Mirage didn't see what it was that had Ratchet dropping. He boxed himself around Tempest before the medic touched floor. The sparkling beeped, evidently thinking this was a game. He patted his foster-carrier's spark casing and chirred. Less than a breem later, someone else knocked on the noble's plating and yelled.
"Stop being ballast, it's done." Skywarp thumped his fist against the top of the blue/white cube. He stepped back when the 'Bot transformed and didn't grab his sparkling. Even though he really, really wanted to. His wings twitched with the effort of restraint. TC had been intense about not grabbing the sparklet.
"Is Tempest alright?" Thundercracker asked, straightening up from where he had secured the medic. He hadn't let his trine-mate do it as 'Warp thought it funny to mess with stasis cuffs and Ratchet kicked any chance he got.
"Yes, he's fine." Mirage was not surprised at the question. His tone was mild as he shifted the seekerling so the little mech could see his Carrier and Sire. The Decepticons huddled in around him with wings fanned out, heating the air with exhaust and emotion.
"Hey there, winglet." The blue Seeker crooned. Tempest waved a little hand at him then looked at Mirage.
"Yes, there's Carrier." He confirmed then for the sake of Skywarp not spontaneously combusting pointed him out also. "There's Sire. Can you wave to him too?"
Tempest looked at the black and purple jet then batted a hand at him, more like Starscream's dismissal than a greeting but his Sire didn't apparently care.
"Hiya, bit. Didja bite anyone?" Skywarp asked, patting the little helm. No colour yet except for teensy red optics now glaring up at him.
"He did not." Mirage answered primly. "He was quite calm during the transportation, however long that was." The spy wasn't sure and his chronometer was still giving a null-response. He would likely have to reset everything with a full recharge cycle. Frankly, that sounded a wonderful prospect. "There was some hissing when Ratchet scanned him. Hook and Knock Out definitely need a refresher course on treating newsparks. I think Tempest has an aversion to medscans."
Skywarp muttered something like 'no fragging surprise', which Mirage chose not to acknowledge. The teleporter shuffled back as Thundercracker helped his secondary off the berth. Ratchet was hoisted less gently to his feet, seemingly undamaged barring scuffs from the cuffing. He was radiating irritation in the megawatt range.
"Hook has never done a sparkling care course in his functioning." The medic asserted testily. "And Knock Out didn't graduate. Depending on the Velocitronian curriculum, he may not have done a unit in emergence medicine either."
"Knock Out did his med studies in Vos." Skywarp sneered as he shoved their prisoner towards the door. "Shows how much you know."
"That's very unlikely." Ratchet might've said more to justify his assessment except he all but tripped over Blaster prone in the hallway. The red Host was lying on his front with his hands cuffed behind him. Rumble, Frenzy, and two beastformers who hadn't served on Earth stood guard while Soundwave spoke with a tubby green mech.
"Cosmos!" The Autobots said simultaneously. The spacecraft ducked behind the blue Host, who turned to further screen him from view.
"I didn't notice at the time but when you mentioned spaceworthy 'Bots, you said 'two'." Thundercracker escorted the group carefully around the unconscious tape deck. He frowned when 'Warp made to kick Blaster, which turned the kick into a pout. "But you had three, and no one else mentioned the UFO. So I asked around."
"Soon as Megatron brought terms, Cosmos resigned." Mirage provided a bland explanation. The diminutive spacecraft had been one of the first. There had been comment but nothing like what the Towerling himself had faced. "I didn't want to make a point of it as I hadn't seen him on Cybertron or any mention of him on the Hub."
"I had to warn our friends." Cosmos peeked around Soundwave, apparently saw something reassuring in Mirage and shuffled to that side to distance himself from Ratchet's glare. The medic was not amused while the deep space scout seemed nervous rather than scared. "The other species who trade with us and the free ports and the trade hubs that haven't banned Cybertronians yet and um." He paused, daunted by the red optics fixed on him. "Skyfire told me Jazz called for pick up. He was worried. Skyfire, I mean."
"Where is Jazz?" Mirage wearily asked Soundwave, who would have made particular effort to detain the Autobot 3IC if only to prove a point.
"Escaped in emergency pod." The Host's monotone made his feelings impossible to judge. Rumble's snicker enlightened.
