Transformers G1 are copyright Hasbro and Co., I own none of the characters of TF G1 (unfortunately), only the original characters that I might introduce.
Vicious circle - Chapter 1: End and Beginning
Planet Cybertron, Year 2005
Starscream rejoiced inwardly when the crown made contact with the metal of his helmet and beckoned Astrotrain to step back. He puffed his chest and stretched his wings, looking prouder than ever. Tossing his cape back with a theatrical grace, he gazed about his "subjects" condescendingly. After eons of struggle and betrayal, he had finally become the "Prince of the Decepticons". No, better: he was now the "King of the Decepticons" and the others were nothing else than his subordinates. It was thrilling and exciting beyond his wildest dreams. Holding his crowned head gracefully, he quickly sorted out what he wanted to say and prepared to declaim his first speech as Supreme Decepticon Commander.
"My fellow Decepticons, as your new leader, I-"
His speech was interrupted by the throbbing sound of engines. Looking up, he saw a big purple spaceship landing among "his subjects", sending them flying for cover in sheer panic.
"Who disrupts my coronation!" he shouted, already in a paroxysm of irritation.
Once the shuttle reached the stairs of the coronation platform, a silver and purple mech jumped out the open canopy and landed with arrogance at the bottom of the pedestal.
"Coronation, Starscream? This is bad comedy!"
The aggressive stance of the Transformer awakened a diffused feeling of insecurity in Starscream. The sensation worsened when the shuttle switched to robot mode and stood behind the first mech like a faithful follower. For some reason, the scene remembered him the countless times he had stood by the side of Megatron. 'Oh! Primus! This glare! This voice… The cannon… Could it be HIM?' he wondered in shock.
As a reply to his silent interrogation, the new comer shot him a glare which made Starscream recoil in fear. The blazing look was filled with anger, madness and desires for murder. 'It's him!' he thought as energon ran cold in his pipes. Only the sensation of the crown fitting his head reminded him he was the mighty leader of the Decepticons, giving him enough confidence to utter a word.
"Megatron, is that you?" he asked in a quavering voice.
The warlord cast him a look full of hatred. "This is a hint!" he replied as he transformed in a split second into a sophisticated cannon which didn't look of Cybertronian origins. However, this wasn't the most urgent point as the weapon aimed straight at him.
"Wait!" Starscream stepped back but not quickly enough to avoid the beam which burst his chest and pierced his spark casing. He saw purple, blue and green lights blazing in front of his optics before intense warmth coursed through his circuits and switched off all his systems. His optics blurred and his audios failed to work as he fell into nothingness.
Galvatron looked without emotions the treacherous Decepticon's paint job turning to grey and his body falling to ashes. He outlined a smirk when the crown tumbled down the stairs with a clicking noise, although an indefinable feeling of déjà vu seized him. He had seen this object already before… but where? The crown stopped at his feet and he stared again while the same feeling became stronger. Yes, he had seen the ornaments when he was… Who? He scanned his memory bank but found nothing else than information about his personality and the orders of Unicron.
'No. There is nothing to remember.'
He stopped there his researches and crushed the disturbing object under his foot. He was over with Starscream, and that was the main thing. Besides, he had a new army to lead for the glory of Unicron! Laughing darkly, he turned around to glare at the scared Decepticons, ready to deliver his first speech as leader. He didn't realize that the shattered crown had disappeared from the ground.
His crown... It was falling... And his life was going away.
It was so unfair... He had waited a so long time to become leader… And his life had been wasted so quickly…
Cling! Clang! Cling! Clang!
What was this sensation on his body? He felt coldness spreading on his plating, as if he lay on the ground of Cybertron.
Cling! Clang! Cling! Clang!
That couldn't be… He had been shot to death! He was dead, wasn't he?
Cling! Clang! Cling! Clang!
He was dead, for sure. He had seen his body turned to hash.
Starscream rested his head on the hard surface and slowly put on his optics. He could hardly believe that he still had a body and a processor working. His relief didn't last long since his internal checkup system quickly pinpointed major power failures. The most alarming warning reported a hole on his chest and a bunch of broken fuel lines spilling his vital fluid onto the ground.
He tried to move but his body remained totally unresponsive. Lifting his head with efforts, he saw that the red plating of his chest and thighs was marred with his Cybertronian blood. The haemorrhage was leading him slowly but surely to stasis, and subsequently, to deactivation.
'No! I don't want to finish like that!' he sobbed, small pools of energon forming at the corner of his optics.
