Transformers: How Can I Say I'm Sorry?

Discussion in 'Transformers Fan Fiction' started by Fairlady_Z, Jan 2, 2006.

  1. Fairlady_Z

    Fairlady_Z Official Voice of Flareup

    Sep 27, 2005
    Trophy Points:
    How Can I Say I'm Sorry?

    A Transformers Fanfic

    Fairlady Z

    Disclaimer: I don't own Transformers. Hasbro does.

    Author's Note: This story is set between TF: The Movie and Five Faces of Darkness Pt 1. It basically chronicles Rodimus's first night on the job. The main characters are Rodimus, Ultra Magnus, Kup, and Alita-1, though a lot of others make cameo appearances. The "family" relationship I briefly refer to between Prowl, Bluestreak, and Smokescreen is something I hope to explore in a future fanfic. This is my first TF fanfic so please be kind (my formatting may be a little off). Positive feedback and constructive critcism are greatly apreciated. A big thanks to my Beta readers - Chris, Warlock, and Motor Master. Enjoy!

    Part One: Ultra Magnus and the Chosen One

    Chapter 1

    Their darkest hour had come and gone. The great threat of the chaos bringer Unicron was over. With Galvatron missing, the majority of his Decepticons had disappeared into hiding. It would be important to know just which planet they had retreated to later, but for now it was enough that they were gone. Pockets of Autobot resistance who had stayed during the Decepticon Occupation still had yet to hear that the Autobots had reclaimed the planet, but word was spreading at a rapid rate. It was hard to miss the destruction of a giant planet eater whose head still resided in orbit around
    one's homeworld. Many were at last claiming an end to the Cybertronian Wars. It was no wonder Transformers everywhere celebrated with a festive mood that put the Earth millennium celebrations to shame.

    Rodimus had sneaked out at the first opportunity. Despite the crowds at Iacon, being the new Autobot leader meant that his presence couldn't go unnoticed for long. Ultra Magnus eventually found him in his quarters. It took three tries knocking before Rodimus even opened the door via voice command. He sat with his back to Magnus as the soldier entered, staring out the window at the stars. Ultra Magnus couldn't help but notice the resemblance the room still bore to that of a human teenager.

    "What are you doing here?" Magnus asked in surprise.

    "Brooding." With Hot Rod's sense of humor, Magnus didn't know if he should take the comment seriously or not.

    "People are beginning to wonder where you went?"

    "I gave a speech. That's what you said they wanted."

    "They also want to meet you. Kup and I can only come up with so many
    excuses. They keep asking after the hero of the hour."

    "Then they can just go on asking."

    "I don't understand your attitude, running away like this. Everyone's celebrating. I thought you would be too."

    "I'm happy we won. Otherwise, I just want to be left alone right now."

    "Look, I don't know what's bothering you, but you have a responsibility now
    to those people out there -"

    "My responsibility is over," Rodimus turned to face Ultra Magnus for the first time. "I destroyed Unicron! What more do they want of me?"

    Ultra Magnus took a step back at Rodimus's intensity, but stood his ground.
    He knew that Rodimus was going to need some time to adjust to his new role as commander. Still, he at least expected Rodimus to be mature enough to do his duty. His lack of willingness to join the festivities truly puzzled Magnus, given Hot Rod's love of a good party. He'd anticipated having to pull Rodimus off the dance floor or keeping him from drinking too many radium tinted energon drinks as a subtle reminder of not engaging in conduct unbecoming a leader. He had not expected to find his new commander sulking in his quarters for some unknown reason refusing to attend at all.

    "They want their new leader." Magnus felt he was stating the overly obvious.

    "Then who am I to disappoint them." The change in Rodimus's tone was extremely abrupt. Ultra Magnus didn't appear to notice, taking it as a sign of his leader logically coming to his senses. As a result, Rodimus was halfway to removing the Matrix from his chest compartment before Magnus could properly register what he was doing. "I've been waiting for an opportunity to give this back to you."

    "STOP! What on Cybertron are you doing!?"

    "Returning the Matrix to the new Autobot leader. I thought it was best done in private."

    Magnus remained barely able to speak. The magnitude of what Rodimus was implying still baffled him. "YOU are the Chosen One -," was all he could say.

    " 'Who will light our darkest hour.' I know, I know. Well, I did. Unicron's dead. My job is done. Optimus Prime chose you as his successor, so it's only proper that I return this."

    So that was it. Rodimus still didn't realize the full extent of his destiny. "You don't understand. You ARE the new leader. The Matrix has chosen you
    to be the next Prime, Rodimus."

    Rodimus's expression indicated that he understood only too well. Magnus amended his previous thought. Rodimus didn't WANT to realize his destiny.

    "I'm no leader! I'm barely a hero. I'd be dead at Galvatron hands right now if I hadn't had the sheer luck of being the 'Chosen One.' Prime would have said something sooner if I'd been meant to lead as well."

    "Optimus had no way of knowing the truth until he became one with the Matrix himself. I was a temporary leader at best, keeping it safe until the true leader was revealed...and I couldn't even do that properly." For the first time since Junkion, Ultra Magnus had time to reflect on his failure to keep the Matrix out of Galvatron's hands. He hung his head in shame. Rodimus placed a comforting hand on his shoulder.

    "You kept the others safe even at the near cost of your own life. That's true heroism. If it's failures we're comparing, then I'm the sure winner in that department. I'm the one whose impulsive stupidity got Optimus killed in the first place! Some leader I'm going to be." Rodimus's voice sounded even more hollow than Magnus's had a few astroseconds before.

    It was Magnus's turn to find some consoling words. "Megatron killed Optimus, not you. You were only trying to help. There's no way you could have known what would happen."

    "With all due respect Magnus, that's a load of slag. How can I face the Autobots as their new leader without serving as a constant reminder of my mistake ever time they see me? All I can hope is that somehow Optimus forgave me."

    "It's not your fault. Do you honestly think the Matrix would have allowed for your transformation if he didn’t? He's a part of the Matrix now, just as it is now a part of you, Rodimus Prime."

    "Either that, or the Matrix has the biggest sense of cosmic irony ever."

    "I was never meant to be the next Autobot leader, but you are. Your first
    test will be to decide if you accept the responsibility. It's a decision only you can make for yourself." Magnus paused just long enough to allow his words to sink in. "I'll leave you alone to resolve this, but just remember - you were chosen for a reason. The Matrix isn't prone to making mistakes."

    Rodimus said nothing, lost in thought. The last thing Ultra Magnus saw as he exited was Rodimus finally closing his chest panel, locking the Matrix back safe where it belonged.

    * * *

    "Did you find him?" Kup asked. He'd waited until Ultra Magnus had made his way across the crowded combat gym that now served as a makeshift ballroom. Kup was waiting for him in a corner as the two tried as inconspicuously as possible to hold a private conversation.

    "He's in his quarters."

    "Well, where is he now? What happened?" The grizzled warrior tried to keep the exasperation out of his voice. It wasn't Ultra Magnus's fault that Rodimus had strangely disappeared shortly after his inspiring speech.

    "He's..." Magnus knew that Kup of all people would be very sympathetic to Rodimus's current plight. At the same time, he was loath to discuss the deeply personal problems Rodimus had confided in him, especially in such a public setting. "He needed some time alone. Recent events have taken a heavy emotional toll on him."

    "They've taken their toll on all of us, Magnus m'boy."

    "He's still coming to terms with all his new role as leader will entail. I think the speech made him realize what a public figure he's suddenly become. It's left him somewhat rattled and unsure of himself."

    "He's a celebrity now. He'd better get used to it." A new voice, that of a green robot, joined the conversation. "Maybe he shouldn't take the job if he's going to become prone to getting stage fright."

    "Springer!" The pink femme next to him chided.

    "It was a joke. Rod's never been shy. It's not his style."

    "We couldn't help overhearing," said Arcee. "Is Rodimus all right?"

    "He'll be fine," Magnus assured them. I
    "He just has a lot on his mind. As our new commander, he just has more important things to worry about than attending trivial festivities."

    "Just because you've never seen the point of a good old fashioned celebration Magnus, doesn't mean that Rod doesn't. Unless it's something earth-shatteringly serious, he'd be here."

    Ultra Magnus shot Springer a hard look.

    "Maybe I should go talk to him?" Kup volunteered.

    "He told me that he simply needs some time alone," Ultra Magnus still uncomfortably covered. "He had some personal business to attend to, that's all."
    Great! Magus thought. The first day on the job and Rodimus has already got me lying for him just like those Earth politicians. Or, said another voice in his head, you could tell them the truth. Not yet, said the first voice, Rodimus will come to his senses. No need to worry them...yet.

    "The natives are already getting restless. He's got one hour to deal with whatever his problem is." Springer's tone implied that Magnus wasn't fooling him at least. "Then I'm going to personally go get him, even if I have to haul him back here by his bumper."

    Springer's comment only received reproving looks from all three of his comrades, particularly Arcee. Still, Magnus didn't doubt that the triple changer would be true to his word, minus the very last bit. Springer was an Autobot of all attitude, never hesitating to give an blunt opinion on anything. Some saw it as refreshing honesty. Ultra Magnus often regarded it as a simple lack of tact. Then as quickly as he'd entered the conversation, Springer became engaged in another with Trailbreaker and Hound. Arcee, who seemed to have believed Ultra Magnus's assurance for the moment, joined them. All four left for the courtyard mentioning something about games. Kup stayed, noting the City Commander's worried body language, even if his face remained neutral.

    "It's something serious, isn't it,” Kup said as a statement of fact.

    "I'll let you know in one hour." Magnus curtly departed.

    * * *
  2. Motor_Master

    Motor_Master Lets the balls touch

    Jul 30, 2002
    News Credits:
    Trophy Points:
    New Hampshire
    Love it Fairlady_Z ... great cliffhanger :thumb 

    Eventhough Ive read the rest of the story (thanks for the chance to proof read it) ... I want to go back and read it again.

    Keep up the good work.
  3. Fairlady_Z

    Fairlady_Z Official Voice of Flareup

    Sep 27, 2005
    Trophy Points:
    Chapter 2

    For the next hour, Ultra Magnus observed the festivities. The "ballroom" was hardly the only place that housed the party. All of Iacon seemed packed wall to wall with Autobots. The place was still a dump thanks to the Deception Occupation, but no one seemed to care tonight. Though his audience had been relatively small, thanks to Blaster, Rodimus's speech had been broadcast planet-wide. A war had ended. A new hope was dawning. Even Magnus found it hard not to be caught up in the spirit of it all. Springer
    was right, Ultra Magnus wasn't much of a "party person," but only because his duties as Autobot City Commander often keep him from participating. He'd never been much of an extroverted mingler either. Most parties with their endless gossip and petty drunkenness simply bored him. Still, if an occasion ever marked a cause for true revelry, Magnus often truly enjoyed himself. It was hard making others aware of such feelings though.

