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The Cause
Chapter 2 The Brink of Insanity

All day staring at the ceiling
Making friends with shadows on my wall
All night hearing voices telling me
That I should get some sleep
Because tomorrow might be good for something
Matchbox Twenty Unwell

After days of filling and recharging he decided to go off searching for the creatures that had attacked him at his previous camp. They had not bothered much with him since then, although he thought he could sense them lurking nearby occasionally. He hoped that they would not enter the cave, but even if they did, he doubted that they would understand what the pretty pink stuff was. He was fully charged and confident that he could transform into his alter-mode. It had been a while since he had felt this good, a long while. His stockpile of energon was something that Megatron would have been envious of.

He wandered west then he remembered that he no longer had to walk. With a cheerful yell he leapt into the air and transformed. He fired his jets and sped across the sky. He did a barrel roll but then halted mid-roll. He flew for half a kilometer on his back before righting himself. Yes, he had spotted something. He flew up to a massive height where he could hardly be spotted from the ground. Using long range vision he spotted a small village. Actually there were several of them about fifteen kilometres from his home swamp. The houses were made of skins and simple fabrics made from plant fibers.

The houses looked temporary, like they could be removed at a moments notice and rebuilt somewhere else. There people of all sizes walked from home to home. Some were cooking over fires and others were practicing spear drill. He turned on his microphone and hoped he could listen in on them. Their language was a complex blend of vocal sounds that sounded a notch like some of the languages spoken by Africans back on earth. Starscream had learned several different languages when he was on earth but he preferred English which was very similar to his native Cybertron tongue.

He focused in on the one who was commanding the spear drill. It was repetitive and fascinating. They had made a huge grass ball in the center of a field. They broke the troop into several groups. One would yell a number and the group would rush in. "One in, throw and out, Three in, throw and out, Two in, throw and out, Five in, throw and out, Four in, throw and out." Within each group a name was called and that individual would rush in and throw the spear at the bale and rush out.

They each carried several long shafts and this way their attack was constantly changing direction and changing the person who did the attack. It kept them fresh and it kept the foe confused. It was the same tactic that they used when Starscream was under attack.

One word they kept using was Wyvern, which seemed to be the name of the pile in the middle, the object of their attack. Starscream was not sure if that was the name of the grass material they were hitting, or the name of the beast it was supposed to represent. He was also curious about what that beast might be.

He circled overhead and decided he would return after nightfall to watch them in their village up close. He landed at his cavern and brought out some energon. He needed to find an alternative way to re-fuel without having to physically drink the fluid. It caused him to get quite plastered and sent him into a deep sleep, although his sleep times were far shorter than before due to the fact he never let himself get below sixty percent of charge.

The Seeker sat down at the mouth of the cave, leaned his back against the wall and held up the cube to the mid afternoon sun. "A toast to the freedom of the air." He held the cube to his lips and sipped, savoring the flavor of fresh energon and the scent of a good grade. He watched the sun drift overhead and he fell asleep.

A wind caught up and the clouds rolled in. The leaves in the trees rustled like the whispering of ten thousand voices. Thunder crashed and a tree fell across the entrance of the cave. Starscream awoke startled as a branch hit him across the head. He rubbed the sore spot and crept further into the cave. He looked at the cubes wondering if they would be safe.

It had not stormed in a few days and he had almost forgotten the ferocity of the local weather. Rain blasted from the sky drenching everything in seconds. Streams of water ran down gullies into the swamp not far away. These storms would not do to fly in for any amount of time. If the rain did not send him spiraling into the ground the wind surely would. The fierce storms usually did not last for more than an hour or two, so his plans did not need to be scrapped yet.

It was quite late when the storm passed. He looked at the wet clearing and decided that if he was going to see any of the reptiles he would have to leave immediately. He looked into the sky, then leapt and transformed. He flew at low speed and high altitude. The less noise he made the easier it would be for him to observe unnoticed. At high altitude he transformed and slowly made his descent. Silently he landed outside what seemed to be the main village. It was the one with the huge creature clearing. In the bushes he listened to their talk.

