Why Does My Spark Feel So Bad?
One, two, reload.
Two more Decepticon guards were blasted down as Wheeljack made his way down the hall, heading for the command centre. Elsewhere about the ship, Decepticons loyal to Cyclonus fought with those who followed Star Saber. Wheeljack had passed by a number of small engagements and had walked over plenty of dead Decepticons, eliminating any still alive who got in his path. He was close to the command centre now, he figured as much. The layouts of ships like this did not differ too much and Wheeljack had been on his fair share of Decepticon vessels in the past. It was the sort of knowledge that came with being a Wrecker with his level of experience.
The doors to the command centre, a set of large double ones, opened as he approached. It appeared that Star Saber's followers had locked down this area, at least to those loyal to Cyclonus. Wheeljack, on the other hand, had slipped through the cracks, utilising the confusion of the infighting to his advantage. He was not entirely sure what he would do once he was inside, although he did know that if Star Saber was there he would kill him. It seemed the logical thing to do and he wanted to do it, so very badly. Star Saber was likely to be in the command centre.
The doors slid open, the command centre spread out before him. It was a vast, circular room with computer terminals along the walls and a central rounded platform where the ship's commander could stand and oversee operations within. The main view-screen took up much of the forward wall. It was currently displaying a map of the region on ground level, with red markers denoting the few deployed Decepticon soldiers they had out in the field. Another display gave an interior layout of the ship, red indicating the areas that had been lost to Cyclonus' loyalists. There was no commander present. Several regular Decepticon soldiers worked at the many terminals, doubling as technicians. One of the nearest turned to face the new arrival, eyes widening as Wheeljack raised his EMP shotgun in his direction.
One, two, reload.
The first shot took the Decepticon's right arm away, energon fluid spurting out of the severed lines and splattering across the terminal. The soldier yelped and Wheeljack put the second shot into his chest, blowing a hole through the armour, shattering his spark chamber and sending him falling backwards. Wheeljack reloaded the powerful weapon quickly, his hands working the mechanism expertly as they unlocked the break-action barrel and slipped two more of the sizeable shells into the chambers. It felt incredibly satisfying watching the spent casings go flying out as the barrels fell open, each casing clinking onto the metal floor near his feet. His one optic glowed a piercing green, his mouth curled into a grin as he swivelled around to face one of the technicians to his left.
This one did not have time to pull a weapon.
One, two, reload.
Mechanical in his movements, Wheeljack blew this Decepticon's head away with both rounds. Reloading rapidly, his attention went to the burly silver Decepticon standing further ahead on his right. This one had shifted an arm into an energy cannon and was levelling it in his direction.
One, two, reload.
The sound of the shots reverberated loudly through the large room. The Decepticon was knocked backwards by the force of the blasts, his armour tearing open, glowing blue energon fluid spurting out. Wheeljack moved up, a Decepticon ahead, slim and grey in colour, having pulled out a large calibre pistol. He fired, the shot going into the terminal in front of him. Part of it exploded, showering the Autobot with sparks. His EMP shotgun reloaded, he leaned around the side and returned fire.
One, two, reload.
The first round went slightly wide, slamming into the shooter's own terminal. It erupted in a violent explosion of sparks and smoke. The Decepticon stumbled and red lights began to flash about the command centre. The second shot hit him in the left leg, blowing it away, making him fall, screaming in pain.
One, two, reload.
Wheeljack finished him off with another shot, this one hitting the Decepticon in the chest. He fell backwards abruptly, becoming an unmoving heap on the floor. Wheeljack swivelled to his left and fired at a Decepticon who had gone racing for cover behind one of the four pillars around the central command platform. The Decepticon, a slim purple and black one with a similar build to Wheeljack, was hit in the side and went falling forwards, his own momentum putting him onto the floor several metres ahead. There he remained, a hole blasted through the side of his gut.
