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06 February 2015 @ 01:36 pm
Festival Challenge - Day 5 - Part 1  
Carnival used: German carnival
Prompt: Dynamite
Day: 5th February 2015 ProwlxJazz challenge
Warnings: none
Gerne: Romance, Humour
Rating: PG

Warmer than snow
Who in der right processors would decide to hold their season of fun and costumes during the coldest deca-cycle of the entire vorn? No parties in the streets, no real dancing, no anything but drinking a lot of highgrade just to get the engine warm enough to stay on this thrice cursed roof long enough for the parade to walk past. And the parade was... well.
"Did they really have to make every single cart political?" he asked out loud.
For one long absurd moment he really expected an answer. Certainly, all of his previous partners would have answered. Yet as he glanced aside to the black and white Praxian Enforcer, who didn't even seem to notice the frozen acid crystals swirling around him, he dashed that hope. No chance that logical, I-know-everything-Prowl would answer a needless question.
Annoyed, he kicked the faintly green snow that had collected on his pedes aside. Thank Primus their assignment would be over in less than two decaorns and then he could go back home without that Praxian stuck-up attached to his hip.
He looked back towards the parade that trudged on through this snow. It probably would be a lot funnier, if he understood at least half of the innuendos the carts had. That figure there clearly depicted Helix's senator interfacing with... a petrobunny? Had there been a bestiality scandal he missed? Oh, and that cart just coming around the corner, was that really – oh, yes, it really was. The big, colorful cart with ribbons fluttering in the wind was proudly carrying a giant polished figure of Sentinel Prime himself kneeling in front of Praxus' treasurer with open hands like a beggar.
"Hope Prime doesn't see that," he muttered. That arrogant mech would be seriously displeased at his subject's humor.
"Helix has invited Sentinel Prime to its festivities many times," was the dry answer from his side. "He has chosen to decline the offer every time since his second vorn in office."
Jazz gave his partner a surprised glance. 'It speaks!' he thought amused. Not one to let go an opportunity of distraction to go to waste, he said: "Can't say I blame him. Ain't easy to watch and smile, while people ridicule ya."
The Praxian shook his doorwings to free them of the snow. "And yet it seems to be a point of honor for every Helix politician to show up at the speeches."
"Maybe they're masochistic, or something," answered Jazz distracted as he observed a mech, who pushed others in the audience aside. Thief? Terrorist? ... Or maybe simply a concerned creator running afterwards their youngling. He relaxed again. "Disturbance in Quadrant Seven, classification as Harmless."
"Assessment: Confirmed," said Prowl. "It seems to give politicians popularity among the voters when they show up."
"So ya saying they're only power-hungry?"
Prowl gave him a glance. "I suppose."
A new purple cart came around the corner. On its side were the glyphs for 'Decepticons', while on top it carried two big identical crazy, starved looking frames holding a heated blaster. In place of the Decepticon sign the first had the glyph cliché, the second sculpture the glyph truth.
"Taking a guess, I woulda say we've just found out why our favorite 'Cons suddenly care about this carnival," he commented the art work. "Gotta admit, they have bold sparks."
Prowl said nothing. It seems is word-quote for the breem had been used up. And here that Praxian had even been nearly passable for a klick.
But it didn't stop there. Obviously it had been a whole group that had taken on the Decepticons, because the cart that followed had Megatron in a pink energon blood pool playing with body parts. At his back was the word "Megabath".
"Nice play on bloodbath."
No answer. Of course not.
As the cart rolled past, he wondered if Megatorn would really be willing to kill dozens over such a trivial thing. Well, if that cart hadn't done it, the next three certainly would tick off enough Decepticon's to do it. Soundwave eating the information network until he was fat and unconscious with 'information overload', Starscream looking out of Megatron's aft while waving Decepticon flags and Shockwave sitting on the rusted, empty armor symbolizing Tarn, while screaming 'Attack!'.
"They gotta know they're now targets..."
"It is always brave to say what everyone thinks," said Prowl quietly, with something that Jazz would have classified as admiration in most other mechs.
It made him blink in surprise. "Sounds like a quote?"
"It is. A Crystal City author who died 49 vorns ago. The quote seemed to fit this situation."
"Fits a bit too well for the peace of my spark, if ya get my drift." Jazz concentrated on the crowd below. "I think that was the last cart; the parade is over. Not a moment too early. Seriously, this city is far too cold." He shivered. "Hopefully we're called back fast."
The Praxian Enforcer's doorwings moved, and his usually blank face showed a tiny frown. "You are cold?"
