I have been a little rushed lately. Anyway, chapter 35 is ready. Many thanks to Krystalmaze for the editing.



Chapter 35: Interlude (2)

Rodimus Prime's quarters

Arcee hesitated to announce that she was standing in front of his quarters. Jazz had told her that Rodimus had been injured during the operation against the Insecticons, and the fact that he hadn't come to see her or left his quarters since his return from the medbay indicated that the shock was harder to overcome than expected.

"Rodimus, I know you are here!" she called through the intercom. "Please, open up!"

I am sorry, Arcee, but I am a kind of busy right now came the laconic answer.

"Busy... with what?" she thought, a little vexed that her boyfriend refused to see her. However, she was determined to have a conversation with him, and wouldn't leave until she got satisfaction.

"Rodimus, we need to talk! I'm not going to leave without―"

The door slid open on the young lieutenant. Arcee noticed that he looked slightly overworked, but other than that, he seemed to be fine.

"Why are you locking yourself in your quarters?" she asked. "I thought you would be happy to see me coming to your base!" she added, a little annoyed.

"I was pondering about my last failure," he simply responded, not offering her to come in.

"That was not a failure: Optimus and you are still alive, and Megatron managed to stop the Insecticons," Arcee retorted, trying to push through but Rodimus refused to give ground.

"That is the problem: Megatron. He is becoming the ruler of this base. If Optimus Prime doesn't recover quickly, we will have a new master, and it will be this tyrant."

Arcee stared at him in surprise as she failed to understand the real reason of his seclusion.

"Is it the real reason why you refuse to go outside your quarters?" she asked.

"I feel guilty: if I had been a better warrior, Optimus Prime wouldn't be welded to a repair berth and Megatron wouldn't be on the way to recovering all his power."

"You know, it is useless to blame yourself. It is not your fault if he had been injured, and anyway, it won't help him to recover," she lectured him before holding his hand. "Come with me, let's have a walk in the base. I am sure it is going to brighten up your mind."

Rodimus Prime stared at her and finally lowered his head, looking aside.

"Sorry, I need some time alone," he said.

"No, wait!" Arcee protested, to no avail.

The door closed on Rodimus Prime, leaving Arcee on the threshold, shared between stupor and anger.

"How dare he…!?"


Base 0025, in a spare meeting room

"Shockwave suspended you for a duration of 24 hours?!" Cyclonus exclaimed indignantly. "How dare he take disciplinary sanctions against you while you stroke a decisive blow on the Insecticons by bringing Thanatron in the fight?"

Galvatron chuckled considering the passionate reaction of his most faithful lieutenant. Since the day he had spared Cyclonus in the arena and had taken this skillful shuttle former as an apprentice and consequently, as second in command, he had never regretted it. He had sometimes feared that Cyclonus started to develop the same twisted love for him as Starscream had developed for Megatron, but it wasn't the case. Cyclonus was a true warrior, this rare kind of Decepticon who dedicated their life for the cause and their master, period. On this point, he was more comparable to Soundwave rather than this little fool of Starscream.

"I rather take this as a timid diplomatic gesture from Shockwave to show us that he still is a Decepticon in a way." Galvatron smirked, hiding the fact he was not sure of what he assessed. "Or at least, he wanted to acknowledge our dominant position in the base… We, Megatron and I, can't be punished given that we are the only commanders able to protect this base," he proudly stated.

"To deny this fact would be foolish of the Autobots!"

Galvatron nodded appreciatively. He had always liked praises coming from Cyclonus, because they were not praises; they were sincere acknowledgement of his power.

"What is the status of the Decepticon troops?" the warlord asked.

"They all have left the repair bay by now, to the exception of Octane, who needs additional repairs. Thundercracker is the only one still assigned to his quarters, but he should be allowed to leave it for the bonding ceremony tonight."

"What about the Insecticons?"

"Shrapnel, Kickback and Bombshell are still in stasis lock, and Ratchet's medical team is performing important repairs on their motor systems. They shouldn't be awoken before 48 hours. Their clones are guarded by a secret elite team lead by a certain Drift. I still don't have much information about him and his men."

