Shattered Reality - A Shattered Glass verse fanfic

Discussion in 'Transformers Fan Fiction' started by Dismal-Spectre, May 22, 2008.

  1. Dismal-Spectre

    Dismal-Spectre 'Banned by DM-RBLCheck'

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    Shattered Reality
    By Dismal-Spectre

    Ch.1: Ambitions

    Shaking violently the battered blue mech gazed up at his captor, vehemence consuming his spark. One optic dangled from its socket as pink fluid gushed from the wound, which glared back with defiance. Yet this injury was subtle compared to what he felt through the rest of his pain-racked body. Acid burns, torn wiring, and a severed appendage were evidence of the horrors he went through. Buffets and blows had assaulted the left side of his cracked faceplate. Face down in a pool of his fluid; he could feel the life slipping from him, but not quick enough to relieve him of the agony.

    His sole eye trailed to the crackling whip in his captor’s hand, noting the blue-white electricity pulsating beneath the semi-transparent thin rod like an angry snake. It hummed with dangerous energy.

    Dogfight allowed his glance to follow up the hand to its owner. Optronix. That traitor. He reviled that accused dark armored form and its cold confidence. And even with the facemask, Dogfight could still feel the cruel smirk behind it, leering at him like a phantom demon.

    Coughing, more of the pink liquid oozed from Dogfight’s mouth. “D-damn you, Optronix,” he gasped. A fresh wave of fire crossed his face as old wounds reopened.

    Sentinel sneered at the exhibition of weakness. He relished every bit of suffering he could extract. He laughed. It was a disturbing sound, much like the forlorn creaking of a rusty axle. “On the contrary, old friend, Optronix is to be commended for his discovery of your…ambitious enterprise.” His heel bit into the fallen mech’s shoulder, drawing a shuddering wince from the other. “What have you given the Nebulans? Weapons? Technology?”

    Embolden by his superior’s words, Optronix stepped forward, whip flailing madly. His foot connected with Dogfight’s jaw. A solid crack sounded as the victim’s head impacted against the far wall. The anguished bot howled and doubled over, his fingers clawing piteously on the cold concrete floor. “Answer him you fool!” barked Optronix.

    Stammering, Dogfight pleaded. “P-please. It was only a few old model guns. Nothing that the Autobots would miss.”

    “Trade of any kind with outsiders is forbidden,” Sentinel continued icily. “It is a security risk should they develop their own weapons. As part of my inner circle, you knew full well the price for your crime.” He beckoned at his second.

    “Oh…please…SLAG! NO!!!!”

    An explosion tore Dogfight from within, as if every part of his being was shattered into thousands of directions. His consciousness whirled into nothing. A flurry of wild signals flew across his neural network, and then went black as the switchboard went dead.

    Extracting the barbed end of the whip from the now empty spark compartment, Optronix stared apathetically at the hollowed shell. Outside he seemed calm, as if examining his handiwork. Inwardly, he was filled with murderous excitement. A life was snuffed beneath his will and he drank it in like energon. Only a slight tremor reflected any sign of Optronix’s glee.

    “And thus to all traitors to the Order,” Optronix said simply, kicking aside the smoldering remains.

    Satisfied, Sentinel Prime nodded his approval. Clasping a hand on his shorter mech comrade, they departed from the dingy prison hold and back into civilization, a world oblivious to the gruesome scene below in its bowels.

    “Come Optronix, or should I say my Second in Command now. There is much work to be done. Iacon can’t be expected to run itself after all.”

    ------------

    Dogfight was only one of the many Optronix crushed in his rise in power. The dark warrior took any chance, any opportunity to exploit his fellow Autobots to gain favor with the Prime. No matter how much the others hated him, Optronix knew that the rest of the Autobots kept their distance respectfully. Some look upon him with envy, hating what they could not have. Others tailed him faithfully out of fear or like cybernetic parasites, followed in his wake in the hopes of getting a share in his power. Call it charisma or what you will; Optronix drew a following by sheer will, ambition, and cunning. He knew better than to trust them. After all, they were merely stepping stones in his ascent.

    Almost as great as his ambitions were his firm belief that Cybertron was the crown jewel of the universe, the home of the master race. All other peoples were inferior, especially organics.

    Like most of the Autobots, Optronix had grown to distrust the outside world. The Oppression had taught them a hard lesson of the cruelty of reality. Created in the last few decades of the Quintessan Empire reign on Cybertron, Optronix endured the humiliation of being a factory worker. He would never forget the shame, the self-degradation as he and his follow bots worked side by side as mere automatons, forbidden to converse with each other. Trapped within in this meaningless existence, Optronix allowed the hate for his foreign masters to grow until one day he struck back, his fist connecting with the armor shell of the guard.

    Imagine his surprise and fury as he discovered the truth that the masters whom they regarded as invincible metallic leviathans were not machines as believed. Through that cracked armor, pale wet flesh pulsated, weak and destructible. Revulsion boiled in him and he killed two more Quint guards before being rendered offline.

    When he came to, he found himself in the Arena faced against a bot twice his size and power. But by then it was too late. Optronix was determined to live. Driven by his vengeful oath to repay his masters, he slaughtered his opponent. At first, remorse came to him as he made his first kill. After all, it was not the poor mech’s fault that he was forced to fight. Yet as Optronix continued his career as an esteemed gladiator, the kills became easier as his arena counterparts became nothing more than puppets on which he trained and honed his skills, in the hope of one day what he did to his imaginary Quintessans he would do to his real fleshy adversaries. No matter the victories or trophies he earned, he always kept that goal in sight.

    That day came and thousands like him rose up, casting aside the shackles of slavery and releasing the suppressed hatred. A quarter of the city of Iacon fell to the destruction, but the bid for freedom succeeded. The streets were slick with the green blood of the Quintessans and their accursed Sharkticons. Their fleshy corpses were extracted from their artificial shells and burned as an example and warning for any future organic conquerors. Cybertron belonged to Cybertronians and no one else.

    Though victory was obtained at a heavy price, the detrimental effects of the oppression remained. For though the buildings of Iacon were rebuilt, something in the people could never be restored. There was no going back to the ways of old. The naiveté of peace, freedom, and tolerance of the Golden Age days was exposed in the face of the dark truth of reality. For it was by these very ideals that provided the Quintessans an opportunity to strike and subjugate Cybertron.

    Never again, Optronix swore bitterly, will the planet fall prey from such weakness. Survival by being ever watchful for threats was necessary. The universe should be treated as an enemy. For that reason the Autobots existed, why the Order was essential. Despite the criticism (which was limited due to death threats), Optronix knew that the rigid laws that dominated the people’s lives was needed to unite them in the common cause. Anything less than loyalty to the Autobots was unpatriotic and traitorous. The Autobot regime…was absolute.

    In his quarters, secure from prying optics and stray audios, Optronix activated his holo-projector. A third-dimensional map of the Deltoid Quadrant appeared, the neon green grid outlining each of the spherical planets within each system. He pressed a button, zooming in on a particular galaxy. There, with a lone middle-aged sun, the third planet hovered. A lone insignificant solar system displayed. Retracting his facemask (only seen by those doomed to die by his hand), Optronix studied the image carefully as he sipped at his energon.

    At first glance, there was nothing of remote interest that would warrant attention, all except one. Like a lone blue-green gem against the black backdrop of space, the orb designated as Terra One was a planet that Optronix had set his optic on. Patrol reports had recorded a substantial amount of energon within the planet’s depths, waiting to be extracted. To his disgust organic beings dwelled there, constructing crude and simple buildings over these valuable quarries. An infestation, he noted dully, completely ignorant of the wealth of power beneath their feet.

    Many times he had tried to bring his proposal to the Autobots and the Prime to establish a base on Terra One so that they would mine the resources there. He argued that doing so would not only boost the prosperity of Cybertron but would prevent the organics from harvesting it in the future, thus developing technology that could bring serious repercussions for Cybertron.

    To his dismay, Sentinel Prime and the others laughed at him, not believing that such pathetic creatures would have the intellect to rival the might of the Cybertronian civilization. Optronix became silent and never mentioned it again. Secretly he cursed their narrow-mindedness; their downplaying of an actual threat by pretending it did not exist. They were underestimating these organics. Optronix for all his hate for all flesh creatures was not one to write it off as quick. Had the Quintessans been more than enough proof of their ingenuity? After studying Terra One’s inhabitants closely and examining the geological strata in the ground, he found that these creatures had only been around for a mere one billion years and yet had progressed so far as to develop fusion and nuclear technology. In mathematical terms, their progress grew exponentially, surpassing the rate that even Cybertron grew. Who knew what they would accomplish in a megavorn? Space travel? Starships? Anti-matter weapons? Should not that be a cause for concern?

