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@  Maximus Ambus : (28 October 2020 - 01:52 PM)

50/60's Twilight Zone, the 80's, millennium and recent ones also, all are in The Twilight Zone.

@  wonko the sane? : (28 October 2020 - 08:03 AM)

Twilight zone. Duh.

@  -LittleAutob... : (28 October 2020 - 07:52 AM)

Um.... what did I log in on...

@  Paladin : (28 October 2020 - 06:17 AM)

have they actually gotten worse than the one where Homer gets paralyzed by a spider and has to learn to communicate through his farts?

@  unluckiness : (28 October 2020 - 05:53 AM)

It's only fitting that SImpsons have halloween specials since it's been a shambling corpse of its former self since its teens.

@  Maximus Ambus : (28 October 2020 - 04:12 AM)

No I caught one of the latest one with parodies of Stranger Things which admittedly is horror series but Heaven Can Wait and The Shape of Water are Fantasy films. Plus implications of the characters being sociopaths or twisted has become a norm these days.

@  NotVeryKnightly : (28 October 2020 - 02:58 AM)

Which probably adds to the "reasons they should just stop making more of The Simpsons" pile.

@  NotVeryKnightly : (28 October 2020 - 02:58 AM)

You make it sound like The Simpsons becoming less repetitive is a bad thing.

@  Maximus Ambus : (28 October 2020 - 02:48 AM)

Remember when Simpsons Halloween specials parodied horror movies and would have the characters make off out of character remarks like "we chucked donuts at a old man for kicks."? they don't and can't do that any more.

@  Steevy Maximus : (27 October 2020 - 08:00 PM)

Tired of the same old Halloween stuff? Check out Tubi. The depths of the schlock available is astounding.

@  Donocropolis : (27 October 2020 - 11:51 AM)

Not sure if it's news or not, but I'm at Ross right now and they have Masterpiece Movie Ironhide for $24.99

@  Steevy Maximus : (27 October 2020 - 12:45 AM)

Final Fantasy 7 Remake’s Best Buy exclusive deluxe version is available for $10 as one of today’s daily deals

@  PlutoniumBoss : (26 October 2020 - 08:50 PM)

We can play the "Is it a real headline or an Onion headline" game.

@  Steevy Maximus : (26 October 2020 - 08:22 PM)

It's weird to see how much of Larry Hama's "satire" from the old GI Joe comic has no longer become satire in the past few years.

@  Maximus Ambus : (26 October 2020 - 11:29 AM)

Funny how 2020 gave me new appreciation for Dawn of the Dead 1978.

@  Sukoshiko : (25 October 2020 - 07:43 PM)

@Fenix Twilight Sure. Just not a good one.

@  Fenix Twilight : (25 October 2020 - 04:02 PM)

@Sukoshiko Well his clothes left an impression on you didn't they?

@  TheMightyMol... : (25 October 2020 - 06:09 AM)

I just read "Tesla Cybertruck" like AC/DC's "Thunderstruck", now it won't get out of my head, so I inflict it on all of you as well.

@  Sukoshiko : (25 October 2020 - 12:25 AM)

Tesla Cybertruck: amazing or just silly looking? I can't decide.

@  Sukoshiko : (25 October 2020 - 12:24 AM)

Weird question: I had to deal with a guy today... I'm not exactly up on modern fashions... or even archaic fashions... But this guy... Tuxedo Jacket and shirt, studs in all the button holes except the bottom one, blue jeans, and cowboy boots... Take a moment to imagine that get up. And this was to a business meeting, trying to impress someone. What look is that? Who on earth would dress that way? (I mean on purpose)

@  wonko the sane? : (24 October 2020 - 06:04 PM)

I think the few up here were lost to bad placement, poor weather, and the usual language trap.

@  TM2-Megatron : (24 October 2020 - 04:25 PM)

There are 5 spread around southwestern Ontario, all run by the same company. I've only been to the one in my area, but it seems to do good business even in non-pandemic times. On long weekends, when they do triple features, there's a normally a lineup to get in Friday and Saturday nights

@  Telly : (24 October 2020 - 01:51 PM)

there been one outside of my town for as long as ive been alive at least. its gone through its share of owners and periods of being closed down, but its been open for the past decade at least

@  Otaku : (24 October 2020 - 12:08 PM)

Bias from personal experience, but drive-in theaters are nearly extinct.  I grew up near one but it went out of business in the late 80s, and was torn down and replaced with some other business by the early 90s.

@  wonko the sane? : (24 October 2020 - 07:47 AM)

Out here, I mean. Couldn't comment on their popularity in place where they actually exist.

@  wonko the sane? : (24 October 2020 - 06:44 AM)

I wouldn't know. They've only come back into vogue with the social distancing from the plague, and while some places have made an effort to shoestring the places together, it's all largely too distant to be accessible.

