A/N: Thank you everyone for the reviews and/or simply reading this. You'll start noticing I've begun trying to loosely create some form of culture for the Decepticons.

Warnings: I have not read the comics and I am purposely staying away from those timelines with only a few points that I wished to keep on the G1 series but only until I take what is called 'artistic liberties' and smash the entire plotline to hell and back. Enjoy.

Rating: M

Summary: Warrior, scholar, lover, prisoner, and slave. I am this. Traitor, teacher, friend, and demon. I am this as well. To stop the nightmares I will write this and hope...

Disclaimers: Transformers is the property of Hasbro and concept licensed through Takara Co. All original characters however are created by ciscogirl/ciscogoldengirl and protected by copyright laws. This work was created only for enjoyment, not with the goals of credit or monetary gain in any fashion.

Septem - Seven

A man argued that Sparta should set up a democracy, and to this, Lycurgus replied: "Begin with your own family."

It was my sixty-third maintenance check up when Megatron came and announced to my teachers that I should proceed to socialize with the rest of the army. Doing so at such a young age would only aid in my developmental process. Or so Megatron claimed when Hook began to sputter out reasons as to why I was not ready.

So far I had been taken into the lab for emergency sessions only ten times after having made my vow of eradicating all weaknesses. Of those ten times, four of them had been in reconnecting damaged circuits within my vocal components. The remainder of those sessions having been centered with my still rather unstable balance. Despite that however I was getting better at maneuvering my body as I had taken to walking up and down my little hallway, trying to mimic the same powerful stride as Megatron or more importantly, Soundwave.

"And I say he is ready Hook." Megatron said, silencing my teacher with a single glare that sent shiver through me and I had not been on the receiving side of it. Sitting on the berth I turned away to watch curiously as Soundwave finished turning off several monitors that were always used to record my system readings. His movements, usually so graceful and efficient, were sharper than normal and I could not help but wince when he forcibly removed a cable from the side of a portable monitor.

"I won't have such a promising soldier degrade into a disgusting hermit. You need to see the rest of the world now." Megatron said, breaking me out of my thoughts and I turned to look at the Decepticon leader. Smirking from behind Megatron, Starscream caught my optic and his smile turned even more vicious. I could not help but feel wary at that gesture and glancing back at Megatron only furthered in cementing my caution. He seemed excited by his own order, his hands firmly planted just above his hip joints. He looked ready for a fight with his lips pulled away from his dental plates in a hideous grin while his weight was almost entirely on the balls of his feet. His pose was setting me on edge, the systems in control of my vents and limbs increasing by a slight percentage as if preparing for something. I was becoming used to these instances in which my own body worked independently of my thoughts. I had come to see them as what they were; a side effect of that wretched program still lurking in my systems. The same feelings which had stayed my hands from challenging Hook the first time I was aware of him also seemed intent on keeping my properly obedient when in close proximity of Megatron. I called this sensation my 'dark voice', though it never spoke but rather seemed to create strong urges and feelings.

I tried to relax myself by trying to meet Soundwave's optics, hoping that perhaps my beloved teacher would inspire calm thought. The logic-driven mech however refused to meet my questioning optics. Shocked, I tried to look over to Hook out of desperation but an astro second later I regretted it. The bright green mech was openly glaring at Megatron, his form still held in a slightly submissive stance compared to the war-based mech but everything from his neck to his digits was taut with stress.

If even Hook was bypassing his usual behavior around Megatron to display such open aggression then was this integration a disaster waiting to happen? The mere idea of it only furthered my systems in increasing their air intake. "As youu c-c-oomand." I replied as I turned back to Megatron, bowing my head to Megatron's wishes even as I wished to run back to my chambers and stay there. What else could I say however to him?

"Excellent. Prepare yourself then Apocalypse; this is another step in your path to becoming a Decepticon warrior." Megatron all but purred but I narrowed my optics in confusion at the way he seemed to stress 'prepare'. But I could not ask further into his meaning as Soundwave and Hook quickly stepped in at some unheard queue while Megatron turned away and from the way he met Starscream's optics I knew they were communicating privately. It was an odd sight to see them conversing as Starscream was often quite open in his hostility to anything Megatron proposed. This time however they seemed to be almost downright civil to each other. Starscream was even nodding minutely at whatever it was Megatron was saying to him, that devious smirk only turning more twisted with each passing moment.