    The problem was Sentinel Prime was too much content with ruling Cybertron with an iron rod that he failed to notice anything outside its confines. Laidback, he was slow to make a decision unless he goaded into by the rest of the Autobots. The old junk bot was getting senile, Optronix thought, letting the comfortable lifestyle erase the memory of the Quintessan’s lesson from his databanks.

    Most frustrating of all was that no matter how many Optronix betrayed or brought about the disgrace of others, Sentinel remained invulnerable. The laissez-faire authority of the Prime had earned him supporters; those who had been allowed to do almost anything they want (provided that the Prime did not see it). For as soon as Optronix laid hands on the Prime, the regime would be up in arms against him and even without his loyal bodyguards, Sentinel Prime was formidable. No, there was no way Optronix could have a direct confrontation with him and survive. The Prime’s downfall must be done through other means.

    Optronix just wished he knew what they were.

    Until then, he would bid his time for the right opportunity to present itself.
     
  2. Eric

    Eric Per sempre marciamo.

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    This is really good, DS. I wanna see more!
     
  3. Dismal-Spectre

    Dismal-Spectre 'Banned by DM-RBLCheck'

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    Ask and ye shall recieve. :) 

    And now for the Decepticon's point of view.



    A WORD OF THANKS TO CATBITE FOR BETA READING FOR ME THIS STORY.

    Shattered Reality
    Ch. 2: A Partnership

    In the wake of the Quintessan Oppression, the light was almost extinguished. Thousands of years of history and culture vanished, leveled along with the debris of burning steel of buildings and monuments. An entire heritage was consumed in the flames of contempt.

    In the aftermath, Cybertron was transformed. Where once flourishing trade provinces once existed in place were desolate wasteland and ghost towns. Ravines re-sculpted the flow of rivers and channels. Gapping canyons exposed the mines where countless natives perished to harvest the planet’s resources for the greedy foreign masters. Off the coast of Iacon, the monolith of Halifax spaceport was a reminder of Quintessan ingenuity, constructed as a means to transport exploited energon to other parts of the galaxy. Smelting pools, acid baths, and arenas were gruesome visages of the aliens’ taste for “entertainment.”

    In all, about 25 million lives were lost, a legacy was destroyed, and entire landscape of a planet was changed in the Quintessans’ bid for power. Yet the greater effects of Oppression were felt at Iacon and Kaon, the former twin cities of a bygone Golden Age Cybertron.

    Unlike its sister, Iacon never recovered from the crippling blow. Indeed it seemed the spirit of its people, which once propagated freedom and tolerance, had became embittered and vengeful, gazing at the outside universe with suspicion bordering on paranoia and xenophobia. The attitude reverberated through its denizens as well as the external appearance.

    Where once ornate architectural structures once graced the city layout, there were now chains of fortifications and battlements. Turret guns trained on the skies and streets below, manned by stern-faced mechs. The Forum which once was the seat of wisdom and justice was converted into the iron fortress of the despotic Autobot regime. There was barely any indication of whether citizens still dwelled in the walled boxed slums within the confines. Only fear and shadows prowled the streets.

    In contrast, Kaon had survived, reborn from the ashes. As if awaken from a horrific dream, it gained a thirst for enlightenment and learning, as if the progresses they made proved that nothing could crush the spirit of the people. Thus this striving brought for the creation (or recreation) of things once thought lost to the end of the Golden Age. New ideas of philosophy, law, and the arts developed, as if Kaon endeavored to regain the former glory of their predecessors.

    However, few would wonder if they succeeded, mourning the loss of the knowledge of the past. Lost to the ages were the records and studies of countless ancestors in the Quintessans’ attempt to destroy the identity of a people.

    From his fourth story office, Megatron could see the gilded skyline of post-oppression Kaon. Thin, frail skeletal frames of unfinished structures stood against the indigo sky. Modern buildings of steel and glass testified to the urban growth. Among them the pallid ruins of the lost generation served to remind the inhabitants of how far they progressed. It was a constant reminder and a comforting thought that regardless of what they went through, Cybertron still lived on despite the holocaust.

    Likewise the particular residence he stayed at was yet another innovation of modernization. The smooth silver metal that comprised of the walls of the four story house was stolen by the conquerors, but was replaced with inferior but stronger steel that oddly had its own beauty and luster. The missing marble portico columns were reconstructed with using the same material. Only the mosaic crystal windows remained intact, left by the former Quintessan patron who claimed the hall for his own until being driven out by the rampaging mob. Four rooms on each of the four floors were more than spacious enough for a Kaon math professor living alone.

    It was perhaps best that no one else dwelled at 402 Lunar Drive, for every space of floor was covered by various data-pads, compasses, and other scholarly equipment. The parlor itself was outfitted with a sleek retro-design bar and lounge couches that were piled with other paraphernalia. A wall-to-wall screen board opposite of it was covered in scrawls of what may be one long running on equation that could easily be mistaken as an ancient Cybertronian language. Gyro spheres of all sizes occupied every corner of each side table and plasma balls and lava lamps sat on each counter. Pictures of fractals adorned the olive-hued walls.

    In short, Megatron never progressed pass the living conditions of a typical long-term dorm squatter. Only his office was kept tidy for the sole reason of receiving guests, who came infrequently for reasons understandable. Shockwave learned this the hard way as he fought to navigate the cluttered gauntlet. The cerulean blue mech’s gold optic flashed in agitation as he made his way to the mica-top desk, wondering how such an orderly mind of a math professor could contrast so greatly with his outward environs.

    Megatron on his part covered the smile on his face as the University president plopped wearily unto the hardback armchair. Expressionless as the faceplate was, there was no mistaking the exasperation in his frame.

    The firm voice confirmed this suspicion. “Can I conclude that you have yet again bribed the fire inspector? How are you able to keep track of everything let alone your students’ work in this mess?”

    A shrug came from the other. “Becomes second nature I guess. You know that memo you sent me this morning? Third floor, fourth bookcase, top shelf. You can check if you want.”

    He didn’t.

    “At least tell me why you decided to grace my humble abode with your presence,” Megatron continued without missing a beat. He eyed Shockwave, trying to deduce the next “expression” but reading Shockwave was like trying to determine the mood of a printer. Impossible.

    For sure the news had to be damn important to drag the President of Kaon University in for a personal visit rather than using the typical email system. Could it involve finances? Megatron leaned forward in anticipation.

    He was not disappointed. A sleek dark data pad slid before him bearing the seal of the city on its cover, an emblem that resembled a red face squinting with narrowed slit eyes. Flipping the cover, Megatron smiled at the amount. As he scrolled to the bottom however, he stared and frowned.

    “There must be a mistake. I asked for funding for my project not an assistant.”

    “As the contract says,” replied Shockwave matter-of-factly, “the board agrees to provide you the funds for your ‘transformation’ research. I convinced them of its practical applications for storage of construction vehicles and other cumbersome machines. However, they are adamant that you take on an intern, a partner as it were.”

    “Now wait a nanoklick.” Megatron stood waving the data-pad angrily. “You mean bring in some upstart college brat who thinks he knows everything and who will probably claim the work as his in the end. This is too much! Besides, I prefer working alone.”

    “You have no choice, old friend.” Shockwave nodded. “Either you take on the kid or denied the funds. It would be imprudent if you forfeit this opportunity on some personal whim.”

    Megatron’s mouth opened and closed, not knowing how to refute that argument. It was true he had worked hard to file a petition, got it through the arduous paperwork of the school system, and finally gained the approval for his project. Yet the concept of taking on a young helper was not part of the dream. But Shockwave had a point. Was he going to throw away this chance just because he didn’t feel up to teamwork?

    He grunted in reluctance. “All right. I agree with the terms. Now who’s the luck young mech?”

    Tapping a finger on the thick portfolio before him, Shockwave explained. “You’ll find his full resume and evaluations inside. Impressive really.

    “His name’s Starscream, a science and engineer major from Crystal City College. His academic record shows he’s top in his class, a favorite of all the professors. The modifications he made on the ion generator at the local hospital has saved the administration thousands of credits and made it fuel efficient as well. His current thesis on time and spatial phenomena as a future method of travel is quite a read, and though it is a bit hypothetical, it is credible.”