@  TM2-Megatron : (23 October 2020 - 09:46 PM)

I'd hate to see ours replaced by condos. They're a great way to spend an evening, whether with family or on a date. And they've never been as common in Canada as the US, so we cna't afford to lose as many

@  wonko the sane? : (23 October 2020 - 09:45 PM)

Largely they were either poorly placed or bought out and torn down to be replaced by something other than over priced short term parking. Mostly condos.

@  TM2-Megatron : (23 October 2020 - 09:14 PM)

I guess your winters are worse, so they have a shorter operating season. Drive-ins in the Toronto area can usually operate until early or mid-December; maybe even into early January if there's no real snowfall, and open up again sometime in March.

@  TM2-Megatron : (23 October 2020 - 09:13 PM)

THere's really only 1 left in the entire province?

@  wonko the sane? : (23 October 2020 - 09:03 PM)

Ha! It's probably faster for me to drive to your drive in than to make my way to the only one left in quebec.

@  TM2-Megatron : (23 October 2020 - 06:57 PM)

Fortunately we still have a drive-in theatre that's exempt from the closures about a 10 minute drive away

@  TM2-Megatron : (23 October 2020 - 06:57 PM)

Theatres around here are closed again for at least another couple weeks (wouldn't be surprised if it's extended by another month or so, either), but that's what they've been doing here as well. Playing the old classics

@  Maximus Ambus : (23 October 2020 - 02:36 PM)

I got Earthrise Megatron, he's better then I thought he'd be though Netflix Megatron is still tops.

@  Bass X0 : (23 October 2020 - 10:44 AM)

The original Rocky movie is also showing. May go next weekend. That’s how you get people back in the theatres - show the old classics every adult loves.

@  wonko the sane? : (23 October 2020 - 10:35 AM)

They did a limited run showing of it up here too, back when the theaters were open... red zones suck.

@  Bass X0 : (23 October 2020 - 10:13 AM)

The original Back To The Future is showing in the Odeon in the UK now. I think I will go see it tomorrow.

@  Donocropolis : (23 October 2020 - 05:51 AM)

It was either the Bumblebee or Cliffjumper. Can't remember the colors.

@  Kalidor : (22 October 2020 - 06:43 PM)

What did it look like?

@  Donocropolis : (22 October 2020 - 01:34 PM)

I swear I remember getting the Happymeal G1 minibot as a child, but I live 2.5 hours from St. Louis, which is the only place they apparently came out. It's possible that I got it on a family vacation, though, as we went to Six Flags pretty often.

@  ▲ndrusi : (22 October 2020 - 01:07 PM)

Conversely, I had the Gobot helicopter from Wendy's and I was absolutely convinced it was an actual Transformer.

@  Donocropolis : (22 October 2020 - 08:13 AM)

I used to rubber-band Hot-Wheels style construction vehicles together and pretend it was Devestator.

@  Bass X0 : (21 October 2020 - 05:26 PM)

When I was about four years old, my parents bought me Bugbite and tried to tell me it was Bumblebee. I was not yet a fan of Transformers, but I knew that wasn't Bumblebee. I didn't even have the real Bumblebee at that time.

@  Maximus Ambus : (21 October 2020 - 01:39 PM)

It would come with two soundtracks: the eighties classic and one featuring dubstep and the VAs are popular Youtubers.

@  wonko the sane? : (21 October 2020 - 12:13 PM)

But yeah, reading it: I came off as a bit of an ass.

@  wonko the sane? : (21 October 2020 - 11:52 AM)

I just couldn't think of worse music than disco...

@  NotVeryKnightly : (21 October 2020 - 11:35 AM)

What were you trying to imply with the mocking sarcasm, though? Nobody suggested that '80s music was any more "of it's time" than '70s music.

@  wonko the sane? : (21 October 2020 - 11:18 AM)

I said that disco wouldn't fare much better with the same context: media is property of it's time; biases, culture and limitations are all inherent in that. Some stuff can be brought forward because of an inherently timeless nature or the simplicity with which it was made but lots of media is a time capsule of the period of when it was made.

@  NotVeryKnightly : (21 October 2020 - 08:46 AM)

I'm not sure what you're trying to imply, or what you even think I said.

@  wonko the sane? : (21 October 2020 - 08:11 AM)

Yeah, cause disco would make the transition so much better...


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Blazing Justice


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#1 Blueshift

Blueshift
  • Citizen
  • 2297 posts

Posted 11 November 2018 - 12:22 PM

A silly story about Micromasters. 
 
 
 
 
 
"Blaze Master, get a lawyer!"
 
