AN: Yay! More Cons!


Chapter 10: Power Shifts

Thundercracker onlined his optics as Skywarp poked him in the forehead in a steady rhythm. Thundercracker was leaning against the wall of the booth, his legs stretched out on the bench. Skywarp was leaning over the table and poking him repeatedly between the optics. Skywarp had a peculiar look on his faceplates, a cross between determined and bemused. Thundercracker's russet optics brightened to a warm crimson as he turned to glare at the most annoying seeker to ever online.

"What is it this time Skywarp?" He growled, flashing his fangs at his wingmate (not at all pleased to be jarred from recharge before he could really begin his sleep cycle). He was sick of Skywarp bugging him. Even with Thundercracker's patience, there was only so much the sonic seeker was going to put up with until he shot Skywarp through the spark. "If you want another cube, get off your rusted aft and go get it."

Skywarp's neutral face turned into an annoyed frown at Thundercracker's tone, but he stopped poking Thundercracker's face and sat up straight, his wings twitching nervously. Skywarp propped his elbows on the table, crossed his fingers together, and rested his mouth on his hands, optics averted, as though he was unsure of just how to voice his thoughts (which was freaky. Ask anyone). Thundercracker raised an optic ridge at his wingmate's uncharacteristically serious actions. He was once again reminded of how suddenly things had changed (more like fallen apart, he thought bitterly) since Megatron and the others had disappeared.

Skywarp looked up at Thundercracker, his optics uncharacteristically narrow.

"TC," Skywarp began solemnly, optics not leaving Thundercracker's own. "Things are a mess."

Thundercracker snorted. Skywarp was really scaring him. There was something fundamentally wrong about Skywarp being this serious. He attempted to keep face and not show his wingmate that he was getting to him. As much as he cared about the idiot, there were some things that he did not want Skywarp to know.

Like how scared he was.

"No slag." He retorted bitterly, and waved a hand around the Rec Room, indicating the other Decepticons talking, brawling, drinking, and generally being on edge.

Skywarp's face turned from politely serious to outright annoyed.

Thundercracker resisted the urge to squirm, but averted his gaze, wondering who was going to win the brawl in the middle of the room. He had a feeling that Quake might win, what with his berserker tendencies, but Needlenose was putting up a good fight for a fashion designer. That and he just grabbed the berserker tank and flew off, gunning his thrusters so fast, Quake was holding on for dear life.

Thundercracker internally calculated how many credits he just accumulated by betting on the jet. Until he remembered that Swindle was currently duking it out on the other side of the ship.

Oh well, he'd collect later.

How much did he owe that Combaticon again…?

Skywarp cleared his throat, forcing me to get back to the story and Thundercracker to look back at him.

"TC," he began. "We need to talk–"

"I'm going to get another cube." He said loudly. Thundercracker stood up abruptly and quickly slid out of the booth. "I'll be back in half a breem." And he stalked off across the Rec Room before Skywarp could stop him.

Now, get out your notebooks, sharpen those pencils, and welcome to Decepticon Architecture 101.

Shockwave probably got tired of the multitude of circles and ovals and other rounded shapes common to the Nemesis's interior. The entire room was once again geared mostly toward flyers and their preference for lots of vertical space, but with enough horizontal area for the grounded mechs and flat perches to rest on. It was one gigantic, vertically rectangular room, wide enough for privacy, more than long enough elbow room, and tall enough for flyers. Four giant skylights overhead let the weak sunlight filter through the ocean and trickle into the room, giving the dark purple-ish gray metal a light blue hue.

Booths of a slightly lighter purple gray were lined along all the walls on the ground. Almost all of them were currently filled by soldiers and officers, talking and eating and generally being the bunch of rowdy crazy slaggers we all know and love, or they would be if they weren't so agitated. One soldier (I believe his name is Detour, but don't quote me on that) couldn't sit still anymore. Hoping that a nice weightlessness would help him, he activated his anti-gravity generator and levitated up to one of this room's (rather spectacular, if Shockwave did say so himself) floating geometric figures.

Dozens of giant hollow cubes were suspended in midair by cables and poles, and quite a few were embedded in the walls. They were various shades of purple and gray, sizes, and floating height. Depending upon the size, there were either at minimum two or maximum six booths to a cube, with half the booths on the inside of the cube and the other half on the upper face of the cube. Perfectly flat platforms were also littered about the structure, for no other reason than to have some clear space.

Unfortunately, all of these floating structures prevented most of the light from the skylights from reaching the ground.

While the upper command had been working out a solution to this problem (because one too many mechs had crashed into something, whether poles or each other didn't matter), there was an incident involving a half-consumed energon cube, two datapads, a toy, Mixmaster's chemistry set, and a drunken bet that quickly put an end to the lack of light on the ground floor. The entire story would take up the next couple of chapters and I have to get to the point of this tale, so I won't fill you in on the details.

Bottom line: there were giant glowing blue crystals embedded into the walls and the undersides of the platforms and cubes. They weren't as strong as the industrial strength lights of the hallways and other rooms, but the Decepticons liked the ambience they gave to the room, one mech noting that it reminded him of Cybertron, and Megatron didn't mind using the energon they were saving by not lighting the Rec Room for other purposes.