    “So an all-round scholar,” Megatron harrumphed. “So when do I meet up with the wonder student?”

    “He’ll be coming in five joors and will remain with the project for the duration of six months. After that time he will return to Crystal City for graduation. I suggest you rectify that attitude of yours. You two will be in for a long haul.”

    “I can’t wait.”

    Damn.

    --

    “Professor Megatron?” a red and white mech ventured. “Sorry for the delay. The moving crew came to my dorm a couple joors behind schedule.” The younger mech grinned, the corner of his lip upturned in a somewhat self-confident smirk.

    Outside the shuttle station, in plain view of the public, Megatron could not act on impulse and yell at Starscream as he wanted to. Instead it came out as a strained, “No problem.”

    The two made their way off the platform and hailed a transport rover. No luck. It was rush hour as many of Kaon’s inhabitants joined the crowd for the return home or the daily grind for the next shift. For a moment, Megatron contemplated walking back to the campus when Starscream suggested the subway systems. The mentor answered back gruffly, more forceful than intended.

    “Absolutely not. Those death traps were made from the mines from the Oppression. What if the walls should collapse?” That was the end of that argument and the awkward silence that followed.

    And so they decided to take the longer scenic route as Megatron pointed out the more well known landmarks of Kaon. Starscream on his part was awed, having hardly any of these buildings back at Crystal City. The younger mech was inquisitive, asking about the more social features of the metropolis, just as his optic caught sight of a vast white slope rising from the north district, amid the steel and glass company buildings. It resembled a wing of a star cruiser ready to take flight.

    “That would be the symphony hall,” Megatron nodded. “It was built back a vorn ago, one of the first to be constructed almost after the war. I go there myself every once and a while, or on a blue moon rather. You ought to hear Soundwave. A sheer musical genius if you ask me.”

    “Not to change the subject, sir,” Starscream interjected. “But I’d like to know the about where I’m staying. Which campus hall is my dorm located?”

    A confused look came as the response. “Dorm? Hell, they didn’t provide us the convenience. No, you’ll be residing at my quarters for the term. It’s more than enough room with four floors. The top-most one is off limits, but other than that the rest of the house is yours. Now, what has Shockwave told you about me?”

    “Well I was told that you’ve been working on this transformation research for about…”

    The older mech waved his hand. “Not on the project. What did he tell you about me as a mech? See, I’m a firm believer that a good partnership is one in which you can get along with the other mech and count on him.”

    A smirk crossed Megatron’s countenance. “You’ll understand soon that I’m not easy to work with. My expectations are high, and drive to succeed even higher. Then there are days in which it goes into reverse and I withdraw into my office and I don’t want to be bothered on days on end. Shockwave nearly fries his logic circuits trying to figure out why I’m slow on turning in paperwork, but I get it done in the long run. How about you? Got any hobbies?”

    “Hobbies?”

    “Precisely, you’ll need one, so get one. As much as you’re into this whole project you need something relaxing to do to calm the old processor. I find it an effective method of churning out new ideas or untangling problems that seem impossible to resolve.” Megatron smiled at Starscream’s bewildered look. “I personally find Strategium my kind of game, claiming someone else’s pieces before they get yours, wit against wit with your opponent.”

    Snapping open his briefcase, Megatron tossed a strange colorful cube at the other, who gave a dubious look at it. “That I invented a while back. The trick is to swivel the cubes until all of the same color end up on each side. I call it the Rubric cube.”

    Handing it back, Starscream’s optic brow rose, wondering if he should take any of the conversation seriously or decide that the other mech was out of his wits. “Not to change the subject, sir. But I’d like to know the details of our work schedule.”

    Much too stiff, Megatron decided. Perhaps a bit of Soundwave’s classics could loosen him up. Nevertheless he indulged the tense Starscream and became ticking off each point on his fingers. “You’ll be residing at my home on 402 Lunar Drive. First fueling begins at 0500 sharp or you’ll go empty for half the day. We’ll be at the lab at Nova Hall at 0600. I have the only clearance card so if you’re late just bang on the plexi-glass and hope I hear you. We’ll be working from anywhere between 10 to 14 joors, depending on the progress. By 2100 we’ll be home, guzzle down some energon, then recharge and begin the cycle again. Sounds good to you?”

    Starscream gave him an incredulous look. “I’m not exactly a morning riser. Do we have to report to the lab that early?”

    “Six months to complete this project is an insane decision on part of the school board,” Megatron replied. “But if you desire to recharge in and miss out on some important things…”

    “All right! All right!” Starscream raised his hands in surrender. “We run by your schedule, not mine. Just don’t expect me to be all perky at 0500.”

    He glowered, much to Megatron’s amusement.

    This could be an interesting semester.
     
  4. Eric

    Eric Per sempre marciamo.

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    I have a feeling Megatron and Starscream are gonna get along just fine. :) 
     
  5. Dismal-Spectre

    Dismal-Spectre 'Banned by DM-RBLCheck'

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    Oh I bet they will. XD



    A WORD OF THANKS TO CATBITE FOR BETA READING FOR ME THIS STORY.

    Shattered Reality
    Ch. 3: Grievances

    Megatron had figured by now Starscream would harbor doubts regarding to his assignment as he had planned. The sooner the kid realized the difficulties with working with him the better. Perhaps the complaints would be so great that he’d beg the board to let him off the project. With this in mind, Megatron whistled as he descended the steps from his upper room quarters, meeting with a jet-lagged Starscream at the stair landing.

    “You look like scrap.”

    “Took me a good four joors before I found the spare recharge berth last night,” scowled the younger mech. “Not to mention I had trouble finding the hygienic shower this morning. How can you live like this?”

    “By sheer habit,” the reply came. “I suppose you’re looking for breakfast?”

    The other grumbled as he guzzled down the fuel before him, a cheap grade of petroleum. Its bitterness left a lingering aftertaste. He added a few energon crystals to spice it up. Starscream’s optics narrowed at his host who pretended not to notice.

    --

    Only until they entered the grounds of Nova Hall did Starscream’s spirits rose. His optics trailed along the arches, relief artwork, and statues that adorned the building. A dazzling white fountain completed the scene. Jets of sparkling pink energon sprayed from the mouths of small steel-sculpted figurines of cyber-gulls and turbocats. Strange imported organic trees lined the walkway. Their soft-yellow flowers emitted a pleasant odor, quite foreign to anything he’d smelt before.

    As they approached the doors, a guard greeted them cordially, giving the new visitor a friendly nod. Cold dry air bombarded them as they stepped into the interior. Their internal systems had to readjust to the shift in temperature.

    “The cold keeps the equipment from overheating,” Megatron explained. Through a numeric padlocked door, he pointed to the spray nozzles aimed at them from above. “And that is the containment sealant. It will coat our bodies to protect the sensitive machinery from any foreign matter we brought in with us.” As he said this, the nozzles lowered, dousing them in a fine spray of odorless clear liquid. The substance tingled a moment before Starscream could feel it hardening on his armor. It was a long process and only until a breem passed did the showers stopped.

    They passed through four more sealed doors before they entered the heart of the operations. Starscream was amazed at the sophisticated tools and equipment. The state spared no expense for the most up-to-date lab supplies, things that Crystal City College could only dream of ever acquiring. It only made it reality that what they were doing had great importance. Serious funding was put into what they did. Excitement ran through Starscream’s circuits as he watched his surroundings, determined to ingest it all in.

    A semi-circle computer console dominated the center of the room. A series of mounted camcorders focused on the great white med-counter, giving various perspectives for visual recording. A cart of delicate instruments was located next to it. An extinguisher and med kit close at hand. Off in a corner stood the hulking dozer, their first test subject in their transformation technology.

    In short, Starscream had entered scientific nirvana.

    “All right,” Megatron began. “Here’s the breakdown. First off, get acquainted with the equipment. If you don’t know its function, ask me. Go through the programs on the console. Be sure you memorize what each form is asking for, that way you can fill the blanks without having to repeat an experiment to answer them. This isn’t your standard classroom science. You are dealing with the real thing. So make sure you have full documentation on everything.”

    Eagerly, Starscream delved in, fingering tools that were only pictured in his college data pad catalogue. So engrossed was he in his exploration of the lab that he nearly started when Megatron announced that it was noon-time fueling.

