Help! I'm A Bug!
Notes: For extra bonus points, I’d like to mention that this is my first ‘Beast Wars’ fic and I’ve only watched most of Season One and a few early episodes of Season Two, so you know that this story will be bad. Blah, blah, disclaimers, something, something, naked. All spelling errors, jarring tense-shifts, and other big writing mistakes are entirely on purpose. Onward!..
It was pure luck that Scorponok and Tarantulas were so close to the crash-site of the latest pod … especially deep within Predacon territory and therefore, for once, almost no chance of a Maximal catching up with them before they completed their work. Still, Scorponok could find something to worry about. “It’s going to be another blasted ‘raptor. Or a dragon. And she’s going to be someone’s girlfriend. And it will change the course of the Beast Wars.”
“Maybe this one will be your girlfriend. Won’t that be nice?” Tarantulas was already at work.
Scorponok barely wasted a glare on the spider, still on the look-out for any random Maximals. They too often had bad cases of ‘I just happened to be in the neighbourhood’ syndrome. “No it won’t. She’ll spend her time having violent mood-swings and trying to kill me.”
“It will be nice for us, I’m sure, heh heh heh … What?”
Tarantulas stepped back and frowned, as well as he could. “When the pod crashed, it must have jarred the Maximal programming chip out of its housing… and it’s too damaged for me to insert the Predacon chip!”
“Scanning for suitable life-forms …” the pod’s bland voice suddenly announced.
“So it has no programming at all?” shouted Scorponok. “Stop the sequence and fix it!”
“Match found. Begin DNA sequencing …”
The spider scowled. “What do you think I was trying to do, you poor excuse for an arachnid? It’s too late to stop it now. We’ll just have to wait and see …”
The two Predacons step back as the protoform takes shape. They’d both learned from experience that leaning over a pod to get a good look was a fast way to end up with one’s throat caught by talons … Like I did to Tarantulas when I was first activated.
I watch from behind a couple big boulders. The Predacons can’t detect me; I’m too clever for that.
After a moment the lights fade, and a largish black and purple bee ( with yellow highlights ) crawls grumpily from the pod down to the rocky plain. It takes one look at its rescuers and says one word. That word is, “Drat.” I also think ‘drat’, as the bee sounds female, and a new femme means competiton for me.
Scorponok takes a step forward. “State your name.”
“Wayward.” She looks back at herself, and assumes an expression as worried as a giant robot bee is able. “I’m a bug. Why am I a bug?”
“That’s what your pod scanned,” chuckles Tarantulas. “And you seem to be a bee, which is a hymenopteran, not a ‘bug’.”
“I know that. ‘Bug’ is faster to say. And you,” says Wayward accusingly, waving a claw at Scorponok. “Tarantulas is a Transmetal. What are you doing still alive?”
“Questioning you,” rumbles the scorpion. “Now, what is your allegiance?”
Reality hadn’t set in enough for fear, or sense. “Look, I just woke up and I’m a bee. How am I supposed to …”
Wayward finds herself nose-to-nose with one of Scorponok’s missiles. “If you say that you’re a neutral and want time to decide for yourself which side you want to be on, I’m going to put you out of our misery right now.” I think Scorponok is being unfair. After all, I’m still trying to decide which side I want to be on. I don’t see why the Preadcons get so huffy about me sneaking into their base and spying on them. They’re just grumpy, but I’ll fix that soon …
There is nothing like the threat of death to make one focus. Wayward immediately makes her choice: “Hey, I’m with you. Even if I didn’t owe you for getting me out of that pod, I still have no idea where I am or how to maintain this body. Now, if you could move that launcher …”
Tarantulas chuckles again. “That’s probably the most honest declaration of loyalty you’ll ever hear, Scorponok.” Then, to Wayward, “Honesty will only get you into trouble.”
Scorponok closes his claw with a satisfied ‘click’. “Megatron will be pleased. Come along.”
This is bad for me. I know wayward. She ruined my life.
In the end, it took an hour longer than expected to return to the Predacon base. For once it wasn’t due to the Maximals - Wayward couldn’t figure out how to fly, and kept tripping over her six legs. Once in a while she’d mutter nonsense like, “Bonecrusher used to carry me.” Scorponok ignored her grumbling, and would simply wait without patience for the bee to catch up. By the time they reached the base, Wayward had more or less mastered walking, though flight was still beyond her.
Somewhere between the pod and the base, Tarantulas snuck away. Scorponok wasn’t entirely surprised.
In the control centre, Megatron - who for no adequately explored reason wasn’t a Transmetal despite the fact that Tarantulas was - peered down at his second-in-command and the bee that sat behind him on the hoverpad. “So, this is our latest recruit … and why is she still in beast-mode?”
Before Scorponok could reply, Wayward spoke: “I haven’t figured out how to transform yet.”
The purple bee didn’t have a speech impediment, nor did she seem to be obviously insane or tormented or any of those other little problems that seemed to plague new Predacons. Megatron decided that alone made her worth a bit of patience. “Use your command code.”
Compound eyes couldn’t blink in puzzlement, but the idea was there. “‘Command code’?”
“Search your programming. The word is ‘Terrorise’. Don’t ask why.”
