By Tony “Thunder” Klepack
Starscream lowered her weapon slowly, but did not
put it back into sub space.
“I take it you’re Megatron’s mysterious
‘Benefactors’?” she asked, addressing the one in the middle of the
circular alcove that had spoken a moment ago.
The darkened figure paused a moment and then
replied; “that is correct. After Megatron met his end on Earth, we
brought his remains here and rebuilt him. His damage was terminal by
your standards, but not by our own.”
“I see,” she said. ”And... you knew I was coming?”
The other one smiled.
“Of course,” he responded. “We know many things,
Starscream. It is wise to know what one’s enemies are doing...”
“The question then, is do you consider me one such
enemy?” Starscream asked, mustering a courageous tone. She suspected
this being was playing with her slightly--after all, if he truly
considered her an enemy, would he bother bringing her aboard?
“That would depend,” he said. “On whether or not you
wished to make yourself one to us.”
There was silence a moment and finally the other
leaned forward slightly and spoke. “But let us leave such things to
their time and place. You sought us out for a purpose, did you not?”
“Yes,” Starscream replied. She supposed she might as
well be forthright with these beings--it seemed as if they were
observant of what was happening around them and she suspected they
would see through any attempted ploy.
“But first, might I ask, why? Your people obviously
have a lot of resources at your disposal--it’s evident from what little
I’ve seen already. Surely, you didn’t need to enlist Megatron’s help to
accomplish your plans...”
“You are correct,” he replied. “However, we prefer
to work in the shadows and allow others to perform our tasks. We prefer
the anonymity it offers... there are other, more powerful forces out
there that may take notice if we move out in the open.
“We choose Megatron because he was already dead by
your standards and therefore, no one would miss him from your war. He
was intended to be our implement of destruction against one of our
greatest enemies--the Autobots! However... he chose to go rogue and use
the resources at his disposal to create a new Decepticon Empire
instead.” He paused and Starscream had no trouble mistaking the fact
the he was displeased with the Decepticon’s Supreme Commander.
“Fortunately, our purposes were recently accomplished. By
destroying the Autobots last haven, their threat has effectively been
“And why should I believe you?” Starscream demanded.
“The Autobots don’t easily make enemies--and even if they did, why go
to all this trouble with Megatron? There are several other ways to get
revenge on them--I can think of a few off the top of my head--why go
for something so over complicated?”
“Perhaps we like over complicated plans...” the
other replied. “Or perhaps, I am lying to you. But does it really
matter? You came here to find a way to destroy Megatron and take his
place, did you not? What difference does the rest of it make?”
That caught her off guard. “What makes you think I
would seek you out just to--” she stammered.
“Why else would you have spent so much time seeking
us out? The Dark Glory is very far away from our position at the
moment...” He smiled, apparently enjoying Starscream’s shock. “Come
now, Starscream, you are known for your opposition to Megatron’s
authority–this is an opportunity to take revenge on your greatest enemy
and take his power as your own.”
How did they know that? Had she been so transparent?
She didn’t think so and yet, they seemed to know things...know her
despite the fact they had never met her, know Megatron’s true
nature--know a great deal. Almost as if they had been watching it all
somehow...but that was impossible, wasn’t it?
She briefly considered denying it--trying to regain
her presumed advantage in this situation, but then thought better of
it. After all, these beings seemed to know everything about her and
even why she’d come--surely, there’d be no bluffing her way out of it
now. They would be on guard now and there would be no way to con them
in to getting what she wanted... besides, she didn’t know exactly what
they thought of all this and maybe, just maybe, they would be agreeable
to her plan...if not, she was probably already dead anyway.
Well... what was life without risk, right?
“What you say--it may be true--but even if it were,
what would you have to say about it? Would you grant me the ability to
do so or would you be unwilling to trust an outsider a second time?”
She watched the other, attempting to gauge his response.
“We would consider it,” he replied. “However,
consider this; Megatron turned against us and became our enemy. If you
destroy Megatron for us, we will consider you our ally--and you and the
Decepticons may continue onward unabated. You may become their Emperor
and do as you will.”
“And what guarantee do I have that you’ll leave us
“None, actually,” he told her. “But with someone who
is an ally in charge of the Decepticon Empire, we will have no need to
turn our attention to you. We trust that your Empire will not interfere
with any of our future plans...”