    “So when can we begin?” Starscream asked in anticipation. “Are we going to dissect the dozer and record every part of it? Brainstorm ideas of what parts can be reconfigured for transformation?” The hot summer air from outside engulfed them as they left the building.

    Megatron shook his head, earning a puzzled frown from the other. “No, I’d say that’s enough for one day. You already have a lot to digest and review tonight. I want you to go over your notes from class on every lab safety feature and the functions of each tool. Until you show me that you can handle the equipment then you’re not entering that lab.”

    Starscream was beside himself. The euphoria he felt in the lab vanished in an instant, and the disappointment coupled with the lack of recharge had worked on his temper.

    “That’s it?” he demanded. “A tour of the facilities? Review of the equipment? I’m not some damn first year student that needs to do his homework. What about that complaint of having only six months to complete the project? Even a day behind could…”

    “Starscream,” Megatron replied firmly. “You’ll have more than enough time to work; in fact you’ll wish later on we have more breaks in between. Now think, why would I waste one entire day just to show off the lab?”

    The younger mech scowled but considered this. The answer surfaced quickly as he cooled his temper. “It’s because you fear that accidents could happen through negligence or improper use of the equipment, right?”

    “Correct. The last assistant I had nearly melted his hand off before he could cut off the gas valve,” Megatron replied. “The idiot tried to perform an experiment without supervision, hence the reason why only I was permitted to carry the clearance card since then.”

    Reluctantly Starscream gave in, knowing what Megatron spoke was true. Though he was very much orientated with the laboratory equipment back at Crystal City College, there were quite a number of tools that the University offered at his disposal that he was not very familiar with. Swallowing his pride, he nodded at last.

    “All right,” he growled. “I’ll go over my notes tonight but only if we start first thing in the morning.”

    “Are you sure that’s sufficient time?”

    “One orn, that’s all.”

    Starscream’s unwavering glare caught Megatron by surprise. Resolute and unyielding, as if challenging any contradiction. However, it was the tone he used, so full of stubborn determination, that brought a smile of mild amusement from the mathematician. In a way the younger mech reminded him vaguely of himself. And Shockwave could testify to that.

    The new assistant was becoming more promising than expected.

    “I see. One orn it is then. But I assure you, none of the past interns have passed my lab test the first time.”

    --

    “As you can see, the neural circuit ways comprise of one most sophisticated system in a Cybertronian’s body.”

    The laser scalpel poised above the open cavity, allowing a clear view for all to see the intricate network within the open cranium. Thin, clear threads of optic fibers crisscrossed across the motherboard, much like a spider’s web. Embedded within them like fine pale pearls, were the neurons crystals. Each were more complex than the standard computer chips found in typical machines, processing each thought, impulse, and emotion with such speed that rivaled or even surpassed organic neural pathways.

    Styluses scribbled madly on their data pads as the medical students huddled closer to the monitors, watching the process attentively. The translucent floating screens tracked the biopsy and provided a clear resolution of the image, which they quickly replicated on their notes. They observed each movement their professor made as he picked through the wreck, a body that had been donated to the University in the name of science.

    Prior to becoming president of the campus, Shockwave had been a full time practitioner of neural surgery. Much of his renowned skills and precision came from his innate ability to keep a calm calculating mind even in the midst of chaos and from his steady dexterous hands which worked diligently despite the longest and most strenuous cases. Because of this, every surgery he performed was a success; he never lost a patient. In his field, Shockwave had no peer.

    Those days were long past however as the doctor had found his profession quite rigorous. He was constantly bombarded by many calls; so many that patients would die in the process of waiting to be admitted in the hospital. The fact was there were not enough skilled neural physicians to meet the demand.

    Realizing the inefficiency in the hospital system, Shockwave decided something had to be done. Despite much pleas and complaints from the medical profession board, he retired and dedicated his life to educating the next generation of neural surgeons.

    Because of this decision, every year a new class graduated from Kaon University, contributing to society in ways that Shockwave alone could never accomplish. The shortage of specialists diminished and more patients were treated. As long as there was efficiency, Shockwave was willing to forego his own personal career. In that he found satisfaction and a bit of pride in the legacy he established.

    As the students departed for their next class, Shockwave underwent the usual hygienic ablations and stepped out from the Plexiglas enclosure. The wreck would later be taken care of by one of the lab hands, leaving him to concentrate his efforts on the workload on his desk. His processor attempted to run through its mental priority list, just as someone called to him.

    Turning he found a very much hassled Megatron fast approaching, his face looked ready to kill. Being the logical being he was, Shockwave couldn’t help but come up with possible reasons for his friend’s erratic behavior:

    a) The new assistant Starscream
    b) New standards on how state funding should be spent on research
    c) The Kaon Gears lost the game

    “Megatron?”

    Clenching his fists, the mathematician began his rant. “I’ve had it Shockwave! Starscream is driving me into overload. Have you any idea what happened last night? The glitch…he…he cleaned my house!”

    If he was any other bot, Shockwave would have been laughing at this strange outburst. Nevertheless, reserved as he was, the other failed to elicit sympathy from him. If anything Shockwave was pleased at this news. “Frankly, I’m not surprised. How could you expect anyone to live in that squalor? If anything you should be grateful he did you the favor. Even a maid drone could hardly tolerate your mess.”

    “Mess? Please, I prefer to call it my ‘organized chaos,’ Megatron fumed. He paced, gesturing wildly like an evicted tenant. “It may not look it, but I know where everything was. Now it’s impossible! For all I know, he may have thrown all of it out. My papers, my calculations, my gyro spheres…”

    Holding up a placating hand, Shockwave interrupted. “I never said that having Starscream as your protégé would be easy. Even his former roommates are not too fond of his meticulousness. Besides, did you not tell him that the other three floors are his living quarters?”

    Megatron pouted. “I did. But that’s not the point.” He gave a glare at his superior, as if Shockwave had plotted it all along. “If you knew he was like this, why didn’t you warn me I’d be getting an interior makeover?”

    The other mech shrugged. “I did not see it as relevant. You are both on the same project so I assumed that you two could work it out.”

    The mathematician could only glower. There would be no change in the program, no extra funds to relocate the college brat into another dorm. He was stuck with a cleaning fetish mech for six months.

    Where was the cosmic justice in that?

    “Speaking of your delightful assistant, where is he? I thought you two would be working on that project by now.”

    Rolling his optics, Megatron replied in a disgruntled tone. “Well Starscream spent the entire night cleaning after his studies. Although he only spent two joors going over his notes, he still managed to pass my lab test, a test that my past interns failed at least once.”

    “So what’s the problem?”

    “The insane fragger was too tired to do lab work today and requested a day off!” Megatron tossed his hands up in exasperation. “And he even had the audacity to blame it on me, as if I’m the one who shoved a broom in his hands.” He sniffed.

    Shockwave gave him a steady stare. Now he knew why two geniuses could never live under the same roof.

    Quite a miscalculation on his part.

    “So how are you using this day productively, Megatron? Besides bringing your grievances to me?” He changed the subject abruptly, hoping to shift the professor’s rage.

    Folding his arms, Megatron leaned back against the wall; the frustration in his manner diminishing. “I spent a good chunk of the morning working on my social trends prediction equations. Can’t say I got too far. I’m still missing a few key variables.”

    “Perhaps if you let Starscream take a look at them?”

    “No, I’m fine,” replied the other hostility. The idea of that little pit-spawn working on his pet project was just as offensive as having him rummaging through his belongings. “I just need to fine tune it so to speak. Besides, Starscream is much too preoccupied with the current project to bother with this little hobby of mine.”

    Shockwave shrugged. “Your call, Megatron. After all I trust that you as the mentor know what’s best.”

    “If only Starscream felt that way,” grumbled the mathematician as he stormed off.
     
  6. Eric

    Eric Per sempre marciamo.

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    Social trends prediction, eh? Interesting. :) 
     
  7. Dismal-Spectre

    Dismal-Spectre 'Banned by DM-RBLCheck'

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    A WORD OF THANKS TO CATBITE FOR BETA READING FOR ME THIS STORY.

    Shattered Reality
    Ch. 4: Mutiny

    After the chaos of the Oppression, Optronix worked as a librarian at Iacon Central. But peace did not set well for a former gladiator champion. He became restless, dissatisfied with his lowly status in the hierarchy. Even as the battle was long over, the war within him raged on. The only solace he found was in the information he catalogued each day, a wealth of information kept from the public as a means of censorship. Even the other Autobots were unaware of what these ancient tomes contained. He spent hours reading them, obsessed over the research for the sake of obtaining knowledge, knowledge that he knew would one day serve him and give him the advantage over his adversities.

