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Knightfall

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Old 12-29-2012, 03:25 PM   #1
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Ironhide1706's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2011
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Knightfall

My second attempt at this story, hopefully a better one. Enjoy, comment, criticise.

NOTE: UPDATES 11 to 20 will be posted on page 4!

Prologue

Explosions violently shook the ground around the young leader and his team. They were running to a bunker, where Optimus believed they would be safe. Of course, he was wrong. He and his team entered the bunker through a secret entrance, then collapsed on chairs in the main hall.

"Phew! I'm glad that's over." One of the Autobots exclaimed, relieved.

"Hear, hear!" Another followed, to the laughter of the rest.

"Don't get too comfortable yet, gentlemen, we may have to move at any moment. But you've all earned this rest." Optimus proudly smiled before he took his own seat.

"Hey, where's Discbrake?" One of the Autobots asked, looking around quickly.

"I'm not sure..." Optimus conceded slowly. He brought out his scanner, and cursed. "Damn! He's still outside, he must have fallen behind."

"Well then let's go find him!" The same Autobot who had asked the question, stood up urgently, followed by his teammates.

The Autobots all ran over to the exit and out of the bunker. They narrowly dodged some gunfire, then Optimus ducked behind some cover and brought out his scanner.

"Okay, it looks like he's...damn it! How's he manage that?" Optimus demanded of the scanner.

"Optimus?"

"He's inside, he must have gone by us when we took cover from the bullets." Optimus explained.

"Well that's great, right? We just have to go back in, then we're all back together!" Another Autobot pointed out.

"Yeah, I know. I was just a little surprised, is all." Optimus agreed.

The Autobots checked the area, then bolted to the next cover close to the bunker's entrance. As they ducked behind it, a roaring sound filled their ears. It was too late before Optimus recognised the sound: jet engines. He and his team looked up to see three Seekers flying in a triangle formation. Massive bombs were attached to their bellies. Optimus's eyes widened.

"Get down!" He shouted as he laid flat on the ground. His team soon followed his example.

The ground shook even more than before and purple fire rushed over and beside the cover the Autobots were behind. The heat was incredible. They stayed flat on the ground until the fire and the shaking stopped, and the Seekers were gone. Optimus was the first to stand up, and when he did, his jaw dropped in horror. The bunker had been reduced to a pile of rubble, small purple fires everywhere and a thick layer of smoke rising from it. Optimus quickly withdrew his scanner. There was no life signal coming from where Discbrake had been.

"No...Discbrake, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry." Optimus choked and knelt on the ground, then bowed his head.

Behind him, the other Autobots continued standing, but also bowed their heads. To them, one of the most enthusiastic of their number was gone. The one who had made the darkest times seem bright. Discbrake was gone.

UPDATE: 22/1/2013

"I understand that this will be difficult to do, but I need you to answer some questions about the incident."

Optimus was seated in a spacious room with floor-to-ceiling windows on all sides. The round table at the centre had ten chairs, one of which was occupied by Optimus, another by the Autobot leader Ultra Magnus. It was the day after Discbrake's death, and it was an Autobot requirement for the field commander to provide details when one or more of their troops was specifically killed in battle.

"Of course, sir. Ask anything." Optimus tried to smile, to show that he was recovering, but he couldn't. Doubts had overtaken him since the mission, doubts about everything. His leadership capabilities. His decision making. His ability to protect those who trusted him to do so.

"We'll start off with a simple one. What was the purpose of your mission?" Ultra Magnus asked, keeping a kind tone to reassure Optimus.

"It was a rescue mission. Sentinel was the one who told me about the thousands of Autobot prisoners in Decepticon camps throughout the war zone. But it was me who suggested the mission. I assembled a team, then we set off to liberate the captives one camp at a time. We were successful in three of the eleven camps we targeted." Optimus explained. His own tone was so different to Magnus's, it was full of defeat and remorse.

"Why only three?"

"We only made it to three. After the third, we took refuge in a nearby bunker to rest and repair our injuries. But, we were missing someone." Optimus choked. "It was stupid of me. Discbrake had fallen behind, and I hadn't bothered to count the numbers before we arrived in the bunker. We rushed back out when one of the team pointed out his absence. A spray of gunfire forced us to cover. It was in that time that Discbrake made it to the bunker, where he thought we were. The next thing I know, Dark Energon bombers were en-route. There was nothing I could do. They blew him to pieces."

"I understand if you blame yourself for his passing, Optimus. But in war, it is easy to lose track of everything. If Discbrake got to the bunker, that means he still had trust in you." Ultra Magnus said softly. "Now, the next question may be tough. Can you describe the role Discbrake had in your team?"

"He was our scientist and engineer. The guy was brilliant, his inventions are incredible. He asked to be taken along. We have known one another since before the war, so I knew I could trust him and I knew his skills would be vital. Discbrake was the one who disarmed the alarms and provided the tools to take out the guards. If it weren't for him, we would have joined those we intended to rescue." Optimus bit his lip. "But he was more than that. Discbrake had this uncanny knack for making the dark times seem bright. I have no doubts that if it had been someone else who had perished, he would have found a way to raise our spirits. Of course, I wouldn't trade his death for one of the others."

"Of course. I know we have only met in passing before this, Optimus, but hearing from you now I can gather many things. You have a noble and gentle heart. That is why I think Discbrake's death has affected you more than the others. But, I must still make a decision. I don't like this part of the job, but I must do it." Ultra Magnus shook his head, then looked Optimus in the eye. "As a result of your failure to keep an adequate watch on your team, I feel you are not yet ready to be a leader. I know that someday, you will be a fine leader. But for now, you need more training. I am sorry Optimus, but I hereby demote you to the rank of private. You will be assigned to a team, where you will learn what you need to."

"I...I understand, sir. I'll get going then." Optimus nodded, then stood and walked over to a circular platform behind him.

"Optimus?" Ultra Magnus called out.

"Yes, sir?"

"I have faith that someday you will do great things for the Autobots. But my only advice is this: don't ever try to be the hero, Optimus. It's not in your programming." Ultra Magnus stood up himself then looked away. Before he did, Optimus noticed a flicker of guilt on his face. He realised that Ultra Magnus was trying to keep him from suffering the same fate as countless others had.

'But why would he have interest in me?' Optimus thought. He figured he would find out in time, so Optimus hit a pressure plate beside the circular platform with his foot, and the platform descended into the ground. The elevator moved quickly, but smoothly, so when Optimus arrived on the ground floor of the Autobot defence headquarters, known as the Decagon, it was hard to believe he had transversed 500 metres so quickly. The doors to the elevator opened, revealing a lobby-like room with a spinning hologram of an Autobot insignia in the centre. Ahead, a large, muscular, red Autobot approached Optimus, followed by a red and white Autobot with the same body-type, but modified.

"Optimus?" The red Autobot asked. He had a strong accent, likely from the southern states of Iacon.

"Yes." Optimus replied cautiously. At the same time, he tried to push what had just happened with Magnus to the back of his mind. The last thing he needed was a breakdown.

He must have intimidated, for the Autobot clapped him on the back and grinned.

"No need to be scared of us, the name's Ironhide!" The Autobot said cheerfully. His accent made his name sound like 'Arrhn-hide'. "This is Ratchet."

