Please note that this story was written ages ago – just as season three had finished, actually. I guess you can consider this an AU, since it deviates wildly from what actually happens in season 4. So, without further ado, here is my first ReBoot story from a Viral viewpoint... Ashes to Ashes.


Ashes to Ashes

Part 4

"A Prime Guardian? You keep a Prime here for your own amusement? Hmm.. I like the way you think, Daemon." Megabyte looked the battered sprite up and down, noting the healing wounds and scars with a disdainful eye. "But really.. is this the best that you could do?" He turned to her and raised an eyebrow, giving her an arch look.

Daemon blinked and frowned. "I learned from the best teachers I could find at the time... I suppose you have a different way of doing things?"

Megabyte lifted Turbo's chin higher with one clawed finger, smiling slightly as the Guardian stared at him and curled his lip in a silent snarl.

"Oh, I have a few things to teach you I suppose.. physical torture I didn't spend too much time on, I preferred the mental kind.. I find it's much more satisfying to make slaves bend their knee to you by messing with their minds rather then their bodies." He paused a moment and glanced at Daemon's blank face again, suddenly sensing he had made a mistake.

"Of course, not that I had much time or chance to actually do that in my system.. that Guardian and the Principle Office forces saw to that. I'm sure you've been doing fine on your own. Would you mind if I suggested a new method, if this one hasn't been working?"

Daemon seemed to thaw a bit at that, and nodded slowly.

"For some reason I haven't been able to break him.. he has no family ties that I have been able to discover, so I can't bring them in for leverage, and he seems not to care about how much pain he goes through. If you do have a suggestion, I would be glad to hear it."

Megabyte grinned and looked down on Daemon for a moment, considering what he was about to tell her, then nodded slightly. If she couldn't stomach his suggestion, then she was not suited as ruler of the Net.

"Well, I do have a rather.. tasty suggestion, that is, if you can handle it. Not all viruses find it enjoyable, but I certainly did when I had the chance and the resources to dabble in it. You don't need much, a few implements like the ones you have, and a few cups."

"Cups?" Daemon blinked and looked at him, puzzled. "What in the Net would we need cups for?"

"The cups are for his energy, of course." Turbo's eyes snapped open again as he stared at Megabyte in horror. The viruses noticed the sprite's reaction. Megabyte smiled slightly and raised an eyebrow at Daemon, watching while she grinned ever wider at Turbo's paling face.

Daemon turned, opened a VidWindow and issued an order to an infected Guardian for two cups to be brought to her. While they waited, Megabyte explained more about what he would show her.

"You see, it took some time, but it was discovered that the more pain a sprite is in, and the more intense the pain, the sweeter the energy is if it's drawn off at just the right moment. It's an art, really. Too soon and you don't get the full effect of the sprite's agony, too late and you end up with simply the dregs of the pain."

Megabyte made a show of examining his claws carefully, as if they were suddenly very interesting, but watched Turbo's face out of the corner of one eye. The sprite had gone a pale grey and looked as if he would be ill, and stared at Megabyte and Daemon in a sort of sick horror.

The door creaked open and a guardian arrived with two ornate crystal goblets on a platter which he set on the floating platform. Bowing, he gave one last look of disgust to his Prime before turning and walking away. Daemon selected a razor edged knife from the tray and raised it to Turbo's shoulder, only to bare her teeth in a snarl as Megabyte seized her hand.

Without even turning, Daemon reversed her grip on the knife and stabbed back, burying it hilt-deep into his thick forearm. Hissing in pain, Megabyte reacted without thinking as well, and raised his other hand to strike..

PAIN!!! It shrilled along every nerve, filled his chest and burst from his throat in an ear-shattering roar as Megabyte dropped to his knees and vented his agony aloud. The dark chamber swallowed the sound even as it did the light, and there were no echoes. Megabyte's breath hissed between his teeth as he yanked the knife out of his arm and looked up at Daemon.

Daemon looked down at him, her eyes cold and remote, her face a mask of disdain at his outburst. Her lip curled in a slight sneer as she placed one hand on her hip and inspected the nails on the other. "Anytime you're ready, Megabyte."

