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Author's Notes: The timeline draws elements from the TFBlogs roleplaying game, though it's not currently intended to be se there.
Mainly, you should know that Alternator technology was invented by humans for Autobot use, and that the Decepticons stole it for their own use.
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Vortex itched to find out what Brawl's Alternator rebuild looked like. It had to be a car of some sort, since Scrapper was still re-building fliers into chairs or desks whenever they asked when they could get the new upgrades. Sure, the upgrade were "awesome with a side of awesome" to quote Wildrider, but it was stolen Autobot tech, and the Constructicons had had a hard enough time just adapting it to work on the Decepticon cars. The majority of which were combiners, come to think of it, so that probably didn't add to the ease of transfer.
The helicopter chuckled as he recalled Megatron blowing a gasket over the Constructicons rebuilding Swindle as an Alternator. The Jeep had just gotten scrapped by Defensor, so it had seemed like a good idea at the time. Of course, the Constructicons weren't bothered by little things like putting Bruticus out of commission until all the other Combaticons got upgraded.
Swindle looked pretty much the same as he always did; a little more period-accurate, sure. No one expected any surprises there. But Brawl? No way any car could ever pull off the 'tank' look and aura. Brawl was gonna be mad as a half-smelted triple-changer when he got out of Medical, and everyone knew it. Scrapper had played his cards so close to his chest about this rebuild that Brawl hadn't even known it was coming until Onslaught ordered him to report for it. That had gone over about as well as expected; Blast Off was still seething over his broken mask an hour later. He was probably still seething over it, but he'd pitched Vortex out of the common room seven hours ago. The constant giggling ticked him off, apparently.
Vortex couldn't really help it, though! Whenever he tried to visualize Brawl as a car, he wound up giggling for five minutes straight. And that had gotten him evicted from outside the Constructicons' workshop, too. Bonecrusher claimed he was 'distracting' Hook.
So now he was camped out in the mess hall, absolutely certain that Brawl would come here first. Swindle had all but moved in after he got rebuilt, as had the Stunticons. Seemed when you first got made an Alternator, you were starving.
He drummed his fingers against the table. Bored now....
"Outta my way!"
Vortex perked up at the familiar sound of Brawl yelling and someone's head being introduced to the wall. Soon, but not soon enough for the helicopter's tastes, a black-and-white SUV stomped into the mess hall. The alt-mode looked different, but Brawl still looked like Brawl. A black mask covered his lower face, and his yellow optic band remained untouched.
"White, huh? That's different."
Brawl turned his head to Vortex briefly, never deviating from the path to the energon dispenser. "I'm gonna tear your rotors off and shove 'em through your tail if you even think about bringing up human color associations!"
"Thought never crossed my mind," Vortex said cheerfully. "Oooh, you've got detailing already!" He edged closer to Brawl, trying to make out what the symbols represented. "Earth lettering, too. L... A... P... D-" His rotors whirled abrubtly to life. "LAPD? You're a police vehicle?"
Brawl ignored him and got an energon cube.
"Well, melt me down and rebuild me as an Autojet! Bet you ripped Scrapper a new one for that!"
"Hey! I ain't stupid enough to piss off our medics!" He withdrew a siphon from his side and slapped the end against the side of the cube. "'Sides, I kinda like this."
Vortex instinctively changed his rotors to a steep angle and yelped as that pushed him away from Brawl. Nonono, no helicoptering indoors and in robot-mode! He adjusted the angle of his rotors, then killed all power going into them so that all they had to spin on was their own momentum. "You like being a police vehicle? But you're not a tank anymore! They gutted most of your armamament-"
"No, they didn't."
"-And your armor's weaker, too!"
"No, it isn't. An' even if it was, it'd be worth it."
"How could it possibly be worth it? Are you sure they didn't do something to your head while they were working?"
Brawl chuckled, actually chuckled! Vortex thought his fuel had been super-heated in that moment.
"Wait till Swindle gets down here," Was all his gestalt-mate said.
"But what's he got to do with anything?" Vortex pestered him about it for the next three minutes and nearly got shoved through the wall thrice. The third time was only averted by Swindle sauntering into the mess hall.
"You called, Brawl?" He smirked at Vortex, but didn't comment on the situation. It was far too common an occurrence to be worth saying anything about. Besides, who didn't want Vortex to do a meet-and-greet with a support pillar a couple of times? Instead he studied Brawl, circling him just out of arm's reach. "SUV, eh? Not too shabby; looks like you could carry a fair amount- Hey, what's that detailing?"
Brawl turned towards Swindle, one hand still holding Vortex by the scruff of his neck. "Eh, you'll see. But I was just 'xplaining to Vortex why I liked the new transform."
Vortex giggled. Brawl's turn had just incidentally kept Swindle from getting a good look at his decals. It always got fun when Brawl treated the situation like an battle, the big lug.
"Yeah?" Swindle glanced down at Vortex, then shifted weight to one leg in preparation of a good, hard kick.
"Yeah." The sirens on Brawl's back went off. Vortex had no idea how accurate it was, but it was painfully loud and drilled through his cranial armor to sink claws into his memory banks. The flashing lights accompanying it just rattled him, and he wanted to leave the area nownowNOW!
Swindle's reaction, though... He shrieked and just about leapt out of his armor. The anti-grav thrusters kicked on, and he banged against the ceiling, scrabbled at it, then just sunk his fingers into it and curled against it. His optics had practically turned white, they were so bright.
Vortex started laughing as soon as the sirens cut off and couldn't stop for a good fifteen minutes. Brawl dropped him after the first minute and went to get another energon cube, while Swindle just clung to the ceiling and shuddered.
"Nonononononono... Bad day, bad day, bad day..."
Vortex clapped his hands delightedly and tried to get Swindle's attention. His gestalt-mate ignored him, still too shaken by the idea of his perpetually angry partner having a police siren. Two great Swindle nightmares that went great together, in Vortex's opinion. "... I want one of those."
"Told Scrapper I'd feed him his hands if he gave 'em to anyone else."