He could feel pain in his legs where the axe of his opponent had raked the metal, leaving a deep gash. His back hurt from the repetitive collisions with the walls and the ground of the arena. The sharp noise of Skullcrusher's axe hitting and cutting his metallic skin still echoed sinisterly in his audios. He bit his lips and felt the taste of energon in his mouth. He hadn't bitten that strong, but a gash on his cheek was still bleeding since the elder gladiator's punch had ruined the derma plating. The silver mech couldn't suppress a sigh as his joints complained again, remembering him that he was still too young, too inexperienced, too slow…and too easy to defeat.
"Please, help me!"
A weak but raspy voice roused him from his dark thoughts. A second moan confirmed him that somebody was imploring for help – or mercy – in one of the abandoned Quintessonian factories he was walking along. The buildings had been closed many vorns ago by the Quintessonian authority and the rumor said the bodies of Transformer workers, executed for mutiny, were still pilled up somewhere in the basement. The silver gladiator suppressed a shiver of hatred just thinking of the Quintessons, this breed of oppressors who used them at their leisure. The five-faced aliens assigned each Transformer to a cast right after the release from the assembly line. Workers, merchants, soldiers or gladiators: there was no other future allowed but to fit the mould of one of the four categories. Unfortunately, he had been chosen to be one of the slaves who had to suffer in the arena.
The factory was completely dark as the power had been cut off a long time ago. Used to hang about abandoned and dark places, the gladiator spotted easily a form lying on the ground. As a new moan came from the unmoving shape, he concluded that it was the sentient being who had attracted his attention from the main road. His surprise increased when he stood close enough to detail the body of the mech. There were two wings hooked in his back, designed like nothing he had seen before. The robot was dressed with a red cape and his shoulders covered with a golden ornament. However, the most intriguing detail was certainly the crown on his head.
"A prince, or one of the minions of those slagging Quintessons!" he groaned as he knelt by the side of the unconscious mech
The faceplate was dark and the features finely chiselled, reminiscent of the delicacy of a femme. The colours of the body emphasized this impression of feminity: the torso and the hips were red, the hands blue and the long slick legs shone of a silver white colour. Such a shiny paint job was very usual for a femme. However, the powerful constitution of this strange mech indicated he didn't belong to this category of Transformer.
"What are you, Little Prince?" he whispered, considering quickly the different options offered to him. His self-preservation instinct screamed that he had better things to do than burdening himself with an unconscious and wounded mech, bleeding his energon. Brushing with black fingers the wound on mech's mid-section, he carefully inspected the cracks on the armour. Once again, an odd feeling seized him as he easily figured the deadly work of the shot piercing the metal. The modus operandi sounded familiar to him, as if he had shot down the robot himself. He wasn't the only mech equipped with a fusion cannon but the wound looked exactly like the ones inflicted by his own weapon.
"That's gross! I don't even know him!" he croaked.
Curiosity finally prevailing on reason, he collected the limp body on his arms and left the ruins of the factory.
Heading back his modest quarters in the gladiators' area, the silver mech took care that nobody saw him carrying the unconscious robot. The district was not the safest place of Iacon city for a wounded mech, who risked being slain in a dark corner and dispossessed of his most valuable spare parts by his aggressors. The young gladiator sighed at the thought he would be certainly assassinated together with the stranger if the other gladiators caught him. He laid him down his berth and started to check the flyer's body in search of other serious wounds. To his relief, the only severe injury appeared to be the bleeding shot on his chest. Inspecting the apparent wires pouring from the gaping hole, he noticed once again that the wound looked alike the damages caused by his cannon. A weak moan escaped the black lips and the dull optics flickered of a bright red.
"Be careful, Little Prince. You had sustained heavy damages," warned the silver warrior, setting his hand on the nape of the Seeker to help him lift his head.
Somebody was whispering in his audios. Or was his processor so badly functioning that it created voices on his head?
"Be careful, Little Prince. You have sustained heavy damages."
Starscream gathered his wits to switch on his optics. It took a couple of clicks before they fit to the light and spot the one who had talked to him. His fuel pomp hammered violently in his chest as he recognized the silver cask and the harsh features lit up by blazing red optics. Visions of himself burning to ashes flashed before his optics, playing the frightening movie of his death. He couldn't take it anymore and screamed the name of the one who had once been his leader, his torturer and ultimately, his executioner.
"Megatron! Please… Don't! Please don't kill me!"
The warrior let out a surprised gulp as he heard his name pronounced in such a panic. The look of the Seeker changed radically, fright and horror replacing confusion and dizziness. The panicked robot set his hands against his torso and tried to push him back, but fell backwards to the berth as strength failed him.
"Please, Megatron… Have mercy!" the Seeker shrieked, wriggling like a possessed to leave the berth.
