Ironhide: Meet Masterchief!

(No relation to any other fic, purely random and ’07 Bayverse)

 

“Ironhide,” Glen proudly Vanna’d the ginormous television set up in Hangar Bay Three. “Meet Master Chief.”

“Hmph. He’s a little small…where are his cannons?”

“No no no, see? It’s a game. Watch.” The small programmer grabbed a tiny controller smaller than Ironhide’s trigger finger tip and proceeded to play some kind of video game.

He watched the over-excited Glen become absorbed in some sort of mass attack. He soon found himself watching avidly, egging Glen on when the Flood came from all directions. Pretty soon, the noise brought Ratchet peeking around the corner of the hangar.

“There! No, not with the plasma rifle! Use the sword! It’s much more personal.”

“Ironhide, what are you doing?”

“Wait a minute. No Glen, throw the plasma grenade, not the frag. I love it that it sticks!” Ironhide laughed evilly. “Suck on that, Flood!”

“Excuse me…Ironhide?”

“Just a minute, Ratch, I’m into something, here.”

Ironhide never remembered that Ratchet had been there in the first place.

Ironhide begged Glen to keep playing, but the human had no stamina. Perhaps it was the acid drink called soda that he drank. It seemed to give him a quick shot of energy, but brought him crashing down within an hour. Not unlike the cheap low-octane fuel Sam tried to fill Bumblebee with one time.

He looked from Glen, passed out on the sofa, to the Xbox machine sitting innocently beside the television. “Hmm…”

“What the—Ironhide! What the hell did you do to my Xbox!”

“I’m improving it.”

Glen looked around the now virtually empty hangar. Ironhide was proud of his creative engineering. With some of the spare parts he found on some old planes out in the field, he’d been able to create an Autobot sized gaming system. His circuits sizzled at the idea of mock battle. What better way to practice than in front of an Optimus-sized screen and the bot-sized controllers he’d fashioned? Wait until the others got a load of this!

“Holy shit! Does it work? Did you get Halo to play on it?” The avaricious gleam in Glen’s eyes was more than satisfactory.

“I haven’t tried it yet, but I uploaded the game into my hard-drive. I can project the game onto the screen and use these controllers.” He proudly showed off the huge remote. Glen could appreciate this.

“Well, what are you waitin’ for, my man? Fire it up!”

“You got it.”

Ironhide was obsessed. He played for hours on end, killing aliens on top of aliens. That little floating droid bastard was irritating as hell. He’d become rather quick on the draw with the remote and tried to get Ratchet or Bumblebee to play a game. They just looked at him like he’d grown a second intake and left him to play alone. Even Glen became disinterested after two days.

Optimus finally called an end to his gaming. “Ironhide, I’m surprised at you.” Censure rumbled through the hangar. “You’ve neglected your sentry duties and completely disregarded the others for this…toy.”

“It’s not a toy. It’s improving my trigger-optic coordination. I’ve become even faster at fighting than before.”

Optimus flicked his apertures from his weapons master to the paused screen. “How certain are you of that?”

He saw his chance to convince Optimus of the advantages. “Very, sir. You’re immersed in a tactical environment without the damage possibilities. And it’s fun, too.”

The quiet leader focused back to Ironhide. “Prove it.”

“Yes! Great, now watch this—.”

“No, I mean in mock combat, a sparring match between you and I.”

“Sir?” Optimus disliked sparring and would only stage a match to punish one of them. This brought his anxiety levels charging forward with the full power of the Topkick 6500 he disguised himself as.

He didn’t like the tone Optimus took with his next word: “Now.”

The entire station rolled out to witness the unheard-of treat of a mock Autobot sparring match. Even a few members of the local combat engineering squadron lingered around in anticipation.

Optimus ordered Ironhide to set his cannons on stun and set his own the same.

“Are you ready?” If there was only one bot in the entire multiverse that could strike caution into Ironhide’s programming, it was Optimus.

“Sir, yes sir.”

“Begin.”

They circled and paced. As Optimus knew he would, Ironhide grew impatient and fired off the first shot. Optimus stepped off the line of fire and clipped Ironhide with a shot to the sternum and two to his dominant shoulder. Ironhide kept pointing his cannons, reloading his shots.

Optimus stopped the spar. “Ironhide, are you my Weapons Specialist or not! Now get in the match and peform!”

“Yes Sir!”

Ironhide got off the first round again, missing Optimus’ rifle by ten feet. Optimus swung his head around to follow the plasma shot fade into the distance, then whipped back to narrow his apertures at Ironhide. “Halt! Stand at attention, soldier.”

Ironhide snapped to at the terrifying growl rolling from his commander. “Explain yourself!”

“Sir, I—I must be…rusty.”

“That game you’ve been playing has scrambled your processors and ruined your aim. You are remanded to the firing range for three days and until I approve your aim and reaction time is correct, you will not recharge!”

“B-but, sir…”

Optimus’ voice lowered to a rumbling octave. “You will not dare disagree with me.”

“No sir! I mean, yes sir!” The entire encampment was silent, aghast that Ironhide would fail and talk back to Optimus. Ironhide was shaken, himself. Why was he so obsessed with that game?

Optimus dismissed him. He tromped sullenly to the firing range, once his favorite place on the base.

“Are you ready to be my Weapons Specialist again, Ironhide?”

He pulled back the angry shot he was marking for the third berm to the left and very soberly faced Optimus.

“Sir, I—.”

“Answer the question, soldier.” Ironhide regarded Optimus. He no longer looked at Ironhide like the huge disappointment he felt he was.

“Yes sir.”

“Good. You may leave the range.”

“Thank you, sir.” Ironhide glanced at the senior airman, Meadows, down the range that had accompanied him for most of the day and started back for the hangar.

“Ironhide.”

“Yes, sir?”

“Don’t forget to recharge. I wouldn’t want my best soldier to be offline should we need you.”

Optimus always knew the right thing to say. “Thank you, sir.” His leader paced off to the tank nearby, pushing the main gun turret away with a metallic screech as he passed.

Ironhide continued walking to the hangar, but was surprised when he heard the senior airman call out to him.

“Ironhide, sir.”

“Yes, Meadows?”

“The men have been talking about the big Xbox you made.”

He didn’t want to ever hear of that confounded machine again. He hoped Optimus tore it apart. Ironhide shook his head and turned to go.

“Wait, sir. We’ve…we’ve been talking and figured out that you’re not following through with the shots in the game. That’s what caused problems in the spar.”

The idea had possibilities. He’d rather think of the game as flawed than himself. “What do you suggest, Meadows?”

“Well, sir, when I practice pistolry at home, I use a dry-fire kit. I still get the follow through without the consequences.”

“Hmm…that’s a good idea. Thank you, Airman Meadows.”

“Yes sir. And if I may say so, excellent firing today.”

Ironhide nodded in thanks and walked back to the hangar. Maybe if he created a dry-fire kit and actual combat simulation holograms…

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