Can an Autobot love?

That's quite the question, and there seems to be no easy answer. We can look at Humans, examine their relationships and pose the question: are we like this? The answer, almost invariably, will be 'no'. After all, we are not. The human 'family unit' consists of humans linked by genetics and sexual reproduction, following a method of self-protection inherent to this system. 'Me and mine.' As it were.

Emotions themselves are hard to quantify, intangible as their nature is. What is love? We can look at the whole, the interaction and feeling between two individuals, but that is the resultant behaviour, surely, not the thing itself. To look closer, is that possible? What would we see? The sparking of a neuron, an electrical pulse across a synapse, a chemical interaction inside the brain. Any of the above, none of the above? We still cannot say.

And so we come to ourselves, a race of technological life-forms, without the same chemical basis as our human allies. But does this make us any more or less 'human', if you'll pardon the expression?

We are Transformers, mechanical life-forms that can change our shape for transportation, increased functionality and, lately, disguise. Our 'children' are not the result of a pairing of two genders - of nature and genetics - but of construction and design. And, on occasion, that unknown factor: Vector Sigma.

The question of our sentience, sapience and even actual life is often called into question by the inhabitants of this, our adopted world.

I have heard us referred to numerous times as 'soulless machines,' which is quite an unusual comment to make, as they have no discernable soul either, or a method to prove whether such a thing even exists, or even a true definition of what this 'soul' may be. It's a curious position to take: Faith over Fact.

If humans cannot define this emotion themselves, how can they begin to make a comparison to ourselves?

Well, I am a scientist, so faith is not significant, is it? That which can be proved, by physical evidence and the mathematics that describe it. Being able to 'touch' something to prove that it is real.

There are those here who believe that animals cannot feel love, that no matter how much love one may feel for a pet, the feelings cannot be truly reciprocated, despite the behaviour witnessed amongst these creatures, or the fact that Humans themselves are animals. Pretentious behaviour, really, distinguishing themselves from the rest of their world's nature in such a way.

This, I realise, becomes a philosophical question more than a scientific one.

Slowly I become aware, as the outside world intrudes once more into my thoughts, that I have been sitting here unresponsively for some time, simply taking up a seat in the off-duty lounge, which seems to be emptying, with all but myself and Sunstreaker rising and making their way out.

I watch the scene before me, unheeded as if I were not there. It's not uncommon, many of my friends and comrades here often don't really notice me, assuming I'm involved in some deep contemplation or, as they put it 'daydreaming' (or 'off with the fairies,' as Brawn once, I suspect derisively, described it). They're not always wrong, of course, as I often do get too distracted by my thoughts to focus on the mundane routines of life.

But then, I can be far more aware of what goes on around me then they realise, which has let me bear witness to many things that people believe to be secret, or private.

Such a moment is before me now, I notice, as Sideswipe enters the lounge, casting a quick look around, seeing no one but his brother, despite my presence. Sunstreaker himself springs to his feet, spending only a second for a quick, dismissive glance in my direction. I've been sitting still for long enough, apparently, for him to believe me blind to my surroundings. I let him continues to believe so, preferring to be ignored than disruptive.

I watch, without moving, as Sunstreaker approaches his brother and places one hand on his brother's arm in, to one who hasn't seen the things I have, a surprisingly tender gesture. The relief he felt at his twin's recovery palpable and it is all I can do not to smile. Then his normal cold expression (mask?) falls back into place as the two of them stroll out of the repair bay, falling into a casual bickering as they often do.

Unseen by them as they leave, I let a slight smile cross my face as I watch them go, both touched by the care and concern, and handed the answer to my quandary.

So the question: Can Cybertronians love?

Why am I even asking this question?

Perhaps you don't have to touch something to know that it's real.