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The Cause
Chapter 8 Teris

Watching in a trance,
the crew is certain.
Nothing left to chance,
all is working.
Trying to relax
up in the capsule
"Send me up a drink."
jokes Major Tom.
The count goes on...

4, 3, 2, 1
Earth below us
drifting, falling.
Floating weightless
calling, calling home..

- Peter Schilling, Major Tom

The Ship stood silhouetted against the setting sky; its huge triangular bulk filled the launch area. Lights were on in many of the windows and fuelling was almost complete. Supplies and foodstuffs were being loaded into the cargo bays and the last wagon loads of energon were brought in from Starscream's base. The final preparations were almost complete and all system checks were performed and finished. The Blue Dragon was ready for her first flight.

The Guanas were trying to finish their tasks efficiently yet quickly. There was going to be a huge going away party outside the launch area and no one wanted to miss it.

Starscream over looked the removal of the energon from his home. He kept a small amount back for up keep. Santor stood beside him barking orders at the workers. He stepped towards his quarters, "Santor come along I need to speak with you in private." Starscream held the door open for the reptile and closed it quickly behind him. Starscream regarded the regal looking lizard for a moment. He stood before the Seeker clasping his hands behind his back standing proud.

"I want you to maintain my home for me," Said Starscream looking around the large room that had been his abode for the past seven years. He was going to leave it as it was. As soon as he manages to take over the Decepticons, he would return, and use this place as his personal retreat.

"Whatever you desire, M'lord."

"I want it ready for my return. It could be in a couple of weeks or even years. I hope, however, to be back in less than a year. If I can't make it back immediately I will send your people home. I will return soon thereafter."

"As you order, great one."

"Also, fuelling my ship has depleted my energon reserves. I would like you to have your people multiply their energon output. You are not building a ship any more so you can spare the labour." Starscream handed the lizard a slip of paper from his desk. "These are locations of prime energy sources. See to it your people locate them and tap them." The Guana nodded. The Seeker hesitantly handed the Guana another wad of papers. "These are ground to air weapons. Build them to defend yourselves against others like me. They are not for hunting." Starscream had thought long about handing the lizards plans for weapons that could easily take out a Transformer. He did not relish the idea of suddenly becoming a test subject for some radical group who would disagree with his plans and ideas. "And they are not to be used against me when I return."

The shaman looked at Starscream in surprise. Who on this world would think of that? He nodded in acquiescence.

"Well then shaman, we have festivities to attend to; mustn't keep the populace waiting."

* * *

Decoration for the launch party had started a few days before lift off date. Huge torches were erected through out the town. Tables were set up around the perimeter of the launch area. Huge kegs of Guana ale and Marula were rolled into fringes of the party area and a massive dais was built at end opposite the huge spacecraft. The morning of the party, animals were slaughtered and prepared for roasting over fires. Small electric motors where designed to turn the huge spits. Fruits from the jungles were freshly picked and grain foods were baked.

Many people from the more distant towns were still arriving. Primitive style nomadic tents were being set up in fields not far away. Chieftains from other towns chatted in groups; they had been accompanied by their shamans who had dispersed through out the crowd practicing their strange magic. A group danced around the great ship blessing it with all manner of strange things. Entering it and hanging odd objects on doorways and covering the command chair in gifts and offerings.

As soon as the sun set the torches were lit and the huge platters of food were brought to the tables. The kegs were breached and the ale flowed freely and copiously. The Marula kegs remained sealed until the hour grew late. Starscream sat, seated, on his Dais overlooking the crowd, his carafe of energon glowed brightly in the darkness. Fire light flickered all over the launch area and music began to play.

Guanas did love to party and socialize. They enjoyed working together in large groups as they were not solitary animals at all. The shamans were fairly reclusive but they interacted when they were called upon to banish bad spirits, to bless lands or dangerous hunts. Starscream pulled the glass stopper off the carafe and poured out a glowing glass of his energon. He sniffed at it suspiciously; the chemist kept deviating from his personal formula in an attempt to make it more pleasing. This seemed normal enough.

Santor arrived carrying a simple wooden staff. "Almighty Starscream, I wish to conduct the ceremony. May I proceed?"

"You may."

The Guana stepped up to the table and climbed on top in front of Starscream. He held his staff high and brought it down to thump on the solid wooden surface. The sound rang loud and clear across the square.

