Carly was fascinated. Starscream was flying at high speed and was maneuvering dangerously to avoid the plasma beams. Carly knew the Seeker was the Air Commander of the Decepticons and the second in command of the entire army, and now she could see why. He was an excellent pilot indeed; the infamous stories the Autobots used to tell about his lethal abilities had to be true.
Some minutes after they arrived to a big waterfall.
"Prepare to be ejected, human. I will have to make a forced landing to avoid the plasma bolts."
"Just don't panic and trust me."
Before she could realize what was happening, Starscream transformed to his standard mode. Suddenly, Carly was falling to a certain death, but just some seconds after, Starscream's hand caught her by her jacket and dragged her behind the waterfall.
The Decepticon landed on the edge of a little lake behind the waterfall and put Carly beside him.
"Don't you dare to touch the water under any circumstances," he said, while a plasma bolt stroke outside the waterfall, following Starscream's magnetic trail.
Carly fell to her knees breathing agitatedly. "That was thrilling!"
Starscream walked towards the wall and pointed ahead. "There is a big amount of electromagnetic radiation in that zone. With the core zirconium and an electric shock of 5 billion volts, it will be possible to create a dimensional door which will take us back to Earth."
Carly walked toward that zone. It felt very rare indeed, soundless, empty somehow, she couldn't explain.
"Wait a minute… did you say 5 billion volts? But how are you planning to generate such an amount of energy?"
Starscream smirked. "We have the best source of energy out there."
"The plasma storm! But the beams won't enter this place. How do you plan to attract them?"
"Easy. I will use my body as bait."
Carly was shocked. "But… but that's suicidal! You will be destroyed!"
"Not if I can activate the dimensional door before."
Carly was speechless, astonished by his courage. Was this the infamous coward that was the sworn enemy of the Autobots?
"We'll have to wait till nightfall, though. The plasma storm will be stronger then," he continued.
Starscream sat on the floor and rested one arm on his knee. Carly did the same.
Some minutes of uncomfortable silence passed, which Carly suddenly broke.
"Starscream, why are you a Decepticon?" Her voice sounded sad.
Starscream turned to look at her, taken by surprise.
Carly didn't dare to look into his eyes. "Why are you a Decepticon? Do you really believe in that cause…?"
Starscream smirked with malice and rested his chin on his fist. "You ask very useless questions, human."
She didn't give up. "But is it so important to you… conquest, destruction…?"
"Power is my priority".
"But don't you have any respect for life, for freedom?"
"Freedom! You don't get freedom with soft and useless words. If you want freedom you have to fight for it and destroy those who stand in your way."
"But you can get killed."
Starscream roared with laughter. "This is a war! Everybody can die. I have survived too long to worry for petty details like that."
Carly frowned. "I think war is the biggest nonsense in the universe."
"War is logical; it's about the quest for power and the establishment of ideologies and ways of life."
"But why? Why is it always about domination?
"Survival of the fittest."
"Just like that, huh?"
Starscream nodded. "Order must be imposed."
"And you Decepticons are going to impose that order? How? Destroying the Earth?"
"And who said we are going to destroy it? No doubt you are an Autobot's pet indeed."
Carly frowned and clinched her fists. "At least the Autobots are not trying to enslave us! They are the good guys…"
Starscream laughed. "The good guys! You are so naïve, human. Life is not white and black as you seem to believe in your little mind. But I don't blame you. You belong to an inferior race after all, and it must be easy for you to buy Optimus Prime's cheap and pacifist propaganda."
"Propaganda?? Since you arrived to Earth, you and your fellow Decepticons have done nothing but stole our energy resources, no matter how many humans died in the process! The Autobots protect us!"
Starscream's smile erased and his face got serious. He raised his arm and for a moment Carly thought she had talked too much. But the Air Commander didn't show signals of wanting to use violence with her. With a very weird serenity for his nature, he opened a panel on his forearm, right below his null ray, and showed it to the girl. Inside the open panel, engraved deeply on his internal skeleton, was a twelve Cybertronian characters code.
"What is that?" Carly asked.
Starscream frowned. "Millions of years ago, I was a scientist who dared to have an alternative way of thinking. This is the way the Autobots made sure I wouldn't forget my place in the established order."
Carly was shocked. "The Autobots did this to you?
Starscream dimmed his optics. "Yes… after beating the slag out of me, permanently damaging my vocalizer in the process... They marked me as you humans do with your cattle. They marked me as an inferior, as an object…"
"But… but that's so horrible, so unfair… The Autobots could have never done something like that…"
Starscream closed the panel. "I don't pretend to ruin your perfect opinion of the Autobots. I know you wouldn't believe me, but you should not blind yourself thinking that the universe is only divided in good and evil."
Carly embraced her knees and for several seconds looked thoughtful.
Finally, she raised her head and looked at him. "You might have a point, but I still believe Decepticons have no right to bring a foreign war to my planet," she firmly stated.
"The survival and expansion of my species overcomes any ethics for the matter," he replied.
Carly considered his words. She couldn't accept the danger her world was in because of the Decepticons, but she had to admit they had their reasons as well.
"You know, Starscream…" she quietly said.
The Seeker looked at her suspiciously. "What?"
"No matter what you say, I think deep inside you are a very decent Decepticon, at least that's what you've showed me these past two days."
Starscream laughed. "Decent? Me? You are such a weird human indeed."
