Transformers belongs to Hasbro/ Takara.
The Dark Horizon
Chapter 22: The Other Side
I should have known this day would be out of the ordinary when I woke with this unsettling feeling in my fuel tank. I was currently being escorted back to my cell by my guards- yes, there were two of them now, as my frequent attacks on pretty much every Autobot within my reach had apparently prompted Prime to top up their number a bit.
At the moment however, I didn't feel like fighting, I was tired. Ahead of us, Sideswipe rounded a corner and walked past me, winking at me as he went. I glared at him- he hadn't exactly been uninvolved in the 'fun games' the Autobot troops had played with me for weeks during their spare time in the rec room and for me, their 'games' hadn't been fun at all.
Luckily, the Autobots' second in command, Prowl, had interfered at some point, not out of sympathy or ethical reasons, but because I couldn't get carrying. "While these activities may very well serve a recreational purpose for the troops" he'd said, "they are highly counterproductive in terms of reproduction, which is what you are here for." His way of saying that it was impossible for me to get pregnant as long as I was practically being fucked to death by dozens of mechs every single day- that quite a few of their practices had nothing to do with reproduction at all went without saying.
Thus, Prowl had requested to have me for himself for a while and Prime had allowed it. Being with Prowl hadn't exactly been great since he was hardly good company, but at least that workaholic didn't molest me more than he absolutely had to in order to get a sparkling out of me.
I had the slight feeling he wasn't that much into femmes anyway, or into anything but his work for that matter. We didn't talk much. Well, in any case the result was that I was now carrying Prowl's son, which meant I didn't see my new sparkling's father at all- after all, he had succeeded and what would he be doing with me anyway now that I already was knocked up?
So as I said, after the daily checkup I was on my way back to my cell, that was when the alarm started sounding. The lights overhead were flashing, a siren was blaring, my guards took the safety off their guns. I tried to let the initial shock work to my advantage and jerked the chains they held me by tentatively, but sadly, they didn't let go.
"You're staying here." One of them said urgently. The air was buzzing with commlink connections, a gun was fired in a corridor not far away. "To the high security tract. Quick." The other guard ordered and they pulled me in a different direction. Was the base being attacked? What was going on? Everything happened so quickly then.
There was a loud and very weird plopping sound behind us, one of the guards turned around and fired while the other pulled me aside and shielded me with his body. The thunderous noise of gunfire and bots running towards us echoed in the hallway, the sound from earlier could be heard again. And again, but much louder and right beside me and before I even knew what was happening my remaining guard was down and another mech grabbed me by the arm. I was only able to catch a short glimpse of him, but I didn't miss the wings and the red optics.
"Gotcha!" he exclaimed joyfully. The plopping sounded again and everything around us disappeared. White blinding light, distortion of space, the universe turned upside down and inside out, everything just seemed to explode around the Decepticon and myself just to be put back together in the blink of an eye. I was so shocked I didn't move, letting myself be clutched to the flier's chassis.
Then, darkness. My head spun, my captor released me, but I didn't move as I was totally disoriented. There were hushed voices, speaking Cybertronian, the words starting to make sense only slowly. I could see nothing around me but blackness- no, wait, there were red lights. Optics, I realized after a short moment, red optics glowing in the dark.
"Hahahaaa, who's the mech?" My kidnapper sung. "And you, my friend, owe me a stack of high grade!"
"Whoa whoa, we agreed on three cubes, not a whole stack." Someone to my left complained.
"Three cubes make a stack, dude!" The first mech snickered.
"You actually got her." Some other mech said. As I was becoming coherent once again and started looking around more intently, two bots grabbed me by the arms. I struggled immediately- I didn't know these guys but anyone trying to immobilize me must have been an enemy.
"Take her to Lord Megatron." Someone else said. The two bots holding me started pulling me forward by the arms so I dug my heels into the ground out of instinct alone, but it was useless.
"Let go! Let go of me, you brutes!" I yelled agitatedly. The bot to my right chuckled.
"Easy babe, we just don't want you to fall over. You must be quite dizzy." I kicked him in the shin (at least I thought it was his shin, but I still couldn't see), which only served to turn his chuckle into an outright cackle. "Feisty, huh? Nice."