"A pleasure." The red and white Autobot shook Optimus's hand. When he did so, Optimus noticed a red cross on his shoulder.

"You're a medic?" Optimus sounded surprised.

"My appearance doesn't suit it, I'll admit, but it's certainly an asset when one can charge through a Decepticon squad to get to the wounded." Ratchet smiled. His was more like a kindly old man, compared to the gruff soldier-like one of Ironhide.

"Certainly." Optimus agreed. "So what can I do for you?"

"Ultra Magnus tells me you need a team to join. I volunteered to take you in." Ironhide explained. "He didn't tell me why, if you're at all worried about that. If you want me to know, it's your choice. But we should get you acquainted with the rest of the team as soon as we can. They're all waiting at Maccadam's."

"Who is the team leader?" Optimus questioned.

"You're looking at him!" Ironhide looked offended for a second, but got over it. "Now let's get moving already!"

UPDATE 2: 22/1/2013


The journey to Maccadam's Oil House was uneventful, a pleasant change for Optimus after the past 36 hours. Once he, Ironhide and Ratchet arrived, Ironhide took Optimus to a table while Ratchet got some barrels of oil. When he returned, Ironhide started asking some general questions about Optimus. Things like "what's your favourite kind of Energon" and "any friends". Optimus answered them all calmly, and he was starting to feel better. Maybe even...happy.

"So, I've been holding this one off for when we got a chance, just the two of us. Do you want to let me know why you're here with us?" Ironhide asked Optimus gently when Ratchet left to buy another round.

"I...ok. I was commander of a small team. We were on a mission to rescue Autobot captives from Decepticon camps. I made a foolish mistake and...and one of my best friends was murdered in a bombing." Optimus looked at his empty barrel as he spoke. In a way, he felt like it showed how his heart felt.

"Hey." Ironhide said quietly. Optimus looked up to see him dead-serious for the first time. "I've seen enough soldiers fall in combat, enough friends, to know that it doesn't get better if you blame yourself and act all sad and depressed. I don't know exactly how close you and your friend were, but I think I can relate."

"How so?"

Ironhide's eyes suddenly dimmed. He looked like he was about to breakdown. It shocked Optimus to see the one who was cracking jokes and smiling a few minutes ago look like he was.

"Her name was Chromia. She was a scout, working for the elites led by Elita-One. We were partnered up when my old squad joined the elites to take out a Decepticon outpost. We grew close in that time. Closer than I've ever been with anyone. I could talk to her in a way I couldn't with anyone else. With the others, I had to be 'big, strong, invulnerable Ironhide', but with Chromia...with Chromia I could be "kind, compassionate, sweet Ironhide". I've never been like that before I met her, or since. But anyway, we were in a firefight and I told her to flank them while I went through the middle. She ran off and I jumped over the cover I was using, guns blazing. The Decepticons looked terrified, but they still attacked. I took them down. It wasn't until I was done with the first wave did I notice snipers. I ducked behind a piece of rubble and watched them. When I realised they weren't targeting me, it was too late. I heard a shot, and a scream. The next thing I knew, I was roaring with rage. I blew apart the snipers and the reinforcements until I reached her. There she was, Chromia, lying on the ground, Energon pouring out of a wound in her chest. I'll never forget the look she gave me when I held her in my arms and told her she would be ok. It was a look of...a look of love. Something I'd never seen before. In that moment I realised that I felt it too. Then the look was gone, taken with her life. Now, every day I see her looking into my eyes, and I promise that the Decepticons will be stopped. If not for Cybertron, then for her." When he finished, Ironhide's eyes were misty. The last three words were barely a whisper.

Optimus didn't know what to say. His feelings were nothing in comparison to what Ironhide must have felt, and still felt.

"Ironhide, I'm sorry." Optimus said quietly.

"Don't be, war is tough. You have to make hard decisions, and live with the pain you will gain along the way." Ironhide's smile returned as if it was never gone. He looked over at the bar. "Ah, here comes the team!"

Optimus looked over to see a group of three Autobots following Ratchet back to the table. Optimus shuffled beside Ironhide to give them space. They sat down, each with a barrel of oil in hand. Ratchet gave Optimus and Ironhide theirs, then took his own seat.

"Gentlemen," Ironhide announced, "it's a pleasure to introduce our new member, Optimus!"

The whole team cheered and smiled at Optimus. Some shook his hand and the others clapped him on the back as Ironhide had done.

"Now, I think introductions for Optimus are in order." Ironhide said. "Optimus, meet Blurr," he gestured to a solid blue and grey Autobot with large shoulders, "Warpath," a massive red Autobot with a cannon protruding from his chest, "and Jetfire!" The tallest of the team was red and white, and looked to be a flier.

"You can fly?" Optimus asked Jetfire in wonder.

"Yes I can, the only Autobot who can, in fact. At the moment." Jetfire added with a wink.

"Interesting. It's nice to meet you all." Optimus nodded. "So what is our next mission?"

"Next mission?" Warpath yelled incredulously. "Drink, KABLAM! That's our next mission!"

The whole table roared with laughter.

"A toast," Ratchet proposed, with a raise of his barrel, "to Optimus! May we share in many adventures together, and kick some Decepticon skid plate along the way!"

Everyone cheered for Optimus once more and raised their glasses, then they all took a long swig. It was incredible for Optimus. Everyone was friendly, and not to mention kind. It seemed like, after years upon years, he finally had a home.

UPDATE 3: 29/1/2013

“Okay, Optimus, Ultra Magnus has told me that the team is to be deployed at the end of the week. That’s five days. In these five days, I want you to be trained by each of the team members so that you can get to know them, as well as learn some of their skills. From what I hear, you’re already quite the soldier; but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn more.”

Ironhide winked, then smirked, at Optimus. They were walking to the hangar in the Iacon Airfield that had been allocated to Ironhide and his team as a base of sorts. Optimus hadn’t seen any of the others since the night at Maccadam’s two days earlier, but Ironhide hadn’t left his side. Optimus appreciated the comfort and knowledge that the elder Autobot offered him. Though it wasn’t obvious from Ironhide’s gruff, but pleasant, personality, he had been in the defense force for millennia before the Great War. Optimus had no idea how old Ironhide was, but he knew that he was at least Ultra Magnus’s age.

“That sounds great, Ironhide, whom am I to see first?” Optimus asked with a hint of excitement.

“I think it’s best that you see Blurr before the others, you’ll need to be at the top of your game. A little warning, Blurr is the hardest and most critical bot I have ever met, apart from myself of course. He may seem a little too hard, but he only wants to see you do your best. Understand?” Ironhide explained.

“Yes.”

“Good. When you and Blurr are done, move on to Jetfire, he’s got something I think you’ll have lots of fun with.” Ironhide smiled warmly. “I’m really glad you’re here, kid. We’re going to have lots of fun together, I can already tell.”

“Thanks Ironhide, I am too.” Optimus smiled back.

“Take off, I’ll see you tomorrow.” Ironhide clapped Optimus on the back as he had done at their introduction, then transformed into his large red truck form and drove off.

