If I Be Still The Same
… What matter where, if I be still the same,..
Vapourtrail looked up as her door opened. Dreadmoon stepped inside and looked around as if making sure he wasn’t followed. When the door closed behind him, Vapourtrail asked, “What is it?”
The monitor leaned down and asked, “How are you at hacking computer systems?”
“Pretty good,” admitted Vapourtrail. “But if you want real results, you should go to Memory.”
Dreadmoon shook his head emphatically. “I don’t trust her abilities.”
“Starscream and I checked her records after we found her,” said Dreadmoon. “She’s not a hacker. She’s not much more than a minor programmer and data-entry technician. Either her skills increased exponentially, or she worked very hard at covering her skill at the Science Academy…” The monitor stopped, running his hands over the sides of his helmet. “Can you get a full connection to Cybertron from here?”
“Sure.” Then, considering the monitor’s mood said, “Of course, it won’t be a secure line. All information from the satellite is sent through the lab’s computers.”
Dreadmoon considered his options. “I don’t think that anyone is using it right now. Come on.”
Against her better judgement, Vapourtrail followed. She was interested, in a way, but also rather nervous. Whatever the monitor was planning, it was trouble. In any case, she had to follow; Dreadmoon was her superior officer, after all. He sat her down in front of the computer. She called up the system, then looked up at him. “You’ll have to tell me what I’m looking for.”
“Starscream,” said Dreadmoon.
After about twenty minutes, Vapourtrail shot Dreadmoon a questioning look. The monitor smiled grimly. “You noticed it, too? How he’s not mentioned in the historical files or the War Academy records or anywhere? I need you to get into his personal file. The security clearance is too high for me to get through, so I was hoping…”
“We shouldn’t be doing this, Dreadmoon.”
“I have to know,” said the monitor. “He was my friend once, for a little while. I offered to accompany him on a survey mission, and he pushed me away. Sometimes he’ll accidentally let something slip, some hint, but not often.” Dreadmoon sighed. “Something terrible happened to him. I can’t help him unless I know what it was.”
Vapourtrail sighed and called up the personnel files screen. “I’m not so sure he can be helped. And how do you know his file’s not missing like the rest of it? Great Cybertron, who would have gone through the trouble of erasing him…”
There was a flash of light and the computer’s systems spontaneously disrupted. “I would.”
The two shuttles turned and found Starscream glaring down at them. Vapourtrail found her voice first: “You? You erased yourself from the records?..”
Starscream nodded grimly, but his attention was on the other. “I don’t need your help, Dreadmoon. I’m fine.”
The monitor took a couple steps towards him. “Starscream…”
“I don’t need your help,” Starscream repeated, turning back to the door. “I don’t need your worry or concern. I don’t need anyone to take care of me. You and Megatron would do well to remember that.” He left. The door hissed shut automatically behind him, but he gave the impression that if could have slammed it, he would have.
“Can you fix the computer?” Dreadmoon asked after a minute.
Vapourtrail sighed. “He just used his null-ray on it. It should be fine once it wears off.”
They waited fifteen minutes to be sure, then Vapourtrail tried again. A few seconds later, she scowled. Dreadmoon looked over. “What’s wrong?”
“I’m blocked. The personnel files on Cybertron don’t show Starscream’s record any more.”
The green shuttle tapped a few more keys. “No. I can still detect the memory it uses, but I can’t access it.”
Dreadmoon nudged her aside to check for himself, then punched the console. “Blast! There’s no way he could have done that so fast unless…” He scowled. “I’m going to have a chat with Memory.”
She admitted to blocking computer access, at Starscream’s command. Unfortunately, there wasn’t anything Dreadmoon could do about it. Starscream outranked him, no one would be able to get past Memory’s blocks, and he had no business snooping into highly Classified files, anyway. Still, he couldn’t just let her get away with it; Starscream was self-destructive enough without outside help. And, lest he forget, Memory was still a murder suspect.
He had almost forgotten - they all did, what with setting up their base and the infighting between the warriors. There was no time before to do a proper investigation before - and, more importantly, Memory never had a chance to go back, - but now that their initial objectives were complete, Dreadmoon could afford to vanish for a few hours.
There was no power in Skyvortex’s base; they had used up what they brought downloading the files, but doors could be easily forced and lights could be brought in. Dreadmoon only really needed to search one room, anyway.
He found it as Starscream and Lightseeker found it, the only differences being that Memory was no longer there. Dreadmoon attached his lamp to the ceiling and sat down to think.
