Sunstreaker has Sideswipe up against the wall, legs wrapped around Sunstreaker’s hips, his field urgent and hungry. He’s two vents from plunging into him when someone knocks on their door.
Sunstreaker ignores it, mouthing hard at his brother’s neck, tasting the cables, the pulse of life. The stench of spilled energon and plasma discharge clings to both of them like expired perfume.
“Come on, Sunny,” Sideswipe pants, clutching at his back, fingers digging into his seams, pressing hard at the cables beneath. The rock of his hips is a demand.
The knock repeats, louder and more insistent.
Sideswipe knocks his forehead on Sunstreaker’s shoulder. “It’s probably Slipshod with our earnings,” he groans. “Of course he’d pick now to be early.”
“He can wait,” Sunstreaker insists, tightening his grip on Sideswipe’s aft, rolling his hips to leave a wet smear of lubricant.
“He starts taking higher cuts when we make him wait,” Sideswipe reminds him.
Sunstreaker’s engine revs. He reluctantly puts Sideswipe down. “Stay,” he says with a palm against his brother’s chestplate, pushing his back against the wall.
Sideswipe smirks and holds up his hands. “Whatever you say, master.” He offers an exaggerated wink.
Sunstreaker stomps to the door and doesn’t bother to stow his equipment because he can’t. He’s too revved. If Slipshod hadn’t wanted an opticful, he shouldn’t have been early.
He slams his palm on the door. “What?” he demands and the anger flares brighter when he realizes it’s not Slipshod on the other side of it.
Instead, it’s a smirking Seeker, leaning casually into the frame, arms folded over his cockpit.
“Why hello, is that for me?” Starscream purrs with a long look up and down Sunstreaker’s frame, gaze lingering on Sunstreaker’s bare equipment. “I’m flattered really. But don’t you think that’s a little too fast for us?”
“Starscream,” Sunstreaker growls. “What are you doing here?”
Starscream pushes off the frame. He tries to peer past Sunstreaker’s shoulder. “Aren’t you going to invite me in? I brought your pay.” He pauses and his optics flash. “Trust me, what I have to say, you don’t want said here in the hallway.”
“We don’t trust you,” Sideswipe says from behind Sunstreaker’s shoulder. He pats Sunstreaker on the back. “Let him in, bro.”
Sunstreaker shifts out of the doorway and snatches up a meshtowel from a pile near the door. They’re dirty, covered in filth and energon from the haphazard wipe he and Sideswipe had given themselves after the bout. But it’s better than nothing. Sunstreaker drops down into a chair and drapes it over his lap as Starscream slinks into their closet-sized room and the door shuts behind him.
“Here,” Starscream says. “Your earnings.” He flicks a datachip at Sideswipe who plucks it out of the air.
“Why do you have it?” Sunstreaker demands.
Starscream smirks and plants a hand on his hip. “Really? You two don’t honestly think you can fight in one of Megatron’s arenas and not get noticed? Especially since the last time you were here, it was with an Enforcer.”
“No one knew he was an Enforcer,” Sideswipe counters as he plugs the datachip into a reader to check the balance. “And he was invited.”
“Mm. Yes he was.” A look of irritation crosses Starscream’s face. Ahh. Someone’s not fond of Prowl’s recruitment. Good to know. “That’s Megatron’s little pet project.”
Sunstreaker exchanges a glance with Sideswipe that speaks more than words. “That still doesn’t answer why you’re here,” he says pointedly.
“I have a proposition for you, of course,” Starscream says, and his gaze drops to Sunstreaker’s lap and the meshtowel draping it. “Though not the one you’re hoping for, I’m sure.”
Sideswipe nods a confirmation over the datachip before stowing both away. “And we’re going to tell you the same thing we told the last recruiter. We’re not interested.” He moves behind Sunstreaker, draping his arms over Sunstreaker’s shoulders and pressing his chest to Sunstreaker’s back.
“You’re sure about that?” Starscream tilts his head and tucks his hands behind his back. He looks around the small room, frowning, probably at the mess and squalor. “What if your friend were to join us? Would that change your mind?”
“Even if it did, we wouldn’t tell you,” Sideswipe says. He slides a hand down Sunstreaker’s chestplate, palm flat over the seam bisecting his hood. “We’re not that easy to sway.”
“Besides, you have enough grunts,” Sunstreaker adds with a scowl. “We’re not cannon fodder.”
