The Lost Scout

Chapter 1: Ratchet's Tale

"We could put him in cryo-stasis," Ratchet suggested as he turned away from the console that he had been pretending to study.

Optimus Prime frowned. "I don't like that idea, Ratchet," he said plainly.

Ratchet sighed heavily and stepped towards his comrade, "It's the only way, Prime. What do you want me to do? Watch him offline in front of my very own optics? Hear him pleading with me to end the suffering? Listen to him scream in pain as the virus wreaks havoc with his systems? No," Ratchet shook his head vehemently. "I've seen too many comrades die already, don't make me watch Bumblebee die too."

Optimus looked and felt trapped. This was the first time he'd had to make a decision like this, a decision that effectively ended Bumblebee's life either way. The only question was would he make Bumblebee suffer a long-drawn out death or be placed in cryo-stasis where he couldn't feel a thing? He was starting to wish that they had never heard of the Decepticons let alone seen them, than Bumblebee wouldn't be lying in med-bay gasping for breath.

Ratchet saw his discomfort and suggested, "Why don't we ask the kid? After all it's his life that's hanging in the balance not ours."

Optimus let out a sigh of relief then immediately felt guilty. It wasn't right that Bumblebee had to choose his fate. It wasn't right that he had this virus let alone decide what happened to him. If the situation was reversed what would he want? Would he want someone else to decide his fate? Optimus straightened his shoulders and put on a brave face, he would go in there and be the leader, no be the friend, that Bumblebee so desperately needed right now. He prayed that it would be enough.

Bumblebee stared silently at the two older bots as Ratchet finished outlining his plan.

"So," he said at last. "You want to put me in cryo-stasis while you try and find a cure for me?"

Ratchet nodded. "It's just temporary, kid. It shouldn't take me that long to find a cure."

"I just don't want to go into stasis and wake two million stellar cycles later to find out that all of you are offline."

Ratchet hesitated; he really hated to do this. He really, really hated to do this but it wasn't about him anymore; it was about Bumblebee. "I promise, Bumblebee, that if in one thousand stellar cycles I still haven't found a cure I will permanently offline you myself."

"Promise?" Bumblebee asked weakly.

Ratchet nodded, feeling energon gathering at the corners of his optics. "I promise."

"Ok do it."

"Are you sure?" Optimus asked. "'Cause if you're not sure then,"

"I appreciate the thought, boss-bot, but I would like to hurry up and get this over with now if you don't mind."

"Do you want to say goodbye to Bulkhead and Prowl?" Optimus asked, desperately attempting to stall.

Ratchet didn't look annoyed by the interruption; if anything he looked slightly relieved.

"Yeah, I'd like to see them," 'one last time' Bumblebee thought but didn't say. For some reason he had this terrible foreboding that he wouldn't ever see any of them again.

Bulkhead and Prowl quickly entered, having spent the last two days hovering outside of med-bay. Bulkhead rushed to his friend's side and clutched the smaller yellow servos in his massive green paw.

"How you feelin', 'Bee?" he asked, hope and the strain of the past few weeks combined with virtually no recharge had made his already deep voice even deeper.

"Just fine, Bulky," Bumblebee lied, trying to sound cheerful. "My spark hurts a little but other than that I'm just peachy."

"That's good," Bulkhead didn't look as relieved as he should have; obviously he had sensed the lie in Bumblebee's voice but didn't call him on it.

"Peachy? And what does a small, round juicy fruit have to do with sparks?" the look of confusion on Prowl's face caused 'Bee to laugh but was quickly replaced by a painful sounding cough.

"We have to hurry," Ratchet said. "Any longer and it will useless to even attempt it."

"What's going on?" Bulkhead asked.

Prowl's blue optics had taken everything in and he turned to Ratchet, "You're putting him in cryo-stasis."

"But I thought you were going to try to find a cure for him," Bulkhead protested.

He probably would have continued yelling if it hadn't been for 'Bee tapping his arm. "Hey, Bulky, you'll take good care of yourself while I'm in stasis won't you?"

"Of course," Bulkhead sniffed.

"And you'll make sure that Prowl and the others have some fun? And you'll be good for Ratchet when he needs to examine you?"

Bulkhead nodded again while Prowl interjected, "I have plenty of fun."

'Bee snorted. "Somehow I doubt hanging upside down from a tree is considered fun, Prowl. Especially if all you do is watch cats stalk birds."

"It's called observing nature, not that you would understand what that even means."

As Ratchet watched the three young mechs squabble as had become the norm for them he felt sad. He wished he didn't have to put 'Bee in stasis but it was the only option. More than likely he would find the cure in a few years. However, he did record the discussion…just in case.

"It's time," Ratchet's voice indicated that it would be best if they didn't delay any longer.

"Bye, 'Bee," Bulkhead said sadly as Ratchet connected a wire to Bumblebee's helm and started typing in lines of code on the monitor.

"Bye, guys don't forget about me."

Bumblebee watched as the four larger mechs gathered around him, varying expressions of sadness on their faceplates. He kept his optics trained on them even as he felt the stasis coding taking over his body. Eventually his optics closed and his world went white.

Two Million Stellar Cycles Later

Ship: Omega Supreme

Exact position: Unknown

"Ratchet!"

Sometimes if Ratchet was really still and really quiet and didn't focus his optics on anything in particular he could just make out the features of a certain yellow mech. Sometimes the apparition would run and other times it would just stand there and look reproachfully at Ratchet until the older mech lowered his head in shame only to look up and find no one there.

"Ratchet!"

Of course there were also the times when he could swear that he heard his name being called by voices that had long since gone to rest.

"Ratchet!"

Ratchet started awake, startled to realize that the voice wasn't coming from his imagination but rather from Optimus Prime's grandson who was also named Optimus Prime.

"Are you okay?" Optimus looked worried as did the other three Autobots with him.

"I'm okay," Ratchet growled, "just remembering some things I'd rather not."

"Do you wanna talk about it?" Optimus offered.

Yep just like his grandfather, Ratchet thought but didn't feel annoyed as he usually did.

"As a matter of fact I would," he said, startling the much younger mechs. "Bring me that box, Jasmina," he gestured to a large metal box covered in Cybertonian glyphs that was sitting in the corner.

Jasmina, a lovely white-and-blue femme, nodded and went to retrieve it returning momentarily.

Ratchet opened the box, ignoring the fact that his servos were shaking; he reached in and pulled out an old datapad. On was a picture of him, Optimus, Prowl, Bulkhead, and Bumblebee. He handed the datapad to Optimus and pointed out who everyone was.

"Who was Bumblebee?" Brawn asked.

"He was your father's best friend," Ratchet replied. "He was loud, annoying, whiny, careless, loyal to a fault, brave and so very…Bumblebee."

"Why don't you ever talk about him?" Peaches was gold-and-black and slender. She was also a cyber-ninja to boot just like her grandfather.

Ratchet sighed, "Because we betrayed him. A long time ago he trusted us implicitly and we betrayed him."

A/N: This is for all of you who read 'The End of the Transformers' and reviewed asking for a sequel. Please let me know what you think. I must have three review per chapter or else I won't continue. Five is preferable but I will be happy with three.