Galvatron waved disdainfully the problem with a hand.

"That's not an issue: ask Soundwave to hack the security system and find the information."

Cyclonus raised a nervous look on his leader.

"Perhaps, should it be wiser to ask Megatron first… Soundwave won't cooperate if Megatron doesn't give his approval beforehand."

Cyclonus had a point: this would be another point to discuss with his brother, along with another important matter.

"And Scourge? Does he still feel like following me?"

That was not the first time he had to ask. Scourge had always been different from Cyclonus since the day he had hired this bounty hunter in the slum of Kaon. His faith belonged to the strongest, and if he had been punished alongside Cyclonus and himself million years ago, it was only for a mistake of his own. He hadn't been quick enough to escape Megatron's wrath.

"Well… Scourge being Scourge, and the Decepticons being successful, he is faithful to our cause for instance," Cyclonus replied with a knowing smile.

Galvatron chuckled, sharing his second's thought: Scourge was in no way reliable.

"Perfect, you can take your leave, and if you want, your day," Galvatron concluded, pointing at the exit door. "Keep your comm.-link open, anyway, just in case of emergency."

"Thank you my lord!"

Cyclonus bowed deeply and left without further words. Once he was alone, Galvatron opened his comm.-link with his elder brother, but only statics echoed in his audios.

"Brother, I know you are listening to me! Stop shagging your bird and open your comm.-link', slag it!" he growled.

"Stop being insulting and mind your language!" came the answer.

Galvatron hardly swallowed a sneer.

"Nothing hurts like the truth, hum!?"

O

This could have been a pleasant day for Cyclonus. Despite his temporary suspension, Galvatron was rather in a good mood. He was allowed to take a day off, and besides, there was no enemy attack on the way. Life seemed cheerful for a change, but… no, he had to find himself staring at those two yellow optics, with the edge of a sword dangerously pressing on his main energon supply pipe on his throat, and the femme's hand tracing lasciviously his cockpit.

"Nightbird, get out of my way!" he hissed.

"Why would I, my dear warrior?" she replied seductively. "I have a revenge to take on you!"

She hardly finished her sentence when she removed her blade from Cyclonus' neck and tried to strike him right in the head. The Decepticon was a too fine soldier to be taken aback by such a gross maneuver and blocked easily the blow by grabbing Nightbird's wrist, stopping the blade a few inches from his face.

"What do you think you're doing, you silly femme?" he barked, forcing her to step back. "I thought I had been crystal clear last time: don't step in my way anymore, or you will regret it!"

"Oh, bunny head is getting angry?" she purred and then slammed her free fist in his face. "Show me how angry you can be."

The blow was powerful enough to push Cyclonus back against the door, which creaked in protest.

O

"In a cycle, in your private quarters? Okay, I'll be on time." Galvatron replied and then chuckled lecherously. "Is it Starscream that I hear moaning through your comm.-link?"

The only answer he got was the static after Megatron cut the communication.

"Eh… Eh… You old dirty bot," Galvatron mocked. His attention was suddenly attracted by a loud bang that came from the corridor. "What the slag is this ruckus?" he groaned, not happy being disturbed during his business.

He walked to the door and soon recognized the two voices that echoed to each other: Cyclonus and Nightbird. The most interesting part was actually what the conversation was about. The vicious smirk immediately reappeared on Galvatron's face.

"Now… That's interesting!"

O

Cyclonus grunted with dissatisfaction when Nightbird managed to trip him up and pinned him audaciously over her lighter weight. It would have been easy for him to push her back, but first, he wanted to know the reason of her strange behavior.

"May I know what foolish game you are playing, earthling femme?"

"That's simple: I want something, so I came here to take it", she retorted, pressing a button at the side of her helmet to retract her face mask.

When her face was completely free of its metal shutter, she lowered her face, tracing his jaw line with sensuality. Troubled to the most, Cyclonus was unable to say he felt shocked, pleased or uncomfortable. It felt just as if his processor had been burnt during the short battle, leaving him lifeless.

