End of the school year celebrations, anyone?^^ My last exam was last night and I am over the moon to finally be free from the academic hell that is university. Don't get me wrong, the halls of higher learning are nice, but a break from them is much needed. In celebration of my freedom, I give you the last chapter of Even Angels Fall. It was a little mind-bending to get this chapter completed... picked my brain over and over trying to get everything just right, and then I had to re-watch the 1986 TF movie just to hear Orson Welles brilliant performance, which helped greatly to get me into the right mindset. I actually had a little grin on my face as I finished the chapter- the last line is a double entendre that I couldn't help but insert, and I'll be curious to know if anyone else gets a kick out of it.^^
And now for Thank You Corner! :)
Ri2- Indeed, it was the Fallen.
Shadir- Thanks, I was going for a supernatural spin.
Balrog Roike- Yes, one riddle solved, but this is story is just one small piece of a very large puzzle. There will always be other riddles to solve.
Sckid- Being in control is such a relative thing; murderers often claim insanity for the things they do so their actions were beyond their control, when, in truth, they were very much in control. Those we think in control of themselves, like CEOs of companies, are some of the least in control of their lives, especially in these economic times.^^; I'm glad I could intrigue you with the web I'm weaving.
Bluebird Soaring- lol~ I've had this fic in the works for such a long time; there was no other title I could possibly use. Megatron, at least this Megatron I've been using for WE, is the perfect fallen angel. I love writing for him in Surface of the Sun because of his sweet nature, but like all things, even that will come to an end. Poor mech~
Stripperella- How very astute of you to put those two together! Now wouldn't it be terrible interesting if the two ended up being connected? Thanks for pointing out where started nibbling on my writing. It's a pain when that happens.
Violetlight- They're moving slower than light speeds, but certainly faster than anything our primitive technology has come up with for travel so far. They're as fast as they need to be, and if they needed to go faster, they would have taken a ship.^^
Silveriss- Ahhhhh, my dear, didn't you know? Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back. ;P As much as we like to think otherwise, even Megatron is only mortal, subject to the same curiosities for the dangerous and unknown... It's only in hindsight that we see which curiosities kill the cat and keep it dead.
Read and review as you please, my friends.^^
Even Angels Fall
"Calvin: Do you believe in the devil? You know, a supreme evil being dedicated to the temptation, corruption, and destruction of man? Hobbes: I'm not sure that man needs the help." –Calvin and Hobbes comic
Everything about the region of space they flew in was wrong.
Starscream, so fixated on the realities of what he could see, hear, touch, and scientifically quantify, knew everything was wrong because the very fundamentals of this region were wrong. One moment, the universe made sense, and the next, it didn't. If he were to believe what his scanners were telling him, then he was flying in negative space. Literally, a pocket of space composed of antimatter. Negatively charged protons; positively charged electrons: the fundamental antithesis of all matter in the known universe. There should have been massive reactions everywhere as matter and antimatter collided; energy output off the charts; it should have been scorching hot, and inferno, but it was cold. Impossibly cold, self-contained, as if something were holding everything together.
"Whatever you do, do not collide with an antimatter particle or we'll both be annihilated."
Megatron heard the warning, rumbling darkly in reply. His universe was not so narrow as Starscream's, and he could see a great deal more than what the Seeker's scans could reveal. "We won't."
"Don't be so careless! This is the largest deposit of stable antimatter ever recorded; one wrong move will start a chain reaction that will incinerate us both."
A sliver of annoyance lashed through Megatron, finding his companion's utter ignorance to what was right in front of him aggravating. The only reason this place appeared to be made of antimatter to Starscream was because he couldn't handle the truth; he only saw what he was willing to understand. Deluded fool. "Nothing will happen."
"Have your sensors gone on the fritz? We should reverse out of here this instant before we kill ourselves!"
"It's not antimatter."
"Then what in the name of Primus do you want to call it?"
Megatron froze, feeling the enraged shift in space as something great and terrible roared silently. It did not like that name being called. And judging by the brief ripple in space not far to their right, their flaming companion did not like it either.
"Starscream, mute it, you fool. If you bothered to open your optics, you'd see it's not antimatter- it's something else." The growling quality his voice took on was beastlike, frightening enough to scare Starscream into silence. They were in negative space- that part was true, but it wasn't the antimatter that made it that way. The antimatter was attracted to the negativity of the core holding it all together.
It was the negative core that called to him. With long, invisible claws, it beckoned in seducing caresses to his mind, his spark. He was both repulsed and attracted at the same time. His spark seized in the frigid cold, tightening in his spark chamber like it was trapped in the grip of a monster, but something else deep within him pulled towards the darkness. He was disgusted and in awe to find himself attracted to the power radiating through the blackness. The deeper he flew, the more negative the space became- not in charge, but in essence. He felt the malevolence as if it were a congealing tar growing thicker as he cut through it, sticking to his hull, seeping into his frame. And all the while, the relentless glare of unseen eyes loomed from all sides, weighing heavily, appraising him with poisonous glee. If, at any moment, his thoughts were to stray, he would have been crushed under the immense concentration of pure, malignant delight that wrapped around him like a lead blanket filled with thorns.
