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More than my Programming

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Gritting his denta as the makeshift spear digs into his right shoulder joint pinning him to the ground Megatron can tell his arm is inoperable before the warnings flash across his optics. 

Kicking out and firing his thrusters he is rewarded with a high and throaty screech that fills the abandoned fortress tower. With that distraction Megatron takes in the state of his arm and with a grimace braces himself and pulls.

The scraping of ripping metal, the snapping of cables, and the wet sounds of pumps tearing echo in the high-vaulted room as Megatron yanks himself free of his badly damaged arm. Shutting down the warnings and tactile sensors he staggers to his pedes with the help of his other sword for balance. Scanning the rubble filled room for his cannon – which he lost in the grapple that sent them careening into the building in the first place – he barely finds it's specific fusion signature before his audials tune his attention to his left.

Standing only because of her hold on the door frame his opponent drags her half burned body into the room and Megatron growls at her insolence.

She was littered with bruises and cuts that sluggishly bleed her kind's deep green blood and the wings he had successful ripped from her back were growing again in a splintered manner with the same light fabric connecting them. The leg he had burned off had grown back the most with what he was told was muscle wrapping around her bottom pede.

Megatron looks upon the disfigurement he wrought on the Commander and smirks even though he knew he was in a similar state.

Dents that made it almost impossible for him to rotate any of his joints, deep claws marks into his battle harden armor that bleed energon, her shapeshifting weapon lodged in his right shin, and his right arm bore the signs of his cannon being forcefully removed.

But he was not defeated!

With one well timed attack he could make it over to his cannon and with a simple touch to recognize his energy signature he could fire it and end this battle. Pushing his numbed pede back to drop himself into a balanced and defensive stance he waits for the Commander to make her move in her arrogance.

As her eyes widen in fury at his defiance her growls overlap as she crouches like the repulsive creature she is.

"You stupid robot! How dare you defy me!" She shouts and lunges with her metal piercing claws again.

Diving forward, Megatron strikes at her regrowing knee joint only for the muscle to create another servo and reach out to pushes the sword down with incredible power. The force knocks it from his grasp and another force lands on his backstruts smashing him into the ground. The metal floor whines beneath his considerable bulk, but he pays no mind to it as he looks up for his sword and sees it a mere 2 mechanometer away —

"HHAARRGHH!"

Burning raw agony jolts up his back before extending to his whole body and Megatron feels it more than hears his backstrut being ripped from his body. As his optics are flooded with warnings and errors he can just see pass them to watch his only remaining arm spasm out of control before falling limp in front of him.

With a victorious cry from above Megatron is roughly flipped over and can't help the grunt of anguish as his open back and mechanics are placed under his weight and his systems refuse to let him shut down his tactile sensors anymore. The pain loops in a vicious cycle and is compounded every nanoklik, even more so when the Commander rips her weapon from his leg. It showers her with sparks, but she barely flinches as Megatron bites his glossa so not to grunt in discomfort as the pool of energon grows beneath him, adding to his pain.

Looking up to his opponent in disgust as she continues to heal he cannot complain that she did not give him a glorious battle. But now that at it was at it's end and he was not the victor he curses his code for deeming her as a capable threat now.

Holding her weapon aloft he watches as it shifts into a halberd – an inferior copy of a true axe, a much more versatile weapon – and looks down at him with an unpleasant grin, showing off her broken and olive stained Sharkticon-like dentas.

Megatron glares at her in rage, trying hard not to show her the true suffering he was in. But his body shook from the damage it took and from the ire of being bested. 

He always knew if he was to offline before the Well took him it would be in battle. And earlier in his function Megatron would have seen it as a means to an end for his Cause and would not have completely minded it as his death would rallied his followers behind Strika and Shockwave, who could handle the Decepticon Army and their continuing conquests. But now he quite minded his imminent death and was livid that he was at his end. He was on the cusp of getting everything he fought and believed for and so much more and it was all going to be stopped by an organic Cybertronian pretender!

"So long Megatron. You’ve been an annoyance much too long." She hisses happily.

What a cruel fate to such a cruel figure. It is it’s own flawed justice. 

Chapter Text

17 Orbital Cycles Earlier

 

 

“Clearly this Allspark fragment is not powerful enough. Fortunately I happen to have another." Turning to his former second-in-command.

As Megatron walks closer to his prize he can feel the helmache he had ever since this idiotic seeker showed up finally start to dissipate.

"What? Me?” Starscream whimpers as usual, only to live up to his name as he screams when Megatron tosses him to the Constructicons.

WSSSP!

A blue fragile line snatches the head out of the air at its highest arc and drags it away from its intended destination. Following the line with a sneer Megatron sees Starscream’s head land neatly in the Autobot leader’s out held servos.

“You really should look out for any type interception play,” He says confidently.

Growling, Megatron flexes his servos, “Give me that Autobot!”

Everything in the cave grinds to a standstill with the only noise coming from the battle outside. In the stillness he takes one step forward only for this obnoxious Autobot to not only not back down, but to take a few steps forward as well to stand at the top of the stairs.

The indignation!

“You want it. Come and get it,” He proclaims as he shakes the head only to smirk deviously, “If you can,” He taunts.

Megatron lets the siren song of battle rage take him as he lunges forward and the Autobot leader wastes no time and shoots out another line to the walkway above in a foolish attempt to escape. In retaliation Megatron fires his thrusters at full to quickly meet him at this new height. Yet he is without the head!

“Lose something?” The Autobot asks cheekily.

Then transforming he drives away and Megatron turns his attention away from the main annoyance, listening for that signature scream he had learned to tune out. Finding it he sees the traitor’s head flying to that motormouth Autobot who speeds away on his wheels. Flying over and landing in front of the exit Megatron finds this Autobot without the head either! With a roar he swipes at the smallest of the group, but his wheels lend him aid and he ducks out of his way as well.

The sound of a jet pack draws his optics up again and Megatron sees the cyber-ninja flying off with the head. So close he jumps to grabs for the ninja's pede only for his servo to go right through it and the anger of being fooled – by a hologram! – fuels a new sense of rage and a new helmache at being played by these worthless Autobots.

"Megatron! Megatron! Listen to me! He's going to throw me at the green one!" Starscream screeches and he barely has time to process the words before Starscream's statement is proven true.

The fact that it happened stalls Megatron's processor momentarily because Starscream rarely tells the truth, except he was now, and it was so he could be helped. Not dwelling on it long, lest he force himself into a crash and reboot, Megatron continues to chase the head and the fast moving Autobots with no assistance.

"Yo! Boss! It’s over here now!” The wider Construction yells from across the cave, irking Megatron more.

Do I need to specify everything?!

"Well don’t just stand there. Retrieve it!”

This idiotic sparkling game goes on for another three cycles with Starscream calling out the moves that Megatron can scarcely follow with his growing shrillness. And this could have all been ended if the lanky Construction had keep the head when he caught it, not tossed it back to another Autobot as if he was part of the game!

Now with those two arguing it left Megatron with zero competent followers, but finally has his chance when the Autobot leader is close enough to catch. Grabbing the top of Starscream's head the Autobot gets lucky with grabbing hold of the base of his neck. He pulls the head towards him, and unaware that the Autobot would try such a foolish endeavor, Megatron is surprised when he is pulled forward a few mechanometers. 

And he didn't like surprises.

Tightening his hold on Starscream and glaring back at the Autobot, Megatron begins to spin around, lifting the determined Autobot with him. After four rotations he violently snap out his arm and the Autobot goes flying, crashing into his teammates that were coming to his rescue.

"A truly absurd venture. Thinking you could stop me," Megatron smirks as he looks at the downed Autobots, "You have jammed up my gears for the last time Autobot. You will be the first to feel my wrath."

Turning his cannon on him, the fool of a leader stands in front of his team with his arms outstretch like he could possibly block the blast with only that.

No matter, they'll all be dead soon.

"AUTOBOTS IN DANGER."

It is Megatron's only warning of the Autobot's monstrosity, their repressive nature in functioning form. The blast knocks him back and into his communication center and the rock wall behind it. Falling out of the dent he made Megatron looks up at the giant and can't see any other of his warriors fighting him. A simple comm. to Blitzwing confirms his forces have been decimates and he was alone. As the Supreme turns to him he knows he cannot fight him now. He needs to warn his army of this setback. Reaching under what's left of the structure he gently pulls the tachyon transmitter free, and in standing up he locks optics with the defiant Autobot leader's steely glower and returns it in kind. 

"Another solar cycle Autobot," He snarls before shooting at an overhang above them to distract them all.

Subspacing the transmitter and Starscream's squawking head Megatron runs out of the mine and takes to the sky just as the Supreme turns to him.

"DECEPTICON."

Firing a blast to his turned knee joint the giant falls forward and into the rest of the cave, the rock collapsing under him, and hopefully onto the Autobots he was so dutifully programmed to protect.

"Decepticons! Retreat!" He calls out and his force of five rises up and follows him over the mountains and away from the failed base.

Several cycles later they arrive at their second base, an island in the nearby lake, and when they land at the entrance Blackarachnia is there to greet them with one of her sharpdenta smiles.

"Heard the commotion so I had the Dinobots clear out some space. No thanks needed," She says in her lackadaisical way.

"Lord Megatron need not thank anyone! For it should be your function to —"

"Enough Lugnut," Megatron cuts off another tirade from the front liner, "Blackarachnia, show Blitzwing where he can reinstall the tachyon transmitter then assess the wounds of my warriors. Fix them and then you are free to go back to whatever you were working on."

Her dermas twist back into her permanent scowl, but she doesn't hesitate to answer, "Yes my liege."

Taking the transmitter from his subspace he passes it off to Blitzwing, but holds his servo out to stop Lugnut. Once every other bot is in the base he turns to his most loyal follower.

"I have a task for you," And pulls Starscream’s head from his subspace.