"People of Guandonnaland, today is the day we have all worked hard for- for tomorrow the great and powerful Lord Starscream, flies into the heavens with a selected few, to regain his place as the ruler of all the gods. May we thank him for the many gifts he has bestowed upon us and may our many prayers go out to him and our companions who are worthy enough to be chosen to ride with him on his conquest. For there is no greater gift than to fly with N'kosi and see our world as he sees it." The shamans voice carried across the crowd the people had fallen silent and they turned to view the shaman who stood in front of Starscream. He turned around to face Starscream but his voice still rang clear in the hot humid evening. "I present to you—your thirty crew members who shall help guide your ship," The shaman started to announce the names and the towns the Guanas were from.

Starscream groaned inwardly, the formalities the boring speeches, introductions, life histories and the thank you's. He wished the shaman would get it over with. His attention was brought back to fore when the shaman was being confronted by Madba, The gluttonous chief of Atanole.

"My daughter will not be part of this—this voyage." said the chief looking at Starscream warily. "I will not allow her to fly with this god. Santor, choose your own daughter, send her with the almighty one, but he will not have my only offspring."

"Lord Madba, this is a great honour," Said the shaman soothingly.

"I will not permit her to go. This—god," he said snidely, "I don't believe that this god ever means to return. You will never see your family members again!" The large lizard boomed.

"You had months before to object why now?" The shaman inquired.

"Chief Madba! Hold your foul reptilian tongue," said Starscream harshly. "Santor, I must have the best, you must choose. I need thirty on that vessel," Said Starscream warningly. He gave the chief a baleful stare. He did not intend to take action against the chief, not tonight.

"Yes, M'lord, Teris of Atanole, my daughter, shall join you," The shaman continued calling out the names of the last six lizards as Starscream's mind returned to its wandering. Every so often he would mutter a word or a nod at the appropriate places and not soon enough the speeches were done and the eating commenced. Starscream was bored, he watched as the Guanas cheerfully gorged themselves on food and drink. He sighed silently and poured himself another glass of energon.

The music from several different bands kicked in and the launch area became a cacophony of primitive music. The Marula kegs were breached and the wildness really started. From the corner of his optics Starscream noticed three Guanas standing on a huge keg rolling across the square towards him. He looked over and noticed it was the chemist. Starscream stood up as the keg rolled next to his dais. The three Guanas leapt off.

"My lord," he said brightly with an eccentric sweeping bow, "I bring you the energon I promised you!"

Starscream had been dreading this energon. The chemist was a bit mad and it was he who came up with the energon ale that toasted Starscream at the unveiling party.

"This is cleaner than the last formula; however the chemical similarity to Marula will be striking. Even more so than my last attempt," said the chemist as he breached he keg. He motioned for Starscream to hold his glass under the spout and a brilliant blue wave of energon flowed out. Starscream was startled by the colour. Energon by nature was pink, lavender or occasionally red. How had he managed to design a blue energon?

Starscream held it to the firelight. It was not opaque, semi-translucent and very iridescent. It cast a blue glow over his hand. He raised it to his olfactory sensors, it smelled very much like energon but it had uniqueness. He shot a glance at the chemist and hoped he was not about to be poisoned. It would not do for their god to die by accidentally getting poisoned. Some energon just did not work well with different types of mechanoids, which was why he had insisted on his formula. He gingerly lifted the glass to his lips and allowed some of the blue fluid to flow across his taste receptors. He did a quick chemical analysis of it. Safe enough. He sipped a bit more. This stuff was pretty nice. He felt himself getting a surge of energy; his mind started to swirl with pleasant thoughts, bright colours. He nodded to the chemist with a smile. "Good stuff." Starscream's analysis suddenly warned him. Trace elements of rare, slightly unstable energy making the drink, for lack of a better term, mildly narcotic. But at this point Starscream could not care he was having a very good time.

The following morning, he awoke in his chamber in the underground headquarters. He could not remember the rest of party, what he had done or even more alarmingly, how he had returned here. He felt mildly distressed as his head hammered; it was obvious he had too much of whatever it was he had consumed.

He sat up from his couch, pushed his feet into the floor and stood up. He swayed for a moment. This was no ordinary morning after drinking excessive energon feeling. He did not feel over charged. He stepped towards the wall hanging that hid his personal armoury. He needed to take his weapons with him. He rifles and a few of the small laser pistols he had created for his thirty reptilian shipmates. The Seeker slipped the wall hanging aside and pushed his hand against the door to afford him balance. He pulled the heavy vault door open. He stepped in and gathered the pistols into a metal box. He collected his Null rifles, off the wall, and hooked them to his arms, looked one last time at the slingshot. He was sorely tempted to take it with him. 'No,' he thought, 'not this time.' he turned slowly and closed the door behind him.

