Author's Note: I finally decided to rewrite this fic. The original sounded really stupid to me. It's part of the Ultra Rodimus series, but it doesn't fit in at all. So I took this time to rewrite it so that it fits into the storyline instead of being out in left field somewhere.

Disclaimer: The character of Ultra Rodimus is mine. Everyone else belongs to somebody with a lot more money than me.

A New Life

The light of the fierce plasma storm raging silently in the cold of space reflected off the window of the retreating shuttle and in the eyes of the bot standing on the other side, staring out at what had been the planet he'd spent his entire life on. His entire universe had come crashing down around him.

Sandstorm had been built on Paradron and had been a teacher of history at the university all his life. Life had been good, far from the wars and conflicts that raged across most of the quadrant. Everyone had known of the ancient war their ancestors had fled, but it was so far away in time and space that no one thought about it. It was none of their concern.

But it had found them.

It had begun with two strange Transformers crashing on the planet. Sandstorm had recognized their insignia from the ancient texts; they were Decepticons. He'd tried to warn the Paradronian leaders of the danger, but they had ignored him. The result had been an entire army occupying the peaceful world, enslaving its occupants and forcing them to make weapons. A distress call had been sent, and another army, bearing the Autobot insignia, the same symbol Sandstorm himself bore, had arrived. They were not interested in taking the planet; they wanted to free it. And they had almost done so. Then the Decepticons had planted a bomb in the core, making sure that if they couldn't have Paradron, no one would. The Autobots had begun evacuating, but there were too many people and not enough time. When the planet blew, more than half of her people died with her.

The survivors filled the half dozen shuttles, huddled together, many silent, others weeping softly. Sandstorm stood apart from the others, staring out the viewport, feeling empty. What would he do now?

A door hissed open. Footsteps, almost silent, crossed the room toward him. Sandstorm sensed a presence at his side, but didn't take his eyes from the sight of the ball of fiery plasma that marked where his home had once been.

"It was a beautiful planet."

The words startled Sandstorm out of his trance. He'd heard that voice before, yelling orders over the Autobot communications frequency. Those orders had been instantly obeyed. It was the voice of the Autobot leader.

Spinning around, he looked up.

The bot standing beside him was quite young, and the most unusual bot Sandstorm had ever seen. He didn't look like a Transformer; there was no indication of what his alternate mode might be or if he even had one. He was very tall, a bit more than two heads taller than Sandstorm was, and very slender of build. In some ways he looked fragile, as if one blow would break him in half. But he also radiated the feel of strength, a strength that was completely at odds with his slender form. Then Sandstorm took a closer look.

To his surprise, the young bot was not as fragile as he looked. His armor had a gentle gleam as light reflected over its surface, covered in scorch marks. It looked more durable than anything Sandstorm had ever seen before. The Autobot leader was anything but fragile. He could most likely take more punishment than any of his warriors.

In color, he was mainly a light smoke-grey. Tiger stripes alternating vivid blue and bright crimson ran down his spine and limbs. In the center of his chestplate was the red Autobot faction insignia. A long silver braid hung down his back, the end just below knee level. Privately Sandstorm thought he was very handsome.

The other bot turned to look at the pacifist. He had an elegant profile, without any of the hard lines the others had. His features were smooth. Instead of being standard Transformer optics his eyes were almond-shaped, slightly vertical, the irises a brilliant emerald green, the pupils black and slitted.

"I am sorry for your loss," the young leader rumbled softly, his voice a deep bass with an underlying purr to it. "I did all I could, but there was no way we would have reached the core in time to defuse the bomb. We saved as many of your people as we could, and I sincerely wish we could have gotten them all."

Sandstorm said nothing. He gazed up at the young bot for a moment, then turned back to the window. The taller bot waited a moment longer, waiting for some kind of response, then backed away. He left the room as quietly as he'd come, the door hissing shut behind him.

