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Of Cybertron

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TIME MEASUREMENTS:

Astrosecond: .5 seconds

Nano-klik: 1 second

Klik: 1 minute

Breem: 8 minutes

Cycle: 1 hour 15minutes

Solar-Cycle: One day (20 hours)

Lunar-Cycle: One night (20 hours)

Deca-cycle: 4 weeks (one month)

Mega-cycle: 96 hours (four days)

Meta-cycle: 12 months (one year)

Stellar Cycle: 6 months

Vorn: 83 years

Mega-vorn: 83,000 years (1000 vorns)

60 mega-vorns: 4,980,000 years


 

Logically, Sam knew he had saved the world a couple of times.

Of course, the only reason he survived long enough and fought hard enough to do the aforementioned saving-of-the-world, was because of his friends and family. 'Friends' being quite a few people who were also instrumental in protecting Earth and held the title of 'ally' (or at least, useful in the case of Simmons ). And 'family' being composed of two slightly-older-than-middle-aged parents, his laid-back mostly harmless childhood friend, a former car-thief turned specialized mechanic, conspiracy-theorist with dreams of making it big, two technically inclined geniuses who ran most of the R&D department of NEST, a good handful or three of military personnel and their immediate families and five, count'em, five alien lifeforms.

Five that were still living, that is.

Back to the saving-the-world bit.

When the consequences of your actions have an ending result of saving your planet , yes , obviously, that means that the planet of Earth was saved because of Samuel J. Witwicky's actions on two separate occasions. However, going to back to normal life (with the addition of said alien lifeforms) was simultaneously astonishingly easy and unbearably difficult.

The nightmares, sudden need to take up track (which he didn’t suck at), flinching at loud noises (he couldn’t stop ), staring suspiciously at police cars (Barricade was injured, not killed) , military vehicles (due to the nature of his expanded worldview), large trucks and even expensive cars with pricey paint jobs (high tech aliens appreciate their paint jobs) was bound to be noticed . By your parents (who only know the barest points of your ‘adventure’), other parents, teachers, fellow students…and your best friend who you weren't legally allowed to tell anything.

Sam's newfound reactions to perfectly ordinary things were poked and prodded at by various people, mostly those looking to laugh at him, or the odd one or two who recognized the similar patterns in friends and family who worked in…dangerous fields.

The healing scrapes and bruises had been stared at while Sam had laughed them off as a fight, but considering most of his injuries were made by alien metals with alien fluids on them, most scarred in… interesting ways. The vaguely blue-ish and black hues that remained told a different story. Those silvery lines on his hands were the ones that never did fully fade and drew the most notice. And, well, if his grades in math and physics gradually climbed up to steady B’s and A’s…that was just him finally taking his education seriously.

The final cherry on top, to the new rumors surrounding him, was that Mikaela Banes was always in his company. They were rarely seen apart and when someone makes the connection with the lingering touches and looks between them that Sam Witwicky and Mikaela Banes were now dating, things get a little harder. A popular, attractive girl and an awkward nerdy boy. The entire school gets involved in attempting to figure out what dramatic event occurred for this relationship to happen.

Not that Sam and Mikaela care.

Considering that they had saved each other's lives, the lives of Lennox and Epps, Bumblebee and Optimus Prime (not to mention, you know, the entire planet ) with their combined efforts, they had a lot to relate to one another with. Which lead to a deeper relationship, one that they hopefully won’t regret in fifty years.

Bumblebee is still with them, still watching out for them and the weekend after they get home, that’s when they get a call from William Lennox. The Captain tells them that the Autobots have been relocated to Diego Garcia and that it was a stipulation of the ‘Bots that Sam and Mikaela be given unrestricted access to both the Autobots and the base.

The sheer relief both of them felt when Bumblebee dropped them off and transformed to lead them into a large hangar, where the surviving Autobots stood, was astounding. When Optimus kneeled down and once again thanked them for their action in the Battle for Mission City, Sam almost cried. Jazz was dead, the AllSpark was gone and Optimus Prime knelt down and thanked him?

Sam who had absolutely heard Optimus call Megatron his brother , and Sam had shoved the AllSpark into his chest. Not that he regretted his actions, it was his life, Bee’s life and everyone else’s life or Megatron’s. Sam had made the choice he could live with. But he regretted the AllSpark being destroyed, especially once Bee had told him that the Cube held their history and was how their children came into being.

That the Autobots welcomed him and claimed him as a friend - after everything he did - was absolutely mind boggling, but Sam, Sam decided that if they wanted him (when no one else did, save for Miles and his parents) then he was going to accept that.

That was when Ratchet came over and managed to convince both up them to submit to a check-up in the medical chief’s newly set up room. Which didn’t take much effort as Sam didn’t quite know how to get an opinion of the discoloration of his scars and Mikaela had energon burns on her hands from fixing Bee’s legs.

When they had been evacuated from Mission City, they were seen by military doctors who had just been briefed on the existence of aliens, thus had no idea how to treat the burns and cuts exposed to alien metals and fluids.

Ratchet gave both of them an injection to help with ‘energon poisoning’ and said that they probably had nothing to worry about, but if they experienced any odd sensations to come see him immediately. Once he had made sure everything was treated, he turned to ask Mikaela about what caused her burns since he knew where Sam had received his.

When she easily provided the information of her patch-job fix on Bumblebee’s legs, Ratchet turned to study her intently.

The job offer came barely five seconds later.

Of course, being a high school student, she was only free after school hours and on weekends. But considering that Sam usually tagged along and they both ended up spending most of the day hanging out with the Autobots and the military personnel when they weren’t on missions.

And when more Autobots started arriving, both Sam and Mikaela had front row seats to introducing them to Earth culture. The introduction of Mudflap and Skids, the twin menaces with foul mouths and quick tempers, Sideswipe, a volatile mech desperately searching for his lost brother, Jolt, a mischievous young mech with a love for electricity, and the Arcee Triplets, a single spark housed in three frames as a result of an experiment of a mech named Shockwave. Mirage was an aristocratic mech who was gone most of the time due to the secretive nature of missions. Sam was less familiar with him, but he was an Autobot, an ally at the very least. Sam didn’t care what he went through at school being with Mikaela, nor Miles’ frustration with him on his secrecy or even the looks the soldiers gave him as he spoke casually with the ‘Bots.

No matter what political persons said about the presence of two high school students with the highly classified extraterrestrial lifeforms that they were in the middle of negotiating with.

There wasn’t really any saving the world parts for two years, for which Sam was happy, but Decepticons still came, along with friendlies, so there were missions which some didn’t come back from. Having grown closer to the Autobots in the two years he spent nearly every spare moment with them, he mourned those losses just as they did, both humans and bots.

The saving-the-world bit though. That was a recurring thing.

As it happened again with the whole AllSpark, pyramids, Optimus dying , Matrix of Leadership, having your face blasted across the world with a capture-alive order, dying , meeting the Primes, Optimus living again

But they took losses. All three of Arcee’s frames were too damaged to be repaired and- and Jetfire. Sam mourned for Jetfire after the adrenaline fades and they’re on their way back home. His arms are wrapped around Mikaela and Optimis is within his sight ( alive ) and everyone knows the only reason Optimus was able to defeat the Fallen, one of the first Primes, freshly resurrected and low on energon was because of Jetfire’s sacrifice.

None of them would forget that.

Sam received a medal for his actions and an official ‘thank you’ from the Egyptians, who were slightly more grateful the Harvester didn't consume their sun than pissed off one of their several thousand-year-old national monuments was…dismantled (torn apart by an alien). Not that they weren’t angry, but they were alive and didn’t have to fight off an ancient Transformer intent on consuming the sun with their own forces.

That made up a little for the political shitstorm that happened due to his face being plastered all over the world by an intimidating metal alien that look suspiciously like a popular line of toys. Not to mention the college thing.

Not mentioning the college thing.

Moving on.

Yeah, Sam considered himself to be somewhat knowledgeable in doing stupid, reckless, dangerous stuff that nearly got him killed, actually got him killed, or almost killed everyone around him, while managing to do even more of the aforementioned stuff that ended up not resulting in an alien invasion or their sun being used as energy.

But he was okay, Bee was alive, Optimus was alive (others weren’t-), Lennox, Epps, his parents, Mikaela, they were alive and okay.

( the nightmares were worse-)

So he went back to college and graduated and moved out with Mikaela and kept in contact with all the Cybertronians and visited when even Bee was called back. He kept up with the new arrivals (Prowl, a former Enforcer who was often sent to the scattered Autobot bases to gather intelligence and reports, Wheeljack, a scientist with a habit of blowing things up, and the Wreckers,Topspin, Roadbuster and Leadfoot who kept their spaceships operational). and if it was Lennox emailing him from his wife’s computer, if it was Bumblebee sending him untraceable messages to keep him in the loop, well, that was just being a good friend, wasn’t it?

He had troubles with finding a job, and he missed his friends, but he was okay.

This, however? This, was not okay . This was Sam being so far into unknown territory, he could barely breathe. Not that he needed to breathe anymore, but if he could, he would be hyperventilating. Or throwing up or passing out, just generally, out of his mind with fear and ohmygodwhyisthishappeningtome .

The reason for this, what had lead the past events to the current events could be place squarely on that fraggin’ glitched son of a screwdriver Sentinel Prime's shoulder pads. Sam knew, Primus knew, it was all Sentinel's fault.

Megatron was at fault as well. But that was Megatron, everything was always his fault.

All those other Decepticons probably had something to do with it too…

Basically , it wasn't Sam's fault, just Sam who had to fix it.

At least, he hoped he could fix it.

Still. Saving the world.

Or rather, it would be more accurate to say…saving both worlds .

Being actually told he was going to do it, was drastically different from doing the best he could while running for his life, praying people he cared about would live to see another day.

It was so drastically different, holy shit.

It started like any other day.

Actually, no, that's a lie, it started off pretty great, but things went to pieces a short time later in a FUBAR situation that would go down in history books if it wasn't classified to hell and back. Sentinel Prime was the mentor of Optimus ‘freedom is the right of every sentient being’ Prime . The one who taught him a lot of the important things that he holds sacred. So Sentinel being a fragging, murdering betrayer was unexpected and incomprehensible. To the Autobots, it was devastating.

To Sam?

It just made him angry. Considering the loss of life in previous years, the soldiers, Jazz, Skids and Mudflap, Arcee, Jolt, Wheeljack , Ironhide (Lennox was going to kill someone, Ironhide was dead), and Optimus himself (twice, however briefly) there wasn't much in good things in the Autobots' day-to-day life. Having an old mentor figure, long thought dead, come back? A respected leader, a Prime of the Dynasty.That must have been the greatest happiness all of the Bot's had in a long time.

And then that miss-clocked son of a glitch ruined it when he killed Ironhide by brutally shooting him in the spark while revealing his alliance with Megatron. The Space Bridges were pretty important for the Decepticons to invade Chicago with, so Sam shoved away his grief, the tears, the rage and put that as priority one, to take the control matrix down, or render it inoperable.

He desperately hoped that when this was all over he could try and use the Matrix of Leadership to revive Ironhide and he prayed to any higher being ( seven gathered around him, judging with weighted stares) that was listening that he would be able to save his family once more.

Because they were alive (for now) and they came back, thank Primus.


 

He set off, ignoring his injuries and wiping the blood from his face, to the building with the blue light shimmering in between the pillars and the fraggin' space portal hanging over it. The Decepticons tumbling through it were focusing on the other Autobots, so he had a relatively clear path to traverse. Of course, the act of getting up to a place where he could actually do something, required climbing and being careful to avoid attention from the 'Cons who were patrolling, along with a handful of humans.

(He was going to use every single favor he had in the government to get all of those pieces of shit publicly tried for treason. There was no way they were going to hide this, so Optimus and N.E.S.T. was going public.)

Fighting ensued when his stealth failed. His winning on the fights was mostly due to the alien tech that he had that Wheeljack had given him before the 'Cons-

Forcibly turning his thoughts away from that ( mourn later, no sacrifice, no victory) , he locked his gaze to the one pillar that was the control matrix. It was guarded and he had no idea what it was he was going to do ( fragile squishy) , but he couldn’t just do nothing . So here he was, running towards the danger, towards his probably-death. But Optimus and Bumblebee were fighting and ( Ironhide was dead) people were counting on him. Mikaela was waiting.

He should have known, right then and there, that this wasn't going to turn out well. There was no possible way this was going to turn out well.

The thing was, Sam realized looking back on this moment, was that he had an odd relationship with Matrixes of any kind. Also, Primes, there were connections between Primes that he didn't understand ( the Dynasty of Primes has endured since the beginning and will not be broken-) .

Primes, Matrixes and the human Samuel J. Witwicky.

Also, saving-the-world. So naturally, there were explosions and buildings crumbling and people screaming ( dying-) , Autobots screaming ( dying-) , Decepticons screaming ( dying- ) all in the shadows of the space portal and blue light. It was terrifying and he was so scared because Lennox and Epps, Ironhide- no, he had a job to do and he was going to do it and it didn't matter that Sentinel was blocking his way, the Megatron was shouting his victory, Optimus yelling in rage (grief, betrayal) , he could do this.

Right, left, right, jump, duck, run, Sam, run.

There it was, and Megatron was fighting Sentinel was fighting Optimus was fighting Megatron and the control Matrix was there , he reached out-

Later, Sam couldn't tell anyone what happened exactly , beyond Sentinel's furious yelling, the long drawn out denial from Optimus, Megatron’s screams and the steady stream of curses running through his own head, yet he remembered with clarity the words he heard as the world around him faded to silence and everything lit up in a blinding light.

Sam Witwicky. You will save the world.

When he opened his eyes next, the first word on his lips was Optimus. No one answered and it took several minutes for him to process his memories and current status. The last words he heard were in the front of his mind, burning brightly with power that took a bit more time to understand as his brain moved so slowly and all he could feel was his heart breaking-

Later, much later, he needed to understand his situation. He had no idea what state he was in. Which was worrying as he couldn't see anything. Or feel anything. Deliberately, carefully, he attempted to twitch any part of his body.

Nothing moved. No pain either.

Okay, panic was setting in and his heartbeat was rising and his breathing was speedin-

No…it wasn't?

