After Optimus was given his physical, Ratchet released him and it was another day of sensor sweeps for Shockwave and Metal Sonic. The Autobots were getting restless. “Anything?” asked Optimus.
“No,” replied Ratchet. There was a few minutes’ silence.
“How about now?” quizzed Optimus.
“Optimus,” hissed Ratchet with a little less patience, “you will be the first to know if I find something.” There was a longer silence. A few minutes later, someone crept up on Ratchet and tapped his shoulder. Ratchet groaned as he guessed who the finger belonged to. “Would someone keep him occupied so I can get some work done?!”
“Hey, Optimus,” called Bumblebee, “can I talk to you?”
“What about?” mumbled Optimus.
“That rallying cry you used last week,” replied Bumblebee. “The Autobots and I have been talking and we like that one.”
“What? Transform and roll out?” asked Optimus.
“That’s the one,” confirmed Bumblebee. Optimus considered.
“Bumblebee’s right,” called Ratchet, “it’s short and simple. That’s the mark of a more powerful rallying cry.” Optimus considered some more.
“You know,” he declared, “I like that. Transform and roll out it is!”
“Hey, Prime!” called Jazz as he came into the base. “Check it out!” He fished out a metal orb from his subspace pocket. Ratchet saw it and his optics widened in surprise.
“Where did you find that?” he asked.
“It was during my patrol around the base,” reported Jazz. “I found it embedded in the mountains.”
“I remember a picture of that thing from the history trax,” recalled Optimus. “Didn’t Iacon put valuable secrets into those things and send them off of Cybertron to keep them out of Decepticon hands?”
“They certainly did,” replied Ratchet. “The containers can only be opened by a master coder. At the moment, that’s you, Optimus.”
“If the thing inside is dangerous,” directed Optimus, “I need you on standby.”
“Understood,” replied Ratchet. Optimus then got to work. It took a long, tedious time to finally get the codes to change properly to open the orb. Streams of light flew out from two perpendicular latitudinal lines and an equatorial line. The resulting hemispheres then floated away from each other to reveal a piece of computer equipment.
“That’s a computer brain,” observed Jazz.
“Wait,” gulped Bumblebee, “if I recall, the only computer brain that was sent away from Cybertron during the war was…”
“The brain of our experimental artificial intelligence!” confirmed Ratchet. “I was one of the bots that helped with the project!”
“You mean Teletraan 1?” asked Optimus. “As in, the failed A.I. that sent many an Autobot into madness after endless screaming?!”
“The same,” replied Ratchet.
“Then we should get rid of it!” shouted Bumblebee as he primed his plasma stinger.
“Hold on!” called Optimus. “Ratchet, what caused Teletraan 1 to scream?”
“From what we deciphered,” remembered Ratchet, “he said ‘Too fast! Too much!’” Optimus stroked his chin.
“Let’s install Teletraan 1 into our system,” the young Prime declared.
“What!?!” was the reaction of every Autobot in the room.
“I have a theory,” explained Optimus. “Teletraan 1 is supposed to be a battlefield A.I., right?”
“Right,” confirmed Ratchet.
“So,” recalled Optimus, “that means that all Autobots would send the A.I. battlefield data through a computer link in their armor. That data would then be analyzed and Teletraan would send suggestions and the Autobot would choose the best course of action, right?”
“Right again,” replied Ratchet.
“What if we’ve added too many Autobots too quickly for Teletraan 1 to initially process?” asked Optimus. “What would happen if we slowly turned him on and carefully add Autobots to his computer link?” Ratchet considered this.
“That might explain some things,” he muttered. “It’s like the Combiner mindset. The minds of all the components have to meld together to make a single mind. That takes the entire combination process and it’s a slow process.”
“Why don’t we install Teletraan 1 to our systems, then introduce ourselves slowly to his brain so we don’t hear his screams,” theorized Optimus.
“Might work,” remarked Ratchet.
“I’m hesitant,” gulped Bumblebee, “but all right.” They opened up a panel under the main console and managed to wire the brain into it. Once they replaced the panel, Optimus was at the controls. As the computer was accepting new updates, he slowly introduced Autobot minds into the system. The process was long, tedious, and nail-biting. There was just one button left to push, and Optimus had to push it. He gulped. He finally pushed the button. For a few seconds, it seemed like hours to the Autobots, there was silence.
“Anyone hear screaming?” asked Optimus.
“I don’t think that’ll be happening,” replied a voice. It startled the Autobots and made them look around. “I’m inside your heads, bots,” called the voice again. The Autobots stopped moving, then turned to the main monitor. The camera was tracking their movements. On the screen was a male lynx in a t-shirt and jeans. “Hey guys!” cheered the lynx.
“Teletraan 1?” asked Optimus.
“That’s me!” confirmed the lynx. “The battlefield artificial intelligence for Autobot use.” Optimus blinked, then decided to check his ethics.
“Teletraan,” he directed, “I’m going to give you a scenario in which you must answer from a logical standpoint and a moral standpoint.”
“What’s the scenario?” asked Teletraan 1.
“The citizens of planet Vorlax continue to pollute the planet,” explained Optimus, “get angry at each other over religion, resources, and money, and continue to sell its children off into slavery of all kinds. As the most powerful computer, what do you do?”
“From a logical standpoint,” mused Teletraan 1, “I would summon a fleet of battleships, have them orbit the planet, and point the guns at their heads ‘for their own good’.”
“I could practically hear the quotation marks around the phrase ‘for their own good’,” observed Jazz.
“Because my ethical subroutines are saying that that course of action is wrong,” replied Teletraan 1. “My main function is to provide the Autobots battlefield data so they can act more effectively in combat. Maintaining an active fleet would require micro management of an entire planet and killing anyone who wants to take me out of the picture. So, in sober truth, Vorlax can do as it wishes.”
“So, in other words,” guessed Bumblebee, “slag them, it’s not my problem.”
“Yep,” confirmed Teletraan 1.
“Then, nothing more needs to be said,” declared Optimus. “Welcome to the Autobots, Teletraan 1!”
“Glad to be part of the team,” affirmed Teletraan 1. “I’ve connected to the new Sky Spy and I’m currently sweeping the planet for Shockwave or Metal Sonic.”
“And?!” asked Optimus.
“Nothing,” reported Teletraan 1. Optimus shouted at the heavens in frustration. He sighed, then went to the front door. “Where are you going?” quizzed Teletraan 1.
“I’m going for a drive,” replied Optimus. “I can’t stay cooped up in here!”
“But you might get spotted by Shockwave!” protested Ratchet. “And the other enemy, it’s always watching!”
“Eggman?” asked Bumblebee.
“No, those annoying news people!” snapped Ratchet.
“If I encounter anyone untrustworthy,” assured Optimus, “I’ll contact you guys. Besides, Teletraan 1 is in constant contact with us all.”
“Oh, fine!” sighed Ratchet. “Just be careful.” Optimus grinned and transformed. His exit was far from slow and tidy. He practically rocketed out the door, scattering some dust and tools. One of them snapped in half when it hit the wall. Ratchet’s optics went wide. He then turned to the empty door. “OPTIMUS, I NEEDED THAT!”