A story that takes place just after the season 3 finale. I'm ignoring Headmasters. Hope everyone who takes the time to check it out enjoys. Any constructive comments negative or positive are welcome. Shadow of the Past A star field drifts beneath my outstretched hand. Crush it. Let its dust fall between your fingers. Grind it beneath your heal. I ignore the voice of my old self, ever present like a shadow. Somewhere lost among those stars is a world I once despised, a world I could have crumbled and not shed an energon-tear. Now, it’s a world I dream of. Earth, an organic world. Its dirt and sand, worming into cervos, gumming up joints like old lubricant. A maintenance cycle there, now, would be like the taste of the sweetest energon. Warning klaxons light up the ship’s bridge in blood red. Jazz turns his back and peers into the long range scanners. Shoot him. Rip out his spark and drink the bitter energon. If I were an organic, this would be a moment to hold a breath, but that’s not what a leader does. A leader does not meekly wait. He acts. I broadcast to the fleet. “This is the commander. All repair squads fallback, battle stations on alert. Throttle up the stealth drives. Be ready to slide into the dark.” I turn to Jazz. “How many? Can we fight? Fleet only has enough energon for one maybe two slides. Can’t be wasting it if options exist.” My old self laughs. But it’s enough energon to power a shuttle anywhere in the galaxy. Take it. Slip away and leave them to their fate. They’re weak. Let Unicron and his minions have them. The fight is hopeless. Jazz says, “Just one ship.” He smirks. “Cybertronian energy signature.” “Magnus?” Jazz nods. “Sure as Unicron’s shinny butt is big.” I reopen the com. “Battle stations stand down.” Yes, leave the fools defenseless. “But ship captains keep your stealth drives throttled up for a another cycle. External repair squads resume with caution.” “Bad feeling?” Jazz taps a few keys on a consul. “Nothing scans of Unicron or of his dark ‘n’ creepy cronies.” “Just being cautious.” It’s what Prime would have done. Why follow in a dead fools footsteps? Where has it lead you? Pushed into madness by the hate plague, to bare witness to the destruction of Cybertron, and now, his memory drives you to the edge of the universe, towards the eternal blackness of oblivion. I promised Prime it would not be in vain. Promises? Laughter. Kept promises are like chains to be broke. “Silence!” Jazz glances at me, but chooses to ignore my outburst. But I can’t. Megatron, the dead should stay silent. But I’m not dead, I’m you… Galvatron. No. You’re an echo of the past. You have no future. Your destiny is to fade into silence. Megatron laughs. It’s a maniacal laugh. If I’m to fade. How is it you hear me so clear? I am the thunder rumbling in your core. You can not ignore me. I am the eternal storm. I will not fade. I am your shadow. I am Meg— “…atron. Galvatron?” Jazz seems concerned, but soldiers on. “Magnus just hailed. Should I get Blast-off to set an intercept course?” “Y-Yes, But have the fleet fall back. I’ll meet Magnus in the shuttle bay.” I smile. It’s about time something went right for us. Magnus has been missing for almost twenty thousand mega-cycles. He was supposed to find us a path through a dark nebula when we lost contact. We gave him up for lost, went around the nebula, and added his name to the wall of the fallen, those devoured by the Minions of Unicron. So many lost. So many even before. Seems almost foolish now, the millions of years of civil war. The day Unicron returned, the civil war ended, and the war for survival began. He finally succeeded in taking Cybertron for his new body, created dark minions from the dead, and nearly put an end to the Cybertronian race. With the Matrix’s wisdom drained by hate plague, it was barely powerful enough to shield our escape. Prime sacrificed himself in the maws of Unicron, unleashing a Matrix wave that blinded him, tossed us a thousand light years away from his grasp, and erased, from all within range, the knowledge to the location of Earth. It was to be our refuge, our hope, a place rich in energon and allies. Unfortunately, the wave erase Earth’s coordinates from our data banks also. Now, we wander the stars, a ragged fleet of twenty ships, scavenging for energon, hoping to find that elusive energon signature leading back to Earth. In between, we fight and we run. Mostly we run. So long as one Cybertronian spark burns, Unicron fears a return to a disembodied existence. As I walk down the dim corridors, I run my hand over the chard walls. It comes away blackened with the remnants of our last fight with the servants of Unicron. Their pursuit is unrelenting. Their sparkless existences have no other purpose. They are the purest of machine. A crash of metal and a scream as I pass the infirmary. “Light our darkest hour. Light our darkest hour,” Hotrod shouts as First-Aid tries to calm and restrain