Back on Cybertron, Strongarm sat in her husband’s…no, it was her office while Prowl was away. She is acting as Captain of Praxian Law Enforcement and will not let her mind change on that subject. In any case, she sat in her chair and waited for the officer she called in. After a few minutes, he did. He was a tall mech that transformed into a black and white police issue Ford Mustang Saleen S-281E. Like many a Praxian, his alternate mode’s front served as his chest. He had window wings, instead of full door wings. The doors themselves served as upper arm protection and the front wheels were located on the top of the shoulders. The rear doors served as lower arm protection and the rear wheels were located on the back of his hands. The rest of the rear of the car served as his legs while the roof folded onto his back. His helmet design was pointed at the top and he had a goatee. “You wished to see me, ma’am?” asked the mech.
“Sit down, Barricade,” said Strongarm. Barricade sat at the seat in front of her desk. “I’m not happy, Barricade,” said Strongarm, “not happy at all.” She moved to the front of her desk. “Ask me why.”
“Okay,” said Barricade, genuinely confused, “why?”
“Why what?” asked Strongarm. “Be specific.”
“Why are you not happy?” said Barricade, a little miffed that he had to play this with Strongarm when he had perps to nail.
“Your methods make me unhappy,” said Strongarm.
“Have you gotten complaints?” asked Barricade.
“A few complaints,” said Strongarm, “I can handle. What I can’t handle are frequent complaints on police brutality caused by you, according to eyewitnesses! We can’t have the people scared of stepping out onto the streets when police are on patrol!”
“Did I do something illegal?” asked Barricade.
“No,” said Strongarm in a low growl.
“Are you saying we shouldn’t get criminals off the street?”
“Common sense and the law require that I answer no.”
“We’re supposed to be slamming criminals in prison!”
“We’re supposed to be protecting the public and serving its greater good! Starting with assuring people that law enforcement is on its side! We can’t scare people into falling in line!” Strongarm then ran her hands down her face. “Barricade, a police station and its crew…”
“Are like a machine?” finished Barricade.
“I was going to say clock, but yeah. It only functions properly when all the parts mesh together. To do that, all parts must be properly maintained and kept clean. No rust, no corrosion at all, just smooth sailing.” She was about to continue, but Barricade’s attention had been drawn away outside. “Barricade, look at me when I’m talking to you! Didn’t your mother teach you how to pay attention?!”
“Someone’s getting mugged right outside the station!” said Barricade.
“That will be dealt with!” said Strongarm.
“With the rookies you have here? No way,” said Barricade.
“You’re not authorized to arrest the perp!” said Strongarm.
“Someone with experience has to stop him!” said Barricade as he moved for the door.
“Stay where you are or you’re fired!” threatened Strongarm. Barricade stopped. “Move away from the door,” said Strongarm. Barricade stepped back. “Get over here now,” said Strongarm as she tapped her foot. Barricade was not pleased at losing a perp. The air was still and the room was quiet, but Strongarm wasn’t intimidated. He finally stopped in front of her. The mugger was taken in by the new guys. “I’m not happy with your methods,” said Strongarm quietly, “not happy at all. You pull anymore police brutality on anyone, you will be forced to turn in your badge and gun. Clear?” She motioned for Barricade to whisper his response in her audio receptors.
“Crystal clear,” Barricade hissed.
“Dismissed,” said Strongarm. Barricade left and Strongarm sat back down at her desk. She ran her hands down her face and sighed. Her door chimed again. “Enter,” she said. A femme with an alt mode and a build like Prowl’s came in. She was born as Silverstreak, but recently changed her name to Bluestreak. She had a cylinder of Energolisis on her hand.
“Thought you might need this,” said Bluestreak.
“Thank you, but I’m not tired,” said Strongarm.
“You’re lying,” said Bluestreak, “but I appreciate the sentiment. It’s my shift now, go ahead and talk to Sideswipe.” Strongarm nodded, took the Energolisis and walked out of the office. Bluestreak was in charge as the nighttime police chief. Strongarm finished her Energolisis once she reached the door. She put the cylinder into the waste disposal near the door. Once outside, she transformed and put her holo-form on. Her holo-form was a heavyset pale woman with brown hair in a bun and police clothes. She sped off on the Cybertronian streets and then commed Sideswipe.
“Hey!” said a surfer-dude voice, “this is Sideswipe, here for any last minute homicide cases!”
“Maccadam's Old Oil House, five breems,” said Strongarm.