* * *

The Shaman ordered the crowd back from the edges of the Launch area; he spoke quickly in his natural language. "We must not be so close; Lord Starscream says it will cook us." He used his wooden staff to guide the people further away from ship.

The crowed resignedly backed away slowly step by step, they were chattering excitedly. A cheer went up as they watched the chosen crew board followed by Starscream who stood for a moment at the door; he waved to them and sealed the hatch behind him.

The voices of the Guanas became loud as they waited in anticipation for the launch. They were not sure of what to expect. They had seen the great one fly, but this craft was of an altogether different design to him. As Wyverns can only fly as babies, some of the people could not quite see how this large oddly shaped bird would ever manage get itself off the ground. They watched getting restless, chattering incessantly. There was a very long moment of inactivity before the ground started to vibrate with a very low rumble; everyone took another step away from The Blue Dragon. The vibration turned into a roar as jets of smoke and flame formed underneath the great hulk. The ground shook as the rumble became deafening, many of the lizards held their hands over their ear holes, as the ship started to rise into the air slowly at first. A blast of hot air issued forth from under the ship along with huge gouts of smoke billowing to the outer edges of the square; shrouding the blue ship in an almost impenetrable white haze as thick as fog. An acrid odour filled the air as the smoke passed over the gathering many of the Guanas coughed.

Santor was taken in by the marvel of it all. Starscream had told him of what to expect but it had not prepared him for the reality of it. He took a step forward still looking to the ship as it rose above the jungles tree tops. He raised his staff above his head and chanted in a loud booming voice, "Bayeti N'kosi – Hail great one."

The others took up the chant, their voices being drowned out by the sound of the engines. The deafening rumble changed to a sound that resembled constant thunder, as the thrusters fired from the wide tail end of the craft. The ship suddenly picked up speed and shot into the sky with a boom so loud that it made Starscream's supersonic exits sound like a mild pop. The space craft dwinded rapidly till there nothing but a dark speck and white smokey contrail that faded into the deep blue of the heavens taking with them Starscream and their comrades.

The Mist from the lift off still hung in the humid air. The world was unnaturally silent. Wild creatures slowly started to make sound, insects started to creak and the Guanas slowly started to whisper to one another. "What now," They asked of one another they were so used to Starscream's presence that suddenly being without him made them feel uneasy.

Santor felt a pang or regret in seeing the Decepticon leave, he looked over at the chief who alone was smiling broadly, sharp white teeth exposed. He alone was pleased that Starscream was gone. The shaman turned to face the populace.

"Don't despair! For the great one shall return to us, we must prepare for his return immediately. He has left us many tasks unfilled." His voice carried across the crowd.

"Don't bother, the Lord Starscream-" He made the name an insult, "Won't be coming back! And you will never see your friends and children again!" Shouted the chief.

"Stop noble father." shouted a soft voice from behind Santor. "If it was not for your blasphemous ways, I would be up on that ship." her voice tinged with challenge. "I would be flying with N'kosi. You have brought great shame upon our family and I can not bear this shame anymore."

"Natanja, you've been corrupted," Said the chief firmly.

The female lizard held up a spear and pointed the tip at the chest of the chief. "No, noble lord Madba—you have been corrupted by your greed for power, abdicate or face the spear. By the traditions of our forefathers and mothers, I am of age. I can issue the challenge and if I had gone on that ship I would not have been here to challenge your leadership," her voice was even, her tone was authoritative.

Madba looked from his spear wielding daughter to the Shaman and back to the rest of the crowd. He knew he would not stand a chance against his daughter; she was lithe and nimble with the spear occasionally hunting the Wyvern with the men folk. He bowed hesitantly to his daughter. "Yes, Lady Natanja, chief of Atanole. The old chief turned and quietly walked away to the town leaving her and the shaman to make plans.

Santor looked up into the sky again at the dissipating vapour trail. "May you find your glory," he whispered to himself.

* * *

Every one had gathered at the ship's launch area, the tables and dais from the previous night's party were removed leaving the area cleared for take off. Starscream told Santor to ensure everyone was well back from the edges of the square. There was cheering as the chosen thirty boarded. Starscream stood watching until the last one had entered. He waved out the hatched and pulled it shut. Air hissed as it sealed. He cheerfully barked a few quick orders telling every one to take their positions. He strode proudly to the bridge where he would take his ships command and pilot it off the planet. He looked at his seat. It was covered in the oddest assortment of things. He ordered the objects to be removed to his chambers where he would enjoy them in private. He hoped silently there would be a drawer big enough to put them in.