He was not breathing.

Nor was his heart beating.

Oh slag.

He was dead. He had died taking out the control matrix and he distinctly remembered Sentinel, Megatron and Optimus being rather close, so they probably took each other out ( did Optimus survive?) including the traitor and hopefully Megatron with him, but holy Primus he was dead. Again .

Unfortunately (or fortunately, however one chooses to look at it), Sam, while being a mostly normal-ish human being, was something of an honorary Prime. Considering that he held the AllSpark as it shattered into Megatron's chest, had it in his head ( in the beginning of the Dynasty of Primes- wandered Cybertron with their packs- war ended and began again not long after- exploration of the nearest stars-) , earned the Matrix of Leadership, met the ( seven ) Primes of Old, was revived by the ( seven) Primes of Old and then proceeded to do the same with Optimus, the human was definitely Prime material. Granted, he was young, human and inexperienced but he did the right thing when called upon. That Sam went willingly to his death, several times, in defense of the Autobots, was noted ( exploited-) .

When Sam and those nearest to him ( Sentinel Prime, Megatron, Opti- ) were caught up in the control matrix with the space bridge the organic tissue of Sam's body disintegrated and betraying-once-Prime's spark was forcibly removed as was what was left of Megatron’s. Optimus...did not survive. A decision was made, by the Primes in the Afterlife and by Primus, their creator who gave life to all through the AllSpark.

"Samuel James Witwicky. Valiantly you have fought. For the sake of your world, for the sake of your loved ones. Including Our own. Worthy, you are of the Matrix of Leadership. Worthy of the trust that has been placed in you. Your life for theirs, was a choice you made without hesitation. Their Sparks, into your hands We give. A new future has begun, one you will shape.

Welcome to the ranks of Prime, Janus, protector of Cybertron."

The awe-inspiring voice that tasted of ancient power, invaded his suddenly functioning senses and his entire being, yet as quickly as it came just as it faded away. Awareness slammed into his being painfully and he lurched up, uncoordinated and hurting, aching as he coughed and dry-heaved. His eyes darted rapidly around in the darkness as he tried to recognize any familiar surroundings as he catalogued everything he saw. He appeared to be in an alley, a wall at his back and two on his sides, stretching up into the darkened sky. The stars were shining so brightly it appeared to be daylight, plus there was light spilling from the other end.

Except everything, dull and dingy as it was, had a metallic sheen and he could see movement at the alley's mouth. Metal on metal, the sound of moving machinery and distorted words. His thoughts were working so quickly, he could swear he could hear gears whirling and fans kicking on as his processors worked- wait what ?

Slowly, Sam shuttered his optics, flexed his digits and clenched his servos. He took a deep breat- no, he vented .

He wasn't human anymore. Dear God, what happened? Where was he?

Images flashed, two side by side, one showing a planet glittering like obsidian in the light shining from its surface, the other, the design of the frame he was. He would have gasped for breath at the sight of the planet which resembled a picture Optimus had once shown him as he spoke of the days before the war, before the destruction and the massacres.

Cybertron, I am on Cybertron. I am a Cybertronian on Cybertron…before the war?

He spent a moment dwelling in sheer disbelief, recalling the voice that had spoken to him, had that been Primus? The Cybertronian deity Bee spoke about?

Seven Primes, long dead holding the Matrix, hidden for thousands of years, staring, optics boring into him, small, human Sam Witwicky-

Sam shook himself, forcibly turning his attention to the second image, the one he suspected answered his second question. He blinked, his thoughts taking a horrified turn as he recognized Optimus . His breath hitched ( he didn’t breathe anymore ) was he in Optimus’ frame? But- no, there was Sentinel and the barest touches of Megatron -

He couldn’t do this.

He didn’t know how long he spent with his eyes ( optics) closed with his hands ( servos ) over his face ( faceplates ), his fingers ( digits ) digging into his h- helm. The sound that burst from his throat ( vocal cords ) was a sob ( a keen ) and he would have wept ( but there were no tears ).

Optimus was dead, and Sam was in the past, in his frame, melded with the Prime’s once brother and his traitor of a mentor.


 

He didn’t know how long it took until he calmed down, when he was ready to see what he looked like, but he pulled the screen back up and studied himself. He was Optimus, mostly, but the shoulders, the arm guards were- other ( Megatron, Sentinel, what did it matter? ).

He rather liked the paint job, all sleek and polished black with artistic lines of an AllSpark blue that vaguely rang a bell in the back of his head ( the Dynasty of the Primes will endure- ) and he looked intimidating with blue optics and his tall frame and maybe even deadly with- was that a sword?

It was , the schematics helpfully informed him. He didn't have the middle-gripped, double blade and shield combo, that Sentinel had used, it was a rectangular piece of a dull black metal with a hilt that could be used as both a single and double-handed hold. Nothing like Optimus’ sword. There was no other weapons... although…it appeared he did keep Sentinel’s blasters ( which one did he use? ). Which were smaller and in his arms…save they weren't called arms anymore. Because according to data text scrolling across his vision, he was a fully-functioning, one-of-a-kind piece of Cybertronian machine. With a new-found knowledge in both language, culture, history and how to take proper care of himself.

(blueblueblue singing the Song sung for generations)

He needed a mirror.

Carefully, he heaved himself to his feet, deliberately ignoring the familiar sounds that he never expected to be the cause of, and lifted his foot- pede - to take a step closer to a part of the metal wall that held enough of a shine to see his reflection in. He stared in silence at himself, struck dumb at actually seeing what had been done to his ( Optimus’ body) ...frame.

His ey- optics , ( such blue) shone brightly in the dim lighting, even as his gaze scanned the image in front of him. His frame was slightly smaller than Optimus’s towering height and he wasn’t quite as wide, rather more compact, as if he was built for speed and agility, rather than strength. He looked similar to Optimus, but the differences were enough that he didn’t see his friend ( closer than a brother ) staring back at him.

Which, thank Primus for small mercies. ( what mercy was this?! Optimus was-! )

Several little screens popped up into his…vision, the glyphs of Cybertronian language suddenly making perfect sense to his…brain module. One was pointing out his current location (the City of Simfur) followed by a list of other major cities that were nearby. The other was going into further details on the specifications of his bi-pedal and his alt-mode. His alt-mode drew his attention immediately. Something way better than the Porsche he had wanted so long ago. Something that on Earth only the ridiculously wealthy could afford and a visionary engineer could only dream of. It was some combination of a helicopter/fighter jet hybrid and some high-end sports car. At least, that was what it looked like to him.

Nothing remotely human-designed.

There were no words to describe what he was now feeling. Realization was creeping up on him, of what he wasn’t, of what he was.

I…am a robot, Sam thought fuzzily to himself, even as he could hear Bumblebee's offended radio-speak reprimanding him for that offensive statement.

Only...

Bee's not here and this is the past he doesn’t even know me, he realized in horror, I'm not even human anymore and everything is metal and dead and I am alone, oh God, I can't do this! I can't-

A surge of something (blueblue blue ) cut off his thoughts before they could trail into incoherent babbling and his hands - no they're servos now- came up to clutch at his face-plate. His battle mask slid down in an almost instinctual reaction to his rising adrenaline- he didn't have a human body anymore- and he could feel as every function slid from non-combative into battle-ready.

A battle-processor booted up ( ProwlIronhideOptimus ), informing him of open escape routes and detected spark signatures.

It was too much-

His back-plate hit the wall and he slid down to fall on his skidpad as some distant thought remarked that it was a good thing no one seemed to notice him so whatever was happening, an update to his software, a panic attack, whatever , it would happen with some privacy. He was almost grateful.

Right before his processors informed him of an emanate shutdown to prevent damage due to a sudden influx of a massive amount of data. Going by the familiar feel of energy running through him, he was pretty sure he knew what it was, because of course .

Nano-kliks before he crashed, Sam, now named Janus Prime, irritatedly wondered why , when the AllSpark was most assuredly destroyed (by his hand), did it leave pieces of itself everywhere?


 

Sam didn't know how much time passed before he was waking up, but when his optics came online, he registered a tiny face and wide blue optics staring squarely at him. His jaw dropped open in disbelief. A tiny Cybertronian was standing on his chest plate, wide red optics fixated on him. It chirped at him, a wordless question as it cocked his head to the side. A small noise escaped Sam's mouth, or rather intake, as he reached up to prevent the sparkling from falling as he sat up.

It was adorable.

He noticed worriedly that it was remarkably small even compared to his servos, also his (her?) frame was dull and scrapped in several areas. Sam had no idea what a sparkling was supposed to look like, non-Con and healthy, and he certainly had no idea how to take care of one. However, according to the vivid blue glyphs now scrolling across his view…it would appear that he had some help.

Protection-Prime-Sparkling-War- Protection.

Sam flinched at the wave of energy that flexed its invisible hands into his processors. A curse dropped out of his intake, as the sparkling in his han-servos shifted to grip his digits more securely.

Slag it to the Pit, that's the AllSpark and it's in my head.

"Oi! Lookit wha' we've found here!"

Unfortunately, before Sam could get over this bit of information without descending into hysterics, a voice echoed from the opening of his current hiding place. The once-human instinctively turned up his senses, caught the motions and distinct energy field of spark-chambers of several bots. The little one made a fearful whimper and cowered in his palm. Sam was resigned. Of course, it was always him.

"Stay back! "

At the feminine voice tinged with fear, frustration and anger, Sam couldn’t help the swell of indignation at the very familiar tone the owner of the voice was using. When handsy guys wouldn’t leave you alone and take a simple ‘no’ for an answer.

( He wasn’t going to think of Mikaela, wondering if she found her way into Chicago or if she was watching from someplace safe. Wouldn’t think about whether or not she had heard about his death-)

The girl ( femme ) sounded like she was getting ready to smack some sense into some idiots, but the metal-on-metal contact noise that followed was accompanied by a feminine cry of pain. His optics narrowed as he reached for his sword ( he knew this sword as if he had wielded it all his life ), carefully setting the sparkling on his shoulder as he gathered his pedes underneath him. With a twist of his digits, he wrapped them firmly around the hilt ( they settled as if he had done this a thousand times before) and leaned far back enough into the shadows that passing glances should slide right off of him. He made a hushing sound to the child clinging to the grooves between his shoulder and back plate, which, thankfully, was understood.

Just in time as a small ( compared to his vastly large frame) feminine bot moved further into the alleyway, followed swiftly on her heels by five other mechs, who were all taller and stouter than she. While the femme's frame was mostly clean and gleaming with a glittering shine not unlike his own, coupled with a weave of fabric wrapped about her neck, the mechs were dull and dented, obviously worn with several mismatched armor plates. They also carried weapons, blasters and one held some kind of staff that included a ball of visible energy on one end, while the femme was unarmed.

Which, lightstaff. Sam was so going to get him one of those because that obviously belonged in a Star Wars movie.

( He wasn’t going to think about how many thousands of years he was in the past, if he was where he thought he was. There was always hope he was wrong, that he was mistaken...)

Now that they were closer to his hiding position, Sam could see the look on their face...plates, as the mechs continued their advance even as the femme’s frame was bristling defensively. Her optics were frantically scanning the impossibly high walls and the thick shadows she was rapidly approaching, before something like resignation touched her body language. Her focus switched to her opponents, looking for weak points even as Sam had seen the moment she took in her situation and saw the odds stacked against her.

(Sort of like the odds always seemed to be stacked against him and the Autobots)

It was obvious to him, that the mechs were some kind of thugs with weapons training and confidence in their power over the femme, who was both significantly smaller and seemingly untrained, while the femme kept scanning for assistance from another absent bot. The designs on her frame greatly resembled his own, only they were in a much darker blue and were concentrated on her shoulder plate, gauntlets and her arm guard.

Sam diverted his attention and focus on those very familiar lines of blue on her frame. Just like the ones that covered his entire body. He internally sighed and mentally poked the bundle of AllSpark sitting comfortably in his processors.

What did you do?

Not-alone. Future-Servant. Protect .

His vision switched to a rapid download and comprehension of temples, the ranks of priests, priestess, those in training, those in apprenticeship, differences in the two and all the places where a temple stood in correlation to his current location. No matter that robot-him understood it, human-in-the-robot-him needed a minute to comprehend the sudden swell of information. He squinted at the screen. There was a temple not that far away, at least by Cybertronian standards, maybe ten or fifteen miles or so? Or whatever they called their measures of distance.

Still, the situation was appearing to be escalating and whatever aid the femme was looking for was absent and probably wasn’t going to make it in time to avoid injury. Besides the fact the AllSpark wanted him to help, the femme looked pretty young. Not to mention Sam had a rather obvious talent, some might even say gift , for saving alien robots. The fact that he was now magically one of them really didn't change that. So when one of the mechs lunged forward with the lightstaff and the smaller bot went down, throwing her arms up to defend her head, Sam took that at his cue to intervene.

His battle-processor had been idling in the corner of his vision but as he leapt forward, one servo gripping the hilt of his sword, it snapped to the forefront and everything was suddenly in perfect clarity.

( There was nothing to fear, his movements were graceful, each calculated, deliberate and not an instant wasted. It was obvious he knew how to wield this sword with laughable ease.)

Of course, he had a disadvantage, one he quickly rectified by scooping the sparkling still clinging to his back off and gently depositing the little one into the femme's lap.

According to the switch from non-combative functions to his battle-processor and the subroutines for thousands of sword styles that were stored in his- his memory banks, Sam was- or rather Janus Prime- was very familiar with battle. Sam was too, but in the art of dodging, deflecting and using speed and agility to get away , not in the use of a sword to fight any Decepticons. Not that these were Decepticons, not even close to the level of a ‘Con, but the point still stood.

With an ease reminiscent of Optimus Prime himself ( Optimuswasdead-don’tthinkaboutit-) , Sam effectively and efficiently beat down the four followers and decapitated the leader, almost as an afterthought. It wasn’t the first time he killed ( an enemy, what does species matter? Death is death. ) someone, but never with such ease . He reached out a pede and with a grimace twisting his lips ( dermas ), kicked the severed chunk of metal with enough force for it to rocket straight out of his sight. He discreetly snagged the lightstaff and after a second of hesitation, stuffed it into the interdimensional subspace all Transformers had. Which was a weird feeling, but he was keeping that, damn it. He glanced down at the remaining four as he sheathed his weapon on his back and turned to the apprentice priestess who was gaping at him, the little sparkling held protectively against her chest ( spark chambers ).

