Rian-Moeru: Hey there! This is a fic Misgel and I wrote together, and it was a lot of fun! I hope you guys enjoy it!
Misgel: What Rian-Moeru said! I'm really proud how this came out and it was awesome to write about our favorite characters!
Disclaimer: We do not own anything from Transformers Prime
Warnings: situations of angst, torture, character death
Jack felt a relief wash over him as he received a text from his mother, telling him she was fine and with Fowler. That tiny bit of information was enough to set back his unease with the situation they were in by a mile. As long as his mother was safe and well, then he could keep on pushing through this with Arcee.
Speaking of Arcee, he checked the time on his phone, noting that she had been gone for fifteen minutes now. He hoped she'd get back soon. He didn't feel safe being out by an abandoned gas station in the middle of nowhere by himself for long.
Megatron was triumphant.
At long last, the hole the Autobots called a base was destroyed. He was disappointed to scavenge the remains of the facility only to find no remains of his enemy. They must have groundbridged before the attack, and were hiding somewhere on this dirt planet. No doubt plotting against him.
His mood improved, however, when Knock Out returned from scouting the remains of the Omega Lock, Shockwave in tow. The famed scientist he thought had perished long ago was alive, and promising to bring a great asset to the Decepticon cause. Just the tactical advantage he needed.
The Decepticon warlord slouched on his throne, servos gripping the armrests in anticipation as the groundbridge yawned open. And a mighty beast stepped out. He grinned as his troops cowered in fear.
"A P-Predacon?" Starscream yelped. "Th-they have been extinct since the beginning of Cybertronian history!"
It did Megatron's spark good, to see Shockwave once again was tampering with creation. He neared the beast confidently, ignoring Starscream's word of caution. The Predacon did not react to his approach, merely shifted on its great talons and stared at him curiously. The cloned creature was tamed. Such primal power, and it was all under Megatron's complete control. The Decepticon leader received a ping from his com-link. He grinned, a dark idea forming.
"Let us see the power of this beast," the evil tyrant proclaimed.
Shockwave downloaded coordinates into the Predacon's navigational system, along with a set of orders. Broad wings extended, and a sharp maw opened in a deafening roar. With a flap of wings, the monster tore into the sky.
"Let the hunt begin."
Starscream continued to whine into his audio receptors as the beast soon disappeared from view, little more than a deceptively small dot on the horizon. A glare set his second-in-command into his proper place while he tended to other matters. Such as placing the humans into their rightful place under his heel.
Jack dove to avoid the energon blasts of Eradicons, sliding under a semi-truck to escape the line of fire while Arcee fought. They may have looked different, taking on a shinier silver sheen, but they were as stupid as ever it seemed.
They had poor aim, most of their shots missing Arcee as the 'Bot expertly dodged the attacks. Instead of attacking her together, the pair of Eradicons took turns on bombing runs. One would straighten towards the ground and send a volley of wasted energon before flying by, turning around to make another pass, as the other took its place. Jack didn't get why they didn't just come down and fight. Maybe they knew Arcee was better than them.
Then suddenly the thundering mortar fire ceased. The high-pitched drone of Cybertronian engines faded.
"What the—?" Arcee gasped. "They're retreating."
"That means we won, right?" Jack asked, peaking his head out of his hiding spot.
A monstrous, deafening roar was his answer.
Both human and Transformer flinched at the horrible sound.
"What is that?!" Jack shouted in terror, eyes locking in on the creature as it steadily grew larger.
It looked like...a dragon?
Metallic, crimson wings extended from black armor plating. A long neck ended with a monstrous maw and an even longer, wicked tail whipped in the wind. Four legs were folded against its belly, each with a terrifying set of razor-sharp claws.
The gigantic creature suddenly rotated its wings, its shadow falling over the pair. Arcee just barely managed to leap out of the way as the monster landed on its claws with a force of an earthquake. Jack, who had been trying to climb to his feet, fell back down. He paled when he saw cracks underneath the beast and its gigantic size. It could barely fit in the entire courtyard!
Arcee was frozen, like she was in some sort of stasis lock, staring up at the massive dragon. Suddenly the monster shifted.
"Arcee!" Jack screamed, but his warning came too late.
A spiked tail shot down, slamming to his friend. The little Autobot let out a loud grunt of pain as she was sent flying through the air.
Arcee tumbled onto the ground, metal grating on concrete with sparks flying everywhere before slowing to a stop. She groaned, picking herself up slowly while Jack was frozen on the spot. Another roar from the beast had him scrambling back to get away.
Jack ducked back under the cargo container of the truck, watching helplessly as the dragon lunged again. Arcee had no chance to leap out of the way as the monster's captured her middle with its jaws. It reared its head up with a sickening crunch.
"ARCEE!" Jack screamed at the top of his lungs.
With a reverberating growl, the dragon tossed its head, tossing its prey away like a ragdoll. Arcee crashed into the wall of an abandoned warehouse with such force that the building collapsed on top of her.
The dragon shifted at the human's high-pitched shriek. It tilted its massive head curiously. Jack froze as his eyes met those yellow, fierce optics. The world shook as the beast stomped towards him. The human shrunk beneath the semi-truck as the dragon gently pressed its head against the cargo container, as if testing its weight. Then it struck harder with a deafening slam, making Jack let out a yell and cover his head. The monster growled in frustration before rearing up on its hind legs.
With a roar, it swatted the cargo container away with a single paw. Leaving Jack exposed.
Curled up in a ball, he looked over his shoulder. Only to see the dragon's human-sized fangs.
Jack trembled. He...he was going to die here. Crushed, ripped in half, dropped or eaten, all the possibilities equally horrible. Tears were flowing from his eyes, unable to look away from the beast that had killed Arcee.
The dragons raised its huge talons. Jack shut his eyes tight, waiting for the inevitable agony. He sent a prayer to everyone he loved, sorry that he failed them. He shivered as burning metal enclosed around him. But death never came.
Suddenly there was a world-shaking jolt with a clap of thunder. Jack's ears popped. Wind whistled in his ear. Blood rushed to his head. His breaths became shallow. The boy's senses dulled as everything became light.
A mighty, victorious roar sounded.
Then the blackness closed in.
The beast landed with finesse on top deck of the Nemesis, surprisingly gentle as it did so. More than Starscream expected from such an unruly beast. Still, it was nothing compared to one of the Seeker's own graceful take-off, he noted with a scoff, wielding his energon prod. He was about to tell the monster off into its new kennel when talons unfolded, revealing a tiny body.
The human was quite still. Likely dead, Starscream mused aloud as the beast lowered its long neck down to sniff at the organic. The Decepticon made a disgusted face, assuming the beast was going to eat the revolting thing.
"You DARE bring an insect onto the ship?!" Starscream shrieked as he stomped towards the beast. The Predacon raised its head with a confused chirp. The thing probably didn't even understand him. "Get rid of it, immediately!"
The Predacon did not move, merely stared at the Seeker. Didn't Shockwave say it was tamed?
"Stupid creature! I gave you an order!" Starscream shouted, driving the prod into the Predacon's neck.
The monster let out a pained roar. The flyer saw the tail too late. He lived up to his name as he was sent into the wall.
The human jerked at the sound, eyes snapping open as he was startled awake. Starscream moaned in pain as he lifted himself up from the floor.