The room had one laser-burn on the east wall. Not surprising given that Skyvortex’s crew eventually gave up trying to repair the damages caused by fighting; the rest of the base had random scars. No real help there.
He moved to inspect the body-shells, when things became a little more interesting. Each Decepticon, it appeared, had been terminated by some sort of energy weapon. Not unusual given the base’s history. But if they all killed each other in a final firefight, why only one burn on the wall? Were they all that accurate? Their wounds were similar as well; all had been shot once or twice, and all had fallen on their backs. Dreadmoon picked one corpse at random to more carefully inspect the damages.
Three things came immediately to mind. First was that the warrior had been non-functional before he was shot. Second was that he had been shot less than one million years ago. Third was that, given the first two facts, Dreadmoon’s sensors had to be malfunctioning.
The monitor checked himself quickly and realised his senses were indeed accurate. Which made things more confusing. The wound the fallen warrior suffered shouldn’t have been immediately terminal; there should be evidence of his internal repair systems at work. And the energy signature was still readable; if he was shot six million years ago, the signature would have dissipated. The shot didn’t kill him. So what did?
Dreadmoon checked the others. In three, the energy signature had dissipated, which didn’t mean a lot. In the fourth, the signature was a little over a thousand years old. In all cases, they seemed to have died before being shot. So the shots were a cover, an obvious mode of death so a later searcher wouldn’t look too closely. Dreadmoon went back to the first shell and began a more thorough autopsy.
Two hours later, he made an interesting discovery.
The theory was strange enough that Dreadmoon decided to confront Memory instead of telling any of the others what he was doing. But he was sure it was right. Returning to base, he found Memory alone in the computer lab. He stepped into the room and stood so he blocked the door. If he was right, she killed at least five warriors. But none of them knew what he knew.
As usual, she didn’t bother looking up until called. Without preamble, Dreadmoon stated, “I’ve been to Skyvortex’s base. Admit to your crimes and there may be mercy for you.” Actually, there probably wouldn’t be. Decepticon thinking held that the guilty invented mercy while those on the side of right strove only for justice. Dreadmoon was just flexible enough to want more proof than his own guesswork before administering said justice.
She looked over. “I killed, yes, but it was for survival. That is the Decepticon way.”
“You are not a Decepticon.”
Memory held up a forearm, the purple symbol in stark contrast to the gold gauntlet. “Decepticon science brought me forth. I have always worn this symbol, and I have always served the Empire.”
Which was true. Almost. “Except when you destroyed the rescue party, but then, they’d have destroyed you once they found you out. I’ve never seen you transform, Memory,” said Dreadmoon, dangerously quiet.
“It isn’t a useful form for this environment,” Memory replied evenly.
Dreadmoon held out his hand, but it was only to aim the laser attached to his gauntlet. “Or maybe because you removed the transform circuits to make room for your hard drive. I’m willing to bet that aside from the most basic life-support and mobility functions, that’s all you are.”
She took a step back. “You’re crazy.”
“And you’re desperate,” replied Dreadmoon. “You picked that form as a joke. She was a low-level computer technician, but you, you caused her to live up to her name. Besides, it was reasonably close to your own.” His eyes flashed. “Care to prove me wrong by transforming, M-03?”
For an instant, it looked like she was actually going to do it. The instant passed when one of her tendrils struck at a button, causing an electromesh net to drop on Dreadmoon. By the time he tore it off, she had vanished. Of course, while she knew the planet better than any of them and could fly, she wasn’t as fast as those that had aircraft transforms.
Dreadmoon ran to the door, and to his annoyance, bounced off of it. He hit the door control, and when that was ineffective, tore off the panel and yanked the wires. That finally worked. Obviously, she had her escape planned, just in case. The monitor cursed his own short-sightedness; of course she could get the computer to do whatever she pleased.
And it pleased her to shut everything down to make good her own escape. Fortunately, she hadn’t set up a jamming field to block the Decepticons’ radios. Within five minutes, the crew managed to meet in the hangar. Starscream folded his arms and asked, “Well?”
“This shut-down is a delay tactic set by Memory so that she could get away,” said Dreadmoon. “She’s not a Decepticon. She’s not even a Transformer.”
“Get to the point,” instructed Razorshift.
Dreadmoon didn’t waste a glare on him. Turning back to Starscream, he said, “She isn’t even Memory, not the one who first came to Stormworld. She was destroyed and her shell is being used by M-03 - the expedition’s Deceptitraan computer.”