It took a little while before my optics adjusted to the dark- the black hallways I was being led through were illuminated ever so slightly, the light was purple, only just bright enough to see- if one was used to it. I didn't see much though, only the rest of a hallway before a large black door opened in front of us and we stepped into a big, wedge shaped room.
The comparatively bright lighting made me squint, still I could see there were several bots in here. The walls were lined with large monitors, there was a huge window at the front and several consoles manned by Decepticons. It looked like some kind of command center. Through the window ahead I could see endless blackness and stars- I was in outer space it seemed, on a spaceship or -station... and getting here had taken mere seconds. How was that possible?
"Lord Megatron!" The mech to my left called. Then, for the very first time, I saw him in person and I gasped. I'd thought Optimus Prime looked scary, but he was just... my god. I now understood why the Autobots only ever dared to utter his name with fear lacing their voice.
He was tall, taller than Prime even, massive limbs speaking of great strength, his spiky armor gray as death itself, his blazing optics on the dark, scarred face red as the fires of hell. And he had turned around to look at me. I felt very small all of a sudden, helpless and insignificant... however, when I realized I was staring at him in shock and that my shoulders had sagged, I quickly stood up straight and steeled my countenance.
It didn't seem like a good idea to look intimidated now. My initial confusion had passed, now it was time to face anything that lay ahead of me with at least some dignity. To be honest though, the first words I heard him speak surprised me.
"Let go of her, will you? Show some manners around a lady." He spoke with a deep, raspy voice that reminded me of a growling predator. I had heard it before, too, ordering retreat when the Autobots had captured me in South America.
Everything about the appearance of this mech screamed war- everything but his demeanor. I was released and stepped away from the two bots by my sides quickly. "You must excuse them; we are not exactly used to having femmes around anymore." Was he mocking me? He didn't sound like he was. What was I supposed to say? Was it even good I was here or had I just gotten out of the frying pan and into the fire?
"I... uh..." The words of a genius.
"You know who I am, don't you?" he asked calmly. Of course I knew- I'd read the history files so I knew quite a bit about him. Most importantly I knew about his reputation, which was the one of a genocidal maniac, an extraordinary killing machine.
"I... I do." I said with a quiet, but steady voice. At least it was as steady as I could make it right now.
"I suppose you also know that you are far away from the Autobot base then. This could be either good or bad for you, depending on the nature of your relationship to the Autobots." His voice held a slightly threatening edge now, but I didn't wince, a fact of which I was feeling rather proud. Holding my head up high, I frowned at the warlord in front of me.
"I arrived enchained." I simply said. That I wasn't on friendly terms with the Autobots was obvious, I thought. A few seconds passed during which he scrutinized me closely, but then his lips split into a grin, showing his sharp teeth.
"We should talk then. Come, these shackles of yours look uncomfortable." I was still wearing them, but no one was holding the chain now; it was merely lying on the floor to my feet. It rattled when I picked it up slowly.
"Please, take a seat." Megatron said, sitting down on the opposite side of what must have been his desk. The room was just as dark as the rest of the ship. I didn't move from my spot by the door at first, watching him cautiously.
"Why are you being so polite?" My wary question was met by a short laugh.
"Why wouldn't I? Doesn't courtesy make negotiations so much easier?" I stared at him for a while, waiting for a sign that would show he was indeed making fun of me, but it never came. I looked to my left, where a tall, night blue mech with a red visor was looming in the shadows, watching.
Soundwave- another Decepticon, another infamous war criminal.
"Never mind Soundwave, he is merely bearing witness for the records." I sat down, still wary of my surroundings.
"What do you want from me?" I was in no mood to beat around the bush. I didn't expect the Decepticons to be any better than the Autobots, but I had been through hell in the past months, no, years, and it couldn't possibly get any worse, right? Still I felt like this moment was to become a very crucial one.
"Let me ask you a question first: what do you know about the Decepticons?" I didn't reply right away- it sounded like a trap. And as I was in potentially dangerous company, I thought it to be better not to walk right into it, so I opted for diplomacy.
"I... fear I cannot answer with certainty. The sources of information I've had access to were rather one- sided on that subject and judging by how the Autobots are usually described, I suppose the records are quite... inaccurate." He obviously liked my answer, but his attentive optics still unsettled me somehow. I wondered what he was thinking; unlike Optimus Prime, he was difficult for me to read.
