By: Sinead (Raptrana )
In Order to Reveal Its Inhabitants
Strika and Obsidian followed Thrust to Megatron, not trusting either the Vehicon general or their leader's goals. They knew that if they stayed with Optimus, though, Megatron would have hunted them down and killed them brutally for becoming traitors.
"Ah, good, you've listened to me."
"Is there any other option?" Obsidian replied. Megatron decided to ignore the false tone in his voice.
"Well, of course there is!" he replied carelessly, as if it were natural for them to know this information. "Obliteration."
Obsidian remained impassive. Strika shook her head, saying, "Well? What's the deal with the machine?"
"How resourceful of you to mention that, my dear Strika," Megatron replied. The female general barely kept herself from sneering at his comment. "A cloning machine. During the Beast Wars, I had dabbled in this art, and only now, I recognize what I have been doing wrong, yess. I need the original Spark, in order to re-create the clone. As I will now demonstrate."
Obsidian frowned, looking away. Megatron saw this, reprimanding him. "Obsidian, I created you, therefore I have the power to terminate your existence. I will have none of your insolence, understand?"
"Fine. As you say, Megatron."
Megatron glowered at his general, yet didn't dignify the snippy response with an answer.
The Spark floated gracefully into the device, as Thrust inserted the DNA scans. Strika was against the whole cloning deal. Drones, mindless machines, with no will of their own, was fine, as they needed their assistance, in order to operate. But this . . . this was horrendous! She vowed silently to herself, that she would do everything in her power to help this poor creature, whoever he may be . . .
Where am I? Is this the Matrix? I'm supposed to be there, I'm sure of it. But . . . this isn't anything like what anyone's described it to be. Hn . . . I winder what's going on? Who's that talking? Ah. He's talking to me, to see if I'm fully on-line. . . . Wait. . . . His voice is familiar . . . too familiar . . . I know it from somewhere, but from where? No! No! This can't be happening! But . . . it is. That idiot.
Strika watched the tall Cybertronian walk forth, seeming to be dull, witless. She sighed, relieved that she wouldn't have to work hard in order to rescue him, to set him free. Then, she recognized something: he had a beast mode! It showed, by the strange animal's head on his chest, and the way his arms were built.
Suddenly, as if struck my lightning, the bot's optics sparked to life, intelligence lighting them to new depths. Strika began to doubt herself, until she saw the bot's next actions.
He leapt away from Megatron, snarling. "You FOOL! Why did you bring me back, you idiot?!"
"Ah, my dear old friend, because I have need to."
"Friend?" he snarled. "Once, if you could consider your tyranny a friendship! I was finally free from you, and now I have to fight you over again!"
"You?" Thrust sniggered. "Fight Megatron? Ooh, this I gotta see!"
"Who the Pit are you?" he wondered out loud. Shaking his head, he answered himself. "That doesn't matter."
He grinned evilly up at the general, causing him to slink back against the wall, memories resurfacing reluctantly, as his former personality bubbled to the surface. He moaned, holding his head, and rocking back and forth. Strika and Obsidian shared a glance, then looked to Megatron, who was watching the new bot calmly. "Come, come, now. You're a Predacon! Again."
Turning, the bot left the room, replying, "I never was a Predacon, Megatron. Never."
With a look, Megatron sent the remaining two generals after the bot. Once they were gone, he looked to Thrust. "Get up, you blubbering fool."
"But . . . but that was . . ."
"Of course it was. Do you think that I didn't notice? I thought I had washed his memory of the Wars!"
"Didn't work," the mis-placed voice replied out of Thrust's vocal circuit. "Not work. He scrap–"
Megatron shut out the general's whining, and let his consciousness retreat into himself, trying to remember how exactly he had gone wrong . . .
Rattrap looked up at the Oracle, murmuring half to himself, half to the mystic piece of technology. "Why are 'ya restoring my memories, and not da others? What am I gonna do with dem, eh? Am I gonna hafta explain everythin' to dem? I ain't gonna do it, if dat's what you want. So what's it gonna be? Eh? Huh. Whatever."
He was about to drop to his beast self, and find some quiet corner, and reminisce about the past, when he felt someone . . . or something watching him. He turned slowly on his wheels, silently cursing his handicapped body for not providing him with weapons. His eyes scanned around, but he saw nothing. Flipping the small visor forward, he scanned for the body heat given off. And he found it.
He shook his head, the visor flipping up, as if he saw nothing, and he sighed, turning his back on whoever was watching him. Ahead, Cheetor was walking up, and he discreetly motioned for him to keep quiet, as he rolled up to him. "Kid, dere's somethin' over dere, by da main entrance. I dunno what it is, but it ain't Noble, far as I can tell."
Cheetor nodded. "Yeah. You want me to do something?"
Rattrap nodded. "Do back out, an' around. Come up behind 'im, an' I'll trap 'im from the front."
"You sure that'll work?"
Rattrap grinned. "It's an old trick, sure, but it'll work."
The younger Maximal shrugged, nodding, and ambled back out, as if nothing was going on . . .
The cloned bot watched with amazement at the device in front of him. He knew that is was what he thought it was, but he didn't believe it. As he looked at it, he saw a short creature at the base of it. It turned, and he got the impression of a wheeled creature with a tail. It looked around, but the bot made sure he was hidden. As soon as he made sure that it was looking elsewhere, he crept to another spot, and saw some sort of mask or helmet slide forward, concealing his face, as he looked around again. Flipping it up, he shook his head, turning slowly away, to greet another bot, that shared some basic traits. It nodded, and strode out confidently, yet the bot had the impression that he was sauntering. A watch, and a second warrior to check up and see if anything had happened during the watch.
He sighed, and looked back at the device, wondering what it really did . . .
Cheetor saw the shadowed bot ahead of him, but between them, he saw Strika and Obsidian. He grinned, ready for some Vehicon-bashing. Optimus joined him, and they advanced silently. At the last moment, they tapped the generals' shoulders, causing them to turn right in time to be knocked out by direct punches to their faces.
Turning, the cloned bot saw the generals fall, and behind them, two other bots. He froze, and then recognized one of them as the one who was up by the Oracle. Maybe he wouldn't have to scrap them.
Then the skinny one laced his fingers together, and cracked them, pushing outward. And spoke. "Yep. All in a day's work. And you? In the shadows? Don't 'ya know that it's rude to spy? Well?"
The Bot was trembling, as he walked out of the shadows. "Cheetor? That's you, isn't it?"
Cheetor looked at the bot strangely. "Yeah. And? Who are you?"
The bot's face registered his shock. "It's me . . ."
But before he could reply, he heard a muffled screech, and he found himself on his back, staring up at the first bot he saw. He was glaring into his face, but the clone whispered, "Rattrap . . ."
Rattrap backed off, and smiled for the first time Optimus had seen him in days. "So. 'Ya didn't go to da Matrix, eh?"
The clone snorted. "Well, if you continue suffocating me with your stench I just might pass into said realm. But . . . why doesn't Cheetor remember me?"
Rattrap shook his head, hopping off of the Maximal's chest. "Our memories were partially erased. Don't blame da kiddo, but maybe some of your ol' nick-names might bring back some memories."
Optimus held his hand out, and the bot took it, letting himself be helped up. The Maximal leader smiled, and replied, "Welcome back . . ."
"Dinobot," Rattrap finished, grinning, and tackling him again, trading old insults . . .