No Good Deed Goes Unpunished.
by Adrian Tullberg.
Summary: AU. A Warrior discovers that doing the right thing has terrible consequences.
It was a simple enough plan.
The Autobots were dug in on our moons, building their strength for a full assault. Megatron decided that we would go around them; steal one of their ships with the security clearance encoded, then wipe out their supply line while the bulk of their forces were getting ready parsecs away. Then we could sit back and starve them out.
Of course, it didn't work out like that.
I'd followed him from the beginning.
The first time I saw him - he looked at you and siphoned the attention and respect direct from your spark through your optics.
He promised it to me. Respect. The power to hold and control what I wanted - needed.
What I wanted from the other crawling mechs on the ground - looking up, staring.
Shaking their heads when you focussed more on the time of day when you could run out of the slave pits and launch yourself into the air for the only taste of real freedom you've ever known.
Pitying you for being placed in nowhere positions because Admin Supervisors tended to write 'inattentive', 'takes no initiative' 'no real motivation' in your profile.
We were discovered early. Starscream again. It isn't enough that he fights, he has to be recognised. Feared. Adored. Seen.
Megatron launched. We followed.
The Autobots had just completed their installation; Autobot City. It had a minimal crew, but it was damn well fortified.
We earned every inch in fuel and alloy shavings. It took half a day, but we managed to breach the outside.
Then Prime showed.
We were charging down the pathway towards the breach like drones in a shooting gallery. A nice straight line for Prime to get enough momentum to knock half of us down, then ramp upwards into the air and blast those of us who finally figured out we were being attacked from behind.
He missed me because I tripped and sucked floor. I knew Starscream would enjoy reminding me about that for Primus knew how long.
When Megatron grasped my hand welcoming me as one of the new breed, the first thing we did was reformat into uniform shapes, for future parts replacement.
The war began.
To be honest - I didn't really want to conquer. Destroy. The whole thing.
I mean, look at Megatron and Starscream. If they're not fighting the universe, they're fighting each other.
And because you've won doesn't mean that you can sit back, can you? There's always someone after you, or some emergency that you've got to deal with.
If Megatron or Starscream ever thought - I mean, really thought - about how much work running the universe involved, they'd give it up.
When Megatron told me to go somewhere, I did.
When he told me to fight, I fought.
Autobots shot at me. I shot back. Sometimes I hit them.
When we started bombing neutrals, I got into Starscream's face, and demanded I go and fight in the front lines.
Megatron heard this often enough, and soon I was part of the elite. I think he thought I was brave.
You can justify to yourself fighting other warriors, but when there's bunkered civilians in your target sight, it's not that easy.
Megatron and Prime fought.
I could feel the force of every blow in my framework, nearly a kilometer away.
When the ground stopped shaking, Starscream declared himself leader (again) and called a full retreat.
I didn't feel like arguing, and headed to Astrotrain, who'd been staying back for this role; getting us the slag outta there.
When I saw Soundwave carrying Megatron, I nearly fell over again.
When we first awoke on Earth, the others found it an insult - our new modes were vehicles, transport for the humans. Nothing more than seats for fleshbags.
Megatron realised each one of us now had a capacity for covert operations, and told everyone to shut up and like it.
To be honest, I didn't care. One way or the other. We'd still be fighting.
Fighting as opposed to flying.
I've never flown on Earth.
Astrotrain dropped out of FTL, stating that he had to jettison weight otherwise we'd be stranded in space before we reached home.
When Bonecrusher declared we dump the wounded, Starscream noted the heavily damaged versus those with nicks and dings, took one good look at Megatron's damaged chassis, and called a vote.
I wanted to shout out to everyone that we needed every last fighter; the sole reason Megatron kept Starscream functional all this time. That we could transfer power to Astrotrain and we'd get there easily.
I didn't vote. Nobody noticed.
And I saw Megatron float into the void with Skywarp and half our assault forces.
Starscream declared himself leader, then stepped back.
I didn't know why until the other Decepticons started auditioning for the job.
Starscream came up behind me, and whispered, in that insistent little whine of his; let the others wear themselves out, then we wade in and beat them into submission. Then he'd be leader, and I'd have Starscream's job.
I wanted to say no, but I knew he'd find someone else to take his offer, then use me to make a public example of.
I waited. Then I waded.
When Astrotrain touched down, complaining, we'd managed to convince everyone that Starscream was the born leader of the Decepticon forces.
Starscream abused and yelled at the Constructicons until he was suitably prepared for a 'coronation', something he'd seen on Earth and instantly wanted for himself.
Megatron never had one. He just entered the room, and took command.
Starscream needed the … affirmation of his authority.
His glorious reign lasted four hours and eleven minutes.
Then they touched down – sleek and powerful, and built like I'd never seen any Transformer before.
The leader who jumped out of the lead ship was somehow familiar.
Starscream, who'd studied him up close and afar for anything resembling weakness, knew instantly.
Megatron, reformatted in a way I couldn't even imagine, turned him into compacted dust in a split second.
We all took the pledge to Hail Galvatron.
I saw the others who followed him. Slipstreamed for space superiority fighting. The Sweeps and Cyclonus. Galavtron's personal force.
I saw the bodywide microwelds that showed they'd been built out of the wreckage of the dead.
