So... here it is. The End. I'm neutral again...but I like portions of it a lot better than the last one...Mostly I'm glad its over, but I'm sad too. You know what I mean? Well...enjoy
There was a thud and a grunt of pain behind him.
Instantly Bumblebee turned around, knowing full well who had collapsed without even checking. He just had hoped it wouldn't have happened this early.
"Cliffjumper!" Blurr cried, running over to him. The red mech was on the ground, his scanner fallen a good few inches away. Blurr reached out his servos, intending to help him back up. Instead, Cliffjumper smacked them away.
"Don't need your help, assistance, or whatever you wanna call it. I can do this myself." He grumbled.
Bumblebee wasn't too sure of this. Looking at him now, you wouldn't think Cliffjumper could do much of anything by himself. He looked so weak and in pain, not at all like his usual tough demeanor. As he tried to get himself back on his stabilizing servos, his efforts simply brought him back on the ground, landing again and again on his gearshaft. He winced and groaned, leaning backwards. Blurr ran back and forth about a mechanometer's distance between a lamppost and their current position, occasionally sneaking concerned glances at his friend and mumbling so fast to himself that it sounded like nonsensical babble.
"Mister Cliffjumper is vorking much too hard." Jetfire said softly. "You vill be getting yourself in vorse condition."
"Like you're a `bot to talk." Cliffjumper scoffed. "I've read your reports. All of them."
Jetfire frowned. "Vat is that meaning?"
"I…" He looked like he was going to say something, but stopped, as if reconsidering if it was worth it. "…I dunno. Doesn't matter. Just leave me alone. I'll be up in less than a nanoclick."
Bumblebee watched helplessly as Cliffjumper attempted to force his way up once more. He didn't know what he could do. He wasn't a medibot, and he never planned to be one. They were always so pushy and grumpy. Of course, he couldn't blame them. They held another `bot's life in their servos. How many of their patients had gone offline because they hadn't done enough to save them? He wouldn't be able to handle that kind of responsibility. He could barely deal with the little he had at the moment.
They had almost caught up with Dirge. His energy signal grew stronger the closer they got. Once they were there they weren't sure what they were going to do. That wasn't a big issue. It was the sort of improvisation work that Bumblebee was used to by now. In battle something in your programming generally took over so that you could make spur-of-the-moment decisions. And they usually worked in your favor. Usually.
They would be even closer to this conflict, maybe even to him by this point, if their self-proclaimed navigator hadn't decided to malfunction. But Cliffjumper was in real pain. Bumblebee shouldn't be referring to him like an annoyance or hindrance. If Blurr knew he was thinking about him disrespectfully, he was sure to get a mouthful. And a mouthful from Blurr was the last thing anybot wanted.
Cliffjumper's servos wobbled under him and gave way. As his chassis struck the ground, part of his armor around his midsection ripped open, energon flowing out.
"Slaggit!" Cliffjumper shouted, pressing over the wound to try to stop the bleeding. It didn't work. The puddle ran down around him and started to filter down the street.
"Maybe Jetfire's right. You should take a break." Bumblebee said, eyeing the energon apprehensively. He wondered how much of that was because of the extra stress Cliffjumper was putting on himself trying to get himself to move.
"A break? Sure! Why don't we all take breaks?" He replied sarcastically, "Because, y'know, a giant monster-thing isn't coming to kill us all or anything! After that, we can go see a circus show or something and dance around the harbinger of death while singing show tunes! Woo! Doesn't that sound like fun?"
Bumblebee was about to make a snide remark to his unnecessary derision when Blurr stopped, screeching his tires against the road.
"I get your point loud and clear, Cliffjumper, but there is no point in going on like this if it will just offline you before we all inevitably go, since it does seem quite certain that Dirge is using this 'Unicron' being, whatever it may be, to either destroy Cybertron or offline us specifically, both of which will end our lives, whichever one he chooses."
"So what? Who cares if I go offline? Like you said I would just be going early. Maybe I like it better this way."
"You aren't even going to try to do something to stop this?" Bumblebee asked.
"Didn't say that."
"But you said you didn't care if you died. That doesn't show much initiative."
His viz scanners narrowed. "I'll do all I can to stop this until the last bit of spark is wrenched from my empty chamber."
Bumblebee paused, not sure how to reply to that, especially with the intensity layered in his voice.
"But you vill not be doing much good for cause if you are being offline." Jetfire reminded. He looked down at his stabilizing servos dejectedly. "Ve are having enough offline-bots at moment. Not having need for anymore."
