A/N: Sorry it took so long to update. The whole story is finished, and it's now a matter of updating until the end. Some of you may not like the ending, but I made the ending for the best.
Once again, I only own the plot and some Pride names. NOTHING ELSE!
The Maximals had regrouped back at their base and were taking turns in the CR chamber. Each felt weary from the fight and sorrow for having lost their leader. Rattrap was the first to break the silence.
"Okay," he said, "Optimus is still alive. So, we gotta mount a rescue mission and get him back from the Preds before they take him offline permanently."
The rest continued to remain in silence until Silverbolt spoke up.
"Rattrap's right," he said, "We must save Optimus. I will volunteer to go. I have a score to settle with Cheetor."
"Hold on there, bird-dog," Rattrap said, "First, we're all going to rescue Optimus, 'cause it'll take all of us to bust into the Nemesis and fight of the Preds. Secondly, we're bringin' Cheetor back, too."
The rest of the group gasped as Silverbolt growled. "Why?" he asked, "Cheetor betrayed Optimus and has joined the Predacons."
Rattrap lowered his head and turned to Rhinox for some help. "Cheetor does not possess the characteristics of a Predacon," Rhinox said, "He stopped Megatron and Leo from destroying Optimus in the battle. Rattrap and I believe there is still some good in him."
Silverbolt beat his fist against the table. "Are you all blind?" he asked angrily, "Cheetor has turned his back on us. On all of us. I do not understand why we must spare Cheetor."
Blackarachnia slowly walked from Silverbolt's side and joined Rattrap and Rhinox. "I believe he can be saved, too," she said.
"Beloved?" Silverbolt asked, "Did you not agree to join my side and stand by me?"
"I did," she said, "But not when you're wrong. And you're wrong about this."
"How do we save Optimus and cat-bot?" Waspinator asked. "That," Rattrap said, "We'll discuss tomorrow. Everyone get some rest."
With that said, everyone milled to their quarters. All except Silverbolt.
Optimus had regained consciousness again and awoke in an unfamiliar room. He looked around and deduced that it was one of the rooms of the Nemesis. He tried to move only to find himself in an energon surge. As soon as he quit moving, the surge stopped. It was then that Optimus heard a familiar voice echoing from a corner of the room.
"It's no use to move," Cheetor said, "The binds are set to surge with energon when they're moved too much."
Optimus looked straight at Cheetor, but Cheetor wouldn't look back and kept his head slightly bowed.
"Cheetor," Optimus said, "Why?"
"Because I am accepted here in the Pride," Cheetor said, "They've given me a chance to prove my worth."
"Is that what this is all about?" Optimus asked.
"Of course not," Cheetor said, "It's also about lying, deception, and betrayal. And I'm not talking about mine."
"Cheetor, when have I ever lied, deceived, or betrayed you?" Optimus asked.
"You lied to me about your promise to my parents to always watch out for me," Cheetor said, "But you didn't. You allowed me to get trashed on several occasions. And you've managed to neglect and shun every single request for assistance, advice, opportunity, you name it."
"Cheetor," Optimus said, "Do you know what it's like to be a leader? To have everyone under your command come to you for assistance, advice, and opportunity? It gets frustrating and stressful. I merely do what I can."
"Betrayal," Cheetor said, "You betrayed me when you took Silverbolt's side over mine. You confined me to quarters and let Silverbolt off with scanner duty. It was Silverbolt who attacked me and fired on me intentionally."
"You needed time to cool off," Optimus said, "I don't know if you know this or not, but you're a hothead. You make rash decisions and you try to hot shot things. I confined you to quarters because I knew you needed time to cool down before you took another shift or was ready to listen to orders."
Cheetor remained silent. Optimus, too.
"Did you know about my destiny?" Cheetor asked, "The prophecy of Prime?"
Optimus said nothing, but his eyes did the talking for him. Cheetor felt hurt.
"Why didn't you tell me?" he asked, "Why did you deceive me?"
"I don't know," Optimus said, "Fear, maybe. Fear that you would think yourself invincible and end up getting hurt or worse."
Cheetor walked closer to Optimus. "Leo's given me orders to terminate you," he said.
Optimus bowed his head.
"I'm trying to stall him long enough for the rest of the Maximals to try and storm the Nemesis to rescue you," Cheetor added.
Optimus looked up at Cheetor questioningly.
"I can't terminate you," Cheetor said, "You're my mentor. The closest thing I had to a father on the Axalon and on Cybertron."
Optimus stared at Cheetor and could see the pain in his eyes.
"Cheetor," he said, "Whatever reason you had to join the Pride, you know deep down that you are not capable of what the Pride is infamous for. You are not a Predacon in way, shape, or form."
"I know," Cheetor said, frustrated, "But how can I face the Maximals now? I've betrayed them and assisted in capturing you so that they all could be destroyed."
"Dinobot once said something very noble to me," Optimus said, "A deed, once done, cannot be undone. But, it can be mitigated."
Cheetor remembered these words. Dinobot had said them to him many times when he had made mistakes that enraged Optimus. Dinobot always seemed to be the one who could pull Cheetor back from making a grave mistake. But now, there was no Dinobot, only a carbon copy. Cheetor turned and left the room, leaving Optimus alone.