    He found himself wandering into the courtyard where a group of Autobots,
    most already half-drunk, challenged each other in a game of Metashift. Play basically constituted seeing which Cybertronian could change to his alternate mode the fastest, often while performing the most elaborate transformation sequence possible. Contrary to many humans' beliefs, transformations didn't just occur one singular way. "Arm A" didn't always have to fit into "Slot B." True transformation was an art form as any old
    timer would tell you back in the days when Cybertronians had required intense discipline and concentration in order to transform. It had something to do with the way the Cybertronian race had a special link to subspace. Magnus didn't profess to understand the science of it. These days the art had all but died out since one only required the simplest of trained instincts to activate one's basic transformation. Metashift served
    as small reminder of this near forgotten piece of Cybertron's past.

    In an incredibly foolish effort, Sideswipe currently tried to out-do Springer. Magnus could help but watch and smile as Springer boastfully admitted to the advantages of being a triple changer after the round ended all too soon. At least Sideswipe hadn't gotten stuck in mid-transformation like he occasionally did when playing, about which Ratchet had often chided him. Even while getting plastered, no one in the group appeared stupid enough to take on Blurr who paced back and forth nearly unrecognizable and yelling something about how it wasn't his fault that no one could appreciate his extremely aesthetic transformations when he played at his top speed. At least, it's what Magnus thought Blurr had said if he'd deduced any of the lightning-fast rant correctly. The recent thought of Ratchet still lingered in Magnus's central processor. He would have loved this. The Chief Medical Officer, with a wisecracking mouth to rival Springer's, had always lived for a good party. Ultra Magnus sadly reflected on how Ratchet had been among the many who had not lived to see it by such as short amount of time.

    Ultra Magnus moved on in his rounds as the thought of fallen warriors and sorrow amidst celebration quickly brought his musing back to Rodimus. Would he be able to accept the burden of leadership? True, he had been chosen and acquitted himself phenomenally so far in his ability to take change of the Unicron situation. Even before the Matrix had official bestowed its power on him, all the signs had been there if anyone bothering to notice the mature undercurrent in the voice of the young hothead, his befriending of the Junkions being a Prime example. Magnus smiled inwardly at his sudden bad pun. Had Rodimus really meant what he said about wanting to return the Matrix to him, or was it just a bad attack of self-doubt? He'd seemed so confidant and alive giving that speech. Anyone could see in that moment that he was born to lead. Why couldn't Rodimus see it as well? It must simply be fear. Fear of responsibility. Fear of failure. Ultra Magnus could relate to that. He'd always seen himself as a follower not a leader, no matter what anyone else said. Junkion had proved that. Both Magnus and Rodimus felt a deep sense of guilt about Optimus Prime. You feel guilty, Rodimus, because you think yourself unworthy to be the Chosen One. I am guilty because for a brief moment I thought I was worthy enough to be the Chosen One. So don't try to tell me which one of us is the bigger failure. I only hope you realize the truth of your destiny and soon.

    Ultra Magnus's internal chronometer told him an hour had nearly passed since talking to Kup and Springer. He found himself appropriately back in the "ballroom" where Autobots currently danced to the music offered in the horrifying form of Junkion karaoke, the songs irritatingly consisting too much Earth rock and roll. Then with Blaster and Jazz playing DJs for Wreck-Gar's crew, it was hardly surprising. Magnus could never see the appeal of such music himself, favoring the sweet sounds of Cybertronian classical ballads. To make matters worse the current singers were the Dinobots performing an off-key mutilated chorus sounding of "Me Will Rock You" by a band Jazz identified as Queen once the song mercifully came to an end. Grimlock's immediate response to which was "Me Grimlock better than Queen, me king." After the Junkions managed to clear the Dinobots off the stage, Jazz proceeded to announce the next singer whose act, much to Magnus's surprise, proved to be even more amazing.

    "Um, thank you Dinos. Let's give them a hand," said Jazz. Polite clapping followed. "Now we have a special treat for all you cool cats out there. Our next performer is sure to dazzle you. He's the bot you've all been asking after. The hero of the hour and the Autobots own new leader. Let's give it up for - Rodimus Prime!"

    Magnus could do little more than watch speechless as Rodimus dove into a stunning rendition of "I Can't Drive 55." His performance truly captivated the audience - energy, pathos, charisma, Rodimus had it all. The audience watched him in awe of their new leader's stage presence. Rodimus in turn gave his all, truly enjoying himself. There remained no trance of the insecure youth Magnus had talked to just a scant hour before. The change was startling to say the least. As Rodimus finished, the entire room let out a deafening cheer. Only once it finally died down and Rodimus had exited the stage did Magnus find his voice again.

    "Rodimus could I have a word with you?" Magnus's voice held a sternness of
    a grade school principal. Very nonchalantly Rodimus fought through the crowd with Ultra Magnus to a corner of the room. "From Jazz's introduction, I take it you're made your decision?" Magnus knew he should be more sympathetic, but the shock of Rodimus showing up like this and the near impossibility of holding a meaning conversation in such a crowded room didn't put him in a good mood.

    "How often does a person get to simply revel in being a heroic persona. I've dreamed of this all my life. So I figure that I enjoy myself tonight for all it's worth and resign first thing in the morning." Again that indeterminable sense of humor. Magnus shot Rodimus an expression fit to kill. Rodimus then answered him briefly in a low voice with all seriousness. "You said it yourself, I was chosen. I still don't know if I can do this, but I'd never forgive myself if I quit before I even tried."

    For an astrosecond Rodimus and Magnus's optics shared a deep understanding. Magnus still wanted answers, but his new leader's response was enough to satisfy him for the moment. It was just as well that this private exchange ended just then as Kup joined them.

    "That was quite a performance lad. Especially after that disappearing trick
    you pulled. I was beginning to worry."

    "I appreciate the concern Kup, but I had a few thing to work out privately."

    "If you ever want to discuss it."

    "I know. Thank you, Kup."

    "Well, you certainly know already how to command an audience's attention."

    "If you thought that was something I'm just getting warmed up."

    Magnus cleared his throat loudly. "Since you've decided to accept your leadership responsibility, I feel compelled to point out that there are things that are no longer appropriate for - ”

    Rodimus wasn't listening though as a voice across the room interrupted him.

    "Rod! So I didn't just imagine that voice."


    The green Transformer, along with Arcee, Sunstreaker, and Sideswipe cut across the dance floor to join their leader.

    "So you finally decided to show."

    "And how!" added Sideswipe. "We only caught the tail end of it, but that sounded great."

    "Sorry I missed it." Springer said. "But it’s a good thing you're here. Another minute and I was coming to get you and believe me your entrance under those circumstances would not have been nearly as dignified."

    "If karaoke can be considered dignified," Magnus half muttered under his breath.

    "Don't listen to him," Arcee cut in over the last comment. "Springer was so busy beating everybody at Metashift he completely forget his silly threat."

    "What threat?" Rodimus asked at the same time Sunstreaker inquired. "Where
    were you, Commander?"

    "I never forget my 'threats' Arcee," Springer countered. And before anyone
    could answer Sunstreaker's innocent but dreaded question, he added, "The Commander just needed a breather from all the excitement. Right Rod?"

    "Right," Rodimus echoed as reassuringly as possible while wondering exactly
    how much Springer knew about the true reasons for his departure. He couldn't help but look at the green robot a little accusingly.

    "We were hoping you might join us in a game." Springer changed the subject
    confident he had made his point.
    "Hoping to see how fancily I can transform and show off my new auto-mode, huh?" Rodimus let out a laugh.

    "Let's have one more game" Sideswipe chimed in eagerly.

    "Haven't you lost enough already tonight?" Sunstreaker asked his brother.
    "I don't know why you even bother playing."

    "And I don't know why you never bother joining in. Metashift not 'stylish'
    enough for your taste? Afraid you'll forget where everything goes?"

    "You seen to be the one with that problem. What made you think your head
    could possibly fit that way, anyway?"

    Rodimus, Magnus, and Kup observed the twins conversation curiously. Rodimus
    was about to ask what they were talking about when Springer whispered to them, suppressing a grin. "It would only get them started all over again. It's the kind of thing you really had to be there for." Then much louder he said. "Actually we're starting a game of basketball out in the courtyard."

    "Sure," Rodimus said a little to quickly.

    "I'm too old for such games. Have fun, lad," he said to Rodimus before the
    young Autobot leader saw the old veteran disappear into the crowd.


    "No thank you." He turned to Rodimus. "And as leader you should be promoting a more stately image of - "

    "It just a few games. C'mon this is a celebration."

    "Need I remind you, you weren't feeling so celebratory an hour ago? "

    “I haven’t forgotten.”

    “You have to start acting with more responsibly. I must insist that you refrain from participating in such violent Earth pastimes."

    "It never stopped Optimus Prime from joining in," Sideswipe suddenly remarked.

    Ultra Magnus gave the red robot an incomprehensible look as if he'd just been told that Megatron was a closet Elvis impersonator. While there were many things Magnus admired about human culture, he'd never been much into sports. When one lived with war day in and day out the concept of "fighting for fun" seemed strange and alien and the humans seemed a little too obsessed with it. Given the sad history of Cybertron’s own gladiatorial games, Magnus thought most physical competitions were pointless unless they were part of a training exercise.

    "You mean he actually…"

    "…found the time to participate in 'violent Earth pastimes.' Apparently so." Rodimus completed for him before Springer could beat him to the punch. Rodimus though was almost as surprised as Magnus to find out that the great and mighty Optimus had actually engaged in this particular aspect of human culture.

    "Are you kidding?” Sideswipe continued. “Any shot behind the three point line and you knew there was no chance of stopping it. Of course, it’s been a long time since we had a chance to play what with the Decepticon Occupation and all. Slaggin' war. I'm glad it’s finally over."

    "Who ever said it was?" Magnus responded ominously.

    "Of course its over!" Springer countered. "Oh sure, the 'Cons still hold a few provinces and a handful of them hightailed it after Rod threw Galvatron into the next galaxy, but that's just cleaning up the leftovers. We won Maggie!" Then seeing Ultra Magnus's non-amused look turned to Rodimus. "Can't you order him to relax for once?"

    "Ultra Magnus," said Rodimus Prime. "As your new leader, I order you to relax and enjoy yourself." Springer smiled like a fictional Earth feline. Still, Rodimus knew that Magnus was right. Despite everything, the fighting wasn't over yet. Call it instinct or a special intuition from the Matrix, but the pendulum of fate had only swung back in their favor again. "We'll have plenty enough to worry about in the days to come. For now, let's play basketball!"

    Before Ultra Magnus could say another word, Springer, Arcee, Sideswipe, and
    Rodimus were running like children through the gaps in the crowd. Sunstreaker and Ultra Magnus let out sighs at the same time. The yellow robot turned to the City Commander.

    "What the heck. I can always get a new paint job tomorrow. Its not every
    day we win a war. YOU'RE GOIN' DOWN SIDESWIPE!" he shouted then rushed
    after them.