“Finally! Really Megatron, could you have – Hey! Wait! What are you doing?!”

Wasting no time he digs the Allspark fragment out of Starscream's processor before the seeker could even start screaming in earnest.

Holding his hard fought prize he watches in satisfaction as it’s removal leaves a grey shell of frozen horror looking up at him. Subspacing the fragment Megatron tosses the finally silent head to Lugnut.

"Depose of this." 

"Of course Master. I will do so with great pleasure!"

"I know you will," And though today was a misstep the end of one of his enemies still rang something pleasurable in his spark. Even more so when he feels the shockwaves of POKE reverberating through the base.

Coming to the main room he finds the transmitter faintly glowing, indicating its operational status. Typing in his hailing code to Shockwave the spy thankfully answers in a prompt manner, but his twitching antlers tell a different story.

"Lord Megatron. It is good to see you well." Shockwave intones.

"Yes. We have not lost this war. It is only a minor setback. Shockwave, your cover will be blown within the next solar cycle. It is imperative that you leave Cybertron before you are captured." 

"My thoughts exactly my liege. I have my contingency prepare as well. In four megacycles the back channel into all of the Autobot's Intelligence servers will be at my digits."

"Excellent," Grinning at the good news, "Fall back to Opulus. The Strike Squadron are doing reconnaissance from the third moon there."

His spy hesitates at first – Megatron knows the reason why but cares very little – before he bows, "Thank you my Lord. I shall finish my act of disappearing here and will leave within the solar cycle." And with that Shockwave changes back into his persona and ends the transmission.

Now if only telling some of his other forces to hold their position after they capture their assigned space bridges was that easy.

 

"Maybe she just needs some time to cool off. We'll keep her safe.” Optimus tells Professor Sumdac softly as the lift lowers him and Sari back to the sub-basement.

Seeing the forlorn look on the older man’s face was spark-breaking, but he understood how Sari felt to an extent. He knew about the urge of wanting to get away from it all, much better than most. Even before driving out of the Tower Optimus can see that Sari didn't want to talk. As soon as she had her seatbelt on she had pulled her legs to her chest and laid her head against her knees. Not wanting to bother her he decides to check-in on the assignments he gave his team. 

He had left Bulkhead and Bumblebee at the destroyed mine to see if they could savage anything important so the Decepticons couldn't reclaim it. Bulkhead said they had the most important equipment and that they were going to haul it back to the base.

Prowl had been sent to make sure that the base was secure, but after he gave him a brief description of what Professor Sumdac told him and Sari about her origins Prowl promptly repeated him before disconnecting the comm. and sending him a message that he was unavailable until further notice.

Meanwhile, Ratchet got Omega Supreme to the closest island to Detroit so he could recuperate from his battle with the Decepticons. As soon as Omega was rested and operational Ratchet was to tell Optimus so they could call Magnus about their new discovery. Now he was going there because he needed Sari to be examined.

"That's fine," Ratchet says when Optimus tells him about his expected arrival, "With a little extra kick from the Key everything should be fine and we can contact Cybertron." 

"Good. Then you can scan Sari with better equipment too." Optimus replies.

"Did something happened?"

"In a way... something did." 

Not wanting to give away Sari's privacy Optimus tries for vagueness, but he should have remembered that when it came to the young girl she didn't shy away from things that bothered her.

"If you call transforming hands that shoot pulse beams 'something'," She scoffs doing the fingers quotes too to point out how very annoyed she was and immediately Ratchet is asking her questions about the incident. 

Trying to be respectful Optimus lowers his audial volume so Sari and Ratchet could talk and heightens his external sensors for any other dangers on the roads. Earth roads were surprisingly risky to navigate even with all their rules and precaution signs.

The drive was a lazy affair and they were almost to the docks when he feels the first twinges of something uncomfortable around his spark. Like somehow something was raking their servo over it, but that sensation quickly turns into a sharp itching pain and he knows that feeling well. It was fear. But before he can reach out to ask what was wrong a burning crawling sensation overtakes ever joint and squirms through every pump leaving him in terrible agony.  

"AAAHHH!"

With a strangled gasp Optimus jerkily swerves out of the honking traffic and into the emergency stopping lane. The brief flash of pain was over, but the ripples of dread from the intensity of the pain has Optimus pushing at the Amica Endura bond only for it to be forcefully shut down. It had never been like that except for when his Amica really injured himself! He pressed at the bond a couple more times without any response only for him to be shaken back into the present as he feels Sari's overly warm hands land on his dashboard. Turning his audials back up he can hear both Ratchet and Sari frantically asking him questions about what happened. He tries to settle them, but Ratchet is ridged in his conviction that he was right and that he was injured from the fight, demanding he gets to Omega faster so he can look him over. Pulling back onto the road with a quiet 'Yes Ratchet' Optimus tries not to think or panic about the suddenness of the bond going dark.

"Optimus? Are you really going to be okay?" Sari asks quietly, looking to his steering wheel with concern.

"Yeah... Yeah I'm going to be fine Sari."

Wishing he was in root mode so he could give her a convincing smile Optimus can only hope she doesn't hear the waver in his voice as he lies about his state of processor.

Please. Please be safe.


Despite his protests Ratchet starts scanning him the moment he and Sari enter the medbay and even after he lays down on the medical berth. Though when Ratchet grumbles about the fact that he is without any injuries Optimus feels a slight swell of victory at being right. That is until he sees the grim expression Ratchet is giving him when he turns away from his vitals.

Knowing it was one thing, but being able to see the reason was almost as bad as the pain he experienced earlier. The spark monitor only showed the one wavelength instead of a smaller second one parallel to it. It had been two for so long that it looked wrong to be alone. Ratchet tells him he could still detect a murmur so not all hope was lost, but the best thing he could do was to try and rest. 

But even exhausted his processor was too focused on other problems to truly recharge. One very short and fitful recharge later did nothing to soothe the impending helmache. Hoping that fixing the problems they were experiencing would soothe his processor he talks Ratchet into allowing him out of his room and to contact Ultra Magnus. But it didn't get any better when after a half a megacycle of waiting, because of a severe breach in security, that he found out that they had all been conned in a serious way. Unable to recharge now because of the throbbing helmache he goes out to talk to Sari and Ratchet about her new development.

"What?" He asks faintly as he resets his audials at the news, the helmache becoming secondary.

"I know Prime," Ratchet shakes his helm in confusion, "It doesn't make any sense, but Sari is part Cybertronian. A true techno-organic." 

"Probably some of his best work too. I could never tell." Sari fumes as she crosses her arms.

Frowning at her acidic words Optimus tries to appeal to her compassionate side, "You could at least try to talk with your father." He suggests, but the frown she throws at him tells him it wasn't welcomed.

"He's not my father... he's ... my assembler!" She shouts back.

And the anger on her face almost makes him wary of saying anything, but he knows that this is mostly bravo and she needs to hear it.

"Sari, I don't pretend to fully understand humans, but their bonds, from what I've seen ...I can say that I do know something about that and it has a lot more to do with the spark than who created you... much more."

And his coding does the rest. Pulling memories that related the closest to the emotions that are being acted on, recalling scenes of high walls and over decorative glass, datapads upon datapads with artifacts littered about the high reaching shelves, chasing flame colors around corners, listening to stories from the grumpiest but kindest bot Optimus knew, and being lovingly tucked into berth each night cycle. 

Closing his optics against those wonderful memories he opens them to see Sari looking up at him with a curious look and he realizes he got carried away in his own memories.

"With the heart." He say gently.

"Oh man," Sari sighs before knocking on her chest, "What he didn't give me a heart?"

Realizing this was going to take more than him being on the professor's side Optimus formulates a plan that will not only help out his friend, but will get rid of his helmache and persistent concern about something about to go horribly wrong. Sending out Ratchet to meet-up with Bulkhead and Bumblebee, who should have been here an Earth hour ago, to help them haul anything back while he sets up a lunch outing with an unsuspecting daughter and father. And he knew it was foolproof, it always worked in the movies Sari showed them.


"Sari; one. Tiny death-sized rock monsters; zerooo!" She cheers.

"You got admit, she's good." Bumblebee says in awe.

Another problem down and so many more to go.

Optimus sighs deeply at everything that happened today; from Decepticons and their ploys to Masterson hurting Bulkhead and then him fighting Masterson – again! – to Bumblebee getting eaten by a rock creature and now a supercharged Sari. With so much happening he's surprised they're all still standing. 

"The Key!" Ratchet gasps and turning to Sari he can see that the gasp was warranted.

As electricity sparks around the Key Sari's wrist blades activate again only for her left arm to wave and jerk around like a Decepticon without stabilizers. 

"What's happening to me?!" She yells as she spins around and shoots a blast at a nearby building.

He can hear the others talk, but can't truly focus on that as his battle protocols try to tract and decipher Sari's movements, but her actions are just too random to create a workable pattern.

As she spins down the street he turns to Ratchet, "What's her malfunction?" 

"The Key's power must've caused an overload. She can't control the upgrades." He explains before trying to stop her with his electromagnets by holding her new metal feet to the road.

But with unlimited Allspark power being feed directly into her circuitry she swipes out and dislodges the forcefield around her and knocks back Ratchet in one go.

Optimus' own attempt to hold her doesn't go any better and gritting his denta he starts to look around for other ways to hold Sari still as Prowl tries his Processor over Matter so they can grab the key. But this being the third – or was it the fourth – fight he's been in, in so many megacycles made it hard to focus. And as a powerfully charged forcefield starts to emanate from Sari and rapidly makes its way towards them, all Optimus could think was,

I hope this doesn't get any worse.

 

Tapping his digits impatiently on his leg, Shockwave forces himself to not roll his optics at these theatrics or to let his whining fans, set on low, expose him to his distressed state. This surprise meeting had almost exposed him to Cliffjumper, who suddenly came in to inform him of Ultra Magnus' return and his immediate call to the Council Chambers for a secret meeting. Somehow Autobots always had an affinity for showing up at the worst times and being their most obnoxious selves.