"Stop struggling, Little Prince, or you will worsen your wounds. Don't make me knock you out!" warned the silver gladiator, crushing the blue wrists in his powerful hands. The Seeker kept struggling a little more and then stopped moving, his body shaking like a leaf. "That's better!" he grinned, relaxing the grasp on the seekers' limb.
"Don't kill me-," the flyer whispered weakly.
"Who are you, Little Prince? How do you know my name?" asked Megatron, leaning over the trembling form to peer at the red optics. Unsurprisingly, the Seeker hid protectively his face within his arms and let out a noise between a sob and a frightened cry. "Why are you so afraid of me? I'm not going to harm you," Megatron stated, pushing away the blue arms to look again at the Seeker's face.
Forced to the wall, the flyer stared back at him with an intense fear playing in his red optics.
"Good, you calmed down. Now, tell me who shot you."
"I'm sorry, Megatron… I… I didn't mean-"
"That's not my question!" Megatron growled, starting to lose patience, "Who wounded you like that? And how do you know my name? Explain!"
The Seeker shivered and let out a new sob. "You did! You killed me during my coronation!" he whined pathetically. "It was not your body, but… I know it was you… and not you at the same time… Oh! Please-"
The high pitch died in the vocal processor of the flyer as a new wave of shivers coursed through his body. The two black marks above Megatron optics frowned quizzically.
"Either you have a lot of imagination, either you fried your logic chips. Considering your wound, I'm inclined to believe that you are delirious," he stated, shaking his head with concern. Leaning over, he picked up the Seeker by the shoulders and forced him to come to a sitting position. As expected, the flyer howled with terror, until a black hand covered his mouth and muffled the cry.
"It's useless to alarm the neighbourhood, Little Prince. I need to remove your nice get up before walking through the district. You're wounded and bleeding energon. I know who can patch you," Megatron informed, his free hand swiftly unclasping the shoulders ornaments and then pulling the crown off the head of the flyer. "Here… Better… You're colourful enough to attract the attention," added the warrior, lifting the Seeker on his arms.
To his relief, the flyer barely pushed a new cry and lost consciousness.
"You can't pass somebody without shooting him, can you, gunner?" growled Wiper, examining the wounds of the flyer.
"I didn't shoot him. I found him like that!" Megatron retorted.
"You found him like that? Oh, right… and your warm emotional chip told you to bring him here for repair, did it?" Megatron threw a hatred glance to the medic but didn't answer. "Spare me your lies! Helping is not in your core programming," Wiper mocked. "So what's the truth? Who is he so that you took the time to help him and brought him here?"
"I don't know…"
The medic looked thoughtfully at Megatron then stared back at his patient.
"What is he, by the way? A new prototype made by our dear creators the Quintessons?" he said and then outlined a grimace, "Very nice and very delicate design… useless as a warrior, useless as a worker. Don't even think as a gladiator! So what is he?"
"I don't know, you old fool! And it's not your business! Just repair him and I leave!" the silver gladiator finally howled, almost done with patience.
Wiper let out a tired laugh and then glared at Megatron.
"Once I'm done with your new friend, I'll have a look to your wounds. I've already told you to avoid fighting with Skullcrusher… You're not experienced enough. He gonna torn you into scrap metal next time!"
Megatron shrugged his shoulder, answering by a disdainful "humph!".
"Old fool!" the silver gladiator mumbled, remembering the words of the medic. Stay away from Skullcrusher. He's stronger, quicker and more experienced. One day, he'll deactivate you and serve your head as dessert for the Quintesson governor! "Slag it!" he hissed.
Despite his relatively young age, he was one of the top twenty gladiators of Iacon. Reaching such a high level in the gladiatorial hierarchy earned him a certain reputation, which was far from matching the power enjoyed by Skullcrusher, the champion of the gladiatorial tournaments. Megatron's face plate outlined a grimace of disgust as he remembered how the bulky robot had shown off his fortune and power at the opening ceremony of the on-going season. Surrounded by femmes, the Master Gladiator had the privilege of sitting by the side of Governor Straxus and some of the five-faced aliens. Megatron despised him as much as he envied his position.
He looked down at the unconscious Seeker cradled in his arms and wondered again why he was taking care of him. Caring for someone was not in his programming, and the concept itself seemed totally foreign to him. Was he helping him because the robot was not a creation of the Quintesson? Megatron had no doubt about this point: the seal of the Quintesson was not engraved in his spark casing. He also suspected that the robot was somebody important, as he wore a crown, symbol of power. Skullcrusher wore a crown at the latest ceremony, symbol of his power over the other gladiators. Megatron coveted this power and believed that the apparently weak robot might have it, or might be the key to get it.