"W-what—" Jack slurred.
The world vanished for a moment. The back of his head hit something hard. The pain was enough to make him open his eyes.
Only to see brilliantly glowing optics glaring down at him.
He shook from fear and yelled as the beast eyed him, seeming to sniff him even as he shielded his face with his arms. He knew it was pointless. A flick from this thing would be all it would take to kill him.
Yet that didn't happen. When nothing happened after several seconds, Jack dared to peak out from behind his arms, finding the monster was staring at him.
"You did not hear me, BEAST?!" Starscream's shrill voice came. The dragon raised its head, giving Jack a full view of the Decepticon second-in-command, arm transformed into a blaster. Immediately the monster let out a deep, menacing growl. Jack's bones rattled. Suddenly the beast shifted on its haunches and lowered to the ground. The human paled. "What are you doing?" Starscream demanded. "I know what you're thinking! Don't you dare!"
The Seeker let out a high-pitched scream of terror as the dragon lunged. Jack wailed as he was taken along for the ride. However, the beast never reached Starscream.
"ENOUGH!" a deep voice bellowed.
The dragon stopped instantly, its fangs inches from Starscream's neck. The Seeker was curled in a ball, wings flat on his back. Jack wanted to heave.
He knew that voice anywhere, even if he had only heard it a few times. Jack wished he were anywhere else in the world right now.
Jack trembled at the sight of Megatron, Lord of the Decepticons. He huddled into the claws that held him. He rather be with the monster than be at the mercy of the evil tyrant. The warlord was tall and imposing as he neared the Predacon in long, confident strides.
"Master! Stay back!" the Seeker cried. "The beast is still violent!"
"There's no need for alarm, Starscream," Megatron purred proudly. "The Predacon's first hunt was a success. The Autobot has been terminated."
Jack's heart clenched. He remembered the building falling on top of Arcee. No, she—she couldn't be...
Suddenly cold, blood-red optics settled on the human. Megatron grinned, revealing razor-sharp denta. "And, the beast has brought a prize as well."
Jack's veins turned to ice. P-Prize? Oh, no...
The Decepticon held out his claws. "Give the human to me."
The Predacon growled and metal closed around Jack.
Megatron wasn't impressed by the beast's first refusal to him. He snarled, bearing denta as he demanded the Predacon yield the human to him. The dragon shifted on its claws, growling reluctantly. Then Jack was lifted up and his metal cage was retracted. Only for him to fall into another.
Jack pressed against the claws holding him, trying to get away. Megatron flashed an unpleasant grin that sent shivers down his spine.
"Ah, so we meet again, little one," Megatron purred. Jack merely glared. His captor ignored him as the Decepticon warlord turned to his second. "Starscream, you are responsible for securing the beast."
"ME?!" Starscream squawked.
Megatron merely growled and the Seeker cowered. Jack whined as talons pressed against his sides. He looked up through squinted eyes, only to see the tyrant's hellish optics.
"We have much work to do," Megatron sneered.
With that, the silver giant turned around and lumbered into the Nemesis. The last thing Jack heard was a distressed growl from the Predacon. The door closed, cutting him off from the outside world, and leaving him in darkness.
"You won't win," Jack said, more to assure himself than to incur Megatron's wrath. "The Autobots are going to take you down—"
"But I have already won," Megatron sneered, claws tightening on his body, emanating a scream from the human. "Without Optimus Prime, the remaining Autobots have scattered. The humans have conceded to my might, and my army will swarm from Darkmount to every corner of this world. I suggest you become acquainted with your new life."
Megatron's words were self-assured, and his look was confident, plating buffed out with dominance. It made Jack shiver when he realized the warlord was right. He didn't even know where the other Autobots were. He didn't even know they were alive. Arcee was dead. Optimus Prime was missing. His home, Jasper, Nevada was destroyed, wiped off the map.
The Decepticons had won.
Jack started at the sound of a massive door opening. He glanced through the gaps of Megatron's claws to see a wide room, full of metal slabs. Each one was littered with obscure, deadly-looking tools. The boy gulped. Megatron barked a name he did not recognize. Shock-wave?
There were steps of heavy pedes, and Jack trembled at the sight of a terrifying Decepticon. The mech's spiked armor was a deep purple, almost blending in with the gloom of the ship. One of the arms was instead a massive fusion cannon, connected to his back with a cable. The Decepticon only had a single, unblinking optic, which stared at his master expectantly.
"Lord Megatron," he spoke, his voice deep and stoic. Jack's immediate thought was that he did not want to be anywhere near this mech. "I had not expected you to arrive with a human."
Megatron chuckled darkly. "An unexpected development." The world tilted as the warlord held out his servo to the scientist. "You are to see what you can learn from this fleshling."
The mech, Shockwave, bowed his head. "As you wish, my master."
"I am eager to see what knowledge this human yields."
Jack flinched as a cold talon stroked his back. He shivered as chills followed the motion down his spine. With that, he was transferred to Shockwave's single servo.
The grip was not pleasant as the fingers wrapped firmly around his arms and torso. He flailed his legs in an attempt to do something to the mech, but it was futile. He might as well have been trying to kick down a wall for all the good it did him.
"Your resistance is illogical," Shockwave chided, giving a disciplining squeeze. Jack gasped as all the air was pressed from his lungs.
"I'm not scared of you, Cyclops!" the human snarled, trying to grip onto the last remnants of courage he had. It was hard. But he would not show fear to these monsters. Arcee wouldn't.
"That is also, illogical."
It was then Jack was put in chains. They were wrapped painfully around his arms, crushing. The boy grinded his teeth and flailed, only to find his feet dangling three stories in the air. All his captors had to do was drop him, and he would break his legs. Or worse.
He eyed Shockwave as the mech circled around him. The 'Con's questions were blunt. Where are the Autobots? What are their plans? How was the human military planning to attack?
Jack merely kept his mouth shut. If he said a word, he would be giving in. Then electric shocks were run down the chains. The prisoner screamed.
Shockwave asked. Jack was silent. Shocks were sent. The captive must have passed out from the pain at one point, because he awoke to see Starscream before him. Energon prod in hand.
"Ah, finally awake, are you?" the sadistic second-in-command sneered.
The process with Shockwave was repeated, only instead of shocks, a pulse of energon was sent into Jack's muscles. He wailed as the burning poison coursed through his body. Then the shocks came again. Jack's voice grew hoarse.
"I don't know..." he said again for the umpteenth time, voice came out barely coming above a whisper, hoarse and scratchy. "I don't know!"
Another prod in chest, then shocks coursed through his body. How much more of these could he take before he suffered neural shutdowns?
Jack sniffed, hiccupping softly. Any tears he may have shed during the agonizing interrogation had long since dried.
"I don't believe you," Starscream hissed.
"I... I swear."
Each round was with a different Decepticon, each one had their own twisted form of torture. Soundwave used audio clips of former interrogations to question him, wrapping his metallic tentacles around his body and squeezing the air out of him if he failed to answer. Knock Out even came, using a different approach, making dry comments about the human instead of interrogating. However, if Jack attempted to reply, a cut to his flesh would put him place. Megatron saw him several times. The warlord would be either cruel and demanding, using the shocks until the human passed out, or calm and collected, speaking in a sickly soft tone, like a fake friend.
