Canon-note: I use a strict G1 cartoon-based canon. Primary reference for this fic was the history of Cybertron, as revealed in Five Faces of Death. Okay, no, I kid. That was secondary reference. Primary reference was Thundercracker's tech spec. Primary inspiration was the song it's built around ("Tomorrow Belongs To Me," the version in the movie Cabaret). And no, I don't give a darn that Cybertron doesn't have stags or lindens or what-have-yous.

Tomorrow Belongs To Me

"Will you at least think about it?" asked Skywarp.

There was a long pause. "I'll... think about it. But it doesn't feel right."

"Well... as long as you'll think about it, Thundercracker. You think about these things harder than I do, so I'm sure you'll go with what's right."

The sun on the meadow is summery warm
The stag in the forest runs free
But gather together to greet the storm
Tomorrow belongs to me.

Thundercracker nodded to his friend before transforming and flying off into the night-dark sky. He didn't think he'd join, but he found it hard to tell Skywarp that directly. Cybertron had been at peace a good while. Sure, he didn't care much for how the Council was running things, either, but war against their own kind was such a drastic step.

On the other hand, like every other true-built Decepticon, Thundercracker was military hardware forced to exist in a world that had no use for a military. He felt stifled, trapped, no matter how far or how fast he flew. He wasn't just built for flight or for speed; he was built for war, pure and simple. Some people argued that a weapon could exist for defense as easily as it can for offense, but who were they defending against? Legends of their oppressive creators were a fast fading memory, and none of the other species that the interplanetary expeditions reported were even a remote threat to their powerful robotic species.

The branch of the linden is leafy and green
The Rhine gives its gold to the sea
But somewhere a glory awaits unseen
Tomorrow belongs to me.

And the Transformers were powerful. In a universe of predominantly organic species, they were mechanical, long-lived to the point of nigh-immortality, able to repair damages that would kill these lesser beings. Thundercracker paused when he realized the thought that had worked his way through his processors. "Lesser beings." That was the first term that came to his mind to describe these other beings. The Council and its adherents preached that the organics were spiritual equals and should be regarded as such, but here in the sky, with no company but his own thoughts, he could not deny what he knew to be the truth: the organics were inferior life forms.

Thundercracker found a lonely vantage point from which he could view the city and transformed. He had been so lost in his own thoughts that he had not noticed the approaching morning, but now he could begin to make out the metropolis below him. He looked down... he looked down on the ground-dwellers, and he could not suppress his sneer. These were the beings who presumed to dictate to him how he should think, how he should feel, how he should behave? These slaves to gravity would dare to place shackles on his very soul?

He still did not like the idea of spending resources battling other Transformers. After all, the more time and energy spent at war with their own kind, the less there was to spend in conquest of the rest of galaxy. But whether he liked the idea of war or not, one was coming. The lines were being drawn. He would have to make a choice, and he was damned if he'd choose to side himself with flightless surface-crawlers!

The babe in his cradle is closing his eyes
The blossom embraces the bee
"But soon," says a whisper, "Arise, arise."
Tomorrow belongs to me.

In the nighttime of his soul he would never be able to completely shake the doubts that plagued him. But now, morning had come, and for that one moment as he stood in the light his path was clear. No one who could not taste the sky had the right to tell him what he should think, and it angered him to know not only that they had, but also that he had allowed them to.

No more. Thundercracker leaped away from his perch and allowed himself to savor freefall for a moment before kicking on his jets and transforming. It was time to find Skywarp and tell him his decision.

Fatherland, Fatherland, show us the sign
Your children have waited to see
The morning will come when the world is mine
Tomorrow belongs, tomorrow belongs, tomorrow belongs to me.