That and the majority of the mechs outright refused to touch them.

There are just some toxic elements that should not be handled by any creature, be they metallic or organic.

So there the crystals stayed, (finally) cooled after four million years.

Also, Mixmaster's chemistry set was off limits to anyone but Mixmaster.

Megatron does not like his base blowing up.

No sir.

Thundercracker marched on, the various glowing crystals casting multiple shadows and giving his frowning face a harsh quality. Quite a few mechs gave him a wide berth. Quite a few more were whispering again. Their hissing voices filled the air like a swarm of flies, and just like a swarm of flies, annoyed Thundercracker to no end, turning his fear into anger.

Thundercracker stalked over to the line in front of the four cube dispensers in the center of the ground floor. All four were in a square formation, with a line of mechs at each one. Thundercracker stopped at the end of the line and waiting for the other mechs. He tapped his foot in agitation as he felt Skywarp's and at least ten other mechs' optics on him.

He had half a mind to push in front of Tracer to get all the optics off him, but restrained himself.

Courtesy. He reminded himself. Don't cut the line and no one will cut you down.

He cycled air in an attempt to cool his heated systems and temper.

It wasn't working very well.

Thundercracker flashed his fangs at no one in particular and growled at the never-ending buzz of flying rumors, his immense patience wearing thin and his dermaplating crawling at the feeling of so many optics. Tracer (the poor mech) looked over his shoulder at the growl. Thundercracker glared down at him, optics a bright red. Tracer meeped in a decidedly non-Decepticon manner and jumped into the air, zooming off for an empty booth near the ceiling.

Thundercracker watched him go. Normally, he'd be concerned that he'd actually managed to scare someone with just a look, but right now, he was too angry to bother caring.

Everyone else, however, was not too angry to bother caring. They watched Tracer go and looked back at a glowering Thundercracker. Those in their booths shifted away from the sonic seeker and those in front of him decided that they weren't really hungry and their friends just came under a terrible bout of malfunctioning intakes and they needed them to be there to comfort them.

Thundercracker was left alone with all four energon dispensers open. He sighed and stalked over to the dispenser in front of him. He pressed a button and a cube fell into his outstretched and waiting hand. He swirled the contents of the cube around with one hand, face falling into a tired resigned expression.

This is crazy, he thought. He gazed into the swirling energon. Skywarp's right. He admitted. Things are a mess.

It had only been two days, now on day three. How could things have fallen apart so fast? The Decepticons were leaderless, their living leaders were captured and female, of all things, most of the soldiers were still doing minor CPU recovery, the Gestalts were killing each other on the other side of the Nemesis (and probably doing a vorn's worth of damage in the process), and now the soldiers and officers were jumpier than an orbital bounce.

Fan-fragging-tastic. He thought bitterly. He turned around and headed back to his booth in the far corner. He kept looking at his cube and thrusters, wings drooping tiredly. He didn't care that the others were looking at him curiously, one of them looking on with a power hungry look in his optics. Primus, could it get any worse?

His dermaplating crawled again, setting his fangs on edge. It wasn't from so many optics though. It was his instincts. They were screaming something about imminent danger. His wings hitched upward and he stopped dead, examining his immediate surroundings. The constant buzz of whispered rumors was gone. He straightened his back, his wings rising at little higher as his survival instincts initiated code red. His optics turned a blood red as he quickly looked to his left and right, without turning his head.

The soldiers and officers were all looking at him, optics wide and bright with anticipation. A couple mechs' optics flicked to something behind him then back to him.

Slag. Thundercracker cursed. Back to the enemy…

But who was it, what did they want, and why weren't they saying anything?

He was about to send a quick comm. message to Skywarp, but the message died when Thundercracker looked directly at his wingmate.

If robots could turn pale, Skywarp's face would be colorless.

His optics were a fearful light orange and his mouth was hanging open slightly. He was halfway out of his seat and looked like he was going to stand by Thundercracker, but something was stopping him.

Something Skywarp angrily wished was not stopping him, if his hitched wings, hunched shoulders, and shaking frame were any indication.

Skywarp never trembled in fear. Warbled, whined, refused to move, yes, but tremble? Never. Shaking was reserved for repressed laughter or anger.

So, whomever was behind him was dangerous enough to warrant Skywarp's protective instincts kicking in, but also dangerous enough to make him hesitate stepping in, lest he get himself killed. Hmm…

Thundercracker turned around slowly to face his opponent.

Motormaster.

I hate my life.

"Thundercracker!" Motormaster said in a deep, audio bursting, booming voice. Said seeker groaned, and internally made a promise to personally kick Primus's aft if he met the god. He did not want to deal with this dramatic idiot now. He was tired, annoyed, angry, and most importantly of all, he was ready to murder someone.

He didn't think Megatron would appreciate it if he killed the semi-truck, though.

"You are weak, Thundercracker!" Motormaster shouted, gesturing wildly, giant arms moving all over the place before pointing a finger at Thundercracker. "I find you unfit! You have failed the Decepticon cause and thus I challenge you to see who the true king is!"

Thundercracker stared at him and groaned in a disbelieving tone, wings dropping from their agitated positions and his optics dimmed.

