“It would be easy,” Thundercracker thought, as he slowed his jet mode’s afterburners. “Too easy.” The Decepticon re-calculated what his internal detection devices told him. Two cars, computer recognized as Autobots by their Energon readings and then cross-referenced against computer data files of known Autobots to be identified as Skids and Ratchet, were below him, deadlocked in vehicle mode in what humans referred to as a “traffic jam”. Identities confirmed. Nowhere for the two Autobots to run. They can’t transform and fight back any attack without hurting the humans around them, which would probably cause them to split their concentration between fighting, fleeing, or protecting the humans, Thundercracker reasoned. Even if they did fight back, the two of them weren’t exactly the most dangerous Autobots to ever stare down a Decepticon. One of them was a known scholar and the other the chief medical officer of the Decepticon’s sworn enemies. Skids wouldn’t be much of a loss to the Autobots tactically, but Ratchet would be, though there were other Autobot medics capable of replacing him. In any case, with the air, strength, and firepower advantage, he had the two Autobots sitting dead in his sights. Thundercracker circled around. He hadn’t expected this on what was supposed to be a routine recon patrol for potential energy targets for Decepticon conquest. Autobot headquarters was at least a 100 miles away, he figured. That would mean that if he struck now, there was almost no chance of help arriving. Even if a distress was sent out and the Aerialbots were scrambled, there was no way they could get out here in time to prevent him from destroying the two Autobots. He began his descent and called up his weapons systems, locking onto Skids, who was probably the better armed of the two Autobots. Two cruise missiles were set to obliterate the Autobot and most of the surrounding freeway. “The road…” he thought. He slowed, then swiftly assented and headed towards Decepticon headquarters, shutting his weapons down as he went. “It’s not their war,” he reasoned. “And there’s been too much destruction as is.” ***** “Thundercracker, report,” boomed the voice of Megatron as Thundercracker walked into the Decepticons central command center. The center was a hub of activity, with several Decepticons such as Soundwave, Frenzy and Sqauwkbox watching monitors and communicating with other seekers on similar recon missions. The Decepticon seeker glanced around and saw several Constructicons working as well on what appeared to be a new kind of weapon for the Decepticon cause. He made his way towards the area where Megatron awaited his report, only dimly aware that Soundwave had taken his eyes off of what he was doing to focus on him. “Well?,” the Decepticon leader asked impatiently. “I found a human electrical plant previously uncharted by us some 50 miles inland off of the Pacific coast in California. It was largely in a desert region…would probably be a decent target since Autobot resistance would take some time to make it there,” Thundercracker replied. “Excellent. Is there anything else?” Thundercracker hesitated for a moment. “No, Megatron. Everything else was routine.” Megatron glanced past Thundercracker and looked at Soundwave. The Decepticon communications officer silently shook his head. “I see,” Megatron started. “Very well. You are free to head to the CR chambers for recharging and further instructions, though I need to have a word with you privately before you go. Come with me.” Thundercracker followed after his commander into another room of the Nemesis’ command center. As the door shut behind him, he saw a flash of light and felt a sensation of intense heat and pain tear through his left arm, causing him to stumble to the ground and thrash for several moments. When he recovered, he looked up to see a light wisp of smoke emanating from the tip of Megatron’s fusion cannon. Glancing to his left, he saw what remained of his arm in several pieces all over the floor. Megatron glared at him. “Now, what else do you have to report?” Thundercracker was in too much pain and confusion to reply immediately. After another moment of pulling himself together, he began. “Two Autobots…found them on a freeway surrounded by human cars…thought about attacking, but decided not to.” Megatron considered his statement. “Why not?” he asked. “The Autobots were weak…and there would be too much mindless destruction for two non-military types…it’s not the human’s war.” Megatron glanced at the damaged seeker, and then began to laugh. “What’s…so…funny?,” Thundercracker choked out. Megatron stopped and fixed his warrior with an ice cold stare. “Really, Thundercracker, I expected to hear that the Autobots were too well-armed, or that you were afraid of compromising your mission. But, the humans…come now.” “Have you forgotten what you are, where your loyalties are?” Megatron asked, bemused at the fallen warrior. “Has time away from Cybertron and isolation on this backwater planet eroded your databanks, given you doubts about the Decepticon cause?” He shook his head, glancing at the disabled seeker, and continued. “Let me remind you. When you chose to join the Decepticon cause, you bonded yourself to MY cause. MY beliefs.” Megatron knelt before his soldier, placing his hand under Thundercracker’s faceplate, forcing the warrior to stare into his cold, red optics. “You now exist solely to follow these beliefs, to conquer worlds and destroy our enemies wherever we may find them without hesitation. To fight with every ounce of your spark to achieve honor for our cause both on and off the battlefield. You are a weapon designed to achieve the Decepticon goal of universal domination, to be used to enact my beliefs, even if doing so renders you inoperative.” He paused. “There is glory and honor in this.” Megatron stood. “Defying our creed means defying me, and I will not tolerate that. The next time you choose to do so, you will lose more than an arm. Do you understand?” Thundercracker looked up at his leader, energon and oil still pouring from his arm, “Yes…Megatron,” he said weakly. “Good.” Megatron turned to leave, opening his wrist communicator as he did so. “Scrapper, Thundercracker needs some repairs. Send Hook to tend to him.” Megatron glanced at Thundercracker as he left. “Do not disappoint me again.” Thundercracker laid on the metal floor, waiting for Hook to arrive for repairs, watching the puddle of energy increase on the floor around him. He thought about the decision that led him here, about his choice in joining the Decepticons several million years before. But, mostly, he thought about fact that, for him, there were no decisions to be made anymore. _______________________________________________________________ Thanks for reading, and any feedback would be helpful. I've been wanting to do some deeper character pieces for a while, so hopefully you enjoyed reading. Let me know what you thought. Blackjack.