"We bugged it. Which he's gotta know so he's gonna zig n' zag n' try to shake us. Which we know so we're gonna let him run and sit on two of ya spacers." The cassette grinned. "'Cause 'Screamer's boyfriend's parked pretty in the hangar being all reasonable like this wasn't a cluster frag."
"Jazz could have engineered this debacle to get Ratchet and Skyfire to Cybertron without authorisation." Mirage spoke before his tactical suite could filter his vocaliser. He was tired and half-clocked. He needed to mute himself until his processor was synchronised with reality. About this point, he noticed he was leaning against Thundercracker. In other circumstances, he might have been embarrassed.
"Possibility: acknowledged." Soundwave confirmed.
The comms mech didn't say anything else. The Autobots, unconscious, restrained, exhausted, and tentative, were conveyed to the hangar to enjoy an operatic performance of 'I Told You So' from the Decepticon 2IC. Starscream was in fine form haranguing his erstwhile exploration partner in Vosian so shrilly Tempest shrunk against Mirage.
"Here, I'll take him. I can mute my interior." Thundercracker offered, very conscious of the arm he had around Mirage. His conjunx was steady enough to walk otherwise he'd've taken Tempest prior but he wasn't on full power. The noble handed over the sparkling without protest so the Seeker could pop him into his cockpit away from his trine-mate's fortissimo.
Starscream bitched all the way back to Cybertron.
Mirage dozed off in the tiny passenger section of the freight shuttle Soundwave had commandeered for the mission. Blaster and Ratchet were locked in the equally cramped medbay, a compromise to ensure the medic's cooperation. Cosmos and Skyfire were in root mode in the cargo hold for security reasons, and further scolding.
Mirage would have greatly preferred to return to Soundwave's bunker to recharge for an eon. Instead a security cohort met them at the spaceport and they were marched under guard to the hospital. The entire Constructicon gestalt was there to meet them, armed too. He perhaps would have found it amusing that they mobbed Ratchet, rather than the insensate Blaster, but he had run out of cognitive functionality.
Hook ordered him onto a diagnostic berth and after that, Mirage ceased to notice much. He felt out of sync and/or exhausted alternately. A line flush happened, which confirmed he was definitely too tired to deal whatever was going on. One of the assistant medics counted him down to an assisted reset and he was out before '8'.
The world returned overly crisp with an accompaniment of hissing and profanity. Mirage cycled his optics. His audials were working fine. He could distinctly hear Starscream and Thundercracker arguing. His conjunx was repeating 'no' in increasingly firm tones. Whatever was being discussed, the nominal presumptive Winglord of Vos was not getting his own way.
Visual field resolved to be a ceiling similar to those he had seen before on his previous visits to Cybertron's only functioning hospital. Someone else could have decorated their abode with heat-treated panelling with anti-rust ceramic coating, if they had no style. Certainly he was not in his room at Soundwave's, where he presumed Starscream would not be welcome.
"I expect you feel terrible." Knock Out's jaunty voice did nothing to alter that assessment. Mirage turned his helm, which felt poorly screwed on. "Megatron ordered a full security scan of your processor. Vortex nearly overloaded with anticipation."
"Uh." The noble commented.
"Yes, quite." The Decepticon medic fussed about with cables and lines, detaching them or clipping them off depending on whether they were power or fluid. "The Big M was not happy about losing the only sparkling the command cadre has managed to pop out. Fortunately calmer mecha prevailed." He checked a readout. "Soundwave did his not-creepy-at-all mind meld while you were down. Less invasive, allegedly."
"Hmm." Mirage disputed that.
"To be fair, most of your current discomfort is due to the homebrew your spy injected you with and the modified stasis program they used to keep you pliant." Knock Out poked his dorsal panelling to illustrate. It throbbed then faded to a mild ache; a sensor echo. "Mixmaster took samples. He was nearly as excited as Vortex."
"Ha." This time his monosyllable was more eloquent.
"We did a full flush and reset and all that wax. Once everything powers up properly, you should be back to optimal." The medic's optics diverted to the screen above the medberth. "All major functions within green. Which means that little winged menace is now officially your problem again." Knock turned slightly to display a dinged side mirror. "He bit me."
"Ha, ha, ha." Mirage chuckled.