The black Seeker spoke again: “That’s stupid.”
Starscream waved a hand for silence. “Megatron mentioned meeting a sentient Deceptitraan on a mission about a year ago. It’s rare for them to become self-aware, though.”
“This one did, and for whatever reason, decided to transfer itself into a Transformer body,” said Dreadmoon. “She’s dangerous; being a computer herself, she can control any of our machines. Us too, I suspect.” Though why she didn’t just hack into my system while the net had me pinned… She probably just panicked. “I went back to Skyvortex’s base before confronting M-03. The five who were sent to find out what happened to the first expedition all had tiny holes in the backs of their heads, ones that M-03’s tendrils could have made. I think she did something to their minds, then used their energy to fuel her own hibernation.”
“Could M-03 have destroyed Skyvortex’s entire crew?” asked Starscream.
Dreadmoon nodded slowly. “It’s possible. She could have secretly reprogrammed random members of the crew for senseless violence, cut off communications with Cybertron, then let isolation and paranoia take care of the rest. When the rescue team came, she realised that she couldn’t go back to Cybertron because she would be quickly discovered and destroyed. But Skyvortex’s base was too damaged to generate power. So she went into stasis, hoping that another expedition would come so that she could live off of it.”
Unfortunately, it fit. Pinching the bridge of his nose, Starscream said, “All right. M-03 is too dangerous to let loose. She probably isn’t armed, so if you see her, shoot her down before she can reach you with her tendrils. Still, no one goes alone. Shatterwing, Sway, search west. Razorshift, Vapourtrail, go check Skyvortex’s base. It’s the most obvious place for her to go, and the two of you will have the best chance of navigating the station. If she’s not there, search the east. Dreadmoon and I will try the north.” She might have gone south, but south was just the bluffs and the ocean, and she wasn’t a strong enough flyer to cross it. “The rest of you see if you can get the base back online.”
The search parties were about to take off, when Starscream paused. “Crowbar, Shrillcry, Lightseeker, Gadget, watch your backs. We’ve no guarantee that she ever actually left.”
“Are your sensors picking anything up?”
“In this weather?” demanded Starscream. “I can barely see my nosecone in front of my face!”
It would be useless to point out that Starscream’s face was tucked down into his chest as he cruised along in jet-mode. Unfortunately, his complaint was valid; Stormworld played heck with their scanners. Motion sensors and radar would be useless if M-03 decided to travel on foot through the jungle, or, worse, decided to stop someplace and wait for the searchers to give up before moving on. Instead, they had switched to their analyser circuits, hoping to pick up the ton-and-a-half of metal that M-03 represented. The range wasn’t very good, however. Fortunately, they knew she had to be near the ground. M-03 wasn’t a strong enough flyer to counter the weather or get above the cloud-line.
“She can’t have gone too far,” said Dreadmoon, trying to be encouraging. “Even flying, she can’t be very fast.” Starscream’s only reply was incoherent grumbling.
Without warning, the wind picked up enough to knock even Dreadmoon’s shuttle-form off course. “Starscream!” he radioed, concerned. The Seeker was much lighter than he was, but he was the more skilled flyer, so maybe he would be all right…
A thin scream tore the air without the benefit of internal radio. There might have been words, but they were shredded by the wind. One thing was amply clear - the great Starscream was terrified.
The sky had gone black; he could only see the Seeker when the lightning flashed and illuminated the silver parts of his hull. “We’ve got to get to the ground!”
A crash of thunder threw Dreadmoon off-balance even as the sky was torn by light. Four bolts smashed into Starscream; Dreadmoon just had time to see the Seeker start into a tailspin before the light faded. And he would be of no use if he stayed in the air and shared the same fate. Trusting his radar to guide him to a clearing, the shuttle headed for an area that his senses told him was clear of trees…
Several minutes later, the lake erupted in the shape of Dreadmoon, who flapped his wings once, irrationally, to shake off the water. “Starscream! Starscream, where are you?” Remembering that standing in a lake - especially when one was made of metal - was a bad idea during a lightning storm, he jumped to shore.
Cursing the weather that drowned any tell-tale smoke-trails and lost his words to the wind, Dreadmoon switched on his radio. “Starscream, can you hear me?”
