Blackarachnia, Sonic, and Amy stared at Orion and Jazz in confusion as they bowed to the new Mini-con, Sparkplug. “Could…someone fill me in?” asked Sonic.
“Guys, this is Sparkplug,” introduced Orion. “He’s known as the leader of the Torpedo faction, the Autobots of the Mini-con race.”
“He’s also the greatest Cyber-ninja in all of Transformer history,” supplied Jazz. “He taught Yoketron everything he knows!”
“You know my student?” asked Sparkplug.
“We’re HIS students,” explained Orion.
“So he DID start that dojo,” chuckled Sparkplug. “I sense that you are on some sort of quest.”
“Unicron has risen,” said Orion with trepidation. “One of his flunkies bricked my connection to the Matrix, making me lose my Primehood.”
“…Some tea, then.”
“Energon tea, that should help us on this Optics Quest.” Orion arched an eyebrow.
“Guys, a word,” requested Blackarachnia as she waved her team over to join her. The five then huddled. “Ninja boys, what’s an Optics Quest?”
“The final exam for a Cyber-ninja,” replied Jazz. “It tests your spirituality and ability to adapt. You seek out another Cyber-ninja to guide you and teach you something that your sensei might have missed.”
“Jazz already took his, making him a greater Cyber-ninja than me right now,” supplied Orion. “There are two ways to initiate an Optics Quest. One, you tell your sensei that you’re ready to start it. Two, another Cyber-ninja offers to help you complete it without your sensei’s knowledge and will tell them once it’s finished.”
“How do you know if you pass or fail?” asked Amy.
“The only path to failure is abandoning the Optics Quest,” explained Jazz. “It means you’re not focused enough to be considered a Cyber-ninja.”
“Look, we’ve got two months left,” argued Blackarachnia. “Can we REALLY afford a quest?”
“If it helps to unbrick the Matrix, yes,” declared Orion.
“I REALLY advise against it!”
“…Your advice is valuable, but the decision is mine to make at this point.” Orion then turned to Sparkplug. “How do we begin this Optics Quest?” Sparkplug then took out an elaborate machine.
“Like I said, some Energon tea.”
“All right, all systems ready,” reported Tails.
“Establishing final connections…NOW!” called Ratchet. He pulled a lever and a loading screen appeared on the main monitor. It took a good minute before the loading screen was replaced with an Autobot symbol. It then made the Windows XP startup noise before Teletraan 1’s Mobian Lynx avatar appeared.
“And the greatest computer around,” he bragged, “has made a safe return to the planet! Tell all the ladies not to commit suicide!”
“Good to have you back, Teletraan!” welcomed Tails.
“Good to BE back, little buddy! What’s next?”
“We need a secure channel to all allies,” called Bumblebee as he entered the command center. “We need them to know where our new base of operations is.”
“Locating all allies now,” confirmed Teletraan.
“Find Orion too.”
“In the state he’s in?! Are you mad?!” protested Ratchet.
“Gotta agree with Ratchet here,” remarked Teletraan. “If his weapon against Unicron’s still not working, it might not be the best idea.”
“We can’t afford to wait for the Matrix,” replied Bumblebee. “We need to make our own miracle.” The command center was silent.
“…I hate it when you’re right,” grumbled Teletraan as he continued his work.
Orion had finished making the Energon tea and handed Sparkplug a Mini-con sized cup. Sparkplug accepted it and sipped the tea. When he finished, he hummed to himself. “…Is it bad?” asked Orion.
“…I’m afraid so,” replied Sparkplug. “This tea has all the necessary ingredients, but lacks the most important one, balance. I see why your path to the power of the Primes remains clouded.”
“This isn’t the path?!” wailed Orion. “I…I-I don’t understand! You must show me the way!”
“I cannot. It isn’t for me to show you YOUR path.”
“Fortune cookie scrap if I ever heard it!” The apparition of Optimus returned. “He knows what to do, he just won’t tell you!”
“Please, Sensei Sparkplug, I beg you,” pleaded Optimus as he clasped his hands together and bowed, “you MUST tell me!”
“That is something you must earn,” answered Sparkplug.
“EEAAARRNN?!” roared the specter in frustration. “AFTER EVERYTHING WE’VE DONE?! EVERYTHING WE’VE BEEN THROUGH?! The death! The loss!! THE SUFFERING!! WHO ARE YOU TO DENY US WHAT IS RIGHTFULLY OURS?!” The specter raised a fist and was about to bring it down on Sparkplug. Its progress was interrupted as something halted the fist. It turned to see Orion grabbing its wrist!
“Enough!” snarled Orion.
“What’s going on?” asked Jazz as he, Blackarachnia, Sonic, and Amy looked on.
“He’s wrestling with inner demons,” replied Amy. “I can see it. Hold on, guys. Let me help you see it too. Inviso!” Everyone then finally saw the specter of Optimus being held at the wrist by Orion.
“We have lost our connection to the Matrix because of you!” snarled Orion.
“I HAVE KEPT US ALIVE!” argued the apparition. “HE’S THE ONE WHO ROBBED US OF IT! HE KNOWS HOW TO BRING IT BACK!”