Wheeljack emerged from cover and made his way to what he assumed were the more important terminals. Most had holographic displays, the writing on each in the common Decepticon language. It was somewhat less poetic-sounding than the Autobot one, but Wheeljack knew enough of it to know what each terminal was telling him. As for the last Decepticon in the command centre, he had ducked behind one of the other pillars. As Wheeljack moved around it, the Decepticon, a young one by the look of it, slim and mostly silver in finish, looked at him with wide and frightened optics. He raised one hand, his mouth opening to speak.
That was about all he got to say before Wheeljack pulled the trigger on his shotgun. The young Decepticon's outstretched hand exploded and he emitted an agonized scream as he fell onto his side, his intact hand clutching at the jagged stump. Wheeljack had no mercy for their kind, even less than usual with the synthetic energon pounding through him. Having the power of life or death over someone had never felt so great.
Wheeljack fired again and silenced the young Decepticon's screams. Stepping past his corpse, he went to a terminal before the main view-screen. He reloaded his shotgun before he put his attention to the holographic display. A warning message had appeared: NAVIGATION CONTROLS DAMAGED. BACKUP SYSTEMS INITIATED.
Wheeljack fiddled about for a few moments. Someone had sabotaged the engines, likely one of the two factions currently fighting with each other. As for where they were headed, he saw that they were going up, ascending into the upper atmosphere. He did not want that. No, he wanted them to stay on Earth. It would be simpler then, killing them all. No one had bothered putting any lockouts in place, presumably because no one expected a potential threat to breach the command centre. So Wheeljack, with a smirk on his face, keyed in the opposite direction: down. Instead of ascending, they were going to descend on a fairly stable trajectory to the desert below. That was more useful to him, and to any of the other Autobots who might still be alive. He realised now that he had no idea who else was left of his little band of fugitives. He could be the last one standing for all he knew. No one could contact him, since the ship was likely shielded by typical Decepticon jamming technology. Even if they were alive, he was on his own. Then again, that was the way it always had been, ever since he had left the Wreckers. Alone against the enemy. Up until he had fallen in with Prime and his team. Things had changed then and he was still divided on whether it had been a good thing for him or not.
Wheeljack turned around and started back across the command centre. However, a familiar figure emerged from one of the pillars, having snuck in moments earlier. He clutched an EMP shotgun, holding it in his right hand as Wheeljack stopped in his tracks, raising his shotgun in return. Both Cybertronians held each other at gunpoint, with the barrels of their weapons inches away from the face of the other.
Vortex wore an emotionless mask. A yellow combat visor covered his optics and his mouth was covered over by a grey battle-plate. Wheeljack recognized him from the meeting on Cyclonus' yacht days before. Vortex was a Combaticon, essentially making him the Decepticon equivalent of a Wrecker. Much like Wheeljack, he had a sword sheathed at his back. Both Cybertronians regarded each other in complete silence.
It ended quickly when Vortex's finger pressed on the trigger. Wheeljack reacted quickly, swatting the Combaticon's gun wielding hand aside, causing the shotgun to fire wide, blasting a chunk out of the main view-screen. Immediately Vortex countered as Wheeljack pressed the barrel of his shotgun against his neck, knocking the weapon away, causing it to go off, the pillar nearby receiving the brunt of the shot.
Wheeljack put his other hand to Vortex's gun, finding the barrel lock. Both barrels fell open and the one spent casing and the loaded one went flying out. Vortex, however, did the same to Wheeljack's shotgun, causing the shells to fly out, clattering onto the floor below. Wheeljack threw himself against Vortex and the Combaticon did the same in return, the pair with their gun wielding hands stretched in opposite directions, barrels pointing away from each other. Their free hands went to grapple with one another, each opponent predicting the other's moves carefully. The grappling took the pair up against the central platform where Wheeljack found some slight success in forcing Vortex against the edge of the raised platform. Nonetheless, he pushed him back, twisting Wheeljack's hand somewhat awkwardly, forcing the Autobot to release him. His empty shotgun fell to the floor, with Vortex retaining his hold on his own.