Everyone was belted in and Starscream pressed the launch button. The Seeker let out a whoop of joy as the ship lifted from the surface of the planet. He looked at the other people in the room and watched as their eyes widened in the rare fear as the ship shook free of the gravity of Guandonnaland. Starscream sat in his command chair fearless, proud and smiling fiercely.

The ground receded rapidly. Lakes and oceans shrank. The darkness of outer space enveloped them. Starscream signaled for the Guanas to unlatch themselves and they looked surprised as they floated gently from their seats. Laughing, he flicked the switch and Guandonnaland normal gravity turned on. The Guanas tumbled to the ground muttering curses under their breath, realizing the giant Decepticon had a laugh at their expense.

He watched as the people gathered to their stations and he wandered throughout the ship to ensure everyone was working, everything was operational. He informed them that he would seek their reports after their dinner, every day and only then; as well as not to bother him unless it was an emergency. With that done he returned to the bridge.

The Guana people worked at their stations, chattering quietly amongst themselves as Starscream receded into his personal chambers. They were quite used to his silence. He spoke rarely, but he laughed often. Sometimes his laugh had a frightening quality to it or even a frightened quaver; very rarely did it have a true feeling of happiness. Sometimes it was a bone chilling maniacal laugh. Whatever his laugh was, it had become forced and eerie.

They knew they were hunting a false god, one who had somehow hurt their master in some way. They had heard a rumour that he had once died and was reborn. They knew the shaman knew a lot about the one named Starscream. This is perhaps why Starscream had not chosen him to join the hunt. There was also a very quiet rumour that Starscream was a false god, started by the chief Madba. Most chose not to voice this as even if it turned out he was not a god, he could kill them by simply crushing them to death. Even if he were to turn out as a false god he had given them great gifts.

On a tactical station, one Guana female stood. She was watching the early warning scanner searching for anything that might hamper the movement of the Blue Dragon. She was very young, barely out of her juvenile colours. Her skin was bright and her face was just showing the blue green markings of a mature female.

Her eyes glittered as she watched the Decepticon enter his chamber. She often wondered what he did in his private quarters for such long periods of time. Back on the planet, he used to join them in their daily lives, speak words of encouragement and sometimes bring them back prey he had hunted as payment for their good services.

As a god he seemed benevolent, kind and wishing the best for his subjects. She knew that this had not always been the case. She had seen him that day after he had hunted the Wyvern. It looked as though he was going to kill the chief, his eyes were filled with evil, hatred, malice and loathing. She had seen that look again, a few days earlier when they had entered space and he only set the gravity after they floated free of their restraints and the day before the launch when the chief challenged the crew roster. It appeared part of him hated the Guanas.

The shaman had told her that the one named Starscream, was one of many gods. She would know this: Santor was her father. The shaman lived alone but it did not prevent him from having relationships with the women of his village if they sought him out. It was just as well she did a good job at her courses; her grade was second only to the chief's daughter. She would make Santor proud. She was barely twelve seasons old when the god came to their village. She met with her father and they spoke about the new god. As Santor's oldest daughter she learned the methods of his strange Shamanistic ways. One day she was to succeed him when he grew too old.

But when the chief refused to let his daughter join the team at the last minute, Santor had to relent and allow her to join. Not that she did not mind, it was an honour, but she had hoped to start learning more of the shamanistic traditions.

Teris blinked her eyes at the door that the Seeker had walked through. She stood up and looked at its ornate surface. Two intertwined Wyverns snaked across the surface their eyes set in sapphires and emeralds. They breathed out tongues of gold flame filigree. They wove themselves around the door. They were mesmerizing as she tried to trace their paths.

Wondering why the god seemed far more stressed than he was earlier in the week. He was delighted in the successful launching of The Blue Dragon. Then suddenly he became reclusive and withdrew from the other crew, sending them away when he was working on his schematics and personal plans. She wondered if once in a while she detected fear in his eyes.

She plucked a pencil from her chest pocket and wrote down a few lines that appeared at her stations screen. There was an asteroid field that they had to go through and by the size of some of the rocks she feared they might do damage.

She had a lot to thank this distant god for. He had taught her people technology. How to create better hunting weapons that took prey down at a distance enabling many more to come home to enjoy the meal after a hunt. She stopped making notes and twirled her pencil, then drew a doodle on the corner of her sheet.

Was he really a god? Santor had mentioned to her that he was very, very old; older than many of the rocks on her world. Santor had mentioned that the god had been to many worlds and existed on one far away planet named Earth. He had pointed out a dim yellow star in the Axe constellation that was Sol, and the blue star that was the one the god's world of Cybertron was orbiting.

