suddenly there goes the Dark
suddenly there goes the Light
you can feel it in your spark -
the beginning of the fight.
maybe it’s a second chance
you know nothing anymore
maybe under false pretence
same old tragedy’s in store.
energon! Right trough your twisted spark! Take it! Take it straight to the
Pit you sickening piece of slag!”
deafening silence. And a complete lack of light.
it’s not right.” A soft voice whispered.
shouldn’t meddle.” Countless more answered as one.
you feel it inside you? The way things should be? The harmony of the
is no ‘inside me’. There’s nothing left of me but my personality and
you sound as if that shouldn’t be there either. And yes, I do feel it, the
way things should be. That’s exactly why I’m gonna do… this.”
that reality melted away.
Ehem… Boss? DEPTH CHARGE!’
robot dozing off in the chair behind the desk jumped a few inches.
How… What the – ’
to wake you, sir, but someone from the Council wants to talk to you. They
called you directly but you didn’t answer so they contacted the security
Charge blinked and looked around. He was having trouble gathering his
thoughts. The room was familiar. So was the young bot standing in front of
him, wearing… the uniform of a security officer of colony Omicron? What
the pit… He couldn’t quite remember why this was wrong. This was… his
office? And he was… the chief of security, right?
Throttle?’ he remembered the bot’s name.
was it about the Council?’
young officer tried to hide a sigh.
are waiting to speak to you, sir. Just open a link.’
Right. Thank you, Throttle.’
nodded and started to leave.
get angry at me for saying it but you should really take a break.’ he said
before exiting the office.
I really should.’
Charge sighed, rubbed at his forehead, took a breath to clear his head and
tapped a button on the computer in front of him. The annoyed face of one of
the Maximal Elders appeared.
were you doing, Depth Charge? It took you stellar
cycles to answer!’
apologies.’ he said shortly.
wasn’t particularly keen on the Elders. They had
the tendency to call him far too often and meddle in
his business. True, Omicron was a new colony and still needed tight
government control but
he couldn’t help but consider the constant attention an insult to his
competence. After all, there had been absolutely no security problems since
he had taken the position.
is this about?’
government has started a new top secret experiment.”
Charge had to keep from rolling his optics.
first stage of it was completed elsewhere but now it will be transferred to
Omicron for safety reasons. We expect the transfer to happen in a week. As I
said, the experiment is top
secret. It’s your job to make sure it stays top
nagged at the back of the security chief’s mind but he ignored it. This
wasn’t unusual. A lot of top
were going on in the research facility, supervised by the government. He
didn’t like it but they were the government’s problem.
experiment will occupy all of the lower levels of the Center. You will allow
nobody there, not even your officers, and you will not go there yourself.’
this was a bit too much.
in the…’ he started but caught himself on time. ‘Ehem. How am I
expected to guard it then?’
are not. We’re sending our own security. They will be in charge of that
sector of the facility where the experiment is kept. You will only see to it
that no one goes near there.’
Charge gripped the edge of his desk to keep from punching the screen, which
would have been bad for his career, not to mention futile.
exactly IS this experiment?’ he gritted out.
labeled “Protoform X”. You need not know more. Just be prepared to fulfill you
connection was cut the same moment something clicked in Depth Charge’s
mind. And suddenly he remembered.
can I go out?”
you know I have to go to work.”
can go on my own.”
femme trailed off and just stared at her daughter. The child returned the
stare and sighed.
I want to say something and I don’t want you to get upset, OK? Now… If
I’m going to die anyway, what’s the point in keeping me locked in
Who told you that? Don’t you ever say anything like that again!”
little femme sighed again.
knew you’d get upset. I don’t see the point of getting upset over it.
Dying can’t be worse than living forever, for
that’s enough philosophical conclusions for now. We’ll talk when I get
we won’t.” the child ‘bot murmured when her mother had went out the
door. “We never talk about it.”
need to stop doing this.” Mind Game told herself firmly, standing
from the park bench she had occupied for the last fifteen nano cycles and
wiping her optics. She checked the time. She was late for work. Again. This
really had to stop. She couldn’t afford losing her job, stupid as it was.
No money meant not enough medical attention for Starlet. And she needed
that. Until they found a way to heal her spark. And they would find a way,
Mind Game was certain of it. Certain like a
mother who could not let her child go. She and her daughter would just have
to hold on for a little bit longer.
Depth Charge said.
since he seemed to be unable to say anything else at the moment, he repeated
it several times, emphasizing the words by banging his head on his desk.
quickly jerked his head up. A rather strongly built cream and black femme
was standing at the doorway, eye ridges raised and a steaming cup in her
hand. He stared at her for several moments.
name was Mind Game, right?’ he finally blurted out.
still is, I believe.’ she nodded with a bit of a smile. ‘Throttle
mentioned you seemed quite… tired today. So I fixed you an energon
Right. Thank you.’
slag it, slag it, slag it all! Throttle said I was “tired”? My own people
think I’m going nuts ALREADY! And I haven’t even tried to tell them…
Well, it’s no wonder they think I’m losing it since this is the second
time one of them catches me acting like an imbecile. Gotta get a grip. Now,
who was she?
frantically scanned his memory for data on Mind Game. Oh, yes. Rampage had
dismembered her before his eyes… No, no, not this kind of data! No…
Before coming to Omicron she had been a psychiatrist but after some kind of
trouble with the law she was banned from practicing and was unable to find
any kind of employment. Finally, she had ended up here doing all kinds of
little jobs in the facility. She also had a small child who wasn’t very
I really am a bit distracted today.’ He attempted a smile. ‘How’s your
daughter, Mind Game?’
sighed and shrugged.
always. She’s bored out of her mind at home but when I take her out she
ends up getting sick.’
nodded, not knowing what to say. Starlet had… or rather would die
before X’s escape. Lucky her... Oh, Primus, what was he thinking!
felt his spark clench. This was all too much. Seeing all these bots alive
and walking around… Each time he looked at them he imagined their broken
bodies scattered carelessly, leaking mech fluid. This had to be a dream. Or
maybe the other one was a dream like he had wished it so often to be. Either
way, Protoform X would be transferred to his colony
in a week. He could not, would
him kill again! Not even in a dream! But what could
he do? Running around and screaming ‘He’s
gonna break out and you’re all gonna die!’ wouldn’t
work very well...
realized Mind Game was still there, observing him calmly. Maybe she was
trying to determine, as a psychiatrist, weather he was ready for a
‘I’ll be going.’
she said when she noticed she had his attention. ‘If you need anything,
call. And, by the way,’ she added after a small pause, ‘no, I don’t
think there’s anything wrong with your brain.’
stared at her in surprise.
I that obvious?’
But people always think that because I’m a psychiatrist, I’m always
trying to find something amiss in their heads. However
I AM a professional, despite
earning my energon by carrying cups around here. So I can tell there’s
something bothering you. My advice is, tell somebody. It’s an
underestimated method but it works.’
I could do that.’ he whispered after the door closed in her wake.
he couldn’t. In fact, he couldn’t do anything right now. He almost
slammed his fist on his already dented desk but he restrained himself in
case yet another employee showed up and informed the security that their
chief was a raging lunatic.
