Annabelle couldn't move from her spot, her stunned gaze locked on the sight of the new Decepticon soldiers. She could run back inside, or out of the camp for that matter, but knew it would be a pointless attempt against creatures that could catch her in one giant step.
Megatron paid her no mind. He was too thrilled and prideful at the group of obedient and strong followers, and rumbled pleased again as they stood on his nod of approval.
"Tell me," the tyrant spoke. "How did you all come to be? No others had survived, not on the Allspark's power."
One of the jet mechs stepped forward. He bore similar resemblance to Starscream, with the double jointed legs and narrowed features. Those of his alt mode of F-22 had the same features, and only differed in height, shade, and stature. He bowed his blue and silver helm.
"We have only developed out cognitive abilities just clicks ago, my Lord." The jet replied, with a slight accent in his tone that would melt any heartthrob if he were human. "The insects of this planet brought us to existence through their experiments with Energon harvested on this planet. They took alt modes such as the ones we have now to test the theory of the transformation capabilities of Energon." His mouthpiece curled at the corners in a smirk. "You could say, they were correct in their theory."
"The moment we came to our physical senses," A chopper mech piped in gruffly. "We felt your presence. None of us wasted any time of developing our new forms, and escaping their feeble facilities with nothing to remain."
"How long ago was this?" Megatron asked with a narrowed gaze.
"Near a decacycle, master." Another replied. "We left no survivors of the insect colonies there."
"We came as soon as we had a lock on your signal, but it was longer due to the cloaking pattern you have in the area." The lead jet nodded. "I must say, it was well done, my Lord."
Megatron rumbled, and nodded once. This new generation of Decepticons had some manners yet.
Annabelle kept her mouth shut, and thought that moving slowly back for cover would not have the Decepticons notice her. Of course, when was she ever correct on her ideas now?
An F-16 mech was the first to catch notice of her. He snarled sharp with a shrieking voice. "INSECT! You think you could sneak in here?" The smaller jet began to storm toward her with a ready claw.
Megatron remembered the girl hiding behind him, and upon hearing her scream briefly he roared loudly and grabbed the mech's arm, twisting it back until a moaning snap was heard in the armor.
The jet shrieked, dropping to a knee. "M-My lord! I…The insect, it-!"
"BELONGS to me." Megatron sneered dangerously. "So if you would prefer to keep your precious limb intact," He growled with a fiery glare at the others. "If ANY of you wish to keep your helms, limbs, and sparks intact, you are not to lay a single digit on the fleshy." He snarled sharply. "DO you understand?"
The group all bowed their helms, murmuring their understandings and obedience again.
The first jet looked at the crippled younger. "Dirge, do yourself a favor and lay off the fleshy. Such a fine limb you have already. It would be a shame if it was wasted on such a pitiful task when it has such future potential."
Dirge hissed, but stopped with a yelp when Megatron bent his arm back more. He threw a dark glare and hiss at Annabelle still behind his master.
His stubborn foolishness put aside for his better judgment, the smaller jet nodded once reluctantly. "My apologies, Lord Megatron. It will not happen again." As Megatron growled Cybertronian warnings in his audio, he was roughly released. He hissed once more at Annabelle, spitting oil and fluids at her feet as he walked away, rubbing his bent elbow dejectedly.
Megatron briefly glanced down at the girl, but said nothing to her as he faced his new troops. "Unless we have any further objections, you will all provide your designations once you have recollected them. With such new arrivals of the Cybertronian variety it will take time for some of you to recall your new memories. You will all follow any command I assign to you with no rejection of command. In this new world there is still much I have yet to discover, and the humans here has more than I myself had bargained for. For the better of your heads and sparks you will take my warnings and orders greatly. Is that understood?"
The mechs nodded and repeated their promise.
"Others will be arriving soon, my Lord." The first jet recognized.
"They are bared down with land vehicles and will take a longer time period to reach here." Said another chopper mech.
Megatron sneered small. "Very well. Two of you are to escort them here. The rest of you shall set up a perimeter around the cloaked area. No insects are allowed in or out of the area without us knowing of it." As they appropriately separated on their tasks, he looked down at Annabelle. "As I had said before, GET inside."
