Author's notes: Even though countless stories have been written about the peculiar relationship between Megatron and Starscream, there is still a world of possibilities to be explored, some more ironic than others.
This story is the result of my addiction to put my favorite characters into awkward predicaments. Cartoons give us basics of their personalities, so it's not that easy to tell exactly how they would behave in certain situations. Personally I think Starscream has no limits when the edges of his limited patience are shaken.
Big hugs to my fellow S. iratepirate for beta reading this chapter.
(Sort of) disclaimer: Starscream is not mine… sigh.
(Non) Pacific resistance
When living in the middle of a war, being shot down is not exactly an uncommon event.
Neither is returning to on-line mode after a bad shot, or good, from the enemy's point of view.
In his very particular case, it was also normal to return to consciousness and finding himself alone, not a single signal of his comrades in arms close.
Megatron had left him behind, once again.
Why wasn't he surprised? If he would receive an energon cube for every time Megatron abandoned him, he would be permanently over energized. It didn't seem like an unattractive situation, though. At least he wouldn't have a sober mind to rationalize humiliation.
Starscream crashed his furious fist on the ground, causing a small explosion of rocks and dust. Contradictory thoughts assaulted his processor in moments like that, moments that were becoming very frequent. The relief of having crashed out of enemy's reach was minimized by abandonment. Once again he was verifying that his own survival couldn't be less important to the Decepticon leader, or the rest of his comrades for the matter.
After the first moment of emotional frustration, Starscream forced himself to focus on his priorities. Following their primary function of preservation, his internal systems began to run a scan of the damages received during the battle with the Autobots. There was no bigger marvel in the universe than his own existence; everything else was secondary.
Getting on his hands and knees wasn't very difficult. Good, his limbs seemed to be operational, but a sharp pain in his back revealed the origin of his encounter with the ground. Laboriously, he directed his right hand toward the small discs that were still attached between his wings.
Gyro-inhibitor shells… unwelcome guests that had arrived thanks to some lucky shot of that Autobot Wheeljack, though he also had his own display of inopportune aerial acrobatics to blame.
Fate had a very humiliating way of working sometimes, and being grounded by some pacifist and mad joke of a scientist was one of its worst exhibitions.
There was also an ugly hole in his right wing, penetrated smoothly by a point blank shot. That had to be that fragging Sunstreaker's doing… trying to make his Jet Judo slag. The shot had hit his Decepticon insignia exactly, exposing the Autobot's dark sense of humor.
Starscream got rid of the three small disks that had caused his loss of balance. They were already inoperable, but carrying on his structure such symbols of indignity was unbearable.
He got up laboriously, his left leg revealing additional damage to one of his knee joints.
Great, just great… What was next?
He took off with considerably less speed than usual. His altitude wasn't what he expected, but soon his only operational engine expressed with irate roars what his vocalizer wanted to shout to the skies.
Destroying Megatron, using his head as a disposal bucket, building a monument to junk with his remains…
Thoughts of power and supremacy were not guiding him for once. It was pure hate, born from the certainty that he had been treated unfairly for the umpteenth time. Sometimes he wondered why Megatron had made him Air Commander and Second in Command of the Decepticon army. He always concluded the reasons were only sadistic and sick. Having a forced sparring partner, a catalyst for all frustrations, an eternal object to beat and humiliate, a comfortable culprit for Megatron's own failures… Where was the honor in Starscream's rank?
Things had to change… drastically. As he flew toward Decepticon Headquarters followed by a dark smoke cloud that came from his own injuries, Starscream promised himself he would make that change happen this time.
Megatron would repent.
Starscream was not surprised when the launching platform didn't rise to receive him, even though he was sure his presence had been detected.
It was the habit. Every time the Air Commander was abandoned after a battle, or every time he decided to delay his return to base to escape from Megatron's fury after a failed attempt to take over, nobody ever wondered about his absence or worried about his welfare.
'Dysfunctional elements always return', an ancient cybertronian saying stated, and there he was to prove it.