Bumblebee sighed. They hadn't brought up Jetfire's actions since he told them that he had killed Lugnut. He wasn't sure whether he was referencing that or the fact that his brother was among the casualties. Either way, both brought up laborious memories for the orange mech, ones that must be hard to deal with.
"Then I won't go offline." Cliffjumper shook his head. "I can make it."
"I'm really not sure if that is the best-" Bumblebee began.
"Look. You guys aren't going anywhere without this scanner." Cliffjumper shuffled over through what seemed to be excruciating discomfort and snagged the device in question, somehow managing to lift himself so that he was sitting and no longer lying down, "And I've got it now. So you've got no choice brought to bring me along."
A flash. Before Bumblebee could even blink Cliffjumper fell face-forward, servos forced behind his back, scanner out of sight. All that was left behind was the stasis cuffs bound over his wrists, surging with electricity, making his chassis stiff. That, and the residual blue glint left hanging in the air.
Cliffjumper raised his head, about the only thing a `bot could do with the cuffs on. "What the…slaggit…BLURR!?"
Blurr stepped back cautiously, the scanner now in his servos. His image was a bit hazy at first, proving that he had just reached near his top speeds merely moments ago. Breaking the speed of light? Probably. Bumblebee couldn't help feeling jealous. He had never gotten even close to being a fraction of that fast. He wondered what forms of ecstasy and exhilaration Blurr had felt.
Taking another look at him showed that this had not been a pleasant run at all.
"I'm really really sorry, Cliffjumper, but I can't let you go through with this, both because you are slowing us down now and also because I am your friend, and I don't want to watch you push yourself to death, even if it is to help us succeed." He said quietly, "This is for the best, although I'm sure you would agree otherwise since you are the one on the ground with the stasis cuffs on. But the cuffs will stop you from moving and further irritating your injury, thus the bleeding will most likely stop shortly after we leave."
"You're…you're really going to leave me behind?" Cliffjumper asked, obviously hurt.
"I…I have to." Blurr turned away, "I have to."
And with that Blurr began to walk forward, motioning for Bumblebee and Jetfire to follow him. Bumblebee obeyed, not even able to imagine what this was like for Blurr right now. Coerced to abandon his friend at a time like this. How would he have felt if he had had to leave a wounded Bulkhead behind? Bumblebee wouldn't have been able to do it.
As they grew farther and farther from the place where Cliffjumper lay, they could hear him screaming obscenities after them, ordering them to come back and bring him with them. Blurr cringed but said nothing, nor even attempted to look back. Actually, he started to quicken the pace, staring a bit too steadily at the scanner. Finally they couldn't hear Cliffjumper's shouts anymore, either because they were too far a distance away or because he gave up.
"You didn't really have to do that…" Bumblebee said, "I'm sure if we just waited a bit longer he would've been fine. Or one of us could've carried him…"
"No, Blurr vas being right. Ve cannot be letting anything be obstacle." Jetfire replied. "Please to be going faster, Mister Blurr! Sure to be near to Dirge soon!"
Blurr didn't reply at first, just gazing at the scanner, as if reconsidering what he had just done. Or maybe he was taking a look at Unicron through the reflection in the glass, reminding him of what they had to do. Then he spoke.
"His energy signal, if I am indeed reading this correctly, though I assume so because I am quite familiar with these devices, is only less than a hundred hics away."
Jetfire looked over Blurr's shoulder at the scanner. "Am knowing vhere that is!"
With that information the orange mech leapt into the air, transforming mid-jump, taking to the skies. He didn't even give them as much as a warning, or even the slightest idea as to what he was going to do. Bumblebee didn't need anybot to tell him what Jetfire was planning, though.
"And what in the pits does he think he's going to accomplish?" Blurr asked.
Bumblebee shook his head. "Let's just hope he can hold his own until we get there."
Megatron was falling. Or was he floating? Whatever the direction, he was moving uncontrollably, unable to tell where he was going or where he was coming from. All around him the dark emptiness of space flooded his vision, every now and then the metallic blue-gray of Cybertron catching his viz scanner. But instead of being on the planet like he should be he was drifting somewhere outside of its atmosphere.
He wasn't sure how he had gotten here. He had been in the middle of talking, trying to convince the rest of the Decepticons to join him, when he had felt the throbbing inside of him. Like he was being torn. The next thing he knew, he was spinning, flying into what could only be described as oblivion. To his doom, it would seem. Whatever the case, he would accept his fate. He had cheated death enough to know when his time had come.
