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.