Never ones to let one of their own suffer alone, many Autobots crowded the medbay to see what was wrong with the black Optimus Prime. This, understandably, ticked Ratchet off to no end, but, much to the older medic's surprise, it didn't seem to bother Red Alert at all. He just worked in silence, as if the others weren't even there.
Ratchet took up a position by the blue medic's side. "Anything I can do to help?" He asked.
Red Alert let out a contemplative grunt. "Possibly. There are a few parts I need in order to repair the damage, and… hmmm…"
"Hmm?" Ratchet leaned over his shoulder to look at the inside of Optimus' torso.
"You may want to check up on your Prime as well." He said quietly.
"What for? He seems fine to me." Ratchet looked over at the taller Prime standing near the back of the crowd.
"The damage could be less on him than on this one." He motioned towards the Prime on the table, who had been put in stasis to avoid unnecessary discomfort. "Look here." He pointed to the inner most part of visible damage. The whole inside of Optimus' torso had been scorched, and had melted a little.
The other Autobots fidgeted uncomfortably. Many of them, being used to Ratchet's rather loud yelling and cursing, were not used to the medics talking using lowered voices. Those not used to Ratchet were not as bothered by it, seeing as they had only had one medic on their base.
"What caused that, do you think?" Ratchet asked, voice still lowered.
Red Alert didn't answer right away. "You've seen 'it', haven't you?"
"You mean the M—" He cut himself off. "Yeah. A few times." He said after a pause.
"I think it was that." Red Alert said darkly. "We're going to need to clear the medbay. Now." He said, standing up.
The Autobots all cringed as the two head medics whirled around to glare at them.
"Out. Now." Red Alert ordered.
There was a moment of hesitation, but then they all high-tailed it outta there seeing the look on Ratchet's face, which said "…or I'll weld you to the wall!"
"Hang on, Prime, not you." Red Alert said, stopping the tall commander as he moved to leave with the others. "We still need you here."
He looked at the blue medic, but then stood still.
Ratchet strode over and locked the door firmly, while Red Alert turned back to Optimus' prone form on the repair berth in front of him.
"What did you do to your Matrixes, Prime?" The blue medic asked casually.
Prime's optics widened somewhat. "How did…"
"Optimus doesn't get to choose where he takes his damage, Prime." Red Alert cut across him. "In our universe, Megatron has the sense of mind to try and aim for his Spark." Prime considered sticking up for his own nemesis, as he knew Megatron did know how to aim, but he decided against it. "He's had chest wounds many times, and when you keep the thing in your chest, chances are, your medic is going to see it."
Prime looked at Ratchet. "He's got a point, Prime." Said the white and red with a grin. "You're good at keeping yours hidden, but I've seen it."
"So I'll ask again; what did you two do?"
Prime frowned. "We weren't sure. It was bizarre and random and neither of us understood it."
Red Alert didn't turn, but nodded his head. "I see."
"Sounds like Primus is trying to tell us something." Ratchet commented, moving to a pile of spare parts and rifling through it.
Red Alert grunted at that, but turned to look at Ratchet regardless. "He's got serious internal burns, and high pressure wounds. Almost like someone set off a miniature super nova inside him. We've gotta remove the stupid thing in order to repair him properly."
"Oh, nice." Ratchet huffed, picking up a few parts and carting them over.
Prime watched the two medics quietly for a moment. "Why did you want me here?" He asked.
"Gotta check you out too." Red Alert said nonchalantly. "This damage was, no doubt, caused by his Matrix." He wasn't oblivious to the commander's gasp of surprise. "Whatever happened was a combined effort between the two of you, so you're likely to have burns as well. You're probably only damaged in a minor sense; I think it's because this is not where this Matrix is supposed to be."
"Hmm." Was Prime's response.
"You can wait though." Ratchet said callously. "His wounds need our attention first. You can still stand."
