Disclaimer: I don't own them. If I did, I would try to make money with this.

Time measurements for this 'verse: 1 joor = 100 breems, 1 breem = 100 astroseconds or klicks, 20 joors = 1 orn or cycle, 1 decacycle = 10 orns, 2600 orns = 1 vorn

Author's notes:

This piece took me a good long time. Say, more than a year. It wanted to go soap opera on me for a while. I had to force myself to remember what this fic was about – as it certainly wasn't and shouldn't be about EVERYTHING. I have the nagging suspicion that it's still soap-opera-ish, but at least it does have an ending.

As per technical data, this fic is set in the same universe as 'Changeling' and even has cameos. There are 'parts' which tell the story arc in a chronological way, and interludes that highlight some of Starscream's past. The interludes can be read where they are placed (which is recommended), out of order or all in one go, if you prefer to get on with the story instead of lingering in the past.

Warnings: I don't tend towards graphic material. My stuff is rarely M-rated for the lemons, or for the abundance of blood and gore. I am, however, discussing mature themes, so please read at your own risk. And remember that views stated herein are not necessarily my own.

Usual Caveats: I'm German. If you find any mistakes, please let me know.

Credits: Inspiration for Interlude IV comes from NybCR in part.

Thanks to schwertlilie81 for first kicking my butt so I finished writing, and then encouraging me to post without further editing.

The Freedom of Choice


The door whooshed open long after Starscream had started to believe that this had been it. That Megatron had finally despaired of breaking him.

He'd been trying to preserve energy as well as he could, but still he was only a joor away from stasis lock, maybe two.

"…Screamer?" a deep voice asked.

Thundercracker? Certainly not the mech he'd expected. Starscream made an effort and powered up his optics. The room was dark, and, true to form, TC was hovering in the doorway, optics wide.

"You awake?" TC took a careful step into the dark little room.

Some things did not change. It was comforting and unsettling both.

"Obviously," Starscream managed, his voice no more than a hoarse whisper.

"Yeah. Sorry." TC's shadow shrunk a little. "Um. Look. Can you come talk, somewhere else?"

"He sent you to fetch me?" Was there a world outside this room anymore, even?

"No. No. Look. There's something we need to talk about."

So TC was acting behind Megatron's back? Or maybe the old rust bucket had been injured. "If I can refuel there?"

"Isn't there a dispenser in here?" TC asked, proving that Starscream indeed was in a place off Megatron's quarters.

"If there ever was, he removed it," Starscream said.

"Oh." TC ducked again. "Sorry. It- We were- sorry. I'll get you some energon. Be right back."

He scrambled off, and Starscream cycled air for a breem. Then, he heaved himself into a sitting position, his back against the wall. Out of unbreakable habit, he reached for the light controls – shoulder height, middle of the back wall, where there might have been a nightstand once.

They actually reacted at his energy signature.


Starscream's sluggish processor finally caught on. Oh.

TC returned with two cubes and a frown. "You look like slag."

"I know." Starscream cycled air for a sigh. "He's dead, isn't he?"

TC ducked again. "Prime showed some unexpected sense and killed him."

Megatron was dead. He was dead, and thus the only thing Starscream had dared to hope for had come to pass. He'd prayed for it, even. But now that this wish had been granted, there was a blank where the future should be. Starscream hadn't thought past this moment in far too long. "Good," he said anyway.

TC nodded and finally came over to hand him one of the cubes.