Picking Up the Pieces
By Tony “Thunder” Klepack
It was mid-morning as Matthew Kirkby marched down
the mammoth corridors of the Dark
Glory, his mind focused on his task. His former secretary,
Gwen Piterson, had binary-bonded to some Decepticon named Starscream
and in the bonding process her mind had snapped. Her previous
behavior had confirmed this suspicion in his mind and knowing he had
been responsible for her involvement in the
project--and hence, her merging with Starscream--he felt obligated to
help her out.
And he would. The Decepticons possessed centuries of
advanced technological knowledge on both their own and other species.
If he could find aid for her anywhere, it would be in their vast
database. Matt had been meaning to get down to the ship’s
archives earlier, but had been detained this past week with initiation
into the Decepticons’ varied ranks and rigorous training
exercises--which, thanks to his own Headmaster augmented abilities and
Whisper’s past combat experience, he had passed through with slightly
higher than normal skill for someone so new to their ranks.
He sighed. It was still hard to get the mental image
of Gwen out of his mind from the previous week when she had tried to
seduce him. It was so out of character for her--obviously, she had been
aware of his own lingering looks at her figure and at times he could’ve
sworn she’d even played into it a just little. But the Gwen he knew
would’ve never been so outwardly aggressive. It was a male fantasy to
be with a commanding woman, he knew. But truthfully, her behavior then
had frightened him, not excited him. She was not in control of
herself anymore and he feared for what she was capable of doing--if she
said or did the wrong thing to the wrong person she’d find herself dead
very quickly and that was not a thought he wanted to have deal with.
Why couldn’t this Starscream she was bonded to deal
with Gwen’s unstableness, he wondered. Was she--or rather, he--scared
to allow Gwen access to his own mind? Or was he simply disinterested in
the fate of his binary partner? Matt didn’t know, but he would’ve
assumed Starscream would have at least tried to calm her down. Of
course, there was another possibility--what if Starscream wanted her to
get herself killed so he could be rebuilt as a non-Headmaster like
Whatever Starscream’s true motivations were, he
obviously wasn’t going to be much help in this situation. Matt had
noticed a prevalent attitude of self-interest among many of the
Decepticons and he suspected from what little he’d heard that
Starscream possessed this quality in the extreme. He made a mental note
to look up her partner’s service record while he was searching the
Decepticons’ computer and see what it said about him exactly.
Matt scratched absently at his beard as he walked
and abruptly realized he’d shaved it off before he’d been bonded to
Whisper. It had always been a sub-conscious habit when he was troubled
by something and with all the changes recently--the war for Earth, the
bonding to Whisper and now, Gwen, his mind simply hadn’t caught up to
some of the realities of his current life.
Realities... like Earth. It was a broken world now.
The Decepticons had batted aside all resistance on his homeworld, even
decimating their last hope, his own Project Excalibur. Oh, it had been
a noble idea all right, but the Humans simply didn’t have enough time
to pull it all together and without the Autobots to either slow the
Decepticons down in the beginning or to aid them as they defended their
world, the Humans hadn’t been able to stop their inevitable
downfall. And then, someone somewhere had decided to use an
electro magnetic pulse weapon to prevent the Decepticons from having
their victory--but what a price Earth had payed in the process!
All machinery on the world was rendered useless and there was no way
he’d ever be able to return now. From all the Decepticon reports, the
pulse had killed all the binary-bonded Humans left on Earth and it
would linger in the atmosphere for a very long time...
He was stuck now. In perhaps the greatest adventure
a Human could’ve ever asked for...except, he hadn’t really asked for
it, had he? He would be bonded to Whisper for the rest of his life,
fighting in a war he hadn’t wanted to be a part of. The world he’d
known all his life--growing up on the streets, using any method he
could to get ahead in life and take what he wanted and rising up the
corporate ladder to become somewhat respectable--it was all gone now
and there would be no going back. He would have to adapt this vast new
world in front of him or he wouldn’t last long.
That was the reality of it, wasn’t it? All his life
he’d had to rely on himself to get anywhere in life and learn how to
cope with what life had thrown at him and this whole situation was no
different. More dangerous--granted, but ultimately the same.
In fact, all that remained of his previous life was
Gwen now. A person whom had devoted herself to helping him out at
Blackrock Enterprises and was in her current situation because of him.
He’d had few friends like that in his life--most had been people whom
had used him or whom he himself had used--and he felt obliged to help
her out. Loyalty was an alien feeling to Matt, but it did seem to
be one of those adjustments he had to make in his new life--he just had
to watch that he wasn’t getting weak in his old age!
He chuckled slightly at that and realized suddenly
that he was walking near her living quarters.
Almost before he’d completed that thought, he found himself turning in
the direction of the adjacent corridor, the one that would take him
past her door on the way to his ultimate destination. He hadn’t seen
her in days and wanted to discreetly make sure she was all right.
Surely, she was--after all, the Gwen he’d known had been anything but
But this isn’t the Gwen you knew, remember?
Whisper’s voice echoed in his thoughts.
Matt nodded silently as he walked. No, she wasn’t...
and he didn’t know what to expect, but he hoped deep down that she’d
still retained enough sense to stay out of trouble for the time being.