    Among the ancient documents confiscated from the rubble of the former Iacon Library, was the Codec of Primus. The last copy of which was in Optronix’s hands. At first glance it seemed no more than a fanatical narrative of the struggle between Primus the Preserver and Unicron the Destroyer, the typical battle between good versus evil. Superstition, sneered Optronix as he ran his fingers across the chiseled words in the tablet. Although he regarded the Codec as a work of fiction, he was not one to dismiss what valuable information it may contain. It was said that in any myth a fragment of truth could be found within.

    It was for this particular reason that he delved himself into the research, perusing through every ancient manuscript available or any historical account that may give some description of what he sought for. The Matrix was said to bestow immense power to its wielder. It was said to have caused the extinction of entire civilizations, reducing planets to nothing more than dead balls of dust. A dark empire was established by its might, reigning over one-third of the universe before it came to its mysterious demise, far long before the first Cybertronian’s existence was recorded. Since then the Matrix vanished from the annals of time, making seldom appearances which always coincided with war, strife, betrayal, and murder before disappearing again.

    Of course, opportunist as he was, Optronix did not give up. He preserved, hunting for other documents from other worlds that had any information that may lead him to the artifact’s location.

    The most promising lead was from the journal of a Primusian monk who dwelled in a remote monastery in the Manganese Mountains. According to the Golden Age cleric, the Fallen (the wielder of the Matrix) was defeated by the Eleven Knights of Primus, and was hurled down from the heavens. The story was fitting since the land seemed rife with caves, ravines, and canyons, any of which can contain the Matrix. Yet the mountain range was so vast it was hard to determine which place to start the search. Should the monastery be found, however, it might hasten the search.

    The dark warrior knew better than to make his efforts visible to Sentinel Prime and his loyal Autobot followers. No one knew the existence of the Matrix besides Optronix himself. So far he had one agent surveying Tyrest, keeping an audio out for any news from the locals, unaware what kind of object he was searching for.

    A rap at his door turned him from his work. Instinctively he shut off the holo-map of Tyrest and pulled up one of Crystal City, the coveted city that Sentinel hoped to “annex” into the Autobot Imperium.

    “Come in,” Optronix ordered gruffly.

    At this a vizored black-helmed mech entered. The holo-emitter’s green glow glanced off his silver armor. At once Optronix relaxed, knowing Jazz and his brother Ricochet were firmly dedicated to him alone and shared the same disdain for Sentinel Prime. For as many loyal followers there were just as many who felt a change in leadership was sorely needed, one that was firm and decisive should foreign adversity appear.

    The lieutenant nodded in respect to his superior. “Yo, Ops,” he drawled. “Sideswipe wants to see you topside. By the way, Nightbeat’s rounded up another smuggler.”

    Optronix grunted. “Who is it?”

    “Ricochet, my ingenious brotha.”

    The Second in Command just suppressed a groan. The other mech scoffed, sharing his disgust. “That glitch never had much sense. It was good thing it was Nightbeat and not that nosy drone Prowl who got to him first.” Optronix rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “Are the weapons he stole stashed at the designated spot?”

    “Yeah, and I’ve dealt with the…witness. They won’t find a scrap of his wreck. I hurled it in the Smelting Pool.”

    “Excellent. I’ll have Nightbeat dismiss the charge and drop the investigation. We have to keep our mutiny a secret after all.”

    The comrades shared a laugh at this. Except for Ricochet, the preparations for their planned mutiny were going along smoothly. Weapons from the Autobots own arsenal were stolen by their very own and hidden elsewhere, ready to be used at a moments notice. Optronix altered the inventory records personally so that the missing equipment never existed. Even the warehouse guard was in on the scheme. Yes, Sentinel had many enemies indeed within his very ranks.

    “Jazz, have you been through the Terra One transmissions again?” Optronix asked in exasperation as the two entered the turbo lift. Chimes rang as they passed each floor.

    The lieutenant just flashed the larger bot a toothy grin. “What makes ya’ say so? Aw, come on, Ops, lighten up. I just dig those human’s sounds and…”

    “If you want to fill yourself with that garbage it’s your choice,” Optronix replied. “I just wish you didn’t have such vulgar taste for organic culture.” He shuddered in revulsion at that. Sometimes he never could understand his sub-commander. Yet he let it slide, knowing that as long as the mech continue to serve him faithfully, enduring a little eccentricity was a small price to pay.

    The elevator doors parted, opening onto the simple and very functional atrium of Autobot HQ. All about, other mechs and femmes converse tensely, as if wary of stray audios, with the informant clerks at the front counters. It was here that civilians timidly approach their officials, seeking anything from housing, business, and trading documentation and licenses. It was an arduous task since every one was required to fill out the stacks of forms and was submitted to a stringent interview. It was a long process and it drew longer lines. But it was necessary to enforce the notion that their government was involved in every aspect of their lives.

    An elder blue-green mech blinked his faded blue optics as he nearly was toppled over by Jazz, who fought to keep up with Optronix’s wide strides. Jazz yelled at the old bot and the bent form backed away quickly, his white stick tapping madly. The vacant stare shone with fear.

    Optronix took delight in this. “You still have a way with the pathetic, friend. No matter. The old tin bucket will soon be scrapped and thrown in the Rad Zone. He won’t last long with the Empties there.”

    He gave a haughty look at the living wreck, satisfied of the efficiency of the Autobot government. Any mech too old to work was simply discarded like trash or, if the Society Maintenance official was merciful to them, melted down in the Smelting Pool and have their metal reused to build more monuments and buildings in the regime’s honor.

    At least it gave Iaconians one last chance of being a productive member of society, right?

    At the end of the hall, they found Sideswipe with Nightbeat. The later looked a little pallid from the cosmic rust flaring up again. Quite a while back a handful of assassins made an attempt on his life, resenting of the Autobot Secret Police officer’s somewhat harsh enforcement of the law. They were destroyed of course but the damage was done. Now every once in a while Nightbeat was required to undergo many tiring and at times painful treatment sessions: removal surgery of infected metal, replacement with metal grafts, dialysis, and the ingestion of bitter chronostop medication. Sometimes Optronix marveled at what he went through. The cure alone should have killed him thirty times over.

    Sideswipe nodded to his superior, though not as deeply as Optronix preferred. But by the satisfied grin on his faceplate it was clear that the search went well.

    Anticipation coursed through Optronix’s circuits as he gestured for the group to follow. Only till they entered one of the many conference rooms did he relaxed. The heavy doorjamb clicked into place, effectively sealing them in the sound proof chamber.

    As usual Nightbeat extracted a small white box from his sub dimension pocket. At a flick of a switch it came to life, humming softly as a myriad of colored lights danced across its surface. It was a necessary precaution, serving to jam any surveillance equipment planted by Sentinel Prime’s wary supporters.

    “We can’t stay long,” Optronix began without preamble. “Sideswipe, report.”

    “There’s still no sign of the monastery. However our operative has established himself at Tyrest University. He has gained access to the archive records there.”

    Optronix rubbed his hands gleefully. “With those records in our grasp, it won’t be long before the ruins are found.”

    “With all due respect sir,” Sideswipe frowned. “What has this wild search to do with our current state of affairs? Shouldn’t we be concentrating our efforts on the uprising? We should act quickly before the Prime suspects.”

    “Sideswipe, let’s get this straight.” Optronix tightened his firm grip on the smaller mech’s shoulder. His gaze came cold and intense. “The time will come when I say it is. Regardless of whether any discovery is made at Tyrest, I intend to carry out my promise to the people of Iacon.”

    Jazz’s visor glinted in mad excitement. “The rise of Cybertron’s glory. The Eradication of any and every possible threat to our planet. The establishment of Imperium iron control over the universe.”

    A dry chuckle came from Nightbeat. “Someone’s been paying attention to the rally speeches.” His comlink buzzed. “Yes? Sir, I just received word that Wheeljack and Perceptor has constructed the ‘Roller’ prototype.”

    “Excellent. Let’s take an inspection round shall we gentlemen?”