Blaze Master rocked back in his chair with a disaffected snarl. Whilst most Micromasters had been constructed to a human scale for better fuel efficiency and integration on the planet Earth, Blaze Master was bigger than average and so his bulky robotic frame filled out the plastic and metal chair on which he currently rocked back and forth in a cavalier manner. He rolled his eyes at his fellow Micromasters in disdain. "It's not like I did anything wrong!"
 
"You napalmed a school!" Strikedown squeaked her response, gripping the back of Blaze Master's chair in case it toppled onto her. Both she and Hot House had squeezed themselves behind Blaze Master, peering over the shoulder of the larger Autobot. "Napalming a school is illegal, Blaze Master! Get a lawyer!"
 
"Pfft!" Blaze Master rolled his eyes even harder and rested his arms behind his head, propping his big metal feet on the desk in front of him. "It's not like anyone was injured."
 
Hot House's head popped around the other side of Blaze Master. "No, no-one was injured because there were one hundred percent fatalities! Get a lawyer!"
 
"Get a lawyer!" Strikedown echoed. "I'll do it! Just ask me!"
 
There was a ripple of disquiet at the commotion from the nearby humans. Blaze Master stopped rocking on his chair, and instead brought his fists down on the desk, bunching them up slightly with an air of annoyance. "Listen, I don't need a lawyer and I don't need you two losers! I'm part of the elite Autobot Air Patrol! A hero! No-one tells me what to do!"
 
"Quiet in court!" There was a furious hammering in front of the trio as a human wearing an ornate wig and long black robes scowled at the Micromasters. "The defendant will remain quiet or be held in contempt!"
 
"Get a lawyer!" Strikedown hissed urgently.
 
Blaze Master casually screwed up some of the pieces of paper strewn about in front of him, tossing the ball into the crowded courtroom. Every seat was filled with stern men and women wearing suits, the galley above crammed with cameras and journalists, all eyes on the three Autobots. "You guys don't know nothing!" Blaze Master muttered back to his two comrades. "I'm a big Autobot hero. I'll just get a slap on the wrist and a small fine."
 
"Get a lawyer!" Hot House whimpered.
 
The judge slammed the gavel down harder and then rose to his feet, face glowing red with rage. "Whilst this court recognises that the defendant is an alien space robot, he must recognise the sanctity of this Hague War Crimes Tribunal!"
 
"Hmm. Right. Yeah." Blaze Master pursed his lips and sunk back down. "Guys, I think I'm gonna need a lawyer."
 
 
 
***
 
 
"Okay, so what do we know?" Strikedown stalked about the rather nice little office she had been given by the charming men in the court. The walls were lined with bookcases full of antique leather-bound law volumes, which Strikedown had spent the last hour artfully arranging to project the right air of intelligence.
 
Hot House just hugged himself in the corner. "Are you sure about this, Strikedown?" he said in a quavering tone. "I mean, you're not really a lawyer, are you? And don't proper lawyers have to start doing small cases and then work their way up? And have a degree? And a knowledge of law?"
 
Strikedown just shook her head. "I know how these things work, I watch television! We're the underdogs, Hot House! Defending poor Blaze Master against baseless accusations! The underdogs never lose!"
 
"I mean, he did do it though, right?"
 
"Well, yes, but..." Strikedown scowled. "That's not the point. The point is that all the other Autobots have just left poor Blaze Master to rot in international jail with no help - no help but us!" She jabbed a finger at Hot House to labour the point. "We're going to save Blaze Master from going to jail for all the things he did definitely do, and then Commander Countdown will see I'm proper officer material and promote me!" Her eyes glazed over as her imagination began cashing in on the glory, the prestige, the medals... Soon she would be lording it over her fellow members of the Micromaster Metro Squad. She'd be drawing up the duty rosters and  choosing who got the best patrol pairing and they'd all have to listen to all of her lectures on safety and personal development.
 
Hot House perked up slightly. "And I'll get made a member of the Autobot Air Patrol! Just like you promised! Did you see, Strikedown? In the courtroom, Blaze Master actually spoke to me when he called me an idiot! He noticed me! I've made it, I'm in the big leagues now!"
 
"Yeah, we're both in the big leagues!" Strikedown lowered herself into a particularly plush leather swivel chair with a flourish, twirling around in it. "Now all I have to do is learn how to be a lawyer and get Blaze Master off this charge!"
 
"Yeah!" Hot House punched the air. "We're ninety percent there already! Now let's um..." he paused, thinking.
 
Strikedown fell silent as well.
 
The only sound in the room was the sound of Strikedown's chair as it slowly rotated with a squeak.
 
"Oh! Oh!" Hot House broke the silence with an eager cry, thrusting his hand into the air for permission to speak. "I know! I could paint myself blue and pretend to be one of the Decepticon Air Strike Patrol and claim it was all a Decepticon trap, and then the humans will kill me and not Blaze Master!"
 