A yellow light filled his consciousness and he instantly stopped moving. In front of him was the intimidating form of Unicron, the source of this unnatural light. The 'planet-eater' was even larger up close, pieces of armor clearly visible at this distance. A formidable force indeed. He had come to a stand-still right between the intimidating claws, the yellow light continuing to shoot towards him.
"Welcome, Megatron." The light pulsated in synchronization with every syllable that was spoken.
"Unicron." He replied composedly.
"I have had enough of this foolery with Dirge. He blatantly mocks me. He doesn't seem to recognize how much of a threat to his meager existence I really am. Not like you do. That is why I have spared your life: I have a proposition for you."
Megatron wasn't sure who Dirge was. He had heard some of the Autobots talking about him earlier, though. He was the cause of all of this mess. Unicron was giving him an opportunity to take him out? It sounded so perfect. But he couldn't appear to be so eager at this suggestion. Not when he had a reputation to uphold.
"If I refuse?"
"Then you will perish as Dirge intended. A much more painful, agonizing death than the one your troops will then suffer. And it won't end there. I will make sure that your affliction will continue for the rest of your duration in the Pits. That is what will happen."
Megatron pretended to consider his options. "And what will I get in return?"
"Brash. All of you in this universe are brash. However, I do have what could be considered a 'reward' in mind, but that is all you are to receive."
"And that is…?"
"A new body, of sorts. I'm afraid I can't risk the destruction of your spark by transferring it to a solid chassis. It is too unstable at the moment. But I can provide you with an upgrade from your current state. An upgraded structure equipped to complete this mission and vastly superior to yours."
"I see…" Megatron murmured, now truly contemplating, "What must I do?"
"Separate that accursed imbecile with the Matrix he possesses and give it to me. It should prove rather simple, even if you aren't as smart as I have been informed."
He didn't feel he had to give this anymore thought. He had already been rather convinced far before Unicron named his conditions. This agreement would give him everything he needed to get this job done. He didn't need the junction of the Autobots and Decepticons any longer. He just needed the junction of himself and Unicron.
"I accept your terms."
A jolt coursing through his entire being. He could only identify it as one thing: raw energy, eerily reminiscent to his close encounter with the Allspark so long ago on Earth. But this time it not only brought him pain. He could feel a strange sensation of comfort. Power. Unlimited power. It felt good, overriding any hurting he was experiencing. He was growing larger, his ghost-like armor expanding and changing from a shiny gray to a dull purple.
Almost as quickly as it began it was done, but the feeling of supremacy remained. He was far greater than before. He could accomplish anything and everything. He was…invincible.
Jetfire had never been quite sure what he was going to do when he finally faced Dirge again. It had been something that he knew that he had to do, ever since his adversary had left him in that building, taking Jetstorm away from him at the same time. Yet, instead of creating some sort of strategy, he had just pushed it off. He had hoped, somehow, that this wouldn't have to happen. That it wouldn't be him who had to fight Dirge. Maybe Bumblebee or Blurr…or anybot else, really. But this was unexplainably his responsibility. His destiny.
Staring into his twin's possessed red visor, seeing his artificially cruel smile, made Jetfire wish all the more that it didn't have to be him.
"Hello! I wasn't quite expecting you this early, little Decepticon…" Dirge greeted. He looked a bit anxious, as if Jetfire being there was a nuisance, "Did you miss me? It must have taken a bit of effort to get here."
Jetfire couldn't move. Something along the lines of panic or fear took over his chassis. He could feel the chill creep into his joints. Remember: this isn't Jetstorm. This isn't Jetstorm. Not his twin. His brother. The `bot that had always been by his side. His best friend. He had to let go of the emotional attachment and just strike. Take him out. Offline him. Make him pay for all he had done to him and everybot else.
But would that secure Jetstorm's death too? As far as he could tell Jetstorm was no longer attached to his body…but would permanently damaging it make sure that his twin would never be able to return?
Jetstorm – no! It was Dirge! – took a step to the right, eyeing Jetfire tentatively. "Quiet today, are we? What…Ravage got your vocalizer? You surely came here for a reason, right?"
Once more Jetfire didn't respond. He was too preoccupied trying to get himself to move. Dirge had started to walk the length around the side of the roof, not quite as assertively as he usually did. Every once in awhile he would wince, seeming to push some invisible thing away from him. If anything, this would be the opportune time for Jetfire to attack. Why couldn't he just get it over with!? Let him know how he felt. Make him feel worse.
"Having second thoughts, now?" Dirge smirked. "Don't think I'm stupid. I know exactly what you want to do. Who could blame you? I hurt you where it hurts the worst. And it was most enjoyable, if I do say so myself. And I do."
