Chapter 21: Epilogue

And so at last, we come to the end of our long adventure. I have greatly enjoyed writing it, and I have loved reading your feedback. It's bittersweet, finishing my first long story. I've put so much time into this that it feels weird to be done with it. I leave you now with the epilogue of Colony 21186D: Survival.

And so it was that peace returned to Quadrant 12, albeit at great cost. Captain Centurion was promoted to Chief General of the Edenite Fleet, and he and his crew still roam the stars, with the exception of two. Zettabyte and Apollo were bonded, and started a shelter for victims of gang violence in Keller's Holt. In the aftermath of the Colony 21186D incident, each man and mech returned to his own home. The Primes set aside a day to remember Endline, the Hero of 12D. They ruled wisely through-

"Stop, Daddy!"

The storyteller blinked in surprise. "What's wrong, Sweetspark?"

The tiny pink femme sat up in her bunk and crinkled her smooth faceplate. "You tewwin' it wong!" Her father smiled indulgently. "I'm telling it wrong?"

From the top bunk, a slightly bigger sparkling poked his golden helm. "Yeah, Daddy! You forgot the most 'portant part! The part where-"

"The part where Hewios an' Windbwade faw in wuv!" his sister interrupted.

The little mech looked horrified. "Yuck! Li-li, that's not the most 'portant part! The most 'portant part is when Hot Shot got dotted!"

Their father looked confused. "When Hot Shot got what?"

"He got dotted!" his son explained, "You know, dotted?" Seeing a lack of recognition, the gold sparkling huffed in irritation.

"Dotted! He didn't got a Mommy and Daddy, so Gramma said, 'You're coming home with us!' Dotted."

The storyteller laughed when he realized what the sparkling was trying to say. "You mean adopted, Orion. And yes, that was a very important part."

Not to be outdone, the toddler femme squealed, "What about Hewios and Windbwade, Daddy? They had to faw in wuv!"

The two sparklings were lifted from their bunks and set down on their father's knees.

"Wanna know a secret, Elita?" he asked. He smiled proudly at them both. "I've been in love with your Mommy since the War for Earth!" Both children pondered this awhile and little Elita looked up with round optics.

"Daddy," she said solemnly, "You're old!"

Helios Prime pretended to take offense. "Hey! I'm old? Well what does that make Mommy?"

"Don't be silly, Daddy!" Orion giggled, "Mommies don't get old!"

"Ahh, you're a wise guy!" Helios ruffled his son's helm and set the two down.

"Okay you two, Daddy's got to go to work. Be good for Grandfather while Mommy's at the Doctor's, ok?" Two little helms nodded enthusiastically.

"'re going to destroy something as soon as I leave, aren't you?" Helios sighed. Again, they nodded, giggling shrilly.

The young Prime stuck his tongue out at the sparklings and exited the room. "Thanks for watching them," he said to the amused figure in the living room, "They're a handful!"

"So were you and Miko," Optimus said dryly. Helios was about to protest, but the twinkle in the old Prime's optic left him cheerfully conceding defeat. "Have you much work to do today?" the Elder asked.

Helios shrugged. "Mostly budget proposals and trade arrangements with the outlying settlements. And debates," he made a face, "Lots and lots of bureaucratic debates. I don't know how you manage it, Father." He laughed at Optimus's answer.

"I find that spending time in the Archives keeps me sane."

"Ah yes, the Archives!" Helios grinned mischievously. "Speaking of which, what's this I hear about a little human getting stuck under your arm plating when you weren't looking?" The expression of comic outrage on his father's faceplate sent him scooting for the door.

"I told Jazz not to tell! Honestly, he's as bad as your brother!" Optimus grumbled. He looked up as the younger Prime headed out the door.

"You'll be fine, Helios. I trust you."

"I trust you too!" his son waved once, then transformed and rolled out.

At the sound of giggling, Optimus turned to look down and the pair of sparklings that were trying to sneak up on him. He smiled and scooped them up as little Orion and Elita Pax began demanding stories.

"Goodness me! Didn't your Sire just tell you a story?" he feigned surprise.

"Teww us a anovver one!" Elita begged, "Teww us how Mommy and Daddy met!" The massive mech chuckled and settled back into the chair.

"Oh, very well. But if your Great Uncle asks, I didn't say anything embarrassing about him!"

The twins looked at each other and grinned. Unca Megatwonsus was going to hate this story, they could already tell.