"What… what are you doing?" he stuttered.

"Taking what I came for…" Nightbird retorted, sealing her lips with his own.

The shuttle former was once again unable to make a simple move, even to shut his mandeta to stop the intrusion of this glossa that explored his mouth with no shame. After an eternity, Nightbird drew back and straightened up, staring at him with a horny look in the optics.

"Beware: next time, I will want more from you," she warned, caressing gently his cheeks.

She finally stood up and ran at the other side of the corridor, leaving Cyclonus lifeless on the floor.

After long minutes, the Decepticon Air Commander managed to reclaim the command of his processor and stood up, but had to lean heavily against the wall. Slowly, anger took over him as he realized he had been dominated by a femme. An Earthling femme, to be precise, which was even worse than a Cybertronian femme!

"Next time you come and see me to play this little farce with me, Nightbird, I swear you will be nothing but scrapped metal," he swore.

"You will do nothing of that!" groaned the familiar voice of Galvatron in his audios.

The shuttle former spun around on his thrusters and stared at his commander with a miserable look.

"Lord Galvatron… I…"

"Don't lose your time asking, Cyclonus. I've seen and heard everything!" Galvatron said and then smirked. "I was also to ask you if you were making some progress to attract Nightbird into the Decepticon army, but I see that indeed, you are on the good way to making an excellent Decepticon of her."

"It is not what you think, my Lord!" Cyclonus tried to justify, obviously shared between panic and shame. "I have no intention to become intimate with this femme!"

"No… Really?" Galvatron grabbed Cyclonus by the chin and forced him to stare at him in the optics. "And I say that sometimes, it is necessary to make some sacrifice. I have the feeling that this turbo tigress has a big thing for you, and that if you give her what she wants, you will rule her with a rod of iron!"

At this stage, Cyclonus felt like the ground opened beneath his feet and the void swallowed him.

"My lord, please, don't ask me to…"

"Yes, I'm asking you to do everything necessary to enroll Nightbird in the army, even if it implies to interface with her every damn night on Earth!" Galvatron retorted. He patted Cyclonus' shoulders apologetically. "Consider the good side of this duty: she has a nice chassis!"

Galvatron gave a last maniac laugh before retreating in the meeting room, leaving Cyclonus in the corridor. Never in the past, had the Air Commander felt so beaten and humiliated, even dirty, as if he had already sinned with this ninja femme.


Nearby Megatron's quarters

Galvatron was still laughing when he arrived in front of his brother's door. He had to confess that Cyclonus arousing the greed of Nightbird was very entertaining. His second in command had always lived an ascetic life, keeping his private life secret. Galvatron thought he had very few interface experiences with a femme, and was certain that this was the good opportunity for him to relax.

"Oh, this will be very fun," he chuckled before regaining his serious and beeping his elder brother. "May I enter or are you in the middle of an interface session with your bird?" he asked huskily.

"You're an idiotic moron, Galvatron!" came the answer as the door slid open on the tall frame of the Decepticon leader. "Starscream is out to visit Thundercracker."

"Annoying for you, hum?" Galvatron did not leave the time for Megatron to protest and pushed him back before shutting close the door. "So, tell me what this important matter is about… Something for the future victory and domination of the Decepticons over this base, I suppose," he pursued.

Megatron's optics flashed red, as usual when the supremacy of his army was at stake.

"I guessed it was so… By the way, you don't offer me an energon cube?" Galvatron complained, scanning the quarters in search of the bar.

"No, I would be afraid that you gatecrash the preparation of my bonding ceremony if I do so."

The crazy warlord laughed at the insult.

"As if I needed to occupy your quarters to put the mess to a bonding ceremony… I thought you knew me better." Galvatron smiled openly when Megatron looked dagger at him.

"Shut up, Galvy, and listen to me!"

Galvatron's smirk grew wider. He really liked when Megatron called him by this nickname, which he had created at the time they both battled in the arena.