He did this for a couple of months attempting to learn their language. He was quite successful, he thought. He knew most of the words and he learned the word they called themselves: "Guana". He thought it was appropriate. They were a fascinating people. He learned much about their culture from eavesdropping, but he wanted more. He wanted to speak with someone.

He had had only himself for company for a few months and he was talking to himself more and more as of late. He feared this was a sign of him going slowly insane. It took him nearly ten years to glide silently through space in an state of deep hibernation. It was that hibernation that he needed. If he had not had any he would surely have cracked ages earlier.

The Guanas were intelligent on the extreme level. The only reason why they had not advanced themselves was that they seemed wholly content in their present way of life. They had a whole routine of hunting and preserving their foods. They could plan and execute intricate strategies. The elderly in their clans and tribes were regarded with reverence as they held the keys to their wisdom. They had complex maths, and a simple, yet interesting, written language that was more of a hieroglyphic style. Most of their histories were passed down, generation to generation, by rote it seemed. They had very good memories.

They were intensely patient. They spent hours on end planning their hunts. Practicing their skills and tracking their prey, and when they finally faced their quarry, they attacked fiercely. Their speed was amazing. In hunts with smaller animals they could run alongside of them and thrust their stone headed spears deep into the bodies of their prey. Sometimes they even used their claws to rake into the animal's thick hides and bite into the soft throat, ripping the jugular open. Whichever method they used they were quick although not always clean.

As the aggressive and sometimes bloodthirsty hunters they were, they also were very nurturing to their young. He noticed that the female Guanas were a force to be reckoned with if they got pissed off. The females, although they did not hunt, seemed to be in a higher status than the men folk, with only two exceptions the Village leader and the Village shaman.

* * *

It was another season. He figured it was winter. It rained nearly all the time. Rivers were swollen and clouds covered most of the planet. He found that the Guana people had another gift. They had gills as a secondary breathing apparatus, so they could survive underwater for a long time.

He left the Guanas to follow the trail of the Wyvern the huge winged Sauropod he had seen shortly after he had extracted himself from his almost swampy demise. He learned from overhearing the Guanas speaking that they respected this beast. The great monster was very important to their way of life. It was also a way for juvenile Guana males to prove themselves worthy of a mate if they helped in bringing one of these deadly creatures down.

He traced the family that he had seen at his swamp months earlier. The babies were almost fully grown and they had almost lost the ability to fly. 'Why need to fly if you spit lye' rhymed the warrior Starscream in his head. He had found himself thinking as a scientist as of late and his warrior side vied for some room.

Starscream hated this. "You're an idiot. You are starting to sound like Rumble," he whispered to himself in the language of the Guanas, thinking that this was going to have to stop soon. If he ever met any other Transformers they were going to lock him up in a rubber room. If this carried on he was certainly going to go batty.

'Bats in your belfry and wind in your roof. Starscream you are becoming quite the goof. When do you think you are ever going to meet up with another Decepticon. Face it, fly boy, you're here for good. It's too late. You're already batty,' snarled the suppressed warrior.

"What ever good will it be for me if you keep putting down my hope? And I did not say Decepticon, I said Transformer," he muttered, ignoring the fact that he had already suggested that he had gone insane.

'Who cares what you said. Anyway, hope for what? Melting down Galvatron? Come on he's slagged us once what makes you think he won't slag us again? If given a chance.'

He sighed. He had been practicing the Guana language, but now he realized he was speaking in one and answering himself in another. His angry, resentful warrior self responded in English, degrading both his current endeavor and his Cybertronian origin. That half of him seemed to have no self esteem whatsoever.

The Guana-speaking half was an older Starscream, the old self that he had forgotten was there millions of years ago. The self he had abandoned when Skyfire disappeared. The two thought processes had somewhat separated, and he hoped to reunite them to be once again a whole being. The schism had scared him shitless. "Coward," he told himself. "You must not be frightened."

'Frightened? Is that what you think I am?' he thought back. 'If it weren't for me you would never had gotten out of the swamp'

"That was me who did that. You were ready to give up, to let our spark go out. Let our good fortune of getting a second chance at life, our new body, go to waste." He wished this would end. Two minds were only better than one when they occupied separate bodies. He thought grimly of his possession of Scourge... how uncooperative he was.

