This is a TFA fic that sprouted from the question of: 'what if Optimus Prime had a chance to meet Elita One again (before she became Blackarachnia)?' Then that question lead to the idea of him travelling back in time in order to do so. And that was what inspired this fic.
The idea of Optimus travelling back in time and meeting Elita One again raised an intriguing possibility of whether Optimus would take the chance to try and stop the tragic events of Archa-Seven from ever happening, and it presented an opportunity to find out more about the possible nature of the 'friendship' he had with Elita before she became Blackarachnia. Wouldn't it have been interesting if there had been a TFA episode based on an idea like this? I think it would have been. It was unfortunate that the TFA series ended without really resolving the issue of Blackarachnia, Optimus and Sentinel. Alas...
I also remembered the old 90s 'Gargoyles' episode 'Vows' as I was writing this fic too. Perhaps it had been my subconscious influence initally as well. It was that ep where Goliath went back into the past thru' the Pheonix Gate and met a Demona from her younger days when she still loved him. So for anyone that watched the 'Gargiyles' show years ago and remembers the particular episode of 'Vows', you may recognise some influences from it in this fic!
I am planning to post this fic in 3 parts. I was debating whether to include it in my 'TFA: Glimpses' collection of post-season 3 short fics, but I decided against it, since this fic turned out pretty long. It's almost like the story of a whole episode I'd say. You can consider this fic also to be set after the final season of the TFA show, sometime after Optimus Prime (theoretically) returns to Earth after returning to Cybertron for a while as a hero. I'm just imagining that Optimus would have wanted to return to Earth sooner or later to search for the remaining Decepticons there. And I'm guessing that he may find Blackarachnia in Africa, assuming that's where she was tranported to with Wasp after the season 3 episode 'Predacons Rising'. So yes, I'm making up some details and assuming a few little events have occurred in order for this story to take place.
And now that you have a little background information for this fic, we may begin!
This one's for all Optimus/Elita suporters.
In Another Time - Part 1
Somewhere in Africa, deep in a cave that stretched for hundreds of metres up, a dark purple and black techno-organic female Cybertronian worked intently in a simple lab of her creation. Her sharp purple fingers moved swiftly across the keys of a control panel. Her four red optics watched lines of figures dart across a readings screen in front of her, then they drifted sideways to look at a giant construct standing on the cave floor. It was a huge construct consisting of a wide, solid base that branched into two spires reaching up toward the echoing heights of the large cave's ceiling.
"This has to work," Blackarachnia mumbled, "With transwarp technology, I'll be able to save myself from..." She glanced down hatefully at her techno-organic body. Her hand clenched into a tight shuddering fist. Her red optics narrowed. "The solution lies in the past...and that's where I'll go..."
Just as she turned her attention back to the control panel in front of her, she was interrupted by the alarming sound of metal bending and breaking behind her. She spun round.
A glowing blue blade was cutting through the metal doors in the wall of the cave. Two criss-crossing lines were drawn through the metal of the doors. They broke into four large pieces and collapsed forward with a loud crash onto the cave floor. From the now exposed doorway, the red and blue form of Optimus Prime emerged into view as he stepped into the lab, putting away his battle axe. He immediately spotted Blackarachnia. His blue optics fixed emotionlessly upon her.
"I had a feeling you might be behind the high transwarp energy readings we detected around this area," he stated.
Blackarachnia watched him coldly.
"Even on a different continent of this planet, you still manage to find me. A long time ago, I would have admired that quality about you." She bent forward and fired two lines of webbing at him. "But now, it's just tiresome."
Optimus reacted instantly. He jumped to one side, avoiding the oncoming lines of webbing. He then caught sight of the giant transwarp technology construct. He looked back at Blackarachnia quickly.
"Is that...a transwarp generator?" he questioned critically.
"Could be," Blackarahnia teased dryly.
"What are you trying to accomplish with that?" Optimus pressed.
Blackarachnia suddenly threw herself at Optimus with a spinning back kick. He managed to block it with a raised arm.
"That's none of your concern, Optimus!" Blackarachnia hissed.
She swiped at him with her sharp fingers, but Optimus caught her attacking hand and gripped it tightly. He looked sternly into her red optics.
"But you are my concern, Blackarachnia!" he declared firmly, "If you're thinking to conduct some kind of experiment with that transwarp technology, it could end up being dangerous to more than just yourself!"