Ahead, Optimus could see someone standing in front of the team’s hangar. He recognised the angular silhouette of Blurr immediately. Optimus gulped, unsure of how much truth was in Ironhide’s words. Nevertheless, Optimus continued to approach Blurr. Blurr met him beside the hangar door and the two shook hands.

“I’m going to be straight with you, I only take the best, and if you don’t give me your best, then this session will be hell for you. Ironhide has been unusually soft with you, which I find questionable, especially considering your skills haven’t even been demonstrated yet. I can assure you, I am not a nice person. I am not going to hold your hand along the way.” Optimus noticed how Blurr’s expression didn’t change once, an unsettling change from Ironhide.

“I understand, Blurr.”

“During our training today and at any time in the future, you will address me as ‘sir’, understood?”

“Yes, sir.” Optimus agreed. Blurr was unlike any other Autobot he had met. Optimus made a mental note to find out why he was like this.

“Good. Now, today we will be working on your marksmanship and your driving skills. First, I will give you a couple goals so that I can assess your present abilities. Let’s start with a time trial. 3 laps around the main runway, “Blurr gestured to said runway, “and I will time your progress. By the end of this, you will have driven this track multiple times. Go.”

Optimus reacted quicker than even he himself expected. He transformed into his alternate mode, a sleek red and blue truck. Optimus accelerated to top speed and raced around the runway. It was several kilometres long, making three laps take around twenty minutes. When Optimus returned to Blurr, the other Autobot was stony-faced. Optimus transformed and looked at Blurr anxiously.

“Better than what I was expecting, given your size and vehicle form, but you can do better. However, your sniping skills need to be tested. Follow me.” Blurr said simply, then turned and walked into the hangar.

“Fantastic…” Optimus muttered to himself as he obediently followed Blurr. ‘If this is what Blurr is like, then what could the others really be like themselves?’

UPDATE #4: 31/1/2013

At the end of his training session with Blurr, Optimus regretted not giving Ironhide’s warning more merit. He had been around the runway at least 20 times in their 3 hour long time together. The rest of the time was spent shooting targets on one end of the same runway from the other. At the end of it all, Blurr had dismissed Optimus with a single, jarring message:

“When we first met, I thought you would be a hindrance to us, that your youth and inexperience would only make us vulnerable in battle. I see nothing to change my mind.”

Cold fury filled Optimus. He had put his whole spark into the exercises, only to get his hard work dismissed as if it were nothing. Optimus made himself a promise to find a way to impress Blurr, not to satisfy the other Autobot, but to prove to himself that he could overcome his doubts after his previous failure.

“Optimus, are you ok?”

Jetfire’s kind voice penetrated Optimus’s thought process. Optimus looked up to see the elder Autobot looking at him with a worried smile.

“Fine, Jetfire, thank you.” Optimus smiled back, though it felt forced. “What was it we were going to do again?”

“Well, we were going to do some piloting, but I just received a message from Ironhide. Ultra Magnus is deploying us earlier than expected, we’re to fly for Simfur ASAP.” Jetfire explained. “Come on, the others will be waiting there.”

“Wait, they’re at Simfur already? Why didn’t they wait for us?” Optimus asked, confused.

“Because we’re taking the scenic route.” Jetfire grinned. “Do you trust me?”

Optimus nodded cautiously.

“Good.” Jetfire said simply, before leaping into the air.
His entire body shifted and rotated until it was reformed as a large jet. Two handles transformed out of Jetfire’s undercarriage. Optimus instantly saw their meaning.

“Are you sure?” He called out.

“Of course! Just hop on and enjoy the ride.” Jetfire’s voice replied through Optimus’s comlink.

Optimus had no idea how Jetfire would be able to lift Optimus, let alone transport him to the next city over a war zone. But nevertheless, Optimus grasped the handles, straining slightly to make the width. Jetfire was twice Optimus’s size in robot mode, and it translated more than Optimus had expected in Jetfire’s vehicle form. Jetfire started to ascend into the sky, carrying Optimus as if he was made of feathers.

“Hold on.” Jetfire warned.

Without waiting for Optimus’s response, Jetfire accelerated to top speed. The wind smashed into Optimus’s face, filling his mouth and nose with smoke and pollution from thousands of years of war. Optimus extracted his mouth plate over his face, which provided the joyous barrier Optimus required. Below him, he could see flashes of red and purple lights dash through the smoky layer that covered the ground. How Jetfire hadn’t been spotted and shot down baffled Optimus to no end throughout their journey. After twenty minutes, Jetfire started to descend, when he suddenly began to violently bounce around. Optimus desperately hung on.

“Sorry Optimus, I’m getting turbulence! We’ll have to drop in, no space to land!” Jetfire apologised.

“Drop in, you mean-“ Optimus began.

“Let go!” Jetfire yelled.

Optimus’s hands responded before his processor did, splaying out away from the handles. He was suddenly free-falling down to Cybertron’s surface. In no time, Optimus had hit the smoke, a sign that the hard, metal ground would soon follow. The ground came into view, rushing up to meet Optimus. In that instant, Optimus regretted trusting his allies, if this was how he would be treated. Mere metres before Optimus hit the ground, strong arms grabbed his upper arms and lifted him, stopping his descent. Optimus looked up to see Jetfire hovering with a large smirk.

“Bet you haven’t tried that before, eh?” Jetfire joked.

Jetfire descended down to the ground, where he dropped Optimus off. The area around him was piled with rubble and debris from structures that had been demolished during the war. The smoky haze made it hard to see, but Optimus could make out four silhouetted figures a dozen metres away. Optimus and Jetfire fast-walked over to them.

“Sorry for the trouble, gentlemen, Ultra Magnus was very insistent.” Ratchet addressed Optimus and Jetfire as the others came into view.

“What’s the mission?” Jetfire looked at Ironhide, who was polishing his assault rifle.

“This area, 500 metres either way, has been deserted since the Decepticons dropped a couple dozen Dark Energon bombs on it a week ago. According to the Magnus, there’s some kind of artefact here that the analysts discovered from the Hall of Records.” Ironhide began. Optimus flinched slightly at the last three words. “Our mission is to find this artefact and bring it back to Iacon. Easy in, easy out. Ok?”

“Yes, sir.” Everyone agreed.

“Good. We shouldn’t have any ‘Cons bothering us until we get underground, so use this opportunity to reload and get ready.” Ironhide suggested. As everyone branched out, he approached Optimus. “Blurr tells me you were disappointing.”

“Yeah, I got that…” Optimus frowned.

“He’s always been really tough, Optimus, don’t pay it any attention. Blurr hasn’t been the same since he was captured by Shockwave, not even I recognize him sometimes.” Ironhide remarked.

“He was captured by the Shockwave? What happened?” Optimus asked, both anxious and fearful for the answer.

“It’s not my place to say, Blurr will tell you when he sees fit. Now if you don’t mind me saying, you look far more nervous than you were when we first met, and that’s saying something. Care to tell me what’s bothering you?” Ironhide looked legitimately concerned, so Optimus gave in.

“It’s just…the last time I was part of a mission that was meant to be ‘easy in, easy out’, that didn’t happen.” Optimus looked at the ground, not wanting to show Ironhide the sadness in his eyes.