“Of course not,” Starscream replied. “I--”
“Because if you did betray us, we would not be
amused...and we would not be so lenient as we were with Megatron... you
have seen the planet at the coordinates at 96-140-32--that was but a
small display of our power. If you betray us, rest assured that there
will be no Decepticon Empire when we have finished with your kind.”
“Consider it,” the other said. “We will give you a
new body, troops of your own to take on your enemy and all the power
you could ever desire--all you need do is kill Megatron. There’s no
down-side to this offer...”
Starscream mulled it all over in her mind... there
was a lot of elements that didn’t totally add up about all of this, she
knew, but these aliens seemed genuine in their intent to help her gain
the power to destroy Megatron--and beyond that consideration,
everything else was negotiable. Besides, if she could destroy Megatron
for them and take command of the Decepticon empire--as she was destined
to do-- perhaps she would be in their good graces and able to find out
more of what the Benefactors real agenda was--they were allies of a
sort, but that didn’t mean she had to trust them!
“All right,” she finally replied. “I accept.”
“Speak, if thou wishes to,” Avatar Prime commanded.
“Who art thou really, Sunfire? And more to the point, what are thou?”
Sunfire observed the Circle of Primes as they sat
gathered around their customary circular table in their meeting
chamber. She stood in front of them all, meeting the brunt of their
stares--their questioning minds seeking some sort of answer as to what
she was and why she had infiltrated their peace here on Eden.
In particular, she sensed hostility from Militant
Prime and Observer Prime. No, that wasn’t quite right--Observer seemed
concerned that she was here, like their security was threatened now and
he wasn’t quite sure what he thought of that.
But there was no mistaking the emotion emanating
from Militant Prime--he did feel hostility towards her. She suspected
he too was afraid of her deeper down--after all, it was his position to
keep his people safe from outside dangers and she was clear and visible
evidence he had failed to do so... he felt his competency--his very
honor as a Prime, was threatened.
She sighed...there was little she could do to
assuage his concerns, except for trying to assure them all that she was
not a threat to them, but rather an unlikely ally. After all, she
needed them to be rallied against the dark enemy that was fast
approaching... only with these Humans and the Decepticons working in
unison could she hope to take on the Enemy and survive.
Sunfire had come too far now to fail--she had to
accomplish this task somehow. Make two enemies, both of whom saw each
other as inferior, set aside their differences and work together
against their common enemy....it was a difficult task, to say the
least, but she would achieve it--somehow.
She had to.
“I have come to you all from a race of Watchers,”
she began. “Observers of events in the Multiverse--all realms of
reality. They have sent me as a Harbinger to your people... to warn you
of a dark enemy. An enemy that is ancient and dangerous--an Armada of
warships that is lying in wait to destroy the Transformers--and your
people as well since you are related to them through Primus.”
“Ridiculous!” Militant snapped. “Why should we
believe in this story? You offer us no proof of such a thing!” He
leaned forward in his seat menacingly. “I think it more likely that you
are an enemy and trying to divide us with some sort of falsehood.”
Others mouthed words of agreement at that sentiment.
“What proof can thou provide us with regarding this
threat?” Avatar replied. “And how does thou know their intent toward
Sunfire made eye contact with Avatar Prime and
caught a look of disappointment in his gaze--he had been the first one
to truly try and welcome her into their people, despite Militant’s
disapproval. She could see regret in his expression--that he had been
so easily taken with her deception and something else... was it love,
she wondered. Had he perhaps felt love for her, only to discover his
love had been misplaced? That she was not as she had seemed--neither as
innocent as she had appeared nor as helpless?
“My associates have observed them eliminate the
Transformers in several other Universes and now we have observed them
begin to interfere in this one as well...” she paused and then added,
”They have already eliminated the Autobots as a threat and now they
will inevitably begin to move against the Decepticons--and the Masters
“What can be done to combat this enemy?” Healer
“I still doubt the existence of this enemy--we have
no evidence other than this woman’s word!” Militant exclaimed.
“I agree with Militant,” Observer Prime added.
“There is no proof to substantiate her claim...”
“I will show it to you,” Sunfire snapped. “But you
must understand that the Armada is vast and unbelievably powerful--only
by combining your forces with your greatest enemies, the Mechs, may you
be able to stand against their power and survive.”
An expression of shock traveled across the faces of
the entire Circle at that pronouncement. She could pick up a mixture of
fear and disgust from the varied members of the council.
