It had been eons since his wings last cut through cool air, back when the primitive Earthlings were still trying to figure out how to sail around their little blue marble. The feeling of slashing through clouds and leaving contrails in his wake was something he’d actually missed without realizing it. Coming to Earth had yielded at least that one welcome surprise to alleviate his hesitation for answering the call of his old teacher. My research could’ve continued on Varga Seven with what little Energon I had left…but Shockwave was never one for latency. So what did he leave in this desert?
He’d followed the summons order from the Decepticon genius to what the Earthlings called ‘Death Valley’. The heat beating down on his wings was impressive for the world he flew over, which was perfect for hiding the Cybertronian beacon from prying human eyes. But such a small device was also proving difficult to locate.
“Do you see anything?” Thundercracker called down to the ground to a fellow wayward Decepticon. Tearing a path across the aptly named wasteland’, the ferocious roar of a human sprint car raced over searing sands below. “Nothing yet…you’d think someone so smart would make it easier to find!”
“Shockwave kept his lab locations memorized, Piston. Didn’t want those Autobot slag-heaps to find them and steal any secrets.”
The racecar grumbled on the comlink, “Sure hope whatever he called you for is worth it! I could be sniping Autobots across space right now…”
Thundercracker banked hard right to start scanning a new patch of barren dirt, “I’m sure it is, he wouldn’t have called if… Got it! Two klicks west, on my nose!”
“Finally!” Piston called back, kicking on his rocket booster to try outracing the Seeker in the sky. But try as he might, Thundercrakcer easily soared ahead descending to mere millimeters above the sand in his Su-35S form before pulling into a hard ascent and transforming. Swapping afterburners for legs, the Deception researcher landed with a stone-crunching ‘thud’ where his optics had picked up the beacon.
“It’s here, transmitting authorization code now” Thundercracker announced as Piston also transformed and produced his beam rifle. The sniper swept the area to make sure no one followed while the scientist opened the concealed doorway.
“Don’t think you need that, Piston. I didn’t pick up any Autobot signals on our approach.” Thundercracker commented, leading the way into the once-hidden bunker.
“Yeah, but no Decepticon ones either. Didn’t Shockwave come here on Megatron’s orders?” Piston rebuked as the hidden access way began to close behind them.
“Probably. It would take that much to get that recluse off of Cybertron and out of his lab.” the jet acknowledged as the pair made their way into a long, descending cavern. The rock had clearly been tunneled out for something far larger than the two Decepticons, but they saw nothing as they made their way deeper underground.
“Speaking of, why did Shockwave call you here?” Piston asked.
Thundercracker shrugged, “I’m not sure, his message mentioned a breakthrough with synthetic Energon and needing my files on artificial replication. So it sounds to me like we’re one step closer to winning this war.”
Piston grinned, “Good! I’ll be glad to send all those Autobots to the Pit!”
“Is that why you came along? Run out of targets to shoot in space?” Thundercracker pondered.
“Kinda, they’re getting harder and harder to find out there. Besides, I heard word that Optimus Prime himself was on this dirtballl! Just imagine the fame if I planted a slug in that trash-heap’s cranium.”
Finally, the two Decepticons made it to a central chamber, and were immediately silenced by the welcoming glow of ready-made Energon cubes stacked from floor to ceiling.
“By the Allspark, look at all this!” Piston hollered, practically sprinting over to the stacks of Cybertronian lifeblood. Thundercracker was equally stunned by such a treasure horde, as it was more than he’d ever seen in one spot since before the Great War with the Autobots began.
But that in itself raised an excellent question, “Just how did Shockwave get a hold of all this?” Thundercracker wondered aloud, which Piston couldn’t hear over his own adulation. Fortunately for the Seeker, there was also a large computer bank on the far wall.
Thundercracker’s concern over the seemingly abandoned vault only grew once he unlocked the computer’s saved logs. From experience, the scientist knew his teacher kept backups of all his research, especially during the War. But the first file that drew Thundercracker’s attention was a massive compilation of data from Soundwave.