Then he would be able to do even less.
examined options in his head. Protoform X had to be destroyed. Easier said
than done. The idea of telling the High Council was simply laughable. He had
already tried… would try in the future… whatever… to convince them to
destroy the killer. But they always seemed to do the exact opposite of what
he told them to. Not to mention he wasn’t even supposed to know about
their “top secret experiment”. No, telling anybody who didn’t know the
future would be futile. That last thought was ridiculous. Like bots fell
trough crazy time anomalies on regular bases. Nobody here could know the
future. Nobody but him… Nobody…
really, really hope I’m wrong.
week later he was standing with a few of his men at the back entrance of the
research facility, waiting.
suitable. How very suitable. The cold foggy night, the heavy damp air, the
mud under is feet. Right out of a human horror movie. And it was the best
possible time for Protoform X to arrive.
spaceship had just landed on the planet in the dead of night. According to
the crew, it was delayed due to “technical difficulties”. On his part,
he was sure their timing was carefully chosen. It was a secret project after
all; they had to keep it hidden. And dark things were best hidden in the
shifted nervously and moved his hand to rest on his gun. Though he kept
reminding himself that the thing he feared wouldn’t happen tonight, he
seemed unable to relax. Even his people had noticed how edgy their chief had
been the last few days and they had been trying to stay out of his way. That
was fine with him since he was avoiding everyone too. Especially bots he was
more familiar with. He didn’t like the little voice at the back of his
mind constantly telling him the person in front of him was dead and
providing images to illustrate it…
a sharp beep pierced the air. Depth Charged jumped in panic along with his
companions before realizing it had come from his own computer.
he scanned his surroundings frantically.
Everything all right? What was that?”
Charge stared at the bot in shock for a moment then shook his head.
is all right.” he managed, quickly silencing the special radar he hadn’t
realized he still had. Going
trough the vortex/time hole/whatever had brought him back here had
changed him back to his original structure so why was the radar still there?
Whatever the reason, he was glad for it. It made him feel a little less
was good. But he was vaguely
aware of his men staring at him, which wasn’t good. “It’s just a radar
that’s malfunctioning. It startled me, that’s all.” He
it wasn’t malfunctioning, was it?
in the distance caught his attention. He squinted to see through the thick
fog. For several moments there were only shadows. Then when they came closer
they turned out to be a large group of about thirty bots. Ten scientists and
twenty special security officers as far as he remembered. The ones at the
back were dragging some kind of metal container on wheels. It looked
relatively large but Depth Charge knew it was just big enough for the robot
inside. He felt a chill run trough his spine. There he was. X. And the
question popped in his mind again.
he really know too?
question had been tormenting him all week and there was only one way to
not now, he reminded himself. He would have to be very careful not to get in
trouble. Because if he did, there would be no one to stop X.
tore his gaze from the container when one of the bots stepped forward.
assume you’re Depth Charge. I am Stunner, Chief of the Special Security.
And this is doctor Chillcold and doctor Clearcut. They lead the scientific
indicated a thin purple transformer and a small femme in crimson and gold.
Depth Charge remembered he had found her attractive the previous time he
had… well… met her for the first time… but that was about all he had
noticed about her. He hadn’t paid much attention to any of the others
either. But now his senses were painfully sharp and he noticed some rather
had a very unpleasant smile. It was somehow… obscene. On second look all
of the special security officers wore similar expressions. Then he realized
that what he was really seeing was X’s smile on every face he looked at.
that it? It had to be. Everything
seemed creepy tonight.
Chillcold’s piercing blue optics seemed too indifferent. As if they
didn’t see but
Dr. Clearcut’s beautiful golden ones were studying him with mild interest,
as if he was some curious artifact.
was all paranoia. He would have never seen these things if it weren’t for
that sense of foreboding.
suddenly realized he had been checking the new arrivals’ documents without
being aware of it. It was pointless anyway. He knew there was nothing wrong
with the documents, which didn’t change his desire to personally stuff the
bots back in their ship along with the monster they had brought with them
and send them to the other end of the Universe.
let them in instead. He had no choice. He watched as they dragged the metal
container inside and barely restrained himself from opening fire on it.
did it have to happen on his colony?
confusion, despair. He was locked in darkness and he couldn’t move. He
wouldn’t have been able to even without the heavy restraints. He was
stuffed in a place that was so small he couldn’t even turn his head
properly. Like some toy in a box. He tried to scream but no sound came out.
There was no air in here. Transformers didn’t necessarily need oxygen but
breathing would have calmed him a little if he could have managed it. In the
absolute darkness he couldn’t tell if his optics were opened or closed.
Every comforting gesture, every possible way to block what was happening was
denied to him.
couldn’t make sense of the scrambled thoughts running through his head
like a blizzard. He knew he was a scientific project, created in a lab, but
there was something else. Like a whisper, like a dream… But he couldn’t
focus on it.
suddenly a forgotten feeling was trying to creep into him and although he
fought it desperately, the memory still emerged to the surface of his mind.
body melting, turning to liquid… Nothing to see, nothing to hear, nothing
to feel for such a long time… only emptiness.
tugged at his restraints violently but they were so strong they only dug
into his metal causing pain but not allowing his body to even shift. At
least now he was sure he had a body.
the stillness was unbearable and he strained again with no result. He
continued trying until he had no energy left. He stayed motionless but
inside he was writhing and thrashing, wanting desperately to get free. He
could vaguely feel the sparks of other bots around him but he couldn’t
focus on any of them. It was all so blurry.
then he felt it. This one was strong. A familiar presence. It was something
outside of his small world of darkness and pain and he reached for it
eagerly. Something… someone he
the memories came flooding back.
can I ever do the rights
I can’t tell them from the wrongs?
can I put my life in place
I don’t know where it belongs?
I could try a thing or two
it would be a guessing game.
in the end the world may change
it may just remain the same.
week after the “top secret experiment’s” arrival Depth Charge was
sitting in his office, trying to come up with a plan, an idea, anything. He
was quickly beginning to realize just how important self-control was in this
how little he had of it.
was so frustrated he couldn’t think. Which led to him becoming more
frustrated and eventually starting to panic which was not an option. And he
was furious at himself. In the past… or in this case the future… Slag,
this was driving him crazy! On
other occasions he
had managed to stay calm when dealing with X. Otherwise he would have never
why couldn’t he do it now?
unlike then, now he had everything to lose…
was a polite knock on the door. Actually, it was the third polite knock, he
realized. He hadn’t paid attention to the first two. He sighed and called
for the person to enter. He looked up to see Mind Game.
I have a word with you?” the femme asked carefully, noticing how worn out
it have to be now?”
necessarily. But it would be best if it’s now.”
he wasn’t getting anywhere with his plan anyway…
right.” He motioned for her to sit. “What is it?”
tall femme knitted her fingers in front of her and studied them for a
moment, obviously deciding how to begin.
officers have been… a little concerned about you lately. Especially after
you spent half of yesterday yelling at them to double the security for no
apparent reason which freaked out some civil citizens as well.”
instantly knew where this was going.
as you might have guessed, they sent me here to check if you were okay.”
I’m not okay! A psychopathic mass murderer is going to break loose and
kill everyone I know, leaving only me to torment me for the rest of my life
and I just don’t know how to prevent that! I can’t sleep because I dream
of him every night and I see his face everywhere! I DO feel like I’m
losing my mind and I’m afraid they’ll lock me up in a white room and
I’ll be able to do nothing but scream while the colony is being leveled!
looked at him exasperatedly.
Charge, your men won’t be satisfied unless I stay here for at least
another twenty minutes. Why not make good use of this time? It’s obvious
that something’s bothering you. Don’t you want to tell me?”
course he WANTED to tell her. But where would that lead? ‘Well, darlin’,
there’s a maniac locked up right underneath our feet and when he breaks
loose we’re all gonna die.’ Sure, that would
convince her he wasn’t crazy.
nothing to tell.” He said irritably. “But if you insist on turning this
into a psychiatric session, go ahead. Are you going to ask me about my
leaned back in her chair.
but I’m going to ask you something else. Why do you think the colony’s
slag! What do I say now? Play stupid.
anything might happen. Our security is very loose and it needs tightening.
I’m just doing my job. I want to get a promotion.”
blinked at him.
right, you must think I’m a real idiot. Depth
Charge, I’ve been working here for three years. You may not notice me most
of the time but I’m here. Carrying cups, fixing the drinks-machine,
delivering messages… Those may be stupid jobs but this doesn’t mean I’m stupid.
