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Old 2017-09-29, 01:53 PM   #220
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Dig Site, The Decepticon Leadership-ish Meeting:

Ooo, he’s good. Darkmoon, having been happy to keep quiet and let his older partner do all the talking, chuckled snidely in the mental headspace he shared with Astrotrain. He’s really good. You really think he’s the one?

He’s either the future of our Decepticon race, or the one that’s going to put a bullet in our head. Astrotrain replied.

Truthfully, a lesser Decepticon – or even Astrotrain himself, were he younger and less experienced – would bristled at Doomshot’s systematic dismissal of Astrotrain’s proposal and the general disrespect he’s showing. But the thing is… Astrotrain knew how to play his cards. He knew that leaders and overlords needed to feel superior, needed to have the last word, and Astrotrain was perfectly willing to let Doomshot have it.

And, to be frank, Astrotrain hasn’t really respected the Decepticon High Command very much since the Combiner Wars tore their planet apart. He blamed them, blamed them far more than he did the smug, sanctimonious Autobots.

And it seems that Doomshot has made his own plans to deal with Megatron, using mnemosurgery, no less. Astrotrain kicked himself for not making his move and approach Doomshot before he was brave enough to start making his move, but then would he have been able to measure Doomshot’s worth without having witnessed his capacity for leadership with his own eyes?

The dominoes have fallen, and control is quickly being wrestled away from his hands. But Astrotrain let it.

Astrotrain waited patiently as Doomshot spoke to Necro, understanding intently what Doomshot was going to do but making no protest, vocal or otherwise, at it. “Yes.” He said, at last, when Doomshot gave his backward-handed acceptance of his terms. “Although, frankly speaking… neither of the three candidates you mentioned, I feel, are adequate to replace Megatron. Too insane, too honourable and too unpredictable. They are capable unit leaders and military commanders. But to be someone as charismatic, powerful and devious as Megatron… was?” Astrotrain shrugged. “Any more from me would paint me a sycophant, so I will not continue, but you will return our people to glory. Or someone else will.”

Astrotrain wryly smiled to himself. Self-serving bureaucrat. Of course. That is what everyone thinks of him. Aeons in the future, when only history books remain of their race, Astrotrain mused that it is perhaps all he will be remembered by, if at all. No matter. As long as the Decepticons have a strong leader, this gambit, and the ruination of his reputation, is something he could live with.

“Very well.” Astrotrain said, at Doomshot’s final words, and with a mental command, Astrotrain’s head-harness retracted into his torso, and Darkmoon disconnected from Astrotrain’s head, transforming and landing deftly on the ground. Astrotrain himself folded up into his space shuttle form. “I shall inform High Command of how… compliant you are. Whatever you think of me, Doomshot… pick your battles carefully. They will not be fooled forever... sir.”

Darkmoon stretched his neck a little, and grinned. Astrotrain was so serious, so dreary all the time. And while he understood his older partner’s motivations, and just why he did all of these silly political games, Darkmoon isn’t someone who really is that much interested in all that. He’d honestly rather deal with simple things. Killing Autobots. Fixing Decepticons.

Darkmoon trotted up next to Doomshot, casting a weary glance at the dragon-vehicle that followed him around, and then back to Doomshot. “Don’t mind A-train. He means well and supports you, but he’s way too used to dealing with politicians to have a bone of earnestness in his body. Me, I don’t care for all this. What do you need me to do, sir?”

Sixshot nodded at Doomshot, glancing strangely at Astrotrain. Sixshot knew that there was something important being talked about between the two of them, but Sixshot knew where his allegiance lies… and which one of these two is the higher-ranking Decepticon. “That is why he was so silent during the transport.” Sixshot murmured to himself, and took a step back from Megatron. He glared at Necro, but said nothing. Revolver is someone who deals with the… less pleasant underbelly of the Decepticon cause, and as such he, and by extension Sixshot, was aware of Necro’s… habits. Sixshot wasn’t sure he wanted him anywhere near Megatron, but that was not his prerogative to make.

He would have given Necro a death threat to do his job properly, but Doomshot beat him to the punch. He took several steps back, next to Fangry and Mindwipe, and glowered. Astrotrain… Necro… the room’s filled with Decepticons he did not fully trust. Even Doomshot.

He looked down to Brisko and shrugged. “I am unaware. We could go and take an Autobot Titan Master apart and see. While I highly doubt the existence of a gooey core, it would be an enlightening experiment.”

Dig Site, Enroute back to Ginrai:

The vehicle mode of Optimus Prime, assisted by Hardhead, Perceptor and Cerebros, trundled down the corridors of the digsite towards where Ginrai and the other Autobots are stationed.

Diac frowned to himself. With the respite from the conversation at the moment, he began thinking as to what to do at the situation. They’re in a position to move quickly, and to claim the ancient weapons, if they even exist, while the Decepticons are dealing with their wounded. The whole mission – claiming more weapons of mass destruction – had been something that Diac championed for strongly during the meeting that had taken place prior to the mission. Optimus Prime did not like it, but he understood the importance of weapons – and keeping said weapons out of Decepticon hands – all the same.

And Diac was having… second thoughts? Not about claiming the weapon, of course, but he had wanted to use the weapon as a deterrent, to stop the Decepticon fleets and warships once and for all. Better for a couple hundred Decepticons to die – by his hand, if necessary – than a couple million innocents to die from Decepticon atrocities. Better than to have the rest of the galaxy befall the same fate that befell Cybertron. Primus knows too many worlds, too many species, have been crippled and driven extinct due to their war. Simple mathematics.

And Diac heard the tone in Furos and Hardhead’s reply, and he knew what they were thinking. They expected Diac to be what he was in the past. General give-me-your-face, kill-them-all. And he sounded so much like Optimus Prime in the conversation they just had. Diac held a hand up and touched the faceplate that covered his mouth, even when separated from Optimus Prime (who has been silent since the main Prime body shut down into stasis lock), and frowned.

Was it him finally succumbing to the same path that Apex and Hi-Q and all the other previous Titan Masters succumbed to? To be naught but a carbon copy of Optimus Prime’s personality? Or was it simply himself… growing, and learning from the greatest Autobot leader?

Diac truthfully did not know.

“We can stop here.” Cerebros said out loud, interrupting Diac's train of thought, as they got close enough to where Ginrai and the others are stationed. “I can work on Optimus Prime here – I believe it is secure enough a position.”
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