Long ago, in a void of darkness, there lived a demon with power and might such as could not be comprehended. The demon had a single wish. And that wish was to live in an existence that contained nothing but himself, to float forever in oblivion with no other living creature or matter. To live in nothingness forever. And he had the power to make it so. He could destroy everything.
But he saw into the core of everything, and he knew that there was one race that could stand in his way, who were themselves blessed with great power. The power to destroy him.
So he hatched a sinister plan that would set in motion the path to their destruction. Within their home world, a world which he knew very well, he planted a tumor containing his essence. For millennia, it festered and grew, spreading deep within. And when the time came that a great war swept over the land, the tumor gave rise to a race of beings, born from his very cells. And it was these beings who would lead to their destruction. He knew they could not resist the power that they held, the sweet temptation to destroy their enemies, to destroy each other.
And so, the spawn of the demon spread among them, waiting…
High up in the sentry tower, a young Autobot was peering dutifully into a pair of bright metal binoculars, whose glass front lit with a bright array of colored lights. He scanned the war-torn horizon, never blinking but seeing nothing. A faint breeze was playing across the ravaged cityscape. It blew in through the window, directly into the Autobot's face. He frowned slightly. That was no good. If there was any smoke, it would blow directly into the Autobots' faces.
"Hey, there Hot Shot," a voice in his ear said. "See anything?"
Hot Shot jumped slightly, then sighed, berating himself for his skittishness. He answered his comlink. "No, nothing," he said. "Not a 'Con for miles."
"Well, keep your eyes peeled," the voice said. "They'll be here. Count on it. Today's your lucky day, Rookie. You'll finally get to see some action."
"Yeah," said Hot Shot grinning, still keeping his gaze locked through the binoculars. He knew the war was no laughing matter. It was serious business and a terrible waste and blah blah blah, but the truth was, he was eager to see some "action." Oh, sure, he had been in a few skirmishes, an occasional scuffle here and there, most of which involved blindly sending shots into a wall of smoke, but he had never been in a legitimate battle and had never, ever come face to face with a 'Con.
But today, the Autobots had received intelligence, from a "very reliable source" that Optimus was keeping quiet about, that the Decepticons would be attacking the city of Kaon today. And Hot Shot was practically bristling, ready to finally prove himself on the battlefield. Even if he didn't have a…
"Hey, kid, you still there?" the voice suddenly demanded, cutting off Hot Shot's thoughts. Hot Shot blinked and tried to clear his head.
"Uh, I'm sorry, what?" he asked, a little embarrassed.
"Wake up, Hot Shot! Sheesh, I can't afford to babysit you today."
Hot Shot cringed inwardly and almost opened his mouth to retort, but he swallowed his comment and refocused his attention on the horizon. He was determined to be mature, to not be "the rookie" today.
"Sorry, Jetfire," said Hot Shot politely, though he could not stop a grudging tone from sounding in his words. "What were you saying?"
"I said, keep your optics on the skies. The Seekers are the fastest, and the first wave will always come from the air."
"I know that," said Hot Shot quickly. But he had not really been watching the skies, and he moved his gaze upward to the vault of stars, feeling his cheeks burn.
"Are you sure you're prepared for this?" Jetfire said, sounding skeptical. "This isn't a game you know. This is war. You could die today."
Hot Shot rolled his eyes. He had heard this particular lecture many times before, and hearing it the day of, as he was waiting in the observatory for the impending army, was a little late to get him to change his mind. "You could, too," he reminded Jetfire.
Jetfire snorted. "Don't be ridiculous, kid. The 'Cons won't know what hit 'em when I'm through with them."
Hot Shot laughed, and suddenly the roles of the sensible one and the cocky fighter were reversed. "Get going," he said. "But make sure you leave a Decepticon or two for us, alright?"
"No promises," laughed Jetfire, and the link cut off.
"Wave one, are you ready?"
"Completely. We're awaiting your signal."
"Roger that. Six Shot out."