"I'd like to put back online some other Decepticons," Megatron explained, watching carefully the reaction of his brother. "The conversation with Prime led me to think it was time to reinforce our troops."

Galvatron's face didn't show any surprise.

"That's something I'd like to become true, but be sure that Prime will veto this request."

"Anyway, I plan to explain him that after two battles, our men are exhausted and that if we want to beat off the Salonians in case they attack us, we need new cannon fodder," Megatron retorted, emphasizing his reasoning with large gesture. "Prime is in a weak position; he won't be able to turn me down… because he needs us to protect the base."

He fell in silence, not leaving his optics of Galvatron. His brother was deep in his thoughts, rubbing nervously his chin.

"Actually… I was to leave to the repair bay for another reason, but I planned to take the opportunity to put some pressure on Prime." His burning gaze fell on his brother's red optics. "I will ask to revive the gestalt formers in priority, because they are the fittest to battle the Super Tankers or even the Stalkers. Namely: the Constructicons and the Stunticons. The Coneheads will wait a little longer."

"I agree with you," Galvatron replied before chuckling madly. "Get Prime's approval and I will see that they become operational within 24 hours."

Megatron nodded, his facial expression soon matching Galvatron's Machiavellian smile.


In Thundercracker's quarters

Starscream stepped silently in his wing mate's quarters, and understood immediately why the blue jet hadn't replied when he had opened their private comm.-link. Thundercracker was still in recharge, with the gentle humming of his main engine as the only sign of life. Starscream hesitated before seating at the edge of the berth, and finally set a hand on a blue forearm to shake the sleeping mech.

"Hey, TC… Do you feel alright?" he murmured to Thundercracker's audios.

A moan first replied to his question, and then a glimmer appeared in the Seeker's optics.

"Starscream?" he murmured, seemingly surprised to see his wing mate seated beside him. "What are you doing here?"

"I came for news. I heard that you were still convalescing and…" Starscream posed a little and then gave him a warm smile. "I was just wondering… Will you be there for the bonding ceremony tonight?"

Thundercracker nodded quietly before adding:

"Yes, of course. I do not want to miss that important moment. I am a little weak; therefore, I was planning to rest the whole day to be in top form tonight."

"Good… I am sure that Skyfire will be more than happy to come with you!" Starscream didn't add a word when he saw Thundercracker's face literally fall. "Did I say something wrong?" he worryingly asked.

"I don't want to see Skyfire anymore!" the convalescent mech retorted, hiding his optics with his hand.

"Why? He is a nice guy, though…"

"He took the decision of withdrawing from the battle without taking account of what I was thinking. He is overprotective to a point that I have the feeling to be stalked. He is too much…!"

"He is in love with you," Starscream retorted, forcing Thundercracker to withdraw his hand to look at him in the optics. "If he hadn't gotten you away from the battle, you would be as dead as a mech in the pit, TC. I actually tried to do the same with Megatron, but the old rust can refused to abandon his men. Nevertheless, I can only approve Skyfire's decision towards you."

Thundercracker sighed heavily and then shook his head as to deny Starscream's words.

"He is overconfident."

"He'd better be if he wants to seduce a Decepticon." Starscream chuckled lightly while patting Thundercracker's shoulder. "Come on, I'm sure that you wouldn't like being courted by a shy and nice Autobot."

"I don't want to be courted at all!" Thundercracker exclaimed. "And certainly not by an Autobot."

"Why not?"

Starscream knew fairly well he was forcing Thundercracker to the wall, but he didn't understand the Seeker stubbornness to reject Skyfire's advance. For him, it had been clear for many years that the blue Seeker wasn't the type of mech who could develop alone. He needed someone to draw him from his natural trend to depression and loneliness. He had first thought that Skywarp could have been the good match, but he had quickly understood that the crazy prankster was exclusively interested in femmes. Skyfire was the only candidate left, sensitive enough to cherish this special Decepticon, which way of thinking was very close to the Autobot's philosophy.