"Are you alright?"

As this was the first time he had spoken, Sam had not been prepared for his voice. It was not the one he remembered. Deep and firm, commanding with the concern he felt for the femme gentling the tones, it sounded nothing like the voice of Sam Witwicky.  

His voice reminded him of Optimus and a surge of emotion in his chest prevented him from saying any more. Had he still been human he would have tears pricking his eyes and a lump in his throat, he was a robot ( Cybertronian ) now, but the emotion was still the same. He deeply missed the Prime (His Brother-Father-Family, dead now, gone and he was not-) and even if he were to see him again, he would not be the one Sam had grown to care so much for.

His mind ( processors ) lost in memory, he didn’t see the startled awe and astonished reverence paints itself ( projects itself through her energy field ) on the femme’s face( plates ). He also just barely missed the slight glow to his own detailings on his frame, but the femme did not.

The sparkling gave an inquiring chirp, that drew Sam’s attention back to the present, while the femme holding him made a noise that didn't translate into any known language and Sam worried a moment that he would be unable to speak the language, and Dear God (Primus), that was another problem on top of the body transplant that he did not want to have a mental breakdown over later. Thankfully, his fear was unfounded as when a shout from behind them came, it was understandable if impolite. Although, it didn’t relieve him, rather put him on his guard as the hostile tones were unmistakable.

He bent his knees (knee-joints) his fingers ( digits ) wrapping around the sword’s hilt once more as an older, stately femme, taller and decked out in ceremonial battle armor with two… warrior-priests? The information he had received earlier on the staff of the temples informed him warrior-priests wore red accented silver scarves about their necks, and were extensively trained in combat for guarding purposes. They both boasted similar electric staffs ( lightstaffs ) with daggers and probably a blaster or two. Whatever threat they saw in him, going by their increasingly hostile movements and the sharp scrape of metal against metal as they drew their weapons, were quickly stalled by the priestess shoving an arm into their path.

"Enough!"

Her voice boomed into the reduced space, echoing with power and ringing with authority. She took a step forward and ooo , Sam did not like her. That haughtiness packed into her posture and gait rubbed him the wrong way, immediately. It brought Sentinel to mind, and Sam had plenty of issues with that glitched screwdriver.

Sam ran a scan over her, just as she barely did the same to him. She was shorter than him, less armored, but she carried a single sword, although shorter than his. Her plating was a dark blue with shades of an ice-blue trailing down her sides and disappearing into her black plates, while the same familiar detailings were done in bright silver and covered her entire top half. Her optics were white ( not naturally sparked, rather deliberately changed ) and there was a metallic silver shroud around her shoulder plates with a pattern of repeating three dimensional squares.

Before he could continue his perusal of the unknown bot, who was probably the one the younger femme was waiting for, she stepped forward in a practiced, vaguely powerful stride. This one was clearly used to her authority and wielding it, drawing his attention to her face( plate) easily. Confidence sung from her every motion in such self-superiority that it was almost visible.

" You !"

At the audible tones of a beginning accusation in haughty tones, Sam changed his position to a defensive one over the young femme's still prone form, stretching his senses for his sparkling and if the other would make a threatening move. While the priestess herself gave no impression other than severe displeasure and arrogance, the two at her back shifted their weapons, intending on drawing his attention away from their charge.

Sam kept his gaze on the femme, entirely ignoring the two guards flanking her sides.

"You," she repeated, ignoring his towering height and deadly weapon held with ease in an intentionally condescending manner, as if the threat he posed to her was easily ignored because he would yield to her.

( Who did she think she was, talking to him like that? Sam had not yielded to Megatron even as a fragile organic lifeform, he had not broken under the weight of the AllSpark overwhelming his mind. He would not yield to this...this...TRANSFORMER BARBIE! )

"How dare you?! Do you know what you have done? No, you must have, for even if you proclaim your ignorance , your innocence, it will not be accepted!"

Sam totally blanked out.

What. The. Hell.

His confusion must have been visible even through his battle-mask, because the priestess's temper lit up like a supernova. She bristled, her armor moved and plates shifted and flared as she took an obviously meant-to-be intimidating step forward, reaching for her own weapon, which from the beautiful and artistic lines was more of a ceremonial prop than a real sword. Easily breakable. Before she could speak another word, or rather hurl another accusation, the girl ( youngling ) scrambled to her pedes and darted in front of him in a protective stance, his sparkling still cradled in her arms. Sam swiftly moved to a place where he could easily switch places in case the other three got any smart ideas. You never knew with people ( Cybertronians ) like that.

" No! Priestess ( trailings-of-ice-and-dust-in-the-wake-of-celestial-objects ) Icetrail, he is not what you think! He is-"

"Apprentice! Do not interrupt me! This one has trespassed against us and must be dealt with accordingly!"

Newly identified Icetrail turned, a look of displeasure and disdain curling on her dermas, to the little one in the apprentice's arms and Sam registered threat without a second thought. Barely an astro-second later he moved , in an almost unconscious reaction and drew his sword against this Priestess Icetrail’s neck. She would have stumbled back, but Sam anticipated that reaction and reached out, grabbing her chest plate and holding her firmly against the edge of the blade, cutting a sharp look to the guards. They had both drawn blasters, aiming them at him.

He had the advantage though, with a hostage, a valuable hostage so he wasn’t overly concerned. That, right there, with the shadow caused by the femme in his hold, he noticed the light coming from those etchings in his armor and going by the reflection in the highly polished armor in front of him, his optics were gleaming as well. The priestess was significantly shorter than him, barely reaching to his chest( plates ) but that only enabled him to get a good grip on her frame.

He returned his attention the priestess who was vibrating with fury, satisfied that the two wouldn’t be interfering.

" You…. dare ?! "

Her voice was barely a whisper, but Sam ignored her dramatics to open his information download on the priests and priestesses, ranks and such while continuing to stare directly into her optics as he accessed the data. It took barely a nano-klik, but when he comprehended its contents, such as the exact rank he held, he smiled. Which incidentally ignited the femme’s rage into higher heights. Before Icetrail could offer further insight into the perceived slights against her, he shoved her back into the arms of her guard, raising his sword instinctively to block the automatic blaster shots and with a backswing, neatly sliced off the ends of their weapons.

He took a step back, which made the guards pause at the retreat, and laid a protective servo on the shoulder of the youngling, still holding his sparkling in her arms. Going by the sudden comprehension in the guard’s energy field, they were quickly reevaluating the situation. From Sam’s standpoint, Priestess Icetrail threatened his charge and the youngling protecting him. He was obviously a mech of strength and power, his reaction was perfectly normal in that situation. Of course, now that his front was unobscured, the exact detailings he bore were suddenly very visible, especially with the soft blue glow emanating from them.

"As it so happens to be," he spoke with amusement, ignoring the radiating fury Priestess Icetrail and the dawning realization from her two guards, "It is not I who dares, rather you, Priestess . Allow me to demonstrate."

Sam cackled in glee from the safety of his mind as he grasped the AllSpark energy he still carried and directed it to the details which were apparently conductive designs specifically made for only High Priests, High Priestesses, Primes and High Lord-Protectorates. While the symbols were different for each rank, if you had a strong connection to the AllSpark as aforementioned ranks did you got sigils that lit up as the ultimate proof of authority.

So in directing AllSpark energy to the etchings, they lit up like a Christmas tree, bathing the surrounding metal in glittering blue, perfect light for seeing and feeling ( since Cybertronians were apparently empathic and could project emotions ) how almost everyone's entire frame radiated absolute shock. Even the arrogant Priestess. Such things could not be faked, even if their meaning was unknown.

Optimus has sigils on the side of his helm and on his shoulder plates. Megatron had them down his chest plates. In the time that Sam had known both of them, he had only seen Optimus’s marks glow once and that was when he shoved the Matrix of Leadership into the Prime’s spark.

It was a slight miscalculation to the power levels he channeled when the femme at his side jerked back and fell to her knees, her emotions screaming of shock and terrified reverence before she proceed to shut down. Sam let the energy recede and bent down to make sure he hadn’t harmed her, but his attention was quickly drawn away by an exclamation.

"W- what …?!"

The previously bold and confidant femme could barely get the single word out as she took several steps back, in stupefied awe and dawning horror.

The guards, on the other han- servo , recognizing the situation they were in, followed their protocol and quickly dropped to their knees and bowed their heads. Their charge, however, wasn’t as accepting as they were. There was desperation twisting her emotions and she reached once again for her blade, although this time, Sam was less inclined to continue to allow her temper tantrum to potentially endanger his sparkling and the femme that were laid out on the ground at his feet ( pedes ).

It was so simple to reach out and drive his hilt into the priestess’s helm with enough force to render her unconscious. He didn’t bother catching her as she crumpled to the ground. The two by her side didn’t move, didn’t raise a servo in aid to her.

The temple guards were frozen in stillness and when Janus Prime stepped up to loom above them over the fallen form of their charge, for an instant they feared for their lives. Sentinel would have demanded no less. To their relief, he only commanded them to take the priestess and lead him to the Simfur Temple. There was no question of disobedience, after all, going to the temple was the best choice in this situation.

The Prime ordered one to carry Icetrail, and the other, the apprentice while he himself bore the sparkling, perched on his shoulderplates. No matter how odd the sight they made, the Prime ignored all the stares he received on their journey. That the Prime remained in his bi-pede form and forced the temple guards to do the same didn’t strike them as suspicious, they simply obeyed his words.

Still, their thoughts were full of the newly discovered Prime, overflowing with the energy of the AllSpark itself! His sigils, his bearing, the way he spoke as all Primes did, this was undeniable proof of another Prime, of hope for the future!

This information needed to be delivered to Sentinel Prime at the earliest possibility.


 

About halfway to their destination, the youngling woke, understandably startled to find herself in the arms of a temple guard. Her shriek of surprise drew Sam’s attention so he paused for a moment for the femme to make her way to side his again. Although it appeared that her limbs were still unsteady and tripped over her pedes. Sam easily caught her and ignored the vivid embarrassment emanating from her spark. He watched in vague amusement as she immediately began apologizing before identifying herself as ( echoes-of-song-and-soaring-in-freedom-air ) Songbird.

Sam only blinked at the voice-over he heard as he gently set her down and handed her his sparkling (which, come to think of it, was probably a result of that blast of AllSpark right after his panic attack. His sparkling, huh?). The femme, Songbird, automatically took him and they stared into each other’s optics for good ten seconds. She settled him against her chest plates with a quiet happy noise that the sparkling mimicked. Of course, when Songbird then asked for the little one's name, the one thing that came up in Sam’s (still grieving mind) processor was a vivid image of Will Lennox.

"His name is ( one-who-is-determined-and-brave ) Ironwill."

Newly named Ironwill chirped happily and made little grabby motions towards his creator. Songbird quickly hushed him when Janus showed no signs of moving to comply. Also, the fact that Icetrail was waking up and was offended at being handled like a piece of metal and decided to make her opinion very well known- at least until Janus leveled a harsh glare at her.

Icetrail shut up instantly, but she decided that they were moving too slow and thus took the lead at a faster pace with only passing look to her apparent superior. It wasn’t even that long before the roadways opened up into a large square area, walls lined with stalls selling wares and hundreds of Cybertronians milling about. Temple Guards, Priestesses, Priests, their apprentices and trainees were out and about as well, and they were the first to focus on their group.

It didn’t help that both his height and his company drew half of their attention as soon as they cleared the constructions blocking their view of the temple. But Sam applied his much practiced technique of ignoring everyone and keeping his head high, shoulders down, optics forward and the thought of murder at the forefront of his... processors.

Unlike on Earth ( this wasn’t Earth ), this worked instantly and there was a path cleared, wider than Priestess Icetrail had made with her presence alone. She had also slowed her pace, turning around to no doubt, attempt to control his entrance to the temple. Sam ignored that poor attempt of control and strode past her, Songbird keeping up close behind him.

The temple was situated in the middle of square and was enormous, a rectangle shape with slanted sides and set up on an upraised foundation. There were two levels of steps, and the one leading into the temple was framed by doors with bars and thick metal, enough to deter even the strongest of enemies. The Guards were everywhere, each with varying weapons, although most predominantly was a sword, daggers at the waist and blasters in their arms.

Upon reaching the first level of stairs, Sam made sure to show no hesitation in continuing the journey as his every reaction was intensely analyzed and would surely be remembered later on. He acted as if he had walked up these steps before, a thousand times before, as if he was familiar with his surroundings ( he ignored that sensation in the back of his head that looked around with recognition- ). His gait was confident and relaxed, moving up the steps to the second level that put him directly in front of the entrance.

Truly, Optimus had only showed him once, what this structure had looked like before the destruction. Never in his life , did he imagine that he would be here , walking up to the entrance of the Temple of Simfur. It was something Sam never in a thousand vorns imagined he would be doing. It was an impossibility and the only reason he knew about it was because when he destroyed the AllSpark, he couldn’t help but ask Bee about his reaction to it in Hoover Dam. Bumblebee was hesitant to speak, but once he had, he only once mentioned he stood guard over the AllSpark in the temple during Optimus and Megatron's reign.

( You left me no choice, brother. )

He was also beginning to realize that since the AllSpark was here , there was no war (yet) , that would likely mean that he was in the peace period, the Golden Age somewhere in the early or middle years of Optimus, a beloved ally and someone he was proud to call friend and think of as family, and Megatron, a hated enemy whom he had directly caused or led to his death, several times, ruling the planet as friends - as brothers .

Sam was so screwed.

( His spark ached )

Still...it was for Optimus to never have to stand over the body of a mech who had once been his brother, who had murdered people he cared about. Optimus would never have to leave a Cybertron, ruined by a war that was started and continued because of Megatron, his brother.

Sam…had no idea how to set out to accomplish that. But, no sacrifice, no victory, right?

The good ol’ Witwicky family motto.