... Well most of them.

No. There is time for sentiments during war.

Turning away form those less than logical thoughts he tunes into Ultra Magnus' rant about Decepticon prowess – which he already knew – but what he mentions next has Shockwave more concern.

"— uprisings were far too coordinated to be random acts of sabotage. All signs point to an inside source. A Decepticon double agent here, on Cybertron."

"Clearly its the escaped convict Wasp," He speaks up, trying to sound more collected than his internal thermometer was telling him, "Surely its no coincidence that all this Decepticon activity began after his escape."

"I agree." Ultra Magnus nods in his direction, but before he can continue he is interrupted by a faux and truly pompous cough.

Looking across from him Shockwave grips the desk in front of him. If Alpha Trion had something to say, who knows what would happen next. The old bot was always a peculiar factor Shockwave could never get a handle or a scandal on and not having information on such a high ranking individual was unsettling for the spy.

"That's a fine assumption, but how did he get this information? He was in the Stockades. No information on anything, even the state of the planet, should get in to that prison." The Domesticus Councilor asks, his distaste for the Stockades made clear once again in his tone.

And any other solar cycle Shockwave would have be annoyed with his assertion be questioned, but now it was like his perfect escape was served up for him like a cup of nickle-alloy tea. Moving to make his faceplates resemble sympathy, concern, and disappointment Shockwave seals his fate.

"This is true Councilor Alpha Trion. And I fear to say this, with these recent coordinated attacks, but I don't think it was the work of one bot. I think Wasp was helped," He says with a solemn tip of his head, hiding the brief grin on his dermas.

"Another spy?"

Turning to look at Ultra Magnus, "Possibly. It would explain his escape. I did not want to raise distress and paranoia where there might not be any. But I have my best agents scanning for any slip-ups in communication on and off the planet. And if I may, I also suggest going after Wasp as well. If we can find him then hopefully we can obtain the communicator he’s using to talk to his covert contact."

Watching his targets everyone looks convinced, except for Alpha Trion, who is staring at him with an indiscernible gaze. But whatever caused it was quickly dismissed as he sits up straighter and addresses Ultra Magnus.

"It may be our best attempt Magnus. The Decepticon forces have stopped for now and we don’t know when we will get another opportunity."

"I concur. Thank you for this information Longarm Prime. Sentinel Prime. Jazz. I want you to put together an Elite Guard unit to track down Wasp right away."

With the affirmatives Shockwave let himself marginally relax as the hardest part of this farce was over and soon he would be out of this falsity of governmental rule.

"Also try to contact Optimus Prime's team on Earth. Its been decacycles since we've heard from them."

Against common sense and all logic Shockwave surges to his pedes shouting, "All communication with Optimus Prime's crew should be filtered through me first. No exceptions!"

His exclaim was met with silent and judging stares, one particularly distasteful one from Alpha Trion, and Shockwave hears his fans click on to there normal setting in embarrassment. Such an expressive answer was unusually for him, in either forms, but living amidst the Autobots had taken its toll on his personality in the worst way. Clearing his throat he tries to sound calmer than his outburst had led them to believe.

"For security sake of course. And for the sake of all Cybertron." He adds with a weak set of chuckles, hoping his research would pay off.

And when he sees the nods and shrugs Shockwave congratulates himself in indulging in one activity that helped him learn more about Autobot mannerisms and behaviors. With the meeting dismissed Shockwave walks as quickly as he could back to his office thinking about the precarious line he walked now. It was only pure luck that Optimus Prime hadn't called after his team's recent victory on Earth. But for whatever the reason stopping them Shockwave was grateful. Getting back to the office he sends Cliffjumper down three levels to oversee some interns and watches the Steelhaven launch from his own office. With that out of the way he had plenty of time to set up his murder. 

Pulling back the floor boards Shockwave pulls out a very convincing grey shell of his Longarm persona with a sniper shot through the processor. Sitting him in his chair he lines it up with the glass before shooting out the window at the right angle for it to look like it came from three buildings over. Shooting through his console station as well Shockwave drapes the shell over the desk and arranges him just so. Looking back on it, it truly did look like a grisly sight and he smiles – if he really could – to himself at his servo-work.

Picking up a few hard files on datapads that were not yet added to the database he subspaces them and types out a code that allowed the window to his left to open half way for 30 nanokliks for him to extend his pedes down the length of Metroplex and easily descend the height. With his identity dead and the paranoia of a second spy spread it was only a matter of time before the higher command started pointing digits at each other. A clean escape and a successful mission for Lord Megatron.

One that was much easier now that there was no one to truly mourn him.

Squeezing himself down through a hatch into the old tunnels beneath all of Cybertron Shockwave makes haste to the outskirts of Iacon and to his old secret Autobot escape vehicle, the same one that got him on the planet in the first place. With repairs and upgrades ever stellar cycle it flew better than when they purchased it from Swindle, and with his knowledge of Cybertron's scanning grid system he knew about the small breech in the system that happened once every three megacycles. With his calculations checked he takes off and easily flies off planet and away from the Autobots. 


After three solar cycles of blissful solitude Shockwave prepares himself for the loud, brash, and unconventional behavior of the crew of The Rouge.

Slingshotting pass Opulus he lands on the rocky moon of Edule and merely gets mechanometers away from his vessel before he can hear the rotary blades of a rotorcraft and then picks up the energy signature of one of the Strike Squardon. And in perfect style for these Con he is barely given a chance to dodge before a missile is sailing past him and into his ship. The blast knocks him off his pedes and onto his aggressors as the bot chuckles above him, but still reaches out a servo to help him up.

"Really? Y' gotta to do better than that." 

"Hello again Sandstorm," He huffs, dusting off the fragments of his ship and the surface from his plating and seams, "And despite your haste to get rid of any evidence did you think about the consequences of if I hadn't been clear of that shot or if I hadn't collect all my materials?"

With a scoff and a too hard punch to the shoulder pauldron Sandstorm waves it off with his signature too wide grin, "I might have a few screws lose, but I know enough to know you don't so I just gotta worry about myself. You've taken care of the rest cause you're so meticulous and stuff." He laughs with his hardy draw.

"And stuff?" Shockwave finds himself questioning the chemical specialist.

"I would've said 'slag', but you'd get all bristly – like y' just did."

Sighing he rolls his single optic before changing into his tank mode as Sandstorm does into his tanker hauler and leads the way back to The Rouge, weaving happily in front of him the whole time for no reason at all.

Oh for spark sake. Why did it have to be Triple Changers?

Coming up to the cloaked ship Shockwave is relieved to see Checkpoint, one of two Triple Changers that had all their processing faculties in working order. 

"Greetings Checkpoint. Where is your commander?"

The stocky blue and silver femme smiles innocently as she leads him to the command hub, "Our very diligent leader is doing paperwork about the strategic change in this system with our attacks. And well ... thinking over another problem we're sure you can fix now that you're here."

"We will see. Show me what information you have on this problem."

The problem was an outside scout ship that would appear twice every orbital cycle and always on the sixth cycle of the week. With a description of the vessel and a partial image from one of Octane better recon missions Shockwave was able to narrow it down to three organic alien species.

"Oh! Its that one!" Octane bellows as he reaches over him and knock one of his audials as he points at the images of the Qidried he had pulled up.

Rubbing at his horn he looks at the blue colored horned alien looking back at him with their four glassy pink eyes. 

"That's not possible."

"Are you saying I lied!" Comes a tinny whine, so unlike the deep sound from before.

Shockwave doesn't even attempt to not roll his optic in exasperation at the purple and grey Triple Changer, rather wishing he was dealing with Blitwing's hothelm face than Octane's blubbering insecure responses, "B-But I wouldn't do that. It could ruin e-e-e-everything!" 

And Checkpoint, right now his only saving grace, steps over to reassure Octane that wasn't the case.

"Hey, I mean we're all Cons," Sandstorm chuckles as he leans against him, "It comes with the territory Octo."

"You know that not what it means," Shockwave mutters before pushing the orange and grey bot off him so he could fully turn to the Squadron, "And I'm not saying you are lying Octane I am stating that the last they were seen, at all, was at the edge of the Vestial Imperium. I have heard rumors through the Extranet that they were gaining traction, but as they are organic and not within the Autobots' radar they were deemed inconsequential. And even with my high position I was not allow to investigate the rumors of a growing organic superpower. With that being said, I was merely expressing surprise earlier."

"Expressing huh," And turning to Checkpoint he is met with a shrewd look, "Not a word you use too often." She says softly as her teammates nods in agreement.

Guilt begins to snap through his processor at letting such a mellow word slip out of his vox and he tries to amend it, "Yes, well being amongst those that valued it made it so I had to adjust quickly, lest I be found out."

It seems to settle the other two, but she still gives him a side-optic glance that told him she didn't believe him. But turning back to the screen she changes the subject back to the Qidried sightings.

"So what are we suppose to do now?"

"The first order of business is to contact Lord Megatron so he knows he has complete access to all of the Autobot's intelligence and communication as it becomes available to them. Secondly, I suggest we do our own research to see how far reaching and how dangerous these organics might have become."

OOOGAH-OOOGAH! OOOGAH-OOOGAH!

Jumping down to the second level of the command hub Sandstorm turns off the proximity klaxons and pulls up the screens to show what triggered the alarms. One by one massive ships jump out of hyperspace until a collection of eight aquamarine warships roam over the Edulean sky and toward Opulus. 

"I think that answers your question," Checkpoint whispers in disbelief as she gaps at the display flying over them.

Shockwave can distantly hear shouts between the crew as he watches in terrified awe as the ships deploy smaller drone-like ships from the two heavy cruisers and they descend on the planet. Plugging himself into the communications console he reaches out for any Deception frequencies and accesses his back channel into the Autobot's Communications Network. With only one ship and orders to not be seen The Rouge leaves the Viburnum system as the Qidriedran ships begin their attack and Shockwave hears it all. 