But something was eating him. Something very dangerous disturbed Starscream. He was good at trying to shield his thoughts and emotions but every so often his eyes would flash when something was seriously bothering him and his eyes would glow a brighter red for longer times. And sometimes, his attempts at shielding only made his emotions more readable. He was bothered. Something internal was driving him to the brink.

She stopped. She looked in surprise. She was standing outside the god's door. She looked around and noticed the other Guanas were not watching her. They were busy with computations and their own tasks. Her hand reached for the door handle. She had very little control. Her mind raced as she twisted it and the door silently unlatched. She opened the great door a bit and shimmied through. Holding her breath she stood still.

There he sat with his back to her looking silently into the screen. One elbow rested on the desk propping his head, while the other hand clattered at the keypad. The monitor pictured another god, smooth and rounded with a bright orange growth on his arm. The image rotated.

There was a sound that came from the speakers at the edge. It was a different voice to Starscream but an identical language as his. She could not speak the language of the god. She had begged Santor to give up its secrets. The voice sounded sinister. She focused at the reflection in the monitor and saw that Starscream's eyes were glowing flame red.

The door clicked behind her. She had forgotten to hold the door and close it quietly behind her. She froze and held her breath again. Her hide darkened a notch when she realized that N'kosi had heard. His head lifted. With a clack the screen went blank and all other sound ceased. He slowly swiveled his chair around and his face wore an irritated expression.

Teris had reached for the handle, but the latch was locked. She looked into his eyes. For a moment they flashed and then returned to their usual dim glow. He looked straight at her for a long moment. She could see a number of mixed emotions chase across his mouth. His mouth opened then closed. He was formulating something to say. Oddly one emotion that remained on his face was loneliness. It was in the eyes.

In her observations of him in the past something had told her that he might have actually been a lesser god or an outcast or someone being punished and what he was truly going to do is take out the higher god. This was quite the norm in Ancient Guana myths and even sometimes in her village leadership was challenged by a lesser Noble. For a shaman the position was most secure. Shamans were often thought insane.

She backed against the wall in fear as she saw that malice replaced the sad look. Starscream raised his arm and aimed his weapon at her. She gulped.

* * *

He had swiveled in his chair to face the intruding Guana. He was angry. He judged by her colours that she was very young, but that did not warrant her the right to walk into his personal chambers whenever she felt like it.

He looked closely at her and thought she looked like the Guana child that had often accompanied the shaman in his off hours. Teris, she was the one who replaced Madba's daughter the night before they left. Therefore she might know more than she should know. The options were quite simple. Make an example of her so that no other Guanas would consider bothering him in his off hours. After all, he was on his own ship and not back on the planet where hundreds of thousands of the little flesh creatures could overwhelm him. He could always claim that some unforeseen accident happened. He watched as she reached back for the door.

He tapped a button that latched the door. He waited, enjoying her discomfort. He thought of something to say but quelled it. It was much too un-god like. He watched her for a few minutes feeling frustration and loneliness but his decision was made. The image of an angered god would suffice. He raised his weapon and held it not far from her green scaly head.

"What is it that you want that you find it necessary to disturb my contemplation?" Starscream asked threateningly in Guana.

Teris quivered. She knew he would see through any lie she made. "I got.... Um... lost," she replied attempting to regain her composure.

"LOST?! You got lost in this little ship?!" He threw his head back and laughed. It was shrill and full of disbelief. "Do you take me for a fool?" Starscream's voice was angered. "And how long were you lost in here? Spying on me?" His voice sneered. He was angry that the creature had been in there in the first place. He was angered even more that she was lying. He could get satisfaction from pulping her little head in but he wanted to wait to see if she could come up with a decent answer first.

'Temper, temper Starscream,' Came a thought. 'Not necessary.'

"Errr no. Not spying N'kosi. I was taking notes and saw something interesting I was going to bring them to you later." she hesitated and handed Starscream the notepad. The paper resembled an earth postage stamp in his hand. 'The computer noticed there was a huge asteroid field over ten million km from here."

Starscream looked at the paper. He had to magnify the writing so he could actually read it. The information there was worthless so he crumpled it. "It does not matter. The shield of this craft should hold up and break anything that is threatening to our safety." He sighed heavily as he tossed the paper into a basket in the corner.

He turned back to the young lizardwoman. His voice became thin. "Yet you did not knock or ask permission to enter my private quarters. Do you know what the penalty is for such intrusions?" He waited for her to answer.