    --

    Far on the south side of the city the skeletons of Cybertron’s once busiest shipping ports stood. Misshapen ashen wrecks were all that remained of warehouses that formerly stored the wealth of Iacon. At one time they had been filled with cubed energon and various imports from around the galaxy. All of it was gone in a massive raid by their former foreign masters. Where cargo ships had transverse the waterways were now empty save the debris drifting amid the currents. The waters were discolored from the sewage and waste dumped from the industrial centers. Every once a while, a wreck could be found among them. Across the river, black acrid smoke billowed from the factories and furnaces in copious amounts. A fine layer of dense soot coated the rooftops of the slums, so much that it the buildings were in threat of imminent collapse, though many remained there despite the condemnation of the habitation.

    It was among these myriad of dilapidated structures that the base of Optronix’s secret operations stood, hidden from Sentinel’s attention. Within this particular warehouse lay an arsenal that surpassed the wildest dreams of mercenaries. Racks of ion blasters, musket rifles, pulsar cannons, rows and rows of them, dominated the floor space. There was a number that Optronix had designed himself with the intention of reserving them for those deemed worthy to wield them.

    Nightbeat was one of them and he knew it. Running an eager optic over the ensemble, he nodded his approval. He fought the urge to handle one of them. Much of these guns dealt significant damage, but his favorite was the one that inflicted great injury that would slowly (and agonizingly) drain the life force from the hapless victim. He was a connoisseur of the art of torture and what he saw impressed him.

    Yet it was the lone gun that lay upon the research counter that drew all attention. Capable of delivering blasts of anti-matter to level an entire small city, the weapon resembled a tiny armor tank that could be converted into different modes. It could be remote controlled at a distance and used as the perfect scouting and offense weapon. Strapped on the forearm it served as a fusion cannon. Finally a retractable energy sword was built in for close combat. In short it was a weapon that was worthy of Optronix’s militant ambitions.

    How ironic that it should be innocently named ‘Roller.’

    With tremendous satisfaction, Optronix wielded it, tilting his arm so that the warehouse florescent light glinted across its cold long barrel. A collective shudder ran through the group as he fixed its crosshairs at the target board at the far end of the room.

    An earth-shattering boom filled the room as it discharged. Bright violet light engulfed the room, overpowering their optic sensors. The shockwave shook through the floor and the deafening roar continued to reverberate even long afterwards. The smoke hung like a dense fog for an impressive amount of time before it cleared, revealing the yawning fissure in the wall where the target once was.

    Nervous anticipation ran through Sideswipe’s circuits. The promised campaign of conquest was quickly becoming a reality.

    Turning his crimson optics upon his new toy, Optronix chuckled in delighted amusement. “Interesting, and that was only on the lower settings.”

    “Is the time to attack now, my lord?”

    “Patience, Jazz. Weapon upgrades are just the beginning.” Optronix caressed the barrel lovingly. “A war does not rely on superior firepower alone. It requires an army, a multitude with the conviction to fight for the glory of Cybertron.” He eyed his lieutenants warily, his intense gaze burning into them. “It’s time we send out a message and let the people feel our presence.”
     
  8. Eric

    Eric Per sempre marciamo.

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    Aw, yeah. The Autobots are getting ready to make their move! I like it! :thumb 
     
  9. Dismal-Spectre

    Dismal-Spectre 'Banned by DM-RBLCheck'

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    Shattered Reality
    Chapter 5: Gossip and Suspicions

    As Megatron had warned him at their first meeting, Starscream found himself put to work for the longest hours, from sun up to sundown. He had to quickly re-adjust his internal recharge clock just to keep up with the strenuous pace. It had taken a full week before the shift no longer disoriented him; however, the challenges did not end there. The constant battles he had with Skywarp over the upkeep of his former apartment had seemed to resume with Megatron, who was sensitive when it came to having his belongings moved. What Megatron hadn’t counted on was that Starscream was adamant on keeping a clear living space.

    “Look, you said the first three floors were mine” he argued. “So as long as I’m staying, I will not live in this scrap heap you call a home.”

    With no effective counterargument and no support from Shockwave, Megatron reluctantly dropped the subject, though there were a few choice words muttered as he discovered that his belongings were stored neatly in compartments of various walk-in closets he had forgotten he had. After the initial shock however, even he saw the efficiency of keeping a tidy house.

    It was within the laboratory that the constant verbal jousting between them dissolved and they worked as a team. To Starscream’s surprise, Megatron had most of the work done. His journals were filled with rough schematics of every part of the dozer. To the side of each drawing were notes of Megatron’s concerns such as the structural integrity of the metal, whether the joints and rickets could endure the stress of transformation, and the possibility that the main fuel lines and circuitry could be obstructed or torn. Detailed as they were, Starscream wondered if there was anything left for him to do. His answer came quickly as Megatron assigned his role.

    “Your task is to follow the blueprints and reconstruct the dozer,” Megatron explained. “If you come across anything that may become a structural problem, discuss it with me. Remember that regardless of how well thought-out any plan is, there is always the possibility a few glitches can be detrimental to a project unless caught early. In the mean time, I shall write the algorithms for the transformation program. If all goes well, the hardware and software components will be compatible.”

    Like clockwork, they came and went. So feverously did they work that Starscream could hardly believe three months had already passed. He quickly took Megatron’s advice that he should take up a hobby and forced himself to turn his thoughts from the project and reorient them on Strategum, a board game that he was quickly learning. Yet it never failed to aggravate him that Megatron was a masterful player at it.

    Glaring at his side of the board, Starscream was irritated that many of his pieces were under attack simultaneously, a perfect demonstration of a fork attack. He scowled, peering at the board from side to side and from above, hoping to see the invisible pathways Megatron claimed existed. The squares and range of movement of each piece were supposed to have a geometric form to them.

    Satisfied at last, Starscream made his move. “Warrior to e7,” he announced happily. He placed the piece in the spot, claiming the tower piece there.

    From across the room, Megatron casually flipped through an old textbook before placing it back on the bookshelf and taking another one. He smirked before responding, “Saboteur to e7, checkmate.”

    The younger mech groaned as he toppled his own commander piece. He twisted about in his chair to glare at the chuckling professor behind him. “It wouldn’t be so embarrassing if you at least looked at the board once and a while.”

    Ambling over, Megatron gave a hearty laugh as he began scooping up the energon chips he won. “Blindfold Strategum. That takes practice, my friend. Sometimes you have to see the battlefield in your mind and rely less on your optics.” He swept a hand over the board. “What you can see may deceive you. So look only when you are absolutely sure you want to confirm what’s played out in your head.”

    Pushing back his chair, Starscream had enough of losing what little money (and pride) he had left. Stretching his cylinders and pistons, he glanced at the chronometer on the mantle. It was still a bit early before they retired to their berths and he did not want to play another round.

    “Calling it quits?”

    “Hmm? Yeah, I’m going out for a night about town. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been off campus.”

    Megatron shrugged. “Suit yourself. I trust you paid attention to the 8-bit tour I gave you when you first came? Perhaps you should go a concert at Symphony Hall. Faculty and students get in free.”

    Taking the math professor’s advice, Starscream took to the streets and walked at a casual pace through streets vibrant with the local nightlife. What he saw under the Cybertronian sun took on a different appearance in the waxing illumination of the moon. Gems of colored lights adorned the looming towers forming the city skyline. Foaming curtains of water bubbled from marble fountains, radiating with neon hues as the spotlights struck them. Entire storefronts were lit up like carnival booths to welcome the late shopper. The pounding footsteps of pedestrians became the heartbeat of this nocturnal world and the chatter from crowded roadside cafés added to the twilight rhythm.

    To a small town mech like Starscream, it was all very overwhelming and yet an exhilarating and novel experience at the same time. But even a city as great as Kaon failed to have the charms that he took for granted back at Crystal City. There were no elegant crystal gardens or galleries. The people at Kaon were always so busy, too content to talk about themselves even as they socialize with others. There was a constant rush as if all the time in the world was not enough.

    The absence of these familiar comforts only made him yearn for home. He thought about his two former roommates back at the College. However at remembrance of them, he stiffened in anger. They never bother to call, thought Starscream bitterly. It was just a pat on the back, a farewell, and that’s all. Not even a fragging memo-gram. All of his calls via comlink failed to elicit a response. It was as if they had conveniently forgotten his existence altogether.

    He could imagine them having the time of their lives back at Crystal City, pretending to be so preoccupied with their study programs. They probably snuck out across the province’s borders and were enjoying themselves at Old Maccadam’s. The slagging traitors. It was likely to be true since Skywarp had an uncanny knack of getting into trouble and poor Thundercracker was always shadowing him to make sure he didn’t do something he’d regret.