Hears all the broadcasts from around the rim, from Autobot distress calls to Decepticon reports. It also seems their attack on Cybertron was too well done as it left almost no Autobots outside that could defend the planet. Their plan to siege their own vulnerable planet had been taken advantage by another entity and if they succeed the Decepticons will have lost their home once again.

All due to Autobot negligence and self-perceived superiority.

Chapter Text

"My liege?"

 Megatron turns from the screens with the hacked livefeed of the Autobots attempting to maintain their defensive line against the Qidried to Blitzwing as he stands at attention. 

"What is it Blitzwing?"

The Triple Changer salutes before handing him a datapad, "A report has just come in."

Taking it he sees its a joint report from Team Charr and Strike Squadron, "Outside of the Salvvatan System a small Qidried fleet of eleven ships attacked our forces — The silly little blueberries tried to fight us in space! Who fights living spacecrafts in space ~ HA-Ha-Ha-HAAA! "

"The final result?" Megatron asks as he scans through Strika's detailed notes on the Qidried's weak points and strengths that she had seen in this battle.

"We held the space bridge and decimated the fleet, but lost twenty-five of sixty soldiers my liege. That brings our toll to hundred and three." Blitzwing surmises.

This was the sixth attack in two decacycles, but the most losses they have accumulated in one battle since this stand-off begun. Though compared to the Autobots' near two thousand losses from active fighting while his Decepticons watched and waited it was not that bad.

As of now Megatron knew there was a delicate line he was balancing on as his forces waited for his command.

If they fought now and succeed against the Qidried - as the invaders could not rage a war on two fronts - the Autobots may be given time to regroup and grow stronger, once again casting his people away from their home. And with the focused fighting the Decepticons would be less in numbers than before. The other option Megatron had was to sit idly by and wait to the end of the confrontation then strike. But in that time it may give this enemy the time they needed to not only grow to a more prodigious size, but to be a threat to be reckon with. And with that outcome Cybertron would still be lost to them. The last option was similar to the first and second, in that they would fight to claim some for the Autobot's planets from the Qidried and nothing more. But depending on who won - if they didn't wipe each other out – then the winner could still be too numerous for it to go in his Decepticons' favor. 

"This is a troubling state of affairs." He says to himself, looking back to the screens to see the Autobot line, set up outside of Vespa's ring system, begin to fall through.

"It is indeed my liege." Blitzwing agrees solemnly as he takes a step forward to witness the carnage too.

Watching the Autobots losing battle Megatron runs through his options again, and though he was not a keen strategist like Strika he knew that his last option was his army's best chance at survival. But he would not send them in blind.

"Blitzwing," Turning to the Triple Changer to address him he continues, "Contact Shockwave and tell him he has seven solar cycles to uses as many resources as necessary to research this new encroachment. I want his finished report sent to my highest generals and most elite teams," Looking to the screen when a particularity bright explosion happened Megatron grits his denta in determination, "I want to know everything there is to know about these Qidried so we can properly squash them." He says lowly.

"Yes — YEAH! LIKE THE FLESHY SAD SACKS THEY ARE!" Blitzwing bellows before his face changes back to pale purple.

Megatron finds the enthusiasm of one his more cracked followers infectious and his derma quirk up slightly, "A way with words as always."

"I apologized my liege," He says, clearly embarrassed. But Megatron waves it off, used to it by now, "I shall go rely your orders now."

 

To say that being back on Earth was wild was an understatement.

Jazz digged the midsize planet and its bright and wild style that he could only get bits of when he was at home. And this wild style extended to wild events too. Prowl was right, every solar cycle was something else. If this was a planet he got an assignment for he knows he would never get bored.

In the six solar cycles since they had landed here chasing after Wasp they had found out that they were basically exiled from Cybertron for the time being because of an attack, not from the Decepticons like they feared, but from a planet at the edge of the Vestial Imperium. Then finding out that Wasp was in fact framed and the Head of Intelligence was the true spy didn't stop Sentinel from still wanting to hunt him down, infuriated since he had made the arrest for Wasp in the first place, now convinced that he might have gone bad. Meanwhile, Wasp apparently planned a revenge plot for Bumblebee and switched places with the little yellow bot only to be found out because of the threat of playing a video game. Then two nights later they fought and captured Lugnut - with Optimus pulling off an epic move to immobilize the giant - only for them to spend the better part of the night trying, and failing, to pull the huge Decepticon out of the pit he made. Even with Jetstrom and Jetfire combined they couldn't do more than roll Lugnut over. And with Sentinel yelling at everyone to put their structs into it didn't help either. When Optimus finally got in contact with Bulkhead they all had to roll out to help stop a brewery - or a refinery as Prowl called it - from exploding because of some bots that Bulkhead quickly explained were friends/enemies/friends that just really liked their oil. And finally a solar cycle after that they were attacked by a squad of Seekers with the most annoying personalities.

Yeah, Earth truly was never boring.

But thankfully nothing like that was happening now, which gave him and the two Primes time to look over their planet's situation. With how the fighting was going in the Commonwealth the Autobots were barely holding on. Ultra Magnus didn't want to show their servo yet with their flagship and the last operable Supreme, but as Jazz looks over the new battlefield for the next engagement against these morphing aliens Jazz wishes he would. 

"What we should do is move the Praxus Battalion to the left flank of the canyon, so we can break through their line here." Sentinel says moving a blue piece across the three hundred hic wide canyon and drawing arrows to point out the motions.

Being second-in-command of the Elite Guard meant Sentinel had to support Magnus in anything he did. And until he called on them to return when they knew they had a clear path he was sidelined to battle tactics, stations, and statistics. Something Jazz knows Sentinel has no business in, but he held his glossa because there was another bot who excelled in them.

"That won't work Sentinel." Optimus points out calmly.

Whipping his helm to his left with a tight, but obviously annoyed grin, he asks, "And why not old pal?"

"You forgot about the counterattack again. The Qidried can maneuver out of the way of our short range ammo attacks by way of flying," Optimus tells him gently as he walks around the side of the table, "Plus, if they act when you stated they'll be in front of the 89th infantry's line of fire. They would need to cover their back and front. It would easier if we move the Praxus Battalion from their right station flank to just support the the 89th and 101st infantries. It would be more practical then creating a situation to defend on two fronts."

"Well how are you going to break the line? They can't move forward from where they are now." Sentinel sneers, looking proud of himself for pointing out the obvious.

Optimus takes a moment to review the board before pulling up the personnel files of the teams stationed on Beta Two. One nanoklik he's frowning and the next he's smiling to himself and Sentinel looks like he’s eaten a sparkplug.

"They're supposed to. This formation will give time to Team Gaia to cross over into the Qidried's territory to place either fall away tunnels or explosives. Since the team specializes in digging and electrical engineering it wouldn't be too hard." Optimus says lightly as he draws on where he would have them set bombs or trap tunnels.

"Are you serious?!" Sentinel huffs throwing his servos up, "They're labor forces for our trenches."

"And they'll be a surprise to the Qidried who are expecting rigid fighting from us," Optimus counters, his voice gaining a hard edge. A sign that he needed to be listened to, "If we can throw them off the way Autobots usually fight we might have a better chance. Remember, they aren't like anything we've fought before."

Looking at the map as a whole once Optimus is finished adding a few more movements and Jazz can't stop himself from playing a musical note through his vox in amazement.

"Impressive OP. I wouldn't have thought of that."

Sentinel just mumbles as he looks at the changes and saves them before pulling down another file.

As they continued to make changes, with Sentinel saying maybe five helpful things, Jazz became more focused on Optimus. He never really saw how the other Prime worked the last time he was here, but wow, he had missed out. Jazz could see why Magnus only had great things to say about him. His ideas were brilliant, practically seeing multiply moves ahead when he was creating a strategy. Even if he was expelled from the Elite guard they should have at least keep him on for consultations at Intelligence at least and just made the commanding option void to him. They needed this skill and experience closer to home.

But Jazz knew that probably wouldn't have been any better. He had seen the training Optimus had his bots go through, how he had advice to give and took criticisms from them into account, how they moved as a near perfect unit when in battle. Despite their circumstances they made for a powerful and equally happy team. Optimus just had a knack for getting bots to listen to him that made him such a good leader. Sentinel definitely could learn a thing, or twelve, from his old friend.

"Hey OP? I was wondering if —"

Looking up from the space bridge in the Alpha asteroid field Jazz gives pause when he sees Optimus staring glassy optic at his servos as they grip the edge of the table. 

Waiting and watching, Jazz sees Optimus vent after a long moment, sounding shaky around the edges only for the younger Prime to start fidgeting with his digits and looking at them perplexed. He starts flexing the joints before something snaps him out of it and he unspaces a loose crumbled ball of metal twine. Wrapping it around the joints of his digits Optimus begins to make shapes or plays with it for whatever reason. And regardless why it has Optimus calming down and his venting leveling out as he makes changes remotely to the board while keeping his digits busy. Jazz is so fascinated in watching this random event that he doesn't remember he's not the only one watching.

The harsh scoff has Jazz turning to look across the augmented reality table to Sentinel. Wearing a disgusted grimace with his arms folded he looks down his chin at Optimus.

"You still do that? Give it a break, it's so irritating." The blue Prime sneers.

Glancing over at Optimus he looks back with an annoyed look, but it's brief as he sighs and stops his activity, never saying anything as he subspaces the twine. After another half megacycle the meeting concludes with Sentinel leaving them to clean up, saying he needed to train the twins and leaves without so much as a 'catch you later'. Turning to Optimus who was subspacing some extra datapads to work on, Jazz shakes his head in bemusement.

Does this bot ever rest? 

Walking over he hands him another pad that he missed, "Hey Optimus," And the younger Prime looks down at him curiously, patiently waiting for him to continue, "Don't be bothered by what he says. SP just blowing steam." 