I see you every day. I know you. I know how you normally act. What you’re
telling me right now is total slag. If something’s wrong, don’t you
think we all have the right to know? Because I can see something IS
gaped at her sudden outburst. He tried to say something but the words just
wouldn’t come. She was right, of course. He had known
her for three years and the explanation he had just given her was an insult
to her intelligence. But what could he say to her?
right, then.” She said after he had been silent for a while. “Then at
least let me help. Without asking questions.”
raised his head slightly.
hesitated. Why indeed? Oh, yes, there was a reason, only she didn’t want
to admit it. But she preferred being honest when it was possible, so…
need something to do. My daughter is really ill. I need to get my mind off
things. My job doesn’t provide that. That’s why I agreed to come here
today. It was a distraction. And unlike others I can see what you’re
worried about is something big and important which might affect the whole
colony and therefore me. And I prefer to at least have a hand in my own
destiny. If you allow me to help you I promise to do what you say without
maybe I want to get your attention. It’s horrible but it’s true. A
lonely mother of a sick child, not particularly pretty… I need a bot and
Charge considered this. It would be such a relief to have an ally, even if
she didn’t know everything. Of course, it wouldn’t be easy using her
help without revealing information. Still…
right.” He said finally. “But you’ll have to do as I say and keep
quiet about it.”
hmm… Convincing my charges I’m not a psycho would be a good way to help
me for a start.”
brief explanation of the situation which
was as truthful as Depth Charge could manage under the circumstances, she
exited the office and he
returned to his plotting with a little more ease.
was being kept at the lower levels of the facility. He didn’t know where
exactly but this wasn’t a problem. He would use his radar, thank Primus
for it. But passing the special security would be a challenge. In the last
few days he had confirmed his suspicion that Stunner was an arrogant bastard
but a professional nonetheless. His guards were well trained. Depth Charge
smirked humorlessly. He
certainly couldn’t count on guards leaving their posts to get a drink or
snoozing during working hours. This
wasn’t an action movie.
were everywhere, working around the clock and their chief had made sure they
knew Depth Charge was NOT allowed down there…
even if he managed to reach X, what good would that be? The only way of
controlling him that had ever existed was the spark box Megatron had created
and it didn’t exist in this reality.
suddenly straightened in his chair.
Game came to her senses and removed the cup just before it overfilled and
the energon spilled from it. She
was unusually absent today. She couldn’t help but smirk inwardly at the
obvious psychological reason for that. Depression instantly made bots
sexier. No femme could resist the “dark hero”. At
the same time the fact that there might actually be a need for a hero
then her radio beeped. Mind Game opened a link and dropped the cup at the
sound of her daughter’s voice.
I think I died today.”
listened to the voices coming from the corridor.
now, madam, Captain Stunner sent me to tell you that if you want us to guard
this thing you must devise a better way to control it. It attacked two of us
guards today and one is severely damaged. The chains didn’t hold. Now
we’ve put twice as many restraints but we’re still not sure it will be
bot in the cell felt the other one’s fear and sighed with pleasure. It was
a small and rare treat and he savored it.
it also tried to attack one of our doctors during the procedures. Something
must be done.” Said
this voice was rather dispassionate.
wouldn’t worry about that.” a female cut in. “ Simply nail it to the
wall and the operating table. Every time. I suggest using wedges.”
clenched his fists. He really hated that
femme more than anything in the world. She
was more sadistic than he was, which
was a really great achievement in that field.
it? Wouldn’t that be a little…” the first voice hesitated. “Well,
slag it, why not!”
yes, that might be a solution,” the second voice said thoughtfully. “Due
to the spark’s healing abilities, using wedges won’t damage the
experiment permanently. Of course, there’s the interesting possibility of
the spark healing the wedges into the
body. That will make them hard to remove but I believe we can bear with that
if it allows us to work undisturbed. Yes, I think we should try it.”
gritted his teeth in both rage and desperation. For now the rage won out and
that was what sustained him but he didn’t know for how long he would have
the energy to stay angry. There was the hope of escaping soon but he
couldn’t rely on that. He and Depth Charge had been
together when… whatever happened happened, so
it made sense that the Guardian also remembered the future. In that case he
would try to make sure that
Rampage never escaped.
The former crab could only hope his efforts would prove futile.
until then…He closed his optics and tried to prepare himself for what
awaited him. The worst part was that he remembered the
pain very clearly. Wedges. There was no end to that femme’s inventiveness.
And that was only when he wasn’t spread on a lab table. He
HAD to escape.
home from the facility two nights later Depth Charge had to remind himself to
walk slowly. He didn’t want to miss the meeting he knew would happen. He
had racked his memory that morning for something that would help him put his
little plan into action and that just might be it. If he remembered the day
correctly. It had seemed an insignificant event at
the time so he couldn’t be sure.
he was trying to find out just what had gotten him and Rampage transported
to that particular time and place. He had left that task to Mind Game. All
he had told her was
that a very dangerous criminal he had known at a time was now being kept in
the restricted section of the labs. The High Council didn’t realize just
how dangerous he was so he had to break some orders to protect the colony.
She had accepted his explanation easily, especially since she didn’t hold
much regard for the Elders. What
he hadn’t explained was why he needed to know everything
she could find about time
travel. She wasn’t asking for now.
low hiss from the dark alleyway to his right brought him out of his reverie.
triumphantly and tried to
see in the dark.
the slag are you?” he
growled repeating his reactions as he remembered them.
robot inched closer to a street lamp and stood just at the edge of the
light. Depth Charge recognized
one of the scientists working on the Protoform X project.
do you want?”
bot twitched nervously.
have some information for you. About
the government’s secret project!” he
not supposed to know anything about that!” Depth Charge snapped.
hadn’t listened to the bot the previous time. He had been a disciplined
and obedient Guardian who didn’t poke his nose in things that weren’t
his business. So he had reported the scientist the very next day for trying
to disclose secret information… only to find out that the same scientist
had been killed in an accident during an experiment the night before. At the
time he had shrugged it off. Later he had believed that Protoform X had
taken his first victim on Omicron. Because, of course, the Maximal
Government didn’t allow death sentences, at least officially. That was the
reason they had given him for not destroying X. They didn’t just kill
people in the shadows, did they? Did they? With the experience he had now,
he wouldn’t deem anything impossible. In any case he had every intention
to listen to the scientist
this time and, more importantly, give some
information of his own.
stepped closer to the bot.
go somewhere where we won’t be that easily heard.” he said.
it’s full of people!” the scientist hissed, looking around the pub Depth
Charge had chosen to lead him to.
full of people that aren’t listening, unlike the dark alleyways. Now
speak!” he insisted, leaning over the table.
had to listen through the whole explanation of what the experiment actually
was and pretend he didn’t know a thing. Half an hour later he finally ran
out of patience.
“And why are
you telling me this?”
have to destroy this thing! Stunner, Chillcold and Clearcut refuse to listen
to me so I had to come to you! It tried to kill me while I was running tests
on its spark! They increased the, err, security measures after that but
I’m afraid if it breaks free, we, scientists will be the first ones to
was the moment he had been waiting for. He leaned forward, pretending to be
say his spark is immortal?”
far as we know, yes. With everything we’ve done to it, it should have died
a thousand times.”
Charge thought of asking what exactly had they
done to X but he dismissed the question as unimportant at the moment.
you tried to split his spark?”
it? Why would we do that?”
it might be a good way to control him.”
scientist’s optics suddenly shone with understanding.
That… That’s a very good idea! I’ll suggest it tonight!”
here I am, changing the future.
Game burst into the apartment looking frantic.
here.” She heard from the kitchen.
daughter was poking at something she had obviously just fashioned up out of
every type of food they had in the house.
this is your idea of a joke young lady… What did you mean when you called
told you. I think I died.”
be ridiculous! You’re very much alive right now.”
But I wasn’t before. You remember when you once told me about the Matrix?
