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The Scientist

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War can destroy a person in many ways. To those weak of heart, they themselves can lose their very self in war, and in the end, lose both that which makes them who they are and more importantly their moral code. To others their hearts can grow cold, unfeeling, and though they may still fight for what they once believed in, what they see on the battlefield will change their perspective and their own reality forever. Nothing in this universe is incorruptible by time itself. You will never be who you were before the war. Even the kindest of hearts must harden to survive and in the end, even a pacifist must become a soldier if they want to survive. "I am a scientist, not a soldier" those were the words uttered the day they parted ways, the words that haunt his recharges every cycle since then. Never had he regretted a decision in his life more than those six words.

His friend had chosen his side in this battle and he had chosen his own path and had left Cybertron after the bombing of Vos. Yes, he was running away but there were so many others that were more capable, more qualified to fight than he ever was at the time. He could help others off-world, but was he just saying that to himself to justify his own actions? So that he would not see himself as the coward he felt he was? When he left and then the news reached those in space that their home was now nothing more than a dead husk of a planet, so many lost hope that cycle.

That was when the first mass suicide of Cybertronians happened on K-2, twenty-six percent of the population chose to end their lives that cycle. He wishes he could say that was the last time such a tragedy happened in K-2 but it was not, it was just the beginning. The number of Cybertronian refugees skyrocketed on the colony not long after that incident. What had once been nothing more than a research colony for the few scientists of Vos was soon turned into a refugee camp for those with nowhere else left to go and the little energon the researches had for themselves was stretched and diluted time and again to the limit of its use and that’s when the sickness began, which lead to the rioting and more lives were lost as the scientists locked themselves away in the research tower for their own protection. It was turning into a cycle of loss on K-2.

Everything was rationed in the beginning but then the infighting began amongst those who had come from the war. Between those from different fractions that crossed paths. Even though they had said they had put the war behind them and wanted to move past all the grudges it seemed those grudges were harder to let go of than anything else, ‘He killed my friend, I can not let him live for that!’ is how many of the conflicts started. Everything that was wrong, it was obviously someone else's fault and no one was going to take responsibility for anything because they were not the ones to blame in their own optics. Everyone wanted someone to blame.

He could not just sit in the well-fortified lab where he and the other scientists, the original occupants of this colony had locked themselves away, working on their projects, some of which were trying to help those outside the lab. Skyfire was standing on one of the highest balconies of the facility above all other buildings looking down on the camps below, the shanty town below being a stark contrast to the lab that stood tall and glistening above all surrounding it like some monolith to the knowledge it held within. Many of the original structures around K-2 were built high off the ground because the original crew that called this research center turned colony home were from Vos, a city that only had been made up of flight frames the most common of which being seekers. Skyfire himself was not a seeker but a shuttle class cybertronian.

It was very unusual to see someone of his class in science, something that was not lost on Skyfire because many around him had pointed it out constantly but at least the other scientist did not talk down to him anymore, because many shuttle class Cybertronians were known to be a little slow in processor. In the optics of many Skyfire should be happy to be used as transport like others of his kind, but that was not the life Skyfire had wanted. He had always had an interest in science and other intellectual subjects and with a mind as bright as his well it would have been a waste to have him doing such work. He was lucky to have come online in a city like Vos that allowed him to follow a career into science, all other cities would have just put him to work in either transport or exploration, the later would have him transporting scientists off world. The irony of that was not lost on Skyfire when he left Cybertron in his own alt mode and not on one of the provided ships so that there would be room for other passengers on the ship.

He was reading the notes on his datapad about the latest failed experiment on creating a safe synthetic energon source, a project that had been on the back burner before the war but brought to the front when the war began to leave citizens hungry and had become more important now due to the natural resources of their new home quickly dwindling upon the arrival of the refugees below.

“Credit for your thoughts Skyfire?” one of the mechanical engineers that were part of the original crew stepped out of the lab and into the evening’s cooling atmosphere. Hotlink was a small purple seeker who was considered short for a seeker but tried to not let it bothered him too much, he only came up to Skyfire's knee joint, whereas most seekers came just above his hip. Though for any other seeker they would have hated their height, for seekers were known to be extremely vain, Hotlink was the furthest from being vain and one of the most down to earth mechs on the colony. He was also one of the few seeker scientists on the colony that agreed to work with non-seekers as some of the refugees had been scientists and upon passing inspection were allowed to work within the lab to help the scientist. Very few non-seekers were allowed their own projects however due to a lack of resources to go around. In particular, Hotlink enjoyed working with Perceptor a former wrecker of all things, something that did not go down well with many of the ex Decepticons that called the colony home. Many would ignore a former wrecker where others would go out of their way to try and bait wreckers into fights to get said wrecker in trouble. It was obvious to Skyfire however, that Hotlink greatly admired the other bot for his brilliant mind and Perceptor made a very excellent lab assistant. Many others at the lab, unfortunately, could not look past the fact that Perceptor had been an Autobot and avoided contact with the bot as much as possible.