"Thanks Jazz, I'm well aware of his habits. There isn't much I can do about that," He says with a sigh, giving the pad a long suffering stare, "It's just like old times... with me doing most of his work for him... Somethings don't change you just have to weather them." He says quietly before giving him a half-sparked smile and leaving.


Jazz wishes he had level of calm to take his own words to spark about ignoring Sentinel's slag. He was usually the most chilled out bot around, but what Sentinel had done was so deceitful that Jazz could have mistaken him for a Decepticon. And he sure as Pits wasn't going to keep his mouth shut about it. 

"I saw Optimus work on those," Jazz says as he stands up from his chair, his EM field sparking with outrage.

Turning around to the command chair, Sentinel just sends him an easy smile as he leans back further, "Well he just isn't bot enough to speak up. That's all. And the bots fighting need someone to ... look up to as it were. They need someone to thank for saving their skidplates." He shrugs, smirking all the while.

Hidden by his visor, Jazz's optics narrow in disgust, "And you just happen to be bot enough to claim the praise, right? I can't imagine why anyone want to look up to you."

Forty-eight finished battle plans in one solar cycle. Forty-eight!

Plans that Optimus had painstakingly gone over and came up with two contingencies - at least - for each battle since he couldn't be there in person to change them. He had quadruple checked the materials and skills of every bot accounted and made notes about certain attack strategies he had been able to notice. All this hard work and Sentinel didn't even blink as he handed it over with a too smug smirk, touting his 'battle prowess', and handing them over to Ultra Magnus, who takes them saying that a note of this would be made in his record.

The jaunty smile slides off his faceplates and that nasty grimace Sentinel always had comes back to his derma. Walking down to stand in front of him the Prime stands up straight to his full height to loom over him, trying to be an intimidating little aft, but Jazz isn't haven't it. Sentinel Prime really was the only bot that made Jazz want to forget his teachings and just punch that condescending look off his face. 

"Have something you want to add there, captain?" Stressing his lack of a suffix title.

Before anything else can be said the soft sound of mechanisms moving signaled that someone else had enter the room. Stepping back, Sentinel crosses his arms and gives him a disappointed look. If there was one thing Sentinel could play well it was that he was innocent of the problems he caused.

"Sentinel? Jazz? Is there was something wrong?" Optimus asks looking between the two with concern as he walks closer.

"Nothing for you to worry about. And it's not even your place to say something either," Sentinel tells him in a biting tone, "Besides, it was just a disagreement. Right, Jazz?"

The building pressure of him keeping his denta pressed together keeps him from saying anything in his defense, but as Optimus gets closer his passive expression becomes a frowns.

"Well I'm the Earth base commander Sentinel and if there are any disagreements I should know about them."

With that simple sentence he gently reminds them that as of now he was holding similar rank with the second-in-command of the Elite Guard, who had never had a planetary commission. Something Jazz knows his Prime has complained about almost nonstop.

"Acting a little high and mighty aren't you?” Sentinel accuses him through gritted denta.

"I just don't want any problems for our teams working together," Optimus adds, "So is there anything wrong?"

At that Sentinel's shoulder pauldrons rise up as he puffs himself up in size, the look he always had when he was ready to unload onto someone with a verbal onslaught. And as entertaining as it was to see Sentinel get his aft handed to him in a battle of words Jazz didn't want Optimus to be the brunt of Sentinel's constant bad attitude. He knew Optimus could handle himself but he got enough of this on a regular basis.

"No worries OP," He cuts into whatever the other Prime was gearing up to say, "It was just a disagreement. No need to worry." He says with a mild grin.

Optimus directs his gaze to him and Jazz's easy going smile almost slips off his faceplates. He knows he's a good liar, knows he's great at masking his emotions and EM field, but the look Optimus gives him now makes him rethink that.

The blue gaze was cold and calculating like he was peeling back layers of plating and finding out what Jazz really thought of this whole situation. And the blank expression didn't make it any better. For the entirety of it, it felt like he was staring right through him. It was nerve-racking.

Finally Optimus blinks and looks to Sentinel, who was still fuming, before back to him and then down as he looks away.

"Alright. As long as everything is fine. I just came to return these datapads." 

Handing the pads back to Sentinel he gives him a stern look and Sentinel glares back. That's when Jazz puts it all together. Even though he was trying to hide the truth Optimus knows Sentinel better and coupled with that knowledge he knows he was covering for Sentinel and he still lets it go. But as he leaves Jazz decides he wasn't going to.


"You and your staff have a right to know those plans —" 

"Yes I know Jazz," Ultra Magnus cuts him off before he could finish, "The plans were drawn up by Optimus Prime. I knows his work anywhere. Saving the most sparks and delivering the heaviest blows. Strategic placing of troops instead of raw might."

The air blown out of his tires Jazz's mouth opens in surprise, utterly confused.

"Why? If you knew why didn't you say anything, sir?"

As the Magnus sighs Jazz could see he looked more tired then he had ever seen the mech. The stellar cycles of his service and pain etched into his faceplates more than before as he looks off to the side in regret.

"Because this is how it is for Primes." Ultra Magnus says calmly, as if that was a fact, but it seemed more like a chromed lie to him.

"I was hoping... eventually... that Optimus would take the lead and show some pride in his work..." The Magnus trails off sadly before continuing with his usual commanding tone, "But if this is what happens now, so be it. And that will be it Jazz."

Jazz can hear the clear dismissal and stands at attention, saluting, but indifferently replies, "Of course Commander. Captain Jazz over and out."

 

This decacycle could not get worse.

Optimus sighs heavily, which only serves to make his processor ache worse. All of Sentinel's gloating and waking him up at odd megacycles of the solar cycle to tell him something or ordering him around was getting older than it already was. On top of that for some reason his battle protocols keep onlining when Sentinel was in the vicinity aching, begging for a fight, to show him how outmatched and outclassed Sentinel really was against Decepticons. How he couldn't have captured those Decepticon lieutenants. Plus, he had it coming to him.

Biting his glossa and squeezing his optics shut against the pain and ridiculous thoughts, Optimus tries to stay still and count until he's sure he can open his optics without any pain. As he opens them he seems fine, the dull clanking pain is there but it's more manageable.

|| Optimus, old pal. ||

Clenching his fists and gritting his denta so not to scream Optimus reluctantly raises his left servo to answers his comm. and the bane of his recent pain. It was better to get it over with now than have his comm. be inundated with messages. 

|| What is it Sentinel? ||

He asks tersely only to hear tutting on the other end which just ends up kicking on his fans as they try to cool his anger filled body.

|| Optimus. Buddy. I hope you aren't raising your vox to me. ||

|| Just tell me what is so important. I have reports to write. ||

He hears muttering about 'taking the fun out of everything' before he receives a ping for a image file. Rolling his optics at Sentinel's behavior he opens to file only to feel his jaw drop in disbelief. There was no way Sentinel, barely a fighting machine, took down Lugnut when it took five of them.

|| How — Wh — How did you — ||

|| Oh Optimus. Are you speechless at my expertise? ||

|| More like confounded about how you're doing this. ||

|| Why Optimus you old dataplug. You're jealous. ||

Optimus doesn't even try to turn off his protocols now, itching for a chance to disprove Sentinel's cheery claim.

|| Jealous! Why would I be jealous? ||

Seething, he gripping the edge of the communication's hub to ground himself against saying something that would give Sentinel more fuel to make fun of him for.

|| Well maybe because I've captured Megatron's top lieutenants in just a few solar cycles — ||

|| Sentinel. It is impossible for you to have done this alone. ||

 || Really? Well maybe you don't know me as well as you think. ||

He growls making static jumps across his comm. and has Optimus massaging his audial bolts because of it. Once again Sentinel was not understanding the full weight of what he's trying to say.

|| It's not just about knowing you. Its about knowing them. And what you've done is impossible. ||

|| Oh you love being the hero, but as soon as somebody else wants a turn you can't take the heat! ||

|| Sentinel — ||

But he cuts the transmission before Optimus could explain himself. Clenching his fists Optimus takes in a deep vent of cool air and lets it out, purging the record of their call and the image sent. He can't allow Sentinel's dangerous competitive nature get in the way of him doing his job.

"Optimus."

Jumping at the sound of his designation he turns to Prowl and is met with his very intense stare. Even with the visor on Optimus could feel the cyber-ninja's optics burrowing into him.

"Yes Prowl?" He asks cautiously, prompting the shorter mech to continue.

"I just wanted to know if you were alright. You looked like you were in pain and..."

"And?" 

"Your optics. Your optics were lavender again." Prowl tells him, with such a surety that Optimus is struck silence.

"...What? I-I'm not sure I follow you Prowl," The statement was so wild that Optimus was sure he misheard him, especially the 'again', "My optics are blue. Every Autobots optics are."

"True but...," And as Prowl trails off his gaze lingers on him for a few arresting nanokliks before he looks away, "But perhaps you're right. My height sometimes skew my view."

"Sure." He says softly.

But Optimus knows for a fact that Prowl's optical sensors are a few levels higher than his own. If Prowl says he saw it than he did and Optimus trusted him on it, but now...

"I can check on the prisoners if you want me to," Prowl says suddenly, changing the subject back to Optimus' first concern, "Something about this doesn't seem right to me either."

He thought about it, but knew Prowl still had a small issue with authority and with a bot like Sentinel Optimus could easily see the blue bot blowing a gasket with Prowl's invasive questions. 

Shaking his helm, "No. Not yet. Just go train with Jazz. I know you're excited to have someone else to match your skills against. We'll discuss this later." Hoping that Prowl would leave it alone for now so they could collaborate on a better way to confront Sentinel, or better yet, figure it out without Sentinel even finding out they were sneaking around.

