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Chapter 6 Any Doubts?

Here the children, hear the children, they are talking to him.
Here the wind blow, hear the wind blow, it is coming for him.
See the grass grow, see the grass grow, it whispers his name.
See the fire glow, see the fire glow, his heart is the flame.

-Maragret Singana, We are Growing

It was raining quite heavily. Santor was in a heated discussion with Madba the chief, in the strange language the lizards spoke in. The chief was angry about traditions getting tossed aside.

"How do we know that this creature is what he says?" asked the chief.

"My noble lord Madba, he has been to this planet before. He knows the ancestors. Don't doubt him." said the shaman.

"What about the hunts? He has forbidden us to hunt the Wyvern! That was our major source of food."

"The lord Starscream has checked the Wyvern numbers. There are fewer and fewer of them. He says they are endangered, which is why we were taught to farm. Our animals are fatter than the wild caught ones and they are also healthier."

"BAH! There will always be enough...." started the chief as he was interrupted by the shaman.

"Noble lord Madba, I would not anger this god. He has been patient and fair, but I fear he could become quite nasty if he is pushed that way." the shaman said gently.

The chief shot him an angry look. "If the god is who he says he is, then let him bring me a Wyvern."

The chief stood outside his door and shouted in a booming voice... "If the lord Starscream can really hear this, bring me a wyvern, bring it to me today!"

Fifteen minutes later he looked at the shaman in an "I told you so" manner. But suddenly everyone stopped and looked. There was a whine of jet engines and a huge sonic boom that sent a number of Guanas to their backsides, as a white and red jet streaked overhead into the clouded sky.

The shaman looked at the chief and winked. "Your wish is my command." he bowed and left.

* * *

Starscream watched the monitor in the privacy of his own room. He had tuned into a heated discussion between the shaman and the chief. The chief openly doubted Starscream as a god. How impetuous of him.

The Seeker glanced one more time at the image of the over-indulgent lizard on the screen and flicked it off with a harsh tap of a key. He sat glaring at the screen with his head propped on his hand.

His mind was troubled with indecision; if he hunted down a Wyvern, he would be giving into their demands, however if he did not, he would be giving them proof that he was not a god. He enjoyed the attentions the creatures gave him, revelling in their literal worship of his skills and intelligence, of his strength and power, and more over, of his ability to fly.

'Then what's your problem? Go hunting. You need to release some of that tension that you have in you from fighting your natural instincts. Have fun, kill something and prove that you are indeed omnipotent.'

Starscream's eyes flashed brightly at that thought. He smirked at the screen as he pushed himself up out of the chair.

"Tradition. I'll show them tradition."

He strode across the room to the huge chest of drawers that the Guana people had built for him. He opened the drawer and looked at all the strange bits, bobs, and assorted junk he had accumulated over the years. The Guanas kept making and giving him things he really did not need. This drawer was a testimony to that effect.

"I know you are in here." he murmured to himself as he fished through the cluttered drawer. His hands groped blindly through the mess. His fingers touched something soft. "There you are." He pulled the still folded purple robe out from the drawer. A few things fell to the ground with a clatter. He stooped to pick them up and returned them to the chest and slid the drawer shut.

He had once suggested that the Guanas use the hide of a Wyvern as armour to protect themselves during their hunts. The suggestion was cheerfully accepted but there was a drawback; Wyvern skin, although very tough, was also very heavy. He showed them to make a variation of the armour he had once seen on Earth, when he had been thrown back into Earth's past.

The armour that the skin made was beautiful, solid and sleek, but it lacked the freedom of movement that the Guanas were used to. They could not move well enough to throw, dodge the spit, or get out of the way when they fell and got atomised under one of the massive flat feet; so, the armour idea was summarily dismissed. They faired better in a fight in their simple clothes with the knowledge that a hit equalled death.

"Now for weapons"

Starscream had decided he would take on his quarry with traditional style Guana hunting weapons; in other words, a spear. He stepped over to an ornate tapestry that hung on the wall and drew it back exposing a simple metal door that lead into the armoury.

The armoury contained most of the strange weapons he had put together, from small laser pistols to large rifles. He also had boxes of ammunition, charge clips and rockets.

