Another WE expansion fic to add to the pile, this time about Soundwave's character as he is in this continuality. This is a bit of a continuation from the expansion fic When Heaven Fell, and will be featured in the same three-part structure, so if you read that one first, this one might make better sense to you.
I hope you all enjoy!
Nightshade- The character is not actually mine, but a creation of a friend of mine's, Violetlight. She's very fond of this character, so if anyone wishes to use her, they should definitely see the mastermind behind the little spitfire femme.
Waspinator- A blatant allusion to that lovable bug from Beast Wars, but also an allusion to Violetlight's universe as well, since she uses Waspinator as a symbiote for Nightshade.
This fic is dedicated to Violetlight as a Christmas/Solstice gift! I hope you enjoy your present! Oh- and thanks for the great editing! Even if this wasn't your Christmas gift, the fic would be dedicated to you just for that!
Devil at the Crossroads
"Man can hardly even recognize the devils of his own creation."-Albert Schwietzer
"Why?! Why in the pit did you do it?!" Nightshade cried as she stood trembling in her own fury before her mentor.
"She had you at her mercy."
Nightshade spat at the excuse. "I would have been fine! I can take care of myself!"
"She could have killed you, easily, without remorse."
"That's exactly the reason why you shouldn't have let her get away! Now Flamewar's loose and capable of taking out any other given 'Con base she wants! You should have taken her down while you had the chance!"
"I was not willing to take the risk of having you harmed in the crossfire."
"I told you, I can take care of myself. I'd like to think I was trained well enough to defend myself in combat."
"Apparently you cannot defend yourself well enough if Flamewar was able to twist you into such a compromising position," Soundwave pointed out.
Nightshade scowled darkly. "She took me by surprise, that's all. I wasn't expecting her to be-."
"-Using her full strength?" Soundwave intoned.
"No. To be so pissed off, so much so that it made her far too unpredictable," Nightshade informed. She turned her gaze aside, away from his master. "I couldn't calculate her movements."
"Which only demonstrates that you took a foolish risk in attacking her, and that I made the right decision in destroying her while you were in harm's way. If she was so unpredictable at the time, there's no telling how she would have responded, should I have attacked her."
"She needed to be taken out," Nightshade insisted. "It shouldn't have mattered what happened to me."
"It mattered to me."
Nightshade hissed, righteously angry against her unrelenting master and the fugitive he allowed loose. While a part of her spark rejoiced in the fact that Soundwave held her in such high regard that he had let Flamewar go in order to save her life, another part of her was furious that because he'd spared Flamewar's life, other mechs were calling him a traitor. They were calling him weak. He should have just shot Flamewar and not have to suffer through the blasphemy.
Catching her second wind, Nightshade flung her arm back to the wide bay windows of the Leviathan's observatory deck, motioning violently to the burning base growing smaller below them.
"Look at what sparing her cost us!"
"It was only a base. It was going to fall regardless of whether or not I let Flamewar go, Virus saw to that when she infected the mainframe."
"Just a base? That was my home! Our home! Home to every single mech in the base!" Every pitiful possession she owned had been in Kaon, probably now charred black in the fires. Nothing left but ashes.
"You will find a new home in Polyhex when we arrive," Soundwave said firmly, almost making it sound like an order.
"Polyhex is nothing but a smear on the landscape. I'd let myself rust before I ever call that place home."
Fully aware that the fiery nature of his apprentice had always been her hubris, Soundwave straightened to his full height, ready to remind her that her emotions were not to get the better of her over such trivial things. He understood that she was angry over the fact that she was dispatched so easily by her ex-commander and in pain in the aftermath of having her symbiote crushed, but she had to learn to control her volatile reactions to such situations.
Knowing the admonishment to come, Nightshade bristled, backing down a step. "Ployhex is a second rate base and you know it. Its communications division is lacking, at best, and its defences are practically nonexistent! We'd be better off in a Scrapion junk heap!"
"It is the refuge we have been given for now and you will accept that."
"This is absolutely ridiculous! You let a pair of crazed femmes destroy one of our best strongholds on Cybertron, every fragging possession we've ever valued is up in smoke, and we're being demoted to a second rate base that I doubt can even transmit a binary message over their sub-par transceiver units, and you think I'm just going to comply?"
He stared at her rigidly, unrelentingly. "Yes."
Before she could spit a seething retort, the door at the far end of the observatory deck cracked open, several pairs of glowing optics peering in from the shadowed hall beyond.
"Rumble, come in," Soundwave ordered, waving his symbiote into their company.
The small bronze bot nodded and pushed the door open wider, trotting in with his fellow symbiotic brethren close behind.
"We fixed him up good, like ya asked us to," Rumble informed, waving a hand to the small frame balanced precariously on Ravage's back. "Useless thing, but he'll live."
Soundwave rewarded the mech with the barest of smiles hidden behind his battlemask, nodding. "Good. I had hoped the damages were not too extensive."
Nightshade stared hard at the dark hump Ravage sported, watching as it twitched weakly, giving off a gentle buzz. She gasped, realizing who the quadruped was playing courier too. "Waspinator!"
Ravage turned to the side to allow the femme better access to her symbiote. "Be careful, he is still in a fragile state," he warned, his deep voice vibrating through the shadowed deck. "Rumble may be the only one of us with hands, but he can't handle a welding torch worth slag."
"At least he didn't weld anything on backwards," Nightshade replied, obviously relieved as she checked her precious symbiote over.