His hopes were dashed though as he turned the next
bend in the corridor and saw Gwen standing in front of her corridors,
flanked on either side by two men in binary armor. Speeding up his pace
slightly, he walked toward them, hoping to appear casual.
He watched as Gwen wrapped her arms around both men
and shoved her mouth against one’s mouth, passionately kissing him.
Moving closer, he noted she was wearing a short, thin robe that did
little to conceal her naked form beneath. Her enticing curved figure
remained all too visible to any passerby. He found himself more
than a little unsettled by the sight.
“Mmm...thank you both for last night, Vorath and
Grax,” she purred. “You were...wonderful.”
“The pleasure was all mine,” Vorath responded in his
slight Latin-sounding accent. “You are a woman of extraordinary
“You can say that again, eh?” Grax agreed. “If we
didn’ ‘ave to get ta duty we wouldn’t be in such a hurry to leave ya.”
“Mmm...it’s too bad you don’t have the whole day off
the way I do,” Matt thought he heard Gwen say. “Then, we could explore
new... positions between our two peoples.”
The trio chuckled at that and it was then they
noticed Matt walking toward them. The two male Headmasters appeared
casually disinterested while Gwen maintained a wicked glint in her eye.
“Eh! Whatta you want, mate?” Grax snapped at him,
breaking the instant of silence. “Can’t ya see we’re tryin’ to ‘ave a
private moment ‘ere?”
“Is there something we can do for you, sir?” Vorath
agreed, not immediately appearing to recognize him.
“Just passing through,” Matt muttered as he passed
them. He cast a glance at Gwen whom was busy planting kisses on
Vorath’s left cheek and ear.
As he continued onward down the passageway, he cast
one final look back at the three Headmasters. Gwen was throwing him an
intense look over Vorath’s shoulder--neither of the men seemed to
notice, both being too busy with attempting to satisfy Gwen.
Matt exhaled in disgust--much to her bemusement as
far as he could determine--and turned back on his way.
The intent of her expression had been clear enough:
Look what you could’ve had. He doubted she’d intended the whole
incident just now--but it couldn’t have worked out better for her if
This new side of Gwen greatly worried him and,
maybe, made him a little envious. But he knew she wasn’t in control of
herself anymore and if this was one of the things she was now capable
of, he shuddered to see how far Gwen could go before she’d stop...if
she’d stop at all.
It was quickly re-affirming his desire to get down
to the archives and see what he could locate in the Decepticons
database about mental illness in Humanoids and what technique he could
use to heal her shattered mind.
He had to save her, he knew. There couldn’t be any
atonement for his past actions until he had seen this through. And see
it through, he would.
Sunfire awoke with a start. She’d been having an
insane nightmare--she had met Optimus Prime, reborn as a Decepticon
named Tempest...then, she’d been torn to shreds by a Decepticon
assassin named Midnight...only to reborn as a Human--
She looked down at her body lying on a makeshift cot
in the Autobot medcentre and realized much to her surprise that it
hadn’t been a dream--rather, a waking nightmare! She was a Human...
It had all been a blur before but now the images and
chaos of her mind had begun coalescing into order inside her mind. She
had defended her Autobot brethren on Cindras 2 from the crazed killer
Midnight, stopping at nothing to destroy him. And then, somehow, she’d
been...elsewhere. An interdimensional realm of sorts where she’d met
Tempest--a being whom had been the one true figure she looked up to...
She’d been told of the coming darkness and how she
had an important role to play as a harbinger of this news to her
people. How they would face certain annihilation if they did not
know... and then, Midnight again. He had surprised her and her last
conscious thought had been him hissing madly how he’d finally beaten
her--finally taken her life... finally won.
And then, she had been here. And things had
changed... she knew in her mind now that the Syntara had recreated her
as a Human to better combat the coming darkness--though how, she wasn’t
entirely certain just yet. And she knew that a Human mind was smaller
in scale then even a Transformer mind and her brain hadn’t been able to
adjust to all this new knowledge yet when she’d arrived here. But it
was adjusting now...and she understood most of what she had to do
now--enough, at any rate, to get the job done.
She chuckled to herself. It was all madness...even
for her. But it was real too and she knew that, despite her own trouble
accepting the reality of it all, she had a purpose to fulfill. A
destiny, if she could be so melodramatic.
Rising slowly, Sunfire got off the small, custom
made cot and rose to the cold steel floor. She was awestruck
momentarily by the vastness of the world around her--it was a moment
few of her kind would ever experience...the sheer alien perspective of
being a Human. Of being nothingness in a world of giants at play.
It was quite humbling, she had to admit...
As she walked toward the exit to the medlab she was
currently situated in, her mind took note of the absence of personnel
in the adjacent areas of the base. She could...sense other minds
now--and there were far fewer than there should’ve been here.
She hoped the Autobots hadn’t put their faith in one
of the two newcomers whom had arrived. This Sonimus Prime
character whom claimed to be her reborn to lead them. Of course, that
preposterous--but the others may not have believed so. After all, to
them she was just a crazed Human and not their comrade of many years.