A few minutes later the door opened again and someone else crossed to where he stood. Sandstorm glanced over and saw that it was the other triple changer, the green and silver one he'd first met. The other bot, Springer, he remembered, regarded him for a long moment, blue optics narrowed slightly.

"You were rude to Prime," Springer finally said.

Sandstorm didn't reply. He looked away, but Springer refused to be ignored. He grabbed the pacifist's arm and spun him around.

"Grieving for the loss of your home is no excuse to be rude," Springer hissed, eyes flashing. "He apologized to you and your people and you think he's not sincere. He is. He understands better than you seem to think. You think he doesn't know what it's like to lose close friends? He does. He even lost his own life once." The green triple shook him. "You owe him an apology."

With that, he let go and stalked away.

Sandstorm stared after him, stunned. Then he turned back to the fading view of Paradron's remains, his mind whirling. He had been rude to the Autobot leader, and it was considered inexcusable by Paradronians to be so rude to anyone. Heaving a sigh, Sandstorm walked out of the area occupied by the pacifists.

Out in the corridor, he asked a passing Autobot where he'd find Ultra Rodimus. The other Autobot, a red and blue one almost as tall as Sandstorm was, his helmet crested with a gold chevron and the doors of his alternate mode spreading out behind him like wings, eyed him for a long moment, then led him to another section of the shuttle.

"He's in here."

"Thank you." Sandstorm walked through the door.

The lights were dim, making it hard to see. The light from the windows, fortunately, silhouetted the slender robot standing silently on the far side of the room. The young leader said nothing, but Sandstorm knew that his presence had been noticed. He slowly crossed the chamber until he stood beside the other robot, looking out at the stars. For a moment he was silent. Then he sighed silently and turned to face the taller bot.

"I apologize for my behavior," Sandstorm told him softly, and the other bot finally looked at him. "You were trying to show me kindness and I threw it back in your face. It was very rude of me, and for that I deeply apologize."

A faint smile touched the young leader's lips. "Springer must've had words with you, eh?"

Sandstorm snorted. "He did."

"Springer can be quite direct," the youth admitted. "I'm more lenient than he is, though. You are forgiven."

The orange and yellow pacifist smiled up at him, then turned back to the starscape sliding past. A comfortable silence reigned for a few moments. After a time, he looked back up at his companion. "My name is Sandstorm."

The Cybertronian took his offered hand. "Ultra Rodimus."

"That's a mouthful."

Striped shoulders rose in a shrug. "I didn't choose it. It was given to me."

"Not a name that's likely to be forgotten, it's so unusual."

Ultra Rodimus chuckled. "Oh, my name won't be forgotten. There's a list of accomplishments as long as my arm attached to it."

Sandstorm echoed his chuckle. Then they lapsed back into silence. This time the silence lasted for a longer time.

"What's Cybertron like?" Sandstorm finally asked.

Ultra Rodimus sighed. "Nothing like Paradron, unfortunately. Once it was a beautiful planet, similar to your homeworld. But the wars that raged across its surface have left terrible scars. And the last major battle fought there was not even between Cybertronians. Yet it did more damage than the rest combined."

Blue optics looked a question at him. Ultra Rodimus's shoulders slumped, and he waved toward the chairs by the wall. "Better sit down, this might take a while."

"I am a historian," Sandstorm informed him calmly. "I am used to long tales."

The taller bot snorted and walked over to a chair, settling into it. Sandstorm chose to settle cross-legged at his feet, elbows on knees, optics fixed intently on the Autobot leader's face. Ultra Rodimus blinked at him for a moment, then leaned back, crossed his arms over his chest, and began to relate Cybertron's long history of bloodshed and warfare.

It took a long time telling.

Sandstorm absorbed every word, adding it to the histories he already knew. That was what he did, keep records. By the time Ultra Rodimus finished describing his own death and rebirth, Sandstorm had developed a deep sympathy for the one fated to lead the Autobot army and carry the weight of the galaxy on his shoulders.