Then I saw Cyclonus' face. I saw the optics of Skywarp, but nothing resembling a spark – and nothing recognising me.
Then we saw it. A planet devouring our moons. Okay, they had a bunch of Autobots on them, but it still scared me.
Megatron screaming at the planet, and being smashed into submission before meekly obeying.
We flew back to Earth.
Halfway across the galaxy we chased the new bearer of the Matrix, a personal favourite of Prime's, Ultra Magnus. Blown to pieces, he was barely functional when Megatron took the Matrix out of his body.
Megatron had the idea of using the Matrix into intimidating the planet Unicron into following his orders.
We landed on Cybertron, and Megatron went to intimidate a planet into submission.
We'd captured a lot of old databases during the early days of the campaign. Shockwave, who wasn't as sure of his loyalty as he was previously, allowed me full access without even once consulting Megatron.
Should have been a warning, straight off. Shockwave was one of the first, and one of the ones who sprouted the creed and Megatron's glories at every possible moment. When one who's welded himself headfirst to our leader's tailpipe starts expressing doubts, tred warily.
It wasn't encrypted. Ancient, commonly known history. But it still made sudden, shocking, sense.
The Matrix would light their darkest hour.
The Matrix is Autobot Technology.
'Unicron' fears the Matrix, and goes to all that trouble of rebuilding Meg - Galvatron and the others to get it.
When Galvatron tries to use the Matrix on Unicron, it won't work.
You slag-sucking binary coded idiot.
Only an idiot would be doing this.
Using atmospheric-designed burners to fly into space, burning Energon inefficiently, burning up the fuel you'll need to persuade a hideously powerful mech to give up something he thinks is powerful, but just won't work for him.
When you think you're doing something stupid, it doesn't take long to be proven completely right.
"HANDS OFF ME!"
"We have to give this back to the Autobots!"
"YOU DARE LAY YOUR HANDS ON GALVATRON?"
A whole planet, Transforming.
I have no idea if I'll see that again – and no desire to either.
It then picked us up, and swallowed.
I was going to fly out of there when Galavtron hit me in the back, and sent me down, down …
This creature was so huge it had it's own gravity.
I reactivated, on low fuel levels and a splitting headache.
And the sound of distress signals, incredibly powerful, because I could hear them faintly through a planet full of metal.
Decepticon distress signals.
This thing was tearing apart the planet.
I got up, unstable. I had to do something – blast the primary power core, lay explosives in it's cranial systems, anything.
Then Galvatron found me.
I fought him. Primus, I fought.
Plenty of altitude to be gained in this place. I bombed him until I came up dry. Fired every last round. Then I hit him with my fists until they crumpled.
He gave it back plus interest, then pushed me to the ground and started to twist my head off my body.
Galvatron was half way through when the gimmick I was trying to take from him suddenly glowed.
It scared him, especially when I took the opportunity to tear it off that chain of his, fly like hell and hand it to the nearest Autobot.
Then that option was taken from me. For good.
When I held it – I barely felt the sensation at first. A kind of tingling.
At first, I thought it was just fuel deprivation.
Then I saw it – my superstructure shifting, changing.
When I heard the voice, the realisation of what it was doing filled my core with dread. Oh no ...
... Rise ...
... please no ...
... Tempest Prime.
I was still reeling, when Galvatron knocked it from my hands. He tried to attack me.
Tried, because for the first time, I blocked his hand and hit him back. And for the first time I felt it.
And for the first time I gave it all the power and anger I felt for him, for putting me into the position..
And when he fell in front of me for the first time, I picked him up, and threw him against the wall as hard as I could, hoping to imbed him in it.
Didn't know it was the outer hull at all.
I looked for the Matrix, luckily it was still where I left it.
"Okay…" I held it above my head. "… this had better be worth it."
I half expected it to stubbornly resist as it did Galvatron. It opened in my hands, smoothly and easily, unleashing a light I never saw before.
The beams of light melted the interior as soon as it touched, like sunlight over thin ground cover mist. One beam of light stabbed upwards, burning a hole until it went out of the range of my optics. I felt the entire smooth motion of this perverted mech shudder and buckle under my feet.
When a support beam crashed near me, I decided to stop enjoying myself, and get outta there.
I ran, and kept on running … and met a bunch of Autobots. Magnus, Springer, that femme, the kid called Hot Rod, and that old guy which continued to function.
They saw me, and knew who I was.
And what I now had.
"Autobots!" I'd heard the phrase often enough to repeat it with the same authority. "Transform and Roll Out!"
They obeyed. Probably because of a sense of habit.
I felt myself contort into a wheeled form.
For the first time, I hugged ground until I rammed a whole through this thing, the Autobots following me.
Thrust: zero. Airspeed; stall. Flaps; unresponsive.
Attitude; landed. And staying there.
No flying on Earth. No flying, period. My new mode is ground only now.
I'm outside the Ark.
Half the Autobots want to execute me. The others are keeping in mind they've sworn to obey the Bearer of the Matrix. Nobody's told the humans. Yet.
I don't want to know what the Decepticons would do if they saw me.
A few hours ago, I found the whole thing funny.
At the darkest hour, there wasn't an Autobot around.
So the Matrix created one.
For once since I on-lined, I did the right thing.
Now I'm grounded.