Annabelle was breathing heavily, not sure if it was the shock of it all or the actions the tyrant. Yet she had to assume as much, being Megatron now had his own kind again. He would now reduce her from friend back to pet.
She stood with a small glare. "Don't have to tell me twice." She mumbled, and stormed back inside and sat roughly down in the back corner by the supply crate. It was more in the act of hiding now with a group of monstrous mech roaming about. She just sighed heavy and covered her head with her sleeves.
Megatron growled small at her reaction, and felt her stress and tingle of fear in his spark. Humans and their feeble emotions, one of the many others things he was disgusted by with the species. Regardless if she was his sparkmate or not, she would have to mature and deal with the changes.
With a huff, he turned away and paced off to the edge of the camp to observe the work of his new followers. They will get the taste of battle in time, but for now, he must assert his full dominance and reign over them. He could not afford to make the same mistakes again.
The jet who spoke for the rest had rendered his designation soon after he finished providing a south perimeter: Air-Warrior. It didn't feel like the best designation for his kind, but if it was his he will learn to live by it. He strode along to help his master in keeping watch over the others.
Dirge hissed and mumbled to himself in disgruntle as he formed a northeast sector, throwing a look or two as Air-Warrior went by. His brown and grey form of F-16 was outdated as it was unsettling.
Chopside, the gruff-speaking loading chopper, was built as he was both in size and attitude. He was the quieter of the bunch but was loyal to his superiors nonetheless. Megatron nor the lead jet had anything to worry about him.
The twin black and white F-22's, Slipstrike and Whiteout, were the ones who would look for trouble where none would exist. When they had all escaped from experimentation the two nearly got them all blow up in the process by hitting the propane and artillery stations just a click behind them. The burn marks on some of them had yet to disappear. The two tried to get the others to forget about it, but took it all as a big joke. The two proceeded to shove each other both on the air and ground as they set what they could concentrate on in the west sector.
The other six jets were the remaining F-16's: Thrust, Downpour, Heatseeker, Ramjet, Divebomb, and Pulse. The first three were the youngest to come to creation, and where sharp as they were dangerous. The others were devious, skilled, and could be trusted once you learn to get on their good side. They were the main reason they left their feeble prison in shambles and flame.
Bombshell and Cypher, the two remaining artillery choppers, were like Chopside. They kept to themselves and were loyal to their dying spark. Cypher, the more nimble of the bulky mechs, had the steady hands for bombings and strategic attacks. It was a wonder that he didn't have a jet mode instead of a clumsy, bold frame of a chopper. Bombshell was the klutz of the team, having the habit of having things quite literally blow up in his face. It was his said klutziness that contributed to most of the humans scattering for the hills.
Air-Warrior returned to the camp as Megatron sat under the shelter to watch in the shade. He blinked in concern for his master as he picked at his helm wound. "My Lord, if I may suggest."
Megatron slowly glared at the silver-blue jet, who bowed in respects. "…Continue."
"I noticed your injury, my Lord." Air-Warrior explained. "And I would advise that we could have our medic to help with said injury before it can fester. That is, if you wish, my Lord."
The Decepticon leader rumbled in thought. This new seeker would be fitting as his new second in command, as he was careful to avoid any growing of another Starscream coming along. Air-Warrior seemed promising, at a first glance.
The tyrant nodded. "Very well, if you deem it fit. Send the medic to me immediately."
"He is on his way now, Lord Megatron." Thrust called from above, circling the area as the lookout, like a red hawk high overhead. "Pulse is escorting them here now."
Megatron stood as Pulse's gold and grey jet mode appeared, and landed before his leader in mech form. Two armored military jeeps came up just behind, and rolled to a stop before taking shape.
"Allow us to introduce ourselves, Lord Megatron." The slimmer jeep spoke, flicking off some grime from his tan armor. "I am the new Decepticon medic Kickstart. No pun intended." He smirked, but none of the others seemed to catch on. He mumbled something but continued. "Er, and um, this would be Trample, your new scout. Er, don't mind him too much, he's doesn't speak very often."
Megatron rumbled as he observed the tan and black mechs. This team was nothing compared to his first army, but they shall do their purpose. He scratched at his helm wound.