Sonimus, on the other hand, sounded and acted like her, and even seemed
to possess her memories. She could’ve far more easily convinced the
others of her identity then Sunfire herself could presently.
And then, there was this Optimus Prime character--a
prototype Go-bot bodyshell that had seemed to come alive by itself. He
had all the charisma of their lost leader, but Sunfire had met
Tempest--and she knew the Decepticon scout to be the genuine article.
Even acting as an irreverent scout, there was something unmistakable
about Tempest--an energy of personality and a strength of character
beneath it that Sunfire knew too well and could not mistake. That was
Optimus Prime’s strength beneath it--
No--not Optimus Prime’s. Rather the Syntara whom she
knew as Optimus Prime’s strength of character. They could change their
appearance, state of existence and their genders even, but there was no
mistaking that underlying personality that had been the heart of both
Optimus Prime and Tempest. She realized now that neither persona was
truly his but rather both were roles or aspects of his true underlying
personality--he simply played up the right traits to blend into
whatever role he was performing.
She wondered about Tempest...how often had the
Syntara sent others of their kind into the Transformers race and how
had they manipulated her people’s evolution? Had it been for the better
or for the worse?
She supposed it didn’t really matter right now--if
the Syntara’s knowledge was anywhere near accurate, she had a mission
of the utmost importance to perform. If she failed, all this
speculation would be irrelevant because the coming threat would totally
annihilate her kind. And she couldn’t allow that--she would do anything
to stop that--anything necessary.
“Hey you!” A voice cried out. “Where are you going?”
Sunfire looked up to see an Autobot--Fixit, if she
wasn’t mistaken, rushing toward her from his adjacent office.
“Fixit, I need to talk to Grid Iron about a matter
of the utmost importance,” she replied. “There’s...” She paused, trying
to figure out how best to proceed. But she wasn’t entirely certain
herself how to not make it all sound like the rambling of the totally
“There’s... a great threat coming to the Autobots
and our entire race--a great darkness that will destroy us all if we do
not act immediately. I must speak to Grid Iron and warn him about this
threat! I must make him see that he must not retaliate against the
Decepticons. If he does--”
“Whoa, there!” Fixit replied, a cross between
bemusement and concern on his face. “I think you should just go back to
bed for now and we’ll see what we can do about--”
“Blast it! I’m not crazy!” Sunfire snapped. “Don’t
you understand?! I really am Sunfire! And I’ve been told what’s been
coming--we can’t attack the Decepticons right now or the Autobots will
suffer great destruction! And that’s what the darkness wants to
happen--it knows the Decepticons won’t see it until it’s too late to
act and then it’ll all be over! The Autobots will be destroyed and the
Decepticons won’t know what they’re up against! Please, you have to
“And who told you all this, exactly?” Fixit asked
patronizingly. “Am I supposed to take your word for it all?”
Sunfire stopped mid-sentence. She knew she was
supposed to keep the Syntara’s identity out of this all--after all,
that was why she’d been chosen. So the Transformers could decide their
own fate and the Syntara could remain hidden, not directly involved in
this conflict. She’d been given the power to intervene herself--the
power to defend her people like she’d done back on Cindras 2--and not
make the enemy realize whom had aided her along.
“I--I can’t tell you,” she began.
“You see?” Fixit asked. “Now, enough of this talk!
Go back to bed for now and I’ll see what I can do with Grid Iron,
okay?” He subtlety pressed a button on his wrist-mounted comlink.
“You don’t want me to have to call security on you, do you?”
A moment later, a guard appeared at the door to the
medbay and Sunfire realized Fixit’s intent in tapping his comlink and
mentioning security--it had been a subtle message to the guard outside.
Fixit gave her a questioning look and Sunfire forced
herself to draw herself in. No, now was not the time to act against
them. Not yet--it wouldn’t look good if she was to have any credibility
at all. She knew they were all skeptical of her but Grid Iron was a
reasonable person and if she acted now, he would have no trust in what
she said at all.
“All right,” she conceded. “But I want to talk to
Grid Iron--and soon!”
Fixit smiled. “Of course--and you will, I promise.
But for now...”
Sunfire turned and walked back to the cot. She lay
down and faked contentment.
Fixit nodded and walked out of the room with the
guard in tow.
Outside, Fixit turned to Rotor Rocket.
“She’s quite unstable, I gather?” the other asked.
Fixit nodded. “I don’t think she’s dangerous but we
don’t want her running off around the base. A being her size could
easily get hurt. Also, we don’t know exactly why she’s here or how she
found out about this place. If somebody did send her here for some
“What are we going to do with her?” Rotor Rocket
asked. “We can’t keep her here forever.”
“I know,” Fixit agreed. “But with Earth ruined for
us, we can’t take her back there. Cybertron’s under the unknown
hostile’s control and besides, we don’t even know who she is or what
she wanted here. She’s obviously been under a great deal of emotional
duress and isn’t thinking straight.” He sighed. “I don’t know...I guess
we can just hope Grid Iron or one of the others can decide something
when they get back from attacking that Decepticon colony world Hosehead
The other nodded. “I hope that goes well...I wish I
could’ve been along for it. With all that’s happened of late, I feel so
helpless being here! I wish I could be out there doing something to
“Me too,” Fixit agreed. “But somebody has to remain
back here--besides, I have a bad feeling my services will be in great
demand when they return.”