Though it can’t be the word itself if Megatron could say it and stay in robot mode, Wayward thought. It’s a trigger to get you thinking about the action. Maybe. Maybe it’s like the extra legs - I tripped every time I thought about walking. It’s just sort of instinctive.
Nothing for it but to try, I guess. Feeling a bit silly, she said, “Wayward - Terrorise!.. Yipe!”
She managed to stay on her feet only because Scorponok caught her by the wrist before she fell off the hoverpad. The final effect was something like a female, purple version of Waspinator, but more humanoid. And a bit shorter, of course. Both of these variations were expected. Wayward looked down at herself, flexing her hands experimentally. “That felt really weird, but at least I have thumbs again.”
“‘Again’,” Megatron noted. “So you aren’t a new spark. But you don’t know how to transform.”
“Or fly,” added Scorponok grumpily.
Wayward stopped peering over her shoulder at her wings and turned back to her new leader. “I … wasn’t a Transformer before.”
“So,” said Megatron, “what you are is an alien trapped in a Transformer body?”
“Seems like. I was human before.” And it probably serves me right after writing ‘The Human Condition’. Karmic justice and all.
“That is the most foolish thing I have ever heard!” Megatron shouted. “How was this managed?”
Wayward shrugged helplessly. “I have no idea. I want to know why it happened!”
“But the most important question remains,” said Scorponok, “Whose girlfriend are you?”
The bee found she couldn’t do anything but stare incredulously at the scorpion. “That’s important?”
Megatron sighed, covering his face with his left hand. “You wouldn’t believe …”
To Wayward’s surprise, she practically had to force the Predacons to let her work for them. It wasn’t that they thought of her as a guest, but that they kept expecting her to launch into a tirade about how she was a Strong, Independent Femme who can do Anything A Male Can Do. Instead, she just calmly explained that if she was going to be hanging around, she wanted something to do.
It took even longer to convince them that she’d probably do best with some sort of repair work, balking at the idea of being a warrior or a spy.
She wasn’t surprised at all, however, when her tasks tended to be of the ‘carry ladders for Scorponok while he does the real work’ variety. She wasn’t entirely certain how he did his job, lacking proper hands, but the work got done so she didn’t question it.
“You’re sure you don’t mind doing this?” asked Scorponok for what felt like the hundredth time as Wayward held the ladder steady for him. Up a ladder, trying to weld a rip in the ceiling, was probably not the best place to ask questions from, but Scorponok wasn’t renowned for his foresight. “You’re not going to snap because you’re feeling that we’re making you work below your potential because you’re female?”
“If I go on a homicidal rampage, it’ll be because people keep asking me if I’m going to,” Wayward retorted. “Really, I’m fine with ladder-toting. I’m used to it. Besides, tagging along with you is a good tour. That, and I know nothing about the ship’s systems. If I’m to be more than the person who hands you tools and does minor repair work, I have to learn how.”
“You’re sure …”
“Yes, I’m sure! Besides, boss, if I shook the ladder now, you’d land on me.”
I can hear her talking to Scorponok, lying to him. Her constant reassurances are just to parry his own clumsy attempts to get her into his recharge berth. It sounds like he’s explaining his technique for welding over his head, but_I_ know better. All males are alike, and they only ever think about one thing.
Except for my love, of course. My love is too sophisticated for that. And even if he isn’t, I’ll easily convince him that he wants me and me alone.
I slip through the ventilation ducts which aer conveniently large enough for me to slip through, as well as completely lacking in any sort of security system. I can still hear her from here, her and the scorpion. That’s good, if she leaves it at that. She can have Scorponok. She’d just better stay awa from my chosen male.
Days later, Wayward was dragged out of the base against her will for flying lessons. While the idea of flight did sound enjoyable, ‘outside’ meant ‘you have to return to beast-mode periodically’, and transforming still unnerved her.
Introductions were handed around before they left the base - Wayward’s instructors had the somewhat unfortunate names of Waspinator and Terrorsaur. The senior Predacons flew ahead in their respective beast-modes, while Wayward walked behind them in her humanoid form.
“Bee-bot isn’t going to play pranks on poor Predacons, is she?” asked Waspinator outright.
Wayward snorted. “Annoying armed warrior robots isn’t my idea of smart.”
“What about violent mood-swings?” asked Terrorsaur. “You’re not going to start crying or go on a homicidal rampage on us? Or both?”
“No. Can I ask a few questions?”
Terrorsaur looked back and grinned, which was a rather unnerving expression on a pterodactyl. “Sure. We might not answer, though.”
“I can understand why everyone is asking me questions,” said Wayward. “Test of loyalty and all that. But the questions you ask are goofy. Nobody asked what I can do, how I can benefit the Predacons - I had to practically give a résumé before anyone realised I might be useful. All you want to know is if I’m dating anyone or if I’m prone to crying.”
By this time, the trio were out on the plain that surrounded the Predacon base, safely away from the lava pits. Waspinator and Terrorsaur landed in their robot-modes. “If you met some of the femmes that crashed here, you wouldn’t ask,” sighed the red warrior. “They’ve got their own little semi-neutral group someplace.”
The wasp nodded. “Femme-bots call themselves ‘DarkClaws’,” - Wayward could hear the unnecessary and annoying capital letter in the middle of the word. - “All they do is bother Predacons. And Maximals,” he added after a minute.
