Title: Purple Heart
Author: Gixxer Pilot
Notes: I really should be working on finishing up Alienated since I can see the light at the end of that tunnel, but I needed a break. This challenge intrigued me, so there you are. Antepathy posted a prompt over on the transfication community, so here's my go at it. The prompt was to use one of Murphy's Laws of Combat and integrate it into the Transformers universe in circa 1000 words. Hope it's not too terrible, since I wrote it in less than an hour.
Summary: Rule #86: A Purple Heart just proves that were you smart enough to think of a plan, stupid enough to try it, and lucky enough to survive. 2009 Movieverse oneshot.
Disclaimer: I do not own Transformers. This story is written purely for enjoyment. No profit is being made, nor is any infringement intended. Please don't sue.
The twenty one gun salute rocked the calm of the cemetery where Corporal Steven Robredo was being laid to rest. Conditioned to not bat so much as an eyelash, Major Will Lennox stood stock still as the collective fire of seven M-4 rifles boomed over his head. Giving the call to dismiss, the mourners broke for their cars to begin the procession to the Corporal's home. Eyeing the Peterbilt idling near the gates, Lennox readjusted his beret and made his way across the cemetery toward it.
Lennox hopped in the open door and settled himself into Prime's cab. Will hadn't had much time to talk to Optimus since returning from Egypt in anything but a professional sense. Both leaders had simply been too busy.
"Major. Will," Prime corrected himself, his speaker crackling to life. Though Lennox had been in command of NEST for over two years, it was still slightly unnerving hold full conversations with the dash of the Autobot vehicle's alt modes.
"Optimus. Thanks for coming today. Even though Corporal Robredo's widow can never know, it was nice of you guys to come."
"It is our honor, and the least we can do," the big leader answered, notes of sadness touching his vocalizer. "It is our war that is costing your lives."
Will sighed. "I never got to thank you for what you did in Egypt and with Sam. If not for you, Megatron would have finished what he started in Mission City. You took on three Decepticons by yourself, and…" Lennox's statement hung in the air, the Major not particularly caring to say out loud what happened next.
"I died to protect him," Prime finished.
"Yeah. That. We owe you a ton there, Big Buddah," Will said, using the call sign NEST had lovingly bestowed upon the Autobot leader.
A rumble from the truck's engine shook Lennox's feet. "As I owe Sam for my resurrection."
A silence hung between the two soldiers, but not an uncomfortable one. Will shifted in the driver's seat. "Optimus, can I ask you something?"
"Do you…give awards for combat?"
A pause. "In what sense?"
"Bravery. Heroism, stuff like that," Will answered.
"Oh. No. Please don't take offense, Will, but we don't work for recognition. We work and we fight to save our species, our very way of life," Optimus replied after some consideration.
"That's not what I meant, and no offense taken. I just meant, do you recognize any of your people specifically for things they've done? Is it proper?" Lennox rephrased.
"I guess I've never given it consideration. My soldiers know when they've done well, and they know when they've not gotten the job done," Optimus conceded.
Lennox smirked. "Well, then I guess I get to be the first, then."
"I don't understand. The first to what?" Optimus asked. Lennox could imagine the slightly befuddled expression currently plastered all over Prime's face, even though his head was still stuck somewhere near his engine block.
Lennox reached into his breast pocket and set a small medal on Optimus' dash. The medal itself was brass colored, made in the shape of a heart. It was suspended from a purple ribbon with a white border.
"In our military, awards and decorations are things to be extremely proud of. It's probably not the right one because people who do stuff like you did usually get a silver star or in some cases, a medal of honor, but this is the best I've got."
Another pause from the Peterbilt. Lennox assumed Prime was running a scan on the object and researching its meaning on the internet. "Major, is this yours?"
Will tucked his chin down and nodded. "Yeah. Got it for being in the way of a bullet in Kosovo a few years back."
Firmly, Optimus spoke. "Will, I appreciate the generosity, but in good conscience, I cannot accept this from you. You earned it."
Not missing a beat, Lennox replied, "So did you. Like you said, you died. I spent a week in the hospital. Big difference."
Optimus' speakers remained silent. "I don't know what to say."
Will let out a hearty laugh. "I'll be damned! I've stunned him speechless. I need to write this down!" Settling into a decidedly more serious note, Will added, "I want you to have it, Optimus. I can think of no other person, no other being who deserves it more. If it wasn't for you, Sam would be dead, The Fallen would have sucked our sun dry and Earth would be hasta la vista, baby."
Optimus shifted on his axles. "Thank you, Will. I don't think you have any idea what this means to me." Indeed, as the leader of the Autobots, Optimus alternated between praising his subordinates and disciplining them. No one told him when he'd done well, and Earth's governments were more intent on figuring out just how much the giant leader would divulge rather than helping his species adapt to life on their planet. For just one moment, it was nice to be appreciated by someone for a sacrifice he personally made.
Lennox hopped out of Prime's cab and came to attention. Firing off a perfect salute to the flamed truck, Lennox said, "On behalf of a grateful nation." The Major executed an about face, spinning on the heel of his foot. He walked back toward Ironhide and hopped in. Ironhide clicked his lights at his leader as Prime idled, contemplating what just happened. Optimus materialized his holoform in the driver's seat and picked the small decoration off his dash. Running it through his fingers, he wrapped it in a handkerchief erroneously left in his cab by Sam and tucked the award carefully into his glove compartment.
Prime let out his clutch and started back toward Diego Garcia with a lightness he hadn't felt in months. Perhaps Ironhide was wrong in his initial assessment of the human race, and Lennox's most recent act of complete unselfishness proved that in spades. Optimus smiled to himself. Every time he began to question his choices, humanity's goodness swooped in to show him why he'd made the choice to name Earth the Autobot's new home.
He was glad he made the right call.