Kickstart came forward. "If I may, my Lord?" Megatron glared at him, but dropped his claw to let the medic deal with it himself. The mech carefully peeled off the hood and drop it aside, studying the damage. "Meh, seems that the elements of the area have taken a toll on the basic circuitry. But with the tools I have at hand, it shouldn't be a problem."
Being cautious, the medic had Megatron sit back down as he folded his hands up into the proper tools to begin the cleaning and welding. The leader growled and snarled once in a while, well better yet he made noise the entire procedure, but none of the others bothered to ask him to keep quiet.
Annabelle meanwhile remained in the shelter by the food, just keeping it to herself as she heard the many voices outside but didn't bother to go out there. The two sparklings tried to usher her out so they could all meet the team, but she refused and they went out themselves. She knew Megatron was probably pleased to have his own kind again with him, but felt she was back with the short end of the stick like before. She would be put back to pet, cleaner, slave. What good was it to stay now?
She blinked as Trample came inside, peering down at her. Annabelle remained still as he loomed over her as he crouched, hoping he would leave her alone then.
He didn't say a word, and just quietly observed her like she was some fascinating object under a microscope.
"Um…hey." She muttered. He still doesn't reply. "…I, don't have anything." She flinched as he tapped the crate beside her, instead of her head. "Um, well, that's my stuff. You know, food, water, necessities. Things humans like me need?"
Trample blinked at the crate, and peered at the objects inside. He was curious as to why his master would collect such things for one little human. As he looked back at Annabelle, he cocked his round-ridged helm. There was something odd about this insect, though, and he wasn't sure what.
"DID I SAY YOU COULD BE IN HERE?" Megatron snarled from behind him, making the smaller mech cower briefly. "GET OUT!"
The grounder gave Annabelle one last curious look, before quickly leaving.
Megatron scooped her up carefully, depositing her on his shoulder. "He did not attempt damage to you, did he? I may scrap him if need be."
Annabelle shook her head. "No, he was fine, I guess he was just curious of me."
"Curiosity can get the better of you, girl, of anyone. Had he been too curious he would have crushed your weak flesh form." He grumbled small. "But no matter. This evening you will be better acquainted with them all."
"What? What do you mean? I don't want to-"
"On the first night a new army is formed, as it was on Cybertron, there is a sort of, how would you say, gathering. It gets all the troops associated with one another, and it will be a good time to set your record straight among them. If they try to pester or threaten you, I can assure you that their heads will be eliminated from their foolish forms."
"Yea, sounds like a great plan." Annabelle mumbled, not all too keen of the idea.
"Trust me, girl." Megatron reassured as he walked outside, flicking an apple up into her lap. "You may grow to like it."
Sorval entered the office alongside Scott, Garret, and Carlsbad after returning with news.
Garret stepped forward, smacking a file with various photos and eyewitness reports on the deck before Kandler. "You are one crazy son of a bitch, sir." He muttered with ill amusement.
"Oh, how so, by sending you out on routine scouting for the girl?"
"No, by having those scouts cause THIS." Scott flipped open the file and pointed at the contents. There were dozens or so photos of a burning and demolished outpost base, flames and blasted ruins are all that remain, along with the occasional charred body. Based on the pictures, nothing of the base remained.
"Some of the survivor accounts say that Project Evo went haywire, and they left none of the members alive. Only the recruiters and privates made it out."
Kandler stood there without expression, hands folded neatly behind his back. Deep inside, he was fuming about the failure of the project. It had so much potential.
"We thought this was organized by the terrorist acts in the neighboring areas," Scott continued. "Until we got one guy to spill the beans. Good thing too, or else we never would have known."
Kandler clenched his fists behind his back.
"YOU started the project." Garret sneered. "It was YOUR project of making those experiments with unstable, raw Energon. Did you have ANY idea what that would do, what threat that caused? Well take a look, sir!" He jabbed a finger down at the photos. "All those men are DEAD because of you! How could you possibly think that you could-"
"They knew the risks!" Kandler snapped, standing up straighter. "Those projects were our future against Megatron; the future safety of our men and women who serve now and of the generations to come here. It is both progress and sacrifice, is what they all did." He turned and stared outside at the loading yard and dozens of troops going by on their duties. "When there were signs of the girl being alive, the progress had to be sped up. The results of the project were our best chance of retrieving her."