"Hot House! That's lying!" Strikedown was aghast at this suggestion. "You can't lie! We're Autobots! We're going to get Blaze Master off those charges in a fair and honest way!"
 
"Right. But..." Hot House frowned under his face mask. "I mean, he did do it though, didn't he? He did literally napalm that school full of children whilst laughing maniacally?"
 
Strikedown nodded, picking up a nearby file. "Well, yes, that's the little niggling problem here. But let's review the facts. The school was in the middle of an outdoor play celebrating the anniversary of the Battle of Autobot City. Half of the children were dressed up as Decepticons. They were flying the flag of the enemy, Hot House! What else was Blaze Master to do?"
 
Hot House thought for a bit. "...Not napalm a school full of children?"
 
Furrowing her brow, Strikedown leapt to her feet and started pacing back and forth. "But Blaze Master is an heroic Autobot! Maybe he thought that the children were all Decepticon Pretenders! Adorable tiny Decepticon Micro-Pretenders! Like how some of them used to disguise themselves as forty-foot tall fleshy demon creatures, but instead these disguised themselves as defenceless children and their families!" She snapped her fingers decisively. "Yes, that must have been the reason! Blaze Master acted in the heat of the moment to defend this precious planet!" She held up a hand for a high-five, look of triumph on her face. "I've done it, Hot House! I've won the case!"
 
The high-five wasn't returned. "So uh..." Hot House scratched his chin. "Why did Blaze Master radio back to base with the message..." He carefully studied his personal data pad for the correct wording. "... 'Four-twenty blaze it, I've just napalmed a school full of children, el-oh-el, I'm going to finish off any survivors'?" He tilted his head quizzically. "How does that fit in with this theory?"
 
"It's uh..." Strikedown faltered before slumping back into her chair and sinking her head into her hands. "Oh man, I hope Blaze Master isn't guilty, we're gonna look stupid for helping him out!"
 
"Don't worry, you're going to look stupid anyway!" A grey Micromaster stroke purposefully into the office, clutching a briefcase in one fist. He swept away all the books Strikedown had laid over the desk in one motion, carefully placing down his own possessions. "Commander Countdown has assigned me to Blaze Master's defence, not you two idiots, whoever you are!" He glanced dismissively at Strikedown and Hot House. "This is embarrassing enough without the Two Ronnies playing at lawyer. Who even are you?"
 
Strikedown stood up, brushing herself down in an attempt at looking smart. "Well, I'm uh, Strikedown, of course! Micromaster Metro Squad! I'm actually really important with a great experience of the law and I've made a lot of headway in this case already, so you might as well just go away and leave me to it! Countdown can trust-"
 
"Metro Squad. That's traffic duty, isn't it?" The stranger didn't even bother looking at Strikedown as he laid out various legal-looking documents and began studying them. "I don't really think that writing parking tickets gives you any legal experience..." He trailed off, taking a second, better look at Strikedown. "Wait, do you transform into a hovercraft?"
 
"I, uh..." Strikedown looked down at her chunky body with bits of boat conspicuously hanging off it, the large fan plonked behind her  head proving that she did indeed turn into a hovercraft. Or at least bits of one. "Well, yes, but you'd be surprised how often you need a hovercraft while patrolling the city for littering violations. And I'm also a Micromaster combiner!" She puffed out her chest proudly. "So a valuable team member and a guardian of the law and a combiner so uh, you'd better let me do the lawyering!"
 
"Ha!" A grin cracked across the stranger's face. "A Micromaster Combiner? Combining into a vehicle with someone else? You don't turn into a hovercraft, you turn into the back end of one! A hovercraft's ass!" He started to laugh, shaking his head. "Primus wept, a hovercraft's ass who writes parking tickets." He turned his attention to Hot House as Strikedown flushed a deep red. "And you. What are you supposed to be? Don't tell me, half a tractor who works in a car wash!"
 
Hot House bunched up his little fists impotently. "What? No! I'm a plane! See, wings!" He turned around and gave a little waggle by way of demonstration. "I'm Hot House, and I'm going to be the next member of the Autobot Air Patrol! Cos Strikedown said I could be if I helped her!" He helpfully pointed at Strikedown. Strikedown just flushed a brighter shade of red, bunching up  her fists with frustration.
 
"Right. Yeah. Wow." The stranger suddenly strode forwards to grab Strikedown's chair and tip her out of it. "If you two want to be useful, you can fetch the drinks. I'm going to be busy on this case as I'm an actual lawyer."
 
Strikedown scrambled to her feet, folding her arms with a scowl. "I'm not anyone's skivvy! I'm going places, me! We have our dignity, don't we, Hot House?"
 
"Um, yeah, one lump of energon or two?" Hot House was already at the drinks dispenser.
 