Starscream’s lips curve. “You think I make it a habit to personally recruit cannon fodder? That’s what the other mooks are for. I personally invite those who could serve a, shall we say, greater purpose.”
“And what purpose would that be?” Sideswipe asks.
Starscream idly peers through the sad excuse for a window, which looks out on a dirty alley. “If Megatron’s plan works and we acquire a tactician in the form of your friend, there will be backlash from both sides of the equation. He’ll need a keeper.”
Sideswipe’s field flickers with anger. Sunstreaker’s echoes it.
“You want us to protect him,” Sunstreaker says.
“In part.” Starscream’s grin is sly. He crosses the floor slowly, aiming for the door. “We also have a task force that we think you’d be uniquely suited for. Not quite special operations. It’s a little more visible than that. But I assure you, it’s not because we intend for you to die nameless on a battlefield.”
Sideswipe snorts, and his fingers curl against Sunstreaker’s chestplate. “Nice to know you care, since you don’t seem to be bothered by the deaths of the nameless thousands you’ve taken into your fold.”
Starscream shrugs, and his wings flick. “There will always be sacrifices.” He cycles an audible ventilation. “Let’s face it. These mechs would have died anyway. Whether from overwork or overdose. At least this way, they are dying for a better future, for something they believe in.”
“If that’s what you tell yourself to recharge at night,” Sunstreaker mutters. He leans back, soaking in his brother’s embrace. “We’re not buying what you’re selling, Decepticon.”
“I’m offering you an opportunity,” Starscream says, drawling the syllables of the last word. If their refusals anger him, he doesn’t show it. “A chance to be on the winning team. Unless you prefer fighting for the very mechs who keep you shackled.”
“Not sure how ‘free’ we’d be under your master.” Sideswipe shrugs, Sunstreaker feeling the motion against his upper back. “But tell you what, get Prowl to cross over, and we’ll be right there with him.”
Sunstreaker smirks. “Wherever Prowl goes, that’s the winning team. So until he moves, we’re staying put.”
Irritation flickers over Starscream’s face, and his wingtips twitch. “Whatever did he do to earn such loyalty and faith?”
“None of your business,” Sideswipe says, his tone so painfully cheery it’s obviously fake. It’s his favorite method of slagging someone off.
Sunstreaker braces. As he’s learned to do when Sideswipe starts running his mouth and causing trouble, inevitably leading to a scrap or two.
Starscream, however, merely chuckles. “Fair enough.” He kicks a heel against the floor before sliding toward the door, one hand hovering by the lock. “I’ll leave you be then. Until Megatron’s little experiment fails or succeeds.”
The door slides open, letting in dingy light from the corridor. Starscream casts a winged shadow back into the room.
“See you soon,” he purrs, and then he’s gone.
“Finally,” Sideswipe grunts and sags against Sunstreaker’s back as though someone cut his strings, and he can’t hold himself upright anymore. “Thought he’d never leave.” He tucks his face against Sunstreaker’s neck, ex-venting hot and wet.
Sunstreaker presses the knuckles of one hand to his mouth. “He’s not wrong,” he comments against his knuckles, staring off into space, seeing without seeing.
Sideswipe sighs and knocks his forehead against the nape of Sunstreaker’s neck. “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. Wherever Prowl goes, remember?”
“Yeah.” Sunstreaker reaches behind him with his free hand, cupping the back of his brother’s head.
“Good.” Sideswipe’s lips curve in a tangible grin against Sunstreaker’s nape. He slides back, circles Sunstreaker and whipping away the dirty meshcloth he’d used as a drape.
Sunstreaker’s spike remains half-pressurized, liberally slick with his own pre-fluid. Sideswipe drags a finger up the length of him, and Sunstreaker shivers, watching his brother with heat in his optics.
“Still ready for me,” Sideswipe murmurs and drops down into Sunstreaker’s lap, thighs bracketing Sunstreaker’s hips. He drapes his arms over Sunstreaker’s shoulders, shimmying close until their chestplates bump.
“Now I think we were in the middle of something,” Sideswipe says, all cheeky need and teasing as he licks Sunstreaker’s cheek. “Don’t leave me hanging, bro.”
Sunstreaker huffs a laugh and cradles Sideswipe’s hips, squeezing them. He nuzzles his brother’s cheek, angling for a kiss.
This is so much simpler than the war brewing outside the door. And right now, Sunstreaker can use simple.
Prowl throws himself back into the investigation after his meeting with Megatron. He has to prove the Decepticons are innocent. He’s certain, down to his very protoform, Megatron is not behind this. But someone out there is playing a very dangerous political game, and there are sparks at stake. Innocent sparks.