"Pit yes, Captain Obvious." Jazz cursed. "Acid rain isn't supposed to freeze to this stuff."
The frown deepened and was joined by a hint confusion. It suddenly made the Enforcer look a lot younger. "But didn't you get the highgrade?"
"Sure I got it. Two cubes even. Has helped me not to freeze to an icicle." Jazz snorted. "I'm Polyhexian, worst we got is rain a bit cooler than my average core temperate and not this slag here." He curled his arms around himself, but it did help exactly as much as the previous attempts before – not at all. Suddenly there was a pink cube in front of him, held by a white hand.
"Drink," ordered the Praxian sternly.
Baffled Jazz took the energon cube. The smell alone told him that it was wonderful highgrade. His systems rumbled in sudden desire. "Prowl... not that I'm not thankful, but that's ya ration, right?"
Prowl stared at him, but his left doorwing swung up and down with a short, sharp movement. Jazz took it as a 'yes'.
"So, ya should drink it. Ya could freeze." Worried he looked his partner over, but the Enforcer showed no signs of having the same problems.
Prowl crossed his arms. "Your worry is baseless. Praxus has a similar weather to Polyhex and as a result all Praxians have upgrades that conserve heat. Enforcer armor even has its own heating system, while you – as far as I can discern – have nothing of this sort."
Jazz stared. "Are ya saying ya have ya own personal heater?"
"Essentially, yes."
No wonder he looked unaffected. He was! All qualms eliminated, Jazz didn't even hesitate to gulp down the precious energy as fast as he could. It hit his tanks like fire, burning hot for a moment, and then wonderful warmth was spreading through his frame, even melting a few snowflakes on the gaps of his armor.
"Ya have no idea, how great that feels..." He grinned at the Praxian. "Big thanks to ya, partner."
Prowl gave him a tiny nod. "You are welcome."
Jazz shuffled from one pede to another. Sure, he had only met Prowl last orn, so frankly he had no idea how that mech ticked. And yeah, first meeting he had thought 'Hello sexy', but since then had learned that Prowl was capable of redefining aloofness to an art form. An art form he had mastered. This sudden friendliness was confusing.
"So..." he eventually said.“The people are going home. Any idea when we can do the same?"
Prowl's optics followed a few stragglers, but remained silence once more.
But this time the silence on the roof was a bit more companionable.
Only three joors later, Jazz found himself in a large hall with several hundred mechs determined to get drunk, while sitting on long tables in silly or down right strange costumes. There were two entrances and one stage with a pedestal on which twelve very happy mechs with red sashes and pointy, gold and red hats sat. They, Jazz had been informed, were the organizing committee of the evening. And all of them possible targets.
He himself was on a balcony at the side, perfect to watch over the entire hall and in an emergency he had enough upgrades and training to jump down. As the door to the balcony opened, he automatically turned towards it, servo at his weapon space. He relaxed as he recognized the mech, and then laughed.
"Guess they got ya after all, Prowl," he said amused and admired the costume of the other. His doorwings and chevron were now a gleaming silver, his helmet had golden beams attached to it and all the rest of the paint had been bleached white. He looked good, beautiful even if one ignored the scowl.
The Praxian gave him a withering look and sat down. "Their arguments proved very logical."
"I bet, especially when they cornered ya. But they could've made ya into worse things than Primus' Messenger." He pointed at his own armor. "Just look at me. I think I'm supposed to be that Rust monster legend. Rawr, hear me roar!" He playfully formed with his left hand a claw and scratched the air.
Prowl's optics wandered over his frame. "You make a good looking Rust monster."
Jazz chuckled, trying to hide his sudden need to blush. "Was that now a compliment? But I think ya costume is missing its hammer."
"Hammer?" asked Prowl.
Jazz raised an optic brow. "Come on. Never heard of the Messenger of Judgment? Hammer of Primus?"
"No." Prowl looked away to the crowd below. "I am not very religious," he said in the tone of a confession. Jazz though took it with a certain amount of satisfaction. This was the first private thing his partner had let slip since they met during orientation three orns ago. He was getting beneath the plating of that Enforcer!
"Oh, mech." The Polyhexian threw theatrically his arms into the air. "Awesomeness has nothing to do with religion. And Axeron is per definition awesome. Tell ya something, for the next assignment with costume I'll get ya a hammer."
Prowl shrugged, and his doorwings jumped up and down. "If you think it would not destroy my disguise, I am not against it."
