Question: What do you get when you mix Greek mythology with giant alien robots? Answer: This story.
When Vanity Met Insanity
If there was one thing that could distract Sunstreaker from any task, it would be his own reflection.
To be perfectly reasonable, his reflection was an easily distracting image when such beauty was portrayed within. In Sunstreaker's own opinion, which he thought was an honest opinion (though many others would consider conceited), there was no rival to his appearance. He was gifted in nearly every area of aesthetic consideration. A flawless appearance enhanced by inherent grace and a distinctive poise that could not be matched. Golden paint which was pure perfection in polished form. A body that everyone wished they had.
Exquisiteness like the kind that Sunstreaker exuded on a daily basis was not something to be wasted.
He was the kind of creature to be admired for his immaculate handsomeness.
So, of course, when he caught sight of his own reflection, there was nothing more for him to do but to pursue such a paragon of loveliness.
With a quick look back to the battlefield that had erupted behind him, the golden mech slunk down the incline into a secluded old grove of olive trees.
The battle behind him was not necessarily a difficult one. The Decepticons had yet again concocted a ridiculous and sadly predictable plan to steal energy from a an experimental solar energy station located within the beautiful and ancient Mediterranean country of Greece. Starscream was at the head of the pack, which should have been a formidable challenge, but the pitch of his voice whenever he crowed about being shot simply made him annoying. The other Seekers involved proved to be formidable as well, but could be taken an smidgeon more seriously since they did not sound like a chipmunk thrown into a blender and set on high.
The team of Autobots that had been sent to stop the Decepticons had included Sunstreaker and his brother Sideswipe, Jazz, Prowl, and Ratchet. It seemed a little excessive to include so many good warriors (and one nasty medic) on a team bound for a routine rousting, but Sunstreaker had not complained at the time. There had been no point. And now he was grateful for the skill of the others, since it meant his talents would not be missed if he decided to opt out of fighting.
Fully immersed in the hidden grove, Sunstreaker found that the sounds of battle grew strangely distant. He paid little mind to the phenomenon, rationalizing it as the unusual acoustic features of the sunken grove, which was further augmented by the insulating effect of the thick canopy of wild olive trees. He had no explanation for the fact that there were olives on the trees when they were supposed to be out of season, or for the fact that the air smelled as sweet as honey with a lingering scent of something he could not quite name, but Sunstreaker did not seek to answer such mysteries. His attention was fully vested in the image that had first brought him into the grove: his reflection.
The reflective surface which was supplying him with such an enchanting view of himself was that of a still pool of water. Not a natural pool of water, as one might expect, but water contained within a low, carved fountain that looked to be ancient white stone. A statue stood in the corner of the fountain, carved of the same stone. The statue itself depicted a human who, by Sunstreaker's estimation, was an exceptionally attractive specimen of his species.
Sunstreaker chose not to notice how well kept the ancient relics in the grove were. Greece was littered with ancient ruins of human civilizations that were long passed away, but none appeared as excellently preserved as this one. If the golden warrior had given thought to the area, he might have noticed the eerie, almost supernatural, quality to how preserved the minor temple was. Even the hidden pillars that laid concealed in the surrounding trees, blanketed in thick covers of lush green ivy, stood straight and whole without evidence of thousands of years passing since they were erected. The most thought that Sunstreaker granted the condition of the olive grove was to suppose that there were humans about who indulged the space, keeping it tidy and preserved, so that they did not forget their silly pasts.
Kneeling at the edge of the long, low fountain, the Autobot peered in to admire the reflection that peered out. The actual fountain that supplied flowing water to the place was no longer working, leaving the pool as still and smooth as a sheet of glittering glass. Azure blue optics peered back at Sunstreaker, suited to an angular faceplate of perfect symmetry and balance. Emotive mouthplates curved up into a sensuous smile, a tempting gesture that normally would gain the attention of many amorous interested suitors. In the water laid lily pads and blossoming flowers of light pink and virgin white, floating around his reflection as if it were he who wore the flowers and was wreathed by the greenery. There was no denying what a handsome sight he made.
In the dappled light, Sunstreaker's golden armour was set to sparkle and shine, practically glowing in richness. Leaning closer to the water, he was able to admire the slender curve of his armoured shoulders, the way the metal was shaped around him for both beauty and protection. His chest as well, unmarred by the nicks, scares, and dirt that other Autobots were forced to wear, was a testament to good architecture; not overly bulky from his alt mode, he was slim and quick, narrowing down to his waist and hips and leading out to a pair of long, serpentine legs.
Enraptured by the beautiful creature revealed by his reflection, Sunstreaker basked by the side of the fountain until he lost track of time. Even when he swilled his dextrous fingers through the sparkling water, the handsomeness of his image did not diminish. As the clear waters danced, he could only attest to the new dimensions of beauty that were revealed through the movement.
For even the most dense of creatures, the unusual nature of the grove of olive trees would have been made obvious by now. Any normal person in possession of an average regard for their appearance would have been able to tear their attention away long enough to note that something was not quite right about this situation.
Sunstreaker's regard for his appearance, unfortunately, was so self-involved that it could be referred to as obsessively narcissistic in a severely clinical sense.
So involved was he in admiring his appearance that he did not notice when he was no longer alone.