“Mostly Predacons. And ‘bother’, nothing,” snorted Terrorsaur. “When they’re not tearing us up for no good reason, they’re sneaking into the base and playing humiliating tricks. And when they’re not doing that, they’re crying on us and asking why we don’t want to date ‘em. And if they ever need our help for anything, do they offer us anything useful in return, like a week without their stupid pranks, maybe? No. The only thing they ever try to pay us with is their … mmph!”
When Terrorsaur stopped struggling, Waspinator took his hand off of his partner’s mouth. “Terrorsaur talks to much.”
“Is a lady present,” Waspinator huffed primly.
“One who hasn’t tried to seduce us or accuse us of underestimating her because she’s female,” said Terrorsaur reasonably. “Let’s just drop it for now; we’re supposed to be giving Wayward here a flying lesson, not a report on the current factions.” He turned to the bee with a wink. “Of course, if you do turn out to be hopeless, don’t start bawling on us. We’re neither of us very comforting.”
“Terrorsaur,” said Wayward conversationally, “you’re a twit.”
She’s out right now, probably trying to seduce the flyers, but that’s okay because it means she’s not in my way.
Sometimes I come to the Predacon base just to be near my love. I chose him out of all the others, and soon, soon he’ll realis that I’m perfect for him.
I made a mistake, leaving the Preadcons the first time. It wasn’t until I grew bored of the Maximals that I realised where I belnged. But I couldn’t just go back and ask to be let back. Begging is weak, and I am a Tough, Independent Femme, and I do things for me.
I left the Maximals to show my loyalty.
I took over the DarkClaws to prove my strength.
I slip into the Predacon base to show my cunning.
So you see I live for myself, not for my boyfriend.
Though he isn’t my boyfriend yet. Soon.
I carefully slide the next access to the vent open, and drop down into the hallway. I will find him and present myself to hm today. he’ll take me back into the Predacons and be my boyfriend and Wayward can’t stop me this time.
And once she’s out of my way, I’ll be able to control the Beast Wars and make everyone happy.
“You fly like a moron, ‘Ward, but I guess we’ll forgive you.” The flying lesson had been cut short - Terrorsaur claimed he didn’t want to strain anything by laughing too hard.
Wayward didn’t particularly care what his reasons were - she had quickly tired of falling out of the sky and hoping one of her rather undependable instructors would catch her before she went splat. In her humanoid form with the solid plating of the Predacon base under her feet, Wayward felt much better. “Thank you, great teacher. You’re just saying that because I make you and Waspy look good.”
Waspinator had already vanished down one of the corridors on some inexplicable errand of his own. Terrorsaur had a shift of monitor duty up in the control room, and with nothing better to do, Wayward tagged along with him. “I should probably report back to Scorponok now. Any idea where he’d be?”
“Ask the computer. Though chances are good he’ll be up in the control room, polishing Megatron’s toes or something,” shrugged Terrorsaur. “Anyway, while you’re here, about your bad flying - you think too much. You were trying to consciously control your wings and that’s why you kept stalling out …”
At that point, he turned a corner, but immediately pulled back and flattened himself against the wall. “Oh, no. Not her again.”
Wayward ducked past him to peer around the corner to see what could have pulled such an agonised groan out of Terrorsaur. She was expecting something frightening. Instead, she found herself looking at a winged cat-woman.
And very much a woman, thought Wayward, stepping back behind the cover of the wall. The robot was purple with black tiger-stripes, pink trim, and violet optics. From the neck down, she had the build of a Playboy Playmate, only wearing a metal bikini and feathered wings. From the neck up, she wasn’t much better. She had pointed ears - her only concessions to her inhumanity. She even had hair; not cables or sculpting that looked like hair - hair.
Terrorsaur took a careful step backwards in preparation to bolt. “Tell me when she’s gone, ‘Ward; I’ll need help collecting up Waspy later.”
“You’re the warrior here, not me! This person is an intruder … Where are you going?” Wayward hissed back.
“Where any sensible Predacon goes when she’s around - I’m going to lock myself in my quarters and whimper.” With that, he turned and fled.
The bee didn’t bother watching him leave, instead focussing her attention on the cat-woman. Okay, I know Terrorsaur’s supposed to be a coward, but that was ridiculous. The cat-woman was smaller than both of them, of a slighter build than Terrorsaur, and couldn’t possibly hide any sort of heavy weaponry in that little metal swimsuit of hers.
Still, something about her reminded Wayward of someone she’d known long ago …
I can sense my rival. She’s nearby, and a sudden clatter from behind the entry to the next corridor gives away her position. I run around to find the purple-and-black-with-yellow-highlights form at my feet, trying to pick herself up.
She matches my glare and growls, “What was that? A Transformer-style taser attack?”
“It serves you right,” I trill, my voice light and musical, especially in comparison to her own low, grating one. “You ruined my life once already, Wayward! I thought I could make a clean start here, but you had to come back!”
“I’ve never been here before!” she snaps. “And I don’t know you!”
“I’m BloodKatt!” I scream, raking my claws across her face, causing her to staggar back against the wall! “I’m BloodKatt! You can’t stop me this time!” Choking back the tears, I flee from the Predacon base. She can’t stop me this time. she won’t. I won’t let her.
