Jazz lived out the next two years with Maestro, and with the exception of Bronze's death, the rest of his days had been happy ones. The Decepticon bid for total dominance was somewhat halted for the moment by resistance forces from the larger cities. During this time Jazz and Maestro often went out together along the main South Road in the hopes that they could find some sign of Orchestra and her creation, if not the actual bots themselves. So far their search had turned up empty.
And then one day, it just all spiraled downhill. The Decepticons were pressing forward again. Lapses in some of the Autobots' security had allowed Decepticon spies to slip into the towns and divulge their secrets. There were also those mechs who voluntarily chose to become Decepticons out of a sense of honor to their military hardware ancestors.
Jazz walked into Maestro's room one day and found the old mech still lying in his recharge berth. It was already late in the day and Maestro never slept in this long. So Jazz came in to check if he was alright. The first thing he noticed was that Maestro's colors had faded even more.
"Hey Maestro, are you alright?" Jazz knelt by the berth.
"Jazz." Even his voice sounded weaker. "I've been having a sense of foreboding all night."
"You need to get out of Ferronix. Its not safe to stay here anymore. You must leave and head North. Make it to Iacon somehow."
"But you, you're coming with me aren't you? We'll go together."
"No Jazz. This time you must go by yourself."
"If something bad's gonna happen I'm not leaving you here to face it alone. We're both going or I aint going at all."
Maestro looked up at Jazz and he noticed that the light in his blue optics had grown dim. "I'm afraid you will not have to worry about me much longer."
"Ok, you're starting to scare me now. I'm gonna go out and find you a medic or something."
He was about to stand when Maestro gripped his hand.
"Stay," he said. "There is no medic on Cybertron that can help me now. We are not as immortal as some would have you believe – or at least my race is not. They just don't make spare parts for us anymore."
"I don't understand Maestro. What are you trying to say?"
"I'm dying Jazz. My systems have finally caught up with me and even as I speak to you now, they are shutting down one by one. I am old Jazz, older than you know, and now my time is up. You have to let me go."
"But you cant! I'm not ready yet! There's still so much I don't know. I still need you Maestro."
"I have taught you everything you need, and I have programmed even more into you. You are ready to go out on your own."
Jazz blinked and trickles of fluid spilled from his optics. He dabbed at it with his fingers. "What's wrong with me? Why am I leaking?" he asked.
"There is nothing wrong with you. Those are tears Jazz – a physical reaction to deep sadness. Don't fight them, they will help you ease the pain you feel inside."
"I'm just scared Maestro. Cybertron's a big planet."
"And you're a big mech now. Believe in yourself Jazz."
"I'm still scared. What do you want me to do?"
"I made a promise to a young bot a long long time ago that I would not let music die. I created you to fulfill that promise. You must carry on Jazz. This world, or any for that matter, cannot survive without music."
"That's a big responsibility. What if I cant pull it off?"
"You will. You will find a way. My spark tells me that if you go out into the world, you may find others like you – not created solely for music as you were, but with talents they do not know they possess."
"What if I fail?"
"Then you try again. And you keep trying till you succeed. You cannot achieve success without making mistakes first. You already know this Jazz."
Jazz squeezed the old mech's hand, unable to find anymore words to say. Maestro handed him a small pouch.
"Keep this safe," he said. "There's about 2000 credits inside. You will not go hungry if you spend it wisely and take no more than you must."
Jazz took the pouch, felt its weight and then subspaced it, sighing heavily. Maestro patted his hand.
"I would not have created you if I knew you would not survive. I wont lie to you, there is a war coming, and things are likely to get worse before they get better. But keep your head up and remember what is more important in life."
"I'll remember. I wont let you down Maestro."
"I need you to do one more thing before you go. All the equipment I used to create you – destroy it. Destroy everything. I don't want looters coming in here once you're gone and messing about with everything."
"You got it," Jazz assured.
The light in his optics at last began to flicker out, until there was nothing more than a small blue flame left.
"No Jazz. Let me go."
"But – !"
"You're a good lad, more than I could have hoped for. But it is time to say goodbye. You have to go now. And remember." The old mech smiled weakly. "Do it with style, or don't bother doing it."
The flame went out and his optics grew black.
For a good long hour, Jazz remained by the berth and wept. Finally, he worked up the strength to get to his feet, and looking once more at Maestro's still form, he left the room, locking the door behind him. He went into his room and collected up the few things he'd come to treasure. Then he went out and found a thick length of industrial piping.
Moments later he stood in front of all Maestro's equipment, the very things that had been used to create him and give him life. He hefted the steel bar in his hands, took a deep breath, and then swung it as hard as he could at the nearest monitor. Glass shattered, metal crumpled. Jazz turned his sorrow into energy, lashing out at consoles and monitors, effectively demolishing everything in sight. His own strength was surprising him. He didn't know he was capable of such destruction and it scared him. He let the pipe drop from his hand.
Taking one last look around at his home, Jazz moved to the door, stepped outside and then shut the door behind him. Ferronix lay just in front of him and beyond that, the city of Dyacron and finally the golden city of Iacon. Jazz had to make it there somehow. He had no idea how he was going to get there all by himself, but he had to try. He'd promised Maestro. All he needed to do was first get out of Ferronix. He took a breath.
"One day at a time Jazz," he told himself.
Then he transformed, and without looking back, drove off, leaving behind everything he had ever known. It was time to start on a new chapter of his life.
The End… or is it?
A/N: And here it is, the final chapter... It became surprisingly hard for me to write because by the end of the whole thing I'd become rather close to Maestro, having journeyed with him through his life and seeing how he overcame all his obstacles to create the Bot we all know and love so well... I didnt write this story... Maestro did. This was his life, his journey and his end - I just copied down everything he told me... and well... we may not have seen the last of him after all...
This is only the first installment of an even bigger trilogy, so stay tuned for Rhythm 'N' Bots, the second (and much LONGER) installment of the Five Stars trilogy..