I think I saw it. Or… felt it more like. And
for a while I didn’t remember who I was but then I remembered. And
it was like I could
see absolutely anything anywhere anytime but
I didn’t really because it was too much and…”
Game was making a great effort to calm her nerves. She wasn’t a
superstitious person. Really, she wasn’t. She didn’t believe in signs or
visions or… whatever.
probably just dreamed something, sweetheart.” She said finally and
purposefully busied herself with the task of making something edible for
maybe it wasn’t a dream, Mind Game thought while she was preparing to
recharge later that night. Once, a long time ago as it seemed, she had been
very interested in what the mere consciousness was capable of. She had known
all along that her daughter was special. Starlet’s spark was weak and
unstable but it was also very unusual in
its qualities. She had shown on more than one occasion that she knew things
she couldn’t possibly know. Was
it possible that she had
really somehow visited the Matrix? That
she was able to see anything, anywhere any… time?
operation was successful! We split its spark! You do realize that this opens
a whole new world of possibilities.”
Such a wonderful idea from such a simple bot. I wonder how he came up with
it. Or perhaps I’m underestimating him.”
knows about the project. Don’t we need to dispose of him?”
we do. But unlike poor treacherous doctor Static, Depth Charge is Chief of
security. There will be an investigation if he suddenly disappears. Besides,
we might find another use for
We do not experiment on real robots.”
X IS a real robot Chillcold.”
my dear, it’s not. Otherwise we wouldn’t be doing this to it, now would
Depth Charge could serve other purposes. Trust me on this one. I’m a far
better strategist than you.”
choice. But Stunner won’t be pleased if you let him live.”
is simply far too arrogant. He thinks he can deal with any situation by
using either brutal force or his given status. I prefer not to depend on
for the possibilities the Protoform’s split spark opens, I’d like to
explore one of them as soon as possible. The only problem is, you wouldn’t
allow it, would you Chillcold. But I can work past that. Still, I don’t
have a test subject. Hmm… Either a bot who would not be missed or a bot
whose disappearance could be easily explained…
power comes at greater prize
sure if I can pay the bill.
cried for things I haven’t done
just as much for those I will.
never thought I’d be afraid
acting when I got the chance
I am now because I know
play at everyone’s expense.
in his own plans, Depth Charge had at first failed to notice that Mind Game
was becoming increasingly frustrated the last few days. And when he finally did notice
all he could do was constantly ask if she was all right while he knew very
well that she wasn’t and he also knew the reason. He truly felt like a
clumsy idiot, not knowing what to say or do.
I’m not all right!” she had finally burst out the previous day. “My
daughter is dying and I can’t help her!”
a moment he had thought that she would burst in tears but she quickly
regained her self-control, which made it even harder for him to think of
anything to say.
sorry.” He had whispered lamely, knowing that it sounded pathetic.
knew the child would die. He even knew the date and it was close. He
HATED being helpless!
the femme seemed a bit more cheerful today.
Starlet better?” he asked carefully.
might be soon.” the psychiatrist answered with a hesitant smile. “A
doctor contacted me and said they might have found a way to help her. It’s
risky but she doesn’t have anything to loose by trying. I know I
shouldn’t hope but...”
Charge frowned. He didn’t remember such a thing happening. But then again,
he might have missed it. He really hadn’t paid that much attention to Mind
Game in the old past.
and by the way,” she continued, “I’ve been thinking about talking to
you about something. You know when you were asking me about time travel and
possible ways to do it, well, this is far fetched but…”
wait, forget that for a second.” He waved his hand, a suspicion suddenly
creeping in his mind. “That doctor that contacted you… Who
it was a ‘she.” Mind Game shrugged. “She said that they have developed
a new operation that might save Starlet’s life. They led her down to the
labs this morning.”
Charge’s spark gave a painful jolt and he felt like all of his insides
hate you, Depth Charge, I hate you so much! I never hated you like this
before! I only just got the rest of my spark back to have it split again.
pain was bad but even worse
was the understanding that his original escape could not occur under these
was humiliating but he didn’t care anymore. What dignity did he have in
front of these bots anyway? They regarded him as a mindless freak at best.
Depth Charge? He truly hadn’t expected such a move from him. The Maximal
hated him beyond measure, yes, but… His old
he had toyed with the bot calling
him that had seemed amusing
but now he realized he had unconsciously
given some meaning to it, in his own sick way. His relationship with Depth
Charge was based on hatred but at least it was some relationship.
had been foolish enough to believe that the hunter would realize the
similarities between them, one day, and maybe even join him. Now it had
backfired. Depth Charge obviously could be
he had underestimated him and the Guardian had gained a small victory. He
had altered the course of events and there was no telling what could happen
now. And Rampage had a feeling that whatever happened would cause him more
suffering. Still, he
wasn’t about to give up the idea of escaping. He would find a way.
labs?!” Depth Charge repeated slowly.
on the third level. Will you tell me why you’re asking all this?”
level. Not the lowest ones. Third level. Then everything is all right. And
doctor who contacted you. What did she look like?”
than me. Crimson and gold, quite attractive too. She showed me an ID that
identified her as class one spark surgeon. Otherwise I wouldn’t have
trusted her with my daughter. She was really nice to the child too. I
don’t quite remember her name. It was something like…
Do you know her? Depth Charge, what’s wrong?”
didn’t like this. He didn’t trust these scientists. Anyone who was
capable of creating or working on something like Protoform X could not be
trusted. There was something very wrong here. Why would they want the child?
It was possible
that they had somehow found a way to cure her illness but… these
scientists’ only focus was the Protoform X project. So… If such a cure
existed, it had something to do with X!
Charge, what’s wrong with Dr. Clearcut?” she repeated more demandingly.
Nothing. I just though she didn’t work on such things. I must have been
tried to look nonchalant. Which was stupid. Mind Game was a very intelligent
now, you hard-headed… Argh!” she slammed her hand on his desk. “This
is the second time you try to do this and you are the worst liar I’ve ever
met in my life! This is my daughter we’re talking about! And you’re
gonna tell me everything you know! NOW!”
eyes flashed in fury and he almost recoiled. She was shorter than he but she
was by no means small and she did look dangerous. Not half as dangerous as
most of the robots he’d faced in battle but still. She had a hot temper
for a psychiatrist.
Game… I’m a bit paranoid and I might be overreacting…”
don’t believe your daughter has been taken to level three.”
Where then?” he sensed panic in her voice.
why would they take her there? Wait! Didn’t you say that’s where they
kept that criminal of yours? Depth Charge, what’s going on here?”
closed his optics.
I don’t know anymore.”
was a knock on the door and before he could respond no other than Dr.
Clearcut stepped into his office.
I please have a word with you, Guardian? In private.”
Game stared hard at the doctor.
have you…” she started.
us alone, Miss.” Depth Charge said loudly, hoping that she would take the
hint. He had gotten her in this mess. The less attention she drew to
herself, the better.
Mind Game, please get out! Don’t show them you know me at all!
slowly picked up two empty cups and left. He stood up and locked the door
after her. Then he turned to face the scientist.
do you want?”
smiled at him and seated herself comfortably in one of the chairs before
of our doctors had a drink
with you a few days ago.” She pierced him with beautiful golden optics,
lips stretched in a pleasant smile.
have ways to monitor everyone who might betray our secrets.” She
continued. “Unfortunately, that particular doctor is not among the living
anymore. He died in a… lab accident. However, you had an interesting
conversation with him. And you gave an even more interesting idea. That’s
the only reason you’re still alive.” She added lowly.
and it will be hard to cover up my death. But I’m sure you’ll find a
shouldn’t have poked your nose in things that weren’t your business.