"One shouldn't pay too much heed to propaganda. You are a smart youngling. I suppose the files you studied didn't say what the Decepticons are fighting for, now did they?"
"They say you strive to destroy the Autobots and dominate the universe, that you fight for power. Peace through tyranny and all that." In short, the Decepticons were always described as the ultimate evil- many of the records even said their goal was to destroy the universe, but that had always sounded plain stupid to me because, in all honesty, why would anyone want that?
"And that, my young friend, is very far from the truth. What we are fighting for is the right of self- determination. Freedom, if you will, mostly freedom from hierarchical structures which do not allow individuals to strive and which even go further and persecute those who are different, structures in which social status is dictated by ancestry, not achievement. And ultimately, that means we fight to eliminate the line of Primes."
During the short silence that followed, I merely kept watching the mech in front of me thoughtfully. Freedom? He was very obviously trying to make me see the Decepticons as the good guys, but could I believe him? One shouldn't pay too much heed to propaganda he'd said, but propaganda was spread not only by the Autobots- I had to be very careful here.
"But going back to your question." He continued, leaning back in his chair. "The question is not what I want, but rather what you want. What any bot wants." He seemed to be amused by my confused look, I frowned. What?
"You see, I used to serve as a general in the army of Sentinel Prime before the war and during that time, I learned an important lesson. There are two kinds of bots. There are those who can be oppressed and who, broken by force, will become barely more than a mindless tool to their superiors. Such bots will always be the weak link in the team and they will almost never perform above average levels; in short, they are worthless. And there are those who cannot be broken and if one tries to suppress their will, one will have an eternal war on one's hands. But as soon as you find out what it is they want, you can let that work for you and they will be the most reliable, brave and persistent soldiers- comrades- you could ever wish for.
And what every bot wants is a purpose in life, to feel like they are needed, to know they are a valuable member of their society. This is something the Autobots, first and foremost the Primes, never cared to learn about." He said, then leaned back in his chair, mustering me thoughtfully all the while.
"We Decepticons are a union of strong individuals, bots who have been condemned for who they are. We are the deviants if you will, the outcasts of an outdated society. And now we demand justice."
"Why are you telling me this? What do your soldiers have to do with me?" Certainly it wasn't because he simply liked to talk, even if that thought amused me in a way.
"It is a fact not only about my soldiers, but about Cybertronians in general. You are cybertronian just as I am, as we all are. Our abilities may be different ones, but for every single bot there is something they can contribute." I huffed. I knew exactly what he was talking about. Why would it be any different.
"I know where this is headed. What you want from me is just the same thing the Autobots want, isn't it." He shook his head and leaned forward again, bracing his heavily armored arms on the desk in front of him.
"Not exactly. Contributing to a cause is not the same thing as having something taken from you by force and from our intelligence I can conclude that the latter must have been the case when it comes to your... special abilities."
"And by 'special abilities' you mean me being a femme." I crossed my arms and legs in an explicitly defensive posture. "Do you actually believe I would agree to you and your mechs raping me as well?"
"I am not talking about rape here." Megatron said firmly, authority ringing in his voice. He seemed to be a tad offended. "Alpha," he addressed by my name for the first time, "you have no idea of the power you hold. Why do you think Prime has subdued you so? I assume you started fighting him ever since you first realized things were becoming uncomfortable for you?"
I thought about that for a moment. Actually, he was right. I had listened to Prime at first, back when everything had looked like one big adventure, but then, when it all started to get ugly, I'd bared my teeth. "...yes. Yes I have."
"I thought so. You see, Prime is not a fool, he knows when someone will not bend to his will and he will do anything in his power to keep his opponent as harmless as possible. He fears you, and with good reason." I blinked.
"Fear? Probably not. He's the Prime. And I'm just-"
"Someone who is constantly undermining his authority. In front of his troops at that and additionally, you are someone he cannot simply get rid of because of your mentioned abilities. Now." he pushed himself away from his desk and got up. "As a prisoner, you are useful. But as an ally, you are invaluable." I shook my head slowly.