“Optimus, your mission wouldn’t have been easy in and easy out for even my team. Don’t beat yourself up. Come on, let’s go get this artefact and, hopefully, bust up some Decepti-creeps.” Ironhide smiled gruffly and gave Optimus a thumbs up.

Optimus nodded and his back started to transform. He reached back and withdrew his ion blaster, a large assault rifle that Ironhide whistled appreciatively at.

“You’ve been hiding some pretty sweet stuff, kid, let’s hope that includes some battle skills.”

‘I hope so too,’ Optimus thought.

UPDATE 5: 4/2/2013

“Here’s the deal, gentlemen. This ‘artefact’ that Ultra Magnus wants is located under this city. We could find it faster if we split up, but a Decepticon ambush on one group could ruin the mission, so we will stick together. Understood?”

“Yes sir!”

“Excellent. Warpath, make us an entrance.”

“With pleasure, Ironhide!”

Optimus knew Warpath had a passion for destruction, but when the Autobot transformed into his tank mode and blew a hole into a city street, it seemed more like an obsession. But having someone like that could be useful, particularly in a firefight. Blurr took point as the team descended into the underground through Warpath’s crater. The catacombs were pitch-black, so everyone activated their flashlights. Blurr lit the way ahead while Ironhide and Ratchet scanned the walls for unwelcome guests hiding in the shadows. Optimus was in the middle with Warpath, while Jetfire covered the rear.

“Excited, kid?” Warpath nudged Optimus playfully. His mouth plate prevented most emotion, but the soft light of Warpath’s eyes showed his kindness.

“It’s my first mission where I haven’t been responsible for anyone but myself in a while, so in a way, yes.” Optimus replied.

“Even if you’re not the leader, every member of the team is responsible for watching the other’s backs, remember that.” Warpath suddenly looked very serious, and Optimus regretted saying what he did.

“Sorry, I meant-“

“Don’t worry about it, kid.” Warpath’s happy aura returned.

“Warpath, Optimus, keep it down.” Jetfire whispered from behind them.

The rest of the walk was made in silence. Blurr seemed to know exactly where to go, despite not having a scanner or similar device. After several minutes, the group arrived in a cavernous room with blue lights along the walls and a column in the centre. A door in the column was opened, revealing a case. The case was empty, its contents in the hands of a Decepticon, who was directing his troops. Optimus didn’t bother looking at the Decepticon’s item, the bombs were more distracting.

“We need to take those grunts out before they can arm the bombs. No firearms, guys, you could hit a bomb or bring down the whole room. It doesn’t look very stable, so be careful.”

To Optimus’s surprise, it was Warpath who had spoken. The trigger-happy Warpath advising others not to use ranged weapons? Perhaps Optimus had misjudged the other Autobot.

“Warpath’s right. There’s no option for stealth here, we move in on three.” Ironhide held up a hand. “One, two, three!” Ironhide brought his hand back down and the whole team rushed into the room.

The Decepticon holding the artefact turned, a twisted smile on his face. Optimus looked up to see snipers on the walls. The others hadn’t seen them, so Optimus pulled his Energon sword from its scabbard on his hip, and threw it like a spear at one of the snipers. It sunk straight into the sniper’s chest, and it fell to the ground. Optimus rushed over to the body, narrowly dodging a charging Decepticon, and retrieved his sword. He turned around to see the Decepticon he had dodged get flipped onto the ground by Ratchet, who transformed his hand into a knife and stabbed it through the Decepticon’s head. On the other side of the room, Ironhide had engaged the Decepticon leader in hand-to-hand combat. Warpath grabbed two Decepticons by their heads and smashed them together. They fell limp to the floor.

“Optimus, duck!” Jetfire called out from above.
Optimus did so, and a throwing knife skimmed over his head. Optimus turned to see a Decepticon scout withdraw two daggers and sprint towards him. Optimus brought up his sword to parry the Decepticon’s first attack, then he kicked his assailant’s feet away. The Decepticon fell onto the floor, and Optimus stabbed his sword through his chest. Optimus looked up to see how the others were doing. Warpath was grappling with a Brute who had entered through another door. Ratchet and Blurr were fighting back-to-back against four Decepticon scouts. Ironhide and the Decepticon leader were still trading blows, and Jetfire was flying around near the ceiling knocking snipers off the walls. A loud crash to Optimus’s left drew his attention. The crash had come from a door opposite the one he had come through; it had been blown off its hinges. A massive Decepticon with an equally large rocket launcher slung under its right arm walked in, and fired at the column in the centre. The column withstood the first couple of rockets, but Optimus knew it wouldn’t take much more. He aimed his sword and threw it once again, this time aiming for the Decepticon’s face. But to Optimus’s great surprise, the sword was batted out of the air by an invisible force.

“Cloakers!” Optimus shouted.

Knowing he couldn’t stand still, Optimus dashed over to the Decepticon with the rocket launcher, punching a couple of scouts out of his way in the process. Optimus leaped into the air, pulled his right fist back, and then smashed it into the Decepticon’s left cheek. The Decepticon didn’t fall, but it was disorientated long enough for Optimus to retrieve his sword and push it through the Decepticon’s back. He barely had time to pull it back out before a cloaked Decepticon upper-cut Optimus. He was sent flying, straight into a second cloaker, who flung Optimus into the wall. The wall shook, but continued to hold. Optimus himself groaned in pain, but stood back up. A shimmer in the air alerted Optimus, but he was too slow to react. However, the cloaker was pinned to the wall by a thrown axe before he could reach Optimus. Optimus looked over to see Jetfire hovering to his right.

“That’s two you owe me, rookie!” Jetfire yelled with a wink.

Optimus’s surprise grew to horror as a Decepticon scout leaped off the wall behind Jetfire, his knife ready to stab into the Autobot’s back. Optimus pulled out his ion blaster and shot the Decepticon away. Jetfire smiled as he realized what had happened. The two Autobots looked around, and Optimus was relieved to see that there was only three Decepticons left, all of which were soon destroyed by Warpath and Blurr. Near the column, Ironhide grabbed the artefact out of the recently-offlined Decepticon leader. The Autobots gathered around their own leader, who handed the artefact to Ratchet to examine.

“Excellent work, Autobots.” Ironhide commended, with a brief thumbs up to Optimus.

Optimus was suddenly filled with pride, but it didn’t last long as the column finally collapsed. Debris rained down, missing the Autobots, who all moved for cover. The team made it to the passage from which they had entered, but Warpath was quick to point out that Blurr was missing. Optimus scanned the room, until he spotted Blurr, who was pinned down by a piece of debris. Blurr was pointing to the exit, encouraging the others to leave him. Debris continued to fall, and Optimus could see that a large block would soon hit Blurr’s position. Optimus dashed out from the cover. He heard the others protesting, but continued on. He desperately pushed pieces of metal away, then grabbed the slab on top of Blurr.

“We will both die!” Blurr pointed out.

Optimus ignored him and pulled the slab, straining to breaking point, but he was able to get it off Blurr. Blurr’s legs were crushed, so Optimus picked the other Autobot up and carried him away. The large block Optimus had noticed fell no sooner than he and Blurr had cleared the area. Optimus kicked a chunk of the wall away from the doorway, then rushed into it, just before the rest of the ceiling collapsed. The rest of the Autobots made no attempt to help Optimus as he set Blurr down on the ground. Optimus was panting heavily, but after a breather he picked Blurr back up. The others were staring in disbelief.