Well, no one said this would be easy, she reminded
“To ally ourselves with the Mechs...” Avatar Prime
mumbled. “It is not the easiest thought to consider--we have spent the
longest amount of time plotting a holy war against them. And now...”
“We cannot consider it!” Observer interjected. “They
are defilements! The thought is reprehensible!”
“I agree,” Tutor Prime said. “I will not be a party
to such a thing!”
“Nor will I!” Militant exclaimed. “It is a
disgusting thing! They are vulgarities--bastard creations of our Lord!
And how do we even know this enemy is real?” He looked at Sunfire. “Why
should we trust her? She has already deceived us once!”
As the council murmured further, Sunfire closed her
eyes and projected the image of the Armada that she had in her mind
from the Syntara. An image of dark vessels...shapes set against the
blood red interdimensional barrier between Universes--a place where no
known life form could survive and yet, there they were... large,
impossibly large vessels composed of varied metals and components,
drifting silently...as if lying in wait for the perfect moment to
emerge and make their presence known to the Universe.
Sunfire slowly stopped the projection into their
varied minds, allowing them to recover their senses and judge this new
threat for themselves.
“This doesn’t prove anything!” Militant was the
first to respond. “For all we know, this could be an elaborate
deception of this being--a ploy to lead us against the Mechs
prematurely and get us all destroyed!” He turned his head to the wall
with the entrance. “We have had enough of this nonsense! Sentinels,
Almost immediately, two Sentinels rushed into the
room and moved purposefully toward Sunfire. She suspected they had
always been close by--Militant was nothing, if not thorough...
Turning their way, she raised a hand and the two
were suddenly shoved backward violently. Their forms slammed into the
nearby wall and they slumped to the floor unconscious.
“Vile fiend!” Militant charged to her, being much
closer than the two guards had been. Turning to him and concentrating
with her power, she grabbed him and flung him in another direction.
Quickly, he rose to his feet, poised to strike again.
“Both of you, stop it!” Avatar exclaimed. “Please!
There’s nothing to be gained by this!”
Sunfire visibly relaxed at his prodding while
Militant still looked on guard, although he did not attack further.
“Sunfire, we don’t mean you any harm.” Avatar spoke
calmly, always the voice of reason. “It’s just that...we need some sort
of tangible evidence of this enemy’s existence. Tell me, is there any
way--any way at all, that we can obtain it?”
Sunfire thought a moment at that.
“Maybe there is,” she replied. “Maybe there is...”
Talon lay still on the table as a med tech worked on
finishing up the repairs to his battered armor.
Face had told the medical staff that the injuries were the result of a
training simulation gone awry--which was technically true. After all,
he had been training to take on the real Starscream against a holo
simulation of the same thing.
And thoroughly had his butt kicked in the process!
Of course, he hadn’t been entirely following Face’s meditation
techniques and advice to keep his mind clear and focused on the task at
hand. Ironically, when he had attempted to do so, he found himself
defeating his ether opponent with relative ease. It was funny--he’d
never thought there was anything to the mysticism behind the martial
arts, but this had gone a great deal to changing his mind set on the
What now, he wondered. Would Face subject him to
more training in the face of his slowness to follow the meditation
techniques? Or would he be called upon to fight more holo simulations
until he got his act together? Or both?
He cast a glance to his right and noted the
tactician was standing there, hovering against an unoccupied wall while
a technician performed work on Talon’s frame and another monitored the
status from a comp pad in the center of the room.
After a few more minutes of silent work by the med
tech, he stopped and put most of his tools away on an adjacent cart.
“I’m almost done,” he told Talon. “I just have to
check a few of the scans and make sure we didn’t miss anything.”
At that, the two med techs turned and headed out of
the room, bound for an adjacent area filled with more machinery and
“So, now what?” Talon asked Face as it became
apparent that they were going to be alone for a few minutes. “More
training, or is it finally time to go after Starscream?”
Face cast a slight glance to his left and the
adjacent chamber before replying. “If we had more time to further your
training, we would do so. However, we are out of time and it is now
prudent that we take action against Starscream.”
“I’m glad to hear that! I was wondering when we’d
finally get around to saving Gwen...” Talon’s voice trailed off. “Wait
a minute--what do you mean we’re out of time?”
Face took a moment and then replied. “Starscream has
fled the Dark Glory... she left a few days ago.”
“What?!” Talon snapped. “Where did she go? How...
how did you know she’d left?”
