casusfere: (Burny)
[personal profile] casusfere
Title: Treason is a Dangerous Thing to Buy
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: Dark, contains Vortex
Universe: G1
[livejournal.com profile] tf_speedwriting prompt: Scenario: Waiting for someone who shows up late/won’t show up
Summary: The Autobots desperately need information if they're going to defeat Onslaught and take back Protihex. They should have picked their traitor a little more carefully.


The burned-out building loomed above him, charred and metaled beams forming an arch over the meeting place and reminding him uncomfortably of a twisted and skeletal hand reaching out.

Ain't this horribly appropriate? Circlip thought, looking around. They'd made a set of complete scans before he'd agreed to the meeting place, but the digital representation just didn't do justice to the absolute creepy aspect of the place. The building had been a civic center before the 'Cons bombed Protihex - thankfully evacuated, unlike places closer to the city center, where they were still finding bodies when clearing debris for rebuilding.

Fraggers just bombed them, and left the bodies wherever they fell. Even now, anger made his fuel pump speed up.

That's not what we're here for, he reminded himself, forcing his hands to unclench. He checked his chronometer. "He's late," he muttered, more to himself than the open comm transmitting back to his team.

"Hang in there," Wristpin sent back. "We'll give it a few more breems before we pull you."

Circlip paced the open floor, trying to not look at the broken game tables and other reminders of the peaceful life they'd once had here. Scavengers had picked the place over, but the Decepticons hadn't started reclaiming it for scrap yet, leaving the building strewn with broken bits and pieces of the shattered roof and walls. Breems ticked by, but the only sound was his footfalls and far-off sirens.

"Alright, he's not showing," Wristpin said finally. "Stand by for pickup."

"Wait," he said, lifting his head. "I think I hear something." The sound resolved into a distinctive whump-whump. "Helicopter. We're on."

"Acknowledged. Backup is in place."

Debris shifted in the wind as the helicopter came over the open roof and hovered for a moment, slowly turning in place, evidently surveying the area. Apparently satisfied, the Decepticon transformed and dropped through the gaping hole, landing heavily.

"Nice night for it," the Decepticon said cheerfully, easy tone completely out of place with his dead-grey paint, sharpened rotors and bristling weapons.

"Vortex," Circlip said as if in greeting, but in reality confirming the other mech's identity for his team. "I was starting to think you weren't coming."

A rotor flicked, sharpened edge catching light. "Wouldn't miss it." Vortex nudged a fallen section of wall with a foot, and finding it to his satisfaction, sat down, stretching his legs and rotors. "You said you had an offer for me?"

"I have a client who is interested in certain... information," Circlip said. He'd been given a basic script, keywords to say, a list compiled by Intel from similar dealings, by this Decepticon and others.

"Oh?" Vortex cocked his head. "What kind o' information?"

Encouraged, Circlip moved closer, taking a seat on a girder across from the Decepticon. "Oh, this and that, just some info on your boss."

"What, betray my superior officer?" Vortex mock-gasped, making a melodramatic sweep with his rotors. "I would never!" He paused, visor glowing merrily. "Unless I'm getting paid. Whatcha want, and whatcha offerin'?"

Circlip handed over a datacrystal and named a price.

"Try doubling that," Vortex advised.

"We need the information," Wristpin said. "Go up a quarter, then accept whatever he counters." Circlip did so, and Vortex chuckled.

"That ain't double," Vortex said. "Ain't negotiating here."

Circlip waited a moment, pretending to think it over, before agreeing with obvious reluctance.

"It's gonna take a little time to come up with all this," Vortex said. "Gonna have to get back to base check the system."

"Can you have it here in three cycles?"

"Yeah, sure." Vortex stood, shaking dust off his rotors. "Have my payment ready."

x-x-x


Three cycles later, Circlip was back in the ruined civic building, under the twisted girders.

"Backup is ready," Wristpin said reassuringly. "Last meeting, and we're home free."

"I hope so," Circlip muttered. It took an effort to not pace.

This time, the sound of rotors was sudden and close, the helicopter rising from a collapsed building nearby.

"Frag! Where did he come from?" one of the younger mechs on the team exclaimed in surprise.

"Quiet," Wristpin snapped. "Be careful, Circlip. Someone triangulate - could he have seen any of the backup units moving into place?"

"Doesn't matter," Circlip said softly. "He's gotta expect information brokers to have guards. We're good."

Wristpin's reply was cut short by the helicopter transforming and landing.

"Hey," Vortex called cheerfully. "Bring my pay?"

"Yeah," Circlip said, making a motion toward the crate in the middle of the room. "Half there. Give me the data and I'll give you the rest."

Rotors lifted and fell in a shrug as Vortex moved over to the crate. "Fair enough." He spent a second checking the contents. "So, you wanna tell me why the Autobots are so interested in Onslaught?" He snapped the crate closed. "Besides the obvious. You're payin' an awful lot for it."

Circlip's fuel lines went cold.

"Frag," Wristpin swore. "Team, get ready to move in. Circlip, stall."

"What- I don't know what you mean-" Circlip stammered.

"Aw, don't be like that," Vortex said, turning back to him. "I don't have nothin' against the 'Bots."

"Team, move up, keep the profile low."

"-Except, of course, that y'ain't on my side," Vortex continued. "And the boss, he doesn't like y'all at all."

"Hey, wait," Circlip backed away as Vortex advanced. "Can we talk about this?"

"We're almost there," Wristpin said. "We're - Primus! Decepticons! Look out!"

"You might wanna turn off that radio," Vortex said conversationally, as Circlip backed into the wall. "If you don't wanna hear 'em all scream and die."

"Slag! We're surrounded! Where the frag did they come from-"

"But why- I thought-" Circlip looked around frantically for an exit, pulling a rifle.

Vortex swatted the rifle out of his hands. "Your intel's outta date, little Autobot." The helicopter grabbed his arm and dragged him closer. "Let's go see the boss, eh?"


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