"And HOW exactly did you plan to make it work?"
'They were NOT made for developing intelligence, only to obey. But it seems I was wrong about that too. First I thought the girl was dead and now this."
"Then do everyone else a favor and stop this before it goes to collateral damage! What if they get out of the country, or the continent?" Scott objected. "The minute those new Decepticons get out of the country, you can kiss hundred and thousands of innocent people goodbye!"
"And for the record," Carlsbad glared. "You weren't responsible for getting her back, nor were you there when I SAW her die. I don't care what you say, sir. She's dead."
"Please sir, we're begging you now," Scott urged. "Just stop and terminate the project. Those things are allied with Megatron now. You just turned everything from bad to HORRIBLY worse."
Kandler scoffed. "It will be dealt with, eventually." Ignoring their glares and looks of disapproval, Garret on the urge of punching him in the nose, he faces them again. "You are excused."
Knowing they cannot argue further against a superior officer, they stormed out of the room. Sorval watched him without expression, before slipping out as well. He went his own separate way than the others, taking the hall to the small garage of jeeps. He observed one, before hopping inside.
The Decepticons perched atop the rock shelter, crouched or stood by the center of the camp, chattering and warbling in fast mechanical speech. The jets began to intermingle with the choppers, and one could easily point out moments of shrieking laughter in their language. As the conversations went on, they soon all sat down as did the sun on the horizon. Pulse snapped his claws together over some dry grass, lighting a small fire just big enough for them to see one another without having to activate their night vision adapters to their optics, and to approve the primitive vision of the human child with them.
Megatron sat under the entrance of the rock shelter, as if posing it as his throne of command, one that only he and Annabelle were allowed to enter. He observed with silent sneers as the greenhorn troops continued their chatter.
Annabelle sat awkwardly beside the tyrant leader, not into the conversations and new faces being as she couldn't understand anything in this language of theirs. How exactly was she to be used to these new arrivals if she couldn't even speak to them?
She flinched as Megatron cocked a brow at her frustrated expression, and snarled sharply for the other's attention. "On behalf of my fleshy femme, I would issue that we proceed to have all exchanges in Earth English."
Dirge hissed at the demand. "Why should we, on just the behave of a single worthless-"
"-The worthless insect that just so happened to save my hide on multiple occasions. And in doing so you are to treat this particular femme with the same high respects as you would your master." Megatron growled darkly, scoping over them all. They grew silent as they glanced at each other, surprised of how such a weak flesh creature could possible save the mighty Megatron; the species he hated so. "Now, is this agreed? Or shall I repeat myself?"
"No, master." Chopside replied, dipping his helm along with the others, even the reluctant Dirge.
"Sure thing! Now I'm curious even more about this insect." The black twin Slipstrike sniped up from his perch on some remaining stacked crates.
"Oh please, if you talked with her you'd scare her off with just your communications stench!" The pale twin Whiteout snickered beside him.
"Hey, I've made sure to keep monitor over my orally conditions!"
"Have not! I can smell it from here!"
Annabelle smirked as the two continued to argue, slipping back into seeker tongue to settle their argument.
"Ah, leave the girl be." Ramjet mumbled, lying on his stomach, almost blending into the grass and dirt with the similar armor shade. "If she wanted to talk to you two she would have the bolts enough to ask herself."
"Or she's just frightened stiff, like some saberlope in the high beams." smirked Heatseeker.
"You're one to talk, Heat'." Divebomb cocked a brow. "You seemed liked one to me when that human had its cute little blaster aimed at your interface panel."
The purple seeker shivered. "I thought we said we wouldn't bring that up anymore!"
"What, the look you had over a little human," Cypher piped in, "or the fact you leaked your transmission fluid right after?"
Heatseeker shrunk down slightly as the others laughed. "Ah, I wait for the orn one of YOU slaggers does it! I'll be laughing the whole way through the battle!"
Bombshell chuckled, his chopper blades fanning out on his back to relax them. He looked to the small girl beside his leader. "So tell us, girl." He rumbled with his deep voice. "How exactly did you save our great master?"