"What i-is go-ing on?" I whispered to Soundwave though Hook obviously heard it as well though he made no other action save for moving behind me to sort through some instruments. "Si-i-ir?"

"Apocalypse must survive. Project will fail if subject is terminated."

Terminated? Terminated was a word that meant going into a place where thousands of other spark waited, becoming a part of whole where no one fought. Few words can make a Decepticon's spark shudder like that word for it is an emotionless word; quite unlike the almost ruthless word of death which is far better for the needs of a warrior.

Even so young and naïve, the idea of termination sent cold sensations through my entire nervous system, sparking anxiety through my CPU. I could not become a Decepticon warrior if I was terminated now, I could not become powerful if I could not even fight for elevation and glory. Where was the thrill of victory if I was terminated? I reached out and caught a hold of Soundwave's hand, keeping him close enough so I could continue to speak.

" 'oww…can I sur-rvive?"

"That cannot be said as the project will fail if you are given such information. You must win."

"The-e-n tell me when." I tightened my hand around his own a bit, unable to plead as my pride refused such a thing. The lessons in history and the Empire did little in destroying such emotions but had rather encouraged its growth. I had no desire to be terminated but I did not like the idea of pleading, even to my favorite teacher.

"Main functions are being deadened. Cycle through lesson 105 for assistance."

Several things happened the moment he said those words. Starscream laughed, Megatron joined him, and Hook grasped my head, twisting it just enough downward so he could slip something sharp and painful into an open crevice formed between two small armor plates. The pain ended just as fast as it had begun, though where the pain had been, a dead numbness filled it as systems responsible for motor functions froze in mid action. With a loud crash I fell against the berth and slid down onto the floor in a strange twist of limbs and joints. I would have screamed but that would have needed the use of my mouth, that too frozen in mid-gasp. Even my optics, no longer under my direct guidance, faded out until all I could see was a non descript gray.

"Lessons 105 Apocalypse. Study it." Soundwave again said, his voice striking through the fear welling up inside me. I could not even nod at his command.

But I could understand the reason for Soundwave giving each lesson a numerical value. And I could hope and pray that this cryptic message could potentially save my life for lesson 105 had in truth only been an ancient set of proverbs from the lost past of Cybertron. In fact at the time Soundwave had only said them in passing, moving on to the more important aspects such as the importance of Polyhex in the war.

'It is the dead Decepticon who trusts in his kin.'

'If the warrior follows and never leads, that warrior is not a warrior.'

'Does not the void of space reward the violence of a nova with the rebirth of a star?'

Even when I felt myself being picked up I remained lost to those proverbs for they were the key to my survival. The first was easily understood but it was the other two which made me unsure. I knew that my trust in Soundwave and the other teachers had been a mistake that they had taken advantage of. They could not be hated for it as they were true Decepticons and they had exploited my weakness. I could only hate myself for it and hopefully adapt.

"…hear us?" Megatron's voice. So then even my hearing was faltering under the numbing freeze I had been subjected too. Footsteps. The sound of metal touching metal, ventilation systems revving slightly as though experiencing a need to cool internal systems down.

"…point…systems…not permanent." Hook's voice. If it was not permanent then could I use this to my own advantage? Dimly over their footsteps I heard the door's hydraulics close to my helm before I heard the hydraulics hiss shut behind me. My spark throbbed at the implications though I tried to keep calm.

'If the Warrior follows and never leads, that Warrior is not a Warrior.' The second proverb to that lesson. A supposedly blasphemous thought for in nearly every lesson, in nearly every other word, my teachers had told me about the need for loyalty. The need to follow orders without questioning them. The idea that disobeying would be unforgivable, a sin which would forever doom a Decepticon. And yet…the words spoke to me in a seductive manner, poking at my still forming conception of a Decepticon and ridiculing my blind obedience.

From the echoes we were in a large hallway of some kind, certainly larger than my only little hallway that seemed ages behind me. How was I being carried and who many carried me? I could not know with my numbed body and I was afraid to try and reboot my optics, thereby revealing how quickly my systems were repairing themselves from the shock. Could they even hear me and if so had they intended for me to still hear them to this extent?

