~ Part One ~
The locator on the base computer blinked as it picked up a signal. Cybertronian life had entered Earth's atmosphere, for the first time in centuries.
"Trona, we've got a hot one!" a female voice called.
"I thought I was the hot one," a male voice replied with annoying suave. The female only scoffed.
From out of the shadows, a dark figured human walked out with a midnight blue suit and a black glistening helmet on. Her arms were folded as she stepped out, looking up to the screen through her mask.
"Should we investigate?" a different male voice asked the human with concern.
"We can't leave, remember?" the female said.
The human jumped up to the keyboard to find the coordinates of the Cybertronians. They were flying to the center of North America.
"Not for this one, T," Trona said to the male.
"I'll deal with this one."
The Nemesis had finally broke through Earth's atmosphere, steadying its position over a desert in Arizona. The inhabitants of Earth had no idea what danger just entered their world. Inside the shadow ship, Decepticon troopers stood in formation ready for orders. Megatron stood at the front of them with Soundwave and Starscream at his sides.
"Is everything in order, Starscream?" Megatron asked his second-in-command.
"Yes, my lord," Starscream answered.
"Soundwave, are the coordinates set?"
Soundwave only answered by displaying the coordinates on the computer screen.
"Good," Megatron turned to face his Decepticon troopers. "Decepticons! We have come to the planet called Earth. The inhabitants here are small, weak creatures known as humans. The Autobots have not come to this Earth, yet. They will find out about our whereabouts eventually, so we must prepare for their arrival. Since they care so much for helpless creatures such as these, they will come to protect them. Even though they are useless, humans have resources we can use, including contact with Autobots. You must disguise yourselves, but if you are seen by them, quietly eradicate them."
"For now, our main focus is to supply on energon that Earth contains in its soil. We have located a large quantity of energon. When the Autobots arrive, they will be no match against our forces. Decepticons, load up the drills and mining tools. To work!" Megatron finished giving orders.
Starscream shouted, "All hail Megatron!" and the Decepticons repeated.
The Nemesis flew down to a deep chasm of rock and lowered the elevating strip. The drills and Miners came down and began cutting up the blue crystalline minerals- energon -and loading back to the ship. Everything was going according to plan, then Soundwave approached Megatron. He caught a signal of a ground bridge opening near the mines.
"What is this?" Megatron asked, almost frustrated. "We scanned the planet for any Autobots and found nothing! Send a message down and tell the troops to be ready for anything that comes." Soundwave bowed his visor and went to do as commanded.
Meanwhile deep into the mountains tunnels, Trona walked out of her ground bridge and closed it behind her. She quickly leapt to the rock walls to be sure no one saw her. None of the Decepticons had ventured her way, yet. Thankfully it was dark, so she could camouflage in the shadows. She could not be seen, otherwise her plan would blow.
Drilling noises went off further into the mountain, so Trona went towards it. Even though she sprinted, she treaded her steps on the solid rock ground, only running at the top of her feet. The darkness started fading and blue light appeared up ahead. A small sample of energon was seperated from the veins the Decepticons mined.
Trona pulled out a Norta knife and quickly checked that no one was in hearing distance of her before swinging her knife into the energon. A chunk of it fell off and she quickly grabbed it before it hit the ground. She then pulled out a cylinder of some kind and inserted the energon piece into it. Trona pressed a button and the energon was grinded into liquid, the form which Cybertronians needed to fuel themselves. She put a cap with a small metal tube on top of the cylinder and put it through a small opening of her mask, tipping her head back.
Trona repeated the process on another chunk of energon and continued down the dark tunnel. She finally came upon an opening where the light was brighter and the noises grew louder. She could even hear a conversation between two troopers as she stuck against the walls.
"Lord Megatron said that Autobots could be down here since Soundwave picked up a ground bridge signal," one of them said.
Scrap! They know I'm here, Trona thought. But they think it's an Autobot, so I have an advantage.
"Didn't Soundwave scan the planet for Autobots? He said there wasn't any," the other trooper said.
"It could be one of those humans Lord Megatron was talking about," the first suggested.
"Maybe. But he said that they are small and weak so they couldn't hurt us," the second said.
Trona smirked behind her helmet. No other human could hurt them. For a human, she was tall; a good six foot. Of course, compared to the Decepticons, she was small.
Time was passing by and Trona sat in the shadows, listening to the Decepticons chat. From listening to them, they didn't sound evil at all. Sure, they've done bad things, but none as bad as Megatron. They seemed almost like the humans on earth that followed religion they believed in.
After a few hours, the miners and troopers loaded as much energon they could onto carts and started to leave. This was her chance. The two troopers she listened to were pushing a full cart. Swiftly, Trona jumped from rock to rock, hiding herself from view before jumping into the cart while the troopers looked away.
They finally arrived on the Nemesis. Troopers unloaded the energon into a vault and closed it off. Trona hid tightly in the corner for a moment, scanning the blue-lit room for any vents.
Aha! There you are, Trona thought. There was a boxed lining on the high corner of the wall. Perfect size for a human to cut open and walk through. She smiled behind her mask. The vents would be weaved throughout the whole ship.
A stack of energon cubes aligned to make a good ramp to jump up to the vent. She flexed her fingers and claw gloves then bounced on her feet. Trona ran up the stack and jumped off with her hands out, clinging onto the door crack. She placed her feet on the wall to keep from falling. With all her strength, Trona used her hands to prop the door open. She swung her feet into the vent and quietly closed the door behind her.
The light vanished, gulfing the veins of the Nemesis back into darkness. Trona switched her helmet to night vision, her sight becoming green. She stood up with a small crouch, almost touching the top of the vent. Even though the vents were small for the Decepticons, and though Trona was tall for a female human, it was the perfect size to camp out in and sneak around the ship. If the vent walls were thin enough, she would be able to hear everything the Decepticons did.
But in order to know what she needed to know, Trona needed to know where every room was. With that in mind, she pulled out a small device and placed it against the wall. It lit up blue and spun to attach itself. It was an extraction port that would scan the ship and send her back a blueprint of the Nemesis. The process took a while, so Trona decided to spend the time walking through the ship without the map.
Trona softly walked through the ship, listening for any sound that might pass through the walls. Her heightened sense of hearing definitely helped. With that, she heard a hoarse voice up ahead.
“...blasted miners, can’t you load any faster?! Get the energon to the vault already!” the voice rashly commanded.
That voice was all too familiar. Megatron’s second-in-command, Starscream. Trona remembered the moment they met. He was a Decepticon before they even existed. They made quite an impression on each other long ago. Luckily, Starscream couldn’t remember her. That would’ve screwed her plan up. She had no interest in listening to him and walked back to where she left her extraction port.
The map was finally downloaded when she got back. Trona pulled the Cybertronian computer screen up to view it. All the major rooms had vents leading to them. A small bag full of miniature microphones and cameras hung from her belt. Old school maneuver, but effective for the size. She was going to bug the place.
After installing the map into her helmet, Trona followed the vent line throughout the ship. When she arrived at a room, she pressed the side of her head against the vent walls to listen for any movement or voices. Mostly she heard nothing, so she opened up the vent quietly and placed the camera and mic in the tiniest crevasse of the ceiling corner. Two cameras and mics she placed in the hallways as she went on bugging. She reached the last big room and stopped to listen. There was a voice booming through the walls.
“You detected no Cybertronians in the mines?” a commanding, tough voice came through the walls of the control room. No voice responded, only a pause. “Then you must've malfunctioned. Why would there be a groundbridge if nothing came through it?” The voice grew frustrated.
From the sound of his tone and position, the speaker sounded a lot like Megatron. He wouldn’t remember her, as much as she wished he could. Once again, there was a pause of silence. Megatron was either talking through a comm link or a voiceless trooper. That trooper had detected her groundbridge, but not her vitals. So many advantages as an unsuspecting beast.
“Send troops to scout for signs of any creature other than the Decepticons,” Megatron ordered. Sounds of metal footsteps faded out and the Cons were gone. Trona placed the last pair of tech in the room and shadowed back to her little base.
With a map of the ship and bugs planted for every room onboard, she turned on the mics and cameras and each one flashed onto the screen for her to monitor. Whichever one she selected, Trona could listen to the conversations in that room.
Her plan was beginning to swing into motion.
As the next two weeks went on, Trona observed the Decepticons activity throughout the ship and on Earth. They hadn't disturbed any human areas yet and had flown all over the U.S in search of energon mines. The only time they ever mined was when she hitched a ride with them. They must've simply wanted to know where mines were in case they ever ran out in the plentiful one they first found. The troops Megatron sent to look for her found no sign of anything and dropped the matter, resulting it being nothing but a malfunction. Boy, were they dead wrong.
On the ship, the troops mostly marched around in the halls awaiting orders. Scouts were sent out now and then, but nothing happened. Autobots hadn't arrived yet. While watching through the cameras, Trona learned a few things. The Decepticon Megatron was talking to about detecting her was one named Soundwave. He remained silent but deadly as he could pick up signals and work out any problem the ship had. From what she saw, he was Megatron’s most loyal follower. Another thing she found out was that most troops passed a dark dead end of the hallway that had no rooms too near it. Megatron never walked down there and was on the other end of the ship from where he spent his time. It would be the perfect spot to play out her scene.
