ATTENTION, all Decepticon forces,
This message contains an official command from the Supreme Leader, Lord of Destruction, MEGATRON.
As many of you are no doubt aware, the recent Autobot victory in Triax is but the latest in a string of recent victories. The Autobots, at this current moment, continue to hold their ground at the front and more and more Decepticon bases of operation are falling. To put it bluntly, if the trends of battle continue in this light, we could possibly be looking at a complete AUTOBOT TAKEOVER in less than a millennium. In short, we may lose this war.
The reason for this is clear. The Autobots, such as they are, have established a history of military discipline and economic wealth on this planet. The Autobots have us outnumbered and outgunned. What's more, a new generation of Autobots is being born and raised at this very moment, who will grow up with the war as their childhood lullaby, who are being taught by these very same Autobots to hate and fear us, and will no doubt oppose us one day on the battlefield.
The number of Decepticon forces is DWINDLING, and this cannot continue. Recruitment is NOT AN OPTION, as the rogue neutral parties of Cybertron are few, are scattered, and are useless to us. Be that as it may, our numbers MUST INCREASE. And the solution is simple.
By the decree of Lord Megatron, every illegible Decepticon must submit their spark energy into the designated PROTOFORM CHAMBER FACILITIES, outlined on the map included below. This is CRUCIAL for the war effort and all Decepticons must participate, regardless of rank. That means all warriors, officials, laborers, etc. This may seem like a hasty and extreme measure, but it is our best solution to a serious problem that will only continue to exacerbate if it is not addressed. To put it frankly, we need children, and we need them NOW.
To determine if you are illegible, all Decepticons who are of age must report for a routine medical examination ASAP. All Decepticons who pass this examination will be required to submit energy from their sparks into a chamber. Certain Decepticons may couple up, if so desired.
There is a SUBSTANTIAL REWARD for any Decepticon whose progeny is found to be of higher merit or who excel in certain achievements.
This order is effective IMMEDIATELY.
Second-in-command of the Decepticon forces and primary advisor to Lord Megatron
Submitted with the approval and full endorsement of LORD MEGATRON, SUPREME COMMANDER of the Decepticons, Lord of Descruction, etc.
All hail Megatron.
"Alright, Starscream, I need you to hold this over your right optic for me."
The young protoform took the small metal instrument the Nurse-Bot handed him and clapped the round, flat end over his eye. He kept his optic online as he pressed the cool surface against it, pleased to see the dull orange glow from his eye reflected back against the metal.
Smiling that cool, gentle smile the adults always seemed to have, the Nurse-Bot, whose name was Stealth Scope, though Starscream didn't know it, flicked a switch on the countertop nearby. A large screen appeared on the wall directly opposite where Starscream was perched. The screen flickered white, with a series of black numbers and letters plastered across it.
"Okay, Starscream," said Stealth Scope, "Read to me as many characters as you can."
"Um," said Starscream, in the common preliminary of children, "X, Q, R, 5, T, 7, G, B, E, A, Er…" Starscream squinted. The letters at this point were impossible small, mere fuzzy black smears on a sea of white. Starscream opened his eye a little wider, and there was a whirring sound as his zoom-in feature activated. The nurse beamed and quickly tapped something into her handheld.
"L, 5, F, Z, B, G, 6, 9, W, O, A, 3, 5… 2!" Starscream finished, pleased with himself.
"Good," said the nurse. "Now, for the other one." Starscream moved the small instrument to his other eye, and the nurse brought a new series of numbers on the screen. These Starscream read aloud, with missing a single "I."
"Good," the nurse said again. She took the instrument from Starscream and picked up what look like a large black sphere. She walked over to Starscream with this and twisted it in half, clicking it open neatly into two halves. She held each half over either side of Starscream's head and released them. The halves hovered in the air right where she had released them. Starscream turned and looked at them, with some interest.
"Now, I'm going to play several tones from these speakers," the nurse explained. "And when you hear a tone, I want you to raise your hand on the side that you think the sound came from. Do you understand?"
"Yes, sir," Starscream answered automatically.
"Good," she said, "We're starting… Now."
Starscream listened. The tones ("beeps," he mentally called them) came in various pitches and sounded from either side of his head seemingly randomly. Starscream raised an arm for every sound he heard, alternating, left, right, left, left, right. He got every one correct.
"Good," said the nurse. She took the speakers from where they hovered in the air, hot and steamy now in her hands, and set them back on the counter as one sphere again. She then picked up a small light and stepped closer to Starscream.
"Now, I need you to dim your optics for me for a second, okay?"
"Okay," answered Starscream. He raised his face slightly and his optics went dim. The bright glares of the room vanished, leaving him in a sea of darkness. He felt the nurse crouching down in front of him, shining the light into his now dark, empty eyes. He could actually feel the light on his face, crawling into the crevices under the glass of his optics, casting orange reflections on the metal underneath.
"Excellent," she said as she moved the light back and forth, "Your optics are top-notch, Starscream!"
Starscream giggled. "Top-notch" sounded funny to him; such funny words didn't make any sense. "Thank you, sir," he said anyway.
"You're welcome!" she said, in that tone that every child knows. "You can turn your optics back on, Starscream."
Starscream did so, blinking a little to shake the colors from his sight.
"Open wide, Starscream."