"…ready? Cyberquake seems…stupid name." Hook asked. Cyberquake? Who was Cyberquake?

"Droid wanted…matter?" Starscream.

A driod?

So this Cyberquake was a droid, but it only brought more questions. Droids were normally simple machines with just enough intelligence to perform their duties and as such were given numerical designations, not names. Was this driod then special in some fashion? Of course, I was also curious as to what droids were in person as I had only seen them in datapad files. And normally they were squat things with multiple limbs for specialized tasks. Most importantly of all they only had a rudimentary concept of sentient thought and problem-solving. Fail-safe programs prevented them from grasping such things as personalities, ideas, and beliefs.

The numb sensations began to decrease already though I kept still, keeping myself a dead weight.

"Is that the kid? Doesn't look…much." A new voice. Was this Cyberquake? I longed to online my optics and stare but contained myself.

"Get out…Skywarp…"

Skywarp. A name denoting immediately a flight-associated Decepticon. A seeker then similar to Starscream and as such, perhaps even under Starscream in rank given Starscream's position. An internal alert notified me that my audials were now at 100% again. The knowledge came not a moment too soon as I began hearing other sounds over the footsteps of multiple Decepticons. The feeling of my limbs being held by several different beings became obvious as well.

"Aww come on Starscream, I just wanted to see the twerp before the droid pounds him."

Twerp? Kid? Maybe the freeze is tampering with my linguistic capabilities. It was a stretch but I was beginning to grow desperate. My once temperamental teachers had collectively turned on me while an unknown Decepticon was calling me strange words while suggesting a driod of all things beat me up.

"Skywarp get your miserable aft out of our way and is the driod ready or not?"

"Yeah, yeah it's ready Starscream."

Ready? For what? And why did they have to disable me to bring me to the droid? It was obvious that was where I was going but the idea horrified me. Droids were less then even Autobots because of their lack of sentience. Why then was I going to it? I rebooted my optics, groaning to alert them I was regaining control.

"Whe-e-ere…?" I asked, shaking my head slightly though it was not all pretend as my head still buzzed horribly and my programs still were not completely in sync, thus giving my eyesight a faint lag. An unfamiliar face came into view, smirking at me in a condescending manner. Skywarp then?

"Can't speak well can he? Rise and shine sleeping beauty you've got someone who wants to meet you!" Skywarp exclaimed, all the while wearing that devious smirk, a give away that this 'Cyberquake' would not simply wish to say hello. He was pushed aside rather violently by Starscream and finally I saw how similar their body designs were, wings proudly displayed on their backs. The only real differences were that of coloration as Skywarp held two dark colors of purple and black in such a way that it seemed to scream that he was a mech not to be trifled with. Or perhaps it was all just a bluff…

"I said back off you fool!" Starscream exclaimed, optics darkening greatly.

That tiny flicker of coloration seemed to spur everything, forcing my motor systems in a shuddering effort to reboot after the freeze. Limbs once numbed felt hands grasping wrists and ankles tightly. A jumbled bellow burst like a static bolt from my mouth as I fought, ripping my arms and limbs free and falling with a loud crash to the purple metal floor. Vision blanked out for a fraction of an astro second, coming back online with meaningless statistics pertaining to the slight pain registering in my legs. "W…why?"

"So you can be a Decepticon. Or at least start learning to be one." Megatron cut in, effectively silencing me as he moved from behind, my two holders moving aside to let him pass. Hooks refused to look at me while Soundwave simply kept his head at Megatron, his entire body still.

"Y-o-ou sa-id I wa-s-s-s one." It was clear my anxiety and Hook's freeze program had severely impeded my voice even further. I was surprised I could even make out what I was saying. What must I have sounded like to these experienced energon-glutting soldiers?

"Wrong Apocalypse. You listen to only what you think is important." Megatron's smile became patronizing and from my lessons with Hook I knew that expression all too well. Megatron shook his head, moving again until he was right before my form, hands clasp behind him. "You have yet to even know what takes to even think about becoming one." His voice was a static-filled hiss, triggering the dark voice within me back into full wakefulness.

It knew the purpose of this mysterious driod. The reason behind the secrecy.