    Ultra Magnus followed as well at a more leisurely pace. He didn't want to play, but he had been ordered to relax. Watching the game would allow him to pass the time and keep an eye on Rodimus so he didn't do anything too unbecoming a leader. He wasn't trying to stop his new leader from having a good time, no matter what the others thought. They hadn't talked to Rodimus an hour ago in his quarters. Mental note he told himself, Rodimus would need new quarters, something more fortified. Optimus's old ones would do nicely. No, Magnus was worried that Rodimus was trying to deal with his fear and pain by going to the opposite extreme and being the party hard kid he had always been. Rodimus was going to have to find a new balance within himself. Magnus would help all he could, but in the end it was something the new leader of the Autobots could only do alone.
  4. Fairlady_Z

    Fairlady_Z Official Voice of Flareup

    Sep 27, 2005
    Trophy Points:
    Chapter 3

    Ultra Magnus need not worry about missing the start of the game. On his way to the courtyard, Rodimus took the time to talk with several Autobots who wanted to meet and congratulate their new leader for his heroism against Unicron. Rodimus politely chatted with them all. Most he already knew to some extent, but to be introduced to them now as their new commander, many of whom had outranked him before, was quite disconcerting. The respect he received due to his new title filled him with certain awe as well as those unworthy feeling again. If only they knew, he thought. How can I possibly live up to their expectations?

    However, Rodimus did his best to put aside personal feelings and wear a happy front for the troops. By the time Rodimus did make it to the courtyard, he found himself the last to arrive. Makeshift hoops had already been made, empty fuel barrels with the bottoms lasered out had been welded to some support beams from the wreckage of the base. Sunstreaker's team was already assembled - Tracks, Mirage, Trailbreaker, and Cliffjumper.

    "You really think that your team of pretty boys can beat us?" Sideswipe challenged, still ready to get back at his brother for their earlier argument.

    "Who are you callin' a 'pretty boy'?" Cliffjumper counted with a clenched fist.

    "Frankly, I'm tempted to take it as a complement. Being on such a 'classy'
    team must make me one of 'the beautiful people' too," Trailbreaker laughed.

    "Class isn't just something one is born with TB, though it certainly helps. It's an art and right now we're about to undergo the art of outclassing you!" Tracks pointed at Sideswipe.

    “Yeah, but can you out-play us or are you going to go crying to the medi-bay
    after your first scratch?"

    "If I were you bro, I'd worry more about finding your last player unless you plan to forefeit," Sunstreaker enlightened Sideswipe with a smile.

    Rodimus turned to Springer with an amused look. "It appears you've started the fun without me."

    "Almost. What took you so long? I thought you were right behind us."

    "I was. My new job has made me more popular than I realized," Rodimus
    admitted awkwardly.

    "Do I detect a note of unenthusiasm? I thought you were the kind of guy who
    enjoyed being the center of attention."

    "Everyone keeps thanking me for destroying 'the greatest menace the universe has ever faced.' "

    "Such modesty. Being a hero is a real drag."

    Rodimus balled a fist at Springer's sarcasm. He knew his friend was simply
    trying to keep things light for his benefit, but sometimes he just went too
    far. Why didn't any of them understand?

    "That should have been Optimus, not me."

    "Hey," Springer's demeanor immediately shifted gears as his friend's pain
    sunk in. He placed a hand on his shoulder. "We all do stupid things, but if you think your to blame for- "

    "I've already been through this with Magnus, Springer. I don't need your
    pity!" Rodimus hissed.

    Rodimus kept his voice low to avoid the others hearing. Fortunately, they were so busy yelling how badly they were going to beat each other that no one, not even Arcee, noticed. Rodimus would have hated for her of all people to see him this way. He considered forcibly striking away Springer's comforting hand, but that would be pointless and only attract attention. Besides Springer was not to blame for his own guilt and feelings of inadequacy. Rodimus could also see Ultra Magnus out of the corner of his optic looking his way in concern. A leader doesn't lose their temper like this. He could hear the lecture already. Stop that! He only wants to help, the voice of inner reason countered…and lost. No, it was the look in Springer's optics that kept Rodimus from any further outburst. Those blue orbs had held a brief glimpse of fear. It was not fear of him, Rodimus reflected, but fear for him. Springer was his best friend and was truly concerned about all the changes Hot Rod had gone through in such as short amount of time.


    The word cut through Rodimus's silent flood of emotion and the din of the others' arguing. It took Rodimus a few seconds to register that the voice was referring to him. The vocal unit belonged to a red and blue robot with a large number 38 on his chest.

    "Duty calls," the Autobot leader announced, apologizing to Springer in more ways than one. Springer accepted it, but his countenance assured that this conversation was far from over. "How may I help you Smokescreen?"

    "Well, from what I've heard your team is still in need of a player and - "

    "You're certainly welcome to join us." Rodimus cast a glance to Springer for approval. He nodded.

    "Actually, I was thinking of my cousin. His speed would be a better asset
    to your team and he could use the distraction more than I."

    Even though they didn't know Smokescreen very well, Rodimus and Springer understood the more subtle meaning of his words. Bluestreak sat near Ultra Magnus with a rather distant expression.

    "I understand. Allow me to extend my condolences to both of you on Prowl's

    "Thank you, Commander, but it's not just my brother. Ironhide was a mentor
    to Bluestreak after my cousin became the lone survivor of his hometown. Having lost two of the remaining people he was close to, not to mention all the others who fell in battle, including Optimus I...I'm worried about him."

    "With good reason, Smokescreen. We're all feeling immense loss over our fallen comrades and leader. I'll have a word with him."

    Rodimus hoped he sounded authoritative enough. He didn't know how to deal with his own pain, let alone how to comfort others - another part of being a leader. He'd also had no idea about what Smokescreen had told him of Bluestreak's past. No doubt Smokescreen was trying to make his new leader aware of facts he may not know. Rodimus took it as a reminder that a reading of all Autobot confidential files was a very high priority on his "to do" list.

    "I'd appreciate it, Commander."

    "Rodimus" he corrected. "I'm still new at this and I'm not much for formality."

    "Rodimus it is then."

    Smokescreen smiled and Rodimus felt more at ease than he had most of the evening thanks to this simple accommodation. Bluestreak was still distant when Rodimus and his cousin arrived, jumping at the sound of their voices.

    "Hey, 'Streak. Rodimus wants you to be on his team."

    "What?" the gray robot answered, trying to hide that he'd been startled. He regarded the offer and Rodimus with certain awe while looking at Smokescreen with certain suspicion. "Why would you want me?"

    "Smokescreen said you were fast. We could use a good player."

    "It beats staring into space and sulking in your own private world," Smokescreen chided.

    "Maybe I go there because reality sucks! The war sucks! Decepticons suck!
    And my friends don't die there!" Bluesteak answered accusingly.

    "Any chance I can join you?" The words were out of Rodimus's mouth before
    he could stop them. For a second, he thought Bluestreak would take his comment the wrong way and become even angrier. Again, Rodimus forgot the weight his new position carried.

    "Commander, I apologize for my outburst. I'm sorry. When I get upset I
    have a tendency to mouth off like that, or "space out," or babble. I usually do one or the other or all three, but not at the same time of course. I mean, I…what with Prowl and Ironhide and…"

    "It's all right Bluestreak." Rodimus held up a hand to silence the nervous
    warrior. "We've all lost friends, but you and Smokescreen have lost family. Still, I want you to know that you are not alone in your grief. I speak from my own recent experience. Prowl and Ironhide died heroes. They're one with the Matrix now, I know it." Rodimus saw Bluestreak smile a little at the thought. "If there's anything I or anyone else can do to help, don't hesitate to ask. Perhaps the two of you would care to deliver the eulogy for Prowl at the funeral?"

    "Thank you. I think I'd like that, Commander. Smokescreen?"

    Bluestreak's cousin simply nodded in agreement and Rodimus knew he had said
    the right thing. If only he could follow his own advice.

    "Now how about that basketball game?" Rodimus asked.

    Bluestreak's only response was to stand and run onto the court. Rodimus followed after catching a grin from Smokescreen. He missed the approving look Ultra Magnus also had on his face from not too far away. Team positions were chosen quickly with Arcee, Bluestreak, Cliffjumper and Mirage as guards, Springer, Sideswipe, Tracks, and Sunstreaker as forwards, and Rodimus and Trailbreaker as centers. Man-to-man became the decided defense.

    Bluestreak ran rings around nearly everybody. Sideswipe's speed on the court was also an asset, but the number of fouls he caused, particularly when the ball was in Sunstreaker's possession, had his teammates complaining and his brother smirking that he was giving away free points.

    Cliffjumper's small size allowed him to get deep into the other team's territory before anyone knew it. However, his shots were often blocked, causing him to grumble and pass to a teammate more often than he liked. Rodimus proved a constant challenge for Trailbreaker to defend against. His lack of speed was something of a hindrance, but his sheer bulk helped make up for it. Plus, Trailbreaker was arguably having the most fun of any of them. Springer and Tracks had gotten into the habit of exchanging witty insults as badly as the twins. Finally, Mirage and Arcee seemed to be the only ones who hadn't let the game become a mini battle of machoism.

    After a while, Arcee decided to sit out a game, allowing Smokescreen to take her place on Rodmus's team. Bluestreak was glad for the chance to play alongside his cousin. Sunstreaker's team was currently ahead. The substitution had Sideswipe shouting again that the other team was in trouble now. It wasn't until Rodimus's team was down by ten points, however, that the trouble really started.

    Smokescreen decided to be the first to become more creative in his playing. In other words, he decided to cheat using his special skills. As Cliffjumper once again dribbled to the basket, Smokescreen let loose with a cloud of gray smog. Bluestreak, who had sensed what his cousin was up to, utilized his speed to steal the ball from the confused minibot. Amidst the smoke though, Bluestreak found it hard to see the basket. His shot rebounded. Through the gaps in the smoke, it appeared as if the ball was bouncing freely out of everyone grasp as they all made a scramble for it, until they realized the ball's pattern was to steady. It had to be Mirage!

    "That was a low trick for a losing team to employ. Fortunately, you're not
    the only ones who can be sneaky, " Mirage said. He then scored a basket impossible to prevent, before becoming visible again.

    After that, the game turned into unofficially agreed upon chaos of "no powers barred." Springer took to the air, transformed to helicopter mode, and cleared the smoke away. Things continued normally for a while until Sideswipe tackled Tracks football style out of desperation. As Tracks took his foul shots, one rebounded. Springer caught it and rushed to the other basket. He looked back with a smug grin only to be caught with an eyeful of darkness from Tracks's gun. While Tracks's team laughed though, Springer
    managed an awkward pass to Rodimus who then scored. And so the game continued for quite a while.

    One of the more interesting incidents involved Trailbreaker using his forcefield to repel all the other team's baskets for short time. No one could see a solution until Acree, back in the game, shot from behind the hoop and backboard scoring mostly by sheer luck. Trailbreaker's teammates argued that she had shot from out of bounds, but Arcee's teammates countered that Trrailbreaker's forcefield took the use of special power too far for anyone to have any fun. Trailbreaker, being the easygoing guy he was, relented.