One other item Trona had brought was a secret device no one else knew about but her. She called it the MW-Fusion. It could be used to wipe memories, extract information from such memories, and make any Cybertronian see things that weren't real. It was similar to the cortical psychic patch, but it could scan instead if being plugged into their heads. As handy as it was, it could only be used a certain amount of times before it runs dead. She programmed it that way so it wouldn't be used too much and in case she ever lost it. The charger was left back at her base, so she could only use the feature she wanted four times. It was enough for her to use against the Decepticons.
Trona made her way through the vents down to the dark dead end. No one was there or on their way, so she set up. She took out a couple of the lights to cloak the hall in total darkness so they definitely couldn't see her.
Thud, Thud, Thud… “I wanna go squish a human to get those Bots over here!”
Someone was coming. Two troopers, maybe two minutes away based on their pace. The MW-Fusion was in her hand with caution, cocked and ready like a gun. Trona crawled into the black corner to vanish and pointed her tool at the entry where the troopers approached.
A pair of Vehicons slowly sauntered into the opening on the hall. The scanning-scope propped up on the MW-Fusion, targeting the two.
A small flicker of blue light caught the sight of the Decepticons. “Hey, what's that?” They turned toward the darkened hall. Shadows of a some kind of beast with blue eyes enticed their vision. It's head slowly rose to face them.
In a flash, the beast let out a roar and tossed its claws across the first trooper’s head. Both screamed in panic, the other beginning to run and the wounded Con staggering up while covering his face. Their terror echoed down the hall as they fell back.
Trona lifted her lips only slightly. She didn't like hurting them, but it was dang entertaining. Especially since she knew what they saw, and that it wasn't real. But the claws across the face were. It was her that jumped and injured him with her norta claws. It will all be a nightmare to them, but it will pay off, she thought. She popped back into the vents to go to her surveillance system. Soon they would investigate this attack of a beast onboard. And Trona couldn't wait to see their faces.
“What in the name of Cybertron happened?!” Megatron said in an unhappy tone. The two Vehicons were shaking in fear.
“W-We were on the other side of the ship- at where the hall ends -and we saw...saw something,” the unharmed one answered.
“Some kind of beast with... blue eyes and... sharp, silver claws. It attacked me,” the wounded one finished. Energon was dripping from four claw marks on his face. He only moaned once, but he didn't want to show his pain in front of his Lord.
“Where would a beast that makes marks like that come from?” Starscream questioned.
“Could it have a possible connection to the ground bridge opening before?” Megatron turned to Soundwave for assurance. He replied with a recording of Megatron’s remarks on his malfunctioning. Megatron gritted his teeth in slight anger of mockery, “Alright, so you were correct in your detection. Head to the medic and get that patched.” The injured trooper nodded and headed off.
“How did a beast even get on the ship?” Starscream put a claw to his head in confusion.
“It doesn't matter,” Megatron disregarded. “If there is such a creature, we must dispatch it. Starscream, send yourself and some troops to the other side of the ship to kill this Nemesis monster.”
Meanwhile, in the vents, Trona watched their discussion go on with a finger to her comm link, ready to contact someone. “Hey. Step 1 is done. Now onto Step 2.”
“What a ridiculous thing!” Starscream complained. “A monster on the ship? Ha! Nothing could’ve gotten past my security...unless they were the same fools who ran into this problem in the first place.” He grumpily marched down to the end of the ship with only four Vehicons. He had no concern for the supposed Nemesis monster. The story of the two troopers seemed to be just that: a story.
One more light had been damaged at the end of the hall. A light hiss echoed in the flickering purple. Instead of complete darkness, blue illuminated from the shadows. Starscream noticed and straightened his position. “Whoever you are, come out where I, Starscream- first lieutenant of the Decepticons -can see your ready corpse.” The troopers pulled out their blasters and slowly approached the blue shadows.
But there was more than blue. Streaks of white lightning sparked inside silver and black jaws. The hiss grew deeper, angrier. Out of the shadows came a pair of blue eyes and metal beast on all fours.
Starscream let out a high pitched gasp and pulled his blaster out. “A Preda- egh!” He stopped his guess before he could say it out loud. “Shoot it! Kill it before it attacks!” Red lasers flew at the beast, but its armor absorbed the fire with minimal damage. It marched forward, developing a sinister growl, and leapt for the closest trooper. The beast swung its tail around and whacked him out of the way. More blue and white electricity began developing at the end of the spear like tail. The powerful creature flipped its tail back to zap the next trooper. He jittered from the taze and fell to the ground, sizzling.
Only now did Starscream actually want to do something helpful. He aimed his missile at the head of the beast. Right as he pulled his trigger, something pushed his arm off course and hit the back wall instead. Starscream saw nothing appear to have shoved him. Smoke rose from the explosion, forming a cloud that covered the beast. All they could see was the electric flickers and the glowing eyes. The beast pounced forward, ready for Starscream to be its next meal. He quickly pulled the next trooper in as a shield, now squished by the snarling monster. But the beast released the trooper and gave Starscream a look of pure hatred. He was obviously the intended target, and the whimpering second in command knew it.
“Ah! Retreat!” Starscream commanded. He transformed and flew out of the area before the monster could touch him. The four Vehicons revived from their injuries and drove out of there. Each of them were haunted by the deadly roar the beast belted for them.
Trona switched off her invisibility and grinned at the thought of Starscream in fear. “Hm, too bad. Almost got you there, slaghead.”
Because of that unfortunate incident, Trona knew there would be panic on board. And she wouldn't be able to fool the entire Decepticon army. She didn't need to watch from her cameras to know what Megatron and Starscream would undoubtedly be talking about. After a good 15 minutes to breathe, Trona turned her invisibility on and popped out of the vents and into the hallway. She stood right in front of the door to the main control room, where all Decepticons waited.
Time to say hello. Trona walked into the main room, the doors sliding open and closing behind her. All Decepticon optics shot to the entrance, but they saw nothing. Invisibility worked like a charm. Their mumbles grew louder.
"Starscream," Megatron said, slightly confused, "did the beast go anywhere near a fuel line?"
Here we go. "Your systems are working just fine, Lord Megatron." Trona said. Their attention came back to her, lost in midair. She turned off her invisibility. "I can assure you I did not hack the controls. Although, their are a few lights that should be repaired at the other side of the ship." They were slow to draw their blasters, simply from uncertainty. "Simmer down, Decepticons. I put my razor sharp teeth away." She raised her arms up to show her without weapons in display.
"What is that?!" Starscream questioned with a hint of disgust.
"Well, don't you recognize me?" Trona teased. "Oh, right. Almost forgot about out first encounter. Sorry about that." Of course, they looked to each other for answers. "Oh! But where are my manners? We haven't been properly introduced." She extended her arms and dramatically bowed towards Megatron. "The name's Trona, but you might know me better as...the Nemesis monster." Every trooper shifted nervously. "Oh! I see my reputation precedes me ."
Megatron gave Starscream a look of disappointment. "This is the beast you were so afraid of?"
"N-No, Lord Megatron, this pest lies! We saw what looked like...possibly-"
"A Predacon?" Trona interrupted. She remembered what he almost slipped at the scene. Troopers muttered again. She chuckled. "Haven't they been extinct for...forever? No, what you saw was merely an illusion of my making."
"How is that possible?" Starscream argued. "I saw it myself! It attacked us! How could an illusion attack?"
Trona pulled out the MW-Fusion. "You're all Decepticons. You all know about the Cortical Psychic Patch. This tool works similarly, but instead of entering and extracting information from the mind it manipulates the mind. I simply select a target..." She aimed the scope at Starscream. "...and manipulate what they see." Starscream now saw her as the beast with glowing eyes and sharp claws. He gasped slightly and rubbed his optics to make the illsuion go away. She allowed it to and the beast vanished from his sight.
"As for the attacks, well, those nasty claws were mine." Trona presented her norta claws that glimmered in the dim light.
Starscream still was unable to accept the proof. "But h-how can you-"
"Come on, Starscream." Trona cut him off. Both he and Megatron were surprised to hear that she knew their names so well. "Your Cybertronian technology is quite advanced. I've simply taken advantage of it and gave it my own twist. It should be of no surprise to you. Although...I suppose a mere human who has knowledge of your kind should be surprising." She noticed Megatron's continuing silence. "Are you lost for words, my Lord. Or does Soundwave got your voicebox?"
Megatron glared at her, still seemingly surprised. "Whether it was an illusion or not, you claim responsibility for a direct assault on the Decepticons. A very foolish act. Starscream, kill this pest." He turned his back, expecting the deed to be easy. Starscream grinned and raised his arm, launching the missile at her.
Really? Trona sighed and then simply dodged the missile by an inch. It hit the door instead. Starscream exclaimed with shock and frustration. "You seem to be having a problem with hitting your targets today, Starscream," she mocked. Megatron turned back around, his optics raised with intrigue.
Trona finally began her pitch. "You don't want me dead, Lord Megatron. I'm far more useful to you alive; far more resourceful."
"How could such a weak creature be of any use to me?" Megatron said.
"Well, I may be small in size, but my mind and strength are gargantuan in contrast. I have knowledge of this world that you will need if you want to survive it. If you may grant me permission to live, I shall allow such information to be given to you. By your command, of course." Trona placed a closed fist across her chest and bowed slightly.