That was why he wanted to fight? A stupid title? He would understand Motormaster if he wanted to fight over energon or space or something substantial, but a made-up title that he gave himself? Primus frag it, if that idiot wanted to be 'King of the Road,' that was fine by Thundercracker!

But what the pit was that squared-headed idiot thinking!?

Thundercracker was a jet. A flyer. As in, (almost) never touched the ground with wheels in his life. Motormaster had nothing to gain by fighting someone whom everyone knew didn't drive. And since when did Thundercracker gain the title of 'King of the Road' anyway? If he'd known he had it, he would have been lording it over the truck for vorns. Also, how does a truck lose to a jet for a ground based title? Especially when that jet (usually) never touches the ground?

But Thundercracker didn't care about how he'd gained that title at the present moment. Motormaster had made a more serious claim against the seeker: That he had failed the cause. Normally this would result in immediate deactivation by Megatron since his word was law and anything he said went, but since it was Motormaster this time, he actually had to back it up. Thundercracker couldn't recall anything he'd done recently that would have anyone accusing him of a thing. Also, the highest officers had to review the claim, plus the evidence and testimonies of the parties involved, and then issue a sentence since Megatron wasn't here. As said highest officers were currently ripping each other's plating off in the Office section, no one could theoretically touch Thundercracker even if he had somehow committed a crime, thus Motormaster was just saying that as an excuse to fight him.

Still, what really mattered was that he had a hot-tempered, tyrannical slagger "challenging" him (which was ridiculously formal for a Rec Room brawl) to a fight and attempting to legitimize his status as higher than Thundercracker's, for some unfathomable reason. Thundercracker balled his hands into fists, but kept his arms at his sides, his wings in a neutral position. and attempted to get some sense out of the truck.

"Why do you want to fight me? I haven't done anything to you. How am I unfit and how have I failed?" He said calmly, hoping that Motormaster would reason to the same conclusion anyone with two bytes of processing power could see: that there was no way a jet could have the title of 'King of the Road,' especially since he was already 'unfit' by not having a ground based alt mode. He would also realize that Thundercracker had not done anything to betray or undermine the Decepticon cause in any way, shape, or form since he first joined. Thus Motormaster would realize his mistake, apologize in his own way (which means not at all) and then go back to bragging about how he'd smash Prime's face into the dirt when (Motormaster insisted on when not if) he runs him off the road.

Thundercracker partially knew it wasn't going to work, but he'd made a point of hoping anyway.

"You know well how!" Motormaster shouted, loud enough so that his voice echoed up to the highest booths. Mechs from the upper levels looked down at the growing circle of mechs, half excitedly, half concerned, all interested. Motormaster gestured dramatically around the Rec Room at the assembled Decepticons. Thundercracker was not pleased to see himself and Motormaster in the middle of what was essentially a large circular arena. The silence that was in the room before was replaced with loud mutterings as Motormaster said, "You've let things get as bad as they are with your weakness and hesitation! I find you unfit and the power should belong to me! Fight me for it or give it up!"

Thundercracker did as any sane mech that had watched too many human films and picked up on their mannerisms did and facepalmed.

He couldn't help it. Really, he couldn't.

"I'm not going to fight you, Motormaster." Thundercracker growled angrily, thoroughly convinced now that Motormaster was indeed insane. Thundercracker had not done anything! How was it his fault Megatron and Starscream were femmes? How was it his fault that Soundwave was dead? How was it his fault that Hook and Onslaught were destroying each other? How was it his fault that the Decepticons were so on edge? How was it his fault that the Earthbound Decepticons were leaderless?

How the frag was it his fault!?

He made calming motions with his hands, hoping (but not really believing) that he could get Motormaster to back off before Thundercracker's anger took over and he did something stupid. Like murdering the leader of a gestalt thus removing a valuable weapon from the Decepticon army and getting himself slagged for it later when Megatron came back. Thundercracker liked his plating where it was, frag you very much.

A lot of the other mechs were staring, some concernedly, others openly sneering, and he noticed credits changing hands. Whispers moved behind dark hands from vocalizer to audio, comm. channels flooded with chatter, if some of the blank stares were anything to go by. Some of them were even snarling at him. Not one did anything other than watch Thundercracker attempt to defuse the situation.

Frag you all. He though acidly.

"You're tired and insane, and we're all on edge." He said calmly, gesturing to the gathered mechs, hoping the truck would get the fragging hint. Noting that Motormaster did not respond beyond a widening fang filled grin, he dropped the nice act immediately. "Go get a cube and sit down," he growled.

There was a moment's pause as everyone waited to see what Motormaster would do next.

My readers are smart enough to guess correctly.

"HA!" Motormaster shouted triumphantly, breaking the silence in an instant, pointing dramatically at Thundercracker and motioning to the other soldiers. He swept his arms wide open and panned his open chest to the crowd, as though Thundercracker had just proved his point beyond a shadow of a doubt. "See! What did I tell you?" He shouted happily. "He's too scared and weak to fight! He doesn't deserve it!"

