Chapter IX: From Long Ago
Wingwraith was astonished to see a lot of Autobots in the rec area. He told Ariel that he'd tell her and the Dinos a story, he was not expecting she'd lead him to a crowd.
"Hey everyone!" Ariel said cheerfully. The occupants of the room stopped what they were doing and looked at her. "It's story time!" Immediately, Wingwraith felt the rumbling of a thousand steps closing in only to see that the rest of the Dinobots were scrambling for front row. The rest, more curios that anything else, followed Ariel as she took the confused transformer to one side of the room.
Looking around, Wingwraith saw some familiar faces. Arcee was there pulling with her a rather, confused red and yellow autobot by the hand. Kup was smiling after them but his curiosity peaked and followed the crowd. As the crowd gathered around him, he noticed that his audience was curiously waiting for his story.
"Go ahead," Ariel smiled. "These here are my friends. They won't judge you because of that mark on you wing." Suddenly self conscious, Wingwraith folded his wings back so that they were half the length they were earlier.
"Relax," the commanding but gentle voice of Optimus Prime said as he entered the room with Elita One. The Autobot commanders were smiling at him which eased his wariness a bit. "They are more curious than hostile."
"We won't hurt you," A female autobot said smiling. "You are a guest." The crowd consented her admission. Looking at their eager faces, Wingwraith sighed and retracted his faceplate.
Ariel smiled as she heard the gasps of awe from her female friends. She had the same reaction when he first shown his face however, she still couldn't help to notice the serene sorrow in his features.
"Very well. Best make yourselves comfortable." Wingwraith leaned on the wall, relaxed and thoughtful. "Long before the Cybertronian Wars, decades after the Quintesons were driven out from Cybertron and years after the art of transformation was crafted, there existed a community of scientist that wished to explore the stars.
"It took a lot of planning but they finally did it. They built a ship, the first of its kind to explore the stars. It as equipped with every scientific apparatus available at the time. From astronomy to zoology, they had it all. All it needed was a crew." Wingwraith paused and looked around. He was surprised to see that his audience was genuinely fascinated. Even Kup, who had a million stories to tell, was interested.
"The Council of Elders, who approved the project, asked the Community of Science to send their best," he continued. "And their best was an Autobot with the name of Scire."
"That's a good name," Elita One whispered to his beloved. "I think it means 'to know'." Prime nodded. He was fascinated by the story as well. This was way too specific to be merely a story.
"Of course," Kup beamed. "I met her once. I was a lad then. She was the best science officer in the galaxy. She and her team were the pride of the science community."
"Words of her achievement reached generations," Perceptor said as he smiled fondly. "Her deeds were legendary."
"Indeed," Wingwraith crossed his arms. "And any disrespect to her name or her person shall be dealt with extreme prejudice." Elita One smiled. Now she knew where his protectiveness towards female autobots came from. Ariel, on the other hand, wanted to know more. What was this Scire to him?
"Easy, Wingwraith," Prime said. "Everyone here respects a great Autobot." This made Wingwraith relax.
"My apologies," he bowed. "I was programmed to respect female Autobots and defend their honors." With this admission, the ladies giggled excitedly.
"See? Me, Grimlock, say he good." The Dinobot leader said and the other dinos agreed with gusto. Wingwraith turned his head to cover his embarrassment which was obvious to all.
"We'll take up my basic directives another time," he nodded. "Of course the Council agreed to the choice but decreed that the team consisted of one more. A Decepticon." This was met with cries of outrage. A decepticon with autobots, it was unheard of. When the chatter died down, Wingwraith continued.
"Animosity between the two did not exist at the time," he explained. "And the Council thought that the expedition needed someone who was familiar with military tactics. They needed a warrior. But Scire was careful. She had heard of rumors concerning Decepticons and she agreed to it only if she was the one who chose. And her choice didn't sit well with the council or the community."
"Whom did she choose?" Ariel asked.
A decepticon named Shadow Knight."
"Now there's a name I haven't heard for a long time," Kup said as he shook his head. "He's a rarity."
"Rarity, old timer?" Hot Rod asked as he faced his friend.
"As Decepticon goes, he's the best fighter there was. He excels in almost everything; espionage, combat, weapons, anything about fighting, he's the best."
