Sparked by Magic Chapter 9
Author's Note: This chapter was a long time in coming, much longer than I thought, but that's life for you. Ironically, my possible third part-time job is hinging on this chapter, which means that this has become a chapter in the life that kept me from updating sooner to begin with. Ironic, but I think you'll be thanking my interviewer for this all the same.
So, cheers to Kim Swisher. Yes, this is the person you interviewed, and I hope you find what you're looking for in this example of writing.
To my other readers, I'm sorry for the wait you had to endure for this chapter. I had hoped to make it a nice long one to make up for it, but today was the deadline I set for Kim Swisher and I didn't have the time I wanted to meet the 8,000-10,000 word count goal I wanted to give you guys. I hope the content makes up for the length.
He could feel Laserbeak's spark signature close. While he had known his cassette hadn't perished it was a relief to know he was close by and that they would soon be reunited. Neither human nor Autobot would stop him, though they were free to try. He would kill any who stood in his way - there was no room for failure on this mission.
Needless to say, this resulted in a trail of death as Soundwave made his way deeper into the NEST base. The deaths were all human as the Autobots were sturdier and quicker to take cover from the determined telepath. This continued until Soundwave rounded a corner and saw a white and gray Seeker. It was from the mech's chassis that Soundwave felt the echoes of his cassettes spark. His red visor glowed with his barely restrained rage as he realized that this mech was the one responsible for both taking his cassette and weakening the link between them. Soundwave stepped forward, violence in mind.
The Seeker tried to bring up his rifle in defense, but Soundwave was faster on the draw and shot for the Seeker's left leg. The Seeker's "knee" joint blew apart and the Seeker fell to the ground with a strangled cry, his own visor glowing sharply gold. The Seeker still had a shaky grip of his rifle despite the pain, however, so Soundwave took vicious pleasure in kicking it roughly out of the injured Seeker's grip.
"You will return the cassette Laserbeak to me or I will rip you open and take him myself," Soundwave intoned. His claws twitched at the very tempting thought.
"I think not," the Seeker ground out.
Soundwave's control snapped and he reached forward to follow through with his threat.
He did not see the white form that leapt for him from the side until it was on top of him and tackling him away. Soundwave had little time to react and by the time he could it was too late. A metal device had been jabbed between the metal plates of his armor and activated. Electricity ran through his wiring and Soundwave lost most of his motor control as his circuits scrambled.
Soundwave's last conscious thought was a fleeting hope that his Lord might avenge them.
Skynet had made a mistake. He had been distracted by the data Laserbeak possessed and by observing the fights between the Autobots and Decepticons. He had been so distracted that he hadn't paid enough attention to his own surroundings. He had trusted the humans of NEST to adequately cover their own security, he had trusted the Autobots on base to cover for any oversights the humans made, and Skynet made a mistake by doing so. Had his Creator not shown them his doubt over the Other's trustworthiness? Had his Creator not given Skynet the gift of mental fortitude? Skynet could have watched over all had he but eased a little concentration off of the cassette.
Hopefully, his Creator would forgive him the oversight.
That was Skynet's last thought before he got to work dealing with the Decepticon invasion of NEST. He warned Patch Up and Ratchet as to what was going on and passed Ratchet's message to Iron Hide's group. After informing those not in the know, he stealthily made his way to munitions storage and picked up a Cybertronian rifle. It would be madness to attempt taking flight – he would be made an easy target – and so ground combat would have to be his strategy here.
After acquiring and ascertaining the status of his weapon, Skynet calmly made his way outside and began systematically shooting down the unaware. While his Creator had made Skynet's main function one usually used outside of battle, that didn't mean that Skynet was incapable of fighting. Skynet shared the battle programs his trinemates did and he used these programs to great effect.
At least, it had been going well until a very protective and very angry Communications Specialist had cornered him. Skynet had dodged around a building intending to get new cover after the surviving Decepticons had discovered his location and had found himself visor to visor with the Decepticon. He had brought up his rifle, but Soundwave was quicker and shot out his leg joint.
Skynet had never known pain before. He knew it now. Were it not for his Creator's gift of being able to split his mind's attention exponentially, he might very well have been paralyzed from the sensations. As it was, he was able to feebly bring up his rifle and send out a covert distress signal.
He had not expected the one who answered his call.
Patch Up watched in shock as Night Watch, Sunstorm, Scramble, and Optimus Prime came roaring through the dimensional rift her Creator had made. This shock was quickly put aside as guns began to blaze all around her as the Decepticons desperately tried to fight off the newly arrived and unexpected threat. The Decepticons quickly took cover as their attacks proved ineffectual.