Returning in those circumstances was shameful, but he needed repairs and he wasn't in a condition to carry them out by himself.
Starscream activated the launching platform using his battle computer, grateful for one of the few privileges of being Second in Command that actually worked. At least he didn't have to humiliate himself asking for authorization, as any other Decepticon would have.
A few astro seconds later, the Atlantic Ocean divided, its surface broken by the imposing platform that opened in a display of water and foam.
Starscream moved into the darkness, no more second thoughts towering his decision.
Well-known images invaded the optics of the Decepticon Air Commander as soon as the elevator from the launching platform stopped and the double doors opened to reveal the Command Center of the base.
Soundwave was before the main computer, busy tracking new energy sources or doing any of those things that only he could take care of; Starscream couldn't have cared less. Both lieutenants ignored each other, just as they did every time they were between missions.
Starscream wished he'd received the same reaction from the two pairs of optics that fixated on him the moment he put a foot out of the elevator.
Sitting at one of the surveillance stations, Ramjet and Dirge seemed very bored performing duties they obviously hated. Watching the arrival of the shaken Air Commander was a welcomed change.
"Aaaaah…. how cute… the absent returned home," Dirge said.
"Welcome back, happy prince, did you have a pleasant flight?"
"I bet he did, Ramjet. Don't you think smoke suits him well? He almost looks handsome!"
Both Coneheads cackled maniacally as the black smoke coming out from Starscream expanded through the Command Center.
The distressed Seeker clenched his fists with fury and hurried his steps, dragging his hurt dignity behind. His limping was fuel to acid mockery.
"Hey, Screamer, what's wrong? Does your leg hurt?" Ramjet laughed, his voice full of hypocritical sympathy.
Half an astro second later, Ramjet was a spectacle of convulsions lying on the floor, courtesy of a blast from a very convenient null ray. Dirge flinched and fell from his chair, staring horrified at his friend.
Starscream shot a last dirty look at his two disrespectful subordinates before exiting the Command Center.
As Ramjet still twisted in agony, his systems momentary paralyzed, Soundwave continued his meticulous work on the computer, as if nothing had happened behind him.
Another rutinary day at the Nemesis.
Millimetric exactness was one of Hook's abilities, but conformity would never be one of his defects. He was always searching to increase the limits of perfection.
When the difference between success and failure lay within a radius no bigger than a nanometer, any slight imprecision could cause absolute chaos.
Hurried and erratic steps broke the presumptuous surgeon's concentration, almost provoking him to deviate the work of the electronic scalpel in his hand. He glanced with annoyance at the cause of the alteration to the formerly calmed Constructicon's Laboratory.
Not only Hook, but all his five mates, shot dirty looks at the smoking Seeker.
"Repair me," Starscream ordered as he walked toward one of the berths.
"You are not scheduled to be repaired. Leave," Scrapper coldly answered, returning his glance to the blueprints that had had all his attention before the interruption.
"Slag schedules! I am injured and I demand immediate repairs!"
Starscream emphasized his words with a violent punch to the nearest table. A storm of unidentified small mechanical pieces crashed to the floor, most of them of human manufacture.
"Hey, that is mine!" Scavenger complained.
"I wonder who is going to clean that mess…" Long Hauled seconded, pessimistically. He knew exactly that it would be him, just as usual.
"G-get the frag out of here, Starscream! Y-you are ruining my f-formula with your smoke!" Mixmaster cried.
"How would you like to have your head buried in your aft, you insane pile of reject parts?!" Bonecrusher growled, approaching dangerously.
Starscream moved too fast for his shattered condition. A point blank shot impacted Bonecrusher's shoulder, making him step back.
"You brutes back off!! Scrapper, Hook, repair me NOW! It's an order and I won't repeat it!"
Not waiting for an answer, the furious Seeker reached the closest repair berth and proceeded to lie down unceremoniously on his stomach. The position was as humiliating as it was disadvantaged, but he didn't have more respectful options.