Something started to shift inside him. No, not shift... give in. Megatron felt his own defences start to collapse; after a life time of holding out against his omnipresent spectre, being in the lair of the beast was enough to finally let go. He was tire of being scared. He had no fear left in- it was gone, used up, dried out. All that was left was the insatiable drag forward, a deep, cold hook wrenching on his innards. There was a drive in everyone's sparks to be curious of the unknown, fascinated by the dark, but Megatron had always fought against it, hidden it, locked that curiosity away, because he knew what lurked in the darkness was real, and it was dangerous. And now...Now he didn't want to resist. He was tired of resisting. That buried, hidden part of himself that wanted this was finally free to crawl out, stretch, and grin.
As if in response to Megatron's long awaited surrender, the stars around them grew dimmer, more distant. Space turned so frigid their frames went numb to their sparks. The darkness grew deeper, became sentient. It was sensuous, slick like oil. A single terrible entity was everywhere around them. The darkness between the stars twisted, suddenly solid, alive- even Starscream could see it now. One by one, the stars were swallowed, the glacial touch of hope seeping away settled into them, and finally they were trapped. There was no turning back.
A grey, dead light was coming from somewhere. No light source, no shadows; the light simply existed, cold and austere. In the dimness, a jagged shape came into their vision, to their right a great distance away. A dead planet, shattered, chunks of it floating frozen in time. A broken moon hung lifelessly next to the planet, cracked to its core, left stationary in its timeless grave.
Several more planets passed them by too quickly, all too close to be natural, all dead, all shattered. Ships of all kinds hung suspended in time, passing them by in a blur; ships of all sizes, from all planets. None of them burned with the flames of the pit, but some were just as perverse. Some ships were inverted, turned inside out by some godless force, their guts spilling endlessly into space. A few were charred blacker than black. Metal lay rusted, twisted. Unnatural.
A meteor field they passed was on fire, the same heatless blaze of the fallen ghost ship. They didn't dare look to hard into the flames, because they found if they did, there were things that stared back from the flickering depths.
Soon enough, in the blink of an optic, they were where they were supposed to be.
Deep, deeper than one could imagine, Megatron knew where they were. Around him, within him, every fibre of his being resonated to the malignant energy thrumming invisibly around him. He was supposed to be here. There was power here, a greatness that no spoken word could ever describe, a darkness so deep no spark would shine from within.
Darkness from the darkness formed; a shapeless mass that congealed like globs of spilled energon, blacker than black, not solid, but not mist nor liquid either. It was indefinable from the space around it, and yet it was there, you felt it more than saw it, watching, laughing.
"This is absolutely impossible...pure madness." Starscream jumped at the sound of his own voice, higher pitched than normal, borderline panicked.
The Seeker recoiled instantly with a shriek. From everywhere and nowhere, a voice unlike anything he had ever heard before rang with perfect clarity. It was deep, deafening- a slow, grating voice that made time and space tremble. It was the voice of something gigantic. Planet-sized. And it didn't like Starscream at all.
A roll like thunder roared, a pulse of power striking Starscream and sending his vibrantly red frame spiralling away.
Megatron remained unscathed, sitting motionless. Concern for his companion tempted him to turn, to at least hail him to make sure he was alright, but concerned waned when his designation was called. Ancient power rolled, churned, calling him, and every other thought dissolved.
Heat filled him. A churning, roiling heat that erupted deep inside him, like a lover's touch in his most intimate places. The numbness of his frame melted to a simmering liquid life in his energon line, squirming and rousing him. Even if he hadn't known it, this was the voice he had been waiting to hear all his life. His entire life had been leading up to this moment.
When he had no words to speak, the voice came again, shaking the fundamentals of reality. It called to the deepest side of him, the hidden, twisted parts he pretended all his life didn't exist.
LORD HIGH PROTECTOR MEGATRON.
The mentioning of his full title gave him strength, reminding him of who he truly was- one of the most powerful mechs on the planet Cybertron, not some cowering bot so easily overpowered by the presence of something so huge. He was not going to appear weak to anyone, especially to this thing. Transforming, he straightened to his full height and faced the darkness head on. "I am Lord High Protector Megatron."
There was no answer, but satisfaction oozed in tangible waves.
"What are you?"
Again, no answer. Megatron adopted a rigid stance, armour shifting to along his frame to make him look even more imposing. A move such as that would have easily intimidated any Cybertronian, but amusement was the only thing he seemed capable of eliciting from his audience now. It was irksome, indulgent, condescending amusement, like a Caretaker to a youngling showing off.
