AN: Sorry for the late update. I made this as a passion project so don't expect a dedicated update. I will post this to confirm that I am not dead, and please, enjoy it.
"So, what should we do first?" Shockwave's monotone voice implored the other individual in the room, Soundwave's form hunched in contemplation. "Logically, we need to find Jack without alerting anyone else of our recent behavioral changes."
"THE PICTURES WERE THE FIRST TEST TO SIEVE POTENTIAL CANDIDATES." Soundwave turned towards the monitors, bringing up his memories now written into his hard drives. Images of Jack in his prime age at 30, wearing silver dog tags and his army fatigues holding both Raf in his lab coat and Miko wearing tight and neon overalls at his side.
Miko looked at the picture in slight nostalgia, emotions surging to the forefront of her mind as more memories briefly flashed by.
"WE NEED TO FIND JACK BY USING MORE PERSONAL MEANS." More images were neatly profiled on the display, showing more nostalgic memories up to their elderly years. Jack was prevalent in each photo, his smile going strong at each moment. "I WILL CONTINUE MONITORING EVERY CHANNEL, INCLUDING AUTOBOT, FOR JACK'S PERSONALITY CUES."
"And I will directly ask vague questions to each of the officers and troops I encounter?" Miko crossed her arms, aware of the work she would have to do, alone. "Ain't that just unfair?"
Miko was sure that Raf snickered under his visor, turning around to face her before shrugging.
"WHEN WAS LIFE FAIR?"
"Fair enough." Miko gave a grin or attempted to do so, and despite the situation, she couldn't chuckle. There were more pressing matters to discuss. "Do you have any idea who could have sent us back in time into the bodies of Decepticons?"
Raf stilled before turning towards the monitors once more, cables extending from his frame and connecting to the console. "I HAD MY THEORIES, AND THE MOST PLAUSIBLE THEORY IS PRIMUS."
"Oh?" Miko was hooked now, her processors creating logical theories to support that theory. "What makes you think that?"
"PRIMUS PROBABLY HAD HIS GRAND PLAN FOR THIS, AND WE ARE THE CATALYSTS." Raf stopped a bit, realizing something. "PRIMUS WAITED FOR US TO PASS AWAY PEACEFULLY."
"That's nice of him." Miko thought over the details of their current situation, of the parallel timeline. "It could be that he wants us to fix this timeline and make a better future for us all."
"Wait. Is Laserbeak aware of this conversation?" Miko implored Raf for that loose end, and he replied with a bright red X on his visor.
"Are you suppressing it?" Miko was intrigued, partly because Soundwave was very careful with Laserbeak. Losing 2 other symbionts was a harsh blow on the creator, and Shockwave was aware of that fact.
"YES." Soundwave shuffled his pedes in discomfort, and Miko noticed.
"Is it alright for you to do that?" Miko knew it was putting a strain on Soundwave's persona, and Raf was indeed feeling guilt welling up from pressing down and putting his child in stasis. "I think it would be alright to let it know."
"I… I GUESS…" Raf ceased on the suppression of Laserbeak, letting it connect with him.
… Yes, creator.
The feeling of love flowed into his spark, and both Raf and Soundwave felt it. The love and understanding of the creator and the creation.
A few whirrs of inner mechanisms and the little symbiont popped off the chassis of Soundwave, flying and whirring before settling on the helm of Miko.
Miko inwardly smiled, using her one functioning servo to pat Laserbeak on the helm.
Miko casually waved him off, a laugh escaping her vocalizer. "You're welcome, it's what I do."
"AND YOU DO IT SPECTACULARLY, TEAM CHEERLEADER," Raf smirked in mirth, "LOVINGLY ANNOYING."
Laserbeak flew off her helm and returned to Soundwave's side, chirruping to its creator in joy.
"Aw, shucks." Her monotonous tone was tinged with emotion, and she was instinctively projecting emotions through her EM field.
Only for Soundwave to stiffen suddenly.
Laserbeak dutifully slotted into the compartment as mechanisms locked it in place. Raf hurriedly walked to the monitor and removed any evidence of the future.
"Raf, what's the matter." Miko looked on as the monitor quickly became devoid of anything.
For the first time she had been here, she felt fear.
Miko saw first hand how Raf suddenly disappeared.
Raf retreated into Soundwave, becoming him, wearing the Soundwave persona akin to a highly technological bodysuit with its own personal A.I.
And Miko knew she had to do so as well. And for some reason, she knew how.
The persona of Shockwave flowed over her inner self and Miko just wasn't Miko anymore.
She was Shockwave.
A moment later, the doors slid open as Megatron walked in. The imposing form of their Lord strode with confidence, though his faceplate was shrouded in frustration.
"Lord Megatron." Shockwave respectfully called his name, imploring. "Why are you here?"
"Ah, Shockwave, Soundwave." Megatron's voice carried its usual dangerous undertone, but it was tinged in genuine confusion. "I was only here for Soundwave, but this is fine."
"I shall leave, with your permission." Shockwave awaited confirmation but received none, instead Megatron looked at him, optics searching.
"I am here to ask Soundwave about the images that were posted without any description and was accessible by every single Decepticon on this ship. And it was pinged as important as well."