Wayward waited in the corridor until her head stopped hurting. Then she headed to the barracks to find Terrorsaur.
As threatened, he had indeed barricaded himself in his quarters. Once the identity of his visitor was established, Wayward heard the scrape of furniture before the door opened. He leaned against the doorframe and nodded at the scratches on Wayward’s cheek. “You should have run.”
“Curiousity mangled the bee. ‘BloodKatt’?”
“Yep. Just a minute,” said Terrorsaur. Then, “Computer, what’s Waspinator’s status and where is he?”
The small intercom on the door hummed to life. “Unit Waspinator is deactivated. Unit Waspinator is in Corridor 4-D.”
Terrorsaur sighed. “Come on. He won’t be able to get to a CR-tank himself …”
As Terrorsaur predicted, Waspinator was indeed in pieces. Wayward looked over the scene; apparently faulty wiring ignited a fuel line and blew out the wall … which Waspinator just happened to be walking past. And which she would likely help repair later. The bee settled in to help gather the insectoid warrior. “How did you know?”
“Whenever BloodKatt shows up, things get … weird.”
Terrorsaur bit his lip, trying to arrange his thoughts. He rarely had to try to explain anything to anyone, especially things that he simply knew. “We start acting like… like caricatures, I guess. Me and Scorponok get off pretty light, I think. He gets dumber, he can’t talk right, and all he can think about is how best he can serve Megatron.” He grinned wickedly at that. “Not too different, really. Me … well … Wayward, what would you call running away when six Maximals are concentrating their fire on you?”
“Not being dead.”
“Precisely. Of course, everyone else calls it cowardice, like I deliberately signed up to be a firedraw,” grumbled Terrorsaur. “So when BloodKatt shows up, all I want to do is go hide under my recharge berth. That, or try to take over the Predacons, even if there’s no real opportunity.”
With all of the various bits of Waspinator collected, they started down the corridor to the CR-tanks. “The rest of the Predacons, they get it worse. Waspinator gets blown up. No matter where he is or what he’s doing, if BloodKatt goes anywhere near him, something will happen and he’ll end up in pieces.”
“What about the others?” asked Wayward.
“You don’t even want to know about some of them.”
“What about BloodKatt herself, then? What’s her story?”
Terrorsaur laughed without humour. “She’s a Predacon … sort of. She’s got Predacon programming, but she ran away to join the Maximals. Then she went and took over the DarkClaws. Now I think she’s trying to decide whether she wants to be a Maximal or Predacon again.” He considered that. “I hope she causes as much trouble for Optimus’ crew as she does for us.”
Wayward and Terrorsaur lapsed into silence until they reached the CR bay. Once Waspinator was safely in a tank, Wayward leaned back against it. Ticking off on her fingers, she said, “Let me guess: Blackarachnia hits on everybody, Tarantulas can’t stop laughing, Inferno starts acting insane rather than ant-like … Are Quickstrike and Rampage around?”
“They are. And the Transmetal Dinobot clone. You just haven’t met them yet.” The warrior stared in amazement. “But, yes, that’s most of it. How did..?”
“I’ve seen this before,” said Wayward grimly. “I was tipped off when I got smacked by Change-of-Narrative Vertigo, and the symptoms prove it. We’re trapped in a bad fanfic.”
Terrorsaur blinked and looked quickly around, suddenly alert. “What was that?”
“Relax. It was just a scene break,” said Wayward. “Except I wasn’t done, narration.”
It would have been a good scene ending, the narration pointed out. Besides, the narration isn’t in complete control of itself in this story …
Wayward nodded. “I know. BloodKatt causes Change-of-Narrative whenever she
I storm back into the DarkClaw base which is cleverly hidden in a mountain right on the border of Maximal/Predacon territory. There are some tpes of elements in this mountain which shields us from energon radiation so we can be in robot-mode for as long as we like in here.
I whisper, “Terrorise,” and change from my winged tiger form to by robot one.
My second-in-command looks over. “You seem to be upset,” she hisses. This pleases her, I know. DarqueScale used to be leader of the DarkClaws ( she’s a black dragon who shines purple in the right light, ) until I showed up. She would like nothing more than to take over again. I know this and can always stay ahead of her.
“My old enemy, Wayward, has joined the Beast Wars,” I tell her. “She’s the one who turned my boyfriend against me and ruined my life. She’s the reason I joined the Beast Wars. And now she’s with the Predacons and she’ll turn all of them against me!”
“Would you like your rival to just… disapear?”
I look up at the various-shades-of-dark-red form hanging from the ceiling. “No, Venym,” I inform the spider. Like all spiders, Venym is treacherus and I do not trust her. If she’s offering to kill wayward, I know this means she has some other plan up her sleeve. “I have to kill the interloper myself. This will prove to Megatron that I am worthy to be his mate.”
“So you’ve finally chosen a side. And when you join the Predacons, you will give the command of the DarkClaws back to me?” asks DarqueScale.
“Never,” I say sharply. DarqueScale hisses and returns to her work. I smile because DarqueScale can’t defeat me.
