A/N: I did believe when I mentioned it in my A/N for Paenitentia that it would be my only G1 story. However, at the time, I'd forgotten another project of mine which had been close to my heart. I'd seen a lot of stories on Skyfire, some good and some bad. Many of them in both groups went to extremes with the various characterizations. More often than not, he was portrayed as an extremely friendly guy, too nice for his own good and very near perfect. Others went to the opposite extreme and portrayed him as a bad guy, with various degrees of cruelty. Very few seemed to be able to find a good balance for him. Shortly before I found the prompt that led me to write Paenitentia, I decided I wanted to try my own story on Skyfire, but the difficulty of trying to balance his character remained and I wasn't sure I was up to the task. However, encouragement by another author, Archaeopteryx Feather (who betaed this), as well as the surprise response I got for Paenitentia, eventually gave me the push I needed to write this. Her essay, More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About Skyfire (found on Transformers Lexicon) was also a help to me as I wrote this. This story is set between G1 and G2, and attempts to explain Skyfire's disappearance from the Autobots. I am fully aware there is speculation about his destruction in G2, but prefer to treat that as simply speculation.

Disclaimer: Don't own Transformers. Never have, never will.

Final Curtain

Almost done.

Skyfire closed the lid the final box, and glanced around the room. Scattered around were the crates which he had spent the last few days filling up with supplies in preparation to leave. Just another few Earth hours, and I'll be gone. I wonder how long it will take before they realize I have left?

After following this line of thought briefly, he frowned and shook his head.

Considering I am only called on when needed for transport, and with Omega Supreme coming soon meaning they'll need me less, it may be awhile.

Skyfire paused with his packing, pondering the events leading up to this moment. It seemed like from the moment he had been released from his icy prison, he had been in over his head. At the time of his crash, Cybertron was at peace, although the energy crisis had provoked some rumbles of discontent. That at least, he couldn't deny. He was also perfectly aware that the Science Council and Senate had likely tried to downplay how bad the situation truly was. He might have spent most of the last few vorns before his accident exploring deep space, and was often found in his lab when not exploring, but he always had done his best to keep up with current events and the gossip that floated around upon his return to Cybertron. One never knew when they would hear something that could prove to be valuable in the future…

But that was beside the point right now. He had always had a bad habit of going off onto other tangents from his original thoughts. When he crashed, his world was still intact, and hadn't yet been torn apart by civil war. The moment he had woken up, he had been thrown feet-first into fighting, something he never cared for in the first place. Skyfire smiled grimly at the memory. It was almost amusing how utterly things had gone wrong. First I find out there's a war, Megatron nearly convinces me they're doing this to help Cybertron, when in reality (according to the Autobots), they're out for conquest, and my former colleague sees fit to conceal the truth from me, and shoots me when I refuse to kill the Autobots. Skyfire shook his head. It was no surprise he believed Megatron at first, considering he never experienced the events which occurred while he was in stasis. Since that day in the Arctic, Skyfire had spent time trying to figure out the full truth behind the Decepticons' motives. Perhaps there were good intentions for some of them at the start, and Megatron played on those feelings to manipulate them. Given what Skyfire had learned about Megatron and his methods of obtaining followers for his army, it seemed the most likely scenario. Chances are, by the time most of them realized what was really happening they either no longer cared or were simply in too deep to be able to get out. Probably it was a bit of both. Wonder what happened to Starscream that caused him to join them. Skyfire shook his head, sighing. No point in going down that road again. He already knew asking Starscream was not an option. I could have tried to ask if I truly wished, but it's doubtful he would be willing to tell me. And even if he was, it's unlikely I could believe him. The truth seems to be a commodity he no longer values.

Pit, he didn't even know if he could fully believe in the Autobots sometimes, either. Their treatment of him had certainly shown that. They expected him to transport them everywhere and had practically shoved a weapon into his hands, expecting him to fight. Certainly he had defensive weapons in both modes, but defending oneself was different from firing to kill. He preferred firing to drive off an attacker, and even then, he hated doing so. Skyfire was pacifistic by nature, and would prefer to find another way besides fighting. He couldn't get the other Autobots to understand this, and had had to deal with quite a few insults as a result.