Starscream terminated the link on his comlink and stared up at the sky. He felt the wind blowing against his back. Against his wings. It was a good breeze, perfect for today. With any luck, the city of Kaon would soon be theirs.
"Well, Starscream?" an arrogant voice asked. "Are we heading out or what?"
Starscream let out a sound that may have been a sigh or a groan and turned to the left to face his wing mate. He knew who it was of course. The one who always made it a point to make everything difficult for him.
"No Skywarp, not yet," he snapped. "If it was time, we'd already be in the air."
"Well, terrific," sneered Skywarp, his arms folded in front of his chest. "And how much longer are we supposed to sit here, anyway?"
"I don't know," Starscream answered shortly. "Be patient." He knew it was no good saying this even as he said it. There were a great many things his cousin was not, and one of those things was "patient." Another was "pleasant to be around."
"Tch," Skywarp hissed through his teeth.
"What was that?"
"Hey," said another voice, from the right this time. It was Thundercracker, and he didn't look nearly as confident as Skywarp was acting. He looked up at Starscream, clearly anxious. "Do y'all reckon the Autobots know we're coming?"
Skywarp scoffed. "Not likely. Those idiots can barely tell their tailpipes from their optics. How are they supposed to know when we're going to frag them into dust?"
"They might know," said Starscream quietly but sternly. "You should never discount that possibility."
"Teacher's pet," snarled Skywarp. "Always know better than we do, don't you Starscream?"
"Oh, will you shut up?" Starscream snapped. Secretly, though, he thought that perhaps Skywarp was doing him a favor, pissing him off like this. It would get him frustrated and make it all the more easier to scrap the Autobots.
Starscream, Skywarp, and Thundercracker formed a team of Seekers, the best in the entire Decepticon army. And since there were no Seekers with the Autobots, that made them the best on the entire planet. They even resembled each other. The same broad wings, the same metallic shine, the same fine features. Skywarp looked slightly different, with a large dorsal fin projecting from the top of his head, but otherwise, the three could have been triplets. With Starscream's red and white contrasting with Thundercracker's blue and red and Skywarp's black, white, and purple, their color schemes were the only immediate difference.
Well, their color schemes and personalities.
Starscream was their leader and had been their leader for many years. Though the ranks of the Decepticons had shifted and changed many times, and though Starscream and considerably risen in favor since joining, the same basic group of three had never drifted apart. Since Skywarp was Starscream's cousin, Starscream was sometimes accused of nepotism. As if being related to someone was a reason to want them around.
Starscream looked back up at the sky, this time focusing his gaze on the wide metal ring floating above them. The ring, he knew, controlled a warp gate. As soon as they were given the okay, all of wave one (because, of course, it was more than just the three of them) would fly through it, instantly warping to the skies above Kaon. Starscream stood poised at the very bow of the ship they were standing on, mentally preparing himself. The wind blew past him, exciting him. Though he had told Skywarp to be patient, he was perhaps more eager to get into the air than anyone else. Lately he'd felt, more and more, that he needed to prove himself. Maybe because…
"Were you saying something to me, Skywarp?" Starscream suddenly asked.
Skywarp smirked. "Pay attention when I'm talking to you, Starscream," he said.
"That's Commander to you," ordered Starscream, irritably.
"Whatever," said Skywarp, shrugging and tossing his head back dismissively. "I said, 'I refuse to take anyone seriously who doesn't even have a Minicon, yet.'"
Starscream scowled at Skywarp. His own Minicon was sitting blankly on Skywarp's shoulder, looking slightly downward. That was how all Minicons always looked. They hardly ever looked up. Starscream felt himself bristle. Why did Skywarp always insist on bringing that up?
"I'll get one," Starscream snapped. "Soon. Just wait."
"Ha!" Skywarp laughed. He turned his head towards his own. "Did you hear that? 'Just wait.' Hilarious." The Minicon didn't react but simply sat silent. He turned back to Starscream, an insufferable smirk still on his face. "How long have you been Air Commander, Starscream? And you can't even get your hands on just one itty-bitty Minicon? How sad is that? They say you're the greatest, Starscream. The best slaggin' flier this planet has ever seen. But how great can you be if you can't even catch one little-?"