“Just thinking…” 

“About the war again? You have been doing that a lot lately.” Skyfire had done a lot of thinking alone recently, he had not realized it had become so obvious to those around him what he had been thinking about though. Scientist were great thinkers after all and it was not uncommon to find one just staring into nothing deep in thought. Still, Skyfire was curious as to where this conversation would go and also trusted that Hotlink would not gossip about the conversation later, so he decided to share his thoughts with his friend.   

“I guess I have, I keep wondering when this will all come to an end” he knew it was wishful thinking at this point, a pipe dream even perhaps. There was so much hate between each side at this point, one began to even wonder how many remembered what started this conflict to begin with or if even what those who thought they did remember if that was the truth anymore.

“At this point, I don’t even think the fall of the leader on either side will bring things to an end, if I am completely honest Skyfire” That was definitely true, a war was like a hydra you take out one head another will just take its place, if only...

“No, but if someone could step up and bring both sides together…” he was only fooling himself thinking that way, he knew it and yet...

“How can you still have so much faith in him?” the small seeker growled at Skyfire. “He abandoned all of us! He allowed Vos to be destroyed! We have no home left to go back to thanks to him!” Him, others did not even use his name in a conversation about him when they talked about the Prince of Vos anymore, many more had completely forgotten who he was and at this point in the war that was a good thing. To have his identity revealed now would not help anyone and could cause more harm than good to too many innocents.

“The whole planet was destroyed Hotlink, Vos would have fallen eventually. He did the right thing when he evacuated the city.” Skyfire always defended him, even when no one else did. Skyfire would always believe in him, even if no one else did.

“And his actions since then?” there was an edge of disgust in Hotlink’s vocalizer as he practically spat the statement. Those who knew who he was were disgusted by what he had become, all but one it seemed. All the original scientists in the lab knew who he was and also knew Skyfire’s past relationship with the Prince to a certain extent, they knew Skyfire had been his closest friend.

“He has done what must be done to protect all of us! If any active Decepticon knew of this place...” granted it was not just him protecting the location of K-2 many of the residents helped keep the place hidden from those who didn't already know of its existence. It was not a place one could simply just discover by chance and those who lived there planned to keep it that way.

“You are so naive Skyfire” He knew that was how others saw him, they could not understand why someone as smart as Skyfire even now stayed loyal to him.

“Maybe I am, but I still believe in him.” it was then that the shuttle turned to face the little seeker who just smiled at the shuttle trying not to look nervous at the serious look on Skyfire’s face. Even if Skyfire himself was not intimidating his size still came across that way at times. “Though I get the feeling you did not come up here to chat about war politics did you Hotlink?” No one ever really wanted to talk war politics as idle chit-chat, it was too depressing in this day and age.

“Never change Skyfire, your a bright light of hope for a lot of us here and as always you are correct,” chuckled the seeker, the shuttle really wished the others would stop saying that about him, he was no more hopeful than the rest of them. “I came here to pass on a message from Bitstream, he wishes to see you in his lab” the seeker then passed two energon cubes to Skyfire, “Could you make sure that idiot drinks his rations this time, please? He gets so caught up in those damn radio signals he forgets to you know?”

“Why does his assistant not remind him?”

“Because the latest one up and asked to be transferred to another lab, no one wants to work with him…” Hotlink sounded sad when he said that, no surprise there though after all Bitstream was his younger brother.

“You could always work…”

“Don’t start with that Skyfire” the seeker crossed his arms before continuing “You know the work Bitstream does is way over my processor”

“You sell yourself short Hotlink” chuckled Skyfire, he was baiting his friend with that one and he knew it.

“And I bet you say that to all the scientists Skyfire which is why I won’t blast you for that one” there was no malice in the seekers' response if anything there was a playful teasing tone. “Well I need to get back to my own lab, got some tests to check and all”

“Don’t you mean to check on your assistant, Preceptor should be there at this time,” added Skyfire as he watched the seeker head back inside. Skyfire might not have seen the blush on the seekers' faceplate at his comment, but he knew it was there.

 

~to be Continued