If this works, Starscream thought to himself, it'll be so easy to oust Megatron...there, the modifications are complete.
He stood up from his lab station, and surveyed his handiwork.
I should have thought of this years ago, the Decepticon almost giggled in glee.
It had been a very narrow escape for the 'Cons. Soundwave had picked up several strong energy signals, which had turned out to be an Autobot training camp. Megatron had ordered a retreat, but was shot making his escape. The injury was hardly fatal, but Hook had ordered Megatron to stay in the Med-bay until further notice.
"I'm the Decepticon Leader, and here I sit doing NOTHING!" Megatron grumbled for the seventh time in twenty minutes.
Hook and Bonecrusher exchanged glances, very glad that Megatron's fusion cannon was left in storage when not needed. "Megatron, you know that Autobot blast fused a very delicate piece of motor-servo..." began Hook.
"...and you need your rest to let the repairs take effect," finished Bonecrusher. "Just a couple of weeks, and you'll be fine."
Megatron just growled at them. "When I get out of here, that Autobot...what was his name?"
"Sideswipe?" offered Bonecrusher.
"Yes, Sideswipe...Sideswipe will pay for this indignity." Megatron's optics flashed a deeper red.
"I'll have Ravage track him for you, Almighty Leader," Starscream sneered as he entered the med-bay, and picked up the last part of Megatron's rant. Hook moved to intercept the Decepticon second, while Bonecrusher checked up on his patient.
"Screamer, what are you doing here?" Bonecrusher let a note of distrust into his voice modulator. "If you're here to egg on Megatron, just get out right now."
Starscream placed a hand across his forehead. "Oh, the agony of Mistrust!" The jet laughed. "No, I'm here with a gift to amuse our leader during his recovery."
Megatron eyed his second carefully. Starscream's desire for power had never been a secret, even four million years before on Cybertron. Still, he was curious. "Tell me what you have, Starscream, and it had better be good."
"Oh I think you might appreciate this, O Fearless One, " said Starscream as he brushed past the Constructicons. " The flesh-creatures call it a Playstation, a video entertainment system. Primitive by our standards, but intriguing nonetheless." Starscream held the box out for consideration. "The real one is too small for our use, but I've built a Transformer-sized replica, including several copies of the software programs run on it."
Megatron looked on, trying to appear unimpressed. "And why would I even consider this device, Starscream?"
Starscream had prepared for this. "In a word, Mighty Megatron, it's insight into the flesh creature mind, how they think, why they do the things they do. We are successful against the Autobots because we understand them, though luck often betrays us." Starscream began to run the wires from the box to the monitor over Megatron's recharger. "Perhaps, in your time of injury, you can learn something about humans that I, with all my abilities, have not."
Starscream finished rigging up the system, and handed a controller, with arrows and several other buttons, to the bed-ridden Decepticon. "If nothing else, several of the programs are violent in nature, which should amuse you, at the least."
Megatron looked at the controller in his hands. "Well, when I have nothing better to do at the moment, I will examine your gift. But I warn you, " Megatron intoned. "If something happens to me because of this device, I'll reprogram you into a fax machine."
Starscream smiled. "I added a power button to the controller so you don't have to get up, built in a memory section for game saves, and greatly reduced the program load time. But other than that, I've made no dangerous modifications to this device, I swear on my honor as a Decepticon."
Hook and Bonecrusher fell into a coughing fit.
Megatron sat alone in the Med-bay, contemplating the controller in his hands. Bored, he activated the “present” from Starscream. A menu popped up, listing the various games. Megatron's optics widened at the selection. Though Starscream was a power-hungry idiot, he had the smarts to cram a huge number of games into this device. Scrolling through the list, he pondered the possibilities.
"Destruction Derby Raw...Crash Team Racing...Beast Wars, that's not going to be worthwhile...Final Fantasy VII...Castlevania...I guess we'll begin with Destruction Derby."
Having made his selection, Megatron leaned back and waited for the action to begin.
Starscream watched the action in the Med-bay from the safety of his lab. He hadn't lied to Megatron about the modifications...he simply hadn't mentioned the A/V bug he'd placed in the device, to spy on his leader.
Well, that certainly seems to have been quite effective, he mused as he watched his leader grin in sadistic glee as he plowed into another car, shoving it off the building, and yell some Autobot's name. Sideslam, or something.
Starscream grinned to himself. Time for Phase 2.
Starscream stood in the middle of the Decepticon troops, as they waited to hear what he had to say.
"Fellow Decepticons, our leader Megatron has been injured and will be out of action for some time, " he began. "Therefore, as Second-In-Command, I propose that we continue as we have, though I issue orders until Megatron returns to action."
Soundwave shook his head. "Negative, Megatron leads."
"True, but I don't see him here, do you?" sneered Starscream. Soundwave stood silent.
"Does anyone else have something to say?" The Control room remained quiet.
Starscream looked satisfied. "Good, then let's begin planning our first raid."
*three days later*
Megatron was locked in combat when Skywarp entered the Med-Bay, limping and dented. "Megatron, you've got to stop Starscream."
A roar of frustration ripped from Megatron's throat. "Damn it! What's happened?"
"Starscream's led us on four raids, and the Autobots have beaten us four times. This last time we got chased out of an oil rig."
Megatron slapped his recharger in frustration. "Sephiroth!! I'll have my revenge!! I swear it!"
Skywarp stared at his leader in disbelief. "Megatron? What happened? Who's Sephiroth?"
Megatron looked at Skywarp, as if seeing him for the first time. "The...miserable...who murdered Aeris...it was so horrible...he wanted me to do it..."
As Skywarp looked on in shock, Megatron began to leak fluid from his optics.
