He was, in one word, old. Almost ancient. So old infact that whatever color his paint had been in his prime, it had now faded to a grey and black. If ever he moved there was a chance you would hear a squeak or grind of gears and rotors as, little by little, friction crept into his joints. As far as many were concerned, he was about ready to be smelted.
About, but not yet. He still had one little spark of youth left in him, one that shone brightly in his optics, and as long as that still burned he wasn't ready to join the scrap heap just yet, not while he still had an ounce of life. While his systems still functioned he refused to be confined to a recharge berth like some crippled mech.
But there were some times when he felt like going into permanent shut down because, frankly, there was nothing worth living for anymore.
It was not that he was deprived of material things. He was, after all, quite a well-to-do mech after the upper echelons of Cybertron rewarded him for the service he had given in the past. His residence was located in the upper middle-class district of Polyhex. However, for all his wealth and knowledge, he lacked one thing – he had no one to share it with, no younger robot to pass it all down to. The youth of Cybertron were no longer interested in the things he loved most in life.
Heaving a dejected sigh he pushed open the door to one of Polyhex's more civilized pubs and stepped inside. None of the patrons even bothered to look at him. The only one to acknowledge his presence was the bartender. He nodded to the old robot as he sat down in front of the counter.
"What'll it be Maestro?" the bartender asked. "The usual as always?"
Maestro shook his head. "Something stronger Freeflow," he told the amber colored mech.
Freeflow set a smaller metal 'glass' on the counter and poured in a shot of higher grade energon. Maestro picked it up and drained it one gulp.
"One more," he said.
The younger bartender filled up his glass again, then moved off to see to a new customer who had just come in, leaving Maestro in the care of one of his assistants.
Finally, an hour before closing-time, Freeflow came back. Maestro had his head resting on his arms which were folded across the bar counter. Three glasses were placed in front of him. He looked up as Freeflow pulled up a stool and sat down opposite him.
"Time for one more drink," he said.
"I think its time for you to go home Maestro," Freeflow replied.
"What's the point? I've nothing to go home to."
"Well, you're not going to sit here and drink yourself into over-charge."
"I might as well."
"Maestro, did something happen today?"
"Why, yes lad, I got fired."
Freeflow sat up a bit straighter. "Oh. I'm sorry."
"Yes. So am I. The Academy, they called it retiring. I may be old, but I'm not stupid."
"Did they tell you why?"
"None of these younger bots, it seems, are interested in music anymore. Most of them are more interested in trying to upgrade themselves, especially since they created that new breed after those fights broke out in the South district. Transformers they call them. So of course, who the pit can be bothered with learning music?"
"I'm sure you can get a job at another Academy."
Maestro leveled him with a resigned look.
"Music is not just a job to me 'Flow. Its my life. Its what I was created for. And look at me, I'm old. And somewhere in my core I know I don't have much time left. Yet I don't want to leave without giving Cybertron some sort of musical culture. I don't want music to die with me. But no one wants to learn."
"Yea? Well then maybe you should create your own students," an old, green, rough-voiced mech said from further down the bar as he stood up and slapped some credits down on the counter. "Seeing as how you got nothing else to do."
Maestro stared at him as the bot made his way outside, transformed and sped off.
"Who was that guy?" he asked.
"One of the Transformers from the South," Freeflow said. "Don't listen to him, he's got a few wires crossed in his CPU. Comes up here every once in a while and starts telling all these cracked up stories when he thinks he's got an audience."
But the seed was now planted. Maestro stroked his chin thoughtfully.
Freeflow watched him. "You're not seriously thinking of doing something like that are you?"
"Music may not be the only thing I know how to create. Besides, what have I got to lose?"
"What about Orchestra?"
Maestro looked at the young bartender sharply for an instant and Freeflow flinched, a bit afraid that he had said something wrong. But then the old robot's features softened and he sighed.
"Lad", he said. "She's almost as old as I am, though she probably has more life in her than I do. Its only a matter of time for us now."
Orchestra, though created a couple of years after Maestro, stepped off the same assembly line. In her prime she too had been brightly colored, but now while he had faded to a dark grey and black, she had turned a more light ash and white color.
She was the partner of his best friend Chord, who died in one of the Great Cybertronian wars. His final wish was that Maestro should take care of her for as long as he or she lived. That wish Maestro had fulfilled. She currently lived next door to him in a much smaller and less grander residence.
"So you will keep it a secret from her?" Freeflow asked him. "How?"
"I never said I was going to keep anything from her. I will tell her tomorrow," Maestro replied. He stood up and placed a few extra credits on the counter. "I would prefer it if the whole of Polyhex did not know about my plans even before I begin planning."
Freeflow smiled wryly as he subspaced the chips. "They wont hear it from me, you can count on that."
"Yes, I'll bet I can."
Maestro headed to the doors and stepped out into the cool Cybertron night. He looked up at the faintly twinkling stars for a moment.
"Yes," he murmured. "He shall be a star too."
Then he slowly turned away and began the walk back to his home.