Jack was starting to crack from the strain of it all. He hadn't had food or water in what felt like days. There was no illusion that he was going to be making it out of here alive. It was just a matter of time to see who was going to kill him first. Death would be a welcomed relief from the constant torture.
The Great-Beast paced his enclosed space, what the Screaming-One called a "kennel." He did not like it. The absence of the great-plain-of-the-sky made his inner fire burn with anxiety. So he was left with his other senses. He smelled a great deal, each scent unique, from the crisp air to the stale dirt to the metallic twang of his space to the sharp, toxic scent of lifeblood. He heard more.
The overbearing hum of the great-wingless-stone-monster, the stone-like clanking of the Two-Walkers, the sharp sounds of their glossas, the bellowing roars of the Great-One, his master. Then there were other sounds, ones that made him flex his talons. Little, but high-pitched squeals, sharp enough to penetrate the black stone. The Little-One? It was always along with a buzzing sound, or a growl of a Two-Walker.
The Great-Beast disliked the sounds of the Little-One's squealing. It sounded as though it was in pain. It agitated him greatly to hear such pitiful noises come from the Little-One he had taken. The Great-Beast clawed the stone beneath his talons in distress, leaving deep grooves. More than once, he scorched the insides of the "kennel" in anger, most often during the Little-One's screaming.
The Screaming-One made an annoying sound when he discovered the damage. He did not understand the weird noises the Screaming-One made, but he understood that the lightning-stick that brought pain. The Great-Beast bit it in half with his great fangs. He let out a mighty roar, and the Screaming-One fled back to the bowels of the great-wingless-stone-monster.
The Great-Beast narrowed his optics. That's where the Great-One took his Little-One. He must find a way inside. He must find his Little-One.
The Great-Beast neared the stone that hid the bowels. He eyed the glowing-panel beside it. The Screaming-One had pressed his talons on it before he fled. Did it control the stone? He raised a large talon. With surprisingly gentleness, he touched the glowing-panel, replicating the movements the Screaming-One made. It made a sound of delight, and the stone moved away.
The Great-Beast growled warily. The bowels were just large enough for his massive size, but he could not spread his wings. He would not be able to fly. He tucked his wings to his sides, until they became one with his hide. With a huff, the Great-Beast entered the Nemesis.
There were so many smells contained in such a tight area. It made his head spin from the interlocking scents. The Screaming-One had passed by not too long go, but his stench didn't go in the direction of the Little-One. Nor did the Great-One's. He followed his Little-One's scent, his keen sense easily capable of picking out the faded scent.
Then the Great-Beast's chemoreceptors detected another, sharp, strange scent. It was toxic like lifeblood, but it had a dull, stone-like twang. He growled. Could it be the Little-One's blood? Why did the Great-One send him to fetch the Little-One, only to cause him to bleed? The tiny creature did not even have claws or fangs, not even wings!
It had to be a hatchling. Yet to grow into its stone-hide. It was certainly not grown enough to even have talons. It certainly explained why the Blue-One defended it so valiantly.
The Great-Beast heard startled shrieks of the Two-Walkers, some of them even leaping out of his way like terrified prey. He ignored him, instead coming to another barrier. It also had a glowing-panel. The Great-Beast did the same movement as before, pressing little symbols with his talon. He cocked his long neck back when it only chirped in alarm.
Why was it not opening?! The Great-Beast growled in annoyance. How dare it not open! The Two-Walkers and their silly barriers! In his frustration, he shifted and flicked his tail. The panel was crushed with a spray of fire, still chirping in alarm. The barrier opened.
He growled lowly as he prowled into the tight, confined space. There, in the center of the room, was the Little-One, hanging by strips of metal from the ceiling. Beside of him, slowly moving out of the way, was his Creator, lone optic trained on his form.
"What are you doing here?" his Creator demanded in that dull voice, using his language.
The Great-Beast ignored him, instead sniffing the Little-One. He flinched at the revolting smell. The toxic, stone scent covered him, along with the stench of burnt hide and filth and stress. What had they done to his Little-One? He had taken the hatchling! Not them! It was his! All his!
The Great-Beast rose onto his haunches, doubling his height. He sensed his Creator bristle at the action. He ignored the Two-Walker's furious bark. Instead, he clamped his maw down on the metal what held up the Little-One. It shattered in his teeth like bones.
The chain gone, the other one was forced to take all of the weight of the prisoner. It went slack and the Little-One fell, but pulled at his limb before he hit the floor. There was a sharp pop from the little creature and suddenly it let out a shriek. The Great-Beast's hide rippled as he heard the distress in the strange sound, and it how it was like all the other times he had heard the Little-One's cries. How dare the hatchling be in such pain!
The Great-Beast bit into the second chain. Suddenly there was a buzzing sound and lightning filled the stone. He growled in pain and in determination. He broke it as easily as the first. The Little-One fell, but with supreme reflexes, the Great-Beast caught the hatchling in his talons. He ignored the roars of his Creator as he stomped out of the room.
The hatchling whimpered and squealed as he lumbered back through the halls and back to his nest, where he placed the Little-One down with great care and ease. His movements were minute, his small plateless body trembling.
The Great-Beast cooed, gently, but it only made the Little-One let out a fearful sound. He nuzzled the hatchling, gently, mindful of his fangs. More tremors. Then he gave the hatchling a comforting lick.
There was a small sputtering sound, and then more shivering. He rumbled, a deep, guttural sound in his long throat, as his chest glowed orange from the inner heat of his flames. The Great-Beast settled near the hatchling to warm him, laying his massive head down.
He secured the little-thing in his talons, mindful of the sharp tips from scathing the hatchling. He held the Little-One to his breastplate, next to his inner fire. The Great-Beast curled around him, laying his maw over the talons and his tail shielding his optics. He covered his body with a broad wing, hiding the Little-One from any prying gazes. Satisfied, the Great-Beast fell into recharge.
Jack's eyes fluttered open, only to be greeted with intense pain. He seethed as waves of agony coursed through his body, sinking down to his bones. It felt like his arms were being ripped from their sockets and his back burned. His head pounded like someone was hitting a sledgehammer against his skull.
Suddenly a deafening growl assaulted his hearing. He squinted through his impaired vision, only to see a giant black mass nearing him. He heard another set of growls- Shockwave. Without warning, there was a cling and all of Jack's organs flew to his throat. The fall was stopped when something yanked on his arm, effectively pulling it from its socket. The prisoner screamed at the intense pain, and his hearing was punished by that growl again.
Then something hot and solid pressed against him. Jack tried to move. He couldn't. He whined at the vicious jolts that racked his sore body. By the time they stopped, he was trembling with exhaustion and agony. The boy whined as he heard an alien, high-pitched sound in his ear. He tried to flinch away, only for something warm and wet and slimy to slide up his back. He instinctively shuddered in disgust. He immediately regretted his mistake, as there was another dangerous growl.
Then Jack was encased by the suffocating heat. Then there was a deep, drumming sound, surrounding him. It was slow and rhythmic, almost like a heartbeat. Jack's eyes fluttered, torn between sleep and alertness.
