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Chapter 16 Dead Mechs Tell No Lies

Seven sins of wantonness and
Everything that's good is gone
Sell it all for glory from the peers
Silicone priestess scratch the back and
Twist the knife to bone
Kick against the pricks and scrape the shins
I'm the enemy in the enemies now
-Fuel, Bittersweet

Sunburst was aware of Starscream leaving. He tried to be relatively quiet. She checked her internal chronometer 03:47:52. It was unusual for him to rise this early. She wondered what he was doing but decided against asking; she feigned sleep.

Sunburst could hear him whisper something as he walked by her room. She felt a twang of concern. What was he up to? Why would he need to get up this early? She wondered. She could hear him creeping through the apartment. Silence. A few minutes later the door clicked as he locked it behind himself.

She dozed off not thinking much more about the Seeker's early departure. When she awoke she looked around. The sky was bright. She checked her chronometer 10:30:21 am. She was surprised at how long she had lain in re-charge. She got off the couch and walked into the re-fueling area. Starscream had taken a couple of cans of her energon drinks and left only one. 'Greedy self-centred hog,' she thought as she opened the can and sipped. She started to feel the stimulating drink awaken her senses. She sat on the lounge couch deep in thought. From the corner of her eye she spotted a flash from the datapad. She reached down for it.

Two new messages it read. She brought up the first message

03:52:21, Gone on a research trip on other side of planet. Be back in a day or two. S.S.

She let out a hefty sigh as she sipped again at the beverage. She thought it was odd that he was leaving a note, what was he up to? For her, residing with the ex- Decepticon Air Commander was quite the challenge and often very unpleasant.

He had his quirks, short temper, frequent lies, threats and one occasion he had attacked her. His demand for precision and perfection sometimes made her angry with frustration. However he occasionally showed a side that was humorous; although his humour was often very dark, sarcastic or sadistic in nature. Then it would seem that he realised he was having fun and a shadow would fall cross his face: the humour in his optics would be replaced by a sort of coldness and abruptly he would withdraw to seek privacy.

He never had the inclination to explain his whereabouts before so what was he playing at today that she rated a note? She wondered again. She took another sip of energon.

The second note was from the reptilian, Teris. There were often messages from the Guana botanist looking for Starscream. However they became very few and far between in these last two weeks. Sunburst glanced again at the message on the datapad. No, the message was addressed to her.

She regretted instantly opening the email. What she read made her go cold. Her hands shook.

05:05:17, Stop Starscream. He's going on a suicide mission – Galvatron – Teris

The notepad fell from her hands onto the floor. She looked to the door. It became clear as crystal. Starscream was going to face his mortal enemy: Alone. Damned fool, she thought angrily, why would he go do this? She stood up feeling a mixture of fury and fear. What was she to do? She wondered, Teris said stop him, so that's what she would do or at least attempt to. There was no time to locate the lizard. Starscream already had about five and a half hours head start and he was a far faster flier than she was.

"Slaggin' reckless fool, he's going to get himself killed." Sunburst cursed again, She knew that Starscream was thinking of this trip but she did not realise he was intending to start so soon. He had not spoken of any plans, in recent weeks, having to do with returning to Charr. She thought he might have been only jesting when he even suggested he would go after Galvatron. What inane idiot would think he was capable of taking on Galvatron alone? She knew he had a superiority complex; that he thought very high of himself and his abilities but surely he had some common sense buried in that thick head. A sense that would tell him that this was a futile effort, a waste of time and all likelihood his life.

She wondered for a moment if she should wait, he was a big coward after all, surely he would return soon with his tail dragging between his legs, shouting curses at everything. But could she count on it? Could he have actually found the nerve he needed to do this on his own? Did he think he'd actually succeed? Was he insane? If he wanted to get himself killed in this manner; should she even be considering talking him out of it? He had told her before not to interfere with his affairs; that he could take care of himself. He had been quite adamant about the whole keep out of my way issue.

She could stop now and leave him on his path of destruction, but something within her compelled her to carry on. What it was that was driving her; she did not know. Sunburst opened the storage locker beside the one Starscream had used for his rifles, when he felt like keeping them in there. She removed a plasma pistol and placed them into the right thigh compartment that acted as a holster in her leg.

She reached for her plasma / laser rifles. They were similar in style to the ones that most of the Seekers wore except hers were slightly shorter in length. She hitched them to her arms. They felt strange and heavy. It had been a very long time since she had last worn them. There had been little need for them in her present line of work.

She had spent many thousands of years working as a mercenary for various group factions and governments. She gave it up soon after Skyfire discovered her blasted body on the planet Mars in the Sol System. He rescued her and patched her up as best as he could and flew her to Cybertron for more extensive repair.

Since that time she felt as if she owed the giant flyer a favour in return. She learned his ways of peaceful science taking up botany for more or less self interest. She did not know that he knew Starscream until he got the news file of his death sent to him. The Seeker had been destroyed after which Skyfire fell into utter despair. He told her sometime after that he had hoped to try again at their friendship. The older Flyer's spirit had fallen into ruin and his own lab went from order to chaos.

"Idiot!" She hissed angrily to herself, "Why am I doing this?" Abruptly she knew the answer; she was doing this for Skyfire. She had no wish to see his spirit crushed again because of Starscream and his selfish ambitions.

Sunburst left the apartment. Her mind was distracted and she forgot to lock the door. She reached the outside. People around stopped and stared at her in surprise. They were familiar with Sunburst, but they had never seen her armed. She glanced up to the sky. The sun was brilliant blue. She leapt into the air and transformed. Her pale gold triangular form shot through the heavens and into space. She flew towards the sun hoping to pick up speed by using the intense gravity well of the star to slingshot her to Charr faster than she could normally achieve.

* * *

Skyfire sat sadly peering into the microscope. He paused from his scrutiny to make a couple of notes in his datapad. He felt as if he were making a big mistake in agreeing to help them capture the Seeker. He was a friend, this sort of betrayal would forever damage any hopes of keeping their friendship alive. The Decepticon had seemed very well behaved and almost good natured but he was well known for his abilities of being deceitful and cunning, especially when he had something to gain from it.

Starscream had confided to him that he was not comfortable on Cybertron anymore. He had said he was worried about being followed and watched. Skyfire was torn then between the friendship he had for the Seeker and loyalty to the Autobots. With Rodimus' persistence he had agreed to report on Starscream's activities.

"He's my friend, it does not feel right to spy on him like this." Skyfire had gently protested.

"Your reports are only as a precaution, Skyfire." The Autobot leader reassured. "Just report to us if he does anything out of the ordinary."