As he drew nearer to the entrance, he became aware of... sound in the back of his head ( processors ). It was probably the AllSpark, as that was the obvious conclusion, but that didn’t explain the reactions, or lack of, he was, or wasn’t, having. Oh he could still feel that nigh overwhelming grief- Optimus, Ironhide, everyone- Earth was gone , wasn’t even there . He could feel all the emotion associated with that, but it was... old. Tired and worn out, like he had lived with it, endured it and oh , it would never stop hurting, but he could be , even with the pain.

It scared him. That other (alien) part of himself ( whatifitwasOptimusMegatronSentinel?) that he could hear, that reacted as he did. Had he still been human ( he wasn’t human anymore ) he would have been shaking and babbling incoherently, unable to process or comprehend his situation, much less take in new information and act on it.

So he put it aside, like he did with the AllSpark ( it never left , even now it’s still there ), and the Matrix of Leadership ( it is not found , it is earned , it is there now, safely hidden away in your spark, quiet until you call upon it ), with the Primes and life and death, and all the other stuff he didn’t think about. He boxed it up and put it somewhere else. He needed a lot of what he put into that box, but it was easy to separate it now that he had the processing power for it.

Human-who-is-Sam.

Cybertronian-who-is-Janus-Prime. ( Welcome to the ranks of Prime- )

He could live with that. ( He didn’t have a choice. )

"Sentinel Prime, your Excellency! High Lord Protector Megatron! Optimus Prime! There is an urgent matter that requires your attention!"

On second thought, as he ascended into the temple, passing under the supports of the entrance and striding straight into a gathering of future Autobots ( I would like to stay with the boy- Boy, you returned for me- ) and Decepticons ( Sam, I’m going to kill you, slowly, painfully, but first- We must have the brain on the table! ). Having Sam, who-is-Janus, and Janus, who-is-Prime, while not actually being human-Sam, was probably a good thing. Janus was calm and in control, he wasn’t moved unless he allowed it and Sam? Sam was an ordinary human ( not anymore, you never were) and if Sam had been in control, standing in his place, he would have offlined instantly as every gaze turned towards him. He suppressed the fear that swelled up in his spark. He could do this, he had seen Optimus do it countless times.

( You are a soldier now)

He could do this. He’d done it before- never willingly (not until it was ) when he’d been put on the spot. When fate had called on him, made him choose where no one else could or would .

When he had been surrounded by screaming bleeding dying people in Mission City, when he had stared up at the optics of one who had saved him, and the insanity of one who would have seen him dead. When he had been asked to kill a friend the first time ( -put the cube in my chest- ) and he had made one of his first battlefield choices, because he would not- could not- see Optimus dead. And when the time had come that he had stood alone, in a tomb, staring at a pile of dust while his family waited for him to come out with a Matrix he had not yet earned.

When hope had died, smothered and crushed, when leaders had turned on him, had gone to the Well before their time, when he had been the only one left .

Just as it was now, when hope seems gone, and yet somehow, someway , here he stood, in a time long past alone in a crowded room with opportunities stretching before him, if only he had the strength of will to reach for them-

( The strength to answer Fate’s Call one more time, for what else could this be? )

( blueblue blue )

The AllSpark began to Sing, such a sound of joy, triumph, of happiness and of sorrow, tragedy and longing . The Song in his processors was echoed by the one flowing in the middle of the sanctuary, Singing of curiosity, of anticipation and of welcome.

Sam- Janus - could feel a tug , right in his spark, where the Matrix of Leadership rested, pulling it strongly towards the large Cube rotating on a corner nearest to the back of the room. There were cuts in the wall, leading into hallways, stairs lining the far wall and there were too many exits , too many places for people to come and go.

Janus didn’t like this position, did like how everyone’s attention was fixated firmly on them ( a flash of yellow and black in there corner of his optic- ), but he couldn’t ignore the pull.

This is all your fault.

You-Who-Are-Prime.

Save-Them.

Chapter Text

TIME MEASUREMENTS:

Astrosecond: .5 seconds

Nano-klik: 1 second

Klik: 1 minute

Breem: 8 minutes

Cycle: 1 hour 15minutes

Solar-Cycle: One day (20 hours)

Lunar-Cycle: One night (20 hours)

Deca-cycle: 4 weeks (one month)

Mega-cycle: 96 hours (four days)

Meta-cycle: 12 months (one year)

Stellar Cycle: 6 months

Vorn: 83 years

Mega-vorn: 83,000 years (1000 vorns)

60 mega-vorns: 4,980,000 years


 

Despite the plea ( command ) for him to help ( SaveThem), Sam didn't quite know how he was going to accomplish that. He barely knew the starting point of the war. It hurt for the Autobots to talk about it and beyond a handful of brief mentions of certain points of history or what position or job someone once had, there wasn’t much information to go on. But, considering the outcome of most of his efforts to save lives and his planet he probably had a good chance. Especially with the added boost of knowledge, however limited, from the future and the ever helpful presence of the AllSpark in his head.

( Janus would die before he let Cybertron fall into ruin and destruction.)

Not that all of his worries stemmed from his lack of a solid plan on how he was going to 'save them', as he had a child to care for, introductions to once friends ( family ), enemies ( not-enemies ) to pretend not to know and that filthy-retro rat burnout traitor who was marching towards him with a scowl marring his faceplates and a heavy disapproval radiating from his frame as a cape in vibrant blue flowed from his shoulder-plates.

Huh, actually that's very interesting. Emotions, rather than being solely read by body language and facial expressions seem to be expressed through an energy field that is generated by one’s spark. The knowledge comes instinctual and is not a something I need to learn since apparently I am already doing it. Which is why the priestess went postal when I didn't understand her accusation.

There was an inquiring chirp from Ironwill, followed by a whisper soft ‘hush’ from Songbird, right before there was a nudge from the AllSpark in his head, directing his attention to some gathering of energy...?

Oh . Oh.

That's what Bee meant when he said there was a bond that could not be broken between the two of us…

Apparently there was a mental connection formed by spark energy between family…brothers and sisters, parents and children, spouses. Though Bee did once mention that forming a bond could also happen between friends who had a deep connection to each other.

( You held enough energy as a human to form a bond)

Any other investigations into mental connections would have to wait until further notice, as Sentinel reached the point of maximum impact, standing before him in all his glory, the old Prime’s ( calling him a ‘Prime’ is an insult to Optimus- ) optics roaming over his frame, his disapproval bleeding into anger. Sam couldn’t help the swell of vicious happiness to see that although his own frame was a fraction smaller bulk-wise, having been designed for speed and agility rather than strength, he stood taller than Sentinel. He was among the tallest in the room, right down from Optimus and Megatron .

Optimus and Megatron who were but a few steps behind Sentinel. Optimus who was so much younger with less armor and a matching cloak of blue with Megatron standing protectively at his back, looking just as intimidating framed by another cloak, this one of blood red. It matched his optics.

Dear Primus . He wasn't ready for this! They were right there!  

Now was not the time for that so Sam focused his attention on Sentinel and buried the very compelling urge to rip his head off and punt it into space. Or go for some poetic justice and use the same blaster he did to shoot him in the spark? ( Just like he did to Ironhide- ) Going by the startled warble from Ironwill, the emotions he was experiencing were felt by his sparkling. A helpful pop-up informed him that his bond was ‘open’ and thus allowed emotions and thoughts to freely flow between the two of them.

He imagined an open door and carefully swung it back until it was a third of the way open. Then, he focused on his emotions and bundled up a bit of the protectiveness, creeping fondness and a bit of his concern for Ironwill’s safety and gently lobbed it through the partially open door.

Point for Sam at learning how to ‘open’ and ‘close’ the mental pathways he had with bonded people! It worked and Ironwill settled down into Songbird's arms with a happy noise. Unfortunately, that instant drew Sentinel's attention to Songbird and Ironwill. Which, Sam didn’t approve of in the slightest. Sam easily stepped aside and allowed the other part of himself to fill the forefront of his processors. Janus immediately stepped up and sideways, blocking the apprentice and his sparkling from view.

"My apologies," Janus spoke, his voice velvet-covered but hard and not apologetic in the slightest as the barest hint of warning entered into his tone, "I was unaware my kind required permission to go where I pleased. Might I question as to the purpose for your presence in my path?”

Which vaguely translated to, I’m higher in rank then you are, what do you think you’re doing blocking my way? Move and show some respect, you useless screwdriver.

Or, at least, he hoped that was what people got from that.

He couldn’t really tell though, as at his reaction to Sentinel with obvious edges of hostility, most Cybertronians moved to a defensive stance, shifting so their weapons were in plain view. Both a non-verbal threat, and an implied warning to behave.

Sam couldn’t quite help the flare of hurt that welled up as even Optimus looked to be on his guard.

It was highly likely everyone in the temple sanctuary knew every lifeform gathered here, while Janus was an unknown who had made a rather dramatic entrance, implied an insult to their Prime and appeared to be perfectly willing to throw down over a simple look. Regardless if he knew most of them, some better than others, to them he was a nobody who they had never seen before. A powerful unknown who wasn't concerned in the least with being surrounded and outnumbered by many of the strongest fighters on Cybertron, not to mention their leaders. One who didn't gape and stare in awe and reverence at the AllSpark, or at the extremely well known mechs in front of him.

Considering that Sam was at best, irrationally angry and upset at not being recognized and equally grateful that he wasn’t and at the worst, irritated and vaguely infuriated in his feelings towards the Cube, all his other experience with Cybertronians and Cybertronian-related incidents basically ensured he wasn't going to be impressed by much.

( Time travel, followed by possessing the mashup frame of Optimus, Sentinel and Megatron, his greatest friend, the betrayer, and his greatest enemy, only to wake up on Cybertron and ending with a sparkling in his care. Probably made with the leftover parts... )

( Bumblebee was the last sparkling to survive- )

( -Megatron ripped out his vocal cords when he refused to speak- )

So Sam wasn’t going to freak out and at this moment in time, there was nothing that could top his already entirely impossible and unpleasantly hectic day. Not even the sudden prominent appearance of two familiar ( so familiar it hurt) mechs, one who sported a very familiar pair of cannons, with red optics and a matching scarf about his neck cables and the other who stood right by his side, someone he had only known through stories and a brief introduction.

(- his funeral )

Ironhide and Jazz.

Sam was going to be eternally grateful to the AllSpark ( once he got over his issues with the Cube ) for making his processing power so great because he could hold entire conversations in his head and make observations all within the space of nano-kliks. But, everyone could do that, so a pause and lack of focus, however brief, was easily noticed. He was startled though, by the sheer level of sound that registered in his audio receptors when he returned his focus to Sentinel.

" You dare?! You who defile our ways, our most sacred traditions and stand there without any sense of guilt or shame, with no respect towards your Prime?! You have not fooled anyone of us! Your appearance claims you to be an Elite, while you claim yourself a Prime ! I will not tolerate this! "

Whoa, he's almost frothing at the mouth ( intake). He must’ve picked up on that insult for sure. ( Good. )

Sentinel's whole frame twitched and his face twisted in disdain. Obviously the self-righteous, apathetic control the Sentinel of Sam’s past was not quite the same as his personality on Cybertron, with no threat to his authority.

Janus didn't move, only sighed internally and made a mental note to gain better control of projecting his emotions. It was a fifty-fifty chance he would either keep everything inside, or broadcast it to anyone listening. He was happy to note, that although the angered mech was perfectly content to skewer him right then and there, there was hesitance in his movements and Optimus took advantage of that, stepping up to insert himself into their space, with Megatron right on his heel, bristling protectively.

"Sentinel!"

There was a rebuke in the Prime's harmonics, but also a plea. Optimus deferred to the other Prime ( he didn’t deserve the title ) and going by Megatron's subtle shifting…he disapproved. Well, both Janus and Sam disapproved too, rather strongly at that. Perhaps, he already had an ally in booting Sentinel out of power…?

"You should listen to Cybertron’s leader, ah, Sentinel , was it?"

Oh , the expression on the mech’s faceplates and the sheer outrage radiating from his frame was brilliant , truly, it was the little things that helped his deal with his situation. He couldn’t be certain, but there was a ringing... description for lack of a better word that usually accompanied names. Like, the name held meaning and depth . There was nothing of that when Janus spoke his name. That had to burn. Not only that, but professing ignorance of Sentinel as a Prime, however unworthy he was to that title, and knowing exactly who Optimus was, even naming him Cybertron’s leader.

Janus didn’t leave time for the other speak, keeping his tone perfectly even and calm as opposed to Sentinel’s rising fury as he spoke smoothly over his protests.

“You are still blocking my way, and since you don’t seem to show any inclination to move , I’ll dispense with the formalities.”

Disregarding the immediate objections, some vocal ( Optimus, Sentinel ), some physical ( random pretentious bot, several random guard bots ), easily avoiding them as well as the obstacles in his path with an ease and grace he once likened to Optimus ( who attempting to calm Sentinel down, with partial success ), Janus strode powerfully into the midst of semi-hostile bots to draw nearer to the AllSpark.

( blueblue blue )

He was barely in reaching distance when he stopped, almost instinctively. He could feel a presence behind him, not hostile, but sharpened with intent . He shifted his helm to look over his shoulder, right into the blazing, narrowed silver optics of Bumblebee. Only he showed no sign of recognition only a hardened face of determination with a blaster aimed at his spark from behind.

It was like the saving-the-world thing. Logically, he knew there was no reason and it was impossible for his best friend ( his brother through all of it ) to have recognized him, but a part of him had still hoped. That part quickly died a swift and painful death and he couldn't quite stop the flare of grief ( it wasn’t his Bumblebee - ) before desperately switching his attention back to the object in front of him.

A part of him was glad that Bee’s optics were the silver of Temple Bots and not Autobot Blue. If they had been that familiar blue when he looked at Sam like that, he very well may have broken right there. Also that most of the bots in here wore scarves, capes or cloak or even a variation. Metallic fabrics in reds, silvers, golds with accents mostly in the lightest shade of blue, to which was apparent a formal sign of statues and rank.

Reds for military, blues for Primes, with Priests and Priestesses being allowed blue accents and silver for bots who served at the temple mostly crossed with reds as they were guards, trained for combat. There were other colors, purple, gold, green and variations of those to identify status, job-type and the like.

Still, it helped with the separation of the bots here with the ones from his memory. They were not his and it was safer to think that way.  