"It will enhance ya disguise, trust me." Jazz grinned. "Ya just gotta be careful then, some might take ya for the real thing."
"I doubt that very much." But Prowl's optic corners crinkled as if wanting to smile.
There comms crackled to life. ::Central Command to Team Epsilon. Are you in position?::
::Team Epsilon here. Sure we are,:: answered Jazz easily. ::Any new orders?::
::Negative. A suspicions acting mech has been observed at checkpoint South-West. Characteristics are a typical Kaon warframe with a red and black paintjob. No disguise.::
::If he comes here, he'll have a disguise or he would stand out.:: Jazz sighed. ::The joys of working during a carnival.::
::Agent Meister, please stay professional,:: came the rebuke of their commander.
Jazz showed no signs of remorse. ::As ya wish, boss.::
::Enforcer 55, do you have to add anything to Agent Meister's report?::
::Negative, sir,:: said Prowl.
::Acknowledged. Agent Meister, Enforcer 55, your shift begins in five breems. You are to observe the stage and any mech that goes near it. Don't attract attention. Beneath the balcony seats are two sniper rifles, and a standard medium weapon set. Only use force if absolute necessary and only with clearance. Understood?"
::Good luck, Team Epsilon. Over and out.::
Prowl didn't lose time and knelt down next to their seats to get the black bags. Carefully he put one of the two longish suitcases on the chair and opened it. A gleaming sniper rifle revealed itself.
"So we're both snipers, uh?" said Jazz at his side. "Explains why they put us on that roof. There were probably weapons somewhere on that roof too."
Prowl's doorwings fluttered, besides that he seemed too preoccupied with the weapon to really answer.
It was interesting that the other was a sniper too, mused Jazz. Not that it really meant anything, but there was a certain processor set you needed for that job. After all, snipers more often than not observed a mech for a joor or longer through the telescope, saw every emotion, every movement, everything that made a mech a mech. And then they would pull the trigger when the order came, go home as if nothing had happened, as if they hadn't just killed a mech in the coldest way possible. Yeah, a soldier was a soldier, heat of the battle and all that. Rules of war. Enforcer's killed to protect. Agents when everything went FUBAR and they had to protect Prime and planet.
Snipers, though? They killed because someone somewhere wanted to see that mech dead. They really were just professional assassins.
"Built by H&K," said Prowl, who had taken the weapon out of the suitcase. "Caliber 0.38, excellent for elimination shots."
"Praxian manufacturer," commented Jazz. "They're expensive. Someone really must have cared to give such good stuff for us."
The Praxian slowly took the rifle apart. "It is probably from the Praxian Enforcer's armory."
"That's an Enforcer weapon?" exclaimed Jazz surprised. "Don't ya have the principle of serve and protect like every other Enforcer division?"
The doorwings became distinctly more sharply angled as Prowl looked towards Jazz with narrowed optics. "We do."
"Right, sorry." The doorwings relaxed, that was a good sign right? Someone should've given him a handbook on Praxian doorwing communication or something. He had the distinct feeling that he was missing half the things Prowl was saying. Well, too late, he had do deal now. Better not to offend his new partner again. "Just how does a sniper rifle it with 'protect and serve'?"
Prowl turned to the examination of the rifle again. "Special Emergency Response Squads, also called SERS teams, use them in raids of with a high risk of escalation. Usually it involves drugs, prostitution or slavery."
"Now that you mention it, we got something similar in Polyhex," he admitted. "Taking a guess, ya're part of such a team?"
"Team leader, in fact."
Jazz whistled. "And here I'm just a simple agent. Ya outclass me, Prowl."
"A simple agent of Prime's Secret Service." Prowl gave him a glance. Jazz was reasonably sure to see humor in it. "I think you are as ordinary as most other agents."
No fooling Prowl here, that mech was sharp. "Probably."
"The weapon is in excellent condition," concluded Prowl after his examination. "You should check your weapons as well."
Jazz nodded, and together they went through their tools and arms as thoroughly as they could. They had barely finished, when the comm came to life again:
::Team Epsilon, your shift starts in one klick.::
::Acknowledged,:: said Prowl.
They had deposited the weapons partly in their weapon space, partly behind the balcony balustrade which gave all the visual cover they could wish for. The rifles were at their pedes.
"Ya know we're supposed to look normal." Jazz waved towards the hall. "Like them."
Prowl observed him, but didn't answer. Again his doorwings moved and Jazz was very sure that this movement was his answer. He just didn't understand the meaning. Had Prowl talked to him the whole time and he just hadn't noticed? Whatever it was, no time for backing down now.