- - -
Three hours passed, and the Autobots had still not seen the head medics emerge from the medbay. Prime had left after the first hour, saying that they needed to continue working on the black Autobot when questioned on the matter.
The Autobots from Optimus' universe were worried. They were in a strange place, surrounded by strange people and other versions of themselves, and Optimus was wounded so bad that it was taking two highly skilled CMOs over three hours to repair.
"Although…" Said the blue Sideswipe as he sat slumped over a table with his counterpart and the two yellow rays of joy in the Common Room.
"Although?" Sunstreaker echoed, pausing in his quiet hating of Hot Shot to look over at the young decoder.
"…If you think about it, at least we know he's alive, and can be put back together. I mean, if he were human… if any of us were, we probably would have died about a million times by now."
The red Sideswipe smirked. "That's true."
"Not exactly encouraging." Hot Shot disagreed. "We don't even know what is wrong with him. And if two Red Alerts can't fix him, well we're screwed, aren't we? And even if they do fix him, how do we get home?"
"Hot Shot, you wouldn't want our Red Alert workin' on him. He wouldn't know his transformation cog from his motherboard." The red Lamborghini cut in.
"You're quite the pessimist, you are." Sunstreaker observed, and the pair resumed glaring at each other angrily.
The Sideswipes sighed at their respective 'brothers'.
It was then that the door to the Common Room hissed open, and Scavenger walked in. His presence put all Autobots on edge, partly because his counterpart was a Decepticon, and partly because he was capable of quelling the two hot headed yellow warriors in moments. Everyone turned to look at him.
"What's up, Scavenger?" the blue Sideswipe offered after a moment, trying to be cheerful.
The four mechs sitting at the table recoiled when the green and violet mech turned to fix them with a glare.
"You four." He said, the words making everyone flinch. There was a quiet pause. "Come with me."
"Why?" Sunstreaker asked, arching an optic ridge at the larger mech.
That, he discovered, turned out to be an incredibly dumb thing to say, as, a moment later, the large mech was looming over the Lamborghini warrior, and had grabbed him by the scruff. The other three scrambled away and moved to stand near the door.
"You've got an attitude on you I don't like." He growled. "Move your ass."
The bulldozer lifted the struggling golden mech off his chair, set him on his feet, and harshly shoved him towards the door. Sunstreaker stumbled, and fell flat on his face. Had Scavenger not been in the room, it would have been funny.
Either way, Sunstreaker didn't think it was amusing.
"What the frag was that for?!" He demanded, pulling himself up and casting an unentertained optic over his scuffed and scratched chestplate. "Look what you did to my finish!"
"Uh oh…" The blue Sideswipe breathed, seeing Scavenger's optics narrow.
The large mech cracked his knuckles, and it echoed through the deathly still Common Room. "Your paint's the last of your worries, runt." Scavenger was one of the few mechs to be able to call the thirty foot Sunstreaker 'runt', as he towered a head and shoulders over him. "Do as you're told, or you'll be short a limb."
"Sunstreaker, just do as he says already!" Hot Shot whispered urgently.
Just then, Prowl stepped between the Lamborghini and the Dozer. "You're not hurting any Autobots here, Scavenger." He said, although it was quite pitiful, seeing as the Datsun hardly reached his chest. But everyone knew Prowl's strength was not something to be sneezed at. But neither was Scavenger's, so the other Autobots prepared for the two mechs to go for each other.
Jetfire huffed at them from across the room. "Yo, Prowl, Scavenger, stand your asses down already." The two looked at the shuttle in surprise. "What's got your exhaust in a knot Scav?"
The trainer looked at the shuttle for a moment, before motioning for him to come over. The white mech trotted over to the trainer, and he leaned down and whispered something in his audio. There was a pause, and then the Vice snickered.
"Oh." Said he. "I see. Okay. I wondered where he had gotten to."
Prowl looked at the taller 2IC strangely as the green and violet mech ushered the four sports car mechs out of the room, the sound of his knuckles cracking echoed through the door.