"He's also a great tactician," Optimus Prime said with respect. "He led a group of miners against their Quntison masters in a revolt and won. He didn't even lost a single miner."
"Yes," Elita One said in thought. "I remember the stories. But wasn't he an outcast?"
"By both Autobots and Decepticons," Wingwraith said with a small smile. "The Decepticons thought that he was… too kind. And the Autobots?" he looked at his audience and didn't say more.
"But Scire saw something else in him," Ariel said to ease the tension around. Especially, some tension between Wingwraith and the rest.
"Scire was one of the Autobots sent to free the miners. When they got there, they were amazed that they were free," Wingwraith continued as if nothing had happened. "They arrived in the middle of a celebration. Of course the miners were elated that reinforcements had arrived but still they couldn't believe what they were saying. A lone Decepticon rallied them and took their masters down.
"Scire looked for the Decepticon who helped them and was amazed to find him in his post, protecting the miners."
"He was still protecting the miners?" Arcee asked in surprise.
"I was his duty," Wingwraith simply said. "And he took his duty seriously."
"Then why revolt on his masters?" Optimus Prime pondered.
"Scire asked the same question however, he did not answer. Whatever the reason, it was know only to Shadow Knight and then, later, to Scire herself. In any event, Scire knew she could trust him. She didn't know why but she did. She asked him to be their security officer. Shadow Knight merely looked at her as though she was crazy but she did not waver. After what seemed like an eternity, he agreed."
"Interesting," Prime mused as he looked at the Wingwraith. "I'm seeing a pattern to all of this."
"Really?" Elita One asked. In truth she was beginning to think that there was more to him than meets the eye.
"A decepticon that's not exactly a decepticon. His loyalty towards female autobots. But there're to many pieces missing to complete the picture," the Autobot leader looked at his partner in thought.
"Like where he came from?" she asked the question that was in his head.
"What happened?" Ariel asked, curious about Scire and Shadow Knight.
"With he crew assembled, the New Hope launched into deep space."
"New Hope?" Arcee asked in surprise.
"Scire named the ship," Wingwraith explained. "Even Shadow Knight was surprised by her choice. She said that it was to be the light that took them out of the dark." Wingwraith was suddenly silent. He was debating if he should tell them the rest. But looking at Ariel's expectant eyes, he relented.
"Two cycles after the New Hope left Cybertron, all contacts with it were lost. Scire and the rest were never heard from again." His audience gasped and talked to themselves. Most were speculating as to what had happened the others were waiting to hear if there was more.
Optimus Prime couldn't help but notice the smile in his daughter's face. It was like she knew there was something more and the fact that she knew Wingwraith as good as she knew herself intrigued him.
"They weren't heard from again," she smiled. "Until now?" Wingwraith chuckled. This was the first time that she heard him laugh. It had mirth and joy and amusement in its tone. She liked it.
"Yes, my Lady," he smiled. "Until now."
Prime's com unit crackled and Blaster's voice came echoing through the rec hall.
"This is Blaster coming to you with the latest," the robot said. "I'm picking up some weird waves. And get this, it belonged to a frequency that's ours but has not been used in ages."
"Put it through," Optimus Prime said. Immediately, the air was filled with the voice of the past.
"Come… Autobot… Hope… copy…" the crackled transmission said.
"Blaster, can we clean up the transmission?" Elita One asked.
"No can do. That's the best I can do," Blaster said.
"Send it through me," Wingwraith said as he opened his wings fully and closed his facemask.
"Sending," Blaster said, sending the transmission through the Wingwraith.
"Filtering and Boosting," Wingwraith said and after a few moments the transmission came in clear.
"This is the exploratory vessel the New Hope, Come in Autobots. This is the new hope, do you copy?" a female authoritative voice came. It had the same leadership presence as Elita One.
"This is Optimus Prime, Leader of the Autobots. Identify yourself please."
"Finally," the voice sighed. "One of the young ones came through. It's a good thing Gatling Scout found some parts to boost the radio signal. Where was I? Oh! Right. Sorry if it's audio only. Can't fix the camera and we need every optical sensors available. We also need one of those."
"Am I babbling again? Sorry.
"This is Science commander Scire of the exploratory vessel New Hope. Pleased to meet you."