“All right,” sighed Optimus as he took a few breaths. “Gotta get ready for…” He saw a bot in samurai armor appear before him. “…Sensei Yoketron, can I help you?” asked Optimus.
“You have no honor,” proclaimed the new bot, Yoketron. He then walked out of the door.
“…Oooookaaaay,” muttered Optimus as he grabbed a new issue of The Fabulous Windblade. He read through and got halfway into the issue when a section made him groan.
“But you told me…!” spluttered Windblade in the comic.
“I told you that her death is necessary!” snarled the antagonist, “but it will come at a later date! All things will come to their final end once you simply allow me to purge Cybertron of non-believers!”
“Slaggit, Destroygar!” snapped Optimus in the real world. “If you’re not gonna kill Crystal, then stop teasing us with her death already!”
“Yeah, you’d know all about killing mothers, wouldn’t you?” asked a new Jazz illusion.
“I’m not talking to you!” snapped Optimus.
“Thank you for coming,” greeted Ultra Magnus as the Rust Renegades arrived via Space Bridge. Ratchet was on his left.
“The pleasure is all ours,” reciprocated Pyra Magna. “I just wish it were under better circumstances. How is he?”
“He’s on the better end,” replied Ratchet. “He knows he’s suffering from illusions, but he can’t seem to figure out what’s causing them.”
“If he knows that,” mused Stormclash, “then he’s a lot stronger than any of us give him credit for.”
“GUYS!” called Jazz from the hallway leading to Optimus’ quarters. “Optimus is going through another illusion!”
Optimus had noticed an empty Energon cube in front of his door. A text box appeared reading “There seems to be something blocking your way. Do you wish to move it?”
“…Yes!” replied Optimus. The text box disappeared and Optimus tried to move it, but it wouldn’t budge.
“It looks like it won’t move,” read a new text box. “You will need to construct something from various parts to move it.” Optimus arched an eyebrow and raised his gun. He shot the empty cube and turned it into ashes. He then opened the door to see boxes blocking his path. A note was attached to them.
“‘The boxes of our souls are our friends,’” Optimus read aloud. “‘Follow the boxes and the way will light. The boxes on the left are the truthers and the rainbow of the popcorn will make one feathery. We are all boxed in, all of us in our own little…’” He crumpled up the note and tossed it into the trash. “Okay, boxes,” he snarled, “since pushing you won’t be effective, because, why not, you’re gonna topple over by yourselves. If not, I’ll make sure you’re in the same condition as the empty cube was!” Another note appeared. “‘Just for that,’” read Optimus, “‘we will not give you this one. You will not leave until you solve this puzzle. Gather an item from Vorton, from Cybertron, and from the Pit so the door may open.’ Okay, ONE; Vorton is a myth! Two; Why do I want to go to the Pit?! Three; How can I go to Cybertron if I can’t leave?!” There was nothing…then the boxes toppled over by themselves. One last note. “‘Okay, you can leave,’” read Optimus. He kept his optics on the boxes as he left. “Thank you,” he called. “You know, I’m really glad we could reach an understanding!” He stopped looking at the boxes as he went down the corridor. “Honestly, these illusions are just getting…!” he was interrupted by an image of the family again. “What’s…” he gasped, “what’s going on?! Why am I seeing this?!”
In the real world, Jazz was calling to Optimus. “Yo! Buddy! We’re here! Ignore them!”
“Kid, we’re here for you!” called Ironhide.
“Motivated by sorrow and guilt, most likely,” muttered the illusion of Jazz.
“It’s his own fault, murdering bastard,” muttered the illusion of Ironhide.
“I’ve had enough of this!” snapped Optimus. “WILL YOU PEOPLE…!” the illusions had long gone. “I did what I had to…what am I saying?! I didn’t do anything! Whoever’s doing this, I deny you! You hear?! I DENY YOU!!” Just then, something appeared. “What the?” he muttered. It was a large humanoid in bandages and an old nurse’s outfit. It raised a knife above its bandaged head, in an incorrect grip, I might add, and stumbled towards Optimus. Optimus just drew his gun and shot it, proceeding to kick it while its down. “A demon nurse?!” he snapped at no one.
“Demon nurse?!” yelped Real Jazz.
“He ain’t afraid of hospitals!” protested Real Ironhide.
“And he wouldn’t ask me for help if he was afraid of doctors!” supplied Ratchet. Optimus then doubled over in pain.
“Wha…what’s wrong?!” he gasped. He tried to grab his weapons, but the pain increased. “What’s going on with my weapons?!”
“The problem is that they exist, you sick freak!” accused Illusion Ratchet. Optimus eventually released his weapons and gasped in pain. He saw a book near him but paid it no mind as he could see feet shrouded in black mist. He looked up to see the full figure in black mist with only red lights where the eyes should have been.
“…You were so young when you were killed,” realized Optimus. “You…you’re the combined spirits of my weapons. You were sacrificed to build weapons for the Chaos Bringer’s Acolytes.”
“Isn’t that a Pax family story?” asked Pyra Magna.
“Not so much,” muttered Jazz. “Lately, we’ve had evidence that there ARE spirits in those weapons.”
“The…the memories, the visions,” Optimus pieced together. “It…it was…me.” The figure just stood there. “Everything…I did it…to my own wife and child?” He started breaking down. “What kind of monster am I?!” he choked out. He looked up at the figure. “I can never make up for it. I’m so sorry!”
“Prime! NO!” called Jazz. His best friend wasn’t listening. Optimus pointed the gun at his chin! “OPTIMUS! NO!” wailed Jazz.
“What are you doing?” asked a voice.