Lighting in the brig of the derelict Decepticon flagship, a burnt-out husk on the surface of Charr since the twilight solar-cycles of the Great Cybertronian War, had always been faulty. Since the once-impressive star cruiser had been left to rot, it had stopped working altogether. Rare though it was to be occupied by a prisoner, they often lost their minds in the blackness.
This prisoner needed no light source.
Galvatron was impressed. When Cyclonus had reported that his scouts had brought in a glowing mech for the Emperor of Destruction's pleasure, he had knocked his major-domo silly. After all that, it seemed that the fool had been telling the truth.
Golden optics glared at the tyrant, burning defiance and hatred and righteous fury. Galvatron gazed down at the sepulchral glow. A dead mech met his stare.
The similarities were astonishing. If not for the almost mournful golden light, which flared erratically between dazzling brightness and dying faint, Galvatron would have sworn he was looking into the eyes of the Decepticon who had killed him... almost half a vorn ago now.
"How interesting," he said in his harsh voice, and his captive twitched in the energon chains. According to Cyclonus, he had used the strength of bond usually reserved for dangerous and psychopathic criminals... because normal chains had melted on contact with the glowing mech's plating.
"Let me free."
For some reason, Galvatron was surprised when the voice that slid from the dark, dark lips was neither high nor hoarse. It seemed somehow wrong for any other tone to escape from someone with a build so similar to... his.
"What's in it for me?"
The piercing golden gaze did not bother the purple warlord – rather, he enjoyed this prisoner's audacity; usually, those subject to Galvatron's mercy could not meet his merciless scarlet glare for even an astrosecond. This captive had held that stare almost since Galvatron had walked into the brig to examine him.
"Why would I want that?" It was an amusing answer, unfounded and ridiculous even to Galvatron's corroded cerebral circuitry. Here was one more far gone than he.
Energon bars of the prison gave off a faint lilac glow, drowned out by the suddenly powerful gold from the mech in the cell as he flared out. Galvatron grinned; even their tempers were the same...
"Primus has forsaken this universe! He has grown weary of your wars!" The deep and sonorous voice, the voice that was not high and harsh and rasping, was raised in a cry. As best he could chained, the captive threw his arms wide. "But I bear the power of the Light, and if you let me free to pursue my crusade, then you will be pardoned and accepted into the eternal paradise! If not, you are damned to the Pit!"
While he could have taken due offence at being damned and unleashed his powerful wrath upon the helpless and defenceless prisoner, Galvatron was instead amused at his passionate rambling. He tilted his head, the spikes on his helm like the points of a crown.
"I don't believe in such nonsense," he said simply. The reaction could not have been stranger. As though incited by the words, the ethereal glow again flaring out in anger, the prisoner threw himself against the chains that held him in place and screeched in fury.
It was a terrible sound to hear, a grating scream, bestial and frenzied and furious. And, in that moment, this prisoner seemed more like him than he had before.
"I will not forgive such sacrilege!" screeched the captive, and Galvatron let go of his delusions. While this stranger looked like him and acted like him and even sounded somewhat like him, his passions could not have been more different. It was not him, not the mech who had killed Galvatron countless solar-cycles ago, not that same mech Galvatron had disintegrated in a furious act of vengeance. It was, though for all the universe the similarities were undeniable, not Starscream.
Intrigued, Galvatron overrode the protocols of reason and self-preservation firing off in his mind and lowered the cell's bars, striding confidently towards his prisoner.
"Who sent you, you filth?" he growled out, feeling heat emanating from the glimmering body before him – and that heat was not entirely hot air from the vents.
"I am sent by Primus!" cried the black-faced stranger, "He has given me the power of the Light and charged me with visiting his wrath upon the blasphemers!"
Towering over the prisoner, who was restrained in a crouching position, Galvatron nudged him with one foot. Surprisingly, he smelt burning plating and the very edge of his external armour twisted and began to melt.
