Four Constructicons scattered, some so fast that tools clattered in their wake. They vanished from the common room with a speed few knew them capable, leaving Hook alone. His armor clamped tight, though he still stood tall.
He pretended he hadn’t heard that tone of voice, the one that they had all learned to obey. It didn’t matter. Hook’s designation was the one which had been uttered. There was no point in fleeing.
“Is there something I can help you with?” Hook asked, careful to keep his tone polite and neutral, even as he edged the plans he’d been editing underneath another datapad.
It wasn’t his fault they needed adjusting. Sometimes, he swore his fellow Constructicons wouldn’t know a complete schematic if it grew legs and danced around in front of them.
Scrapper all but loomed behind him, for all that he was only a few inches taller than Hook himself. His visor seemed to point like a laser between Hook’s shoulderblades.
“What are you doing?”
“Working on a private project,” Hook said, dismissive. “As I believe I am entitled to do when I am not on shift.”
Scrapper edged into Hook’s peripheral vision, so close that their fields overlapped and Hook got his first taste of Scrapper’s disapproval. It was bitter.
“This is not a private project.” Scrapper reached over Hook, snagged the edge of the poorly hidden datapad, and pulled it into view. “These are my schematics that I finished this morning that I have to Scavenger to begin preparing for. I do not recall sending them to you.”
Hook bristled. “Because they are not complete! I had to bribe Scavenger to give them to me. Bribe him!” He resisted the urge to snatch the datapad back from Scrapper. “You do this every time, Scrapper. There are miscalculations, there are imperfections, there are–”
“Is,” Scrapper corrected, “nothing wrong with these schematics. They are suited for their purpose. And yes, they use substandard materials.” His voice was cold, and even.
Hook tried not to quiver. There was always something in the press of Scrapper’s field, something that demanded obedience, that sent trills through Hook’s spark and called to the coding that allowed him to combine with the others.
He hated that coding.
“I-I still find it unacceptable!” Hook retorted, reaching for indignation and landing somewhere closer to compliance. He hated arguing with Scrapper because that fragging coding always left him without a comeback.
Scrapper slid the datapad into his subspace, away from Hook’s twitching fingers, and grabbed Hook’s hand instead. “That is not your choice to make, Hook. It is mine. Now…” He tugged Hook’s hand, pulling him closer. “There is still the small matter of your disrespect.”
Another ripple coursed through Hook’s plating. Sometimes, he wasn’t even sure if it was excitement or dread. Especially since it wouldn’t keep him from making corrections in the future.
Hook braced himself. “Very well then,” he said, clinging to his arrogance. It was all he had left anymore. “Do your worst.”
Scrapper hummed a laugh. “I intend to. Let’s go.”
There went that tone again, the one that sent four Constructicons scurrying out of the workroom.
Hook sighed and followed.