Teris did not supply one. He knew his words had sunk in and his vocal tone implied enough.

He looked at her and his eyes flashed and maintained its violent red glow. Without physically saying another word, she knew he was thinking of destroying her. "But I see that I don't really need to punish you. You realize you are in more trouble than you had initially anticipated. Yet you still show little fear of what will befall you; so very unhuman of you. Earth people would have fallen into a quivering heap of fear begging to be spared." He laughed shrilly again. "You have guts and I really don't want them all over my chamber." He lowered his weapon.

In a more humane tone, "Why are you really here?" he asked. "It's not to warn me of asteroids. You know, as well as anyone does, the ship can take care of it. It's obvious you have seen the images on my screen as I could see you reflected in it as well." He pointed to black screen.

Teris lowered her head in shame, somewhat relieved that Starscream had spared her. "I was concerned about you. You've seemed tense in the past months. You were even starting distance yourself from Santor." She watched as the huge Seeker sat in silence thinking.

"You are concerned for me?" he said disbelievingly. A haunted look crossed his face. "I am partly worried that this trip would possibly cause harm to your species," Starscream lied. Half of him did not care if the planet blew up just this second. "If I were to fail in my mission the false god would come to destroy all that I accomplished on your world." This part could be true. He had taught the creatures in the Decepticon way and they trusted him. They showed less fear than most of the bravest Decepticons. "I was merely getting used to the feeling of solitude once again," Starscream whispered.

He thought a moment about telling her the story of his victory, his moment of achievement of becoming the leader of the Decepticons. He thought it might be a good idea to tell her and keep her here as a prisoner of sorts rather than having her spread dissension amongst the crew.

He had threatened her life. He would be in more trouble if the other Guanas knew this. "I will tell you more than you bargained for but there is one price you have to pay." His voice lowered to a hiss. "You will remain with me till I say otherwise."

Teris nodded. She had figured that much would happen.

"I will then tell you the story that I told Santor." Starscream stood up and walked to the couch along the back wall and eased himself down his hands under his head, staring at the ceiling. "You had best sit down, this might take a while."

* * *

He began to recount his past embellishing it here and there, changing some of the facts and making the Autobots sound rather bad.

"I was created Eons ago; time almost too long to count, too long for you to comprehend. My body was brought before Vector Sigma and given a spark, my soul, my life and some of my personality. In my younger years I learned the sciences; biology, geology, metallurgy et cetera and with my once trusted friend, Skyfire, I visited many new worlds to learn about the life and resources there that the Decepticons could use to win the war against the Autobots. The battles between us and the 'Evil' Autobots had waged on for millions of your years," he paused looking at her, thinking about how he was going to word his next half truth.

"Skyfire and I even came to your home world, but intelligent life at that time was not apparent. I was very new to science and travel to this world was one of my first. On one similar mission I few with Skyfire but lost him on a primitive world called Earth. That was my last science related mission."

Starscream started to twist the facts a round. The war between the Autobots and the Decepticons started sometime after he had lost Skyfire.

He looked at the woman in front of him. Her eyes were widened as she listened intently so he continued. "With no luck in finding him, I decided that I would join the War academy. I thought there would be something more useful than moping around dwelling in my own grief," said the Seeker sadly.

"There at the War Academy, I learned the art of warfare. I was very good at what I did almost forgetting the higher science. Then as millions of years had passed, I had progressed through the ranks of the Decepticons until we pursued the Autobots into space and followed them to Earth. I was, at that time, second in command of the Decepticons. For years we battled. The two forces were too equally matched and the war stagnated. We surprised the Autobots on a ship returning from Cybertron and the great battle at Autobot city brought us the Decepticons victory. It was there that Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots, was destroyed and Megatron, leader of the Decepticons, died." he completely omitted the fact that it was he who killed Megatron, and murdered his wing mates, leaving them for dead in space.

He paused for a moment wondering how much he should really be telling this creature. "I became, by the right of succession, the leader of my kind. All others were lesser," he said. "But as I was officially being made supreme ruler in a complex ritual I was interrupted, and before I could find out who it was, I was floating in oblivion." He paused.

The Guana realized how special this was; when one of her kind died they never, ever came back.

"Somehow my spark survived." he continued. "I soon discovered that I could travel anywhere in any time in the universe with a simple thought. I could travel to the start of time or see the end of everything, but loneliness drove me to seek out what the Decepticons had so blithely taken from me." His optics glowed red with the anger at the memory of it all.