'You wish it would end now do you? Um.... I had thought it might be a good idea in the swamp until you stopped me'

"Will you shut, ARGH!, up." There was no word in Guana language strong enough to emphasize his frustration."I am not feeling comfortable with two personalities in me so either you bury yourself in my brain somewhere or you rejoin me, since I can't actually destroy you and I would prefer it if you would help me. I can't survive without your exceptional fighting skills." He was feeling frustrated at the moment and thought that buttering his warrior self up would be a good idea.

'I heard that. And my answer is: I'll think about it. Face it, I am the main personality, and it is you that shall join me," hissed his thought at him and his mind suddenly felt whole.

Starscream had to revert to his scientist mode and overcome the urge to want to squish the creatures whenever he crossed paths with them, which was not very often. He wanted to explore the planet further and learn what it could offer him. No one knew he was here and he felt very safe. He liked the Guanas and he wanted to watch them hunt the Wyvern. It appeared it was the ruler of the land and had only one enemy as an adult; the Guanas.

He located a lone male. Not the one of the family he had found months earlier. Starscream had been observing the giant reptile as group of hunters arrived. He had not seen them hunt one before. The only hunt he had experienced was the one in which he had been the prey He backed to the edge of the glade, deep within the bushes The animal was busy eating a creature it had spat out of the sky. It was not very young but it had scars across its hide where it had been hunted before. It appeared they were unsuccessful recently.

A stream gurgled not far behind him. The birds and insects in the area quieted. The Wyvern lifted its bloody face and looked around. Everything was still. The wind blew and the gurgle of the stream was all that could be heard. Starscream dared not move as if he did, the Guanas or the beast would see him and that would spoil the hunt. The venom was pure lye; anything it hit was in immediate danger, and he had no wish to expose the Guanas to needless risk. It was not good for research.

The hunters closed in silently with their stone headed spears poised to throw. One group at the front, and another group came in from behind and a third group came in at the flank. They worked in a pattern of spearing the beast from one side making the animal turn his head to look at the irritating lizard as the next group closed in. They did this in a pattern so they could have time to run from the head as it swung around to meet them . The tactic was amazing and very well thought out. It kept the beast distracted as the next group attempted to make the fatal thrust. They continued like this for an hour and the beast looked like a favorite pin cushion.

The leader of the first group ran in close, perhaps too close. He chucked the spear and it sank into the flesh above the shoulder of the animal. It snapped its head around and opened its mouth. The Guana ran but tripped over a fallen tree. Another Guana ran in to help their leader up. A jet of venom shot out and landed on the downed hunter and splashed the second hunter in the face. The fallen attacker died as the venom ate into his flesh which was not quite instantly. The other lizard held his face screaming as the fluid burned out his eyes ate through his skull and exposed his brain. The venom sank in and the lizard stopped and fell to the ground dead with a gurgling cry.

The hunt carried on despite the tragic loss of two hunters. It carried on with renewed force. In, throw and back away. In, throw and back away. Each group taking a turn. The Wyvern was soon starting to tire from loss of blood and pain. The animal was enraged. It frequently turned his head to spit at the group. It faced where Starscream was hiding. He was too distracted with the Guanas and their continued energy and before he knew it the animal had spat a huge ball of gooey venom. The Guanas nearby leapt left and right to get out of the way and it flew unhindered at Starscream.

He howled in pain as the venom touched his body. He stood fully upright, aimed his weapon at the giant reptile and fired. The huge animal fell to the ground with a thud. It twitched and then died. The Guanas stopped and cheered.

Starscream wailed. The venom had rapidly burned through his upper left hip and midriff. He ran for the stream and started to wash the horrible stuff off. Water entered his open wound and several circuits crackled. He shrieked and cursed as the water triggered his internal pain sensors. There were a couple of other spots that the venom had splattered and a couple of tiny holes appeared in his left leg and arm. He washed at the lye until he was sure it was all gone. Something pink coloured the water. Energon. Starscream groaned. He was not too far from his cavern, that was a positive. The negative was that he had no idea how he was going to stem the flow.