But I still must come up with a plan to defeat Wayward. Last time she had Bonecrusher and the narration to help her. This time, I can sometimes control the narration, but she’s got the Predacons on her side… Well, mostly Terrorsaur and Waspinator, and those two aren’t much of a threat. Not to me.
“I don’t see why we have to fly so high.”
“So you fall farther.”
“That’s rather the opposite of what I was aiming for.” To Wayward’s displeasure, she’d been dragged out for another flying lesson. ‘Displeasure’ was the wrong word, perhaps - Wayward liked flying. She wasn’t so fond of the idea of crashing, though, and much as she tried, couldn’t convince the other Predacons that she could walk anywhere she had to go.
She was also convinced that Terrorsaur’s true motive for insisting on the lessons was because he got a laugh out of it. He was somewhere above and behind her, judging by the direction of his voice, while Waspinator was happily zipping around randomly. There was a snort from the pterodactyl: “If you’ve got farther to fall, you’ve got more time to pull yourself out of it. Besides, have we ever let you crash?”
“See? Trust us.”
An annoyed silence radiated back. “Aw, don’t get your antennae twisted, ‘Ward. I wouldn’t let you get hurt - you’re my excuse to get out of the base and not do work. Besides, it gets you out of work, too. What’s Scorpy got you doing now? Still carrying ladders?”
“I actually got to weld something this morning. Do you ever stop talking?”
“Sometimes I’m offline,” agreed Terrorsaur cheerfully. “You know … we still don’t know who your boyfriend is. See, there’s some rule that states no female Beast Warrior may remain unattached…”
Wayward turned to glare at him. “All right, terror-bot, I do have a boyfriend… back home. He’s human and a better conversationalist than you.”
The pterodactyl chuckled. “I’m good enough. You fly better when you’re distracted.”
“I … Gwah!” A few seconds of frantic flapping brought Wayward back to her intended flight path. “You knew pointing that out would make me get my wings tangled!”
“Yeah, and you caught yourself this time, instead of me or Waspy having to do it. I keep telling you, ‘Ward, just let your programming take care of it.”
The aforementioned Waspinator suddenly zipped past to fly backwards before them, extending one of his front paws to point back the way he came. “Predacons are being followed by DarkClaws!”
Terrorsaur’s gaze followed the pointed claw, but Waspinator had the sharper vision of the two. “Slag. Which ones?”
“BloodKatt, dragon-bot, and a ‘raptor-bot.”
“‘Raptor’ like ‘bird?” asked Wayward. “Did you actually use the word correctly?”
“‘‘Raptor’ like ‘dinosaur’ … like always. And Waspinator said the apostrophe,” huffed Waspinator. “‘Raptor-bot flies because ‘raptor-bot has Transmetal rocket turbines or something.” He turned to Terrorsaur. “Waspinator does not want to be blown up.”
“Neither does Terrorsaur,” muttered the pterodactyl. Then, louder, “All right, we know from experience that we can’t outrun the DarkClaws. We can’t beat them in a fight, either, but sometimes they just want to whine a bit. Of course, seeing how BloodKatt’s got a hate-on for you, Wayward …”
The bee frowned at his considering tone. “You’re just going to hand me over and save your leather hide, aren’t you?”
“It’s a thought … except that I hate the DarkClaws.” Terrorsaur stopped, hovering in the air. “So we’ll hang here and see what they say. If they want a fight, we give it to ‘em. Predacons, terrorise!”
Preoccupied with the immediate future, Wayward didn’t notice she made the midair transformation without dropping from the sky until a few seconds after she finished. So don’t goof it up now.
Bloodkatt skidded to a halt in the air and I gracefully shift to my humanoid form. The Predacons wait insolently for us. I hear DarqueScale hiss beside me as the red and silver form of Terrorsaur bows mockingly in midair. “Lovely day for a flight, ladies. Did you just happen to be in the neighbourhood, or is this a social call?”
“I’ve come for the girl,” I inform him curtly.
Terrorsaur folds hs arms across his chest. “We’re keeping her.”
“Real liberated, both of you,” mutters Wayward.
“You don’t understand how dangerous she is!” I cry desperately. “She turns people against each other, destroys worlds!..”
“And she’s yet to go on a homicidal rampage or cry,” says Terrorsaur flatly. “Now how about we all land so we can have a nice little talk and try to sort all this out?..”
“No!” I shout. “I am a Tough Femme, and will let my actions speak for me! DarkClaws, ATTACK!”
DarqueScale immeditely singles out Terrorsaur for her attacks, as I take Wayward. Talyn will have to fight Waspinator, despite the fact that there’s no similarities or past between them.
The fight raged on for hours …
“It did not!” Wayward yells, blocking my strike. “It’s been twenty seconds so far! If you can’t narrate a fight scene, either don’t put them in or find some other way to skip it! If I see one more ‘the fight went on for hours’ or ‘savage blows were traded for hours until fill-in-the-blank emerged the victor’, I’ll …”
“Stop mocking my style!” I scream. “I am a very good narrator! And as narrator I - say - you - FALL!”
