Optimus was a worried mess.
Well, maybe not a mess. Sure he was a little upset that Sentinel was coming, and worried about how he’d react to the Braves, and scared that he go off about how bots made by humans weren’t anything more than drones, and-
Yah know what, scratch that. He wasn’t worried. He was terrified.
Instead of The Steelhaven, Sentinel has arrived on a smaller, nameless ship by himself. Ultra Magnus saw no need to send the Autobot Flagship, as it was just a small check-in. The visit was only supposed to last a few hours, after all.
Unfortunately, the Brave Police had just gotten a new lead on a case, which just so happened to lead to Primus fragging Detroit, Michigan at the same time.
Not like Optimus didn’t enjoy the Braves company. Drill Boy, Bumblebee, Sari, and Yuuta(and occasionally Power Joe) got along amazingly, and so did Shadowmaru and Prowl. Gunmax was always looking for an excuse to visit Jazz and was around often enough that the team was used to him. Duke was often seen with Ratchet learning first aid, and McCrane and Dumpson were often just drifting around.
And Deckerd… Optimus really connected with the leader of the Braves. The two often spent hours talking about their respective teams, plans, past adventures, and other such things. Deckerd actually helped Optimus build up some confidence during his small visits.
“Hey there, Optimus ol’ buddy.” a familiar voice snapped Optimus from his thoughts, along with the sound of transforming. Bulkhead and Ratchet were the (un)lucky winners of their small vote to get Sentinel. Optimus would have done it if nothing else than to spare his teammates the drive, but he, along with Jazz, were immediately excluded from the vote. If it were up to Ratchet, the two would’ve been locked in the med bay for the duration of Sentinel’s visit. Something about “for their own good and mental health.”
“Sentinel,” Optimus answered. Sentinel scowled at the lack of rank acknowledgment but didn’t say anything about it.
“Let go!” a hyper voice said from the hallway, followed by a clang of metal and a not very quiet “SHHH!”. Optimus cursed internally. Sometimes the similarities between Bumblebee and Drill Boy were uncanny. He says stay quiet, and the opposite happens.
Sentinel looked at the hallway in confusion, but it quickly became a smirk.
“Unauthorized personnel on Earth?” he started. “You know the rules, Optimus.”
Optimus let out a sigh. He put it off for as long as he could, which was 3 hours less than he wanted, but still.
“You guys can come out now,” he called.
Slowly, each of the eight robot police officers, plus Jazz, entered from the hallway. Drill Boy was clutching to his helm while wilting from a glare from Power Joe, making it clear who did what. Jazz and Gunmax were close to each other, with Jazz slightly behind Gunmax. Deckerd stood in the front of the group, orange optics shining.
Sentinel actually looked shocked for a few seconds, clearly not expecting such a large group, before giving Optimus that smirk. The same smirk he always gave when he caught even the smallest mistake Optimus made.
“Really, Optimus? One or two might’ve been excusable, but eight .” That was a lie and they both knew it. Sentinel wouldn’t have hesitated to report even a single “unauthorized” bot on Earth.
“What are you talking about?” Deckerd asked, drawing away Sentinel’s attention. Optimus let out a silent breath now that Sentinel’s optics weren’t tearing into his very spark.
“Well you see, Optimus here is supposed to report any and all Cybertronians who come to Earth, which he very clearly hasn’t done,” Sentinel said as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.
“But….” Drill Boy started. “We’re not Cybertronians.”
“We’re. Not. Cy-ber-tro-ni-ans.” Drill Boy repeated, this time much slower. Bumblebee snickered as Sentinel grew furious.
“I heard you the first time!” he snapped.
“Then why’d you ask?” Drill asked innocently, adding a small head tilt to really sell it. Sentinel let out an angry groan and facepalmed.
A small smile threatened to tug at Optimus’s lips, but he kept his face stoic. It would only make Sentinel more upset.
“The point is that Optimus didn’t report you, which is strictly against the rules he put into place. Isn’t that right, ol’ buddy?”
Optimus let out a sigh and pinched the bridge of his olfactory sensors. It was one of the many things he had picked up from his time spent on Earth.