The black warrior stared, then limped out the door. As it closed, he leaned against the wall. By Primus, what just happened?
Megatron turned back to his screen, to see another Jenova creature waiting for him.
His optics dried, and a deep red glow came into them. Just wait, Sephiroth...you're mine.
*Eight days later...*
*** Autobot Headquarters was quiet, as per usual after a string of failed Decepticon raids. Optimus Prime was concerned. Prowl, his strategist, was looking for patterns in the previous attacks. Whenever a fight was too easy, it made the Autobot leader nervous. So far, Prowl was turning up a blank, but was still trying.
"It's strange, Ironhide, " Prime looked at his friend. "Usually, the Decepticons aren't this easy to beat, and if they are, it's because there's a secret plot involved."
"I'd say just enjoy it, Prime." Ironhide scratched his chinplate. "Maybe they've just lost their touch."
"I wish I could believe that, Ironhide, but where Megatron is concerned, we can't afford to leave anything to chance."
Ironhide turned back to his monitor, as Jazz and Brawn entered the bay. "Prime, Prowl sent us to find you. He says he's got a possibility."
Optimus nodded his acknowledgement. "We’re on our way."
Prowl brought up the analysis on the main viewer as Optimus and the rest of the Autobots assembled. "Prime, I think I've got a possibility here." He punched a button on the panel. "In each of the attacks, Starscream was the main leader...and Megatron was nowhere around." The view screen showed the second battle, recorded by one of Teletran-1's spy satellites.
Optimus nodded. "Starscream has been squad leader before, but leading the entire team is new."
Prowl continued. "In addition, all the Decepticons began to look more and more defeated before a battle would start. No matter how Screamer cajoled or threatened, the 'Cons didn't really have their fuel pumps in the fight." He turned to the assembled Autobots.
"I would take this to mean that Megatron has been defeated, and Starscream is now the leader." Prowl concluded. "Which means if we strike now, we can eliminate the Decepticon threat once and for all."
Optimus Prime looked thoughtful for a second. "It's final strike time. Bumblebee, radio Seaspray to meet us at the Decepticon base. Jazz, Mirage, Wheeljack, Sideswipe, Tracks, Smokescreen...Transform and roll out!"
Meanwhile, back at the Decepticon Base...
Starscream was not in a good mood. Eight one-sided defeats in less than two weeks...it was a new Decepticon record. He could almost hear Shockwave laughing at him from Cybertron, and Shockwave laughed less than Soundwave did.
However, his favorite program was almost ready, and he hurried back to his quarters and flipped the switch on his monitor. There sat Megatron, still in his recharger, controller in hand, yelling encouragement to the computer images on the screen.
"Die, Hardcore Holly! By Primus, I will be the Intercontinental Champion!! And from there, " Megatron snarled at the screen, “It’s just a short time until I face YOU, Stone Cold Steve Austin!” Megatron’s lip components curved into an evil smile. “Then your precious WWF Championship will be MINE!”
Watching Megatron in such a foolish state always made Starscream feel better.
"If this seawater ruins my finish, I swear..." Tracks began.
"If it ruins your finish, we'll just give you a new paintjob." Wheeljack laughed. "How does bright green sound?"
Jazz broke into the banter. "Can it, guys, and just watch for Decepti-goofs. They're bound to be on watch after that last fight."
Optimus Prime heard the conversation. "Affirmative, Jazz. We're getting close, so move quietly. Transform!" The Autobots quickly went to robot form, ready for battle.
"Thundercracker to Starscream."
"Starscream here. What is it?"
"We've picked up several blips moving towards us...looks like Autobots."
"Well, don't just stand there! Assemble the crew, and we'll defeat the Autobots once and for all!"
Thundercracker shut off the intercom and sighed. "Oh, Primus. Time to get our afterburners handed to us one more time."
Rumble nodded. "And with Megatron wrapped up in his games...wait a minute. Who was it that Auto-boob who shot Megatron In the first place?"
"It was Sideswipe. Why?" Thundercracker looked at Soundwave's runt.
Rumble smiled. "I just got an idea. Where's Soundwave?"
Megatron had done it...The CTR Challenge was his...and his screen suddenly became a mass of static and snow. "NO!!" He screamed. "When I find out who did this, I'm going to..." the threat died as the monitor cleared, showing a clear picture of the Autobots swimming towards his base...among them, a familiar looking...
Megatron's optics darkened with evil intent.
The battle was going like most of the other had lately. Thundercracker and Ramjet tried to gain some altitude, but in water, the Autobots were just as maneuverable, if not more so. Sideswipe took a shot at Dirge, which connected, deadening Dirge's weapon.
Going in for the kill, Sideswipe stopped short as a beam of energy sizzled through the water in front of him. Turning to see who fired, a metal fist collided with his head. Picking himself up off the ocean floor, he looked up, and saw the Decepticon Leader hovering over him.
"I'm going to tear you apart, Auto-Moron!" Megatron aimed his fusion cannon.
Sideswipe fired his rocket pack, barely avoiding the blast, which left a huge crater. “Megatron's still here!!" He hollered over the radio.
Optimus Prime looked to see the red warrior being chased by Megatron, and knew they weren't prepared for this fight. "Autobots, retreat!! Our information was wrong!"
As the Autobots regrouped and began to run, the Decepticons cheered their returning leader, and returned to base.
"Megatron, it's great to have you back giving the orders." Ramjet had the first real smile he'd had in days. Laserbeak squawked his agreement.
"And I'll be giving the orders for a very long time, and don't you EVER forget it." Megatron smirked as he looked pointedly at Starscream. The Second-In-Command at the least had the sense to look contrite.
"However, " continued Megatron, "I have to know...who do I have to blast for interrupting my game?"