"I lured the Decepticon who was partially responsible for my demise into a trap. That was when I discovered that I could take over another's body. So, in the body of Cyclonus, I sought to destroy the one who destroyed me." He sighed. But a wry smile tugged at his mouth.

"Unfortunately plans, as they often do, went awry and I was forced to borrow another body. With that I went to Unicron. He had me do a couple of tasks and when they were almost completed he saw it fit to give me life again, but an accident occurred and he was destroyed and I was sent spiraling from Cybertron. It was from that point I came to your world." Starscream grimaced at the memory.

He knew full well who was responsible for the explosion that sent him on his path but he lied anyway. "Galvatron was behind the attack that destroyed Unicron and almost destroyed me a second time. For this he must be punished for his betrayal." The vehemence of his words stung Teris.

"Then you are not a god? You died, so your body is then mortal." said Teris in a matter of fact tone.

Starscream rolled over on his couch, the barrel of his weapon within a couple centimetres from her snout. "If you ever speak such again, there won't be much of you left to stain a toothpick! I am your god and that's all you truly need to know!" Starscream screamed his threat and again lowered his gun.

"All that matters now is that I destroy Galvatron before he realizes that I am alive and not a ghost. He has many weaknesses that have occurred. Since I last tried to slay him in another's body he has gone completely mental. His strength lies in Cyclonus and Scourge. If I can eliminate those two I can easily pick off Galvatron. Also I know his henchmen. I know how they think as I had once possessed their bodies and therefore their minds." Starscream tapped the side of his head with a bright blue finger.

'And you know who they are—I think you have said too much...' said the scientist in his head 'I think it might be best if you give her a mark of your favour so the others will leave her alone...' it was a cautious thought.

He looked at the lizard woman. She stood up proud and strong and very defiant "Don't be afraid though, I won't kill you, instead...."

He sat up and reached for a drawer in the table. Opening it he pulled out a gold pendant on a leather thong, the Decepticon emblem. "I will give this to you as a token of my favour." He dangled the insignia from his finger and offered it to the Guana. She reached out and took it.

She looked into the gold and rubbed it appreciatively. She looked up as Starscream spoke again. "And you had better hold your tongue lizard lady or I will see that it is cut out. You are dismissed," he said curtly.

Starscream punched a button on his table and the door unlatched. "If you so much as utter a syllable of what was said tonight you will be shoved out of the airlock."

Teris turned, tail swishing. She walked out the large door. All Guana eyes watched her exit the chamber. Obviously she was missed. One of her personal questions was answered. Starscream was not really a god but a creature that could live a very, very long time, if not forever but could still die. This was in a weird way comforting. And what was obvious his immense fear of the one called Galvatron.

'You are being hostile Starscream,' the thought returned.

"She was being intrusive," replied Starscream curtly.

'You did not have to threaten her,' his thought admonished.

"Who is in control here? It's my life." he retorted.

'Perhaps, I see you have not learned anything yet,' came an internal sigh.

"WHAT the hell is that supposed to mean?"

'Time will tell if you have alienated her or not. She might be a valuable ally,' the thought faded.

"Her? That's a riot."

But Starscream was left to wonder about what he had said and done. He lay and looked at the fabrics that hung at the wall and fell into a doze.

* * *

Memories played themselves across his mind again while he rested. They drew him back to the second day before his death.

"Did you find them?" Starscream asked of Astrotrain as the triple changer returned from his search in space.

"There was nothing left of any of them." said Astrotrain sadly. "A feeler from an Insecticon here, a wing tip there but nothing more than that."

Starscream felt miserable inside. Tossing Megatron out of Astrotrain the other day was one thing. Having to ditch his wing men was another. The Insecticons he could not care any less about. Thundercracker and Skywarp were now gone: Dead. Grief fought to break itself from deep inside of him.

"Nothing?" his voice sounded choked. "What of Megatron?"

"There was nothing left of him either."

"Explain to me the meaning of nothing! Did you see his body or not?" his voice half shrieked. He was very worried. This would be the last straw if Megatron came back.

"There was nothing left of any of them save bits and debris. It looks like they might have been atomized," Astrotrain placed his hand on Starscream's shoulder. "I'm sorry, but if you wanted them to live, you should have not had them ejected. I could have handled their weight. You know it was only a ruse, just to ditch Megatron like we had planned. Megs is gone, you are now the leader, Starscream; you have achieved your life's ambition. Enjoy it." Astrotrain smiled. "And I am going to enjoy being your second in command."