What were the Decepticons doing to him now? What did they want? He already told them everything! He couldn't do it. He wasn't an Autobot. He wasn't a fighter. He wasn't brave. He was just a human, a high school student. He didn't want any of this. He just wanted to go home.
Jack found himself pressed against the warmness that surrounded him. It reminded him of home, when he would curl into his bed when the desert nights turned cold. Where the Decepticons couldn't touch him. Jack closed his eyes, feeling safe.
Maybe, just for the time being, he could pretend that he was back home. With his mother and her tofu dinners that never failed to make his stomach churn. He could go for it right now though. Anything would be better than the emptiness currently gnawing at his stomach.
Jack dreamt of the bots. Hanging around the intact base. Bulkhead and Bumblebee played lobbing while Raf helped Ratchet with his tech. Arcee stood next to Jack, a kind of soft smile he rarely saw gracing her features while he stood next to her leg, taking it easy.
His dreams were interrupted by a ferocious bellow.
"PREDACON!" Megatron roared.
His yell was oddly muffled, but still loud enough that Jack flinched. He knew the voice that brought him pain...The warmth moved with that bone-shaking growl. There was a furious stomp of pedes on metal.
"Give the fleshling to me, immediately!" the warlord demanded.
Jacks breathing hitched, terror overwhelming him as he pressed into the heated metal behind him. Another growl, louder than before, making the boy's limited world tremble. He covered his ears at the harsh noise.
"You dare challenge me, beast?" Megatron's roar came.
There was a loud bang like something large and powerful slammed against metal. Jack jumped a mile at the thundering noise. For a moment, he thought the "beast" had physically attacked Megatron. But the Decepticon leader's growl was as deadly as always.
"Shockwave! Explain the Predacon's behavior," he ordered. "Why does he hide the fleshling?"
What? Jack couldn't have heard that right.
"Predacons possess strong territorial instincts," the monotone voice of the scientist explained. "It could be possible it has claimed the human for its own."
"You say the beast has imprinted?"
"Precisely, my liege."
There was a long pause. Then there was a scoff, which sound like a rockslide. Jack couldn't tell it was in contempt or amusement.
"A mighty beast possessive over an insect," Megatron grumbled.
"Is this what you had in mind when creating your 'ultimate' hunter?" Starscream scoffed. "Mistaking a human as a sparkling! Preposterous. Master, allow me to dispose of the fleshling."
"Will the fleshling interfere with the Predacon's ability to function?" Megatron asked instead.
"That remains to be seen," Shockwave answered. "Much of Predacon behavior is still elusive."
There was another pause, longer than the first.
"Then we shall see," Megatron decided.
"WHAT?" Starscream squawked.
"The human's interrogation has failed to provide us any information. Leave it in the beast's care until we find other methods. Should the insect prove to be a distraction, then terminate it."
"B-but Lord Megatron! Surely you don't intend to allow the human to remain uncheck—"
"Enough!" Megatron snapped, cutting the Seeker off. "The human is of little importance if it does not have the information I seek. For the time being the beast can have its pet, so long as it continues to complete its tasks."
With that, there was the heavy sound of pedes, fading away. There was a metallic groan, and several more clanking of steps, retreating. Then silence.
Until there was a rumbling noise. Jack shut his eyes tight as suddenly the heat around him shifted once again. He squinted his open, only to see piercing yellow optics. The poor boy screamed and reared back, only for his back to slam against metal.
It...It was the Predacon. Which meant... he was in the beast's grasp. The monster that killed Arcee...
No no no...this couldn't be real! He...He must have cracked, lost his mind and this was all a hallucination, a dream—
Jack's trembles renewed with vigor. Blood rushed to his head, making the limited world spin. Suddenly the heat around him flushed against him, along with dark, oppressive darkness of sleep.
The Great-Beast rumbled softly, satisfied once the hatchling had drifted off easily back in sleep. Satisfied that he wouldn't wake again for some time, he curled up head to tail once more, and he too dozed off. One eye remained open, determined to keep watch for Two-Walkers that would take him.
Jack opened his eyes. The first thing he felt was cold. It penetrated the torn cotton of his sleeves and prickled his skin. The boy instinctively shivered. It was always too cold when the Predacon left, when the warmth of its superheated body was absent. Even the makeshift shelter did little to protect him against the harsh elements of the stratosphere. He hoped the dragon would return shortly. It was only because of the beast that he was alive.
So delirious from lack of nutrition and blood loss, it took Jack time to realize the Predacon had taken him from his captors. At first, he thought he was losing it. Especially when the beast brought him food. Then the human thought it was a trick. The Decepticons were using the monster to coddle him, make him lose his guard. It especially explained why the Predacon built a makeshift nest for him.
The beast had torn into the sheets of metal of the ship, exposing its inner wiring. A breath of plasmafire burned the wiring into inactivity, making it safe to touch. And created a small crevice for Jack take shelter in. The beast even brought accessories, delivering a number of metallic meshes, foliage, and even a gigantic piece of cloth Jack suspected once belonged to a sailboat. The running electricity behind the walls and the canopy Jack had designed brought a degree of warmth, but not as much as the Predacon's presence.
The dragon blocked the shelter from the thin air with its massive body. It took Jack time to realize not only was it protecting him from the harsh elements, but hiding him. He figured that out quickly enough, when the Predacon growled menacingly whenever a Decepticon approached. It growled the most at Starscream, even being worked up to a furious roar. Only Megatron and Shockwave came the closest. Or Jack think they did, judging by the proximity of their voices. He always hid when they came.
Once Jack found himself exposed to the tyrant. Predacon had left to gather more supplies for the human, and in order to stretch his legs, the teenager walked outside of his cubby-hole. He only walked a few feet when he felt menacing optics boring into him. He froze and craned his neck up, only to meet bloody optics. Jack did not emerge from his shelter for a long time after that. Only once did Megatron try to coax him to come out. The youth ignored him.
Not wanting to repeat the experience, the boy was staying in today. The Predacon was only gone for a few hours at a time, even when he left for missions. Jack's stomach always knotted when the beast was sent against the Autobots, according to the Decepticon that would summon the beast. The others were still alive, out there, fighting. The boy always feared the dragon would return, bearing news that it had taken another life. He always feared the Predacon wouldn't come back at all.
Jack snuggled in the blanket of mesh, closing his eyes to try to return to sleep. Only the clanking of pedes forced him awake.
"Oh, Jack," Starscream spoke in a singsong tone. Jack's blood went cold. "Come out and play. It's been so long since we've had any quality time, don't you agree?" When the human said nothing in return, the Seeker continued, "Why, we have something special for you. Don't you want to know what it is?"
The boy's skin crawled at the Seeker's mocking tone. Whatever the Decepticons were planning, he did not want to know. He pulled the mesh over his head, trying to block out Starscream's presence. The entrance to his shelter was small, just enough for only Jack to slip through. The Decepticons had no chance of getting to him.
That was what he thought, until sharp claws ripped the canopy covering his shelter away. Talons curled around the sheet of metal and with a horrible noise, began to peel the wall away. Revealing Starscream's malicious smirk.
Jack's breath hitched in his throat, backing up as far as he could into his shelter, trying to make himself look as small as possible. It was no use, though, as Starscream's servo reached in to snatch him up, laughing at his fear as he did so.
"Got you," the Decepticon purred. "Let's see if your brainless brute comes to your rescue now."