'Out of the ordinary,' Thought Skyfire, taking time to be alone was one of his old traits when he had known him eons ago; it was not out of the ordinary. Starscream had often taken absences to think alone and often he would return with a brilliant idea. It never occurred to him to inform the Autobots that the Seeker had taken off for a few days. He was angry to hear that Starscream had attacked Sunburst but she sometimes could get his edge up, he only figured that the Seeker wanted to get away from his unwanted house mate.

He had put Starscream in that situation without really thinking about how he would feel about forced closeness with another mech. He had not realised that the Seeker would be so uncomfortable with the arrangements.

The images of the energon cubes, the metal plates etc... disturbed him. What was Starscream up to that he would resort to Decepticon-like raiding? He had figured the energon was to supply him with sustenance while he was away from the more conventional methods of re-charging. But what of the rest? Why would he need those metal plates and what had caused the damage to them and his person? He glanced over at the metal toolbox that was stored neatly under the heavy black topped work table. Whatever he was up to he knew the answer lay in that box.

"You said he'd be here by now." Said Overcast looking at some objects on the table. The Pinzgauer was becoming annoyed with the wait. He itched to arrest Starscream, he wanted to see him beaten and demoralised. "What's taking him so long?"

Skyfire looked at the clock. It was past four PM. It was very unusual for The Seeker to report in any later than one PM. He knew the Seeker spent much of the night working on experiments and would be here soon. He pressed a button on his desk.

"Sunburst, It's Skyfire, have you seen Starscream?" He often had to inquire on the Seekers arrival.

"Sunburst did not arrive today, Skyfire." Came a soft voice.

"Thanks." He responded puzzled.

Overcast looked at Skyfire with worry. He had a bad feeling about Sunburst's no-show and Starscream's lateness.

"She's probably left me a message." He reasoned flicking on the computer. Indeed the message icon was flashing in the bottom right hand side of the monitor. He opened it up and read the message.

"Primus no...." His voice filled with fear. "He left around four-thirty this morning for Charr. The message is from Teris to Sunburst and me." He knew suddenly why Sunburst had not shown. She was also no longer on the planet. She was following Starscream to his fate.

"I must follow them. Skyfire stood up and ran for the door."

"He left almost twelve hours ago, he's halfway there!" Overcast realised the Seeker had thwarted his plans. He also realised that no one could have informed him of the midday meeting. This annoyed him greatly; he was so close, so very close.

"I can go twice as fast as Starscream if I want to. Especially once I reach space."

"Then I'm coming with you, to make sure you bring him back if he lives." Insisted Overcast. He decided that he did not want to miss a chance of having a go at Starscream off Cybertron. There would be less chance of discovery should he get the opportunity to finish the Seeker off himself.

"Hurry it up then." Muttered Skyfire. He did not wish this Autobot to go with him but he did not see that he had much choice. He knew he'd have to watch Overcast: the Pinzgauer hated Starscream with a passion.

* * *

Skyfire sped through space, Overcast sat in the pilot's seat watching the stars shoot past with boredom.

"Skyfire." He said looking down at the radar. "I am picking up something on radar. It's slow moving and is of Decepticon configuration."

Skyfire did a quick scan ahead of him to determine what it was that they were flying towards. "Ah, we have reached Sunburst, hail her, tell her she can come on board and rest."

Overcast was not amused to have the neutral Seeker join them but he also knew she was a compatriot of his.

"Sunburst this is Overcast onboard Skyfire, we're coming up on your six. Do you wish to board? Over." For Primus' sake say no! He thought.

"I'd be grateful for the rest." She replied "I don't have sufficient energy to reach my destination in a timely manner." Her voice was tired.

Overcast looked on in disgust at the yellow triangular shaped Seeker a she changed her flight to intercept.

Seeker once meant fear and terror; they were the Decepticon birds of prey, blood thirsty hunters of the air. It was hard to put aside a lifetime of conditioning and beliefs. It was hard for him to believe that a Decepticon would change allegiances after millions of years or pretend that nothing ever happened by becoming neutral. It was wrong and was very unnatural. Overcast did not trust those like that. Skyfire was almost an exception; he was a Decepticon for only a few days before he saw the light and changed sides. But even he was to be somewhat wary of, he was a friend to Starscream and that could mean he was being corrupted by the Seeker. He did fail to supply important information on the Seeker in the past.

Skyfire could very well warn Starscream never to return to Cybertron robbing him of his desired revenge.

Skyfire closed in on her position and slowed down allowing her to transform to board. "I will be arriving at Charr in a few hours." He said as the pale gold Seeker sat down in the co-pilot's seat. "We will have to start proceeding with caution I think we should be visible on their deep space scans and soon after that their radar" The giant flyer muttered worriedly.

Sunburst thought for a moment. "I might be able to help." She looked over at the Autobot in the pilot's seat. "Overcast I need that position, remove yourself." Her voice was cold. "Now!" She commanded.

Overcast glared at the Seeker as he stood up allowing the pale yellow Seeker to change chairs. He settled himself down in the co-pilot's position watching her closely.

"How so Sunburst?" Skyfire sounded curious.

"I have an ability. I am capable of jamming radar and infra-red scans, only for a very short time though and I am not even sure I can shroud your signature." She replied.

Overcast was surprised that Sunburst had stealth capabilities. That was a dangerous trait in some Decepticons as they could sneak up on their target and attack before the victim realised they were even there.

"You may proceed when you are ready." Skyfire responded.

"I will need to link myself directly into your systems in order to do this." She warned feeling uncomfortable about this idea. She hesitated for a moment before she opened up a control panel. She glanced over at Overcast who sat with an amused scowl. Sunburst opened her cockpit canopy and drew out a cable that she fitted into Skyfire's control panel. "The link is complete. I am starting to jam radar and suppress your infra-red emissions." The drain would be huge on her system trying to shroud the much larger jet.

"Let's hope we are not too late." Murmured Skyfire as they flew on towards the dim red star ahead.

* * *

His guidance system awakened him as he neared the red dwarf star system that the planet Charr orbited. He scanned his immediate area checking for any signs of trouble. He noticed some Seeker type jets in the distance; they were in process of landing. He charged his wing missiles in case his presence was noted by them. He remembered the last time he was here he was caught off guard. He had not put too much thought or planning into coming here the first time. He knew had he encountered his quarry he would have failed regardless. He hoped this time he had planned well.

Starscream cut his engines off before he made atmospheric entrance so he could start his glide silently to the surface of the planet.

Charr was much like Cybertron once. Huge metal buildings that towered into the sky and buildings that were built almost to the very core of the world; however, unlike Cybertron, this world was almost utterly dead. The iron core was cold, the atmosphere was full of reddish dust and the huge spires of once tall buildings had crumbled to the ground. It was a shocking change to the thriving energy rich beauty of his home world. The desolation of this planet struck him more this second time around than it did the first time.

