The first story in my new "1706" continuity, featuring two of my favourite characters. Two frightening characters. Enjoy, please comment if you liked it, even if you didn't, just let me know why. The buildings alongside the small Autobot rushed past as he ran down the narrow alleyway as fast as he could. He could hear the explosions and gunfire close by, but that didn't concern him. All that mattered was that he escaped. He left the alleyway and dodged a few bullets from the other side of the street ahead. He pulled out a pistol and shot down the two Decepticons in front of him then continued on through another alley. The Autobot heard a loud scream from somewhere to his left. He ran faster than ever, knowing that his pursuer was closing in. He rounded a sharp corner and collided with another Autobot, who was taking shelter from the war in the streets.* "You need to get out of here, go!" The runner urgently advised the other.* "No! They'll kill me! I wasn't meant for this, I'm just a cleaner!" The other Autobot protested.* The runner saw that he had no hope in helping his comrade, so he continued down towards the next street. He reached the street and ducked as an explosion tore the building, a bar, to his left apart. He escaped any injury and hurried on. He saw another alley a few hundred metres down the road, so he headed that way, dodging bullets and explosions all the way. He wished that he could stop and help his friends, but he was in too much danger. The Autobot turned into the alleyway and ran on. The alley was covered over the top, so most of it was in shadow. The Autobot sprinted as hard as he could, until he collided with a wall. He fell onto the ground and soon stood back up, rubbing his head. He turned to return to the street, but directly in front of him were two gleaming red eyes. A glowing red mouth opened below them and curled into a smile. Its four teeth, two on the top and two on the bottom, were visible as silhouettes against the light. The Autobot couldn't see anything else, and he couldn't move, for he was paralysed in fear.* "Darling..there was no need to run! I am here to help!" The creature whispered to the Autobot.* "S-st-stand back! I'm armed!" The Autobot warned as he fumbled for his pistol, eyes wide in terror.* "I am here to help." The creature coaxed softly.* The creature moved forward, then it began to shift and transform. The red eyes and mouth were replaced with smaller eyes, but they were just as frightening. The creature grabbed the Autobot by the neck and squeezed its claws, cutting into the Autobot's throat. Energon seeped from the wound and horrifying images flashed through the Autobot's mind. Dead bodies lay littered everywhere, the Decepticons stood victorious over Iacon, the Autobot himself was in Megatron's grasp.* "No...." The Autobot said weakly.* "What do you see? Tell me..." The creature leaned towards the Autobot. "Tell me..." "No..." The Autobot continued to groan.* The creature squeezed harder and the Autobot felt his mind slowly shatter into millions of tiny pieces. He couldn't see. He couldn't feel. He couldn't hear. He couldn't think. The only thing he could do was scream as his mind collapsed into nothingness.* _______________________________ On the other side of Cybertron, in the outskirts of Iacon itself, a small group of five Autobots huddled behind a broken wall together. Their leader, a tall and powerful colonel, told them all what the plan was.* "They'll all be storming the centre of Iacon by now, our best chance is to get behind them and take down the commander before he can enter the fray himself." The leader observed.* "But sir, how do we know he isn't already?" One of the Autobots asked.* "He has never entered a battle yet here, and I doubt he will do so unless it is an extremely important mission." The leader explained. "Now let's move out, the sooner we strike the better chances we have of helping our brothers." The Autobots all stood up and the leader led them into a rubble-laden plain. They quietly ran through the plain, ducking under cover and looking behind them at anytime they could. They pushed on until they reached a tall, purple structure.* "The Decepticon base?" One said in a hushed voice.* "Yes." The leader confirmed.* He moved forward towards the entrance to the base, which was guarded by two Decepticon foot soldiers. The leader nodded to one of the Autobots, who took out a rifle and blew the guards' heads off in a few seconds. The Autobots moved in and kicked the door open. Inside was a large room filled with computers. More foot soldiers sat at the monitors, and a dark green Decepticon stood with its back facing the Autobots on the other side of the room. The soldiers stood, but the dark green leader raised his hand, and they all sat back down. The leader turned, revealing himself. He was green and orange, with lots of elaborate armour and a bone-like skeleton beneath the plates. He wore a helmet on his head, which was a white metal skull with terrible yellow eyes. The leader pulled out the larger of the two swords in the scabbard on his left hip armour and raised it. He made a complicated swirl with it then held it pointed at the ground a few metres to his right. He was obviously a master swordsman.* "You don't scare us!" The Autobot leader shouted, though he knew his team was, like himself, very much so.* "Then advance. Strike me down. Be a hero." The other leader challenged.* "Gladly. You guys, stay back." The Autobot leader couldn't show his fear in front of his men. He stepped towards the Decepticon and withdrew two Energon knives. He charged. The Decepticon easily dodged his first few strikes, then in one fluid motion took both of his arms off. They fell to the floor and Energon seeped from their sockets. The Autobot stood frozen in shock, then fell onto the ground. He was alive, but couldn't stand back up without his arms.* "Your weakness cannot be tolerated." The Decepticon raised his sword.* "At least I fight like a true leader, instead of staying hidden away and allowing my men to die." The leader spat.