Blackarachnia brought her knee swiftly up into Optimus' abdomen. Taken by surprise, he bent over in pain. His grip on Blackarachnia's wrist loosened and she pulled her hand free.
"Can't you see that I am running out of options...," she brought a round-house kick across Optimus' face, knocking him to the ground, "...and patience! I won't let you interfere with my plans here."
Optimus swung his leg out and swept Blackarachnia's feet out from underneath her. She hit the ground as well. In an instant, Optimus was on top of her, his knees on the ground on either side of her hips. Crossing his arms, he gripped her wrists and pulled them above her head, drawing her arms to cross over one another and pushing them down on top of her venomous spider legs. With his two hands, he managed to firmly hold down her four dangerous upper body limbs against the floor above her head. She struggled underneath him, but her own crossed arms held down above her were preventing her striking spider legs from coming forward. Optimus had effectively pinned her down. His blue optics focused down into hers seriously.
"The energy readings I picked up from here were way over controllable levels!" he informed warningly, "Your transwarp technology's too risky! You could end up damaging yourself! Or worse..."
Blackarachnia glared up at him angrily.
"I'm already damaged thanks to you, Optimus!" she bitterly shot, "Any risk now is better than living as a techno-organic mutant freak!"
She swung her leg up and kicked Optimus off of her. He flipped forward over her head and crashed heavily onto his back, one leg bent, the other flat. Then Blackarachnia scrambled to her feet and ran for the control panels. Optimus rolled himself onto an elbow and forced himself to his feet as well. He reached a hand out to Blackarachnia as he cried out to her.
He drew his battle axe out and threw it at the control panels. It spun whistling through the air. Just as Blackarachnia reached for the controls, the glowing blue blade of the axe embedded itself in the centre of the panels. Electricity crackled out of the damaged hardware.
"No! The controls!" Blackarachnia cried, "What have you done?"
Suddenly, the giant transwarp generator hummed into activation. Optimus and Blackarachnia stared up at it in alarm. A ball of white light expanded from the centre of the generator's two spires.
"It's opening up a transwarp portal!" Blackarachnia cried out.
The ball of white light grew into a wide circular portal. It began sucking up everything before it with incredible force. Before Optimus could react to escape, he was pulled, sliding across the cave floor, toward the portal. Blackarachnia shot out two lines of sticky webbing at the rock floor and entwined her hands in them. They attached her securely to the floor. Optimus though, was not as fortunate. The pulling forces of the portal lifted him up toward it. He was sucked into the portal. Then as soon as it had claimed a victim, it imploded in on itself, sending out a wave of unseen concussive energy as it closed up. Blackarachnia was knocked into stasis lock as the aftershock wave hit her.
Optimus emerged from the transwarp portal only a few feet from ground, but the impact when he collided into it was still jarringly hard. His left arm took the force of the crash as he landed on it. He moaned in pain. Above him, lightning crackled down from a swirling storm cloud in the sky to the white portal he had fallen out of. The lightning was closing the portal; it rapidly shrunk until it had vanished out of existence.
Slowly and painfully, Optimus stood up, holding his aching left arm that had taken the impact of his fall. He immediately wondered where he had been transported to. He scanned his surroundings for answers. He was in a Cybertronian courtyard surrounded by various tall buildings on all sides. It all looked rather familiar. Then Optimus recognised his location: Autobot Academy training camp!
Before he could explore his surroundings more, Optimus heard approaching voices to his side. He glanced around himself quickly and spotted a rectangular pillar behind him. He took cover behind it, concealing himself in its shadow. Turning his head to look over his shoulder, he peered out over the edge of the pillar. He watched a group of three talking bots stop at the spot where he had just been standing.
"That was some weird storm," one red and gold bot with a blue helmet was saying, looking upwards into the clear dark sky.
"Yeah, looked like a localised lightning cloud, but then it just disappears after a few nano-kliks," another tall, red and white bot with long, pointed black antennae on either side of his red helmet said.
Optimus magnified his vision on the three bots.
Pyro, Star Saber and Springer? he mentally recognised in surprise. He hadn't seen them since his Academy days...
Optimus realised they must have seen the unusual sight of the transwarp portal he had just fallen out of manifesting from a distance away.
"Well, it's gone now," Springer stated to the other two, his fists on his hips, "Nothing else to see here. Let's go."
