It wasn’t that he didn’t like space, because that would never have been the truth, but he hated being alone in it. He understood the need for his solitude--a single small space craft was much more likely to be overlooked by the Decepticon forces than a group--but that didn’t mean he had to like it.
Cosmos wished that he could have a partner for a change.
It would be nice to have someone to talk to. Someone who understood how beautiful it really was in space and wouldn’t think he was silly for loving it so much. Someone who sympathized with his desire to get out and explore it again, instead of continuing to wage a war that was doing nothing but destroying planets and civilizations.
He sighed, though the sound didn’t carry in the vacuum. He would settle for just having a friend to greet him when he went back to the Ark.
He wondered if anyone knew how lonely he really was.
Cosmos? The minibot was started out of his thoughts by the unexpected comm. I didn’t realize you were on patrol in this sector.
He stretched his sensors out a bit further and found Skyfire orbiting a large asteroid. Well, you haven’t been back at the base recently enough to have gotten an updated duty roster. Have you been in this sector long?
An Earth day or so. I’ve been moving along with this asteroid while I take mineral samples. The shuttle’s warm laugh filtered over the comm system. It’s really been quite boring, but Perceptor says I’m not allowed back until I prove my theory that we could harvest the asteroid belt for some of the trace elements and minerals our fuel has been lacking.
I’ll be finished with my patrol route tomorrow afternoon. I could come back after that and keep you company. The words were spoken before Cosmos realized he had been thinking them. Hesitantly, he added. I mean, if you’d like me to.
There was a long silence on the end of the other end of the comm channel. The minibot was beginning to regret his sudden braveness when Skyfire finally replied. I would like that very much, Cosmos.
If he had been in his root mode, Cosmos would have smiled. I’ll see you tomorrow, then.
Have a safe patrol, Skyfire responded.
They returned to their duties, but Cosmos did so with a considerably lightened spark.
Prowl didn’t sound pleased when Cosmos called in his request to stay out for an unknown number of days to assist Skyfire, but he did grant permission. The second in command couldn’t deny that having the minibot on site with the scientist would speed the research and sample gathering along, and Cosmos really did want to stay and help. Skyfire had been in root mode when Cosmos returned to the asteroid, and had given the minibot a relieved smile when he saw the smaller mech.
I was afraid I was going to have to try and carry this back by myself, The larger mech said when Cosmos carefully set down next to him.
Carry what back? The minibot moved closer, trying for a better look at whatever Skyfire had found.
The scientist waved a hand at the asteroid’s surface. This. Ratchet will be glad to see it, I’m certain.
Cosmos was almost embarrassed by his lack of understanding--or, more accurate in this case, knowledge. He had never installed the chemical analyzers or mineral scanners that some of his coworkers had used back before the war, and hard sciences weren’t really within the scope of his expertise. I’m not a science bot, he told the other mech softly. You’re going to have to tell me what it is.
Skyfire looked at him, frowning. Cosmos, I’m sorry! I was thoughtless.
The smaller mech held very still when the scientist knelt next to him. I often forget that others are not as learned as myself, Skyfire confessed. I do not intentionally try to belittle you. Please forgive me?
Of course. Cosmos didn’t hesitate. The larger mech hadn’t meant any harm--he never did--and his self esteem issues weren’t Skyfire’s fault. When the scientist gave him a relieved smile, Cosmos ventured carefully, So, what is it?
Titanium. Almost half the asteroid is composed of it. Skyfire stood back up and pointed toward a dark patch of metal that Cosmos could barely distinguish from the rest of the asteroid. Most of our armor uses it to some degree, but the Dinobots are built largely from it. Ratchet has been running low for some time, and worrying over how he would repair them if they sustained any real damage.
Cosmos smiled, pleased to hear that Skyfire’s outing had resulted in such a wonderful find. He liked the Dinobots--particularly Swoop and Sludge--and he was glad to know the wouldn’t have to offline from lack of parts if anything serious happened. Then I guess it’s a good thing I flagged this asteroid during my last pass.
A very good thing. Can you help me break it up? We won’t be able to load the deposit in one piece.
Sure. The minibot pulled his blaster from subspace--and action the scientist copied--and began carefully cutting sections out of the titanium deposit.
You said you weren’t a science bot, Skyfire said while they worked. But you knew to flag that asteroid as one we needed to investigate. Where did you learn that?
Cosmos was quite for a long moment. He didn’t talk about his life before the war much--he didn’t like to think about how his team had been killed.
I understand if you don’t want to talk about it.
He supposed the scientist would understand. The other mech never wanted to talk about his life before the war. I just don’t like remembering how my team died.
I’m sorry. You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to. The scientist looked genuinely sorry that he had asked.
Cosmos gave him a weak smile. I worked for a company that made maps and charts. We were a small business, but we did very well. I did the space exploration for the star charts. One of the other members of the team was a mineralogist and he taught me how to spot an asteroid that might be mineral baring. He knew he was rambling, but considering how often the science team did it themselves he wasn’t particularly worried about it. This asteroid probably has some other minerals of value as well, because it didn’t really give any signs of being metal-bearing at all.
And you say you don’t know anything. Skyfire’s voice was so warm and kind that Cosmos looked away in embarrassment. You will have to take me on a patrol through the belt with you sometime and teach me. I had no idea you could tell the probability of mineral content just by looking.
I’d enjoy that. The minibot couldn’t help but smile at the idea.
There was some excitement when the scientist and the minibot came back to base together. The gossip chain, apparently, had failed to report that Cosmos was coming back from his reconnaissance run two days late and Prowl had not shared his request to assist Skyfire with anyone except the other officers. It was actually kind of funny when Bumblebee and Windcharger started fussing over him like he was a missing sparkling.
Ratchet had been delighted to hear about the load of titanium they were brining in. The medic had immediately enlisted the aid of the Dinobots--the mechs most likely to need the supply in the near future--to unload Skyfire and thanked them both profusely.
Cosmos was happily embarrassed by the whole ordeal.
When his cargo hold was finally empty, Skyfire transformed and gave the smaller mech a smile. “Thank you, Cosmos.”
“You’re welcome.” The minibot returned the scientist’s smile. “Bumblebee and I were going to go get some energon now that the cargo’s unloaded. Would you like to join us?”
Something subtle changed in the larger mech’s expression, and Cosmos though he suddenly looked truly happy--possibly for the first time since he had met the scientist. “I would like that very much. Thank you.”
He wondered, as they walked to the rec room, how anyone could have missed the way Skyfire wished he wasn’t alone, too.