Megatron pondered for a moment. "You must be tested of your worth before I can strike a bargain with you, human."
"Wisely so, my Lord. I am grateful for an opportunity." She dramatically bowed again. "We must plan on a test, perhaps, tomorrow. I have a schedule to keep. As do you, I'm sure... I will be in touch." Trona began to leave and the door slowly opened, smoking from Starscream's missile. "This door will need to be fixed too."
I have to make them think I haven't relocated here. Trona opened a groundbridge to coordinates set in Colorado. She tossed the MW-Fusion through, shut the groundbridge, and turned invisible. Can't risk losing that tool. They may not know how to use it, but it's a powerful asset to have. Decepticons would abuse it. She turned her comm link on after she got back into the vents. "Are you there? Did you get it?...Good. Now get out of there. I don't want anyone to see you...And from here on out, only contact me in case of emergency... I can't say for certain. It could take years...Yes, I promise I'll do regular reports...I will...me too. Goodbye."
Trona sighed, trying to mentally prepare herselffor another ride, then darted back to her camera screens. She knew Megatron wouldn't welcome her into open arms just yet. He had suspicions about an advanced human with the knowledge of them, she could tell. So she popped up the main room screen and listened.
"...and if she ever comes back, any chance you get, terminate her!" Megatron commanded. "She's nothing but a harmless shadow. Don't make it difficult."
Shadow, huh? Trona thought. I kind of like that. Thanks for another nickname, Con man. Megatron was done giving orders, so the troops began exiting the room. From the corner of the screen, she saw a familiar looking trooper. Made identifiable by the claw marks across his face. He paired with another trooper, most likely the one that was with the scarred one when she attacked. Trona felt bad for the two, especially for the one she marked. Her guilt ate her up. With a deep breath, she began to trek down the vents again.
"Does it hurt anymore?" said the unharmed jet Vehicon.
"No, but it's a little blurry to see on my left side." The two Vehicon troopers conversed as they were stationed in another end of an empty hallway, unaware that they were being watched.
"Met at a bad time, didn't we?" Trona's voice echoed. The two troopers immediately pulled out their blasters, searching for their target. She perched on the walls, remain unseen until she knew she was safe. "Oh, sorry, didn't mean to startle you boys."
"Where are you?" the scarred trooper asked angrily.
Trona silently shifted into different spots to throw them off. "I understand you must be very upset with me. After all, I gave you quite the fright, and quite the scar..."
"How do we know if that was even you who attacked us?" the jet trooper questioned. Their heads turned in many directions in search of her.
"I can also understand why you don't believe me. It is very hard to believe that a tiny little human like me could inflict such damage on sentient beings like yourselves," Trona slightly flattered. "Yet, if I am not as I claim to be, then you would easily be able to find and kill me within the same second. Specifically you two."
"What...what do you mean?" the scarred trooper asked, almost lowering his blaster.
"Don't listen that thing!" the other snapped. "She doesn't know anything about us!"
"Well, maybe not personally, but I am very observant," Trona said optimistically. "The moment you heard my voice, you both immediately pulled out your blasters ready for action. That shows you are both eager and quick on your feet. You both have great reflexes, when you are prepared. When you are caught off guard, you tend to crumble. So, trooper, you are correct in terms of my knowledge of your personalities, but not of your actions."
This seemed to calm them down a bit. Both had their blasters lowered, but still out. They are curious, this is good! she thought.
"What do you want?" one asked. "And why are you here?" asked the other. Now, Trona felt a little safer. She jumped down and landed behind them, turning her invisibility off. They turned around and aimed their blasters at her, but didn't fire.
"I simply wanted to apologize."
The troopers looked to each other in confusion. "Apologize?"
"I did hurt you, as much as I wish I hadn't. It pained me to do, but the only sure way I knew how to get the Decepticons' attention is through violence. So I wanted to say that I am sorry for hurting you and I feel terrible for doing so."
At first, the troopers said nothing, only staring from each other to her. The scarred trooper lowered his blaster and his head. "We've...never been given any apologies...or mercy," he said softly.
For a moment, Trona felt great sorrow and empathy for the two Decepticons. They've never been shown any kind of compassion, until now. Megatron was incapable of showing gratitude or kindness to his followers. The only thing he gave them was his philosophy and his sense of discipline.
After a small silence, the crestfallen human spoke gently to the scarred trooper. "I am so sorry. You do not deserve cruelty."
Out of the blue, the scarred trooper put his blaster away and knelt down to look right at the small alien. "Can you fix it?" he asked.
Trona knew what he meant and examined his scars thoroughly. They were patched a little sloppy, but it was healed fully. Unless they had some sort of buffer, then the scars would always be there. "Well, I could, if I had the proper tools. But...I think you should keep 'em."
"What? Why? It makes me look terrible."
"I think it makes you look tough," Trona tried to bring out a positive. "Scars may be a reminder of a painful experience, but they are also marks of strength and survival. At least in my book. Underneath my suit, I've got tons of scars. All of which remind me of how strong I can be." She sighed and decided to point out the main reason to keep the scars. "...and to be honest it makes it easier for me to identify you."
"Wait, so you can recognize me?" he questioned.
"Yeeess. Sorry, but you all look the same, so I would like to identify at least you two."
The other trooper tuned in after some confusion. "You don't need to identify us when you're gonna die anyway." He lifted his blaster. "Lord Megatron ordered your termination."
"Gasp, how rude!" she sarcastically replied. "He hasn't even gotten to know me. Oh, but you two wouldn't kill me. Not after we've just become friends."
"Friends?!" he exclaimed.
"Yes, of course. I would hate for us to be enemies forever, uh...wait, I don't even know your names. How can I address you two?"
"Uhh..." the scarred trooper didn't know how to sat it.
Trona was slightly dumbfounded. "Wait...you don't have names?" They were silent, almost ashamed. "How the frag do you tell each other apart then? You troopers don't all go by 'Decepticon trooper' or 'Vehicon' do ya?"
"Basically...we've never had need for any personalized titles," the scarred trooper admitted.
"Well, we're gonna have to fix that with you two. Let's see, what's a good name for you?" Trona tapped her finger on her helmet in thought. She was pretty good at coming up with Cybertronian names. They had to be names they could answer to, at least from her. Lights flashed in her head. "I got it! You-" she pointed at Scarface. "-I'll call you Smite."
"Smite? Why?" he asked, curious about his individual worth.
"Because you are always ready to smite your enemies, no matter how many hits you take."
"Hmmm...I like it," Smite accepted his new name.
"And for you..." she pointed to the other, his blaster still pointed at her. His uncertainty was very strong. "...I think I'll call you Blastlock."
He seemed a little irritated. "Any reason why?"
"For right now, it seems suitable for the fact you can't seem to decide whether or not to shoot me. But I'm sure you have pretty good aim." Trona got tense and wiggled her fingers in anticipation for a blast.
Blastlock didn't seem to object, so it was now officially stuck to him. He was still uncertain about her. "Lord Megatron ordered us to kill you," he said monotonously.
"I know, Blastlock...Why don't we keep this between the three of us? And if Megatron ever finds out you didn't kill me when you had the chance, then I'll turn myself in. And if he tries to hurt you again, I promise to protect you."
They considered the offer. "How could you possibly protect us from his punishments?" Smite asked. "He's Lord Megatron and you're a...human."
Trona nodded in understanding. "That's all true...but I am not just a harmless shadow. I can guarantee that I am the only human that can do what I can do."
Before they could answer, voices of other troopers began to echo towards them. "Scrap," Smite exclaimed. "What do we do?" He asked Blastlock directly. He seemed to be the brains of the duo, while Smite was the spark.
Blastlock looked down at Trona, contemplating his options. He growled almost. "Get out of here, you."
"Thank you. Smite, Blastlock." She placed her fist across her chest and bowed. When the two turned around to check for the approaching comrades, Trona pressed the button on her wrist and vanished. They turned back around and she was gone.
"But what was your name?" Smite asked in a slight whisper.
She climbed back onto the walls and near the vent door. "Don't you remember? I'm your little shadow, Smite. We'll meet again."
Two Vehicons turned the corner. "Hey!" one called out. "You seen any sign of that pest?!"
"No, no sign of her!" Smite called back.
Trona listened from inside the vents. She smiled. They've only known of my existence for a day and already my plan is working.
The Nemesis continually drifted across Earth’s skies. They began to move up north to the Arctic, detecting some sort of energon spike. This peaked Trona’s curiosity and worry because if there was an signs of energon in the ice, then the Decepticons would definitely melt it down. She scuttled down the vents to meet up with Smite and Blastlock, who were on their way down to the main room.
Trona hung from the ceiling right in front of their faces. “Hey boys,” she said.
“What are you doing here?” Blastlock whispered angrily.
“Just checking on you,” she reassured. “Keep your pace slow and we may just have a good conversation before the next group of troopers comes around the corner.”
Trona hopped from Blastlock to Smite’s shoulder, placing something on them. “Why are you...sitting on me?” Smite said, slightly confused.
“So we can talk while we walk. Well, while you walk. Anyways, I heard Megatron picked up a spike in the Arctic. You’re all gonna go check it out?”