    After another rather tame period, play ended abruptly. Cliffjumper, angry at Sideswipe, who had managed to gain the ball by fair means for once, whipped out his gun from subspace and shot the ball with his glass gas. The ball promptly shattered on its next bounce. Yet, instead of another round of arguing, everyone was tired enough to call it quits. All agreed that the unorthodox game had been the best fun many of them had shared in a long time. Even Sunstreaker and Sideswipe put aside their squabbling to congratulate each other. Bluestreak and Smokescreen also looked in much better spirits than when play had begun. The craziness had been just what they had required to forget their troubles for a while.

    "I needed that,” Rodimus admitted to Ultra Magnus. Magnus had watched
    them play with genuine interest and a touch of horror at the ensuing chaos.

    "Perhaps such pastimes do have their uses after all," Ultra Magnus admitted casually.

    "You really should join us next time."

    "I'll take it under consideration." This time it was Rodimus's turn to wonder if his friend was serious or not about something. "As long as you don't order me to participate."

    "Wouldn't dream of it."

    Rodimus couldn't help but smile. He felt good. The game had allowed him to relieve some much needed stress. He still felt far from comfortable with his new job, but his confidence was returning. He remembered his determination when he'd destroyed Unicron. He recalled the exhilaration when he knew they had won and the joy when he'd announced to the planet that it was over and the Autobots were now free again. Maybe he could do this after all, especially with friends like Ultra Magnus, Springer, Arcee, Kup, and many more supporting him. No, he would do it! I was chosen to do this and I will not quit now! Rodimus was going to find some way to let Magnus know - let them all know - that he was serious about fulfilling his responsibilities as the next Autobot leader. As he headed with his friends back to the "ballroom" that remained the central hub of celebrating, an idea struck him.

    "Anyone for another song?'" Rodimus glanced casting a look to where the karaoke was still going on, but had currently paused to allow for some Cybertronian techno to blare from the speakers. Anticipating Ultra Magnus's reaction he added, "You'll like this one, trust me."

    Rodimus was already on the stage again before Magnus could say another word.
    He really hasn't changed that much at all Magnus thought with a combined feeling of amusement and dread. Therefore Rodimus surprised his friend yet again when this time he sang without the aid of a viewscreen a stirring Autobot war ballad of a soldier who still believed in the chance for peace despite all the violence he had seen and the friends he had lost. It was untranslatable into any Earthern tongue and Rodimus sang it well. He had a truly handsome singing voice, a side effect of his Matrix transformation that had gifted Rodimus with a deeper, more resonant voice to aid in his public speaking ability and command the attention of the entire Autobot army. It worked. Not a single Autobot in the room could help being moved. If the previous song represented Hot Rod the impetuous rebel, this one represented Rodimus Prime the Matrix's favored son. Ultra Magnus smiled with his comfortable recognition of the all too familiar words and melody. This time after the song, a reflective silence followed, but Rodimus didn't allow it to last as he addressed the crowd.

    "My fellow Autobots, I'm glad to see so many of you here. We have fought a long and hard battle to stand where we are today. We have faced an enemy bent on no less than the total annihilation of our planet and survived. We have liberated our home from the Decepticons in the name of justice and freedom. We have won! The cost, however, has been high. And we will never forget the comrades who gave their lives to preserve what they believed in. We especially remember our leader, Optimus Prime, a greater warrior and a greater friend has yet to live among us! A important chapter in the history of our world had ended. The Great War is over! But new struggles and adventures await us. We have already formed a lasting friendship with the people of Earth. Let us expand that relationship, not only with them, but also with the many other worlds of the galactic community, for we have much to mutually offer! Cybertron is in the midst of great change. We live in an exciting time. The future can be frightening, but I am confident with the lasting hope and courage that has served us so far, we will continue to forge a legacy our descendants will be proud of! But the future can wait until tomorrow morning. For now, let's party and enjoy the celebration, because- BOY, HAVE WE EARNED IT!"

    The crowd of Autobots let out a deafening cheer. Jazz and Blaster turned on the music again at a volume that seemed twice as loud as before. As Rodimus exited the stage he found Ultra Magus, Springer, Arcee, and Kup waiting for him.

    "Now that's what I call a speech. You definitely have a gift for it, lad," Kup said admirably.

    "The song was beautiful Rodimus." It was clear from Arcee's face that she'd been crying. Rodimus thanked her gently.

    "I personally would have preferred more Sammy Hagar, but I've got to say that was pretty impressive," Spinger admitted.

    "I'll spilt the difference next time and do 'The Ballad of the Green Berets.' Would that satisfy you?"

    "Please Rodi, the crowd really likes you now. There's no need to risk alienating them for life."

    "Good point. But I expect to hear you sing before the night is out."

    "Sure. Care to join me?"

    "Sorry, but I only make a fool of myself solo."

    "Suit yourself. How about it Arcee?"

    "I couldn't!" Arcee inwardly blushed at the sudden invitation. "I mean I…alright, but we had better do it quickly before I change my mind."

    "We'll be on right after the end of the dance set. C'mon!"

    Springer led Arcee to the other side of the stage to select their song. Rodimus watched them go with a smile. When he glanced back at Ultra Magnus, he caught the City Commander looking at him in serious admiration.

    "That was a speech worthy of the Chosen One. You were right. I did enjoy
    it. 'The Life-Song of Mecha Quatorus.' It's my favorite. How did you know?"

    "Believe it or not, I'm not as ignorant of classical music as you might think. Besides you have a habit of humming it when you think no one else is around."

    Magnus looked slightly embarrassed at his secret revealed. "Well, you sing it very well. It's been vorns since I heard someone sing it live."

    "Same here," Kup echoed. "I remember when Audio-bot and his Broadcast Blues
    Band used to perform that one and all the classics."

    "Audio-bot?" Rodimus winced at the horribly bad pun for an Autobot musical
    group. "That's awful. You can't be serious."

    "Laugh all you want, but they were the hottest thing around back then. They came from a time when people knew how to make good music. The BBB used to tour the entire province and entertain the troops before Warlord Trannis tried to capture the capital. Iacon was a place of real splendor back then," Kup reflected, lost in the memory of his younger days.

    "Iacon will be like that again, Kup. You'll see."

    "With you in charge, lad. I have no doubt off it."

    "Thanks for the vote of confidence. You too Ultra Magnus. It really means a lot to me. I won't let you down." I won't let any of you down ever again, Rodimus silently vowed to all the Autobots as he surveyed the many happy faces around the room. Especially you, Optimus. I'll make you proud. I swear! Rodimus, Kup, and Ultra Magnus listened as the techno beat abruptly ended.

    Jazz introduced Springer and Arcee who performed an energetic rendition of "Paradise by the Dashboard Light." Arcee appeared extremely nervous at first. Unlike Springer or Rodimus she was not used to being in front of an audience. She didn't have a fear of public speaking, but she got anxious when persuaded to perform under more theatrical circumstances. By the time it came her turn to sing, however, she did fine.

    Rodimus wasn't paying attention to her voice though as he admired her attractive frame under the
    neon lights. She was beautiful. Hot Rod had made no secret of the fact that he liked her. Much to his surprise, the affection had been reciprocated. They had dated a little, but had mostly stuck to group outings. He'd wanted to take their relationship further, but was that even possible now that he was Autobot leader? It was well-known gossip that Optimus Prime and Alita-1 had been lovers. Yet, few could confirm it.

    Rodimus remembered the first time he'd ever seen Alita. Hot Rod had just finished a drive through the country with Daniel. The Earth child had gotten curious as they passed the conference room. He was interested in what Optimus and the other high-ranking Autobots talked about in their top secret meetings. Hot Rod had told Daniel it wasn't their place to eavesdrop and sent the kid happily on his way. Soon after Daniel left, however, curiosity got the better of the cavalier.

    Alita and the femmes had been of a rare visit to Earth to discuss what to do about the Decepticon Occupation that threatened to spread over all of Cybertron. Hot Rod had never even seen what Alita looked like in person and the temptation of playing spy proved to be too much. He typed in the door code that he'd seen Kup use many times and hoped that everyone would be too busy in the inner conference chamber to notice him sneak into the outer one.

    Optimus, Alita, and many others were busily engaged in their holographic tactical display. Hot Rod caught his first sight of Alita and stood entranced by the female warrior. Unfortunately, Ultra Magnus took that moment to pace the room close to the outer chamber. His eyes fell on Hot Rod. After quickly excusing himself by saying he needed an energon break he angrily led the youth out of the conference rooms and proceeded to give Hot Rod the lecture of his life. Hot Rod had spent the next two months on heavy construction detail for Autobot City as punishment. Kup immediately changed all the door security codes, a job that took him an entire week, and had proceeded to chew out the flame-colored Autobot as well. The one consolation about the entire affair was that only Kup and Ultra Magnus knew what he'd done. Optimus, Alita, Prowl, and the others were apparently unaware that Hot Rod had ever been there. So much for small mercies.

    It was just as well that his first meeting with Alita hadn't occurred in the conference room that day. As Rodimus recalled from his brief glimpse of her, Optimus's girlfriend was everything he'd heard and more. At best though, Optimus and Alita's relationship had been a long distance one, with only a few stolen moments to share. Duty had always come first for them and now it would have to for Rodimus as well. Could he ask Arcee to make that kind of sacrifice? Could he make that kind of sacrifice? Did she even care enough about him that she would want to? Arcee and Springer were very close
    friends long before he'd ever met them. His new job might cause her to choose Springer instead. With a sigh, Rodimus resolved that if Arcee did want Springer he wasn't going to stand in their way.

    Rodimus's musings were broken by the sound of clapping. He quickly joined in fast enough for no one to notice his mind had been wandering, adding a loud whistle to let his friends know he appreciated their performance. After giving his personal congratulations on a song well sung, Springer extended an invitation for Rodimus to join him in a few drinks. To Springer's slight disappointment and Magnus's relief, he refused. Hot Rod would have liked nothing better, but as Rodimus it just wouldn't do to get drunk his first night on the job as Autobot commander. He still had rounds to make and people to meet. Springer and Arcee departed then, while Rodimus, Kup and Ultra Magnus continued to chat as they walked to corridors of Iacon.
  5. yodafett

    yodafett Well-Known Member

    Jan 25, 2005
    Trophy Points:
    Quite good so far! Looking forward to more exploartion of this story and where you're headed with it. :) 
  6. Motor_Master

    Motor_Master Lets the balls touch

    Jul 30, 2002
    News Credits:
    Trophy Points:
    New Hampshire
    :rock  Can't wait for the next installment

    Yodafett - It gets better.
  7. Fairlady_Z

    Fairlady_Z Official Voice of Flareup

    Sep 27, 2005
    Trophy Points:
    Thanks for the encouragement Motor Master and Yodafett.
  8. Fairlady_Z

    Fairlady_Z Official Voice of Flareup

    Sep 27, 2005
    Trophy Points:
    Part Two: Kup and Hot Rod

    Chapter 4

    Most of the Autobot shuttles that had left for Cybertron after the siege of Autobot City had landed at Iacon or nearby. While the Decepticons had held most of the planet, Iacon was deemed safe enough for a rendezvous given that most of the Autobot capital city lay in ruins with no value to the Decepticons. Now that most of the enemy forces were destroyed by Unicron, Iacon was the ideal place to gather and celebrate. Pockets of Autobot resistance that stayed behind to fight, when most retreated to the moons or Earth, and had heard Rodimus's broadcast declaring victory had been trickling in all evening.