His own null rifles hung neatly on a wall. He did not use them much anymore so he hung them up out of the way. There was no real point in keeping them on, save for instilling the odd bit of fear into the people.

His had several examples of primitive weaponry that his more curious side had insisted on constructing. Various sizes of bows; long, short and compound, arrows, that could be considered spears to the reptiles, spears made of wood and one made of titanium, a crossbow hung on the wall. To a human this would have been the size of a medieval ballista.

Sitting on a shelf all of its own was a simple slingshot. He had had one once before, back on Earth. Lying next to it in a bowl was a heap of unstable energon "marbles". He did not use the sling shot often but it still had a nostalgic appeal.

He selected the titanium spear. Its shaft glowed with sheen in the light. It was tipped with a heavy razor sharp carbide head seamlessly joined to the shaft. The weight of the head was balanced by the length of the spear. The spear was streamlined perfection, so smooth that air would barely slow it down.

He did not care much for the wooden spears with their stone tips. They were porous, uneven in weight; their stone tips were often too rough. His attempts at making stone tools were laughable. He had watched the Guana tool makers chipping rapidly away at a stone until they produced a beautiful sharp head. Starscream's results would have made a Neanderthal hominoid laugh.

* * *

Starscream stood by the altar as the stone slid across the entrance sealing it. His optics flashed in irritation of the rain and the fact that the loathsome chief compelled him to prove that he was indeed all powerful.

It was winter in the northern hemisphere of Guandonnaland, equated to unrelenting rain. It was a time of flooding, lakes would rise and swamps would be overflowing. However, it was a time of good fishing.

Although the odd Guana drowned in the floods, it was quite rare. Their gills allowed them to gather food supplies that are only found in the bottoms of lakes and rivers during this very miserable time of year. They could stay underwater for upwards of an hour. This ability was another bonus point for them when compared to a human. The humans died very easily when held underwater for more than a couple of minutes.

Their gills were located behind their jaw and neck join. They were sealed shut when they were not in use. Keeping them open to the air caused them to dry out and hurt them tremendously, or so the shaman had said when he inquired. Only when a Guana went underwater for longer than his lung capacity could handle, did the gills unseal themselves and start to extract useable oxygen from the water. About an hour after coming out of the water the gills re-sealed themselves.

He stepped away from the altar, his feet sinking into the very soft soggy ground each time he took a step. He strode to the outer ring of stones and transformed. He purposefully flew very low over the village at supersonic speed. He dipped his wing to the right and flew to the distant green mountains in the north.

'That should rattle them a bit.' He thought cheerfully.

The weather system was huge, the sky overcast as far as he could see. When he checked with his satellites, the cloud coverage was several thousand square kilometres. He flew just under the ceiling of grey clouds looking down at the misty hills, valleys and jungles. Lakes were noticeably larger and rivers brown with mud. Ahead, loomed the young mountains; between them was a valley with a small herd of Wyverns.

Wyverns were gregarious by nature. They roamed in herds ranging in size from ten to five hundred animals. However times being as they were, the largest herd on the planet was only made up of one hundred individuals. What he sought was to locate a solitary beast. In groups they were formidable adversaries. Guanas only hunted the loners, generally the young males who stood at the fringes of a herd's territory. They occasionally fought small territory skirmishes. If an animal from another herd strayed into a herd's grounds they would drive the intruder out. However come breeding season, the herds swapped their young members. It helped strengthen their bloodlines.

He had noticed a drastic decrease in the animals since he taught the Guanas how to make and use the bow and arrow and the crossbow. He decided he was not going to give the Guana peoples laser firearms until they understood the drawbacks.

He located the herd in the valley. Starscream circled over the area taking note of how many animals there were. He figured there were a few more males in that herd than females and there were also four very young beasts. Family units stayed close together in the centre of the herd. The unattached males wandered further out. There was a young adult male about three kilometres from the main herd. He made his selection.

His chosen prey had just shot a large flying reptile out of the air as Starscream made his approach. The large beast began to feed.