/This is Optimus Prime,/ the common frequency sent. /My group is present and engaging. We request assistance in routing out the Decepticons; if you come from the East end of the facility toward the storage warehouses then we can come at them from both sides in a pincer maneuver. Please respond, over./
/This is Alpha Beta One; we're at the South-East end of the facility. Our ETA is ten minutes, over./
Patch Up didn't pay attention to the Prime's reply as a sharp and urgent call echoed over her family's private frequency. It was Skynet; he was hurt and hurt badly and was calculating his termination if help was not sent immediately. Before Patch Up could reply she felt a miniature sun come to life beside her. She could feel in her very spark the rage that burned in her Creator, a rage that whispered Armageddon.
She would have been afraid if it had been anyone but her Creator; she knew that she and her family were safe. She knew where that anger was targeted.
"Go to Skynet," her Creator ordered. "You have the advantage of surprise and will succeed. I will take care of the others."
A rift opened in front of her and she didn't spare a moment for doubt as she faithfully leapt through. Her Creator was, as always, correct; Soundwave had not expected her. He didn't have the time to feel her presence or hear her arrival until she was already on top of him. In a ruthless action that surprised her, she found herself jabbing the Cybertronian equivalent of an AED in the gaps between his armor and overpowered the electronic waves. Soundwave twitched before falling still, his visor darkening as he fell unconscious.
She turned to look at Skynet numbly and found herself asking if he was alright.
The white seeker tilted his head minutely as her regarded her, possibly analyzing her state of mind before replying with: "I'm not presently in good condition, but that can be fixed in time. I no longer feel the pain of the injuries as I have blocked my pain sensors to the relevant areas. If you could help stem the flow coming from said injuries, I would be very grateful."
Patch Up took a deep inhale and nodded in reply. She set to work, ignoring the screams that were systematically cutting off. She also ignored Skynet's pleased hum as he heard them and his even more visceral glee as he connected his second communication cable to Soundwave in a motion that was unnecessarily forceful.
She ignored her own background feelings that completely echoed her patient's; now was not the time to dwell on them.
As Patch Up left through his portal, Harry let go of his mask of civility. He could still feel Skynet's pain in the back of his mind, as well as the seeker's fear and desperation.
'They hurt them. Those vile pieces of utter filth hurt my family; Night Watch twice, and now Skynet too. Not again, never again. These rotten wastes of life will never hurt my family again.'
Harry snarled and felt for the life signatures of the hiding Decepticons. Soundwave was down, but the others still mocked him with their very existence.
'THERE WILL BE NO MERCY.'
The Decepticons screamed as his boiling magic grabbed hold of them, searing the energon in their bodies, clawing at their minds, and tormenting their very sparks.
Harry paid no mind the Autobots and NEST soldiers who watched in horror. He paid no mind to the satisfied Night Watch or the viscerally pleased Command Trine. He paid no mind to the cell-bot in his lap who covered his audio receivers or the semi-truck that watched blankly as the enemy was destroyed.
All Harry cared about were the dying Decepticons that he couldn't see with eyes, but could feel in his mind. All he cared about was ending them in the most painful way possible. They would be an example to all who would try to hurt his family. This would show just how much mercy Harry would have for them – exactly none.
Starscream could barely contain his utter glee when Soundwave's failure was reported to him. Oh, Megatron would be upset and probably take it out on his own hide, but with Soundwave finally gone so many plans were open to him. Finally he had a real chance to rid himself of Megatron and take his rightful place as ruler of the Decepticons!
He quickly wiped the growing smile off his face and headed to the throne room where Megatron and the Fallen were fine tuning the Harvester plan.
"My liege," he said. "I have received reports of Soundwave's progress with his little rescue operation. It seems that he has failed. He was taken prisoner, but none of the others survived the operation."
Megatron was angry and did take in out on the Air Commander, as Starscream expected. He didn't much mind; Megatron would pay for every infraction now that Soundwave was no longer there to protect his liege.
Starscream sneered behind Megatron's back as his lord planned with the Fallen on how they would proceed with the Sun Harvester.
'Yes,' the mad seeker thought, 'you will pay in time, and then I will take my rightful place as the Decepticon Leader!'
The fully healed Skynet paid little mind to the cassette still connected to him and spared most of his attention for the Communications Officer. He also made sure to keep surveillance of the surrounding area, his Creator's lesson still in mind. The humans and Cybertronians were unreliable and the mechs' history was evidence enough of their incapability to deal with the threat they faced.
It was during his absent-minded musings that Skynet found the answer he'd been looking for. The main threat ahead of them was the danger presented by the Sun Harvester, and now Skynet could finally inform his family – and their allies – of the when and where of the Decepticon's plans. He quickly opened a connection to his family's frequency, as well as the Prime's.