    The Wreckers arrived a few hours ago. Now Blurr brought news of another party to Rodimus's attention like a 45 record on 25rpms. Rodimus opened his mouth to request a reduction in speed when Kup and Ultra Magnus interjected with a loud chorus of Blurr, slow down!" Obviously, being of higher rank until today, they were more used to dealing with the hyperactive courier. Rodimus felt a touch of sympathy for Blurr whose mouth continued to operate silently for a few more seconds, opening and closing like a fish, before starting again.


    "Alita-1?" Kup interrupted. "She.the Femmes.they're alive?"

    "Where are they Blurr? How many survived? Do they need help? Did they say when they would be here?" Magnus continued the bombardment.

    "Please continue, Blurr," Rodimus calmly urged.

    "Alita-1 reports that she, Chromia, Firestar, and Moonracer are alive and safe. All others dead. Will not reveal current location for fear of leftover Decepticon forces overhearing transmission, but will arrive within six breems at the appointed rendezvous place. Alita-1 requests a meeting with the Autobot leader upon arrival. Message ends."

    "It's hard to believe so many of them survived. We thought for sure they were all dead. Even Optimus feared the worst," said Magnus.

    "I'm just as surprised too, but Alita-1 and her Femmes are resourceful ladies. The survived for four million years with everyone thinking they were dead. It stands to reason that they could pull the same trick again," Kup added.
    "I don't understand. Everyone knew the Wreckers were still alive, why not
    the Femmes?" Rodimus inquired.

    "The Wreckers weren't fighting in the heart of the Decepticon 'capital,' " Kup explained. "The Femmes are masters of stealth and secrecy. That certainly works in their favor. However, they were used to battling Shockwave. Megatron was another story. Nothing short of the end of the Decepticon Occupation would make them come out of hiding. The scattered reports that we did receive from secondary sources ended abruptly six years ago. Many assumed that the Femmes were either forced deeper underground or had perished. As the years continued with still no word most began to
    grudgingly accept the latter."

    "I can't believe I didn't know about any of this."

    "No reason you should have, lad. The Femmes mission to stay on Cybertron
    was top secret."

    "Which is just as well I guess. Because we in the lower ranks never knew,
    we just assumed they were still alive."

    "A luxury you can no longer afford," Ultra Magnus reminded Rodimus. "You
    almost did find out about their secret mission as I recall. That was the day you decided to spy in the conference room."

    "So you remember that too, huh?"

    "It would be hard to forget. It looks like you'll be getting your wish to spend more time there after all, Commander. But back to the business at hand, Alita-1's breaking radio silence can only mean that the Decepticon capital really does lie in ruins."

    "Shockwave is among the confirmed dead. Killed by Unicron, several Autobot
    witnesses say," Blurr added to the conversation, reminding the other three he was still there.

    "Megatron is dead as well...or should I say Galvatron. Hard to believe they
    were the same person like you told us, lad."

    "It's true though, Kup. I'd recognize Prime's murderer no matter what face
    he wore."

    "And you avenged him well."

    Rodimus, however, could seek no comfort from Kup's words. While he blamed
    Megatron, he couldn't stop himself from feeling just as responsible for Optimus's death. There was also a part of him that felt, almost like a premonition, that he had not seen the last of Galvatron either. Still, until he could confirm it, he would keep that thought to himself. Rodimus remembered the end of Blurr's message.

    "You said Alita-1 wanted to speak on arrival with the Autobot leader. Did
    she…specify a name?"

    "Rodimus Prime."

    Then she knew about Optimus.

    "Thank you Blurr. You're dismissed," Rodimus said distantly.

    Alita knew Optimus was dead. In a way, Rodimus was glad. It meant he wouldn't have to break the news himself. It would give her time to accept what had happened. Who was he kidding? Even he couldn't accept it and he'd only known Optimus as his commanding officer, the champion he'd admired from a distance. What was he supposed to say to her? Hi, you don't know me, but I sure know who you are. I used to be a nobody. Now I'm the new leader, and by the way I killed your boyfriend. Not the best way to begin a conversation. He'd thought he was finally warming up to his new position. He'd really begun to think he could do this, that despite everything he'd been chosen for a reason. He'd thought that he was ready for anything. He was wrong! He wasn't ready for her. For the second time that evening, Rodimus was overcome by an irresistible urge to run and hide and never come back.

    He started walking down the corridor away from the others. He heard Kup and Magnus calling after him, calling his name. No, that wasn't his name. He was Hot Rod! Not Rodimus! And certainly not Prime! That named belonged to someone else. The one before him. The leader who deserved it! He ignored the calls and continued to walk faster. Maybe they'll think I simply can't hear them. Maybe my face didn't give me away. Right, and maybe Optimus will rise from the grave and end this nightmare.

    Rodimus transformed and sped down the rest of the corridor that luckily was free of any other occupants. He quickly turned right, increasing his speed with each second, determined to head deeper into the bowels of Iacon.

    "Rodimus!" Kup yelled in vain as the flame-colored youth motored out of sight.

    "Not again," Ultra Magnus simply muttered.

    "I take it last time was serious after all. Terbo revin' hot headed-" Kup swore. “I'll follow him!"

    "There is no way you'll be able to catch him."

    "I don't have to. Once I know where he's headed, I'll radio for Blurr to intercept.”

    Buthowdoyouknowwherehe'llbeheaded?" the courier asked. Kup was just able
    to decipher the sentence. Though formally dismissed, Blurr had not yet taken his leave.

    "He's right we have no way of knowing -"

    "I already have a pretty good idea," Kup radioed from already halfway down the corridor, interrupting Magnus. "And on the way you are going to tell me everything that happened during that private conversation you had with Rodimus earlier!"

    * * *

    Kup may have been old, but he could move pretty fast when he needed to. He had also spend enough years chasing Hot Rod's tailpipe, trying to keep him out of trouble, that he knew how the young robot maneuvered and how to at least keep up. Not that Rodimus was trying to lose him, if he even knew Kup was there. Kup was aware that Rodimus wasn't driving blindly either. He was roughly winding downward with a specific destination in mind. Kup was glad that he had been right in his estimation, but it was not a place he particularly relished visiting. Also in Kup's favor was that Rodimus was not yet used to his new auto mode. His added bulk made him more powerful, but here in the tight, half rubble-strewn corridors it only served to slow him down. Blurr would have no trouble cutting him off. Kup radioed again and let Blurr and Ultra Magnus know Rodimus's target.

    "He's heading where?" Magnus asked.

    "Obvious place. Just have Blurr stop him before he gets there!" Kup snapped.
    There was much to be admired about Ultra Magnus, Kup thought, but sometimes the by-the-book soldier had trouble improvising. It was clear from hearing Magnus report his earlier conversation that he didn't quite know how to deal with someone like Rodimus who was a mechanism of instinct. Kup supposed that it probably didn't make much of a difference if he waited to confront Rodimus before or after he reached where he was going. The lad wasn't likely to run away again, or at least he wouldn't have before he was declared, the Chosen One. Kup knew that Rodimus needed to learn an important lesson, soon, and the hard way if necessary. And that meant confronting this irrational fear the lad had, as effectively as possible, head on.

    * * *

    Rodimus drove on instinct alone, fueled by the dread and rising panic that had caused him to run. Now he was caught up in the emotion, with only a small part of himself left to fight and desperately failing against the fear consuming him. He'd been transformed - the new leader, the new hope, the Chosen One! So why did he still feel the same despair, the same anguish, the same guilt, that had caused him to act like a manic-depressive all evening.

    All his life, even before he'd been recruited by Springer and Arcee to the Autobot cause, he'd known better things waited. The sense of awe anytime he'd spoken with Optimus, or Prowl, or sometimes even Ultra Magnus , led him to dream that someday that would be him. Someday, he would be a high-ranking officer whom others looked up to and admired for single-handedly fighting off platoons of Decepticons and defending his fellow soldiers and human friends. Someday, he'd be a hero. It wasn't vanity or ego that led him to pursue this, but that deep-rooted desire to truly make a difference and to be somebody. He wanted to know that his life had meaning and that his actions mattered. That was what Hot Rod dreamed, the feeling that drove him when the reality and death of the war threatened to become too much to bear.

    And now, it was real. That "someday" had come. Of all the Autobots who had ever existed, he and he alone had been chosen! It was too staggering an honor to comprehend. What did I do to deserve this? Nothing! I did nothing - as Megatron’s arm tightened around my throat crushing the very life out of me. Nothing - as I stared down Prime’s gun barrel, wishing, pleading, my thoughts screaming for Optimus to fire. Fire! I'm nobody! He's going to kill you! Fire! I don't exist! Go right through me! FIRE! Finish him! End it for both of us! Only then should you even remember that I was even there - because I'm nobody. So why choose me?

    The blue blur that appeared in front of Rodimus was as unclear and undefined as the fogginess of his current consciousness, lost in memory. He swerved too late, but the blur moved away, avoiding him. Too bad Rodimus couldn't avoid the wall. He slammed halfway through before the rubble and some supports collapsed on top of him, trapping him until he transformed. When his optic readjusted, he found Kup's wizened face staring at his.

    "That hurt," Rodimus groaned loudly. "Kup?"

    "You did most of it to yourself lad. Like a lot of the pain you're carrying around, it's unhealthy, just like battering hood first into a wall."

    Rodimus looked around at the mess his crash had created. He made the connection that the fuzzy object he'd tried to avoid was Blurr, who regarded them both with concern and curiosity as to what should happen next. Rodimus wondered the same himself as he quickly pieced together what had happened.

    "This is one thing you can't run away from," Kup told him, "nor can it wait."
    Rodimus couldn't escape. He knew that, much as he wanted it to be otherwise. He also knew Kup must have a million curses running around his head, just as Rodimus wanted to scream at them all to leave him alone. But he didn't scream and Kup didn't curse. Instead, Kup spoke with that grandfatherly wisdom that always let one know that he was right. It was a tone Hot Rod hated half the time for its arrogant authority and loved the other half for its mentorly concern. Rodimus didn't know which of the emotions to feel until Kup added. "You're too strong to act like this. Talk to me, son."

    "Kup, what's happening?" Magnus's voice interrupted over the veteran's
    radio. This time Rodimus did catch Kup biting back a curse. "Did you get him?"

    "He's here. He's fine. We're talking."

    Kup glanced at Rodimus for any confirmation of his words. Rodimus gave the slightest of nods as he stood and began brushing away some dust from his accident.


    "And I'll let you know how it turns out. Don't worry. We'll be ready for
    Alita." Kup abruptly cut the comm link, "Somehow."

