Part 21: Confrontations

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Darkmount Fortress, City of Polyhex, Cybertron
Earth date 17.07.2005

Shockwave strode through the corridors of the Decepticon fortress, his mind ablaze with the closest thing to anger he was capable of feeling. Logic said that he should be far away from here. The new Decepticon leader had caught him scheming with the Autobots. Logic said he should cut his losses and flee from Cybertron, which would almost certainly be destroyed soon. The alliance with the Autobots would never happen now, they could not help but conclude that Shockwave had betrayed them, and he could see no other way of saving his homeworld from the world devourer.

But logic had its limits, even for someone like him. His world was crumbling around him, everything was falling apart. Oh, not physically, not yet at least, but he was certain it was only a matter of time. And there was but one course of action he had left now. It was highly illogical, but after his brief talk with Soundwave he did calculate a small chance of success. Agonizingly small, yes, but it was all he had left.

Bursting into the command centre, he strode directly toward the creature that had usurped Decepticon command. Galvatron looked at him with amusement in his eyes, even as his minions moved to intercept Shockwave. Galvatron gestured for them to let him pass, though.

"Commander Galvatron, I need to speak with you," Shockwave demanded, coming to a stop before the towering war machine.

Galvatron smiled, probably secure in his knowledge that he could blow Shockwave away without too much trouble.

"Speak, Shockwave. I am most interested in what you have to say."

Shockwave seethed internally, but kept reign on his uncharacteristically volatile temper. For now.

"You are the Decepticon leader," Shockwave began. "You claim you are Megatron reborn. Yet your actions betray both your position and your claims. A Decepticon leader would never stand for this monstrosity in our skies destroying our moons. And Megatron would never allow anyone to be his master."

Galvatron laughed. "Be careful, Shockwave! One might almost get the impression that you are experiencing emotions. Things certainly have changed in the short time I was away."

"This is no laughing matter!"

"It certainly is not, my cyclopean friend. In fact the situation is even graver that you could possibly calculate."

Galvatron walked over to the giant view screen that dominated the control room and activated it. An image of Unicron hanging in Cybertron's skies came on. Even for Shockwave the sight of such a monstrosity hanging directly over his head seemed incredibly oppressive.

"Unicron has come to this world for one reason and one reason only. Because it is here that he seeks the one object in the universe that can hinder his plans."

"What object?" Shockwave asked.

Galvatron smiled and picked up something from the table in front of him. Shockwave hadn't registered it earlier, but now that his attention was brought to it, he could not help but recognise it. Not two Earth hours ago he had seen Galvatron rip it out of Ultra Magnus' chest casing before he exterminated the Autobot leader.

"The Autobot Matrix of Leadership?" Shockwave asked. "What can this useless old relic accomplish against something like the world devourer?"

"You surprise me, Shockwave," Galvatron replied. "All that logic and you never realised that the Matrix is much, much more than a simple symbol of leadership."

Gripping the sacred object with both hands, an unholy gleam came to his optics. "Within this small, unassuming object resides the only power Unicron fears. The Autobots have always kept it a tightly guarded secret, but the Matrix of Leadership goes by another name. The Creation Matrix. Because it holds the power to give life."

Shockwave's mind rapidly processed these new revelations. While he was not yet convinced that anything that Galvatron said was true, he had no problem calculating scenarios based upon the assumption that it was, in fact, true.

Vector Sigma was the one unquantifiable machine on Cybertron, the only piece of technology neither Shockwave nor any other Cybertronian scientist had ever been able to figure out. It gave life to new Transformers. Galvatron said that the Matrix could do the same. If that was true, then it was probably connected to the same kind of energy field that enabled Vector Sigma to bestow life. Life was energy, after all, and all energy had to come from somewhere, it could not be created out of nothing.

Unicron was known as the Great Unmaker in Cybertronian mythology. Meaning he was the antithesis of life. Opposite force to the energy tapped by both Vector Sigma and the Matrix. If this was true, than the Matrix (or Vector Sigma for that matter) might well be weapons to be used against this foe. It opened up new opportunities.

Of course with the Matrix in the hands of Unicron's minion, those opportunities might all come to naught very soon.

"If what you say is correct," Shockwave began carefully, "what are your plans now? Do you intend to deliver the Matrix to your master?"

Shockwave saw how Galvatron's face darkened slightly when he said the word 'master'. If his claim of having been Megatron was true, maybe some of Megatron's personality has survived inside of him. The Megatron Shockwave had known would have gone ballistic on anyone even suggesting that he had a master.

"That is what he recreated me for. The sole reason why he wrenched me back from oblivion. He needed a servant, Shockwave. A flawless jewel of a warrior to send before him and acquire the one thing that can possibly stop him."

A manic grin appeared on Galvatron's face. "But the jewel is not flawless, Shockwave. I may no longer be Megatron, but neither am I a mindless puppet. My so-called master wants the Matrix. And I will give it to him."

He held up the object in question, his grin widening. "I will shove it right down his oversized throat and make him choke on it."

Shockwave waited, but Galvatron said nothing more.

"That is your plan?" he finally asked. "You want to simply walk up to Unicron and... what? Throw the Matrix at him? You obviously have no idea how it works, if it does work at all. This may be our only hope to save ourselves from extinction, Galvatron. We need to consider..."

A vicious backhand sent the purple Decepticon sprawling.

"Do not presume to tell me what to do," Galvatron thundered, his lethal cannon lined up with Shockwave's head. "I am Decepticon leader. I am the rightful ruler of the universe. I will destroy Unicron and nothing and no one will stand in my way. Do I make myself clear, Shockwave?"

"Perfectly clear, Commander," Shockwave replied. Reason was obviously wasted on Galvatron, that much was readily apparent. Megatron had suffered from bouts of irrationality, but never to the point of risking everything on some mad, untested scheme. If there really was anything of Megatron inside this madman, then it was deeply buried.

Which meant the one miniscule chance of saving Cybertron would in all probability be wasted on a foolish exercise in grandstanding.

"May I make a suggestion, though, Commader?" Shockwave asked after a moment.

Galvatron considered, but finally nodded, his cannon arm lowering a bit.

"When you go to confront Unicron, would it not be prudent to have all available Decepticon forces assembled at your back? If the Matrix should prove insufficient to finish Unicron off, certainly the combined might of your armies can deliver the final blow."

It was a gamble, but it was all he had left. If by some miracle Galvatron's scheme should succeed, then he'd have all the Decepticons in place to then destroy Galvatron and his minions in one fell swoop.

Should it not work, which was by far the more probably outcome, it was possible Unicron would at least reveal some kind of vulnerability when confronted with the Matrix. Or possibly one of the assembled Decepticons might be in a position to wrench the Matrix from Galvatron's hands, bringing it to safety for a second, more thought-out approach.

There wasn't much hope, but Shockwave found himself clinging to every single bit of it.

"Wise counsel, Shockwave," Galvatron finally said, loweing his cannon. "Give the order to assemble. In two Earth hours we will go to finish off this would-be god once and for all. Then Cybertron will be ours."

Shockwave rose as Galvatron turned away, obviously dismissing him. Two hours then. Plans needed to be made. He would have to take several of the higher-ranking Decepticons into his confidence, tell them what needed to be done. There was, of course, the risk of betrayal, but hopefully the imminent threat would curb the treacherous Decepticon nature long enough for all of them to survive this.

Hope, Shockwave mused. In millions of years of existence he had not used that words half as much as he had today. There was a human saying, though, that summed it up quite nicely. Sometimes hope was all you had.

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End Part 21