“Yes...hang on, how did you know about that?” Blastlock questioned.
“I’m a very good listener.” Trona smiled at the truth that applied to all kinds of situations. As well as in the moment where she could hear that group of troopers she referenced coming closer to the corner. “Oh, looks like your comrades have a quicker pace than I thought. Better be going.” She leapt onto the walls and ricocheted to the floor. “See you soon, boys.” Trona zipped away into another hall just as the Vehicons approached the two familiars.
I’m not sure they are going to find energon like they hope, Trona thought. It’s a small spike, so not big enough for a mine, but not too small to be considered worthless. Whatever they picked up could be another gift sent from their planet. It was irritating how much of Cybertron’s dangers always floated onto Atlas. That was most likely what it was, but a balance of probability can still be tipped over.
Trona made her way down to the main room where Megatron currently was. Even if her life was in threat from him, she had to get information on their target. And hopefully dissuade him from pursuing it. Highly unlikely, but not trying would definitely melt the ice. She turned her invisibility on and walk in right as Vehicons did, hiding her entrance. First, she wanted to listen in on the commands to see what was going to be done. Then she would have a little chat with the Decepticon leader.
“Decepticons,” Megatron began. “We have traced an energon spike here in this frozen wasteland. What a strange planet this is.” Trona nearly laughed out loud. She knew exactly what he meant. So many climates integrated within this world. “Our mission is to investigate this detection, and if it holds any value, bring it here.” Megatron dismissed the Decepticons to unload into the snow. Soundwave and Starscream remained with their lord. Trona softly jumped onto the middle of the walkway and, while their backs were turned, became visible again.
“I do hope for the sake of your army, Lord Megatron, that what you find isn’t an energon mine.” The three heads of the deceptive dragon turned around and glared at her. Or at least, Megatron and Starscream did. Soundwave poised like a trained assassin. Oh, I wonder what’s coming, Trona thought sarcastically.
“Ugh, it’s you,” Starscream said with disdain.
“Maybe try to have a little more enthusiasm next time, Starscream,” Trona joked.
“Soundwave,” Megatron simply said. As Trona suspected, Soundwave swung his blade-like arms down on her, but she back-flipped away before he cut her down. Suddenly, a small jet popped off of his chest, chirping like a bird and shooting her with small blasters. She stood where she was, changing positions to dodge its fire. That jet was only just bigger than her. As were many humans she tussled with. The metal bird flew straight at her. Trona closed her fist and whacked it away like a fly, causing it to crash against the wall.
“Were you listening, my lord? I’m giving you information regarding the conditions of this planet.” She treaded the thin ice lightly. “Would you like me to explain so you may understand?”
Now, Megatron was truly confused. He had ordered her termination and just had his top general attack her, yet she once again offered her allegiance. Not only that, but she took out Soundwave’s pet like it was nothing. There was something strange about this human pest, but Megatron wasn’t sure what.
After a moment of Starscream stuttering, Megatron finally spoke. “What makes these conditions so threatening to my troops, shadow?” He meant the ‘shadow’ as an insult, but Trona stood straighter now.
“You are correct in your observations of the planet; it is very strange. But strange can also prove deadly, especially with extreme weather,” Trona explained. “Each of you are living hunks of metal with great power. Metal can be damaged in freezing cold climates. So no matter how much power each of you have, it cannot prevent you from shutting down.”
“Is that how cold it is? Cold enough to kill us?” Starscream asked.
She nodded. “With prolonged exposure, yes it can. Which is why I placed sensors on a pair of troopers now down in the frozen waste.”
“You can track my troops?” Megatron seemed defensive.
“Not with the sensor, no. The sensor will alert me if the troopers are getting too cold and will need to retreat back into the Nemesis at once. Of course, that will only be by your call, Lord Megatron. Unless you want your troops to become statues of ice, regardless of the frozen treasure.”
Trona crossed her arms and tapped her finger. Megatron said nothing. He only stared in contemplation of her words. Then her tracker went off in her helmet, showing the coordinates on the screen in front of her eyes. “Oh, looks like your boys found the spike. If you don’t mind, I’m going to go check it out. They have at least 30 minutes before the cold starts to get to them.”
The little jet began to move again. Trona jumped down to it and carried it back up to Soundwave. Sneering, she said, “Sorry about your little bird.” She bowed low and dashed out of the room.
Starscream’s poker face broke. “Lord Megatron, are we just going to ignore the fact that she didn’t die like she was supposed to?!” he exclaimed. “And how would she know that our troops found the spike?”
Just then, the comm link signaled on the panel. “Lord Megatron, we’ve found it,” a Vehicon called. Megatron gave Starscream a stare, remarking his stupidity.
Because Trona was smaller and mostly made of flesh, she could freeze quicker. Luckily her suit was more protective and insulating than regular human clothes. Still, she had a good 20 minutes before she succumbed to the ice winds. When she entered the frozen waste, a colossal chunk of ice spiked out of the snow. Using her norta knives, she cut a board sized piece out of it.
Gotta get there fast, Trona thought with a mischievous smile. Might as well do it in style. Placing the ice board on the snow, she stepped onto it and began to snowboard down the hill. She really had no idea how, but she had done some pretty impossible things. How hard could snowboarding be?
After hopping onto the ice, it slid very easily down the white slope. Trona's balance was not doing so good. Ice was one element that almost no one could overcome. She could only think of one person that could manipulate ice to their will. Other than them, pretty much everyone toppled over. Including the advanced human. When she reached the bottom of the hill, another cunk of ice appeared and shattered the board she rode on, throwing her into the snow.
As she slowly got up, Trona laughed between her shivering teeth. Guess it ain't so easy after all.
Eventually, the destination was in sight. Vehicons were standing inside a glacier cave, scanning some kind of large object. Trona turned her suit on before she got closer. Her head was still being requested on a plate, of course. Approaching the cave, she saw that there was a sphere of Cybertronian metal twice the height and width of a normal trooper. The scanners couldn't pick anything up because it was encased in ice. From what Trona observed, the relic from Cybertron was a pod containing something. She didn't know what, but it couldn't be anything good.
A groundbridge opened at the entrance of the cave. Megatron walked out. Trona almost laughed out loud. Guess Starscream didn't want to come...The leader of the Decepticons shifted his eyes down low, searching for any sign of the human girl. "Lord Megatron," one Vehicon approached his master. "We've found a pod that has signs of Cybertronian-make."
"Scan it and find out what's inside," Megatron ordered.
"We've tried, my lord. It seems the cold substance covering it is blocking the scanners."
Megatron scanned the area once more before speaking again. "Then move it onto the ship. Get to work," he spoke indecently.
And, of course, he forgets what I said. How shocking, Trona thought, shaking her head with disappointment. With the howling snowfall blocking her movement, she placed herself on top of a frozen boulder right next to Megatron. She remained hidden to sort of act as a conscious. "My lord, such a relic is hard to procure under the circumstances. There could be nothing at all in there. Perhaps you should wait for the storm to pass to scan it properly. It is risk enough to be out here in extreme temperatures. Why linger?"
Megatron sharply turned to where Trona had spoken and swiped his hand across open air. She slid down the rock before he could harm her suit. One hit and the cloaking ability would be gone. "I don't need your consent, pest!" he snapped with a lowered tone. He obviously didn't want anyone else to know that Trona was there.
The two sensors she had placed on Smite and Blastlock went off. They examined themselves on where the sound came from. The temperature was finally getting to them. Trona couldn't let them die such a terrible way. Fire and ice were two roads she didn't want anyone to end up getting lost on. Well, if I can't prevent them from taking it, then I might as well speed up the process. She dashed to the back of the cave, the wind starting to die, and placed her back against the pod and her feet on the cave wall. Forcing all her strength in her back and legs, she began to slowly push the pod out of the cavern. All the Vehicons turned to each other to find answers as to how this was happening.
Trona grunted and squeezed her teeth together. Not much progress was being made. She had a good deal of strength, but even that was limited. Amongst the confused troopers, Smite came to the back and began pushing with her. Blastlock joined soon after. The pod finally escaped the cavern of ice into the blizzard.
Managing to catch a good breath, Trona briefly switched off her suit and gazed up at Smite and Blastlock. "Thanks, boys," she said gratefully. "Good work, but don't stay out to long, or you'll be as frozen as this thing." She turned the cloaking back on and ran lazily to the groundbridge that Megatron was leaving through. The fragile human couldn't stay much longer. Being cold was a horrible feeling. And being hot. Why must temperature be so extremly horrible?
Trona turned off her suit and began to walk casually alongside Megatron. "I'm not wrong, Lord Megatron," she pressed. He lifted his foot and stomped down on the floor, the girl jumping up to the wall. "I'm just warning you that something terrible could be in that pod. Even worse, you could loose your troops in this detestible weather."
"The only thing that will be terrible for you is when I flatten you!" he snarled, again trying to squish her into bits. And again, she cleared his rage and landed back on the ground, this time a good distance away from Megatron.
"Terrible for me and you." Trona raised her hands like she was innocent of a crime. "I am more useful than you wish to think. You will understand that after you open that pod." Before Megatron could try to kill her again, she bolted down the next hall and back into the vents. She didn't even know if what she said would turn out to be right. For the sake of the Decepticons, she hoped not. But for her and Cybertron's sake, she hoped so.
