Here you go, kids! Finally some update. Enjoy yourselves.
Thanks to spectrumpheonix for the beta.
Megatron released the chains holding his captive Autobot. His fingers curled around Hot Rod's shoulder to hold him up incase his processor couldn't react fast enough to the change in balance. "I expect good behavior from you," he said, and stepped back once he was sure the other wouldn't fall down. "I think you'll need some repair and oiling, and maybe even a new paint job."
"And some warm distillosol," the youngling grumbled, eyeing the stains on his armor. Life-energon, coolant and… other fluids had dried on him, and his left arm hung limp next to his body.
"Just take me to the wash racks, I'll clean, and then your medics can patch me up. You know very well how weak I am right now; I won't flee." He hated to admit it, but it was true, and Hot Rod thought honest talk might get him into the other's good graces sooner.
"Good. But I want you to stay even after you are a hundred per cent fit," Megatron said, appreciating the honesty. He opened the door of the cell and stepped out first. His back was to his captive, and while Hot Rod was weak and didn't have the weaponry to cause serious damage, it was still a show of trust. "You'd best accompany me or else the others might mistake you as a target." Of course, he could inform the Decepticons via comlink to not shot the Autobot down but accidents happen, and he didn't want this project to be a failure even before it had began. "Do you need spare parts as well?"
"Could use a new spoiler," Hot Rod nodded, glancing back over his shoulder. "Though I don't think I'll be using my transformation ability anytime soon. Everything in me is aching."
Megatron couldn't quite help the snort escaping him. The Autobot was lucky he was just aching and not close to deactivation! "We'll see if there are any." He didn't add that the spare parts usually came from the sparkless bodies of others. Resources were rare and never enough, despite all of his efforts.
He led Hot Rod to an elevator, then through a few corridors before they arrived at the medics' preferred hall. "Here. Be nice to them, they can have a worse temper than I."
Despite his best efforts, the youngling couldn't help but cringe - that sounded downright nasty. He nodded to the mech present in the room, who measured him with a definite interest - about the same way a scavenger measures up a new scrapheap. But, Megatron's orders quickly lowered their enthusiasm - the Autobot had to be repaired, brought back to full efficiency. One younger-looking mech accompanied Hot Rod to help him wash while the others scattered to fetch tools and parts.
Soon, the crimson and orange officer was resting on a medical berth in stasis.
Megatron left Hot Rod under the medics' watch and went back to his main operation room. He needed to prepare the Decepticons on Earth for their new Autobot pet. But first he commed to Shockwave, warning him about Hot Rod and his plans to go back to Earth again. His Cybertronian second-in-command took the news calmly and refrained from pointing out the energy they will need for the travel. But this war didn't allow Megatron to spend too much time away from it; Optimus Prime wasn't above confusing the Decepticons with his own ideology, nor was he above pressing his advantages when Megatron wasn't at present. And he wanted to keep his new pet with him, at least for now.
Talking with his chief medic on Earth assured him that the preparations should be complete before they arrived - there was nothing else to do right now, just wait until Hot Rod was repaired to an acceptable level.
The youngling, technically a prisoner still, had no say in the matter; he wasn't awake anyway. The medics prepared him for travel. Megatron couldn't help a satisfied grin when he saw him again, strapped down and unconscious. The medics did good work on him; he looked a lot better. A little more fixing, some energon and the tender care of the three specialists on Earth, and the fiery young officer would make a wonderful decoration to Megatron's own chambers.
Shockwave opened the Spacebridge and wished good luck and victory for his mighty leader. The teleport device hummed up loudly and in a few kliks they arrived at their second home- the citadel in the middle of the ocean. As the Spacebridge closed, they could feel the mechanisms working, sinking the impressive tower again into the depths which the Autobots had little chance of invading.
As no immediate report or attack demanded his attention, Megatron was free to look over his pet. He summoned Bombshell and Soundwave to him, while his medic worked on the Autobot. He had already made his wishes clear, so that all that was left was the installation and the security issues. "Are you sure he won't notice the overrides?"
"Chances depend on persuasion efficiency," Soundwave replied in his monotone voice, "Time and care required."
"We'll use the combination of Soundwave's coding abilities and my cerebro-shells," Bombshell explained, "Hook will install the needed components. The key is to create a smooth transition from one personality to another. The overrides won't activate at once, but continuously, one line at a time. To reach the desired result, we'll need time, and your assistance as well, Megatron."
"My assistance in what?" Megatron asked back. He knew the theory of brain washing methods but wasn't an expert like the Insecticon. "To reinforce the preferred and punish the not preferred behavior?"
"That is actually a wonderful way to put it," the Insecticon grinned - it was apparent, even thought his facial structure was not capable of displaying emotions. "You have to tempt him, taint him. Deceive him, make him doubt in anything and everything he believed so far - when he's occupied with his own thoughts, he's less likely to spot the changes. Do what you do best: be a charismatic leader! Try talking him into changing alliance - if everything goes as planned, eventually, he will. By his own decision nonetheless."