him again. He claws at his own chest plate, trying to open the Matrix. We tell him it’s not there, and he pauses, optics staring out into oblivion. I can still hear the shards of the shattered Matrix bouncing off the hull as Unicron devoured Prime. I place my hand on Hotrod’s shoulder. I tell him again, the Matrix was lost. He doesn’t hear. He doesn’t see or know the present. He spends the days trying break his restraints. One day, he’ll free himself and no one will be there to stop him from clawing out his own spark. “Light our darkest hour. Light our…” I pity him. When did we become a sentimental fool? Megatron scoffs. We almost crushed his spark battling inside of Unicron? Now we coddle this weakling. When I close my fist, the universe should tremble. Finish what we started. End him. End them all. Unicron will be grateful. No. What kind of Decepticon are you? You should know the answer to that Megatron. I wipe my fingers across my chest. The black remnants smudge over the faded crest. There are no Decepticons, not anymore. No Autobots either, just Cybertronians. You say it as if you almost believe it. Deny all you want, but I know better, Galvatron,. You will fail them. You will betray them. I know you as know myself. I help restrain Hotrod as First-Aid hits him with an electro-sedative. He slumps into a chair, still awake, fingers gently tapping at his chest. “Take care of him.” I continue to the shuttle bay. Fool. I’d rip out my own optics than have bore witness to that… display. Did the gaze into the Matrix drive you mad? No. I was mad long before. As sure as I hear your voice, I am still mad. Just no longer angered, or filled with hate. The sight of Cybertron’s demise has emptied me, and I have not the energon to waste in refilling. I save it all for the run. We do not run from anything, least of all Unicron. Before my spark fades, he will bow at my feet and rue the day he remade me. It’s my turn to laugh now. You do not run? It’s all you’ve ever done, on Earth, on Cybertron. How many times have you called for a retreat? You call me mad? The definition of madness is repeating the exact same thing over and over but expecting something different. How many times did you try to destroy Prime? How many times did you try to destroy the Autobots? You’re the definiton of madness Megatron. The shuttle bay doors stutter open. I see Magnus’s battered shuttle, laser scorched and pock marked, smoldering like burning coal. Looking at the shuttle, I’d have expected Magnus to be dead, but the shuttle doors open and Magnus limps out. His colors are faded, but otherwise, he seems well. Magnus salutes. “Galvatron.” “It seems our expectations of your demise were premature. It’s good to see you spark was not extinguished.” “A bit dusty and worst for ware, but still burning. Had a run in with some Minions in the dark nebula. Had to draw them off, so I wouldn’t lead them back to the fleet.” He runs his pale fingers over the charred hull. “But they sure scorched my chassis.” “Should have First-Aid run some diagnostics on you, need you up and optimal.” We head out of the shuttle bay. “No-no. I’m fine. Nothing a recharge and shine can’t fix. Any head way on finding Earth?” “Just some false energy signatures leading nowhere.” I push him not-so-gently towards the infirmary. ”Can’t have you falling apart in the middle of battle. Junkions won’t always be there to put you back together.” Magnus eyes me. There’s a tinge of anger, maybe even hate, behind his stare. I know the memory of our battle on the Planet of Junk rises in him. But it fades into a smile for an old joke that was never amusing. The past is at peace, but we can’t forget the memory, even if it is for a failed laugh. This touching nonsense is making me sick. Stick a blaster in his tailpipe and end him. “Galvatron. GALVATRON.” I turn to see Kup. His joints squeak as he approaches. He’s taken aback at the sight of Magnus. “By the Matrix. You’ve got more lives than a Cylaran Sabre Cat.” He taps Magnus’s hull. “Your finish looks terrible.” “You should be the one to talk, you old battlewagon.” “I may not be pretty, but this battlewagon’s still got a few rounds left in the firing chamber.” He holds out a sliver of crystal, so small it would blow away on the wind. But it shimmers with a pin prick of light that could burn in the darkest of places. “Repair crews found it embedded in the aft intakes.” “A Matrix shard.” Magnus reaches for it, but Kup passes it to me. Megatron growls in pain as I touch the shard, but the growl turns to laughter. Unicron will be my slave or the Matrix will burn a hole through his spark. With so little, you dare with such arrogance, Megatron. We will grow the shard and shape it into a new Matrix, a Decepticon Matrix. The Matrix is shaped from wisdom, not avarice. Boast as you will Megatron, your dreams will remain like you, a voice of shadow, without substance. Warning Klaxxons flash. Jazz comes