"Because I once dated a neutral," Thundercracker confessed in a broken voice.

"Ah?" Starscream hadn't seen it coming and fell in silence a long minute before finding something to say. "And what happened?"

"I entered the Decepticon army, and him, the Autobot army. One day, we crossed our paths and started battling. I had to shoot him down… in the spark; else he would have killed me."

The confession caught Starscream off guard, forcing him to keep silent. However, he couldn't abandon the idea that Skyfire was the perfect partner for Thundercracker.

"If your lover tried to kill you on the battlefield, it means he didn't really love you. Skyfire will never try to kill you now that he feels what he feels for you," Starscream assured, catching his wing mate by the chin to force his head up. "I know him well: I tried many times to shoot him down after his awakening on Earth, to kill him. He never tried to hit me lethally in response, certainly in memory of our relationship."

Thundercracker didn't say a word, taking a sad expression.

"I am afraid to take the risk of loving someone again," he finally confessed.

Starscream rubbed one of the Seeker's wing to show he understood and cared for him.

"Take the time to think about it again. You need someone by your sides, and I think that Skyfire is the right mech to lighten up your life."

Thundercracker lowered his face again, more insecure than ever.


In another part of the base

Saying that Arcee was deeply disappointed by Rodimus Prime's reaction was an understatement. She understood that the management of this base was very important for the young bot, and that he was in a delicate situation because of Optimus' injuries, but she was his girlfriend, for Primus sake. Life was already difficult as they were constantly apart from each other, Rodimus in the base 0025, and Arcee in the 0023. That is why she had been so insistent on Ultra Magnus, insisting to board the Atlantis after the hard battle a week ago. All of this for what? To have Rodimus asking her to leave him alone!

"That's unfair!" she muttered, kicking a piece of metal away.

The object bounced several times on the ground before hurting the foot of another mech.

"Wow! Isn't it my dear Arcee…? What's going on? You seem to be a little gloomy…"

This voice… Arcee sighed deeply, realizing she had bumped into the mech she absolutely didn't want to talk to today, or any day.

"Leave me alone, Skywarp!" she scoffed, spinning on her heels to walk in the other direction.

She groaned faintly when a strong hand grabbed her petite wrist and forced her to turn back to face him. The purple and black Seeker leaned slightly over her smaller frame, smiling gently at her.

"Where have you been all this time? I thought… no actually hopped, that you would come and congratulate me for the major part I played in the victory of the Insecticons," he boasted while drawing her closer to him. "Perhaps… you could give me a new kiss?" he ventured.

The slap that Arcee gratified him almost sent him flying against the wall. Nevertheless, he didn't wipe away his amused smile from his lips.

"Ah… I guess it means "no kiss", hum?"

Arcee flashed angrily her optics, already tightening her fist to give him a good beating.

"How can you think I'd like to give you a kiss!" she barked, walking to him with the obvious will to slap him again. "Last time, you took me off guard as the miserable, despicable, low-class, stupid, impulsive and…"

Her litany stopped when Skywarp grabbed her chin, and forcing her face up, ravished her lip component with an evident skill. Arcee pushed on his chest by reflex, but the damn Seeker was too powerful and had the cheek to envelop her with his energy field. She cursed herself when her own field almost resounded with the Jet's. To her disappointment, she finally gave up, allowing the Jet to deepen the kiss.

She had almost convinced herself that it was pleasant when Skywarp broke the kiss.

"Ah, that's better… I prefer that," he said, letting her stepping back to regain some personal space. "Actually, I was looking after you to ask you something," he informed.

Arcee kept silent, realizing with disappointment that all her systems had started to heat up consistently during the kiss.

"What is it?"

"I'd like you to come with me to Starscream and Megatron's bonding ceremony," he replied.

Arcee couldn't bite back a chuckle.

"Me, going to the two tyrant's bonding ceremony, arm in arm with one of their deadliest warriors. Are you making fun of me?"

She shivered a little when Skywarp patted her cheek. Slag it! Why couldn't she slap him in the face again?