There was no answer, nor did Starscream’s communicator activate at all - if it did, Dreadmoon could have traced him that way. Dreadmoon surveyed his surroundings… what he could see in the driving rain, anyway. To the west were cliffs overshadowing the lake. Around the lake was a small beach, and the rest was thick jungle. He knew Starscream had crashed, but he had no idea where.
The monitor checked his sensors, and scowled. The lightning in the air interfered with his ability to detect energy signatures, and his own damages had ruined the fine-tuning of his other sensors; he had thought to just look for large chunks of metal like how they were tracking M-03, but that was out of the question. So. A search, then. It would be dangerous from the air, but impossible from the ground. Dreadmoon stayed in robot-mode for manoeuvrability, and took off.
He switched to infra-red and, fortunately, he didn’t have far to look. Starscream’s crash had cut a small yet obvious swath though the trees about two hundred metres away. Dreadmoon crossed the space in less than a minute, and landed next to his commander.
As expected, it wasn’t good. The impact had knocked Starscream back into his robot-mode, and his optics were dark. His silver paint was scorched in several places where the lightning had torn into him. Dreadmoon knelt by him, laid a hand on the side of his helmet to see if he could detect an energy signature. “Starscream?”
The Seeker’s optics flickered. “I circled half the globe…”
“I circled half the globe searching for him,” Starscream repeated, voice barely a whisper. “But he was gone.”
This mood, Dreadmoon recognised. “You’re stuck in a recursive memory-loop, Starscream,” said Dreadmoon gently. “You’re on the Stormworld. You were struck by lightning and you crashed.”
“A polar windstorm came up suddenly…” Starscream insisted weakly.
“A high-energy lightning storm came up suddenly,” the monitor corrected. Speaking of which, the rain from said storm was probably getting into his system, given the damage he’d taken. Looping the smaller Decepticon’s arm over his shoulders, Dreadmoon hauled him to his feet. “Come on; we’ve got to get out of this rain.” It had been hard enough to fly the short distance across the forest in the storm; trying to get back to base while carrying another would be impossible. And even if he switched to shuttle-mode, he had no way of getting Starscream inside.
The cliffs were nearby. Dreadmoon half-carried his commander to them, then blasted a serviceable cave out of the rock face. As an afterthought, he took another shot at a spot higher up, to mark their position. Then he dragged Starscream inside, and sat down to think.
Even without the weather, Starscream was in no shape to fly. Half his relays must have been fused by the lightning, and Dreadmoon wasn’t the one to fix that kind of damage. All he could do was hope the Seeker’s damages wouldn’t kill him before he could be helped. Dreadmoon reactivated his communicator, and allowed himself a sigh of relief when he got a voice on the other end: “Stormworld Base, here.”
“Shrillcry, it’s Dreadmoon. A storm caught us by surprise…” - on the other end of the line, the Insecticon snorted. Dreadmoon continued - “No, a nastier one than usual. Starscream got blasted out of the sky…” The monitor quickly detailed the Seeker’s damages, and finished with, “We’re pinned in the northern cliffs until the storm dies down. I’ll activate my homing beacon so you can find us.”
The engineer’s high voice took on a note of concern. “Are you damaged?”
“A little waterlogged,” he admitted. He wasn’t going to admit crashing into the lake, however. He traded good-byes with the Insecticon, and switched off his radio to wait.
Starscream was still sitting where Dreadmoon had left him, as if he had much choice in the matter. His eyes were a little brighter, but he was still whispering to himself: “A polar windstorm came up suddenly… I circled half the globe searching for him, but he was gone.”
The monitor settled himself by his commander. “Shh. Save your energy.”
“I circled half the globe,” Starscream insisted. “I should have tried harder, should have searched until my energy ran out, but I ran…”
He obviously wasn’t about to settle down. Dreadmoon decided to just let Starscream ride out the loop. “Who did you lose?”
He searched only half the globe, but only because his fuel was running low and he had no way to replenish himself. Not on a pre-industrial world. And Skyfire with his larger transform had been the one carrying all the equipment. Reluctantly, Starscream turned his back on the blue world and tried to trace his way back to Cybertron.
Somehow he made it back to his planet, but he realised he wasn’t going to make a nice landing. Or a landing at all; his fuel was gone, and he was going to crash.
And Starscream found he didn’t care.
Failed. I’ve failed you, Skyfire, friend, companion. I should have kept searching, but I ran. I’ve abandoned you. I’m sorry…
He didn’t remember the crash itself. There was just blankness, scattering only when someone shook him. Not that he was coherent. “Abandoned… failed… lost…”
“Name and function?”