Sheer force of will kept my wings beating. “If it wasn’t so ludicrous, that might have been a good line, BloodKatt.” Somehow, I managed to wrest the story away from the cat-woman; maybe her fury made her lose her grip. Either way, it was something I could use. For the first time, I drew my laser and took aim, trying to force the narration: As it turned out, beginner’s luck was on Wayward’s side - with her first shot, she managed to singe the feather’s on BloodKatt’s left wing. The fall wouldn’t kill the cat-woman; the last thing Wayward wanted was to have someone’s death on her hands …
But I took the story back because I’m stronger! Wayward’s shot goes wild, missing me completely. I draw my energy-sword and …
BloodKatt, not being the brightest creature, seemed to fail to realise that a light-sabre rip-off wasn’t going to do a whole lot of good against someone with a distance laser weapon. All I had to do was stay out of range. I had to hit her eventually …
“I’m faster then you are!”
“Yeah? And I bet you can’t predict the flight-pattern of someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing!”
An agonised screech tore through the air, drawing the attention of the combatants, and scattering the concentration of Wayward and BloodKatt. Terrorsaur clawed ineffectually at the greenish cybervenom that DarqueScale had spat over his face and upper body, then screamed again as the stuff reached his systems. For a few seconds the surges wracked his form, then the short-circuit reached his jets and he plummeted from the sky.
DarqueScale was too busy admiring her handiwork to notice that Wayward could hit a stationary target, and lost most of a leathery wing for her oversight. Talyn managed to catch the dragon before she crashed, and the DarkClaws made their retreat.
Which was all well and good, if too late. Wayward put her gun away with distaste. I was doing terribly up ‘till then. I wasn’t in control of the narration - I was allowed to make that shot. She could think of a few reasons why the story had suddenly granted her good aim, and she didn’t like any of them.
The surges that had torn through Terrorsaur had stopped by the time the two insectoid Predacons landed beside him, though the cybervenom left a sticky, green residue. What worried Wayward more was that his optics had gone dark. If he was just knocked out by the fall, I might’ve had a chance to do something about it. I don’t know how to treat cybervenom damage. I don’t even know if he’s still alive … She knelt beside the fallen warrior and shook him by the shoulder. “Terrorsaur? C’mon, terror-bot, twitch or something … What?” Wayward snatched her hand back as if she’d received an electric shock. Carefully, she touched him again. Of course. Weird Transformer senses - I can sense energy patterns. Power still flows through Terrorsaur, which means he’s just snoozing … though he’s still in bad shape.
Still unused to her robot body, Wayward tended to underestimate her strength, and surprised herself when she picked up Terrorsaur easily. Her wings, however, refused to get the message, and insisted that she plus her burden were too heavy to lift. “Drat. Waspy, I hate to sound like a stereotypical femme, but I don’t think I can fly him back to base myself.”
Waspinator, who suddenly realised that he’d been deliberately ignoring the other two, looked over, then hesitated. Usually his thoughts were straight-forward, and confusion only came from outside sources …
“Waspinator, help me with him.”
“Hmm? Sorry.” Shaking off the confusion, Waspinator walked over and took his partner’s limp form from Wayward. Wayward isn’t a very good flyer. Waspinator is a good flyer. Terrorsaur is Waspinator’s friend. Waspinator will carry Terrorsaur.
Still, just for a minute, Waspinator had been tempted to leave him behind …
“You fool!” I scream. DarqueScale glares at me, her wing still in tatters because I haven’t let her go to te CR-chamber yet. “You just had to watch him fall! You couldn’t dodge Wayward’s attack!”
DarqueScale mutters something I can’t hear about Terrorsaur before I remember that DarqueScale once had a crush on im, but was turned down. It was probably the only smart thing Terorsaur ever did. But now I understand why she was so focussed on him, and because I’m an understanding leader, I tell her that I understand. “I understand,” I tell her. “You can go to the CR-chamber now.” DarqueScale grins at me and heads for the medbay.
Venym is lounging in her chair, her blood-red legs crossed at the ankles. “Do you still turn own my offer to assassinate her?”
“Yes,” I say simply. “This is my fight, and I must fight it alone.”
“But she never leaves the Predacon base alone. And even you aren’t quite sneaky enough to catch her inside the base.”
“Don’t worry about it,” I hiss. “She’ll come to me…”
By the time they dropped off Terrorsaur in a CR-tank, Waspinator had forgotten entirely that he ever considered abandoning his partner. Once Terrorsaur’s abused form sank beneath the liquid, Wayward hopped up to sit on the edge of the next tank over. “I’m sorry, Waspy. I never wanted any of you to be hurt.”
He nodded, leaning against the active tank. “Waspinator knows.” Then, with an ironic little smile, “Predacons used to getting slagged by DarkClaws.”
“Thanks. Sigh… I guess I can’t just hope for BloodKatt to give up and leave us alone.”
“How did bee-bot beat avatar person before?” asked Waspinator.
“I didn’t. Bonecrusher did - he managed to sucker-punch Retcon, then beat him to scrap. But Bonecrusher was unaffected by the bad fanfic because he wasn’t really in it until near the end. There’s so few of you Predacons; you’re all influenced by BloodKatt. Maybe it’ll all come down to which one of us is the stronger Mary-Sue,” sighed Wayward. “Which is bad because I’ll lose. She’s got to have some stupid weakness I can use against her …”
Waspinator buzzed a bit, thinking. “Do mood-swings count as a weakness?”