He starts with the list Senator Shockwave gave him. There are a dozen names on it: two of which are no longer viable as they are already deceased. He’s spoken with Shockwave already. That leaves nine more potential victims, nine potential leaks, nine possible informants.
No one’s been nominated to take Bracket and Deltus’ place. Perhaps no one dares. Have they made the connection between the victims yet? If so, no one announces it. Not even the news has given motive to their Decepticon accusations.
Prowl starts at the top and works his way down. Senator Sherma is the lead of the committee. He’s a smarmy, self-righteous aft, and Prowl’s armor crawls in the mech’s presence.
There’s history here. History Prowl doesn’t like remembering. Sherma had lobbied to keep Prowl as a soldier, as hard as Shockwave had fought for Prowl’s frame exemption.
“Mechs need to understand their place,” Sherma had said back then, lips twisted into a sneer of disgust. “They need to realize where they belong, lest they think themselves greater than their betters.”
“We need him,” Shockwave had argued. “It would be a waste.”
Sherma had tipped up his nose. “If he were meant to be an Enforcer, he would have been sparked one.”
He’s no more respectful of Prowl now. If anything, he speaks with thinly concealed loathing, and his disdain for Shockwave is evident in every word from his lips.
“He should have never given you that list,” Sherma says with a hard glare and a thin line serving as his mouth. He glares at Prowl’s datapad as though it has personally offended him. “The committee is classified.”
Prowl holds his ground. He’s standing because Sherma has not offered him a chair. “Clearly not classified enough as there are now two members who are dead, and the committee links them.”
“Pah.” Sherma rolls his optics and flicks a hand. “They’re both in politics. It could be anything that connects them. You’re seeing a pattern where there isn’t one.” He chuffs a ventilation. “Of course, failure is what happens when you let a navvy rise above its station.”
Anger flushes Prowl’s spark. He swallows it down with cold disregard. “Motivations for murder are often linked to a specific connection, not a broad one.”
“Motivation,” Sherma echoes, and he snorts. “They were killed by the Decepticons if I recall. That’s motivation enough.” He pauses and peers at Prowl through narrow slits. “But of course, you know better, don’t you? Have to stir up trouble where there isn’t none to prove you belong, is that it?”
It takes all of Prowl’s control not to let his sensory panels flick. “I merely prefer to explore all avenues of possibility so we aren’t caught off guard,” he says, holding to politeness with iron will. “I am thorough.”
“You mean you enjoy riding the clock and wasting everyone’s time.” Sherma scoffs and leans back in his chair, crossing one ankle over the opposite knee. He spins a stylus with his free hand. “It was the Decepticons, plain and simple. They aren’t picking their targets based on a committee no one knows exists. They’re attacking whoever is convenient. That’s it.”
Prowl’s hand tightens around his stylus. “For someone who is not a trained investigator, you sound certain. You’re not at all concerned you may be next?”
Sherma’s optics flash. His feet hit the floor, and he leans forward. “Is that a threat, Enforcer Prowl?”
“No, sir. It is merely a logical question.” Prowl flicks his sensory panels. “Two members of the committee are dead. If I am right and said committee is the link, it stands to reason the other participants are on a hit list of some kind.”
Sherma’s jaw tightens. “I think it’s time time you left.” He rises, his height only somewhat greater than Prowl’s. “I’ve entertained your foolish notions long enough. I have no more time to waste on one of Shockwave’s failing experiments.”
“I am neither an experiment nor am I a failure,” Prowl replies, his tone sharper than he intended, but the insult feels like a knife to the abdomen, cutting into everything he’d been asking himself since Chancellor Bracket’s murder first fell into his lap.
“You are both, and I’ve told you to leave,” Sherma snaps, his tone an order, as though he’s Prowl’s superior. “I’ll not stand here for your wild theories, your accusations, your thinly veiled threats.”
Prowl’s vents hiss. “No, you’d much rather sit there in your arrogance, so certain nothing can touch you that you are blind to all else.”
Sherma’s jaw sets. Anger flashes in his field, broiling through the room. He slams a palm on the intercom, refusing to take his gaze from Prowl for a single moment. “Compute, call security. Enforcer Prowl will need an escort out of the building.”
Prowl’s engine rumbles. “That won’t be necessary. I can see myself out.” He spins on a heel and strides toward the door, every inch of his frame vibrating with anger.
