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Old 2017-09-28, 03:30 PM   #217
Blackjack
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Dig site

Astrotrain kept a still face. It did not show disinterest, yet did not show the ticking parts of his mind as he considered Doomshot's reply. Times like this, Astrotrain liked having his head technically being controlled by a separate entity, as his partner Darkmoon worked to maintain Astrotrain's steely expression.

No negotiations, Doomshot? Yet you are laying terms and threats. Astrotrain thought to himself with no small amount of amusement. It has been some time since he has conversed with another Decepticon with such theatricality. Most times it's just people threatening to blow each other's head up.

He let the smaller Decepticon finish, before continuing, first addressing the very first reply that Doomshot told him.

"I respect your ability, Doomshot, but that does not mean the rest of the Council do. They still, for better or for worse, see you as a patsy, one in a long line of disposable minions to serve as Megatron's... 'sock puppet', as you eloquently put it." Astrotrain replied. "Besides, what good would your ability be, if you cannot handle Megatron for the time you were bonded with him?"

Astrotrain folded his arms again. "Of course Megatron hates the High Council. He wants to vaporize them, and rule the Decepticon as its sole ruler. So do you. So do I. Hell, so does those scientists over there." Astrotrain jerked a thumb at Vorath and Necro. "Yet you are smart enough to know that if you do so, the Decepticon cause will splinter and break apart without a strong figurehead to lead it, or a council to govern it. Without having the chance to prove yourself to the cause at large, you'll have everyone ranked seven and above think themselves the next Megatron and gun for leadership. Nothing good will come of that."

Astrotrain paused, as he heard Mindwipe and Fangry enter. More troops that are presumably loyal to Doomshot (presuming the alternative is just stupid). Sixshot is no doubt coming, with Megatron's body. He scowled. He had to make this fast, but there was a way to spin this to his advantage.

"Kill me if you want. Right here, right now. I doubt I'll take down more than two or three Decepticons, not with Deathsaurus, Sixshot and Kaon at your beck and call. Though, let me ask you. What will that accomplish, hmm? Satisfaction for a day, maybe two. Then you'll waste Decepticon resources, precious Decepticon warriors, as the DJD and the Council's troops fight each other instead of the Autobots, who will be gathering their strength and rallying behind their Prime, and abscond with the contents of this dig site. And we want that even less than the previous outcome." Astrotrain scowled.

Astrotrain then folded his hands behind his back and paced around slightly. "But, of course, you have a point. Of course you do -- one of the reasons I wanted you to be Megatron's mind is precisely this revolutionary thoughts you have. You see, Doomshot, I agree with the sentiment you have. The Council is far, far more concerned with squabbling over the power they have, while being way too detached with how the Decepticons at the frontline are doing. Yet unseating the Council or Megatron completely will cause such a large power vacuum that it will break the Decepticon into a massive civil war... and, once more, nobody wants that."

Astrotrain then stopped, and looked Doomshot dead in the eye. This was a gamble, and he knew it. Especially with so many wild cards and other Decepticons watching.

"Megatron is a joke, you say? So is the Council. And a vast majority of the Decepticon army are simple creatures of habit, filled with fear." Astrotrain let out a humourless chuckle. "Which is really why we needed someone like you."

Astrotrain folded his arms.

"You, Doomshot, are a gamble. You're not the first of Megatron's Titan Masters that I have had this conversation with. Most of them are eager, oh so eager, to please the great Astrotrain, to be the Council's puppet. They never lasted long. You are the first to openly damn both Megatron and the Council. You are the first to have enough ambition and balls to reject my offers." Astrotrain paused. "Well, that's not exactly true. You're the first to do so, while simultaneously proving to be visionary and competent enough to become the sort of leader I hoped would eventually replace Megatron."

Astrotrain paused again, then shook his head. "You are correct, of course, in your assessment of High Command. You have very few supporters among them, of course, for all this manipulation is a bit too much for a humble troop transporter such as myself. But by large High Command wants nothing than a 'hapless sock puppet', as you put it. And I can make them believe that it is so, at least for a little while longer."

"And no. Before you ask... I have no desire to be the leader of the Decepticon cause. Do not mistake my manipulation of events to put you as the literal head of the cause to mean that I want to be the puppetmaster. I have found out -- the hard way -- that I am not cut out for leadership. Not all of us are."

Pause for effect.

"I want what is best for the Decepticon Cause as a whole, as utterly blase as it might sound. If you can be that leader -- who, in your own words, a Megatron that be a proper leader against the Decepticons... then that means you will be the better bet for the Cause as a whole compared to High Command. And if you truly are the better leader, one who will not be cowed by anyone... then call it practicality, call it backing the winning horse, call it hedging my bets, call it the sentimentality of an old Decepticon, call it vision... but I will be the first to bend the knee to you."

--------------------

"I do not believe the Triple-Changer's center has goo of any sort. He has a Spark Core at his center, just like any of us." Sixshot said to Brisko. The taller six-changer stepped into the room next to Brisko and Mindwipe, Megatron's headless body slung over his shoulder.

He glanced at Astrotrain, who seemed to be in a very deep conversation with Doomshot. Politics. Sixshot despised them.

"Doomshot, sir! I have brought Lord Megatron's body." Sixshot announced, gently placing Megatron's body on the ground.
______________________________________________

Tunnels, Dig Site

"That is the last one." Cerebros said, pulling out his tools and closing the panel on Optimus Prime's leg that he was working on. He glanced at Perceptor, who gave a curt, professional nod. "Diac, sir, if you will?"

Diac sent out a mental command, and with a shudder, Optimus Prime's body jerked and transformed. It wasn't as smooth as it could've been, as the body convulsed briefly, but joints folded, limbs retracted, wheels slid out and steel panels slid into place. Optimus Prime stood in his alternate mode, a mighty truck.

"I dare not reactivate Optimus Prime's mind here." Cerebros said. "The Titan Master connection needs to be recalibrated after such a traumatic separation, and that will make both of you vulnerable, something which I have no wish to do in a place that is susceptible to combiner attack."

"Less exposition. More heavy duty." Perceptor transformed into his mobile weapons platform mode, and launched a grapple line onto the front grill of Optimus Prime's weapon mode, and started his engines, slowly pulling Optimus's body deeper down the dig site. Cerebros, without a vehicular alternate mode, walked up to Optimus's rear and started pushing.

--------------------

"A loss in glorious combat is still a loss, Furos." Diac replied, solemnly. "Yet, as you pointed out, they did fall in honour. I suppose that is some solace."

Diac frowned. Two Titans piloted by two unpredictable Titan Masters. Firedrive at least was a known quantity... even if he is an unpleasant known quantity. Ginrai was a newborn Titan, however, and he did not know this 'Nightbeat'. They were Autobots, though, and thus deserve trust.

Ah, the complexities of having two minds share a body...

"We will head towards where they are." Diac said, as he walked towards Optimus's vehicle mode, and jumped into the driving seat, and pressed down on the pedal. It worked, somewhat, and helped the vehicle mode to move a bit quicker down the tunnel. Diac rolled down the window of Prime's vehicle mode and added, "We'll go straight towards where this Nightbeat is."

He glanced towards Hardhead, and added, "Which is why we are going to interview him now. If he is trustworthy, he will be... deputized. I do not believe assigning one of our troops right now will be anything but traumatic for all involved, considering how deeply rooted Titan Master bonding is. We will talk to Firedrive, too, because, after all, everyone deserves a second chance." Diac paused. "A closely watched second chance."
 
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