“The one bitter truth about war,” Rotor Rocket
agreed. “Death and pain...”
They stood silently together for a moment, reveling
in the reality of the Autobots current dilemma.
“Well...” Fixit finally said. “I guess I should get
back to work. Carry on, here.”
Rotor Rocket nodded and looked at the door behind
him. He sincerely doubted a mere Human--and an unstable one at
that--was going to be much of a problem...
“Everything else is pretty much under control,”
Frostwing finished. She stood at attention as Megatron finished
glancing over her report on the comp pad she had given him.
“I see,” he replied after a long moment. Giving the
report one final glance, he placed it aside and looked up at her. “Very
well, Frostwing. I have faith in your abilities as security chief... I
trust you can handle everything.”
“Yes, Commander,” she replied.
Megatron looked back down at his computer terminal
and realized that Frostwing hadn’t started to leave yet.
Glancing back up, he asked; “Is there something
Frostwing nodded and exhaled slightly. “I’ve been...
concerned by two internal security threats of
late--namely, Starscream and Lightning. Given their past histories,
neither can really be trusted...”
Megatron eased back and steepled his fingers
“You are correct, of course,” he replied.
“Starscream has always been one of my more...colorful warriors. A born
opportunist...it is inevitably only a matter of time until he--until
she--attempts to make a bid for power again and undermine my
However, she would find it a hard battle this time
around to usurp Megatron’s authority. All of his new warriors
understood what was at stake this time and none were pursuing any other
objectives. It was not like the first Decepticon empire... back when
several disgruntled Transformers with varying viewpoints had hastily
assembled under Megatron’s charismatic leadership, realizing that the
common fact that something in their society and their lives needed to
change. His new soldiers knew what was needed--a strong concentrated
effort to bring their kind into a dominant position in the universe.
Able to oppose any force that threatened to destroy their
uniqueness...like his Benefactors, for example.
And the old guard Decepticons whom had rejoined his
Empire, such as the Predacons, Skywarp and so forth were swiftly
discovering the truth of the situation. Most of them had been loyal to
start with and those whom hadn’t were realizing their behavior would
not be tolerated this time around.
But Starscream would not be one of them. Megatron
knew his old adversary too well to delude himself into believing she
would change--it was simply Starscream’s nature to stab someone in the
back when the right opportunity arose.
“Obviously, Starscream will have to be eliminated at
the earliest occasion. But we will have to be careful; if she is
executed without any obvious reason then I may undermine the trust I
have created between my warriors and myself. I do not wish for them to
fear me for no good reason...no, we will have to make sure there is
solid motivation for Starscream’s sentence.”
“I could plant something...” Frostwing suggested.
“Or at the very least, have careful watch kept on her for when she
makes her move.”
He nodded. “Planted evidence will not work with
Starscream--she’s too cunning for that and will most certainly be
expecting something. No, we will keep watch with that one and give her
enough cable with which to hang herself. Sooner or later, she will.”
“I understand,” Frostwing replied. “I suspect your
logic will be similar in Lightning’s case as well...but he does strike
me as more dangerous in some ways. He’s unstable--capable of anything.”
“Yes, I know,” Megatron agreed. “Lightning has been
a concern for some time and his presence could eventually prove
detrimental to my plans...”
“So, we are going to get rid of him, then?”
“Definitely. He did help me accomplish my revenge on
Galvatron and Shockwave but his usefulness has come to an end. If given
enough time, I suspect he could be a problem as well.”
Although he doubted a partnership between Starscream
and Lightning was something he need concern himself with. After all,
Shockwave’s vy for power of Galvatron’s forces had been Starscream’s
idea to begin with and he had let the unstable Lightning in on the
plan. Surely, she had realized by now that Lightning had been
Megatron’s instrument in undermining that plan and that he could not be
trusted nor controlled enough for a second alliance. Starscream was
nothing if not untrusting of apparent allies.
“Perhaps an accident of some sort,” Frostwing
suggested. “Given Lightning’s mental condition it’s not unlikely he
could wander into the wrong area and end up fatally injured...”
That would just leave Starscream, she knew. And one
less security threat was all the better as far as she was
concerned. And given the recent disappearance of one of her
officers--a promising young soldier named Bluewind--she knew one of
these individuals was involved with the probable death of her staff
member. She took it as a personal affront that someone had dared take
out one of her people--the individual would pay, she promised herself.
Frostwing suspected Lightning more of the two. He
just fit the profile more...Bluewind had disappeared in a maintenance
section and it seemed unlikely that a grand schemer such as Starscream
had been hanging out down there. But Lightning could very well have
been...and he was the type who would enjoy killing just for the sake of
“Hmm?” Frostwing snapped to attention, realizing
Megatron had just said something.
“Are you all right?”
She nodded briskly. “I’m sorry. I was just lost in
Megatron regarded her with an atypically unreadable
expression. “I see,” he said simply. “As I was saying, keep watch on
Lightning as well and if the right opportunity should arise, kill him.