"Tes..sst m-m-me." the words were jumbled, a mess of sounds that leapt in octaves from low to a scrappy high pitched mechanical whine. And yet I could feel the approval in Megatron.

"Looks like someone's gotta death wish." Skywarp said loudly. Megatron, still looking straight at me only tilted his head minutely to one side and in that instant all of the approval I had seen in his optics was gone. Straightening up, he turned his back on me, walking away without even glancing at me and I took note of the large room we were in. the ceiling seemed high above me, the metal beams hidden in shadows while the walls held numerous patches, scorches, dents, and scratches. I gazed down the room, taking it all in.

And my optics finally saw the others at the far end. Staring right back at me.

They were all manner of colors though most were of dark, muted tones. Some were so small they could have sat on Megatron's shoulder easily if they wished. Though it was clear from how proudly they acted that they might be more insulted than Megatron himself at such an action. Others dwarfed the Decepticon leader, their girths so wide I could have easily imagined them crushing mechs in their great arms. And still others held the distinctive wing tips and thrusters of those capable of flying alternative modes, their very mannerisms all but screaming their ideas of superiority over the others with their visible tires or treads. They were all clustered in groups denoting everything from color schemes to size to their alternative mode and yet all of them bore the distinctive red optics. And more importantly, the great purple brand denoting a true Decepticon.

Suddenly angry at myself for such a shameful appearance I quickly stood, my balance faltering. Some of the Decepticons rolled their optics upward while others openly sneered. All of them moved aside for Megatron. Skywarp and Starscream followed, moving to stand with those with wings and it was then I finally noticed what had to be Starscream's third trine member, a bright blue Seeker with the same body model as his trine mates. Hook and Soundwave were following them now; Soundwave making straight for the smallest of the group and Hook to a group of similarly colored mechs.

"Is this the selected target?" the voice fell upon my audial sensors like a lead weight, jerking me from observations of the Decepticons and making me focus my sights on the only other being. It stood far enough from the others so that no one group could claim it. But then it was glaringly obvious even to me that it did not belong amongst any group, much less even with the presence of so many deadly soldiers. It had a strikingly delicate body design with several notable features. For one it had no arms, only two coiling black wires that twitched and writhed with what might had been seen as excitement. A closer inspection of the long wires revealed spurs of an unidentifiable metal though I had was not too surprised, there were so many things I could not identify. Another difference was the fact that it was painted a pure white with no Decepticon symbol gracing its thin body anywhere.

It was extremely gratifying to see the absence of the symbol. Though that feeling was minute when compared to the feeling of absolute shock upon looking at the droid's face. Or rather, the lack of its face.

"I don't think the scrapling likes the way you look Cyberquake." One of the Decepticons joked, his optics bright from heightened system awareness though I seemed unable to tell much more; too horrified by the droid's appearance. My apparent rival simply tilted his head jerkily to one side and then to another as its infrared sensors came online, humming to life. Had the face held even the visor like that of Soundwave I may have not been so distraught but that was not even the case. The driod had a symmetrical assortment of bulbous visual instruments acting as primitive optics, all in all numbering twelve while where a mouth might have been there was not even a line delineating dental plates.

"There is no purpose to that." Cyberquake's 'voice' screeched out from somewhere in its upper chassis, echoing strangely. Instead of the sturdy pedes I was used to seeing, the droid's legs were heavily segmented and they ended in sharp points. How did the droid even move without falling over? Shifting one backwards jointed leg to lean towards me it watched me with those empty optic sensors. I followed suit awkwardly, unable to make the motion look as seamless as Cyberquake had. "Why should I care about how he likes or dislikes my body?" Cyberquake surprisingly turned his head nearly completely behind to look at Megatron. "Again I ask; is he the selected target? I wish to prove myself to you Lord Megatron."

"And so you shall Cyberquake. And so you shall. Apocalypse is indeed the target. If you defeat him then I will make you a full Decepticon." Megatron rumbled, a smile touching his lips. I watched as Cyberquake again tilted his head before giving a jerky nod.

"To have an increase in my memory levels and the ability to better protect myself from others. Acceptable rewards for the elimination of the target."