Of course, Bumblebee ( so bright and so observant ) had hesitated at the slip of emotion that slipped so Janus quickly took advantage of that and poised a question that would make Bee stop, and think.

"Can you not hear it Sing?"

The yellow bot was a Sensitive, from what Sam was told as a human, but it was never something that he had really understood. Nothing like now, where Janus could hear it . Like when it was in his (organic) head, but so much more .

One of the reasons why Bumblebee was always chosen for the temple guard, and it was something of an open secret among the others who stood watch, but it wasn’t known publicly. So an unknown bot marching into the temple with the AllSpark, one who carried the designs of both a High Priest and of a Prime all over his frame and who asked the one bot who was a Sensitive, a strong one, if he could hear the Cube singing ?

Bee was a smart bot, smarter than many gave him credit for considering his age, but he understood things most other missed. It was what made him a good scout and what made him one of the most relatable to humans. So Janus knew in that moment, with whatever emotion Bee could read from him, that he was going to let him pass. So Janus was not surprised when he lowered his blaster, albeit slowly and without change to his facial expression, and took a meaningful step back.

He wondered if Sentinel would have kept his attention on him, or if he would have turned his rage to Bumblebee, but he would never know as the next series of events effectively grabbed everyone's absolute and undivided attention and held it .

A single servo was placed on the surface of the AllSpark, with no reverence, no care, no mention of Primus, of permission . There was no statement of identify, no grand declaration nor even a mention of a righteous cause. Nothing but this tall, beautiful and entirely suspicious mech appearing out of nowhere with a sparkling, an apprentice looking at him as if he was Primus himself, a temple priestess who angrily gestured but kept silent and two temple guards who treated him as if he was exactly who he claimed he was.

Any doubt was erased in the very instant living metal connected with the AllSpark. That was all it took before the present and future energies were united as one in a brilliant and vibrant display of blue lightning arcing up to the ceiling, flinging out Its’ energy far and wide, ghosting over mechs and femmes alike. The unmistakable presence of a deep and immeasurable energy brushed against every spark field in the temple, to some a warning, to other, a reassurance.

To Janus, it felt pleasant across his body, like cool water caressing his skin on a hot day. The glowing lines and glyphs across his face and helm, down his shoulder plates, arms, hands, back, torso and his legs lit up with an almost blinding light, throwing his frame into sharp relief and everyone behind him in shadows. Even his sword sheathed in between his shoulder plates was etched in AllSpark energy and he showed no sign of discomfort.

In the revenant, astonished and terrible silence behind him, his words were clearly heard, echoing softly in the spacious chamber.

"I am sorry ," the mech whispered with a great and terrible sorrow ringing in his tones, "I don’t regret it, I refuse , no matter that my efforts were in vain, but it was never my intention…”

The mech paused for a moment before continuing, as if the AllSpark was speaking .

“It has been a while since then, has it not? So much has changed, what has happened, what I did not know and what will come."

To hundreds of optics, this was like nothing they could understand, no words could be voiced, there was nothing that could be said or done, because something like this had never been seen in known history. So they listened and wondered and waited. To them, it wasn’t long, but to Janus, to Sam, it was a lifetime.

On making contact, he wasn’t exactly sure what he expected to happen, but when the energy he carried from so far into the future, with all of its’ records of death, ruin and destruction, merged with the present day AllSpark, he could see it all. The presence in his mind deepened and he could hear two distinct voices Singing in harmony, one in joy at a second chance to be had, one at a hopeless future that would have happened had it not been for Primus' intervention.

For a moment, klik , Sam is almost overwhelmed with it. There is so much and for an instant he is part of it, he can feel the turn of the Universe, can feel the pull on his spark from the AllSpark, can sense the vastness of what the AllSpark could do, what it knows, and all of it is him and yet he is separate and cherished by it all the same.

And then the moment passes, and yet remains frozen in time, as he shares his future with the past, and the combined AllSpark shares knowledge with him in turn.

Fourteen standing proudly together (one always apart), overlooking a young race-

One, the first, the eldest, meeting a femme. She is dark, twisted in a way he is not (yet)--

Corruption, spreading like poison, corroding the spark until it is a dark and twisted thing-- The Eldest, the Betrayer, forever known as The Fallen- Megatronus, brother, what have you done?-

The femme, laughing and tugging on strings like a puppet-master sure of her power, of her choices--

And behind her, a greater darkness, the darkness, pulling on strings of its own, the femme unknowing of the true master of the game--

And Sam sees it as it happens again and again ,--

-- the femme laughing, her hand guided by a greater darkness, the two in harmony, as they tug on strings--

All the Universe is a stage, the looming shadows shoving players into unknowing roles--

Megatron fighting, always fighting until there is nothing but the Fallen left in him--A husk of a once great Protector left to fight as he is bid, no true will of his own (brokenly screaming in what was left of his sanity)--

There is horror and shock as Sam finally sees it all laid out in front of him, finally sees The Fallen who corrupted Megatron from the fierce Lord High Protector, the brother , that stood at Optimus’ side now, into the one that he had met on Earth ( the one that did not hesitate to drive his sword into Optimus’s spark and laugh).

And the odds are overwhelming and almost painful in their intensity...but they have always been so for Sam.

This was nothing new, nothing he had not done before. Right from the start, from the moment the Cybertronians entered his life ( Satan’s camaro, he once called Bee ) and he cannot , he will not , fail them because Sam... Sam is --

Sam-Janus. Old-New. Ancient-Child.

A wildcard, he can see the strings, has the knowledge to cut them --

-he will not break, cannot fail here. He will change it all.

There is a new player in this game--

The Fallen had started this war, used good cybertronians (- brother ) to do it, had destroyed their home, their faith, their sense of safety and peace. Had led his once-family into a war that stretched lifetimes of planets in time. Had destroyed bonds and families.  

It was... horrifying to see the causes laid out like this for his view. To see how much the corruption of The Fallen had spread, how badly it had affected everything around him. To see the difference in the Cybertronians of now when compared to the Decepticons of then , to see the ripple of that corruption and the tsunamis that had followed in its wake when he stood here, before the pebble had been thrown, the die cast.

And as the tide slowed, the knowledge, the information reducing to a trickle until halting completely, a wordless query pinged against his processors, bringing an image of a Fallen-possessed Megatron , so far gone that even after the removal of the once great Prime’s presence, there was no recovering the once Lord High Protector.

Sam couldn’t believe what he was witnessing. It wasn’t Megatron who began the war, it was the Fallen who corrupted Megatron, the Megatron currently protecting Optimus with the same intensity the mech he knew had once hunted him down and killed him ( You’re so weak ) . The reason why all the Decepticons were insane, save for the ones who had spent centuries on Earth, was because one of the Original Thirteen ( fourteen ) Primes, a founder of the Dynasty of Primes, had corrupted all of them.

The Allspark nudges against his processor, a rebuke and a sense of ‘pay attention’ flooding over him as more memories are brought forth.

A bright young femme, so small compared to the rest of them. She is driven, wants a place of power even as a new creation, working to place herself in higher standing even amongst her own group.

She has not yet seen the abyss, but she is edging closer to it, tiptoeing into shadows, so very curious about what lurks just out of sight in the darkness. She wonders if she can find more there, just around the corner.

And her driving need for more pulls attention to her, a darkness of corruption hidden behind cruel kindness offering her a servo, offering knowledge, offering her everything she wanted.

Janus- Sam- watches in horror as this small femme, already so dark on her own is led into pitch black, guided by the abyss itself. He watches any kindness she may have had bleed away, watches as she learns of things like torture and corruption and brainwashing . How to ensure cooperation with the right words, the careful distractions to bend a mind to her will. Sam looks at her, she who finds The Fallen, so full of rage and willing to follow her as she guides him further into night, and suddenly he can see the madness that had taken Megatron shining in her optics.

The AllSpark brushes an intense query against him and even past his horror at the new knowledge, even with some of the confusion that lingers- he knows the AllSpark will not hand him answers on a silver platter. Regardless of his intentions, he is still the being that shoved the Cube into the corrupted spark of its’ once defender and he does not regret that. He will always have to work for the answers, the explanations- but even so, he cannot help his swift response as the AllSpark stills the images once again, frozen still on the Fallen.

( Die, like your brothers!

They were your brothers too! )

He who had caused so much of the pain in his past. In their past, the one that will forever remain in their memories, never to be forgotten lest it come to pass.

Janus forcibly calmed himself, his dermas pulling up at the corners in a bared grin, and he didn't even try to hold back the overwhelming feelings of determination ( he will fix this), happiness ( he has a chance to fix this ) and a fury that gave the gathered mechs pause, prompting an instinctual reaction to move away from the unknown mech.  It was his reply to the question only three could hear that had them following that reaction though.

“I will find him, I will find her . But when I lay my hands on him , he will scream until his vocal cords cease to function, I will disassemble his every part, rip into his frame, and melt everything of him down to use as decorative ornaments. I will sift through every memory he holds until he breaks and shatters ."

Every frame tensed, and every spark felt a thrill of fear creep in. Death would be a mercy compared to what horrors this Prime was speaking so casually of! There was a brief silence heightened by the horror and fear crackling through the air before Janus finished his threatening promise.

“When I find her, when I allow her to die, when they are both dust, only then will I return their sparks to Primus, to the Others, and they will judge them both and decide their eternal punishment. They will not return, not when the stars burn out, nor even at the command of Unicron himself , should he or she wake from their slumber. Not while I stand to stop them. This, I swear.”

There was an obvious dimming of the energy, as the lighting briefly faded before it brightened and resumed the display of power. It was an all encompassing sadness that swelled from the AllSpark, sending some bots to their knees at the intensity. The Cube Sang a mourning wail at the knowledge that not only one, but two of Primus’ first beloved creations would be denied the peace and rest of the Well of AllSparks, that they would only see his Creator long enough for Judgement, but the Fallen and the femme had sealed their own fates with their willing actions.

Nothing could be done for one who had made their choices, and had willingly allowed their sparks to be corroded and withered into a husk of the bright stars they once-maybe-could-have-been. Nothing of the brilliance of Primus’s first children remained in either the mech or the femme. It was all cast aside for the lure of power and neither held any regrets.

No mercy would be shown to the Fallen, no Song of his would be remembered and Justice would be delivered. The threads and manipulations of the femme would be broken and burt. Their actions would no longer go unchallenged. (For a Champion had stepped forward, made aware of the spider’s web he trod upon, and intent on luring out the spiders that called it home)

The Fallen could not be allowed to rise, either in Megatron or on Earth as he had in the Time Before. The femme would not be allowed to do as she pleased, reaping destruction and sowing chaos. Their actions had sealed their fate and there would be no turning back from this decided course of action.

Janus shuttered his optics in a confusing blend of vicious satisfaction and hollow comfort, grateful that the AllSpark shared his contradictory emotions.

A small nudge of curiosity towards both his little sparkling and the femme carrying him manifested in his processors, drawing him out of his thoughts. The Space Bridge had torn apart three mechs and one human, but the size and weight of the leftover scrap would be enough to make a sparkling, but...something didn’t feel quite right about that though. There was a brief scrawl of gilfs across his screen which only vaguely mentioned the fulfillment of an acknowledged promise which left Sam conflicted.

Not that he was angry or disappointed or anything but vaguely worried and tentatively happy about the sparkling, (there was a hysterical thought in the back of his head (processor) that said his mother would be thrilled with the idea of a grandchild even as yet another that mourned that Mikela would never be the one help him gift his mother with grandbabies as she had so often teased them about) but he was still trying to adjust to being a Cybertronian in a mish-mashed frame made up of his greatest ally, his feared enemy and the hated betrayer.

( He looked into a mirror and saw Optimus staring back- )

A quirk in his expression brought a smile and he turned on his heel. The expressions everyone would make would be vastly amusing and he did owe the Cube an introduction, no matter Its’ part in Ironwill’s creation. Besides, Songbird was standing under the entrance gates, still cradling his sparkling in her grasp. She neither fell to her knees, nor cowered under the awesome power displayed by the AllSpark, rather made sure of Ironwill’s wellbeing. She was going to be a great help with raising him, as Janus had zero idea how to raise a sparkling.

Ignoring the heavy weight of the multitudes of optics staring in terror, horrified awe and even reverence, save for a bare handful, who were controlled and waiting to see the outcome of his actions, he reached out and beckoned her forward.

"Songbird, come. I would introduce you and the sparkling," he says, wondering at the hesitance in him to name his child in the midsts of these priests and priestesses, in this gathering of strangers.

( I am Optimus Prime- )

Despite the terror that surged through her spark, felt so clearly by Janus, it only took her a moment to take the first step towards him. He was proud of this femme he had known for such a short time, willingly placing her trust in him even as the AllSpark’s light show slowly wound down behind him. However, that courage was interrupted by an enraged shout.

"I am (one-who-is-to-watch-and-lead) Sentinel Prime and I demand answers! Never in mega-vorns has any Sensitive of your power stepped forward! Not when the AllSpark was lost, not when war ravaged Cybertron, yet now?! Now? When Cybertron has no need for you?!"

The suffocating rage was keenly felt as remembered loss filtered through processors and the agony of an empty temple caused a hitch in the motions of the priests and priestess and the few Sensitives' in the room, Bumblebee included. Janus inwardly congratulated that glitched-spawned aft at his instant tide-turning dramatics. Instead of this being Sentinel’s fault for missing the presence of a Prime still brimming with power, it was now Janus’ fault for hiding himself away. He inwardly sighed, of course the mech had so much more experience in politics than he. But maybe the mech would provide an opening all on his own? That amount of arrogance usually lead to mistakes-

Sentinel whirled around, striding forward with purpose and stretched out a limb to take hold of-

Songbird. Ironwill.

" Don’t you dare. I will not stand for your groundless accusations ."

The words rolled like thunder, halting the movements of Sentinel and the priests and priestesses who had only just gathered themselves enough to stand, froze at the surge of life-energy unique to a Prime, and immediately fell to their faces and prostrated themselves. All optics turned to the still unidentified mech now shining with an inner light and powers flowing visibly through him, as he stepped away from the AllSpark. His gaze was riveted on the old Prime, who discreetly lowered his arm, drawing himself up in self-righteousness while cloaking his form with remembered power and once earned dignity.

