A/N: As with Unforgiving, this also comes from a prompt on the Random TF Pairings generator. While it may not be quite exact, I feel I did my best. While I have done research on the episodes referenced and the characters used here, I am aware that I may have made mistakes. As always, all I ask is for constructive criticism that may be helpful to me in future.

A/N2: Gave it a little re-editing and a new title, feeling that both were needed. In spite of what some may have hoped, I will not quit with my attempts here. I'm just going to work a little more with them before posting.

A/N3: This note is being put in due to a flame I received from someone known as HTML, seeing as they gave me no way to respond to them. It seems that he/she has misunderstood how I have portrayed certain characters in this story. They believe the Vok were portrayed as evil and informed me that they helped the Maximals in the comic. So I am going to clarify my views on the Vok. To start with, I have never read the comic, so would not have known that they helped the Maximals. I have only ever seen the TV series, and got my impressions of them from that. Further, it was not my intention to portray the Vok as evil, and certainly I do not believe I did. I was trying to present them as cold and calculating, as they came across in the series. In the final episodes of the first season, they chose to destroy their own experiment, which was indeed their right, but they did it without regard as to whether the intrusion by the Cybertronians was accidental or not. They did not allow, at least at that moment in time, that there might be those who were indeed protecting their created world and did not accept the excuse of ignorance. The series may have eventually become like the comics, as I won't deny they seemed to have done a complete turnaround by the end of it, but at one point they did come across as very cold and uncaring.

I see them as cold, calculating, and to an extent, misguided, but most certainly not evil.

And this is the last time I will say this: If you don't like the story, then don't review. If you do review, then at least do me the courtesy of allowing me to respond, whether to explain my reasonings or thank you for the review.

Disclaimer: Do not own any character mentioned or alluded to here. Just the story.

Prompt: Tigatron/The Vok/in Hindsight


Known Too Late

Unknown location in deep space:

It is strange.

Of all the Maximals, I am the one considered to have the greatest respect for Nature; the one who is closest to this world, and more open to the changes that take place upon it; the one who uses my instincts more than any other, yet I, along with the others, failed to notice the clues and warnings.

Our first clue was the vast store of Energon this planet contained. Although unstable, and toxic to our root forms, it contained more than any other world the Maximals and the Predacons had ever encountered. Out of all the worlds explored by ourselves and our ancestors, while many had Energon pockets, only one had stores that surpassed any expectations of the explorers sent out to find such sources.

Our second clue lay in the forms we chose as alternates. The Energon was poisonous to our circuitry, so it was necessary to choose forms that would allow us to remain outside for extended periods of time. In the centuries since the Great War, we Cybertronians had evolved beyond the need to take vehicle forms, and now used the forms of the animals of the planets we came across. Many exotic forms were utilized over the years, but only one planet ever contained the simple forms we chose as alternates. Tiger, cheetah, gorilla, rhinoceros, rat, the insect and basic fossil forms; only one planet ever documented contained these. And yet we failed to see those clues.

Perhaps we can be forgiven not paying attention at the time. The others were occupied fighting the Predacons, and once I awakened from stasis, I joined them in the fighting, even if I did not remain in the Axalon with them. Our survival and returning to Cybertron were considered the more important priorities. Further, the landscape did not quite match with the recorded histories, along with the fact the planet had two moons, not one.

Or perhaps we cannot be forgiven for this neglect, seeing as Megatron certainly knew the name of this then unknown world, as did those who joined them. Whether Dinobot was ever asked about Megatron's motives is beyond my knowledge. Strange what comes to mind when you are unable to do anything else. And yet, the more I think the more I see. For with those clues, came warnings.

The first was a floating island which sent a signal into deep space upon its destruction, bouncing the signal off of the smaller moon; Tarantulas seemingly afraid to stay on the world; Our second, a golden disk identical to the one Megatron found was discovered by the Predacons, and was discovered by both sides to say that those who created this world were on their way, and they were furious.

The Vok.

A strange type of creature indeed. Bodiless, ethereal, emotionless, and very calculating. They are a logical and scientific race that appears to regard compromise as a weakness. Optimus tried to reason with them, explain we didn't know we were interfering with their experiment. Yes, this world was a creation of theirs, for what purpose, I do not know. What I do know is they were willing to destroy this world and everything on it due to our inadvertent trespassing, unwilling to consider anything less than our obliteration, even if it meant losing their project. Through sheer and utter chance, the destruction was prevented. We thought it was over, and they had departed, never to return.

Foolish.

A race like the Vok does not give up that easily. A backup plan was in place should the destructive beam they sent upon us fail, and Airazor and I fell into their trap. An innocent looking plant captured us both and brought us to their home in deep space.

We have been observed and put through test after test. I cannot say what they intend and fear it is not yet over for my comrades on the primitive world I can now give a name to: Earth. We have no way of warning the other Maximals that the Vok are not finished with them. They have disabled our means of communications and immobilized us, with no hints as to their future intentions.

I can only pray they will take our disappearance as yet another warning. If not, Primus help them.

A whispery sound reaches me. They have returned, conversing with each other as they approach and I can just make out what they are saying…

"Is it time yet?"

"No. But soon. Very soon."

"The male appears to be wary of us. The female is unconscious."

"Good. Begin the memory erasure. We cannot have them warning the others when we do finally let them go."

A wave of fear, stronger than any other I have felt before, strikes me as the first being approaches us. However, I am still aware enough of the second being to hear a few last ominous words.

"Warnings you had, and warnings you ignored. We've given you one final warning, their removal. Let's see if you can heed the warning this time, Optimus Primal. I doubt you will, and your people will pay the price for your failure."

Both chuckle coldly, and the procedure begins. As consciousness fades, one final thought crosses my processor.

We were indeed fools, but the Vok are indeed arrogant for failing to see that our determination is our greatest strength. And that will be their downfall.

We ignored the hints and paid the price.

And so too, shall the Vok.