Murmurs of agreement from quite a few of the soldiers resounded throughout the very still and very quiet Rec Room and others shuffled about nervously. Thundercracker bristled in indignation, optics flashing one shade of red brighter than russet, especially since some of those who murmured their agreement were jets. Why the frag were they agreeing with the insane truck? Everyone should have known that Thundercracker hadn't failed the cause or at least not any more than any of them, and that stupid 'King of the Road' bullslag wasn't even worth mentioning! And besides, this so called leadership of Motormaster's could be dealt with when Megatron got back, if Motormaster even had the ball bearings to take Megatron head on.

Other murmurs of dissatisfaction and contained anger followed with optics narrowing among the ranks. Some directed at Thundercracker, others at Motormaster, and still others at their fellows. Thundercracker flashed his fangs, optics a bright red, growled audibly, and sent each of the mechs snarling at him a glare reminiscent of Megatron in a bad mood.

They immediately shut up and tried to surreptitiously hide behind some of their neighbors. Several of the nearby mechs sneered at their cowardly actions.

Thundercracker was quite sick of everyone's attitude and their generally useless bickering and muttering. None of this was his fault and he certainly wasn't the mech to deal with this slag! He did not need Motormaster fighting him for no good reason over a title or a crime he didn't fragging earn or do. He did not need the gestalts killing each other and destroying half the Nemesis while they were at it just because both were too stubborn to compromise. He did not need the constant whispering and questioning optics that tracked his every movement. He did not need to have the Decepticons running around aimlessly.

And he did not need Misfire of all mechs defending him, dammit!

The smaller, ground Decepticon stood in front of Thundercracker, arms bent in a defensive stance, but his shaking frame and too bright, almost orange-pink optics betrayed his obvious terror at the larger, eighteen-wheeled, self-proclaimed (and apparently, former) King of the Road. The red mech's legs were quaking so badly, it looked like the mech would fall over and crawl away in terror.

"Y-You're n-n-not at-t-tacking T-Thundercracker w-while I'm here!" He said tremblingly, frame shaking so much, his vocalizer was glitching. He glared at Motormaster and his pathetic voice somehow grew stronger as he continued. "H-he's in charge, a-and you know it!"

Thundercracker was about to tell Misfire just what the Pit was he doing, that he should let Thundercracker deal with Motormaster, that he had no reason to defend him, especially since Thundercracker could do a hell of a better job defending himself (thank you very much!) and that Misfire couldn't hit the broad side of Devastator and thus was useless in any fight, and he was not in charge, fraggit!

But before Thundercracker could so much as open his mouth, Motormaster's booming, condescending laughter resounded throughout the very still Rec Room. For some reason, Motormaster's laughter made Thundercracker forget his anger at Misfire and immediately side with him and his crazy, half-suicidal claims (despite the fact that they were all very, very wrong, yes they were Thundercracker insisted).

"You really think you can stand up to me!?" Motormaster laughed at Misfire's still terrified, but somehow resolute face, and then turned to Thundercracker, sneering. "Are you so weak that you send this runt–" his arm shot out faster than most would think the large truck was capable of, and grabbed Misfire by the throat, hoisting him up. Misfire's optics widened in sheer terror and his vocalizer whined as Motormaster squeezed it tightly "– to fight your battles for you!?"

Thundercracker immediately tensed, somehow caring about the fate of the red (stupid stupid idiotic why the frag did you do that you moronic glitching sorry excuse for a) mech. He paused, not wanting to put Misfire in any more danger or provoke the large truck and making the situation worse.

Motormaster paused, hand still tight around Misfire's throat, the red mech flailing feebly in his grip. Motormaster's tiny CPU seeming to be working in overdrive as he analyzed the situation. His optics narrowed and one could almost see the cogs turning in the giant mech's head. He growled, his face suddenly darkening, and flashed a fang as he seemed to decide something.

"… I don't know whether you're really that weak or you're insulting me!" He roared. He shook Misfire like a ragdoll. The red jet cried out in surprise and pain. Motormaster's brownish optics brightened to a fiery orange and he barred his fangs fully.

"HOW DARE YOU THINK THAT THIS RUNT COULD EVER BEAT ME!" He roared, throwing Misfire over Thundercracker's head. Thundercracker watched Misfire sail through the air. He was halfway to jumping and catching Misfire, but Skywarp beat him to it. The teleporting seeker shot forward before Thundercracker had even finished his thought, caught the small mech before he slammed into a wall, and flew back– not to their shared booth, as Thundercracker thought he would, but to a group of mechs on one half of the room. The teleporting seeker deposited his load and Misfire cycled air rapidly as his stressed systems recovered, muttering his thanks. Skywarp, ignoring him now that he was safe, turned his expressionless face to Thundercracker. Thundercracker's internal comm. beeped quietly as it received a message from the purple jet.

:Show him his place.:

Thundercracker could hear Skywarp's snarl in the message.

Slag was really hitting the turbines if Skywarp was snarling.

Thundercracker thought about how to effectively and quickly end the fight, without killing the Stunticon because Megatron would not be pleased with him if he saw Thundercracker hanging Motormaster's corpse on his wall.

No sir.

If Motormaster wasn't thoroughly beaten, he'd come back to harass him and Skywarp. He might even go after Misfire in a twisted sense of revenge. Not that Thundercracker really cared how Misfire dealt with his idiotic actions (cause everything that mech did was entirely his own fault), but knowing that he at least tried to help him was... a nice feeling that Thundercracker couldn't really name. Motormaster's wounded pride would drive him to kill them if given the chance, but not if he was beaten.

