Hey all! Figured I wouldn't properly have come back if all I did was complain. ;-) So here. Have a thing. TFP, post-Deadlock. A few things are changed around slightly to try and give a bit more emotional resonance. But mostly this is just... what it is. ===== This datafile was found on the Nemesis after the defeat of the Decepticons. It is the last entry in a personal log kept by their leader, Megatron. Only this entry was found. We do not know if the rest of the log files exist elsewhere, why they were erased, or by whom. It is, perhaps, unusual that I should comment on this work. It is, perhaps, unusual that I should present this work at all. But millennia ago, I began my career as a clerk in Iacon's Hall of Records. I obtained and indexed data. Some of that data was personal files and memoirs such as this. Little of it was as noteworthy, whether inspiring or infamous. But all of it was worth preserving. The old Council would never have presented a document like this one freely. They would have ordered it destroyed. Or, more likely, they would have had it catalogued in a hidden section of the Library, to be seen and reviewed only by those they deemed worthy - or safe - to behold it. Long ago, a gladiator named Megatronus sent me on a search through such hidden files. He and other low-caste mechs like him, living out harsh lives in Kaon and the Badlands, knew nothing of their history and heritage. Why should they have known of it, when caste dictated function and their function was nothing more than to carry burdens - or to destroy? Megatronus visited me once in the Hall of Records. Together, we uncovered what he and his people had lost. When Team Prime at last secured control of the Nemesis, very few Vehicons, Seekers, and other Decepticons remained. But some of those who stayed and surrendered - and some of those who fled and will someday return, drawn by the promise of a rebuilt Cybertron and the ache so many of us have so long felt for home - will someday visit the Hall. As the mech who led them once did, they will come, searching for the keys to their past. While the war between Autobots and Decepticons brought ruin to all, I do not believe it would be right to deny them those keys. If I did so, I would have learned nothing from the very revolution that I, too, once believed in. Rest well, old friend. Optimus First Prime of New Cybertron =========== Megatron's Log - Entry 07.26.03.65 This planet is a prison. Some see it, of course. Those who are most angry at our enemies. Those who most loathe or disdain the humans. Those who knew the truth about Unicron's awakening. Those who most feared his vengeance. And, of course, those who most miss Cybertron. But those who do not see it have all been asking the same question. It seems that even at the last, they choose to remain ignorant - or to wait for me to tell them what is happening to them. Disappointing, but I should perhaps have expected it. Even in the new world my Revolution fought for, only the strongest and the wisest would prove to be the best. And yet it was Shockwave who said it aloud to me. I suppose I should not be surprised. His only concern is, and has always been, what best accords with his understanding of logic. A useful tool to have, of course. Emotions can bring their own brand of blindness. But even if Shockwave listened more carefully to his emotions, he lacks the experience of his brethren. They have been here on the warship. He was stranded on Cybertron - not cursed to eke out an existence here. Here, where Alpha Trion chose to dump his little treasures and send us all scurrying for them. Here, where the Chaos Bringer himself chose to lead me - as though I would ever play the role of unwitting puppet. Here, on an alien world. A world that teems with life while our own world lies dead. I would not be surprised if the question came from Autobots. But that it comes from my own - that some of my own began as fools and chose to remain fools even after my Revolution taught them to be more - That needles at me. Plucks at the last strand of my fading sanity - or so even my own troops would claim, it seems. Insane? I would be far less dangerous to any of them - to enemy, ally, or faithful servant - if I were insane. And yet. Conquest. I hear it over and over - the claim that that is my dream. That my vision has been utterly consumed. My vision? The one where worlds that seek to hold us burn, unless and until they have become what we make of them? Earth and Cybertron. Unicron and Primus. Unicron has already fallen. What better place to build our empire than upon his very back? Why Earth first? Because for all that we have suffered, revenge is neither more nor less than what we deserve. Starscream understood it best. Good riddance to a wretched species. But as usual, my faithless servant sees only part of the picture - the part that matches