Wheeljack felt Vortex forcefully reverse their positions, spinning them around as they remained locked together. The Autobot hit the raised platform, his frame clanging against it loudly. Vortex pulled his empty shotgun away before thrusting the barrel forth, using it as a sort of club, one that Wheeljack deflected with his scarred right hand. With a twist, he sent the gun flying out of Vortex's grasp. It landed several metres away.
Wheeljack had not had an equal fight up to this point. He had not wanted a fair fight, he had wanted nothing more than to slaughter everyone on board this ship. Vortex was standing in the way of that. Taken off-guard, Vortex swung a punch at him, with Wheeljack leaning his head aside, causing Vortex's fist to connect with the platform instead. It clanged, leaving a dent in its place as he pulled it back and put the hand against Wheeljack's neck. The Wrecker grabbed Vortex's wrist of the hand at his neck and pulled it away, only for Vortex to shift his arm under his own and pick him up off of his feet. The Combaticon's sheer physical strength won out here. He pulled the sword from Wheeljack's back as he launched the Autobot onto the raised platform. Wheeljack kicked out, catching Vortex across the chest, making him stumble slightly, causing him to drop the Autobot before he had a chance to throw him. Another kick sent Wheeljack's sword flying out of Vortex's hands.
Wheeljack scrambled to his feet, crossing the circular platform. Vortex climbed up after him, standing across from him, his gaze set on his opponent. Slowly, he draw the mostly straight sword from his back. It was similar to Wheeljack's, but without the curve and somewhat wider. One edge was serrated. The blade glinted in the blue light emanating from the nearby terminals. Vortex would have the advantage here, since Wheeljack's blade lay off of the platform and well out of reach. Nonetheless, the Wrecker was more than happy to tear Vortex apart with his bare hands if he had to.
Vortex kicked aside the body of a dead Decepticon who lay sprawled near his edge of the platform. He held out his sword, raising it to one side of him, before he threw it away. It landed well across the room, clanging loudly upon the metal floor. Wheeljack was surprised; the last thing he expected from a Decepticon was any notion of "honour". Vortex wanted a fair fight. Wheeljack, on the other hand, did not. It appeared he would not have a say in the matter.
Wheeljack started forwards, with Vortex heading towards him in return. As they neared, Wheeljack swung with a backhand. Vortex blocked it with both his arms, knocking aside Wheeljack's own before moving in with a flurry of strikes that caused Wheeljack to take a few steps back. He swatted away Vortex's punches, throwing a few of his own, taking a few steps to his left as he did so. Vortex followed him, keeping him in front at all times, his hands moving quickly and fluidly. He threw one punch that Wheeljack caught in one hand, attempting to twist the hand in return before Vortex squirmed out of it and sent his other arm into his chest.
Wheeljack grunted with the impact and swatted aside the arm as it pulled back for a follow-up strike. He kicked out with one leg, attempting to sweep it across both of Vortex's but the Decepticon jumped over it with ease. Wheeljack took advantage of this movement quickly, one arm going around Vortex's head as he landed. Swivelling the Combaticon around, Wheeljack held him tight in a headlock, one arm around his neck while the other clutched at his face. He tore the yellow visor away, knocking it to the floor and in turn revealing the Combaticon's bright red optics. Vortex forced his way out of the Wrecker's grasp, turning to face him once again.
He lunged forwards, throwing two quick strikes that Wheeljack deflected. Vortex threw a kick that caught him in the stomach, causing him to take a few steps back, an advantage the Combaticon pressed immediately. He threw another strike with his left hand, a feint that Wheeljack figured he should have seen coming. The synthetic energon might have made him energetic, but his judgement had been impaired somewhat and what was usually an attack he would have been able to counter was something that caught him right off-guard. Vortex hit him across the face with his other hand, sending pain shooting down the disfigured half of his face. Wheeljack stumbled further backwards and Vortex pushed forwards, determined to put an end to this. He punched Wheeljack again and again, striking him in the neck hard enough to make him reel.