“No one has seen Starscream since then. Also,
Skullcruncher’s body turned up recently--it had been well hidden in a
secluded utility corridor.”
“Was Starscream--and Gwen...”
“It is entirely possible, considering Starscream’s
personality. Megatron believes it is a viable enough reason to put
security on alert and order them to shoot to kill, should she return.”
Noting the other’s shocked expression, he added, “Megatron was seeking
an excuse to eliminate her and this is as valid a reason as any other.
Talon had to admit Face had a point about
Starscream’s personality--from his brief exposure to her, he knew she
was capable of just about anything. And that worried him--what would
become of Gwen when her puppet master wasn’t afraid to push the limits
of his control?
“As to Starscream’s whereabouts...” Face continued.
“I was aware she sought to usurp Megatron’s power for herself and that,
in itself, is a place to start.”
“What do you mean--oop!” Talon fell silent as the
two med techs returned from the adjacent chamber.
“It looks like we missed two system relays. A
relatively minor thing, but we might as well fix it now while we’ve got
you here,” one of the med techs told the bed ridden Talon.
“Right,” Talon replied, smiling sheepishly after
almost have been caught discussing Starscream with Face.
“We will finish our discussion later,” Face told
With that, Face turned and left the med center and
Talon to the two technicians capable hands.
Talon watched the other go and decided he would be
most interested in what Face had to say later that day about their
The Masters organic vessel lifted silently out of
the atmosphere of Eden, bound for the clear celestial heavens beyond
the Creator’s Cloak nebula surrounding their hidden world.
Sunfire had explained to the Masters that there
might be a way to prove to them conclusively that the Armada really
existed and thereby, potentially enlist their help in the coming fight
against the dark enemy.
She had surmised that by using one of their organic
ships to emit a certain electromagnetic signal, she should be able to
amplify it greatly with her powers and, in theory, move their vessel
into the interdimensional void in-between the Universes. Of course, she
had explained that no object could naturally remain there for long and
neither would they--it would be more like moving temporarily through
that realm...but it should be long enough for the accompanying Masters
to see the Armada and judge for themselves.
“Is there a certain location we have to be in space
for this to work?” Avatar asked her as the ship moved clear of the
“Not really,” Sunfire replied. “The interdimensional
quality of the realm that the enemy occupies is such that we should be
able to enter the void anywhere and be close to their position.”
“A sort of curvature of space-time in the dimension
they occupy?” Observer asked. “Fascinating. I have heard such a thing
theorized, but never seen it before...”
“I am commanding the vessel to emit the
electromagnetic frequencies you have requested,” Militant spoke. He
placed his hand on a barren spot of the console-less bridge panel and
concentrated a moment. Beneath the hand, the ship’s organic structure
glowed and hummed gently as the touch and the ship set about carrying
out it’s Master’s request.
“Good. I must concentrate now,” Sunfire said. “This
will require most of my attention and all of my power--do not interrupt
me from now on. Just get the information you need while we’re in there.”
She settled herself on the floor of the bridge,
sitting cross-legged and closing her eyes. After several moments of
silence, where nothing happened, some of the others thought they could
see a slight glow coming from her...
A flash from the viewport caught their attention and
the group turned to see the last remnants of some sort of colorful
streaks melt into a darkened red void.
“We are here,” Sunfire announced. Her eyes remained
closed and she did not stir further.
Avatar looked about the area beyond the ship, seeing
the crimson maelstrom shift and churn slightly. It was like an image
out of someone’s worst dreams...claustrophobic in a way, like a
darkness one could never hope to get out from under or outrun.
And then, in the midst of this unearthly place, he
A darkened image on the edge of the screen, in the
relative front of their ship. As they drew closer, it coalesced into a
enormous dark shape--a vessel large than anything he had ever seen or
believed could exist.
And then, there were more. All around this vessel,
dozens--no, hundreds--of other ships floating around and beyond the
Titanic vessel. Each were of varying sizes and shapes, some as big as
this one and some as small as fighter escorts.
“Unbelievable,” Militant gasped. From his tone, the
others knew he really meant it too.
“How could we ever hope to fight an enemy this...
vast?” Rapture asked, her gaze attempting to trace where the armada of
vessels ended, but failing.
“Indeed,” Observer said quietly beside her.
Avatar and Militant noticed it first--they thought
it might just be normal ship traffic at first, but after another moment
were certain that was the wrong conclusion.
