For a while, Optimus and his team stood still, then he pulled his gun on Shockwave’s artificial eye. “Try it!” he snarled. “Let’s see how well you conduct experiments with one eye!”
“Then, it seems we’re at an impasse,” observed Shockwave.
“It seems that way,” replied Optimus. “Tell you what, I don’t want us doing something we’ll both regret.”
“And how do you intend to prevent that?” asked Shockwave.
“Simple,” answered Optimus, “We swap stories relating to our… ‘hostages’, then we swap hostages.”
“Let me make sure I understood you,” declared Shockwave. “I tell you why my prosthetic is important to me and you tell me why the axe is important to you, then we exchange the related items?”
“Exactly,” confirmed Optimus. “Then we continue on our way with no one attacking the other.”
“Your proposal…is logical,” conceded Shockwave. “Since you made the proposal, you tell me your story.”
“Very well,” replied Optimus. “It’s an unpleasant part of Pax family history, subject to a little embellishment, as all family history is. Once upon a time, there was a family of three, a mother, a father, and a son, living in a quiet little town on Cybertron. They were a happy family, with the son loving his mother and father just as all children do. He knew of the more…unpleasant aspects of the universe, but he didn’t care, for he loved his parental units and they loved him back. At least, that’s what the mother and son believed. For, you see, the father DIDN’T love them because they were his wife and son, he loved them because of what he planned to do with them. He worshipped the Chaos Bringer, and he loved the Dark One more than his family. When the son entered his adolescent years, the father revealed to his family why he married the mother and why the son was born. While other sects of his church wished to give birth to the Destroyer, or simply live peaceful lives in a pact with the Unmaker, the sect that the father had belonged to had other goals. They didn’t believe that the Devourer should be in this wretched universe, at least not until the unbelievers could be purged. And so, he told his family that loved him very much that their entire purpose in the family was to be drained of their essence so that he could forge weapons that would smite whoever or whatever he so desired, to cleanse the universe of those that didn’t believe to usher in his paradise. So, he tormented the family that loved him, brought about pain and suffering to the mother and son so that they had no strength left, save for their will and mind. All through it, he laughed and was gleeful, even when his family wept and sobbed from what he did to them. He said the same thing over and over; ‘Feel the love of the Dark One! Feel your ascension into the Unmaker’s glory! May the love of the Chaos Bringer guide you! Finally, he began to drain their innermost Energon, the liquid essence of their will, so that the ritual for the weapons could be completed. It was then the mother and son stopped loving the father. They realized that he had never loved them, had never seen them as anything else other than the means to his goals. And they grew very angry and hateful! But, they did as the father wanted, lost everything that they were so that he could have his weapons and kill for the Planet Eater. The mother and son poured all of their rage, all of their hate, all of everything that was held back by their love into those weapons. Every unchecked drop of emotion was placed into the instruments of destruction, it seemed they had put their very Sparks into them. And, when the father tried to pick up the weapons, to use them in his righteous cause, the weapons burned HIM, burned HIS mind, and burned HIS Spark. They plunged his psyche into nightmares too horrible for him to understand, giving reprieve only so it could be snatched up and the haunting of his very being could continue. But, before the father received his final suffering, he asked the weapons ‘why’? Why would they do this to him? He loved his Dark Master, even sacrificing the life of his own family to prove it. And the weapon the son became replied ‘Because YOU were one of my gods! And all I have done, as well as your fellow god, is follow your teachings of love!’ And, with those words etched into his last thoughts, the father descended into madness and death, the weapons laughing in loving devotion.” Optimus’ dark story was finished, and a morbid silence hung in the air.
“By the Allspark!” gasped Jazz.
“I swear, Arcanus never told me that story!” agreed Ironhide as he made the gesture of the Holy Three; the Core, the Allspark, and the Matrix.
“And THESE are those weapons?” asked Shockwave as she indicated the gun in Optimus’ hand and the axe in hers.
“That’s right,” confirmed Optimus. “And you’re holding the mother in your hand. I told my story; you tell me yours! Why is this prosthetic eye so important? Can’t you make another one?”
“Not one like that,” replied Shockwave. “It’s my only connection to home.”
“…You mean, Cybertron?” asked Optimus.
“No, my home colony of Xitra,” corrected Shockwave.
“Xitra?” muttered Optimus. “Wait…you mean, the Lost Colony? Planet X?!”
“Hold on, Planet X was real?!” yelped Bumblebee.