Starscream transformed holding his spear in his hand and with his robe tucked under his arm. He landed quietly behind a grove of tall cycads and fern trees. He propped his titanium spear against a tree as he unfolded the soft purple Wyvern skin robe. He pinned it around him awkwardly. He crouched and observed the animal.

The Wyvern was almost fully grown; about twenty meters in length from snout to tail tip and stood about four and a half meters tall at the hip. Its wings were folded neatly to its side. It had its face deep inside the carcass. It ate with a hideous slurping noise. Its teeth crunched noisily on lye brittle bones, snapping and popping with each movement of its jaws. He had witnessed them eating vegetative matter so they were by all definition omnivores, but they seemed to have a preference for flesh. Starscream had gathered that it had much to do with the fact they were warm blooded and needed food that could be quickly digested to maintain their internal body heat. They were not fast movers, but if they needed to they could run.

Starscream took a deep breath and silently moved forward. He clutched the spear tightly in his hands and did not take his optics off his prey. He was now the hunter again. The thrill of the upcoming challenge released electro-adrenaline into his energon ducts, as a result, his fuel pump began to work harder and his mind sharpened.

He took another step forward. A reverberating crack echoed through the clearing. He cringed and froze not daring to move.

The animal lifted its bloody head from the kill; its orange-red eyes glittered with suspicion. Huge gobs of torn bloody flesh hung from its mouth as it glanced around itself in mid chew. Seeing nothing immediately, it used its long tongue to suck the meat into its massive maw, it chewed and swallowed. Its eyes glowered in Starscream's direction. Its tongue made one last sweep of its mouth before it lowered its head back into its kill. However, it did not remove its gaze from Starscream's position.

Starscream stood frozen in fear. He knew that some animals did not attack if their prey did not move. Some however, attacked regardless if it moved or not. He hoped that the Wyvern would forget he was even there. Holding still was the best course of action at this present moment.

The creature resumed his feeding but he never looked away. He seemed to know that Starscream was there. Another disturbing revelation was its apparent lack of concern. He was going to have to try and distract it like the Guanas did when they hunt. He carefully groped around for a piece of rock or something. His hands found a piece of the broken log he had trodden on. His fingers slowly closed around it.

He waited and watched the animal eat. Slowly its eyes strayed back to its kill. Starscream chose that moment to throw the chunk across the clearing. The piece hit the ground with a thump followed by a few quieter thumps and a rustle as it disappeared into the bushes beyond.

The animal's head snapped up to the new sound. Its eyes opened wide and its nose sniffed the air. The animal became fully alert to the new sound. It suddenly opened its jaws and a huge gob of blood stained lye flew out and hit the landing site of the long with deadly accuracy.

Starscream chose that moment of distraction to leap from behind the trees and run forward towards the animal. The sound of his footsteps attracted the beast's attention. The ground in the glade was very wet and muddy from the rain. He slithered with each step until his foot found a hollow hidden by a puddle of water. He slipped backwards into the mud with a splash. In his reflex he dropped his titanium spear and let out a nervous shriek. He landed hard and lay there for a moment stunned.

'Get up fool!' A thought screamed at him.

The bloodied head of the Wyvern snapped around. Their eyes met for a moment and the great reptiles mouth opened and another volley of gore filled lye flew at the fallen Decepticon.

'Move faster!' The thought insisted.

Starscream twisted to his left bending his wing unnaturally underneath him for a moment. He managed to leap to his feet as he cried out in alarm as the gob splattered the ground where he had just lain. The robe covered most of his back and part of his wings. The spray from the lye peppered the robe and a few droplets fell against his exposed wing. He cringed at the burning sensation but the sensation was minor, the damage was minimal. It was thankfully not a direct hit. He knew if it had hit, it would have undoubtedly killed him.

The animal reared and brought its forelegs high into the air. It beat its wings to help stabilise itself in the bipedal position. It snapped his head back and started to bring its feet down. Its eyes looked at Starscream as if he were a minor irritation: an insect. It bellowed a challenge.

Starscream's mouth dropped as he looked up in surprise. He had never seen a Wyvern rear before. Its wings beat the air and caused a massive down draft. The animal now towered above him by about twelve meters. He started to run back to the trees; there was going to be one phenomenal crash when the animal planted its massive flat feet back down on the ground.