"You say my words are false, yet you do not even do us the courtesy of your designation! I have spoken nothing but truth! It is you who are in suspicion!"

Truthfully, Janus could say that if this confrontation ended in his favor, he would have his vengeance against Sentinel sooner than expected.


 

Megatron could not help narrowing red optics, leaning closer to his brother, who was staring in bewilderment and no little anger in his own blue optics at his former teacher. While Megatron distrusted and disliked the aged Prime, there was a grudging respect for his victories and his accomplishments that enabled him to stand him, for Optimus’s sake.

That he was acting in such a manner to a mech who bore the sigils for a Prime, demonstrated an understanding of the AllSpark exceeding anything anyone had ever heard of, before apologizing to the Cube and swearing an oath to offline a bot in one of the worst ways possible- an oath that was not rejected- was unthinkable! Sentinel was escalating the situation, mocking and challenging the mech, who was at the very least, a gifted Sensitive to the point where he was glowing with Spark! Glowing so strongly without the aid of the AllSpark, as he had just been doing.

This was so far out of Megatron’s experiences it wasn’t even remotely amusing. He’s a former Gladiator, for Pit’s sake. What on Cybertron was he supposed to do in this situation?

Optimus couldn’t even joke about his limited political experience, because they were in the same situation.

Nevertheless, Megatron did what he knew to do, because if this mech turned hostile, or reacted to someone else’s hostility, Megatron would likely be the one to put a stop to it.  

So he had been keeping track of everyone's movements and most had moved to line the walls, silent and vigilant to any sudden changes to the Prime ( could he be anything other than a Prime? ) and to the AllSpark. Megatron was mostly certain that the Cube was finished with it’s impressive display for power, but he figured it was better to keep an optic on it, just in case.

( flitting-freely-from-place-to-place ) Bumblebee as the last known sparked Sensitive and also the strongest one currently alive, had granted and allowed access to the AllSpark by stepping aside for the unknown and that was significant. None save him heard the words the unidentified mech had spoken, but there was potential for a way into his good graces going by how his spark had flared in old grief at the sight of the youngling.

If it came down to a fight, Megatron was cautiously optimistic that the mech would not go after Bumblebee.

And going by the ever increasing rage/fury/how-dare-he pulsing from Sentinel’s field, the old Prime wasn’t averse to getting physical.

Megatron could not help his own anger at Sentinel’s actions.

There were possibilities here he could not see but Megatron knew deep in his spark, that something had changed and shifted and all of a sudden, it was as if a light had shown up from Primus below. His very spark was pulsing with it- the potential of this one thing , this one moment. It was baffling and confusing, but that stubborn misclocked glitch was ruining it. Sentinel was defensive and hostile and there was no reason to be! He shot a quick glance at ( strength-that-will-fight-to-protect-those-behind ) Ironhide and sent a ping for his attention down their established link. It was swiftly granted and Megatron sharply pressed his need for Sentinel to be contained or reasoned with before the other taller and obviously powerful mech took things into his own servos. Which would put Optimus in a position that, frankly, Megatron never wanted to see him in.

There was a grudging approval and agreement but also a loss at what exactly he was supposed to do about it, especially when this problem was a Prime that Ironhide had served under for many vorns. The underlying retort was that Megatron was the Lord High Protector of their Prime and the co-ruler of Cybertron and thus he should do something, as Sentinel was his responsibility.

Before either had a chance to act to prevent further issues…the Sensitive, or rather the probable-Prime took care of the issue himself.


 

Bumblebee was the youngest worker at the temple. He had passed most of the tests and requirements and he was placed in a very prestigious position. There was some resentment, of an inexperienced youngling being placed in such a role, but he was needed. His type of gift was different than those of the priests and priestesses, those who held the Gift to tend and care for the AllSpark, to sense its’ location from only a short distance. Although it wasn’t common for most bots to be sparked with it, there was still a good number who were. His talent, however, was much more rare.

His gift was of communication and when he grew older- and thus more experienced, when he had better understanding of his limits and abilities, when his processors and storage capacity could handle the sheer vastness of that information without overloading and destroying his processors - he would receive some of the lost history contained in the Cube. It would be many vorns before that day arrived, but it was still an open secret at the temple itself, and afforded both allies and resentful enemies to Bumblebee that he may not have otherwise had.

It was unspoken, but every bot on Cybertron knew , the AllSpark may give life and was a blessing from Primus himself…but the amount of power it contained was dangerous and to treat the Cube as anything other than something sacred and precious was insanity. Only those who had earned the title of Priest or Priestess were allowed within a certain radius and fewer than that were allowed to guard it. High Priests were equal to Primes, but only in the temple. There was an issue with ( one-who-will-fight-to-defend-favorable-outcomes ) Optimus being a real Prime, even though he bore the name and a familiar glyph on his helm that were also carved into the tombs of previous Primes.

He was declared by the ruling council of Cybertron, Sentinel Prime himself had mentored the mech as Optimus, while in his youth as Orion Pax, he was raised by Alpha Trion, the greatest historian of Cybertron.

It wasn't mentioned outside of the Temple, but most of the Elder Priests insisted on treating him as an accepted and Declared Prime, even if Sentinel officially was understanding, but disappointed and unofficially disapproved of the honor. While it would make a difference in the long run, so far Optimus being an apprentice of Alpha Trion and the student of Sentinel was enough for the moment. Though everyone had wondered what possessed the mech to take on a student whose status was in question? It was a question the Prime had never answered, but many were glad for his actions, however questionable.

But as Bumblebee watched the events unfold around him with wide silver optics… he could not help but feel … that there was something balanced on the edge of a precipice, something that would change history and the future for eons to come. He could feel it so strongly it felt like there was a servo placed on his back plating, not exactly a push, but a steady pressure that urged him to wait for it .

As with all of the astonishing and impossible things that had happened in the last cycle, that moment was heralded by the new arrival.  ‘ It ’ came from the mouth of the still lit up mech who disliked Sentinel as much as Megatron did, only there was none of that grudging respect to temper it.

Bumblebee could only listen to the Song as it began to Sing of change as the events unfolded around him.


 

Jazz was a noble, as anyone could tell from a look, he being a mech with gold optics, shiney, expensive paint and a customized frame. As one of the Elite, an Alpha-class mech, his clan of privileged, politically powerful and influential femmes and mechs could be traced back numerous generations, all the way back to the lost history to the time when Primes still wandered with their Clans. It was only one of the many reasons why he chose to follow Optimus as a Prime, despite his ordinary beginnings and the uncertainty regarding his title.

There was something about the mech that called to him, appealed to his senses, even in the relatively short time he had known him before his promotion. He had stood beside a mech he had barely known as Orion Pax, when he had suddenly decided to head to Kaon, to the Gladiator Pits to see the City’s Champion fight to the death against eight other mechs.

Even Orion didn’t know why it was that fight, or why it was so important that he attend, but the archivists’ intuition was something Jazz put a lot of faith in. So he naturally volunteered to go with the mech. Of course, when Prowl had decided to come along, (to Jazz’s sympathetic understanding, the Enforcer was still desperately searching for his brother), everyone else jumped in, saying that there was no way Orion Pax was going to go to Kaon, to the Gladiator Pits without them.

That was how all of Orion’s friends had gotten together, one of the best healers on Cybertron, a decorated military officer turned trainer, a Praxian Enforcer and Jazz himself, a member of one of the most rich and powerful nobles on Cybertron.

Still, there was no way Jazz could not go. Everything he could feel surrounding Orion Pax, everything was pointing to the fact that this mech deserved Jazz’s loyalty.

He wasn't especially concerned with why, as there were many stories told by his Sire and his Carrier and their Sires and Carriers about how their kind of gift lead to those who were worthy. Some of Jazz’s favorite stories were of the Alpha Primes who roamed Cybertron in the Wandering Days. The fact that he held a Gift of patterns and movements that told him Orion was something special, might have influenced his decision mostly. His Gift was known only to his sire, his carrier and a handful of others.

It wasn't very much of a secret, more of an unspoken fact between him, Lord Megatron and Optimus Prime, plus a few of his closest friends. They all knew if he named his gift, it would restrict his freedom of movement and life and he would be suggested to take a permanent place at the temple. It was Sentinel's point of pride to gather those blessed by Primus with Gifts in designated locations to ‘keep them safe’ . Not that all of the people believed that, but Sentinel was Prime, even if Optimus and Megatron were the Rulers of Cybertron and that carried a weight of authority.

Regardless, Jazz did not want to go and he had left it to Optimus to reveal that information or not. Going by his continued freedom, he had never spoken of it to his teacher, which only proved that despite the high regard Optimus held for the Prime, he was worthy of the trust Jazz placed in him.

Jazz was grateful for his discretion and firmly devoted himself to his training, both to be of use to Optimus and in the event he was found out and encouraged to take a post alongside Bee. This turned out to be a good thing. He had the skills and the drive for being a saboteur, an informant and even a spy and the thrill he got from climbing the unofficial ranks to the top, the excitement from eluding his instructors and trainers, it was addicting. The ebbs and flows of the pattern and motions all around him were intoxicating and made it so easy for him to smoothly insert himself into any situation, to crack codes and hack into computers. It frustrated his peers and delighted his teachers.

Or was it the other way around?

Nevertheless, he was confident in his ability to escape most situations, but kept himself alert and his skills sharp. There were many cautionary warnings in his lineage, of those who held talents similar to his own and their disappearances and Jazz did not wish to make the same mistakes. So he branched out, into politics and law-making and enforcing. He spent time interacting with Enforcers and street wise mechs and femmes before Megatron became Lord-Protector, so he could perfect his ability to blend in. He made contacts and casual friends, those who didn’t mind letting him slip into places he shouldn’t and those who were glad of the distraction his company provided.

But then, the cycle had come which he found his true calling.

Music .

Music was like living and dying in a single cycle while watching your first sparkling come into being and your Bonded holding them in their servos. It was happiness and sadness, serenity and chaos, rage and love in perfect harmony with one another and it was so beautiful. Jazz could listen to music every single klik of every cycle, for every vorn and be content to simply be. Content to listen, to lean back and dance amongst the melodies.

That was how he came to be known on the streets, a music junkie with a talent for collecting information. Very few knew ‘Jazz of music and information’ was a member of the Elite and he was glad to keep it that way.

Of course, sharing both his origins and music with then Orion Pax and Megatronus turned out to be fun. As a gladiator, Megatronus practically lived from fight to fight and the only music he knew, was the kind played for entertainment for a match. Heavy beats with dramatic rises and falls and loud. Orion was a talented archivist, and under Alpha Trion, a truly ancient mech who practically lived in the Iacon Archives, he had learned almost the entirety of their known history. Which didn’t leave much time for music.

But Jazz was happy to educate both him and eventually Megatronus when the former gladiator became apart of their rather strange group. Jazz was happy with the mechs that Orion gathered around him, almost entirely by accident.

They had Ironhide, a decorated war hero who shifted over to training new recruits, Ratchet, a truly gifted and talented healer who was steadily been making his way higher up into the political area, plus a Praxian Enforcer who was widely regarded as an emotionless genius and a coldly logical workaholic. Then there was Jazz himself.

Of course, when Orion eventually introduced the femme he was sweet on, ( existing-in-the-motions-of-flight ) Ariel, who came as a package deal with her best friend, a spitfire femme by the designation of ( in-the-brilliance-of-color ) Chromia, Prowl had stared in suspicious silence at the silvery pale blue femme for a solid klik before sending a ping down Jazz’s comms.

An image of the leader of an all femme gang that operated in Iacon that looked an awful lot like Orion’s sweetspark’s best friend. Jazz had just shrugged in a ‘what-did-you-expect’ manner. Surprisingly, Prowl had only briefly shuttered red optics in resignation and accepted that as an answer. Considering they were more of a group that promised protection for femmes rather than a group who ignored the laws to do whatever they pleased, Jazz assumed that Prowl was okay with that.

Orion attracted a lot of unique mechs and femmes. Quite honestly, Prowl was no different.

So when Orion Pax becomes Optimus Prime and Megatronus became simply Megatron, Jazz made sure to find some music his Prime and his Lord High Protector could relax to when dealing with all the political maneuvering, the files that needed to be sorted and signed and their learnings about all the systems the government controlled. That wasn’t even mentioning the laws that they were planning to change, the traditions they wanted to stop and all the corruption that needed to be removed.

Then…everything changed.

They were called to the temple for a disturbance in the AllSpark and everyone was needed to check out all systems, all functions for everything. They were asked to don their formal wear, which basically meant whatever one chose to throw around their neck cables or drape over their shoulder-plates. Then a  message from a priestess to a priest was shared about an unknown, requesting immediate confirmation as to his identity. A scan was sent and there was no record of a mech like that in any surviving records. Which meant he was an older model or had changed his appearance .

So Jazz was careful to find a good spot to be of most use if this bot turned out hostile and to gather information. Still, when the mech in question walked through the entrance, Jazz couldn’t help but be caught off guard and stare .

Not only was the mech painted in a glossy black that was beautifully accented by a deep, AllSpark blue (to match his optics - the color of leaders, of Primes) in intricate designs and glyphs etched on his entire frame, but he was around Optimus and Megatron’s own impressive height. There was also the brief instant that Jazz almost mistook him as his Prime.

There were obvious differences in his frame around the shoulder-plates and his helm, in the way he held himself that was similar to Megatron , restrained power and controlled emotions as opposed to Optimus’ easy and steady gait . Also, Jazz knew for a fact that Megatron was always armed, especially with that wicked blaster in his dominant arm, Optimus was brilliant with a sword and had previous training in using his bare servos, but neither carried an exposed blade on their being as the newcomer did. A well-used and obviously taken care of blade sheathed on the mech’s backplates that didn’t hinder any of his movements, which pointed to the mech being accustomed to its’ weight to the point where it became natural .

Frankly, Jazz was beyond concerned, because this mech hit every danger instinct he had at just the look of him, by the way he moved even. If it wasn’t for the smaller femme trailing behind him, who a quick scan revealed to be ( silver optics ) Apprentice Songbird, following on his heel struts… carrying a sparkling in her grasp, Jazz would have advised immediate relocation.  He was wary simply looking at the mech, but with the high possibility that the little one was the mech’s as it sure wasn’t the femme’s, there was at least an understanding that a good Sire would not bring their very young sparkling into a situation they were planning on making dangerous.

