I guess you can consider this a spin-off from What Time We Have Left and As We Come Together, set around the events unfolding near the end of What Time We Have Left. This is a peek into the events that transpired after Punch/Counterpunch left Flamewar behind, and her subsequent defection to Virus. When Heaven Fell is not a necessary read to follow the events of As We Come Together, but it does offer a better understanding of Flamewar's character and her reasons behind the things she does.
That being said, this is only going to be a short interlude- three chapters long at the max. I hope you all enjoy it! Please, review me with your thoughts!
Scrapions- The Decepticon version of Junkions.
When Heaven Fell
"We are our own devils; we drive ourselves out of our Edens."- Goethe
"I'LL GET YOU FOR THIS, STARSCREAM! I'LL KILL YOU!"
In the vestiges of dead echoes, promises of a threat that may never be followed through, two Decepticon femmes were left in the cold emptiness of the Alaksmi's wake. Flamewar kept her pulse blaster in her arms, cocked and charged, her optics locked onto the aft of her ship. It was nothing more now than a guttering speck in the sky. This was insult! She was the Femme Commander of the Decepticons; a deadly warrior in her own right! She had not suffered through the pit of the gladiatorial rings and served loyally under Megatron for all these vorns to be tossed aside like some sorry piece of slag!!
Rage as hot as the flames of the pit roiled within her. If she ever got her hands on Starscream, she'd kill him. This was that fragger's fault. No way would Counterpunch have the struts to dare leave her behind; she'd bet her blaster that Screamer had something to do with this as a final way to drive a knife into her spark, as if taking Barricade wasn't enough.
Blazing red optics turned to the frozen beast beside her, but Virus made no move to establish further optic contact. The beast was utterly frozen, caught on her hind legs with her mouth still gaping in a roar. Something in the detritus shifted, shaking her from the spell; with a harsh growl, Virus crashed back down on all fours, her narrowed gaze swinging to affix to Flamewar. As a precaution, the femme raised her weapon, ready to blast her ex-subordinate's faceplate off if she attacked.
"Starscream will pay for this," the beast snarled.
Flamewar snorted, glaring. "My sentiments exactly."
Virus made a noise that might have been a grating laugh, regarding Flamewar with a guarded look. "Have fun getting back to Kaon," she said darkly. "Give those fraggers my regards; let them know it'll only be a matter of time before I repay them for this." She began to shuffle away through the rusted ruins, not bothering to spare the other femme a second glance.
A flame of stubbornness arose in Flamewar's spark, causing her optics to flash dangerously in the darkness. Go back to Kaon? The thought made her want to purge her tanks. Kaon was a place that no longer wanted her, and she wasn't inclined to go crawling back to them, nor was she about to go off begging for another base to take her. She had her pride, and it was a pit of a lot more important than anything else. If Starscream thought she was expendable, then she'd make herself indispensible to another. She would bring pit to the place she once called a haven…
The beast paused, optics glinting as she glanced Flamewar's way. "What do you want?"
She took a step, one that was stubborn, bold, not at all tentative or uncertain. "I want revenge."
"Don't we all?"
"I want revenge on Starscream for doing this to me."
The sneer that crossed Virus's face was pure poison. "Get in line, femme. I'm taking the first bite out of him." Her fangs seemed especially sharp in the gloom.
Flamewar's fingers trembled over the trigger of her pulse blaster. How she longed to simply throw aside her weapon and attack her ex-subordinate; didn't she know how much asking for this was costing her pride? "Dammit, Virus, all I want is for Starscream to pay-!"
Virus snorted, turning to rear over Flamewar, looking down on her with glinting optics. "And what do you want me to do about it?" she drawled, her towering stature making Flamewar seem almost trivial. "I have my own problems to deal with."
"But you can be bought, can't you?" Flamewar hissed venomously. "I'll pay for your services if it means revenge."
Virus fell back to the ground, heaving a growl through her vents. "You have nothing now, remember? You've been abandoned. Revenge on Starscream should be the least of your worries."
"Revenge is all I have now," Flamewar replied. "If I can't have that, then I really do have nothing."
