The darkness of space, an endless black canvas speckled with tiny pin points of bright white light. Trapped within this void, six figures floated helplessly through the blackness, their bodies catching brief glints of light from far away stars. Their bodies were cold, rigid not because of the harsh environment they were in, but because they were not flesh and blood. They were mechanical, complex machines crafted by complex machines, forged from metals stronger than any mere human crafted material. Their bodies bristled with weapons, built with enough power to destroy structures, vaporize beings of flesh, and tear wounds on each other with only a single shot.
These were machines beyond the simple toys played with by a primitive child race. These were living machines, each one lovingly constructed with the capacity to annihilate entire civilizations. Each one of them held what a human would refer to as a 'soul', whether these souls were gifted to machines as the result of some divine whim, or were sealed into their cold husks by lifeforms seeking to create a higher existence was unknown to them. It didn't matter either way, they were here and they had a frightening purpose.
These six however, were not completely intact. Their sleek bodies were torn and distorted, their innards exposed, circuitry sparked as it shorted out, and fuel leaked from burst mechanisms, leaving globule trails in their wake. Their souls waned and cried out, the systems keeping them alive in danger of failing completely.
One of them stirred, had he not been obscured by the shadows of space he would have been a brilliant azure with red trim. A tall and powerful warrior, filled with pride but not without misgivings about the war he was built for. He shifted his weight to the side, and drifted over to one of his floating companions.
"Megatron, sir. Megatron? Can you hear me?" The azure warrior reached out and gently shook the other machine. Almost instantly the one known as Megatron reacted with surprising power pushing the hand away.
"I can hear you just fine, Thundercracker. My optics are barely functioning, find me a way to safety." The order came without a thought for any others who may be drifting with him, unfortunately for him however, they were surrounded by nothing but an infinite void.
"We are not far away from the human's star system. Astrotrain left us behind and there is nowhere for us to go. We're stranded." Thundercracker's expression shifted into an approximation of disgust.
"Unacceptable!" Megatron raged, but his voice was tainted by weakness. "Who else is here?!"
Thundercracker twisted his head around to observe the others floating nearby, "Skywarp, and the Insecticons. But none of us have the power to make it back to Cybertron, not even enough power to make it back to Earth."
Megatron paused in thought before speaking again, "Skywarp can make himself useful and teleport us intermittently back to Earth, we could still make it back to Nemesis."
"Mighty Megatron, I don't think he has the power to teleport himself, let alone all of us." Thundercracker's voice was still strong, he could see from his observations of the other five, Skywarp and himself were the least damaged. He still couldn't believe Megatron had taken such a beating from Optimus Prime.
"What about your power, Thundercracker? If you transfer your power to him, could he make it back?" Megatron hissed.
Thundercracker looked uncomfortable at the suggestion, but he was compelled to obey. "Perhaps he could make it back alone. If he did, he could send the Decepticons from Nemesis back here to find us."
Megatron looked disgusted at the very suggestion one of his minions could make it back to Earth while he couldn't, but it was his only chance at survival right now. "Give Skywarp your energy, every last drop. Tell him to have Reflector reactivate the remaining seeker drones that we have stored in Nemesis. You have your orders. Do it." Megatron hissed menacingly at his subordinate.
Thundercracker looked a little hurt at the suggestion he should sacrifice his own energy. But even Megatron in his weakened state could still put enough power behind his weaponry to vaporize him for insubordination. So he simply nodded, and threw his weight to Skywarp's direction. "As you command."
Skywarp, was physically identical to Thundercracker, in almost every way. They shared the same body structure and the same face, one might call them twins. What set them apart was Thundercracker's suitability as a warrior, dedicated to upfront assaults whereas his twin Skywarp, was better suited for infiltration, hit and fade attacks, or assassination. In contrast to Thundercracker's vibrant azure colour scheme, Skywarp was as black as the void they found themselves in, only a dim silver grey on his chest allowed Thundercracker to locate his twin brother.
"Skywarp, you still with us?" Thundercracker asked, his voice sounded quite concerned, they were what one could call siblings after all. Though there were many seekers, most of them mindless drones, these two were a part of the original trio.
Skywarp didn't move, there weren't any signs of life from the black plated assassin. Thundercracker nudged him again, not hard enough to cause him to float away but enough to get his attention, but still there was nothing. "Dead..." Thundercracker said quietly, "I can't believe you're dead. We were born together served the cause together and now you're dead, and I'm still here. I can't believe it... What am I saying, we'll all be dead soon anyway... I guess we will go together after all, brother." Thundercracker put an arm on his deceased companion, it was a strange ritualistic mourning that one wouldn't expect from machines, it made them seem almost human.
"You're such a sap, Thundercracker. Ha-ha-ha." The voice came suddenly without warning, and the other seeker brushed his brother's hand off, dissolving into self satisfied laughter.