And Thundercracker could beat Motormaster.

It might not be easy, he acknowledged, but he could do it. Motormaster would think twice if he lost and was humiliated for it. While it might make him more angry, losing twice would remove any respect or fear Motormaster had gathered among the ranks and his so-called 'challenge' would be shown for the hot exhaust fume it was. Motormaster would have to leave them alone to save face.

Thus he could take his anger out on the giant truck, make it so that no one would bother him again, and do so in such a way that would humiliate the truck so that no one could accuse him of stealing titles or crimes he didn't commit.

He imperceptibly nodded his head in Skywarp's direction, his optics two shades brighter than russet.

Skywarp's face burst into a malicious, eager, twisted, wicked grin, all sharp teeth and full of pride. His optics were narrowed in that peculiar way that said he would enjoy all the bloodshed to come.

…Skywarp's reaction made Thundercracker extremely uncomfortable. He got the distinct feeling he was deny- missing something obvious.

Motormaster's booming voice brought Thundercracker's attention and anger back to his opponent. "FIGHT ME, THUNDERCRACKER," Motormaster roared, reading himself into a battle stance, his face just as malicious as Skywarp's. "AND THEN WE'LL SEE WHO'S THE MOST POWERFUL AND DESERVES TO LEAD!"

Thundercracker's wings hitched higher and he outright snarled at Motormaster, all of his fangs flashing and his harmonics roaring as anger-induced power brought them online. Thundercracker might not actually use it in such close proximity to the other non-combatants, but if they got in his way that was their fragging fault. Thundercracker wasn't certain where Motormaster had made the connection between 'King of the Road,' 'failed the cause', 'power' and 'leadership,' but he didn't care anymore. The fourth could deal with that insubordination later or Megatron could whip the Stunticon back into submission when he got back. Either way, the only thing Thundercracker cared about was making sure that the Stunticon would leave him and his alone. His optics brightened to blood red and he readied his own battle stance, harmonics humming and rifles primed.

Motormaster (and I will applaud him for this) didn't flinch, though his stance wasn't as sure anymore.

With a battle cry, Motormaster lunged, drawing his giant broadsword out of its subspace pocket, aiming rather blatantly for Thundercracker's neck. Thundercracker effortlessly ducked below the blow and brought his arm's rifle up to Motormaster's left shoulder and fired point blank into the joint. Motormaster roared and staggered backward, his sword arm swinging in wide, crazed arcs in front of him. Thundercracker kicked his thrusters and rocketed backwards, out of the broadsword's reach. Motormaster growled as his blackened shoulder smoked.

Thundercracker frowned, fangs barred. He was sure that that shot would have at least incapacitated the crazed semi's arm, but it only looked like minor damage from where he was standing. He scaled up the power to his rifles, but set it just below 'vaporize'.

Despite what he really, really wanted, Thundercracker couldn't kill Motormaster. Megatron hated infighting when it resulted in the death of one of his soldiers. Earlier in the war it was a way to weed out the weak and thus highly applauded for the winner. However, as supplies ran low and men became scarce, such practices became frowned upon when done between members of equal rank.

No one would help if you pissed off a higher ranking Decepticon.

No one is that stupid.

Motormaster charged again, swinging the broadsword in a more controlled arc this time, aiming for Thundercracker's middle. Thundercracker jumped back again to avoid the swing and brought his right rifle up and aimed for Motormaster's face. He shot just as Motormaster twisted his arm, changed the arc, and thrust forward with the sword.

The rifle's recoil pushed Thundercracker left just enough so that the sword sliced through his side, severing several minor energon lines and through a lower segment of his right wing. Thundercracker roared with pain as his wing sensors screeched. Motormaster responded in kind, his roars drowning out Thundercracker's as he gripped his smoking face. Thundercracker stumbled but regained his footing and brought up his rifle for a second shot to knock the mech offline.

His face met the floor and had a polite conversation with it as Drag Strip slammed into his back and started pummeling his spinal relay and scratching his wings, leaving gashes all over the metal. Thundercracker roared again and released a sonic boom from his harmonics (frag what happened to the others, there was someone on his back) that shook the Stunticon to his core and eased him off enough that Thundercracker bucked under him. The seeker twisted his torso and swung his elbow back into Drag Strip's chest, hurling him to the floor. Thundercracker scrambled to his feet, but not before being blindsided by Wildrider.

The two of them tumbled head over heels, Wildrider's claws raking across Thundercracker's cockpit and armor, fangs about to bear down on Thundercracker's exposed neck wires. Several of the surrounding mechs jumped out of the way as the two of them rolled past. Thundercracker released another sonic boom, disorienting the Stunticon enough to get his leg under Wildrider's belly. He activated his thruster and Wildrider was launched into the bottom of one of the higher booths.

The crazed Stunticon screamed as he was stabbed in the back by the protruding crystals hanging underneath it before he slammed into the ground.

Thundercracker, in the meantime, rolled away and scrambled to his feet just as Motormaster stabbed his sword into the very spot Thundercracker's spark chamber had just been occupying. He brought up both rifles and shot Motormaster in the chest area.