"Don't hurt 'em too bad!" Jetfire called after them.
"What did he tell you?" Prowl asked.
Jetfire snickered. "Hoist. Our one. He's stuck."
Prowl arched an optic ridge at the white mech. "Stuck?"
"Stuck. To the ceiling."
Prowl stared at the taller mech for a few moments before shaking his head. "When in doubt, don't ask."
- - -
Two days passed. The two groups of Autobots had gone on search and rescue missions in the surrounding towns, just in case the damage to the world from the collision had put the humans in danger. Thankfully, the cities and towns were all intact, but looked a little weather beaten. Things slowly got to something that resembled normalcy. They even had a clash with the Decepticons once, a standard scuffle over energy at a power plant, where Optimus' 2IC stunned their host Autobots by flying into battle like a madman and wasting quite a few of the marauding bots. The twins had been quite put off, regarding themselves as Jetfire's 'cleanup crew' picking off the few that remained well enough to fight in the shuttle's wake.
They weren't the only ones unhappy with that battle. Starscream, who was known for being the fastest of all the airforce, was not happy to discover that this strange white Autobot shuttle (who was far too much like Skyfire for his liking) could match him in the air. Of course, the larger, bulkier shuttle was less agile than the smaller seeker, but as far as speed went, they could easily keep up with each other.
The seven Autobos were beginning to settle into this new routine, some of them even going so far as to take over some of their Host Autobots' duties at the ark. Quite a few times now the younger of the two Sideswipes had been seen sitting in front of a monitor in the Command Centre in place of his counterpart.
The two medics had still not been seen.
Prime went into the med bay every few hours to check on them, and had even gone so far as to bring the toiling CMOs a few Energon cubes. He was the only one they would tolerate in the med bay. Even Optimus' partner Minicon was asked to stay firmly out until repairs were done. When someone else needed repairs, Prime directed them to Wheeljack's lab, where the engineer and Ratchet's assistant, First Aid, and sometimes even the Dinobot Swoop, would tend to the repairs.
On the morning of the third day, Optimus' sniper, Blurr, approached Prime.
"What can I do for you Blurr?" He asked.
Blurr's expression was darker than usual. "My comrades are beginning to get accustomed to your command." He said.
"…Is that a bad thing?"
"It is if you consider that they are forgetting about trying to get ourselves back to our own world, where the Decepticons are no doubt running rampant."
"Why bring this up with me? Why not talk to them?" Prime wondered.
"They won't listen to me." Said the sniper flatly. "It'll take no less than your word or that of our own Prime to jolt their memory. But he's still…"
Blurr was cut off by a crackling from Prime's comm.
"Prime? It's Ratchet." Said the voice coming through it.
"What is it, Ratchet?" Prime asked.
There was a pause, one which carried the feeling of a smile from the medic. "It's your turn. Get your behind down here."
Prime smiled under his mask before looking to Blurr. "I think your friends will get the jolt they need soon enough." He said, before turning and moving towards the medbay.
- - -
All of Optimus' Autobots, as well as some of Prime's had gathered near the med bay door when it opened. Ratchet and Red Alert exited first, both of them looking like they could sleep for a year, and weren't far off needing to.
Then there was a please and relieved murmuring when the two Optimus Prime's left the medbay, good as new.
"Optimus!" Hot Shot had exclaimed, arms around Sideswipe's shoulders to prevent the decoder from glomp tackling their commander again. "Good to see you well again sir!"
Optimus nodded. "Thankyou… sorry."
Optimus looked over his group. They were all the same as when he saw them last, with the exception of Blurr, who looked a million times happier than he had ever seen. An improvement; one couldn't complain.
"Does this mean we can go home now?" Sideswipe asked.
Optimus looked uncertain. "Hopefully, we can find a way back." He looked over his unit before turning and looking at Red Alert. "How did you all follow me here in the first place?"