"I…I…" Jetfire sputtered. He could feel his servos unconsciously forming fists, almost straining himself with the amount of force used. Was Dirge really prodding him when he knew what he was going to do? He had killed before. He could do it again. This time it would be different. He would be getting his long-awaited revenge. And destroying his other half simultaneously.
"He was weak, you know. Your brother. Not like you. You were feisty when I first met you. Defiant. Sure, still a wimpy protoform on the outside, but I could see the flame, the potential, inside. I wasn't able to get what I wanted with you in the way."
Weak? Weak!? "N-no…"
Jetstorm had never been weak. He was the one who was always on top of things. Who could explain concepts to Jetfire when he didn't understand, even when it seemed ridiculously obvious. Who could keep him out of trouble, make him feel safe. Dirge had no idea how wrong he was. If anything, Jetfire was the weaker of the two.
Dirge stopped, looked up at Unicron with a frown, then returned his gaze to Jetfire. He was barely half a mechanometer away, servos wide as if ready to accept the impeding struggle. But when Jetfire saw it, he was only confronted with haunting memories of Jetstorm, ready to embrace and comfort him after a nightmare. Telling him everything was going to be alright. Push it aside. Push it aside!
"They say a `bots final moments determine his real character." Dirge paused, then lowered his voice with a particularly wicked sneer. "You should've heard how loud he screamed."
There it was. Without warning, Jetfire could feel something inside of him snap. The same thing that had snapped megacycles ago, when he was fighting Lugnut. Except it was even more overpowering. Angrier. Taking charge of his limbs, directing his thoughts. Kill. Kill. Make him suffer. His spark filled with the overwhelming grief and wrath. It was no longer a matter of if he could do this: it was a matter of when.
Now! Fire consumed his armor as he charged forward, closing in to his opponent. With a cry of fury he careened into him, sending both of them to the floor of the roof.
"I HATE YOU!!!!"
Starscream watched in agony as the fight before him continued. It would be wrong to say this wasn't what he wanted. He had been trying hard himself to do the same thing to Dirge. His clone had somehow grown stronger though, making it easier to evade and fend off his attacks. And since none of his other personalities were willing to help, he had been forced to admit that his attempts were futile and stop before he wore himself out. Not that he was blaming them for not assisting. All of them were in the middle of severe identity crisis.
Why did it have to be these two? Of all the `bots Sentinel seemed to care about, these were on the top of the list. Starscream wasn't sure where the emotions had come from, though. The few times he had overheard Sentinel discussing them when he had been in Optimus's office, he had seemed to treat them harshly, Optimus clearly saying that they were overworked for their age. They were Sentinel's little soldiers, his pawns. The ones he used to unknowingly do his dirty work. Who acts like that to `bots that he actually liked?
What was worse, they were twins. Twins. Making the orange mech attack and possibly offline his brother was unreasonable and unfair. Did Dirge even think about what would happen afterwards? No, of course not. He was always caught up in current events, and he had already failed once with his plans with Unicron. That was unacceptable in his own scheme of things. Starscream was sure that he was resigning himself to be punished via this twin. Made sense. He wasn't fighting back very well.
But that could also be because of the Matrix that was stuffed in his hip guard compartment. Starscream noticed that he was protecting that area the most. What did he think he could do with it? Unicron was coming to destroy the planet, with them on it, and he didn't seem willing to do anything about it. Was this how much of a sore loser he was? Starscream would be trying to do something to stop this, but he was incapable. No body, no way of fighting back. Plain and simple. There was no way he would be able to possess a being as powerful as Unicron, and that had been the only way he was able to interact with physical `bots.
Or maybe Dirge was just too concerned with protecting his last possession to care about anything else.
Starscream wasn't sure which of his clones said this. They all, except the femme, had the same voice: his. Usually the intonation was different with each personality, but it was different recently. Whatever. It didn't matter. All that did matter was that it effectively caught his attention away from the brawl at hand.
Coming their way, apparently from somewhere deep in space, was a mech. Not a normal mech, but in a ghost state like most everybot else nowadays. Starscream couldn't recognize him at first. A strange purple armor…but there was something that was familiar…
Starscream's viz scanners widened.
SLAGGIT WHY WON'T HE DIE!?
He just about growled as the mech came closer. He had been mortified that Dirge had taken care of Megatron before instead of him, but his enemy had still been offline. He had been gone. Even that was enough to satisfy Starscream. The universe had been rid of that pompous fool. How could he just come back, again? How many times did Starscream or anybot else have to make attempts on his life? And why did he look different?