As the animals feet connected with the ground Starscream leapt into the air. His robe got caught in the spiny trees and he was yanked back down. The ground shuddered with a boom, trees shook and birds and flying reptiles took to the air. Starscream angrily yanked at the robe's amber pin and pulled the offending cape off.

He leapt again into the air. It was no wonder that the Guanas did not like to hunt wearing the armour. Even this cape was causing more harm than good, putting him in dangerous situations. Starscream spotted his spear lying on the ground where he had slipped. By luck it had not been smashed when the animal reared.

The enraged Wyvern opened his mouth and spat again. Starscream, being a master of the air, dodged the gore tainted slime easily. He shot down to the ground and ran to the spear stooping as he ran and grabbed it. He spun around and met the gaze of his quarry. They locked eyes.

Starscream stood still for a moment and the animal regarded him with a baleful stare. The stare was full of hate and malice. It wanted to crush this intruder once and for all. Its pupils narrowed and its sides heaved with its heavy breathing. The rank stench of its breath mingled with the odour of blood from its kill, mud from the ground and the rain. Its mouth opened but it did not fire. Starscream stood his ground.

Starscream started to run, tossing the spear into the air and catching it in a better position that would help enhance the power of his throw. As he ran the huge animal trumpeted a battle cry. It reared to full height its neck stretched right into the air. It bellowed again. Starscream's optics saw right in front of him the unprotected belly of the great beast. With his skills and speed he could not possibly miss. He drew his arm back and pitched forwards with all his strength. His fingers let go of the shaft and the titanium spear glittered in its strange gleaming colours as it penetrated deep into the Wyvern. Starscream yelled as he dove in the opposite direction to his attack away from the rearing animal. He hoped that the animal, when it came down, would miss him.

The animal let out a dying bellow. Starscream's carbide tip had penetrated the huge heart of the beast. The force of Starscream's plunge put the Wyvern off balance. The animal staggered backwards and fell. Its body hit the ground with a tremendous crash. The ground vibrated and Starscream fell to his back. The animal thrashed its neck and tail around as it experienced its death throws. Trees were smashed and the ground was torn up. The clearing became a quagmire of blood and mud. Suddenly the animal gave one more dying spasm and stopped moving.

'One hit, one kill. Excellent.' He thought.

The hunt was not only nerve wracking but a heck of a thrill. He crouched for a moment allowing his energon pump to stop hammering. He admired his handiwork, but now came the problem of how to get it back to the village. It was too large for him to move on his own. He sighed inwardly. He was going to have to skin and butcher it himself. Not a task he thought he entirely wanted to do. He pulled an energy blade out of subspace and proceeded to work.

* * *

Starscream pulled the skin up off the animal and lay it down on the ground. He flicked the knife around in his blood covered hand smiling nastily. He had watched how the Guanas had skinned and butchered their animals. He had never participated in such a task. His attempts to reproduce their methods were satisfactory; it was very similar to dissection. He had peeled back the skin with out opening the gut; a skill indeed.

Eviscerating the creature was a bit more interesting. He slit the body open with his blade and the innards oozed out. They steamed in the slightly cool air. Organic workings were nowhere near as neat and efficient as robotics; although there were some similarities between the function of some of his systems and the function of this beast. He knew if part of his inner working were damaged they could be repaired or replaced. Not so easy on a flesh creature. Humans practised organ transplants. They removed the organs from a terminally injured human to put it into a human whose own inner workings were not so good.

He reached in and removed the liver and heart. He knew the Guanas loved these pieces. It was the reward of a successful hunt: very high in nutrients and energy that they needed to replace after expending so much. They often ate them right on the spot after a hunt while they were still warm and steaming. Rarely did the hunters bring any home. He dropped them into the skin.

He smiled, satisfied. Yes, this was much like a dissection, getting to look inside the great creature, to find out what made it work; however, a vivisection proved to be much more informative. Not only did you get to see what made a specimen work, but how it worked, as it worked.