"You se-e-em to thi…i-ink I wi..ill let y-y-you." I snarled in what I hoped would be intimidating. Instead my stuttering only made some of the Decepticons all but howl with laughter. I ignored them as best I could in preference to readying myself for the battle. Cyberquake merely flicked his left tendril-arm so it cracked with a terrific snap in the air before moving forward, his body gleaming in the dim light. With his strangely formed legs he moved with a strange grace that bespoke of a cold, calculating strategy. I was mesmerized by the grace even as I was disgusted by the droid's body.

"Whether or not the target 'allows' for this is irrelevant. The target has been selected for elimination." One of Cyberquake's many bulbous optic sensors retreated back into the head, folds of metal covering it for a moment before it came back out; a blink. "I suggest an idea. The use of resources is limited and I desire to win completely. As such there can not even be a trace left of the target. The target's CPU will be reformatted for my uses in becoming a Decepticon."

What? I glanced up as Skywarp smacked his knee as he laughed, leaning against Starscream though Starscream himself no longer seemed so content. In fact he looked downright upset by Cyberquake's words. I myself was trying to comprehend what this disgusting artifice of intelligence was saying.

"An excellent idea Cyberquake." Megatron suddenly said and I raised my optics in shock to Megatron; the very being who had originally been so focused on every single success in my short life. His optics were a dark vermillion while he smirked at Cyberquake's back. He then caught my look and raised an optic ridge questioningly.

"Is the poor widdle 'bot scared?" someone jeered.

"Run from Cyberquake before he shreds you for scrap!"

"You better lose weakling, I've got twenty cubes on the driod!"

"Astrotrain you slag-sucker get outta my way! I wanna see the weakling get smashed by a droid!"

"What's wrong with the afthead anyway? He can't even talk right and he doesn't even have an alt mode."

"Gimme ten cubes on the droid!"

What was going on here? Weren't these supposed to be Decepticon soldiers, arrogantly confident that no droid could best one of their own? Droids were nothing more than pieces of metal and a few bits of programming code in their software. This was not what was supposed to happen. How could Megatron simply watch me like that, smiling so much as his own troops bet and insulted something he himself had ordered to be created?

'It is the dead Decepticon who trusts in his kin.'

Again the quote struck through me and again I became enlightened, optics widening so much I was sure they could see the edges of my lenses. I had been careless from the start, bound into the ways of trusting other implicitly without even caring about my own protection. Everything before me was a test, a way to prove myself for such a horrible error in conduct.

Should I not then strive to correct this? Tearing my optics away from Megatron and the others I glared at the droid. "I ha-a-ave ne-e-e-ded prac-tis."

"Bravado is pointless." Was Cyberquake's only response though now it seemed the others were quieting down, eager for the shed of energon.

It was a simple matter of extracting information from lessons and the few files I had been permitted to download rather than learn mechanically. Pedes bent down slightly and pointed to the droid while arms were held before me, my back relaxed as it could be. And my hands fisted themselves, waiting.

Cyberquake did not keep me waiting long. For a moment he was watching me and then in the next his tendril-arms snaked out and wrapped around my left pede, squeezing. Pain receptors flared everywhere those tendril-arms touched while jolts of raw electricity somehow swarmed between the seams of armor, delving into the sensitive wiring.

I lashed out with my fists, though I touched nothing as Cyberquake's body was too far away, his tendril-arms allowing him to keep his distance. Dimly through the biting pain I could hear cheering and calls to offline me as slowly as possible. And even through that pain I knew I deserved it for having forgotten just what it was they were, and what it was I wanted to be. Was I not forged for the Decepticon cause? I had to prove myself to these soldiers that I was not weak and that I would never again make such disgraceful errors.

The tendril-arms tightened and the power increased, sending a system-wide panic through every single motor function in my lower body. I bellowed in pain even as I grabbed one brightly tendril-arm and yanked. Afterwards all I can say is that my world narrowed only to Cyberquake and those damnable tendril-arms that snaked and wrapped around every limb. They tore at armor, sank into crevices and ripped at seams, nicking energon and coolant lines, inflicting as much damage as possible. Yet I began to love every minute of it as I started to read and predict the droid's movements. The tendril-arms were deadly but they were thin and relied on motion rather than pure brute force.

"You fight with no experience. Have you not downloaded the necessary files on fighting?" Cyberquake intoned though he never once relented in his attacks. I snarled wordlessly, feeling my very coolant bubble with rage at the idea that this droid was besting me…a being built specifically to be a warrior.