'Cauterize it, you idiot. You're the scientist.', he thought to himself in frustration.

Starscream did not like the idea of expending energy on a small laser burn in his hip but decided it was better than bleeding. He pointed his index finger at the oozing energon conduits and fired a small laser. He bit his lip against the anguish, his hand shook and he severed a transformation circuit.

'You idiot. You twit. What the hell did you do that for? How are we going to fly if you go cutting out your transformation circuit.' he thought to himself angrily.

"It would help if you did your job and suppressed the pain for me" he whispered back.

'Oh blame me now, why don't you.' he snapped back in his head. 'You're the one in control and it was your bright idea to get this close to the Wyvern. You knew what it was capable of.'

"Will you shut up and let me cauterize the rest of the bleeds and lend a hand to suppress the pain?"

'I'm sorry,' he thought back. His mind quiet, he finished the rest of the cauterizing with very little pain.

The Guanas had gathered at the edge of the stream. Several minutes passed before Starscream realized he was being watched. He stopped his self surgery, and stared in amazement. The creatures had all dropped to their knees. One alone stood and said something in their tongue. He understood it partially:

"Thank you. Lord of the sky, for helping us with this hunt"

Starscream the warrior liked this development and he took complete control to the surprise of the scientist. Thinking quickly, he replied, "I shall help you take this Rock to your home, as a gesture of my bad odour to you," in halting Guana.

The scientist in him whispered, 'You should let me do the talking. You screwed up the words.' Starscream ignored the thought.

The Lizard cocked his head and replied "Rock? Bad odour?"

Starscream laughed and shrugged. The lizard shaman replied with the correct words.

The creatures delighted in the offer of the red and white God.

Decepticon nature is to squelch all that is in the way of their plans However with the sudden change in the local fauna's wish to worship him as a God, he decided that squishing this group might be best placed on the back burner. He did not like little flesh creatures but these appealed to his ego. He thought it over for a few minutes and decided he would take this creature under his wing and teach him everything he knew that would help him get off this marshy rock. He helped them bind the monster to a huge pole and they dragged it back to the village.

The Scientist and Warrior personalities merged together. They agreed that one mind was better than two. Most of the time. The Guana's name was Santor, and they chatted on the route to his home.

"I must return to my home" He pointed to the southeast "I need to get "food" that I can use to replenish my reserves. I lost a lot in the attack." It was obvious to the Guanas that Starscream could be hurt, and he could bleed, but he was also so big and powerful and unique that he must be a god.

"Please, O great one, let me join you?"

"Um, that might not be a good idea. It's not safe there" Starscream did not want the shaman to see his cavern.

"Are you ashamed that you live in such a humble abode as that cave near the swamps? We could do you better"

'Rats' he thought, the shaman knew about his cave. "I would rather go alone. This is my wish, so be it."

"As you will, my lord" The shaman made a deep bow and Starscream turned and headed home. It was a long trek on foot and took a couple of hours. The sky was turning dark for night and the storms were heading in. He really did not want to be caught in the storm and with a small amount of effort he managed to run the rest of the way home.

The cave loomed up. The pink glow of energon emanated from it. He was glad to be back. He sat on the worn log at the mouth of the cave and watched as the rain poured forth. He was tired and sore. His side was bothering him but there was nothing he could do to fix it. He just had to keep it clean. He went to the middle of the cave where he had his "sleeping" area which consisted of a couple of long logs that were flattened on one side and bound together with vines and covered with large fresh leaves. Not that he needed to have a "bed" he just preferred not to have to rest on the grubby ground.

He took an energon cube from the pile and sat on his couch. He refueled, enjoying the flavor of the energon and the warmth it gave him as it entered his somewhat diminished internal reserves. He looked at his gaping wound. He was kicking himself for letting his more curious side get too close.

He whimpered. He felt aggrieved by sudden loss of aerial freedom. If only he could have suppressed the pain or kept a steadier hand. It was the fear of the moment, he knew. That he had taken a direct hit from a creature he knew could be deadly even to him. It was lucky for him it was low. If he had taken a hit to his head or face, it would have been fatal -- no ifs, ands, or buts about it!