Very little power was to be found on this world. It had been drained of it eons ago. One small area was lit and that was the place he would be landing, the same area as he had been months before. Charr was a ghost world for certain and he knew if he became a ghost again, he would look for a livelier location. Charr seemed more desolate than it was on his earlier visit.

Starscream entered the planetary atmosphere. His outer hull heated up but not too brightly. The atmosphere of Charr was very thin. Thick atmospheres such as Earth or Guandonnaland made an approaching craft look like a conspicuous beacon, drawing unwanted attention from all over. He slowed his descent and inclined towards an area not far from where he had landed before. He made certain he had checked for any foes. There appeared to be none. He landed in jet form and quickly transformed as he sequestered himself in some ruins.

The planet's dull sun shone dimly in the morning sky. It watched him unblinkingly like the baleful blood red eye of the Wyvern he had slaughtered so long ago. The ruins cast long dark shadows. The light was red tinged, almost smoky, as if someone had tinted his optics with a fine coat of dust. It was fairly creepy. He scanned over his surroundings slowly; his weapons ready for action.

Nothing, only the haunting whistle of wind blowing through broken windows. There was a clatter of some metal junk that was picked up by a stiff blast of the wind only to be spun around and around by the formation of a small dust devil as the wind was caught between the ruins. The gust died down and it became eerily silent.

He waited for ten more minutes. No Decepticons had seen him, he hoped. He would rather not get cut down too soon. He crept out from behind his sheltering building. He took cover once more fifty metres down from his previous hiding spot. Here he waited again and watched. No one came. He felt he was clear to proceed once more.

He crept silently from building to building, waiting and watching between movements to assure that he had not been detected. His fuel pump hammered loudly to his audio sensors and he was afraid someone else might hear it. He took one last glance around and ran quickly to the door of the main building.

He and Teris had fled from this place so long ago, when he had scooped her up under his arm and barged past the startled Cyclonus. That was the beginning of his fight for his freedom and his right for existence. That all started when he fled to Cybertron. How long ago was that he wondered.

'One year, three months and eleven days.' His thoughts supplied.

He did not answer his thoughts as he did not want to give away his presence by the sound of his voice. He crouched; cocking his head slightly so he could listen. There were voices, and yes, Galvatron's was the main voice. The sounds echoed so he could tell they were not in the immediate vicinity of the doorway, they actually sounded quite distant. Galvatron sounded very annoyed, nothing unusual there. There were two voices, one deep and the other fairly light and they both sounded quite nervous.

Starscream initiated the tertiary setting on his rifles. A high pitch whine was emitted from the packs as the weapons were charged in readiness. He initiated the power feed cut off that would reactivate as soon as the power was discharged from the weapon. If he did not do this the packs would quickly drain him of his own energy reserves. This would also occur if he used them too liberally; he knew he had to be careful with them. He smiled wickedly as he felt the power that was being stored in the guns.

He hesitantly pushed the door open and peered inside, first left then right. Then he listened. He tried to slow the hammering of the fuel pump within his chest so he could once again hear the voices that echoed. He stepped through the open doorway closing it gently behind him, cringing at the silent yet almost loud click.

The hall was not brightly lit. Some of the bulbs in the overhead lights were out. Others were flickering in an almost strobe like manner. It bothered his optics causing him to squint in the rapidly changing brightness. He could not adjust to the erratic lighting. Some areas of the hall were very dark while other areas were bright. He passed a hallway that had some exposed wiring that poured blue sparks to the ground. Small creatures scuttled away from him through the darkness as he walked on.

The Seeker paused and listened carefully tracking the voices; being careful to place his feet down softly so as to keep the sound of his footsteps down to a minimum.

Starscream followed the voices until he arrived at the double doors of the throne room. He flattened himself with his wings pressed against the wall, his head cocked listening. He could distinctly hear the two worried voices. He peeked through the cracks in the door and saw Galvatron leaning forward on his throne; his face was angry. A pair of Seekers was kneeling in shame on the floor getting reprimanded.

"I am sorry does not cut it Whitespark! You have been warned before and yet you still abandon him."

"But Sir! I..." Pleaded the white Seeker.


Starscream watched as the Decepticon leader aimed his cannon at one of the unfortunate souls and the white Decepticon cried horrifically out as his body exploded. His grey comrade hit the floor flat with his hands over his head as his partner's body showered down around him.

"Let that be a lesson to you. Should you fail in your mission again..." Said Galvatron to the grey Seeker who lay on the ground.

Starscream swallowed in disgust as he realised that Galvatron was quite capable of killing him in a single shot if he so chose too. He would have to be sure that he fired first. The Seeker's attention was brought back to the spared Decepticon who whimpered in fright as he stepped slowly away from Galvatron, not turning his back.

'That guy is a menace to the Decepticons even. I'll bet he has killed more Decepticons than he has Autobots.' Starscream's thoughts observed.

He had to agree with that thought, Galvatron was a brute.

The Decepticon headed for the door and Starscream ducked around a corner and hid behind some rubble. He watched as the grey Seeker walked away in a very dejected manner. He quietly turned down a corridor until he was out of sight.

* * *

Battle ensued not far from their landing site. Skyfire's presence was noted upon their entry into Charr airspace. Sunburst's jamming efforts had failed. Cyclonus and Scourge welcomed them with warm laser fire as they disembarked and spread out.

"Your jamming did not work!" Overcast screamed to Sunburst as he dove behind some broken walls. He suspected that she had allowed the Decepticons to track them. Ramjet and Dirge flew in for a strafing run; Overcast aimed his shoulder mounted rocket launcher and fired. Ramjet's wing flew off and the Seeker spiraled out of control behind some buildings not far away.

"It's designed to work with my physiology. Now shut up and fight." She hissed taking cover behind some buildings firing at Dirge as he closed in.

"Autobots, foreign Seeker you will pay for that!" Shouted Dirge as he flew in low.

Suddenly an explosion rocked the ground between Sunburst and Overcast. She flew back almost into Skyfire's position. She landed holding her forearm. Flying rock and shrapnel had given her a hefty gouge. Skyfire pulled her under cover glancing over where Overcast had stood. There was a huge crater.

Sunburst started to move forwards again, Skyfire rested his hand on her shoulder holding her back. "We will need to fall back." He whispered. "Overcast is missing and we are outnumbered three to one." Another blast rocked the area. Sunburst stumbled and Skyfire held his hand out to steady her.

"We need to find Starscream." She replied standing up shrugging off Skyfire's assistance.