Or he would have if Breakdown and Dead End hadn't decided that supporting Motormaster was better for both of them in the long (well, longer than short) term.

They both slammed into the cerulean seeker, landing in a heap, Thundercracker's wings scrapping painfully across the floor. Thundercracker immediately shut off all pain receptors and ignored all damage reports from his wing joints. He did not need that much distraction now.

Breakdown and Dead End punched every inch of Thundercracker they could reach. Thundercracker felt his cockpit shatter under one particularly strong punch from Dead End. Motormaster ran over, optics crazed, face dark and snarling, swinging his sword in a downward arc. Dead End and Breakdown jumped to opposite sides just as the blade passed between them for the downed seeker.

Two shots rang out, one hitting Motormaster's wrist, knocking his sword out of his hand, the other hit his head. The Stunticon leader cried out and fell to the side. Thundercracker scrambled to his feet, holding the shards of his damaged cockpit. He looked into the crowd of watching mechs to see Whisper's smoking rifle pointed at Motormaster.

The frag-? Thundercracker thought.

He didn't get to finish that thought as the Air Strike Patrol's leader growled and launched himself past Thundercracker at Dead End and Breakdown. The two Stunticons squawked as the jet barreled into them, all claws and fists. Tailwind was right behind his leader, claws tearing into the two Stunticons easily. They each grabbed a surprised car and took off to the ceiling, Dead End and Breakdown both swearing and panicking loudly.

Thundercracker didn't have time to ponder why the frag the Air Strike Patrol was helping him when Skystalker slammed into him this time, his wheel's spinning so fast he left skid marks on the polished floor. Thundercracker and Skystalker both skidded across the floor and Thundercracker's head slammed into the wall near the door. Thundercracker's vision became filled with static as Skystalker transformed quickly. He was about to pull his gun out of subspace when a dark hand grabbed the mech by the neck and hurled him across the room. Thundercracker saw Groundhog and Motorhead ready and waiting to catch the unfortunate mech as he landed.

Thundercracker shook his head and looked up to see Barricade offering him a hand. Not caring as to why the race car was helping him at the moment, he grabbed his hand and was hauled to his feet, as Barricade said quickly, "Get up, you stupid aft and finish that Primus-fragged truck o-!"

Barricade didn't get to finish his statement as Wildrider, back structure still bleeding from multiple puncture wounds, grabbed Barricade's neck and flipped the racer over his head to smash him into the ground. Barricade didn't move. Wildrider jumped upon the downed car and brought both fists up to finish him off.

Thundercracker roared in anger and raised his rifle and shot the crazed Stunticon in the back just as he was about to bring his fists down on Barricade's head. The Stunticon screamed and was thrown off the downed Decepticon by the force of the blast.

Thundercracker quickly got to his feet, ignoring the dent in the back of his helm, and ran over to Barricade. The smaller car moaned and propped up on his elbows. Thundercracker wasted no time and grabbed the smaller car's arm and helped him to his feet. Barricade stumbled once and then straightened, shaking his head to clear it.

"Thanks." Barricade murmured to Thundercracker, imperceptibly bowing his head in the seeker's direction, before turning his back to Thundercracker to give a bleeding and moaning Wildrider a piece of his mind.

Thundercracker had no time to think on Barricade's odd behavior before a roar from Motormaster preceded the semi's arrival. Thundercracker gunned his engines and shot into air as Motormaster ran into the wall behind Thundercracker at top speed. Kicking his anti-gravity generator online, Thundercracker hung in the air and looked at the insanity of the Rec Room.

Everyone, and I mean everyone, was fighting. Mechs who had only a breem before had been chatting agitatedly with one another were now tearing at each other's throats. Shots rang out every once in a while, hitting anyone nearby, the booths, or the walls.

Skywarp was nowhere to be see, but from the many Skeeruuuuu-FONK sounds, he wasn't taking this situation lying down. Quake and Needlenose were both tearing into the Sports Car Patrol unit, their earlier fight forgotten. Cars fought jets, jets fought jets, tanks fought cars, tank fought tank– you name the combination, they were fighting. Energon sprinkled the walls and floor and scorch marks marred almost every surface.

"COWARD!" Motormaster roared from below. Thundercracker (shaken from his thoughts) looked down and used his thruster to dodge the hail of plasma bolts from Motormaster's pistol. Motormaster swung his sword in the air in Thundercracker's general direction, pointing the tip at Thundercracker's spark. "WHAT SLAGGERS THOUGHT YOU WERE WORTHY OF LEADING!? GET DOWN HERE AND FACE ME LIKE A MECH!" He roared.

Having no intention of doing any such thing, Thundercracker shot Motormaster three times with his rifles before he was (once again) slammed into the wall over the doorway, this time by Gutcrucher. They both slid down the wall before Gutcrucher turned his anti-gravity generator on.

Gutcrucher's arms were crossed and pushed into Thundercracker's neck and shoulders. Thundercracker only had time to level a glare and open his mouth to bite the offending Decepticon's faceplates off when Spinister shot Gutcrucher in the head. Gutcrucher screamed in pain as he was thrown to the side. Spinister zoomed past the freed seeker, shouting curses at the other jet.