It was because of one of his old fears, getting attacked by a Wyvern in the night, that he chose to move into the cavern. He thought however that if he could see it he could get out the way but he had been far more interested in what the flesh creatures were up to.

"You thought wrong, scientist," he murmured in between sips.

'Chalk it up as experience.' the scientist suggested cheerfully. 'Not to worry, I have a plan and if you listen and help we can get through this alive.' The scientist had ceased speaking in Guana since he was reduced to secondary personality.

"What sort of plan do you have?" asked Starscream aloud.

'Well we need each other, we are literally part of a whole, you and I. But I have the brains and you are the brawn', the scientist said cooly.

"Did you absolutely have to say Brawn" muttered Starscream as he tossed the empty energon cube aside. He pulled his feet up onto the couch and crossed them at the ankles. He tucked his hands behind his head and looked blankly at the ceiling "You know I hated that stupid Autobot"

'I didn't mean him, silly. I was referring to your tactical skill. You are a good fighter. Yes? You have strengths that I don't possess. I will tell you one thing that you don't have and won't if you don't acknowledge me at all. I have a skill, logical thinking. Tune me out and you will just be Starscream the loser, as you always have been. I have a skill. I can help you become a better leader, if that is what you wish.'

Starscream was shocked with himself. "You think I am a loser?"

'And a traitor, someone who can't be trusted. Even by me.' he retorted.

"This is unhealthy," he replied shakily, "when I can't even trust myself."

'Very unhealthy,' his scientist replied gently, 'but trust me and you will trust yourself. It will be a boost to your overall morale.'

"What is it that you need me to do?"

'Well it's something you would love to do. Act like a god.'

"Astrotrain tried that once....."

'You are alone here what you say goes.... I first need you to learn more about this culture...'

* * *

The Seeker became very fluent in Guana. The shaman had helped in honing his sentence structure. Starscream in return had taught him his own language and English. He insisted that the shaman use only the language of the gods to him when he was in the presence of other Guanas. This was a good idea as it seemed more important as a ritual tool if the Guana shaman could translate Starscream's words to the others. The shaman readily agreed.

Strange he thought. That he would become friends with a flesh creature. He decided he was going somewhat soft being away from his own kind for so many years. Then again he decided that this flesh creature was better than being one hundred percent alone. At least he had some slaves to do his bidding when he wanted it done with no questions asked. 'Now, now, great shining one' the scientist chided 'You're not going soft. You are learning what you should have learned. I've had millions of suppressed years to think things over.'

Starscream groaned. Whenever he had an off moment the scientist emerged. He regretted that he could not boot him out of his head. There were times he was far too logical and cool and in some ways dispassionate.

'Then again, you are not one hundred percent alone. You have me!' he thought brightly. 'And you should not think of the people as slaves. They are your subjects' Let me remind you that I will force myself to dominance if the topic requires a more scientific mind. Yours is good, mine is more understanding. Not that I am trying to imply anything, Screamer. I would rather that you co-operate and just give me room to do my job.'

Starscream almost yelled back at that remark but he held his tongue and let the scientist come forth.

The shaman knew much about the plants and animals that lived on the planet and taught Starscream the various properties and uses for the local fauna and flora. The information that he gave Starscream had amazed the Decepticon. He found out that when the Wyvern was killed the contents of the stomach was carefully poured into a pot of melted fat and the women made a primitive soap. Starscream taught him how to remove lye from wood ashes, it would be safer than taking out a dangerous animal. He also taught them how to make soap in a safer way, using specific lye- fat ratios. 'Where the hell did you learn to make lye and soap?' asked the warrior. The scientist muttered very very quietly "primitive human technology from the internet, ages ago. You were asleep. Keep quiet."

The Shaman it appeared was a sort of simple scientist as well as a religious leader in his village. Starscream learned when someone was ill it was up to the shaman to help heal the sick. So Starscream taught him some basic information on microorganisms. This allowed him to explain how diseases were passed from one organism to another. His only personal experience with disease was with the strange metallic eating plague Cosmic Rust, the concept was the same. Also using the herbal information the shaman had given him, Starscream improved medicine made of the local herbs to make them more effective. The sick were healing faster.