over intercom. “Galvatron to the bridge. Hurry, hurry everyone to battle stations, big bads on the horizon. Looks like a fleet of Unicron’s Minions. Time to slide out.” Magnus snatches the Matrix shard. “Magnus, what are—” Kup’s chest erupts into fire and shrapnel. He falls. A laser blast tears into my shoulder as I grab at Magnus’s arm. My fingers slide off covered in flakes of color. I slap the blaster away from Magnus with my functioning arm. More colors crumble away as Magnus strips me of my particle cannon, and throws me to the ground. Pinning me under foot, he takes aim. His finish is now gray and dark, without color, without spark. Weak fool. Megatron hisses. You’re like them now, chattel for the strong. Perhaps this is for the best. I should hope Unicron remakes us into something more worthy this time. “This shard will lead Master Unicron to Earth. Its energon will feed him well.” Magnus fires. I try to slide away from the bast, but searing lightning surges through my body as my injured arm tears away. I scream. “This time, you’re the one who’s going to need the Junkions.” Magnus fires again. I run, splashing the dim corridors with bright energon. Another blast catches me in the back. My legs wilt. I spark across the deck plating, stasis lock crawling through my circuits. If I loose consciousness, Magnus, dark minion of Unicron, will end me where I lie. There are screams and confused shouts as I see Magnus cut down First-Aid, and all who come to help me. The corridors glow bright with splashed energon. Smashed servos twitch as sparks fade to darkness. Megatron laughs. I would have never thought Magnus had such thirst for destruction. He was always such a… a soldier. Now he fights like a Decepticon. That’s not Magnus. It’s just his shell. So are you. You’re my shell. My prison. After he ends you, may Unicron be foolish enough to call me from oblivion again. Megatron laughs as the corridor goes silent. Magnus’s footsteps approach. He aims. The Matrix shard shimmers in his hand. Stasis lock countdown initiated, Galvatron. Ten astroseconds. I struggle to rise but nothing moves except my remaining arm. Nine astroseconds. I thrash, fingers sparking against the deck plates. Will I see my death coming, or will the darkness take me before... Eight astroseconds. The infirmary door slides open. “Light our darkest hour.” Hotrod staggers out, fresh gouges across his chest. He runs to Magnus and smiles. “Light our darkest hour.” “With this?” Magnus wears a cruel smile as he holds the Matrix shard up to Hotrod’s face. “Is this what you want?” Seven astroseconds. Hotrod nods. “Light our darkest hour.” Magnus taps the shard on Hotrod’s forehead. The shard sparks and shimmers. “I’ll light your darkest hour.” Magnus smiles and blasts through Hotrod’s chest. But when the flames clear, Hotrod still stands. There’s a smoldering hole through him, but his optics are clear. He sees and knows the present. Six astroseconds. Hotrod lunges at the Matrix shard. Energon spews from his chest as he struggles with Magnus. The Matrix shard seems to spark at Hotrod’s presence. He seems draw strength from it. Five astroseconds. Hot Rod smashes an elbow into Magnus then pries the shard from his fingers. He holds it up triumphantly. “Light our darkest—” Hot Rod’s face burns away in a flash of particle cannon fire. His body slumps to the deck, shard tumbling from his hands, landing inches from my clawing fingers. Four astroseconds. I reach for the shard. Magnus laughs. “Go ahead. Use it. Use it just like you did before and fail. It doesn’t work for Decepticons, Idiot.” He hovers my particle cannon over my head. Three astroseconds. My fingers scrape against the shard. It’s silent and cold to the touch, like a dead star. Two astroseconds. “But you forget Magnus. I’m not a Decepticon anymore.” I take hold of the shard. One astrosecond. It sparks. Megatron screams in pain as I grip it tight. Magnus fires. I burn and fade into stasis lock, but it’s only for an astrosecond. When my optics clear. Magnus is gone. All that remains is a pile of gray ash. A particle beam is nothing compared to a burst of Matix energy. I prop myself up, still leaking energon, but stasis lock… I don’t have time for it. The ship rumbles as the stealth drives kick in. Help arrives and drags me into the infirmary. I feel hands pluggin energon leaks, but all I see are blurs. The Matrix shard pulses in my hand. It’s empty again. For now, I’ve no more wisdom to give. Perhaps one day, it’ll be more than a shard, but a full Matrix again. One not for Autobot, nor Decepticon, but for all Cybertronians. It will not only light our darkest hour, it will burn eternal so darkness will not come again. I listen for the mocking laughter, and the voice telling me I’m a fool, but there’s only silence. There’s only me, Galvatron. “In the spark of an enemy, there will be salvation, in the darkest hour, there will be light.” — Covenant of Primus.