I found that like many I was really moved by the loss of the Mars Rover, Opportunity. It bothered me to the point that I wrote a quick little story on one of my face book groups so that she could have the happy ending she deserved. It quickly morphed into a plot bunny that will not leave me alone. I expect this to be just a couple of chapters long. I have written fanfiction in fandoms, this is my first attempt at a Transformer's story. It is a bit AU in that I will be combining the several of the different Transformer verses together. This is a not for profit fanfiction. I get nothing from it but the joy of playing in their world.
A Prime Opportunity
Machines don't feel emotion. The Mars Rover named "Opportunity" was equipped with just enough processing ability to analyze its environment and give it some autonomy when it came to making decisions about its survival. When notified of the weather system sweeping down on it, Opportunity had quickly concluded that there was little chance that it had the power reserves to outlast the storm. It had not known fear, or sadness, or hope as it activated its hibernation protocols. It only knew that powering down all of its non-essential functions in a bid to conserve what energy it could, MIGHT give it a chance to remain functional. As the storm arrived, alarms had forced it back online. Howling, sand laden wind scoured across its solar panels. Opportunity could not feel pain, but it was aware that it was taking fatal damage. Worse, the star light that recharged its solar cells was fading, completely cut off by that same dust laden wind. Soon the little Rover would be surrounded by blackest night. Running several simulations confirmed that, unless things changed soon, it would not have enough stored energy to remain functional once the storm passed. Before settling back into hibernation mode…Opportunity sent out what it knew would be its last message.
"My batteries are low…and it is getting dark."
The weather system had raged for weeks across the pitted face of the red planet. Now, its strength was nearly spent. Even so, powerful winds still occasionally roared across the surface only marginally slowed by sporadic rocky outcrops. Moaning like a living thing… it slammed against stones sculpted into unusual shapes by eons of erosion, then rolled out and down into a long wide valley. As it swept through this sheltered place, it released some of its sediment load, creating a soft rain of fine particles that settled slowly, dimming the light of the distance star which had only recently started to emerge from the planet wide darkness the storm had wrought in its wake.
Tucked in the lee of a rock outcrop, a small machine was pinged by its caretakers one last time. Opportunity managed to bring its processors back online by keeping all its other sensors and functions powered down. It listened to the attempts to re-establish a link, but it did not have the energy required to connect and pulse an answer back. It was completely isolated as its systems slowly failed… cold, and blind, far from the warm world of its creation. It used precious energy to LISTEN for those pings even if it could not answer. Machines are not capable of feeling sorrow, fear or hope. Even so, when the pings stopped…Opportunity stayed awake, still listening… and those who could feel sorrow… its creators… sent their goodbyes in the form of music so that the little Rover would not have to die alone. Opportunity listened until the last note faded away…and then silently powered down for the last time.
In the distance… a hot point of light came into existence and swirling green energy followed…roiling and twisting to form into a lightening ringed tunnel. A massive blue and red form strode out of the brightness, followed by a slightly smaller, rather fluorescent one. As the energy bridge winked out, the larger of the two turned away from wind, one servo lifting to protect an air intake as he coughed out the excess dust that got past his filtration system.
"Primus, Ratchet…I thought you said this storm was over?"
Ratchet growled and shot a rather baleful glare at his Prime.
"I did. I also said that we should give it a week for the dust to settle. YOU… Optimus… were the one who bumped this mission to top priority. I would have been much more comfortable giving a cobbled together Ground bridge, converted into a make shift SPACE bridge, by that explosion happy, not to mention INSANE engineer… several more dry runs. A little dust in the intakes is the least of my worries. I can't believe I let you talk me into actually entering one of Wheeljack's off the wall inventions! Even if we ignore the very real chance of getting blown to fragments… with the spacial distortion caused by activating a space bridge with gates in not one, but TWO planet's gravitational fields, well…let's just say we are lucky we got through without our shiny helms being grafted to our afts!"
Optimus calmly blinked at his friend's tirade, then he activated his battle mask. It would not be much help against the dust, but it would serve to protect him from a thrown wrench by hiding his sudden smile from the crochety old mech. His medical officer's head swiveled around at the sound of the mechanism locking in place, well-honed battle protocols kicking in as his lip plates snapped shut. Optimus winced when the pulse of a high-resolution scan swept through him as the medic instinctively checked the general area for threats. When nothing registered, the other's keen gaze settled back on the Prime, one servo twitching as if the desire to grab a wrench was barely controlled. More worrisome was the sudden rather nasty smile that appeared on his old friend's noble features. Ratchet vented out hard and motioned at the dust he expelled with a still twitching servo.
"You know Optimus… I think you are right; this dust might just be problematic. I expect to see you in my med bay as soon as we return for a full system flush."
That smile became positively smug as the one hidden under Optimus Prime's battle mask suddenly evaporated.
"Really Ratchet, I don't think that will be nec…."
The medic did not hesitate in interrupting his leader's protest.
"eh eh eh I will be the judge of what's necessary …. consider it a medical order…Prime!"
The battle mask did nothing to muffle the big mech's quiet response to this…
Ratchet turned away as his smile morphed into an outright grin. He stored that memory in a permanent file so he could share it with the others later. After all, it was not often that their steadfast leader could be provoked into swearing. This rare event was usually reserved for the twin's hijinks… or for Wheeljack, when the inventor managed to detonate his labs.
Shaking himself to settle his armor, the dust really was the pits, he pulled a small device from subspace and calibrated it to Cybertronian operating norms. While his medical scanners were very powerful in proximity, they did not have a substantial range. Their mission was to determine if Mars would be a suitable place to establish a colony if their situation on Earth deteriorated. Adult Cybertronian's could handle a wide range of conditions without too much hardship. Sparklings though, required a more specialized environment. He huffed out through his vents. For a moment his gaze settled on the broad back plates of their Prime. With the war still raging, and the All Spark lost, the chances of bonded pairs producing viable sparks was astronomically slim. Still, Optimus held out hope that they could stop their races inevitable slide into extinction. A ping from the device in his servo brought the medic's attention back to it. Optimus turned as it pinged a second time.
The medic could only shake his head.
"Its impossible, Optimus. I am getting a very low energy reading situated approximately two miles from here."
Please leave a review if you liked this...I hope to get the next chapter up fairly quickly.