The cyber-ninja gives him a perfunctory nod before transforming and doing a wheelie out of the base. As he watches Prowl turn the corner he thinks about what he had said, but as his optics find his datapads again he brushes off the odd comment and gets back to work.

 

It's not my vision and that was not the first time.

Driving to the park that the Steelhaven had landed in Prowl replays what he saw. But trying to make sense of it and calm the wariness that came with these incidents was perplexing Prowl more and more.

Before the flashes of purple were mere glints that Prowl caught at the edge of his visible range, but in the heat of battle he did not pay them much mind. But at the end of the last Earth stellar cycle Prowl had seen that the purple wasn't the trick of the gas heavy atmosphere. When Optimus yelled at him about his decision to rescue the Dinobots he had a clear view. Optimus' optics were brightened to a degree that Prowl didn't know could be achieved and on top of that his passive blue optics had bleed into lavender right in front of him. As he looked on in awe he heard Ratchet gasp quietly in fear. Before he could comment Ratchet was stepping forward and gently calming Optimus' temper and did so for the rest of the tense solar cycle.

After the fallout with the Allspark and the capture of Professor Sumdac, Prowl found Ratchet working on their ship's systems and asked about Prime's reaction. Barely getting the query out and the medic was already shouting at him not to finish his question only to quietly and sadly tell him to never bring it up again. He doesn't, but that doesn't stop Prowl from looking in the Orion's databanks about it and he still finds nothing that could explain the odd phenomenon that he had witness at least seven times since the first clear encounter. It was like stating that Hadeen would turn blue every other stellar cycle. Optics changing color didn't happen.

As the Steelhaven comes into view and Jazz waiting for him at the bottom of the ramp Prowl tries to push the thoughts and mystery around his commander away so he could focus. If he wasn't than Jazz would easily beat him and he wanted to impressed the higher level cyber-ninja with some of his unconventional skills and fight style. And it wasn't fair to either of them if he didn't give these sparring matches his all.

He only made it halfway to the training room while he listened happily to Jazz regale him about his discovery of body shops and how similar they were to chassis stylists back on Cybertron. But when he mentioned something about LED lights for cars the mystery around Optimus came back to the forefront of his processor.

"Jazz? You've spent more time on Cybertron than me. I was wondering have you ever heard of optics changing color?" 

The slightly taller ninja stops and looks at him as confused as Prowl felt. His full dermas pull up into a frown as he thinks, but after a few nanokliks he shrugs with a lost expression.

"Sorry Prowl. Can't say that I do. What brought this up?" 

"Don't tell anyone Prowl! Just forget about... It will be better for everyone like that."

Hearing Ratchet's pleading tone has Prowl pausing before saying quietly, "Nothing. It was nothing." 

 

To say Megatron was angry was underplaying his wrath.

He was furious! Burning with rage he decimated part of the quiet island and even that did nothing to quell his fury. On top of all of his followers being captured by that two-timing bounty hunter for a blowhard Autobot he had problems he could not solve because he was stuck on this infernal mudball!

Slipstream had brought him a report on how their attack on Elba was successful and Strika had released four hundred and fifty Decepticons from G-9, they had to pull forces back from several space bridge outposts as those organics had attacked Ijurn!

They lost strategic footing on the rim of the Commonwealth when falling back to protect the Empire, but Ijurn had been secured at the expense of two hundred casualties, either KIA or MIA. Though the Qidried had far more casualties and destruction to their armada and had to pull back to the their newly conquered territory of the Imperium, it wasn't their expanse that worried Megatron.

It was the number of losses.

He knew his Decepticons and something wasn't right with those numbers. Reviewing the footage from the survivors these Qidried were proving as formidable as Shockwave's intel stated, Megatron even saw one bite though a heavily armored arm like a sharkticon through sheet metal. But that didn't take away from the fact that the Decepticons had held their own and he should not have lost so many. Something peculiar was going on and he was irked that he had no way to prove he wasn't overthinking this. Or worst, that the Qidried were worthy opponents.

Chapter Text

Rolling up to the plant, Jazz barely transforms and waves 'hi' to Bumblebee and Sari before the small organic is yelling over the video game music that Prowl was in his room. Shaking his head and trying not to look too deeply into how perceptive she was Jazz follows Sari's instructions and walks to the room in question. He wasn't here to see the other ninja, but knowing he was here Jazz had to make a pit stop because Prowl was always doing something that Jazz found amazing.

And the sight he finds is something completely peaceful and wonderful.

The black and gold cyber-ninja was truly the embodiment of grace and strength, even more so with his new upgrades. They didn't overpower him at all, they simply accentuated his perfections. Prowl just had a way of making everything he did elegant, and him simply trimming his organic plant was a perfect show of it. But it was enhanced by the faint upturn of his derma. A smile that was so soft yet captivating that Jazz had made it his mission to get at least one of those smiles directed at him when they hung out.

"Diggin' the new armor," Jazz tells him, breaking the silence gently, "especially Yoketron's helmet. He be proud to have you wear it." 

Turning to face him Prowl extends that soft smile to him and Jazz can't get enough of it. 

"You look good Prowl." He says softly.

The words are out before he can think about how damning they are and he has to watch in fear as Prowl's mouth opens in surprise. For a terrifying nanoklik Jazz is sure he's going to dismiss him, but instead Jazz is presented with another soft smile - twice in one day! - and Jazz can't stop himself from smiling back.

"Thank you. On both counts. I plan to do everything in my power to be worthy of it." Prowl says as he bows.

"I know you will." Bowing as well before taking a few steps closer, "So I really came by to grab OP's incident report, but since you're here and I'm here I was thinkin' maybe we could go out for a little drive. You know to the ship to drop off the report and then to wherever you want."

"That sounds pleasant Jazz. I could do with some relaxing."

Smiling back, glad that his visor lessened the adoring gaze he had for the other ninja, he tries to calm his rapidly beating spark and changes the subject, "Cool, so where is your fearless leader?"

"If he isn't in the main room he's likely in his quarters. Follow me." 

Following Prowl down to the farthest door in the hall he knocks and gets an immediate response to enter. Walking into Optimus' room Jazz was expecting tidiness and efficiency, but a full data center seemed a bit much for him. Getting closer he can see the mech was writing up the incident report on the run-in with the bounty hunter Lockdown. But from the wording it read more like a cover-up for Sentinel's dangerous and ambitious plan. But on the smaller screens Jazz could see small simulations of battles rendering and playing out. Even working on something else Optimus was making time to work on more battle plans.

"You really should show these to Magnus," He says as the tall mech turns in his chair, "Personally."

"I agree. They are most ingenious. The army would greatly benefit from these strategies." Prowl adds as he glances at one in the corner screens.

Optimus's optics widen as his temperature rises minutely, only Jazz's infrared vision picks up on it, and the taller mech hunches in on himself as he looks way from them, expression full of discomfort.

"That's — that's kind of you to say, but its not needed. As long as they're useful I'm content. That's what matters," Then staring forlornly at his screens he whispers, "But I just wish I could do more."

"We all do Optimus." Prowl tells him as he rest a comforting servo on the mech's shoulder, "But what more can you do?"

With a long sigh Optimus leans back in his chair and glares at the screens, "That's the point. It doesn't matter how I stage these encounters we're always missing one major component."

"Which is?"

"Strength," Optimus answers before frowning at a datapad at his left, "The Qidried are capable of generating pure muscle that is on par and exceeds our own power. The Autobots just don't have that brute strength to match up. Really no one on Cybertron has since..." 

And as he trails off he gets an indescribable look in his optics before he tilts his helm and his visor shadows his face.

"Since when?" Jazz asks.

"Since the Destrons. The Warframes... The Decepticons. Their strength and fire power coupled with their military prowess could easily repel the Qidried," And with a heavy sigh he turns to them with a grimace, "But I doubt they would even think about making a truce with us."

And Jazz can agree with that emphatically. He remembers all the fear and anger during the war and the pure terrify desperation at the end, on both sides. Jazz knows how brutal they can all be, but the Decepticons were a different class all together. He wouldn't dare ask for help from their enemy. Wouldn't even entertain the thought.

"You never know."

As Prowl and Optimus turn back to him in disbelief and Jazz finds himself surprises by his own words, saying the exact opposite of what he was thinking. But the longer the nanokliks tick by and he gives thought to their situation and the intelligence they have he knows why he said what he said. But that doesn't mean he has to like it.

"Hey, I'd be the first to say it be wack to work with them," Jazz defends himself, "but there are reports that they've been attacked too, and recently. Despite everything Megatron is unbelievably intelligent, maybe if we could get him to see our side and offer something in exchange so he might possibly help. We just need somebot who can keep up and not get dragged into his rhetoric."

While Prowl still looks skeptical Optimus begins to look thoughtful, "Maybe. But who would be this theoretical bot?"

Exchanging a brief glance with Prowl, who definitely had the same expression of 'Really?', they turn back to Optimus and wait for him to put the pieces together. When he does his optics widen to a point Jazz is afraid they might pop out of helm as the bot tries and fails to say anything. After a few hilarious moments of stuttering Optimus ducks his head and calms down enough to actually talk.

"Even if you're right Jazz I don’t even know if I could talk to them without being bias. But if I did I'd have to...," Trailing off, Optimus slowly raises his right servo to lightly lay over his chassis, an action Jazz had much to often. It meant an Amica or a Conjunx was gravely injured, or worst, dead.

"If  I had to, there is more at stake than my own feelings. If the situation ever presented itself I would try." Optimus says, looking up with a determine shine to his optics and a stern frown.

If he didn't think Optimus Prime was an amazingly brave bot before he definitely did now for putting so much on the line. His team and the Autobots as a whole were luckily to have him.


Despite his intentions to not push Optimus to talk to Ultra Magnus because the bot is pretty intimidating he also didn't want to put Optimus on the spot. Yet that's exactly what he did.

"Is there something you want to share old pal," Sentinel sneers, looking overly happy, "I'm sure whatever you're talking about will be so helpful to the Council since you couldn't wait to discuss it later."