“Are we going or what?” Optimus asked.

The Autobots led Optimus back to the surface, where everyone collapsed in a huff. Optimus set Blurr down on a slab, then made to leave, but he felt Blurr’s hand grasp his.

“You saved my life. Why?” Blurr demanded.

“Blurr, you may be a jerk, but you’re still an Autobot, and you’re still my teammate. I wasn’t going to leave another man behind. Not again.” Optimus explained quietly.

Blurr said nothing as Ratchet joined his side and Optimus left. He sat on the ground, where he himself was joined by Jetfire.

“Blurr has told us from the day we met that we should never go back for him should the worst happen, that we shouldn’t be heroes and end up getting us killed along with him.” Jetfire said.

“I will never leave anyone to die, Jetfire, no matter who they are.”

“Even a Decepticon?” Jetfire’s question surprised Optimus, but he had an answer.

“Yes.”

UPDATE 6: 12/2/2013

“Optimus, can I speak with you?”

Ironhide sounded different to his usual self. He was infinitely more serious, and he had an element of guilt in his tone. Optimus nodded and Ironhide took the seat beside him. They were on a transport with the rest of the team, en-route to Iacon to deliver the artefact to Ultra Magnus. Ratchet still hadn’t figured out its purpose.

“I’m going to be straight with you, before the mission Ultra Nagnus met with me. He made it clear that no harm was to come to you.” Ironhide conceded, his eyes fixed on the floor.

“Then you don’t have anything to fear?” Optimus looked at his friend, confused.

“I know. Maybe it’s just guilt, guilt from allowing you to endanger your life like that.” Ironhide suggested sadly.

“It was my decision, Ironhide, and you shouldn’t feel anything because of it. But what I don’t understand, is that I saved Blurr, yet everyone is acting like I did something terrible.” Optimus said, annoyed.

“You aren’t familiar with the Autobot Code, are you?” Ironhide looked Optimus right in the eye.

Optimus had learnt some of the Code in his early days as a security officer, but most of it was a mystery to him. It had often irritated him, for when he used to be a commander he knew next to nothing about the Code.

“Not really.” Optimus answered.

“One of the finer, more obscure acts of the Code is the ‘no man left behind’ mentality.” Ironhide started. He looked even deeper into Optimus’s eyes, extremely serious. “Optimus, there isn’t one.”

“What do you mean?” Optimus asked, but the ping in his spark let him know that he already knew the answer.

“When someone falls behind, is captured, all of those kinds of things, none of their team is to go back for them. It was introduced after a string of failed rescue missions. We lost more than we gained, so Ultra Magnus had it added to the Code. What you did, saving Blurr, was in direct violation of that act.” Ironhide continued.

“You can’t be serious? What happened to companionship, and loyalty, and compassion?” Optimus demanded.

“You won’t like some of the other parts of the Code if you’re this upset.” Ironhide commented.

“Tell me another one then.” Optimus said, almost as a challenge.

“No prisoners. All Decepticon captives are to be executed. There just isn’t enough room for them in the Autobot cities.” Ironhide went on.

“Do you agree with these?” Optimus raised his voice, utterly aghast.

“No. I see it as a sign that the Autobot leadership is becoming increasingly corrupt, but there’s nothing we can do. I can see the logic in the first one though.” Ironhide looked back at the floor.

Before Optimus could answer, Ratchet approached them.

“Optimus, Blurr wants to see you as soon as possible.” He told Optimus, then left just as quickly. Ratchet obviously had similar anxieties to Ironhide about how Optimus had betrayed the Code.
Optimus stood up immediately. Before he could walk off, Ironhide grabbed his arm. Optimus looked back, and he noticed the immense sadness in Ironhide’s eyes for the first time. He instantly realized that the emotion had always been there, but Ironhide’s confident and friendly fašade hid it perfectly. This was an Autobot who was a wreck on the inside, but had to stay strong on the outside for the sake of his team. A new level of respect for Ironhide hit Optimus like a sledgehammer.

“Just please remember something, Optimus. There’s a fine line between being a hero, and a memory.” Ironhide whispered quietly.

He let Optimus’s arm go, then walked away. Optimus was speechless, not that he had anyone to say anything to anyway. He had only known Ironhide less than a week, and already the elderly Autobot had shown immense compassion and care for Optimus. The last sentence echoed through his mind, and Optimus knew it would be a long time before he could forget it.

Optimus had walked over to the med-bay as he was thinking, and he then opened the door. Inside, Blurr was lying on the third in a row of ten benches. His legs were stripped down to a skeleton-like build. Optimus sat down on the bench on Blurr’s left.

“Did anyone tell you what you’ve done, really?” Blurr asked.

“Yes, Ironhide just did.” Optimus responded quietly.

“Did he tell you which mission persuaded Ultra Magnus to pass the act?” Blurr said. The coldness that Optimus had come to associate with the sniper was gone, replaced by a pained and hushed tone.

“No.” Optimus replied simply.

“Well if you’re going to be a part of this team, even if it’s only for another couple hours, you might as well know.” Blurr decided. “In the earlier days of the War, a young Autobot was captured by the Decepticon scientist Shockwave, and was kept prisoner in Shockwave’s lab in Kaon. Shockwave is notorious for performing grotesque tests on his captives, and this time was no different. The Autobot’s spark was pushed to the very limit by Shockwave’s experiments, until it became highly-volatile. The Autobot could still live on, but he could move at speeds faster than the optic can see, and think at that same rate. By that time, the Autobot’s partner had got wind of his location, and he and his team set off to rescue him. The Autobot’s partner confronted Shockwave, but he was subdued single-handedly by the Decepticon, and thrown into a cell with the rest of the team. Shockwave brought the partner into the Autobot’s cell and forced him to watch as he tortured his friend to death. The Autobot was able to escape soon after, but the five hopeful rescuers were lost. So, Ultra Magnus banned any similar expeditions, so that a similar fate may never meet another Autobot again.”

“The Autobot is you.” Optimus deduced.

“Yes.”

Suddenly Blurr’s cold demeanor and desire for everyone to unlock their full potential was explained. He didn’t want anyone to go through what he had, so he trained his fellows so that they could live safely.

“You said you have a volatile spark. Can you still?” Optimus stopped short, unsure of whether the question would upset him or not.

“I refuse to use my…ability out of respect for my friend and his team. They lost their lives to a madman, I will not glorify the same Decepticon by using the powers I received from him.” Blurr said. His tone was full of anger, and loss.

“I-I’m sorry. Your friend, what was his team called?” Optimus asked tentatively.

“His team was known as the Lightning Strike Coalition Force.”

“And his name?”

“Grimlock.”

UPDATE 7 - 18/2/2013



Before Optimus could respond to Blurr, the entire transport shook violently, and it was far too rough to be turbulence. Optimus rushed out of the med-bay to find a gaping hole in the starboard side of the ship. The air pressure wasn’t enough to move Optimus himself, but the loose objects around the room were flying out. On the opposite side of the room, a door opened and the rest of the team rushed in, their weapons armed.