Megatron – or whatever he was now – landed on the roof in front of the combating Dirge. Didn't even give a spare glance at Starscream. Guess that hasn't changed. He had half the mind to go over and pummel the stupid glitch, but he didn't have the time. Almost as soon as he hit the roof, Megatron grabbed at Dirge, pulling inside of him. Starscream scoffed. He had tried the same thing earlier, and it hadn't worked.
Why did it seem that everything he couldn't do everybot else could?
Dirge made a strange whimpering shriek as he was wrenched somewhat violently out of the twin's chassis, which fell limply once removed of its possessor. His servos flew about wildly, trying to push against Megatron's grip. Or trying to get a hold back on his body. The other twin stared blankly, unable to see any of them and understand what had happened. Starscream was glad he wouldn't have to fight anymore. Perhaps that would stop Sentinel's emotions from tugging at his processor every nanoclick.
"No! Stop it! Stop it! That's mine! MINE! You can't take it away from me. Give it back! Give it baaaack!" Dirge squealed. Then he looked up at his assailant. "M-Megatron? The slag…what are you doing here? I…I gave you to him! Go back and die so I can have what's mine!"
"You must be Dirge. It's a pleasure to meet you. But I'm afraid you're horribly mistaken." His voice was a bit deeper and grainier. He lifted Dirge up and pulled him closer, "I'm not Megatron anymore. It's Galvatron."
Starscream rolled his viz scanners. Oh wow. What a huge change in name. They both had 'tron' in it. It was practically the same. Little to no creativity. Was Megatron really still that pathetic?
"What are you…you doing here?" Dirge asked hesitantly.
"To see you."
"W-well…you found me! Congratulations!" He smiled nervously, "You've already taken away…one of my things…so maybe we should just stop there and call it a solar cycle…"
"More than that, fool. I need to give him one more thing…" He threw Dirge to the ground, causing him to yelp.
"Give who what?" Starscream asked. Galvatron turned as if seeing him for the first time.
"Oh, hello Starscream. Nice to see you're still the slimy traitor you've always been." He said sarcastically, "And it doesn't matter. I'm taking care of this mess."
Dirge paled. "Y-You wouldn't!!" He scrambled back to his stabilizing servos, practically throwing himself at Galvatron, "D-don't do it! Don't take that away from me too! Mine, I'm telling you! MINE!!"
"Shut up!" He shoved Dirge back. Once he was a substantial distance away, Galvatron leaned over, fumbling around somewhere near where the twin's chassis had fallen. His servos finally closed around something and he straightened back up.
"You don't understand! You don't understand! Lies! Lies!"
Even with all of Dirge's strange behavior, Starscream had never seen him like this. He looked like he was going to spring a leak, and not at all because he was happy. More nervous that he ever had been before. As Galvatron examined his find, Starscream finally understood why he was so anxious: Galvatron had the Matrix. For some reason, Starscream knew that this had to be a bad thing.
Before either Dirge or Starscream could do anything, Galvatron raised it up, a beam of light appearing from Unicron. It was that tractor beam that he had used before. Except instead of taking a just one spark he was taking something so much more important. Starscream watched as it slowly climbed higher, almost a mechanometer away from them.
Galvatron smiled, pleased with himself. "And that should finish this."
"IDIOT!!" Dirge lunged, "Don't you understand? Understand? It was mine! Mine! They were all mine! And now…"
"You don't mean…" Starscream began. Unicron ate things. Galvatron just gave Unicron the Matrix. All of their sparks (save Galvatron's and a few others) were in the Matrix. This was graver than he had thought. The realization of it made Starscream feel sick.
"We're all dead."
The scream was enough to make Blurr stop in his tracks. It was a stabbing, spark-wrenching wail of anguish. More like one of the sounds he had heard the organic creatures in the woods on Earth create than something from a `bot. But there were no organics on Earth. None like that, anyways.
"What was that?" He asked Bumblebee, who had reverted to robot mode as well. They both stood for a nanoclick, staring at the building in front of them. The coordinates from the scanner that said where Dirge was.
"He…He must've won…" Bumblebee almost whispered. "He fought Dirge…and he won…"
It grew oddly quiet. Blurr didn't like thinking about his teammate in this way. Jetfire was in the middle of what was possibly an irreversible emotional distress…and they were just talking about it like it was something they knew would happen. Blurr shuddered, recalling his own encounter with Shockwave. Did everybot just stand around and shrug when that was happening to him?