"Aah," said Starscream, popping his mouth open. The nurse bent down and shined the light inside, so that it bounced off the back of his throat. Starscream didn't have a clue what she was looking for, but he didn't press the matter, and swung his legs back and forth as he waited. From where he was sitting, he could see the nurse's Decepticon insignia welded onto her shoulder, with the small patch indicating she was a Nurse-Bot above it. Starscream had often tried to figure out what that patch was. It was green, and seemed to look like a spiky ball. Hightower had told him that it was supposed to be a spark, but Starscream had called him a liar. Sparks don't have spikes, he'd said. That would be stupid. The two had gotten into a pretty nasty fight over it until a Guardian had broken them up.
"Good," said the nurse. Starscream closed his mouth. "You're almost all set. Just one last thing, I need you to open your spark chamber."
Starscream blushed. He hadn't thought of this crisis. The last time he'd had a medical inspection, the Nurse-Bot had been male, so it wasn't as big a deal. But this time… Starscream looked away and shook his head.
"Starscream," Stealth Scope said gently, coaxingly, "I need to look at your spark to make sure it's healthy. You don't want to get sick, do you?"
Starscream blushed even harder but shook his head no.
"Well, then, I need to see your spark."
Starscream turned his head and looked at her out of the corner of his eye. It was dawning on him that he wasn't getting out of this.
Starscream squirmed and bit his lip. "Okay," he said quietly. He looked away and squeezed his optics shut. The small gears in his torso whirred as his chest compartment clicked up, and the two doors to his spark chamber swung open. The nurse fetched her hand held and held it up over the open chamber, letting the spark's light shine against the transparent screen. With a series of beeps, several lines of text and labels appeared, pointing to various places around the chamber. The nurse nodded and filed the computer's findings away. "All done," she said, "You can close your spark chamber now, Starscream."
Starscream's body seemed to loosen as he closed his spark chamber and sighed dramatically. He felt somehow hollow and a little cold. Having his spark, his very being, exposed and open into the cold air made him feel uncomfortable, vulnerable. He supposed it was like that for everybody, but he still shivered a little as his body resumed filtering out the cold air and circulating warmth back to his spark.
It made it a little easier that the nurse wasn't looking at him now, but seemed to be scrubbing her hands at the counter. "Well, Starscream," she said, "Your spark is in perfect condition. As a matter of fact, you are in perfect health." She turned back to Starscream and beamed. "Congratulations! I think you're the healthiest child I've seen all day!"
Starscream immediately perked up. "Does that mean I can get an alt-mode now?" he blurted.
The nurse made a face and shook her head. "Now, Starscream, I know you've been talked to about this."
Starscream dropped his gaze to the floor. "Sorry, sir," he mumbled. But then he snapped his eyes up again, not to be deterred. "But am I?"
The nurse's face fell. She sighed and shook her head. "No, Starscream, you're not big enough yet. You have to be upgraded one more time before you're capable of transformation, and you're not due for a size-up for quite a while."
"But!" Starscream protested hastily, "But, I-I forgot to mention, my arms have been feeling kind of tight lately-!" He vigorously pumped one arm around in its socket, as though this would prove the point. "An-And it's really uncomfortable, and I get full really quickly and-!"
Stealth Scope chuckled and shook her head again. "Oh, Starscream," she said, "You can't fool me. You have to wait until you get a little bigger, just like everybody else. Okay?"
Starscream visibly deflated. His wings seemed to droop slightly. "Okay," he sighed.
"Starscream," the nurse chided.
"Yes, sir," Starscream corrected himself, in the same tone.
"Good," said the nurse, her bright smile back again. "Alright, you're all set," she said, lifting Starscream down from the cot he had been perched upon, "So why don't you go out and play with everyone? It's a wonderful day."
"Yes, sir," said Starscream, as he landed on the floor. He looked back up at Stealth Scope, quivering where he stood as though about to burst. He was waiting, and the force of the waiting was like torture to him.
"Starscream," the nurse said, "You are dismissed."
Starscream immediately took off like a rocket, zipping like a blur out the door and down the hall, causing the other children outside to giggle and one to shout, "Hey!" as Starcream almost slammed right into him. "Thank you, sir!" Starscream called from halfway down the hall, as an afterthought.
The nurse smiled, but this smile was weaker than the one she had displayed to him so prominently, and it quickly faded down. Taking her time, she walked back to the counter where she had left her handheld. "Starscream," she mused, typing into it. "Perfect health. But not perfect yet."
It took her a few more minutes to finish her report, and once it was done, she pressed a button and sent it away, to be received by the Guardians, the ones who watched over and cared for a disciplined and kept an optic on the 72 protoforms here at Nursery Station 14. They would know what do to about this.
As soon as the report was gone, a blank filed appeared, ready to be filled in. Stealth Scope slung the handheld under one arm and walked back to the doorway, where the other children were waiting.
"Next!" she called, smiling.
Augh, no, bad Dragonkeeper! Stop starting new stories! You do not need this! Bad! Aarrrgghhh
Well, um, anyway, Inheritance! Whoo! Aren't you excited? AREN'T YOU?
Yeah, this is an idea I've been playing around with for a while. How exactly would you grow up if you grew up Decepticon? And, for the most part, that's what I'm going to do while writing this story as well. Just play around. Mostly, you should look at this not as a story with a definitive goal, but rather an exploration of Cybertron society as well as Starscream's background.
You know, like the exact opposite of all my other stories.
I'm sorry that Starscream is so cute here. It's almost unbearable! But he's really little here, so I thought it was justified. He'll be corrupted later. Don't you worry your pretty little heads.
Also, throughout this story, I'm going to use the word, "protoform" instead of "sparkling," on the grounds that "sparkling" is a stupid word.
Well, enjoy this tale of Starscream's growth and societal corruption. Yay!
Next week hopefully I'll update Fears and Trembles - Redux.