* "This is what is left of my squad. I am with my men. You didn't think this was the Decepticon base, did you?" The Decepticon taunted.* "No." The leader denied, though that was exactly what he had thought.* "Dishonesty is dishonourable. Therefore you don't deserve an honourable death." The Decepticon turned to one of the soldiers. "Take him and the others to the brig. We will give them to Mindwipe when he returns." "Who's Mindwipe?" The leader asked.* "An appropriate death." _______________________________ On top of the Decepticon building, a massive bat-like creature landed on the watchtower and transformed into a tall, angular Decepticon. The Decepticon opened the hatch on the tower and climbed down into the main room, where the swordsman was waiting. The Decepticon noticed two pools of Energon on the floor behind the swordsman and his eyes returned to the swordsman's largest blade, which was in his scabbard and had similar stains.* "I see you've been busy." The Decepticon narrowed his eyes. "I hope you left some for me." "There are five Autobots down in the brig waiting, Mindwipe. I would have killed them myself, but they don't deserve a warrior's death." The swordsman's eyes lit up slightly in disgust.* "Ooo, excellent! The last few were far too easy to break, I hope these at least offer a challenge. The end result is always all the more satisfying when they fight it." Mindwipe licked his lips and smiled.* "I still fail to see your fascination with fear." The swordsman walked towards Mindwipe and stopped right in front of him, so that they were looking eye-to-eye. "Look at me. The Autobots tremble in fear when they see me, and I feel nothing." "Perhaps you haven't accepted how beautiful it is, Bludgeon. How mystical their agonised screams are. How extraordinary it is to see their minds shatter, and their eyes fade away." Mindwipe smiled even wider as he spoke.* "Beautiful is my sword. Mystical is the way it weaves through the air so fluidly. Extraordinary is the life that it takes after a glorious battle." Bludgeon pulled out his sword as he spoke and laid it gently against Mindwipe's neck.* "Let's agree to disagree then." Mindwipe's smile faded slightly, then he turned to a panel behind him. "If you hear a high-pitched noise, it is either screams, or the sound of my claws on their metal. Or both!" He laughed maniacally as he pressed a button and walked through a hidden door.* Inside the secret room was the brig, which had several dozen cells. They were in rows of 12 and had traditional iron bars on the sides, but energon barriers in the front and back. The tops were iron. Only five of the cells were occupied, and they were closest to the door. Mindwipe advanced on the furthest one and shut off the front barrier. A nimble Autobot was inside. His eyes widened as Mindwipe grabbed him by the head and dragged him out of the cell. The other inmates watched their fellow helplessly. The last one, who was closest to the door, tried to stand, despite not having arms. No doubt courtesy of Bludgeon, Mindwipe thought.* "No, take me. Take me, I'm the leader, I'm the one you want." The armless Autobot pleaded.* "The leader, eh? Well, I'm sure we can make a new arrangement. Ah, I've got it. You'll be last!" Mindwipe said softly through the barrier.* "Why?!" The Autobot demanded.* "So you can see each and every one of your team die, knowing that you have failed them. Some leader you are!" Mindwipe grinned and picked the Autobot in his hand up by the throat. "Let's start with this one. What is your name?"* "I have no name." The Autobot choked.* "A shame. I like to get to know my friends in our time together. But if you have no name, where do we begin?" Mindwipe acted broken-hearted. "Oh well, I'll just skip the small talk." Mindwipe slammed the Autobot into his leader's cell's Energon barrier, sending sparks flying and electrifying the Autobot. He shouted in pain. Mindwipe held him there, then looked deep into the Autobot's blue eyes. The Autobot began to see horrors beyond his imagination. He started to scream, the fear and pain combined sent him into a frenzy. Mindwipe cackled as sparks continued to fly and the Autobot continued to be fried as his mind slowly gave way. In a few seconds, the Autobot's screams died away with the light in his eyes.* "So beautiful." Mindwipe murmured to himself. "Now for the next one! What's your name, angel?" Mindwipe walked over to another cell and opened it up. He grabbed the Autobot inside and lifted her close to his face.* "Arcee..." The Autobot croaked.* "Arcee! So you have a name! Delightful! That's all I needed to know, sweet." Mindwipe winked. "I've got something special, just for you! Here we are.." Mindwipe brought Arcee over to an empty cell with a different coloured barrier. "This one is for the really dangerous Autobots. The big ones who like to break through our poor barriers. So we made this one out of a little thing I like to call 'Refined Toxic Energon'." Arcee's eyes widened as Mindwipe moved her closer to the glowing green wall.* "When refined, it is safe to be near Toxic Energon. But not too touch it, oh no. If you touch it, you'll be poisoned just the same as the unrefined stuff. It's a slow and painful way to go." Mindwipe's eyes lit up with the last sentence.* Mindwipe threw Arcee into the barrier and she was immediately infected with the radiation. She fell onto the floor and screamed in pain as the poison attacked her. Mindwipe bent down and looked her in the eye. She immediately screamed even louder than before and thrashed around as her fears were brought to life in her mind. One of the Autobots behind Mindwipe started to shout her name, but he ignored her. Just as Arcee's mind was about to give way, Mindwipe stood up. She stopped moving and lay with her eyes half open, a shell of her former self. Mindwipe left her on the ground and turned to the Autobot leader.* "Enjoying the show?" He asked.* "You're a monster!" The leader roared.* "Oh, you're too kind. Now, I have a little question for you to ponder on before I leave." Mindwipe moved as close to the barrier as he could to get right in the Autobot's face. "What do you fear?"