The pod was moved to an empty storage room where it could thaw out. Trona remained in the vents of that room to surveillance any strange activity originating from the pod. Occasionally, she took a break and checked on Megatron and his staff of evil weirdos. Although, maybe her last break wasn't a good idea.
A metallic crack bent the pod from the inside. Winding and sizzling repeatedly dug through. Soon, tiny holes formed all over the spherical walls, revealing thin spidery arms climbing their way out.
“She’s a vermin and of no use to us, Lord Megatron!” Starscream persisted his complaints. “Sure, she knows about the planet, but details, details, who needs them when you’re trying to conquer a planet?”
Megatron knew his first lieutenant had a point, but his constant murmurings about it only made the matter worse. “Unless you can tell me how she gets around the ship undetected and how she does what she does and why she does it, then keep yammering about it to your useless troops!” he shouted at Starscream. “Or, instead of that, you should be-”
The lights all down the main hall of the Nemesis began to flicker suspiciously. Megatron and Starscream eyed the activity of the ship with caution. Even Trona, who was wandering in the vents, felt the power in the ship buffer. Afterwards, a jet trooper commed for his leader in a short state of panic. “Lord Megatron, we have a situation in the control room,” he reported. They all speedily walked to the control room, where Soundwave examined the issues.
“What is going on?” Megatron said with impatience. “Is it that pest again?”
Another Decepticon trooper spoke up. “We’re not quite sure. The power grid seems to have been compromised in some way. We are having trouble keeping our cloaking shields operational, let alone the systems up.” He regarded Soundwave typing and hooking his tendrils into the Cybertronian machines for investigation.
“Get down to the power core and see what is happening,” Megatron ordered. The trooper nodded his head and left, taking scouts with him.
Starscream continued his argument from earlier. “This must be the human! Who else could be hacking the systems?” Megatron clenched his teeth at him, but didn’t say anything.
Meanwhile, four Vehicons were investigating the power core. The large room filled with the source of every means on the ship glowed blue with energons still sitting in stacks for fuel. From the average look and feel, everything seemed normal. Until, of course...Sizzle. Crack! A electronic snap in the wiring attracted one trooper around the main beam of power. Little yellow and blue sparks flew from small indents in the metal.
A pair of smooth, deceiving lilac eyes popped out. It was spherical with tiny silver legs, and a mouth full of rows and rows of spinning teeth. This was a scraplet. And it had a few friends.
About a dozen scraplets spun around from their appetizers to see four wonderfully sized main courses. Their spinning teeth geared up, the scraplets flew like mosquitoes to the metal robots. The Decepticons themselves were the complete opposite of the scraplets excitement. Scraplets were feared by everyone made of metal. It was the favorite/only food, which they never got tired of eating. Screaming like terror itself possessed their sparks, the troopers headed for the door with their arms flailing. The one closest to the encounter became the target and began to have his armor nibbled away, piece by piece, joint by joint. He feel to pieces as the scraplets overwhelmed him. Two of the Vehicons managed to escape farther away, but one was so afraid of his horrifying fate that he tripped over himself. Luckily, most of the scraplets were busy with their fresh meal. But three of them were not simply satisfied by the one. The more metal the better. They buzzed down on him with their mouths wide open.
“Ha!” Trona shouted as she jumped down from the vents in front of the trooper. She used her staff to whack them away like softballs in a diamond. They crashed into the walls, but the feisty human made sure they were dead by crushing them beneath her feet. The door to the power core was open, and even though she knew that it wouldn’t stop the swarm of scraplets, she quickly closed the door. Didn’t want any more to come at her unplanned.
She flipped around and found the Vehicon already turning the corner down the hall. Trona chuckled a little. It was an understandable fear, much like with humans and insects, but the scraplet fear was one she could only slightly cling to. Poor trooper, she thought, sadly regarding the eaten one. Terrible way to go. And it looks like many more will be going that way. Unless she made her next move.
Lord Megatron, leader of the Decepticons, wore a hard shell that fear never pierced through. He didn’t need to fear; he embodied it. However, when a creature exists to cut through and devour the very thing you build yourself out of, fear has a way of getting through. Ask any Cybertronian and they will tell you the same thing: even if they fear nothing, they will always fear scraplets. Including Lord Megatron.
They suspected the shadowed human had something to do with this swarm, but Starscream and Megatron stood in front of the broken pod and knew otherwise. Megatron was better at hiding his fears than Starscream. The silver jet shivered from internal cold. “W-With a whole pod of them lose...th-they could devour every one of us! We are most certainly doomed!” he stammered.
The same fear crossed Megatron’s mind. He thought hard and long about how they could fix this, but everything seemed blank. If they did nothing or failed to succeed in destroying the scraplet swarm, the Decepticon ship and army would be chewed up and spat on the ground.
In the corner of the room, Trona could see the distress on Megatron’s face. “I warned you that your lack of caution would cost you,” she declared almost innocently. They sharply turned to her, displeased with her position; relaxed against the wall.
Megatron barred his teeth. “Did you know this was a scraplet trap?” he asked angrily.
“If I did, I would’ve made sure you never put it on your ship. That much you can trust in me,” Trona reassured.
“Frankly, I do not trust in the slightest, pesky shadow.”
Trona shrugged. “Understandable. The scraplets would easily kill you and your army, putting an end to the useless war you declared on your planet…” Actually, why don’t I do that? It would make my job so much easier...but being eaten by scraplets is not a good way to die. They’re meant to die with some sort of dignity. “...but that’s no way for the Decepticons to be remembered,” she quickly added.
The sound of a metal saw echoed in the halls followed by screams. A scouting group made its way to the hall. Megatron and Starscream’s red eyes grew wide. Trona left the calmness of the dark wall and pulled out her plasma gun. “Might be a good idea to evacuate the premesis.”
Didn’t have to tell them twice. Megatron and Starscream darted down the hall to the head of the ship. Trona ran towards the source of the terror. Six Decepticons were caught in a cloud of buzzing, hungry scraplets. Smite and Blastlock were among them. Already one other was down and dying. Trona made her way in between the troopers and the scraplets so she could fire away. Her plasma gun was on the highest level, creating blasts large enough to take down more than a dozen little slagheads at a time. It was quite powerful for a tiny gun. The troopers joined in a little more with her helping. Blastlock managed to hit and kill each one he aimed for. She really did name him appropriately. The scouts’ numbers were being taken down. Many branched off from the main hoard to nibble on the mesh metal. Trona dispatched those with a flick, punch, or minor blast.
There was one very persistent scraplet inhaling its way up Smite’s arm. She jumped and grabbed ahold of it, but it continued to eat even when it was moved. The scraplet bit into Trona’s right arm, causing her to cry out from the teeth piercing through. Slits of energon formed. As did little sparks. She quickly grabbed the scraplet before it could bite again, using only the strength in her hand to crush it. To be sure, she chucked it to the ground and stomped on it before turning her attention to her wound. She squeezed the top of her right arm to cut off any more pain.
The rest of the scraplet scouts were taken out. Blastlock and Smite brushed off their wounds as best they could. Without a real proper medic, it would take forever to get rid of these scars. Smite turned to Trona, saying, “Hey, thanks for that.”
“Heh, no problem,” Trona said with a weak smile behind her mask. She tried to hide her pain from them, despite knowing it was something she wanted them to stop. They did not like any sign of weakness. Any sure sign would make her respect harder to gain on this ship. “We gotta retreat back to the head of the ship,” she said. “That wasn’t all they packed.”
Megatron and his army met at the head of the ship. "These scraplets must be terminated before they terminate us," he proclaimed. "I do not care how many of you it takes, but together we shall wipe them out!" This riled his troops up positively, but even he had his doubts.
It took a while for her to figure out, but Trona managed to hack her comm link into the ship's. She couldn't show herself wounded in front of Megatron no matter what. After he had declared the Decepticons' next mission, her voice sourced from the main computer as she spoke from her little headquarters in the vents. "That won't be necessary, my lord."
Everyone looked around for the little shadow, but could not find her. Soundwave pointed to the main computer where a buffered icon appeared with voice waves. Megatron grew frustrated with Trona's constant defiance. "And why is that?" he asked.
"Because you know more than I do that trying to exterminate them on your own is suicide," she stated plainly. "And you could not have met me at a better time. It just so happens that I am the only thing on this ship not entirely made of the scraplets' favorite meal. I am the only one who can, and is willing, to help you."
Megatron turned to Soundwave for confirmation, but everyone knew that she was right. Humans were made of flesh and bone, not metal. Still, he had his suspicions as to her motivation. "For what reason would you assist in riding us of this infestation?"
Trona was too keen to reveal her true intentions so quickly. "As I said before, it would be a distasteful way to remember the Decepticons and the great gladiator Lord Megatron if you were eaten alive. I can just see it now in the history books: 'The Decepticon army along with the famous Soundwave, unbearable Starscream, and the mighty Lord Megatron were unsuccessful in their mission to purify Cybertron and rule the universe with an iron fist. They were wiped out by the vile species that haunts every sentient metal beings dreams.' Disrespecful ending if you ask me." She paused, waiting to see if they would willingly accept her help.