Wheeljack tasted energon in his mouth as he put up his arms, trying to ward off Vortex's brutal assault. He fell to his knees as Vortex continued to rapidly punch him, hitting him in the head and chest, wracking him with pain. Finally Wheeljack felt his body give way underneath him and he fell upon the edge of the raised platform, landing on his side, energon dribbling from his mouth. He groaned and rolled onto his stomach, his one good optic searching for anything even remotely
useful that may have been in reach.
He felt Vortex standing over him, looking down with a malevolent glint in his red optics.
"Get up." He said. He kicked Wheeljack in the side, sending a jolt of pain through him. The Wrecker rolled onto his back, looking up at Vortex, who had nothing but contempt in his optics.
"Get. Up." Vortex leaned forwards, snatching up Wheeljack by the neck, lifting him up off of the floor so that they were face-to-face. Wheeljack, at his left arm, twitched it slightly, a movement that was enough to slide out the two-pronged spearhead he had concealed there.
Vortex was about to say something when Wheeljack plunged the spearhead into the side of his neck. Surprise filled the Combaticon's optics as he pulled away from Wheeljack, his hand going to the blades stuck in his neck, blue energon fluid spurting out from around them. He emitted a pained groan and Wheeljack did in fact get up at that point, sore all over but nonetheless still active with the synthetic energon.
Rushing forwards, he grabbed the spearhead as Vortex remained stunned. Pulling it to one side, he slashed open his throat, severing the energon lines within and partially decapitating him. Energon fluid erupted forth and splattered upon Wheeljack whilehe watched with some satisfaction as Vortex fell to his knees, a shocked expression on his face before he finally fell onto his side and the last semblances of life twitched out of him. The spearhead, courtesy of Star Saber via Knock Out, jutted out of the other side of his neck.
Sore all over, Wheeljack limped his way over to where his shotgun had landed. He picked it up and reloaded the weapon, all the while thinking of the unfinished business he had left on this ship. He then picked up Vortex's sword, the weight and size of the blade having caught his optic. It was not as finely crafted as his own blade and not as precise, but it would do the job and deliver significant damage to anyone unlucky enough to be caught by its serrated edge.
The cruiser itself was well into its descent. The landing would be hard, but it would likely not be hard enough to destroy the ship. A cruiser this big and heavily armoured could take an awful lot of punishment. The main threat was if the engine core destabilized, as it could erupt with the force of a powerful nuclear bomb, something Wheeljack hoped to avoid, if only because it might claim the lives of humans on the ground. He was not all careless, even when he was high.
Speeding down a desert highway, Ultra Magnus, Doubletake and Bumblebee were each in their vehicle modes. High above, its nose pointed down and its massive engines roaring was the hulking black metal form of Cyclonus' cruiser. Ultra Magnus lead the trio, the tracking device embedded inside the Decepticon Lieutenant known as Dragstrip having brought them here. It still beeped now on the Autobot Commander's sensors, not that he needed its help anymore. The ship was coming down and would make a rough landing well into the desert. Wheeljack may have still been alive and on board and Ultra Magnus had no desire to leave him at the mercy of their enemies, regardless of how insubordinate he might have been. No one got left behind, not even a Wrecker like Wheeljack. And someone had to get to the ship and mop up the remaining Decepticons. Something had happened to drop the ship out of the upper atmosphere. Wheeljack had happened, most likely. No prison had held that Autobot for long.
"Let's speed things up," Ultra Magnus said, shifting up a gear. The road ahead went straight on for miles. There was the possibility that the Decepticons might surrender, now that their leader was dead. This was unlikely, of course, but it was a possibility Ultra Magnus could at least hope for. All the fighting today had left him tired, hurt in places, but tired mostly. Killing Cyclonus had not done much to make him feel better. He doubted killing a whole lot more Decepticons would make a difference.
