starscream coming first. "Megatron, try to relax," he said. "He's coming…remember your fuel pressure."
"Since he's a citizen of New Cybertron…I'm legally allowed to kill him, right?" asked Megatron. "That would do wonders for my stress level."
"We've been over this," said Soundwave in as calming a tone as he could manage with his synthesized voice. "No, you can't kill him. Think about those new ponies you bought yesterday. That should calm you down."
"That's not working," growled Megatron. "Remind me to change that law. As Decepticon leader I should be able to execute him on principle…and I'd really like to know why he's here."
"Hello, Soundwave…Megatron," said Starscream, as he approached. "Are you enjoying the convention?"
"It's been a blast," said Megatron, trying to forget that the sound of Starscream's voice made him want to tear out that traitor's fuel pump.
"I can't wait to find out who is going to be elected to the alcove," said Starscream, a grin spreading across his face as he stood beside Megatron.
"Yes," said Megatron, with a grin of his own. "I can't wait either."
The Alcove of Honor induction ceremony opened with several short speeches by members the Heroes' Garden Preservation commission. That was followed by Megan Fox's speech. She would come to all the major conventions that could afford to pay her. Personal appearances were her only way of making a living since her acting career tanked completely and she got too old to do porn and Girls Gone Wild videos.
Several presentations later, Fredbot went to the podium. "Are we having fun?" asked Fredbot, to a rousing cheer from the assembled con goers. "Can I get a cheer for DairyCon!" Another even louder cheer went up from the crowd. "We've got one more special surprise guest I'd like to introduce." He took a small device from his pocket and started to press some buttons.
"What's he doing?" asked Erector.
"Trust me," said Optimus. "You don't want to know."
On the stage, a whirling disk of light appeared in the air, pulsing and glowing in every color of the rainbow. The audience oohed and aahed, not knowing what was happening.
"F*ck me," said Hot Rod. "We really are in a fanfic. How can we get out of this?"
"Tighten up that sphincter, Rod," said Optimus sternly. "It'll be over soon."
Fredbot placed the device he was using on the podium and went to the swirling disk of light. He stuck his head and shoulders into the disk, to gasps from the crowd. A moment later, he pulled out of the disk and returned to the podium.
"It is my great pleasure to introduce our special surprise guest," said Fredbot. "As you know, DairyCon is named for the lost DairyCon Cybertronians. It is my pleasure to introduce, from across time and space, the one and only…Heffer!"
A robot with black and white cow-like markings and horns on his head stepped through the glowing disk. "Moo?" he said, looking rather confused.
"Shush, Heffer," said Fredbot. "Heffer will be with us for the rest of the evening, and throughout tonight's after party, taking pictures and signing autographs."
"Moo!?" said a bewildered looking Heffer.
"Shush, Heffer," said Fredbot again. He led the robot off the stage to thunderous applause and then returned to the podium. "Well, I guess there is nothing left to do, but announce this year's inductee to the Alcove of Honor."