Starscream grumbled to himself and shook his head. Clearly he didn't agree with this idea. However, Soundwave pointed to the controls where the ship status displayed. It didn't look good. Megatron sighed in his head. "What do you have in mind?"
Trona smiled and began explaining her idea. "I've tracked down the main mass of scraplets and they've all regrouped at your ship's powercore." Using her own little moniter, she uploaded an image she recorded of the scraplets in the powercore to display on the Nemesis main computer. The Decepticons examined it, turning a little whiter. "If they continue to snack on it, this ship won't be flying anymore. So we need to first get them away from the powercore to continue my pest control plan. In order for this to work...I will need bait."
The Decepticons shifted nervously. None of them had the bravery or confidence to draw them out and be alive in the end. Trona knew it was mean to pry, but she did it it anyway. "Aw, come on now. Surely one of you has the co'hones-"
"I will do it," a voice called from the back. Mixed looks of impression and insanity radiated to a Vehicon with scars on his face. The jet trooper at his side was not as "excited" as his mate, but didn't say anything in fear of his master.
Despite Trona recognizing the voice over the comm, she couldn't say no. "Excellent," she attempted to say enthusiastically. "You have a very brave trooper in your ranks, Lord Megatron. I do hope he gets deserving recognition...should he survive." Her voice drifted off, but not too much to distract the Decepticons from their task. He would ignore Trona's request at possibly noticing his troops individually. Don't worry, Smite. I promise to protect you.
"And after you've drawn them away from the powercore...?" Megatron said.
Trona smiled to herself. Maybe one day. Not today. "Then you'll leave the rest to me. Further instructions will be provided to your soldier. If he could meet me by the med bay, that would be lovely. I can promise the result will be the same: dead scraplets. No more worries," she said, adding a sarcastic "hallelujah" at the end.
The explanation of the human's plan wasn't reassuring. Megatron began regretting even letting her pass by alive. What could a shadow possibly do to eradicate an entire swarm of scraplets? It was impossible...or at least to him it was. Maybe not to her. She obviously was confident in her abilities. But if they didn't do something, they would all be dead.
Finally turning back to the Decepticon troops, Lord Megatron dismissed Smite, unaware of his affiliation with this hijacker. Smite strolled out like there was no problem, but Blastlock left the security of the devil's head to enter hell with his friend.
"What are you doing?" Blastlock said low, but sharply. "You're gonna die- Scrap, we're all gonna die!"
Smite ignored his pleadings as they strolled down the hall, waiting for Trona to appear. "Only if we fail, which I don't think we will. Besides, it's better than being stuck on a long road trip with Megatron," Smite, his voice more serious than before.
"Valid point, but this isn't some vacation. These are scraplets we're talking about!" Blastlock persisted. "They'll eat us alive! A-And run our life's mission to the scrapheap."
"I didn't see you raise your hand! You don't have to be here."
"Yeah, well...if you think you can take on those scraplets on your own, you must have one stuck in your head." Blastlock pulled out his blasters, ready for anything that attempted to bite from the shadows. "Someone's gotta make sure you don't get yourself killed."
"Well, I appreciate that, Blastlock, but I'll be fine since I'm with-"
"You're not seriously gonna call me that, are you?" Blastlock changed the subject, irritation in his rough voice.
"Why not? I like my new name." Smite raised his head and popped out his chest, like his name made him a hero. "And you like yours too. Don't deny it," he teased. Blastlock grumbled, still not denying it nor accepting it, openly. Smite continued with more triumph in his voice. "As I was saying, we'll be fine. We've got the best thing to have for a scraplet infestation."
Blastlock snorted through his voice box. "Right. Because that little shadow could make up all the difference. Speaking of, why do you suddenly praise her?" he asked in confusion.
Smite shrugged. "I don't know. Guess I trust her."
"Trust her? Why? She sliced your face off!" Blastlock exclaimed.
"And then saved my life afterwards, remember?" Smite referred back to the moment Trona pried the severing mouth of the scraplet off his mesh, causing it to bite into hers. She was already small and sensitive, how could she take on a scraplet bite? And why would she do that? Why was she helping them?
Smite's thoughts were interrupted by Blastlock's doubtful remarks. "Sure, yeah, from one scraplet! Sounds completely reliable, especially when we're going up against the entire colony!"
As Blastlock said this, the pair turned the corner and saw Trona standing by the med bay, playing with a small, silver dagger with her fingers. She only managed to hear Blastlock's last comment. She was still surprised to even see him here. Especially given his mistrust of her. "Well, well, well. My big brave boys! Welcome to pest control. Are you ready?" Trona said enthusiastically.
Just by the way they stood, Trona could see a difference in how they percieved her. Smite's arms were steady, his feet planted, and looked right at her. Despite her harm to him, there was an established respect in response to how different she treated him compared to Decepticons. Blastlock, however, had his blaster out, arms tense, legs inbalanced, and shifting his attention from her to the walls. He did this not just in fear of the scraplets, but in mistrust of the human. He was an uncertain trooper who wanted to follow his master's orders, but also wanted to keep his friend safe. Both were interesting perspectives that Trona hadn't expected to find from the likes of the Decepticons.
After the psychiatric evaluation, Smite replied, "What's the plan?" while Blastlock grumbled to himself.
"Alright, first we're gonna go to the powercore and get the scraplets attention. When that happens, run, drive, and/or fly back to the head of the ship," she explained quickly.
The pair of troopers exchanged a glance, no emotion able to display, but they had the same thought. Blastlock spoke up, "Wha- is that it?" Trona nodded and he scoffed. "Oh, I knew it! You're trying to get us killed!"
"Oh, haha, no," Trona laughed. "No, that's just all I need you to do. I will handle the rest of the plan."
"And what would the rest of the plan be?" Blastlock continued.
Before she could avoid the answer, buzzing and metal sawing echoed down the haunted halls. "You'll just have to trust me. That's our cue, let's go." Trona tipped her head to Smite and pulled out her blaster, the cons repeating this action. They tiptoed their way down to the powercore. Trona peaked her head out from the corner first, followed by Smite and Blastlock who were now starting to shake in their metal boots.She tried to calm their nerves. "Everything will be fine," she said softly. "Keep your focus and you'll make it out before one can even bite you."
Smite nodded hesitantly. Blastlock sighed unevenly. They continued towards the powercore, now beginning to ring with alarm. The entire room came into view; scraplets by the thousand decorated the walls, feasting like ticks on dogs. Trona scanned the room to measure the exact number. She didn't want to me a single one. Text popped up at the side of her helmet screen: 2,316 scraplets detected. So a lot.
The nasty little insects were too distracted to notice them yet. Trona blew out a breath of anticipation, wiggling her fingers around her plasma gun then confirming her next part of the plan with her companions. "Step two: get ready to run," she said, nodding. Before they could fully process this, Trona shot a blast toward a large nestled group of scraplets. All itty-bitty heads wheeled around. Their infrared vision picked up two masses of living metal, jaws snapping open.
"Step three: run!"
The trio booked it down the hallway, periodically turning around to shoot at the oncoming cloud of scraplets. They were gaining speed from their small bodies flying through the air. Trona began to pant, still running with the panicking Decepticons. "Uh, you do have t-cogs, don't you?" she asked, sparking the thought in the troopers minds. Smite and Blastlock looked to each other, mentally slapping themselves before transforming. Smite became a black and purple sports car, Blastlock became a dark blue and black jet. Being a jet, Blastlock was much faster at evading and could easily escaped the situation. Surprisingly, he stayed by Smite's slowly accelerating speed. Trona jumped on the back of Smite's vehicle mode and shot down more oncoming scraplets. They were not driven away from their hunger.
As for step four, "Blastlock, fly ahead to the control room and cut off the automatic door! We can't let them enter there," she instructed the jet. He zoomed down the halls, trying his hardest not to crash into the walls. The interests of the carnivorous pests were now completely focused on Smite. Trona continued to pelt them with purple blast rays in order to protect him. Step five was approaching.
Smite sharply turned the corner and the control room was in sight. Trona grabbed onto the trunk rim, preventing her from completely flying off. Blastlock had the doors still open, waiting for them. Smite slammed his brakes and transformed back to robot mode. He turned to make sure Trona was okay. She flew for real after that last stop, but quickly rose up as the scraplets turned the corner as well.
Panic swelled in her Trona's mouth. "Get in there!" she shouted.
There wasn't time to argue as Blastlock pulled Smite in. The door shut tight as Trona stood in front of it, dropping her gun before out of sight. Her friend troopers both quivered in confusion and fear.
Adrenaline made her hands work faster, grabbing a large device from her helpful belt with her right hand and pressing a small button on the bottom of her helmet with her left. "Are you ready?...Alright, and..." she waited to speak again into her comm link. The device had a screen with an image of the planet detailed on it, pinpointed a specific location.
The scraplets gained on the entrance to the buffet. Decepticons were behind the doors, awaiting their horrible deaths.
Pressing a button on the device, Trona declared, "Now!"
A swirling green vortex appeared between her and the scraplet A powerful stream of white and blue ice and snow blasted through the groundbridge and heavily impacted the hoard. Their small fragile bodies immediately froze, although the ones at the front shattered like glass. A strange hissing accompanied the jet of cold, but continued to blow until the majority of the scraplets had collapsed to the ground.