"You!" Thundercracker's patience instantly cracked. "I can't believe it! We're out here at death's door and you're still acting the clown! For someone who claims they're not very bright you sure seem to keep fooling the rest of us."
"Hah. Come on Thundercracker, you should have seen it by now. The best way to get into someone's head is if they think you're not smart enough to do it. And I know you so well, that's why you're such an easy mark." Skywarp grinned, as his brother silently fumed in frustration.
"I'll show you who's an easy mark~ No, forget that, this is important. Megatron has orders for you, so listen." Thundercracker opened the a cavity on his chest, from it an extendible cable could be pulled to connect to other power sources. "I'm going to give you my energy, so you can go back to Earth and order Reflector and the Seeker drones to get out here and save us."
"Give me your energy? You must be crazy, you're half dead already." Skywarp snarled at the thought and brushed the cable away.
"This is an order. From Megatron. And it's the only way we're going to get out of here alive. And if you don't do it, Megatron's going to take it out on both of us so he can get some satisfaction before he dies." Thundercracker pulled open the opposing cavity on his brother's chest and connected the power supply.
Skywarp's face went suddenly dark and serious. "You'll die you know. If you give me your energy you'll be dead before I get back."
"...I know." Thundercracker said as he started transferring the energy. "Which is why I need you to do something for me."
"What is it?" Skywarp reluctantly allowed his core to collect the energy, however much he may have disliked the idea. He was essentially taking his brother's life so he could live, there were other cases like this, of Autobots and Decepticons getting desperate during the war and feeding off each other, they were called vampires. And no one from either side wanted anything to do with them.
"I want you to wipe that grin off Starscream's face. Show him we're better than him, that he's not going to get away with doing this to his own brothers and his commander. Do it for me. In my memory." Thundercracker stopped sending energy, his arms didn't move, and his mouth hung open. "I need to shut down..."
Skywarp disconnected the cable and closed his chest cavity. "Go ahead and shut down. I hope you left enough energy to preserve your core because I will come back for you. And we can put down Starscream together, and give his head to Megatron with a pretty bow on it."
Thundercracker didn't reply, his systems were already shutting down and he was going into core preservation, he'd still be alive for a while. At least until his remaining reserves ran out. Skywarp watched his brother float a little longer, placed his hand on his shoulder and performed the same ritual. But all too soon, he was ready to go, his body twisted and turned, folding itself into his alternate form, a sleek black F15 eagle, once the pride of human engineering, in this era it had been superseded. Since they were no longer hiding, the Decepticons had seen no need to upgrade their combat modes to blend in with modern technology.
Skywarp's engines engaged and he soared out into the darkness, gathering speed before in a brief flash of white light he had teleported away, leaving his four companions to drift. The broken figure of Megatron raged silently, he needed to conserve energy as well and began shutting down systems. He would leave his senses on-line, just in case. Just as he was about to rest his higher functions he heard something, a sound, not in space surely, but he thought he had heard something. A demonic voice calling his name, but he dismissed it, it wasn't possible, there was nothing out there calling to him. After all, nobody summons Megatron.
After what seemed like an age of travelling, a weakened and damaged Skywarp reappeared within Earth's solar system. The beautiful blue pearl of a planet hung in the distance, it was much closer now, but still so far away. 'One more jump should do it.' The black jet thought to himself, though his power was almost used up from such a multitude of jumps. In another rainbow tinted flash of white light he disappeared again, breaking through the fabric of space required much less energy than one may have imagined, albeit made somewhat easier for a sleek dynamic machine such as himself. Coming out at the position he chose however was much harder.
Skywarp reappeared once more, but something had gone very wrong. He felt it instantly, he had jumped too close the planet and was travelling too fast at a bad angle, before he could get his bearings the Earth's gravity already had him firmly in its grasp.
"Oh, this is bad." Skywarp said to himself as the atmosphere started to burn around him. He tried to correct his approach, but he was dangerously low on energy and couldn't fight the forces opposed to him. His engines stuttered and died, leaving him to the mercy of the earth below. He didn't know what to do next, this was outside his field of experience, and he wasn't good at making things up on the spot. It was this inability to act under pressure which had dogged his service to the cause.
His instruments span, and he prayed that somehow he might be given a soft landing. No such luck, Antarctica reared its barren face below him as he plunged towards it. It grew closer, and closer, a canvas of pure white, until eventually it was upon him, he plunged into the surface, rolling and crashing into ice and rock, reverting to his humanoid form as he did so. Eventually he came to a halt, pieces of both wings strewn behind him along with one of his legs. This was it, it had taken all his remaining energy just to hold the rest of his body together on impact. There was no way he was going to make it to Nemesis now, he could feel his body preparing to shut down to preserve his core. "Damn, damn it all. I-" His head fell suddenly, as his body completed its shut-down sequence.
All was silent bar the chilling howl of the Arctic wind.