As I said earlier, the Starscream problem will attend itself.”
“Yes, Commander,” she replied. “I was---”
Frostwing was interrupted by the comm-unit on
“Go ahead,” he ordered as he depressed a button on
the touchpad on it.
“I apologize for the interruption, Commander, but
there is a high priority signal from Dnema,” Soundwave’s monotone
“What would Mercer want again so soon, unless...”
Megatron trailed off, an expression of concerned understanding dawning
on his face. He looked up at Frostwing.
“This meeting is over. See to those matters we
He turned back to his comm-unit and switched
channels over to Mercer.
Frostwing nodded, turned and strode out of
Megatron’s office with that.
Yes, she would carry out his orders with her usual
precision...but she would take on Lightning personally.
Matthew had been researching Gwen’s condition for
hours and had come up with a good deal of research on the subject--or
so she had ascertained from discreetly observing him for the past hour
and a half.
Gwen watched him work in the near-silent Decepticon
archives, tapping away at one of the scant, newly installed Human-sized
terminals. At this time of day there weren’t usually any personnel
around--most of the Decepticons were on duty and those that weren’t
usually didn’t want to waste their time stuck in a library all day.
Even the ship’s administration hadn’t seen fit to place an attendant
down here, leaving a information seeking Decepticon to their own vices
to find what they wanted on the ship’s computer databases and data
Matt was going to be trouble--of that, she was
certain. And she couldn’t stand such a random element in her future
plans. He would have to be eliminated--that was all there was to it. A
part of her hated that prospect--he was genuinely concerned with her
well-being and she was going to have to kill him for it. But he
couldn’t be allowed to remain alive--he was a nuisance at best and a
genuine threat at worst. She found neither aspect acceptable and so he
And she knew the best way to do it too. He would be
turned off by her blatant sexuality toward
him--but his concern for her could be used against him if she
manipulated circumstances the right way. All she really had to do was
be fragile and helpless toward him and he would be pulled in--he
wouldn’t stand a chance against such bait. And then, when his back was
proverbially turned, she would take him.
All too easy... people, no matter what species they
were a part of, were simply too trusting. And that could always be
exploited. Only the outdated guise of morality prevented most people
from doing so--as if anything like conscience would ever stand in her
She smiled at that...
“Ey, luv! I wus thinkin’ we could go back yer place
and ‘ave some more fun. What you say, eh?”
Gwen barely noticed that Grax standing there in his
Headmaster armor beside her. He must’ve just arrived...
“Hmm? Oh, Grax... what do you want?”
Grax smiled and grabbed her hourglass waist, pulling
her close to him. “You, luv! Interested?”
Gwen smiled her best crocodile smile. “Not now,
Grax. Maybe later, okay?”
“Wha’s the matter? Ya seemed to enjoy me last night.
Not tireda me already are ya?”
Grax looked up at Matthew in the adjacent room,
totally unaware of them and their conversation. “Oh I see--ya got the
eye for ‘im earlier today, eh?”
“`E’s half the man I am! Come on, ‘aby!” He said,
clutching her tighter.
“Not now, okay?” Gwen snapped.
“Yer jus’ playin’ hard to get. C’mon ‘aby, let’s
‘ave a little fun!” He pulled her slightly down the corridor.
“Don’t make me hurt ya, now...”
Gwen heard the words playfully spoken but easily
spotted the subtlety implied threat within them. Grax wanted his way
with her and he wouldn’t take no for answer...he would get his way, one
way or the other.
Sighing, Gwen looked up into his blue eyes. “You’re
going to be forceful, huh? Honey, if you wanted me that badly, why
didn’t you just say so?”
“Thought I did...” Gwen stopped him from talking as
she leaned into him and kissed him passionately. She ran her arms up
his larger muscular frame, her delicate hands stroking every inch of
him until they were caressing his face.
“Like that?” she cooed.
“Mmm-hmm...” Grax mumbled.
“Me too...” With that, her hands gripped the
sides of head tight and wrenched his head unnaturally to the right
side. She heard a gruesome crack as his neck broke and his body
crumpled into her arms. She lowered the body slowly, making sure his
Headmaster armor didn’t make any appreciable noise as it contacted the
She slinked back to the recently constructed
Human-sized doorway that she had been observing Matt through, making
certain that he hadn’t heard anything. Seeing he hadn’t and was still
wrapped up in his work, she moved back to Grax’s body and looked at it
sprawled on the floor for a moment.
“Jerk!” she spat quietly. Casting another glance
around, she picked up his corpse and hoisted it over her shoulder. Of
course, it would have to be disposed of somewhere. She couldn’t risk
being detected...which meant Skullcruncher would have to be silenced
Sighing loudly, she carried the lifeless Headmaster
with her and marched into the larger corridors beyond, using her
augmented memory to avoid the surveillance system about her.
Down one dark-lit side corridor that she’d passed,
Face crept outward after she’d gone. Casting a look at her as she
carried Grax’s body, unaware that she’d been spotted, he nodded
silently to himself and returned to the shadows.
There was no warning as Rotor Rocket stood guard. No
indication anything was amiss--it just suddenly happened...