/The Decepticon's plans for the Sun Harvester were to proceed a two days after Soundwave's rescue attempt, regardless of its success or failure. We have thirty-eight hours now to reach their destination – the coordinates of which I will send to you in a data package – and stop them from activating the Sun Harvester. We will have some time after their arrival to stop them as it seems they don't have the key to activate it. The key is called the "matrix" and is suspected to be hidden near the Sun Harvester by twelve of the Original Primes. It is possible for them to activate it without the key, but it would take weeks if not months to replicate the necessary power signature./
There was a slight pause before the Prime responded.
/This "matrix" is an ancient artifact used by the Primes. It is a source of power as well as a repository of knowledge. It was said that all sparks of Primes past and present have their base essence and memory imprinted within it./
Skynet's visor glowed as his thoughts ran.
/Well/ he sent, /we definitely can't let them have it./
Privately, Skynet wondered if the Autobots shouldn't have it either. The irresponsible fools might accidently trip the Sun Harvester or something equally dangerous in their stupidity.
/We'll make preparations to leave in two hours. Everyone, be ready,/ sent the Prime.
It took a while to actually get to Egypt. It wouldn't have if the damn Autobots and NEST operatives would have allowed their Creator to transport them through a rift, but they were far too skittish.
'Honestly, if our Creator wanted them dead they would have been dead the moment He desired it,' Scramble internally groused.
Both his brothers and him felt uncomfortable hiding in the air transport and not being able to fly themselves. This did not help their mood.
/You can't expect that sort of forethought from them/ Skynet sent. /They've proven their stupidity many times over./
/Why are we allied with them again?/ he sent back.
/Information, of course. Idiots they might be, but they have a wealth of experience in engaging the Decepticons. They also prove rather handy distractions and living shields by providing themselves as the more tempting targets./
Scramble nodded slightly and replied with /that sounds about right/.
As one they turned to observe the uncomfortable silence between the NEST agents, the Autobots, and the other members of their family. Chatter seemed the only one reasonably unaffected, but the seriousness of the situation kept him silent. As for the humans and Cybertronians, Scramble supposed it was due to His actions against the Decepticons in their earlier battle.
/You think they'd be happier that their enemy was dead/ Scramble mused over their link. /They seem much more concerned with the method than the result./
Skynet didn't reply with words, but Scramble – and Sunstorm by extension – could feel his projected agreement over the trine bond.
/The Autobots always came across as a mix of holier-than-thou and hypocrite to me/ Sunstorm offered.
Before Scramble could say anything in return, he heard the blessed orders to leave the cargo bow and engage the enemy. Sunstorm laughed somewhat maniacally and took off, leaving Scramble to chase after him. He could sense Skynet's spark heading higher in the sky to get an overlook of enemy placement. As planned, he would send the data to Night Watch and Optimus Prime so they could adjust strategy as required.
/The Constructicons are to the South-West of you/ Skynet sent. /It seems that they're uncovering the Sun Harvester from the pyramid it was hid inside of. You and Sunstorm have the go-ahead to engage. I don't see Starcream as of yet, but be careful. End this fight as soon as possible so he doesn't have the opportunity to take advantage of your distraction./
/Understood/ Scramble and Sunstorm replied.
On the ground, things were a bit different. Sam, Michaela, and Sam's family had apparently gotten themselves caught up in the mess and were becoming quite a distraction for both sides; the Decepticons wanted the Matrix that Sam had apparently found and the Autobots were trying to prevent it while also protecting the humans from harm.
Haul was very much on the verge of calling this whole thing FUBAR and cursing out the Cybertronians as a whole. Technically, this whole situation was due to both their Original Primes coming here to build the Sun Harvester in the first place, and their insatiable appetite to war against each other.
Haul punched yet another Decepticon away from Patch Up, and couldn't help but think that the whole race was cursed as a whole and should just take their insanity elsewhere - somewhere far away from his family, preferably.
"Done," said Patch Up, cutting off his train of thought.
He looked down at Skids, the first of their patients, and gestured irritably for the brat to take cover with his twin. Honestly, Haul found the "Terrible Twins" disgusting. It was probably best for their health that they stay far, far away from him. The fact that Patch Up didn't glare at him for not letting Skids rest with them after just healing was a strongly telling of her own opinion.
/The Fallen has retrieved the re-formed matrix from the human Samuel/ Skynet reported. /Scramble and Sunstorm have finished with the Constructicons, but the Sun Harvester is still exposed enough that it can be activated. The Prime is engaging the Fallen, but appears to be losing due to the Fallen's ability to teleport. Night Watch reports that our Creator will take care of it. However, Scramble and Sunstorm now need support against Starscream and Megatron. They need assistance./
Haul and Patch Up shared grim look before making their way out of the confining ruins to have a clearer view of the sky.