“Your commanding officer will be hearing of this, rest assured,” Sherma calls after him, sly and triumphant. “I do hope you enjoy being sent back where you belong.”
Thankfully, the door shuts before Prowl can retort with something ill-advised. He’s already facing a demerit from Silverspire – since he’s quite sure Sherma won’t forget to make that call. He can’t worsen matters by being further rude.
Instead, he sits in a quiet corner of the ground floor lobby and meditates long enough to get his emotions in check. He’s got eight more potential victims to question, he’s got two murders to solve, and something tells him he’s running out of time.
He’s better than this, better than Sherma’s taunts. He’s a good investigator, a better Enforcer. He was granted a frame exemption for a reason.
He’s meant to be more.
He just has to prove it.
The stack of datapads near Megatron’s left elbow wobbles dangerously. He reaches out to steady it without giving the stack a second glance.
It’s much smaller than it had been when he first started, but the size of it remains daunting. Soundwave is nothing if not thorough and productive. There are few in the stack Megatron has had to reject.
Soundwave knows all too well who would suit the Decepticons and who would not. He understands their weaknesses, what they need to bolster. He has fingers and optics and audials in all corners of Cybertron. His network has stretched as far as Praxus to find them allies, and he’s been successful.
There’s a scientist who’s proving to be quite promising. The Senate keeps threatening to withdraw his funding because of his… unique proposals. The potential in said proposals could work in the Decepticon’s favor.
Megatron assigns Starscream to recruit this Mesothulas for the time being.
A rap of knuckles over his door announces a visitor. Odd because only strangers knock. Starscream strolls inside, usually with some loud comment. Soundwave slinks inside and waits quietly to be noticed.
Megatron looks up. An unfamiliar mech lurks in his doorway, but judging by the heavy armor and his bearing, he’s military. There are bare patches on his shoulders, like badges which have been removed. Stripped of rank? Or voluntarily removed?
“Can I help you?” Megatron asks.
This stranger cannot have slipped in here without being noticed. Which means he’s been sent by Soundwave. Perhaps his designation is one of those in the stack of datapads by Megatron’s left elbow.
“I was told to find Megatron if I wanted to seek employment,” the mech says with a dark, dark voice Megatron’s only heard from fellow miners. There is gravel in it.
“By?” Megatron quirks an orbital ridge.
The mech laughs, but it’s short and stunted, more of a grunt. “A very strange mech with an avian mini on his shoulder.” He ducks in through the doorway, his visor casting a sharp amber gleam across it. “Apparently while a dishonorable discharge gets you shunned by your peers, it’s an invitation to a position of honor within the Decepticons.”
Ah, that answers that.
“Depends on the motive behind it,” Megatron says. He gestures to the chair across from him, though on second look, it doesn’t appear to be large enough for this mech’s bulk. “Have a seat.”
The mech slants a look at it. “I’ll stand.” He crosses his arms over his chassis. “You weren’t expecting me, I take it.”
Megatron looks at his stack of datapads. “You’re designation might be somewhere among these.”
“Onslaught,” the mech supplies. He tilts his head, expression inscrutable behind both mask and visor. “Formerly Commander Onslaught of the Beta-Niner Regiment out of Alyon.”
Guardian of a now defunct hot spot. How intriguing.
Megatron rests his elbows on the desk, lacing his fingers together. “And what precipitated your discharge?”
Amusement spikes in the mech’s field before it withdraws. “Difference of opinion with my superior officers.” He shifts his weight. “Rumor has it you’re fighting for a new Cybertron. I want a part of it.”
“You don’t need much convincing, I see.” Megatron doesn’t recall seeing Onslaught’s name amongst the files, but then, there are so many he hasn’t gotten to yet. “How do I know you’ve not been sent to spy?”
Onslaught draws in a loud vent. “You don’t.” His tone is blunt. “But I’m told you’re in need of a tactician, and that happens to be my specialty.” He rolls his shoulders. “You can do all the investigating you like. I’m sure your spy already has. Test me if you want. I’ve got nothing left to lose.”
Megatron presses his lips together. He considers Onslaught. Had Soundwave sent him here as a back up plan in case they are unable to recruit Prowl? Or is he a secondary resource no matter what the outcome?
Prowl is more representative of the civilian militia. They’ve yet to recruit anyone from the military. Or at least, anyone of any former prominence. Footsoldiers and cannon fodder, yes. But few with experience. Most soldiers with experience are very, very loyal to the senate and high council.