"As long as I've the time to play with him," Megatron nodded back, his own expression resembling a shark's. If the process worked, and Hot Rod became loyal to him without doubts and fears, then maybe, one-by-one, he could change all the remaining Autobots. "Send me a notice when he is ready."
Bombshell nodded; Soundwave bowed, and they both returned to the task at hand.
"Another brilliant plan, oh Mighty Leader...?" An irritating voice sounded from behind; its owner was obviously very displeased.
"Starscream, I almost missed you," Megatron said and turned around to watch his second-in-command. The Seeker was a true Decepticon, ready to attack at the first hint of weakness. Megatron used him because Starscream had good tactical skills and helped more than not, but he didn't trust him. Still, there weren't many things he didn't share; after all, Megatron was sure in his own strength, so he just pointed in the direction of the medics. "See, our new pet!"
"Do you seriously think this will work?" Starscream spat, "Bombshell failed more times with his gadgets than not, and Hook will be tinkering with that Autobot for all of the upcoming week!" Granted, Hook's time-consuming precision was indeed legendary. "You're wasting time and effort on that brat, not to mention energon and spare parts, and when he first sees Optimus Prime, he'll shoot you and throw himself into his comrades' arms! Though, at least that would mean that I'm the next leader." He made a nonchalant gesture. "I'm not even sure why I'm trying to stop you from making this stupid mistake...!"
"You think I'll let Hot Rod out of the Citadel? And besides, he has never met Prime before, he shouldn't be affected by the Earthian Autobots!" Megatron had considered the dangers and possible damages as well when he decided to indulge himself in this project, and the chances were he wouldn't be wasting anything. "And Hook, Bombshell and Soundwave working together should do the trick - and if not, it's still only one 'bot and an easily destroyable one. You might be able to use his new spoiler if it comes to that," he added and reached out. His fingers and claws rested on Starscream's vulnerable wings for a few kliks. "But not sooner!"
The Seeker was composed enough to freeze when the claws grabbed his wings instead of tearing himself out of the grasp.
"It'll be too late to admit I was right when your little pet nails you to the berth with something sharp!" he hissed and stepped back, out of reach. "I suppose you want a whole harem of converted Autobots? Your spike will be your death."
"What is this, Starscream? You want one for yourself?" Megatron asked then stepped closer. He lowered his voice and tried to trap Starscream against a wall with his greater height and reach. "Or does your processor need an update for you to remember that I can have whatever I want?"
The Air Commander was a treacherous glitch, but he wasn't entirely stupid. He tried to maneuver out of the threatening situation both physically and verbally. "Of course you can, Mighty Megatron. After all, your plans allllways succeed," he drawled. "I'm merely trying to point out that the project needs a lot of time and effort and great care and if you slip once... you could ruin the whole process, and then... You'll have an Autobot in the spark of the citadel, bent on destroying you."
"Yes, that could set back my plans for a while," Megatron mused but didn't give up on his attempt. He backed Starscream against a wall, far from the door as the brightness of his optics increased. "However, as long as nobody interferes, things should go according to my plans." He paused and made a grab for the Seeker, wanting to push him against the solid metal.
The Seeker managed to block the attack with his lower arm; not that the powerful claws couldn't rip it off, but at least it wasn't his cockpit glass, neck cables or wings. "I wouldn't dream of it, oh wise leader...! Who am I to mess with your experiments? I'm just here to deliver the warning of a worried subordinate...!" His crimson optics wide and flickering rapidly.
Megatron grabbed the arm and didn't release it. His other hand seized Starscream's jaw; the panels on the face weren't too strong and many receptors were linked tothem. "Are you sure? Maybe, I should ask you to make sure nothing happens to the Autobot while in the Citadel, nothing that would compromise my plans. Would you like that?" His voice held one part cruelty and one part amusement.
"W-whatever my leader asks from me..." the Seeker managed to groan out; his own claws scratching at Megatron's hand locked on his jaw weakly. "I shall obey your commands... Mighty Megatron."
"Good," Megatron nodded. Starscream's words filled him with pleasure and he didn't even have to be violent to get the other's submission. His expression shifted a bit as he thought about all his plans and how he wanted to ensure the Autobot's obedience. Without releasing the trapped Seeker, Megatron pressed his lips against the other's. Maybe this would create a positive loop.
Immediately, a whine built in the Air Commander's vocalizer, and his struggling ceased a bit, most probably because his processors became otherwise occupied.
Megatron went on for a while, enjoying the feeling before he pulled back. He wasn't about to just shove his spike into Starscream in the middle of the Citadel. "Now, do you have any more objections?" he asked and released the trapped hand so his fingers could wander. The claws didn't leave marks as he caressed the Seeker's chest and wings but the possibility was there.
"N-no. Of course not." Starscream didn't turn his head, but averted his optics. His vents were heaving as well, betraying the effect the kiss had on him. "Command me and I shall obey, my Leader."
"I want you to keep the perimeter clean of our enemies, at least for a short time, until my pet starts to adjust," Megatron said. His fingers caressed the other's body where the armor was weak and the joints were vulnerable, sensitive. "I want you to be civil to the Autobot. He needs careful handling and should any of you destroy my plans I won't be pleased! Questions?"
