X smiled viciously. "Such broad generalizations. Not a very Maximal-like thing to do, wouldn't you say?"
"I don't see how it's generalizing," Depth Charge spat, straining against his bonds. "You killed them."
X stepped closer and placed a hand under the Maximal's chin. He felt Depth Charge try to recoil in disgust at his touch. It only made X want to smile broader.
"Yes, I did," X said. "But think for a moment, won't you, about what they would have done to me. A life without death seems so grand, but if that life was a life of warfare? A life of pain without release?" He leaned closer. "What sort of monsters are they?"
* * *
Am I heartless?
What does the word even mean? Could it be so simple to say that it is to act without feeling? If such is the definition, I most assuredly am not heartless. I feel. Every day I feel. I wish that I did not because to feel is pain. Pain is already something that I know all too much about.
I feel disdain for the Maximals. Why shouldn't I? The created me, after all. They made me a monster, taking away the one thing that makes any being a part of the universe: mortality. Without the ability to die, I surmised long ago while they were attempting to acclimate me into their sad little society, could I really be beholden to their set of mores? Was there anything that existed to stop me from behaving however I wished? Of course, there was not. I could do anything I liked without the consequences that others might face with fear. They could never lead me to my eventual demise, no matter if I performed an act so innocent as to pilfer a cheap knickknack or as vicious as destroying all those around me. Oh, I could have played the role they wanted me to play. I could have been the good soldier and marched into battle after battle from here to infinity. They created me to fight their wars, knowing that I would be the perfect soldier. I would be a soldier the likes that they never seen. I would be a soldier that never died. Recruiting and training troops would be a trial of the past. I was the future.
How supremely arrogant they were! Instead of being a party to their drama, I played my part differently. I made them suffer for the indignity they thrust upon me. I made them suffer as I was meant to, time and again, in countless battles, without the release of death. They were lucky, I told them. They could die. I made sure that they knew what it was that I was meant to feel forever before I gave them their final release.
Of course, what does it truly say about me that I can die, but I still act as I do? Does it mean that I do not care? Perhaps not about what is considered, in good society, to be worth caring about, but I care very deeply about the well-being of Depth Charge.
Unlike my handler on Colony Omicron or the crew of Starbase Rugby, he is a work in progress. Playing with the minds of petty scientists too focused on their own greatness or engineers with their faces buried in a cruiser manifold was r just a warm-up, a way to hone my craft. Even to an amateur, keeping them off balance and turned around and at each others' throats was a simple task. A whisper here, a seemingly innocent action there, and watch the chaos bloom. It was too simple.
But to take a noble, loyal Maximal constable and turn him into a ruthless, selfish, cold-blooded killer? That takes skill. It takes patience. It takes sheer will. Omicron, Rugby, a visit to the Maximal High Council. They are all steps on the road to my first and greatest work of art. I am so close to finishing that masterpiece.
But I wonder if I will get that chance. Because of Megatron.
I hate him. Hate, loathing, rage. These are not emotions that I am unfamiliar with. For as long as I have known, I have felt these base feelings beating within my spark. In fact, it was not until I fully embraced the hate and the rage that I felt I was truly alive. It was only after I embraced what I was that I could say I existed. But to feel so primal an emotion because of him? It almost makes me long for a time when I locked the hate away. It was not long ago, in the grand scheme of things, that I would not even acknowledge such a lowly creature. In times past, while caged by those calling themselves friends and walking amongst those who tried their hardest to ignore my very presence, I never would have allowed a petty soul like Megatron to bring such an emotion to the surface. Never.
Almost worse, my loathing of Megatron has opened a chasm. Hate flows from me, not towards beings deserving of such an honor, but towards creatures below that of even Megatron. Inferno and his subservient ways, how he bows and scrapes before that infernal Predacon it disgusts me. Inferno, who is blind to the fact that he is little more than a pawn in Megatron's games. There was a time that such a poor being would have received nothing more than mild pity before I destroyed him. Because of Megatron, it's different. I hate him instead. I hate those that do not deserve it.
The hate stems from more than the fact that Megatron possesses a part of my spark. I have lived with pain, both physical and emotional, intense and benign, for all of my life. I can see the way his mind works even when I cannot divine his next move. I know he is intelligent. And I know that he has deduced my secret. He knows I can be killed. What happens if he sees no further need for me? Could the glorious end to all my pain be as sacred if it was not my greatest triumph that ended my life instead?
With all of this, with all the loathing of myself and others, with all the anguish and love of my chosen art, I ask again: am I heartless?
* * *
X pulled the energon blade gently down Depth Charge's face, watching the constable's eyes grow wide with fear. It was an emotion that X could never feel enough. It was that fear that drove him. X turned away from his bound captive and looked at Valiant--the other failed Maximal experiment, the other soul that could never find rest--as he tortured the few survivors of Omicron.
X pulled the energon blade away from Depth Charge and turned toward Valiant.
"Monsters. Like him and me. The Maximals never asked what sort of punishment existed if immortal beings decided to act without conscience. Imprison us? Patience and time will yield an escape. Kill us? Ah, but we cannot be killed. But what if that was not true? What if, like poor Valiant, we can be killed?"
X threw the energon blade with all his strength toward Valiant. The blade pierced the other's spark, initiating a chain reaction that destroyed not only him, but the Maximals that he was torturing. X relished the explosion he had wrought and the last vestiges of fear that lingered in the air.
"The question becomes," X continued, walking away from Depth Charge, the last survivor of Colony Omicron, "is there a soul with the will to seek me out and give me the punishment society demands?"