Starscream smiled weakly still feeling unnerved. "You're sure Megatron is dead? We don't exactly want any nasty surprises." He thought about the time that he had made the two Seekers swear to secrecy when they had inadvertently come across the conspiracy in his personal datapad some years back. Thundercracker had assured him that they would keep their secret, and his repayment for them to keep his secret held: pitching them overboard. He felt sick inside.

"I am sure of it; however why on Cybertron do you want this whole coronation thing. The others have agreed to your leadership claim."

"It's only to make the change more secure in their minds. I now rule the show. We shall win this war. The Autobots are now weak without their leader. Now help me with this," Said Starscream has he attempted to heft the cape to his shoulders. Astrotrain stepped around him and carefully set the regal looking clips over his shoulders and arranged the cape around the red and white Seeker. He placed the jeweled crown upon his head. A Custom fit. The Constructicons had worked hard making this beauty on such short notice. He looked at himself reflected in the mirror, posing to look at himself from various angles.

Astrotrain stood off the side shaking his head at Starscream's antics. The red Seeker always had fancied himself as the most handsome of the lot. His colours were bright and optic catchy. He prided himself on his choice in ally. Again he felt guilty. What had Thundercracker and Skywarp thought when he authorized their deaths? Betrayal. That's what it was. "Then do me a favour. Set up some markers for them in the crypt they must not go into death forgotten. I owe them that much at least." Starscream said his voice low fighting off the sob what wanted to creep out.

"Not to worry Starscream, Megatron is not coming back," Said Astrotrain reassuringly as he turned from the gaudily clad seeker.

He waited until Astrotrain was out of earshot before he turned with a scream of frustration and put an azure fist through the mirror. At the same time, a sob forced its way out of his throat. He suppressed the emotions down. He must forget about the past because he now had the coronation and his future to think of...

* * *

Starscream awoke with a start. He rubbed his head of the memory. As a guilty feeling surged up inside he looked to the stars darting past his portal. "I'm sorry Thundercracker and Skywarp," he whispered. His nightmares and flashbacks had become more frequent in recent weeks. He could hardly rest an entire recharge cycle without being awoken from it. The Scientist inside had assured him that he was not pulling the images out.

The computer flashed and a message written in Lizard hieroglyphics opened up. Starscream read the message. Power drain in the starboard reactor. He sighed and got up off the couch to wander to the engine room. There was a bit of a problem with an energon feed. He had to help divert power and seal off the leak. It reduced their travel by about a day. The engines had kicked in at full power and the ship shot forwards.

Starscream was then to the bridge. He left the engine room in annoyance. There was an obstacle ahead. Some of the Guanas looked uncomfortable as the first of the large rocks came at them. Starscream stood over the young helmsman, watching him and helping him verbally as he maneuvered the ship through the asteroid field. Starscream's fingers twitches as he fought off the urge to take helm control. It was the same asteroid field that Teris had informed him about. The ship was working as it should deflecting rocks or destroying huge asteroids that proved to be a possible threat. Their shields held well as they cut a wide swath through the rocky space. About an hour later they had cleared the danger zone.

He requested that the course to be altered so it came with in one hundred million kilometres from Charr. The Guana at the helm made the appropriate course adjustment and the ship changed trajectory.

He watched the stars speed past as they made rapidly for the system that contained Charr. The trek that had taken them so far several days took Starscream nearly six years to cover at a very very conservative rate.

The Guanas checked in to give him their status and information on the progress as Starscream made his own plan on his computer. He had ordered that Teris move into the chamber with him, her sleeping area was adjacent to his own. A place where he could keep an eye on her and a place where she could sleep at night and not let slip his words to her in her sleep. The others watched as she moved her few belongings into the chamber realizing the God had chosen his voice.

Teris' had no privacy, nor did Starscream. She could look into the Seekers chamber without any obstruction. She figured this was because he had no longer anything to hide from her, but she still thought he had not been entirely truthful. She also figured this was so Starscream could watch her when she was not working. Learning the shamanistic ways meant she needed to learn to be observant; so Starscream she observed.

She lay curled up under a thin blanket watching him as he lay on the couch. He did this often and for long periods of time. Although it appeared he did not need to sleep it seemed he was contemplating or conserving his energy. He lay with his arms under his head staring at the ceiling, his eyes flashing as his thoughts changed. Sometimes he would speak very softly to himself.

There were a few times when she thought he was really asleep and dreaming. Every so often he would cry out then awaken. Darting a glance at her "sleeping" in the corner he would then get up and resume some thing on his computer. The closer to Charr they got the more nervous he became.

Chapter 7 - The Ship Chapter 9 - Charr