“Why would the chief spy and snitch of the whole Decepticon force leave a message with Shockwave?” Thundercracker asked as the logs began to download. In an instant, the Seeker relived years of conflict and struggle through Soundwave’s audio and video recordings until he reached the end. The finale of the great Decepticon fight for equality and revolution brought Thundercracker to his knees as he watched the great Megatron die. Impaled through the chest with the legendary Star Saber by that worthless bug of a scout, Bumblebee.
“By the Pit…it’s over…” the violet-and-grey Seeker declared, aghast at the turn of fate. This drew Piston’s attention and the sniper came over to see what the trouble was. Greeted by the same small clip of Megatron’s lifeless husk falling from Earth’s orbit repeating over and over, Piston’s fists clenched tight enough to spark. “That’s it? We fought and bled and died for how many millions of cycles, only to lose?!”
Thundercracker felt the pain in his comrade’s words as they were the same thoughts he was having trouble processing himself. “They actually did it, the Prime’s team beat Megatron.”
Piston slammed his fist into the closest stone, breaking it into pieces. “Damn you, Autobots!” Turning to the Seeker, the sniper yelled, “So what do we do?! Go back to Cybertron and get tossed in a prison cell or a junkyard? Slag that! They can come clean up my cold, dead, rims!”
“No,” Thundercracker began, pointing toward the screen, “Look! The Autobots have won, they have Cybertron again!”
“Yeah, I know…” Piston retorted, clearly missing the point.
“Which means they aren’t here!” the Seeker clarified. “Even if these humans helped fight Megatron, the Autobots didn’t leave anyone behind to protect them that we found!”
The flyer could see the wheels trying to turn in the sniper’s cranium, so Thundercracker pointed to the Energon cubes. “Look at all this! Just you and I could survive on this for the next million cycles, far longer than any of these humans! But what if we weren’t alone?”
“But Megatron…” Piston began.
Thundercracker cut him off. “Megatron’s gone! Soundwave’s gone! Starscream’s probably gone, and slag him anyway. Dreadwing’s gone! Shockwave’s probably gone! The Decepticon movement is done! So what do we do?”
“Go down fighting?” the ruby race-car asked angrily, making the jet shake his head, “No. We survive. It’s the only logical solution we have left. We regroup here and combine our resources.”
“You mean hide like a bunch of MiniCon cowards and wait for the Autobots to hunt us down? No thanks!” Piston protested, turning to head back up the ramp and out of the cavern.
The pitched whine of a charging blaster stopped the racer in his tracks. “You gonna shoot me, flybot?”
Thundercracker let his Null Ray charge to full power before he spoke. The shot wouldn’t kill Piston, as the Null Ray wasn’t designed for that. But it’ll put your gears down for a spell… “Only if I have to, which won’t be the case if you just listen.”
Piston didn’t turn back around, but he also didn’t move forward, “Alright, so we regroup and we live off all this Energon. So what? The Autobots will come for us eventually!”
“We worry about that problem after we figure out if anyone is left,” Thundercracker countered. “Right now, we recover, research, and keep this stockpile in Decepticon hands. If it really is just us left, then I’ll space-bridge you to Cybertron personally so you can shoot all the Autobots you want.”
After a moment of contemplation, Piston turned to face the Seeker, shouldering his rifle back into its compartment. “So where do we start? If there’s no other Decepticons here…”
“Then we look to space, or even back on Cybertron,” Thundercracker began, pulling up a communications channel and encryption key. “There’s more than one deep space radio telescope on this mud-ball. I can hide a Decepticon message in….and, done! If there’s anyone left out there, they should hear us.”
Piston crossed his arms and watched the display, already impatient at the lack of reply, “So what now?”
“Now we figure out what’s going on with these humans. What did they see, what did they learn from the Autobots, and how can we use them to our advantage for a change.” An arduous for most Decepticon war machines, but Thundercracker let himself enjoy a small spark of intrigue. New data sources meant new information, and as a scientist, he’d take every byte of it to help him unlock the world around them.
Because I wasn’t content with just 1 on-going project, and after finding a wonderful YouTube channel documenting the histories of well-known Transformers across their many iterations, I just couldn’t help myself. And unlike others, this one I actually took the effort to outline, plot out and build character backgrounds for. Now to see if all that planning is what I needed to focus.
I hope you all enjoy.