Wheeljack had to brace himself for the impact. Alarm sirens were sounding about the ship now, not that many crew members were around to notice them. He held himself against a pylon at the wall of a corridor as the cruiser's underbelly connected with the desert floor, kicking up a massive cloud of sand in its wake as its momentum carried it onwards. Knocking aside rocks as if they were paper, the ship shook violently and Wheeljack fell to the floor, his feet going out from under him. A light fixture in the ceiling fell from its housing, sparks erupting from its broken connection. He rose back onto his feet, one hand against the wall as he started moving ahead, the ship rattling around him. A computer terminal at a wall ahead exploded. Someone shouted in surprise from around a corner, a Decepticon stumbling into view with a weapon drawn. He had a few smoking holes in his back, the victim of a shooting as two others came around, both slim grey ones with energy cannons for arms. Wheeljack, from where he stood, raised his shotgun and gunned one of them down, blowing a hole into his chest. He shifted his aim quickly, blowing the left leg off of the other one, leaving the Decepticon soldier to hop around ineffectually as energon fluid gushed from the jagged metal stump, a scream escaping his mouth.
The ship finally came to a rest on a desert plain, the black metal and uneven edges a stark contrast to the yellow and brown of the surrounding landscape. Wheeljack heard the screeching tearing noise of metal being torn asunder somewhere nearby as the ship hit what was likely a large set of boulders.
The wounded Decepticon ahead had fallen over. Wheeljack reloaded his shotgun quickly before walking forwards, blowing away the Decepticon's arm and the in-built cannon within. The Decepticon emitted another loud scream, one he silenced by planting his foot firmly on the Decepticon's neck, pinning him to the floor.
"What side are you on?" Wheeljack asked, his one green optic glowing with fury.
The Decepticon emitted a pained groan and Wheeljack jammed the barrel of his shotgun into his stomach.
"Are you with Cyclonus? Or Star Saber?"
The Decepticon, a youngish looking soldier if Wheeljack judged correctly, had his red optics wide open with fear. Wheeljack had to resist the urge to pull the trigger, no matter how much his rage told him to finish off this one.
"Star Saber..." The Decepticon croaked.
"Where is he?"
"He went...to the lower hold..."
"And the female? Skystriker?" Wheeljack wanted to find her. The two of them had much to 'discuss'.
"He's with her...We were told to regroup with them..."
Wheeljack nodded. He took his foot off of the Decepticon's neck. He knew what to do, at least for now. Confronting the two of them and putting an end to all this, one way or another, was all that was on his mind. As for the wounded Decepticon, he turned around and shot him, blowing his head apart before he started walking down the corridor.
The lower hold of the Decepticon cruiser known as the Tempest was a vast cargo area, currently occupied by much of the ship's energon and equipment stores. Stacks of large metal crates went at least ten units high. Catwalks crisscrossed the hold at multiple levels. The rear doors had been opened to the desert beyond. A gentle breeze wafted in and worked its way through the aisles between the stacks. There were many Decepticons here, some on patrol, others heading outside.
Wheeljack had no idea what Decepticons were with who, nor did he care. He strolled through a door leading into the vast cargo hold and caught one guard by surprise. Wheeljack grabbed him with one arm, turning him around before he drove Vortex's sword through the Decepticon's back and into his spark chamber. The Decepticon died there and then, the light in his red optics dimming.
Wheeljack let his body fall to the ground as he continued down the aisle. He moved quickly and quietly, years of covert operations having given him the skills to get around unnoticed. There was some ground to cover here.
Stopping at a corner, he leaned around it and spotted two fairly average-sized Decepticons standing a short distance away, both moving in his direction, weapons raised. They were either on the lookout for soldiers from the other faction, whether that be Cyclonus' or Star Saber's, or they were aware of Wheeljack's arrival in the cargo hold. Regardless, Wheeljack waited in the shadows around the corner. The one in the lead came by and Wheeljack thrust his sword out, getting the Decepticon through the neck before a single swing took his head clean off. The other Decepticon stumbled backwards a few steps, his optics wide with shock. Wheeljack prevented him from yelling an alert by lunging forwards and driving his sword into his throat, destroying his voice-box before he pulled the blade out. The Decepticon fell against the stack of crates on the left, one hand going to his neck, his mouth opening to shout but only a low buzz escaped from it.
