The Trial Of Dreadmoon
Notes: While Wayward got to edit it, the Transformers Mary-Sue Litmus Test was written by M-Cat and based on both The Original Mary-Sue Litmus Test and the Gil Shalos' List Of LOTR
“Waitaminute … this isn’t Beast Wars!”
“More importantly, this isn’t Cybertron.”
“Looks kind of familiar, though …” To her vast surprise, instead of being in the Predacon base, Wayward was currently an Insecticon sharing a small walkway over a large well with Dreadmoon. There was a suggestion of movement in the water far below that she didn’t like. Wherever they were was a vast cylindrical room, open to the night sky. Both had inhibitor-bands around their waists, which looked ridiculous but seemed to work.
The Monitor tilted his head back, seeming to sniff the air. “I don’t recognise the stars, and I can sense organic life.” His hand automatically reached for his gun, but the access to his subspace storage was blocked by the inhibitor.
Something about the scene nagged at Wayward. “You know, this place looks like …”
Movement in a gallery high above drew their attention. “Greetings, prisoners.”
“… the trial scene from Transformers: The Movie.”
The Bailiff – at least, the long-headed creature that Wayward tended to think of as the Bailiff because it was a legal-sounding term and her entire knowledge of the subject was one Grade 12 Law class that she never paid attention in – hovered in from a small door, holding a datapad. “Decepticon Dreadmoon, you are accused of being a Mary-Sue. Insecticon Wayward, you are accused of creating Dreadmoon. How do you plead?”
“What is a ‘Mary-Sue’?” asked Dreadmoon, watching both Judge and Bailiff warily.
“In brief, a Mary-Sue occurs when a writer puts herself into a story as an incredibly powerful character who always gets her own way,” the Bailiff explained.
Dreadmoon glared down at Wayward. “I am myself, not some twisted fantasy of what a human wants to be. I am innocent.”
“I made him, but he’s not my avatar,” added Wayward. “C’mon – I the Insecticon am an admitted Mary-Sue.”
The Judge spun. “Your status is not in question, Insecticon. The cross-examination begins now: is the character named after you or after your screen name?”
The Insecticon made a face. “‘Way-ward’. ‘Dread-moon’. No, and my real name is ‘Melissa’. It means ‘bee’. So, no in any direction.”
“Is your character described as beautiful?”
Wayward looked up at her creation appraisingly. “To be honest, he's pretty funny-looking by Decepticon standards. He seems to be able to pull off 'reasonably attractive, but nothing to cross the room for'. Armature the sculptor thinks he’s aesthetically awful. Still, generally not beautiful.”
The Judge scribbled something on a datapad with a tentacle. “We can skip a few questions then. Are his optics an unusual colour?”
“Can you see him from up there?” Wayward countered. “They’re red. That’s as generic as you can get on a ‘Con.”
“Do they change colour according to his mood?”
“They dim and brighten, but everyone’s optics do that in Waywardfic,” said the Insecticon.
“Does he have long, flowing hair?”
Wayward cringed slightly. “Well, in that Beast Machines incarnation I’ve been working on …” she admitted.
The Judge considered that, then spun to a new face. “This trial is specific to Generation One. We will speak of other series later. No score.” The Judge returned to his first face. “Is he a recolour?”
“He’s the unholy love-child of Scourge and Astrotrain with a big hat,” said Wayward dryly.
“I am not,” huffed Dreadmoon.
“Elucidate,” commanded the Judge.
Wayward shrugged. “If anything, he’s a kitbash, admittedly based mostly on Scourge and Astrotrain. He’s not based on any one character, and he still has plenty of original design in him.”
The Bailiff turned away, tapping at a console. A screen on the wall activated and he gestured to it. “Exhibit A,” he said, waving a selection of tentacles at it. “Worlds Away, the first fanfic Dreadmoon ever appeared in. This is his introduction.”