The Seeker shivered. "None, my Leader. I shall lead the aerial patrols myself for a few Earth weeks." For his greatest dismay, Starscream was not able to keep his frame completely in check; it arched into the caresses eagerly. Curse those razor-sharp, strong claws. Curse those blazing crimson optics. Curse those wicked processors beneath that silver-white helm...
"Excellent," Megatron nodded and pressed his lips against Starscream's once more as a reminder. Then he pulled back and straightened out. He was affected as well but not as much as the other. After all, the Seeker kept his hands idle. "Now, you've your orders, and I need to see how we fared while I was away." It was a cold dismissal but not more so than usually.
Starscream merely nodded, then shook himself and headed back toward his chambers. Meanwhile, he commed to his wingmates and haughtily ordered them there. He had to get rid of the frustration.
Megatron looked after him for a few kliks then turned the other way and went down to ask Hook how much time did he need for all the modifications. He wanted his little pet to be perfect.
Due to the mechano-medic's painful precision, several days passed until Hot Rod was roused from the status. However, the Constructicon team used the time to work on his other parts; his bright armor was mended, arm fixed, he even got a brand new, polished spoiler. His frame was pristine, smelling faintly of fresh oil and paint.
His blue optics flashed to life slowly, stasis-haze still clouding them. He focused and frowned a little as he identified Megatron leaning above him. Fortunately, Hook made sure that his logic processors would catch up sooner than his motor functions did.
"Welcome to Earth," Megatron said pleasantly. He reached out with one hand and caressed Hot Rod's face, metal brushing against sensitive metal. "How do you feel?"
"Earth-?" The youngling shook his head a bit disoriented. "How long have I-" His optics widened as he checked his chronometer. "Why was I offline for so long? And how did I get to Earth anyway?" Earth. The distant planet, where Optimus Prime and his soldiers fought still! Of course, these were only rumors, but they boosted the Cybertron resistance's moral quite a bit. Optimus was the great Autobot hero, the legendary leader, and when he was in a good mood, Ultra Magnus sometimes relayed tales of him for the youngsters, to set an example for them.
"You're just full of questions." Megatron frowned for a moment then straightened himself. His cold optics were fixed on Hot Rod. "You're here because I brought you here. I couldn't leave without you, not after you asked me to show you the way Cybertronians are supposed to be! But your injuries were graver than I had first thought and the bridge is calibrated to us, that's why you were offline. But fear not, nothing has happened during this time. Fortunately we weren't attacked," he added in a quieter voice. The Autobots were trying to repair themselves right now, thanks to the Air Squad and 'Scream. "I hope our fortune keeps for a while longer."
"Hnn." Hot Rod slowly struggled to sit up straight, and eyed Hook warily, who was running diagnostic scans on him. Eventually, the green and purple mechano-medic nodded.
"He's on ninety percent efficiency, Megatron. The rest will come along with a cube and a little exercise; the freshly repaired parts are always a bit sore first."
"Thank you," Megatron said and the satisfaction in his voice wasn't forged. Hook did a good job even if it took more time than he had wanted. He turned back to Hot Rod and touched him where the new spoiler joined to his body. "How does it feel?"
A faint shiver ran down on the crimson body. "Sensitive..." Hot Rod mumbled, feeling his cheek plates heating up a bit. "Uh, so, what now? Will somebody escort me to a nice cell?" The touch reminded him of the curiosity that had welled up in his spark before- what was this sensitivity all about? He remembered where and how the Decepticon leader touched him, and he wanted to figure out if it was real or just some kind of trick.
"No, if you promise me that you'll behave," Megatron replied. He kept lightly touching the sensitive spot as he spoke. "I'd like to give you some authorization, limited, of course, but I don't want to keep you as a prisoner. It would be cruel."
The youngling opened his mouth, then closed it. He wanted to mention that he had been a prisoner, treated roughly, but... back then he was a captive, who had been shooting at the enemy. Now, he was here to learn. He nodded, not really wanting to move out of the gentle caress. "I see. Thank you, Megatron. Then, perhaps... somebody could show me around? Only the places where I'm free to move, of course. Like, wash racks, shooting range... Where I can get a cube."
"You're welcome," Megatron nodded. He wasn't used to being this polite with weaker beings but he needed all his cunning for his plan to work. He continued the caress for another minute or two before he took a step back and offered his hand to Hot Rod. "I can show you around, and maybe introduce you to a few of my faithful Decepticons. Come!"
This sounded interesting. The young officer followed Megatron. At the moment, he was the only Decepticon he - no matter how insane this sounded - trusted. The leader proved to be trustworthy until this, and in fact, sort of nice... It really threw Hot Rod off the line. He had heard stories of Megatron's cruelty, but they didn't want to match up with what he had seen.
The youngling shook his head. Wait, no, he was not here to fawn over a Con. He was here to gather information and to either flee back to his own, or to try to arrange something between the two factions. Becoming the one who managed to make the leaders talk and try to settle things diplomatically... Now, that sounded very nice. Hot Rod felt eager to see things here on Earth, and he could very well start with the Decepticon citadel.