"Sunstorm seems okay with Megatron," Haul observed. "Scramble's not doing so good though."
"I'll call him in, see if he can't lead Starscream a little closer for you," Patch Up replied.
Haul nodded and readied one of the anti-aircraft missiles the Autobots had provided. He could see the moment Scramble received their medic's message as the stealth-bomber made a quick turn into their direction.
Haul spared a quick look to Sunstorm only to blink in shock as the seeker apparently set himself on fire.
'FUBAR doesn't even cover this,' Haul thought absently.
"Haul, pay attention! Sunstorm's fine, but Scramble won't be if you don't take the shot!" Patch Up snapped.
Haul set his sights back to the Decepticon Air Commander, but couldn't help his incredulous shout of: "what part of on fire makes you even consider the status of fine?!"
"Skynet said its Sunstorm's Sigma Ability. Creator apparently let him keep his radiation cloak as an activated ability to use in battle. You would have known that if you paid attention instead of getting distracted. Now, shoot!"
Haul shot, but missed. That was okay though, because Starscream had been so distracted by Scramble and Haul that he didn't even see Skynet's shot from up high. The Air Commander screeched horribly as the shot tore through one of his wings. The Decepticon seeker immediately made an about-face and retreated. Megatron, who was covered in melted-looking spots in the shape of a seeker's talons, was quick to follow.
/Optimus Prime has killed the Fallen/ Skynet sent. /The Decepticons are in full retreat. The only casualties on our end are NEST operatives. There are many wounded that need tending to. /
Haul's shoulders slumped in relief. While it wasn't good that people were wounded, his family had survived the day. Besides, between his Creator and Patch Up, injuries wouldn't be an issue.
There was much to celebrate in this.
There was nothing to celebrate on the Nemesis for the Decepticons. The mission had been an utter failure. The Constructicons were dead. One of the only combiner teams they had, gone. It would leave them vulnerable. That wasn't even taking into mind the fact that the group was collectively their most skilled medics. Many mechs owed their lives to the combiner team.
So, no, there was nothing to celebrate.
Megatron's shoulders were held high, but Starscream could see the exhaustion and grief. They had lost so much. Megatron in particular had lost the most personally in the last battle. The Fallen had been a mentor to Megatron for mega-vorns and now he was gone. The Fallen had fallen for the last time, killed by Prime.
If Starscream's wing hadn't hurt so much, he might have thrown this right in Megatron's face to see him suffer. Megatron hadn't hesitated to use the death of his trine-mates against him. He'd even done it multiple times! Oh, how Starscream wanted his so-called leader to suffer.
Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you looked at it, this was the most opportune time to move his plans forward. Megatron was weak, distracted, and there was no Soundwave to warn him.
Starscream lunged forward unexpectedly and buried an energon blade straight through Megatron's back and spark chamber. The Decepticons remaining on the bridge watched in disbelief as their previous Lord collapsed, dead. Starscream smiled a mockery a smile, a mad twisted thing.
"Behold your new leader!" He crowed.
The Decepticons around him exchanged looks of disbelief and fear before the situation hit them, hard. Megatron was dead, Soundwave out of action, and only Starscream was left. Fear lit their sparks and traveled to show in their optics.
Starscream watched in glee as they bowed. He finally had all that he wanted!
If only Skywarp and Thundercracker were here to see it...he could almost hear their voices. He could almost feel their pride over a bond long since broken.
A broken bond that broke a seeker now left to lead a starving band of a dying race. It was a tragedy the Winglord refused to acknowledge. He had won now, surely that also didn't mean he had lost. Winning was winning, and Starscream had finally won.
Things went well, Dumbledore thought. The casualties only numbered one on their side.
'It could have been worse', he tried to console himself.
He still felt like a failure. Surely he could have done more?
"Johnathan Corbel died in honor, a hero and example to us all, an example of true courage and integrity. He gave his life to save others, to protect them from the dark we face in these trying times. We will honor him in our hearts and keep him in our thoughts. We will honor his memory by continuing his cause, and…" the words tasted like ash in his mouth, empty platitudes for the mourning friends and family.
Dumbledore frowned as he stepped down from the podium.
'I will end this' he decided, and signaled Moody and Bill to join him.
It was time to go horcrux hunting.
Author's Note: Again, cheers to Kim Swisher!
I hope you all enjoyed this. I'm sorry it isn't longer, but I was under time constraints. I'm hoping to get the next chapter out sooner, but I'm not sure how much time I'll have.