Annabelle swallowed, not wanting to seem even more primitive to the new team. She tensed up as they all stared at her. All she recalled was when they were attacked by Kandler and the others, and she had the barrel blasted to keep them away. How stupid would that sound to a group of highly-adept Cybertronians that could kill hundreds of her kind with a flick of a wrist?
"Er…well." She tried to begin.
"AH! It finally speaks." Downpour joked with snicker, flicking his striped grey wings.
"Ignore him, girl." Chopside assured, as he was the closest to her besides Megatron. He truly didn't mind the insect as the others thought he wouldn't. "You can continue WITHOUT interruption."
Annabelle smirked, flattered. "Well, I was going to say that I DID save him from an assault team out for his head." She shrugged. "Because of me, anyway."
"Is that so?" Dirge hissed lowly. He flinched with a caution as Megatron growled dangerously at him to watch his tongue.
The young human nodded. "Yes, actually. If I didn't act as quick as I did, your leader would be dead as a doornail."
"Then for that, we thank you." Air-Warrior calmly spoke, making Annabelle flinch with surprise, as he sat silently perched atop the rock shelter to the point she forgot he was there. "It's a shame you were not a Decepticon."
"Or a blessing." Dirge grumbled to himself.
"You seem promising, girl." Kickstart remarked, standing up and coming over to Megatron's other side to examine how his helm is healing. "If our master approves of you for your services thus far, then we can serve you alongside just the same. Just, try not to get underfoot."
"Don't worry," she smirked. "I've had the practice already."
"Good, I wasn't in the mood of thinking to clean the bottoms of my pedes eventually." Pulse shifted onto his back carelessly. "You humans stain too easily."
Annabelle snickered. She was beginning to feel somewhat better around these new cons already. She cocked a brow as Megatron flinched at Kickstart welding more of his helm wound, and shifted her legs to avoid a small spurt of Energon from said welding.
Dirge scowled. Yet it is a shame, how such a feeble runt like you has endured for this long." It took all the seeker had to not blast the girl to an organic pulp.
"Well it's not like I didn't have any help." Annabelle shrugged, glancing up at the medic-nursed tyrant. She scooted slightly as he frowned before scooping her up and onto his opposite shoulder.
Cypher cocked a brow as he was still among the few who were perplexed by their master's human pet. "Odd. It seems as if the insect is well accustomed to being handled." The chopper rolled his broad, moaning shoulders "The one and only time I do that and the human throws one of those irritating grenades in my face. Not like it could do any real damage, anyway."
"You do know the girl can understand you, right?" Divebomb mumbled unamused, flicking his itching wings.
"Oh I am fully aware," he replied, "and I think the girl is capable enough to hear my opinion of her kind."
"So I can refrain from talking rudely of yours?" the teen smirked from her seat with Megatron.
Whiteout snickered. "Nice, Cy', being told by a lower lifeform."
"I hope you say that meaning my size." She chuckled as the white seeker and his twins hared a side glance. With a stretch and yawn afterward, Annabelle faced the side of Megatron's helm. "Well I'm exhausted, so I'm gonna hit the sack."
"What sack?" The other mechs blinked in confusion.
"One of many human expressions." Megatron rumbled, looking to the girl again. "Very well, girl. Now go before I banish you myself." He gave a slight glare just being his usual self.
As the others watched, the girl climbed down the tyrant's arm and with a last look to them all she tiredly went to the back of the shelter of dirt and rock. Kicking some loose soil and pebble aside, Annabelle curled up on her side with her back to the entrance. She tucked her hands into her sleeves and hid her arms partially in her armor vest. The teen was not keen on catching ill while out in a barren wasteland and now more possibly threatening Decepticons with all the right to squish her in her sleep. True she had the mighty Megatron to assure safety, but he could not be there every second to keep his new troops in line to spare them holding back instinct. The thought continued to be unsettling.
Megatron sensed the sting of unease of the girl by the pang in their bond, flicking his crimson gaze behind him subtly. The mech assumed as much from his human youngling with these strange new additions of Cybertronian sentients, but he did not think she would be so stressed about the fact. The girl survived this long with him after all.
Air Warrior, still perched eagle-like atop the stone structure behind his master, sensed the troubled signature form the battered mech. He frowned with concern, cocking his helm. "Everything well, my lord?"