"I'm sure I've missed a lot in between," Ultra Rodimus warned. "You could ask Kup or Magnus if they have anything to add."


The door hissed open. The same bot who'd led Sandstorm there poked his head in. "Prime, we're approaching Cybertron."

"Thank you, Smokescreen."

The red and blue bot nodded and withdrew.

"How do you manage to remember who's who?" Sandstorm wondered.

"Mind like a steel trap," Ultra Rodimus responded, grinning. "Anything that goes in never comes out."

"Must make for one hell of a crowd in there," Sandstorm teased, and the Prime laughed.

Still chuckling, the two made their way to the shuttle's bridge. There Sandstorm got his first look at Cybertron.

The metal planet was massive and dark, with no sun to shine on its cold surface. At least four moons circled it, shedding a faint reflected light down onto the world. From a distance it looked beautiful. Then Sandstorm took a closer look and saw the scars.

Deep gashes cut through to the interior. Massive craters and the burned ruins of cities dotted the landscape. Other areas looked like they'd been smashed in, or ripped out by giant hands. There were very few lights dotting the dark surface. A thin field of metal scraps and bits of machinery formed a very faint ring around Cybertron, a barely visible haze that hinted at the ferocity of the fighting.

"Home," Ultra Rodimus rumbled softly.

"It doesn't look like I expected it to," Sandstorm told him.


The shuttles landed in a city Ultra Rodimus called Iacon. The pacifists slowly emerged, remaining in a clump, staring blankly at their new surroundings. Sandstorm looked up at the dark sky, full of unfamiliar constellations, shuddered slightly, and inched a little closer to Ultra Rodimus.

"Jazz and Ultra Magnus will find you quarters," Ultra Rodimus told the pacifists, gesturing at the two. Then he walked into the city, Sandstorm trotting along in his wake.

As the days passed, Sandstorm developed a friendship with the young Prime. He spoke to the older Autobots, writing what they told him in the history chronicles he was putting together. When he'd gathered all the information they had available, he retreated to the quarters assigned to him and began to document everything he'd been told. It took days of steady typing to get everything written down in his history files. Once he had finished that, he found himself wondering if there was anything else for him to do. The Cybertronian Autobots were warriors, and he was not. The other Paradronians were slowly finding places to fit in, mostly with the architect Grapple and his construction teams. Sandstorm did not have the skills or inclination for construction work, and Iacon had little need of an archivist. Not knowing what else to do, he went to see if Ultra Rodimus had any advice.

The young Prime was in his office, seated at his desk, hidden from sight by the massive piles of datapads covering its surface. He was sorting through the piles, swearing under his breath.

"Something wrong?" Sandstorm asked.

Ultra Rodimus had to come out from behind the desk to see him, the piles were so high. He carried one pad in one hand, three more in the other. There was a scowl on his face.

"Why is it that no one knows how to put these things in order?" he demanded rhetorically.

"All out of order, are they?"

"All jumbled together in no particular order and completely at random.. It's very frustrating. Doing paperwork takes a lot longer than it should because I have to sort through these massive piles to find anything!"

Sensing a chance to do something, Sandstorm's optics lit up. "May I help? Sort them, I mean."

The younger bot blinked at him, clearly amazed that anyone would willingly want to dive into the horrid amounts of paperwork that he had to deal with as Autobot leader, then a brilliant smile broke out on his face. "That would be a very great help; thank you."

Sandstorm returned the smile. Then he began lifting the stacks from the desk to the floor and began sorting them according to date and subject. Ultra Rodimus returned to his work, able to plow his way through it considerably quicker than he had before. Sandstorm sat cross-legged by the wall, surrounded by a sea of datapads, strangely content with his task. The quiet of the office was broken only by the clicking of Ultra Rodimus's keyboard, the occasional protesting creak of his chair as he shifted position, and the soft click of datapads against each other. Every so often Sandstorm would lift a sorted pile of pads back onto the desk, rewarded by a broad smile from the Autobot leader.