The trio moved away, continuing to chat amongst themselves about the strange, brief 'storm' they had seen. Optimus watched them until they had disappeared completely from his view.
Optimus jumped. His cover had been blown! He spun round in the direction of the voice that had called his name and found its source: Sentinel Prime! In all his bulging blue metal pomposity, thick armoured arms swinging at his sides and his bloated chin held up characteristically in the air. But his old 'friend' wasn't looking at him and he was a fair distance away. He passed by Optimus' hiding place and was heading instead toward another very familiar red and blue bot. Optimus gaped as he recognised the very familiar red and blue bot that Sentinel was approaching: it was his younger self, still in his old Cybertronian body! Sentinel had been calling to a younger Optimus.
It hit the older observing Optimus instantly. He finally realised not only where he was, but more importantly, when.
"I'm...back on Cybertron...in the past!" he whispered in shock to himself.
The transwarp portal had brought him back not just to Cybertron, but back in time over a thousand stellar cycles! Back to his days in the Academy!
He continued to observe bewildered as Sentinel draped his arm over his younger self's shoulders, grinning widely.
"So buddy, how was your battle simulation run today? Manage to scratch Starscream's paint this time? Or did you get your skid-plate handed to you again?"
"Very funny, Sentinel."
"Aww, c'mon, Optimus. Lighten up. You know I'm just teasin'."
The young Optimus glared un-amused at Sentinel. Then something caught Sentinel's optics ahead. He elbowed Optimus lightly in the arm to get his attention.
"Hey, check it out!" he alerted in a hushed but excited voice, "It's Elita!"
Both mechs looked forward as Elita One walked into view a short distance away from them. She was flanked on either side by two other fembots, one vivid blue in colour with a grey face and the other aquamarine with a pale pink face.
In his concealed place, the older Optimus was paralysed at the sight of Elita. There she was: gold, turquoise and black as he remembered her from his Academy days. She was talking and laughing with her two female friends as they walked along, unaware that she was being watched by three sets of entranced male optics. From the corner of his vision, the older Optimus saw Sentinel sweeping dust off his already immaculate and polished chest plate.
"Excuse me, Optimus," Sentinel seemed to puff out his chest plate. The young Optimus rolled his optics, "there's a smart and pretty fembot there waiting for the perfect knight in shining armour to come sweep her off her servos."
Optimus' younger self looked like he wanted to say something, but he remained silent as Sentinel left him behind. Past and future Optimuses watched glumly as Sentinel confidently strode up to the three fembots. Noticing his approach toward them, they stopped their chatter and looked up at him. He came to a stop before them and postured himself to show off the impressive bulk of his upper body armour plating.
"Ladies," Sentinel smoothly greeted, dropping his voice to a deeper, masculine tone, "If you don't mind, I'd like to talk to Elita."
Elita nodded at her two friends.
"Chromia, Moonracer, I'll catch you two later."
They left, waving to Elita. When they had gone, Elita turned her attention back to Sentinel.
"Hi, Sentinel," she greeted politely.
Sentinel laid an arm leisurely around her shoulders. She looked uncomfortably at his large hand as it clasped around her right shoulder.
"You busy later?" Sentinel offered her a coaxing smile. "Coz I'd like to take you out for a party and a few oil drinks tonight."
Elita looked behind Sentinel and spotted the young Optimus silently turning and walking away from them a short distance away. There was a look of glum resignation on his face and his optics had dropped unhappily to the ground. Elita looked back at Sentinel uncertainly.
"Will Optimus be going too?" she asked. She sounded hopeful.
Sentinel casually glanced back at his departing friend's form as it disappeared into the shadow of a building.
"I think he's got something to do," Sentinel answered disinterestedly, "You know Optimus, doesn't know how to enjoy himself."
Elita's gaze fell, mild disappointment on her face.
"Maybe not tonight, Sentinel," she sighed, "I think I'm feeling a little tired."
She turned to leave.
"I'll see you later, Sentinel."
She walked away from a sulky-looking Sentinel. He placed his hands on his hips in a displeased manner before turning to depart in the opposite direction.
They were all leaving the area. The older Optimus began to emerge cautiously from behind his wall.
He froze. It was Elita's voice. He slowly turned to see her looking directly at him in a puzzled fashion. So much for not being spotted! She began walking up to him.