“Two ships are heading toward us!” Avatar exclaimed.
“They look like sentry vessels...” Militant
muttered. He placed his hand on the ship’s control interface and
concentrated with his thoughts.
Instantly, the Masters’ vessel spun on it’s axis and
soared off in the direction it had come. Behind it, the two small
vessels gave pursuit, not willing to be deterred so easily by the
“They’re still coming!” Observer shouted as he
monitored their pursuers on scanners.
Almost simultaneously, the two vessels spat off
salvos of energy blasts at their ship, forcing Militant to throw the
vessel into a sharp pitch to their left to avoid the fire. Swiftly, he
ordered the ship to spin and fire back at it’s pursuers--more to see
what effect it would have, then to defend themselves. Much to his
surprise, the energy stream struck one of the ships dead -on and seemed
to all but vanish on impact.
Rotating the ship back around, he ordered it to full
“They’re firing again!” Observer said from his
Again, Militant ordered the vessel to dodge the
volleys--but this time, his opponent was ready for the maneuver and
while the first two salvos from the ships missed their target, an
unexpected third volley erupted from the further ship, tracking the
Masters’ vessel with deadly precision.
The ship seemed to scream in agony, forcing all of
them to cover their ears at the fierce sound. Immediately, it slowed to
a dead stop in space... trying futilely to get it working again,
Militant was met with no response. The ship had given up it’s
resistance after the pain it had suffered from the enemy attack...it
was ready to accept the eternal slumber of oblivion now--to make it’s
terrible pain cease once and for all.
As the two sentry vessels closed in for the kill,
the space around the Masters’ ship suddenly twisted and warped, the
ship thundering out of the interdimensional void and back into normal
re-emerged over the peaceful space above Eden.
“We definitely have a problem,” Avatar said. “They
are indeed a formidable opponent...”
“We have worse problems,” Militant snapped. “The
ship is unresponsive! We can’t make back safely--we’re going to crash!”
The Masters’ organic vessel abruptly dipped in space
and shot violently into the atmosphere of Eden below...
Matt seated himself comfortably in a Human-sized
chair in his quarters while his Headmaster body sat dormant in a nearby
corner. Across from him, Face too, had taken a seat--although one more
suited to his size.
His dark eyes probed the Transformer, seeking an
answer to the question of why he had let Starscream and Gwen flee the
Dark Glory without attempting to stop them and what they were now going
to do about it.
If Face noticed the scrutiny in the expression, he
said nothing, instead choosing to focus on the facts of the situation
and work toward his own eventual solution.
“I discreetly investigated Starscream’s personal
terminal in her quarters.” Face continued onward. “However, there was
no information to be found on it’s drives. Not that I expected to find
any...Starscream is nothing, if not thorough, and would not likely
leave any evidence lying around.”
“So you just investigated that end as a formality,”
Matt noted. “I wish we’d acted earlier and not given her time to get
away. I haven’t got a clue how we’re going to find her now!”
“If we had acted earlier, she most certainly would
have destroyed you. Now, thanks to my guidance, you do stand a chance
in combating her successfully.”
Matt said nothing, although he knew the other was
correct. Face always seemed to be about these sort of things--and he
suspected he would have indeed met with a sudden demise had he
approached the treacherous Decepticon jet himself before receiving his
training from Face.
But now she was gone...and would any of the time
spent training even matter? Would they ever find Starscream to try and
liberate Gwen from his clutches--or would she be lost to him forever?
“At any rate, none of this really matters...” Face
added. “Thanks to privileges of rank, I have been aware for some time
now that Megatron has discreetly been monitoring a remote area of space
with cloaked satellites. There is no obvious reason for doing so, and
one probe was monitoring a planet up until recently when it appears to
have been lain waste to.”
“I don’t understand the relevance...”
“I believe the planet was the location of Megatron’s
alien ‘Benefactors’ as he called them. That explains his seemingly
illogical interest in an area that is otherwise devoid of life and high
quantities of exploitable resources,” Face explained. “If this
supposition is true, it’s possible Starscream also discovered this
information and went to investigate... I suspect the race is still
alive--based on the somewhat limited evidence available--and that
perhaps Starscream seeks to create an alliance with them.”
“Isn’t that a pretty big leap?” Matt asked. “I mean,
there’s not a lot of evidence to back that theory up at the moment.”