“No. I need something like ‘afraid of thunderstorms’ or ‘sometimes overexerts herself’.” Wayward leaned her elbows on her knees and rested her chin in her hands. “She must have a boyfriend. Maybe I can use that …”
“If winged-cat-bot does have a companion, it’s no one that Waspinator knows.”
“Drat.” She stewed over her options for a few minutes, then, suddenly, jumped down for her perch and walked towards the bay doors.
“Where is bee-bot going? Wayward can’t take on BloodKatt by herself!”
Wayward turned, exasperated. “I’m a Mary-Sue! I’m the only one who has any chance against her!”
“Wayward will never find BloodKatt.”
“Yes, I will. I just need to go someplace dramatic, and wait for her to come to me.”
Ideally, the Dramatic Place would have been on top of the cliff, but without Terrorsaur or Waspinator as back-up, Wayward didn’t trust flying higher than she absolutely had to. At the thought of the other flyers, she had to stifle a twinge of guilt. And that’s why you’re out here, isn’t it, Wayward? - Good old Mary-Sue guilt; just don’t burst into tears now. You have no chance of taking on a full-fledged Mary-Sue, but you came out alone because you didn’t want to risk any of the others. There’s your stupid weakness - ‘Does dumb things so that the trained warriors don’t get their afts shot off,’ AKA ‘Cares too much about her friends.’
Blast it, I have to take her out now, before I get more stereotyped!
The bee didn’t land right next to the cliff, of course, but on a boulder a short distance from it. I knew that Predacons were like magnets for falling rocks, and since I was officially a Predacon …
I noticed the narrative shift, knew what it meant, and decided to use it. I leapt off of the boulder before it was shattered by BloodKatt’s light-sabre, and managed to shift to my humanoid form as I rolled. I also landed on my feet. I did - it says so in the narration, so there. There wasn’t much time, I knew, before BloodKatt took over and I would lose my …
My enemy staggers as I take the narrtion for myself! “Ha, ha, ha,” I laugh musically. “This story will be mine, and soon the Beast Wars will be too! I’ve done this longer than you have, and I have a sixth-sense, which givs me the edge, and I’m stronger than you!”
“Your grammar’s worse, too,” Wayward mutters. “Mind if we talk a bit before the Big Fight-Scene At The End?”
Her words confuse me a little but I don’t let it show. I am confident in my victory, so I tell her, “Alright, you can talk.”
“First off, who are you?” she asks. “I’d like to think I’d remember a ten-foot-tall winged tiger-lady. I’ve never even written a Beast Wars fic before, so you can’t be a disgruntled character from that. I haven’t got a clue who you are, and I think it’s rather rude of you to try to kill me without explaining that first.”
“You know me,” I inform Wayward darkly. “I used to have a different name and a different body, but you know me.”
She looks at me carfully then, using her new senses. A race that changes names and bodies every so often needs some way of identifying each other that goes beyond the physical. She uses those senses, and I can see the rcognition dawn on her face. “What the?.. Starjet! You’re Starjet!”
“I was,” I hiss.
Wayward steps back. “But you aren’t like this! You were a dizzy little Seekergirl!”
“Being granted a beast-form lets me release the beast within!” I say cleverly. “I’m BloodKatt now! I’m no longer a weak femme! I’m strong and independent, and even more deadly and cunning than Blackarachnia! Im more than a match for any man … and I can certainly take you on.”
“But why are you trying to kill me?”
“You destroyed my universe!” I scream, trying to strike her, but she ducks out of the way. “I was happy as a Decepticon, but you had to turn Bonecrusher against me and made him kill Retcon which destroyed my universe! But I survived. I survived and was granted a second chance in the Beast Wars!”
The purple-and-black ( with yellow highlights ) form dodges my kick. “A second chance to do what?”
“To be happy! Isn’t that all anyone ever wants?” I demand. “And when I kill you, Megatron wil see that I’m just as strong as any of his warriors and he’ll fall in love with me!” This time, my kick connects.
Wayward gets knocked flying, landing on her back. “You’re no different from the ditz you were, BloodKatt!” she yells. “You preach how tough you are, but all you care about is getting a boyfriend to validate your meaningless little existence! You’re arm-candy!”
“I am not!” I thorw myself at my enemy, raking her with my claws. “You’re one to talk, always hanging out with the male Predacons …”
Somehow, she manages to plant a foot in my midsecton and kick me off. “Of course. Since I’m female, any attention I pay to a male must be because I want to date him. Right.”
“It is! Oh, you’re worse than Blackaracnia!”
“And why can’t you compare me to someone else?” she demands. “I’d think Waspy would be an obvious one… or Scorponok because we both do repairs!”
“Wayward, get back!”
I turn because the voice startles me. I was sure Terrorsaur would be too cowardly to ever face me …
… And I’m right. He’s ctually standing on a low rise some distance from us, with Scorponok.
Scorponok fires a missile at me, but I dodge it … but it hits the cliff behind me.
Then the cliff face collapses and all is darkness. With my last breath, I call for Megatron.
“Stop looking pleased and help me dig her out.”
“You sounding awfully concerned.”
“Yeah, well so should you. She’s your assistant.”
Wayward dimly heard the voices through a haze of pain and damage warnings. It also vaguely registered that the narration had switched back to third-person. After a few minutes, the weight pressing down on her was removed, though she protested the movement when someone picked her up.
