Thanks to everyone who has faved and left reviews for this DOTM fic! This second part concludes this short story. If I ever find time, I would like to write additional chapters exploring Optimus' first encounters with Elita-One, Megatron and Shockwave. But I still have my TFA Glimpses fic to work on and I have less time for fic writing these days unfortunately. But anyway, hope you enjoy this second half folks.
Mentor - Part 2
I rejected him. I had not been prepared and I reacted with denial. I did not believe him. The stories of the Primes he used to tell me were just old myths and legends. I did not know how much of them were grounded in truth and how much were just fanciful fiction. The Dynasty of Primes was long dead. Only Sentinel remained as the last Prime descendent. That was what I believed. There were no other Primes left, certainly not me. I was not destined to lead Cybertron like Sentinel said. I was sure of it. I was sure that I could not possibly be descended from the Primes of ancient myth.
I told Sentinel, 'I know in my spark, I am not different from my friends.'
I needed to find out the truth though. I needed to find out how much of what we believed about the past was real. So I chose to lead Cybertron's science division and become involved in archaeological digs. And my brother Megatron was to lead Cybertron's defence forces. It had not been Sentinel's original idea, but he gave us his blessing. And thus Cybertron came to be divided into two separate bodies that were to work toward a common goal. Together as brothers, Megatron and I co-ruled Cybertron, one fair, the other firm.
What happened after that was a gradual decline into a war that ravaged our entire world. My brother Megatron turned against me. He betrayed me.
In the final days of the war, Sentinel Prime had re-created an ancient technology of the Primes that would have saved the Autobots and allowed us to win the war in time. That was what we believed. A ship called the 'Ark' carried Sentinel's precious cargo. With a crew, Sentinel was to leave Cybertron in it. But as the Ark escaped battle, it was shot down, and our hopes went with it. I had been there, watching in horror and disbelief as it exploded in Cybertron's dark skies. The Ark's burning remains tumbled out into cold space, flung to the stars. I ran. It all came apart, the Ark, our desperate hopes for it. Sentinel Prime was lost to us...to me. My predecessor, my mentor...he was gone.
The recent past.
The moment when I found Sentinel Prime again aboard the Ark, crashed on Earth's moon, had been surreal. Slumbering frozen in deep stasis, he lay holding the key to his secret weapon, the space bridge control pillar, to his chest. He had guarded it with his life. The last hope of the Autobots had been rediscovered on Earth's moon. I had found my mentor again. As I lifted him in my arms, I was filled with awe. It was like a dream. So long I had believed him gone...
'Sentinel, you're coming home, old friend.'
It all came rushing back upon his revival, all my memories of Sentinel. He had been a noble and wise leader, a great descendent of the Primes, my predecessor, my guardian, my mentor. When we had observed the sun setting behind Earth's green hills, it had been reminiscent of that moment eons ago when we had watched Cybertron's first sunset together at the beginning of the golden age...
'So majestic and peaceful this planet. Unlike the final days on Cybertron.'
'I've wondered what might have been if you had fought the final battle instead of me.'
'Never mourn the past, young warrior. Thanks to you, our race survives.'
Down on my knee, bowing before him, I had offered him the Matrix of Leadership. 'You were our leader, Sentinel. It is your right to lead us again.'
I pushed the Matrix to him. He glanced down at it as it hovered in his palm. Then he returned it to me. 'In a world I do not know, I am no longer your teacher, Optimus, you are mine.'
He had passed the mantle of leadership to me once again.
This place is all too familiar. I always return here, back to smouldering, desolate battlefields. Standing amidst the devastated ruins of the Earth city Chicago, surrounded by death and destruction, I gaze down upon the mutilated bodies of the two Cybertronians that I once called mentor and brother. Megatron's decapitated body spills dark red fluids. His head lies nearby, my energon axe still buried in it. Sentinel Prime is but a sad shadow of his former self. Pieces of his torn armour lie strewn across the ground. His head and chest are punctured by gaping gunshot holes. My discarded blaster rifle rests beside him, still warm from its kill.
'Optimus, all I wanted was the survival of our race. You must understand why I had to betray you...'
'You didn't betray me. You betrayed yourself.'
I drop to my knees before Sentinel's lifeless body.
'...Because there is potential for darkness in us all. And even the wisest of us can fall.'
Slowly, cautiously, I stretch my arm down towards Sentinel. My fingers reach tentatively for his limp hand, the hand that had once securely grasped mine.
'Give me your hand, young one.'
My hand wraps around his.
'There is nothing to fear.'
I shut off my optics for a long moment. I see his warm and inviting face again, the soft and gentle light of his optics... I'm reaching up to him once more...
'You are safe now.'
My optics come back online. Sentinel's wrecked body fills my vision again. I look away from him, my gaze rising to the heavens instead. The sky has been tinted red by the setting sun, as if blood-stained.
'Why Sentinel? Why?'
My hand tightens around his...
...then I let it go.
'Freedom is every sentient being's right.'
A bitter whisper escapes.