"We will,let's just get through this mess first." Skyfire fired a few shots towards the Decepticons. "He'll probably appreciate this; we've provided him a useful distraction if he is on his own, uncaptured and alive."

Sunburst nodded as they backed away firing leaving Overcast somewhere behind in the dust and debris.

* * *

Starscream returned to looking into the chamber through the door. He took a deep breath to calm his worried nerves. Galvatron was already angry enough to use one of his own troops as an example. He would undoubtedly shoot Starscream the moment he stepped through the door.

The Seeker looked over his wing and surveyed the hall. He could hear a firefight not far in the distance. Decepticon animosity most likely the cause; he had seen it many times. Disagreements had often escalated into all out firefights that had the ability to cripple the efficiency of their war efforts. It occasionally happened that one or more of the combatants were killed in these internal skirmishes. He wondered for a moment how the Decepticons managed to survive all this time despite these pathetic petty battles.

There was a point in time where the Autobots were almost extinct. The Decepticons had almost won the war. "Megatron—Megatron did not try hard enough; he had opportune moments where he could have killed Optimus Prime, rendering the Autobots leaderless and in chaos." He whispered aloud to himself.

Megatron often came up with loony plans to take over the world and drain the energy resources: a good idea only after you remove the Autobot presence. One of Megatron's plans had merit and almost succeeded if it were not for Thrust shooting Telatran One, disabling the program that was sending the ship that the exiles were in into the Sun.

Somehow they managed to get word out that they needed help. Autobots from all over the galaxy flocked to their banner swelling their troops. It was fair that the Decepticons managed to find small pockets of help but it was not enough to turn the tide of the war. It became what the humans would term, a Mexican stand off.

Megatron could not see that his outdated, antiquated methods were holding the Decepticons back from their right to rule as the supreme race. Starscream figured if he had a chance to prove himself, he would have led the Decepticons into a reign of glory and a reign of terror for all those who opposed him. He strongly believed that his younger, fresher ideas and ways would have brought the Decepticons their birthright. Cybertron and the Decepticon Empire could have been his.

Now that was not going to be the way. Unicron re-formatted Megatron into a super insane Decepticon who would destroy anyone who stood in his way; ally or foe. It was just unfortunate that Starscream was his first victim.

He was about to push the door open when he caught sight of a Sweep dragging bound and somewhat battered Overcast into the throne room.

Starscream's optics brightened for a moment. "Slag," he muttered, "what brings him here?" The Seeker was worried about his plans now. He pressed his face close to the door peeking in, straining to hear what was being said.

"Mighty Galvatron, I have captured this Autobot intruder, as we speak we are bringing down the rest of them." He shoved Overcast roughly to the ground by kicking out the back of his knees. The Autobot hit the floor with a pained yelp. Beside him lay the dead Seeker. The Autobot turned his head to glance at the corpse at his side. He looked revolted.

Starscream suppressed a chuckle. He was pleased to see the Decepticons had captured the loudmouthed, macho Autobot. 'Not so tough now, eh, Overcast?' He thought with smile.

"Do you wish me to terminate him?" Said the Sweep holding the gun to the Autobot's head.

"No," Galvatron's mouth curled into a cruel smile, "take him to a holding cell; we will interrogate him later. See what useful bits of information he has about the Autobots. Then I will have him slowly slagged." Galvatron gestured sharply with his hand. "Take him away."

"As you wish." The Sweep turned away from Galvatron pulling the bedraggled Pinzgauer to his feet and with a rough shove; he pushed Overcast towards the door. He jammed his blaster into the Autobots back. Overcast reluctantly stepped towards the door. Starscream backed away and into his hiding spot, watching the Sweep and his prisoner exit the throne chamber.

Starscream remained in hiding; thinking. Overcast's presence could only mean one thing. The Autobots were now aware of his absence, and that they found out very quickly. He wanted to find out how many there were and why they were here. It was too much of a coincidence that they arrived only a couple hours after he landed. He would have to locate Overcast and ask him a few polite questions before he proceeded. He wanted to know what that little parasite was doing here.

Starscream left his hiding spot walking quietly down the dark, maze-like halls to the holding cells where he had been imprisoned many months before. He grinned as he saw Overcast sitting sourly on the steel plank. He had taken a huge gouge across his chest plate that had been leaking energon. He looked battered enough to have almost been directly hit with a well placed missile.

"I see that this place really suits you." Chuckled the Seeker as he stepped out of the shadows and leaned against the wall, placing a hand on his hip. He regarded Overcast who looked startled at the sound of his voice.

Overcast glanced up at Starscream. "Are you here to question me for Galvatron?" His tone was filled with hatred and his optics glared icily. His mouth twitched as he moved to stand. He was in a fair amount of pain. Starscream felt no sympathy.

Starscream's mouth fell into an annoyed frown. "No, I am here to question you for my own purposes."

Overcast stood close to the bars. "Let me out and I'll answer your inquiries, Decepticon."

Starscream shook his head negatively. "I am not a fool, Overcast, you will answer my questions first. Then if I see fit I might let you out. Not the other way around." Starscream held his arm up training a weapon on the Autobot. "Why are you here and who is with you are my first questions."

The Pinzgauer's gaze passed between the weapon that was aimed at him and at Starscream who stood before him. Overcast looked up at Starscream, thoroughly annoyed with the Decepticon; then his mouth turned into a sinister grin: He had an idea. "You really want to know why I am here and with whom?" He laughed dryly. "Ok then, but I doubt you will free me after I tell you but it should be worth your reaction."

Starscream suddenly felt uneasy, he did not like this Autobot very much and he could trust him even less than he liked him.

"I am here with Skyfire AND Sunburst." He laughed heartily. "You see, I have gathered evidence that you are still acting as a Decepticon and you know exactly what I mean. Late night trips to the landfill, early morning energon raids. You see Seeker, I've been trailing you for weeks and now Rodimus has ordered to have you re-captured and destroyed. Skyfire and Sunburst have agreed to help me bring you down. And you thought they were your friends?" He laughed again at Starscream's horrified expression. "Yes, Starscream, I have orders to bring you back to Cybertron in a very big body bag."

Starscream stepped back away from the bars like he had been slapped across the face. It was not what he had expected to hear, his own friends? It was impossible! He had ensured that there was no one around during those minor raids. "Yes, you are right Overcast," said Starscream dangerously, "I am not going to free you. As a matter of fact I am going to come back when I am done and kill you." Starscream emphasised the last two words as turned away leaving Overcast to grin smugly in his cell.