We’re not sure what to do with you. But we can’t let you tell anyone
what you know, can we? So for now I suggest you take a nice walk with me to
the restricted levels. It might satisfy your curiosity. But before that
you’ll inform your people that you’re going away so nobody comes to
search for you. Questions?”
one. As I understand it, you took down a small femme. Why?”
doesn’t matter. She didn’t survive the procedure.”
spark dropped. Depth Charge swallowed with difficulty.
dead people already.
was a Guardian.
was supposed to protect her.
was his fault.
he had done had caused that. Starlet would have died anyway, but at least
she would have been home with her mother, they would have had a chance to
say goodbye. Now Primus knew what her death had been like on the lab table.
what would he tell Mind Game?
fact,” Clearcut said, as if reading his mind, “I think you should break
the news to her mother. Let her know that the child simply didn’t survive
the operation. She better hear it from someone she knows, right? It’s sad
that we had to destroy the little one’s body but after the procedures it
already hated her deceptively compassionate smile.
I will leave. I’ll be back tonight with Captain Stunner and two of his
guards. In the meantime you will inform the mother of her daughter’s death
and tell your people of your departure. And I wouldn’t reveal any
information or try anything else if I were you. Do as I say and you just
might live. As well as
everyone around you. Because if we suspect they know anything, they might
not be that lucky.”
unlocked the door and exited the room. He only had several brief seconds to
prepare before Mind Game came in. She looked him directly in the face. It
was obvious that she was struggling for control. She was expecting him to
say something. He looked away, for the first time in stellar cycles feeling
tears forming at the corners of his optics. He willed them away and forced
himself to look at her.
Game…” He began quietly. “Dr.
Clearcut has just informed me that… your daughter… Starlet did not
survive the operation.”
Game stood there, a shaking
hand covering her mouth, tears running silently down her face.
your fault.” She whispered. “I know it has something to do with you.
It’s your fault!”
had thought so himself but now that she had said it, it hurt beyond measure.
How could he mess up again? He had
been given a second chance
and he’d blown it!
Now they would take him away and probably kill him and there would be no one
left with the knowledge of what could happen. Clearcut had hinted that they
had acted on his idea to cut a piece of X’s spark. Or at least they were
considering it. But even so the killer might still find a way to escape. He
had to be destroyed!
Guardian’s work wasn’t finished. He would fail again.
thought of failure was what brought him to his senses. It was time for
desperate measures. He had to tell someone, in case he didn’t survive.
Game was at the door when Depth Charge caught her hand.
have to tell you something.”
me alone, I don’t want to hear!”
Game, please, listen to me!”
I want nothing to do with you!”
have to make her listen…
think your daughter might still be alive!”
hated himself for saying that. He had only said it to make the psychiatrist
hear him out. It was a lie. Starlet was dead, if not from the operation then
from her weak spark. But he forced himself to continue.
Game, these people who took you daughter… They might be lying. It’s
possible that they want you to think she’s dead so you don’t go looking
was staring up at him, eyes filled with tears but her look steady. She
really had some strength, that one, and it took all of his not to look away.
so sorry. I shouldn’t have gotten you into this in the first place.
was endangering her further by trying to share information with her. But
then again, she was already into this. They had seen her with him. They
would probably try to kill her anyway.
should have known! There were rules when dealing with X. It had caused him
dearly to learn them. How could he break them now? Allowing himself emotions
other than anger and hatred, letting people get close to him… As if all
his time as a hunter had taught him nothing!
the mistakes were already made. He didn’t want to use the femme like this
but he had no choice now.
would they need her?” she asked.
not sure. But I’m going down there tonight and if she’s there I’ll
find her. But there’s a chance I won’t be back. And there’s something
I have to tell you but knowing it will put you in danger. So it’s…
It’s your choice.”
was a pause during which she simply looked at him. Then…
listening.” Came the soft reply.
could only guess at what Dr. Clearcut and Dr. Chillcold were up to now. The
pain had returned while he was alone in his cell so he concluded they must
be doing something to the part of his spark they had cut out.
had been unbearable at first but now it had started to ease. Very slowly.
For quite some time he was unable to focus on anything but the pain but when
it finally reached a more manageable level he felt something else too.
experience resembled something he had gone trough before and it brought back
very unpleasant memories.
it wasn’t quite the same, mostly because it wasn’t entirely unpleasant.
someone was holding his spark but without squeezing. The presence was weak
but it was drawing strength from him. He could feel the drain.
were sounds in the corridor outside. The door of the cell next to his opened
and closed but he was too distracted to pay attention for the moment.
empathic sense was mostly attuned to anger, fear and pain. Out of these
three he could only feel a dull constant pain in the unknown creature. But
even that was gradually fading.
own pain faded with it until he could only feel the wedges piercing his
arms, legs and middle section to keep him immobile. He tried to ignore that.
At least now he could say for sure that the creature was another robot.
felt strange. What he sensed was… calmness. It was something he had never
felt until he was forced to join the Predacons and even then they had rarely
been calm around him. Never to that extent. The person was probably
he was curious by nature. He reached for the emotion, cautiously at first.
Then he let himself sink into it. The other spark was touching his and the
feeling enveloped him.
closed his eyes with a sigh. It wasn’t fear or pain but somehow he enjoyed
it. It helped dull his own pain and… well… loneliness. After he had
started thinking of Depth Charge only as his enemy he had finally had to
face the fact that he was lonely.
And, especially in this place, having company was a relief. Even if the
company didn’t know he was there.
he better enjoy while he could. No one stayed that calm and innocent for
long. Especially not around him.
I think we’ve done a brilliant job!”
I believe we are getting as close to Primus as anyone could ever get. Just
how did you manage to convince Chillcold?”
didn’t have to try very hard, although I did have some objections, yes.”
it WAS for her benefit. It was more a necessary medical procedure than an
never thought a spark could survive being split into three pieces!”
well, we still needed one at hand in order to control the experiment more
do we actually know how this is going to affect her?”
we’ll find out, won’t we?”
won’t be immortal, will she?’
course not! But the piece of an immortal spark she carries will heal her
injuries to some extent. It already fixed her spark problem. It was the main
reason for the experiment. If one day one of us needs
you think it’s possible that Protoform X might… I don’t know, get
attached to her? If they
will share a spark…”
have some things in common, yes, but she’s still a real robot while it is
merely an experiment. Even if I believed the Protoform had feelings I
wouldn’t advise it to get attached. I’m certain she will hate it.”
felt a small stab in his spark that had nothing to do with the experiments
performed on it. At least not the physical ones.
was sure they always had these conversations in front of his cell on
purpose. Though they would never admit he had a mind of his own they seemed
to enjoy trying to upset him. Either by describing their plans for him in
detail or leading loud dialogues such as this one, emphasizing that he was a thing and
no one would ever accept the way he was.
he wanted to withdraw as far from the other spark as possible. Which
wasn’t much, considering their proximity. Great, he couldn’t get away.
He didn’t usually mind sensing others’ emotions but not having a choice
was a different thing.
feeling of calmness seeped away to be replaced by the all too familiar
loathing. This new robot was just the next torture device. Like TM2 Dinobot
that the schizophrenic artificially created raptor had only had room for
three or so emotions while this one was capable of much more as he
discovered when she started to wake. But
at that point something distracted him.
felt him immediately. He closed his optics and concentrated.
That was hardly surprising. And also fear but not the kind of fear the
killer would have enjoyed. This was just the usual fear of failure he often
sensed in Depth Charge but this time it was more prominent.
How had the former ray managed to enter the restricted labs? And why was he
so afraid now that he knew Rampage was more restrained than ever with all
the security measures and the
core of his spark cut out? Cut out and transplanted to another being, but
Depth Charge probably didn’t know that. If he knew, he would have been
outraged at the scientists, experimenting on an innocent femme. Although
they did give
her painkillers and they did treat
her as a person. Experimenting on Rampage however was another thing.
why not carve our names on his spark and see if it heals? The scientists
just loved to
torment him and there was one of them who was especially inventive about it.
Now it had become evident Depth Charge was just the same. He had given Dr.
Clearcut the one idea she still hadn’t come up with.
maybe the Guardian was allowed here to enjoy his good work. Except if he had
come to kill him.
that would be a relief, wouldn’t it…?
