15/12/07: Some of you may not be familiar with IDW Publishing and I urge you to check them out; they are very fan-friendly, inserting fan stories/art in their TF comics and publishing an online fan comic. Megatron: Origin, while deviating slightly from previous continuities, is still G1 and not AU. You can visit the Transformers Mosaic page on deviantART or go the the IDW forums on their website.
This story takes place before/during the events in IDW's Megatron: Origin series and came about as I mused what the Seekers origins might have been. Written mainly from Thundercracker's POV. The title was suggested by my brother; von Clausewitz's statement kept popping up in my head every time I read Megatron: Origin. Some rules of war are universal.
Thanks to octaneglow and Tirpan Kiryu for their support. Please review and/or comment. Thanks!
Disclaimer:Transformers are the property of Hasbro and their licensees. This story is based on IDW's graphic novel Megatron: Origin by Eric Holmes and Alex Milne. I wrote this story.
Krieg als Fortsetzung der Politik mit anderen Mitteln/War is merely the continuation of politics by other means
Carl von Clausewitz
The three stood to the side, together but alone. As each surveyed the field of battle, lost in their thoughts, Thundercracker wondered what would become of them. Unlike Starscream, who immediately grasped the potential for almost limitless power and unlike Skywarp, who was motivated by vengeance, Thundercracker was moved by outrage. The realization how he came to be one of the victors standing watch over the appalling scene before them began to sink in. Megatron's followers were now more an army and less a motley collection of criminals and illegal gladiators running on empty. Solely focused on following Megatron's command to pillage and burn Kaon, there was now a steep price on all their heads. The smoke and fire gave the sky an otherworldly glow that served to incite the mechs to new levels of ruthlessness. Glancing at his wingmates, he was shocked to see their almost ecstatic faces as he understood his actions had served to wreck destruction upon the wretched denizens of this city. Where he saw only death, destruction and debauchery, his wingmates saw only victory. A feeling of envy flashed as he wished he could feel the same conviction and confidence as Starscream and Skywarp. But he did not; a sense of doubt seemed to shadow his steps and he was unable to shake the foreboding they would soon face retribution for unleashing this terrible dreadnought of desolation, regardless of how well deserved or inevitable it may have been.
His thoughts drifted to his earliest memories, when he first met his wingmates. He remembered clearly the school they were taken shortly after having been brought online. All the students were Seekers although their alt modes varied. Housed in the same dormitory, all three lived, studied and worked together in the same sparsely furnished room. Thundercracker recalled the teachers treated them differently. With so much going on, he hardly had time to dwell on it. It was only later, much later that he understood why. Although all the other students were Seekers, they were unique; the only Seekers crafted by the same creators. Their specifications, components and materials were nearly identical; the only difference was their personality components. Considered brothers, related to each other by their shared templates and origins, they seemed to communicate silently, anticipating the other's actions and words. These creators, who had built several Seekers like them over the millennia, were the only ones who had the knowledge to do so, which they fiercely guarded. Over the time, they had formed a clan, passing their knowledge to one another and propagating their line. Their extreme speed, agility, stamina and unusual abilities were highly sought after by the military; nevertheless, they were sent to the same institution as all the other Seekers so as to instill in them the core values of the warrior. Expected to function together as a team of aerial combatants within a larger military, they were carefully tracked by their guardians. Individualism was discouraged, to the point that even their background was kept from them. It was only after they had proven themselves worthy of being warriors that they were told who they were and who had created them. By then, they had accepted the military was where they belonged and while the knowledge was useful, it made no difference. They had already formed the bond that was necessary for them function as one unit in the military. That was their function and all acknowledged it without question.
Everyone accepted this, with one exception: Starscream.
Thundercracker recalled how he questioned everything, testing their teachers. The problem was that he was often right. No matter how many times it was explained, shouted or even beaten into him, he still wanted answers. Questions were not discouraged; in fact, they were expected to be curious but it was the way he asked; he demanded he be given answers; if he wasn't satisfied, he would cast doubt on the teacher's competence.
In additional, there was something else about Starscream that set him apart from the other students, something Thundercracker and Skywarp didn't understand but accepted; the other students did not. He was constantly fighting with the others, brawls that ended only after a teacher intervened. One of them always ended up in repairs and it wasn't Starscream. Even over minor things provoked him, as if his authority couldn't be questioned. Finally, a teacher, exasperated with always having to discipline him, asked him why he simply couldn't find a way to avoid conflict. He simply looked at her as if she was malfunctioning and said "Conflict is the beginning of consciousness". She stopped and looked at him thoughtfully. As student and teacher spoke quietly, they saw him nod before she took him to the headmaster.
After the encounter, they returned to class and then to their dormitory. As the cycle ended, Thundercracker and Skywarp noticed Starscream was missing. No one told them where he had gone.
"You're brother's been thrown out" one of the other students sneered. Skywarp pushed him. "You're next" he told him, getting ready for a fight. Thundercracker spied a teacher walking in their direction and pulled him away.
"What happened? Did he really get thrown out?" Thundercracker whispered as the others scattered.