It was a voice that cut through the haze of despair and insisted on answers. Still struggling towards consciousness, he managed to say, “Star… scream.”
“Failed… lost… lost…”
There were other voices. One said, “He’s a neutral. Don’t bother with him.”
“He survived that crash; he deserves consideration,” said the first voice. Then, a bit further away, as if the speaker stood up, Starscream heard, “Repair him.”
While always vaguely aware, Starscream didn’t return to full consciousness until the second day of his repairs. A strange, sepulchral voice intoned, “He has awakened,” and a tall, silver robot stepped into his field of vision.
Eyes like twin fires bored into Starscream’s own as the silver one waited. Eventually, the Seeker managed a word: “Why?”
The silver one’s face showed confusion, just for an instant; the question was unexpected. “I am Megatron,” he said, and Starscream recognised the voice that had ordered his repairs. “Leader of the Decepticons. We always welcome new recruits and, frankly, Seekers are hard to come by in this era.”
Which was true. It was an age of peace, and warrior-types were being phased out by the current establishment. Starscream’s knowledge of the subject was limited - he was a scientist; politics never really caught his interest. “You… want me to join you?”
Consideration was barely necessary. Where else could he go?
Starscream threw himself into his new life. No one asked him who he was or why he crashed into Decepticon territory those months ago, leaving him free to become whatever he wanted.
And he knew what he wanted.
The Seeker flew through the Cybertron War Academy tests as easily as he flew through the air, defeating simulations with almost embarrassing ease. He did even better once he was given a real tactical assignment; someone who had nothing to lose didn’t fear destruction.
In the years to follow, Starscream tore his way up the ranks of the Decepticon army, becoming more and more a skilled warrior, and less and less the scientist he had been. In fact, if anyone had been paying attention, they would have noticed how methodically, how scientifically he erased his former life, slowly becoming the opposite of what he once was.
It wasn’t all that difficult, really. He did have a role-model, after all.
Starscream looked up to his commander with an adoration that was almost worship, and, for his part, Megatron probably enjoyed the attention. Everything the Seeker did - every campaign fought, every opponent defeated - was done for Megatron, and he lived for the warlord’s scant praise. But Starscream knew he did well, because in time he became the Air Commander of the Decepticon Battle Fleet, second in command of the army, and heir apparent to the Empire. Even Shockwave and Soundwave, who had been loyal lieutenants since the faction began, couldn’t claim such honours.
The Cybertronian Wars raged, back and forth, back and forth, both sides winning their own peace in their own fashions, only for the other side to rise up and defeat them. Once, when this happened and the Decepticons were forced to retreat, Starscream was left behind…
He was prepared to die, but the Autobots wouldn’t terminate him. That was the Decepticon way, he was told. Instead, as something was plugged into the back of his head and his mind drained away, he heard, “The records say he was a scientist. Perhaps there’s hope for him, if we can bring that to the forefront again…”
Starscream struggled. Later he wished he had listened to the Autobot’s words more carefully. They were the last sounds he was to hear for a long time.
Something was wrong, either in the Autobot equipment or within his own programming, because he didn’t enter stasis-mode. Within the Autobot mind-prison, Starscream was very, horribly awake. It wasn’t as if he was floating in a dark void, for he had no body to feel the sensation of floating, and he had no eyes to see the darkness. He was alone, more alone than he had been before he met Skyfire, and even more alone than when he gave the great white jet up for dead.
He found it somewhat interesting at first, his old scientific curiousity rising up to examine this strange new world he was trapped in, testing its limits, but the total sensory deprivation soon started to affect him. There was nothing here but his mind, his thoughts, and his memories. To keep himself occupied, Starscream tried to immerse himself in his memories. There was no relief there. He had spent too long burying them to want to face them here, alone in the dark.
Drawing into himself, at first he thought, Megatron will come for me. As soon as he can, he’ll come back.
Later he thought, Is this how the Autobots intend to reprogram me? Please, don’t leave me like this! Megatron, help me!
Later, They’ve forgotten about me.
Later, They aren’t coming back. He isn’t coming back. I’ve been abandoned.
Later, Let me die. I can’t take this any more. Please, let me die.
Then, I won’t die.
And, I will find a way out of this! I will escape!
And when I do, I’ll tear them to shreds.
Rescue did come, finally, but it came far too late for Starscream to be saved.