The figure who appeared amidst the perfect greenery afforded by the olive trees was not one of Sunstreaker's Cybertronian brethren. This creature was much smaller, about the size of a tall human. As he stepped out of the deep shade into the gold-and-green dappled light of the center of the grove, the human revealed himself to be exceptionally beautiful. His skin was a flawless, warm shade of sun-kissed golden tan wrapped over a body which looked to have been shaped by a master's touch- broad shoulders, narrow waist, long limbs, sensual mouth, and the smooth glide of delicious muscle cut beneath the flesh. Dark hair like a raven's wing crowned his head, while eyes like dark liquid chocolate looked on with curious amusement. The fashion in which he was dressed was not of the current fashion of humans, but rather an older fashion of flowing cloth draped artistically around the body.
While this man did look human in many respects, it would have been a very foolish mistake to think him human in any way.
Those amused dark eyes cast over Sunstreaker's golden form with interest.
"You're not the usual sort of creature I find in my grove," he said.
Sunstreaker startled for a moment, reaching for his weapon, only to discover that his company was not the enemy. However, he did make the foolish mistake to dismiss the creature as human, and therefore no threat. Letting his hand drop back to the ground, he inclined his head to the human and pursed his mouthplates lightly.
"This is your clearing?" the Autobot asked in Greek, which was the language that the human had originally used. Which made sense, considering they were in Greece.
"Yes, it is," replied the human-looking creature. "What, pray tell, are you?"
"I am Cybertronian, an Autobot" replied Sunstreaker, a tad wary of the newcomer. He was further disconcerted by how the human showed no recognition whatsoever of either of the terms. He would have guessed that most humans would have been aware of the Cybertronians by now. Carefully, he asked, "You've never heard of my kind?"
That handsome head shook in the negative. "I can't say that I have. Current affairs have very little interest to me." This was followed by a shallow shrug.
For the first time since Sunstreaker entered the clearing, he finally found something that seemed odd. Odder than the use of a toga rather than the regular prescribed attire of humans- jeans and t-shirts. "You've really never heard of us?"
The stranger's brows arched. "No, sorry."
"Seriously? Not even the war between the Autobots and Decepticons? Giant robots trying to steal all your energy...?"
The human tilted his head, his dark hair falling artfully around his perfect face. "A war, you say? I wouldn't know anything of that. Nasty business, war is. I'm sure Ares would have a better idea of who you are."
"Right..." Sunstreaker pushed aside the niggling thought that the name 'Ares' was eerily familiar. He'd heard it somewhere before, but he couldn't be sure where. Perhaps he was famous? His gaze darted to the side for a moment, inspecting his reflection, admiring that even when he looked uncertain about something, he still looked handsome.
The unnamed stranger did not miss Sunstreaker's momentary distraction. A smile of inhuman delight and wicked promise stretched his lips. "I see what you are about now. You came to admire yourself, did you not?"
"I couldn't resist," Sunstreaker admitted, eyeing his company without guilt. What was there to be guilty of, other than admitting that seeing his own faceplate was a deliciously guilty pleasure of his?
"I know the feeling." Absently, the man adjusted the folds of his toga.
Sunstreaker returned his attention to the pool of water. "Then you know the burden of being so beautiful."
"Indeed, I do."
Sunstreaker traced his reflection with the tips of his claws, letting the surface of the water ripple gently. "I suppose you are luckier than I am, even if you're not as beautiful..."
A hard glint suddenly came into the human-looking creature's dark gaze. The amused smile that played at his lips turned forced. Obviously, he did not appreciate having his own considerable beauty slighted by an alien. "Do explain what you mean." The invitation held hidden danger in it, like cyanide hidden in wine. Not that Sunstreaker noticed. He was far more engrossed in the business of watching himself.
"At least you don't have to fight a war," Sunstreaker lamented absently. "In a war, I have to be a warrior first. Not that I don't enjoy a good fight, but it gets tiresome. It seems like my skills are the only things appreciated. You probably can't even comprehend the difficulty of maintaining such superior beauty when the enemy is constantly trying to shoot your faceplate off."
"You believe your beauty is under-appreciated, then?"
Sunstreaker considered the question, then nodded. "Yes, I suppose I do."
"I can fix that," offered the man, sensuous and dangerous at the same time. "I can make it so that none of your kind can miss your beauty. They will all see you as you see yourself."
"Wouldn't that be a dream come true," Sunstreaker sighed.
"Then let it be true," intoned the human. A soft, cool breeze swept through the olive trees, causing the leaves to shiver. Sunstreaker felt the air wrap around him, tingling down his armour, seeping beneath the metal and running up every neural wire. Suddenly perturbed by the feeling, the golden warrior pushed to his feet.
"I think I should go rejoin my group," he announced, making his way to the cover of the trees, hoping to exit the grove as quickly as possible. It wasn't often that a human was worth giving more thought than he would give roadkill, but this particular human was odd. More accurately, he now got the feeling that the human was disturbingly more than meets the eye.
"Wait, alien. I never caught your name," called the human, still watching Sunstreaker with glittering dark eyes. "I would like to know who I've had the pleasure of this exchange with."
The golden warrior hesitated for a moment, then found himself compelled to say, "Sunstreaker."
"It is a pleasure to meet you, Sunstreaker." Those too tempting lips turned up in a captivating smile. "You may call me Narcissus."