The night arrived. The storm outside the waterfall had gotten stronger, and the plasma bolts were impacting very near.
Starscream and Carly were sitting on the ground, very close to each other. He was silent and his face was strangely pacific. Carly had her eyes half closed and was desirous to come back to Earth, but at the same time she was feeling sad.
Starscream got up suddenly. "It's time", he said hoarsely.
Carly nodded and took the core zirconium out of her jacket. He kneeled above her and for a moment their fingers touched. Both felt the same weird but pleasant sensation. Carly brushed and Starscream tried to focus his attention on the zirconium.
Finally, Starscream stood up and placed the diamond in the zone of the electromagnetic radiation.
"Walk to that wall and don't move, no matter what happens," he said.
She obeyed, her excited heart beating painfully.
But before she could finish, Starscream transformed to his alt mode and blasted off through the water curtain.
Carly tightened her hands and she found herself doing something that she hadn't done since her childhood. "God, please protect him…"
Minutes passed, long and distressful. The impact of the plasma bolts was very close.
Suddenly, Starscream returned, breaking through the waterfall, his body completely electrified. He transformed to his standard mode and fell on his knees, half of his body submerged in water. He received a couple of strikes before he tried to reach the zirconium with his weakened arm.
Carly was horrified. "Starscream, get out of the water!! You're going to get killed!!"
He seemed not to listen to her. While his body was shaken up mercilessly by billions of volts, he tried to touch the zirconium that was just a few meters away. Making an indescribable effort, the Seeker finally managed to reach it. A big explosion of light occurred and Starscream collapsed screaming in pain.
The plan was successful. A black hole opened tightly on top of the white zircon.
But Carly ignored it. She ran towards the edge, where Starscream, with his legs submerged in water, kept on receiving plasma rays.
Within his agony, the Decepticon saw the girl running towards him.
"W…what are you waiting for?? Leave, human!! Go!!" he cried.
"I'm not going anywhere without you!"
"Don't be a fool!! The black hole will close in seconds! Leave!! I wouldn't hesitate to abandon you!" he managed to shout, his face deformed by pain.
"I won't leave you, Starscream! You have to get up, please get up!"
Starscream made a big effort to raise his head and looked at her.
She opened her mouth astonished. It was the first time he called her by her name.
"Carly…" he repeated, "Just… just go… save yourself…"
Her eyes got damp and, for the first time since his arrival to Earth, Starscream witnessed tears falling from human's eyes.
But despite of her crying, Carly's voice sounded loud and firm.
"I'm not going to leave you!"
The following seconds were too confusing. Starscream only remembered those blue eyes full of affection crying for him. For him.
He didn't know how his weakened body found the strength to get up. He managed to drag himself to the black hole, which was beginning to close. The last thing Carly felt before the subspace swallowed them was Starscream's arms embracing her, protecting her…
The landing was much more benign than they had expected. They fell in the middle of the space bridge, which still showed signs of the recent battle between Autobots and Decepticons.
Carly opened her eyes. She tried to move but she couldn't. Starscream's arms still had her embraced against his chest.
"Starscream, are you…?"
"Functional," he replied weakly.
"We made it! We are back on Earth!"
Starscream said nothing. He was very surprised to open his optics and see the human within his arms. He placed her hurriedly on the ground and stood up laboriously.
"I assume that you are not hurt," he said with his most indifferent voice.
"I'm perfectly fine. But what about you?"
Starscream staggered and leaned an arm on the wall of the space bridge.
Carly looked at the Seeker with sadness.
"So… I guess this is it, right?"
"Starscream, thank you… for saving my life and…"
"Save it human, and don't fool yourself! As I told you, you were my hostage."
"Right. All you did for me was because of that."
Carly smiled, she knew better of course. "Even so, I'm very grateful."
He avoided to look at her and focused his attention on something ahead of them.
"We're not alone."
"I detect energy signals coming to us fifty miles from here. Autobots."
"Are they coming here? Do you think they detected the activity on the space bridge?"
"Certainly, if they continued in this area, as it seems," said Starscream as he prepared to fly away. Fortunately one of his engines had resisted the plasma storm and he would make it to the Nemesis base.
Carly got a lump in her throat. The farewell was imminent. She wished to tell Starscream so many things, but she just couldn't find the words.
He turned his back to her. "Stay out of trouble, human."
He stopped, right before transforming.
"I was right," Carly continued, her eyes humid.
"You're a very decent Decepticon indeed."
Starscream smiled to himself and transformed. He gained altitude and got lost rapidly in the sky. He didn't dare to look back, he just couldn't.
Carly sat on the sand and embraced her knees. She remained looking at the sky for several minutes, even when the clouds of dust that the Autobots' arrival produced covered her.
I was not your woman, I was not your friend.
But you gave me something to remember.
We weren´t meant to be, at least not in this lifetime
But you gave me something to remember.
I hear you still say love yourself.
(Madonna, "Something to remember")
A/N: Well, now you know. This fic came to my mind after one rainy afternoon in which I was listening to a certain Madonna's song. If it has relation with the story you can tell me, but in my mind it did a lot. Sorry if I took many liberties with Starscream's personality, but I have always thought he has a decent side, as he showed in a couple of moments in the G1 cartoon (not to mention his ultimate sacrifice in Armada). Thanks to all who read and to all who reviewed, please keep doing so. Till next time :o)