Megatron squinted at the door. A commotion outside indicated a fight of sorts. To be truthful, he expected both his troops to be dead along with the annoying human. Then they burst in and shut the doors, leaving her behind. The noise ceased and he had the nefarious curiosity to open the doors, Soundwave returning it automatically.
Beginning at the door and continuing down the hall, scraplets bodies littered the floor.
The Decepticon leader couldn't believe his optics. He examined every one of them to be certain. All were white. Blue. Froze. Dead. And all because of a human girl. A human. Who was now trudging through the bodies to check for any survivors.
One scraplet at the back of the hoard twitched from the undesirable frost, still alive. Trona cocked her head at it and slowly slithered towards it with her legs poised like an assassin on the runway. She scooped it up from the ground and gave it a good view of Megatron without acknowledging his presence. With a single squeeze, the scraplet dissolved into cold shards.
Trona smirked as she pivoted toward the obviously impressed gladiator. "Ah, Lord Megatron. Is this sufficient enough for you?" she slightly taunted.
Decepticon troopers began flooding their attention out the door. Starscream gaped openly. Megatron eyed her down with even more suspicion than before.
Another perfect moment to insert her desired role. "I suggest you have this mess cleaned up soon. And there's no need to fear them anymore. They're all deceased." She stretched out her arms and yawned with more acting than honesty. "Well, I've had my fill for the day. If you need me again, my comm is always open." Trona bowed as if she just performed a show, then darted down the hall, vanishing like a phantom.
After that eventful day, the Decepticons didn’t know what to think of the human shadow. With her constantly appearing from her nickname-sake to give her advice then vanishing once again, the little pest’s allegiances were not entirely clear. Weeks turned into months as the Nemesis glided across the planet in search of any Autobot activity and energon mines. Trona monitored it all, occasionally visiting Smite and Blastlock. Today was one of those days.
A dozen troopers, including her pals, were training on the top hangar outside the ship. Trona leaned against the exit, observing their skills. Blastlock had more of it compared to the others, but they were all still clumsy in their swings and not very good shots either. Her impatience boiled, trying her hardest not to jump out and nail technique in their heads. Then Smite fell over while sparring with Blastlock. From his own swing.
“Okay, that’s it.” Trona’s patience wore off. She marched toward the named pair while ignoring the other troopers in her way, who luckily paid attention enough not to step on her. “What the heck was that?” she asked, a little insensitive.
If Smite had facial expressions, they would’ve been embarrassed. “What? What’d I do?” he asked innocently.
Trona sighed, trying to regain patience. “Let me try again. What exactly were you trying to do?”
“I was...I was just trying to swing a punch. You know-” Smite threw a mock hit at Blastlock’s arm. “-to practice for when the Autobots come.”
“Yeah, I get the point of training, but the execution wasn’t so great.” The Decepticons lacked skill in many important aspects of combat. This would probably be a mistake in the future, but the Autobots needed a fair fight. Since they cared little for the Decepticons, it was up to Trona to break down this war as much as she could.
She sighed once more to finalize her decision, beginning to stretch out her arms. “First, you were unbalanced.” Trona distributed her weight by keeping her legs apart, toes pointed towards Smite; her target. “You need to keep your legs apart and ready to move, otherwise you’ll tip over. See, when you go for a punch, you want to control your momentum in the swing. You’re using strength and energy to hit your opponent, but that can be your downfall- literally.” Trona stepped forward and hammer fisted into Smite’s leg as a demonstration.
Smite began hopping on the other leg. “Ouch! What was that for?” he whined.
“Did you see my legs?” Trona asked, dodging his question. “No, but I saw your fist coming at me!" And then Blastlock pitched in, "Why did that even hurt?" A creature her size couldn't possibly be strong enough to cause him pain. Then, of course, Smite's scars and the piles of dead scraplets they cleaned up proved contradictory.
“I moved them with the swing to keep my balance,” she dodged again. “This principle doesn’t really apply to me, but considering your size and strength, you’ll need to.” Trona relaxed and folded her arms. “Try it,” she suggested.
Smite quit rubbing his leg and turned hesitantly back to Blastlock. His friend shrugged “why not?” and took a defensive stance. Smite spread out his legs, arms up, and swung at Blastlock while simultaneously stepping forward for momentum. Thankfully, he didn’t fall over this time. And it was a solid hit on Blastlock’s defense. Smite looked to Trona for approval.
Trona nodded, glad to see them actually listen and learn. “Good. Now combine that with your defensive stances and any other offensive moves.” Hopefully she wouldn’t have to teach them every stance under the sun.
Then they began to spar more seriously. It was only then did Trona notice the other troopers stopping to watch what she taught them. They seemed to be struggling as well and repeated Smite and Blastlock’s actions. She trusted her boys to do well, so she strayed away from them and observed the others in circles.
“Keep your arms up!” she called to one pair. “Remain focused on your enemy. Any distractions can cost you the battle-- Hey! Save it for the Autobots before I give you what I’m saving!-- Gracious, I just did this with the first two!” Trona kept shouting out tips almost like orders. Already these troopers were evolving out of their lacking.
A warning flashed at the side of her helmet. She froze, read the report and cursed. All at once, the troopers shot their heads towards the doors and became statues. Trona cringed slightly and pivoted. “Lord Megatron,” she commended the giant angry Con and bowed. “I trust there is both good and bad news to report based on the look on your face.”
Megatron didn’t even acknowledge her correctness. “Decepticons, our wait is over! The Autobots have arrived to take this fresh planet away from us. To your stations! First battalion, get on the ground and find them. Terminate them!”
Every last trooper left the landing strip before Trona could. She wanted to get down first, but Megatron’s glare kept her from moving. His expression became harder and harder to read the longer he stared at her. But she could tell he was still trying to decipher her like a hidden message. A confusing puzzle. Just the way I like them...for now.
Trona felt heat rise on her forehead and cheeks, but tried to remain cool as a cucumber. Doesn’t make this anymore nerve racking. “I am proud of my ability to leave you speechless, my lord. If you do not need anything else, I must be on my way,” she said casually, beginning to walk past him.
His optics trailed her cautiously. “And where do you think you’re going?” he demanded to know.
She spoke as she walked. “To my humble abode. I have work to do. You know, I had a life before you landed on this planet. I do have other priorities,” she explained. None of it was a lie.
Megatron stomped behind her. Every few steps she took with her tiny human legs was only one step for the Cybertronian lifeform. “And what priorities would you have here?” he asked. His suspicions never wavered after all these months.
“Don’t you know already? I thought my explanation was clear enough.” Trona tapped against her helmet chin to act with mockery intelligence. “Perhaps you would rather have me dumb it down for you.”
“What?” Megatron’s fury steamed a little higher. This was the first time she ever truly mocked him. Her confidence was a dangerous cliff to ride.
“Alright, alright, don’t blow your top,” she said, turning back as not to aggravate her ignorance. “I simply want to prove to you that I can be useful and give this planet, and yours, the kind of leader it deserves. Simply that.”
Once again, she didn’t lie. Some of the best lies were hidden between two truths.
Trona had to blow him off quickly, otherwise she’d be too late. “I hope you can understand that, my lord, but I must be going. Busy day, today!” She sprinted for the door and met up with the battalion going after the Autobots. Her suit was switched on for security. She recognized Smite and Blastlock in the middle of the mass of troopers. Hopefully, this ends well. Without the loss of their new and precious lives, Trona thought warmly.
The vast, diverse forests of Colorado extended across 24 million acres of Earth. A small road snaked through the trees. A sharply designed, blue and silver motorcycle with a bony and still human rider drove over the messy parkway. Following behind was a red Mustang with silver horns ornamenting the hood.
“Cliff, you know Optimus wanted us to split up patrols, right?” a collected feminine voice spoke from the motorcycle.
“And leave all this land to you? Nah, wouldn't want you to take on the Con's without me,” joked a charming male voice from the Mustang.
“You don’t think I can take them out myself?” Arcee said, slightly mocked.
“No, of course you can! But I wouldn't want to miss out on all the fun.” He chuckled, speeding up to drive beside her in the other lane.
“Cliff, you can't drive over on that side. What if a human comes that way?”
“Then I'll see ‘em coming!” Cliffjumper swerved and sped freely on the open lane. Arcee laughed through her sigh. The Autobots had more free spirit than the hardened Decepticons.
Above the cruising partners, a squad of Jet Cons- a dozen to be exact -hovered to target their prey. No matter how stealthily they flew, however, their dark presence never went unnoticed. The rear-view mirror on the two-wheeler adjusted itself, revealing the troopers.
“Cliff, Cons!” Arcee shouted. The jets fired an array of red blasts at the pair of Autobots, sharply turning away from the damage. The road wasn’t big enough for them to continue without escaping, let alone fighting back.
“Get to cover!” Cliffjumper said, driving into the dense forest. Arcee attempted to follow, but the blasting forced her to choose another direction. They split up, quite unintentionally. The squad divided as well.
Cliffjumper managed to find a clearing and transformed into his alternate, robot mode. A bulky, short red Autobot with silver horns and a friendly face grinned at the Decepticons diving after him. Outmatched by six, but that didn’t shake his confidence.
“You alright, Cliff?” he heard Arcee speak through the comm link, concerned for her partner.