"No, I am very serious."

"In case you forgot, I am Rodimus' girlfriend," she retorted, hanging to her last will to escape from his attraction.

Attraction? No, she couldn't find him attractive, could she?

Her trouble deepened where Skywarp laughed amusedly and then turned his head from right to left, folding his fingers before one of his optics, mimicking a captain roaming the horizon with a field glass.

"Rodimus? Where is Rodimus? I don't see him around…," he mocked, stopping only when Arcee forced his hand down. "Come on, Arcee… He's not by your side. Everybody here knows that his only obsession is to serve Optimus Prime and stop the progress of our leader, Megatron. While, on the other hand…" He lowered his face as to kiss her, but stop as she held a hand. "I am not a bot interested in power… I just want to have fun in my life and live interesting experiences. That's all."

Arcee stepped back, and to her greatest trouble, she found him touchingly sincere.

"You're lying… All Decepticons are interested in power."

"Well, I must be the exception. I am only a prankster, some of my fellows Decepticons say that I am stupid – and I guess they are right," he insisted and laughed. "You know, there is an old human expression: Carpe Diem. I found stupid at the beginning to like an earthling adage, but it describes exactly how I see life."

"I don't understand the meaning of Carpe Diem."

"Then… try to search, and I am sure that you will understand many things about me."

Arcee stepped back, definitely not understanding what he meant. She decided that the better course of action was to leave… actually to run away. What she did.

"Hey, so… does it mean you're coming tonight?" she heard.

"Don't count on that!"

Actually, she had no idea of what she would do.


Ratchet's med bay

Megatron entered the place with an air of determination, spotting immediately the large frame of his Nemesis. He still remembered their last conversation, and how much he had found Optimus Prime irritating and aggressive. What had the Autobot leader thought? That he could defy him on his own field. It was time for Megatron to set the clock right again.

"Greetings, Prime. I hope you feel well today."

"Spare me the small talk," Optimus Prime retorted of a sepulchral voice. "What do you want?"

"Straightforward as usual, hum?" Megatron commented, obviously amused. "Fair enough, I am going straight to the point: I want to revive the rest of the Decepticons, giving the priority to the combiners, the Constructicons and the Stunticons."

"It is out of question!"

The reply of the Autobot leader cracked like a whip. However, Megatron refused to give way to pessimism.

"I was sure you would say that. But, you see, Prime, you don't have any other choice but to take heed of my request, and accept it."

Optimus Prime set on his optics and turned his mask face to look at Megatron in the optics.

"And why would I do that? I perfectly see what you want to do: gather your men to take slowly control of the base. I won't let you do so."

The Decepticon leader chuckled: Optimus knew him well and was reading his thoughts like an open book.

"Is it really a bad thing? Face the reality, Prime: I am now the only bot who can lead this base to freedom." He leaned over the still body of his old enemy. "You fought hard all these past years, but you're worn out by too many harassing battles."

"You're wrong, Megatron. I am still capable of leading this base…"

"No, you're not anymore. Look at you, Prime: you've been shot down by the Insecticons because you were not able to see they had led you into a trap, and now, you're rooted to this berth. Your time is over: give me the reins of this base, and I will stop this war."

Megatron straightened up, awaiting a reply from the Autobot. Optimus Prime kept his optics fisted on him, certainly sorting out what he would say.

"If I did so, what guarantees me that you won't turn against the Autobots?" he asked.

"I need the Autobots as much as I need the Decepticons," Megatron immediately replied. "I might disregard your men, but I am not fully stupid: we are too few, survivors of a destroyed world, hanging to the edge of a precipice. I need the support of everybody if I want to push back the Empire of Salonia."

New silence, during which Megatron thought he could hear Optimus Prime's clicking.

"You're an excellent speaker, Megatron, but I know you too well, and I need evidence of your good will," Prime finally said. "I am going to grant you the right to revive the Constructicons only. If things go well, and by this, I mean no rebellion of the Constructicons or an attempt to a coup from you, I might consider reviving the others."