Starscream returned to hide in the alcove by the door. He held his head in his hands as he dealt with the betrayal. He could not believe this; Skyfire and Sunburst could not have agreed to help capture him. Skyfire was his friend; sure there were problems in that relationship stemming from before, but they still had an understanding. And Sunburst was, well, an ally, or an acquaintance at least; or so he had thought. Unless Starscream looked in the direction that the cells were kept, unless Overcast was only attempting to exact revenge for his attack months ago that he was really only trying to unnerve him. That thought made more sense. Overcast was trying to make him lose faith, so he would err and get himself killed. But it did worry him; who were the others the Sweep spoke of?

Starscream stood up charged with renewed purpose, Overcast had almost succeeded in demoralising him. The Seeker was not going to let a little pipsqueak Autobot rain on his parade. He straightened his wings and set his mouth into a firm line. He was determined more than ever that this war was going to end here and now. He felt power and energy surge through him, electro-adrenaline. It was do or die trying.

Starscream stepped forward inhaling deeply as he kicked the door open with his foot. He held both rifles ready aimed at the dais.

* * *

Sunburst and Skyfire quickly ran past the inert bodies of the Decepticons. Some were dead and others were unconscious at least. Cyclonus and Scourge lay somewhere under the ruins of a building that Skyfire and Sunburst collapsed with a combined volley of missiles.

They stood outside the Decepticon Headquarters looking around hoping that there would be no other attack. "I am too big to go into that building unnoticed." Skyfire observed. The door was too small for his bulk. "You go in and find Starscream; I'll make sure that no one else gets past. Watch out for Decepticons inside." Skyfire warned as he held his rifle ready.

Sunburst nodded and darted inside. She quickly walked down a hall and found herself by the brig.

"Sunburst! Am I glad to see you!" Overcast chimed cheerfully as he waved her over.

Sunburst looked at him with suspicion noticing his damage. "I thought you were dead." Her voice expressed keen disappointment; she did not like him at all. "Oh well, never mind." She stepped over to the control panel and disabled the energon bars freeing the Pinzgauer. "Have you seen Starscream?" She asked.

"Um, no, he must be hiding somewhere. He probably realises he can't win this fight or he's already a dead mech. I saw a dead Seeker lying on the floor in the middle of the throne room when I was brought before Galvatron." He said nonchalantly as he reached for his backpack and weapons.

Sunburst dropped her plasma pistol. She slumped her shoulders forwards sadly leaning against the control panel. She knew Skyfire would have a slag fit when he found out about this news.

Overcast walked up and placed his hand on her shoulder. "Now, don't grieve over Starscream. You know, you should head back to Skyfire. I am sure there are other jets in the sky." His words were cloyingly smooth.

"No, I need to get his body to take back to Cybertron; then we will leave." Sunburst collected her pistol from the floor and ran down the ill lit hall with Overcast following a distance behind.

* * *

He burst through the doors. Head held high and defiant. He noticed that the body of the white Seeker was gone with a few still glistening pools of energon and scattered debris remaining. Whitespark, he remembered. Galvatron simply sat smugly seemingly unworried about the Seeker's presence.

Although he felt shaky he gathered all his reserves to appear fearless and menacing. It would be a battle of wits. He wondered if he could bluff the Decepticon leader.

'No,' he thought, 'It would be a fight to the death.' The Electo-adrenaline was still strong in his body but the sight of the Decepticon struck fear deep within the Seeker's spirit.

Galvatron glared at him as he recognised who stood before him; his mouth was angry, sparks flashed at the side of his head as he leveled his weapon, regarding Starscream with contempt.

"Starscream! You're supposed to be dead!" Said Galvatron in disgust. Was there any way he could keep this pest exterminated? He could not believe the audacity of the Seeker, his ability to return again and again when all instincts screamed that he was done for.

"I was almost dead, Galvatron. Now you're the one who is going to die!" Starscream gestured with his rifles.

"I should have taken your head." He said reproachfully regretting the interference of the Autobots. Kill the head and the body dies he thought. This time he would go for the head. Removal of that would be the only surefire way to guarantee that the Seeker would remain dead.

"It was your urge to torment me further that stopped you from killing me, had you really tried; I surely would have died then." He was grateful in some way for that torment. It bought him some meagre time. But it was very unpleasant; he had been ready to give up at that moment in time. Starscream fired a shot of plasma at Galvatron missing him completely. Starscream tried to hide his annoyance. The energy filtration caused that fraction of a second delay.

"You still don't know how to shoot." Laughed Galvatron.

"Is this better?" Starscream fired again with one weapon and the blast seared his shoulder leaving a black scorch mark. The delay again, The Seeker scowled angrily as his mind processed the problem with the delay. He felt quite worried about the results and he hoped he could hide his disappointment.

Galvatron decided he was no longer amused with Starscream's lame attempts on him. The grazed blast stung as it scorched his armour plating. He was surprised at how hot the beam was. Seeker weapons were generally not very strong and Starscream's weapon was known to be particularly useless. "NARGH! You will pay for that with your useless and pathetic life." Said Galvatron. "You will die an unimaginably, slow and painful death." He stood up and approached the red and white Seeker.

"Promises, promises! No, Galvatron, not this time. This time it's my turn to show you who is superior around here." He fired two more blasts of plasma at Galvatron. They both hit and Galvatron fell backwards to the floor. There was a whine as the Seeker's weapons charged up again.

"You will pay for that dearly," spluttered Galvatron, shaking his head, somewhat stunned by the power behind the attack. Two glowing holes smoked from his hip and shoulder.

'His armour is really tough.' His thoughts observed worriedly. "What have we got ourselves into?!"

"You and what army?" Sneered Starscream trying to keep up appearances. "Where is all your help now? You keep killing them off, one by one. I could have been your ally but you made me your mortal enemy." Starscream stepped up to the dais as Galvatron quivered in fury on the floor. The two blast holes had stopped smoking but they leaked energon. "I will crush you!"

From behind there was a crash at the doors, they swung open and Sunburst emerged. "Starscream?! I thought you were dead!" She sounded surprised, relived and yet almost annoyed.

Galvatron laughed loudly. "Everyone here thinks you should be dead, so let's not disappoint them." he oriented his weapon on Starscream.

"Sunburst?!" Starscream was caught off guard for a moment. "Go away this is my fight!" He shrieked. His weapons wavered in their aim. He was so sure that Overcast had been lying, Skyfire, then, must be outside waiting for him to try and escape. It could not possibly be. The Seeker felt suddenly disheartened.

Galvatron noted Starscream's countenance and used the distraction to fire a couple of blasts of his cannon at the Seeker. Starscream saw the motion of the plasma discharge out of the corner of an optic. He jumped to dodge the incoming blast; one blast hit his wing blowing the tip off. The other blast clearly missed him.