Before Skywarp could finish, Starscream moved so fast that he could not have even hoped to register him in time, even if he was paying attention. In a flash, Starscream had drawn the blade from his left wing and was now holding it against Skywarp's throat. It glowed red-hot against his armor.
"Do you any have any more clever comments?" Starscream asked, his voice low and dangerous. "Well?"
Skywarp looked genuinely off-put by the sight of a giant sword in his face, and turned away. "Fine," he muttered. "Fine."
Starscream sheathed his sword and stepped back into position. The crowd of Decepticons behind them were watching interestedly now, and many of them looked disappointed that a fight hadn't broken out.
"Don't know what all the fuss is about, really," said Thundercracker. "Minicons aren't all that."
"Don't patronize me, Thundercracker," Starscream growled. It was not helping matters that Thundercracker had his own Minicon as well. It was standing next to Thundercracker, right at his feet. Minicons were tiny, as per the name, and this one barely came up to Thundercracker's ankles. As it was, it looked like an insignificant toy. But the Minicons were everything. Or, at least, they had become everything.
Just then, Starscream's comlink crackled again. Starscream sighed and answered it wearily. Probably just Six Shot again, telling them to stand by… "Hello?" he drawled flatly.
Starscream felt a nasty jolt, as he always did when he heard that voice. Suddenly, everything, his irritation, his eagerness to fly, all of it drained out of him, replaced by only one thing, only one feeling:
"M-Megatron!" Starscream gasped. "Sir! I… I wasn't expecting…"
"Is everything ready?" Megatron answered, his voice smooth and calm.
"Yes, sir!" Starscream answered. Quickly. Fearfully. Eagerly. Look at me…
"Then begin." The link cut off. Static sounded in Starscream's audials.
"Yes, sir," he repeated, quieter this time. He switched off his comlink and turned to Skywarp, looking him directly in the eyes. "It's time," he said.
Skywarp's peeved expression instantly changed into a wide smirk, showing all of his teeth. He narrowed his eyes. "Excellent…" he purred.
"Yee-haw!" whooped Thundercracker, swinging his fist through the air. "We're heading out!"
"Indeed," Starscream murmured. He turned around then, facing the waiting Decepticon army. He rose into the air, his vents sighing as the deck of the ship fell away beneath him, and once again, he felt the exhilaration that always came with flying, the frenzied pulsing of his spark, the utter joy, the ecstasy… "Decepticons!" he bellowed to the waiting throng. "Transform and rise up!"
There was an instant cheer as over a thousand Decepticons complied, the whirring and clicking of their bodies as they shifted and changed almost deafening. On either side of him, Skywarp and Thundercracker also transformed into their sleek jet modes, their Minicons automatically climbing up on top of them. There was a chorus of slamming and humming of pure power as countless other Minicons did the same to their own masters, their power flowing from one to the other. More clicking as countless weapons appeared, countless powers activating, holding in place, ready…
Starscream turned and transformed himself, forgetting for the moment his lack of a Minicon. The wind blowing through his wings was enough to make him forget everything else.
"Decepticons!" he yelled again, and his voice echoed in the wind, in the stars above. "Attack!"
And they did.
This story was born as the result of a song and a fit.
Let me explain. For years, the most pervading complaint about the Transformers: Armada series has been "those goddamn kids," as they are commonly referred as. "This series would be so much better if it weren't for those useless, stupid, annoying human brats!"
I've heard this comment for so long, and I've already made clear on my Deviantart account that that viewpoint really gets under my skin.
But one night, I was listening to a particular song on my laptop, and it made me realize something. It made me realize what canonically would have happened had their been no humans in Transformers: Armada. And once I thought about it, I couldn't stop thinking about it.
So fine. You want Transformers: Armada with no humans? Well, I'll give you Transformers: Armada with no humans. Just be careful what you wish for...