The heavy door to the medbay Sunfire was in suddenly
exploded outward, catching him completely unaware. His body was slammed
into the opposing wall by the door’s remains and he lost consciousness
Sunfire emerged, noting her guard was unconscious
but thankfully not dead. The last thing she wanted to do was kill one
of her Autobot brethren. But she had overheard the conversation earlier
and knew that the Autobots had already commenced an attack on the
Decepticons. It was too late for them now... She had mulled it
over for a little while before acting but knew she had to ultimately.
Once Grid Iron and the others returned, it may already be too late for
her to do anything for their people. She had to act before the Autobots
fate was concluded and she was caught here in the middle of it.
Rushing down several adjacent corridors as fast her
small body would carry her, Sunfire knew it was time for a more
hands-on approach. There were other forces in this conflict yet and
perhaps she could appeal to one of them. In fact, the more she’d
considered it, the more sense it made... after all, if any of the
forces in the coming war could even be pulled off their mutual courses
then that might be enough to prevent the bloodshed to come. At any
rate, it would make for better odds against the dark enemy they would
all soon have to face.
She saw the dark Armada of vessels again in her mind
set against the crimson interdimensional void. They would hail the
destruction of all she held dear and the end of her people, be they
Autobot or Decepticon. She couldn’t allow them to succeed...no matter
what it took she would stop them.
She had to.
Slipping right, toward what her mind told her was
the vessel dockbay, she found the vast cavern ahead of her and with
several spare vessels in drydock.
She rushed up the vast ramp into one of them. Using
her mind to focus, she caused the large button to press in
telekinetically, closing the vessel off behind her and preventing
anyone from easily getting aboard once they detected her there.
Slipping into the vast bridge, she telekinetically
leapt into the pilot seat of the personal transport. Placing herself
comfortably in the middle of the vast chair meant for a Transformer,
she sighed and then concentrated, bringing the ship’s systems to life.
Within minutes, the vessel was hovering to ceiling
length and pushing forward toward the exitway. Outside, she could see
emergency lights flashing their crimson beams brightly as an
unauthorized take-off commenced.
Steeling her mind to the task ahead, she sent the
vessel on a course out the exit tunnel. After several moments of
accelerated take-off--far safer than was usually done by an Autobot
crew--she powered up the ship’s defense grid, sensing the impending
closure of the outer rock opening concealing the entrance on the
As she approached, she loosed several full power
volleys, tearing open the partially closed aperture and allowing her
vessel to exit safely.
As her vessel accelerated, she sensed the surface
defenses going online and used her enhanced instincts to avoid the
energy bolts and missiles at the last second. She knew if the comm
system had been activated, they would probably demanding--or
pleading--with her to stand down and surrender. As if anybody in a
similar circumstance would ever do so!
She chuckled at that and set the ship’s Nav computer
to fly her to an unfamiliar sector of space. After a moment, it
acknowledged her new course and she ordered the vessel to Hyperspace
with her telekinesis, leaving behind several last-ditch attempts of her
Autobot brethren to stop her escape.
She was safe for the moment, cocooned by the mad
interdimensional distortions of Hyperspace. She was on a course with
her future now...a pathway that would either see the Transformers
annihilated by the darkness or saved from it. And it all depended
entirely on whether or not she succeeded on this mission...
Matt walked briskly back toward his quarters,
confidently carrying a small leather folder with a couple of data
crystals and some paper sheets in it. It had taken him hours of
research but he was confident he had found several promising leads
about Gwen’s condition.
It seemed the Decepticons had discovered several
different techniques for correcting psychosis in Humanoids including
changing the electro-chemical balance in the brain to properly function
as well as several nanotech procedures for physically correcting the
problem and ultra sonic modulation which seemed to have several
positive results in the past as well.
It was most encouraging, as he’d hoped.
‘My, you certainly go to extraordinary lengths to
get a woman!’ Whisper’s voice spoke in his mind. ‘Most guys just prefer
going to bars or something, not performing complicated neurosurgery on
‘Oh, be quiet!’ Matt thought back. His binary
partner could be so annoying at times--though truthfully he suspected
they both had more in common than they’d like to admit.
At any rate, now he had several options to mull
over. Though he supposed Whisper had a
point--once he selected one, what would he do exactly? Kidnap Gwen and
perform the technique on her himself? Go to Megatron, or perhaps Face,
and get their permission--assuming they believed him or even cared.
After all, he’d seen several Decepticons whom didn’t exactly strike him
as being mentally stable. Who was to say they’d consider a mere Human?
‘Now, you understand,’ Whisper told him. ‘Megatron’s
always struck me as being more concerned with our own kind. This latest
incarnation is especially...fascist toward non-mechanoids. I wouldn’t
count on his or other officers help in this matter.’
‘What about Face?’ Matt asked. ‘He seems unusually
interested in my business.’
‘Hmm...I don’t know. He’s always been a little, ah,
mysterious you could say. If there ever were somebody whom the term
“wildcard” applied to, Face would be it.’
That didn’t strike Matt as encouraging. It was
certainly possible that Face could help them out but for all he knew
Face could also turn them in or just turn a mute audio receptor to his
problem. Perhaps he should just stick to his traditional more subtle
approach in these matters.