Sunburst charged blindly forwards and inadvertently ran into the path of Galvatron's weapon fire. It sent her spiraling to the ground with a scream where she lay unconscious.

'Sunburst you stupid fool.' Thought Starscream as he straightened up. 'Keep out of my affairs.' He did not feel very imbalanced from his broken wing; the damage was minimal however he was angry. The damage would limit his agility in flight when he would have to flee this world. He looked at Galvatron hatefully; his fury masked his pain and dulled his anguish.

"You're next." Sneered Galvatron lunging at Starscream as he fired.

The Seeker fired several blasts from his weapons at Galvatron. The Deception leader returned fire: a few more shots. Starscream took another hit, this time on his left air intake. He yelled out in pain as he turned his face away from the damaged intake. Red fragments flew out in all directions, peppering the back of his head. The Seeker spared a moment's glance at the damage, he had lost a third of it. He knew that had he moved slightly that blast would have removed the top of his head.

The air was beginning to cloud from smoke caused by small fires that the weapons had created. He leaped away as he dodged several rapid blasts from the cannon. He got off only a few more shots in the direction of Galvatron, missing completely. Those shots that had hit seemed to have little or no consequence.

Galvatron noted the pain and fright on the Seeker's face. He laughed maniacally; his shoulders and chest shook with the force of it. "You're not going to see the light of another day, Starscream."

Fearfully the Seeker took a few steps away from his adversary. Galvatron stood surrounded by the fire; casting an evil orange glow over his body, illuminating his twisted unsmiling face. For a moment he stood there and resembled a daemon from human lore; the black smoke thickened as it swirled in around Galvatron fully engulfing him. When it had thinned out he seemed to have disappeared with it.

He leapt back shooting terrified glances around himself as he did. Now he was really worried; where had he gone? He did not see him move. He just faded into the blanket of grey. He looked around trying to quell a swell of panic. He could be anywhere in this cloud. Starscream rapidly glanced around again trying to pinpoint his nemesis. It was impossible to see.

He glanced down at his rifles with trepidation; he was certain that his weapons should have done more damage than they seemed to have caused. Starscream hesitated for a moment as he readied his rifles, taking a step into the haze. The air was now very thick with black-grey smoke; he could not see very far. The Seeker hesitated, looking around. He could hear no noise other than the crackle of the flames.

He heard a noise to his left and jumped to face that direction. Nothing could be seen. Where was he? Could he have killed him? Starscream wished he could see clearer. The inability to see what was near him was terrifying. He could feel intense heat radiating from his weapons. It was overheating from continuous use. He knew the internal filters were likely getting clogged with the smoke from the air. He worried about them exploding. He needed his weapons. He could not turn them off, not now, not until he was certain of his success.

Starscream could feel the heat of the fire as it spread around and consumed the flammable materials that lay around the outer edge of the room. He thought he heard a malevolent chuckle. It could have been the crackle of flames or the sound of metal expanding in the heat.

"Galvatron?" Starscream whispered. He could no longer tolerate the wait. He would have to find his nemesis himself. The Seeker stepped into the thick blanket of smoke in an attempt to locate the Decepticon. He could not see very far into the cloud. He fanned the air with his hand trying to assist it in dissipating. He wanted to see what he was aiming at. He did not want to waste energy bolts by shooting at the wrong thing like the floor or the throne. Starscream started to cough as the acrid smoke wafted into his face, messing with his filtration system.

Without warning, the dark form of Galvatron leapt at him from the side, striking him in the chest with a balled fist cracking his amber cockpit canopy. Starscream shrieked in surprise as he was ambushed. He noticed that the Decepticon leader was no longer wearing his cannon.

He turned quickly and balled his left fist striking back at Galvatron. The Decepticon leader caught Starscream's fist before it could hit him. "I will...succeed!" The Seeker snarled his lip curled in cruel determination and intense concentration as he fought against the larger, stronger Decepticon. He curled his other hand into a fist and slammed it violently into Galvatron's side.

The Decepticon leader released Starscream's left fist. He drew his arm back, throwing a massive punch in at the Seeker's face. The Seeker staggered for a moment as he reeled from the pain. He held his hand to his face, stunned by the blow. He felt sure that his head had rattled from that slam. Abruptly he found himself face down on the floor. Galvatron had knocked his feet from underneath him as he stood momentarily dazed.

Starscream pushed himself up as he felt a sharp kick in his side, he screeched in pain. He knew he had to get at least to his back as quick as possible; lying on his chest would leave him very vulnerable. At least if he was on his back he could aim his own weapons or see where the next attack was coming from and perhaps prevent it. Clenching his jaw tightly, Starscream cringed against the pain as he torqued his wing unnaturally while he flipped to his back. Galvatron kicked out again sending Starscream skidding backwards. Starscream lifted his arm to quickly take aim in the general direction of Galvatron. He discharged his weapon. Galvatron dodged and leaped down on top of the scrambling Seeker crushing him to the floor.

Starscream let out a brief gasp as he fought against Galvatron, pushing with his right hand struggling to shove him off. Instead Galvatron managed to get his hand tightly wrapped around the Seeker's throat crushing it relentlessly. The Seeker's feet kicked feebly while his other hand pounded against the Decepticon's shoulders.

"Who's time is it to die now Starscream?" Spat Galvatron tightening his fingers on the Seeker's throat. Galvatron grinned as he throttled Starscream.

Starscream's mouth was partially open but he could not draw air in to speak. He jerked his head from side to side trying to shake away the hand; he was battling for his life now. His optics glittered in a mixture of hate, fury, fear and panic. He struggled against the iron-like grasp about his throat, against the murky haze and fog that was taking place of his thoughts.

He had almost resigned himself to die when a memory flashed across his mind a thought from his last encounter with Galvatron. 'You're a fighter, a warrior. It's your life; you don't want to give it up without a fight.' He knew the other half of him was trying to tell him something using visual memories rather than spoken thoughts. Another thought drifted across his mind as Galvatron's fist hit his face; he was pinned under Skywarp, much like he was now, as the Seeker almost pounded the life out of him. He could not fight back; Skywarp had his arms well pinned. Galvatron did not have the sense to pin his arms, they were free enough to defend himself with them. He remembered what he had tried to do when he was in that fight with Skywarp; he had attempted to use his weapons. He knew what he had to do.

His mind was blanking from lack of power as Starscream ceased his futile defense with his fist and aimed his rifle up against the Decepticon's chest. His optics narrowed with hate and anticipation, the corners of his mouth twisted into a wry smile.

