Motormaster stood, his sword in his hands, optics gleaming. For a moment he froze, his engines rumbling, black clouds rising from the smokestacks at his feet. Purple lightning wreathed his blade. He watched it for a moment, his scowl shifting into a cruel smile.
Then, with a roar that shook the ground beneath him, he swung the weapon.
The impact jarred his shoulders, reverberating through his chassis and making him growl again. The rock in front of him split, a piece nearly the size of his head breaking off and flying through the air. It landed in the sand at his feet with a soft thud.
It was only a rock, of course, and there was nothing particularly special in him breaking one. He'd been built for strength, after all, created from a large Earth vehicle and reinforced with good Cybertronian metal. And the machine that had granted him a personality had augmented his might in its own way as well.
But he could see it now, in his mind: his blade, slicing through the neck cables of his enemy, the great head falling to the sands in front of him with a spurt of energon and a gleam of blue and silver.
That was how he would do it. That would give him a trophy to bring home, to present to his Leader. To prove himself, once and for all.
He knew what the other Decepticons said about him. They said his vendetta was personal. That he wanted to kill the Autobots' Prime simply because they shared the same form.
They did have a point. Megatron had created Motormaster and his team to rule Earth's roads. They'd been built here, on this planet, to meet their Autobot enemies on the ground. To seize and hold the turf their enemies took for granted.
And seeing Optimus Prime driving on his roads filled Motormaster with rage. He didn't belong on them. Not when Megatron said otherwise. That would have been reason enough to kill him.
But that alone wouldn't give Motormaster the right. Optimus was their enemies' leader, a mech who'd risen to oppose the Decepticons almost immediately after Megatron had risen to lead them. If any Decepticon had the right to kill the Prime, it was Megatron himself.
Motormaster bellowed, his sword slicing at air again. The other Decepticons thought he was too stupid to realize that. Too stupid, as though the mere fact that he and his team had been built on Earth made them all alien infants, not Decepticons in their own right.
He'd heard it again and again. "Inferior Earth machines." "Barely sentient." "Not even a vorn old yet, and calling themselves warriors."
The other Stunticons knew better than all of that, at least. Glitched though they all were. Motormaster huffed in mounting frustration. Maybe they were children, given how hard it was to get the damned fools to listen to his orders, much less to actually follow them...
And even they didn't really understand his obsession with killing the enemy Prime. They knew Motormaster intimately, their bond allowing them to feel one another's emotions. Any time they watched the Autobot leader shift into an alternate form so like Motormaster's own, they sensed their brother's rage.
But they only knew part of the story.
Yes, Motormaster hated that Optimus's transformation was almost exactly the same as his. He loathed knowing that Optimus had come first, that Megatron had patterned his design on his worst enemy's.
But that was all right. Optimus Prime had been built long ago, and built on Cybertron. He'd taken his alternate form as a disguise once he got to Earth. Motormaster had been built on Earth, a human vehicle that Megatron had modified and redesigned for war and, finally, taken to Cybertron to grant him and his brothers life. His form was no alteration; his form was himself.
Motormaster grinned, his spark whirling as he watched his mock-enemy crumble. Child he might have been, at least compared to his enemy, but even Optimus Prime could not boast that.
Motormaster revved his engines and cried out again, his sword cleaving the air. Once again, the impact jolted him, the pain making him snarl. The rock split down the middle, a great black crack appearing and widening. Once again, pieces broke from it, falling to the ground in a rumbling shower.
No, that wasn't why Motormaster wanted the Prime dead.
Megatron had created the Stunticons to be his ultimate weapon. Earth vehicles, turned against Earth and those Cybertronians misguided enough to defend it.
They had failed in that mission. Motormaster growled, remembering, hacking at the half-shattered rock, watching pieces fall as he swung at it again and again. The Autobots had created their own team of fliers, copying Megatron's idea, taking to the skies where the Decepticons had taken to the roads.
The Stunticons' winged opposites had been nothing but trouble ever since. Any time his team sought to prove themselves, through speed or strength or force of arms, those flying fools showed up just long enough to keep the Stunticons from fulfilling their purpose.
Motormaster roared, kicking at the splintered boulder. That felt even better than using his sword. It hurt, but it was the kind of hurt he could feel: the shivering shock of a collision. Someday he would collide with his nemesis that way - and only one of the two would walk away from the crash.
That was the worst of it. He didn't give a damn about the big jet who led the opposing Autobot team. He was Motormaster, King of the Road, leader of what should have been the Decepticons' mightiest weapon. And someday he would prove it, and not by tearing up some damn fool jet who sometimes got scared of his own wings.
He was Megatron's creation, and someday he would prove worthy of his creator. Someday he would get his team of glitched fools in line, and they wouldn't act crazy or bored or self-important or terrified of anything that moved. They would unite under his leadership. They would fear and admire him the way he feared and admired the one who had created him.
And on that day, he would be ready. On that day, he would take down no one less than the Autobot who had appointed himself protector of roads that Megatron had bequeathed to him.
On that day, he would be more than a child. More than a laughingstock the Autobots sent their new pet fliers after, more than a brute whose team obeyed more from fear of his temper than from true loyalty. More than an Earth-built, flightless mistake that the other Decepticons mocked behind his back. More than someone they called a cheap copy of the mech he loathed the most.
He would be ready. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. Maybe not next vorn. But his day would come, and when it did he would tear apart the enemy both he and Megatron shared, and lay the dented metal and twisted cables at the feet of the one who'd made him, an offering and a gift of thanks and a sign of his worthiness all at once.
He kicked at the rock again, clouds of smoke wreathing his feet. He felt it splinter and kept kicking, once, twice, again and again.
For the last blow he lifted his sword, bringing it down with a great cry. For a moment, lightning surrounded it, glowing bright and pure in the cracks.
Then it fell apart, its sound like thunder. He roared louder, throwing back his head and revving his engines to be sure to drown it out.
When he lowered his head again, splinters lay at his feet. He smiled, his optics as bright as the lightning that still danced over his blade.
Someday no one would doubt him. Someday his comrades and his brothers and his enemies and his creator would know that he was, truly, what he had been built to become.