When hunting was poor it was up to the shaman to call the Gods to help with the hunt. It appeared that the hunting had been very poor and their losses were high with previous hunts. It was the hunt that Starscream had been hurt in the shaman was called to witness and all was looking lost until Starscream had accidentally intervened, so it appeared the shaman's call to the god had been heard.

The Guanas from other villages now regarded Starscream as a god. This pleased the warrior in him very much. He reveled in the glory that being bestowed he felt the Decepticons should have been more like this.

'They might have, if you had allowed me to co-pilot,' the scientist whispered in his head, late one night in the cave he called home.

"If I had known you were there," replied Starscream, "I might have sought your advice, but I was still grieving for Skyfire's loss."

Starscream as a whole felt a pang of regret. He hated thinking of the loss. Skyfire was the closest thing he had ever had to a father or friend. He felt a loss again when Skyfire defected and joined the Autobots.

"You are not perfect, Scientist. Or you would have chalked that one up as experience. Instead you left me alone and you buried yourself in the back and I guess I forgot you were there"

'You buried me and then ignored me. I objected when you forgot me. You got that irritating self loathing. You hated yourself and what you had become. You wanted that father figure, so you sought out your hero, Megatron. What good has he done for you? Belittle you, humiliate you, insult you and if that was not enough, he would even beat you till you were blubbering at his feet and he would threaten to kill you. Some hero. I hated what he had done to you. But you were too powerful a personality to break free from. Your self-esteem is dismal. We were both frightened. That I will admit. But I would never have become what you were if I was left in control. I would have pulled the trigger when that moment came up and killed the bastard.' his thought rambled on.

"I guess I am not perfect." he sighed. And laid on his side drawing his fingers through the dirt.

'If you had me in at least the co-pilots seat, my dear friend, I am sure I could have also snagged that chick in the war academy. What was her name again'

"Sunburst" he breathed, remembering the lovely young female Decepticon. A warmth beat at his face. "Do you have any recollection as to what happened to her?" he asked himself.

'If you don't know then I really can't tell you.'

"Why the hell not?" he snapped at himself.

'Because I don't know. But I saw how she looked at you during your training sessions'

"What was her alternative mode again?" he asked.

'Seeker dummy. She was a Seeker like you. You could have flown missions with her if you showed but an ounce of interest. If any of the Decepticons ever knew you are still a virgin after all these years I would even be humiliated beyond all reason. You loved the Decepticon cause more than anything else in the world and look where it got you. Dead.'

"WHY YOU!..... ARRGH! You had to bring that up" Starscream hissed in anger and embarrassment "Shut up and go away, you are REALLY pissing me off to the point I could blow my head off."

'You could not do that. I would take over, but as you wish. Good night and sweet dreams' the scientist in him shut up.

The coming weeks were to be stressful for the Seeker as his two inner selves bickered with each other. He was severely frightened of what had become of him. There seemed no way to just shut one of the personalities out, to ignore them and carry on with his life or the plan. It was simple, he needed that older self to help him out of his mess.

He stood looking into the water of the lake. The sun was just rising. He did not get rest, he was thinking of Sunburst. He regretted the missed opportunity. He could see her in his mind. She was a lovely, golden, Earth sun yellow. With very long legs. Her alter-mode was a variation of his own. She was very, very fast. Nowhere near as quick as himself, but she came very close. She was one of the very few female Seekers created, so she had the pick of the males.

She had initially chosen him. She had made a good choice. Starscream was handsome, but he was more interested in learning his lectures. Whenever she spoke to him he would just stammer and look like an idiot to the point of embarrassment.

'I guess she just gave up' his insides whispered to him. 'Do you know who she ended up with? Windraker.'

"Windraker?" he gasped. "He was a very depressing Decepticon to be around, almost as bad as Dirge."

Starscream watched as the sky changed from orange pink to lavender then blue. The sun rose overhead and the humidity started to increase. He tossed a rock into the lake turned and headed out to the village.

Chapter 1 - Destitution Chapter 3 - The God Complex