Well, he wouldn't just stand around. He raced up to the entrance of the building, pressing the button to open the door. It didn't open. There wasn't even a feel that the button had done anything. The systems, like at the Metroplex, must have been fried.
"There's no way to get up there to him!" He announced, running back to Bumblebee.
"Then I guess there's nothing we can do."
"We have to do something, Bumblebee, we have to! This is Jetfire! We- We – We…" He looked up at the roof of the building, where Jetfire and the corpse of his brother no doubt were.
He did a double-take when he saw the ghosts up there as well.
He had been doing so good. So good at ignoring them. But it was like he couldn't do it any longer. He was suddenly aware of several ghosts surrounding him too, but in order to keep from being overwhelmed he focused on the ones on the roof. Starscream. A ton of clones. Some `con he'd never seen before. Dirge.
Dirge? Oh great, he was still online.
"'We'…what?" Bumblebee repeated.
"He didn't win, Bumblebee, Jetfire didn't win, unless of course he did win the fight but somehow Dirge left Jetstorm's body during or after and thus isn't offline."
"What!?" He frowned. "Howdya know that?
Here it comes. The moment of truth. What would he think of him after he knew? A whack-job? A crazy? Bumblebee always seemed like the one to jump to conclusions. Blurr breathed in slowly. Ghosts all around him appeared to be looking at him. Or maybe that was him being paranoid. Could they hear what he was saying? Did they know he could see them? Either way, it gave him a slight boost of confidence.
"I can see the `bots who lost their sparks."
"Please don't make me repeat myself, because I know very well that it sounds absolutely ridiculous and repeating it would only bring more shame and embarrassment…" Blurr begged.
"…why didn't you tell me this earlier, man? Maybe we could've asked one of them for advice or something! Maybe they knew where Dirge was and we wouldn't have had to go to the Metroplex in the first place!" Bumblebee scowled.
Blurr had never thought about that. Sure, he had 'tried' to communicate with the ghosts…but had he really really tried. If he had actually put some effort into his ability, perhaps everything Bumblebee could've said would've happened. Instead he had pushed it away, deciding that it made him uncomfortable and only distracted him. Cliffjumper wouldn't be hurt. Jetfire probably wouldn't be weeping on the roof.
"I…I didn't think that…I never wanted to be able to do this, okay? Would you want `bots to know that you could do that, especially since it's impossible and people would think I'm even crazier? Would you want to have to look at the `bots that went offline, have them stare at you and think 'wow, that mech is so lucky because he actually has a chassis', and then there are the `bots that you actually knew when they were online and…" He gasped for breath, overcome with his own rabid confusion and fatigue.
"…well, what good can it do us now?"
Blurr just shook his head, incapable to create any intelligible thought.
"What are they all doing? The offline-bots, I mean."
It took a lot of effort to make himself notice the ghosts again. His vision would distort and try to make them melt into the backdrop, like he used to do. Once he was able to see clearly, he observed. The ghosts near him were varied, `bots and `cons. They were all fairly close together, and they were acting strange. Was that…were they shaking servos? Some seemed to be crying, holding on to each other for support. Or the best they could anyways. Lack of physicality made them actually go through each other, but it was the thought that counted. Blurr had to process it all for a nanoclick to see what they were doing.
"They're saying good-bye." He informed.
"Why are they doing that?"
"I assume they know something that…that we don't."
He didn't say what they knew aloud, but they both understood: the ghosts thought that there wasn't any time left. They were all going to be obliterated soon. And if the ghosts were in trouble, that didn't leave much hope for those with sparks either.
A few ghosts stepped closer to Blurr. He was about to step back when he recognized them. It was Prowl, Sari, and Jetstorm. He was both frightened and relieved by their presences. Prowl kneeled down and whispered something to Sari, who in turn motioned for Jetstorm to go to the roof. He nodded and flew off, leaving Sari to smile up at Blurr sadly. She looked like she was trying to say something, but he really couldn't tell what she was saying. Even if he could read lips, she was talking to slow for his attention span and his processor would never be able to translate what the mouth motions meant.
Whatever it was, it must not have been very important, because she quickly moved on, walking over to Bumblebee. Prowl followed her, somehow lifting her up in his servos so that she could look her friend in the viz scanners. Blurr had no idea how he did that, as all the other ghosts couldn't hold as far as he could tell. Maybe Prowl was different. Instead of talking to Bumblebee, though, she reached her arm through into his head.
Blurr considered telling him that his best friend was right next to him, but knew he didn't have to. As soon as she touched him, Bumblebee's posture loosened, a hint of a smile present in his mouth. Her lips were moving again, and Blurr could tell that Bumblebee could hear every word she was saying. The yellow mech sniffed a bit, close to crying like some of the ghosts had been. His faceplate was growing rather red as well.