He couldn’t give up yet. Not before he got his revenge on the universe. He
couldn’t die and let everyone who had tortured him live.
unoccupied cell to his right locked. Rampage reopened his optics abruptly.
that was unexpected. Looks like I just got a second neighbor.
Charge sat on the only bench in his cell and leaned on the wall.
right. Let’s assess the situation. Rampage is still contained. That’s a
Dr. Clearcut had made sure to inform him that the killer was in the cell
next to his on the left. Maybe she had thought that would scare him. He
looked at the left wall. Bah. He had seen scarier things than a cell wall.
Even if there was a mass murdered behind it. Actually, the fact that he was behind it
was what made it even less scary. Being so close to X he could keep an eye
on what was happening to him. The down side of it was that that creep could
sense his emotions. He would have to stay very calm…
good luck with that.
at least he had managed to talk to Mind Game…
put her in danger.
had told her to try and contact Optimus Primal simply because, as much as
Depth Charge hated to admit it, he was the only person he
could think of who might be
willing to help. Whether he would do it was another matter entirely. Would
he believe some strange femme? Would he go against the Government?
be honest, based on his experience, Depth Charge doubted it but it was out
of his hands now.
punched the wall.
I was supposed to stay calm.
the next cell Rampage smirked.
third cell looked less like a cell and more like a real room. It had a bed
in it and even a small table with an untouched tray of food. A young femme
was sitting on the bed and staring at the ceiling. She felt really miserable
but she wasn’t crying because she had learned not to do that long ago. It
upset her mother to see her cry and though her mother wasn’t there now,
the habit remained.
was so tired…
very recently she had known she would die and she had more or less come to
terms with the thought. Now she was alive but she wasn’t sure that was an
improvement. Everything was so very wrong here!
doctors were being nice to her, especially the red and gold lady, but she
was terrified every time they put her to sleep because she had no idea what
they were doing to her. She felt strange and she knew for sure there was
something alien in her body. Like the presence of another person. She
didn’t like that presence. It was dark, bitter and scary. She was almost
sure it was the robot in the room next to hers. He was either insane or they
were doing something horrible to him because he often screamed. Then she
would block her audios with her hands and do her best not to listen.
now he was silent. And she was feeling a bit dizzy. That worried her somehow
but she didn’t have the energy to think about it.
wanted to see her Mom badly but she had quickly realized there was no hope
dizziness was getting worse. She lay down on the bed.
had told her that her mother had abandoned her, which she hadn’t believed
even for a moment. She was
probably looking for her. With
that thought she felt herself drift to sleep.
sad. SHE’S SAD! What right does she have
to be sad? She
has no idea what real pain is! They… They spoil her rotten! They talk to
her, they’re nice to her, and they used my spark
to heal her.
What’s the big difference between us?
suddenly realized she was starting to lose consciousness and her spark was
growing weaker. That immediately made him feel weaker too. The piece of his
spark in her body was drawing from his own strength. This time he cared for
more than one reason. He didn’t want to be the means to repair her. He
wanted to hurt her.
course, nobody asked him. But if they didn’t discover the problem soon she
the chaos, war and pain
hope, illogical and wild
beauty can be born again
the emotions of a child.
not as simple as we think,
many things our children feel
in their souls they find a link
vital, something real.
are many unpleasant ways to be woken up. Fluid-freezing screams from next
door is certainly one of the worst. Depth Charge jerked awake abruptly and
instinctively reached for his gun. Which, of course, wasn’t there. It took
the former ray a few moments to gather his wits and remember where he was.
The screams fitted perfectly with the dream he had been having about Rampage
the crab slaughtering everyone on ancient Earth during the Beast Wars.
Funny. While on Earth he had had nightmares about Omicron. Now when he was
back on Omicron he dreamed of Earth. Not much of a difference really since
there was always X, tearing his screaming victims apart.
now the screams themselves belonged to X, he realized. He listened more
up you two and get him to the lab! We’re loosing her! She needs the
transfusion NOW!” Dr.
Clearcut’s voice shouted.
Charge’s optics narrowed. Did they mean mech fluid transfusion? Were they
trying to save someone? But why would they use X for that? No, wait, that
made sense. He would regain the lost fluid rather quickly and survive a loss
no other bot could. But if they needed THAT much of a transfusion, whomever
they were saving was practically a goner.
who WAS it… she? There weren’t supposed to be any other experiments
small suspicion crept into his mind.
It can’t be.
Dr. Clearcut was the only femme around and she clearly wasn’t the one in
danger. So what if…
Can she have really survived?
short spark of joy coursed trough him.
it could also be someone else, someone I just don’t know of… And even if
it is her…
just prayed the bot in question made it.
cautiously opened her optics and immediately closed them again as the bright
light hit her. So, she was in the lab again. What had happened? She
remembered feeling weak and falling asleep. She still felt rather tired and
her whole body was stiff. She opened her optics again just slightly to let
them adjust to the brightness of the room. When the light stopped hurting
her, she carefully moved her head to look around. When she glanced to her
right she froze in horror at the huge form lying on the next table. He was
partially covered in dried mech fluid as was the table itself and the floor
underneath. There were metal sticks sticking out of his limbs and midsection
and a narrow tube attached to his arm transferred another portion of mech
fluid to her body. It was like a disgusting scene from a horror movie.
Starlet felt the urge to scream and run away but she was paralyzed by
fear… And by some restraints as well, which were gentle but firm. She
started shaking, tears running down her cheeks and she quickly averted her
gaze, praying that the image would disappear. She had to get out of this
place! She looked at the other robot again. His head was turned towards her
now. Then his optics suddenly lit up.
small, horrified scream escaped her mouth and she strained to get free.
struggling wildly for about a cycle, she noticed that he wasn’t actually
doing anything to her. And probably couldn’t, pinned as he was to the
table. She stopped tugging at the restraints and simply stared at him,
calm down! What you see is just a huge robot, some mech fluid and some
medical equipment. You’ve seen huge robots before. You’ve seen mech
fluid and medical equipment since you spent a big portion of your life in
hospitals. It’s not that scary.
fact, the only really horrifying thing was the way this bot was kept in
place and the way he was smiling. And
smiles, unpleasant as they could be, didn’t kill.
she was still shaking in fear.
she remembered something her mother had thought her
when she had been smaller. When you see something scary put it in a trivial
situation. Whenever she was afraid of the monster under the bed her mother
had made her offer it some energon candies. Do something unexpected and the
monster will be more startled than you. Well, she didn’t have any candies
took a deep breath.
blinked, surprise registering on his face for a brief moment.
name’s Starlet. Pleased to meet you.”
not.” came his reply. “You’re afraid of me and you’re disgusted. You
don’t like meeting me one bit.”
lie to a monster. In movies bots who lie to it end up eaten.
right. But maybe that’s because I don’t know you yet.”
hate me if you knew me.”
do you know?”
would I hate you?”
I have ki- ” he paused as realization hit him.
haven’t yet. Not in this timeline anyway.
I want to kill you and everyone else.”
twitched. She really didn’t find his company very pleasant. But she was
growing more confident talking to him and anyway, dying was not the most
scary thing for her. Besides, he couldn’t do anything right now.
would you want to do that?”
I hate you. You, the scientists, everyone!”
was starting to get angry.
of all the slagging things you’ve done to me!”
haven’t done anything to you.”
used me to save your pathetic worthless life!”
cringed back from him.
wasn’t my fault!”
you think I care?! Do you think I did anything to deserve- Argh!”
his anger he had forgotten about the wedges and the sudden movement of his
hand had caused the half-healed wound to reopen.
followed. Rampage stayed still, waiting for the pain to subside. He knew he
shouldn’t have lost it like that. He should have been collected. He should
have played with her mind, not the other way around. He was doing this the
wrong way. Even her fear had decreased a little.
sorry.” she said quietly.
gave her a blank look.
this.” she nodded vaguely towards him. “I guess I’d want to kill
someone too if I were you.”
stared at her, not knowing how to reply.
he finally said harshly. “I’d want to kill you even without this. I like
killing. I like torturing. I like it! And I’m gonna do it no matter
surveyed him, her optics wide. Then she frowned and looked away. She said
nothing more. And he fell silent too.
