*DISCLAIMER* Unless I suddenly have a death wish, I claim none of the transformers universe as my creation. They belong to Hasbro/Marvel/Japan/Disney whoever. I just write the circumstances of their interaction. Also, "Descend" is used with permission from the author of "Rise." :)
The Decepticons have won the war and have started to develop their dominion over Cybertron, as well as the universe. Yet many realize that their society has relied on war so long, the very fabric of their sanity has started to unravel. Features Starscream. Slightly AU. Post-War.
A/N: Greetings! Thank you so much for taking the time take a look at my story here. With the extensive snowfall in my area causing the school where I student teach to be closed for a second week in a row, I found myself with tons of free time on my hands that I just was itching to write a story.
Many of you are likely familiar with Oni-Gil's univers "Rise," where the Autobots have won and taken over Cybertron, converting those they conquered into slaves. This idea was based on the same premise, but rather the Decepticons have won, and the Autobots have been enslaved (oh the irony!). As such, I named my story "Descend" with permission from Oni-Gil as it was inspired by that story. But as much as it was inspired by that piece, I want to assure you it is not a rip-off: indeed, it's taken on a life of its own. :)
Mine too will have extensive twists and turns, and I hope you enjoy the ride.
"Com'on Screamer, you've avoided us for every single invitation to the party in the canteen. We're barely a megacycle away from Cybertron and yet you continue to avoid celebrating."
"Skywarp, unlike you and the rest of you imbeciles, my work didn't stop with the defeat of the Autobots. There is huge amounts of data to go through to make sure that all of the slaggers are accounted for and to decide what exactly we are going to do with them once we get to Cybertron."
"Give me a break, even Megatron showed up at last night's festivities."
"That's because he gave me an extra courseload! Primus Skywarp, go frag yourself and comm me when Cybertron is in sight."
Skywarp snorted and stalked off, determined to have a good time even if he couldn't get his trinemate drunk. Thundercracker lingered for a moment longer staring at his commander.
"Can I help you?"
Thundercracker paused again before speaking. "What are we going to do with the Autobots?"
Starscream sighed heavily and pinched the bridge of his nose. "We're looking at an extensive labor force for many of Cybertron's abandoned factories."
Starscream gave an agitated look at his comrade. "The war may be over, Thundercracker, but at some point you are going to have to get over your morals. Or at least not imply that your commanders ascribe to your own," He snapped.
Thundercracker bowed his head. "I was merely surprised that we were not executing them. Thank you for the advice though," He said in that infuriatingly demure voice that Starscream had discovered was actually blatant sarcasm.
Starscream rolled his eyes and left, returning to the brig where he had to continue to process all of their prisoners.
"Oh joy, the screaming one has returned," Rumble said.
"Silence, glitch. Bring in the next prisoner."
Frenzy escorted the captive, giving him a wide berth, almost reverently. Starscream didn't look up from his datapad until the stasis-cuffed 'bot was seated in front of him.
"Prime! I would have thought that Megatron would have processed you himself."
"...I think Megatron is afraid to face me."
Starscream raised an optic-brow and smirked but said nothing. His "helpers" however could not remain silent.
"Why would he be afraid of a fallen Auto-butt? He already beat you once, but I'm sure he's just letting you heal from the last one," Rumble spit out, almost too quickly.
It was true that the Autobot leader did not look too good. He was sparking in some places and he still had oil and energon splattered on his armor and faceplates. The Autobot captive had taken a beating, but had been repaired that he could at least walk unaided. Still, he was obviously in pain, as were many of his compatriots.
"...Would this be an inappropriate time to negotiate for more medical attention for my men? I'm afraid some of them won't make it to Cybertron before-"
"You are a prisoner, not a negotiator!" Frenzy said, nervously loud.
Starscream slammed his servos on the table. "I cannot process this prisoner with slaggers like you constantly interjecting! Both of you are on patrol of the prisoners, effective immediately!"
"But Soundwave said-"
"I am your superior officer, and I will be obeyed," Starscream growled.
Rumble and Frenzy harrumphed, but did as they were told.
"As for you..." Starscream started.*
"I apologize for speaking out of turn-"
Starscream held out a servo to silence him. "I really don't care for your polite antics, Prime. I will see to it that if some of your men have been neglected treatment, it will be corrected, but that is far as I my sympathy will extend.
"Now, for our business. What is your designation?"
Optimus blanched for a second before replying. "Optimus Prime."
"And your rank?"
"Leader of the Autobots and the free world."
Starscream smirked. "Cute. I'll add defender of the squishies and the rest of the helpless wildlife. Or is that too wordy of a title?"
Optimus was silent.
"Hmm. Place of origin."
"And what was your main trade before the war?"
"I was a civilian. My main trade was mostly assembly work, but I had a hobby of sharpshooting."
Starscream paused in his typing. "Really? An assemblymech? I had not thought of such humble beginnings for one that has been a nail in the pede to Megatron for so long."
Optimus tilted his head slightly. "And the terror of the skies was formerly a scientist?"
Starscream looked back to his data pad, ignoring the query. "Did you intend to continue that profession after the war was over?"
"I'm not sure it really matters what my plans were."
Starscream shifted in his chair. "Humor me."
Optimus sighed. "I made no arrangements since being a Prime was supposed to be a lifetime designation." Pause. "Why are you the only one conducting these interviews?"
"You saw Rumble and Frenzy in here a moment ago."
"That's not what I mean."
Starscream stood. "I'm the most competent one around, naturally I would be trusted with the most duties." He commed Frenzy for them to take Prime away.
"Seems a rather unequal share of the burdens of victory."
Starscream shook his head, smiling. "You have been trying to manipulate the prince of machinations, Prime. I applaud your efforts; you actually sound concerned for my welfare."
Prime stood, leaning forward with his stasis cuffs on the table. "Tell me what is going to happen to us." He exuded a sense of urgency and command that Starscream was taken aback. The switch had been almost instantaneous.
Starscream narrowed his eyes. "I suggest you get used to not knowing... and used to those cuffs."
Frenzy and Rumble appeared and Prime immediately took on his more submissive persona, allowing the cassettes to lead him away.
Starscream sat down staring at the data pad, but not really seeing it. That had been rather unpleasant, but he was used to such interviews. Prime was right though; it was odd that Megatron was leaving all of this up to him. Usually he could not be trusted to take the smallest task without making it into some kind of run for power. But in this case, Megatron had given control of all of the prisoners, their treatment, and processing over to him.
And it would not have been such a problem if they had taken the space bridge to arrive on Cybertron in a timely fashion; then at least he would have other things to occupy his time instead of being ship-bound. Instead they had outfitted a transport ship full of all the prisoners and the Earth campaign Decepticons and made their way toward Cybertron. In part, this was to allow Shockwave enough time to clinch victory on the planet as well, but also to allow them adequate time to plan how the new government was going to be run by the time they arrived. If they showed up without a plan to enact, chaos would erupt and it would be difficult to establish their dominion once and for all.
Especially since they could not look to any current models of government for help. The Decepticons wanted nothing to do with the Senate or the league of Primes; they demanded a completely new government.
"Starscream, meet me in the officer's conference room immediately."
"Of course, Mighty Megatron," Starscream said out loud, rolling his optics. He commed Frenzy and Rumble to tell them to take a break while he started to make his way toward the room.
As he walked, he avoided drunk seekers and triplechangers, stunticons, and combaticons, and other unsavory mechs without distinction. Things had quickly descended into celebrations and nonstop victory speeches. He could only imagine what Cybertron would be like when they arrived.
He entered the room finding Megatron and Soundwave seated around the table. He went for his seat, despite both mechs having their eyes trained on him as he sat.
"Thank you Soundwave, that will be all."
Starscream glared at the Communications officer as he exited the premise. "That was particularly theatric. Can I ask what that was about?" He asked glibly.
Megatron narrowed his optics. "I was merely assessing our situation, and usually when I call, you take a particularly long time to get here. How many have you processed?"
"About 90% of them."
"Excellent. Tell me, how have they been?"
Starscream leaned back in his chair. "You mean, of course, how has Optimus been?"
Megatron scowled but said nothing.
"Well, they are in pain and quite confused to answer your question. But Optimus asked a couple of good questions earlier that I wanted to get your input on." He kicked his legs up on the table. "For one, why am I the only one who has interacted with the prisoners since the war ended?"
Megatron folded his arms. "I would not ruin the victory-high of other mechs by interacting with our fallen enemies."
Starscream laughed. "Oh but my happiness is naturally secondary. Well thank you for not being subtle."
"Starscream... I did not assign you to your post to torture you."
The seeker rolled his eyes. "I see. Then why?"
"For some reason, out of all my officers, out of all of my mechs, you have discovered that which I've known for some time."
"You mean something beyond realizing your incompetence? Please, doll out my praises."
Megatron slammed his fist on the table leaving a huge dent in the metal. "I'm serious," He growled. The tyrant stood, walking over to the window that looked out at the dark void of space. He had his back to Starscream, which to the seeker meant that he was either heavily distracted or had literally gone insane. When do you ever put your back to one that has vowed to kill you?
To his credit though, the Second stayed seated and uncharacteristically silent.
"I saw it in your optics the megacycle Prime surrendered. Outwardly, you smiled and taunted our captives with the rest of them, but when no one was looking, your faceplates mirrored the same gravity I have felt since Prime broached the subject of ending the war."
Any trace of a smile was gone from the seeker's lips.
"You know what the end of the war means for us. Soundwave, Shockwave- none of them have realized it. The Decepticons have been war mechs for too long; in fact we prided ourselves on taking the unstable, chaotic minds and turning them into the Transformers of terror and mechs of unspeakable acts. Mechs of evil and no conscience, of bravery mingled with ineptitude, and of blatant disregard for society and morals that I cold mold into literal killing machines. And now, does that stop now that we have won? Can it? Can we stop that which we have created?"
Starscream rose and walked over to Megatron, standing beside him, if only to remind him of his presence. Megatron was no longer talking to him, he realized, but thinking aloud. It was unseemly.
"What did you think would happen?"
Megatron stared out into space. "I never intended to get this far, this soon. I had hoped Prime would have put up more of a fight."
Starscream began to grow nervous. "Megatron..." He started, his voice low.
"The reason I placed you in charge of the prisoners is because I know somehow you have compartmentalized these issues much better than even I. You are far more adaptable than any mech in my army-"
Starscream ground his dentia. "Megatron will you stop-"
"I've always known this about you and I hoped that you would start to use it to wrest power from me now that the war is over-"
"STOP," Starscream spat. He was shaking. Megatron regarded the seeker with a distant look, only somewhat processing his Second's behavior.
"You are not a worthy opponent in your current state," Starscream said slowly. "You disgust me as a Decepticon and a mech. But I suppose all you've ever known is combat so when your need to fight is over, rather than use it to your advantage, you collapse in a slag heap," He whispered, angrily. "You need to get over yourself otherwise you will not only have a more chaotic problem with your loyal followers, but a problem with uprising Autobots." The Seeker pointed his digit into Megatron's chassis, leaning menacingly close. "You are now the ruler of Cybertron. Be despotic, be tyrannical, totalitarian, and oppressive or decide to be fair, judicial, balanced, and democratic; you decide and they will follow you. To a point."
Starscream removed his servo and put his back to the glass window. "But I did realize the same thing you did. And the way you always control the simple-minded is by distraction."
Megatron folded his arms. "I'm listening."
"We had already decided to enslave our Autobot brethren, but take it a step further. Turn it into part of the economic system. Turn them into the lower class that you and the other low-born had been before the war. And find some way to make the war not over."
Megatron's optics glowed in the darkness. "Would they not want to rise like we did?"
Starscream smirked. "The difference being you would expect them to revolt. The Autobot's ultimate flaw was that they underestimated you. Even I, when I had returned from my exploration, believed their foolish propaganda that you and your followers were unorganized and brutish imbeciles. Only part of that was true," He said, walking back to his seat, smiling at himself.
Megatron clenched his fist. "I will take your plan under advisement. What do you plan to do, now that I am unworthy of usurping?" Megatron stated, his signature growl back in place.
Starscream smiled. All was as it should be. "I'll let you know once I've decided."