"Answer the question." Cyberquake said. And with that his left tendril-arm snaked out faster than I could track it and hit me in the face, coiling around my neck. This time the droid did not let go but rather repeated what he done to my pedes, squeezing my neck slowly. "Answer the question."

"Wh-why?" I managed to gasp, determined I would not cry out at the blinding pain.

"If there was an error in your programming to prevent you from downloading necessary files I wish to find it and eradicate it and thus have a clean CPU for myself."

Evidently the crowd loved this as they began howling, mad with glee over the idea that energon was being spilt. All I cared about however was the fact that he—or rather it—had said such a thing.

How dare it! I howled inwardly as my hands grabbed the tendril-arm around my throat. "I…am not glitched!" Something inside my neck cracked, the sound a muffled vibration. With it came a pain unlike even Cyberquake's burning tendril-arms but I was beyond focusing on the pain. Pulling as hard as I could I felt a dark satisfaction when the droid's body was sent crashing to the ground, its other tendril-arm whipping quickly as if to prevent the fall. Without any framework however the tendril-arm was useless and the droid's chassis buckled inward when it hit the ground. The hold around my neck slackened and I used one hand to tug it completely off and drop it. That same burning pain spread to my hands and staring down I gapped at the faint swirls of smoke and the light scraps showing just where I had held the tendril-arms. Young or not, I had read enough about the acid rains of Cybertron to realize just what the pain was caused from.

"Interesting development. The target has corrected the vocal malfunctions." I looked up from the acid burns to watch as Cyberquake twisted its lower body so its legs could gain some purchase and lift itself back up. The droid looked at its dented chassis, a tendril-arm flicking slightly along the imperfections. "Unfortunately I have made the mistake of estimating your strength to be ten percent below my own."

Rip the droid's legs off…slowly. I did not balk at the idea whispered to me from the dark voice, my own rage feeling almost alive within my body. The feelings of elation that my voice seemed whole were inconsequential. The fact that Cyberquake was still functioning was the most predominant issue. "What was your purpose for coming online?" I asked the driod.

"Oh don't tell me they're gonna get all emotional!" Someone shouted, clearly upset by the lapse in bodily injury.

"Are you stalling?" Cyberquake asked.

"Certainly not. Stalling would allude to the fact that I have no other tactics." I replied back, struggling not to grin at how wonderful it was to hear my voice without that idiotic jump. There was still a faint bit of static but I was not going to argue.

"Then why ask such an inane question?"

"You have not answered my question." I snapped, growing irritated.

"Less talkin' more bashin'!" someone shouted, though neither one of us even bothered to look at the jeering crowds. Instead the droid tilted its head this way and that before finally giving a slightly shake as if confused. "Your question is illogical but you are an illogical creation. I was designed and built for the sole purpose of deactivating you."

I grinned. "Then I cannot lose."

If anything the driod seemed even more confused, several optic sensors folding in and out of their respective sockets. "What?"

I believe it was still faintly confused when I charged him again. My fists went straight for his head and fragile optics even as those damnable tendril-arms seemed to strip my armor down to circuits. Optic lens shards sparkled as they flew through the air while a faint spatter of energon and lubricant began marring the ground, my fist, and even my face. Kill it, twist it…make it feel it even if it is nothing more than a driod.

A tendril-arm slipped up my face and went between my dental plates, burning the glossa and sensitive sensors. Screaming, I jerked away, tasting acid, metal, and for the first time ever, energon from my own severed lines. None of the cuts on my glossa were serious but the sheer sensation of tasting half-converted energon was a shock. It tasted old, warmed from being driven throughout my body in it's fuel-to-energy conversion.

"Are you unstable?" Cyberquake asked, three optic sensors nothing more than empty holes in its head with bits of lens sticking out at odd angles. I grinned at it and on impulse I swiped at a droplet of the droid's energon with a finger and lapped it off.

"You must be unstable." Cyberquake said, answering its own question and it sent a thrill through me as the droid backed away a step, unsure of how to proceed.

"No I am not. I am a Decepticon."

"Incorrect. You have no sigil, you have not been indoctrinated. There is no serial…"

"And that matters how?" I spat. "I came online for the sole purpose to be a Decepticon, not just to simply deactivate one single being."

