Thundercracker short, completely insubstantial. I don't own the character or any of the Transformers, nor do I wish to. Hope you like it.
"Are you sure of this intel?", Mirage asked. The slim Autobot took a few steps away from the moonlight, tossing cautious looks around.
"What do you think?", a deep, robotic voice says from the darkest corner of the large, empty warehouse. "Unless, maybe you don't trust me". Mirage smirks.
"What do you think?". The other robot smirks, as the faint light that intrudes their private conversation reflects off of his silver face. Mirage takes a few steps toward the exit, but suddenly halts.
"I've been meaning to ask you...", he says, "why are you doing this, Thundercracker?"
"I've told you before; I see no point in collateral damage", Thundercracker, one of Megatron's most trusted warriors replies.
"It's only collateral if it's unintentional.", Mirage points out. "But that's not what I meant. Why are you still in Megatron's org? You really believe in his endgame?" Thundercracker takes a few seconds and then simply responds:
As Mirage leaves the warehouse, after a disbelieving -or just downright pitying- look, Thundercracker goes back to the memories that filled his head those few seconds it took him to answer. How Starscream and Skywarp stormed in in their workshop back on Cybertron and announced at the top of their lungs that they had joined the Decepticon War Academy. He had never seen them more excited before.
"You should've told me.", he said.
"We tell you now", Skywap replied.
"We need to talk about this.", Thundercracker insisted.
"There's nothing to talk about here, brother", Starscream protested. "It's a done deal. We're enlisted."
"You're both idiots. This isn't a hobby; you're training for a war."
"A distant possibility", Skywarp mused, as he leaned on a smashed truck under repair.
"Even if it weren't, do you think any war against the Decepticon army would last more than a few megacycles?", Starscream said.
"Is that right?"
"You'd believe it too, if you'd heard Megatron speak. This guy is the greatest Cybertronian to ever walk the face of this diseased planet." His brother's quip instantly caught his attention; he didn't like where this was going. "He's incredibly charismatic. Insightful."
"A Cybertron where law and order are sacred", Skywarp paraphrased, as he recalled Megatron's speech at the Academy. "Strength, Discipline, Loyalty, Peace", he continued. Thundercracker looked at his younger brothers, optics filled with worry.
"Coming morning, I'm going with you to this Academy to find a way out of this.", he finally said.
"There is no getting out, Thunder. Once you're enlisted, it's for Life.", Skywarp was quick to inform him with a huge, satisfied smile on his face. A hundred thoughts filled Thundercracker's head at that instant, none of them good. A day later, he was in a transporter with his brothers and two dozen other bots on their way to the Boot Camp...
Thundercracker looks around and realizes that his tip wasn't as helpful as he'd hoped. The Autobots were late. The plant his squad raided a little over an hour ago was full of human workers. The Autobots took their sweet time getting on the scene and couldn't push the Decepticon attack back or evacuate the humans. Now they're just sitting there, the three Seeker brothers, Blitzwing and Reflector, securing the plant, waiting for Astrotrain to transfer all the resources they've captured back to the Nemesis. He quietly sits on top of one of the buildings of the facility; Blitzwing secures the loot, Reflector takes pictures of the plant for archiving, while Starscream and Skywarp just play around with the remaining humans.
"Come on! Have some fun, Thunder'!", Skywarp says at the top of his lungs, as he hops from one side of the yard to the other, while panicked humans, cut off from all exits, run around screaming.
"Or are you... sympathetic?", Starscream asks mockingly, as he slowly crushes one of his victims legs between his thumb and his index finger, all the while the human worker hangs forty feet from the ground. "That could create a dangerous precedent to our cause... brother"
"You gonna tell Megatron?", Thundercracker asks casually, staring at the herd running left and right below.
"It wouldn't make much difference to our weak-kneed Commander; but it would certainly upset me. I wouldn't want to have to question your loyalty when I'm in command, Thundercracker."
Thundercracker leans forward and reaches one of the running humans. He lifts him up and looks at him carefully, examining him. The human just stares in the blindingly red optics in utter shock, unable to even blink. The Seeker then slowly puts the fragile lifeform next to him and turns his attention to the sky. His audio receptors can hear the frantic footsteps of the small flesh creature running away from him, followed by a thud, as he is pulped under Skywarp's hand. His brother's giggles, as he looks at the blood smear on his purple hand are soon covered by the deafening sound of Astrotrain's turbines, finally reaching the plant.
Less than a week later, Thundercracker approaches the familiar warehouse, by the docks. He transforms into his robot mode and enters cautiously, making sure no prying eyes saw him. He finds Mirage already inside, waiting for him.
"You got something for me?", the Autobot agent asks.
"I don't know. You're gonna screw this one up, too?"
"We tried getting there in time to evac the humans, but your information was inaccurate."
"The hell it was. I told you everything in detail."
"You won't let me tell Command everything."
"That was the deal, Mirage. I'm already risking my afterburner for this." Mirage takes a seat on top of a large container.
"Yeah, I know. My posse wouldn't appreciate my giving them 'controlled information' either"
"They don't know?"
"Optimus does; but he knows he has to lose some to win some. I doubt any of the others would be quite as cooperative."
"I hear ya"
After a moment of silence, Mirage finally asks for that much-desired tip.
"Tomorrow at dawn, the Seekers are going to conduct an air-raid over Ellis Island. They'll blow the whole place sky-high", Thundercracker says.
"Ellis Island? Why? There's nothing there; nothing of use to the Decepticons, at least.", Mirage wonders, confused. Thundercracker remains silent and the Autobot catches on. "You can't tell me, huh? Fine with me; saves me having to filter the intel this time" Mirage stands up and makes his way to the exit, but Thundercracker stops him.
"I want out", he says.
"You're not in my employee, Thundercracker."
"No. I mean out of the Decepticons." Mirage, surprised, turns around to face him. The Seeker continues: "You said it can be done; when I first contacted you"
"What about your glorious 'endgame'?"
"Can you do it?", the Seeker insists, avoiding Mirage's question.
"Are you sure about this? Even if Megatron doesn't hunt you, the life for a civilian isn't good; there are no neutrals in our world"
"Me and my brothers, out. Can I trust you?"
"I don't know. Can you?" Thundercracker thinks about it for a second.
"Why did you make the suggestion in the first place?" Mirage smiles.
"I have no interest in seeing you or your folk in a pool of Cosmic Rust. My loyalties lie with my friends, not with the 'cause'. Seven megacycles and you're free from your contract. New name, far from Cybertron or Earth or any other place Megatron can come looking for you."
"One-time-deal, Thundercracker; don't screw it up. My connections only go so far up in the Council"
Thundercracker nods that he understands the terms.
On his way to the base, he's tailed by his two brothers. They land inside a ravine, away from radio signals and transform. Starscream toys with the idea of executing him as a traitor. Skywarp holds Starscream back, but he's equally upset; personally hurt. They talk for hours, he tries to convince them to leave the Decepticons, but they won't hear any of it. Starscream is the first to go. Skywarp sticks around just a little bit longer, but they don't find much else to say to each other. Eventually, Skywarp heads back to the base as well, leaving Thundercracker alone in the ravine with his thoughts.
The following morning, Thundercracker is part of the air raid over at Ellis. A week later, Mirage and Skylynx pointlessly wait for the Seekers in Antarctica. A month later half the West Coast is leveled by a new Decepticon weapon. Forty thousand people die in an instant. Thundercracker is in charge of the attack.