“That was Nemesis Prime, not Sparkplug! I’ve let you consume me for far too long!”
“YOU’RE IN MY WAY!” The specter then back-handed Orion, sending him into a wall. His friends gasped and rushed to help him.
“Do not interfere!” called Sparkplug. Orion then pulled himself from the wall, then pointed an accusing finger at the specter.
“You!” he hissed. “YOU are the cause of this! When Unicron was gaining more Blendtrons, despite our best efforts, you boiled over, giving Nemesis Prime what he needed to brick our connection to the Matrix! All those thoughts I had, thoughts of suicide, of bloodlust, of apathy, they all stemmed from you! You’re anger, you’re frustration!”
“AND YOU’RE A FOOL!” roared the apparition.
“I’ve allowed myself to let you blind me! Well, no longer! Now, I can see!” Orion then fired a stream of light at the specter.
“YOU NEED ME!” cried the apparition as it vanished in the light. The light died down and Orion caught his breath as his friends rushed to his side.
“Orion, are you all right?!” asked Blackarachnia.
“…That…was cathartic!” panted Orion. He then turned to Sparkplug. “Would you like a better cup of tea?”
“That won’t be necessary,” replied Sparkplug. “The tea is now balanced…as are you.” He pressed a button on the Energon tea maker, and it folded and compressed into a simpler device. It was a cube with a slot on one of its faces.
“Wh…what is it?” asked Sonic.
“This, my blue friend,” explained Sparkplug, “is a remote access point for Vector Sigma, the greatest super-computer of Cybertron and that which kept us alive during the first war when the Allspark was lost.” Orion then realized what was going on.
“It also holds the wisdom of the Primes as well as all the information Cybertron has ever gathered!” he continued Sparkplug’s explanation. “It serves as a back-up of the Matrix, should it ever be damaged! Maybe it can help unbrick it!” Orion keyed in a command and a hologram activated. It displayed a golden, multifaceted sphere.
“I am Vector Sigma,” droned the sphere. “After Primus was, before Cybertron was, I was. Who awakens me?”
“Mighty Vector Sigma,” pleaded Orion, “I am Orion Pax. I was once a Prime, but my connection to the Matrix was bricked by one of Unicron’s servants. Please, help me reestablish a connection.”
“Have you the Key?” asked Vector Sigma.
“The…the k…oh, yes, the Key!” Orion then took the Matrix out of his chest, then took the Key out. “My late mentor, Ironhide, tripped over it on this planet.”
“Please insert the Key into the access point.” Orion did as he was instructed. “Fault located. Repairing now. New updates available. All Thirteen are available for use of their wisdom. Would you like to add them to the Matrix?”
“Acknowledged. Repairs and reimaging at 70%…80%…90%. Repairs and reimaging complete. Please reinstall the Key into the Matrix.” Orion took the Key out and put it into the Matrix. The Matrix then enveloped Orion in a bright light. Inside the light, thirteen figures appeared before Orion.
“…The Primes?” he asked.
“YOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUNNNNNGG WARRIOR!” called one of the figures.
“I never thought I’d be so happy to hear that,” chuckled Orion as Alpha Trion stepped forward.
“Listen to me, Young Warrior! Heed the wisdom of time long ago!” he urged. “When a sparrow lands in your hand, it will ask for directions to the bathroom!”
“…Pretty sure a sparrow would poop wherever it wished, unless it was a Mobian Sparrow.” Orion smiled. “So, the bricking is undone? And you and Vector Prime…?”
“Do not blame you in the slightest,” assured Alpha Trion. “Our time has come anyway.” Vector Prime then stepped forward.
“However, this means that all the artefacts and weapons are tied solely to you, Young One,” he explained. Solus Prime then came forward.
“But, if you ask for my help, you can create a workaround for it for the coming battle against Unicron,” she revealed.
“But I need your Forge and Creation Lathe,” reminded Orion.
“That information will become clear when you ascend to Primehood once more,” called another figure. It stepped forward to reveal a tall, silvery blue mech with the Star Saber in his hands.
“Prima!” breathed Orion as he knelt down.
“All of us have decided,” rumbled Prima, “that, like your predecessors, you will stop a great evil! You are worthy to ascend to Primehood! Arise, OPTIMUS PRIME!” Light streamed from the optics of all Thirteen and enveloped Orion.
Out in the real world, the light grew brighter! “CAN ANYONE SEE HIM?!” called Jazz.
“IT’S TOO BRIGHT!” replied Blackarachnia. Then, the light died down, slowly coalescing into a figure. The figure then faced everyone and closed its chest cavity. The light faded even more to reveal that the figure was a mech with blue arms, red shoulder pads pointing up, gold hands, hover-generators running down the arms, red legs to evoke a semi’s nose, black feet, and the cab of a truck forming a backpack. The head…was one everyone was waiting for. It was blue with antennae and a silver hexagonal shape on the forehead.
“…Optimus?!” asked Sonic.
“In the new steel!” replied the figure. His friends cheered in joy! Orion Pax had returned to being Optimus Prime once again!