“What the hell was that?” Ironhide shouted as he activated the emergency blast doors for the hole.

“Here’s a hint.” A voice like a serpent hissed from somewhere to Optimus’s right.

Optimus realized too late what was happening, and his cry of warning didn’t stop Ironhide from being hit square in the chest by a powerful laser ray. He flew into the wall behind him and, with a tingling crash, collapsed onto the ground. Ratchet immediately rushed to Ironhide’s side while Jetfire, Warpath and Optimus covered him. Another laser shot out of the far right corner, but Jetfire was quick enough to dodge. Unfortunately, another came from the far left and hit him in the back. Warpath moved to cover him, but the brunt of three lasers at once was too much for even Warpath’s armour to absorb. He joined Jetfire on the floor, while Ratchet looked frantically between the three wounded. Optimus raised his ion blaster further and scanned the room. A glimmer caught his eye and he immediately shot at it. The blast connected with a solid object, which collapsed. A laser flew from Optimus’s right and knocked the ion blaster out of his hands. A cold, terrifying laugh echoed through the room.

“Very impressive, child.” The same serpent-like voice remarked.

Its owner suddenly phased into sight. A shimmering light blue line parallel to the ground started at the top of the Decepticon’s wings and descended slowly, revealing his body. The grey Decepticon had a thin, but strong structure. His wings jutted out over his shoulders, and the cockpit of his jet form was integrated into his chest. A single red missile adorned each forearm; forearms that ended in sharp claws. The Decepticon’s frightening red eyes peeked out of the sides of his red forehead crest, and a sly smile stretched over his face.

“I’ve never seen an Autobot like you before.” The Decepticon purred. “Very impressive, indeed. Ironhide and the others, they’re all old news. But you, you look like you have plenty of life left in you...”

“Who the hell are you?” Optimus rudely demanded.

“Me? I am the commander of the Seekers, the most legendary aerial warriors since the Golden Times, before the First War!” The Decepticon proudly responded, puffing out his chest and smiling further.

“Good for you, now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to have to shut you up. Permanently.” Optimus withdrew his sword threateningly.

The Decepticon simply cackled. Behind him, two more Decepticons appeared in the same fashion as he had. The blue and red one on his right was the same height, but far more muscular. His head was almost box-like, black with soft red eyes and an intelligent face. Large null rays spanning the length of his arms were attached to his biceps. On the left, a black and purple Seeker slightly leaner, with an all-round skinnier frame than the one on the right. He had the same null ray placement, and a mischievous glint in his yellow eyes. A childish smile was fixed onto his face.

“Go ahead!” The Decepticon in the middle invited.

“Optimus, don’t!” Ironhide shouted, full of pain.

Optimus hazarded a glance back, and to his shock and awe he saw Jetfire stand up, ignoring the wounds on his back. Jetfire stood beside Optimus and met the Decepticon’s gaze with a cocky grin.

“More sport, then.” The black and purple Decepticon replied (in a much deeper voice than the grey one).

It was in that moment that time seemed to slow down for Optimus as he returned to the week before. The events that led to Discbrake’s murder flashed through his mind, as they had done so often in the last few days. As he watched the bombers close in, he remembered their colour schemes.

One was grey. One was blue and red. The last was black and purple.

They were the Seekers who murdered Discbrake.

UPDATE 8: 19/2/2013

A violent storm of rage began to build up inside Optimus. His eyes were tinged red and his jaw clenched tightly. Never had he felt such strong emotion before, even in the moment when Discbrake was gone. Anger coursed through his circuitry, flowing into his joints, strengthening them. Optimus felt powerful in his body, but more broken than ever before inside. There stood his best friend’s killers, and any attempt at a fight would be suicide. Optimus heard Ironhide and Warpath groan behind him. Suddenly his anger was transformed into something else. A burning desire for revenge. He would not allow anymore of his comrades to be taken to the Allspark by these beasts.

“Well?” The blue and red Decepticon’s chilly voice pierced Optimus’s thoughts. “Not feeling cowardly are we? I believe that’s Starscream’s job.”

The grey Decepticon, presumably the Starscream he spoke of, hissed, “Enough, Thundercracker. I tire of waiting, Autobot, let me make your decision for you. Lie down, and die!”

“NEVER!” Optimus roared, his voice taking all of the emotions in him and letting them loose.

With a fierce cry from Jetfire to accompany the noise, the two Autobots lifted their swords and charged the Seekers. Optimus’s sword dug straight into the surprised Starscream’s shoulder, but the Decepticon knocked the hilt out of Optimus’s hands and kicked him away. With the blade still embedded in his armour, Starscream cackled softly and pointed his right missile at Optimus’s chest. Before he could fire, Starscream was knocked flat by an airborne Thundercracker, who had been thrown by Jetfire. Then, Jetfire slammed the black and purple Decepticon into the floor by the throat. Optimus jumped up, but was swiftly knocked back down by a furious Starscream. Starscream pulled the blade from his shoulder and brought it down on Optimus’s face. But, to everyone’s shock, Optimus caught the blade between his hands, just before the tip dug into his forehead. Starscream was so overcome by surprise that he let go of the sword, and Optimus grabbed it back. He tripped Starscream and their positions were reversed. The tip of his blade was pointed between Starscream’s eyes, which had gone cross-eyed, and looked far less intimidating. Optimus looked around to see that Jetfire had the other two by the throats, holding them out. The pain from his injury was obviously taking its toll, as Jetfire’s eyes were squinted and his arms were shaking. The Decepticons were struggling, but Jetfire’s immense size was an incredible advantage.

“Do it!” Ratchet shouted as he frantically tried to mend Ironhide’s wound (Warpath was not as damaged, so Ratchet had repaired him during the fight).

Optimus looked back into Starscream’s eyes, which were full of fear. What he had fantasized of so often recently had come to pass: he had Discbrake’s murderer at Death’s Door. With one simple push, he would be gone, and Discbrake would be avenged.

‘So why can’t I do it?’ Optimus thought, bewildered.

This Decepticon had no doubt committed far more atrocities than he had heard about, and would likely do so again should Optimus stay his hand. By killing Starscream, Optimus could save the lives of thousands of future Autobots, as well as bring him to justice for all the crimes he had made against Cybertron. But even as these thoughts raced through his mind, Optimus was powerless. His mind was telling him that it was the right thing to do, but in his spark, Optimus knew that he couldn’t become an executioner. It was one thing to take out simple Decepticon foot soldiers, who had decreased brain power thanks to Shockwave’s workings, but to execute a helpless and unarmed prisoner was something else entirely. If he did, Optimus would be no better than the Decepticons. His new life begun from death, he would not allow it to be built upon it. The anger suddenly faded away, but not entirely.

“No.” Optimus lowered his sword. “You will be brought to the Iacon Penitentiary. There you’ll face justice for your crimes, Commander Starscream.”

Ironhide, Ratchet, and Warpath were all speechless, but a wide smile stretched over Jetfire’s face. In the med-bay next door, Blurr, who had heard the whole thing, also allowed a slight grin to appear.

But their approval and happiness was cut short, as Starscream lashed forward, and the claws that adorned his hands ripped through Optimus’s abdomen. Five deep, wide cuts lay in their wake, and glowing blue Energon began to trickle out. Optimus fell onto his knees, and the sword dropped from his hand.

