Once we had been admired, respected.
To be assigned to us had been something worth striving for.
To join our ranks had been the ultimate honour...
He still remembered the day he had been asked if he wished to join.
He had been a shuttle back then, in the military, although they hadn't had much of a force back then, just enough to protect Cybertron and the colonies from outside attack or to help with disaster relief, since not all the colony worlds were as stable as Cybertron.
He had retired when he had started to feel the strain in his gears and servos which even regular oiling couldn't dull. He'd have a few vorns to relax before returning to Primus.
That's when they had come.
They had offered him a transport ship, the type he had flown with only a few times, huge behemoths capable of carrying hundreds of mechs.
They were rare, he knew that, only a few were in service, the raw materials and power needed to build and operate a ship of that size was enormous.
It was such an honour he hadn't even taken the time to contemplate it, to weigh up his options, he had simply said yes.
The first few vorns had been strange, even now a curl of fear would occasionally shoot through his spark when he onlined, and his body refused to obey his commands.
They had warned him about that though. That it could take a long time for his spark to settle and to stop missing what he once had.
A nudge in his communications grid interrupted his musings for a moment as he rerouted the priority one request from the planet below for a comm. channel to the command deck.
He had computed the angles and vectors necessary to land as they had approached the planet. It would be no problem, the weather system was clear and the landing spot was an island in the middle of an ocean so nothing to manoeuvre round before setting down.
They had just been sitting in orbit as they waited for the permission from the ground to come through.
He snorted as the Mechs left the entry to the autopilot. Had they really fallen so far as to think he was a drone?
Yes. They had.
The first war, so long ago now, had lost the knowledge of how to transfer sparks into systems like his.
The Golden Age that followed had seen most of those who remembered that it could be done offline through age.
The current war had destroyed any knowledge that may have remained.
He was one of the few that was still around. They had been primary targets in the first war, especially the military built; they had been destroyed without mercy. The rest, civilians mainly, had been sabotaged; a rogue virus released that sent them into stasis lock.
When he had onlined again the war had been over. Long over. The virus had been finally removed by a routine maintenance check.
But he had stayed silent. He had watched and waited to see who had won the war. To see what had happened to Cybertron in the time he had been offline.
And then it became routine to watch but not act.
They thought he was a highly advanced drone.
He never gave them cause to think otherwise; all that he had known had been wiped out in a pointless conflict, he had wanted nothing to do with this new Cybertron. This new Golden Age.
He had put most of his systems into automatic and retreated into himself, rerunning memories of better times.
Until they had outfitted him for war.
But still he had stayed silent, his crew were competent enough, and there were times when he contemplated speaking to them, but he had grown used to being treated as a mere machine. At some point it had stopped bothering him, he couldn't remember when though.
Absently firing his thrusters to slow his descent he aligned himself with the landing spot he had been given.
He would admit though, it would be good to see the mechs who had gone ahead, he had got used to the routine on board and having some gone had felt strange.
Settling into his assigned landing spot he congratulated himself on his precision as he shut down all propulsion systems, the mechs on board tumbling out to greet the rest of his crew.
Settling more securely on his landing struts as he felt the warmth of the planets sun he cycled down to recharge.
A light tapping on his sensor grid and his name being called woke him. Fixing his sensors on the disturbance, he was surprised to sense one of the small organic creatures was tapping on his door.
"Teletraan?" The organic looked as if it wasn't sure whether to persist in knocking or not.
He settled that by cycling the door open.
The startled yelp of the organic was rather amusing as it got back to its feet and heaved itself up what would barely be a step for a mech and onto his decking.
"Eh, do you mind giving me directions?" It asked as it reached an intersection and peered down all the corridors.
"Straight on, third left, then first right, continue to the end of the corridor and enter the lift."
"Thank you." The organic said as it set off.
"You're welcome." Teletraan said reflexively.
How long had it been since anybody had said thank you? After all, drones followed their programming no matter whether you thanked them or not.
Tracking the organics progress he activated the lift, after all even the buttons set low on the wall for the smaller mechs and symbiotes were well above the organics head.
The organic entered the control room before looking round in confusion. "Eh, hello?"
"I'm probably making some cultural mistake again. But where are you?" he turned a full circle, obviously looking for some sign of life.
The lights dimmed for a brief moment before Teletraan replied. "I am the ship."
"The ship?" The organics optics, no, eyes widened and his heartbeat went up a couple of paces. "How do you transform?"
The lights flickered again, this time in surprise. Transform? "What is your designation? Your... name?" He asked.
"Will Lennox." The organic said, as it seemed to decide that speaking to the bank of monitors would do for now.
"Who sent you in here?" Clearly it hadn't been briefed if it had thought I was a mech.
"Sideswipe said I should go say hello to you."
Ah, that explained much. Of course the prankster would find sending a human to say hello to a drone that he wouldn't be able to find amusing.
Good for the organic, Will, that I wasn't a drone or he would still have been banging on my external door.
Taking my silence as a sign that I wasn't going to reply Will hesitantly asked a question of his own. "So, no offence intended, what are you? I've just got used to the whole thirty foot robot that can turn into a truck. I'd hate to see what you turn into."
How strange this must be for him. "I am a..." quickly searching for a term, I came across several in human literature that seemed to fit, "...a liveship. And I do not transform, this is my only mode."
"Right." He said looking even more confused.
"You know of sparks?" Teletraan queried.
"Big glowing souls."
"Right, well, a long time ago, when my chassis was close to offlining through age, my spark and processor were transferred into the central systems of this ship..."
"Sideswipe thinks I'm crazy." Will said as he swung his legs over the edge of what was a single step raised platform around the edge of the command deck.
"Oh?" Teletraan turned his attention from scanning the organisms in the ocean surrounding the island to the human.
"In fact they all looked at me like I was crazy when I said I'd been chatting to you."
"Ah." Teletraan said as Will got up and started pacing.
"They were acting like you couldn't think for yourself."
"When I said I was transferred a long time ago, I meant it. The knowledge of liveships was lost well before my current crew were even brought online, let alone commandeered me for the war. I never bothered to correct them."
Will tilted his head in an expression that Teletraan had come to recognise as confusion or curiosity. "But you're speaking to me."
"So I am." Teletraan replied as the organic flopped back down on his deck. "Consider me... curious. It's been a long time since I've spoken with another species."