“Shh, ‘Ward. You’ll be okay. I’ll make it okay.”
There was something … wrong with the voice, but Wayward couldn’t summon the energy to worry about it.
“Hey, welcome back to the land of the functional.”
“Hey, yourself. How come I’m dry?”
Wayward hopped down from the CR-tank grating to join Terrorsaur and Waspinator on the ground. Terrorsaur extended his arms and wiggled his fingers at her. “Dooooo not question the CR-taaaanks!”
“Waspinator doesn’t care, so long as they work,” opined Waspinator pragmatically.
“I guess I’ll ask Scorponok later, if I remember,” Wayward finished. “Erm… What happened that landed me in the tank, anyway?”
Terrorsaur leaned back against the wall. “Scorponok blasted the cliff you were standing in front of to bury BloodKatt. I yelled at you to get out of the way, but you’re slow,” he teased. “We dug you out and hauled you back here.”
“You and Scorponok rescued me?”
“Yep. Waspy told me about your stupid plan when I got out of the tank. And since me and Scorpy were the ones least affected by BloodKatt’s presence, I figured we should be the ones to go and save your stripy hide,” agreed Terrorsaur.
Waspinator made a noise that could best be translated as ‘pthibbit’. “Nice that terror-bot was able to overcome his BloodKatt-induced fear of everything.”
“You shut up,” directed Terrorsaur. “I just knew I could fight it. Besides, how often do I get to be the hero?”
“Waspinator repeats: ‘Pthibbit’.”
“Yeah? You had it too, Waspy!”
“Waspinator did not!”
“Guys!” Wayward waited for the last ‘did’s and ‘did not’s to fade. “Do I want to know, or..?”
Waspinator smugly pointed at his partner. “Terrorsaur had a crush on the bee-bot.”
“So did you!” Terrorsaur retorted.
“You did not,” said Wayward to both of them.
Terrorsaur held up his hands defensively. “Only when BloodKatt was around. I realised I could use it though, to overcome the cowardice she induced in me - love conquers all and sap like that. And it worked. And she’s dead, so we’re better now. At least I am.”
“Pthibbit to the terror-bot. Waspinator is back to his Waspinatorish self.”
Wayward folded her arms and scowled at both of them. “Good. I don’t care what I look like now - I don’t date robots.”
The red warrior favoured her with a wink and a slap-me smirk. “You’re sure I couldn’t change your mind?”
“If you’re not kidding, I’m telling Inferno you said unkind things about Megatron.”
“So that’s it?” Wayward was again in the command centre, with Megatron regarding her from on high. Scorponok had already given his version of events; the bee was there to fill in the details of BloodKatt’s plans. “That crazy robot thought to win me over?”
“Never underestimate a Mary-Sue, Megatron - she might have succeeded.”
“I doubt that.” Megatron settled back, steepling his fingers against the snout of his right ‘hand’. “There are still a few questions to be answered though, yes. Such as how you got here and why.”
Wayward shrugged. “I guess the ‘why’ was to get rid of BloodKatt … though, technically, Scorponok did that. Me, I’d like to know ‘how’, myself. Maybe I could get back to where I belong if I knew.”
“Has it occurred to you, Wayward, that your task might not yet be completed?”
“That’s … that’s not possible,” stammered Wayward. “She was buried …” Except that Scorponok still talked badly and Terrorsaur still had a crush on me, even after they should have been back to normal if BloodKatt died…
Megatron smiled without warmth as the idea sank in to his latest subordinate. “I’ve been in enough bad fanfics to learn a few things… and one of those things is that annoying characters never die. And especially not in rockslides, no.”
He leaned forward suddenly, causing Wayward to take a step back on her hoverpad. “Take Inferno and Terrorsaur and return to the rockslide. If you find BloodKatt’s body, bring it back here so I can see for myself that she is terminated. With that proof, I’ll set my Predacons the project of returning you to your proper place and time. If you don’t find her body, well …” He trailed off. Wayward nodded, then left to collect up the others.
Hours later, dusty and running low on energy, Wayward sagged back against a boulder. “We might as well stop. Megatron was right. We’ll never find her body. BloodKatt escaped somehow.”
“Great. I might as well just get back under my recharge berth and avoid the rush,” grumbled Terrorsaur.
Inferno, indefatigable, tossed aside one last rock before turning to the others with a curious, waiting look. Wayward waved him off. “Go back to the nest. Inform the Royalty that it looks like I’ll be staying with the Colony for a while.”
With a nod, the fire ant took off. Terrorsaur chuckled. “I don’t know how you pull off the Inferno-speak with a straight face.”
“I like ants. Besides, I make it a point not to argue with guys twice my size,” said Wayward. She stood, stretched out of habit, and with an obvious shudder of distaste, flipped into bee-mode. “We should get back, too.”
Instead of wasting his energy agreeing, Terrorsaur simply shifted to his own beast-mode and took to the air. Wayward followed, her wings beating a hundred times for each lazy flap of the pterodactyl’s.
After a few minutes, Terrorsaur asked, “If BloodKatt’s still alive, what happens next?”
Wayward snorted. “Where I come from, we call it a ‘sequel’.”