Megatron let out an angry growl.

"It is unacceptable: I need all the Decepticons back!" he snarled.

"That's the only deal that I am ready to offer: take it or leave it!"

The optics of the Decepticon leader lashed angrily as he clenched his fist, feeling a terrible urge to smash Prime's face. He calmed down, aware that such an action would compromise his credibility in this base.

"Fair enough, we have a deal," he conceded, mumbling through clenched mandeta.

"Good. I will inform Jazz and Shockwave of this decision," Optimus Prime added and then powered down his optics. "Now, if you don't mind, I'd like to take some rest."

A new urge of killing the Autobot leader washed through Megatron: how dare Prime speak to him like he was his subordinate?

"The conversation is not over Prime. I'll come back" he finally spat before walking away from the berth.

O

Optimus Prime felt relief when Megatron's heavy footsteps died away. In his weak condition, holding out against Megatron was harassing and consumed all his remaining strength. However, he had no choice but to curb the Decepticon leader's ambition. Even if Optimus Prime was the first one to recognize that his old nemesis has changed for good, he couldn't help but mistrust Megatron. Without him, the base 0025 would have fallen a long time ago: but with him, the situation could worsen.

No matter what, he had to recover quickly to be able to stop Megatron if needed.

O

Megatron growled irritably before opening his comm.-link. Not only he hadn't got what he wanted from Prime, but the Autobot leader had shown an incredible resoluteness to curb his rise to power. Perhaps, he had bet on Prime's demise too quickly. "Don't count your chickens before they're hatched," he thought bitterly.

So… Did you get what you wanted? Galvatron asked.

"No, not completely. The old lion is still sharp enough to throw a wrench in my plan. We can wake up the Constructicons, but no more."

Ah, Ah… What did you think? The only way to subdue Optimus Prime would be to kill him!

"That's not the solution for instant," Megatron retorted. "The Autobots are grateful for us for protecting the base, but they are not ready to follow my guidance. I suppose I have to convince Prime of my good will."

Goodwill… You know, brother, this word has a hollow ring when speaking about you… Mwaah!

"Silence, idiot! Keep your stupid jokes for yourself," Megatron retorted, definitely ill-tempered. "And now listen: go and see Shockwave, and insist that the Constructicons must be awakened within the day. I'll inform Ratchet about this urgent operation."

Eh Eh… consider it as already done, brother. Galvatron out.

Megatron growled as he closed the comm.-link and felt a little calmer that a few minutes before. He knew he could count on his brother to have the five Constructicons back online before his bonding ceremony.

"Speaking about that…"

Despite his discussion with Optimus Prime, he shouldn't forget that he had come for a very precise purpose: the operation on his spark interface component. Ratchet had refused to perform it the day before and had asked him to come to his private laboratory for the repair once the preparations were completed.

O

The CMO was waiting for him, with all his medical instruments ready when Megatron entered the laboratory. He made a sweep of the place, noticing with a certain nervousness the welding machine hanged to the edge of the berth. He assumed that Ratchet would use this to weld the component to the side of his spark casing, as to hide that he had been once removed, and felt a little anxious at the idea of such a dangerous thing approaching his spark.

"Are you still decided to have this operation performed on you?" Ratchet insisted. "It is still time to change your mind and speak with Starscream."

"I have no intention to get out of it," Megatron replied as he walked to the berth and hoisted himself on top. "Do what I asked."

The CMO sighed deeply and then leaned over Megatron.

"I warn you: I still think this is a big mistake. Once Starscream and you will have exchanged your respective spark interface components, it will be impossible to hide your smallest thought to your bond mate. You will be fully interfaced with him. The risk that he detects the presence of your first bond mate is very high. You…"

"Stop lecturing me, Ratchet. Do what I asked!" Megatron groaned, pushing back the medic as a warning. "Now!" he added threateningly.

Ratchet straightened up and glared at him with a cold look in the optics.

"Very well, I'll do it. Nevertheless, don't complain if Starscream discovers the hoax. I warned you."

To be continued