I suppose I should have seen it coming then. I should have realized that the tendril-arms were capable of so much more than a quick acid slash. I was too angry to realize it however so when I felt the tendril-arms lash out as sharp as scalpels between a seam in my left arm I was more shocked than alarmed. It was not until I felt the motor cables and frame break that I screamed but by then Cyberquake had torn my arm nearly completely off. Retracting those damnable tendril-arms I looked down at the remains of my left arm. The limb dangled uselessly from a few wires while other broken wires sparked and all manner of fluids streamed out.

There were howls of approval from the crowd, jeering at me for talking and not fighting.

"Your functions have drastically decreased. Your chances of winning are down by at least thirty percent." Cyberquake droned before stepping closer again even as it cracked one of its tendril-arms in the air threateningly. "Your termination is nearing."

I cannot have it end like this. I am not even a true Decepticon… I thought, horrified by the idea of never being a warrior that struck fear into his enemies.

And what was worse was that I would be killed by a driod who had no sigil of any faction and who held a mockery of sentience. Is that the way I wished to be remembered? Did I wish to be terminated and sent into oblivion where there was no fighting, no glory, and no legendary empire?

Lost to a plane where no one fought and no one struggled?


Eternal torture.

"…nooo!" I bellowed out from my stupor, energy from desperation flooding into my limbs and optics. By sheer luck alone I dove away from Cyberquake's tendril-arms, feeling the wind of their passing where my neck had been only a moment ago. The tendril-arms were already dipping down to follow and with a cry I pulled my near useless limb off from the few wires that had connected it. Compared with the initial attack, the pain was only marginal. Grinning at the absolute idiocy of it, I threw my arm at Cyberquake with all the strength I had. It was almost comical to watch as the droid's scrambled backwards, losing all of its grace as tendril-arms twisted around to deflect the projectile.

It never even saw me charge straight at it.

I will never forget how our bodies collided in a great upheaval of metal against metal; how I used my functioning arm to wrap around its middle and squeeze tightly. So tightly in fact that I felt the metal begin to give way, coils and armor plating beginning to squeal at the increased pressure. How dare it take from me my right to live and become great! How dare he attempt to kill me. Let it's pathetic excuse of a spark flee to that plane where not a single being fought and all were as one and all held no aspirations for being great.

Evidently the droid could experience some pain if its strange, wailing were anything to go by. It struggled wildly, lashing my back with its tendril-arms until the acid made my nerve relays short out from the burning pain. Faintly I could feel something warm and wet slide down the armor plating of my back and then my legs. I squeezed tighter and the wailing took on a new, frenzied pitch as I heard something in the chassis give.

Someone was shouting to stop the fight now, I had won. I had won. The driod could be used for something else, perhaps in a raid for energon.

Of course I had won, was there ever any doubt? But I detested the mere idea of letting this piece of scrap metal go free to perhaps one day try and kill me again, perhaps once more at the commands of Megatron himself. I moved my head and gazed at Cyberquake's damaged optics and smiled. I suppose from those widened optic sensors, the smile was a garish sight as I could feel energon leak past my lips and down the lower half of my facial plate.

"Whisper my name to Primus. Tell him you are the first of many to be sent by my hand." I rumbled and before anyone could intervene I lifted the body above my head. I ignored the way I could feel coils and lengths of reinforced framework buckle within me as I flung the droid down to the floor. Its ugly head knocked violently against the hard metal, denting it even while its body creaked and glass finally broke, aiding me as I knelt and drove my hand into his chassis, deep into his innards. Cyberquake's last, undulating wail was music to my audials as I tore its main fuel pump free of its body, energon splashing everywhere. Electrical signals sent its body into erratic spasms before even the tendril-arms stiffened and slapped against the floor one last time.

And then the sound of cheering. They were all literally howling at the ruthless display of violence, optics glowing in brutish glee. Even Megatron himself was grinning at my display of disobedience though I already knew that this would be the only time he would allow for such a thing.

But this was to be only the beginning of my true lessons. For what Megatron had planned, I would have to learn even more.

A/N: Spartan boys began their training at the age of seven through an act of being 'kidnapped' from the homes of their mothers and placed within barracks where they would learn how to become soldiers.