Wheeljack stepped forwards and put the sword straight through the Decepticon's chest, destroying his spark. Pulling the blade free, the Decepticon's body hit the floor with an echoing clank.
With the sword in his left hand and the EMP shotgun in his right, Wheeljack started down the aisle, keeping in the shadows as he moved. Heading towards the large opening, where he could see the desert plain beyond and the now twilight sky, Wheeljack heard voices. One of which he recognized. It came echoing from up ahead, near the exit.
"We need guards at every possible exit," the feminine voice commanded. "It is better to trap Cyclonus' loyalists inside the ship, rather than let them escape."
Skystreaker. Wheeljack felt his spark start pounding again. She was not far up ahead, judging by the volume of her voice. Wheeljack caught sight of a Decepticon moving across the aisle further ahead. He ducked into the shadows to one side, keeping low. When the guard had gone, he emerged and resumed his path forwards.
There was a fairly open area he saw, some distance into the cargo hold. The stacks here were not quite as close together, with a clean and wide path provided to the exit at the end of the ship. This was most likely to give room for cargo to be moved. Standing near a stack, with two guards flanking her was Skystreaker. The Seal of Nova Prime was at her back, but otherwise she looked no different than when he had last seen her, when he had very bluntly rebuffed her offer to be the "father" of whatever messed up youngling she was going to give birth to at some point in the near future.
Wheeljack emerged from cover. Both guards reacted to him, each shifting an arm into an energy cannon. The Autobot Wrecker threw Vortex's sword at one, impaling him through the spark chamber, taking him down. A shot from his EMP shotgun blew away the other one, both guards falling to the floor, dead. This just left him with Skystreaker, and whatever other Decepticons might have been nearby. He had little time then, before someone tried to come to Skystreaker's rescue.
As for the female, she turned around to face him. She appeared unfazed with the death of her escort. Wheeljack aimed the shotgun at her, one round still in the chamber.
"Jackie," she said, her mouth forming into a smile. She took a few steps towards him and Wheeljack fingered the trigger. However, something stopped him from pulling it. The fact that she was carrying what was to be his youngling was the most likely cause for this. Even through the haze the synthetic energon had put over his emotions, he found himself unable to shoot. Nonetheless, he kept his aim set on her.
"Put the gun away," she continued. She was suddenly right in front of him, close enough for her to reach out and put a hand to the gun. She forced him to lower it, gently. "We don't need it. All I want is for the two of us to be together. The heralds for a new era for Cybertron. You've known a life of nothing but war. Now's the chance to live a life of peace. To settle down, with me, and our youngling."
Wheeljack narrowed his one remaining optic. Settling down. Kids. Peace-time. Civilian life. He had pondered these things on-and-off ever since Optimus Prime had gone into the Well of Allsparks. Ever since life had returned to Cybertron. Ever since the war had ended and he had been put to service rebuilding, rather than destroying. And thinking about it all now, with Skystreaker before him, he realised that these things were not who he was. Whatever life he might have had before the war, that was not him anymore. He could not simply go back to it. And part of him did not want to. He was a soldier, a warrior, and he did not consort with the enemy.
"It's not my kid," he said. He raised the gun and fired, well before Skystreaker could react. Her chest exploded and she fell backwards, her optics opened wide with surprise, her spark chamber a gaping hole. Whatever other life she had carried in her was gone too, leaving her as nothing but a lifeless hulk, one that crumpled to the floor in a heap and remained there, unmoving. Wheeljack looked down at her, a gaze that was only fleeting as his mind became set on the other goal he had in mind: Star Saber. He would not be far, if Skystreaker was here.