    "Is there anything I can do to help?" Blurr asked. He was still trying to make sense of what he'd stumbled into, but he knew it was serious.

    "You've helped already. Thanks Blurr. Just remember that everything you've
    witnessed is to be kept confidential."

    "You can count on me Kup. I won't tell a soul. My lips are zipped.
    Conversation classified. Talk top secret. Words-"

    "Just be quiet and tell Ultra Magnus to inform us when Alita-1 arrives."

    "Will do."

    "Dismissed." As Blurr sped away, Kup released a sigh. Then he turned back sternly to Rodimus. "Okay, lad. No more games. This is serious."

    "Don't you think I don't know that!" Rodimus snapped. "That's the problem.
    Everything has gotten too serious."

    "New responsibilities are a weighty business. No way around it."

    "And what if it's a responsibility I don't want?" Rodimus glared at Kup. Kup met his gaze levelly.

    "We all have responsibilities to face up to whether we want then or not. It's part of growing up. Some of us are given more than others, but only because we can handle it."

    "And what if I can't?"

    "I doubt that. You were chosen." Kup's gentle words of assurance were the
    last Rodimus wanted to hear.

    " 'Chosen?' What's that supposed to mean? Nothing but stupid legends and
    superstition!" he spat.

    "You don't really believe that, lad." Kup knew Hot Rod too well and right
    now the youth hated him for it.

    "How do you know what I think? I am sick of that superior attitude of yours. You always think you know what's best for me! You, Magnus, Springer, everyone believes I have this unalterable destiny to fulfill. The universe doesn't care what I what. I never asked to be "chosen." I know you're going to say. It's a great honor and anyone else would kill to be in my place. I'm aware of that. In fact, they're welcome to it as far as I'm concerned. I wasn't cut out for this. I may have been the one to destroy Unicron, but that's all I was meant to do. Ultra Magnus said the Matrix wasn't prone to making mistakes, but he's wrong. Call him down here, Kup and I'll return the Matrix to the one Optimus gave it to. Everything will be as it should when Alita-1 arrives.”

    Kup Just stared at Rodimus for the longest time. "If that's what you really want."

    "It's not a matter of what I want Kup. It never has been. It's simply a matter of what's best.for the Autobots, for everyone."

    "What do you want?" Kup asked cautiously.

    "I..." It wasn't a question Rodimus expected anyone to ask of him. He'd just assumed they didn't care, too caught up in the mysticism of his "destiny." He should have known better, at least of Kup anyway. What did he want? One wish, even if it could never come true. Better make it a good one. I wish I had never been chosen. I wish I could be the leader I was meant to be. I wish Optimus was still alive. I wish I didn't have to give the Matrix back to Ultra Magnus. I wish I hadn't intervened in Prime's fight. I wish I had gotten it right and blown Megatron's hand off. I hope everyone is happy Prime's murderer won't be leading them after all. I hope everyone can forgive me for giving up before I've even tried. "I don't know," Rodimus answered lamely after a profound moment of soul searching. "I just wanted things to happen differently."

    "What things?" Kup urged.

    Rodimus had to marvel at the patience the old warrior was displaying with him. This was a side of Kup he rarely dealt with. He'd expected a long lecture about getting his act together and a possible "when I was your age" adventure to accompany it. Instead, Kup was trying to get him to do the talking. He must really be worried about me. I don't know what you want me to say, Kup. This is one time I need your advice.

    "Would you really call Ultra Magnus down here?" Rodimus inquired, remembering what Kup had started to say before he had interrupted.


    "And you would really just allow me to hand over the Matrix to him?"

    "If you truly believe that the Matrix had made a mistake?"

    "But you don't think that's true."

    "It doesn't matter what I think, but what you think. If you order me not to interfere, that's your call."

    "I don't want to order anyone to - Slag it, Kup! Tell me I'm doing the right thing! I need to know! I can't fail anyone again!"

    Rodimus slumped against the wall. His optics pleaded with his mentor. Kup's countenance reflected that he's been expecting this moment, but had waited for Rodimus to make the first move. He crossed to his leader, placing a hand of each shoulder, forcing Rodimus to upright himself, and stared deeply at him.

    "Listen to me, Rodimus Prime. You don't need anyone to tell you what to do. You have the power to make you own decisions. Good decisions! It's what makes you who you are. You are one of the most selfless and bravest people I know. And you have never failed anybody! Do you understand me?"

    "I FAILED OPTIMUS! How can you say otherwise, Kup? You were there! You
    warned me not to interfere. I didn't listen! I KILLED HIM! He's dead because of me. I'm just as responsible as Megatron. How can I possibly be the Chosen One after that?!? Me the leader of the Autobots? I keep wondering if the Matrix isn't playing the cruelest kind of sick joke! Tell me the truth Kup. Tell me that part of you - any part - doesn't hate me for what I did!"

    Rodimus wanted to look away, but he couldn't. This was the one thing he had to know, the one thing he'd wanted to ask of Magnus, but hadn't had the courage. Kup still held his shoulders firmly. Rodimus could have probably broken away if he'd wanted to, but his imagination made it a grip of iron. Kup's aged face just continued to stare that same stare, the stare Rodimus couldn't tear his optics away from any more that Kup could from him.

    "Son," he began with that term of affection he reserved only for Hot Rod. "What you did, was stupid, unthinking, foolhardy, idiotic, impulsive, hot-headed, reckless, and suicidal - and perhaps the exact same thing I would have done I had seen that slagin' gun! I think you were the only one who saw what was about to happen. You interfered because you loved him so much, just like we all did. Anyone that could hate you for that doesn't know what it's like to care that much about someone else. In other words, the answer is no, no part at all."

    Kup smiled as Rodimus hugged him tighter than he had ever hugged anyone in
    his life. "Thanks Kup," he heard the youth murmur just as Kup felt a sudden throbbing, signaling that his fuel circulation was being cut off somewhere. Luckily before he felt his right arm go completely numb, Rodimus pulled away with a startling thought. "And Alita?”

    "Well, I'm no mind reader, but she of all people should understand."

    Rodimus considered it for a long moment, then it was his turn to smile. The two continued to talk for a while. Rodimus was still very apprehensive about Alita-1, but now he had hope. And just like he'd told everyone in the "ballroom," hope for the future was the best thing to have right now.

    "So, do you still want to give Ultra Magnus the Matrix?" Kup asked.

    "I don't think that will be necessary."

    "Glad to hear I won't have to disobey orders after all."

    "Wait a minute. You never really -"

    "Just don't pull a stunt like this again, Prime and you'll never have to find out."

    "Riiiiiiight," Rodimus replied just as wryly.

    They continued to laugh until Ultra Magnus's voice chirped over Kup’s internal radio. The nervous undertone in his voice was unmistakable amidst his usual calm demeanor.

    "Kup, Blurr just reported that the Femmes have arrived at the city limits.
    What's your status?"

    "Situation green. We're all a go at this end," Kup answered with the appropriate jargon.

    "That's a relief, I was beginning to fear that he wasn't going to come to his senses in time."

    "Careful Magnus," Rodimus said over his own radio, having tuned into the right frequency. "Another comment like that and I'm liable to find you guilty of insubordination."

    "You're a fine one to talk given your own personal record for disobeying orders," Magnus countered. "I was very worried about you."

    "And I appreciate the concern, old friend. I didn't exactly inspire you to relax, did I?"

    "If Prowl were still alive he would have taken up chewing the furniture by now."

    "Then I'm in awe of your restraint."

    "Sorry, to interrupt the verbal sparring gentlemen, but shouldn't we be meeting the ladies?" Kup cut in.

    "I've dispatched a party to greet them. They should be here shortly," Ultra Magnus confirmed.

    "You two go on ahead," Rodimus told them. "Alita-1 requested a private meeting upon arrival. Inform her I'll be waiting in the Hall of Remembrance. I'll make my formal introduction to the others afterward. Please extend my deepest condolences to Chromia. I don't know if she's heard about Ironhide."

    Rodimus heard Ultra Magnus start to say something then break off as if it wasn't worth it. "Yes, sir. I'll be sure to do the later, but wouldn't you prefer to meet Alita-1 in the War Room?"

    "The War Room is currently nothing more than a pile of dust thanks to the
    Decepticons," Kup informed him.

    "But the crypt?" Magnus protested.

    "Alita never had the chance to give Optimus a proper goodbye. I'd like to grant her that opportunity before the funeral," Rodimus spoke softly.

    Given that response, Kup and Ultra Magnus saw little reason to argue. Kup then departed to meet their newest arrivals. The Hall of Remembrance had been Rodimus's original destination when Kup and Blurr had intercepted him. All the bodies of the fallen warriors from the battle for Autobot City currently resided there - a reminder of the price they had paid for peace, but also a reminder of why they fought at all. Maybe Optimus's spirit would watch over him in such a place and help Rodimus know the right words to say to Alita-1.
  9. Fairlady_Z

    Fairlady_Z Official Voice of Flareup

    Sep 27, 2005
    Trophy Points:
    Part Three: Alita-1 and Rodimus Prime

    Chapter 5


    The sight of it filled Alita-1 both sorrow and joy. Sorrow to see a city that she once called home in such ruin. Joy to see everyone celebrating anyway. The Decepticons may have crushed their homes, their lives, but never their spirits. Iacon would rise from the ashes again like the humans' fabled legend of the phoenix, unlike the Decepticon "capital" that had been entirely demolished in one mighty blow from the Chaos Bringer's hand. What Alita and her Femmes had struggled to destroy for the six years, the dark adversary of Primus had completed in seconds.

    Alita-1 had a vision from Alpha Trion about the danger. Their darkest hour was nearing, the Chosen One would soon realize his destiny and afterwards he would need her guidance. She did not understand much at the time, but had obeyed anyway, not dismissing it as a dream. She had known A-3 long enough that she could recognize the aura of his spark. Now that he was one with Vector Sigma, he was presumably one with the planet as well - and Primus.

    The remaining Femmes had all followed her and trusted her judgment. Alita-1
    was their leader, but the bond of sisterhood between them went even deeper. So the survivors - herself, Chromia, Moonracer, and Firestar went even further underground monitoring all they could from a long abandoned Cybernet news station. The first thing they had been able to pick up was a static filled speech not just on Autobot frequencies, but nearly all. They had won! They also had a new leader, their Chosen One, Rodimus Prime. But Alita already know that Optimus was gone. News of his death had been
    broadcast planet wide of the successful attack on Autobot City and the destruction of the Decepticon's greatest foe. It had been a one-on-one battle to the death between Optimus Prime and the mighty, but now very deceased, Megatron (the broadcast had been keen to emphasize). It had been Starscream's broadcast after all. The arrogant coward had then continued to brag and boast as usual inviting anyone of worth to attend his coronation.

    Alita had stopped caring at that point. The Autobots greatest leader, the one she loved, her sparkmate, was gone and he had taken his evil nemesis with him. No other details forthcoming. There had been no time to mourn either because that was when the vision had come.