"I don't know. We need to find out."
He was worried; by this time, he was so accustomed to being part of a trine he felt incomplete, as if one of his limbs was missing. They had never been separated before. Looking at Skywarp, he could tell he felt the same way.
As the teacher came closer, Thundercracker signaled him to be quiet. She greeted them and noticed their distress. Their teacher took pity on them and told Thundercracker what he wanted to hear.
"Starscream's fine, nothing happened to him; indeed, you should proud" Looking at their confused expressions, she continued.
"Your brother's been sent to the Science Academy to finish his studies. You'll see him again"
"When?" Thundercracker couldn't help but push for more information.
"When you go to the War Academy"
"Does this mean I've been accepted?"
The teacher smiled.
"I guess there's no harm in telling you now. Yes, you've been selected"
"He's been selected as well"
Their misery had been replaced with exuberance. They overwhelmed their teacher with gratitude before they ran off to tell the others. But they wouldn't see Starscream again until they left the dormitory and settled in at the War Academy.
Sitting on a recharge bunk and reading, Thundercracker's concentration was broken by Skywarp's excited voice as he made his way down the hall and into their room. Despite several warnings, he was unable to resist and teleported inside, colliding into Thundercracker. His data pad flew out of his hand and he was irritated to find Skywarp on top of him, grinning.
"Get off me, you idiot!" he yelled as he pushed him off. "Haven't you been told to stop doing that?" He managed a scowl as he got up and tried to retrieve his data pad. Worried about an upcoming exam, he was desperately trying to study history, a subject he had no interest in. With Skywarp around, he knew any chance of studying had evaporated.
Skywarp grabbed his arm and held him back.
"He's here! I just saw him!"
"What are you talking about?" Sometimes he didn't make any sense. Always getting into trouble, not having fully mastered his new ability to teleport, he managed to miscalculate his trajectory every time. Already he'd been warned to confine his teleportation to the exercise yard or face a disciplinary hearing. They had only arrived three solar cycles ago.
."Screamer!" the purple Seeker exclaimed. "Come on!" He pulled Thundercracker towards the door.
"Where are we going?"
"We're meeting him at the tavern. Let's go!"
They left as the other cadets looked at them, wondering what they were about to get themselves into. Newly arrived, they had already acquired a reputation as troublemakers.
Thundercracker saw him immediately, despite the crowds and the dim lights. He was standing near the bar with his arms crossed, smirking as a femme tried to engage him unsuccessfully in small talk. They made their way over to him.
"What took you so long?" he asked, the smirk turning into a smile, unable to hide his delight at seeing them again.
They sat in the back, drinking the fortified energon that was the tavern's specialty. Starscream ordered another round for all of them.
"Tell us what happened" Thundercracker asked.
"Yeah, why'd you disappear without saying anything?" Skywarp added, sounding hurt.
"I didn't have a choice. It was either the Science Academy or the street, and as soon as I said yes, I was escorted out."
Skywarp's optics widened. "You mean they actually threatened to throw you out?"
Thundercracker was equally stunned. "What would you have done?"
Starscream had to think; the idea he would have to fend for himself never occurred to him.
"I don't know. What could I have done? Become a shuttlebot?"
They all laughed; the very idea was ludicrous. Shuttlebots were as low as a flier could go and it was unheard of for a Seeker to become one. Starscream waved at the server for another round. Thundercracker and Skywarp glanced at each other. The stipends they received were small and they could barely afford what they had ordered. Starscream noticed the look they exchanged.
"Screamer, we can't afford…" Skywarp explained.
The red Seeker waved his hand dismissively.
"Oh, that. Don't worry, I have plenty of credits"
"I'm working as a research assistant at the Science Academy."
"Nice" was all Thundercracker could say. Unless he passed his exams, he wouldn't finish out the term, much less find employment.
"It's great. I hardly do any work. The shuttlebot I'm working for does everything"
Skywarp was suddenly interested.
"How did you manage that?"
Starscream gave him a sly look.
"It's simple. He's completely infatuated with me".
Thundercracker nearly choked when he heard that. Skywarp looked impressed.
"Mmm, yes. Of course, he wouldn't dare, it would be unethical"
"Do you think you can find me a job as a research assistant?"
Starscream laughed again.
"I hear you can't even plot your own course when you teleport, much less plot a simple grid"
"I need practice, that's all. At least I managed to pass my exams" Skywarp said, looking directly at Thundercracker.
"What? You're having trouble already?"
Thundercracker looked glum. Starscream felt sorry for him. He put his hand on his arm.
"Come over to the Science Academy and I'll help you study for your exams'
"What about the professor you work for? Won't he mind?"
"Skyfire? He won't say anything"
The server arrived with their rounds.
"Enough of schools, exams and shuttlebots. We're here to have a good time and to celebrate!" Starscream declared.
Skywarp raised his glass. "To us!"
Starscream and Thundercracker followed suit and they drank their energon down before turning their attention to the crowd.
End of Chapter One
A/N: Second Chapter will be ready soon, please let me know if you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading!