Thank you to everyone who has supported my series thus far. Especially those who took the time to send me comments at the end of the Autobot Files. You are the main reason this first part came out so quickly. So thank you. Every comment is so very much appreciated when you take time to talk to me about my story.
The Secret Lives of Decepticons
By: Ghost of the Dawn aka Ty-Chou
Chapter One: Exhibition
Megatron waited. He wasn't well known for his patience, but he could exercise a great amount of self-control when it suited him. He felt very much suited for this.
There was nothing to do but wait. The entire Decepticon base was positioned and ready. The next move went to the Autobots. They would come as soon as they mobilized themselves; he knew it deep down in his spark. All he had to do was bide his time and they would come to him. How delicious it was to hold all the cards, to know all the answers! It was the specific kind of high Megatron relished. He was not interested in losing his position of advantage any time soon.
Megatron continued to wait, hashing out in his mind over and over what he would say when the time came and what he would do, trying to guess how his adversary would react. He could hardly wait, but he kept his patience firm.
Finally, after torturous cycles of sitting motionlessly in place at his command chair, he heard it: The warning klaxon for intruders reverberated through the base following the telltale shuddering of the structure as the enemies forced their way past the Decepticon guards. It certainly wasn't the first time the Autobots had ever infiltrated; they most likely knew their way by now. It would only be a matter of time until they reached the main command center and Megatron.
His mouth ticked up a bit at the thought. His orders to his forces had been to fight back, to engage the Autobots when they came, but not to take unnecessary damage. This wasn't about keeping the Autobots out, but to have them think they were trying to keep them out. Megatron wanted them to come. He wanted them to reach the very heart of the Nemesis.
He smiled a bit more as the sounds of battle grew closer. Prime was coming for him; he would be here soon. It was hard to stay patient, but Megatron remained seated, almost motionless. This was not the usual struggle for energy or power. This was something personal and had to be treated as such. The sounds of gunfire were growing ever louder. Warning alarms were sounding everywhere. Megatron's smile grew.
At last, the doors to the command center were forced open and Autobots spilled inside while others still fought to keep the Decepticons behind them at bay. Megatron sat in his command chair, his back to the door when they entered. He grinned.
"Megatron!" Optimus Prime called to him as he had done countless times before, voice filled with warning.
It was that voice that drew the biggest smile from Megatron behind his steepled fingers. He quickly forced the smile from his face and replaced it with a hateful sneer, even though he wasn't angry at all. Megatron swiveled his chair. He stood and glared down at the Autobot leader.
"You dare invade my sanctuary, Optimus Prime," he growled. "What is the meaning of this?"
"You know full well why we've come," Optimus shot back. "Your hostage, Megatron. We've come to retrieve her."
Megatron willed confusion to cross his features even though he knew perfectly well what was going on. "What are you talking about? I have no hostage, merely a whole swarm of intruders in my command room."
"Don't play with me, Megatron. Just tell me what you want for her. I'm willing to negotiate if you do it right now."
Megatron sat himself down, looking very put-out indeed. "A very tempting offer. Unfortunately I have no bargaining chip... unless you want Starscream, then he's all yours."
There came a shrill "I heard that!" from somewhere down the hall.
Optimus found it clear he wasn't going to get any more from Megatron unless the situation altered itself. He turned to his radio to contact the other teams around the base. "Jazz, report."
"No one in their brig, chief. All the cells are empty."
"Mid levels are a negative."
"Lower levels clean," reported Hound.
"Security system has no record," radioed Smokescreen. "No visual on security tapes, no record of any extra body entering the base."
Megatron was almost giddy at the report. It was too good indeed, but he continued to scowl and pretend to lose his temper. In reality, he could have watched Optimus Prime stand there foolishly all day.
"Are you quite done now? You have ruined my base and damaged my soldiers without provocation. Or is there something else you would like to scrap before you vacate?"
"I'll scrap your face, you fragging waste of metal!" Sunstreaker roared as he lunged for Megatron.
Several Autobots had to hold him back, including Optimus Prime.
Megatron allowed himself a shadow of a smirk at that point. "Decepticons," he radioed to all his troops. "See the Autobots out. Their business here is finished."
While Megatron had specifically told his soldiers to use restraint to let the Autobots in, he offered no such leeway once the Autobots were on their way out. The second the invitation was offered, the Decepticons swarmed in full-force and attacked with all the determination that comes from defending one's home base. The Autobots had no choice but to retreat.
Megatron remained seated, his finger scratching at the armrest. He was well aware he had chosen to deviate from his usual pattern. This was going to be an interesting ride.
It took a while to sweep the full Autobot army from all the Nemesis' many levels, but finally Soundwave gave the all-clear that there were no longer any enemy signatures in the base. Megatron acknowledged him and then called for a full damage report. As expected, several quadrants were now flooded with seawater. It would be a while before they were repaired and flushed out. It was time to get to work.
Unfortunately, the repairs for anything that wasn't an urgent crisis happened slowly on the Nemesis. There were plenty of able mechs who knew how to make themselves useful. The problem was that not many took the initiative to do so. Not even the Constructicons would, unless specifically ordered to. All fancied themselves warriors and builders of great structures and masterpieces. None were happy when they were subjected to the tasks of maintenance bots.
In this case, his troops were even less happy to have convenient corridors flooded with seawater, so it was a group effort to at least put the Nemesis back to its original shoddy, but dry, state.
It took the Decepticons three days to repair the damage the rampaging Autobots had done to both the outer walls and inner systems a few more vengeful individuals felt the need to destroy. It was two more days before Megatron gave Soundwave the green light to start sniffing out any equipment the Autobots had installed or hidden during their infiltration. Megatron did this on purpose. He wanted the Autobots to at least get a glimpse of them going on with business as normal before cutting them off completely.
It was another week before Soundwave was certain every bug, chip and listening device had been found and destroyed and every spyware virus had been removed from the computer systems. Then Megatron decided they would go out for an energy raid. After the attack, they were quite low.
He made sure it was swift and stealthy. He knew the Autobots were still sore from coming back from their infiltration empty-handed. His suspicions were confirmed when the Autobots caught them at the tail end of their raid. The Autobots hit so fast and hard the Decepticons had no choice but to pull out right away. Several Autobots took extra steps to go after them far more vengefully than they ever had.
Yes, there was still a very sore spot there. Megatron was pleased. Even after the energy raid, Megatron waited another week. He kept a close eye on the Autobots to see what they would do, looking for any sign they were plotting another attack on the base, but it seemed the Autobots were lying low and watching him. They were waiting for Megatron to make his move and reveal his hand.
It was very foolish of them and Megatron couldn't help but sneer whenever he thought about it. Little did they know he had already made his move and his move was to do nothing. It left the Autobots powerless to retaliate and he felt triumphant leaving them so helpless. All because Megatron chose this time to exercise patience. Yes, he could be very patient indeed when it suited him.
It had been three weeks since the Autobots attacked the base. The Decepticons continued their usual business as if nothing was amiss, as was ordered of them. Megatron sat in his usual command chair, weighing his options. He showed he knew other ways to wage war, he showed he had immeasurable patience. Megatron decided he had been patient enough.
He hit the radio button on his command chair. "Soundwave," he hailed. "Bring it to me."
It was a very curious sensation when she was first brought online. It didn't feel like waking up from a dream-- she was already standing when her optics flipped on. It was as if she caught herself walking in her sleep. The rest of the world had gone on without her and she had stayed the same.
It was somewhat like when she came back online after Ratchet repaired her, but this time, there was no Ratchet and no repair bay. The first thing she saw was a great, dark hand moving away from her face. It held a black object which had been removed from her forehead. The owner of the hand passed the object down to a small grey and purple bug-like robot with a "Good work, Bombshell," spoken in a gravelly voice.
Crystal was still figuring out what was going on. Her processor instantly tried to grasp onto her last memory to try to piece together what had happened. Tracks popped right into her mind. She recalled the ambush and the damage that had been inflicted on him. She remembered trying to help him and then being grabbed and dragged away. That black object was slapped onto her forehead and then, nothing.
Now she was awake again and in a very strange place. It was dark with dismal, dirty walls and poor light. She looked around the large room to find it occupied by several bots, all much, much larger than she was. All staring right at her. All Decepticons.
Her knees almost went out from under her from the shock of it all. A heavy hand grabbed her shoulder to keep her standing. Crystal looked up at the face, a grey mask and a red optic band. More than any other she had seen, this one seemed all robot without any life in it. Even the hand that held her, while warm to the touch, had something cold within it.
"You, look at me," said the gravelly voice whose tone demanded her immediate response.
Crystal whipped her head around to the massive grey Decepticon looming over her. He seemed to suck up all the extra space around her with his size. His fierce features scowled at her, intelligent red optics taking in every inch.
"Do you know who I am?"
"Yes," Crystal said in a small voice. She fought to sound calm, but it came out weaker than she meant to.
He leaned in even closer, Crystal could almost see her reflection in his optics. "Who am I then?"
Crystal wondered if she should venture flattery, but she stayed truthful and to the point. "You are the Decepticon leader."
"What's my name, small one?"
He straightened, looking pleased. "Good. And what are you?"
Crystal balked a bit, not only at the bluntness of the question, but because it was a question she had often asked herself without finding an answer. She knew she had to say something. This Decepticon looked like he was accustomed to getting an immediate response when he spoke.
"I don't really... my name is Crystal."
Megatron was suddenly in her face. "I didn't ask for a name! I asked you what you are!"
Crystal tried to block out the smirks and snickers of the other Decepticons. "I... don't really know how to answer that."
Megatron was still frowning. "Who built you?"
"The Autobots did." It was certainly truthful enough.
"I don't know."
The dark blue one who had her shoulder let her go so Megatron could circle and appraise her from all angles.
The mention of the Autobots got Crystal wondering about them. Where were they? Did they know what happened? Did they know where she was? Were they coming for her?
She didn't even know how much time had passed since her initial capture. It could have been a few hours, a few days or even a few weeks. She had no way to tell how long she had been out of it or what had transpired in the meantime. She could only assume it hadn't been too long. Villains could never wait to toy with their hostages. Likewise, the heroes would waste no time orchestrating a rescue. The Autobots would come for her soon. She trusted them. So she tolerated Megatron's scrutinizing gaze as he walked around her, confident this situation would not be a permanent one.
"What did you do on the Autobot base?"
"Um.. I fixed a lot of things..."
"Lights, doors, equipment. I did work in the med bay..."
Megatron actually snorted. "So you're a maintenance bot."
Despite the scoff in his voice, Crystal didn't mind the title at all. "Yes, that's correct."
"So they built you to help maintain their base."
"Lovely call, Megatron," Starscream chided from behind. He was the only other Decepticon Crystal could identify by name. "You caught yourself nothing more than--"
"Shut up Starscream or get out," he barked.
That quieted the other Decepticon immediately.
Crystal wanted to smirk, but she didn't dare.
Megatron turned his attention back to her, his optics taking her form in time and time again like he was trying to figure out a puzzle.
"Who do you report under?"
"Either the chief medical officer or the chief engineer, depending on who needs me."
Megatron shifted his jaw as he tried to think of a new question.
"You were built on Earth."
Crystal knew already it would not be wise to mention anything about being human. Decepticons didn't like them and it would do her no good to disclose that information. "I was built... perhaps 5 or 6 Earth months ago."
"Ah, so you're a newling. Interesting." Megatron rubbed his chin some more.
Crystal knew he was fishing for something, she just wasn't sure what. Maybe Megatron didn't know either.
"So why build you in the likeness of a femme?" The Decepticon leader mused.
"Hey maybe the Autobots are getting lonely!" called a Decepticon. He looked like Starscream but had darker coloring. Crystal had seen him before her abduction. He had some sort of power to appear out of thin air.
The comment resulted in cackling from other Decepticons and even Megatron had to smirk. He took her chin firmly between his thumb and forefinger. His hand was massive. He could have palmed her whole head if he wanted to.
"So how about it little one?" he asked as he ran his thumb suggestively over her bottom lip. "Do they use you for... anything else?"
Her optics widened and she tore away from his grasp. "No they don't!"
Though anger showed on her face, it was fear that suddenly ripped through her at Megatron's question, a very human fear that has jumped into the mind of any woman to ever find herself captured by a group of men. Beside the natural question of whether the Decepticons would try to rape her, there was the question of if they could or how would they do it. She still had a lot to learn about their culture, especially when it came to the dynamics between males and females.
If these massive Decepticons tried to force themselves on her, how would they attack and what would they be trying to get out of it? More importantly, how could she prepare herself it case it happened?
"So you just... repair things," Megatron surmised. And yet the Autobots sent their full force to retrieve you.
He didn't say that last part out loud, otherwise he would be breaking his own orders. The Autobot's rescue attempt was not to be mentioned under any circumstances, not even by himself. It was all part of the plan.
"You are of no other use to them at all?"
Crystal squinted at the question. She was starting to get an idea of what Megatron was digging for. He was trying to figure out just how valuable she was to the Autobots. If she was something they really cared about he could use her as a bargaining chip against them. She knew beyond a doubt they would take great pains to protect her if they had to. Crystal wasn't going to let Megatron have that opportunity if she could help it.
"I'm afraid that's it. I just do the grunt work so they don't have to."
"So you just stay inside all safe and don't see any battle."
"Nope, I just clean up. Nothing special."
"So when I saw you fighting with my Nightbird, that was, as you put it, cleaning up."
Crystal stopped. The way he said my Nightbird, as in Megatron's property, and she had helped to break it? That was not a good sign at all. "That was..."
"Perhaps a demonstration is in order to show us how you clean up," Megatron's grin was cruel now. Whatever was cooking in his processor was not going to end well for her.
Crystal suddenly felt very helpless under his gaze.
Megatron placed that massive hand of his behind her back and effortlessly slid her reluctant frame into the center of the room.
Crystal had no idea what he was doing, but she didn't like it. Every bit of common sense told her she was in trouble. All she could do now was stand cluelessly in the middle of a room full of Decepticons. She fervently hoped the Autobots would come soon.
"Let's see," said Megatron next to her as he surveyed the room. "Thundercracker, Ramjet and... Starscream."
"What do you want, Megatron?" was the instant response from the latter.
"Let us see how well this maintenance bot is built."
Crystal wanted to ask what the Decepticon leader meant by that statement. However, she got her answer soon enough. The Decepticons whooped and hollered in excitement as they closed a tight semi-circle around her and the three Decepticons named. Crystal recognized this layout. They were forming a ring, one part being the wall. This was meant to be a fight and she was definitely the underdog.
"No weapons, you three," Megatron commanded. "We need to keep it fair." He smirked at the end, knowing full well there was no fairness found there.
Crystal tensed as she sized up her opponents. There was no evidence of a rescue yet. She would have to try and stay alive until the Autobots could come for her. Two of the three Decepticons sent against her were advancing. Behind them, Starscream didn't even look interested in coming after her. The smaller grey one, while still bigger than Crystal, looked like he was spoiling for a fight. The larger, light blue one was also advancing, but with a neutral, dutiful expression on his face as if he were just going about business as usual.
Crystal knew her chances for losing were high, even facing off against just one. Three made it near impossible. What she would have to do to get the best advantage is take on one at a time if she could. The grey one called Ramjet would have to go first since he seemed the most aggressive. She reminded herself she was fighting a robot and not a human as she looked Ramjet over for any weakness. No cheap shot between the legs was going to turn the tables on this fight. She had to be smarter.
The Decepticons in the crowd were cheering and hollering while Megatron watched from on high in his command chair. Ramjet, egged on by their voices, moved in front of the one called Thundercracker, blocking him out of the way.
"Leave it to me, 'Cracker. I got this."
Thundercracker didn't seem to mind. While he didn't look at the whole thing with distaste like Starscream was, he didn't look like he enjoyed fighting for no reason either. Especially against one so small.
Ramjet, however, had no such qualms. Crystal was familiar with this type of fighter. He wanted this fight and he wanted to take her down himself. He wanted the roar of the crowd all for him. She could work with this.
Since he was the larger opponent, he would expect her to run. His kind always assumed he was on top before the fight even began. She would use that against him to catch him off-guard. Instead of backing up from the looming Decepticon, Crystal charged at him. Instead of issuing a full frontal attack, she surprised him even more by sliding on the ground as if she were stealing home base, away from the hands that tried to grab her. That put her feet right next to the wing panel jutting out from his leg.
She kicked it once, twice, as hard as she could. She didn't look very strong, but she still had her joint enhancements in place. The second kick snapped the panel clean off and she scrambled away with it before Ramjet could grab her. The blocky Decepticon, while stronger than she was, had a slow robot mode. He tried to turn around to get her, but Crystal turned right around with him to stay behind the safety of his back. With the broken wing panel, she slashed at the exposed joints at the backs of his knees. It took a few good slices. The two did a kind of dance in a circle as Ramjet tried to turn fast enough and Crystal tried to stay behind him.
Finally, Ramjet fell to the ground, one knee joint completely blown out and the other badly damaged. His legs were utterly useless.
"You slagging piece of scrap!" he screamed at her and his own uselessness. "Damn you to the smelter you--" He was so mad, he couldn't even finish. He wasn't sure what to call her anyway.
The roar of the crowd went higher. Apparently the wounding of one of their comrades-in-arms was great entertainment for them. They were cheering and jumping around, but it wasn't for Crystal's sake. Thundercracker now took his turn to step in and Crystal knew he would be more difficult to beat. Not only had he already seen her in action on his fellow Decepticon, but he had something Ramjet lacked: the presence of mind not to get excited by the crowd and the patience to watch her before deciding on a plan of attack. That combination was deadly and Crystal knew it. She would have to try a whole different bag of tricks with him.
The two circled each other. Crystal made sure to stay out of his reach. If he got a hold of her he could, and would, probably just break her right in half. And boy, wouldn't this blood-happy crowd just love to see that! Who knew how they would react if she actually came out of this brawl on top? Crystal forced her thoughts not to get ahead of her. She needed to focus.
Thundercracker kept circling. He was sizing her up as she did the same to him. Each was trying to figure out their first move and, unfortunately, Crystal was not going to be underestimated by this one. He was taking it seriously.
That was when Crystal noticed the Decepticon had already found the upper hand. Most of the ring was composed of Decepticons who would move as the fighters moved, but Crystal suddenly realized she was being herded to the wall. Thundercracker was trying to corner her. She had to get out or he would have her pinned and the fight would be over.
In a move that was mostly desperation, Crystal attempted a maneuver that she would never have been able to complete if she were still human. She turned and ran full speed toward the wall, using it to propel herself vertically several steps before rebounding off into a back flip over the Decepticon coming at her. She barely cleared Thundercracker's tall air intakes by mere centimeters and her landing was not, by all accounts, the most beautiful landing she had ever managed.
There was no time to worry about form. The second her feet touched the ground, she whirled around and solidified her stance. Thundercracker spun around as well and Crystal gave him no time to figure out what was going on. That glass cockpit on his chest was level with her optics and she shoved both hands through it as hard as she could. They shattered the glass and rammed through the thin metal plating to the meticulous network of systems that were housed underneath. Crystal wrapped her fingers around as much of it as she could before she felt Thundercracker grab her shoulder.
He lifted her off the ground and acted as if he were going to yank her out, then realized what damage that would do to himself if he did. Crystal stubbornly held onto his inner workings. If he wanted to rip her away, he would be doing just as much harm to himself.
"Primus," she heard the Decepticon mutter as he tried to figure out this situation he found himself in.
The crowd was roaring. They were quite enjoying the show.
At least I entertained someone before I go,Crystal thought to herself. This stalemate was all she could think of against someone like this. She wouldn't last much longer against him if she let go and she knew it.
"Let go," Thundercracker growled, shaking her a bit.
Crystal responded by slowly pulling out one hand, taking everything she had a hold of with her.
The shaking instantly stopped. Thundercracker definitely wasn't a fool. It wasn't worth the damage he would incur just for this little exhibition.
Crystal was trying to figure out what to do next when she felt a horrible stinging in her back as she was shot. It did little more than scorch her armor, but the energy from the blast seemed to race through her entire system, through her muscle cables and energy storage, completely draining everything. The strength ran from her legs and she began to collapse, her hold on Thundercracker loosening. She fell to the ground, leaving his insides mostly undamaged. His curious face looming over her was the last thing she saw before all the power drained from her and she went offline.
The crowd booed, not so much at her, but at the cheap shot that ended their fun. Starscream, who had made no moove to join the fight the enitre time, now stood a few paces away, smoke wafting from the barrel of his null ray. He turned and then looked up at Megatron, his expression indicating that this was the most tasteless display he had ever seen and he was happy to end it.
Megatron frowned, but allowed the event to end and ordered the damaged Decepticons to be repaired.
Soundwave's corner of the base housed Crystal's inert body for the time being. It was a combination of shared quarters for the cassettes and a workshop for whatever random project Megatron saw fit to give him. It was the safest place for their new prisoner. It kept the body away from more curious Decepticons who would have dismantled her the second Megatron's back was turned. Megatron wasn't sure he could allow that just yet.
There he stood over the lifeless, magenta body, optics dark and limbs askew in the same position she had been tossed in a while ago. It didn't seem to bother Soundwave at all to have the body lying on one of his tables while he continued with his other projects.
Megatron's optics roamed over the small form as he went over her interrogation in his processor. He was overlooking something. Either the strange creation was lying to him or Megatron hadn't been asking the right questions, but he felt he was missing something important. If that something put him one step ahead of Optimus Prime, he would put forth the effort to uncover it.
The body was little damaged from the fight. It was only offline due to Starscream's null ray. A good shock of energy and a recharge would fix it just fine.
"Soundwave," Megatron called. He took one last look at the body before walking away. "Get that thing operational, I'm not done with it yet."