It was a clear night out. Loads of stars to see in the sky, a few planets if you squinted.
Then again, here on Cybertron, it was always clear skies out.
Only a year had passed since Autobots and Neutrals had begun to rebuild this once-lost world. Things had actually gone pretty smoothly as well. The Decepticons were all gathered up and locked away on that big prison ship, um, the Alchemor . Yep, that’s it. The Autobots had won the war of course. Otherwise, things would be the other way around. To the winner goes the spoils, and all that.
Meanwhile, despite the flocks of Cybertronians still scurrying around fixing up this old place, nobody bothered to look in the forgotten ruins of Kaon. Especially an old shop halfway covered in rubble. And yet, oh, what an interesting discovery one would find waiting inside.
A tall mech garbed in a long dirty brown cloak like from the Golden Age strode towards the purposefully inconspicuous building, snatches of gleaming white the only bits of armour not hidden away. He wanted something. But then again, he always wanted something.
Why else would he knowingly make a deal with the devil?
“Well hello there, stranger. What’s a fine, upstanding Prime like you doing in these parts?” The mech whirled around, cape flaring.
He growled lowly. “ Astraea . You know why I’m here. You always know.” A light giggle drifted down to him as a deceptively young-looking femme stepped out of the shadows. Black paint seemed to soak in all light while blinking lights and galaxies curled out and around her plating of its own free will. Blind white optics widened innocently.
“Oh, you flatterer. I may be powerful, but I’m not omniscient. That’s your precious Primus’ burden. Why he’d take on such a thing when he could dump it on someone else, I’ll never know.” Sensuous dark navy dermas puckered sweetly. “Prima, come on now. Shall we take this discussion… ” She waved a delicately clawed servo towards the crumbled-in door, “... inside?”
The ancient Prime watched the being for a few kliks, distrust plain to see in his bright blue optics. This being was old, older than even the god lying dormant under their pedes, and powerful. She knew this and smirked before disappearing into the shadows of the old wreck. He followed after a few moments of hesitance.
They enter a dimly-lit hallway, passing quickly into the main waiting room. The chamber was a bright white cube, not a speck of rust to be seen in comparison with the grimy outside. Two chairs sat in the middle of the room as the only pieces of furniture. Astraea settled down into the one farthest away, the door sliding shut seamlessly so that the cube conception fell into place without a single fault line. Prima set his cloak over the back of the seat before easing in.
The femme smiled and leaned forwards. “So, you want to make a deal.” It was a statement, not a question. The old Prime nodded curtly.
“Let’s see, you need a spark. Vector Sigma is burning lower with each pulse it sends, and of course, you and your little friends want to keep your precious little descendants going.” A more hesitant bob of his helm now.
Her grin became wider to show the pointed canines at the sides of her intake.
“Of course, to find such a spark would mean either to take a living one and send it through unimaginable torture,” a wince. “Or just pluck a suitable human soul from another alternate multiverse and condense it into a spark.” She leaned back. “But that’s an awful lot of work for a single universe amid thousands . Are you willing to pay the price for your silly little species’ continued survival?”
He paused for a few kliks, wetting his dermas. Once you gave the okay, there was no telling what she would name as her price . It could be a planet of souls, one’s free will, the genocide of an entire species, one’s very spark. And he knew more than anyone that he wouldn’t be able to refuse her. Not if it was to save the Cybertronian race.
“I believe you already know the answer to that, Spark-Keeper. ”
She smirked. “I just like to make sure you’ve given your consent, given this price shall be rather… steep. ” She straightened, sightless optics narrowing on his own. The cheerful, flirty facade she held onto so tightly vanished. “Are you certain you want to make this trade.”
He raised a brow. “What? I thought that you would latch onto such a deal?”
“Because this is an important decision of yours. It will shake the timeline off in a whole new direction.” She huffed quietly. “Humans always do.”
“If I do this, will my race survive?”
She bit her derma, then nodded firmly. “Doing this will successfully save the Cybertronian species for another septillion vorns until the next great reckoning. However, despite whatever I may act like, consent is always a major value of mine. And trust me when I say that you won’t like my price.”
“Why even warn me about this ominous price of yours when you could either change it or spring it on me?” He shifted uneasily. The being across from him massaged her temples in exasperation.
“ Because I can’t. I never ask for a price if I can help it- not a large one, anyway. What you damn mortals don’t understand is that there is a give and take. There always is a price. To take a human soul - from another dimension , great One damn it- I need something to balance it. Another, just as powerful force. Now, there are only two such things I can use without blowing this planet to high heaven. One is the Well of Allsparks-”
“I can’t offer you that!”, interrupted Prima. He looked positively sick. Astraea just looked annoyed.
“I know you can’t. Now, may I continue or are you going to keep interrupting me?” He shook his helm in the negative. “Good. As I was saying, there are only two things I can use. The other one is something you can offer without anyone dying.”
She paused. The Prime scanned her expectantly. “So what is it? Tell me and it’s yours.”
“The Arisen’s spark.”
The room exploded in protests. She covered her audial receptors with a sigh until her customer calmed down. “Calm down! You want a fertile Cybertronian Hot Spot, do you not? A Spark-Flarer? Then you just stick Optimus’ spark in as their first newspark! The power of his spark will bolster and sooth the human spark enough for it to permanently condense, and then pop! You have a reborn Arisen!”
“But the Fallen is coming! We need him to defeat the maniac!” He abruptly fell silent as passive-aggressive violence seemed to gather around the femme. She snarled silently.
“That’s all you’re worried about? That you won’t be able to defeat your brother ? That 'maniac' is still your kin! And you plan on using your youngest sibling to exterminate him!” She snapped. “That mech deserves a chance at a normal life. If you’re so worried, I’ll take care of Megatronus as well.”
A sigh escaped her before she directed her gaze back to the Prime before her. He drew himself up in remembered dignity and once-gained righteousness. She snorted. “Then both problems are solved. I’ll toss in your sister’s relit spark as well. However ,” she planted a digit squarely in the middle of his well-polished white chassis. “If you even leak any of their former identities to them, if any of them receive even an inkling of what they once were, I will personally make sure that this pitiful race is exterminated.”
He nodded tightly. “Fine. It’s… it’s yours.” His gaze became pleading, and his next request was hesitant, like a child asking to pet a turbopup. “Would I be able to… see them again?”
“If you gain the trust of their future carrier, and make sure not to bring up any memories.” She sighed again. She seemed to be doing that a lot now. “Now…”
A wave of a servo and a scarlet ball of energy appeared in front of her. "I have a payment to collect." She grinned, dermas peeling back to reveal razor-sharp canines. Her servos closed in around it. Then, the spark vanished with a pop.
The powerful being masquerading around in a femme’s armour got up from her seat and stretched. Prima winced at the groaning of overtaxed gears. It was a harsh reminder of just how old she really was despite her seeming youth. Astraea bowed low with a smirk. “A pleasure doing business with you, my good sir,” she all but purred before the entire room was flooded with pitch black.
When the light flickered back on, there was only the old Prime and the chair he sat on. He sighed but got up and walked out the doorway with his cloak over his shoulder. A sense of foreboding bore down heavily on his spark.
Oh Primus below, what had he done?