"Good boy." The stranger took his place in the chair, resting his arms behind his head and swinging back in an imitation of Strikedown's earlier power-pose. "Now, if you want to learn something, here's how I'm going to get Blaze Master off. See, it turns out that the entire school thing was just a Decepticon false flag operation!"
 
Hot House gasped, almost dropping the hot cup of cyber-coffee he had just made for his new boss. "Really? " he squeaked.
 
"Yeah." The grey Autobot nodded. "Happens all the time. The Decepticon Air Strike Patrol are up to some scheme, they get unmasked, yell 'foiled again lads, scarper!' and we all laugh about it. Say..." He leaned forwards. "Hot House, you're a jet. If we paint you blue you could look just like one of those Decepticon guys. Go and make an admission of guilt, humans kill you, job's done, we can go home early, everyone's  happy!"
 
"Everyone apart from Lady Justice!" Strikedown quivered, stepping in front of Hot House who was about to excitedly start looking for a paintbrush. "That's lying, Mr... uh, I don't know your name."
 
"Swindler," said Swindler.
 
"Swindler," Strikedown repeated. She was about to retort, but then paused and fell silent for a few seconds. "Uh, I don't think I trust you?"
 
"Why not?"
 
"Well, uh, for a start, your name is 'Swindler'."
 
Swindler rolled his eyes in an exaggerated fashion. "Oh wow, turns out the traffic cop is just another robot racist. I'm just trying to expedite matters! We all know the Decepticons are secretly behind it! I mean, it's not like Blaze Master is some sort of deranged maniac who just loves nalpalming schools! He should be free! Don't stop Hot House from being a hero!"
 
Hot House nodded firmly. "I can be a hero, Strikedown, like his said! And he's a real lawyer and everything!"
 
"A real lawyer who is literally called 'Swindler'." Strikedown threw up her hands, marching towards the door. "Hot House, this will be done properly! You're not painting yourself as a Decepticon to fake the evidence! No-one is painting themselves as a Decepticon to fake the evidence!"
 
Strikedown's attempt at an exit was foiled as three bulky Autobot jet Micromasters entered the room, crowding into the doorway.
 
"Hey, Swindler!" called the jet in the front. "We've had an idea. Why don't we paint ourselves as Decepticons to fake the evidence?"
 
As Strikedown started to gently slam her fist into the wall in frustration, Hot House started to bounce up and down giddily. "It's the rest of the Autobot Air Patrol!" he squeaked like an excited schoolgirl. "Ohmygod! Ohmygod!" He bounded towards them, a look of utter joy etched across his face.
 
The lead jet turned to Hot House and punched him clean across the room. "Oh wow, um, sorry." He looked sheepishly at Swindler. "He just came at me! I hope he's not dead!"
 
"Not dead!" Hot House called, struggling to pull his head out of the far wall. "I-it's an honour to be punched by you, sir!"
 
Swindler positioned himself behind the desk, beckoning the Air Patrol to take a seat. "Eagle Eye! Tread Bolt! Sky High! Good to meet you! Sit down, and we'll work out how to get your buddy off these terrible charges that he definitely did not do so you can go back to doing barrel rolls or whatever it is that you spend your time on."
 
"I'll help!" Hot House finished extracting himself from the wall and ran over to arrange the chairs. In a flash, Sky High punched Hot House across the room again.
 
"Wow. Sorry." Sky High scratched the back of his head. "Look, he just came at me too damned fast, sorry!" He craned his neck to look at the new hole Hot House had made. "Hope I didn't break your robot butler!"
 
Swindler started to pass round energon cigars to the Air Patrol. "It's okay, I don't mind. Now boys, we've got three avenues of attack. Firstly, the anonymous witness who made the statement that got Blaze Master arrested - who are they? Secondly any survivors - we think that they all died in this unavoidable tragedy, but could there be any eyewitnesses? Thirdly, the judge - where does he live? We need to make sure nothing awful happens to any of them." He winked heavily.
 
Strikedown marched over to Hot House and yanked him out of the wall. "Come on, Hot House, we're leaving!" she scowled, glaring at the four Autobots now seated around the desk. "We're Autobots! We stand up for truth and justice! We don't need to debase ourselves with these... these disgusting reprobates!"
 
"But, but..." Hot House whined as Strikedown dragged him away from his life's dream, holding out a hand towards the three Autobot jets, trying to grasp at them. "The Air Patrol..."
 
Strikedown threw Hot House out of the door with an almighty crash and followed, slamming it so angrily that the room shook. Swindler was just about to begin talking again when the door gingerly opened and Strikedown poked her head back in. "I just realised that you're all officers, so just wanted to make sure that you know there's no hard feelings and I think you all do wonderful jobs and hope you consider me in the next awards round." She gave a big grin and a thumbs up and slowly slid out of the room.
 