The door to what he had claimed as his lab swished open and Dreadmoon stepped in. “New data from Astrotrain,” he announced. The triple-changer had been sent ahead to give the Alpha Centauri solar system a once-over. “The system’s got planets – dead, from what he can see – but there’s a couple big enough to distort Shockwave’s initial gravitational equations.”
The Judge hummed over that. “No physical description at all. Hrm. Do you ever spend more than two consecutive paragraphs describing him, Insecticon?”
“Do you begin any story with his description?”
“Do you make it a point to mention that he’s as tall or taller than the average male?”
“I make it a point to mention he’s not male,” Wayward drawled. “But, yeah, he’s taller than most Decepticons and it’s mentioned once in a while. Most often it’s in conjunction with being annoyed that Skyfire is taller than him.”
The screen above the Judge changed, displaying a ‘1’. He leaned forward, almost eagerly. “Do you ever begin a story where the first line is your character introducing himself?”
“Nope. Even in Waiting For Starscream, Dreadmoon’s name isn’t mentioned until near the end of the first page, and not by himself … no. Does the Blinded mini-comic count?”
“Does he say, ‘Hi, my name is Dreadmoon, and this is my story’?” asked the Judge.
“He says, ‘My name is Dreadmoon. I am the Monitor of the Sixth Sector. My city is in pain, and I have been left blind.’”
“Hmph,” grumbled the Judge. Then, petulantly, “He has wings attached to his shoulders.” The screen now displayed ‘2’.
Dreadmoon frowned. “Where else would I put my wings?”
The Judge spun. “According to this datapad, wings attached to your posterior are a negative-twenty score and an automatic acquittal.”
“That would make it difficult to sit.”
“Do you have more than one alternative mode?” asked the Judge.
“Do any parts vanish into subspace so that your robot-mode looks sleeker?”
“Do you transform via magic or something other than the usual gears and such?”
Wayward raised her hand. “Beast Machines, again, but they all do that.”
“Beast Machines is irrelevant. Do you turn into an animal?”
Dreadmoon twisted his mouth in an expression of disgust. “Absolutely not.”
“Except in Beast Machines.”
“Stop reminding me, Wayward.”
The Judge checked his list. “Does your name contain any of the following words: star, sun, sky, fire, flame, night, day, dawn, shadow, black, silver, cat, wolf, raptor, dragon, dark, blood, death, blade, or variation of ‘Optimus’, ‘Ultra’, ‘Mega’, ‘Galva’, or end in ‘Prime’ or ‘-tron’?”
“‘Dreadmoon’. Obviously, no.”
“Does your full name include a ‘the’ followed by an overly pretentious title?”
“My proper title is ‘High Councillor Dreadmoon, Monitor of the Sixth Sector …”
“‘The Decepticon Secretary of Doom’,” added Wayward. “Sometimes ‘Hatman’ or ‘the Seneschal of Stormworld’. ‘Dready’ to his friends.”
“… But my full name is simply ‘Dreadmoon’.”
“Hrmph. Have you ever used the name ‘Dreadmoon’ anywhere else, Insecticon?”
“Are you kidding? The name is plain goofy.”
“Your objection is irrelevant, Decepticon. Do you have any of the following powers: telepathy, teleportation, super-speed, enhanced senses, telekinesis, magic, healing powers, time-travel, weather control, the ability to speak to animals, a sixth-sense, or any ability no canon Transformer has?”
Dreadmoon sighed. “No, no, no more than any spacecraft, no, no, no, no, no, I wish, only if you count talking to you, no, and no.”
“Wrong on that last one, Dreadmoon,” said Wayward. “I invented the Monitor class. Your ability to tap into your Sector and control it is pretty darn powerful.”
“Both Soundwave and Shrapnel can control electronic devices,” said the Judge unhappily. “Including other Cybertronians in Shrapnel’s case, which Dreadmoon cannot do. As well, most of Dreadmoon’s control rig is in his watchtower. No change of score.” He spun again. “Are you a brilliant scientist?”