The six Constructicons glanced at each other. A tacit agreement was made and Hook and Scrapper walked toward the patient. It didn't matter how much they hated the pompous Second in Command; driving him to the edges of fury had never been a good idea.
Mixmaster returned to his weird formula and Long Haul hurried to start repairs on Bonecrusher's shoulder, happy for being useful for something more than transportation duties for once in his life.
Scavenger sadly started to pick up the pile of junk he called treasures.
After a particularly humiliating session of repairs under Hook's meticulous but sadistic care, Starscream returned to his personal quarters, his structure completely restored but his self esteem on the floor.
Fortunately he didn't have another unpleasant encounter on his way. He didn't know if he would have been able to continue walking without assassinating somebody.
Despite his claustrophobia, very few times was the sight of the door of his personal quarters so welcomed. Locking himself in for a few or many hours meant being away from the glances of the others. Normally he appreciated loneliness; now it was more than the perfect companion.
Opening the door with a mental command, Starscream stopped cautiously at the threshold. He never entered his private sanctuary without verifying the non-violated condition of his security systems. It wasn't rare for some of his comrades, especially natural pranksters like Skywarp and Soundwave's Cassetticons, to target him for their disgusting jokes.
Fortunately that day none of his security protocols had been altered, and not a single particle of dust disturbed the tranquility of the only place in that asphyxiating base in which he felt some sort of security.
Starscream activated the lights to medium intensity and closed the door behind him. A solar cycle as forgettable as that one demanded an immediate recharge, but he disregarded the idea. His mind was too tormented to allow rest to happen.
Priorities needed to be addressed, his personal appearance being the first.
Hook had performed an impeccable job but, as always, the Constructicon tended to privilege efficacy over aesthetics. Starscream's right wing was in perfect condition, but the repaired spot was considerably less brilliant than the rest. An immediate solution had to be applied.
Guided by his vanity, he walked toward his private cleaning unit and started a slow process of washing and polishing. As the device worked gently on his structure, Starscream returned his thoughts to his main objective.
Pure and complete vengeance, delicious and definitive retaliation…
His wishes couldn't be clearer, but the ways to achieve them were confused.
Megatron had no known weaknesses. Attacking him directly had always meant painful failures. How, then, was he going to give his hateful leader a decisive low hit?
The polishing process finalized and Starscream nodded at his wing, now as lustrous as the rest of his body.
His ego's demands solved, he walked toward his personal computer.
As soon as he activated it, the system displayed that his energon reserves hadn't been touched during the entire solar cycle that was about to conclude.
He ignored the announcement, the vital fuel being the last of his preoccupations. He wasn't hungry. Besides, Hook had completely energized him as part of the repairing procedure.
The report of the energy raid in which he had been injured displayed on the screen. A relative success… or failure. 58 percent of the energy had been obtained before the Autobots forced a hurried retirement.
He made the data disappear with a violent punch to the computer's console. He remembered he had to be more delicate with mindless machines when the image of the screen pixilated, announcing a probable short circuit.
Great… the perfect way to end a wonderful day.
He was about to start looking for possible damages to the computer when the image returned, but the cybertronian characters of the report weren't there anymore. In their place was what seemed to be one of those human newscasts.
A circus, a spectacle-worth of beasts… It was common for the advanced communication systems of the Nemesis to catch terrestrial television signals, but, unlike many Decepticons who actually enjoyed them, Starscream deeply despised them.
A frenetic finger was directed toward one grey button on the console, but abruptly stopped, grazing absent-mindedly its former objective as Starscream watched with sudden attention the images displayed on the screen.
His face brightened with juvenile joy as the images and words were being recorded in his memory banks. The answer to his problems appeared, saviour and promising.
Who would have thought? Some of those humans could have good ideas after all…
Yes, definitely he would make Megatron repent long before he had thought. It would be such a pleasure to see his hateful leader on his knees for a change.
Starscream's smile couldn't have been more evil.
To be continued.
Next: The beginning of an unthinkable strike.
Please let me know your opinions. Update coming soon :o)