his own desires. I suppose I should find that amusing. The one who acted constantly to thwart and undermine me, and even attempted to terminate me twice. The one who, failing all of that, tried to become me, infusing his spark with the dark energon he had stolen from my very spark chamber. Starscream is intelligent and clever. He should have known it wouldn't work. Unicron had no interest in him. And he had no idea what he would have been courting if Unicron had been. He said so himself when I first came to Earth. Strange. It has only been two years. Perhaps three. Soundwave would know better. Such short measures of time usually mean nothing to me. And yet it feels like millennia. Starscream always was my student. From the very beginning, that was what he wished to be. Or what he said he wished to be, at any rate. Of course I knew that they were not the same. But that is what he became. My protégé. Watching and learning. In ways I encouraged, and in ways I did not. He should know I never expected anything less. That, above all, was the first thing I taught him: that his worth did not yet match his arrogance. And that it would have to, if he ever hoped to achieve his ambitions. A lesson that required force at times. And one that he rarely comprehended for long afterward. With the healing of his injuries came the wounding of his pride. But pride that cannot bear wounding is an illusion. And no one can build strength on those. Not even a mech as skilled at weaving and preserving them as Starscream. He knew this. He knew it from the beginning, whether or not he ever comprehended it. However cruel I was to him, it was not force that drove him from my ranks. I should, perhaps, have expected his jealousy. But it was enough to expect his return. I waited, and he came back on his own. As I knew he would. He tells me now that there is no treachery in him. Strangely enough, I find myself inclined to believe him. And yet I would have bet my spark that there was none in Orion Pax. And now Cybertron lies blackened and burnt. And dead all over again, thanks to the strange love he feels for the world of his exile. He would doom it to death still again, if it took doing so to stop me. He is a Prime. Cybertron's appointed guardian and defender. Deemed worthy by the Matrix of Leadership itself. And yet after all that has passed between the Autobots and the Decepticons, this is the planet he would see serve as his tomb. Very well. I will oblige him. Or die myself in the attempt. I could not have conceived of such a thing when all of this began. The Council was not made up of warriors. The Council was a pack of bureaucrats, trapping us all in the maze of caste. Hiding in its center and praying to Primus we would never see how they trembled in fear of the rest of us. Even their would-be Prime knew no more of war than I myself had taught him. My Decepticons were fighters, laborers, harsh sparks tempered by battles in the pits. My revolution should have been a whirlwind, scouring flame passing over Cybertron in a century, if that. The purging of a poison, and the rebuilding after. Nothing more. And I myself have cheated death, thanks to the power dark energon gave me. A debt that Unicron no doubt believed I could never repay. He would have stolen a world from me, and once he finished that, seen me become his slave. I fought him, as I knew I must -- and emerged victorious. A spark is immortal, so long as it endures. Its frame is replaced easily enough. I neither expect nor intend to die. Not when so much has been lost. And yet. Now a great beast, drawn from the mist of legend by my own hand, rises to stand against me. Now Optimus Prime has arisen yet again with a rebuilt frame of his own. One that has bested me before. Only the Dark Star Saber gives me any chance of equaling his might. Starscream is not yet ready. He once believed himself to be, heading up mining operations and strutting through the warship playing at being king. He mistook his own competence at administration for the drive and the vision of a leader - and cursed me rather than himself when the others did not follow him. He does not yet know why they didn't. He will not be prepared for true power until he does. But he sees that there is something missing. If I do, at last, fall to the protege who first betrayed me, will that be enough? What would he do with a world transformed and the limitless power to rebuild an empire? Not enough. Not yet. Which means, in its turn, that I cannot leave - even if I wished it. But I do not. I did not watch Cybertron perish piece by piece, bring a god to his knees, and twist a weapon of my own from his resisting blood to leave my vision unfulfilled. I did not rise amid flame and twisted metal and glowing pools of energon spilled to see this little toy of Alpha Trion's endure past my own kind. Let them come. I will be ready.