…. He never got to go on that drive. And probably won’t for the next several solar cycles.
Or never at all.
"Indeed," he replied, "however reluctantly, it seems to have accepted you as its host."
He looks up at the mech and trying to offer a smile for comfort’s sake. “I will run some tests, but that can wait for later. You have a great deal on your mind right now, I’m sure. So take some time to yourself, Magnus.”
Ratchet looks back to Magnus’ chest, and shook his head. The Matrix was a parasite. A parasite that they could not afford to lose.
"See if you are able to use the Star Saber soon."
Chest plates folded closed, covering the light blue Spark and the Matrix itself; the fact had yet to register that Ultra Magnus held the Matrix of Leadership within his chassis.
"Understood," he repeated, almost as if on cruise control, before his vocals dropped in volume a few marks. "Thank you, Ratchet."
With that, the blue mech resumed his duties. Later, he might take up Ratchet’s advice and think things over, as well as test the Star Saber. For now, all he wanted was to drown his thoughts in work.
"Oh," he stated. "I mean, I suppose it could’ve been worse. Better to have fallen at that height then if I had climbed even higher." But still, the fact remained that Raf had not thought that plan through.
At the question, Raf looked back to Ultra Magnus again.
"Do you know where Jack and Miko are?" he asked. "I’m still learning my way around here and they’re not picking up their phones. We were gonna explore together."
The only counter made to the child’s logic was an unwavering stare, edged with disapproval at the idea of attempting to climb the height regardless. Injury could have been made not matter which height Rafael had fallen from; he had been lucky that his landing had not been so rough as to cause him lasting pain.
"I am not aware of Darby’s or Nakadai’s current location, though no doubt they are within the capable servos of their guardians."
Might be considering a drive.
But realizes he can’t. Too many duties, too many things to do… no time…
Later, then. Maybe.
Stars floated past, a heat against the cold of space, that twinkled and winked at him on the fabric of time and space. Emptiness was not a concept foreign to the Prime, and he had seen it in various forms.
War had exposed a once wildling of Iacon to many horrors that had yet to be seen, and Optimus had not so much become complacent to their exposure as readily familiar with the sensory reality. Frames of mighty soldiers were torn asunder, rendered into slag with a single barrage of weapons fire. When long-range weapons were no longer an in use, the battlefield became a place of carnage with the inner workings of hundreds of mechs torn out on display. Optimus had seen the sights of spark cavities emptied, the dull look or charred chambers without the familiar light of the pulsing orb of life.
At this moment, Prime felt that his own had dwindled by great portions, that the casing would soon be hollowed out and left emptied. Part of him desired such an act to come to pass, and although the AllSpark never felt so far away, he had never come to accept the tempestuous siren call as he did now.
The void within had an ache unlike any other, that paled by comparison to the long arduous recovery suffered when Omega One had fallen on him, the rubbled thus formed a tomb. Now a dead bot walked among them, and life slipped by in rivets of light.
Fortunate and grateful that few had known of his return, so unremarkable in its appearance. Predaking’s appearance through the vortex had garnered more attention by the Vehicons, and the small crowd that soon followed. Prime slipped by and done so with shallow purpose, for he wished for solitude in the first taste of grief.
Bittersweet and poisonous with its venom, it pulse in the time of his fuel-pump, and Prime gave not a glance to the gash in his gauntlets — reminders of Megatron’s last contact. Energon had clotted and faded in the darkness, but Prime watched the reflection of the first to approach on the surface of their home’s great superplex windows. Everything of his field, tight and taunt around his frame, crackled with DO NOT DISTURB.
Disturbance came as the Matrix, kept within his old friend’s chassis, sang outwards as a faded echo. Optimus knew well its call, the beguiled melody of rapturous repose.
Then, delayed processes had slowed time, and before Optimus could do more than gorge his mind on the alluring call of the Matrix, the object was thrust into his hold. The spark in his chassis almost tore in two; half wanted to leap towards the bauble, while the other retreated in revulsion.
No Prime stood here, only a shadow.
“Commander… Megatron has been extinguished—” To say the words made it real, a tangible thistle of thorns that caught in his intakes and tore at his mesh.
Flickered flames leapt off the bright crystal, and yet the gilded frame of the Matrix did not scorch, and instead cast a coruscated array of light and sound across the bridge. “We both know that it means: I will not be for much longer — my spark will join his in time. My spark will not sustain the Matrix of Leadership.”
Fear clenched him tight, and Optimus felt a reminder of himself: oh how he had no desire for death, only a reprieve from the burden that bowed his frame. Megatron had come to death and returned to the AllSpark, and a glimmer within his surviving mate still wanted to defy the odds.
Then it faded again, until the kindle was but a cooled ember.
Plain optics flickered, and Ultra Magnus found himself caught between opposing points. Duty and honor — proclaiming that regardless of physical and emotional status, the Matrix must be returned unto its rightful owner. Guilt and bereavement — that he was forcing Optimus through this after what he had experienced and what he was going through now…
But Ultra Magnus knew better than to retrieve the Matrix now. He remembered how it had zapped Ratchet when he had attempted to examine it; it was more than likely that the object of Primus would do the same to him now. It did not want him… it had never wanted him. He had merely served as a surrogate, a means to survive, to something that could not experience life — it served merely as a parasite, giving him nothing in return for the taxation it had put upon his frame and Spark. And now it would have nothing to do with its faithful host.
"The Matrix will not accept another substitute again, Optimus. I suggest accepting it, for now. Ratchet can examine your Spark… and determine its integrity."
A pained gaze swept over the Autobot Commander’s frame, noting the extra damage he had received. If it were possible for him to survive, immediate medical attention would have been required… Yet this was the last Prime; Primes were not so easy to fell, or so the faded webs of history noted.
Raf came forward to take his backpack, slipping it on to secure it better. He gave the mech a shy smile. “Thank you,” he said. So he had seen the fall. Well, he supposed it would have been hard not to, given Raf had noticed him right after he hit the ground. He could only hope that he wouldn’t tell others— Raf would never live that down if that happened.
"I— Yeah, that wasn’t one of my smartest decisions," he admitted. "But everyone looked so busy that I didn’t want to bother anyone with asking for help on something like this."
That, and most of the mechs around who he could find were Decepticons who Raf didn’t know. And he was still unsure on how to approach them.
There would be no reason for Ultra Magnus to discuss Rafael’s tumble; merely the fact that he was safe and unharmed was the blue mech’s greatest priority.
"Regardless of their apparent status, it is better to ask than risk your life needlessly."
The blue Commander was more than aware of the many Decepticons wandering the Nemesis; it was their home, after all. But there were not as many as once before; the Dark Prime’s forces had enacted enough force to reduce the drone’s numbers closer to extinction. They were all near enough, as it was.
"Do you require further assistance in navigating the warship?" Better to assure Rafael’s safety than to allow another incident when he wasn’t looking.