Fracture Picture

Springer and Arcee discuss problems within the Autobot command staff.

Art and story - mine..

Transformers characters - Hasbro's

From the pages of Maelstrom - 9 full B&W comics and a few thousand pages of fan-fiction. Rated M for violence and language - not slash.

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Arcee and Springer met in their usual place in the fields behind Metroplex. They used this small hill on the edge of the woods pretty often when they wanted to be alone or alone together. It overlooked a quiet field of flowers and long grasses, although the place they usually sat was bare of growth because it was where they usually sat.

Arcee had arrived early on purpose. She wanted to collect her thoughts and settle herself before Springer got there. She was worried, and she wanted some quiet time. Sighing tiredly, she thought about her concerns. Things were hectic at Metroplex. It seemed like it’d been hectic forever. Years ago, she’d been used to a more orderly routine punctuated by brief frenzies of activity surrounding Decepticon attacks, ambassadorial visits and the like. These days it seemed like the lulls were more harried than the frenzies of the old days.

Without really realizing what was happening, Arcee had found herself being given more responsibility around Metroplex than she ever imagined. Springer too. It had started with random “favors’ for Ultra Magnus and Rodimus when “something came up” they needed to attend to. The “something” was rarely specific, but at first neither she nor Springer had questioned helping out with the inspections, greeting visitors, dealing with local officials, or the endless paperwork. It wasn’t until Arcee realized that some of their human suppliers sought her out first automatically that she realized some of them had never even dealt with Ultra Magnus directly.

That the City Commander was too busy to deal with the merchants who stocked the vending machines in the human cafeteria Arcee had no doubt. She just didn’t know WHY or what he was doing. What Rodi and Optimus were up to was an even bigger mystery - they almost never showed their faces around Metroplex anymore.

Arcee picked up a branch and idly drew patterns in the dirt with it. She wondered when her circle of friends had gotten so small. These days it was mostly just her and Springer, with Blurr popping in and out now and then. When she had first been assigned to Metroplex Kup and Hot Rod had often come to join them in this field for conversation and silly games. Spike and Carly had brought Daniel around after he was born. Jazz frequently brought music and chaos to the mix, and even Prime and Magnus had descended from on high to watch and talk at the very least now and then.

Rodimus only showed up as duty demanded these days, and Jazz was so rarely spotted he was becoming a mythological figure people had heard of but didn’t really believe existed.

What had happened to her friends? Why were they only her co-workers and superiors now? And now something had happened to Kup.....

Springer’s rotors announced him several moments before he appeared over the trees. Once over the clearing he transformed and landed neatly in front of her with a solid thud. His expression did not sing of success.

“Well?” she asked.

Springer shook his head and sat down beside her. “I didn’t find out much,” he said, sounding as tired as she felt. That in itself told her how concerned he was.

“Didn’t you talk to Kup?” Arcee asked.

“Yeah, but whatever has gotten into the others has him too apparently. It must be contagious. He wouldn’t tell me any details. All he said was he had a fight with Rodimus.”

“A fight? Over what?” Arcee asked.

“Take a wild guess,” Springer said.

“Lancer? Did they FINALLY have that one out?” Arcee asked hopefully.

Springer nodded, but his expression only darkened. “Yeah. Apparently Rodimus finally blew his top but it didn’t clear the air like we hoped it would Arcee. Kup...Kup isn’t OK Arcee. He said it was all his fault, that he was totally wrong about Lancer and admitted to it, but that Rodimus would never forgive him. I guess they aren’t speaking.”

Arcee just gaped at him for a while. “What about Rodi? Did you talk to him? Springer...this is... wrong! They were such good friends....and it isn’t like Rodi to hold a grudge this way!”

“Talk to Rodi? Could I even FIND Rodi? Arcee, Elita wouldn’t even tell me where he was! It’s just like always. He’s ‘away’, he’ll be ‘back in a few days’, and he’ll ‘be in touch as soon as possible’. And here I was deluding myself into thinking I was friends with that guy!”

Arcee was a bit taken aback by the anger in Springer’s tone, although she was beginning to share his bitterness. She had been so close to Hot Rod once and this Rodimus creature seemed like a poor replacement.

“But why isn’t Kup here Springer? With Ultra Magnus on disability leave Kup should be running Metroplex, not us!”

“It shouldn’t even be Kup Arcee. What in the hell do we have TWO Primes for anyway? Kup’s sure not up to it though! That’s the thing. I could tell just by LOOKING at him that he’s not up to it. I’ve never seen him looking so....depressed before. Kup said Lancer told him what happened to Rodimus while he was away and that he finally understood why Rodimus has been acting so strangely. He wouldn’t tell me ANYTHING about it though. Arcee...after all Kup’s been through, after all he’s seen...I think this...broke him. He’s in no shape to run a pocket calculator, let alone Metroplex!”

“Springer...I can’t believe there’s anything Kup can’t cope with! He’s such a tough old buzzard! He’s seen and done stuff I don’t even want to THINK about! What can have him so upset?”

“I don’t know, but he’s not talking. I’ll tell you something else Arcee. Kup may be a tough old buzzard but whatever this is it was not only strong enough to come between him and Rodi, it’s got him scared out of what remains of his wits!”

“What are we going to do? Springer....Our friends! We HAVE to help them! Why won’t they let us help?”

“I don’t know,” Springer said in a tight voice that told Arcee he was offended and angry, “but I’m planning on finding out.”

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