Ashamed at being brought down in such a manner in front of a slave, Megabyte swallowed his shame and stood, wiping the trickling energy from his arm and sealing the outer edge of the cut. Cleaning the blade on a scrap of Turbo's uniform, Megabyte presented the hilt of the blade to Daemon.

"My lady..." he murmured, forcing himself to bow slightly as he handed her the razor sharp knife. "I didn't mean to stop you, simply to.. correct your technique." He kept his eyes cast down until she retrieved the blade. She placed it on the metal tray again and he allowed his eyes to flick up to her face, and relaxed slightly at the facade of forced boredom he saw there... but she couldn't hide the flicker of interest in her eyes, nor the way she instinctively leaned forward slightly, as if ready to leap upon her prey.

Megabyte grinned to himself, realizing that while he may be her slave, he was also a very valuable one, and one that she realized could teach her things she didn't know.

"My liege, if I may demonstrate my own, personal favorite method? It happens to be a very effective beginning move, and ensures the maximum amount of pain while not threatening the life of the subject. If I might...?"

Megabyte felt a leap of excitement as Daemon nodded and stepped back, allowing him access to the tray of torture instruments. However, he didn't bother to pick any of them up, he simply stepped up to Turbo and smiled slowly. Megabyte stared into the wary eyes of the Prime and reached out one massive hand to cover the right hand of the battered sprite. Megabyte said nothing, and he made no movement other then to sieze Turbo's hand inside his own fist.. and squeeze.

Turbo blinked in pain as the bones in his hand were forced together, then bit his lip as Megabyte tightened even more. Clenching his jaw, Turbo closed his eyes and tried to ignore the pain.. but found it impossible, especially when the first finger bone shattered.

Daemon let her eyes close to mere slits as she savored Turbo's scream, and watched as Megabyte paused until the sound had died away to continue shattering every bone in the Guardian's right hand. The entire process took a surprisingly long time - she didn't know it could be stretched out as long as Megabyte managed to.

Daemon smiled widely and studied the way Megabyte took obvious pleasure in performing this method of torture, and as the Prime's screams rose to a crescendo, she was startled when he turned and picked up one of the goblets. Piercing the skin of the sprite's arm at the elbow by using his new claws, he held the cup under Turbo's arm with one hand while grinding what was left of the shattered hand into the wall.

The shrieks of agony were music to her ears as she watched the glowing energy fill up the first glass, then the other. Quickly tying up the wound with a scrap of the Prime's uniform, Megabyte turned to Daemon while the sprite sobbed and writhed in his bonds. Holding out the first shimmering glass of energy to Daemon, Megabyte himself nearly glowed with the satisfaction he felt at being able to practice this particular art again.

Daemon took the goblet carefully and gazed into the shimmering liquid, then smiled at the other virus and raised it to her lips, barely noticing the fading whimpers of pain from Turbo.

A rush of power thrilled along her limbs, swirling around her body, filling her head with the sound of a thousand screams of pain as the first few drops slid down her throat. Daemon smiled and took a longer drink.

Echoes of unbearable pain that slid over every nerve filled her again, and the agony of having a part of oneself destroyed, the despair of knowing that this would never end, the shame felt when the body broke down and vented its pain despite best efforts to prevent it, the hopelessness of knowing that this, of all the tortures he had been subjected to, this one would break him-

Daemon gasped as her eyes flew open and fixed upon Megabyte's face. His own glass was still in his hand, untasted, but his eyes were watching her for her reaction. She reached out one hand and gestured for the second glass, then drained it as well. She let out a long sigh of happiness and smiled at Megabyte, her eyes shining brightly.

"Oh.. do that again..."

Megabyte chuckled and turned back to Turbo, who was watching him with terror in his eyes. It gave the virus a sense of superiority to know that he had managed to instill fear into the one sprite that Daemon had been unable to cow.