"Where's the difference for me? Neither option would allow me to leave should I wish to do so, and one way or another I'll be screwed. Literally. I don't see what's in it for me." Megatron strolled over to the window at the side of the room to watch the stars go by slowly. His feet made heavy sounds on the dark metal floor, but still he moved with surprising grace for his size.
"There is plenty for you to gain. You would enjoy our full protection, receive standard pay and the status of a full- fledged member of the Decepticons. And of course you may choose an apprenticeship of your liking, or several. Just imagine", he spoke almost ardently, gesticulating with his clawed hand, "the things we could achieve if we joined forces! A whole new generation of Cybertronians, born in freedom." He paused. "You alone hold the power to save our people, Alpha. Give your children a reason to be proud of their mother."
"You're saying all this as if I had a choice. But somehow I can't shake the feeling that should I decline your offer, you'll take what you want anyway."
"And risk the credibility of my whole faction, betray what we have been fighting for in the past millennia? Certainly not. Let me tell you though that it would be very unwise to decline. Should you choose not to join the Decepticons, you would be on your own. The universe is a harsh place and you would be faced by more threats than just the Autobots. In the end, you would either be killed or recaptured by our enemy and both outcomes are rather undesirable, are they not?" His optics were burning into mine with an intensity that might have made my legs wobble had I not been seated. I tried to remain as collected as possible, even if it proved hard to do so.
"So what do you say?"
I didn't answer right away. I had to admit that what he was saying made sense; I didn't believe him when he said he would simply let me go if that was what I wanted, but... there really was no place for me to go.
"How do I know I will not be treated as an object anyway?"
"You have my word. My Decepticons shall treat you with respect, I will see to it personally. I will not tolerate dishonorable behavior from anyone in our ranks." He sounded like he meant that. But could I trust him? Past experiences had taught me better... did I really have a choice?
"I... want to learn how to fight. I want to be allowed to carry arms like everyone else and to move about freely on the ship or wherever we are stationed. And I will not be a plaything for your troops to fool around with." I was bargaining over myself- how absurd. But everyone had their price I supposed, and for now, I had mine.
"Agreed." Megatron walked up to me, I got up- he towered above me anyway, there was no reason to make myself even smaller by remaining seated. He extended his hand. "Do we have a deal?"
I hesitated, but eventually grasped his hand and shook it. His handshake seemed a bit unpracticed, but it was an earth custom and I was sure he was merely doing this because he was aware of my origins. His sharp teeth gleamed in the dim lighting as he smiled. "Welcome to the Decepticon ranks, my friend."
He then called someone to have me settled in, but just before I left, he brought another topic up. "There is one more thing I need to ask. Am I right to assume you have given birth to at least two sparklings during your stay at the Autobot base?"
"Three. The fourth is on its way. Why?"
"Alpha, I must know... have you birthed a Prime?" I froze. The Decepticons aspired to annihilate even the last of the Primes. I was to become a Decepticon now. And one of my sons was a Prime. This was something I hadn't considered. Fuck. Fuck. I might have been angry with my son, but I would never wish for him to die.
The silence was beginning to become uncomfortably long and I was sure Megatron was growing suspicious- I had to come up with an answer, and quickly.
"Thank Primus I haven't." I said in the end. "Prime tried, believe me. But after three attempts he grew sick of me I guess." I somehow doubted he bought it, but if he saw through my lie, he didn't say so.
"Good. Because if you had, we would have to terminate the sparkling as soon as possible before it could do any harm." It was a threat in disguise lingering in the air and in that moment I just knew he was aware of the fact that I was trying to protect my offspring. I was very glad of the quiet knock on the sliding door to the office a few seconds later.
The door opened and a relatively short mech, little taller than Bumblebee but undoubtedly older than the yellow scout, stepped in. His armor was mostly jet black with a few white and dark purple accents, his build was wiry, but what disturbed me a little about his appearance were his optics.
He had four of them- one pair in the usual location and another, slightly smaller pair a little further up, all of them deep crimson. There was something unsettling about him, not in a scary way, but still... I couldn't place the feeling he provoked within my spark then, but in a way, I felt curious about him. He didn't speak, instead he just nodded at Megatron, Soundwave and myself.
"Barricade will escort you to your room and watch over you for the time being. I will see you after you have refueled and taken some rest, then we can start sorting things out." I nodded and followed the black mech into the hallways.