Swindler and the three members of the Air Patrol just stared. "I don't know who that is," Sky High said finally, "but I think I hate her."
 
 
 
***
 
 
Autobase was a sprawling complex built on the outskirts of San Francisco. Originally erected for use during the early phase of the war, it had been repurposed for Micromaster inhabitation, each room now divided into multiple levels for maximum utility by the size-efficient Micromasters. As such it had changed from a stark, utilitarian base into a blaze of colours and designs as various indecisive Micromaster build teams had used whatever scraps they had on hand to expand their domain.
 
All across the complex, Autobot Micromasters were hard at work. Various Micromaster patrols screeched out of the base on missions every hour - there was no time for rest while the Decepticon forces remained on Earth. Everyone had a job to do, and everyone had to play their part. Strikedown's part at this moment seemed to consist mainly of sulking.
 
Strikedown sat crouched over a laptop in a corner of the break room, frantically typing away. She had been mulling over the events in the Hague for days, tying herself in knots - had she really upset the Air Patrol? She hoped that her plucky determination and forthright attitude had impressed them and her calling them names had charmed them with her bold nature. Just to be on the safe side, she was in the process of carefully constructing a five hundred slide Powerpoint presentation about her achievements to send to them. She had reached as far as slide two.
 
"Am I in it?" Hot House stood on his toes to peer over Strikedown's shoulder to gaze at the worryingly empty 'contents' page. "You've been working on that for hours, did you include all the stuff I told you about me and how I should be in the Air Patrol too? You promised!"
 
Strikedown covered the screen with one hand and then slammed the lid shut, turning to the diminutive jet. "Look, Hot House, I'm busy! I've been a lawyer and I've got my presentation to do, and I've got important Metro Squad business to be attending to as well, I can't afford to be as lazy as you are! Now, fetch me my drink!"
 
As Hot House faithfully scampered off, Strikedown settled back to work, fiddling with the correct font to use for the 'contents' title. She finally settled on Comic Sans as the most professional choice. In truth, there wasn't much Metro Squad business to do at the moment - Power Run, who usually formed the front of their hovercraft combined mode, had told her that he'd accidently got assigned to Roadburner that week, and even though that resulted in a strange combined mode of a hovercraft/cherry picker truck, he couldn't defy the itinerary. Strikedown had seen an opening, and approached Roadburner's usual partner, Wheel Blaze. When she had suggested to him that they pair up as he was at a loose end, Wheel Blaze had accidently jumped out of a window and was now in the hospital with multiple fractures.
 
Strikedown was a bot of action though and knew what to do in any emergency. As Wheel Blaze had lay injured, she quickly set up an internet petition to suicide-proof all of the windows at Autobase to stop this from happening again. She had then sent Wheel Blaze a card saying "I'm Wheely sorry!" which she had thought up all herself and told everyone who would listen so they would realise what a wit she was.
 
She had done her best to ignore the court case, but all anyone was talking about was Blaze Master and his trial, and Swindler, the brave and plucky underdog lawyer struggling to save the day. Strikedown was thankful that she didn't have any friends who'd remind her of how Swindler had stolen her rightful glory.
 
Blaze Master was currently on the television at the moment, in fact, playing to a crowd at the other end of the room. Strikedown did her best to avert her gaze, but curiosity got the better of her. She stifled a grin as she saw how badly Swindler was struggling with the defence.
 
"...A bizarre opening statement from the defendant!" the news reporter stood outside the courtroom as Swindler pushed past, shoving his way through the paparazzi. "Amazing scenes earlier today as the Autobot Blaze Master took to the stand in what is being called the trial of the century!"
 
The clip shifted to a view of the court. Blaze Master moved to a podium, surrounded by armed guards. Gripping the sides of the stand he looked over the crowd and immediately bellowed "god, I love napalming schools," before Swindler leapt in to rugby tackle him to the ground and clamp a hand over his mouth.
 
"Do you think he did it then?" Hot House appeared by Strikedown's side, passing her a steaming hot drink. "I mean, he does talk about killing children an awful lot. I keep going back and forth because everyone on television keeps telling me to think different things, and I know it's important to always treat both sides of an argument with equal weight, but..."
 
"But the case is solved!" A heavy briefcase thumped down on the table as Swindler loomed over the two Autobots. 
 
Strikedown gave a shriek and dropped her drink all over her laptop. "You've ruined it! Days of hard work!" she cried. "I'll sue you, I'll show you the true power of the Metro Patrol!"
 
Swindler ignored her, taking a seat with a smirk. "See, I thought it was odd. Why would two no-name loser Micromasters go all the way to the Hague to put themselves on the line to defend someone who's obviously guilty of a horrific crime?"
 
