(Absent scowl.) I've really got to stop trying to write three parts of a continuity at once, you know... Sigh. I can't help it. I get the idea, I write a bit...then I have to post it. I held off as long as I could so people didn't get confused (this comes after 'Meetings', guys - I know it'll come up on the list nearer the top and that'd certainly confuse me. Or maybe I'm just dumb like that...) but the Lure of the Response was waaay too strong.

So here it is - a post-Meetings, pre-everything-else-I've-written-so-far fic. My theory on how and why poor Starscream joined the D-cons. Why poor Starscream? Just wait. I'm evil - and I can't do a darn thing about it (grins happily.)

Oh, while I'm here - Alexandra Spar (that's hell to type in a hurry, isn't it?!) I only use 'flier' so often in 'Meetings' because I refuse to call him a seeker in it (he's not yet, so I won't. It'd ruin the point ) Any ideas on what else to call him'd be appreciated - I get bored with 'flier', 'young mech' and all that too, but I can't think of any more... BTW, thanks for the reviews. Same to everyone else, and I've started on the next chapter but I dunno when it'll be done. As per usual. ;)

Anyway. I'll get on with it. Oh dear...


Broken

Space is cold. A hungry, bitter, jealous vacuum clutching at those who pass through it for life, energy, being - space is a non-entity, and is possessive of those in its clutches who contain the life it craves.

The flyer fell through space, its cold, greedy tendrils rippling over him in a hypnotic, soothing siren call that echoed round and round in the gaping void eating him alive. He paid the cry no heed - he couldn't hear it - he heard only the screams of the gale and the voice he didn't recognise as his own, the howling snow that blinded and spun him, round and round like a broken plaything, discarded to be thrown around at the leisure of the planet that was intent on killing them both.

And the planet won. The flyer was already dead - he knew it, felt it, felt the cold and the numbness that had nothing to do with the void of space and everything to do with the wailing, crying void in his spark...he had lost. He was lost. His self, his life, his spark was ripped in two. And the other was lost.

He had no energy to cry, to call, to scream and scream for his companion until his voice cracked and broke from the strain. It already had. He had nothing left to cry with.

The flyer fell listlessly through the abyss, as he had for so long. He still wasn't sure if he shouldn't have just stayed, kept searching until his energy gave out and he froze into a statue, the only speck of colour on the dead ball of ice that called itself a planet. His energy levels were barely keeping him functioning now, and even if he reached Cybertron there was no way he'd land well - or at all. If he ever got back he'd shatter into so many pieces they'd never be able to fix him.

That, at least, brought a dull, jaded mockery of a smile to his hidden lips. He wanted to die.

I hope it hurts, he thought, to pay for leaving you behind. I deserve to pay.

I'm so sorry. I should have stayed...

The burning fires of inferno reentry yanked him rudely from his dull, icy oblivion, scoured his shell with the wrath of Primus incarnate and left him silently screaming and begging for someone, anyone, kill me - Skyfire - please - someone, help me!

No-one came. No-one heard the falling star cry as he crashed to the ground, smashing through shells of ruined buildings in the lifeless sector of Cybertron called the Dead Zone, shattered zombie-mechs, Empties and scavengers only looking up as the scorched and battered fireball roared over their heads to come hurtling into one wall too many and slam into the ground, screeching and groaning along the remains of a filthy street before eventually coming to a wrenching stop.

Silence.

Darkness.

The scavengers came, picking their way through the wreckage of the lower levels, to find the ruined body of what had once been a pyramid flyer.

Once.

Now his wings were shattered, his body forced into robot mode with the strength and horror of the crash, his silver limbs cracked and broken as wires spat and died and fuel drained away. They gathered, the jackals of Cybertron, and picked the bones of a flyer's carcass for them to live another cycle: most of his parts were shattered beyond their overall limited skills to repair, any little fuel he might have had was burnt up in re-entry or spilt over half a mile of Cybertron and unreachable, and there was little left they could scavenge or trade. Growling and dissatisfied with this worthless gift from the gods they slunk away, looking for sweeter prey.

Time passed. The shell lay dormant, a bundle of wires and metal spread so far and so thin it was barely alive.

But alive it was, though inert.

Deep-rooted circuitry sparked and groaned, a probe sputtered and lurched into pitifully slow, sluggish movement, scraping doggedly over the dented wreckage of a walkway until it reached a cover knocked askew by the comet that was once a flyer. The probe hovered, obeying its in-built programming, and assessed the energy available. It seemed to reach a decision and, in a movement uncannily like a decisive nod, the tip split to form a spike - a plug that dove into the nest of wires and circuitry that was a part of the living Cybertron itself, and began to follow its coding.

Energy moved. It shifted in its course across the surface of the planet, the infinitesimal drain barely noticeable in the bigger picture. But look closer... energy crept up the plug, trickling into a shattered body - systems groaned, shivered, stirred into grumbling obedience, and a self-repair system at the most basic level was activated.

Slowly, so slowly it was almost imperceptible, circuitry began to meld together. Wires reattached, protocols rekindled, reserves drained to the point of no return nursed on any and all spare energy, until the most basic repairs were completed. Life support systems were mainly online, reserves had been recharged to the minimum levels, optic and audio sensors had been repaired but other sensors would need specialist attention and major structural damage had only been temporarily sealed. Internal computer monitors deemed the flyer would be able to survive, and sense returned at last.

Starscream moaned.

"Noo-oooooh..."

No-one heard the thin wail, borne across the Dead Zone - broken, aching and as lost as the flier himself. No-one was there to hear. And the flier, for the first time in a thousand, thousand years, was utterly, terrifyingly alone.


Ouch... (winces.) Sorry, Screamer... Now I'm off to carry on with the next bit. Which will, by the way, owe Nightwind something in inspiration. As ever, please read and review! Reviews make me happy! (but won't stop me torturing the poor seeker - I've got to get this idea out of my system. Sorry.)It'll be interesting to see if I get flamed, actually - I've never been flamed before. Someone complained I use Dreadmoon too much once, but I don't know if that counts...

Starscream and Skyfire are © Hasbro or somebody. The story and the angst I'm going to put my poor seeker through are all © my twisted little mind.