“I am not infallible and I may be incorrect,” the
other replied. “However, Starscream had relatively little time to
devise a suitable plan to challenge Megatron before she disappeared. In
order to successfully do so, she would need to be able to match his
power--and if she contacted the aliens that bestowed that power upon
him initially, she might be able to accomplish it.”
Once again, Face seemed a step ahead of him on a
subject--but he was making sense about Starscream’s plans and Matt saw
no reason to argue the point with him. Even if he was wrong, he had at
least given them a place to begin the search and that was something...
It was ironic--he had started off suspicious of
Face’s motives, but so far he had proven himself correct about
everything he’d said. And without him, Matt suspected he wouldn’t have
even gotten this far in his plans to save Gwen....more than likely, he
would have struck far too early and probably gotten himself killed.
But he felt confident now that he take the femme
fatale on in one on one combat thanks to Face. And as far as
Starscream’s battle tactics went...well, he knew the other was a
snake--using any advantage to win that she could--and that was one type
of personality he did know how to deal with.
“So... now what?” he asked.
“I will attend to some arrangements and we shall
depart shortly.” At that, he turned and marched out the portal into
Matt watched him depart and sincerely hoped his
hunch proved right--if, for no other reason, because he was worried
Gwen wouldn’t be able to stand much more of Starscream’s control over
her and he feared for the outcome if she lost her grip on her sanity.
He felt the presence of an alien emotion in him--a
deep level of concern for someone other than himself and recognized it
as more than mere responsibility for a former employee of his... it
almost surprised him that he could feel concern for someone else after
so long just looking out for himself.
And it concerned him a little too--Face had warned
him about letting his emotions cloud his judgment in battle...this
wasn’t the best time to acknowledge buried feelings for his former
secretary. They would only serve to trip him up later and dull his
He exhaled and forced the emotions away, trying to
squeeze them back into the recesses of his soul from where they’d come.
Sliding off his chair and down onto the deck plates, he criss-crossed
his legs and concentrated, forcing all thought and sentiment from his
Forcing his mind to become a blank slate... to
deny his emotional flaws and become a perfect machine once more--to
perform the task set forth for him...
To liberate a fellow Human from her prison--that was
all there was to it...he would set his mind to that task and deny all
sentiment, all emotion, until that one task was accomplished.
“Come forward, Starscream,” Autaras called out.
”Present yourself to us...”
A large Transformer stepped out of the shadows of
the council chamber, it’s armor gleamed in the spotlight at the center
of the room. Beside it, the small Human form of Gwen Piterson emerged
also, keeping perfect step with her larger counterpart.
“Tell me, what do you think of your new form? Is it
to your satisfaction?”
“Indeed,” Starscream replied in a decidely masculine
voice. He raised a fist triumphantly. “At last, I am reborn in a form
worthy of my own greatness! I am finally a worthy opponent to Megatron
in pure strength as well as intellect!”
Autaras smiled slightly at that. “I am glad you
appreciate your new power. As you will soon discover, there is far more
to this new form then a mere change of appearance--very few will be
able to stand in your way.”
“No one shall stand in my way!” he corrected him. “I
shall see to it!”
Autaras was silent a moment and then asked him,
“Might I ask why you bothered retaining the Human female? Surely, she
is of little use to you now.”
Starscream glanced down at Gwen out the corner of
his optic. She had been the vessel for storing his consciousness until
his mind was ready to be transferred into his new bodyshell. The ace up
his sleeve should something have gone wrong or these Benefactors of
first Megatron, and now himself, were proven to be up to some sort of
“She still has her uses,” Gwen said, smiling
devilishly. “As all tools do...in the right hands.”
“I understand.” The other’s tone carried a certain
meaning within it, although Starscream was uncertain exactly what it
was alluding to.
“You mentioned something about having resources at
my disposal,” Starscream said.
“Indeed.” Auturas gestured and suddenly there was a
large holo screen separating him and the others. On it was a rather
large and impressive starship...
“Behold! This vessel is indeed a match for most...of
course, against a juggernaut such as the Dark Glory, you may have to
prove a little inventive. But still... “ Autaras smiled at Starscream’s
awed expression. “Of course, it comes with a legion of Transformer
soldiers all programmed to obey you exclusively--and all of whom are
deadly enough to combat the best of Megatron’s empire.”
“A most gracious gift,” Starscream said. “I shall do
my best not to squander it.”
