Here's a little something I wrote early on in my TF fanfic days. I posted it as a place-holder when I needed to revise a chapter after putting it up, and enough people liked it that I'm adding it as its own story. It's not compliant with the IDW comics I've been using for canon, but it explains my take on why Optimus didn't insist on reviving Jazz after the Battle of Mission City by using the All Spark fragment. With so much talk of Jazz in TTB, I thought it might be helpful to understand where my version of Optimus is coming from. Hope you enjoy! ~ Eowyn77
I'd never been to a presidential debriefing before. Until arriving at Hoover Dam, I'd never even met with anybody who was based out of the Pentagon. So far, it had been pretty much like any debriefing, except of course for the fact that we were discussing alien robots.
Secretary Keller moved to the next item in his notes. "The Autobots are requesting that we allow them to stay here, on Earth."
The president frowned. "Requesting? I was under the impression that these machines do anything they damn well please."
"With all due respect, Mr. President, they're in the middle of a war. If the Autobots hadn't taken the actions they did, we would not be around to discuss this."
"A war they brought to us."
Now he knew how the Afghanis and so many others had felt when we had to fight the bad guys in their backyards.
The president leaned back, tapping his desk with a pencil's eraser. "Your report indicates that some of these things escaped, and the leader of the machines thinks they'll be back sooner or later. By harboring these aliens, we're opening ourselves up to more attacks. From where I sit, we have everything to lose and nothing to gain. They refuse to share their technology or even their scientific knowledge."
Secretary Keller had anticipated that objection. "They see it as refusing to enslave us. Their leader, Optimus Prime, is thousands of years old. If he took a leadership position on our world, it would only be a few generations before his kind unintentionally took over. Self rule is a…a defining value for them. It would be out and out evil in his eyes if his kind – with their technology and durability – became the leaders of our world, whether it was through violent overthrow or benevolent dictatorship."
"But they're asking us to invite an invasion, Secretary, with nothing more than their assurances of goodwill to protect us."
"They have demonstrated their goodwill. For example, Sector Seven captured an Autobot named Bumblebee. When we walked in, he was being tortured and experimented on."
"Yes, I read the report. When the order was given to stand down and release the thing, he brandished his weapons. The only reason he didn't destroy the place was because his owner, with some effort, talked him into submissiveness."
I had no place speaking now that I'd delivered the facts as I'd witnessed them, but I couldn't help myself. "I've seen these robots fighting, sir, and Bumblebee's reaction was purely defensive. Not an hour later, he got his legs blown off trying to physically shield me and my team. And no one 'owns' an Autobot."
The president scowled at me and, military training or not, I was inches from telling my commander in chief to go to hell.
"They're asking us to trust them. I want them to trust us first. We need the fragment of the All Spark."
"Sir," I said, stepping right up to the line of getting court-martialed. "They're going to use it to restore one of their own who fell in battle. He was Optimus' first officer, and this will bring him back to life."
"Then they can do their Frankenstein thing with him and go. But if they want to stay on our planet, humans need to be in control of that fragment. That's the deal, gentlemen. Take it or leave it."
An hour and a half later, Secretary Keller escorted me from the room, down the hall, and into another wing. His expression clearly indicated he sided with me.
"When does my plane leave?" I asked.
"As soon as you're ready."
"Then where's the nearest weight room? I need to punch something now."
They were waiting in the hanger for me. It's hard to read an Autobot when they're not trying to show emotion, but I knew they weren't stupid. If it had been good news, I would have told it to them on my way here.
Optimus looked at me expectantly. "What does your leader say, Captain Lennox?"
Aw hell. I'd toyed with the idea of actually lying and telling them the President said to just leave. I'd lost several men from my teams over the years and there was nothing I wouldn't sacrifice to bring them back. If I lied, then they could go forward with a clear conscience. But I couldn't lie to Optimus. I handed him the file listing the president's demands, saying, "He wants the All Spark fragment."
Ironhide barked out a stream of unfamiliar words, but I knew swearing when I heard it.
"That's enough," Optimus said firmly.
Ratchet rose to his feet. "But Optimus! Jazz…"
"What else does he want?" Prime asked me. "Weapons? Allegiance?"
"Nothing of significance. Just the fragment, as a gesture of good will." Even an alien robot would hear the fury in those last two words.
Optimus stood there, his expression blank. I figured it was a good guess he was lost in thought.
I was seething inside. They were actually going to consider it. An Autobot got ripped in half protecting us, and they actually were considering letting him die because some distrustful son of bitch wanted power he didn't deserve and shouldn't have. "For what it's worth, this is the first time I'm ashamed to be human."
"Do not be," Optimus answered gently. He seemed to focus on his surroundings again. "How soon does your President require an answer?"
"He's given you forty-eight hours."
"I must ponder this decision carefully. Thank you, Captain Lennox."
I knew I was being dismissed and left.
I went in to work like usual the next morning, but I didn't get a single thing done. I was too angry to think. At dinner that night, I barely spoke and Sarah hovered, but of course all this was classified, and even if it weren't, I wouldn't want to make her ashamed, too.