“Sweet dreams…” Starscream whispered into Optimus’s ear, before backhanding him away.

Five cuts now scarred Optimus’s face as he fell to the floor. He couldn’t think properly, the pain had made his whole body feel numb. His eyes lay half open, and Starscream’s parting words echoed in his head. Optimus watched helplessly as Starscream fired a missile at Jetfire, sending him into the wall opposite. Thundercracker and his comrade recovered and blew another hole in the side of the transport. They both leaped out and transformed into jets, and were soon followed by Starscream, who held the relic. Optimus looked over at Ratchet, whose left arm lay a few metres away. The last thing Optimus heard before consciousness faded away, was his fellows crying out in anguish. Agonizing, bone-tingling, terrible anguish.

UPDATE 9: 24/2/2013

When Optimus awoke, he was elsewhere. The ceiling above him covered in tiny circular light fixtures. The bench beneath him was cold, and hard, but strangely comfortable at the same time. Optimus tried to look to his left. He succeeded, but with no small degree of painful resistance. He saw Ironhide, Ratchet and Warpath lying on benches like his own. To his right he saw (after another painful turn of his head) that Jetfire and Blurr were similarly resting. A door hissed open out of his field of vision, and heavy footsteps signaled that someone large had entered. A shadow fell on Optimus, so he turned to see its source. A tall and well-built Autobot stood with a tablet in hand. The Autobot was predominantly white, save for some blue and red sections. His head was blue, with a single red visor. The Autobot’s left hand was gone, in its place was a medical drill of some sort. The Autobot noticed Optimus looking, and smiled down at him.

“I lost it in the early days of the War.” The Autobot explained with a reassuring smile that looked terribly forced. “How are you feeling?”

“Better than I thought I would be.” Optimus replied as he lifted himself up. He sat on the edge of the bench beside where the Autobot was standing. None of the others were awake yet. “I didn’t think I would wake up again.”

“In all honesty, neither did I. Starscream’s claws are notorious for the wealth of problems they present to doctors. He cuts deep, and the wounds are too wide to weld back normally. When I first saw that you had ten of these wounds on your body, I’ll admit that I lost some hope.” The Autobot confessed.

“But I’m fine now, right?” Optimus asked, almost frightened to hear the answer.

“Mostly.” The Autobot answered simply. He lifted his tablet, and set it to display the feed from the camera on the front, creating a mirror-like effect. Optimus looked at his face, and took a deep gulp.

The wounds from Starscream weren’t there, but neither was the bottom half of his face. Or rather, it had been extensively rebuilt. He now had vertical intake-like parts on his cheeks. From these parts, a steel plate jutted out from each, across his face until they met in the exact centre. A triangular plate descended from between his eyes to meet the plates. It was not the mouth plates that Optimus had seen ancient warriors use, but his looked far more permanent.

“I couldn’t repair the damage the Decepticon’s attack did to you, so I was forced to reconstruct your jaw. The mouth plate is permanent, Optimus. Behind it, your vocal processor and the rest of the systems are still there, but you don’t have a mouth or a nose anymore.” The Autobot described sadly to Optimus.

“It’s better than being offline, I suppose.” Optimus said. He wanted a smile to accompany his comment, but found that he couldn’t. He realized that because he had no mouth, his emotions would have to be shown exclusively through his eyes. Optimus looked down at his abdomen, where five long scars trailed across it. “What did you do to the other cuts?”

“Those weren’t very deep or wide at all, so I could repair them quite easily. There is scarring, as you can see, but it isn’t terrible.” The Autobot switched off his tablet and stowed it on his waist. “I’ve just realized I forgot to introduce myself! My name is Red Alert.”

“Pleased to meet you.” Optimus politely shook Red Alert’s good hand, then looked at Ironhide’s motionless body lying on the bench beside his. “How are the others?”

“They’ll all be fine, don’t worry.” Red Alert smiled. “You can talk to them when they wake up, but first, Ultra Magnus has summoned you. He’s in the second room on the left when you leave this one.”

“Thank you Red Alert, for everything you’ve done for me and my team.” Optimus stood and nodded at the Autobot medic, who returned the gesture. Optimus’s inability to smile back at him was troubling to say the least.

Red Alert went over to check on a suddenly-restless Warpath as Optimus opened the door out of the med-bay. The corridor outside had steel walls and doors on one side, and floor-to-ceiling windows on the other. Outside, the golden roofs of Iacon gleamed in the sun. In the distance, however, a thick black haze and the occasional flash of light reminded Optimus that the war was still raging. He walked down the corridor and knocked on the door Red Alert had specified. A gruff and familiar voice called him in.

Inside the room was a single rectangular table and 15 equally-spaced, circular lights in the ceilings. Behind the table, the massive blue and white form of Ultra Magnus stood expectantly. Ultra Magnus nodded at a chair in front of the table, and Optimus sat down. Ultra Magnus clasped his hands behind his back and looked at Optimus sadly.

“I thought I made it clear that there would be no tolerance for heroics, Optimus. Not only did you needlessly endanger your life, twice, but you also spared a known Decepticon warlord!” Ultra Magnus calmly told Optimus, but the shakiness in his voice made it clear that he was trying very hard not to lose control.

“Needlessly, sir?” Optimus had stopped listening after that.

“Yes. It was Blurr’s fault that he fell behind, which is especially irresponsible considering his powers, and there were four other Autobots there who could have taken Starscream instead of you. Four experienced Autobots.” Ultra Magnus explained his reasoning.

“No, sir. I was the fittest there, Starscream would have murdered the others in the blink of an eye in their conditions, and I will never leave anyone behind again! Never!” Optimus stood suddenly and found that he was shouting. It was extremely unwise to show such disrespect to the leader of the Autobots, but Optimus didn’t care. The Magnus was telling him, nay ordering him, that he should have abandoned his companions! “This is all complete slag, Magnus! Your laws are corrupt, and they are built on fear! You used to be a strong leader, Ultra Magnus, but fear of the Decepticons has made you soft and the very thing you want to eradicate from Cybertron!”

“Showing disrespect to a senior officer, particularly the Magnus, Optimus, can get you in to a great deal of trouble.” Ultra Magnus brought his hand up to the handle behind his shoulder. Optimus knew exactly what it was, and immediately regretted his actions. “If you will not follow the laws and the Code of our race,” Ultra Magnus clasped the handle and pulled it, “if you will accuse the Autobot commander of corruption,” Ultra Magnus lifted his hammer, the Stormbringer, high, “then you are guilty of treason.”

“Sir…“ Optimus tried to save himself, but he was cut off by his leader’s thunderous voice.

“I, Ultra Magnus, supreme commander of the Autobots, hereby declare you a traitor to the Autobot cause.” The Stormbringer’s handle extended to the length of a staff, and Ultra Magnus slammed it onto the ground. The hammer glowed bright blue.

“Optimus, I exile you from the Autobots, with no chance of return.”