Several hours later Sandstorm was not even close to being finished. Other Autobots had been coming and going every now and then, usually bringing with them another pile of pads. Sandstorm would take them and add them to the piles to be sorted. Several Autobots stopped to watch him for a moment before leaving.

Finally Ultra Rodimus dropped his pen and stretched, yawning. "Oh, that's enough for one day."

Sandstorm looked up at him, then checked his internal chrono and grunted in surprise when he realized that he'd been sitting there for almost 12 hours. The time had flown by without him even noticing. Ultra Rodimus, leaning on the edge of his desk, grinned tiredly at him.

"I bet that now you're regretting offering to help me," he commented.

"No, I'm not." Sandstorm shook his head. "I'm grateful for having something to do."

The taller bot blinked once. "You actually like doing this?"

"Historian, remember. I'm used to massive piles of paperwork. Some of the old chronicles I had to work through made all of this look puny."

Ultra Rodimus stared at him, then chuckled and shook his head. "Most bots I know wouldn't touch all this paperwork with a fifty-foot pole even if you offered them a million energon cubes. It's a real surprise finding someone who actually likes it."

"You don't like it either, hmm?"

"Not in the least, but if it isn't done the army will fall apart at the seams. I just wish that my second-in-command and my other ranking officers would actually do their share instead of pushing it off on me."

Sandstorm gathered up all of the remaining datapads and arranged them in a neat pile for the night. Then he rose to his feet and followed Ultra Rodimus out.

"Meet you here tomorrow?" he asked.


Sandstorm entered recharge that night with a renewed sense of purpose.

He became a regular feature of Ultra Rodimus's office, usually seated off to one side sorting and arranging datapads. Other times he intercepted other Autobots before they could disturb the very busy young Prime, or told them off when they wanted to deposit more work on Ultra Rodimus and the youth was clearly exhausted. On more than one occasion Sandstorm actually walked right into the offices of Ultra Magnus and Kup and the rest of the command staff and dumped large heaps of datapads on their desks with the instruction to do it themselves.

"I'd say you've got yourself a secretary, Roddy," Magnus commented, eyeing the pacifist triple changer with some respect.

Ultra Rodimus looked up from his terminal, tapping his pen against his fingers absently, and smiled slightly. "Wasn't my idea. He appointed himself. He's a great help."

"It seems he's your unofficial assistant, so why don't you appoint him your official aide?"

"Don't think the thought hasn't crossed my mind."

"I'd be honored to assist you," Sandstorm cut in, looking from one to the other.

Ultra Rodimus blinked at him, but before he had a chance to say anything Magnus beat him to it.

"Then it's settled," the city commander announced, looking from the pacifist to his slightly annoyed leader. Ultra Rodimus gave him the 'evil optic', but didn't comment.

Sandstorm placed a hand on Ultra Rodimus's forearm. "I've been looking for something to do for months, Roddy. My talents are different from the other Paradronians. At least this will keep me from going out of my mind with boredom."

The younger bot smiled. "It might put you to sleep, though."

"Not much chance of that," was the calm reply.

As the months passed, their friendship deepened. It never went beyond friendship, but that didn't matter. Sandstorm knew Ultra Rodimus better than anyone. That was enough for him.

The other pacifists began to grow restless, homesick, and began to feel trapped inside Iacon's walls. Sandstorm told Ultra Rodimus, who began looking into the situation. Then the elected leader of the remaining pacifists, an older male named Windstar, informed Ultra Rodimus that they wanted out, to get away from the war and everyone associated with it. Ultra Rodimus explained to them that that was not possible.

"We will leave," Windstar told him.

Ultra Rodimus eyed him. "If you leave this city the Decepticons will finish what they began on Paradron!" he snapped back at the older bot. "Are you trying to get your people killed?"