    Who needs them, Starscream scowled. Surely Kaon was filled with more sensible entertainment. He began to regret that thought however as he approached the Symphony Hall grounds. As he neared the entrance, he was dismayed at the sophisticated paintjobs the crowd sported. Simple but crisp hues of ebony, silver, gold, and pearl-crème were the predominant armor color of this elite class of Cybertronians. Every mech had a beautiful beaming femme at their arm, sorely reminding Starscream of the absence of one in his company. Suddenly he began to feel very conscious of his plain crimson and white armor.

    Cursing Megatron for not mentioning it was formal event, Starscream lowered his gaze and thought about heading back to the University when he heard someone shouting his name. He turned in mild shock to find a familiar face among the throng.

    “Fancy meeting you here of all places, Starscream.” An elegant midnight blue and silver mech bowed his head. His voice was ever as good-natured and friendly as the last time Starscream remembered. His appearance however had changed dramatically. Gone was the awkward, geeky mech and in place was a being that seemed to be the embodiment of what these stylish elitists aspired to be.

    Tilting his head and frowning, Starscream stared. “Jetfire?” he ventured.

    A broad grin came as a response. “Who else? Look, one of my colleagues called in, saying he was going for a tune up. There’s a vacant seat. Perhaps you care to join us?”

    More of those snobby aristocrats? Starcream groaned inwardly. “Maybe not, I …”

    “They won’t mind I’m sure,” Jetfire said jovially, clapping a hand on his shoulder. “Besides, we have a lot to catch up on, old friend. How long has it been? Six stellar cycles? How fare your studies?”

    At this, Starscream relaxed, pouring out his troubles to his former colleague. “Tedious. Since you left for Kaon University, the professors at Crystal City have decided to groom me as the valedictorian in your place. There was never a moment where they aren’t praising me, telling the other students to be like me.” Starscream heaved a sigh. “Thankfully it’s over since I transferred here for this semester. The whole quantum physics class hated me for breaking the curve.”

    “Oh loose bolts,” Jetfire replied. “They’re jealous! Don’t be ashamed of who you are, Starscream. You’re a mech of science, a pioneer for the ages.” He said this firmly and with such conviction that startled the other bot.

    “It’s not that I’m ashamed. It’s just, well, I don’t want the static. Who cares about how talented I am?”

    An uproarious laughter came as a response, turning many heads in their direction. “Still the same small town mind mech, as ever. As much as it’s all good and well that you believe that science should be studied for science’s sake, you have to face facts.” He gripped Starscreams’s shoulder tightly. “It’s all about politics. It’s who you know, what connections you have, that determine whether your projects get funding or not. Surely, your mentor has told you this.”

    “Umm. Not exactly. He’s too busy teaching me Strategum and Rubric cubes when we’re not in the lab.”

    Jetfire fixed a disdainful optic on him. “Really? Your mentor doesn’t happen to be Megatron is he?’

    Starsream’s optic ridges rose in surprise. “Yeah. What do you know about him?”

    A scoff came from the other. “Only that every resident student and educator at Kaon University knows he’s the most eccentric professor on campus. For as many brilliant ideas he comes up with there are a few…ludicrous ones. You never heard of his experiments with electromagnetic energy have you? The Kremzeek incident I believe it was called. Total fiasco. It caused a massive blackout in the whole city before the absurd creature was captured. Surely you were aware of it?”

    At that moment, Starscream wanted to be trampled by the ornate crowd. He felt he was getting dumber by the nanoklick. Why hadn’t he bothered to research the background of his mentor? Giving a sheepish grin, he nodded uneasily. “Heh, yeah. I knew…” he lied.

    “And here we are, the balcony box. The best view in the house,” Jetfire announced, mercifully relieving his companion of the embarrassment.

    Yet at the moment they took their seats, Jetfire was up again, greeting his other wealthy colleagues with nauseating enthusiasm, promptly forgetting Starscream’s existence. The other just scowled and glared, but Jetfire seemed oblivious to it. Put off, Starscream turned his attention elsewhere, examining their lavish environs.

    Plush velvet chairs, gold banisters and armrests, and delicate pince-nez opera glasses were among the few features of the reserved section. Most of the elitists were situated here and given the panoramic view of the entire theater. Below, the rest of the multitude sat, a sea of bobbing heads murmuring in anticipation. The wide sweeping black marble stage dominated the room. Rows of musicians wielded their various instruments, which they plucked and tuned in preparation. The conductor, a bulky olive-green mech, watched them with a confident smile.

    He nearly jumped as Jetfire prodded him. Looking up, Starscream saw on the other side of his colleague seated an ebony-hued mech, whose distant and calculating optics bore into him with such scrutiny that made Starscream shudder.

    “Starscream, this is my mentor, Professor Blurr,” Jetfire introduced proudly. “His focus of studies includes many subjects: communications, computer systems, intel networks. He’s quite a knowledgeable fellow.”

    “Oh, pay him no mind,” the other mech replied. His silky voice dripped with false modesty. “It is you whom I’m interested in. Jetfire has told me a bit about you. Impressive work you did, giving that old hospital generator a few fuel-efficient modifications. I heard that it could run on half the energon it formerly required.”

    Starscream shrugged. “It was nothing. I saw a need and an opportunity to use my skills, that’s all.”

    “Hmm. And you did not take even one energon chip for your troubles. How…philanthropic of you.”

    There was something about Blurr that set Starscream’s pistons on edge. Of course it could be a number of things: the condescending attitude, the expensive dark armor paintjob, or that infuriating tone of voice laced with sarcasm.

    “And how is Megatron? Is the old mathematician putting you through the paces? I heard rumors that he is working on some innovative research.”

    “I’m not permitted to disclose our work,” retorted Starscream. “But I can tell you it has something to do with science and slave labor.”

    Blurr’s optic ridge rose. “He’s that tough, you say. Then perhaps I could be of service to you. I’m willing to take on another assistant. After reviewing your academic achievements, I realized that you have great potential.”

    “And you’re saying you can bring me to greater heights of success?”

    Leaning forward across Jetfire, Blurr fixed a stern optic on the younger mech. “All you need is to request from Omega Supreme, the Crystal City College dean, to reassign you. Your friend Jetfire and I would be delighted to take you on.”

    Starscream’s gaze trailed unto Jetfire, who gave him a nonchalant shrug. Nevertheless the looks in his optics were expectant, imploring him to agree. Infuriated, Starscream could easily see the consequences had he took the offer. Jetfire was proof enough of what that manipulative egotistical bot could do.

    Staring dead on at Blurr’s cool optics, Starscream gave his firm response. “No thanks. I’ll take my chances with the math professor.”

    For a fleeting nanoklick, that cold composure cracked. Flustered, Blurr began to stammer in confusion, obviously not used of being denied. His words came as a jumble that contradicted his eloquent speech before.

    “Why you…How could…Why I never…” His orange optics flared malevolently, but Starscream found the sight so amusing that he would have laughed outright had a haughty voice intervened.

    “Serves you right, you old codger,” it said sharply. “The whole universe doesn’t cater to your inflated ego, you know.”

    Curious, Starscream looked about, finding that the voice originated from a slender dark femme who sat on the other side of Blurr. She looked on, a bemused smirk on her lips. Clearly she enjoyed the plight of her fellow companion.

    “Stay out of this Crasher,” Blurr growled, his composure quickly regaining. “I do not appreciate your amusement at my expense. And…”

    “Oh shut that vocalizer,” she replied jadedly. “The concert’s about to begin.”

    And so it was. The theater lights dimmed, with only the spotlights focused on stage. The orchestra tensed, waiting for the signal. It came as the bulky conductor swung his baton. At once, the instruments came to life.

    Slow and steady the introduction began, gaining strength as it progressed. One by one, each set of instruments lent its vitality to the overture, harmonizing into the blend. The music swelled. The baton dipped and dived, channeling the surge into a unified force.

    Then, from their numbers, a solid white mech stepped out. As the pallid stage lights fell across his armor and brought out the luster of hid metal, it gave him a surreal appearance. Standing before the conductor, isolated from the other musicians, his presence commanded attention. He waited, and it was only when the climax of the music came that the imposing masked figure released the energy within.

    Soundwave’s deep baritone voice entered into the song, powerful but not dominating. It seemed to come from the depths of his ember. Although the words were sung in old Cybertronian, Starscream could still understand the underlying message within: desperation, despair, anguish, hope, and elation. Sorely, he wished he knew what they meant.