‘Ah. So we’re definitely settling on kidnaping then?’
Matt shrugged physically. ‘It does have certain
‘Like not getting caught, for one.’
Almost on cue, Face emerged from a side corridor
ahead of Matt. He turned in Matt’s direction and he knew the Decepticon
was going to address him.
“Greetings, Talon. I believe we have to talk...”
“Not now, Face!” Matt replied, slight agitation
creeping into him. “I’m busy with something else.” Had he somehow
known what Matt had been thinking? It was out of the question normally
but Face had already demonstrated unusual talents in front of him
before...like on his two wingmates Dirge and Skywarp when they’d first
He pushed past the mammoth Transformer and continued
on his way.
“I am afraid I must insist,” Face announced.
“Yeah, yeah. Take a numb--” Matt never finished as
he was unexpectedly levitated into the air.
“Telekinesis,” Face explained to him as he hovered
at optic level with the Decepticon. “It does have it’s uses.”
Matt started to look down and then decided he’d
rather not see how high up he was.
“So,” he began, smiling sheepishly. “You wanted to
“Indeed,” Face replied, a small smile apparent on
what little of his face was visible beneath his visor. “I felt I must
inform you that you are mistaken in your logic...”
What did he mean by that?
“I don’t...know what you mean.”
“Of course you do. Your interest in the woman, Gwen
Piterson--Starscream’s binary partner.”
“I don’t have any--”
“Of course you do. And I have intercepted you now to
inform you that your logic in this matter is flawed. Often in life one
jumps to conclusions based off their observations. For the most part,
their inferences are generally correct. However, the facts do not
always add up to what we conclude...do you understand?”
“Not exactly, no.”
“Based off the available evidence, you have assumed
Gwen is mentally unstable and therefore needs some sort of corrective
surgery. You feel, in your own guilt, that her predicament is your
fault and therefore your responsibility to correct.”
“It is...” Matt replied.
“True. Her predicament is the result of your
involvement in the project and the result of her concern you were under
Decepticon control. Thus, she bonded to Starscream in the hope she
could come to your aid. In essence, you are responsible for her current
Matt regarded him curiously. So, she had undergone
the binary bonding process solely to come to his aid! He hadn’t
realized that before... but it did fit with her personality. She had
always been concerned with doing a good job for him, but this... this
was far above and beyond the call of duty. He truly was responsible for
her situation, he realized now. He also admired her selflessness--she
was obviously a more dear friend then he’d realized to risk so much for
‘So, you could always give her a raise...’ Whisper
Ignoring his partner’s comment, Matt realized he had
wondered about why Gwen had bonded to Starscream before now and had
just assumed she had joined some kind of last-ditch effort to save
Earth after he had left. But no. She had done it to save him... and in
the process had payed the ultimate price of her own stability of mind.
It just made him feel all the worse, now...
Face exhaled. “That is where your error is. You see,
Matthew, she is not mentally unstable as you believe. Rather, she is
under Starscream’s absolute mental control...”
Gwen stood near Matt’s quarters, awaiting his
return. She had decided it would be best to eliminate him immediately
and get rid of the problem he posed once and for all instead of waiting
longer as she’d initially planned. Again, a part of her mind rebelled
against the idea, but she immediately silenced it. Her Humanity was
interesting, but quite irrelevant to her ultimately. The Human portion
of her mind had once been taken with this man but that was of little
She held a carefully concealed steel blade in her
left hand, awaiting the opportunity to use it on Matt when he arrived.
And she suspected he would be along shortly...it was true he was a
workaholic but even he had his limits and she knew he would not spend
any more time researching then necessary. Surely by now he would have
found out what he needed and be along shortly.
“Human! I would have words with you!”
Gwen spun about to see Skullcruncher speeding toward
her. He was confined to his crocodile mode now, devoid of his head
component. But even in his animal mode, he was no less dangerous, she
“You killed my partner, Grax, and now I will have
revenge on the great Starscream’s partner!” he yelled, lunging at her
with his mammoth steel jaws.
She leapt out of the way just barely in time to
avoid being crushed between his teeth. It occured to her as she ran
toward the opposite end of the corridor that Headmasters were the
stupidest idea going--kill the partner and the character was helplessly
stuck in one mode. Of course, none of these concepts were all that
logical, she supposed. Targetmasters, Powermasters, you name it--all
had obvious flaws going for them.
She ran to the end of the quiet corridor and heard
someone step behind her. She summoned her helmet from interdimensional
storage and quickly placed it on her own head. Leaping into the air,
she transformed and merged with Starscream’s body behind her.
“You’re a fool,” Starscream announced, “to assume
that I wouldn’t keep my partner nearby to defend myself!”
She leapt into the air and rolled out of
Skullcruncher’s way as he lunged at her again. Landing behind him, she
drew her steel sword.
“Shut up and die, you coward!” Skullcruncher howled,
lashing his tail out and striking Starscream in the chest, slamming her
to the floor. He leapt at her fallen form but missed as she rolled out
of the way, narrowly avoiding him.