    So the sight of Iacon filled Alita with joy and sorrow. She was home, but she would never see Optimus again. The Femmes were greeted by two planes, both very red in color, and the courier Blurr. One flyer was unmistakable to Moonracer - Powerglide! The other was the Aerialbot, Firefilght, one of the mysterious five who had saved the life of herself, Optimus, and Ironhide back when they had been simple dock workers named Ariel, Orion Pax, and Dion. The Aerialbot insisted on escorting Alita personally and she got the impression that Fireflight was physically attracted to her though she seen that look often enough to know that any Femme would probably have the same effect. Poor boy has been stationed on Earth for too long, she though, just about anything would turn his head. She made a mental note to introduce him to Rainmaker, one of Xaaron's old girlfriends. Not only did she have a great sense of humor, but she was also a flyer.

    Alita and the Femmes were greeted at the main base by Kup, Ultra Magnus, Arcee, and Inferno. Inferno embraced Firestar upon their arrival. Seeing them reunited along with Powerglide and Moonracer left a warm feeling in Alita's fuel pump. But someone was obviously missing. The news of Ironhide's death hit Chromia very hard. Her normally calm and cool demeanor visibly shattered and she couldn't hold back the tears after the brief explanation of the attack on Ironhide’s shuttle. Alita let Chromia cry. They all did. During the Decepticon Occupation, there had been no time to mourn the dead, but now the time to heal had begun. Arcee quietly led Chromia away while comforting her. Alita-1 knew Arcee from the brief time she had spent with her Femmes before she had transferred to Ultra Magnus's unit. Her sharpshooting rivaled Moonracer's, but Alita had always been more impressed with Arcee's people skills and empathy with others and though that Arcee would have made an excellent medic.

    After a brief discussion of the other casualties and extended condolences
    from both sides, Alita knew that she really should be exchanging this information with someone else who was curiously absent. It was then that Ultra Magnus informed her that Rodimus Prime was waiting for her in the Hall of Rememberance as well as Optimus's body. Magnus hadn't stated the later so bluntly, but he'd made a mention to Chromia and all of them that that was where the bodies of the fallen warriors currently resided. Firestar, Inferno, Moonracer, and Powerglide, sensing the sudden need for some privacy
    excused themselves to who knows where. For the first time since Optimus's death, Alita-1 was able to engage in some brief personal mourning as Kup and Magnus said how sorry they were. Both had been well aware of her intimate relationship with the Autobot leader four million years ago. As a result, Kup and Magnus gave her a simple overview of Prime's climatic battle, his final moments, and what became of Megatron turned Galvatron, without her even having to ask. Rodimus, however, would do her the courtesy of telling her the details.

    Alita-1 knew embarrassingly little about the Chosen One whose former name was Hot Rod. She was sure she'd met him briefly once or twice, but struggled to remember when and where. Kup and Ultra Magnus briefly described him as courageous, self-sacrificing, eager, but impulsive. He’d had a tendency to disobey orders, but not because he had a disregard for authority. Mostly, he was just adventurous and young, a good friend to those in need, both Autobot and human. He desperately wanted to do a good job, but the burden of leadership was something very new and scary for him. Kup looked like he had wanted to add more, but both he and Magnus agreed that the best thing would be for her to simply meet Rodimus.
    So Alita made her way to the Hall of Remembrance. Some Autobots had taken to calling it the crypt, adopting a more human term for it. No one was actually buried there. Rather it was a war memorial full of statues of the Autobots most revered heroes - warriors, scientists, poets, and many more.

    Transformers did have some burial practices similar to humans. However, burial had become a rare luxury in the millions of years of war Cybertron had witnessed. Such honors were reserved for only the highest ranking officers or those too far gone for their parts to be recycled. Humans were likely to see the recycling process as barbaric, but among a warrior culture of silicon-based lifeforms, it was considered among the highest forms of remembrance for someone to possess a replacement limb or internal organ that
    had previously belonged to a fallen comrade. Alita had the feeling however, that Optimus's funeral would be among the most excessively ceremonial burials she'd ever witnessed, and rightly so.

    The entrance to the Hall of Remembrance was just as Alita recalled. The huge archway with its elaborate lettering remained untouched in stark contrast to Iacon's destruction above. While most of Cybertron was a maze of levels and cities, few knew how deep Iacon went, except for the location of the hall that served as a sanctuary, an eye of the storm to any seeking guidance or refuge. Alita's first glimpse of Rodimus Prime suggested he sought both. He stood before the statues of the leaders who came before him as if expecting them to bestow their wisdom on the next in line to bear the Matrix.

    Rodimus was roughly Optimus's height. Even from the back, Alita could tell he bore the similar exotic changes that made him more adaptable for an Earth environment. Such alterations were always something she had always found particularly alluring about Optimus. But aside from such adaptations, Rodimus had no physical resemblance to Optimus. Still, he was nearly none the less striking, if first impressions were anything to go on.

    Rodimus remained completely unaware of her presence. Alita had given no cause for him to notice her yet. She doubted that her stealth training would be needed to keep Rodimus from hearing her, due to his distracted reverie. She figured wrong. As her first few footsteps echoed in a very low and soft register, Rodimus immediately turned in her direction, almost battle ready. Alita mentally corrected her assessment of Rodimus. He was distracted and easily lost in thought, but also very nervous. If he'd been an enemy she'd been trying to sneak up on, her miscalculation would have gotten her shot. A warrior of her years should have known better. But this wasn't a battle situation. Try and tell that to my tense muscles, she thought. It's instinct's way of telling me I'm as nervous as he is.

    "The crypt. A little unusual for a meeting place, wouldn't you say?" Alita remarked lightly.

    "Maybe," he said with a hint of doubt. "But I find it strangely apropriate."

    "Indeed." Alita extended a hand in Earthern-style greeting. "I'm Alita-1."

    "Rodimus Prime," The Chosen One responded and took her hand after an
    astrosecond of pause. He was not used to saying his new name yet, Alita observed. Her suspicions about his handsome appearance were also confirmed face to face. The two just stared at each other for an awkward minute at this historic meeting. "It's an honor to meet you."

    "Likewise. It's good to be back and finally meet the long awaited Chosen One who defeated Unicron."

    Rodimus smiled politely, but Alita caught a glimpse of a different expression for an instant - one of sadness? Of modesty perhaps? Or.embarrassment? Whatever it was, he wasn't comfortable with what she had just said. The expression though nearly caused Alita to laugh as she finally recalled where she had first met Rodimus before.

    Alita-1 remembered the similar countenance she'd viewed after, on a rare visit to Autobot City, she'd wandered down a random corridor only to happen upon a blushing Arcee and a very embarrassed flame colored bot she'd never seen before pulling hastily away from a kiss. It could have been Hot Rod's first for all she knew and probably was from the mental image of his face replayed in her memory bank. Who would have thought in that moment he would be the next Autobot leader? Rodimus was experiencing a similar feeling now she realized. Being chosen must be a tremendous shock for him, as it would for anyone. It still took everything Alita had not to at least break into a big grin.

    "I…simply did my part," Rodimus said. "Those who fell in battle are the ones who really deserve the credit and glory. Without them.without Optimus.I.all of us wouldn't be here. You and the other Femmes are to be especially commended for your efforts here on Cybertron."

    "And on behalf of my unit and I, I thank you. But you shouldn’t sell yourself short of your own accomplishments either."

    "I'll try to remember," Rodimus said more genuinely this time. "And if I don't, I have the feeling others will."

    "Without question. It's recent events like these out of which legends are made."

    "Somehow, I feel like I still have a long way to go to be worthy of standing in their presence." Rodimus made an elaborate gesture to the statues of the previous Primes that towered over his and Alita's presence, swallowing them in shadow.

    "Even legends have to start somewhere. As one who only knows you by reputation so far, I'd say you've made a good start."

    Alita felt Rodimus look to her as if wanting some deeper confirmation of those words. Then he glanced away quickly, his optic falling on the empty alcove next to the other statues, the place for a subsequent one to be built. There were many such alcoves just waiting to recognize future leaders. But it was this succeeding bare space that needed filling which captured the gaze of both Rodimus and Alita. They both stared at the same blank spot of wall in shared silence envisioning the statue of Optimus that would soon adorn it.

    "It will be a marvelous tribute to him," Alita mused, expressing their collective thought aloud.

    "It won't be the only one," Rodimus assured her.

    Alita's optics then searched the hall, but failed to find the treasure she desired.

    "His body is in the side chamber on the left at the far end. You can pay your final respects to all of then in there."

    "Thank you," she whispered.

    Alita-1's footsteps echoed, the only sound in the high-ceilinged hall as she made her way to the room of open coffins, reviving the potentially chilling atmosphere of the place. The last thing Alita did before entering was to suppress a small shudder.
  10. Fairlady_Z

    Fairlady_Z Official Voice of Flareup

    Sep 27, 2005
    Trophy Points:
    Chapter 6

    Alita didn't bother to hide her tear-stained face when she returned. Rodimus hadn't moved once from staring at the wall while she'd been gone. He turned away only when certain of her presence again.

    "I had no idea...I've never seen so many friend die like that!"

    The number of bodies Alita expected to find had been relatively small. Yet, in this case she had been close to all of them at one time or another and so little of their remains were left in some cases. Prowl, Brawn, Ratchet, Huffer, Wheeljack, Windcharger, and Ironhide. Poor Chromia. If Alita thought she could get away with ordering Chromia not to view his body in order to spare her the pain she would have. But Alita-1 knew that was not the case. Chromia would demand to see Ironhide at some point as Alita would have done if Rodimus had tried to somehow keep her from seeing Optimus.

    To Alita's surprise, her lover's body had not been the worst off.
    However, his wounds were deep and many and most assuredly fatal. Alita allowed herself to grieve and simply stay there as long as she needed. However, the hour she spent there could hardly suffice for the lifetime she required. The sight of Rodimus now in front of her, with his smooth red chest full of its flame design that centered around his bright faction symbol - to know that behind it now glowed the Autobot Matrix of Leadership and that was where it would continue to reside - with Rodimus, not with
    Optimus - was nearly enough to make her break down all over again.

    "I know," Rodimus responded to her comment. "You're braver than I am to go
    in there."

    "I don't blame you. You must have seen some of them fall in battle."

    "No, I heard the accounts, but Optimus was the only one I actually saw die."

    "Then...," Alita-1 paused. Finally someone who would tell her the truth after countless days of wondering about her beloved's final battle and last moments. It was the oddest sort of anticipation she'd ever experienced. "Then you were a witness to what really happened?"

    "Yes," Rodimus answered slowly. "I saw it happen. The battle….his final moments….everything. You and Optimus were close?"

    "We were deeply in love," Alita admitted.

    It was all she needed to say. Rodimus's response to her admission merely constituted a nod. Alita waited patiently for him to continue considering again the strange duality of the Chosen One. He seemed very friendly and approachable on one level and so mysterious and distant on another. Then again, Optimus had been something of an enigma himself to those who had bothered to look deep enough. Rodimus turned away and made a very human gesture, letting out a deep sigh. When he faced her again, his countenance was one full of resolve and determination.