"I thought I saw you leave a moment ago..." She stopped as she looked down in increased puzzlement at the unfamiliar dark windows of his chest and the rest of his Earth vehicle-styled body. "When did you get a new design? Have you scanned a different alternate mode?"
The older Optimus didn't know what to say. He stared at her open-mouthed, trying to think of a believable lie to tell her. Then he saw her wide optics shift to her side. Optimus followed her gaze and saw what had caught her sight: his younger self through a window of an Academy building in the distance. Elita slowly returned her optics back to the second Optimus in front of her, disbelief, confusion and alarm rising in her features.
"What in the name of the Allspark...?" she began fretfully.
Optimus quickly raised his hands in a pleading attempt.
"Elita, please, don't be alarmed. Listen, I know this may be hard to believe, but I'm Optimus...from the future. I came...or...will come...through a transwarp portal over a thousand stellar cycles from now and ended, erm, will end, up here."
His attempt to allay Elita's shock seemed to have little effect. Her optics were still wide with fear and disbelief.
"You're from the future? Is this some kind of joke?" she spluttered.
Optimus shook his head, his expression serious.
"It's no joke, Elita. I'm from a distant future. And unless another transwarp portal opens up, it seems I'm stuck here in the past."
Blackarachnia pushed herself up from the ground, groaning. She held a hand to her helmeted head to steady it. That transwarp energy wave had hit her quite hard, she realised, but at least she was still intact and functional. Then she remembered Optimus. He had been sucked up into the portal and swallowed by it.
She looked up. Her lab was still more or less in one piece, save for some small pieces of equipment scattered across the floor. Her four red optics moved on to her side and she saw that Optimus' battle axe was still sticking out of the control panels for the transwarp generator. But sure enough, there was no sign of Optimus.
She got to her feet and made her way over to the damaged control panels. She gave them a quick visual inspection. The damage looked deep, but she would have to try and repair it to get the transwarp generator operational again. She needed to discover where, or more precisely, when, Optimus had been sent to. She had programmed the transwarp generator before his arrival to take her back approximately a thousand and fifty stellar cycles into the past, back to her days in the Autobot Academy on Cybertron. But with the damage the controls had received, she couldn't be sure if the portal that Optimus had been pulled into would still have transported him to her previous programmed temporal coordinates, or whether he might have been taken to another point in the past... Wherever in the past Optimus was, Blackarachnia realised that she couldn't afford to leave him stuck there. Who knew what effect his presence in history would have on the time stream?
Blackarachnia fumed to herself. Optimus had tried to stop her from using her 'risky' transwarp technology and had instead got himself transported through a portal. Now she had to find a way to bring him back before he unwittingly altered events in the past and potentially affected the future as they knew it in an adverse way. She would have to actually rescue the bot that she had hated for over a thousand stellar cycles for leaving her behind...
She looked back up at the transwarp generator that Optimus had been sucked through earlier. It occurred to her that if he was somewhere in their Academy past on Cybertron, Optimus might try to do the same thing as she had been planning to do: prevent her younger self from ever going to Archa-Seven in the first place.
No, she thought angrily. She did not trust or want Optimus to tamper with her fate. She would not let him shape what she could become, not the bot that had let her down before. He didn't deserve the chance to change her. He could not be trusted...never again...
Blackarachnia brought her attention back down to the damaged control panels and set to work. With some effort, she wrenched Optimus' battle axe loose from the metal panels. Then she pulled off the cracked panels to reach internal circuitry and wiring. Looking down into the interior systems of the controls, she saw the considerable extent of damage inflicted by Optimus' well-aimed weapon: several torn wires emitting sparks and crushed circuitry boards that were smoking. Could this heavily damaged system even have transported Optimus intact anywhere? Did the portal he went through have a particular target destination to send him to? What if it didn't? What if the portal's forces had been made unstable by the damaged controls that opened it?
A disconcerting thought took Blackarachnia by surprise: what if Optimus had perished in the unstable forces of the transwarp portal? For the briefest of moments, contradictory feelings of panic and grief rose in Blackarachnia. Optimus...gone? Because of...her? Then she immediately pushed the unbelievable idea of Optimus being offlined out of her processor, suppressing her conflicting emotions. She shook her head. Surely Optimus had only been transported to another time and place, not...destroyed... Yes, she was certain that he was still online. He had to be...