“And it was my home, before our arrogance destroyed it,” answered Shockwave. “In the Early stages of the War, we were the Silicon Valley of the colonies. You could name any piece of technology, and we would have already thought of it, made it, and turned it into something better. We were, primarily, a Functionist paradise. Our alternate modes dictated our lives and we never argued, unless we had a special talent that could please the 12 members of the Functionist Council. My scientific genius attracted their attention, and I was declared Alt-mode Exempt. My alt-mode would have landed me in the military, but I joined the other scientists and helped make Xitra and its technology the best of the colonies. However, Xitra was running low on power, much like Cybertron was. So, we had to find a new source of energy. We found it on our neighboring colony, our rival, Gigantion, Metroplex’s home world. For a while, we held the line and we made great advances to their capital. However, it was not to last. Metroplex used his own powers to make him, his people, and his planet much bigger. With their increased size, Gigantion brought us to a standstill. Because of the advantage they had in size and numbers, we had no choice but to make bigger and better weapons. I had constructed a last resort at the time in an act of desperation; a weapon so powerful, not even I could control it. The Functionist Council gave the go-ahead for it to be used. I argued and pleaded with them not to use it. In response, I was stripped of my Alt-mode Exemption and sent to the front lines with our heavy hitter: Sixshot, our scout: Noisemaze, Soundwave and his drones, and Blaster with his drones. As our shuttle flew to Gigantion, we saw our planet sparking and shaking. I knew what had happened, the Council ordered my weapon, the Master Blaster, to be used. The energy was so powerful, it had to escape my planet rather violently. Xitra was destroyed and my shuttle was ripped apart. When I regained consciousness, Blaster, Sixshot, Soundwave, the drones, and I were floating in space, battered, but alive. As the horror of what I had built hit me, I screamed in anguish and grief, the blackness of space choking out whatever noise was made. As sobs wracked my frame, an invention of mine floated by, a prosthetic eye that I had designed for my father, the one who brought my genius to the Council’s attention. His eye was damaged before our war with Gigantion. Soon, my shuttle-mates regained consciousness and we all landed on an asteroid. When I told the story, we concluded that Noisemaze tried to save us, but lost his life. After a few Solar Cycles, we were picked up by an Autobot shuttle. It was carrying the Allspark from Cybertron to prevent it from ending up in the wrong hands. The drones were sent to examine it and soon, the energies from the Cube flowed through them, granting the drones their own sparks. I then realized how dangerous emotions were, so I went to work for the past 6 million years to keep them under lock and key, at least, until YOU pushed me to the breaking point!” Shockwave then drew in a breath to steady herself. “It was emotions that pushed me to make a final resort, it was emotions that cost me my privilege, and it was emotions that destroyed my home.” Her story was finished.
“So, Blaster, Soundwave, Sixshot, and the Autobot and Decepticon cassettes are survivors too,” whispered Optimus. “…My condolences.”
“Spare me,” dismissed Shockwave. “Now, I told you my story. How do you propose we swap our respective items?”
“We toss them to each other at the same time,” answered Optimus.
“Very well,” agreed Shockwave. “On three?”
“On three,” confirmed Optimus. “One.”
“Two,” counted Shockwave.
“THREE!” said both bots. Soon, they tossed their items so that Optimus got his axe back and Shockwave got her prosthetic eye back. She put it back into her eye socket.
“Metal Sonic, we are leaving,” called Shockwave.
“53 68 6f 63 6b 77 61 76 65 2c 20 79 6f 75 20 6d 61 6c 66 75 6e 63 74 69 6f 6e 69 6e 67 20 70 69 65 63 65 20 6f 66 20 6a 75 6e 6b 21” roared Metal Sonic in Hexadecimal tones.
“Enough,” dismissed Shockwave. “We will fight another day.” She jumped off Metroplex and transformed when she landed. Metal Sonic glared at the Autobots before flying after her.
“Good riddance to bad Xitran rubbish!” rumbled Metroplex’s voice over the intercom. “Farewell, wee friends!”
“Farewell, Metroplex,” bid Optimus. “Teletraan, bring us back to base.”
“You got it,” confirmed Teletraan. The assault team was beamed away.
Optimus sat in his office in normal robot mode, pondering over the day’s events. He heard the door chime. “Come in,” he called, welcoming a distraction. Prowl came in.
“Tails just started coming up with ideas to make an Emerald radar that doesn’t require having to find one first,” he reported. “The prototype should be ready within the month.”
“Any news on Station Square?” asked Optimus.
“Thankfully, the property damage was minimal to the point of nonexistence,” replied Prowl. “Our help wasn’t needed, but still appreciated. The Mayor would like to hold a parade in our name.”
“I’ll talk to him so we can arrange it,” answered Optimus. “Anything else?”
“No, Sir,” remarked Prowl.
“Very well,” sighed Optimus. Prowl turned to leave. “Are they worth it?”
“Pardon?” asked Prowl.
“Are emotions really worth it?” clarified Optimus. “It was desperation that made Shockwave make a last resort. Then again, logic made her forget basic morals. The problem becomes, what takes over in what situation?”
“Sir, with all due respect,” argued Prowl, “you’re falling into the same trap Shockwave did.”
“Come again?” asked Optimus.
“Usually, I would blame Star Trek for this kind of thing,” remarked Prowl, “but, Shockwave, in all likelihood, never bothered watching it. Logic and emotions are NOT mutually exclusive.”
“How do you figure?” quizzed Optimus.
“I’m going to use myself as the example,” explained Prowl. “My motto is ‘Logic is the Ultimate Weapon.’ However, if I relied on it on a day-to-day basis, I would have missed some opportunities, such as marrying Strongarm. I may say this in a teasing manner to her just to yank her chain, but Strongarm and I loved each other and wanted to spend our lives together, so marriage was the only logical option.”
“And you wouldn’t even tease her if you relied solely on logic,” replied Optimus, understanding him.
“Exactly, Sir,” confirmed Prowl. “It IS possible to use logic and emotion together. Spock and the other Vulcans got it all wrong, in my opinion, as did the rest of the Enterprise.” Optimus grinned.
“Thanks, Prowl,” bid Optimus.
“Just doing what I can, sir,” answered Prowl. He got up and left, leaving Optimus feeling better about his own emotion/logic balance.