"Oh, oh!" Hot House put  up his hand. "Because Strikedown said we'd win and then I'd get to join the Air Patrol and-"
 
Swindler shook his head. "See, if Blaze Master goes to jail or gets executed or whatever, then there'd be a place free on the Air Patrol making it more likely you'd get a place. You'd have to be an idiot not to see that!"
 
Hot House put a hand to his faceplate. "Ooh!"
 
This threw Swindler slightly. "Hmm. Okay. Maybe I overestimated there. But you, Strikedown." He jabbed a finger at the half-hovercraft. "It's in your best interests for Blaze Master to be found guilty, because then you're not the worst Micromaster!"
 
"I..." Strikedown's eyes bulged with anger. "I'm not the worst Micromaster, what a horrible thing to say! There's, uh..." She gripped her now-empty coffee cup tightly, crushing it in her shaking fist, and started to stand. "I don't have to listen to this."
 
The remaining three members of the Air Patrol suddenly flanked Strikedown. Strikedown decided at that moment it might be a good idea to sit down again.
 
Swindler continued. "See, if Blaze Master goes to jail then he's the worst Micromaster, and if you somehow get him acquitted, you're covered in glory. It's win-win for you!"
 
"Yeah, but it's still nothing to do with me, I'm just a conscientious citizen..." Strikedown looked around shiftily for any escape route. The Air Patrol were too close, but Sky High looked twitchy and was probably about to punch Hot House and moment, and in the confusion she could...
 
"I got hold of a copy of the anonymous witness statement." Swindler triumphantly slammed a tape recorder down on the table.
 
Strikedown stared at Swindler, and then bolted past the Air Strike Patrol and jumped out of the nearest window. Or at least she would have if they hadn't all been suicide-proofed earlier in the day.
 
Swindler pressed a button on the recorder. The familiar voice of Strikedown filled the air. "Uh, hello, is that the police? Look, I'm an anonymous Autobot and I just heard how Blaze Master - that's B-L-A-Z-E-space-M-A-S-T-E-R was boasting about napalming a school full of children, you should arrest him and send him to jail right away! I've secretly recorded him and stamped it with my personal ident code! Please, he's the worst Micromaster!"
 
As Strikedown picked herself off the floor, the Air Patrol rounded on her, barely restraining themselves from trying to help her hurl herself out of the building. 
 
Hot House just pointed a finger at her in alarm. "Y-you're a tattletale!" he gasped in horror.
 
"Hey! Hey!" Strikedown brushed herself off. "How am I the villain? Blaze Master literally napalmed a school full of children and was boasting about it. I just did my civic duty and secretly recorded him and told on him! He still did it!"
 
"Yeah, but... tattletaling is worse, I think!" Hot House furrowed his brow in concentration. Working out what was right and wrong was starting to overheat his logic circuits. 
 
Two of the Air Patrol stood on either side of Strikedown, patting her on the shoulders firmly. Strikedown took the hint and sat back down heavily.
 
"So here we are." Swindler patted the tape recorder. "There's only one witness, and a second-hand one as well. You're going to take the stand tomorrow and tell everyone you're a liar and you made it all up." He threw a manila folder at Strikedown. "Or else!"
 
Strikedown opened the folder. Inside was a list of names and photographs of humans. "I... don't get it?"
 
Swindler quickly snatched back the folder. "Ugh. That's the list of survivors. A few managed to escape and were too terrified to come forwards. We tracked them down first and destroyed all the evidence so that the prosecution can't get their dirty hands on it. They'll continue to think that Blaze Master's attack was so deadly it killed all of the children and every single relative. No, it's this folder I'm talking about."
 
Strikedown flopped open the new folder and instantly went pale. "You wouldn't dare!"
 
"I would!" Swindler leaned forwards. "A complete list of every time you've reported one of your colleagues in the Metro Patrol to high command. The Air Patrol are officers, remember, they have access to all your accusations! Every time you've tried to get another Micromaster sent to jail!"
 
Strikedown leafed through the file. It was a very, very large file. "T-these were all valid complaints! And it's supposed to be confidential!"
 
"Aaaah!" Hot House continued to point at Strikedown accusingly. "You're a tattletale! A tattletale!"
 
"Fine! Fine!" Strikedown slammed the folder shut. "I'll do it!"
 
 
 
***
 
 
Strikedown stood on the witness stand at the Hague, gripping the podium tightly with both hands. The wooden surface started to splinter underneath her fingertips. In front of her were a sea of faces, all of them staring intently at her. At the very front was Swindler and Blaze Master on the defendant's bench.
 
"...And you vow to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?" The court aide finished swearing in Strikedown.
 
"I do," lied Strikedown as she prepared to perjure herself.
 