He turned, not wanting to intrude anymore on Bumblebee's privacy. In doing so, however, he came face-to-face with the one ghost he had been trying to avoid.
She looked up at him with that bright, hopeful visor. Servos planted at her side, though free enough to spin around or do whatever physical expression of joy she wanted. She was smiling. Smiling. Truly, optimistically, happily smiling. Blurr couldn't think of any reason why Rosanna would be smiling at him of all `bots at a time as dire as this.
Did she know? Did she know that he left her? That he left Cliffjumper? That he had really tried to bring both of them but couldn't? Guilt washed over him, and his stabilizing servos began to shake under his weight. Or was it exhaustion? She had to know. She knew everything. For all he was aware of, she had been following him, watching his every move. Would she ever forgive him?
Rosanna extended her servo too, guiding it toward the side of his faceplate. He squirmed, trying his best not to evade the touch. There was coldness as it passed through his armor, into his circuitry. Her smile never faded as she spoke softly into his processor.
"It's okay, Blurr. It's okay."
"I told you! I told you! Why wouldn't you listen to me!?" Dirge cried.
"Because everything you had said before was nonsense!" Galvatron shot back.
"Dead…I'm going to go offline…and I never really got to live in the first place…" The dejected clone whimpered.
"So to be using my body is not living?" The blue twin piped up.
"Of course not." Dirge glared. "It wasn't one made just for me. My real chassis. It was barely a taste of what I really wanted to experience."
The twin didn't answer, resolving instead to go back to trying to console his brother. Starscream sighed at the feeble attempt. The orange twin had done nothing but scream and cry ever since Dirge left, holding the chassis close to him, and didn't seem to notice his brother was still there. He was lost to them all. Lost in his own twisted form of depression. No matter how many times the blue mech had tried to assure him, the `bot wouldn't respond. Not even a twitch as his servo entered inside of him.
The two of them were the only `bots around that Starscream felt he could really relate to anymore. All of his clones, minus Dirge, had flown the coop, saying that they had `bots they wanted to say goodbye to. Apparently some of them had met Blitzwing at one point or something like that. Anyways, it gave them an opportunity to leave Starscream, which they probably wanted to do. He could tell by the especially-annoyed way Slipstream looked at him. And she tended to speak for the group lately.
"You listened to him? Why did you listen to him!?" Dirge wailed once again to Galvatron.
"Are you sure you aren't Starscream's whiny personality too? Or his annoying one?" Galvatron asked.
"Hey!" Starscream shouted, "This isn't the time to make fun of me!"
"Why? Without you we wouldn't be in this situation anyways."
There was a tremor. As the roof of the building wobbled and threatened to fall under them, Starscream could see the claws of Unicron piercing the sides of Cybertron, taking down some structures as it went. He waved his servos freely, hoping to regain his balance. The shadow of the giant entity darkened his sight, save the small beam of light that was still gradually taking the Matrix away. Unicron had finally reached the planet. Only a matter of time before he would eat it. Or would he eat the Matrix first?
Even with his end right before him, Starscream couldn't disregard what Galvatron had just said.
"What? What's that supposed to mean!?" He asked, voice laced with the anger at being the `bot blamed.
"If you hadn't entered the Matrix, Dirge wouldn't be a part of it."
Starscream blinked, then smiled. Oh the simplicity of it all! Why hadn't he come to this conclusion earlier? He could do something to prevent this. It took that idiot Galvatron to tell him, but he finally figured it out. He knew how to stop Unicron! All he had to do was…
He stopped, realizing the responsibility suddenly thrust upon him. A fate he never wanted. The greatest decision he had ever had to make. Would it be worth it? Could he do it for `bots that he didn't even know? Slag, didn't even care for? It only took one look back at the twins to make up his mind. He had to do it. To give others a chance. Stupid Autobot emotions finally seemed to be doing him some good. Though he had a strange feeling that he would regret this later.
"See you later!" He soared up, chasing after the ascending Matrix. It wasn't surprising that Dirge was soon behind him, and that he could hear Galvatron yelling at him. Probably thought he was a few screws loose. Well, not Dirge. He was sure that Dirge knew exactly what he was going to do.
This was quickly verified. "This isn't brave." Dirge cried, catching up to him, "It's suicide!"
"And murder." Starscream replied slyly. It was worth it, seeing Dirge's faceplate drain of all color.