"Ya know, that's kinda hurts," Rumble pouted.
"I've seen you with a welding torch, Rumble. There's always reason to worry," Nightshade said, holding Waspinator to her chassis gently. "But you did a good job." She hugged Ravage first, and then leaned over to hug Rumble. "Thank you."
Flustered by the affection, Rumble shied away, huffing. "It was nothing. We was just doing as we were told."
The tallish microbot jerked his head in Soundwave's direction. "Big guy just said repair him, so we did. Thank him if ya want someone ta thank."
Her optics darted up stubbornly to meet her master's. Soundwave's gaze was even, while hers was still a little feral. "Don't think this is enough to make me forgive you," she snipped, even as her arms cuddled the weakly buzzing bug to her chassis.
"I did it for Waspinator. It was pointless to allow him to suffer."
"Right." She hardly believed that, but didn't voice the little sliver to gratitude she felt for Waspinator's repair. She huffed and turned back to him. "You should have killed her on sight." She pressed, slipping right back into the argument she was so determined to have.
"Not unless I wished to harm you or anyone else unnecessarily."
"You're supposed to be a Decepticon; it shouldn't matter who gets hurt." Her shoulders sagged a little, her exhaustion catching up with her.
Soundwave's optics dimmed slightly as he recognized his apprentice's exhaustion. "Go to our assigned quarters and get some recharge," he commanded, firm enough for it to be an order.
Her optics flew up, aflame with the desire to fight back once more. She was not a youngling to be ordered to her room, but the stern look clouding her master's faceplate had her curtailing her words quickly. His voice swept over her, heavy and deep. An order not to be contradicted.
"Do it now."
His relentless stare was enough to finally force Nightshade's hand. Reluctantly, she braced herself to rise from the floor with Waspinator clutched to her chassis, only to find her master's hand wrapping around her and placing her on her feet with minimal effort. The gesture was kind, but she shook it off, bowing to him before slinking out of the observatory deck.
In the wake of her departure, the window-lined room was left in echoing silence.
It was a heavy presence that lay like an ominous blanket over the Communications Officer and his present symbiotes. While the mech's smouldering visor turned to the vast darkness of space that stretched out beyond the crystalline windows of the Leviathan, smudged and tarnished by the rising plumes of smoke from burning ruins of Kaon, Ravage and Rumble stood at their master's feet, waiting for some sort of sign.
Rumble glanced to Ravage, just as Ravage turned to exchange a meaningful look with Rumble. This was a familiar silence. They knew it well and felt it in the very brackets of their joints; a connection to a time and place long since passed when they all functioned on the informational hubs that used to circle Cybertron.
Soundwave had been the master on one of the hubs, he and his Creations looking after the many broadcasts that looped about their homeworld and surrounding colonies. It was busy work, of course, but there were times when Soundwave and his kin would be offered a short reprieve. That was when Soundwave would excuse himself from the company of his co-workers, drifting into the quiet, windowed gallery to stand against the crystalline windows and stare out at the stars as if discerning the great secrets of the past and future. He'd always done that, even before he'd become master of the hub- there was something in the stars that sang to his spark.
His Creations would wait in silence at his feet, as they always had from the day they had been brought online. They knew no other way. It was a routine they knew as instinctually as Soundwave knew to look to the stars. They waited for some word from him, some sign, of what their Creator saw in the vast reaches of space. Silence was all these times knew.
Only once had their perfect silence been disturbed. On an orn when Ravage, Rumble, and Frenzy had gathered comfortably at Soundwave's feet, their siblings already in recharge, Soundwave broke the silence, having finally seen something in the unending fields of stars.
"Many think the broadcasts we send out into the universe can go on forever," he'd said, startling the three. They had looked up at him for further understanding, but his gaze did not turn away from the stars, as if he could see the vast weaving network of signals and transmissions that crisscrossed the universe through the stars. "That is not true."
"It isn't?" Frenzy had pressed, leaning back against his brothers to look into his master's profile.
"No. Nothing is forever," Soundwave had replied. "Our signals will eventually encounter an obstacle and ultimately cease to exist. Everything ceases to exist eventually."
There had been such abject sadness in their Creator the orn he'd said those words. That had been their sign, the one they had always waited patiently at their master's feet to hear. A sign that all they knew would not last forever.
Not long after, the informational hub they lived on started to be peppered with different reports. Fights would break out here and there. Things would be awry in different sections of the cities. Discontent spread. Megatron revealed his true nature to the universe, separating himself from his peace-loving brother, the Prime. A war had begun. And then the High Lord had come for them, seeking Soundwave's gifts to be made part of his Decepticon army.
To ensure his own life, Soundwave had agreed. To save his Creations' lives, he entered into symbiotic contract with them. Their peaceful orns upon the hub were over.
They had become Decepticons.
And now, it seemed, they were waiting for yet another sign that only their master appeared able to discern from the darkness of space and the patterns of stars.
Unlike all those vorns ago when they had waited forever in silence, curled on the floor at his feet, this time it was brought to them rather quickly. Just as soon as Rumble and Ravage settled to the ground, prepared to wait for Soundwave for as long as it took, the mech released a sigh, one that spoke of the depth of the thoughts he had been mulling over.
His faceplate reflecting the same lonely, abject sadness they had only seen once before. Physically appearing to stand at some crossroads in life where neither path was clear nor good, Soundwave uttered the sign he had found.
"Not all precious things are cherished by Decepticons."