Thundercracker hung in the air for two seconds and decided he was getting sick of this bullslag.

He had no time to think about his situation, however, as he felt a huge hand grab onto his leg and attempt to make him have a painful meeting with the ground.

Stop being distracted! Thundercracker shouted at himself as the ground came up to meet him. He saw Motormaster's wickedly smug and vicious grin before face met floor. He braced himself as his entire body impacted. Thundercracker's noseridge caved inward at the force of the impact. He groaned in pain as Motormaster laughed triumphantly. Motormaster dragged Thundercracker back and swung the seeker up high to slam him into the floor again.

Idiot.

Thundercracker took the opportunity to gun his thrusters while simultaneously shooting multiple laser blasts into Motormaster's head and shoulders. The combination of plasma and superheated air caused the giant semi to release Thundercracker's leg with a loud roar of pain. Thundercracker zoomed ceiling-ward.

"YOU FRAGGER!" Motormaster screamed. Thundercracker ignored him and put his back to one of the hanging square booths and hung in the air, doing quick diagnostic on himself to assess his damages.

Thundercracker never got that report because he heard Motormaster give the same order that had almost turned him and the other officers into metal pancakes 8 hours before.

"STUNTICONS, COMBINE."

The sound of mechs transforming resounded throughout the space, laughter from Wildrider (how the frag was that moron still functioning!?) turning into the pained roar of Menasor as the gestalt stood up to his full and considerable height. Menasor's crazed bright red optics were now level with Thundercracker's.

I hate my life.

Thundercracker jumped to the side as Menasor's hand shot out and crushed the square booth he had been hanging on. Thundercracker flew around the appendage, shooting at exposed joints and wires. Not that there were many, but he tried before he flew over Menasor's shoulder toward more open spaces. Menasor roared again, not in pain, but in frustration as he attempted to swat the offending blue jet. Menasor turned and stomped after the blue jet, crushing anything underneath his large peds.

All the mechs fighting on the ground kicked their anti-gravity generators online as a giant foot headed right for their faces. They scattered into the upper part of the Rec Room like so many insects when a human steps through grass.

Thundercracker ignored the other mechs as he flew behind the hanging squares as he looked for weak points. He primed his rifle, set it to 'vaporize' (not that it was going to do much more than hurt the fragging huge mech and he knew it), and flew past the arm that was about to smash him into the wall. He shot at Menasor's elbow joint and flew around Menasor's back, firing to distract him. Several other mechs flew up next to Thundercracker and zoomed around Menasor's head and shooting at his optics and joints.

And yes, ground units can fly that well.

What kind of Decepticons do you take them for?

Menasor stomped on the ground destroying several booths, roaring and swatting at the Decepticons flying about his head. None of them had done much damage beyond cosmetic burns and some scratches to the giant gestalt.

Thundercracker thought fast. Okay. Menasor in the Rec Room. Giant. Angry. Aiming for you. Others helping. Sort of.

He didn't have much time for any other thoughts as Menasor chose that moment to lunge for Thundercracker, completely ignoring the other Decepticons shooting him and attempting to snatch the sonic seeker out of the air. Thundercracker dodged expertly, flew right up to Menasor's angry face, aimed for the gestalt's optics, and fired. Thundercracker couldn't have missed at that range if he had tried. The giant mech roared as his optics smoked, blinded by light and searing heat. Thundercracker dropped as Menasor brought his hands up to his face in an attempt to protect his burning optics. He stumbled backwards and smashed several booths connected to the left wall, roaring the entire time.

The mechs helping Thundercracker whooped and high fived each other in celebration, shouting something about how Thundercracker was awesome and they were right all along. Their joy was cut short when several Decepticons flew into them and started tearing at their vital parts and they went back to fighting (because no fight is finished until the payback's done).

Thundercracker resolutely ignored them all, more focused on the biggest issue in the room. Menasor was injured but not down and he couldn't get another shot off at the giant mech's optics while his hands were protecting them. He brought his rifle up one more time and looked for a target that would incapacitate Menasor as quickly as possible.

That's when things went to the pit.

Again.

The left wall exploded behind Menasor as Devastator flew through it.

Thundercracker gasped and dived sideways and the fighting Decepticons scattered again as Devastator landed and skidded the length of the Rec Room, roaring and snarling and yelling at the top of his vocal processor.

Bruticus then decided to join the party as he stepped through the massive hole in the wall.

Thundercracker noticed the long but direct tunnel through to the War Room, which happened to be on the same level as the Rec Room.

Thundercracker gaped at the devastation.

He was not going to be the one cleaning this slag up.

Bruticus, completely ignoring the floating Decepticons and already partially destroyed Rec Room, began to run toward Devastator, but he only managed two steps before a giant hand shot out from the rubble underneath him and grabbed his ankle. The Combaticon gestalt fell as Menasor rose up from the rubble, roaring at the other.

He dragged Bruticus towards him and then pounced on the Combaticon gestalt's back and began to punch the back of giant mech's helm inward. Bruticus twisted his right arm backwards and spun the helicopter blades into Menasor's side. Menasor roared again in pain and rolled off Bruticus, clutching at the long cut running from the back of his neck to the front of his right hip. Bruticus got to his feet, moved to a battle stance and glared at Menasor, who roared and snarled like an animal in kind. The Combaticon and the Stunticon gestalts would have resumed wrestling if Bruticus hadn't noticed Devastator lunge for him from the side. Bruticus ducked and Devastator went right through the hole he'd just sailed through.