It was Star Saber. His voice filtered through the speakers in the hold. Somewhere he stood before a terminal, speaking into the announcement system. Wheeljack stopped where he was and looked around, attempting to discern the exact source of the voice.
"You have made a mistake. Nova Prime will rebuild our civilisation. We ruled a quarter of the galaxy before the degeneration set in. Now we are nothing but packs of squabbling nomads, moving from place-to-place, destined to repeat our mistakes. What your friends are doing on Cybertron will only result in a continuation of that cycle."
Wheeljack stepped past Skystreaker's corpse. He looked down at her thoughtfully, and then realised that he should never have trusted her. Still, there had been something good about her. Whatever it had been, Star Saber had made sure to take it away.
"Skystreaker was one of my own, until a traitor within the group snatched her away and put her through a cruel memory-altering procedure. He buried her true identity and with it her intended purpose in life. And now you've buried her, permanently." Star Saber sounded remorseful. Wheeljack had not thought he had it in him.
"The Seal of Nova Prime reacts to those worthy of its power. It reacted to you, during the brief contact you had with it. I believe that he chose you, and Skystreaker in turn. And you have remained defiant in the face of his plans. I would commend you for that, if the circumstances were different." There was a pause as Star Saber allowed his words to sink in. Wheeljack continued through the cargo hold, clutching his shotgun in both hands, his scarred right side throbbing painfully. "You could be the herald of a new age for Cybertron, Wheeljack. I can forgive you for what you have done. You could join me and we can find another willing partner for you, as I believe Nova Prime still has plans for you yet."
Wheeljack saw the control room for the cargo hold high above, looking across the entirety of the vast chamber. It had a tinted observation window and the Wrecker did not need to think over his next course of action carefully. He stopped where he was, taking aim at the window. His shotgun would likely cover the distance, but he doubted he would score a hit on the one behind the glass. Nonetheless, he would take a chance.
"You are the warrior with uneven spirit, the one mentioned in the prophecy; treading the fine line between noble warrior and savage killer..."
Wheeljack pulled the trigger. The shot echoed throughout the vast chamber and the glass shattered spectacularly. Star Saber stumbled backwards as shards rained down around him, the console in front of him exploding with a shower of sparks. He was some distance away and as soon as he was exposed he ducked down, ensuring that Wheeljack's next shot did not connect. Instead, the blast ripped up the bench in front of him, sending metal fragments flying.
At that moment, the far end of the cargo hold began to open up fully. The vast metal double doors gradually slid open, creaking loudly in their housings, revealing the desert outside and the darkness it was bathed in at this late hour. Moonlight streamed in and Wheeljack heard a few voices from further up ahead, echoing through the chamber as Decepticon soldiers started for the exit. Star Saber would likely be making an escape as well. Wheeljack intended to stop him.
Star Saber had seen much fighting during his time. He had fought in multiple wars, among them the latest and largest one, the Autobot-Decepticon conflict. He had not had a great stake in that fight, but he had been drawn into it anyway. It was there he had had his first revelation, so long after he had first adhered to the faith. He had seen the cycle at work and he had known from that point onwards that another war would lead them to compete extinction. What the Autobots attempted on Cybertron was doomed to failure. He was certain of this. The Cybertronian race needed him to survive. They needed the faith and they needed Nova Prime most of all. The greatest of all the Primes, betrayed by his own and banished into the void.
Leaving the control room, he started down a ramp leading for the bottom of the cargo hold. Here, he stumbled across Drag Strip, one of Cyclonus' faithful. The Decepticon soldier looked worried, even more so when he laid optics upon Star Saber.
"Holy shit..." He muttered as the Autobot bore down on him. Drag Strip raised a sizeable pistol but Star Saber swatted the arm aside before delivering a sharp and powerful blow to the Decepticon's throat. This caused him to stumble, all the while Star Saber stretched Drag Strip's gun-wielding arm across one shoulder, yanking it down so that it broke at an awkward angle. Energon spurted out of the injury and Drag Strip howled in pain, dropping his gun.