No matter what he said, Windstar didn't listen. The pacifists were still set on leaving, but some were beginning to have doubts. Those who were beginning to believe that the young Prime knew what he was talking about dragged their heels when the time to leave came, hoping that something would happen to change Windstar's mind. Nothing did.

One of Windstar's supporters opened Iacon's massive gates. The pacifists began to file out. Those who doubted Windstar's decision were last to leave, looking back apologetically.

Ultra Rodimus's "sixth sense" began to tingle. He hesitated, then extended his minor power of empathy to the limits of its relatively small range. At that range he could only sense the strongest emotions, but that might be enough to let him know what was wrong. For a long moment, he sensed nothing.

Then his awareness brushed across a mind alive with rage and seething with hate, a twisted, diseased mind. He winced and pulled away from it, recognizing the insane, mindless hatred as coming from Galvatron. And where Galvatron was, the rest of the Decepticons couldn't be very far away.

"What is it?" Kup, having learned to recognize when his leader's weak empathy was giving him a warning, asked.

A shudder ran through Ultra Rodimus's body as he drew his mental feelers back behind his shields. "Decepticons. They're coming!"

Kup wasted no time in calling the Autobots to arms. Iacon's battle sirens began to scream, and the Autobots began pouring out of the city. The pacifists, alarmed by the sudden sirens and flurry of activity, gathered into a clump. Some, those who hadn't wanted to leave in the first place, turned tail and bolted back into the city, going for cover.

Windstar stood over the uncertain pacifists. "They activate the sirens to frighten us into staying! Ignore them and let us leave this place!"

He began to head away from the city, followed by a few nervous stragglers. The rest looked at each other, not knowing what to do. More of them joined the streams flowing back into the city, but most of them remained where they were. Windstar called for them to follow him.

Then the Decepticons descended through Cybertron's dark sky, and Windstar was the first to fall.

A wide beam of purple energy, a plasma cannon blast, streaked through the dark sky like a bolt of lightning. It struck Windstar full in the chest and blew right through, instantly vaporizing everything between shoulders and hips. What was left of the pacifist crumpled on the ground while Galvatron's insane laughter rang out from overhead.

The pacifists, already nervous, went almost mad with terror.

They scattered in every direction, mindlessly trying to get away. But they were helpless and the Decepticons cut them down like grain under a harvester's scythe. Within a few seconds over a dozen had been killed.

"Autobots attack!" Ultra Rodimus bellowed.

The firing began before he even finished issuing the command. Every weapon in Iacon opened fire on the Decepticons. Lasers screamed, missiles roared, metal shrieked as it tore, and the wounded cried out in agony. Over that were the war cries, the bellowed orders, and the insane laughter of Decepticons hunting down the helpless, terrified pacifists like animals, making a sport of the slaughter.

Ultra Rodimus let out a roar of rage. Grabbing his massive battleaxe, he charged out of the city and began rounding up the surviving Paradronians. Once the others noticed what he was doing, more of them came out to help. Finally, they succeeded in getting the small group of survivors, a mere fraction of their former numbers, back into Iacon. Sandstorm met them at the gates, running out to help his people.

Galvatron, seeing the pacifist triple changer, aimed his arm cannon and fired.

From the corner of his eye Ultra Rodimus saw the blast coming. He put on a burst of speed, hitting full stride and managing to reach Sandstorm slightly ahead of the deadly blast.

"Look out!" Ultra Rodimus threw himself forward, slamming Sandstorm out of the way while looking back over his shoulder to judge where the blast was.

That was a mistake.

He'd misjudged his timing. The hot plasma blast tore across his neck, where his armor was thinnest. Under the combination of force and heat it crumpled, leaving delicate circuitry exposed. Circuits were vaporized, fluid tubes ruptured, and a gaping slash opened across his throat. Pain ripped through his body. He collapsed on top of Sandstorm.