A stray plasma shot whizzed past Thundercracker's head, snatching his attention from the gestalts, and he turned to see every Decepticon in the air still fighting one another. In the jet versus ground battles, the jets had the advantage of natural air superiority and maneuverability, but the ground based mechs were holding their own quite well.

The Autobot front liners were not the only ones well versed in Jet Judo.

Barricade versus Skystalker, Ruckus versus Crankcase, Whisper versus Blackjack versus Skyhopper versus Roller Force versus just about every single other Decepticon. Thundercracker saw Skywarp teleporting around and taking potshots at various mechs, holding the cassettes in his arms. How in the world they weren't already dead Thundercracker didn't know nor had he noticed when Skywarp had picked them up.

Thundercracker had a two second warning in the form of a screech as Talon dropped from above him to knock the sonic seeker out of the air.

Thundercracker had had enough of this bullslag.

He swerved left and grabbed the unfortunate jet by the throat as he flew past and swung him around, planting his feet directly on the other's back. He fired his thrusters into Talon's back, which melted under such close contact. Talon screamed and Thundercracker slammed his fist into the back of the mech's helm and let gravity take care of the rest. The jet crashed unceremoniously into a table on one of the upper floating cubes, unconscious.

Falcon, taking full advantage of Thundercracker's distraction, roared, optics flashing, as he gunned for Thundercracker's throat from behind. Thundercracker, already spinning in the air, set his harmonics to charge as much as they could, and aimed for Falcon's chassis, but didn't get the shot off.

Blitzwing saved the day by unceremoniously flying into Falcon as the tank sailed through the air, quickly followed by Dirge, Ramjet, and Thrust, all shouting and roaring obscenities at each other.

It was at this moment that Bruticus had the brilliant idea to gain a tactical advantage over the other two gestalts and start climbing the walls. Menasor also thought this was a good idea and grabbed Bruticus's ankles to drag him back to the floor to pummel him into oblivion. Devastator didn't particularly mind the idea as he charged through the hole in the wall and knocked all three of them into the opposite wall and the display consol, destroying the equipment and sending an electrical surge throughout the Rec Room's walls, blowing off panels and exposing the ship's inner workings, some of which were smoking and sparking dangerously.

None of the fighting Decepticons gave a flying frag what was going on around them.

Thundercracker was done.

"ENOUGH!" He shouted as loudly as he could. "STOP FIGHTING YOU MORONIC PILES OF SLAG! STOP! STOP!"

No one listened.

No one.

Except Skywarp.

The teleporting seeker noticed his best friend shaking and growling and his optics had turned a bright orange red. His optics widened in fear and he wasted no time.

Skywarp switched his audios off, tightened his grip on the unconscious cassettes in his arms, dived into a secluded booth near the ceiling, hid under the table, and braced himself and them for what Thundercracker had been threatening to do since this whole idiotic tale began.

He snapped.

Thundercracker finally released the pent up energy in his harmonics in one gigantic, powerful, and extremely loud BOOM!


Sparkplug Witwicky flopped down in his armchair, a wineglass in one hand and TV remote in the other. He sighed and got comfortable, well pleased with the work he and his son had done to help their extraterrestrial friends. He flicked the television on to catch the last news reports before bed.

"Good evening. This is Sophia Turner, with Channel 23 and breaking news." The anchorwoman said professionally and calmly, contrasting the chaos in the video behind her. Images of people boarding up shops, putting out sandbags, and packing for what looked like a permanent move flashed across the screen. Sparkplug took a quick sip of his wine and watched as a multitude of people got the hell out of Dodge.

Or in this case, San Francisco.

"An earthquake, with 5.3 on the Richter scale and an epicenter only a few hundred miles off the northern coast of California occurred just an hour ago." The newscaster reported. "Geologists are stumped as to what caused the earthquake, as there are no tectonic plates in the area nor has there been any seismic activity in that region of ocean before. No tsunamis have yet been reported, but people are still evacuating coastal cities and towns. All residents along the West Coast are advised to take shelter farther inland and to prepare for any aftershocks…"


Ending AN: This is why I love the Cons.

No, this fic is not dead. I've said this multiple times. I had to rethink a couple things that were in GBDS before. I have one draft that's pretty far along in the story, but it has been torn apart and rewritten into the monster you see before you. Also, I had to get back into the habit of writing Decepticons and figure out how to transition from one scene to the next. It's not easy, especially since there are some themes I'd like to keep running, but require some major revision. My headcanon on characterization and events has changed, but I'm trying to keep to the tried and true GBDS style and my original ideas.

Much love to my readers who are kind enough to put up with me, my lack of beta, my terrible update schedule.

Join us next time for Chapter 11 of GBDS: Accursed Medical Transports

PS. There are no original characters in this fic. Believe it or not, all the Decepticons mentioned are canon. Not that they were supposed to be there. Crazy Cons have a habit of slipping into places they're not supposed to. *glare* Yes, Misfire. I'm looking at you.