About ten o'clock that night the phone rang. I let Sarah answer it, not in the mood for socializing, but she brought me the receiver. "It's for Captain Lennox."
My stomach twisted. Great. Now what? "Hello?"
The deep, unmistakable voice of Optimus Prime was a complete and utter shock. "Can you spare an hour for me, Captain?"
"Yes," I automatically answered.
"I will meet you outside in five minutes."
I told Sarah that I needed to review some new intel immediately and that I'd be back as soon as I could, and then I went outside to meet Optimus. He was in his vehicle form, and the passenger-side door opened. I climbed in and we drove silently for several minutes, stopping in a field of alfalfa hidden among rolling hills.
The door opened and I got out.
"Thank you for joining me." He turned into his robot shape and looked up at the stars for a long moment. "Jazz and I have been friends for almost as long as human civilization has been in existence. I have lost many friends in this endless war, but I think he is one of those I shall miss the most."
I waited patiently, and he said nothing for several minutes.
Finally he commented, "You do not offer an opinion."
"You didn't ask for one."
He looked down, his optics grave and his voice wistful. "Speak. If you were me…"
"Bring him back. That's what I'd do. In a heartbeat."
He nodded slowly and looked heavenward again. "And then?"
I sighed heavily, realizing that this would probably be the last time I saw him before they left. "You could take over our planet," I suggested hopefully.
Optimus softly vented, though I wasn't sure if it was a half-hearted laugh or a sigh. The sound was laced with sorrow.
I frowned. "But since that's not an option, you'd have to leave, I guess. Or stay and annoy the hell out of all the higher-ups."
"No," he said softly. "If we stay, it is under terms that both human leaders and I can agree to."
"Then you'll have to go. I've been trying for the last day and a half to think of a way to change the President's mind, but for the life of me, I can't. He's not going to be happy unless he's sitting on the most powerful potential weapon on earth."
"Megatron fell here. The Decepticons will neither forgive nor forget that."
Starscream was the only one who escaped the battle. "How many more of them are there?"
We might have been able to defend ourselves against one Decepticon, now that we knew how to fight them. But even two….
"If I bring Jazz back, it will mean condemning to death Captain Lennox and his wife and daughter, Sam and Mikaela, even Sam's ridiculous parents." He looked at me again. "Would you still do it? Would it still be the right trade?"
"If it were my life for Jazz's, Optimus, I think I could take that trade, but…" Sarah. Annabelle.
"But we strong ones owe a duty to the weak."
I was shocked to hear him include me with him in the strong category.
"And so we stay," he reluctantly declared. "The All Spark fragment goes to your government and the Autobots have a home again. Jazz would not begrudge our people that."
"You're really going to leave us puny humans to guard the fragment?"
He leaned in closer. If I was reading his expression right, it was almost conspiring. "So long as you and I do our job, Captain Lennox, it will not matter who holds the fragment."
My eyebrows rose in surprise. "Our job?"
"I have my own terms of goodwill to request of your government. First, the Autobots owe a duty to protect the world from the Decepticons, not America from other humans. I will not answer to your military."
I nodded. Of course I would prefer to have an Autobot at my side any time I had to face an enemy, but I could see the wisdom of them staying out of our squabbles.
"Second, I will require a team of human liaisons to assist in hunting Decepticons. This will be our planet but your world. For the most part we have remained hidden, and I feel it wisest to keep it so. This team of liaisons will be our face to your world."
Again I nodded.
"I wish for you to lead and help us assemble this team."
"It is your choice, of course."
"But I'm just a captain…"
"You are the human who values his life no dearer than an Autobot's. You fully understand the price I pay for peace this day. William Lennox, I can think of no one I would prefer to be my military counterpart." His blue eyes seemed to glow brighter, and his voice took on a hard edge. "I will not meet your president face-to-face, nor his successors, so long as he holds the All Spark fragment and keeps Jazz from us. Invent whatever diplomatic excuse you wish, but I will not compromise on this point."
I could only stare, a slight chill of fear filling me. I hoped that I was never the one to tick Optimus off like this. Never.
His expression softened a little. "Time is on my side. A thousand years from now, perhaps your people will trust us enough to give Jazz back to us. That is another of my requirements. We will not toss our dead into an underwater scrapheap with the Decepticons. Jazz's body is to be treated with respect and interred with the same dignity and care as a human's so that we can retrieve him when the time comes. It is my gesture of goodwill to you that I entrust you, Will, with this secret hope."
"I've had plenty of goodwill gestures, Optimus."
"Consider this one more. Until that day, we work individually but together. This will place you in a very difficult position, I realize. You don't have much time to consider, since we must answer your president by noon tomorrow. Your loyalties will likely be tested, and I tell you now that I would expect you to side with your own people. I will not have humans fighting humans over us."
"I'll do it."
"Consider your choice carefully."
"I don't need to. You do not count the life of an Autobot any dearer than mine. The Decepticons will come, and you're right that you will need our help to keep hidden while you fight them. It will be my privilege to assist in any way, including fighting at your side."
Optimus sighed. "Jazz would have liked you."
"If I don't get a chance to meet him again, tell him about me some day."
Optimus nodded, a slow change coming over his face. A slight smile. "Agreed."