The tyrannical purple Decepticon laughed mirthlessly, cruel and cold.
"What are you?"
Still, those ceaseless golden optics glared into Galvatron's red unflinchingly. "I am the Harbinger of the Apocalypse, the avatar of the beginning and the end, the unwavering servant of the great Creator."
Galvatron sneered as the mechanism before him carried on spouting these ridiculous statements, apparently not noticing how stupid they sounded when he was shackled away in the brig of a decomposing battleship.
The flickering golden light threw strange shadows on the orange of his fusion cannon. "I ask you again, you disgusting filth, what are you? Are you a seeker? An Autobot?"
Those questions only provoked a deeper rage. "I am no filth! I am no seeker! I am no Autobot! Your petty wars and trifling conflicts mean nothing to me when I serve a deeper power! I am Sunstorm, you blasphemer! You heretic! Remember it!"
Amused at the thrashing captive, Galvatron crouched so that his optics were on the same level as his prisoner's.
"No one," he said, pleasantly enough while death shone in his glare, "labels Galvatron such names and lives."
The butt of his fusion cannon thudded against the snarling prisoner's orange fuselage. Galvatron fired with the same power that had once reduced Starscream to nothing but dust and a single smoking foot.
Heat engulfed the captive, who screeched out in apparent pain as the black glass of the cockpit canopy cracked and the golden-orange fuselage began to burn and melt under the assault. Without warning, the shrieks dissipated into eerie silence, and Galvatron stepped away, the execution carried out.
Satisfied and in a good humour after his fun with Cyclonus' captive, Galvatron turned his back, meaning to leave the brig and return to his collapsing throne room on the old, derelict flagship that had once belonged to Megatron.
"Primus will not forgive you," said a voice from behind him. His scarlet optics widened in shock and he turned, only to be met by a faint golden light and two piercing yellow optics staring at him from the murky darkness.
Sunstorm had survived the blast, even with a huge and gaping hole carved right through the chamber where his pulsating spark should be encased. Even before Galvatron's astonished stare, the hole began to seal itself up, the corroded and burned out circuitry snaking around itself to reconnect.
"What are you?" Galvatron asked again, voice unsteady with astonishment and no small amount of awe at what he had just seen.
"I told you!" grit Sunstorm impatiently, "I am the avatar of Primus, sent to deliver this sin-filled universe into the darkness of his retribution."
Galvatron stared. Whereas, prior, he would have thought such a statement merely to be rambling matching his own in insanity, after what he had witnessed, the possibility for there to be the slightest grain of truth in the out-there claim was... growing.
A slow grin crossed over the Decepticon warlord's white faceplates. "You are sent by Primus to unleash his wrath upon this universe?" Perhaps it was not such a far-fetched fancy after all. After what he had seen in his long life, after what he had had done to him by a god that, once, everyone had sworn was nothing but a myth. "You fool."
"What!?" roared Sunstorm, enraged.
For once, it was Galvatron who was calm while someone else raved. The unstable warrior-mech crossed back to his captive and again crouched down so that their optics were on the same level.
"You are sent by Primus," he growled, the grin that flitted across his face psychotic and terrifying in its potency, "but I am born of Unicron."
Golden optics widened and then narrowed into slits of passionate hatred. Galvatron's hand clamped over Sunstorm's mouth, and the heat emanating from the zealot's plating burned him.
Madness showed in Galvatron's blazing crimson optics, dripping liquid fire as he snarled in a smirk filled with the lust for torture. "You claim to be pure and righteous," he hissed, turning Sunstorm's head this way and that with that hand clamped over the near-black mouth. He really did look like Starscream... though his paint was different, his face much darker in colour... "I will defile you... will your master accept you back then?"
The golden glow flared out in blinding brilliance as Galvatron descended on his prey. For cycles afterwards, the only words exchanged between the two were high-pitched agonised shrieks.