The Great-Hunter tilted his broad wings as the great-wingless-stone-monster, the Nemesis, came into view. He extended his talons before him, landing on the flight deck soundlessly. He growled in discomfort at his wounds, but they were not hindering.
The enemy—the Au-to-bots—were skilled fighters. They were larger than most Two-Walkers, and so had greater force behind their attacks. Even their female hatchling, wearing a borrowed hide. Still, even three of them fighting together, they were no match for him. He was a Great-Hunter-of-the-Skies. It was a shame he could not kill them, but they were not his prey. The bone was secure in his jaws, a trophy of his success. It had a stale scent of this planet, but a stronger, familiar scent. One that was not unlike his own.
It was the Great-One, Lord Meg-a-tron, that greeted him, claws behind his back. The Great-Hunter's inner fire stirred as the De-cept-i-con leader flashed his fangs. To show fangs was a challenge. However, he ignored the mistake as he obediently dropped the optic shell in Megatron's open servo.
"Ah, you performed well, my pet," the Great-One purred, stroking his claws over the sensitive metal of his jaw. The Great-Hunter hummed in content, leaning into the touch. "This will be a splendid contribution to the spawning of your Predacon brethren."
The statement made the Great-Hunter's inner fire flare and he pounded the ground with his tail in his excitement. Yes, they would rule the great-plains-of-the-sky once again. He would teach the Little-One to fly as well, once the hatchling extended his wings.
The Great-Hunter lumbered to his "kennel." His hunt took him away from his Little-One longer than he liked. He was aware of the discomfort the hatchling suffered, despite his best to build him a nest. If only he had proper materials. He sniffed the little nest, only to rear back. The cool body of the hatchling was absent. His scent was gone. Instead, the Great-Hunter detected the vile scent of the Screaming-One.
He let out a disturbed roar. His nest had been violated! The Great-Hunter whipped around, plating bristling and haunches raised, only to be greeted with Megatron's fangs. So it was a challenge!
He snarled at Megatron, optics narrowing at his challenger. No one took what was his! The Great-One made a strange, rumbling noise, showing off his fangs again. The Great-Hunter screeched in response.
"Wondering where your pet is, I take it?" Megatron said, unafraid even when the best seemed moments from going on a rampage. "Not to worry. He's in good hands. I daresay you'll enjoy what we have in store for him."
The Great-Hunter let out a mighty roar in fury. The Great-One did not even flinch. The warlord didn't shift as the beast stomped forward. He found the Little-One before, he would do it again! Only for Megatron to confidently block his path. The Predacon growled, threateningly.
"I know you understand me," the Great-One said, narrowing his optics. "And you will understand you were created to serve me. Just like your pet will serve me."
Serve? The Great-Hunter ruled the great-plains-of-the-sky! He was a king! The Predacons will obey him, and only him!
"My, such a fiery temper you have today!" Megatron laughed without a hint of fear. The Predacon snapped his jaws angrily. The grin widened. "If you wish for your pet's continued well-being then you shall do exactly as I say. Even the smallest of transgressions against me will result in his death. Is that understood?"
The Great-King growled and hissed, his inner fire in turmoil. Part of him wanted to tear the sterling warrior apart for his blasphemy, and barge past any obstacle in his way to reclaim his Little-One. Part of him knew he could not deny the Great-One, not because he was the beast's master, but because he held the hatchling's fire in his talons.
What sort of king was he, then? If he failed to protect hatchlings? He would be disgraced.
His pride was mortally wounded as the Great-King forced his wings to his sides and bowed his head defeat. He could not help the hiss as he watched Megatron smirk in victory. The Decepticon leader stepped forward, confident.
"Rejoice, my dear pet," the Great-One cooed as he once again stroked at that sensitive spot. "You will be reunited soon."
The Great-King did not rumble in pressure as he had before, growling lowly despite his efforts not to at the now humiliating treatment. It was for the hatchling, he repeated in his head over and over. So long as he was safe he would bare through the humiliation.
"Juh-ah-ack," the Great-King rumbled mournfully, too low for Megatron to hear.
Jack shivered, but it wasn't from the frigid air that surrounded him. It was from fear.
Dark walls surrounded him. The dark walls of Shockwave's laboratory. Instead of being suspended in the air, he was trapped in a glass pod, just big enough for a single human. Already his muscles tensed as he was captured in the painful memories of his last visit. When the Decepticons demanded for information he could not give, and almost tortured him to death because of it. No, no, not again—
Anywhere but this place. Jack shut his eyes tight. He would take the Predacon over this. He knew the dragon would not hurt him. He protected him, comforted him, cared for him. His guardian. These monsters did not have the same sentiment. He hit the glass repeatedly, hoping it would crack or loosen something in the door to give him a chance at escape.
"Let me out! Please!" he begged through the glass, smacking his bloodied knuckles against it. The teen jerked sharply when a low hum began to build up in the pod, gradually becoming louder as the light brightened and began to blind him. He was forced to close his eyes, the intense light permeating through his eyelids. "Please! Let me out, let me out, please I'll do anything—!"
His pleas were unheard as his bones rattled and his muscles tingled as something invaded his systems. Then the pain came. Jack screamed. When he opened his eyes, the light was gone.
"What do you know," Starscream's voice drawled. "He survived after all."
"Humans are highly adaptive creatures," Shockwave explained. "Energon has been present within the planet for thousands of years. It is logical that the native species have developed a natural resilience to it."
"Your estimation of success?" Megatron's gravelly tone probed.
"Considering the beta test yielded favorable results, there is an eighty-three percent chance of the human surviving the conversion."
"Then continue with the energon exposure, Shockwave. I am eager to bear witness to my new line of soldiers."
Shockwave didn't bother with a reply as the warlord thundering steps faded away. The human had a few minutes of respite before the machine turned on once more. Again he screamed, unable to do anything within his durable glass prison and limited mobility.
Jack felt like heaving by the time the second round was finished, his muscles and even his bones aching from whatever they were doing to him. Sweat poured from his brow as he fought for a breath of air. Eyes rolled into the back of his head when he collapsed onto the floor. He lacked the strength to even lift his arm to struggle, so he laid there limply as he tried to recover himself before they started the machine again.
They continued the tests. Jack just realized it was going to get worse and worse. Eventually he passed out.
Jack never left the glass pod. Only Shockwave took him out, when to run tests. Some experiments were more painful than others. Some were more invasive. Jack noticed Starscream tended to show up for those, sometimes other Decepticons. The human wished he could punch that smug look of the jet's ugly face.
It was Shockwave that noticed his body was beginning to fail—again. They gave him energon instead of food. At first, it made the human sick. He would heave the vile substance and any acid in his stomach. His muscles would tense with agony. Then, to his horror, he built a tolerance to it. To the point that his body craved for the next dosage.
It was sickening to think that some part of him actually wanted the blue liquid. The more he grew accustomed to it, the more taste he could discern from the energon. At first it had a toxic, nauseating taste, with a thick consistency, like miralax mixed with water. Now though it had shifted into a slightly sweetened taste that crackled on his tongue, like pop rocks. It made him feel a little bit stronger with every dose.
They began to give him energon before the experiments. Shockwave said something it was to make his body more adaptable. Jack quickly realized what he meant. Little did the scientist know, that energon was no anesthetic.