Star Saber let him go, allowing him to stumble backwards against the nearby wall. He clutched at his wrecked arm, his optics wide as Star Saber knelt down and picked up the gun. The Autobot pontiff had not been fond of guns, but this situation was a dire one and he needed the edge. Drag Strip's optics managed to get even wider as Star Saber stood up and pointed the gun his way. He was about to say something, likely beg for his pathetic life, his face one of fear. It disappeared in a flash of blue flame as Star Saber planted a shot right into Drag Strip's helm, blowing away half of his cyber-brain whilst the other half fell out of his mouth, along with a whole gush of energon and nerve fluid. As Drag Strip's lifeless corpse hit the floor, Star Saber turned around and barely gave it a second thought as he moved out into the cargo hold. He had opened the doors, allowing access to the desert outside. Somewhere amongst the tall stacks of metal containers was Wheeljack.
Lying in wait behind one stack of crates, Star Saber moved into shadow and clutched the pistol in his right hand. He stood there in silence, listening out for any footsteps.
Wheeljack worked his way through the aisles between the stacks of containers, moving slowly with his shotgun held at the ready. As he neared the exit he stopped, taking a moment to survey what lay outside. There was a long, wide trench, left behind by the cruiser as it had struck the ground and carved its way through it. Moonlight shined off of the smooth floor and Wheeljack, watching the way it seemed to shimmer as his vision moved, noticed the uneven reflection further down the aisle. It looked like the side of someone's upper torso, cast in silhouette. They were standing perfectly still, as if lying in wait.
Wheeljack moved slowly towards this corner. Star Saber revealed himself as he neared, edging around and firing a shot at the Wrecker. It struck his lower chest, the pain nullified by the remnants of the synthetic energon that coursed through him. Wheeljack returned fire, striking Star Saber in the right shoulder, causing him to stumble backwards. His hand remained clutched around his gun, even as Wheeljack planted another shot into his chest, blowing open part of his spark chamber. There was a flash of blue flame and energon fluid rushed out of the new wounds, all the while Star Saber let out a pained grunt. His face remained an emotionless mask, his mouth concealed underneath a battle plate, his sharp blue optics the only indication of what he was feeling. Judging from then, he appeared to be stunned.
He hit the container behind him, smearing it with energon before he slumped down it slowly. His optics went to Wheeljack, anger flaring within them. Wheeljack cracked open his shotgun, ejecting the spent pair of shells before he quickly crammed in two fresh ones. Star Saber, energon dribbling out of his mouth, slowly went to raise the gun he still held. Wheeljack shot him again, the blast catching the side of his head, blowing away half of his face and causing his left optic to explode. Star Saber convulsed and he emitted a sharp yelp as he writhed against the container behind him. Wheeljack watched on emotionlessly, finally putting an end to the religious zealot by planting another shot in his chest. This one hit his spark chamber, causing an eruption of blue flame as the entire thing exploded. Whatever life had been left within Star Saber was now gone.
Wheeljack reloaded his gun. Stepping past the mangled corpse of Star Saber, he went by another row of containers and down the ramp at the end. It was a relief to be outside, a relief he felt considerably as his feet hit the sand. He put a hand to the smouldering hole left by Star Saber's gun, feeling it come back sticky with his own energon. His whole body burned and his joints ached, his head throbbing if only to compound matters.
His legs gave out from underneath him and he fell to the ground, rolling onto his side before letting the shotgun leave his grip. From somewhere in the distance, he thought he could hear the sounds of engines. Cars or trucks, maybe both. He remained there as his own energon pooled around him. Rolling onto his back, his one good optic began to gaze at the night sky above. It took in this sight, even as the green glow within it died. The stars looked unusually wonderful tonight.
Author's Note: If you stuck with it until the end, I hope you enjoyed it.