Megatron's piercing gaze focused on Soundwave, and Shockwave knew he had to intervene.
"If I may intrude, it was at my insistence." Shockwave didn't flinch when the blood-red optics pinned him down as the grinning visage implored him to explain.
And explain he did.
White lies and half-truths.
"THANKS, MIKO," Soundwave rubbed the hard plates of his neck, a habit Raf developed in his years. "I FROZE."
Hearing no other response, Raf grew worried. "MIKO?"
"I never could have done that without proper planning," She paced in what seemed to be confusion. "I truly used Shockwave's prowess there."
"YOU SAVED MY AFT."
"Against MEGATRON too." She stifled a giggle threatening to burst out in her hysterics. "You got a small aft."
"HEY!" Raf crossed his wing-arms and tried to pout. "THAT'S NOT FUNNY."
"It is though. Megatron's a no-no I guess." Miko sat crosslegged on the floor, suddenly tired.
"I think we should live out our new lives, for now, keep low." Raf stared, imploring further.
"We need to find Jack, don't give up hope for that. We couldn't be just the two of us." Shockwave's inside whirred, core temperature rising.
"We live out the lives put before us for now and continue looking for Jack."
And this time, maybe, they could just make things way easier for the Autobots.
Leaving both Shockwave and Soundwave left certain things confirmed in Jack's mind. He knew Shockwave was lying.
Shockwave didn't outright lie, that was a thing Jack was certain. Shockwave was telling a truth and a lie at once.
Megatron knew Shockwave had his secret plan he was performing behind his back, but he knew it was all for the betterment of the Decepticon cause. But this half-truth would have aided no one but himself.
Contemplating, Jack reviewed once more of the images Soundwave had posted on the servers. He didn't notice at first, but the files were editable.
And Jack had accidentally layered one before, rendering several of the TEST words missing.
Jack began layering it all behind the blank panel, seeing as it created the first word, an R.
Intrigued, both Megatron and Jack began to go full force in deciphering the message.
As Megatron walked to the bridge, he knew he was right.
He just needed confirmation.
Shockwave walked to Knockout's medical bay after asking questions to every vehicon trooper he had met on the way there. There were no other officers on the Nemesis aside from Starscream, out of the question.
The questions comprised of things he knew weren't sensitive to any Decepticon troopers as most were left confused and was unable to answer. It regarded things vaguely about Jack.
One of the questions was about Knockout Burger.
Most were unable to answer while some did, but only as a lookout. Some had gone through the fast-food branch and ordered a prank takeaway.
Any of them that was unable to answer his questions were threatened with painful experiments were it to get into the hearing of others. With his support from Soundwave himself, the vehicons had no choice but to keep it to themselves.
The heavy pedes walked closer to the medical bay where C.Y.L.A.S was experimented with. Inwardly, Miko knew what this would get her into.
As Shockwave stood by the medical bay, Miko smirked at the implications that would arise when she inevitably asked Knockout.
The doors slid open and he entered, unannounced.
"Who- oh, Shockwave." Knockout looked unimpressed, leaning himself on one pede at the interruption on his work with Syn En. "What do you want."
"I am here to ask a logical question." Shockwave was stoic and emotionless, but Miko was threatened to fail her stifling of her giggles. "What do you think of Knockout Burger. The fast-food restaurant."
"Wha- Are you serious?" Knockout looked appalled at the question, insulted with the notion. "It is an insult to my name. The grease they use would clog a typical cybertronian's fuel lines in a matter of joors, and I have no idea why humans eat those."
Shockwave stared for a few clicks, before turning towards the door. "Thank you, Knockout."
"What? That's all?" Getting no response, Knockout huffed as he returned to work.
"Make a note to tell Lord Megatron about this."
"Lord Megatron, I need to tell you something." Knockout walked to the throne that Megatron always sat on.
"Yes, Knockout?" Jack was happy, he had just cracked the image that was sent by Soundwave. He just needed to get a chance to get him here. He had a plan in motion.
"Shockwave had recently asked odd questions about the Autobot pet Jack, asking me what I think about Knockout burger, the human fast-food branch," Knockout continued, watching his Lord's facial expression stay neutral. "Some vehicons let slip that Shockwave had threatened to experiment on them should Soundwave catch a note of this in any communication."
"Oh?" Megatron seemed interested now, his optics lighting up in interest. "Thank you Knockout, you've just made my confirmation. You're dismissed."
Knockout bowed once, his worries dissuaded. As he turned to return to the medbay, he didn't notice as Megatron grinned, savagely.
"Lord Megatron, what is with this sudden increase in the interest for that fleshling Jack, for both Chief Science Officer Shockwave and Communications Officer Soundwave to band together in keeping a lid on this topic?" Starscream further cemented the theory, and Jack knew he had to do something, now.
"Starscream, call both Shockwave and Soundwave here. Immediately." Megatron's grin couldn't be more dangerous.
"At- at once Lord Megatron."
As Starscream walked away, he just knew he heard Starscream mumble something about being a messenger.
That's it for this chapter folks! I got a sudden inspiration for this chapter thanks to all the other authors that encouraged me.