Still, there was no guarantee that this mech even was the sparkling’s Sire, much less a good caretaker. It was obvious, that he was skilled, trained and dangerous. So Jazz bundled up his findings to sent in a quick burst to Optimus and Megatron and he had barely finished with his transmission before-

- he spoke.

The effect was instantaneous and Jazz was enraptured. The mech moved and spoke like nothing he'd ever seen before, save for the fact he could swear on his spark the previous was true, even as he stared, all he could see... was Optimus .

Glancing between the two did nothing, only brought into sharp relief all the similarities but not between the two. It made no sense and it was utterly baffling yet, Jazz had never been so sure of patterns and those moments before. There was Optimus in the mech, but not the mech himself, rather his spark , his words and his ideals and Jazz could see the echoes and visions and he couldn’t even begin to understand what his Gift was trying to tell him .

The next breems would go down in history if he had anything to say about it. The way he handled the AllSpark, that alone would make it into historical records, would be discussed and debated at all the places of higher learning. It would be argued over in the streets, in people’s homes, the planet over.

But when the confrontation between that one and Sentinel occurred?

The very planet would echo with the music, the songs of this moment in time. The very air would quiver with the crescendo of their meeting, the very notes of history forming in front of his optics, never to be forgotten. Songs would be written about this moment, paintings and plays, etched into their very history.

And Jazz would see it all.


 

Optimus had a concern.

There were several that he dealt with varying in types and levels, but right this nano-klik, Optimus had a very real concern he was going to reach the end of his tolerance and lose his temper at Sentinel. In exactly the way he was doing to the mech who had spoken to the AllSpark , sincerely apologized to it and then acted as if it was answering questions before he proceeded to make a disturbing promise to the Cube. Questions he could almost hear at the very edges of his audio receivers, and even then he felt enough strong emotions to understand that the AllSpark had been…strongly displeased at something done to…a Cybertronian…by another Cybertronian but was satisfied and saddened in equal measure at the promised end that being would have.

( Here was a Prime that was worthy of the title, should he announce it. Here was one who stood above him, who wasn’t a pretender - )

He was entirely unprepared for Sentinel to take offence to the mech's entire existence, even throwing in a class insult (Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Omega) , which resulted in a surge of disappointment rather than surprise. He knew his mentor held a great respect those who fought for their rights and freedoms, but there were times when Sentinel did hold himself as a superior being to his people. He spoke of the right a Prime had to rule, how their Gifts were important and they as Cybertronians were different than the others who weren't sparked as they were.

As much as Sentinel Prime had taught Optimus, he held ever more tightly to the teachings of Alpha Trion, what he had learned in his youth at the ancient mech’s side.

( Freedom is the right of every sentient being, Orion. Just because they are not like you, weaker, smaller, in your image or not, does not mean they are beneath you. Each species in universe, known or unknown, holds both goodness and evil in their existence. )

To Optimus, who wasn't even sure he was a Prime himself, that did not sit well within his spark. He remembered well the times of Alpha Trion and learning at his side as an archivist and an archaeologist. The mysteries of their own history, of the lost languages and arts of the previous generations alone made him wish to find them and to show them to his people. Their lives were long and there was too little known history to show for that.

But he had responsibilities, a duty now that he was a Prime in name or not, he ruled with Megatronus in relative peace. Yes, times were difficult and the classes still existed, which was something that united both himself and Megatron in their rule, but there was a cautious peace and his people were beginning to build again. Paintings, sculptures and songs were filling the empty places and while there was only a handful of sparkling being sparked, there was hope.

Sentinel was destroying that hope.

He was set in his ways, did not heed to any words Optimus spoke, nor Megatron. He did as he pleased with his authority as Prime and there was nothing truly effective Optimus could do about it. Sentinel was truly a Prime, Declared by the Prime before him. He was Chosen, and it was Witnessed. Optimus only had a coincidental glyph on his helm and chest plate, and it was only with the support and power of the Council that he was even acknowledge as something more. Being tutored by Sentinel as the mech grew older also lent some weight to his credibility.

If it was not for the situation by which he had risen to power, Optimus would have continued his life as Orion Pax, searching for his planet’s lost history and remaining under the mentorship of Alpha Trion until the mech dismissed him. But he could not sit still when the Revolutions began, in an attempt to change and to make things better , so he had done all that he could and some had followed him into the chaos.

The knowing he had experienced that day, to go to Kaon, to stand and witness the fight of Megatronus to the death against eight other mechs, was a rare feeling he experienced a servoful of times in his life. But still, he trusted that feeling and he followed it.

When Megatronus struck down his opponents and shouted and demanded for change , Orion had risen to his pedes and leapt down into the Pit to stand right beside him and raised his voice with the Gladiator’s and argued with every piece of wisdom and logic he could dig up for change .

Megatronus fought with a desperate fury, a determined hope and a light shining in his optics. His words drew a reaction, but when Orion went before him with words and facts , showing that a way could be made, even as he never supported or condemned the killing, rather the circumstances that allowed Cybertronians to die and how it appeared to be necessary.

It was Ironhide that was the first to leap down from the stands, optics blazing crimson with fierce light, ignoring the noise as he, a well-known mech striding forward to plant himself firmly at the backplates of the Champion and a nobody . In support. He was swiftly followed by Prowl, by Jazz and even Ratchet .

When Megatronus’ own group- mechs he would come to know as Soundwave, Sunstreaker, Sideswipe, and Barricade- had entered the Pit, it was to Orion’s happiness that his plans on helping Prowl in his search for his brother, were fulfilled when Megatronus’ supporters took their own positions at the gladiator’s back. The Enforcer had surged forward with a designation on his dermas at the sight of a mech who mirrored his reaction.

When more bots, mechs and femmes of all ages, occupations and class dropped down into the ring, coming up to stand in support of their words, that was when Cybertron began to change.

Little did Orion know, that both his and Megatronus’ entire speech was broadcast to the entire planet along with the visual images of the results, of Cybertronians coming to stand in agreement with them.   

When their actions resulted in Megatronus being called to a negotiating table several cycles later, when his demands, his forceful pleas had earned support from most of the planet and the overwhelming support he gained was understood by those in power... Megatronus had approached him after their initial speech and spoken with him, thanked him for what he did, for the reunion of Barricade and his brother. The group of mechs standing by his side all added their gratitude as well.

But still, it appeared their work was only just beginning.

His plans were to go back to his life researching the lost histories, but Megatronus had asked for his assistance and he had given it. It wasn’t long after that, that Cybertron’s Ruling Council made a decision.

Megatronus, with his experience as a fighter, the undefeated Champion of the Gladiator Rings and a freedom fighter, and Optimus, then Orion Pax, with a love for knowledge, culture and history who gave inspiring speeches about what he believed in.

They were offered the positions of High Lord Protector and Prime, as well as the burden of leadership, despite their backgrounds and the protests of Sentinel Prime. Until it was suggested that the Prime take Orion as his student, so that he could learn from the only living Prime on how to rule an entire planet. There were still objections on Sentinel’s side, but he reluctantly agreed and thus began his teachings.

Orion didn't regret his decision to take up rulership of Cybertron with the former leader of the Rebellion as his Lord High Protector, no matter how much the very thought filled him with both terror and determination when the suggestion was initially brought up. To Orion’s pleasant surprise, they got along well and eventually, he came to view the ex-fighter as a brother. The day Megatronus had stormed into his home and wordlessly opened himself up to a bond , was one of the most precious memories he had.

His acquaintances had gravitated to his side as Orion and stubbornly remained there, turning into friends and bringing in others, some who stayed and others who left. But he was happy with those who always returned and who treated him much like they treated Orion Pax. In private at least. The public demanded a certain level of dignity and poise.

Megatron had his own people, the ones who fought to remain by his side and who in turn were protected by Megatron. Their two groups were brought together by the union of their leaders and they got along most of the times. It helped that they were mostly familiar with one another, but there was still disagreements.

But this was not the time for reminiscing. As the ruler of Cybertron, no matter if his Primeship was in name only, he was responsible for his people and regardless of if this unknown was an ancient Prime. It didn't matter that he had appeared out of nowhere, according to ( one-who-lives-through-rhythm-and-sound ) Jazz’s observations, before an incident occurred that brought the Priestess’ attention to him, and so lead him to the temple. Optimus would take care of the people who looked to him for leadership.

There were no words to the emotions that welled up in him once the mech had entered the temple and Optimus set his optics on him. He did not say anything even as Sentinel attempted to block him, demand answers or any of the political posturing he did. Optimus only watched when he spoke as the AllSpark began to Sing and came alive in a way no one had ever seen before.

He could feel it. Surrounding him. Inside his very Spark.

It was vibrant and solid, the AllSpark shining like a star and there was a hum that caught his audio receptors and pulsed in time to his own spark song. It was similar to the time when he and Megatron bonded as brothers, as Lord Protector and Prime, but something so much more . He ached to step up to the AllSpark and just dwell in that moment as it Sang. But he controlled himself. There was no need to make a scene and Sentinel demanded composure so he would remain where he was.

Until a breem later when his mentor lost all of his composure and all the senses his processor possessed when he began screaming at the mech. Dropping his full name and title was a surprise, there had been no need for anything other than his title for many vorns now. But after the mech challenged him, flatly stating that his accusations were groundless , when the mech started speaking and Sentinel offered no defense...

And that was when Optimus finally understood why he was who he was. That was when something inside him eased and almost keened in relief, even as another part of him crumpled in despair.


 

Sam found a vindictive satisfaction when Sentinel lost his shit at his accusation. Or rather his statement as it was because the way Sentinel was saying his name, in that echoey tones that followed all bots names, and the way his actual name was supposed to be said, were two different things . That was the go-ahead-green-light for him. Sentinel Prime might not have betrayed the Autobots on an organic planet far into the future, but he was still the same as the one who did.

Sam couldn’t tell a difference between the one that shot Ironhide in the spark from behind and the one that stood before him now. The same self-righteous determination and resolute belief in one’s own knowledge. It was all there. He wasn’t going to allow this mech the opportunity to do any further damage.

Sam inwardly thanked Alpha Trion for being the one to instill the deep rooted beliefs that guided Optimus and his decisions in his life. That whatever Sentinel had taught him, Optimus followed what he thought was right. Even if it cost him his life.

( Is the future of our race not worth a single human life?
You’ll never stop at one! I’ll take you all on! )

Despite Janus’ fury, it was with a smile he spoke his next words even as knowledge of Sentinel’s deeds swirled inside his processor.

"( one-who-is-to-watch-and-lead ) Sentinel is not your designation. Your designation is ( to-guard-to-stand-and-keep-watch ) Sentinel. Which I congratulate for doing until you screwed up in a most spectacular fashion."

Janus turned to stare at Optimus who froze like a deer in headlights, shifting his weight backwards even as Megatron stepped up to shield him in a way the one he knew would never have done. It brought warmth to his spark. He dipped his head in approval, relishing in the shocked and infuriated mech he had just dismissed in favor of Optimus, but he kept half of his attention on Sentinel, just in case he decided to pull out a blaster.

(- relieve you from from duty )

But, in the meantime, with all those memories swirling in his processor, fragmented as they were, he understood that Optimus’ rule was in question with doubt about his capabilities. Luckily, he could fix that with just the right about of... pressure.

"( to-guard-to-stand-and-keep-watch ) Sentinel was to stand and keep watch for you, ( one-who-will-fight-to-defend-favorable-outcomes ) Optimus Prime. A new generation to right the past wrongs, to bring a new Golden Age to Cybertron. Cybertron has waited for you, Optimus Prime."

Janus made sure to emulate his own Optimus as best he could, infusing his tones with strength, belief and passion as his voice reverberated through the sanctuary.  

Noise instantly broke out, and Janus watched their reactions, seeing as vindication spread across some faces and shocked disbelief on others. Which was concerning as Sam didn’t think Optimus had that hard of a time proving his ability to rule Cybertron, especially with the people he had gathered around himself.

His confusion was quickly cleared up though, when an incredulous voice cut through the noise.

"He is a Prime? "

Janus shot a quizzical look at Priestess Icetrail who was staring at him in horror from her position prostrating herself on the floor. He resisted the urge to stare at her in confusion. Optimus didn’t tell him everything, he knew that. His desire to be a normal human being, and his youth meant that there were things the Prime hadn’t shared with him, things he didn’t want to know. Other memories were painful and Sam never pushed.

But that?

Optimus being questioned as a Prime. That was horrifying.

"Of course he is a Prime. When has he not been? From the creation of his Spark, no matter his designation, he is and has always been a Prime."

Astonished and incredulous silence fell at his answer, as mechs and femmes stared at Optimus as if they had never seen him before. At the realization that Cybertron wasn’t even aware Optimus was a Prime , Janus tipped his head back and laughed. Not out of amusement, but out of disbelief and he couldn’t help but sneer at those watching. He had only ever known two types of Cybertronians: the Autobots and Decepticons. Cybertron had been gone , so the only politics that the bots had were their inner workings.

There had never been any doubt about Optimus and his place when Sam met them. Not even from the Decepticons . They had snarled his title often enough, spat it as an insult, screamed it in rage, in despair, when he entered the battlefield.

That this... doubt existed at all was...

"The Prime whose deeds, past and future, have been Sung from one end of this universe to the other and his own people did not know him ?!"

Granted, his deeds were only Sung from one end of the universe to the other because Sam had just reunited the AllSpark with its’ future incarnation, but apparently, Optimus needed all the help he could get.

He ignored the shock covering Optimus’ still frame, as well as the dawning realization and Janus grit his teeth as anger began to rise up in his spark. He returned his entire attention to Sentinel, who had remained standing, but now was as still as a statue.

Knowledge bloomed in his mind, and he connected the dots as rage sparked in his systems.

Sentinel had not Declared Optimus as a true Prime.

Unacceptable.

That burned-out, dim-sparked, retro-rat, how dare he .

“You, you who were meant to stand watch and help usher in the next Golden Age, were never meant to fall so far ,” Janus viciously spat at the old mech.