Jack screamed, loudly, as layers of his flesh were removed. He screamed as the raw, unprotected tissue was exposed to the cold, biting air. The pain didn't go away, not even when plating was attached his body. It was heavy and awkward. It was alien.
Jack freaked when he felt the metal that was being attached to him. When he touched the insides of his container or when the mechs touched them, he felt a sense of feeling that shouldn't have been there. More than once he had tried to forcibly remove the plating, only to invite more suffering upon himself when it refused to budge, as if it had always been there.
The human had a fever after the first implant. He was curled in a ball in his little pod, shivering and cemented to the floor. Shockwave couldn't understand why he was overheating. Merely gave him more energon, which worsened the chills. Jack failed to explain what infection was to the robotic organism.
Shockwave only understood 'virus' and proceeded to make a port for him. Jack's screaming had gone hoarse, his protest too pathetic to stop the electric pain coursing through his nervous system. His senses were robbed and the world vanished, only to return when the one-eyed Decepticon dropped him, muttering about something.
After that, Shockwave was a constant presence, dark and foreboding, even when the Decepticon was blatantly ignoring him. Too wrapped up in reading over results or preparing the next test. Sometimes Knock Out would assist, but medic grumbled the entire time, the vain Decepticon not appreciating being downgraded to a servant. Starscream was more willing to help out, merely to watch the human suffer. Soundwave's presence was almost undetectable, watching silently. Megatron visited often, either completely ignoring Jack's existence or completely invested in his "progress."
Sometimes Megatron would take him out of the lab and walk through the Nemesis, ignoring the several stunned looks of the drones. Jack merely hid in the warlord's servo, trying to make himself small as possible. A couple times the Decepticon leader himself jacked into the prisoner's system—each one was excruciating.
It steadily grew worse from there, each experiment growing in intensity. Jack had come to hate being outside the glass pod, as it brought pain. He feared what Shockwave or Megatron had in store for him each time he was removed from his prison. More than anything, he wished he was back at the 'nest' the dragon had built and the security it implied when the Predacon was around.
Jack did not see the dragon even once. And for some reason, it hurt his heart.
The cavern was strange. Deep within the heart-of-the-mountain, it was large enough that the King could fly laps in. It was filled with large-yellow-liquid-filled-pillars, almost taking up the entire expansive space. That was not all. Within the pillars, were creatures in all shapes and sizes, curled in sleep like bitlets in an egg.
Predacons. Great-Hunters-of-the-Skies. His brethren. His subjects.
The Two-Walkers stood at the heart of the cavern, chattering among themselves in that strange language that King had learned to understand. Cybertronian. The Screaming-One screeched when he made himself known. The lightning-stick appeared in his servo and the Seeker brought it down to strike his mighty head.
The King transformed, catching it in his servo.
"Strike me again, and I will bury that rod in your spark," he growled, his deep voice echoing off the cavern walls.
"What?" the Screaming-One yelped, falling onto his rear in his panic. He scrambled backwards on his claws as the King stomped forward. "I-I did not realize the beast was capable of transformation!"
The King snarled, flashing fangs and his inner fire flared. "I am no beast! I am a king! I am PREDAKING!"
For the first time since he met Megatron in the days where he was little more than a beast, he saw a touch of fear in his widened optics that gazed upon his two-legged form. Predaking took delight in his and the Screaming-One's fear. His Creator was expressionless without a face to speak of, but looking closely, his singular optic had narrowed a few cycles.
"So...these are my brethren. Soon to be released into this world," Predaking uttered as Megatron cast his Creator a sharp look. "I will no longer be alone..."
"And I see you have been keeping secrets," Megatron's menacing growl came. The Decepticon leader stomped forward. Even with his plating bristled in attempt to make himself look larger, Predaking still towered over him.
"I only recently became aware of my abilities," the Predacon explained. He told them his story, how he was born with no memories, only the instinct to hunt and kill. But as he watched them, he began to wonder if he was really so different from the Two-Walkers.
"Yet you are unique, a miracle of science," Megatron replied, circling around him, crimson optics observing every plating of his form. "Cloned by Shockwave, from Cyber-Nucleic Acid recovered from the remains of your mighty ancestors."
"Yes, and once they awaken, I will lead them, to take back the skies we once ruled."
Predaking buffed his chest out proudly, while Megatron clamped down his plating defensively.
"Your vision... is boundless," the warlord growled out in agreement.
"Starting with the hatchling, that you stole from me," Predaking declared, taking a powerful step forward. While the other Decepticons reared back, Megatron held his ground.
"We did not such thing, Predaking," the warlord assured in a suave voice. "The hu—hatchling needed a controlled environment to... grow."
"You threatened him!"
"No, it was fact. If the hatchling was removed from a stable homeostasis, it would result in his death. I had to make that clear to you. In fact, his progress has come along quite nicely. I'm sure you are anxious to see him."
"I am," Predaking agreed, his tone leaving no room for refusal.
Megatron sent a glare over his shoulder at his Creator. "Then Shockwave will be happy to escort you."
"This way." Shockwave gestured with a hand to another part of the lab. Predaking eyed each Predacon along the way, a longing, wistful look to his gaze as he passed them by. Megatron's lips curled.
"Ah… Master, not to… question your supreme wisdom," Starscream started nervously, once Shockwave and the beast had disappeared from view. "But is it...wise... to follow up on that… contingency plan for the Predacon army?"
Megatron peered back at the Seeker, who flinched form his ferocious gaze. His servos balled up, making a sound of contempt.
Jack slept heavily, dreamless. Where there were no Decepticons, no pain, no experiments. His only reprieve from the constant torture he endured.
He was rudely awakened when there was the hiss of the pod opening. The boy flinched, classically conditioned to the sound. The pain always came after.
Jack blinked at the voice. Megatron? No, it wasn't as gravelly as the warlord's. It was certainly just as deep, maybe deeper, but it had an ancient tone to it. The little being blinked open his eyes.
His vision flickered. It was dark in the laboratory, but he clearly made out a giant shape above him. It was taller than even Megatron, with wicked sharp armor plating. Yellow piercing optics glared down at him. Optics Jack remembered. The dragon...?
"Prrrdicn?" Jack slurred, his voice cracking after lack of use, almost sounding staticky.
"You have grown, Little-One!" the dragon—now in a monstrous bipedal form—exclaimed, his mighty voice bouncing off the walls of his pod.
Jack groaned at the loudness of the voice in his sensitive ears. When a clawed servo reached in the pod, he instinctively pulled back, lowering himself as close to the bottom as possible to escape fingers that would inevitably take him out.
"There's no need to shy away," Predaking spoke softly, scooping the Little-One out of the pod carefully. An inhuman growl tore from the hatchling's throat as it clung desperately to his hands, painfully so as small talons dug into metal.
"I am Predaking," the dragon proclaimed, proudly and as if that explained everything. It didn't.
Since when did the dragon speak? Since when could it transform? Since when could Jack smell him? The Predacon's scent was strange—sharp and powerful, like smoke, but not unpleasant. The little being growled again, coming deep from his chest. This had to be a dream! His defensiveness seemed to delight the monster coddling him.
Predaking being turned Jack's body this way and that. "Where are his wings?"