First Aid seemed to materialize at his side, followed seconds later by Magnus. The city commander lifted his leader off the dazed Paradronian and carried him inside. Springer helped Sandstorm to his feet and almost dragged him off the battlefield.

The other Autobots had seen their leader being shot, and they were furious. Their fire doubled, punching holes in the Decepticon ranks. Any Decepticon who fell out of the air had only slightly better survival chances than a snowball in hell, especially if they landed in the midst of a seething mass of enraged Autobots. Several Decepticons were actually ripped into their component pieces, which were then scattered all over the place and trampled. One Decepticon actually managed to crash behind Autobot lines without being noticed, but he didn't last long before the advancing Autobots crushed him to death beneath their feet.

Eventually even Galvatron realized that his troops were being very severely beaten, and he called for a retreat. Those Decepticons still able turned tail and ran, a few stopping to grab wounded comrades before their enemies could reach them. But even off the ground they weren't safe. The Autobot fliers took off in pursuit, bombarding their enemies with a hail of weapons fire. They didn't give up the chase until the Decepticons had been driven right out of the sector.

Once the Decepticons were gone, the Autobots began the task of cleaning up the debris. The remains of the fallen Decepticons were thrown into a heap for the scavengers, which could be seen gathering at a safe distance waiting for the Autobots to leave, to pick at. Red optics glowed in the shadows, advertising the presence of turbofoxes, cyber-wolves, and many turbo-rats. Once all the remains were out of the way, the Autobots began surveying the damage.

Sandstorm came to his senses in his own quarters. He sat up on the recharge bed, trying to remember what had happened. He remembered running out to help his people, someone shouting at him, and then something large slamming into him. Then he realized that the voice had been shouting a warning, and it had been Ultra Rodimus's voice.

Scrambling to his feet, Sandstorm bolted for the door. In the corridor he grabbed at the first Autobot he saw and asked where Ultra Rodimus was.

"He's in Repair Bay," was the answer.

Hastily thanking the Autobot, Sandstorm sprinted down the corridor until he reached the medical wing. The door slid open to admit him. He froze for a second, staring at the number of wounded bots awaiting treatment, the spilled fluids staining the floor, and the terrible cries of agony coming from every direction. There were so many wounded bots that they spilled out into the corridor. The medics were working as fast as they could, taking the most badly wounded bots first. Any pacifist with medical training who wasn't too seriously wounded was helping, taking some of the burden from the medics' shoulders.

A medic walked past Sandstorm, who reached out and caught his shoulder. "Where is Ultra Rodimus?"

"He's in there." The medic pointed to one of the treatment rooms.

"Thanks." Sandstorm headed to the indicated room and slipped through the door.

Ultra Rodimus lay on a repair table built to hold his large frame, powered down in repair mode. Fluids stained his armor and trickled across the table to slowly drip onto the floor. First Aid was working on something. Sandstorm edged along the wall to get a better look and spotted the massive gash torn in the Autobot leader's neck.

"What happened?" Sandstorm asked.

"He took a shot meant for you," the Chief Medical Officer responded without looking up. "Galvatron was aiming for you. Prime pushed you out of the way and took the shot in the throat. He saved your life, almost at the cost of his own."

Shocked, Sandstorm had to grip the wall to keep from falling over. Ultra Rodimus had risked his life to save Sandstorm's. He'd almost lost his life in the process. And that, by Paradronian law, meant that there was a debt owed.

"How is he?"

"Stable. I've got the fluid loss almost stopped, so he isn't going to bleed out. The circuitry is proving a little more difficult. Ultra Rodimus is built differently than any other Autobot. His systems and circuitry are far more advanced and therefore harder to repair. It will take some time, but he'll be back on his feet again."

Silently, Sandstorm nodded. Finding a spot where he had a clear view and wouldn't be in the way, he settled down to watch.