“Go now, and remember our deal... destroy Megatron
and his Empire is yours--and we will leave your people in peace. Betray
us, and there will be nowhere in the universe you will be able to hide
from our retribution.”
Without another word, Starscream and Gwen vanished
in a nimbus of light, teleported over to their new vessel and crew.
“I am Thunderfist, your new lieutenant.” The large
Transformer spoke, his voice soft, seemingly contradicting his mass.
“Welcome aboard the Conquest.”
Starscream nodded approvingly. He had to admit he
was impressed with this vessel already--he just hoped it fought as well
as it looked. Either way, he was determined to give Megatron a run for
his energon now that he had it...
As Thunderfist lead him and his former binary
partner about the bridge, introducing him to several key officers and
explaining some of the ship’s abilities, Starscream found his mind
wandering to Megatron’s Benefactors once more...
What were they really up to, he wondered. Granted,
they’d given him this new body, the vessel and troops along with it,
but it all seemed a little too good to be true... could they really be
trusted to leave the Decepticons alone when he had finished with
Megatron? Or was Megatron’s paranoia about their motives
He supposed it didn’t matter for the moment...he had
a job to do and a destiny to face. He had wanted to see Megatron dead
for so many Vorns and now it seemed as if he would get his shot at it.
No matter what, he would do his damndest to destroy Megatron and
succeed him as the Decepticon’s new emperor...the way it was always
meant to be.
Yes, he would deal with Megatron first and then, let
the microchips fall where they may with the Benefactors.
But he could make no mistakes in combat with
Megatron this time--it all had to be perfect or he would fail. He would
have to destroy his enemy in one surprise assault, before the other
could call upon all the resources at his disposal and use them against
the Conquest. If that happened, even his new found power would not be
enough to take on millions of loyal Decepticon warriors in hundreds of
He would have to make sure of everything before he
attacked the Dark Glory--both of his tactics in the assault and that
these new soldiers and ship were truly up the challenge. The odds were
slightly against him when one considered his opponent’s power base--but
perhaps that was part of his strange new allies strategy. Perhaps they
wanted him to prove himself against superior odds--just as Megatron
himself would do. If so, he would not disappoint them...
He thought a moment and then it dawned on him how he
could give his new forces a suitable test run... to make certain they
could be counted upon when the time came to assault the Decepticon
“Hear me, warriors of the Conquest!” he said. “I am
Starscream, your new leader and the future Emperor of the Decepticon
empire. You will aid me in my destiny by helping me destroy Megatron’s
forces. Those who are worthy, will survive the coming assault and be at
my side when we march onward to glory!”
“For the glory of Starscream!” Thunderfist yelled,
shaking his arm triumphantly. Quickly, the rest of the bridge crew
followed, cheering enthusiatically at their leader and the promises of
Starscream smiled. If their enthusiasm was any
indication of their battle prowess, Megatron wouldn’t know what hit him!
“For all his vaunted treachery, Starscream is
gullible and somewhat perdictable,” K’ronei chimed in. “Maybe that’s
why he has proven useful in undermining the Decepticons for us in so
many other realms.”
“No matter how it turns out, the Decepticons will
still meet their end,” Auturas agreed. “Just as the Autobots did, and
these...Masters soon shall.”
“They are far too advanced in their evolution to be
left alone,” J’honel said. “It is best to make certain...”
“Yes,” Autaras agreed. “Best to make certain they do
not continue further.” His expression turned to J’honel. “The incursion
into our space earlier was beyond their means however. I suspect the
“I thought you said they wouldn’t dare interfere
with us.” K’ronei interjected. “What does this mean?”
“It means, that we shall have to deal with them as
well,” Autaras replied. “They have become a nuisance and I shall soon
remedy the situation once and for all.”
The others said nothing at that, understanding what
he meant all too well. After all, he had not risen to their leader in
the Core by being anything less then cunning and ruthless when it
suited the situation.
“I don’t like Starscream using the woman Gwen as a
puppet. It does not sit well...” Qul’tra said quietly.
“She is of little consequence to me,” Autaras
replied. “Still, there is one more hand to played where she is
“Ah yes,” Qul’tra chimed in. “Face...”
”Quite,” Autaras agreed. They watched as
Starscream’s vessel turned and jumped to Hyperspace. “As to Starscream,
if he succeeds he will have eliminated the nuisance Megatron has
become. If not, we can still spare the resources for this scheme of
his... and Megatron will still understand the obvious message in his
attack--that we are coming for him!”