    All too soon, the silvery melody ended as the last notes faded back into the world they came from. The dream had ended.

    Stunned by the experience, a short but very noticeable silence followed. Only when the first bot recovered from the spell and began to applaud did the rest of the audience join in whole-heartedly. They stood, cheering and calling their approval. Starscream followed suit, still held in rapture of awe.

    --

    As another month passed and the project began to reach completion, Starscream found it harder to leave his thoughts behind at the lab. More often than not, there were faults among the hardware components and the programming, resulting in crashes that forced them to re-do the work again.

    The greatest problem they faced was the stress at the joints of the dozer. Not able to withstand the transformation, the gears cracked and shattered altogether from the force. Whether they were made of an inferior metal or a needed a redesign was yet to be determined. Nevertheless, despite the impending deadline, Megatron insisted that Starscream relax during their time off.

    That was perhaps the hardest thing for the younger mech to do. Megatron had an annoying habit of taking his time, whereas Starscream hated to leave a conundrum unresolved. Although his study program did not insist on completion of the project, he wanted to see it finished, to ensure that his efforts had not gone to waste.

    So he found it quite inopportune when Megatron called off a day for recuperation.

    “Consider it a little R&R,” Megatron suggested. “A time to catch up on the finer things in life.”

    It was late one night that Starscream stayed up, disobeying his mentor’s advice. Knowing Megatron was absent, he took advantage of moment to continue a little research of his own for the project. Feeling he was on the verge of a breakthrough, he worked diligently. The desk before him overflowed with blueprints of his own design for replacement gears. A number of energon cartons piled about his feet. As he stared at the console, he turned the Rubric cube absently in his hands. Leaning closer to the screen, he hoped to for a revelation.

    Then he heard it.

    The silence was shattered as a strange howling sound rose and tore through the room. A fierce wind picked up, churning all the paperwork into a whipped frenzy. Before him space seemed to turn in on itself as the center of the den began to ripple, much like water when a pebble disturbed its smooth surface.

    Before Starscream could shout in confusion, he watched as two forms emerged from the spatial distortion. The winds died down and papers fluttered into chaotic descent. He stared; immediately, he had recognized the newcomers.

    “You!” he hissed. His former roommates were taken back by his reaction.

    Holding up his hands, Skywarp spoke fast to intercept the tirade. “Look Screamer, before you batter our audios senseless, let us explain.”

    “Explain what!” Starscream shouted vehemently. “I’ve called, I’ve sent you memos. Not one of them did you two oil-draining drones answered. And you finally decided to show up?”

    “It wasn’t our fault,” Warp shot back defensively. “We would have come sooner had we the chance. As for your messages, we never got them. At first, we thought you’d forgotten, being all busy with your studies and all. But when we sent something to you, we found out that your stuff was intercepted.”

    Starscream stopped, his optics wide. “Intercepted?”

    Thundercracker nodded. Being the more techno savvy of the two, the subject was in his field of expertise. “Precisely. A probe tracked your correspondence once it entered the College’s systems. I traced the probe to its source. You wouldn’t believe where it came from. The top mech himself!”

    Scowling, Starscream was baffled by this turn of events. The more he heard, the less it made sense. “The College dean’s been intercepting my messages. Why would he do that?”

    Warp shrugged. “Dunno. But get this. Omega Supreme has been contacting someone back at Iacon. What’s more is that he also has a link to some professor Blurr at Kaon University. You know him?”

    At once, the condescending expression of the mentioned mech flashed in Starscream’s mind. “Yeah. We’ve met. But it’s not unusual that university personnel know each other. What concerns me is what does Omega Supreme have to do with Iacon?”

    Shaking his head, TC could only reply, “There’s not much else we know. We had to pull the plug so we couldn’t read their messages. We were so close, but we had to cut the connection before they traced back to the dorm.”

    Mind reeling from the news, Starscream could hardly believe it was all happening. His calls and mail, intercepted by the Crystal City College dean, the Iacon connection, Blurr’s offer to mentor him, all of it was overwhelming. Yet he forced himself to remain calm, and instinctively his calculating part took over.

    Nothing good ever came out of Iacon; that much was true. Since the Oppression, the city was seen as the capital of deceit and corruption. From time to time, scandals were exposed in which prominent figures of various provinces were caught buying weapons and illegal technology from Iacon. A money trial lead back to the Forum, the center of the regime’s stronghold.

    One thing was certain. If Omega Supreme was connected to Iacon, then his interest in Starscream was alarming. The young mech was a bit worried that he was suddenly tangled up in this mess.

    “What are we gonna do, Screamer?”

    “Nothing,” he replied firmly. “We can’t rouse their suspicions. In two months I will be scheduled to return to Crystal City. I will finish my studies as usual. In the meantime, I want you two to go back and keep investigating.”

    Thundercracker groaned. “Weren’t you listening? We’re already one servo in the compactor. Suppose we got caught?”

    “Then don’t let that happen. We need proof to expose the truth to the public. If Omega is indeed in cahoots with Iacon, then Crystal City may be in danger.” Clasping his hands behind his back, Starscream eyed his companions. “I’m almost certain they won’t make their move until I return, so we need to move quickly. I’ll work on the Blurr angle from here.”

    Seizing TC, Skywarp nodded. “Gotta warp. We have a couple bots watching the dorm. They’ll find that we’re gone if we stay away any longer. I can’t believe I’m the one saying this to you, but slag it. Be careful.” In a flash and whirlwind they were gone.

    Even as the shock began to wear off, Starscream could feel the drain on his systems, brought on by his body clamoring for recharge and the disturbing news he received. Staring at the schematics of the project at his feet, he couldn’t help but feel doubtful of his work.

    Suddenly, graduation did not seem as important anymore.
     
  10. Rotorstorm

    Rotorstorm OriginalRotorstorm Fanboy

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    good work, the characters are interesting and I can't wait to see how it all develops.
     
  11. Eric

    Eric Per sempre marciamo.

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    This is getting better and better. Keep 'em coming! :D 
     
  12. Backscatter

    Backscatter Autobot Brainmaster TFW2005 Supporter

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    Great read! I like the Decepticons however, looking through "Shattered Glass" I still find myself wishing Optimus and his followers well. Hope to see much more. :D 
     
  13. drill

    drill Gotham's White Knight

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    This is interesting. Starscream's development has particularly been intriguing. Good work.
     
  14. Tomiku

    Tomiku black repaint fetishist

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    Wow. Just... Wow. I just love the characterizations here. You took the Shattered Glass bios and added in bit and pieces of the original characters just enough to make them recognizable, yet not so much as though it appears they should be on the other side. I especially like your portrayal of Starscream. Still gets irritated by Megs and has his own agenda going about and being more concerned with his own well-being than much anything else... I love it.

    And being both a musician and a Soundwave fan, I loved your depiction of the symphony. I'm very tempted to put red Decepticon symbols on my white Music Label Soundwave and call him Shattered Glass Soundwave now. XP
     
  15. Rotorstorm

    Rotorstorm OriginalRotorstorm Fanboy

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    no more updates to this planned? shame if there isn't because it reads well.
     
  16. on_a_warpath

    on_a_warpath OAW 2010

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    Keep this alive! I dig this! I loved the 'organized chaos' line!
     
  17. red00wolf

    red00wolf insatiable collector

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    beautiful stuff need more.
     
  18. Anodythe

    Anodythe Well-Known Member

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    I just caught this. It's had me enthralled throughout the entire reading. To take an entire world and turn it on it's audio sensor takes imagination. To take this new world and "flesh" it out on your own is genius. You have written such a fine pre-story that I'd be hard pressed to accept anything else Hasbro and their writers put out. Please continue...if you want to and can. I'm finding myself enjoying immensely the exploits of Mgatron and Starscream. In any other universe...I really dispise them, but you have made them both real and sympathetic. Well done.
     
  19. diablo

    diablo Well-Known Member

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    This is fantastic. Your writing style as well as your intensive characterization of each character has been enthralling. Really this is one of the most imaginative fanfics that I've read since petey_north's 2.0 series.

    When I saw the title I was thinking that you would do something rehashed based upon the Mirrorverse fanfics (some of which are very good by the way), but your Shatteredverse is entirely something new and exciting.

    I love that Megatron is a math professor - that's so fitting.

    Please keep writing, I look forward to reading more of your work.
     
  20. Dismal-Spectre

    Dismal-Spectre 'Banned by DM-RBLCheck'

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    Should I continue this story?
     

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