    "The version of events that I'm about to tell you is not the one you'll hear widely circulated among the gossip mongers or recorded for the history logs, but it's what really happened. It's the story I hope Kup might tell one day. At least it's the one I hope he'll tell."

    "You make it sound like that old warrior will outlive even you," Alita said with a light smile and wondered about Rodimus's polite disclaimer.

    "He probably will," Rodimus smiled, followed by an immediate frown. "I never really thought about what it would be like without him around anymore. I've never really thought that way about a lot of people before."

    Rodimus remained silent for a few moments before starting his story. Like before, Alita remained composed until he began. Rodimus told an exciting narrative of the battle of Autobot City that would have made Kup proud with his attention to detail. Alita could avidly visualize the action in her mind's eye. She noted Rodimus's modesty at being the first to spot the Decepticon hijack of the Autobot shuttle. She laughed at his improvisation against the door-eating Insecticons. She felt his fear at the description of Devastator's assault. She experienced his determination as the Autobots gave their all despite being slaughtered. Finally, she rejoiced at his delight when they all saw Optimus roll out for what they didn't know was his last time. Prime took down a whole squad of Decepticons single-handedly without a scratch, fighting his way to Megatron for the final confrontation.

    Weapons were disarmed quickly as the two leaders locked in a hand-to-hand free-for-all. Both took more punishment than either's design had ever been meant to bear. It was fierce, and violent, and quick until Optimus finally gained the upper hand. The Slag Maker was literally on his knees begging for mercy as he looked down the barrel of his long-time nemesis's laser rifle. Alita felt a very guilty thrill at the mental image of the "mighty" Megatron so helpless before her Optimus. But just as Rodimus's retelling reached its climax, he abruptly stopped.

    Alita didn't say a word. She embarrassingly realized that her expression was openly one of baited breath, begging to like a human child "what happened next?" She knew, however, that this story did not have a happy ending. Even if every circuit in her logic center were not reminding her of that fact then one glance at Rodimus's face surely would have. His expression was one of the most forlorn she had ever seen on a fellow Autobot and she imagined that if she only listened closely enough she could hear the
    internal struggle of Rodimus's mind. Whatever had come next for Optimus had been just as deadly in a way for Rodimus too. To his credit, Rodimus didn't allow Alita-1 enough time to wonder if he was going to continue.

    "Anyone who was there and saw what happened will tell you without a doubt
    that Optimus died a hero. What they won't tell you is that he died because he sacrificed himself for me."

    Rodimus then launched into his tale of guilty intervention not halting until Prime's body had become a gray husk on the medical table. Nor did Alita try to prevent him. To do so would be to never hear the full truth. For just as Rodimus couldn't stop talking in this moment nor could she stop listening. It was a catharsis that needed to be spoken now or it would never be spoken at all.

    "I made the worst kind of mistake. Probably unforgivable. But I had to let you know the truth."

    Alita-1 felt the Chosen One's optics look away in the silence that followed awaiting her judgment. As her mind reeled and conflicting emotions surfaced, both light and dark, one element of Optimus's final battle continued to linger in her mind. It allowed her to come to terms with her confusion and conquer the blacker feelings of anger and blame that might have consumed a person less strong. But Alita-1 was a fighter and a survivor. She remembered the first lesson that Optimus had ever taught her about what made them true Autobots.

    "You did what you thought was right. Yes, I can forgive you, because I know that Optimus did. What kind of person would I be if I couldn't do the same? It doesn't make his loss any easier, but then when is death ever easy to face? There's even a chance without your intervention, Optimus would have done something he would have forever regretted."

    The astonished look that Rodimus tried to hide made her smile.

    "You said Megatron was weaponless when Optimus held his laser riffle on him. In the moment, Optimus would have fired on an unarmed opponent who had just requested mercy. I'm not sure Optimus would have been able to live with that on his conscience."

    "Wait a minute!" Rodimus interjected. "There's no way Optimus could
    believe that request. This is Megatron we are talking about. Are you saying he didn't deserve to die?"

    "That butcher has been responsible for the deaths of more friends than the
    millions of years I've been alive! I'd like nothing better than to see him dead!" Alita shouted with much more accusation than she desired. She allowed herself a moment's calm before continuing. "It would be so easy to give into revenge. It's a desire that's so very frightening. Maybe Optimus did know Megatron was heading for a weapon, maybe not? If you thought he knew, why did you try to intervene?"

    "But I didn’t! I wasn't sure Optimus...the gun was hidden from view...I couldn't let him."

    "In the heat of battle we do a lot of things we don't have time to think

    "But I could have fired my gun, shouted a warning, anything! Anything to
    prevent Megatron from…" Rodimus looked at Alita desperately. His voice choked off in a metallic sob. Alita looked deep into his optics.

    "You're still very young. When you've been fighting a war as long as Optimus and I have you'll find yourself more and more tempted to make compromises. Don't get me wrong. You'll still be losing a lot of sleep and second guessing yourself long after there is nothing more you can do. Sacrifices will be made and lives will be lost. There will be some fuel on your hands. It's something we all have to learn to live with. But never Rodimus, never allow yourself to sacrifice the cause, no matter how bad it looks, no matter how simple it might be to sink to the enemy's level. Because as Autobots we have to do more than just fight for justice and compassion. We have to live those qualities in everything we do. It's something Optimus taught me a long time ago. There's just no way to tell if Optimus knew about that weapon. If he did, he would have been shooting Megatron in self defense, but if he didn't, he would have been killing Megatron in cold blood. Your impulsiveness may have helped prevent Optimus from doing the latter. It's something to think about. Despite your intervention not turning out as planned, Optimus still defeated Megatron and he did it while remaining true to himself and the cause. He did die a hero! My only wish is that you remember this lesson for as long as you live and pass it on to your eventual successor as well."

    " 'Let he who fights monsters be careful lest he become one himself.' It's a wish I promise I'll keep. I can see why Optimus found you so special," Rodimus responded after his deep admiration allowed him to speak again.

    "My dear Orion Pax always did have good taste," Alita teased, watching the
    confusion appear on Rodimus's face. "You didn't think his name was Optimus Prime when he first came on-line, did you?"

    "Well frankly, it's hard to imagine him ever being named anything else."

    "I bet they'll one day say the same about you Hot Rod. Don't act so
    surprised either. You're a very special person yourself, even if you don't realize it, Chosen One."

    "I don't think I'll ever get used to being called 'Chosen.' Prime is bad
    enough…but I suppose it will grow on me after a few million years." Alita-1 saw Rodimus Prime smile his first genuine smile. "Optimus considered you among his most trusted advisors. I'd be honored Alita-1, if you would do the same for me."

    "I look forward to it Rodimus, and to becoming good friends."

    "It's strange. I was dreading our meeting, fearing what you would say when
    I told you the truth. I didn't expect to find a new friend."

    "What did you expect?" Alita asked curiously.

    Rodimus paused and Alita could again see that inner debate of his as to whether or not to tell her. This time he decided some things were better off being kept to himself.

    "Let's just say I learned another important lesson about the cause tonight and what I believe in. I don't know exactly what lies ahead, but maybe, just maybe, I don't have to face it alone."

    "Never," Alita confirmed with a resolve that echoed Optimus's last word on the battlefield.

    "So, how did Optimus get his name?" Rodimus suddenly inquired in response
    to Alita's previous comments.

    "It's a long story," she informed him unexpectedly becoming all business. "We both still have an official debriefing to exchange and a party to attend."

    "Any official work can wait until tomorrow and that's an order! The party promises to continue well into the next few days. We're supposed to be celebrating and long stories are my favorite kind."

    "Yes, sir!" Alita playfully saluted. Then Rodimus relaxed and listened as
    she began to tell the story of one great hero to another.

    The End
  11. Motor_Master

    Motor_Master Lets the balls touch

    Jul 30, 2002
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    Just finished part two Fairlady_Z - I love the depth you've given Rodimus. Too bad the cartoon didn't go into as much detail. Would have made season 3 a lot more interesting.
  12. Motor_Master

    Motor_Master Lets the balls touch

    Jul 30, 2002
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    Finally had a chance to finish. A great read :thumb 
  13. alphie

    alphie Veteran

    Nov 13, 2002
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    Okay, I managed to read through the whole thing. All I can is what a great read. You are very good with descriptive dialogue and your story just naturally flows. Can't wait for the next chapter. :thumb 
  14. Fairlady_Z

    Fairlady_Z Official Voice of Flareup

    Sep 27, 2005
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    Thanks for the kind words Motor Master and Alphie. I apprecite your taking the time to read my fanfic. The last chapter of this particular fanfic story is posted and finished Alphie. But I have other fanfic ideas running around my head, set in the same universe. Hopefully, I'll post some more stories this year assuming I have the time. Some current ideas include - Starscream joining the Cons, Bluestreak joining the Bots, the Aerialbots losing a member (set after Rebirth), Rodimus adjusting after Op returns (possible Energon crossover), a fic focusing on Sunstreaker, and a BW fic with Rattrap dealing with Dinobot 2.
  15. Vangelus

    Vangelus Long Live the New Flesh Moderator Content Contributor

    Jun 27, 2002
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    Excellent stuff! Like I've said before, I'm always a fan of stuff that'll touch on Rodimus' post-movie reaction to being the next Prime.

    "Burden Hardest to Bear" is still one of the only G1 episodes I'll always think really highly of, for being the bookend to that whole concept.

    But yeah, it was a cool read. :D  I'm a big fan of the sort of dialogue structuring you used.
  16. Fairlady_Z

    Fairlady_Z Official Voice of Flareup

    Sep 27, 2005
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    Thanks for the kind words Vangelus. "Burden Hardest to Bear" is one of my favorite G1 episodes too. And I'm glad you liked the way I did the dialogue. I was a little concerned I didn't have enough dialogue tags so readers would know who was speaking. I'm glad it wasn't confusing.
  17. Motor_Master

    Motor_Master Lets the balls touch

    Jul 30, 2002
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    I have to admit there were one or two places where I got lost during the dialog interchange, but it could just be me.
  18. Vangelus

    Vangelus Long Live the New Flesh Moderator Content Contributor

    Jun 27, 2002
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    It's kinda double-edged to write the dialogue in that way. I personally think it worked, partly because I writer-think in that way, partly because many of the lengthy discussions were only two characters, and partly because you kept the flow from lagging or going too fast.

    If it feels kinda weird, my favourite safety net for it is to repeat character names during action description. Keeps the feeling, reaffirms the scene, stuff like that. :D 
  19. Wreckie

    Wreckie Holder of the Discomatrix

    Jun 2, 2005
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    This is a great read. There's a definite season 3 feel to it, but you've given the characters a lot more depth than they ever had on screen.
  20. Darth Fitch

    Darth Fitch Herald of Golobulus

    Aug 30, 2002
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    This was a terrific read Fairlady_Z. I really enjoyed this. As far as I'm concerned, this IS how it happened.