"You…how do you know…?" He stammered.
"It was logical."
"Logical!? You aren't logical! You're sporadic and irrational! You're not supposed to suddenly get logical!"
"Sorry to disappoint." Starscream rolled his viz scanners as he kicked up the speed. The Matrix was almost two mechanometers away…and dangerously close to Unicron. Starscream had to do this fast.
As his servos began to reach the Matrix, he felt his lower torso being pulled back.
"No! Please don't do this! What did I ever do to you!?" Dirge screamed.
"Everything, slaggit! Everything!" Starscream spat as he wrenched his clone off of him.
Dirge wasn't easy to pry away. He continued to grab, desperate to hold on, moaning the whole time. Even with all of Starscream's writhing he stuck on like a space barnacle to a hull of a ship. No amount of pain Starscream tried to inflict made him lessen his clutch. He was determined not to let go.
Fine then, he would just have to stay there and watch.
Starscream had to work concurrently, one servo fixed on keeping Dirge out of the way while the other scanned its way around the Matrix, looking for that one spark in particular. The one that resembled himself. He had been able to see the strange aura that had represented a sparks identity before, he could do it again. Of course, before there hadn't been so many of the blasted things shoved together. It had been a bit easier then.
There it was.
Dirge saw it too. "I beg of you, don't!"
Starscream didn't listen. In less than a nanoclick he snatched the spark out. He winced. It was more painful than he had expected. It felt like he was being torn into several tiny shreds, one by one. Yet he didn't put his life source back.
A bright flash of light. Something was ripping somewhere, but Starscream couldn't tell where. Or what. A horrifying, echoing growl of defeat. A cry of suffering. Images and thoughts that came and went too fast to process.
"I don't understand, Master Yoketron."
The wizened ninjabot smiled gently. "There are many things that we do not understand, Prowl. But only if one asks questions will we find the truth."
"Where is Unicron?" Prowl asked.
"Stuck somewhere between dimensions. Fuming, as it would appear. The Matrix has prevented his return to this universe."
"How does that work?"
"When Starscream unwillingly corrupted the Matrix with his greedy personality, the Matrix lived under the persona of Dirge and lost its free will. Once Starscream rid his influence, it was able to operate on its own again." Yoketron explained. "It started with banishing Unicron through a major transwarping and then went on to return the sparks to their proper places."
"…Did you know this would happen?"
Yoketron sighed. "We had hoped it would not come to be…but yes, we could see the events unraveling."
"Why didn't you tell me? Or give me a warning? We lost some `bots out there. Not all of them made it back to their chassis…"
"If they are gone then it was their time. Nobot leaves unless the Well of All Sparks is ready for them." He said solemnly, "Which is why you and Starscream are still here. This is all part of your learning."
"Starscream!? He's still online?" Prowl exclaimed, "But I thought…!"
"His spark has mutated into a kind that we have never seen before. Just like yours. No longer does it need a chassis or the power of the Matrix to contain it. It sustains itself freely. I don't believe that they can be destroyed in any possible way, unless the universe was destroyed as well."
Prowl frowned, contemplating whether Starscream being online was good or not. And if this meant he had to babysit him for eternity.
"What about Dirge?"
"That we aren't sure of..."
"Well…if we are learning, then what did we learn here? I don't feel any different than before!"
"Starscream's transformation was more obvious. He learned to have compassion; to care. You on the other hand…" Yoketron paused, "You learned about spite. Hatred."
Prowl blinked, hurt. It was like his master had reached out his servo and slapped him on the faceplate. "How does that help me at all?"
"You've discovered that a faction symbol does not amount to anything. Autobots and Decepticons are formed from the same material, the same kind of spark." He informed, "It is the dawning of a new age for Cybertronian life. You will help them realize this."
"So I still have a purpose."
"As does Starscream."
"I have an awful feeling you're going to ask me to discover this for myself."
"Why, of course. True knowledge comes from within."
"So, how long will I have to live out this purpose?"
Yoketron grinned. "`Til all are one."
Ah. The End. Thank you so much for all of you who have stayed with it this far, and thank you for all of your kind reviews! I was glad that some of you caught on that Starscream was heavily influenced by Armada Starscream. Actually, the whole story was influenced by Armada in general, and then by the g1 Movie as well. More of the g1 movie references will be realized in the epilouge drabble series that is coming up. Yeah. So I'm technically not done, but I really could just end it here. I'm not, though. Believe me, I'm sure a ton of you want to know what happened to so-and-so once they return to their bodies. But if I had put that all in this one it would have dragged on...forever. So I didn't.