I have to say, Miss Mind Game, that you are very lucky to have found me here
on Cybertron. I’m just back from an expedition and I’m soon leaving for
another one.” The large robot across the table said, giving her a
small smile. “What is this so important thing that you had to tell me in
private in my quarters? The last time I got such a proposal, I had to ask
the lady very politely to put her armor back on as quickly as
possible. But you don’t look like your information is
of that type.”
fact, the femme in front of him looked positively shaken, though she was
doing her best to cover it.
Primal, what I’m going to tell you is going to be very hard to believe. I
didn’t believe it at first either. But you have to! I was sent here by
someone who believes that you are the only person who could possibly believe
and help us!”
Game, calm down! You make it sound as if this
is some kind of Government conspiracy!”
frowned at the silence that followed.
right, what is this about?”
to the screams that morning, Depth Charge had discovered another thing. The
walls of the cells were very thick and strong but that didn’t include
those between one cell and the next. Judging from how clear he could hear
the screams, they were very thin and made of a much weaker material.
Apparently, nobody cared if the prisoners broke down the walls and got to
each other as long as they stayed contained. He wasn’t sure how that
helped him, if at all. He didn’t really have the means to kill Rampage
right now, even if he got to him. On the other hand, Rampage was obviously
restrained even inside the cell. So he could see what was being done to him
without risking that much. Not doing anything was driving him crazy. He had
to try something even if it was only to occupy his time. But breaking the
wall of the cell wasn’t really possible.
First, he wasn’t that heavy, he’d break his shoulder at the most. And
second, it would be far too noisy. So, what else could he do?
Contrary to what some people though, Depth Charge was a rather inventive
anyone sees this, they’ll think I’ve gone nuts. Again.
took the remains of his energon dinner and put some of it on the wall. Then
winced as he tore one end of a small wire from his arm and touched it to the
stain in the wall. A few sparks flied. On theory, the one-way electricity
flow would eventually corrode the metal in time. In a long time. But he
didn’t have anything else to do. He was desperate for some task to
accomplish and he was steadily becoming frantic as the date when Rampage…
a nano. When had he started
calling him Rampage? He had very rarely used that name before, accidentally
slipping it in between all the Xs. Well, he supposed it was simply much more
descriptive than “Protoform X”…
whatever he called him, the day when he was supposed to escape was drawing
closer. The night before it Depth Charge didn’t get a minute’s sleep and
morning found him kneeling in the corner of the cell, the ends of the
severed wires from his arm disappearing in a narrow but deep gap. He was
horrified that things might not have changed at all despite his best efforts
and he was horrified of being horrified because he knew Rampage could feel
it. The psychopath was probably laughing with delight at the Guardian’s
of the time this really was the
case. Rampage did laugh. When he wasn’t preoccupied with more urgent
things like the excruciating pain in his limbs. Sometimes he did find
the presence of his old playmate amusing and somewhat comforting. It
reminded him that his life and his freedom had not been a dream.
for the former ray, some illogical subconscious part of him insisted that if
he managed to make the hole on time and look into the killer’s cell that
would somehow prevent the murders. Like a child, convinced that if you
jumped over the cracks in the pavement instead of stepping on them, nothing
bad would happen to you.
before he could make a break-through several guards took Rampage somewhere.
Depth Charge’s panic rose to a tremendous level. He didn’t even stop to
wonder what all of Rampage’s screaming was for like he would have some
other day. He simply sat there, frozen, numb, and waited for the commotion
also knew very well what day it was and as the guards were taking him to the
lab he was every bit as nervous as his enemy. He couldn’t take this any
longer, he just couldn’t bear it; he had to
get away. And for some reason it just seemed important that it happened
today. Today was the date. If he managed today he would prove that nothing
had changed, that history could not really be altered. He would be able to
scatter the corpses of those wretched scientists around the whole cursed
facility. He would kill Dr. Clearcut with exclusive delight. And then he
would wipe away the whole slagging colony. This time he would leave NO
survivors. He would kill the little witch and take the piece of his spark
right out of her chest. And he would kill Depth Charge and there would be no
one to hunt him down and catch him and get him sealed in a stupid pod.
Although… There was something out of place in this idea, like a false note
on a symphony. He certainly didn’t feel any remorse or pity. He wouldn’t
hesitate to tear the bot limb from limb, especially now when the Guardian
had done everything to make his living hell all the more horrible.
he had gotten so used to his playmate constantly chasing him. He felt less
lonely when he knew someone would come after him, even if the reason was to
kill him. Depth Charge was the constant in his life, something stable and
predictable. It would be… different without him. Still, he’d better kill
him. Things had gone too far.
previous time he had managed to escape because of two things. One was the
fact that the guards had kept him under control for quite a while now and
were growing careless and the other was a rather ridiculous accident.
Captain Stunner, by the kind request of Dr. Clearcut who claimed that he was
utterly useless, had decided to inspect the locks of Rampage’s cell and
had successfully managed to lock himself in.
for the bot on the table there were only two guards in the lab since the
doctors hadn’t arrived yet. As he had eagerly anticipated, at one moment
they received through their comm. links an angry massage from their captain
for all slagging units to come and get him out of the slagging cell, slag
it. All units had obliged, he knew. All guards were gathering in front of
his cell. Unable to resist the amusement of seeing their captain rescued
from this situation the two who were supposed to stay with him shortly
debated and decided they could afford to leave the experiment on the table.
He couldn’t go anywhere with those wedges in him, could he?
they were out of the room Rampage sighed a small sigh of relief. So far
everything was according to plan. And to think that the first time he had
done this he hadn’t
dare you leave your post, you idiots! Do you know what could…”
froze in horror at the sight of the huge robot. The experiment labeled
Protoform X got up from the table dripping mech fluid and slowly advanced on
them. The impossibly wicked smile on his face spoke clearly of his intention
to smash and tear apart everything and everyone. He would have fulfilled
that intention too if Dr. Chillcold with his usual calm indifference
hadn’t used the time while everyone shrieked in terror to take the third
piece of Rampage’s spark out of his subspace compartment and crush it.
former crab dropped to the floor with a howl of anger, pain and despair. He
had hoped against all hope that everyone would be too scared to think of
using the spark box before he managed to get to it. And he had hoped in
vain. He hadn’t made it. He felt like he had missed his only chance and he
would stay here forever. Depth Charge had altered history after all.
hate you, Guardian.
strange feeling in her spark again. Starlet didn’t like it one bit because
she knew it had to do with him.
She hated the fact that a part of him lived in her. Otherwise the sensation
wasn’t exactly painful to her. Just unpleasant. But she had the vague
feeling that it was rather painful for him.
wasn’t aware of the fact that that was the understatement of the stellar
Charge spent the whole day staring numbly through the hole into the next
cell, straining his audios to hear the screams. Anticipation drove him to
the brim of insanity as he waited
for some sign that the massacre had begun and when there was none he simply
imagined what was probably happening out of his range of hearing.
Rampage was dragged back to his cell it took the Maximal no less than two
minutes to fully register that nothing had really happened. It was like a
block of ice melted around him. He felt ready to scream with relief. He had
made it! He had changed things! Maybe the possibility of the killer escaping
hadn’t disappeared but somehow it was vital to get through this day. The
fact that no disaster had struck colony Omicron today was a proof that the
course of history could be
altered. What he did mattered!