"Who are you?"
Finally, a question worth answering.
I AM UNICRON.
Those three little words ignited a fire that burned from within him, charring him from the inside out.
The name alone left scorch marks on his vocal processor. The depth and breadth of the name made his audio receptors ring. He was not surprised. In fact, to his amazement, he was a little relieved to finally know for sure what manner of pit-spawn had leeched off his nightmares for the majority of his life. He was graced with the presence of the Unmaker himself. After eons of being just a story annexed to the realm of forgotten pasts, this was confirmation that one of Cybertron's most fantastical, horrible monsters of legend was real.
Strangely, in a twisted sort of way, it was an honour to finally meet him.
Somewhere is the background, a pitiful whimper wavered. Starscream's world, unlike Megatron's, was slowly crumbling around him. His world had always been so ordered, where the laws of all scientific disciplines applied and were adhered to; there was a strict line been what was real and what was ridiculous fantasy, and that line was never to be crossed. And now... Not so much.
Megatron paid little heed to the Seeker. Perhaps if he were in his right mind, he would have given a slag about him, but with such overwhelming ancient power bearing down on him, there was no other option but to remain fixed solely in its power.
"Why have you brought me here?" he demanded, emboldened by the strength he heard in his own voice. He was not going to appear afraid in the faceplate of a disembodied voice, regardless of how powerful it was.
YOU CAME TO ME.
"You gave me no choice."
YOU CAME OF YOUR OWN FREE WILL. YOU WERE DRAWN TO ME.
Megatron scowled, tracking the churning darkness with blazing optics. He was a speck compared to the vastness of the darkness, and yet he felt powerful facing it down. He was finally faceplate-to-faceplate with the monster that had haunted him as a youngling. He was not a youngling anymore; he was more than capable to facing his fears. There was no way he was backing down.
"What do you want from me?" he demanded.
YOU ARE THE ONE WHO CALLED TO ME.
Megatron recoiled, snarling. "I never called on you. I never even knew you existed until now."
Disembodied optics glared down with undisguised malevolent humour. It could see straight through to Megatron's core and beyond. There was no lying to it; it knew him better than he knew himself. He had always known the monster was real, he just never wanted to admit to himself who the monster was. That would have made it too real.
Felt, more than seen, ice cold tendrils of sensation crept along Megatron's frame, reaching around him, under his plating, and dragged him closer. He was brought into the very center of the storm, where the power was the deepest, the pressure crushing. It was like being in the eye of a planet-sized storm, energy arcing invisibly, winds howling soundlessly. The attention of an unfathomable body of evil fixated solely on him.
YOU WANT SOMETHING FROM ME.
"I would never want anything from you."
Poisonous intention hung in space like a miasma. Silent laughter reverberated through negative space.
ARE YOU SURE?
And suddenly little claws of ice were in his processor, latching on to memories, and dragging them up. He tried to draw away, horrified by the violation, but the power that held him was too strong. Before his optics, he saw himself as a youngling, Meta- a gentle thing of soft off-white plating, discharged from the Youth Sector for the orn only to himself running through the corridors of Iacon's High Spires alone. Sentinel Prime was seeing to his duties, and Megatron was smart enough even at that age to escape from the Guardian sent to watch over him. He tried to find the archives to play with Orion Pax, but got lost along the way. He found himself alone, alone, alone. Except for the one who watched him. It did not matter how fast he ran or how well he hid, the monster that followed him made sure he was never alone.
"You never did me any favours by following me." He was loath to admit he never liked being alone; even monsters were better company than loneliness. He needn't say anything for Unicron to know.
Orion Pax had been the soft sort. He always tried for the diplomatic approach, which failed more times than actually succeeding when compared to better methods. Strength had always shown better results. Meta had known that then, and when he became Megatron, he knew the lesson well by spark. He watched as his brother Orion Pax graduated from his long apprenticeship to Prime, still soft-sparked in all his ways. He knew Cybertron would be in trouble if his brother was left to lead alone. The planet would fall if left solely to Optimus Prime. He needed someone to help him. Optimus needed Megatron. He worked through the Autobot ranks for eons to finally be acknowledged as the High Lord Protector; he was the strength that Cybertron needed. He worked so hard to become the mech his brother needed.
Optimus was still Optimus, though- Prime or not, he had a soft spark. Smart, yes, in some ways, but his love for his people blinded him to what was best sometimes. When it came to their planet, he did what was best for the ailing individuals that came kneeling at his feet because his spark went out to their plights, not what was best for their people as a whole. It was up to Megatron, as always, to fish his brother out of the problems of a few and make him focus on the issues as a whole.
It was annoying, at times. He was Lord Protector, not a Caretaker.