Megatron whipped his helm at him almost dizzily, and sneered as the others grew quiet and stared to their leader at the seeker's question. The mech growled at the attention as he had other issues on his mind. He quickly stood and allowed the followers to do the same at attention before their master. "Never better. The repair given to my form has been well competent." Kickstart bowed his helm in regard and thanks. "However my form has been disruptive and erratic on limited rest. In that I will retire for suck rest. But know this," he sneered dangerously, "If ANY of you come near, touch, or even utter a word to the insect, will lose more than their voice box, and not even the scavengers of this planet will find you. Understood?"
They nodded, some with aggravation.
"Very good. The seekers will stay on scout for the remainder of the night, and the others mark the perimeters. You will report in the morning." With affirmation, Megatron retired to his shelter. Some of the troops stared as he did not respond in a tired manner. A sharp growl over his shoulder made them scatter quickly to their assignments.
The mech clicked small in the voice's direction, a level quester in his usual growling tone. "Weren't you in recharge?"
She shook her head, still on her side in sleeping position. 'Not the type of camping out I'm used to."
"And it bothers you now?" He sneered when there was no response. "What is troubling you so much, anyhow?"
Annabelle blinked as she glanced off.
"…The others, it would be my assumption." Her non-response was enough of an answer. The mech turned his gaze to the wall a moment in consideration. "You have nothing to worry. They have no excuse to usurp my command, nor tempt my wrath with your security among us."
"But you can't be sure, can you?"
There was hesitation in the air again, before Megatron nodded instead. "Of course I can. Whatever I say is justly so. There is no room for doubt." When she didn't answer, the giant mech came toward her spot and crouched. He gave a light brush of a claw to her back. "There will be neither fear nor doubt while I still function." Megatron rumbled. "Nor with you, girl."
Annabelle winced at the touch at first, but she did feel soothed by the action. Amongst the comfort, however, she swallowed in the uneasy confusion. The usual spike of cold from a familiar cold creature was now a sort of enveloping aurora in her chest. Knowing who gave her this sensation instead made her relaxation become sickening.
"Could you just, leave me alone?" Annabelle choked quietly, turning further away.
Megatron cocked a bright optic, their fiery glow now fading to a dull blood shade at her request. Any other time the black-sparked mech would have gladly obliged. This was like no other moment, but with the continuous pass of time after their bond, it began to impact his reaction to her emotion.
With a creak of aged armor, he only tucked the one claw back. "Are you, certain?" If he were human, Megatron would have cracked his voice in mid pause.
The teen gave a nod, and she smothered her face in her elbow to end the awkward exchange at that. She needed her sleep.
Megatron stared with optic rims turning steady as a clock's second hard, watching the human's breathing slow down in her drift to sleep. He would have left as soon as she nodded when he would have cared just a fraction less for her.
Now…now it was different. Again.
With a quiet, growling huff, Megatron glanced outside to make sure none were around to see. He wouldn't usually do this, being how much he hated the ability and the technique of using it. Except, now just seemed like a good time to do it. Of course he wasn't about to show the girl if she was awake, but he felt the need to try it now.
Keeping his gaze on her for a while, a few gears clicked and circuitry sounded. Sooner after, Megatron's optics went dim; head slumped forward but body frozen in a crouched pose.
There was a short silence, before a small blue projection appeared out from the darkened optic sockets in small beams of light. Once the projection came into form, they vanished back into the metal skull.
As Annabelle slept soundly, a careful hand rested on her shoulder, scarred and battered, but nonetheless gentle. A man in a tattered black suit with red undershirt, and face bearing the occasional few scars around rusty red eyes, brought his head toward hers even when she faced away. He brushed her hair back over her shoulder with careful fingers, never looking away. With a small huff of a sigh, he put his forehead against the side of hers, careful not to wake her.
He took in the dirty but naturally sweet smell of her hair, enticed by the senses of this body. But he kept his eyes shut awhile to take it all in, before opening them again. Other times he would have been disgusted, but now…he felt serenity by it all. Her voice, her smell, her personality…her smile. Everything, he found he admired.
He hummed quiet and brief again, leaning back again to brush more hair back.
"Rest well, girl…" Megatron murmured gruffly but warm. "Rest well…"
With that, he moved away, and back into the solitary, rusted metal body he called his own.