Unable to calm down just yet he stayed glued to the small gap to make sure
Rampage was really there, coming to terms with the idea that he would see no
he saw next however chilled him to the very core of his spark. Even he, with
all his hatred towards the robot enduring it, could not call it anything but a torture
session. He quickly gathered that Rampage had at least tried to
escape and neither the guards nor the scientists were too happy about that.
through it Depth Charge turned away and tried to pretend he was temporarily
was crying. She had promised herself not to cry and she had gone through a
lot keeping that promise. But now she broke it.
And it wasn’t out of self-pity; the tears she shed weren’t caused by her
own misery. The little robot was crying for the sake of someone else.
Something horrible was happening in the cell next to her. She could feel it
as well as hear it and her compassionate spark continued to cringe in
sympathy even after it was finally over.
he wasn’t very pleasant but he hadn’t really done anything
to her. Well, he hadn’t had the chance to but the fact remained.
had actually done something for her.
He had saved her life. Twice.
yes, but the fact still remained.
her mother had taught her that no one became bad on purpose. People
generally became bad when they were frightened, sad or in pain. Due to her
illness she could never play outside like a normal child and she remembered
how that had made her shout at her mother and break anything she could in
the house. And she was intelligent enough to realize that being sick and
knowing you would die but having someone to love and care for you could not
even be compared to what he was
going trough. Even Dr. Clearcut, scary as she was, was being very nice to
her and especially cold and cruel to him.
wonder if he has a family. I wonder if anybody is looking for him like my
mother is looking for me. There has to be someone… But what if there
determined, she wiped away her tears. She didn’t like being near him but
she wanted to do something to help him. That decision pulled her out of the
lethargic state she had been in since they had taken her here and helped her
focus her thoughts.
gingerly touched her chest plate.
a piece of his spark is beating inside me, then maybe…
hands balled into fists, his optics shut tight in a futile attempt to block
away the whole world. His whole body shuddered from both the after-effect of
what had been done to him and his mental struggle against desperation. Why
couldn’t they just go away and leave him alone? He wanted his mind to stop
working. He wanted to go really insane, the kind of insane when you don’t
know who you are or what you are or what world you’re in. He just wanted
suddenly he felt it. An intense emotion brushed his spark.
didn’t have a name and it couldn’t be clearly identified but it was
strong. Like it was directed at him on purpose.
emotion was nudging him to pay attention to it. He didn’t have the
strength to ignore it right now and it was a distraction so he submitted to
it almost eagerly.
was overwhelming at first. It was something a lot more complicated than
anything he had sensed in a bot so far, more complicated than anything he
himself had felt. The emotions he was used to being surrounded by –
hatred, anger, fear, pain, – they were all simple and clear. This one
though… It was only one thing but it was both reluctant and
determined. It almost seemed that she wanted him
to feel her emotions. Of course, that couldn’t be true. She didn’t even
know he was an empath. Unless she had come to the conclusion that if a piece
of his spark was in her, they could somehow connect. A child’s logic. Not
that it wasn’t true… But
even if she wasn’t doing it on purpose… he didn’t exactly dislike it.
you cross the finish line
from the miles you’ve run
find that while this race has ended
one has just begun.
there is no time to be tired
there is no time to rejoice
prize is all that you believe in
you will race – you have no choice.
Charge had fallen into exhausted sleep, his mind needing time to comprehend
everything that had happened. When he awoke in the middle of the night his
head still hurt. He rubbed tiredly at his forehead and he automatically
moved to look trough the gap in the wall. All seemed quiet. His paranoia
instantly made him worry if the killer hadn’t somehow slipped away and the
cell wasn’t empty. But no. He could just
make out Rampage’s form.
flinched as the memory of what had occurred in that cell earlier tried to
resurface. Depth Charge pushed it back down. He didn’t even want to go
near that thought.
I hope Mind Game has found Optimus and some kind of help is on the way
because I just don’t know how to handle this situation.
Game stared at Optimus, her eyes wide.
I warned you! I warned you not to tell the Elders! You… You’ve just put
us all in danger, including yourself! Why did you do it? WHY, Optimus? Was
it so hard to imagine for at least a cycle that the government was corrupt?
Have they brainwashed everyone? The same government that helped in
kidnapping my daughter! WHY DID YOU TELL THEM?”
gazed at her, taken aback.
Game, calm down! The government promised that they would address the
laughed hollowly. It was a horrible sound.
all over now. We’re all over.”
pink-lavender dawn rose above colony Omicron on the day of its supposed
destruction. The sidewalks slowly started to fill with bots, the streets and
air-passages with vehicles. Shops opened, children went to school and
parents went to work, unaware that the fabric of time and history was
changing around them, dissipating and rearranging into uncertain ghostly
shapes. For better or worse, colony Omicron lived on, at least for the time
little femme was asleep, curled up in her bed and dreaming of her mother.
She had been nervous at first at the other’s presence but she hadn’t cut
the connection. Gradually, she had grown more comfortable. And she had
gotten a strange feeling of control. Yes, he was so much more powerful than
her that the sole comparison was ridiculous. But his power was somewhat
pleasant to have around if you managed to convince yourself that it could do
you no harm. So she had eventually fallen asleep.
felt but not seen in the small space of the underground cell, found
Rampage staring at the wall the small femme was behind. How
could she sleep so peacefully? There was still hope in her. How could she
still believe that someone would find her?
could it be to feel like this?
Game had been wise in her decision to disappear that same night after her
last conversation with Optimus. The very next day it was all over the
front-pages. Optimus Primal had been arrested for helping a Predacon
criminal, namely her. They had dug up her old criminal record and sent it to
the media. Well, the desperate mother didn’t give a slag about her
reputation right now but the fact that the Maximal police was officially
searching for her was another thing. Although it was probably for the better
that they were searching officially instead
The Elders had obviously decided that keeping too many things secret would
get suspicious and hard to explain if, by some unfortunate accident, the
citizens of Cybertron got wind of it. So they had obviously come up with a
story that would answer all uncomfortable questions. The general mood
concerning Predacons on Cybertron was bad as it was; no one needed much
explanation once the name of the faction was mentioned. She’d have to get
herself repainted. And she’d be better off with her own at least until she
came up with a plan. Because she was determined not to give up.
she was carefully walking in the gray morning light trough the narrow
streets of the Predacon ghetto, she vowed that she would get her little girl
back if she was alive and make those responsible for her death pay dearly if
Rampage could have felt her spark right now even he would have probably
taken a step back. It radiated not the hot, blind, consuming rage and grief
Depth Charge often displayed but a deep, overwhelming, sheer power, strong
enough to conquer the world. The power of a mother’s love.
Charge had spent the remainder of the night beside the gap, exhausted but
unable to fall asleep. When the first dull lights flickered on he was
finally able to clearly see
the huge form outlined in the dimly lit cell next to his. He breathed a
sigh. That faithful day when his life had been destroyed had passed and the
colony was still there. What was more, Rampage had tried to escape and
failed which made it less likely that he would succeed the next time. The
former Security Chief knew that he would probably die in that cell but at
least his mind was more at peace than it had been for what felt like
morning.” He said out loud as if to convince himself. “It’s morning
and he’s still here. He’s not going anywhere this time.”
you happy now, Guardian?”
jumped a whole meter upon hearing the quiet, painfully harsh voice.
your merit, you know. They wouldn’t have thought of splitting my spark. In
the end, you’re more like me than even I had thought, despite all the
times I’ve told you so. Did you enjoy my pain like I enjoyed yours?”
Charge’s fist balled but he refused to be baited so easily now that he had
won a victory.
only thing I enjoy is the fact that I somehow managed to go one step closer
to fulfilling my duty. And despite your claims, I haven’t forgotten what
it is. My duty is to protect every bot on this colony.”
a while there was silence on the other side of the wall. Then Rampage’s
next words came in a whisper so low, barely audible, that Depth Charge was
sure they weren’t directed at him. But he did hear
was a bot on this colony. And I hadn’t done anything wrong for a time.
Where were you when you were supposed to protect me?”
of part one