Flipping to her feet, Starscream laughed at him, her
voice a higher pitch than when she had been male. “I’m no coward!” She
exclaimed. “I just know when to fight and when to escape... a point
I’ll soon impress upon Megatron too!”
Skullcruncher made good use of his time, turning and
leaping at Starscream. He collided with her and crashed to the floor.
“I’ll tear you apart piece by lousy piece!” He grabbed her arm in his
teeth and clamped down hard on it.
“I’ve killed better than common street trash like
you!” Starscream snapped. She rolled him to the floor and delivered a
hard chop to his mid section. He let go of her arm in reflex, leaving
only some teeth indentations.
Leaping into the air and landing on her feet,
Starscream lunged for her sword. Grabbing it, she swung it in a
Seeing Skullcruncher had regained his footing and
stood watching her, she glared at him. “What’s the matter? Had enough?
Going to let yourself be beaten by a mere female?”
“NO!” Skullcruncher yelled, leaping at her.
Starscream easily dodged the lunge and slammed her
elbow into Skullcruncher’s head module as he passed her. He crashed to
the floor and she leapt at him. Thrusting downward at him, she tore her
sword through his head module, killing him. She ripped the sword out of
his head sideways, cutting his head in two.
Looking down at the body, she smiled. “It’s a mess,
but I’m two for two! Not bad for a day’s work...”
Wiping the oil and fluid off her sword blade, she
sheathed it. It was going to be difficult to hide all these bodies but
she’d have to get used to it. After all, this wouldn’t be the last...
She was close now. Frostwing had decided to
investigate Lightning’s quarters herself and look for evidence of
anything unusual and conspiratory in tone. She suspected he’d be on
duty somewhere and wouldn’t be there himself. Of course if he was,
well, then that “accident” she intended for him would befall him
But it would be better if she could find something
linking him to a crime first off. Most criminals wouldn’t be stupid
enough to leave evidence in their own living area she knew, but
Lightning’s mind set didn’t rule that prospect out entirely. Perhaps in
his own insanity he believed he was invincible and therefore unable to
be caught and prosecuted by Decepticon justice? At any rate, it seemed
a good place to start.
As she walked toward a corridor junction in the
secluded section of the ship Lightning had chosen to dwell in, she
heard a voice speaking to someone and after a moment, she recognized
the tone as belonging to her quarry himself.
She crept along slowly, wondering if he was talking
to a co-conspirator of some sort, such as Starscream--after all, not
even Megatron was right all the time. Some part of Frostwing’s mind
wondered if perhaps she would luck out and catch him in the proverbial
“I hate you!” his strange, English-like brogue
exclaimed to someone in the adjacent corridor where he was. Frostwing
decided to play it cautious for the moment and just eavesdrop on their
conversation. If one of them said something to implicate themselves
then she would move in on them.
“You are a piece of work, you know that?!”
Lightning continued. “You are evil and...and stupid--and I don’t know
why I ever let you talk me into this!”
“But I--” another voice began. Frostwing could tell
it was male but not which of her brethren it belonged to.
“Oh no! No, you’re not going to talk your way out of
this one! You’ve screwed up royally this time and nothing you can say
is going to convince me otherwise!”
“Please! You know I would never hurt you...I love
you and I only want what’s best for you. Please...you’ve got to believe
me...” the other Transformer pleaded.
“Mere words, my friend,” Lightning replied. “Things
you’ve said far too often...”
“Don’t you see?! They had to pay for their
crimes--and I did it for you. I did it all for you!” The other
said. A pause and then; “You’re not strong enough to see it--but I am!
And I wanted to help you understand it too--that’s why I talked you
into it. They had to die, so you would be truly avenged! I may have
made you pull the trigger, but you know now it needed to be done.
Please... don’t hate me for making you do what was necessary...”
Her curiosity got the best of her and Frostwing
risked a slight glance around the corner. A look of shock and disgust
crossed her face. Slowly, quietly, she turned back and silently left
She wouldn‘t be nailing Lightning today, she
realized. But Frostwing would soon, somehow. She was more convinced now
then ever that he had been responsible for her officer’s death and she
would have her revenge for it. Bluewind deserved that much, though
Frostwing would never have admitted that to one of her subordinates
directly, she realized. It just wasn’t her way...
As Frostwing left the area, Lightning continued his
conversation unabated, not realizing she had been there listening in.
“So...it comes down to this, I guess,” he continued.
“I guess...” the other said. “You understand why I
did it now, don’t you?”
“Yeah,” Lightning told him softly, the rage having
left his voice. “I believe that I do. But--don’t think this makes us
even or anything! I still hate you, what you are and what you’ve become
to me--and no matter how hard you try, nothing’s going to change that.”
“You never know,” the other Transformer said to him.
“Maybe...maybe in time you’ll truly understand and learn to forgive me.
I exist to serve you--I love you and only want what’s best for you...
if you believe nothing else I ever tell you, believe that.”
“Hmph!” Lightning exclaimed. He decided to leave
then; he still had a lot of work ahead of him to accomplish...
He cast one final glance at the other’s hopeful
visage--in the mirror right in front of him--and then turned to leave
the otherwise empty sitting lounge.