UPDATE 10: 24/2/2013

Optimus didn’t even have a chance to fully comprehend the gravity of Ultra Magnus’s words before he was hustled out of the room by two Autotroopers. They pushed him along the corridor, allowing him a single glance back at the med-bay. In that second, Optimus saw Ironhide standing in the doorway, his mouth open in shock and his eyes full of remorse. Optimus never forgot that look.

“Keep moving!” One of the Autotroopers said with a painful shove to Optimus’s back.

The Autotroopers escorted Optimus through the building until they reached the main exit. There, they forced him onto a transport intended for transporting prisoners, and he was whisked off to the main gates of Iacon. There, another pair of Autotroopers (it might have even been the same ones, as they all looked alike) grabbed Optimus and, as the gates lifted open, they tossed him out. He landed with a great crash and many sparks flew as he skidded several metres along the road. The gates descended just as quickly as they had ascended, and, in a matter of minutes, Optimus had gone from being a patient in the med-bay to a traitor to the Autobots, thrown out (literally) of Iacon and alone.

Optimus weighed up his options. He could camp out in front of the gates until they opened again, then sneak inside, but that would not only be foolish, it would be suicide. It was like a dagger had been plunged into his spark when Optimus realized that, now that he was branded a traitor, his Autobot brothers would be given orders to kill him on sight. Optimus accepted that he no longer had any place anywhere near Iacon, so, with a final heart-broken glance at his home, he transformed and drove off along the road, towards the overgrown wilderness east of Iacon.

Optimus remembered one trip there before, when he was a recruit in the Elite Guard Academy. He and his then-best-friend Sentinel had decided to go on a hunting trip to pass the time. They had gathered a small batch of rations, then they set off together. The two had had a fantastic time tracking turbo-foxes, and had even found a small Energon lake. But that was before the War, and now the wilderness was a place of darkness, danger, and death. It was also strictly off-limits to the Autobots, because the High Command didn’t want anyone going missing or getting mauled by a cyber-hound. That was exactly why Optimus was heading there himself.

It took several hours of driving, and some rather perilous crosses over ravines and bomb sites. But in his whole journey, Optimus never saw another Transformer. For that he was extremely grateful, because as much as he hated being alone, he knew that anyone he saw would not hesitate to blow his head off. When Optimus reached the start of the wilderness, with its great towering spires like trees and razor-sharp spikes protruding randomly from the ground, he didn’t stop before entering. The sun was just disappearing over the horizon, so Optimus could barely see a thing. He pushed past the spires, between the spikes; leaped over the gashes in the earth, swung from low-hanging branches. He hadn’t felt so alive in a very long time before that.

After an hour or so of cutting through the jungle, a high-pitched, blood-curdling howl alerted Optimus that the hounds were out for hunting. He had never seen a cyber-hound before, for he and Sentinel had left early in the morning and returned before dark, but Optimus had heard stories. According to said stories, the hounds were thickly-built, with large shoulders, talons like swords and teeth like daggers. The vicious snarling and the slit-like red eyes of a cyber-hound were the subject of many ghost stories in Iacon. The largest hound ever seen was apparently twice the size of the greatest hunter, Mirage, in recent history. Mirage wasn’t a terribly big person himself, but it had sounded very impressive when the nobleman had recounted the tale to a young Optimus and Sentinel after a night in Maccadam’s.

Despite these stories, Optimus believed he could take a cyber-hound, or at least stall it long enough to escape. He pushed further into the jungle, trying to ignore the howls and the screeching from the hound’s claws scraping along the ground. An especially close noise made Optimus whirl around in panic, but he couldn’t see anything so he continued moving. Suddenly, with a most terrifying roar, a hound leaped out of the darkness and tackled Optimus to the ground. Optimus pushed the hound’s jaws away from him, but its claws still dug into his shoulders, and Optimus could feel cold Energon leaking out. His arms were starting to strain to keep the hound at bay, but it only seemed to be growing stronger. Or was it just Optimus growing weaker?

Optimus tried to use one hand to hold the hound away whilst he grabbed his sword, but he quickly found that it, as well as his blaster, was no longer with him. Optimus realized that Red Alert must have been ordered to take them. Had Ultra Magnus known how Optimus would react? Or was he going to exile him anyway? Optimus didn’t have time to figure out, as the hound’s teeth got far too close for comfort.

Just as Optimus was about to let his arms give way, a massive blast of purple energy shot out of the darkness behind him, and collided with the hound’s snout. The hound was sent flying into one of the spikes in the ground, and the force coupled with the sharpness of the spike cleaved the hound in two. Its head ended up looking directly at Optimus, albeit several metres away, and he watched the hound’s eyes fade away. Optimus looked around to see his savior, but was instead greeted by a circle of the same purple light that killed the hound. Optimus knew immediately that he was looking into the barrel of a very large cannon.

“I only killed the beast so that I might have you to myself, Autobot.” A cold, sophisticated voice calmly stated from above.

“I’m no Autobot.” Optimus declared. To hear the words come out of his voice was just as bad as any physical pain. “I wouldn’t expect that to matter to you though, Decepticon.”

“I am no Decepticon.” The Transformer said.

To Optimus’s relief, the other Transformer lowered his weapon and instead offered his hand. Optimus took it, and he was pulled easily to his feet. The other was slightly taller than Optimus, and much stronger looking. In the soft glow of their cannon, coupled with the yellow glow from Optimus’s eyes and the red glow from the other, Optimus could see that his saviour was dark grey and black with some red too.

“Come with me, the Shards are no place for a lone Transformer, Autobot, Decepticon, or otherwise.” The Transformer whispered urgently.

“Who else is with you?” Optimus asked.

“No one.” The Transformer replied. Optimus saw that the reason the other had accepted him so quickly when he could have easily killed him, was because he was just as lonely as Optimus was.

“My name is Optimus.” Optimus extended his hand politely.

The Transformer shook Optimus’s hand and smiled slightly. “It’s nice to meet you, Optimus. My name is Megatronus.”
Last to Die: A short story starring Red Alert.
Start to Save: Sequel to Last to Die.

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Old 12-30-2012, 02:20 AM   #2
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Old 01-21-2013, 05:05 AM   #3
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Old 01-21-2013, 08:22 AM   #4
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Very interesting, I would like to see more!
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Old 01-21-2013, 05:52 PM   #5
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I'm happy with the prologue, but I'm going to redo the present day half, then continue on. Hopefully my revised version will be better.
Last to Die: A short story starring Red Alert.
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Old 01-21-2013, 06:22 PM   #6
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Please do more, the start was really great!
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Old 01-21-2013, 06:46 PM   #7
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Updated X2 (!), enjoy!
Last to Die: A short story starring Red Alert.
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Old 01-28-2013, 04:52 PM   #8
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Updated.
Last to Die: A short story starring Red Alert.
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Old 01-29-2013, 11:14 AM   #9
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This is really great. It reminds me of Animated, but it starts with a more serious and grim tone. I can't wait for more.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jalaguy View Post
The trick to watching the G1 cartoon is to do so whilst drunk. It's not a cartoon that should be taken even remotely seriously, but it's a laugh if you just accept its constant silliness.
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Old 01-31-2013, 12:09 AM   #10
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Thank you for the kind words Rewind, that's exactly what I was going for. Please read and (hopefully) enjoy the new update!
Last to Die: A short story starring Red Alert.
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