What Cybertron needed was someone stronger to lead them, someone like–
"No-! No, you're twisting my thoughts. Optimus is an excellent Prime!"
He was weak, though. Too kind, even to those who were undeserving. Poorer planets who needed a trading partners; lower life forms like organics who thought it possible to mingle freely with Cybertronians as if they were equals. Optimus allowed all of that. He encouraged it- called it progress. It was a drain on resources; their time and efforts should have been put towards something more profitable for their own kind, like settling more colonies, finding planets to harvest much needed energy from. He wasted his privileges to the Allspark on making Creators' snivelling dreams come true instead of creating more Autobots to protect their planet. Military research funds were reallocated to the exploration of arts, philosophy, and other useless slag. Optimus didn't know what was best for Cybertron.
HE'S A FOOL.
"I love my brother."
THAT DOESN'T STOP HIM FROM BEING WEAK.
True. He didn't want to admit it out loud, but he knew love wasn't enough to make up for what Optimus lacked.
What Megatron needed was power to show Optimus the error of his ways. He just needed to show his brother that he was wrong; there were better ways to do things. He needed the power to help Cybertron rise to the potential he knew it was capable of!
I CAN GIVE YOU THE POWER. I CAN GIVE YOU EVERYTHING YOU WANT AND MORE.
Tempting. So very tempting. But that didn't change the fact of where the power was coming from. Even if the old legends were more real that myth now, that didn't change who or what Unicron was. He was the Unmaker. No good could ever come of him.
"Cybertron and Optimus are mine. I will protect them as I see fit."
The touch of glacial claws against the burning innards of his frame made him rear back, snarling. He was left sensitive, hollowed out. A war of raging wills stormed within and without him; his will against the will of someone far greater than he.
YOU ARE NOT STRONG ENOUGH.
Those terrible poisoned thoughts showed him what was to come; the future of his planet, if nothing was done to change Optimus's rule. It would become a desolate place without Megatron's proper leadership. The cities would rust and fall; Cybertron's people would eventually die out. It would not happen tomorrow, or the next orn, but sometime in the future the planet would die. They held so much potential! They were a powerful species, nigh-immortal, capable of the most amazing kinds of transformations, and they would die out if Megatron did nothing to save them from themselves.
Perhaps... perhaps if he took the power being offered, he could do good with it. He was strong- stronger than any other. His will was greater than his brother's; he was strong enough to control it.
And suddenly there were hands scrabbling at his shoulders, trying to wrench him out of the storm. Starscream's voice was a mere panicked hiss in his audios.
"Megatron, don't! Whatever you are planning, it isn't worth it! Please, listen to me- we can still get out of here if we leave now-!"
Oh no, there was no leaving now. Not when he was so deeply entrenched in the clutches of the beast. All his life he had sought the power, and now that it was within his grasp...
"I need it." He faced the formless void, offering himself to it. "Give me what I want. Make me strong."
At his command, a roar rose up from the very cracks in reality. The meteor field that had been on fire snuffed out; the broken ships crumbled; the dead planets disintegrated to ash. On its own accord, the seal to his chest hatch hissed open, unfolding to expose his spark to the swirling storm. As his heated, opened chassis touched the frigid caress of space, it felt like an electric current to an open wound. He howled, recoiled. Starscream shrieked as a bolt of energy lashed out, striking them both; it was pure malicious power, sinking into them, biting like the beast it was. The single touch was too much for the Seeker, throwing him away once more.
The exquisiteness was beautiful; harsh and untamed. It was more than the touch of a lover as it concentrated, solidified, filled Megatron to the brim. It was burning and glacial at the same time, leaving him completed and yet hollowed out. He was twisting on the inside, pumps and energon lines coming to life and shifting, making room for the new power that was coming to reside. One by one, the stars came back into focus as the darkness left the vastness of space, sucked away into the core of its new host. A dark, dark core.
In utter silence, Megatron closed his chassis. He hung motionlessly for a while, feeling the new rush that pulsed through his energon lines. Never had he dreamed to feel something so... So immense. It was power incarnate. It was his.
Starscream gathered himself, shaking his head. Something was different, that much he could tell. Something had changed. The negative charge of the region was gone, antimatter dispersing. But it was within him that had twisted. His gaze dragged to Megatron, and an irrational lash of anger seared through him. That fool was just hanging there, doing nothing. He didn't deserve the power Unicron gave him.
A faint flash crossed the mech's faceplate, his optics shifting from shining blue to a deep, smouldering red. "You will address me as Lord Megatron."
The look that crossed Starscream's faceplate was not a handsome one. "Of course, my lord. Are you quite done?" he hissed.
Satisfied to some degree, Megatron nodded, resuming his powerful jet alt mode. The smirk in his voice when he spoke was palpable, and not quite his own.
"I think it is time we return to Cybertron."
He was eager to see his brother again. They had so much to catch up on.