'I will use him to get what I want,' he thought, grinning devilishly. 'Let's figure out how.'
Back at his quarters, Megatron laid the flyer down and plugged him to the recharge berth. Leaving the Seeker to his nape, he placed the crown on the main console. He then grabbed his axe and started to practice basic exercises, his optics never leaving the golden attribute of power.
He stopped his training when he heard a moan. Looking over his shoulder, he saw that the Seeker was slowly coming back online.
"Do you feel better?" he asked casually.
As he expected, the Seeker was gripped by fear and opened his mouth to voice his scare. Quick as the light, Megatron reached the berth and covered with a black hand the mouth of his frightened guest.
"Your vocal frequency is unique, but I prefer you don't try to blow up my audios," he said in a joking tone and then leaned closer. "Don't shout!" he added menacingly. The flyer nodded silently, his optics showing deep fear. The black hand moved slowly from his mouth, allowing a weak gasp to escape his vocal processor. "Excellent! Now that you are calm, repaired and recharged, let's talk. First, Little Prince… What's your name?"
Starscream couldn't stop his body from shivering. It was a chance he was laying on a repair berth and not had to stand on his feet because it would have been over his strength. Megatron was more terrifying than ever and asking his name was very close to sadistic torture. How could he pretend not knowing him? He was Starscream, Megatron's treacherous second-in-command, the one whom the Slag Maker was used to bash for any reason, the one who had jetonized the tyrant in deep space, the one who had been killed by this purple and gray version of the Decepticon leader! At the thought of the sharp pain that had paralyzed him after being shot by the intruder, and the vision of his body reduced to ashes, Starscream switched off his optic and dived into unconsciousness.
A hand set on the nape of his neck and guided him gently to rest his head on the berth. He came back online unwillingly and powered his optics. The terrible vision was still standing by his side, looking down at him with blazing red optics where a morbid interest lied.
"What's your name, Little Prince?" repeated the silver mech.
"Don't you… recognize me?"
The flyer shivered for fear of the painful punishments that Megatron would certainly inflict him for his treachery. To his surprise, the warlord smiled at his words.
"Should I remember you? I don't have the feeling we've met before." Such a reply threw Starscream off balance. He stared at the silver mech with a gape of disbelief, feeling his spark pulsing widely in his chest. "You look lost, Little Prince…"
"Why… are you calling me Little Prince?" Starscream whispered, as a new wave of shiver coursed through his body. "Usually, it's little fool…"
"I call you such because you wore a crown, a rich cape, like a Prince of the Quintessons, and you refuse to tell me your name. Important people behave according to such a way towards inferior beings."
Starscream shook his head in disbelief; Megatron's words didn't make any sense. How could he ignore who he was? He sighed and begged inwardly that the torture would end up soon. Primus, was he in hell?
"I am… Starscream… Leader of the Decepticons," he said of a broken voice. He swallowed back the rest of his explanations when he noticed something strange: the purple insignia was missing on Megatron's chest. Starscream couldn't help but brush the silver metal with a trembling hand.
"Your Decepticon symbol! Where is it?"
Starscream looked up again and noticed a detail that had completely escaped him: Megatron's shoulders were broader than before, attached to a bigger and strongly-built torso. After a closer look, he realized also that Megatron's face plate was different as well: he looked younger.
"Oh Primus!" he whispered, brushing with a shivering hand the harsh features, as if he wanted to mind the sharp angles. He withdrew his hand as a proud growl escaped the thin lip component of the silver Transformer.
"Don't touch me, Little Prince!"
The hand of Starscream came back to rest on his chest but his optics kept focused on Megatron's face. An image emerged from the depths of his data bank: the picture of Megatron when he was a gladiator. Searching in old archives of the Decepticon Academy, he had found this picture and identified the young mech glaring at the photographer as his leader in his young age. Starscream had also found out that the Tyrant had erased most of the data showing his true origins: Megatron had been a gladiator before being reformatted into the Decepticon leader. Shifting his gaze to the walls, and inspecting the rare pieces of furniture of the quarters, he noticed the old-fashioned style, coming from another age.
"Oh, Primus…" Starscream moaned as his processor reached a frightening conclusion. "What year are we?"
Megatron burst into laughter. "Don't tell me you don't know, Little Prince. We're in the 250th vorns of Quintessa VII's reign!" he replied.
The optics of Starscream flashed in shock: it sounded like a prehistoric date. No! Megatron couldn't be that old! It couldn't be!
"Do you feel okay, Little Prince?"
Starscream stared at the gladiator in bewilderment. "Oh, Primus! I'm back to the past of Cybertron!" he stammered.
To be continued
(Edited on 2009/4/9)