( I hereby discharge you from duty!)

“The AllSpark chose to ‘vanish’ beneath Cybertron so that the next Prime could return to the surface with it- an archaeologist born to be more than he knew. That you chose to chase after it, somehow managing to actually find it and return it from its’ resting place when you were not the one meant to carry on as Prime of Cybertron...that has consequences . The least of which is this doubt in Optimus’ right to rule.”

Janus shook his helm sharply in the ringing silence as more information made itself known in his processor, before he continued bitingly, “The only thing that prevented your destruction for interfering in the AllSpark’s choice of ruler, was the the fact that you chose to provide energy to the AllSpark- unneeded as it was- in order to help search for the next Prime. The Others argued that you knew and understood you had made a mistake in relocating the AllSpark before it was meant to be found, and it was agreed to allow you the chance to fix your mistakes.”

His dermas pulled down into a sharp frown, his optics shining alongside his sigils, as he stared the betrayer down, fury visibly emanating from his frame.

“You have not . You who are ( to - guard-to-stand-and-keep-watch ) Sentinel, your duty was to find the Prime who was meant to rule, that is true...But you have not stepped down. You chose to take a place as ‘advisor and counselor’ to him. You refused to listen to your Prime when he told you how he wished to rule his people when it was different to what you would have chosen. You chose a position of trusted authority, in an attempt to extend your say in the Ruling of Cybertron.” Janus tilted his helm, his optics brightening with his anger “And in doing this, you have encouraged actions and rulings that say ‘some are created inferior to others’ and that is unacceptable.

Throughout his entire speech, Janus never once raised his voice. There was no need to do so, when the sheer emotion and authority all backed by the ringing tones of power in his voice were unmistakable. Not even to the farther reaches of crowd that had gathered outside of the temple in reaction to the news of an unknown maybe-Prime.

Sam pulled deeply on the memories of his Optimus, on his own feelings, and the ringing truth from the AllSpark itself as he carefully and confidently drove a stake through the heart of the class separation with his next words.

“Each spark brought into being was uniquely created by Primus himself. Every aspect of their being, from their Gifts or lack of them, to their personalities and quirks, was given to them by Primus and brought into life by the AllSpark and the desires of their Creators and you... You have the gall to proclaim yourself better or another lesser , as if Primus has put less thought and love into one spark or another? As if He made a mistake in any one of His own Creations?”

Janus drew himself up to his full height, starfire in his optics, and a subtle bristling of his armor as he fought the desire to pull his integrated weapons free from their hidden places. Instead, he controlled his emotions and pivoted sharply on his heel-strut striding powerfully forward towards the still frozen form of Optimus. He didn't react to his once greatest enemy as Megatron shifted into a more protective-warning stance at his approach. He reached out slowly, meeting first Megatron’s optics (So different than the madness of before) and then Optimus’ (So young , and shocked, so hesitant yet hopeful) before he paused.

A glimmer of light caught his attention on Optimus’s chestplates and the Matrix of Leadership whispered and Janus reached out, delicately and deliberately laying a servo over the glyph engraved on his chassis.

It lit up under his touch, AllSpark blue energy spreading up to the sigil on Optimus’ helm and flecks of paint peeled off as the previously hidden sigils and glyphs etched themselves into the Prime’s frame. Optimus vented harshly and lost feeling in his knee joints as the Cube energy permeated his being. Megatron’s servo shot out, clamping down on Optimus’s frame to steady him and the light flowed and moved onto him.

Sam watched as Megatron tensed, clearly wary of the harsh blue glow, but he never once removed his support from Optimus’ shoulder-plates, even as the AllSpark energy flared, sinking into his own frame. When the light dimmed enough that its effects could be seen, it revealed the etching of the glyphs and sigils Megatron should have received vorns ago on his appointment to his position. Marks that spoke of his rank, and the acceptance of both the AllSpark and the Prime to his role, as Megatron was the Lord High Protector of Deliverance.

Sigils that had not ever been present on his once-enemy, much like the previously hidden symbols on Optimus had not been revealed until Janus has pushed AllSpark energy through them, as a Prime should have done long ago.

In the time that he knew them, both mechs had born marks, but nothing like these. Megatron’s had looked it someone had taken a knife and carved them into his frame, whereas Optimus’s appeared as if they were delicately etched into the metal. There has only been a handful of them, nothing like the ones now covering their entire frames, as it did his own.

Sentinel had much to answer for.

This close to Optimus’s spark field, Janus could feel the self-doubt, awe, and shock quietly radiating from him while the tentative hope was smothered beneath the effects of constant dubious reactions of others, of how dismissive Sentinel had been of his efforts and choices.

His spark ached at what the emotive field of his once-and-future family revealed to him. His resolve firmed and did not waver as the AllSpark provided a solution.

Sam- Janus- could fix this, he could act now to begin the changes he had sworn to enact to prevent the Future-that-Was. In doing so, he could help Optimus ( We need your help, Sam ) in a way that Optimus had once helped him.

“Optimus Prime ... even you doubt the legitimacy of your claim? Even as proof is now visible to everyone who should look upon you?”

The tell-tell widening of his optics and the way he dropped his optics away from Janus to stare at the marks on his and Megatron’s frame in carefully tucked away disbelief confirmed Sam’s suspicions. He held back a frown, torn between sadness and anger. Anger was easier to handle, easier to deal with than sadness, so it was that emotion he went with. His digits clenched, clamping down on Optimus’ chest plates and tugged , pulling his fellow Prime ( the Matrix of Leadership is not found , it is earned ) forward, forcing him to move his unsteady legs. He made for the entrance, fully intending to pull a King Arthur moment, even as there was movement behind him.

So help him, if someone tried to stop him, there would be no mercy.

"You, glowstick, whoever you are! What do you think you're doing with my Prime ?”

(You feelin’ lucky, punk?)

(Sentinel...what have you done ?)

(I just wanted to show him my cannons.)

( Run Sam! We’ll cover you!)

( I hereby discharge you from duty!)

Janus pulled in a deliberately controlled vent as pushed the memories back,instead focusing on his relief that the Weapons Specialist was still the same as he had ever been in this sense. Even before the war, just as fierce in defense of those he had claimed as his own, no matter who stood opposite of him.

Not that Janus was his enemy, but Ironhide had always been a mech difficult to earn the regard of, and Janus approved heartily of his reaction of all the once-and-hopefully-never-again Autobots behind him.

Good ol' Ironhide.

Janus tossed a fiercely approving look over his shoulder-plate to the small group of once-future Autobots with the inclusion of Megatron. Save for Bumblebee (who still stood by the softly glowing AllSpark) and Jazz (who was doing a remarkable job of blending into the environment), they all had their servos on weapons, their swords, blasters or cannons as it were. It was Ironhide who faltered first at the visible approval emanating from the still unidentified mech, even as he continued dragging his friend and leader out the door, but it was Megatron who broke into a jog to keep his place by Optimus' side.

So Janus successfully bullied an overwhelmed newly-confirmed Prime outside to the top of the temple's steps, perfectly placing him on display for an extremely large gathering of mechs and femme of all age groups and classes, including Seekers  and flyers, a few Praxians, and the more common wingless transformers, all gathered in the square. No one beyond the entrance knew exactly what was happening, but the light display the AllSpark put out wasn’t something they could miss with the open roof. At the sight of both of their leaders, even if one was being handled by an unknown mech and the other was just on their heel-struts, the crowd quieted enough for Janus's voice to easily carry to all four corners.

"By the Will of Primus, I have come to this place to set right to wrongs! Your ignorance is offensive and it will be remedied! It is by the Will of Primus that each and every one of you were given sparks, given life! To hold yourself superior above another simply for your Gifts, your quirks or your talents is unacceptable! You are all created equal in the Sight of Primus by His Will through his vessel, the AllSpark! It is not your place to decide worth for another! Freedom is the right of all sentient beings!"

For a moment there was complete and utter silence. For a nano-klik not a sound was heard before every voice was raised either in fury or joy. Seekers and Flyers took to the air to avoid the sudden swell of Cybertronians as they surged forward, only to be held back by Enforcers and Temple Guards. Janus allowed the screams, shouts, cries and the chaos to continue for a moment before he raised his voice and infused it with a smidgen of the power of the Matrix that pulsed beside his spark.

" SILENCE! "

(Sam had only seen Optimus do this once, after the events of the Fallen’s defeat when the government had demanded Sam Witwicky surrender himself to their custody. Heads of State, politicians and military personnel from every country had gathered on numerous screens, each one arguing for the custody of Samuel J. Witwicky. Except for the Egyptians and the Jordanians, they were the ones sitting quietly and reading the files that explained the entire events of the past days.

Sam himself sat quietly to the side as people argued and defended the actions of Lennox and his team, and the Autobots against the Fallen, including Sam’s involvement. Thankfully, Mikaela and Miles’ weren’t mentioned as Sam didn’t want to draw them into his own troubles. They weren’t far away, as Mikaela was with Ratchet still working on repairs while Miles’ watched.

“Samuel Witwicky needs to be debriefed. We need to ascertain his-”

“The damage to our country was done to find this boy-”

“What gives you the right to an American citizen? He is under our jurisdiction, he’ll be in our custody-”

“Someone needs to be held responsible for this-”

“His face was plastered all over the planet, it would be easy to-”

Sam startled as Optimus rose to his pedes, larger than life with the added features to his frame and took a single stride to bring him into clear view of the camera.

Enough!

The humans instantly found their mouths clicking shut at the unearthly tones of ancient power and sheer command in Optimus Prime’s voice.

The Prime stared, optics burning into the camera lense for a moment in silence.

“The boy is one of ours. He was our first contact upon this planet and remains one of our trusted comrades. He has earned our respect, our friendship and his worth is unquestioned,”

Optimus stated firmly, leaving the unspoken words that they had none of this.

He paused a moment before he turned to Simmons, who had stuck around after his arrival to the base.

“Agent Simmons,” Optimus said, waiting for the man to step into sight, “Do you remember the first words I spoke to you?”

Simmons cleared his throat and gave a curt nod.

“You ripped the roof off of our envoy, as I recall,” he said, glancing up at the impassive features of the Prime.

The Autobot said nothing, ignoring the tension in the people on the other end of the monitors. Simmons shrugged and turned to face the camera, assuming a causal facade and spreading his hands.

“After doing the aforementioned roof ripping, the first words I heard from Optimus Prime was, ‘taking the children was a bad move.’ So I gotta warn you guys, if you’re thinking you can just disappear the kid and maybe even his crim- er mechanic girlfriend, well, there are better ways to commit career suicide.”)

Cybertronians yielded just as easily as humans did, as every intake clicked shut instantaneously as Janus stood tall, power radiating from every inch of his form.

"I am ( beginnings-and-endings-past-and-future-of gateways) Janus Prime and I am here to correct your ignorance! He was promised of the line that would continue, yet when he came no one recognized him! A Prime given to lead you to new stars, far away galaxies and a Lord High Protector that would fight for freedom, for equality! Lost history would be found! Arts and songs, languages long forgotten! A Golden Age to last eons! Yet this hangs in the balance, under attack from enemies and races reduced to myths and legends!"

The Matrix pulsed in his chest and the AllSpark Sang in his head. Janus stood tall and firm, absolute in the knowledge that what he was doing was right and necessary. Optimus and Megatron working together did the impossible, while against one another, they would destroy their entire world with ease.

With the practiced ease of a rebellious teenager, Sam ignored the questioning murmurings and voices, both panicked and confused and turned to Optimus and Megatron. They both noticed a shift in his stance, though it took the two a moment to give him their attention. He only smiled, projecting amusement, relief and lingering traces of grief. He had no idea if this was to work, but he was trying. That had to count for something.

Janus moved his hand to Optimus's shoulder and proclaimed for everyone to hear.

"He is Optimus Prime! From when his spark first settled, to the time when it will return to the Matrix, he is Prime forever more! By his side stands Lord High Protector Megatron, long may they rule!"

The thundering and nearly deafening roar of cheers almost surprised him, with the force of their renewed devotion and he could feel the AllSpark lit up in happiness as a blue glow began to shine from within the temple. He swiftly removed himself from the scene, glancing back to take in the glittering forms of Megatron and Optimus their markings reflecting the light. They looked strong. Unbroken and no less weary than a recharge would fix. Here in this city that had once been reduced into ruins and wastelands, on a planet that lived .

He turned and his optics found Songbird's, who stepped closer, allowing his sparkling to crawl into his embrace. The young femme smiled tentatively, which he returned easily, taking in the stubborn jut of her chin and the determination squaring her shoulder-plates.

"Please, " she spoke over the noise of the crowd, her optics staring resolutely into his own, "I will come with you and serve you. If you will have me."

Her optics were steady as they stared into his own, bright with sincerity and Ironwill chattered in his audio receptors, his emotions a light swirl into their bond. He only inclined his head, feeding approval into his field before shifting his attention to watch as those he used to know walked beyond him to stand behind their leaders. Oh, they didn't ignore him not even. They gave respectful nod in the case of Ironhide while Jazz leveled a probing stare at him. Bumblebee gave an almost apology and a ping against his communication lines in a wordless desire to see him again.

And as two mechs in Enforcer colors, one clearly Praxian, climbed up the stairs to flank Optimus and Megatron, Sam couldn’t help but carefully vent his emotions.

Surrounding me is a generation of hope, just beginning to take shape. And yet, it is a generation of shredded bonds, of death and ghosts. Of family lost to me, yet standing within reach...unknowing of everything we shared, everything we accomplished together. Everything that could be, and will be, everything that I plan to change. I will never see my family again, not if everything I plan to change comes to pass.

I am alone on a crowded planet, displaced from all that I knew. I am the only one to see the shadows that loom over this shining moment, that threaten to darken their light and turn hope into despair and war.

And yet...Sam stares at the group of bots, Cybertronians he had once seen fight as bitter enemies, standing together. They are alive, their bonds strong and unbroken. His family lives in this moment, Optimus, and Bee, Ratchet and Ironhide...Jazz… In this moment there is no war, not Decepticons, no shattered remains of a once great civilization.

No rusted and ruined planet that could support no more life.

And in the face of that, in the face of them, how could he not stay?