Thanks to all who have reviewed, favorited, and alerted the fic. I had orignally planned on this being the chapter where Optronix met the High Council. However, my muse had other plans. I hope you enjoy it.


First Impressions

Dark days were ahead. The old warrior knew it. For him the darkest day was when he failed to protect his Prime. No fault had been blamed on Ironhide since the battle was intense, there were many casualties and it was Megatron himself who killed Sentinel. But no mechanism could tell Ironhide differently. It was his honor and duty to protect his Prime. Sentinel wasn't just his Prime, but his closest friend. And he failed to protect him like he'd promised long ago when Sentinel first took on the mantle of Prime.

Once again, Ironhide was asked to play the role of protector. Being the foremost expert in weapons defense and hand to hand combat the honor was still his to be there for his Prime. He headed to the secure location with a squad of Elite Guards with the purpose of bringing their Prime to be before the High Council of Elders.

Doubt had filled his spark as it did many of the mechs under his command.

Would this new Prime be able handle the responsibility? Would he be a leader like Sentinel that every mechanism in the Autobot Army could rely on? Sentinel had earned the title of Prime and thus the Matrix of Leadership was bestowed up him. When he fell, many were prepared for Ultra Magnus to be the next Prime as he was groomed by Sentinel to be a leader just like him.

To Ironhide's hides dismay the Matrix had rejected Magnus as its new bearer. The Autobots' confidence reached an all time low. Leaderless and lost. They all had to rely on their faith in Primus. Even Ironhide. That faith faltered when the High Council of Elders announced the name of the new Matrix bearer, Optronix.

Many rumored that the Council chose a mech to be their puppet so that they could finally gain full control of the Autobot Army. Those devote Primus worshippers believed that if the Matrix chose this mech, then he would be their savior and would bring peace. Ironhide read the mech's profile and couldn't understand why the Matrix of Leadership would have chosen such a mech to be their new Prime.

The mech was average. Never stood out in anything he'd done his entire life. He had no fighting skills nor did he show any interest in the gladiatorial games. So he was clearly not a fighter. He did vote every session when a new Council member was up for election. And records clerk sounded like something a bureaucrat would start out as.

Ironhide was inclined to believe the rumors that the Council chose him for their own purpose. And the only reason why Ironhide was here was because it was his duty. Autobots do not shirk in their duties.

They're honorable and loyal to the death.

"I trust that you are Strikedown, the Enforcer in charge?" Ironhide demanded roughly after he emerged from the shuttle craft.

"I am," the blue and white mech replied, stepping forward to greet Ironhide. "I must admit I was surprised when I received instructions from the High Council of Elders to locate and protect this Optronix. As ordered, I told no one except my two best Enforcers who retrieved the mech. We're lucky they're all alive."

"Decepticons?" Ironhide questioned, following the chief Enforcer.

"Yes. Two hit squads! Who is this Optronix? And why do the Decepticons want him dead?"

Ironhide kept quiet for a moment. Sentinel had suspected and confided in Ironhide that a Decepticon sympathizer might be on the High Council or working closely with them. The fact that the Decepticons tried to kill this Optronix was proof of that. For no one knew that Optronix was being retrieved for except for the High Council of Elders. And Ironhide knew Enforcers were loyal to each other, more fiercely than Autobots. They would never endanger one of their own.

"I am not at liberty to discuss why the High Council of Elders wants him. Like you, I am simply following orders," Ironhide replied.

"Very well," Strikedown frowned, obviously not happy with the lack of information. "Optronix is in one of our holding rooms. The only mechs with him are Prowl, Streetwise, and some medic called Ratchet."

"Was he injured?"

"Negative. My best Enforcer was. Optronix refused to leave his side. He wanted to make sure Prowl received the best medical attention. So he called in an old friend."

Ironhide quirked an optic ridge and felt a glimmer of hope kindle within his spark. He quickly snuffed it out not wanting to let his hope rise up now only for it to be taken away later on. However, as he neared the room and heard the shouting the hope started to strengthen.

"Honestly, Orion! Do you know what time it is?!" an angry voice shouted from behind the door.

"Who's Orion? You said nothing about an Orion being in the room with them!"

"That's what the medic calls Optronix," Strikedown replied with a sigh, punching in the access code on the door's control panel. "The medic has a temper so watch your vocal processor. Oh, and one word of adviseā€¦duck."

Ironhide was about to question what he meant as the doors whooshed open. Luckily he still had quickly enough reflexes to duck from the wrench that flew past his head.

"I said I was not to be disturbed! Do you have any idea how sensitive and delicate the circuitry is on doorwing joints?" the medic growled, scowling at Ironhide and Strikedown.

"My apologies but this is Ironhide, Commander of the Elite Guard. He has arrived to take Optronix into his care now," Strikedown announced.

"First Decepticons, now the Elite Guard? What the frag have you gotten yourself into, Orion?" Ratchet demanded, forcing the Enforcer Prowl to sit back down. "I'm not done with you!"

"Honestly, Ratchet I have no idea," Optronix replied and for the first time Ironhide took him in.

Just as his report indicatedā€¦he was average. Nothing spectacular or awe inspiring about his appearance at all as he leaned against the wall with his arms folded arcross his chest. He looked just a regular mech you'd find in any city on Cybertron. None of it mattered anymore. Orders were orders.

"If you will come with me, Optronix. My guards and I will escort you to the Chamber of Ancients where the High Council of Elders is waiting for you," Ironhide said, moving towards the mech.

"No."

Ironhide balked at the firm tone. The way the mech's voice dropped and how he said it contradicted everything Ironhide read about the mech's personality profile.

"I have my orders and you will come with me. To defy the High Council is an act of treason," Ironhide pointed out.

"I suspect that is not the case with me," Optronix stated, pushing off from the wall. "The High Council ordered Enforcers to find me and protect me. Decepticons, a known dangerous faction who seem to oppose the peaceful way of life on Cybertron, even sent hit squads to assassinate me. I may be scared out of my processor right now but I am no feeble minded mech. So I can assume that I am a very important mech to the Council. Am I right?"

"You are correct," Ironhide relented, taking a step back.

"Good. Now the High Council can wait a short while longer because frankly, I'm not going anywhere unless Prowl and Streetwise are my escorts. No offense to you or the Elite Guard, Ironhide but Prowl and Streetwise literally put their lives on the line to protect me. At this moment, I think it prudent that I keep only those I know I can trust closest to me. If you knew me all, you would know that my trust is earned."

"And once you've earned it, you have a loyal friend for life," Ratchet smiled while making repairs.

Ironhide felt that hope swell within his spark and he smiled, "Very well Optronix."

They say first impressions are what stick within your processor about an individual. Well, this Optronix made one hell of a first impression on the Commander of the Elite Guard and in doing so, revived the hope of the old mech.