A bitter smile crossed his features. "Coward", "Traitor", "Weakling"…Cliffjumper and his ilk certainly seemed to enjoy insulting those who didn't agree with them. As far as he and his little gang are concerned, if you don't fight or don't join in with the general "insult your enemy" gatherings, you're no better than a Decepticon. The way some of them act, I sometimes think there's really no difference in either side. Cliffjumper, Gears, the Twins...they're as close-minded and bigoted as they say the other faction is. While the Decepticons certainly need to be stopped, I'm not sure the Autobot rule will be much better. Whoever wins, the government will still be as corrupt as before. Prime may be able to prevent some of it, but I can't see him being able to avoid being sidelined. He's a good wartime leader, but peacetime is another story altogether. He may not want vengeance, but many of his mechs will. As it is, I'm not sure Cybertron will ever really be at peace; war is all that so many of them know.

Skyfire let his gaze wander as he recalled how his isolation began. The insults started soon after he had criticized Cliffjumper and the other slag-talkers. What was the point of it anyway? It just showed what type of individual you really were. After making the mistake of saying that out loud once, he was gradually shut out. When he joined them for gatherings after an Autobot victory, only the scientists and a few of the friendlier 'Bots sat with him. Soon after that, he heard Cliffjumper and the Twins saying to the minibots and a few of the friendlier ones that it was no surprise that Skyfire was defending the Decepticons, considering he once had one for a friend. After a while, none of those who once were friendly seemed to know what to say to him. Complaints to Prime regarding the three had not helped as they denied it. Then the scientists started being given "important" projects that ate up most of their time, keeping them from visiting. By degrees, Skyfire was isolated. Now it seemed like the only times he was ever spoken to were when he was ordered to transport the others to a Decepticon hot spot. All he did when he wasn't transporting them was tinker around in his lab.

It was while tinkering that he finally made the decision to leave. He simply wasn't happy here, and couldn't remember the last time he had really been happy in the other Autobots' company. Sure, at the start he had been able to pretend a bit, but once he made the comments that began his isolation, he realized cracks were developing in the façade. Skyfire fought with the Autobots to protect this little world he so enjoyed studying, but there was little else tying him here. Once the recent rumor of Omega Supreme being revived and brought to Earth was confirmed, he felt it would be best for him to slip away.

Skyfire remembered that after making this decision, he was at a loss at first figuring out what he would do with himself. He had seen with his own optics that Cybertron was in ruins, so knew there was really no point returning there, and even should the war end, considering his concerns about whichever faction won out, it was likely not going to be any better. Furthermore, his colleagues and friends were either dead or had chosen sides. If there were any who by some miracle had survived, he had been unable to trace them. No, no point in going back to Cybertron. After much thought, he made the decision to go out exploring again. There were always those individuals looking for worlds to survey for colonization or other purposes. He would offer out his services to them. In this, he would be doing what he loved best as well as making a living at the same time.

Bringing himself back to the present, Skyfire moved to gather up the crates. He would load them into his subspace and set it so they would transfer inside upon transformation into his alt-mode. When he went into root mode, they would slide back into subspace until he required any of their contents.

After he loaded the crates into his subspace, Skyfire headed for the door, pausing only long enough to leave a datapad on the now empty table. He didn't know when his absence would be discovered, and felt at the very least he should inform the Autobots he was safe and going of his own free will. Whatever his opinions of the Decepticons, he wouldn't have them blamed for his disappearance.

Although it certainly would be somewhat entertaining witnessing Megatron trying to explain to a group of angry Autobots that he doesn't have me. He smirked at the thought. As for Starscream…

The smirk faded and Skyfire shook his head. He couldn't deny the loss of that friendship hurt, and knew there was very little chance they would ever reconcile their old friendship, even if Starscream had avoided outright attacking him since the incidents in the Arctic and Peru. Too much had happened while he slept, and Starscream seemed to be an entirely different mech. He was far removed from his life as a scientist and was now a ruthless killer. Honestly, Skyfire wondered if anything besides power meant much to Starscream anymore. Either way, he knew there was no going back. Even if Starscream did notice his absence, chances were he would think little of it. Skyfire knew he would regret the loss of the friendship, but not the choice he'd made to walk away. Not even now, as he prepared to leave Earth for the final time.

He stopped at the door, giving one final look around the room.

Was there anything he had missed?


Skyfire shut the door and headed out of the Ark. Once outside, he transformed into his shuttle mode and launched himself into the night sky.

No going back.

Now on to my future.

With a final burst of his rockets as he broke through the atmosphere, Skyfire disappeared into the stars.

I am going to seek a great purpose, draw the curtain, the farce is played. - Francois Rabelais