“I type reports for brilliant scientists. No.”
“Are you a remarkably-skilled martial artist?”
“He can’t get up easily if he lands on his back,” Wayward pointed out, ignoring another glare from the Monitor. “No.”
“Are you an incredible sharp-shooter?”
“Above average, but out of practice.”
“Hrmph. Bailiff, bring up Exhibit B.”
A list appeared on the screen:
“Your average is seven-point-six-two-five-zero,” the Judge noted.
“I am a spacecraft, and therefore fast. I am well-placed in the hierarchy, which means my skills are accordant.” Still, the main screen above the Judge changed to ‘3’.
“Do you have a beautiful singing voice?” asked the Judge.
“I don’t sing.”
“Do you play a musical instrument?”
“Do you like Wayward’s taste in music?”
“I don’t even listen to Cybertronian music, let alone anything Earthen.”
“Are you the son of a canon character?”
“I am the creation of Seaquake,” the Monitor corrected. “No.”
“So, you know the name of your creator.” The Judge made a few more notes. “Are you the brother of a canon character?”
“Are you the product of a tragically-doomed romance between an Autobot and a Decepticon?”
“Seaquake built alone.”
“Were you adopted?” asked the Judge.
He glanced down at the Insecticon. “Only by Wayward.”
“Were you on board the Ark or the Nemesis?”
“He’s visited the Nemesis at least once, but he didn’t crash with it,” said Wayward.
“Are you part alien?”
“Don’t be disgusting.”
“Part non-Cybertronian mechanoid?”
“Are you a human who was turned into a Transformer?”
Wayward chuckled. “You’re mistaking him with me, Cthulhubratta.”
“Hrmph. Are you a member of a Third Faction?”
“I am a Decepticon.”
“Are you royalty?”
“I am consort to the so-called prince of the Decepticons. His rank does not transfer to me, even if he were royalty proper. No.”
“Are you the member of a non-aligned military group that plays by its own rules?”
“I am a Decepticon.”
“Did you come about in a perfectly ordinary way that isn’t worth going on about?”
The Judge looked annoyed as the tally screen changed to read ‘-27’. “You claimed to be Starscream’s consort. This is true?”
The screen changed to read ‘-23’. Wayward sighed. “Way to raise your score, mookball. Let’s mention Skyfire while we’re at it.”
“I am not bonded to Skyfire.”
“You like him,” Wayward prodded. “Don’t lie.”
“I like him. I do not love him.”
“Close enough,” said the Judge, and the screen read ‘-22’. “Starscream is of your faction?”
“Skyfire is neutral,” Dreadmoon admitted. The screen read ‘-21’.
“Did you fall in love within days of meeting each other?”
The Monitor had the grace to look embarrassed. “For Starscream, weeks. I reiterate that Skyfire and I are not in love.” The screen’s readout didn’t change.
“Did you defy any direct orders to be together?”
“Megatron has threatened me for collaborating with Starscream. He doesn’t care about the emotional side of it.” Dreadmoon thought that over. “Starscream and I would get in much trouble if our relationship with Skyfire were known.” The screen read ‘-20’.
“Did you defect from your faction to be together?”
“Did two canon characters fight for your affection?”
Dreadmoon snorted. “No.”
“Did you reform Starscream though the power of love?”
“Why would I want to reform a model Decepticon?”
“Did you manage to make Skyfire a Decepticon?”
“Did you have sex with the object of your affections?”
“Did I do what?”
“No,” Wayward translated.
“Are you married?” asked the Judge.
“Bonded. Not married.”
“I’m married, but not to a Transformer,” Wayward piped, earning her another glare from the Judge.
“Do you have any children?”
“Are you an orphan, Decepticon?”
“My creator is dead. I suppose I am.” The screen read ‘-19’.
“Was he killed in an attack from the opposing faction?”