"What are you smiling about?" Inquired Galvatron furiously. He wanted the Seeker to show fear; it egged him on making him feel more satisfied about the act of strangling him. The fear had faded from Starscream's optics so he tightened his fingers even harder trying to starve the Seeker's brain of energon. Galvatron was so preoccupied with trying to terrify him again; he did not notice Starscream re-position his arm. However he felt it when the Seeker fired several shots point blank in rapid succession.

Galvatron's optics flashed in surprise and his mouth twisted with pain and anger. Starscream's rifle started to glow from intense heat as he felt the drain on his energy reserves. The Seeker changed the weapons function to Null and fired a few more blasts hoping that something would free his throat of Galvatron's vice like grasp.

Starscream felt the full crushing weight of Galvatron on top of him. The hand loosened from his neck and he took a sharp deep breath. He could feel the energon flow forcefully into the starved ducts within his head. His body shook all over from a mixture of fear, pain and fatigue and relief. Had he won? He wondered as his mind cleared from the haze.

Most of the small and large fires had burnt themselves out. The smoke was now beginning to dissipate, drifting up through the ventilation shafts. It was still quite thick and black but it was more or less even and he could just make out the doors. He heaved a deep sigh.

With his hands and feet he shoved Galvatron's motionless body off of him, grunting with the effort. He wondered if Unicronians died the same way natural Transformers did, by turning grey. Galvatron had not and he was worried by this. Starscream stood up battered and bleeding energon from a few places. He heard a new sound as he cocked his head. Towards the door there was the sound of running feet. Starscream scowled, he was exhausted, he no longer wished to battle.

The dark grey Seeker he had seen before as well as a Sweep burst in through separate side doors. Starscream aimed both weapons, one at the Sweep and the other at the unknown Seeker. He fired both at the same time. The Sweep fell to the ground with a massive smoking hole in his chest and so did the Seeker. His optics flickered and faded quickly to black as his body became uniformly grey. However something about the dying Seeker had nagged him. He seemed strangely familiar.

Starscream had known many Seekers in his time: he had flown with different wings and squadrons over the eons. He had seen them come and go. There was a time when there were thousands of Seekers but now he doubted there were even a few hundred left. If there were more than that number; they were probably scattered across the galaxy in small isolated groups.

He crossed the room to the smoking bodies of the Decepticons. He looked at the Seeker and used his foot to nudge the head over so as to get a clearer view of his face. Starscream staggered for a moment. He recognised him as Windraker.

How, he thought, had Windraker arrived here? When Sunburst believed that he was dead, he had barely managed to pry out more information on their ill fated mission. He had learned that he had suffered massive brain damage when his head crumpled into his memory banks. He was supposed to have been put to a merciful death by her rescuers. How could she have been so wrong? He felt fleeting twang of guilt; he had killed Windraker.

The deaths of Seekers depressed him, his kind were slowly becoming extinct. He figured it would be only a matter of several millennia before the last Seeker would die; unless, of course, the war soon ended. There were few new Seekers being made and they were not as strong as they once were. Newer, more powerful Decepticons were designed to replace them; gestalts and, bigger still, the cities. However the larger mechs did not necessarily have the intelligence to lead. They were powerful enough to render their smaller counterparts more or less redundant. As the old adage suggested; "the bigger they are the harder they fall."

He personally believed that Seekers would always be needed as long as they existed. He did not want to feel like his kind were yesterday's models and they no longer had a place in the great scheme of things. It was only now that they were not being created as quickly as they were being destroyed.

Now what? He wondered as he walked to the still form of Sunburst. Starscream knelt down beside her and he carefully picked her up. He brushed his finger across her face as he gently shook her, "Sunburst?" He inquired attempting to get a response. She was still alive: her colours were not subdued. He examined the wound in her chest. It was large, he was certain she was suffering from it. He noticed on the floor there was a large pool of energon. He looked at his hand that held her back. It was covered in the glowing pink fluid. His face wore an expression of pain and sympathy.

He wondered how she had survived the blast looking at all the damage she had sustained. He examined the wound closely and noted that the heat of the blast had sealed some of the ripped conduits. Even at the slow rate of leakage she would soon bleed to death.

Starscream leaned his face close to her audio sensor." Sunburst can you hear me? Please answer me!"

Her optics flickered online. She moved in his arms, turning her head to look. She tried to focus. "Starscream?" She spoke weakly as her body shuddered. "You—you're alive." Her optics flickered and dimmed as she slipped back into unconsciousness.

"Yes it's me, I'm here, take it easy. I'll get you home; I'll get you fixed..." He felt something cold against the back of his head: The barrel of a gun.

"Stand-up." Said the voice of Overcast. "Turn around."

Starscream tipped his head forwards as he off lined his optics for a moment. He heaved a deep breath, exhaling with frustration. He thought he had left Overcast to rot in his cell. How did he manage to get out? He wondered. Starscream placed Sunburst back down on the ground. He slowly stood up as he lifted his hands in surrender and turned around.

"Give me a reason why I shouldn't kill you Decepticon." Overcast grinned at him cruelly. "Not that I would spare your useless life anyway."

"I thought you were ordered to." Responded Starscream weakly. He was exhausted from fighting Galvatron and did not wish to waste energy he might later need messing around with the little Autobot twerp.

Overcast grinned. "I lied. That's what I like about you Decepticon, you're naive. You'll believe anything. No, I'm supposed to bring you in, to send you to the mines. You would not like that." He looked at Starscream's face. "No, I can see that you wouldn't enjoy that. You think you are the best." Overcast laughed softly. "You're nothing, Seeker, and you deserve nothing." The Autobot slowly circled Starscream keeping the muzzle of the weapon trained on him.

"What have I, personally, done to you? I'll rephrase that. What have I done that you've felt the need to scorn me from the very start?"

"You live. That's all. That is enough to warrant me to destroy you and you won't put up a fight. You are not in a condition to."

Overcast had made an apt observation. Starscream was no longer in condition to take another hand to hand battle. However the Seeker steeled himself against what he figured was going to come, he would fight him. "You'll bite off more than you can chew if you challenge me. I'm bigger than you, stronger than you and faster than you." He said in an attempt to deter the Autobot from attacking. Sunburst whimpered softly and he shot a worried glance over at her. The trip back to Cybertron was going to be lengthy and she had lost a lot of energon.

Overcast laughed. "You're so over sure of yourself. Look around you, Seeker, all you ever achieve in life is death and destruction; This won't be any different. As much as I would love to hear you beg, I'll be quick about it."

He wondered if he could buy himself some time to allow his self repair systems an opportunity to fix internal damage. "Please let me get her back to Cybertron. She needs repair. Then I will return with you as your prisoner." Truth was he would flee Cybertron and pray the Guanas kept to the flight path meeting him en-route.