“That’s what I was hoping to ask the Cons sniffing our tails. Once we’re through with them,” he said cockily.
He didn’t get a response. Arcee had her own problems to deal with.The six Decepticon troopers encircled Cliffjumper and pulled out there blasters. Before they could get a shot in, Cliff swung his bare metal fist into the one right behind him. He used his knocked out body as leverage to slam down on the nearest one. Ion cannons sprouted from his hands and targeted two more. “Why’re you boys making my job so easy?” he joked.
From the thick brush underneath an Ash tree, a dark helmet peek through the covering. Trona watched the Autobot walk right through the split squadron. He shot one other trooper in the chest and prepared to fire on the last one. But this last one happened to have good aim and circuited out his blasts. Who else could it be but Blastlock, whom Trona swore to protect.
The Autobot groaned in annoyance. “Aw, really? You think you got the moves?”
His overconfidence shines brighter than the sun. And not in a good way, Trona noted to herself. She watched Blastlock anxiously. He started to combat the Autobot too closely. A final blow would occur any moment. Oh, I don’t think so. Trona quickly pulled out her plasma gun, switched it to stun mode, and fired at Blastlock’s chest. Good thing I’m tiny and hard to spot, otherwise he’ll kill me for that later.
The Autobot seemed less confused and more disappointed. “Okay, ‘Cee, you did not just steal a kill from me-” He turned around, expecting to see his partner, but was greeted by a human wearing a mask and carrying a Cybertronian-like weapon.
And so it begins again. Trona lowered her weapon and smiled behind her mask. “My stars, that was quite the show!” she praised. “I was tempted to throw in a couple of bets, but I knew you would win. And so did you, apparently.”
Slight alarm crossed his expression. The Autobots had no doubt been told to avoid humans in their natural form for protection. A wise precaution, until they break the rule- whether on purpose or by accident -and are at a loss. “Um… you must have been tripping into some weird stuff back there. Boy, are you have the craziest visions,” he nervously tried to explain.
Trona giggled. “I know, right? Seeing a mysterious fleshy thing pop out of the shadows and take down a Con in a flash? Yeah, you tripped into some powerful blow.” Her reference to Decepticons threw the Autobot off. She delighted in confusing Cybertronians. “Don’t worry, my Autobot friend, you won’t have to refresh me on all the lingo. I know how your little war works and weaves on my planet.”
Now the Autobot, surprisingly, relaxed and smirked at the quick-mouthing human femme. “Well, that’s good!” he said. “I was worried we were gonna have to either take you in or kill you. But the last option isn’t exactly what we do.” He rested his hands on his bulky and confident hips.
“Oh, I know, but you don’t need to pick the first option either. I’m very capable of taking care of myself.” Trona emphasized her words by sliding her plasma gun into her utility belt like a western gunslinger. She walked closer to him and extended her arm. “I’m Trona. What’s your name, soldier?” she asked.
“Cliffjumper,” he replied, kneeling and shaking her small hand.
Trona almost laughed out loud. “Nice name. How many cliffs have you jumped off of?” she teased.
“Haha, one or two, but it ain’t as fun when you don’t got wings. ‘Course I could always hitch a ride off a crashing Con.” Cliff nodded at the bodies in the grass.
“Been to any cliffs around here? On Earth, I mean.”
“Afraid I haven’t... Any recommendations? Me and my partner love a good view.” He gazed into the direction of the road where he split up with the two-wheeler. “Speaking of which, I should call and make sure she doesn’t explode when she sees you.”
“No!” Trona exclaimed before he switched on his comm link. She cleared her throat. “I mean, uh, please don’t tell her about me...not yet! I’m still trying to adjust to...this new life and would rather pick my times to meet each of you in person.” Her hands fidgeted nervously. She didn’t want to be exposed to the Autobots so early when things were working great with the Decepticons.
Cliffjumper shrugged it off better than she thought. “Alright, I’m easy.”
“As for some good cliffs…” Trona went through every location she could remember studying on Earth to locate good candidates. “...Well, we got some real beauties in Étretat, France. And there’s the real gnarly Cliffs of Mohor in Ireland. Or if you wanna stick to someplace closer, you could always check out the Grand Canyon in Arizona…” A friendly, yet risky idea linked to the last location. “In fact, why don’t I show it to you one of these days? I know a good place we can stop for gas. And by gas, I mean energon. After that, you and your partner can go there whenever you want.”
Cliff’s face lit up charmingly. “Really? That’d be sweet! You gotta place you wanna meet up?”
“Wherever is closer to your base, ‘cause I know you got one, so there’s less risk of exposure or suspicion from your leader.” Trona shifted her eyes down to Blastlock. He was beginning to wake up. She spoke faster and quieter. “You can comm me on your drive back. You’d better get back with your partner before more slaggers show up.”
“Yeah, you right.” Cliffjumper transformed into his red mustang. He spoke through the vehicle mode. “Nice to meet you, Trona. Stay alive, why don’t ya?” With that, he drove a dusty donut and darted back to the road.
Trona sighed with relief. Blastlock just missed her near “betrayal.” He groaned, grasping his side where Cliff had dented. Before he attempted to rush the energon to his head, Trona placed her hands on his head to check for serious injury.
“Good thing I got here when I did. You alright, Blastlock?” she asked, genuinely worried she’d really hurt him.
“Ugh… I’m fine,” he grumbled. “What happened? Did you stop the Bot?”
“No, but I got him to run off before he killed you next.” Trona noticed there was a slight gash in Blastlock’s mesh where Cliffjumper hit. She did her best to lift him up with support, struggling awkwardly with her size. “Come on, let’s get you back for patching.”
“But the Autobots-”
“Forget about it, you’ll get them another day. Next time, with more of you... and better training.”
“How did you even get there?” Blastlock questioned.
“I have my ways,” Trona hinted at her groundbridge operator. But she didn’t want to reveal that easy tech to them yet. Her, Blastlock and Smite walked to the media bay
“Well it’s a good thing you did. You saved his life...again,” Smite commented.
“Again?! When was again?” Blastlock argued.
“Oh, you know, when she blasted every last scraplet before they ate us!”
Blastlock seemed upset about that fact. “Whatever,” he grumpily stated.
Trona giggled warmly at Smite’s remarks of her as they entered the med bay. Much to her disliking, Starscream was there waiting for Megatron. But he shot a scowl at her like she wouldn't notice. No one invited you, scrapheap, she scowled right back, mentally.
“Afternoon, Starscream,” she said as nice as she could. “You looked pleased to see me. Are you having a good day?”
He shot a glare at Blastlock and Smite helping each other out with the wounds then back to Trona. “I see one of them survived. Although, I heard, the rest of the squadron was killed….” Starscream tapped his chin like he’d wondered something clever. “So, what were you doing there?”
“Trying to serve Lord Megatron as best I can!” Trona replied cheerfully. “And gathering intel on the Autobots they faced. Although, I’m afraid to say, I only got information on one of them. But I managed to save one of the troopers before he too was slain.”
Starscream humphed. “Why spend the small energy you have for such a waste?”
Trona sighed angrily through her teeth. His constant cruel remarks towards his fellow Cons continued to drive her up the wall. “No soldiers life is wasted in war.” And I should know…
Before Starscream could question her further, Soundwave silently strolled in with a recording of Megatron’s orders. “Starscream, report back with the scouts at the head of the ship....and bring that shadow if you see her,” it said.
Trona was almost as shocked as Starscream. He’s...requesting me? She almost didn’t believe it. She had confidence that she could gain Megatron’s trust, but it never really hit her how impossible of a task that was. Until now.
Starscream hammered incomprehensive words. As much as he argued with Soundwave, all he could receive was a blank stare. Starscream sighed frustratingly and began stomping out. But not before he could kick Trona away from him.
“Out of my way, pest!” he spat at the human.
Trona recollected herself and growled through her mask. “After you, slaghead!” she replied unpleasantly. Starscream glared at her as he left. Trona turned to Soundwave. “Is he always like this?” The silent assassin nodded. “I'm impressed with your patience.”
“Two Autobots? Two Autobots killed my entire squad?!” Megatron roared. “Either they are skilled warriors or my army is more incompetent than I thought!” Blastlock flinched, almost wishing he hadn't survived.
Trona leaned casually against the wall. “I would learn to be less frustrated with their numbers, my lord.” Megatron turned his focus to her. “There may be more than two Autobots in the future. Most likely even Optimus Prime himself.”
Megatron squinted angrily. "Of course, Optimus would be one! You take me for a fool?! Your constant appearance on this ship makes me think you want to prove something. So, if you want to stay alive, you shall prove your worth to the Decepticon cause!" He marched up to her angrily and grabbed her by the feet. She didnt struggle until he began squeezing. "You think you are so clever. If you were, you would have prevented the Autobots from escaping! So what have you got to prove?"
Trona grunted. Trust me, I got more than enough to prove. "I... can train your army."
"You? A human? Train a Decepticon army?" Megatron laughed, amused by her offer.
"My lord, I have been trained in many forms of combat and startegy..." Trona found enough space to pierce her norta claws into his own. Megatron dropped in reaction to the needle-like pain. "... And if I can release myself from your grasp, I can teach your troops to be better prepared for the Autobots."
Soon enough they'll be begging for advice. Soon enough…I'm doing the right thing, aren't I?