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Title: Clear Advantage
Rating: PG
Warnings: if Tracks being yellow is offensive??
Series: Transformers Animated (post Endgame)
Characters/Pairing: Glyph, Sentinel, Cliffjumper, mentions of Tracks, Autobot scientists, Swindle, Oil Slick and Seeker clones. Suggested Ramjet/Red Alert pairing.
Disclaimer: Transformers belongs to Hasbro et al, not to me.
Word Count: 1194
Summary: A new cosmetic treatment on the market is defective...or is it purposely designed to cause side-effects?
Originally written in response to a prompt at [ profile] tf_speedwriting

Gyph was startled as Sentinel Magnus spoke to her; she had been so engrossed in her work - they gave her a lot of it - that her CPU was lagged in processing the data from her own sensornet.

"Sir!" She squeaked and stood to something like attention.

"Er, At ease, Analyst."

Glyph noticed, only then, Cliffjumper standing beside their leader, dwarfed by the massive blue Magnus. Pattern recognition protocols activated: are all Magni large and blue? Glyph addressed her immediate superior in Autobot Intelligence, "Another assignment? Dating Nebulan artifacts? Searching Eurythmic music for subliminal messages? Cryptoanalysis on a recovered Quintesson journal? Translating Seeker clone body language, again?"

"You've heard of Clear Advantage?" Sentinel asked. He looked, she thought, less haughty and confident than usual. She wondered if Optimus Prime had recently visited, but she thought his team had left after that mess with the Clones gaining access to the AllSpark to resurrect their creator.

"Some kind of chassis wax?" Glyph asked. She didn't have much time or motivation to use cosmetic treatments in her life. She dealt more with artifacts, dead languages and code than other sentient lifeforms.

"It's a transparent exterior coating advertised as able to restore, maintain and protect one's finish."

"Is it one of those products Tracks endorses?" she asked. She had rarely seen Tracks in person, but, she like all of Cybertron knew who he was. He was an accomplished stunt racer, and spokesmodel for several brands of mods, oils, and cosmetic products. She doubted they would have much in common if they met in real life, but he was handsome. She had overheard him call Cliffjumper 'Chum' once.

It was curious and ironic that a slang word for friend was also the word for the scrap with which one baited Sharkticons.

"Tracks is in Medbay!" Cliffjumper barked angrily.

Glyph noted the manner in which Sentinel slumped and scratched at his left arm, as well as Cliffjumper's ire. "A defective product? How can I help? You've both given me other projects you say I should consider high priority? Wouldn't Red Alert or Perceptor-?"

"I already ordered the entire Autobot Science Council to investigate!"

"I don't trust Red Alert," Cliffjumper announced; "She spent an awful lot of time alone with The Liar when he was in prison, and won't talk to anyone about being taken captive by those clones!"

Glyph had also been taken captive by those same clones, and she had noted Ramjet's body language indicated he was possessive and protective of the femme Medibot and Security officer, but that didn't mean the feelings were mutual. Glyph certainly had no positive feelings toward Slipstream!

"Glyph..." Cliffjumper said.

Glyph had written a lengthy report on her treatment at talons of those Seeker clones, and though she doubted others in her department had bothered to read it in full, it seemed Cliffjumper at least was convinced of her Autobot allegiance. Glitches and defects of the processor and enemy motivations were more for Red Alert or Smokescreen to decipher. She would stick with their communications, artifacts and codes.

"When the clones busted the Liar and the Perceptive one out of Typticon Maximum Security Detention Facility, they also allowed Swindle to escape," Sentinel said.

Glyph, as one who was a member of Autobot Intelligence and occasionally assigned to Team Chromia as a tech, to complete her annual fieldwork requirements, Glyph was privileged to intel many Autobots on Cybertron never saw. She knew first -and, as well as through the reports she accessed on their private network, what Decepticons were like. She even knew the methods in which specific Decepticons were known to operate. "It seems more like Oil Slick; he was the one behind that Cosmic Rust plot."

Cliffjumper, Glyph saw, was shaking his head at her. Glyph was not skilled with social interaction, but some body language was universal and after cycles of studying Seeker clone interrogation video to analyze their body language and peculiar wing expression, she was certain Cliffjumper meant to tell her that their Magnus did not want to know Oil Slick might be involved. Sentinel just wanted to know there was a treatment for affected bots. Clearly, he was disadvantaged by having used the product in question.

Pattern recognition protocols activated again. Tracks and Sentinel had similiar blue finishes. "Are any bots who are not blue affected adversely?"

"We need to you to hack into the manufacturer's information systems! I already have real scientists investigating the effects!" Sentinel shouted.

Glyph had rarely felt smaller or more offended...and Sentinel regularly offended her. But she saw Cliffjumper with a digit to the side of his helm, calling the investigators to relay her suggestion. Her superior's continued confidence gave her confidence.

"Sentinel Magnus, Sir, I must inform you that it is considered offensive to use 'hack' only in the malicious sense. The term is most correctly applied to all ability with a system, and not only ability to penetrate or avert security measures."

"But you can get in their system?"

Glyph cycled with a sigh, then sat down at her workstation. "Very likely, Sir." She was just at the point of identifying what operating systems they were running on which hardware when Cliffjumper spoke:

"Perceptor just said 'Eureka'." Cliffjumper even imitated Perceptor's rather flat reading of the word which Glyph had taught him.

"It means he has found something," Glyph translated.

"He says only bots whose dermal nanites produced a specific blue pigment were affected negatively! Until a permanent remedy is found, Red Alert has suggested it is possible to help those already affected by replacing their dermal nanites with those that produce another pigment. Wheeljack are already working on it. She says there is a large surplus of yellow-producing nanites, from a former secret project."

"Yellow?!" Sentinel bellowed!

Glyph was already in the Clear Advantage system, and reading their inter-office communications, which revealed that Swindle Co., was in fact the majority parent company, and that the defect was not a plot against Cybertron, but merely a failed credit-generating campaign, in which Dirge's amateur understanding of chemistry, and Swindle's desire to get a product to market quickly, against Slipstream's advice for further testing, had led to Thundercracker becoming adversely affected by the product. Fortunately, for them, Starscream was a better chemist than his clone and Sunstorm perceptive enough to notice the bluest clone was affected. The most recent communication indicated that Skywarp was in the process of applying magenta-producing nanites to Thundercracker's shell.

"You were right, Sir. It was Swindle, after all, working with an amateur chemist, rather than pay Oil Slick's contracting fees." It was curious, Glyph thought, that the clones had already identified the problem and come upon a temporary solution; the same temporary solution that Red Alert had suggested. And, there were no inter-office communications from Ramjet. She wondered if she should report this to Cliffjumper.

There was no proof Red Alert's allegiance was at question, in fact, if anything, there was suggestion that her alleged secret communication with Ramjet had ultimately helped Autobots.
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January 2011

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