Swindler leapt to his feet with a flourish. "So, ladies and gentlemen. With no witnesses or surviving family members, this defence council posits that Blaze Master actually heroically destroyed a secret Decepticon Micro-Pretender training camp at the risk of his own life, and should actually receive a medal for valour! The only accusation against my client is a baseless anonymous claim, which we shall soon learn was completely faked!" He pointed a finger at Strikedown.
 
Strikedown began to sweat profusely. 
 
"Oh man," Blaze Master started to sharpen his rotor blades. "Once I find out who that anonymous witness is, I'm gonna murder them to death just like I murdered all those school kids!"
 
The podium beneath Strikedown's hands finally shattered. She gave a shriek and ran towards the prosecution desk. "I've distracted them for long enough!" she squealed. "Quick, quick!"
 
The prosecutor, an elderly grey-haired man, rose to his feet. "My honoured colleagues. The prosecution has learned of survivors of this attack who can testify that the dead were indeed real, innocent children and not so-called Decepticon Micro-Pretenders." He patted Strikedown's shoulder. "This heroic Autobot used her eye-cameras to take photographs of an evidence file that the defence council attempted to hide from this court!"
 
"Traitor!" Swindler started shaking a fist at Strikedown. "Tattletale!"
 
Strikedown sunk back. "I-I'm just doing the right thing!" She moved behind the prosecutor for protection. "This is the sort of heroic hard decision that officers have to make!"
 
There was a disturbance as the four new witnesses made their way into the court, pushing through the crowd and towards the front. Strikedown wiped her brow, furtively glancing towards the fuming Blaze Master. Soon this nightmare would be over. Blaze Master would go to jail, she'd be safe from retribution, and everyone would see how wise and brave she was for doing the right thing. She - 
 
She froze.
 
The four 'witnesses' who were currently lined up at the front of the courtroom did not look much like any sort of relatives of human children. In fact they looked suspiciously like the Decepticon Air Strike Patrol wearing wigs and dresses.
 
A closer inspection revealed that they actually looked even more suspiciously like the three remaining members of the Autobot Air Patrol and Hot House painted to look like the Decepticon Air Strike Patrol wearing wigs and dresses.
 
Hot House waved merrily at Strikedown. "I'm in the Air Patrol! I did it!" he mouthed to her.
 
Swindler sidled up to Strikedown with a smirk. "I couldn't just give the prosecutor the file to plant my witnesses, I had to find some way of making them think it was real, and I knew you couldn't resist tattling." Without missing a beat, he strode forwards with an accusatory finger. "Wait a minute, that's not - "
 
"Foiled again lads, scarper!" screamed Sky High, who was currently disguised as Whisper, throwing off his wig and being very careful to flash his Decepticon insignia for all to see. 
 
Strikedown started to shake. "And yet I'm the villain?" she hissed in disbelief.
 
The four crafty Autobot jets started to run. Blaze Master rose to his feet, seething with rage. "Decepticons!" he roared, a napalm cannon sliding out of a hidden compartment in his wrist.
 
"No, wait, listen, this is all a false flag!" Strikedown ran back into the fray, waving her arms and standing between Blaze Master and the 'Decepticons'. "I-I'm telling on you! I'm telling on all of you! It's actually - "
 
The 'Decepticons' ran. Strikedown was not so fast. She was cut off as Blaze Master attempted to resolve the situation via the application of fiery napalm.
 
 
 
***
 
 
"How did they know?"
 
Deep in the heart of the Decepticon base, Supreme Earth Commander Skystalker shook his fist, a snarl etched across his face. He clutched a copy of that day's paper, the words "DECEPTICONS BLAMED FOR HAGUE NAPALM CATASTROPHE." A photograph of the Decepticon Whisper was emblazoned beneath it. Next to it was a smaller one of Blaze Master labelled "HERO".
 
"I'm sorry, sir." Whisper and the rest of the Decepticon Air Strike Patrol stood before him nervously, wringing their hands. "But we weren't there, I promise!"
 
Skystalker threw the newspaper across the room. "Fools! Somehow the Autobots learned of our plan to create a training camp for our new Decepticon Micro-Pretenders at our base disguised as a school! We thought that there was no way that they could have detected us - this Blaze Master must be a genius! And to cap it off, they somehow revealed to the world that we were behind it!" He shook his head. "We must be ever more sneaky in our schemes! And so, I unveil..."
 
A large monitor slid down from the ceiling. The screen flickered into life to reveal the cunning Blackjack, sitting in a room surrounded by mewling kittens
 
Blackjack petted a nearby kitten. "I can confirm that our next scheme is underway, sir. The new squad of Decepticon Micro-Pretenders are disguised as adorable orphaned kittens and puppies here at this fake animal sanctuary. There's no reason for the Autobots to suspect a thing, they'll never find us!"
 
He frowned as the sound of helicopter blades filled the air, getting closer and closer. 
 
He sniffed.
 
"D-do I smell napalm?"