"The specimen has yet to develop any means of flight," Shockwave's drone-like voice answered. Immediately Jack flinched, curling into the large servos that held him. "It is unlikely he will never gain the ability of transformation."
Transformation? What they were talking about? He was a human, not a Cybertronian!
"No matter," Predaking huffed. "He will be a Great-Hunter! He will join his brethren when they awaken from their slumber."
Brethren? What was he going on about? Jack shouted up at him in protest. It came out as a metallic, growl-like sound. Inhuman. The youth didn't know it was possible to scare himself. How did he make that sound?
"Ah, see! Your flame burns fiercely," the self-proclaimed-king praised. "A true Predacon!"
Jack was going to yell up at him again, until he noticed something in his peripheral vision. He turned around to face the being in front of him. It was an ugly being, like a deformed, little Transformer. Silver plating made up its body, ending in curved, sharp points. The armor looked misshapen, fitting together haphazardly and resulting in uneven spines down its back. On the head, too, looking like a crown of horns. Exposed ports lined sections of the Transformer's body, instead of being covered by protective armor. Bright blue optics stared at him. The little thing was gripping onto a talon fearfully, just like—
Jack screamed. This thing... was him. He... He was... He was a Predacon!
His yowling caused Predaking to attempt to soothe him with "soft" growls and rumbles that caused his whole body to shake. A single, enormous finger stroked under his chin and Jack was ashamed of the purring that came unbidden from his own throat.
"He's so small still..." the Predacon murmured, but not in a displeased way. "How long will it take to grow into his wings? I wish to teach him the ways of flight."
"There is no way of knowing. It is possible he will never develop the capability," Jack heard Shockwave answer. A snarl broke free, taking a defensive stance in the palm of Predaking's servo. The mech was unperturbed by his actions. "Place the specimen back into the pod. He is still incomplete."
"No," Predaking growled out. "He is my hatchling. I was the one that rescued him from those accursed Autobots."
Jack glanced up at the giant that held him. The dragon's plating was bristling and his fangs were bared. Was...was Predaking protecting him? Suddenly the youth remembered how the dragon had taken him away and kept him for his own. Jack didn't understand why, only that he saw safe from his tormentors. Was... was it because Predaking... Predaking thought the human was his charge?
Jack jumped sky-high at Megatron's bellow, almost falling out of the dragons' talons. The king held him tight and glanced at the newcomer. Megatron skidded into a halt in the center of the lab, optics wide and bright. There were several dents and scratches in his armor.
"Autobots!" the Decepticon leader spat, like a curse. "They have taken Project Predacon!"
"What?!" Predaking roared, optics glowing fiercely in a blazing fury. "How dare they attack my brethren!"
The hatchling in his hand shook from the fierce bellow, wide, frightened optics staring up at him. His face softened briefly before hardening once more. With a gentleness not expected of one so large and deadly, he placed the Little-One down, leaving him confused and even more frightened than before as he gazed around the room at the other two mechs.
"Stay here. Do not leave until I have defeated the intruders," the Predacon warned the hatchling only once before following out the entrance from which Megatron had sprung.
Megatron watched the Predacon's flight with a single optic. His heavy pedes made the ground tremble as he sprinted away, several tools even quivering from the aftershocks. Once the world became still, the Decepticon leader's optics narrowed and his lips widened into a pleased smirk.
"And here I thought the beast would never leave," the warlord commented with venom. Jack trembled madly, his plating rattling, as Megatron settled his hellish glare on him. "So much for your guardian, hmm?"
A hiss that did not belong to Jack escaped the youth. Megatron only chuckled at his spirit and turned to Shockwave.
"Have you erased all data regarding to the project?" the warlord demanded.
"Yes, my lord. I replaced the spawning protocols with termination codes. Even if the Autobots fail, the Predacons will not survive."
They... they were destroying the Predacons? They were destroying his... his brethren? Jack let out a dangerous growl. Plating bristled as he settled on his haunches. Megatron ignored him like he was a kitten mewling at him. How dare he ignore him!
"Finish with the test, quickly," the warlord ordered. "Before the Predacon returns!"
"As you wish, Lord Megatron," Shockwave hummed, bowing his head.
The scientist reached for Jack, and his growls grew more violent. The little being did not dare move. Until the servo was in range.
Jack pounced, digging tiny talons in a metal palm. He opened his jaw wide and clamped down. He had yet to have fangs—his teeth shattered with excruciating pain.
That didn't deter him for long, his insides hot and tense. Where he lacked fangs, he had claws and put them to good use by scratching at the mech's wrist in an attempt to cut vital wiring beneath the plating. A tail with spikes he hadn't been aware he had dug into the scientist's wrist, securing him in place when the hand began to attempt to shake him off.
"Release me, insect!" Shockwave roared.
The shaking increased to the Decepticon throwing his entire arm back and forth. Jack merely latched on, using his claws to find purchase in the metal, drawing energon. The scientist let out a strange noise that the hybrid thought was of pain.
Too suddenly the world came to a halt, the momentum almost sending Jack flying, but the little thing stayed on with a determined growl. Sharp talons wrapped around his torso, tugging viciously. The youth growled again and curled his talons, biting harder despite the pain.
"He is certainly more spirited than before," Megatron grunted with venom as he tugged again.
"That will end shortly," Shockwave seethed.
Suddenly something pinched the base of the Jack's tail, hard. He instinctively yowled in pain, unknowingly loosening his grip. He was ripped from the bleeding servo. Screeching, the hybrid tried to turn and bite at the new prison that held him. His limbs were pinned to his sides, preventing him from turning. Without warning, the world panned, and the being was slammed onto a cold table. Jack groaned in pain and hastily shifted his talons underneath him. Only to be pushed back down.
He screamed and screamed as he was pinned to the table, and Shockwave began his test.
No, no, NO! Predaking beat his mighty wings madly, but the wind was against him. It did not hinder his prey, who was dependent on false wings propelled by thrusters. So close! So close!
The one called Optimus Prime was only a few talon-lengths ahead of him. He only had to close the distance, and finish the ones that dared prevented the return of his brethren! Only for the prey to vanish with a flash of light.
Gone. The Autobots were gone. Blasphemers. Murderers. The ones that destroyed the descendants of the once mighty Predacons. His brethren. His subjects. His army. Gone. All gone! Massacred!
Predaking let out a long, mournful roar, that echoed across the land around him.
There was still hope, however. The Little-One should have been safe, hidden in the back lab that was kept secret from the Autobots. Predaking rumbled angrily as he forced himself through the lab, now nothing more but twisted, spiking metal and remains of Predacons that never see the light of day. The hatchling had to still be here, he had to be, Predaking had nothing left—
"Still alive, are you?" the Screaming-One's purr-like voice greeted him.
Plating bristled. His chemoreceptors flared, searching for the Little-One. His scent was gone.
"Where is my Little-One?!" Predaking demanded.
"Oh, he's hanging around somewhere with Lord Megatron and Shockwave," the Seeker chuckled, causing Predaking to go blank. "Surprised, are we? I suppose it is difficult for a beast to put two and two together."
Beast? He was no beast!
"Return the hatchling to me!" Predaking demanded.
"It's called a human, you brainless brute. Well, at least he was a human. Now he will be the first of many drones that will serve the Decepticon cause. It will certainly be a worthy replacement of Project Predacon."
