By: Sinead (Raptrana )
A Past Reveals Its Secrets
Rattrap screamed, waking up. Optimus ran into the room to find his comrade huddled into a ball, shaking and whimpering, on the floor.
"Rattrap?" he asked, walking closer, disbelieving what his eyes were telling him.
Rattrap didn't move out of the position he was in. Nightscream and Botanica had started to run in the direction of the scream as well, but stopped at the door. Optimus crouched by Rattrap, placing his hand on the rat's back. "Whatever it was, Rattrap, it was a dream."
That made him look up. "It wasn't."
Optimus nodded. "Then tell me what it was, old friend."
"Memories," Rattrap replied, burying his head back into his arms again.
Optimus looked over his shoulder at Botanica and Nightscream, sighing . . .
Rattrap awoke late the next morning, knowing, remembering, things that he knew he had not known the previous day. He knew that the others had forgotten them as well.
Or they were erased.
He remembered the beginning of the Beast Wars, in full detail. He remembered how it started, and how the events all led into each other, including the overlapping plots that Megatron had attempted. He remembered everything up to the Quantum surge, to tell the truth. He remembered Tigatron. He remembered Airazor.
He remembered Dinobot.
Cheetor was looking up at the Oracle, thinking about how it affected all of them. Silverbolt walked up to the cheetah, then sat next to him with a resigned sigh. "What was the deal with Rattrap last night?"
Cheetor shrugged. "Dunno. Optimus was woken up by it, and Nightscream and Botanica were the ones on shift." He shifted slightly, then added a little guiltily, "I kinda slept through it. I had a long patrol yesterday."
Silverbolt nodded as one of the Maximals they were talking about walked over to them. The young bat sat wearily next to Silverbolt. "If I ever have to take a double shift again, I'm going to kill whoever I'm taking it over for, wether a veteran or not."
Cheetor shrugged. "There's really nothing that you can do about something like that. Trust me. I was the one who was placed under those conditions most of the time, having been the youngest for nearly four years."
Silverbolt chuckled, something that Nightscream had never heard or seen him do before. Cheetor, himself, was surprised, as Silverbolt was now someone who acted almost like . . . like . . . like some half-forgotten person . . . whose name and personality were shadowed . . .
Rattrap walked into the Oracle's cavern, his tail dragging more dismally than usual. Nightscream was about to deliver some snide remark or another about having to take over his shift, when Silverbolt covered his mouth. "Not now. He needs friends, not enemies, at this point."
Having being forcibly repressed, Nightscream decided to take the elder Maximal's advice. Cheetor stood and walked over the Rattrap, falling into step with him. "Hey, Rat-Breath. What's wrong?"
Rattrap looked up mournfully. "'Ya don't remembuh dem, do 'ya?"
Cheetor frowned. "Remember who?"
"Everyone from da Beast Wars, who aren't with us."
Cheetor closed his eyes momentarily, earnestly delving into those shaded memories that were half-buried, wishing that he could satisfy his friend by acknowledging that he did. With an apologetic glance, he shook his head. "I'm sorry. Only shadows of who they were. Nothing more than a simple glance. No names, no faces. Just a snippet of each personality."
Rattrap nodded. "Da Spider-Lady don't, either."
Cheetor stopped, and Rattrap turned to face him. "'Ya don't even remembuh Tigatron, do 'ya? Stripes? Airazuh, even? You two were like siblings. She was like 'ya older sistuh. What 'bout Depth Charge? Dat obsessive manta ray?"
Cheetor's face lit up, glad to be able to help Rattrap that much. "That's one name and face I remember clearly. Him, and his desire to get rid of Rampage, if that was his name."
Rattrap hesitated for a moment, then nodded. "Y-yeah. Dat was it. Looks like you remember a few more things about him den I do."
Cheetor kneeled, putting his hand on Rattrap's shoulder. "I'm so sorry that I can't remember more, Rattrap. If I was able to tear down those walls around my memory, I would in an instant."
"What I want to know," Silverbolt's voice asked, as he walked over, "is why you are remember things, that at the moment we brush off as stories."
Rattrap shrugged, shaking his head. Nightscream also walked over, but said nothing, not knowing what to say. Rattrap looked mournfully at the young Maximal, who took Cheetor's place as youngest, and said, "Feel lucky, Kiddo, dat you remembuh 'ya past as well as 'ya do."
Nightscream nodded, as a howl pierced the silence. Cheetor frowned, as Nightscream winced. "Noble's back around."
Blackarachnia ran up to them, and stood, catching her breath next to Cheetor and Silverbolt. "He's . . . on the other side of . . . that door . . . over there. Can't get through . . . and he's not happy about it."
Nightscream nodded, and Rattrap frowned, feeling another memory start to bubble to the surface.
But he didn't want to remember that . . . that encounter.
Cheetor looked down to where Rattrap was, then looked behind him, to see the small Maximal walking slowly off. He was about to follow him, but Silverbolt caught his arm, shaking his head. "Optimus will find him. We have to deal with Noble."
Cheetor nodded, looking back at the door . . .
Rattrap was balled up as tightly as he could . . .
"Tell my story to those who ask, the good with the bad, and let it be judged accordingly . . ."
"Why didja hafta do dat? Why?" he whispered into his synthetic fur, letting himself sob anew over the loss of his friend.
A shadowed figure walked into the small room silently, watching Rattrap. It knelt down to touch his shoulder, and the rat looked up, jumping, demanding, "Dinobot?!"
The hand pulled back, and the figure shifted, to let some light in. Rattrap shuddered, and his head sank, once he saw that it was his leader. "Optimus."
Optimus bowed his head, saying, "You remember more about the Beast Wars than the rest of us do. We remember only small parts, while you can fluidly remember maybe half of it."
Rattrap nodded, not looking at Optimus. "I remember everyone dat passed through dat slaggin' war, an' I know how dey came, an' . . . an' how dey left."
The weary leader sighed, sitting next to his friend. "How long ago did it start?"
"Three years . . . mebbe four. By human standards. Cheets knows how long the Wars were. Not me."
"Rattrap," Optimus started. He shook his head, stopping himself from asking what he wanted to. "Nevermind. I'll ask you later. Will you be okay?"
Rattrap nodded, after faltering over his thoughts. "Yeah."
"Then you might as well rest. Nightscream's not happy about taking your shift over, and you're used to doing those type of shifts. I'll see you in an hour or two."
Rattrap nodded, as Optimus left him, identifying in his mind each and every Beast Warrior, determined not to forget one detail, however insignificant . . .
Megatron consulted Thrust.
"Are you sure that it's complete?"
"Yeah, I am. Do 'ya think that I would do somethin' wrong?"
Megatron's digital face frowned. "No. I have the Spark, and once I see that you as well as the other two have done it correctly, I will hand it over to you."
Thrust grinned evilly, and left to retrieve what it was they were completing . . .