Ultra Magnus had called Optimus and Ratchet to have a meeting with him about the readiness of Omega Supreme and the troubles the Autobots were facing at large. The Qidried had gotten closer, taking a sixth core world in the Commonwealth. They now officially surrounded Cybertron meaning an attack on their homeworld was immediate. Jazz had been quietly asking if using the theoretically combined forces at Floron Three would have made a difference and Optimus had been whispering back his thoughts when Sentinel caught them. Jazz wouldn't say anything but he had a feeling if prompted that Optimus would be truthful.

"Sentinel Prime," Magnus softly reprimands him before turning his gaze to them, "But I am curious to what has taken such importance in this already urgent meeting?"

Optimus stares back like a caught turbofox and Jazz is afraid he might crack his plating with how still he's holding himself. His optics move from the Magnus to the Domesticus Councilor and then to the Minster of Science before landing on a smug Sentinel. Looking away from his former friend quickly Optimus' gaze looks like it settles somewhere between Alpha Trion and Ultra Magnus, and Jazz might being seeing things, but it looks like Alpha Trion nods to the other Prime.

Sitting up straighter Optimus tries to look determined as he says, "It may sound a bit unheroic sir, but if you’re willing to listen."

"I think we could use something like that now. What is your idea Optimus Prime?"

He's quick and to the point as he outlines his plan and by the end of it there are more than a few raised optic ridges. And raised voices.

"You can't be serious?!" Ratchet shouts as he stands from his chair and Jazz can feel the sharp edges of his EM field across the table.

"I agree with the medic," Sentinel adds, "Optimus, has this planet rotted your processor? That will never work."

"I'm fine thank you," Optimus answers stiffly before turning to his medic, "And yes Ratchet, I am serious. More than I like to say."

"It's not unheard of."

Argument forgotten everyone turns to their Magnus as he speaks, "In our history we have been know to use them —"

"No," Optimus cuts in, standing from his seat, "We have to have them help us. We need full cooperation sir."

"And how would you obtain something like that Optimus Prime?" Ultra Magnus asks, looking vaguely proud of Optimus standing up for himself.

"Purposes a true truce and treaty instead of the Tyrest Accord. They still want Cybertron so we should give it to them. On certain terms."

Jazz was definitely not expecting that and from the looks on the screen neither was the Council. Jazz doesn't think he's ever seen any of the big three ever look so surprise... well ever, but now he knows he never wants to see Preceptor show emotions again. 

"This is crazy!" Ratchet shouts again slamming the table for emphases.

"Ratchet we don't have a lot of options and it's just a proposal, it doesn't mean what you think." Optimus tries to convince him gently, but as Ratchet's EM spike harshly again that they all flinch from it Jazz knows he's unreachable.

"It doesn't mean — It means everything!"

Not giving anyone time to say anything he stomps out of the ready room and into the depth of the ship. It's only the clearing of someone's intake that gets their attention back on the screens.

"Ratchet's reaction is likely to be much of the populous Optimus Prime. It may not be wise." Ultra Magnus says.

"I don't think you give them enough credit," Optimus reasons, "They'll realize the situation they're in and I think they can handle it."

Ultra Magnus hesitate to answer, but it doesn't stop Alpha Trion from speaking up.

"I agree with the Commander. He has brought a path to light that we fear to tread."

"With good reason." The Magnus reminds the Councilor.

"Yes, but at the rate we are losing ground I believe this is a good reason. Desperation can breed the strongest alliances." The ancient mech tells him sounding very resolute in his decision.

"You can't be seriously considering this?" Sentinel shrieks, pointing an accusing digit across the table, "Considering his plan?! Its' insane! It'll never work —"

"Given proper incentives the inclusion of a Decepticon presence at our command would give a rating of 87.3% in favor of success. If they aided us." Preceptor adds in his monotonous voice making the vote two to one.

"I see," Ultra Magnus sighs heavily, "Against my better judgement I give my consent as Magnus of Cybertron to have you, Sentinel Prime, Elite Guard Second, and Optimus Prime, Commander of Earth, to make contact with the Decepticons and procure an alliance."

 

I should of known this would happen. I should have done something. I shouldn't have ignore this.

"Ratchet."

Turning around and seeing Optimus look so honest and confused breaks Ratchet's spark, knowing it was all a lie, and that fuels his anger easily.

"No!" Spinning around fully, his balance almost comprised by the speed of it, he points a digit at his so-call leader, "Whatever you're about to say to try and change my mind — No! I can't — I won't — after everything the Decepticons have done — then and now! How could you? ... Why kid? Why? ... What am I saying... It's not a surprise and I'm a fool for thinking differently." He whispers to himself.

Looking back up at the younger mech in disdain Ratchet is shocked to see an expression of hurt and distress. That has the last of his anger dissipating, but it's too late. Already Optimus' faceplates had taken on that resign acceptance, one he had when Sentinel Prime was being a crankshaft towards him, and it made it so much worse to see that look caused by him. Optimus' shoulders act like they're buckling under some intense force and he slouches forward in a deprecating way as he turns his helm away.

"Kid... I didn't —"

"It's okay Ratchet, I understand. I know you don't like this. None of us do, me included. But something has to be done." He says quietly as he tilts his helm down to hide his optics, "Thousand of Autobots are going offline and — and I can't just stand by and do nothing! Even if this idea is as far-fetched as it seems at least we tried... I want to try."

And despite hearing such sparkfelt words Ratchet still finds himself asking in a dubious tone, "Is that all?"

Turning to him with wounded optics Optimus stares at him in confusion before answering.

"Yes Ratchet. Of course it is. What else would there be?" Letting the question hang in the air Optimus' expression goes from perplexed to concern in a flat nanoklik, "Is there something else you think is going on?" He asks worriedly, searching his face for a reaction.

Staying calm Ratchet sighs and shakes his head, "...No. No I'm getting older and not running as efficiently as I did. Reacting to things easier or seeing things that might not truly be there."

Giving him an understanding nod, Optimus reaches out but his servo stops just shy of Ratchet's shoulder for a moment before he's laying a warm servo on it, "Ratchet its okay. We're all kind of stressed right now, if you want we can discuss this later."

Seeing the hesitation and knowing he had really hurt the younger bot's feelings Ratchet knows the best thing was to give him some space.

"No. I... It's fine. I'm fine." He waves him off gently mustering up his best grin, "You should be more focused on what you're going to say to that buckethead if you get the chance."

With that Ratchet turns away from his young leader and walks down the ramp door intent to get as far away as he can, not caring that he was running away. He surprises himself as he rolls into their empty base plant without breaking down and drags himself to his room. Stumbling into it as soon as the door opens Ratchet feels the metaphorical steam in his vents seep out as he heavily leans on one of the bookcases they installed for his datapads. With no strength left he rest his weight against it as his systems hiccup at him for cycling through too many actions too quickly, leaving him in the quiet with only his thoughts.

How could he ever think that of Optimus, after what he’s been through! The paranoia left over from war must have been worst then he thought. Though deep down he knew that it never really left him.

By the Allspark! I hate — hate this so much! But... But I need to trust Optimus.

The young bot needed all the support he could get, especially with the big chinned idiot and Magnus being his usual stubborn self. If anyone wanted bots to be inspired to do something great Optimus Prime was their best choice, he just had something in his spark that made him a great leader. Ratchet doesn’t know how it would go over with the Decepticons but well... he’s sure Optimus will surprise them. 

That's why he wants to blame his recent reaction on his age or bad optic circuits even more but he knows it's his own fear. He knows what he saw on that day. He knows what he felt in the kid's EM field — pure unleashed rage. Something Ratchet had only felt when in he was in the war.

When he was facing Decepticons.

 

"— AND FOR THEM TO THINK THEY ARE WORTHY TO EVEN SHARE THE SAME SPACE, LET ALONE THE SAME PLANET AS YOU, MY MAGNIFICENT LEADER! IT IS VILE! AND —"

Turning off his audials again Megatron watches as Lugnut continues to shout and wildly shake his servos at the ceiling. More appropriately the hole he made in the ceiling.

The behemoth bruiser had crashed through the top of the base as he and his apparently competent subordinates were planning a prison break for his captured warriors. And before he could ask Lugnut how he had escape he launched into a pitiful apology for being captured and for not freeing himself as the Autobots had let him go with a message. This left Megatron listening to a rant about the Autobots and their deceitful ways and not at all about what the message the Autobots had sent . Even without sound the centuries of listening to one of his most ardent followers had Megatron's processor supplying him with phrases of past monologues. Glancing to his right he sees the two femmes weren't doing much better. Slipstream had a similar expression to Starscream's when he was plotting someone's demise and Blackarachnia was silently banging her helm against the wall. 

"Lugnut!" 

His lieutenant freezes instantly in an unbalanced pose and promptly falls overs, shaking the immediate area. Turning back on his audials he hears the groaning and mumbled reply 'I'm okay' and turns to Blackarachnia.

"You know of this Autobot Commander, the red and blue one. What do you have to say on his honesty?" 

If anyone was going to try something as audacious as this Megatron could only assume it was the small Autobot leader that kept getting in his way. No one else would even dare.

She tightens her stance before relaxing and frowning heavily, "Well he wasn't a Commander last time I checked, no one wanted to take him seriously. But he's honorable to a fault and disgusting nice and optimistic, hence the designation," And with a resigned sigh she rolls her optics and scowls, "If you had to talk to someone he would be the bot." She answers, sounding almost proud of this Autobot.

"So what will you do?" Slipstream asks.

"Master! You can't — !" 

"Silence!" His voice echoing quietly in the shambles of their base, "I think I will indulge them. It's been rather boring waiting for our rescue and whatever he wishes to speak about will be about the current problem we both face."

"And... that's it?" Slipstream asks, the only one brave enough to question him.

Grinning, he turns to her, "Of course not. I intent for him to beg."