Replacement? Replace Predacons? They were mighty warriors! Hunters! His inner fire flared at the Screaming-One's words. Hoo-man? What did he mean, the Little-One was once a hoo-man?
"Shame…" Starscream sneered. "I was hoping the Autobots would destroy you. Not a surprise, considering how worthless they are. No wonder Megatron sent me to finish the job.
Predaking snarled. Megatron? What he mean, that Megatron sent him? Did… Did his liege order the termination of his brethren? The King let out a long, furious roar.
"You will stand aside, little pest!"
"Or what? You'll—"
Whatever reply was on the snake's glossa was cut off with a high-pitched scream as the king snatched the little flyer by the throat. The Screaming-One choked as his ventilation shaft was closed off, no doubt causing pain. The Seeker's sharp talon scratched across Predaking's wrist in attempt to free himself, but it was in vain. Like he weighed almost nothing, Predaking raised the Screaming-One high into the air and turned, throwing him away with all his might.
The Screaming-One lived up his name as he was sent through flying through the air, crashing into the mess of metal that replaced the lab, a spear of twisted metal tearing through his spark. Predaking roared. He must find the hatchling!
Then the King heard a cry. A high-pitched, long, scream of fear and distress. Of a hatchling. Of his Little-One.
"Nnaarrgh!" he roared, running toward the source of the sounds, fury and instincts fueling him further. He screamed, voice echoing off the ruined halls, "Megatron!"
The cries of his Little-One were his only response.
What were they doing to him? Why were they torturing him?!
Predaking barreled straight ahead into a wall. Debris filled the lab as the dragon let out a bellowing roar. He glared through the smoke to see his Creator and the Great-One, his Little-One between them. Megatron's talons were imbedded in the hatchling's limbs, while a wire and a tool were twisting into the young one's back. The Predacon screeched at the pain. Megatron snarled, baring fangs.
"MEGATRON!" Predaking thundered. "Is it true? That YOU ordered the annihilation of my army?"
"Indeed," the blasphemer admitted shamelessly. He released the Little-One, but not without scraping his talons across a weak hide, provoking another wail. "And my only mistake was not seeing the extermination through."
The Decepticon warlord unsheathed his blade.
"You'll pay for their deaths a thousand times over!" Predaking promised the warlord, flashing his talons maliciously before attacking the mech head on, sword meeting claws. The met in a stalemate. "Release the hatchling!"
"Your Jack will be the first of a new class of Decepticon soldiers," Megatron spat back. "Created from the shells of the human slaves that will serve us when we conquer this world."
Conquer? This world belonged to the Predacons! They ruled this world's skies! Predaking's inner fire flared, giving him renewed strength. He shoved into Megatron's chest with all his might, sending the warlord back. Before the Deception could recover, the Predacon sent an uppercut into his chassis, slamming into the wall.
Megatron grunted in pain as he slid onto the floor, catching himself with his sword. With a menacing growl, Predaking charged forward, but the Champion of Kaon anticipated his attack. The ex-gladiator danced around him, dodging his attacks flawlessly and slashing a sword against his hide, leaving deep scathes. But not enough to hinder.
Hissing in pain, the Predacon transformed into a Great-Hunter. Before Megatron could leap out of the way, the mighty beast struck his tail at the warlord, sending him into the wall with an explosion of debris. Predaking growled in satisfaction. Suddenly a high-pitched sound filled the lab and the air was pulled from an energy source. The King glanced over to see Shockwave's cannon humming to life, trained on his head. The Predacon shifted to attack on head-on, regardless if it brought his death, but he never had the chance.
There was a tiny, furious roar, and the Little-One, Jack, lunged off the table. Despite he was still connected to Shockwave, the cloned Predacon clamped down on the cable that ran from the scientist's cannon to his back. Growling and tearing viciously, the hatchling ripped the cable in half. Instantly the violet glow of the cannon vanished and Shockwave let out a scream of agony.
The cyclops flailed, sending the Little-One flying. The connection broke and Jack crashed onto the floor, limp.
Predaking charged a blast of plasma fire in his throat, preparing to finish Shockwave once and for all when he was slammed in his side by Megatron, sending the flames around the room wildly. Claws raked against the warlord's chest, leaving deep groves that bled purple energon.
The Decepticon leader bellowed in pain. He reared back, holding his bleeding wounds with his servo, the strange energon seeping through his talons. Before he could counterattack, Predaking sent his tail into the tyrant once again. Megatron crashed into the ceiling this time, with such force that he fell with a powerful thud. A shower of boulders fell with him, one he could not escape. He roared as the stone buried him alive.
One enemy out of the way, Predaking shifted his focus to Shockwave.
Distracted by his fight with Megatron, Shockwave had recovered the youngling, claws bared at his throat. The unsaid threat was obvious, the only remaining Predacon's life hanging in a delicate balance.
"Any attempt to resist will be illogical," the scientist said plainly.
Predaking growled deep from his chest. The Predacon remained as he was, keeping close watch on Shockwave should he attempt to kill the youngling. They locked optics, neither willing to move in this stalemate.
Without warning, Shockwave raised his cannon. It was apparently still functional, because it flickered to life. Predaking opened his jaws wide, summoning a blast of fire. The Predacon's attack reached the scientist's first, striking right down the barrel of his cannon. The Creator let out an abnormal scream of agony as his arm was destroyed from the inside out.
Taking advantage of his enemy's crippling wound, Predaking surged forward, ripping Jack from the scientist's hold.
Without a second thought, Predaking tore out of the laboratory, leaving his advisories for dead. The Little-One was held securely in his mandibles, and once free of the caves he spread his wings and took flight into the dark skies.
Strong, frigid winds howled around Predaking. Great stone mountain surrounded him, piercing the gray clouds like claws. The Predacon rode the air currents between them, weaving back and forth over valleys and gorges.
At last, he came to a mountain grander than all the rest. He circled around it until he found a large, yawning cave. The beast swooped down and ducked inside. Predaking folded his wings at the last second, resulting a graceful landing within the threshold.
The tunnel led deeper into the mountain, darkness being the only greeting. It did not deter the Great-Hunter, whose piercing optics saw all. The tunnel turned into caverns, forming a network that branched in all directions stretching across the range of mountains. Predaking's journey led him to a cavern in the very heart of the mountain.
He rumbled when he found pool of molten rock, giving off an orange glow that warmed his plates pleasantly compared to the frigid winds outside. Predaking gently laid the still unconscious hatchling down, far enough so that he wouldn't be in danger of falling in, but close enough to warm his freezing plates.
The light flickered off the silver hide of the little hatchling. Or hoo-man, as the Decepticons called it. Jack, they said his name was. It did not matter. He had no wings, but he had a stone hide. He had no fangs, but he had talons. He had a heart, but his lifeblood was energon. Jack was a Predacon. The last Predacon. They were the last.
With a hum, the King curled around the frail being, tail pressing the Little-One against his spark, his inner fire. Predaking laid his head next to Jack's, his chemoreceptors detecting his scent, just like the little being detected him. The larger Predacon unfurled a wing, wrapping it around them, protecting his charge from all that may wish him harm.
The Great-King and the Great-Hunter slumbered.