“A trial period then,” Megatron says as he lowers his hands and starts thumbing through the stack of datapads, searching for Onslaught’s. “To see if your skills are even worth the risk we take on you.”
Onslaught unfolds his arms. “That’s fair. Who shall I report to?”
“That’s the question, isn’t it?” Megatron’s lips twitch as he considers Onslaught. “Nightstalker, I think, will best suit you for now. You can find him by the training grounds.” Though to call them such is being generous. “I suspect Soundwave will find you soon enough, to… corroborate some of your intentions.”
Light flashes in Onslaught’s visor. “Understood.” He takes a step back toward the door without taking his gaze off Megatron. “This is a revolution I wish to see succeed, Megatron. Mark my words.”
“Consider them marked.” His hands find Onslaught’s datapad, and Megatron draws it closer, intending to examine it thoroughly. “Welcome aboard, Onslaught.”
Prowl is on a transport, on his way to an interview with Judge Steelwool, when the call comes in. He’s tapped into the broadcast per the usual, since he’s on the clock and actively working a case, so he picks up the call before Silverspire can contact him.
His energon runs cold.
He disembarks on the next stop, shifts to alt-mode, and dives into traffic, lights and sirens blazing as he screeches back the way he came. Vehicles swerve out of his path as Prowl ignores as many speed limits as he can, spark hammering, and despair trickling through him.
Senator Sherma is dead.
It had been only yesterday when Prowl interviewed the Senator and had his warnings summarily dismissed. Prowl would never admit aloud, but he takes a certain triumph in knowing he’d been right, despite Sherma’s insistence otherwise.
He supposes he should mourn Sherma’s death.
He has to investigate it, however. The case isn’t his, but Prowl expects it to land on his shoulders. Especially if it follows the pattern of the other two.
By the time he arrives at Topaz Estates, the massive suite complex Sherma calls home, Silverspire pings his comm to let him know of the murder.
“I’m aware,” Prowl answers as he flicks his sensory panels, displaying his Enforcer badge, and the grunt waves him in. “I got the call on my way to interview Judge Steelwool. I’m already here.”
“Well at least you’re proactive,” Silverspire grunts. “Initial reports suggest it matches the same circumstances as the murders of Bracket and Deltus. Which means we’ve got a serial or someone’s trying to make a statement.”
Prowl slips into the lift, poking the bottom for the near-penthouse suite. “I suspect it’s the latter. I’ll know more after I visit the scene.”
“Three deaths, Prowl. Three. Do I need to put someone else on this case? Because there won’t be a fourth,” Silverspire says.
Anger flashes hot and bright. He swallows it down, the sour-rust taste of it. “No, sir. I’m close. I know I am. Sherma’s death will be the last.”
“It had better be.”
The comm ends, leaving Prowl with dead air. The lift dings and deposits him on the appropriate floor. Prowl takes a moment to vent before he steps out and is waved through a sea of precinct mechs from forensics and investigative services. They point the way.
Sherma’s in the main room, sprawled in front of the open balcony. He’s face down, two neat holes drilled through his back – spark and t-cog most likely. His head, or what’s left of it, is a spray of viscera, metal and bits of brain module and fluids soaking the thick carpet beneath him.
There’s no sign of a struggle. The door hadn’t appeared jimmied. The balcony door is untouched. Drips of cerebral fluid along the bottom suggest it was closed when Sherma was killed.
It looks like an execution.
Prowl crouches to examine Sherma without touching the mess. He can’t see any clear signs of a struggle. No scrape marks in the otherwise immaculate paint. No gouges or dents.
The wounds are crisp. Clean. They suggest a blaster, standard Enforcer issue, just like the other victims. They’re accurate. The killer hadn’t needed extra shots. He’s someone who’s comfortable with a gun, who’s had training.
Prowl stands and turns in a slow circle, taking in the room. Everything is in order. No overturned furniture, the vidscreen is still on, showing the daily news at a low volume. There’s a glass sitting by a large, comfortable chair, half-full with what a tentative sniff identifies as expensive engex.
On the wall, painted over artwork that no doubt costs more than Prowl’s yearly salary, is a Decepticon brand, lurid and purple.
Not so much of a coincidence now, is it?
Prowl stares at the dripping Decepticon sigil, still so fresh it shines in spots, and dribbles of paint slowly creep toward the floor.
It was someone Sherma either knew or trusted. Someone he’d let into his home without worry for his safety. Just as it had been with Bracket and Deltus. It was someone whom he’d let down his guard enough to be killed without struggle.