Virus watched her ex-commander for a long time, studying her rigid frame and blazing optics. They had known each other for a long time, both existing in the same gladiatorial circuit, Flamewar functioning as Flamestrike, one of the top femme fighters of the Kaon ring, and Virus as Moonfly, an assistant medic to Bludgeon.
Before Megatron, they had operated within the same social gutter, knowing each other peripherally, interacting briefly. They had known each other as equals before they were Commander and officer. They were equal once again; defected, rankless, alone. It was like being thrown back to before the war when they were simple outcasts, like seeing an old friend in a new light.
"Without Megatron here, the Decepticons have nothing," Virus finally said, her rough voice flat. "They just don't realize it."
"We can make them realize it."
"What's this "we" slag? You still haven't bought my services yet, femme. Remember?"
"I'll bargain," Flamewar growled. "I'm willing to do anything."
Virus paused, tipping her head in consideration. Having Flamewar at her disposal would be good for business while Trojan and Worm were out of commission. "Anything?"
The femme flinched. "Yes. Anything."
Virus laughed, though it sounded more like a bark. "Very well. Come with me and I think we can work out some sort of arrangement." She turned her broad back to her ex-Commander once more, uncaring of the pulse blaster that remained concentrated on her. When she was almost completely consumed by the shadows and detritus, stubborn feet tromped after her. It had taken a moment, but Flamewar was following.
"Is your ship close?" the femme enquired, scanning the area for any sign of a ship, large or small.
"Closer than you think," the quadruped huffed. She remotely accessed the ship's systems, powering up the old heap of junk. The area vibrated ominously as the hidden ship activated. Flamewar took a step back, still searching for the invisible entity. Her sharp optics then caught a brief flash of a hull's array lighting, dull and yellowed, dim with ancient age, accompanied by lacklustre hull plating.
It was then that Flamewar realized the heap of junk laid out before her was not a heap of junk at all, but a ship. A very old, dilapidated ship.
"Quaint." The femme growled flatly.
"If you have a problem with it, you don't have to get on," Virus pointed out, shuffling her way towards the hatch that was now unmasking itself from the indistinguishable hull.
Flamewar grimaced, perhaps feeling more ashamed of boarding such a deadbeat craft than she was of siding with her defected ex-subordinate. Was she really prepared to walk away from all she knew, demote herself to the half-life of mercenary simpering from job to job as the universe's bitch? Did her thirst for revenge truly run that deep?
Virus paused at the top of the boarding ramp. "It's your choice whether or not you come with me," she growled. "Just remember, you have nothing as a Decepticon without Megatron, and even the things you thought you had are now gone thanks to Starscream."
A hot, electric thrill ran through her energon lines. Virus was right; everything Flamewar thought she had; something to fight for, a place to belong, someone to love- Starscream took it all from her.
"There is no need to remind me," Flamewar growled, marching up to the patchwork ship with her olfactory sensor in the air. She made her choice: Her thirst for revenge really did run that deep.
Inside the ship was just as old and rancid as its exterior, rusted and falling apart. The plating rattled as the thrusters engaged and there was a constant hollow hissing coming from a cracked vent somewhere. Seams ran along the walls were rusted panels had been replaced with only moderately-rusted panels, wiring hanging in some places, lights dim or non-existent through long stretches of stale corridors. It was a lonely, empty, dead ship.
In the bridge, there were no seats- all of them had been ripped out long ago. Flamewar stood stubbornly against the wall, watching as Virus sat back on her haunches and manipulated the controls with her long, blunt claws- they were surprisingly dextrous for such indelicate killing tools.
"Where in the pit did you get a ship like this?" Flamewar enquired, wishing to break the oppressive silence that had descended between her and the other bot.
"The Scrapions," Virus replied without looking away from the helm.
"Decepticon sympathizers," she elaborated. "They don't have much, but they allow Trojan, Worm and I to conduct our operations from within their camp. This was the only functional ship they had."
"I see…" This was their only functional ship? How pathetic.
"They call it the Darksyde," Virus continued.
"It serves its purposes," Virus replied. At last, the beast glanced over to the shadows in which Flamewar enveloped herself in, offering a smile that was twisted by the nature of her own faceplate. "By the way, welcome to the Darksyde."
Flamewar bared a ghost of a smile, optics roaming over the scrapheap she was flying in; she left the Decepticons for this? "Dark side, indeed."