"Yeah, I mean, they are all drunk and cuddling and swaying to the music."
"You wish to imitate them?" Prowl sounded curious.
"At least we should imitate one thing. And I am afraid we both can't risk to get drunk now and while I like music, I would need to be really drunk to sway like that."
Prowl's optics become a bit wider. "I am not sure that cuddling is appropriate on the job."
"We're undercover, my dear partner." With a grin, Jazz moved his seat next to Prowl and leaned against the stoic mech. "See, it's easy."
The other had actually frozen and his vents were working faster. For a moment Jazz wondered if Prowl had bad memories or couldn't stand touch, then he realized the Praxian was simply very nervous. Hey, it was kind of cute, wasn't it? That big stoic Enforcer was shy.
"Relax," he said quietly. "I'll do not bite."
"I am not sure this is a good idea..."
"If ya got a better one, I'm listening." Jazz smiled. "But really, we're comfortable and doing our job."
A moment of silence. "I suppose it is the most efficient way."
::Team Epsilon, take over observation.::
Jazz looked to the crowd, cataloging every mech in earnest. "It is. I'm trained in this, ya know."
Sniper and undercover spy. It wasn't exactly a combination of talents that had endeared him to many. In fact, most had a tendency to decide that a trained liar and ruthless killer was not someone they wanted to call friends. He was used to it, and half-expected Prowl to make the same connection as well. Just why had he told him his training after all?
"Then I will trust your judgment," was the quiet answer.
That was it? Jazz resisted the urge to turn to Prowl and ask him why the mech trusted him so easily. What the mech really thought behind his blank face, and strange moving doorwings. But their shift at begun and there were so many mechs they had to keep an optic on. Instead of arguing he wriggled a bit to make himself more comfortable, then leant back against Prowl. The mech was indeed warmer than average and he found himself liking the little fact.
Though, after two klicks the Enforcer still sat there playing uninvolved wall for Jazz, so he took Prowl's arm and put it around his own waist. When Prowl tightened it like a lover by his own doing, Jazz was pleasantly surprised. The mech might be one shy, brilliant, plain strange package that had confusing doorwings attached to it, but he was willing to follow Jazz's lead and learned, when the situation called for it.
Maybe his partner wasn't so bad after all.
"Ya know, I expected a bit more of a carnival than speeches," confessed Jazz a long while after their shift. They were walking through Helix's streets as a Messenger of Primus and the Rust Monster towards their hotel room. Passing them were other mechs with costumes that ranged from a bit of glitter to elaborate art works. "In my city we dance and celebrate and do not listen to ... well this."
"It was a humoristic critique of the political establishment," explained Prowl. "And some of the büttenredner are actually quite good."
"Still, no sexy dancing." Jazz looked at him. "And what did ya call them? Buttreds?"
"Büttenredner. I used the break to read up on Helix's culture."
"Instead of recharging," said Jazz drily.
"I deemed the necessity to be prepared higher than recharge." Even though Prowl's face didn't change, something had Jazz betting that his partner was mischievous. Maybe the doorwings again? Or the whole posture?
"Of course ya did, ya workaholic." The words were a lot harsher than the tone, which contained near fondness. Prowl had to be even more exhausted than him. "Found out anything interesting?"
"Helix values it's humoristic speakers quite high. It has several different kinds of speakers. Büttenredner perform only once a year, are not paid and see this as a kind of recreational pursuit."
"Really?" Jazz thought back to the speakers. Even though some had been better than others, most had made him laugh. And that was despite him not knowing Helix's political landscape. "They're quite good for hobbyists," he concluded.
"I agree. The professional ones are called kabbarettisten or comedians."
"Do I even want to know the difference?" asked Jazz tiredly, trying to hide a yawn. The orn had been long and exhausting.
Prowl ignored the rhetorical question. "The first concentrate on politics, the later on life itself."
"Interesting..." Only, not really. Jazz wanted to cuddle up in his berth and to forget the coldness that was again all around them. How mechs could live here permanently was a mystery to him. It was seeping into his protoform and now at night, it was even worse than on the roof. He tried to suppress his shivers.
When high grade cube appeared in front of him thanks to Prowl, he knew he had failed at hiding. Some undercover spy he was. "Thank you," he said earnestly and hurried to drink the highly concentrated energy.
Prowl said nothing, but his doorwings moved. Jazz would bet that whatever else this looped movement might be, that it meant nothing else than 'You're welcome.'
He smiled.