“Yes.” The screen read ‘-18’.
“Did the attack destroy your entire city?”
“It knocked a few holes in the watchtower.” Dreadmoon considered the questions. “May I take off points if I was simply waiting for Seaquake to be destroyed so that I could take his place?”
“There is no provision in the questions for it. The score remains unchanged,” the Judge informed him. Then, “Were you left alone to fend for yourself in a cruel and uncaring universe?”
“I took over the watchtower, its staff, and the entire Sector. No.”
“Were you forced to do terrible things to survive?”
“Define ‘terrible’. I have killed to survive, and I have killed under orders. I have massacred thousands. I have tormented both prisoners and those in my employ who have displeased me. I have assisted in plots of treason. Sometimes I play chess. These things are not terrible.”
“Did you regret it?”
“I take pride in a job well done.”
“‘No’,” interpreted the Judge. “Were you ever kidnapped?”
“Forced into slavery?”
“Captured by the opposing faction?”
“I’ve been in prison twice.” The screen read ‘-17’.
“Were you tortured?”
“By my Autobot captors? No.”
“Did they scan your mind?”
“Did they alter your mind in any way?”
“They took it out and put it in a box,” drawled the Monitor.
“Have you ever sworn revenge on someone for putting you through a traumatic incident?”
“No.” Dreadmoon smiled slightly. “I got revenge for being put through a traumatic incident once or twice.”
“Did you upgrade or change your name because of this?”
“My name has always been ‘Dreadmoon’, and my upgrades have only occurred for the ordinary reasons of wishing to wear improved technology.”
“Did you ever change factions?
“Are you insane or suspected of it?”
“Some people think he’s nuts for dating Starscream,” Wayward put in. “I don’t think that counts.”
Neither did the tally screen. The Judge continued: “Do you have flashbacks or mental lapses?”
“Have you ever died?”
“He might in Beast Machines.”
“Will you shut up about that?”
“Have you ever been thought dead?” asked the Judge.
“Perhaps once or twice by an enemy,” said Dreadmoon. “Decepticons are not easy to kill.”
The tally screen remained at ‘-17’. The Judge turned to regard the Insecticon. “How many stories have you written about him?”
“Piles.” The screen read ‘-14’.
“Is he the only character you write about?”
“Have you altered the canon to favour him?”
“I’ve altered the canon to make things worse for him.”
“How many continuities is he in?”
“I’ve got sketches for G1, G2, Beast Machines, Armada, and the old comic series. Oh, and that silly Energon kitbash on my desk. Six.” The screen read ‘-11’.
“As soon as you hear of a new continuity, do you try to work him in?”
“There’s no Galaxy Force Dreadmoon, and he only got into Energon because Dreadwind was just such an obvious toy to alter,” said Wayward. “He’ll never appear in the Beast Wars era, if that helps.”
“Are you upset when people don’t like him?”
“Nah. I can't please everyone and Dreadmoon can take care of himself.”
“Do you resent the suggestion that stories about fan characters aren’t as interesting as those about canon characters?”
“No, because I generally find other people’s fancharas boring too. There’s exceptions, of course.”
“During this trial, did you ever feel the urge to say, ‘What’s wrong with THAT?’ to any of the questions?” asked the Judge.
“Nope. I know Mary-Sues too well for that,” said Wayward. “In fact, if you give me a minute, I could add more questions to the test, and I intend to do a Beast Wars version one day. Maybe Armada as well.”
The Judge hemmed and hawed a bit, but he couldn’t deny the number on the tally screen. “The final score is negative-eleven, well within the acceptable range. You are …” The masks spun again. “… INNOCENT!”
With a sharp ‘click’, the walkway snapped in two, sending Wayward and Dreadmoon plunging towards the Sharkticons …
… Fortunately, you always wake up before you land.
Just as she was waking in her room in the Predacon base, Wayward heard the voice of the Judge: “Guards, send in Sway.”