Untying the strip of cloth around the cut in the sprite's arm, Megabyte simply pressed Turbo's pulped hand against the wall again, also adding a painful grind to the wrist bones as well. Higher shrieks of pain resulted, and Megabyte refilled the glasses before binding up the cut once more.

Daemon took one of the goblets of energy and walked away from the battered sprite, glancing over her shoulder and gesturing for Megabyte to follow her. Megabyte dared not taste his drink before Daemon did - he knew the rules, and besides.. it was only common courtesy to allow a lady the first taste.

Following Daemon through the huge double doors and down the hallway, Megabyte took the chance to glance around him. The walls were sleek stone and precious wood paneling, signifying the high quality of the quarters they were passing. The two viruses stepped into an elevator, and stepped out a moment later into a large, richly decorated office gleaming with Daemon's colors. She waved him to the seat across from her as she stepped behind the desk and sat, taking a small sip from her glass.

"So.. what shall I do with you, now that I have you, hmmm?"

Megabyte regarded his mistress through eyes slitted with caution. He had to convince her to keep him, or all was lost..


Daemon regarded her prize over the rim of her glass, making note once more of the powerful body Megabyte wore, as well as his tremendous strength of will. She would need to test his loyalty, as well as give him a chance to find out what his new body could do. He'd be of no use to her whatsoever if he was a total klutz. A pretty face would be good only for show, and she demanded that all of her subjects pay their way.

Of course, with such a face, she could use him in her throne room, beside her seat to instill fear into the more thick-headed petitioners... Or perhaps even just have him open the door and escort people in to see her. That should intimidate even the most fearless... unless they were very stupid.

But first... she needed to test his physical strength. So perhaps.. the junk yard. One of the heavy duty movers had broken down, and to keep her scrap recovery on schedule, she needed that metal moved today. And besides.. it would be a test to see if he thought moving scrap metal beneath his dignity. If he failed in this first test of loyalty, then he would die, simple as that.


Megabyte clutched his glass carefully, waiting for Daemon to say something, anything, anything at all other then to continue staring into her drink the way she was. The slow smile that was creeping across her face was oddly frightening as well, and Megabyte grew more and more tense, waiting for her to do something.

When she finally did move, he nearly dropped his glass, but managed to cover it up quite nicely by lowering it as if he had just been interrupted while about to take a sip.

Daemon tapped a few commands into the console in front of her, then sat back and sipped from her glass as she waited the results of her work. She smiled as the console presented a small data pad, and slid it across the desk towards Megabyte.

"Take this.. it will explain everything you'll need to know. I'm going to give you a rather important job for your first day, so make sure you don't screw it up. Directions to your workplace are in the pad." The smile she gave him ran a chill down his spine, and reinforced his initial decision to do his best.

Megabyte picked up the pad, but before he could look at it, Daemon leaned back and raised her glass in a toast.

"To -total- Net domination, and my continued rule over the Guardians... and to a new member of my army, may you live to rise in the ranks." Daemon smiled nastily with the last words, and tilted her head back, draining her glass. Megabyte nodded and let the contents of his glass slide down his throat, enjoying the screaming of the Prime Guardian's pain running through his body.

She waved a hand in dismissal and Megabyte stood, bowing his head in respect for a heartbeat before turning swiftly on his heel and stalking out of the room. Daemon watched the doors slide shut after him and let a slow smile spread across her face. Anyone walking by the office might have heard the laugh that filled her office and spilled out into the corridor... that is, if anyone had gotten past all of Daemon's protections and traps.

Daemon giggled as she watched Megabyte pause on one of her security monitors as he checked the data pad she had given him. She covered her mouth in an effort to stem the giggles at the surprise and fury when he discovered that his final destination was a junk yard. She did -so- hate it when she giggled.. she sounded like a little girl.. but the look on his face was priceless!

But that fury was good to see. It meant he wasn't spineless after all... and she could find a number of good uses for him. Daemon continued to watch Megabyte until he left the range of her security screens, an odd half-smile on her face.



So, there it is - now it's up to the readers to decide: do I continue this or not? Is there anyone out there who wants me to continue this? Is there anyone even reading this? O.o