It took fully three days to finish the repairs on Ultra Rodimus. During that time, Sandstorm only left for brief periods of recharge. Then he would return, keeping a silent vigil at the Autobot leader's side. Other Autobots looked at him curiously. He ignored them.

Finally, a week after being wounded, Ultra Rodimus woke up.

A low moan brought Sandstorm out of his light doze. He leaned over the repair table, watching as Ultra Rodimus's fingers twitched, announcing his return to consciousness. A moment later, his green eyes opened. The pupils jerked and twitched until they could properly focus on Sandstorm's face.


A smile lit the pacifist's face. "It's me."

"Have you been here the whole time?"

"That you've been in here? Yes, I have."


"Because I felt I had to be."

Ultra Rodimus blinked at him, then let his head fall back onto the table with a groan. "I feel like slag," he grumbled.

"At least you're still alive to feel lousy," Sandstorm responded.

That got a snort out of the larger Autobot. Sandstorm hit the comm button. First Aid entered a few moments later, walking over to check on the groggy young Prime.

"You can go back to your quarters now, but I want you to take it easy for a few days," the medic told him.

"I will."

First Aid glared at him suspiciously, knowing that Ultra Rodimus had a tendency to push himself too hard. Then he turned to Sandstorm. "You keep an eye on him."

"Will do."

Ultra Rodimus groaned as he got to his feet, wobbling unsteadily. Sandstorm caught his arm, moving closer to help support the larger bot. The taller bot nodded to him gratefully. Then the duo left Medbay.

All the way to Ultra Rodimus's quarters Sandstorm kept the younger bot on his feet. Ultra Rodimus muttered directions, barely able to stand on his own. Sandstorm found the set of rooms without much trouble, waited for Ultra Rodimus to open the door, and helped him in.

The rooms were pretty bare, only a few personal objects placed here and there. Sandstorm made a face but refrained from saying anything. He almost dragged Ultra Rodimus into the bedroom, which was as spartan as the outer chamber. The recharge bed was simply a metal slab. Ultra Rodimus settled onto it, fell over onto his side, and was immediately out like a light.

Sandstorm watched him sleep for a moment, then began to explore the rooms. Eventually he found an attached storage chamber, which contained a lot of items Ultra Rodimus had picked up on his travels. Opening it, he was delighted by what he found there. Smiling to himself, he got to work.

Hours later, Ultra Rodimus woke up. Noticing that something had changed, he raised his head.

The light was dimmer than it should have been. The surface he lay on was covered by something soft to the touch. His view of the room was obscured by something. It took him a moment to realize that lengths of fabric had been hung from the ceiling, surrounding the bed. Pushing it aside, he stared.

A brightly-colored geometric rug covered the floor. Tapestries and pictures hung on the walls. A patterned hanging had been placed over the door. A couch stood against one wall, next to a bookcase full of real books from several different worlds.

The door hanging stirred. Then it was brushed aside and Sandstorm peeked in.

"Awake? How do you feel?"

"Better than I did a few hours ago." Ultra Rodimus tilted his head. "Why are you still here?"

"First Aid told me to keep an eye on you. And because I have to talk to you."

"About what?"

Sandstorm walked over, sitting on the edge of the bed. He took a moment to collect his thoughts, then explained the Paradronian law of life-debt to the young Prime. Ultra Rodimus reacted with shock and denial. He didn't want to hold any Autobot in servitude. Sandstorm calmly countered his arguments, waiting patiently for Ultra Rodimus to run out of things to say. Finding himself verbally backed into a corner, Ultra Rodimus finally conceded defeat. There was nothing he could do about it.

The older triple changer grinned at him and gently smacked him on the shoulder. "Don't be so nervous, big guy. Everything is gonna be fine."


And that is it for this rewrite. It's finally finished. At least now it makes more sense and fits into the rest of the series. So. Send me some reviews and let me know what you think.