 

Even with solar cycles of preparing what he was going to say Optimus still felt unbelievably underprepared. The stress of pulling something like this off was second to the apprehension he was feeling at having to stand across from Megatron and not immediately plan how to get to three of the weak points he had found by trial and error.

An Earth week ago, Lugnut came crashing into the docks and the moment they arrived he shouted at them that Megatron would hold a short audience with them near the clearing of the Decepticons' failed mine base. Optimus accepted, or tried to, but Sentinel stepped in to try and change the meeting location because he didn't want to meet in the woods. Surprisingly, Lugnut didn't blow him up. The Decepticon just squint all five optics at the blue bot and said, in what Optimus assumes is his indoor voice, that he was not talking to Sentinel but in fact Optimus and only Optimus. He told him not to keep his lord waiting and rocketed into the sky. The subsequent meltdown and one-sided shouting match later between him and his former friend and Optimus found himself standing in front of the Steelhaven’s main screen as Ultra Magnus’ told Optimus to head up the meeting with Megatron alone.

Now along with Jazz as back up they pull up into the forest clearing and can hear that they don't have long to wait. Transforming, they look up to see a gunmetal and mahogany military helicopter begin to descend and transform into,

"Megatron." Optimus greets him, trying to keep his tone neutral.

But as the Decepticon smirks Optimus finds himself frowning.

"Little Autobot." He replies, one of his fangs showing just under the curve of his derma. 

Gritting his dentas so he didn't bare them like an angry youngling Optimus corrects him once more.

"My name is Optimus Prime."

Optimus had secretly hoped that when they release Lugnut that he won't tell Megatron what he asked him to relay. But another part had begged that it worked, mostly for all the Autobots fighting at the front line but also to satisfied his thoughts on the other leader. Still remembering all the text he had read and holo-vids he watched of the lauded emperor it still left a fascination to him even after a year of battling him and trading insults. A small part of Optimus' processor, obviously the naive part, still wished to speak to Megatron and ask him as many questions as his mind could supply. But there was no time for that.

"Now that we're done with our usual greeting, what is so urgent that you wish to speak about that you would release one of my own lieutenants back to me?" His voice smoothly rolling over his words, a characteristic that Optimus noticed and couldn't get off his processor.

Squaring his shoulders Optimus tries to look important even though he felt far from it, "We let go of Lugnut to show that what we have to say is in good faith."

"How diplomatic," Megatron sneers as he takes a step closer, "Much more so then when you kicked me out through the airlock."

Not that it did any good.

"You did what?" Jazz asks in surprise.

"That's not important right now." He whispers back, never taking his optics off his foe.

"True. As you were saying."

Megatron pushes for him to continue even though he was the on to get them off track. Standing straighter Optimus lets his EM field stretch further than he would usually and reverts back to his neutral tone, trying to channel Ultra Magnus as he began these negotiations.

"We call this meeting today to impress the importance of the threat we both face and ask for your assistance in quelling the attacks."

"I am aware," He says in a bored tone, only for his expression to turn into his pompous sneer, "But tell me, why I should care? Would it not be in my best interest to wait and fight a weakened armada. You'll be decimated and they'll be the only thing standing in my way."

"And risk your people? They haven't stop at attacking Autobots, we know they attacked Ijurn."

"They tried and failed," Megatron smirks triumphantly, "While you have been barely holding positions we deftly held them back. A significant difference compared to your Elite Guard."

Knowing that the sentimentality for life is off the table - even for his own soldiers?! - Optimus goes for a more municipal approach, "Well think of the destruction left in their wake. If you wait you'll have stellar cycles of work ahead of you and it would be far easier to implement regulations then overhaul completely damaged cities."

"It would present a certain ease to rebuilding the planet in the ideal fashion." Megatron waves an uninterested servo and turns to stand in profile.

"What makes you so sure that you'll win?!" 

As soon as the shout dies down Optimus watches as the bot before him folds his arms and turns back to glare down at him. He was used to being dismissed and is usually unbothered by it, but Megatron doing it just made something snap. But he had turned back around and he was watching him, listening to him. 

“OP,” Jazz hisses as he leans in closer, “Maybe, don’t piss him off.”

Except he had to. He couldn't treat this like how Ultra Magnus would, he had to be more brash, caustic. Optimus had to grab Megatron's attention or he'll lose him. He needed to hit Megatron where it hurt the most.

His pride.

Pulling up the memories he had about everything he ever read and what the leader supposedly fought for Optimus went to poke the sleeping predacon before him.

"You don't know if you'll win. You're just overly confident and hoping you'll be strong enough. And if you're not successful do you really want someone else to have the honor of conquering Cybertron? Something you couldn't do."

“Optimus. What are you —”

"How dare you?" Megatron growls, looming over them and casting his shadow over them.

As Megatron's optics seem to burn into his helm Optimus feels a surge of satisfaction at getting under his plating and grins up mildly at the Warframe.

"You were close once and lost miserably. To have someone not of our world rule Cybertron would be an insult wouldn't it? If you don't help us you would be setting us all up for that." Optimus accuses him, his voice mocking to his own audials.

But as swiftly as the joy of annoying Megatron came Optimus remembered his purpose and took a deep vent, pushing the feeling down before continuing, "As an Autobot I can admit we aren't the strongest, that it was our ingenuity and ability to construct that won us the war. What is needed now is to combine our forces to stand a chance, or we both lose."

The anger that once filled Megatron's face slowly smooths out into a neutral expression, but his optics remain narrowed, as if he was thinking it over.

"Interesting though debatable points," He says dryly, "And what would I receive in return?"

"First, the Decepticons Lockdown captured. We will return them with their weapons like we did for Lugnut. Secondly, that we cooperate and coordinate in a liaison fashion so no one feels pressured to follow a command from a different faction. And finally peace talk. True peace talks."

The look of distrust is not surprising, he's used to not being trusted, but the peripheral view of shock from Jazz has him keeping his sight on Megatron. 

"We are asking something of you that you can easily deny us, but I am asking you to see the advantage in all this. We’ll be crushed and it may take some time for them to do the same to your empire, but the Qidried had expanded to half of the Vestial Imperium before attacking the Commonwealth. They’ll soon have the firepower to match your strength. To stop this we need to work together."

Tapping a digit on his arm Megatron regards him almost seriously for the first time, "And why not look to any others in the Imperium?"

While Optimus doesn't know the true answer he can take a pretty accurate guess about it. Everything he was about to say was his own opinion, gleamed by experience. He knew he had come around from some of the things that were taught in the Academy, but not everything from that time was false. He had to word this to sound just right, not only for Megatron but for everyone listening and watching through Jazz's visor hook up.

"Because the Council, in trying to do their best for us, they have become too cautious. I have been too. To assume all organic planet can be dangerous or... or that the only war criminals in the Greta War were the Decepticons.

At that intrigue briefly comes over Megatron's faceplates before disappearing just as fast. 

"I know Warframes are still wandering throughout the galaxy. If the talks go through all of you will be able to come home and have what you started the war for. Peace and equality, which you should have, just as any sentient Autobot has. Any Cybertronian should have." 

Staring intently Megatron steps closer again forcing Optimus to crane his neck up to still look him in the optics.

"What if I am not satisfied with that?" He asks lowly, his velvety voice rolling over Optimus like thunder as he views him with a level of scrutiny that has Optimus wanting to hide, but also lash out for some reason.

"Than I cannot help you with that. This is my faction's offer," Taking a step back - even though everything in him is yelling at him to step closer, to meet the threat head on, - he relents ground to Megatron and hopes it's enough, "I won't beg, but I ask you to reconsider."

 

Megatron considers him carefully before asking, "How do you know about the beginnings of the Revolution?"

The young Autobot looks briefly confused before he's staring back and Megatron can see his processor working to decide if he was asking a genuine question, testing him, or if he should answer at all. And truthfully it was all of the above.

"I made it my hobby to go through the Hall of Records and learn about our history." He finally says.

Taking in those critical optics Megatron didn't miss the use of our as he referred to his so-called leisure reading. 

"That is an astoundingly astute past time."

"Don’t be so surprised." The Autobot says with a grimace.

"It's not every solar cycle I meet a learned Autobot instead of one that quivers in fear. This a phenomenon I never thought I’d witness." Megatron tells him and finds himself not annoyed, but impressed when he sees the Autobot leader still under his gaze. Not in terror but watching him, calculating, and trying to decide his next possible move with his overly bright optics.

Intriguing indeed.

"Paint me impressed," He says as he turns away from the shorter mechs, "For that I will give some thought to your proposition."

He did not expect a response nor wanted one, but regardless his read-out received a ping. Opening it after the virus checks came back clean Megatron finds himself with a new communication link code. Pausing Megatron turns around halfway to meet the Autobot's optics.

"Its for when you finally wish to contact us." The Autobot leader tells him sternly.

Such arrogance.

Turning back around Megatron engages his thrusters and flies back to the base, taking a different route. In that time he checks to make sure no tracking devices were placed on him and contemplates his encounter.

The overall encounter was much more peaceful then Megatron expected. The competence and elegance of the young Autobot's words were surprising to say the least. Not once had he said anything truly derogatory to his kind and during the entire time his EM field was unrestrained so Megatron could tell he wasn't lying.

Which irked him.

This brightly colored bot was now growing to be his greatest personal enemy and he could not begrudge the fact that he was a worthy opponent. His actions and words were living up to the ideals the morally ambiguous Autobots painted themselves as.

Resolving he was finished being caught off guard by the smaller bot Megatron plans to contact Shockwave and have him use his backdoor into the intelligence database so he can learn more about this Prime as he was becoming a present factor in everything Megatron did.  No more would he be in the dark underestimating this Prime. 'Know thy enemy as yourself and great understanding will come', one such Cybertronian scholar had said and with this Autobot, this Optimus Prime, Megatron needed to take account of everything he could.