Suddenly, his consciousness flowed back into his body. Strong hands supported him, helped him step off the dais where his body had been stored, and Starscream realised he could see again. Specifically, he saw a familiar silver form, who had the gall to look concerned. Starscream broke away from those who were holding him and threw himself at Megatron with an incoherent shout, hands reaching for his commander’s throat…
Even caught off-guard, Megatron still managed to ward off the attack. “I’m not an Autobot, you fool! Seekers, grab him!”
Starscream was roughly pulled back. He tried to fight at first, but reason quickly took over and he stopped, instead summing up the situation. Megatron stood back, glaring at him indignantly. Soundwave stood nearby, probably the one who had freed his mind. The two who held him, Starscream didn’t recognise. They were Seekers like himself, one pale blue, the other jet black.
He relaxed slightly in the grip of the others and matched looks with his commander, steel for steel. Not yet, he thought. Not simple destruction. Too easy. Too clean. I want you to suffer.
Megatron signalled for the others to let him go and said, not entirely warmly, “Welcome back, Starscream.”
“I knew you would come back for me, Leader.”
If Megatron noticed an unfamiliar rasp in Starscream’s voice, he made no sign.
“… erased my records as soon as I had a spare minute,” said Starscream, still whispering, trying to conserve what little energy he still had. “The Autobots might have just destroyed me if I was just another warrior, wouldn’t have tried to… reprogram me. Megatron was furious, of course…”
“Shh,” Dreadmoon said again, patting Starscream’s wing. “Sounds like you shook off that loop, at least.”
“Don’t ‘shh’ me; I outrank you,” Starscream protested, but the edge was lost to his weakness. “That’s how I tried to get back at Megatron… Without his position, he’s nothing. I know… I know and he hates me for it. Rather be first on Earth than second in the Empire… He abandoned me… Can’t forgive him… Can’t forgive me… Should have kept searching…”
Around and around and around, and the cycle of abandonment, oblivion, rescue, and betrayal were the same. Great Cybertron, he had known something happened to Starscream to unbalance him, but he didn’t expect so much of it. He had heard a few things about Skyfire and knew Starscream hated stasis, but… “I think I understand now. It’s all right…”
Starscream groaned, leaning his head against the wall behind him. “It’s not all right. Great Cybertron, sometimes I start believing that I never left the mind-prison, that I’d finally gone insane and dreamed it all… Or that I crashed on Earth so long ago, that I was buried in the snow and I’m still in hibernation…”
The monitor caught Starscream’s hand between both of his own. “This is real. I’m real. You’re not dreaming.”
“I told you to stay on Cybertron. I can’t risk you… risk that… again…”
“Chirp, chirp! Nice to see you boys had the sense to get out of the weather.”
“Shrillcry!” exclaimed Dreadmoon. “Has the rain stopped?”
“Are you kidding? It just let up a bit,” chirruped the mantis, perched on the lip of the cave. “Is it safe to move him?”
“I think so,” said Dreadmoon, gathering up Starscream, which wasn’t particularly easy. Certainly the monitor was strong enough to lift him, but the Seeker’s wings got in the way. It wasn’t a terribly graceful flight, but the three managed to get back to base.
His injuries were minor, so as soon as his circuits were dried off and the scratches in his chassis repaired, Dreadmoon was duly kicked out of the repair bay. He considered protesting, but decided against it. Starscream would be fine, and Dreadmoon would just be in the way if he stayed. So he wandered back up to the control room.
About ten minutes later, Razorshift and Vapourtrail returned from their search, unceremoniously carrying M-03 between them. Dreadmoon radioed Shatterwing and Sway to return, then went to the hangar to deal with the others.
“He was right; she ran back to Skyvortex’s base,” said Razorshift. “Not that there was anywhere else for her to go, really.”
“Is she offline?” asked Dreadmoon.
“No,” replied the Seeker. “Just stunned. Shockwave usually wanted his prisoners functional, provided it wasn’t too risky. I just phased and shorted her.”
Dreadmoon considered reminding him that the orders were of the ‘shoot on sight’ variety, but decided against it. A live prisoner could be killed easily enough; a dead one couldn’t be brought back to life. And there were still questions he wanted answered. “Take her to the brig,” the monitor said eventually. “But make sure that there are absolutely no electrical systems within her reach, especially in the locking mechanism. Tear out the wiring in the deck plates if you have to, just make sure she can’t tap into the ship.” Razorshift nodded, and he and Vapourtrail carried their prisoner into the station.
To be continued ...