"See, you don't understand Starscream. I have no intention of returning you to Cybertron alive. There is no challenge in it, no sport." Overcast looked down at the supine female Seeker. Yes she had freed him but she too was a Decepticon and the only good Decepticon was a dead one. She was almost dead as it was, so it would be little effort to finish her off before killing Starscream. "And she would have to die too 'cause she would only blab her mouth off otherwise." He aimed his weapon at her oozing chest. He had almost pulled the trigger when Starscream grabbed the gun out of his hand and twisted his arm behind his back. He jerked Overcast aside and shoved his face into the wall in one quick violent move. Starscream held the gun to the back Autobot's head as he used his knee to pin him.

"I'll kill her, then I'll kill you," Overcast managed to gasp out. Hatred and fury flashed in his icy cold optics.

"You so much as touch that Seeker... Overcast..." The Seeker screamed punching the Autobot in the back viciously. He knew, however, he could not promise that he would not kill him.

"You're a coward; you don't have the guts to try anything! Your threats are hollow they're meaningless!" Sneered Overcast. The Autobot Pinzgauer was almost fearless of the much larger Decepticon. "You're yellow."

"You've a death wish don't you, Overcast?" Starscream was shocked with the Autobot's audacity in harassing him while he was in a position to kill him. "You want me to try to kill you so you can get me destroyed. You've antagonised me for the last time!" Starscream pounded the Autobot a couple more times on the head before he chose to use the butt of the gun that he had seized to slam against the back of the Autobot's metal skull ferociously.

Overcast uttered a pained gasp as he went limp in the Seeker's grasp. Starscream stepped back releasing his hold and allowed Overcast to fall to the ground without resistance.

Starscream stared at the mess that was Galvatron. He was still unsure if the mech was dead or only unconscious. He hoped he was dead. He did not want a replay of the last time he assumed he had succeeded. Starscream aimed his weapon and initiated the top setting. He fired; nothing only smoke issued forth. He looked at the muzzle of his weapon in disgust then gave Galvatron a swift angry kick in the head. He leaned down and picked up the orange cannon: It was heavy and severely damaged. He looked at it closely and decided he might keep it as a trophy.

He looked over at Sunburst. He was torn; he wanted to take her to get her fixed but he was inexplicably loathed to return to Cybertron. He was suddenly torn between two worlds. If he returned to Cybertron he would be repaired then sent to work to death in the mines; he did not desire that. He wanted this; Charr and leadership of the Decepticons. It was what he always wanted. It was his driving force and it was by all rights his now.

His azure hand caressed the throne as if it was his dearest love. He wanted this more than anything. If being the leader of the exalted Decepticon forces meant he would be forever alone, so be it. However he did not wish to see another Seeker die unnecessarily. He had seen too many pass on, ignominiously, in recent decades.

Starscream could not resist temptation any longer. He stepped around to the front of the throne and sat down. Keeping a worried optic on Galvatron, his hands rested lightly on the armrests. He sat straight and proud as he laughed shrilly in delight. "This is nice." He thought. It felt as if the throne was designed for him. He held Galvatron's weapon across his lap.

A couple more Sweeps entered. They stopped, mouths gaping. Galvatron lay motionless at the foot of the dais. Another Sweep still, if not dead, with a smoking hole in his chest. Starscream sat proudly on the throne in the centre. He was holding the orange cannon that belonged to Galvatron. One Sweep drew his weapon and moved to fire.

Starscream smiled, a chilling smile, a smile of a cold blooded killer. He wanted to keep this perspective. He aimed his rifle and fired a null ray at the attacking Sweep. The Sweep ran for cover as the blast hit him. He flew head over heels and crumpled in a heap in a corner of the room. He was pleased that his lowest setting was still functioning fine despite the power drain.

The second Sweep did nothing. He stood slack mouthed and dropped his weapon. It clattered to the floor. He put his hands up. "If it helps, I surrender," he said nervously.

"I am glad I am not feeling resistance from everyone. All those who resist me will die." Starscream sneered keeping his weapon trained on the Sweep.

He decided it would be a good idea to get himself and the Seeker back to Cybertron for repair. He doubted the Decepticons had an adequate repair facility on this ruin of a world, Cybertron would be better. All he needed were the Autobot's tools and his knowledge of Seeker physique to make the necessary repairs. He wondered if he would get a reprieve if he brought Sunburst back.

He abruptly thought of Teris. What would she think about all this? He intended to come back here. Did he really care anymore? Yes. It was then he realised that he was now torn between three worlds; Guandonnaland being the third. He had hand raised the Guanas from their primitive stone age to a level that would rival humans. He had even managed to instil hostility towards their mammalian counterparts. He felt a sort of responsibility for them. They did not need him anymore, his time with them was done, he assured himself. They had served their purpose. Their minds still fascinated him, how can a creature learn so much in such a short time?

"Your orders?" Inquired the Sweep.

The Seeker broke from his train of thought. He looked at the Sweep with a brilliant flash of his red optics. "Kill him." Starscream said nodding in the direction of Overcast. He was tired of the little Autobot. He did not want him to make more reports, he did not want him to inform Rodimus that he had returned to the Decepticons. It would be problematic especially getting repaired and finally escaping.

"No! Starscream! Don't...wait please!" Whimpered Overcast as the Sweep shot him several times with his blaster.

Starscream leaned back into the throne steepling his fingers, smiling with pleasure and satisfaction as Overcast's fingertips twitched and jerked with each pull of the Sweep's trigger. The little mech moaned softly as the icy blue glow flickered, dimmed and finally faded from his optics as his body turned grey.

"Dead mechs tell no lies." Said Starscream with a laugh as soon as the Autobot died. He decided it was better to have the Sweep's weapon energy signature on the body of Overcast than his own, not that he had the power to shoot the little nuisance. He still had his plans and he needed to be able to play innocent.

"Is there anything else you wish me to do?" Said the shocked Sweep who shook nervously regarding Starscream. He was afraid to aggravate the usurper for fear of being shot.

Starscream pushed himself to his feet and strode over to the yellow Seeker. "Good question." He said, picking Sunburst up and holding her somewhat carelessly in his arms. "Inform the rest of the troops that I, Starscream, am now the rightful leader of the Decepticons. I will be back shortly." He reached down to grab the lifeless body of Overcast. "I have some unfinished business to attend to. Ensure the bodies of those dead are destroyed. Except for Windraker and the other white Seeker," Starscream added looking down for a second at Sunburst; she remained unconscious. "Put them in a crypt and mark their places." He did not think she heard him. "Ensure Galvatron is properly slagged." Starscream turned away from the Sweep and left the throne room.

Chapter 15 - Irrefutible Evidence Chapter 17 - Bridge Over the River Acheron