"We made some modifications to the warp gate, and followed your signal through a tear in the space-time continuum." The medic explained. "We should be able to wrangle the same thing to get back, but…"
"But it won't work without a weak spot for us to jump through." Optimus concluded, frowning when Red Alert nodded in confirmation.
"What about the tear that opened up when we came through?" Blurr mentioned. "As far as I recall, that never closed."
Everyone stared at him.
"No one's been back there since all this weird slag happened." Sunstreaker stated. "It could still be open."
"I'll go check it out!" Jetfire volunteered, moving off down the hall.
"In the mean time," Red Alert said after Jetfire had left. "Perhaps we should build a warp gate." He looked at Ratchet, who nodded, and the pair were about to re-enter the medbay to begin, when a black arm was stuck out in front of them.
"The two of you are not doing anything." Optimus said lightly, taking the medics by surprise. Optimus noticed their identical expressions and continued. "You've spent the last two days repairing me, almost without pause. You both need to get some Energon and some recharge in."
They both looked shocked. But before they could argue the point, Optimus spoke again, this time with a perfectly timed contribution from his counterpart: "Now. No excuses." They said together.
"Stereo sound!" Jazz chuckled, earning him a light bop on the back of the head from Prowl.
- - -
Jetfire reported an hour later that the tear was indeed, still there. But, it was slowly recovering itself. It would probably only last another day or two, by the speed it was closing.
So, after getting a well deserved and badly needed ten hours recharge, Red Alert began teaching Wheeljack and Ratchet about their warp gate technology.
Between the three of them, with some added input from the two Hoists and First Aid, and some programming tips from the blue armoured Sideswipe, they had built a fully functional warp gate setup, with all the information and blueprints now firmly saved in Teletraan-1's hard drive. The Autobots couldn't wait to see the looks on the Decepticons' faces when they used it to warp anywhere almost instantly.
The warp equipment was all carted to the canyon, where the tear, which had began at a quarter mile long, was now no more than about a hand span in length.
"We're just in time." Red Alert commented, looking at the rip. "This probably won't last more than a few hours more."
"Let's get you all set up and ready to go then." Ratchet agreed.
Things were set up remarkably quickly and efficiently, and soon, Optimus and his Autobots were standing on one side, with Prime and many of his Autobots on the other.
The two commanders watched as their men said their goodbyes, impressed that many of them, who hadn't been getting along were managing to be civil for this. Even Hot Shot and Sunstreaker, no doubt at the request of their brothers, were managing to stand in one another's presence without glaring at each other in livid vehemence.
"Looks like this has a desirable ending." Prime mentioned to his counterpart as they looked over at their soldiers.
"I guess it does." Optimus agreed. "But we'll have our hands full, getting the Decepticons back in check after being away for so long."
"You will." Prime agreed. "But, unless my professional optics deceive me, you and your Autobots are a lot stronger than when you arrived. I think your Decepticons will be quite surprised."
Red Alert and Ratchet approached the two leaders. "Optimus, we should go. The tear won't stay open much longer."
Optimus nodded. "Autobots! Front and centre!" He declared in a loud voice, and his Autobots strode over to him. He looked at Prime and his men.
"Thankyou. All of you." He said, looking at each of them in turn. "We won't forget all the things you've done for us."
The Minicon Sparkplug scrambled up onto Optimus' shoulder. (Let's go home, partner!)
Red Alert activated the warp gate, and they all felt it begin to pull at them. Out of the corner of his optic, Optimus noticed Hot Shot and Sunstreaker thumping their fists together. He turned to his counterpart and held out his own fist, just as his outline shimmered and became white.
"If the worlds collide again in our lifetime, and you end up in our world, you're very welcome in our base." He said.
Prime nodded. "And you're always welcome if you end up back. Take care, Optimus Prime." He said, touching his fist to the other's, just as the warp gate let out a whirr and a squeal, and they vanished.