The triple-tap was unnecessary. It was someone who hated Sherma and wanted to ensure there’s little chance of his survival.
Someone… like Prowl.
Ice washes into his system then. He staggers under the weight of the realization, optics cycling wide, ventilations fluttering.
The missing piece of the puzzle clicks into place.
Prowl gathers his composure, walks as if in a dream toward the balcony. There’s no one out there right now, and the noise of the city below crashes over him like a background track to the thoughts racing through his head.
The connection isn’t the Decepticons. They’re just a smokescreen. The connection is him, it’s Prowl.
Minister Deltus had been present at the sparking of Prowl’s batch. He’d presided over it, ushering each new spark toward it’s decided role. He’d been the one who sent Prowl on the road to becoming a soldier, though in the end, Prowl had managed to escape it.
Deltus had argued against Prowl’s exemption, just like Sherma.
Bracket presided over the training program Prowl was obligated to attend if he wanted to be an Enforcer. He’d not been happy that a frame-exempt was in the classes, and Prowl wouldn’t be surprised if Bracket was the one responsible for how difficult Prowl’s classes were. He also had a voice in who was promoted, and was probably responsible for every one of Prowl’s rejections.
Then of course, Sherma. Whom Prowl had argued with only yesterday. Who had called and reported rudeness to Silverspire. Who felt as though Prowl had made a threat.
Prowl hunches and grips the balcony rail. He offlines his optics. All three had been killed by a blaster consistent with that of the standard Enforcer allocation. All three knew their killer, trusted him. And who wouldn’t trust an Enforcer?
Even the Decepticon sigil makes sense. What else would an intelligent Enforcer do if trying to shift the blame to a party everyone is already primed to hate?
Prowl would arrest himself at this point. Or at least, bring himself in for questioning. It makes sense, and if he weren’t the one assigned to work the case, he’d have connected the dots already. He still wonders how he missed it.
This has never been about the Decepticons.
He has to go.
Prowl pushes away from the rail and spins back toward the suite. He strides through it, not sparing Sherma another glance, and refusing to make optical contact with anyone. When the forensics come back, he has a feeling the evidence isn’t going to do him any favors.
Maybe this time, there’s video surveillance. Maybe there’s a grainy image that shows some black and white mech coming to visit Sherma. And maybe that mech has sensory panels and a chevron. It’s cheap enough these days to get a partial kibble transplant and a repaint to look like someone else.
Sunstreaker could do it easily. Not that he would.
When was Sherma killed? It doesn’t matter. Prowl’s sure it’s for a time he doesn’t have an alibi, or if he does, it’s one he can’t repeat.
Silverspire’s warnings ring at the back of his head. He’s always asked for too much, pushed for more than anyone wanted to allow him. He hasn’t ever been satisfied with the status quo. He always reaches for a higher calling. He isn’t content to stay in his place.
No wonder he’s being framed. By who? Prowl supposes it doesn’t matter. They’re not going to believe him.
It’s only a matter of time before they arrest him.
Prowl doesn’t run out of Sherma’s tower-suite, but it’s a near thing. Out in front of the building, he’s at a loss for what to do next. He has few friends, fewer allies. He tries calling Shockwave and is sent to the senator’s messaging system. Even Shockwave’s receptionist doesn’t know how to contact his superior.
No one’s heard from Shockwave in several days.
Prowl had visited Shockwave also.
Are the two connected? Probably. But it’s not Prowl’s case. It’s missing persons and as much as he’d like to dial the precinct and figure out whose case it is, something tells Prowl there won’t be any answers.
Does he dare try Orion Pax? Would the renowned, highly decorated officer even believe him? Orion is the shining star of his district. He’s protected in ways Prowl isn’t. Does Prowl trust him with the truth?
No. He doesn’t. He can’t.
For lack of options, Prowl turns to the nearest transport station. He’ll return home, to his apartment. There’s still time. No one suspects him yet. He’s still lead on the case. Though once he doesn’t come up with a designation, Silverspire will force a partner on him, someone who will put the pieces together, if they’re smart enough.
Whoever is doing this, whoever is framing Prowl, they’ll make sure of it. They’ll assign Streetwise or Muzzle, two forged mechs with impeccable records. They’re both good mechs, good detectives. They’ll connect the dots much faster than Prowl, Streetwise especially. They’ll quickly paint him as the criminal.
He doesn’t have much time.
He doesn’t have any time at all.