But just as he was about to answer, Deckerd beat him to it.
“Optimus did no such thing.” Sentinel stared at Deckerd.
“Of course he did! He-“ but Deckerd cut him off.
“Optimus Prime did not break protocol because we are not Cybertronians. We were made by humans and have lived on Earth our entire lives.”
Both Sentinel and Optimus froze.
“What!” Sentinel shouted. “You were made! By humans!!!!” He spat out the word like they were rotten.
“Yes, they were,” Optimus said, keeping his voice deceptively calm. Now Sentinel’s focus was on him…...
“They’re…….!” Sentinel looked like he was about to explode into a fireball. “They’re drones! Sparkless machines!” He shouted, jabbing a digit in their direction. Every single one of the Braves looked deeply offended.
“We’re not. We received our own souls and have emotions, much like Cybert-“ Deckerd started, but was cut off.
“They were made. By humans!!!!” He repeated. Sentinel didn’t even acknowledge the Braves now, staring straight at Optimus.
“Of all your mistakes, Optimus, this tops them all.” He stopped for a second before continuing. “Well, maybe not all of them.”
Optimus couldn’t help but flinch at what he was obviously implying, but he held his gaze.
“I’ll have to report this to Ultra Magnus, maybe even get the Autobot Science Division involved. Primus knows Perceptor would love to-”
Optimus’s energon ran cold at the mention of the ASD. From what he gathered from Ratchet, they were the cause of Omega Supreme’s coding, as well as for changing the Jettwins. He couldn’t….no, he wouldn’t let the ASD get their hands on the Braves.
“ENOUGH, SENTINEL!” He shouted. Everyone snapped to attention. Sentinel glared at Optimus.
“Now listen here, Optimus.” But Optimus was having none of it.
“No, you listen, Sentinel!” He shouted. “These bots are under my jurisdiction. They are native to Earth and have proven their sentience There will be no getting the ASD involved!”
Sentinel looked like he was about to say something, but Optimus cut him off again.
“And that’s Optimus Prime, to you.” their faceplates were only inches apart. “Ultra Magnus placed me in charge of alien life here on Earth, which the Braves are not. They are considered a native species to this planet, and by Autobot law, I quote “ Should any mechanical life form pass the Ambus Test, they are to be treated according to the Autobot Code.” end quote. The Autobot Code outlaws scientific and medical testing without consent by the mech in question or their Conjux Endura, or the species equivalent, should they be unable to make the decision themself.”
The room was silent.
“Do I make myself clear, Sentinel Prime.” Optimus finished. Sentinel was giving Optimus a death glare. He clearly hadn’t been expecting Optimus to react this way.
“Crystal.” he hissed. He turned around and headed to the door. “Everything else seems to be in order. Goodbye, Optimus.”
As soon as the sound of Sentinel’s engine faded away, Optimus suddenly lost all the strength and confidence he had a few seconds ago and crashed to his knees, venting harshly.
Ratchet was quickly kneeling by his side. He placed a careful servo on his back and started rubbing in soothing circles. “Vent, kid. Vent.”
“I’m….”Optimus started. “I’m okay….I just….I just need a sec.”
“You did good, kid. You did good.” Ratchet repeated, keeping his voice low.
“Optimus, are you in there?” Deckerd knocked. It had been a few hours since Sentinel's….. ”visit.”
The door opened and a quite tired looking Optimus greeted him.
“Oh! Hello Deckerd. Is there anything I can do for you?” he asked. Deckerd just smiled.
“Actually, I came to thank you.” Optimus looked shocked.
“For defending my team, earlier,” he said. “You didn’t have to, but you did.”
Optimus gave an awkward laugh.
“It wasn’t anything special, but you’re welcome.”
The two stood in silence for a few seconds, neither one knowing what to do.
“I guess I’ll…*ahem* guess I’ll be going,” Deckerd said, breaking the silence.
“Y-yes. I’ll see you in the morning.” Optimus responded. “Goodnight”
“Goodnight,” Deckerd responded.
With the door now closed, Deckerd started the walk back to his temporary room, silently cursing himself as his face grew redder with embarrassment.