“Er, all right boss,” said Sideswipe. The call ended as she made her way to the greatest diner on Cybertron, Maccadam’s Old Oil house. The greeter let her in and a waitress named Lickety-Split, who had wheels for feet and a helmet design that made her almost like Sailor Moon, she just didn’t have the long pigtails. She led Strongarm to a table that had a red mech that transformed into a 2014 Lamborghini Aventador. His helmet had something on the front so whenever he drives his head into another bot’s, he’d leave a big dent. His vehicle mode’s front connected to his waist where the license plate would be. The roof and windows had turned 180° from the front and had become the robot’s back. The rear had split in half, folded down so the rear bumper became the robot’s kneepads. The feet came from the old split.
“Hey, boss bot!” said Sideswipe. “What’s the word?”
“Not until after we order,” said Strongarm. She turned to Lickety-Split. “Just a straight cube of Energon.”
“I’ll have a cube spiked with motor oil,” said Sideswipe.
“Coming up, cous!” said Lickety-Split. She zoomed off and left the two alone.
“Now will you tell me what’s going on?” said Sideswipe. “This secretive wigging out isn’t like you.”
“The offices back at the station have been bugged,” said Strongarm in a whisper.
“What?” said Sideswipe in the same whisper. “We do the bugging! We’re the police!”
“My office, too!”
“So, the question is, who shall bug these self-same buggers?”
“There’s something else.”
“Something more bugging you?”
“Will you be serious for a cycle?!” Strongarm then inhaled. “Look, I have to take you off the Tarkana case. I wasn’t supposed to tell you and Sunstreaker until tomorrow, but what will the higher ups do, take away my retirement fund when it’s worth 10 chips on the cube?” Sideswipe then realized the whole situation. He may act like an idiot, but that was a spectacle to hide his investigative abilities. Only a select few knew about it, his twin brother being chief among them. There was something or someone that didn’t want him poking around in the business with Optimus’ secretary, so they thought that removing him and Sunstreaker from the case would get them to stop. Strongarm never said anything about investigating on the sly, and she was counting on him to notice that.
“Okay, Strongarm, you want me and Sunstreaker back on the garage killing?”
“That would be perfect,” said Strongarm. Lickety-Split came back with their orders and so they drank their Energon and traded war stories about how they brought the end of the Decepticon run Praxian internment camps. Strongarm had finished her story and Sideswipe was in the middle of his.
“So there I was, strapped to a dissection table with Knock-out about to cut me open and with Lugnut watching. Just as Knock-out was about to start, Lugnut told him to wait…”
“Just so he could monologue?” asked Strongarm.
“Just so he could monologue!” said Sideswipe. “And you what he will say at a moment’s notice. ‘The Decepticons shall crush you unworthy Autobots! The glorious Decepticons shall wipe out your tyranny! The universe shall praise our hallowed name!’” He was about to continue when their comms units chimed in.
“All units, this is Bluestreak,” said the caller. “We’ve got trouble near the station. Barricade got into an argument with Sunstreaker and now they’re fighting it out. I don’t think Barricade’s holding it back. He’s about to kill Sunstreaker!”
“On our way!” said Strongarm and Sideswipe. They paid for their Energon, transformed once they got out of the diner, and sped towards the police station. Time was of the essence, and they used every ounce of speed they had. Once they arrived, they saw Barricade over a battered Sunstreaker. He was built like Sideswipe, only yellow and had Thor like helmet wings. On top of that, he had missile launchers on his shoulders. Barricade was about to punch through Sunstreaker’s spark chamber before he decided to speak.
“I had that guy in the bag,” he said, “until you tackled me and let him get away! You kept going on about how punishing criminals as they’re being arrested is wrong! And yet that coddling has allowed them to escape again and again and again and again and nothing changes! And so, for interfering, you shall pay with your spark!”
“And,” said Strongarm as she and Sideswipe raised their guns, “on top of being fired, Barricade, you’re under arrest for excessive force and attempted mech slaughter. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say or do can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, the court shall provide one to you. Do you understand these rights as they have been read to you?”
“Are you fragging serious?!” said Barricade as he carelessly tossed Sunstreaker aside. “We’re supposed to punish and enslave any and all criminals! Society will never change unless we take control!”
“That’s not what an Autobot would say,” said Strongarm. “Now, are you going to come quietly, or do I have to risk going too far?” Barricade said nothing, he just charged at Strongarm and got into a grappling match with her. Strongarm managed to get out of Barricade’s hold and get him onto the ground. “You really should have taken the easy way,” she said. A couple of police bots came to the scene. “Take him in,” said Strongarm as she slapped stasis cuffs onto Barricade’s wrists.
“The Autobot way is wrong!” said Barricade as he was led away. “All it does is coddle other bots!”
“Tell that to the judge,” said Strongarm.