Starscream looked down at himself again. His legs, chest and arms were coated in the blood of the animal and the mud of the field. He smiled grimly; part of him enjoyed this very much. He carried on removing off the huge carcass what the Guanas considered the choicest cuts of meat. He tossed them onto the skin and finally when he had enough to consider the load more than enough for one trip; he pulled up the corners of the skin and tied it shut with a length of intestine. He transformed. His jet alter-mode was also marred with the blood and mud stains. He figured most of it would be washed off in the driving rain as he shot through the sky towards the village.

* * *

He flew with his heavy burden clasped underneath his body by his grapples. He arrived at the village by mid afternoon. The people gathered as they watched the blood covered god lower his burden into the square. Once it touched the ground he released his hooks and transformed. He landed gracefully holding the titanium spear.

Mud and blood washed off him and coloured the puddles in the square. He leaned down and opened the skin tossing the tie aside. The people looked at him in awe. The shaman strode into the midst and looked Starscream in the optics. Starscream nodded and the shaman ordered the people to remove the gifts. Once the meat was removed from the skin Starscream reached down and held it up. He showed off the hole in the centre. Only one hole could be seen.

"The great one has answered the request of the chief." Santor cried out. "He has saved us the tedious task of hunting this great beast." The shaman bowed gracefully to Starscream. The others knelt for a moment, and then stood up.

"For such loyal service as you have given me, Santor, I shall bring you back the rest shortly." said Starscream in his own tongue. The shaman responded in Guana, elaborating some of the words.

"We offer our thanks and our praise Almighty one...." The shaman was cut off

"I don't," spoke up the deep booming voice of the chief. The people in the square fell suddenly silent.

Starscream's head whirled around to face the chief. His hand tightened on the spear and he turned and let the spear fly at the feet of the chief. The head sank deeply into the soft ground the shaft buried itself at least two meters into the ground. The Seekers optics blazed with fury. He had not just risked his existence, just so this bumbling oaf could insult him further. The chief showed a rare amount of Guana agility and leapt away from the spear.

"You will show respect to your god or you will die." Starscream shrieked as he reached down and captured the chief in a blood streaked blue hand. The chief looked mortified. Starscream was very tempted to crush the lizard to a pulp, he withheld for only one reason; fear. He could use the chief's fear as a weapon against him and others who would dare disobey his wishes. He decided he would appear merciful and give the indolent slob a warning. However the god's anger needed to be demonstrated. He had been far too nice up until this point and the people had grown used to his apparent benevolence.

He held the chief in his left hand and raised him above his head; with his right hand he wrenched the spear out of the ground. His eyes flashed in anger. "If I ever hear one more word of doubt from you again," he said looking at the chief, "any of you," he glanced at the crowd he returned his hateful glare at the chieftain, "I will hunt you down like the fat Wyvern you are. Understood?" His words came out sharply in the language of the Guanas. He tightened his fingers almost imperceptibly but it was enough to give the chief the hint he needed. Starscream could crush his life out of him any time he wished and without hesitation.

The chief looked at Starscream; his face's skin colour was several shades lighter than normal. Fear was very evident.

Starscream shook his hand for a moment, his eyes flashing, "Do you understand?! Creature?" he asked again.

The chief blinked for a moment. "Yes... my lord, Starscream." He said hesitantly, yet clearly.

"Very well then," Starscream half placed, half dropped the chief to the ground. The lizard chief stood up shakily. "Does any one else have any doubts about my validity?" he asked. His voice held a dangerous quaver as if daring someone stupid enough to become his example. He looked over the crowd. "Let them speak now. Nobody? Good. I'll bring back the rest of the animal."

The people looked around slightly nervously. They looked at the chief. It was more than obvious that he was the one who stoked the ire in their lord. The chief bowed nervously. These people were very obedient. They looked from the Wyvern skin to Starscream and back to the shaman. They looked at the spear that Starscream wrenched from the ground. The animal had taken only one wound and that was one that led directly to the heart. Never had a hunt ended with only one spear finding its mark.

Starscream turned abruptly and shot into the sky. He transformed and flew out. He also had to gather the tattered remains of his cape.

Chapter 5 - Obsessed much? Chapter 7 - The Ship