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Redeem the Stars

By Haley Gore

Adventure / Scifi

Shape the Outside

He nearly keened when he saw the throne unclaimed. Each step towards it was met with glee… until his audials heard the distinct flapping sound he'd come to dread. He thought he'd done well once the Predacons landed; he denounced wanting the throne, he backed away in fear, hoping it was read as respect, and offered it to Predaking. Like it was a present, saved and wrapped just for him.

"I am not here to seize thrones, Starscream, but to settle scores," Predaking snarled, cornering the seeker on the throne.

It felt so much smaller now, sitting in the seat that would probably become his last. And it was a throne he would never have, one he was never meant to have. This hurt most of all, even more than when Predaking grasped his ped roughly and tossed him harshly off the throne, throwing him into the center of the open room to become the center of their judgment.

Starscream cried out in pain and scrambled to get up, to get away, but Skylynx jumped on his back, rendering escape useless.

And then Predaking did sit, but only to watch, "Do with him as you will. When I deem his suffering enough, I will then end him."

Darksteel then joined his comrade, cackling as he transformed from beast to bipedal, "What the king says is what we'll do," he hissed happily, remembering all the times the seeker subjected them to humiliation and pain, "And we'll do as he asks, because he asks, not demands," and with that final hiss he kicked Starscream roughly in the side as Skylynx moved out of the way to transform.

Predaking settled in his new throne, watching his brethren hold the pitiful, the weak, the pathetic Starscream down and beat him painfully, leaving claw marks and leaking wounds all over his chassis.

Starscream couldn't beg. He physically couldn't. His screeching and pained wails had no words to save him from this torment. Surely he'd never done any of these beasts as much harm as they inflicted upon him now, he thought in the brief seconds between harsh blows. Surely, surely he had never deserved this much pain from these simple-minded monsters. But another kick to his lower chassis, shattering his dark cockpit, made him erupt with more screams as the sensitive glass not only racked agony through his beaten form, but the shards trickled down into the detailed crevices underneath, stabbing him in very delicate places.

He knew he was crying. Tears of diluted energon trailed down his faceplates, emphasizing the hurt he was bearing. He hoped, the seeker hoped with his entire spark, that the energon from the helm wound was enough to cover this little fact and Predaking would not see.

But Predaking was too busy watching the leaking wounds all over his chassis to notice Starscream's tears of pain. Skylynx brought his claws down on the seeker's wings, tearing the delicate metals and ripping them into shredded pieces. Darksteel roared as he ripped a large gash across Starscream's chassis, exposing the wiring and even the hint of the seeker's precious spark chamber for the world to see. No mercy was given. Predaking had not told them to stop yet.

Both Predacons pulled away for just a moment to admire their work, to see what was left to be undone. Starscream could hardly move as he finally got the chance to intake, to rest and feel only the throbbing of the wounds instead of the creation of new ones. And then the beasts were on him again, claws ripping at the top of his helm, teeth and fangs at his arms and legs, a tail wrapping around his neck. Choking. Choking…

Starscream gasped in pain and tried to pull Skylynx's tail from his neck, his slender claws pulling at the metal in futile attempts. Skylynx growled in pleasure, increasing the pressure, feeling the seeker's throat being crushed under his tight grasp, his form being drained of life.

Off in the distance, Starscream saw the great and vibrant colors of sparks being released from the Well of Allsparks, from Primus himself. He watched them as his vision began to blur, as his core temperature began to rise from lack of sufficient, cooling intakes. If this was the last thing he saw, he would be fine with that. At least he wouldn't die staring into the optics of the beasts who were killing him.

Predaking saw the lights too, and raised a servo as he growled to his brethren, "Enough!"

The tail stopped choking. The beasts dropped him and backed away.

"But, my king," Darksteel hissed, "has he truly suffered enough yet? All our pain, all our torment, has he really?"

Predaking stood, walking up to the fallen seeker, "Yes. From you," he grabbed the smaller mech roughly by his shoulder armor, holding him up to inspect, "but my revenge has not yet been redeemed. I have my own pains to inflict upon him."

Starscream tried to focus on the flying sparks as they began to draw closer, lighting the sky and filling it with their brilliance, but his gaze settled on Predaking for only a moment and he regretted this.

The beast roared and slammed him into the floor, stomping on his chest plate as hard as he could as he bellowed to the sky, "You demeaned us! Treated us with no respect, no concept of what you were dealing with!" he tore Starscream up from his peds by his arm, whipping him back into the floor with as much force as he could, "Your attempts to break us only fed our rage! Only made us fight for our freedom harder!" he grabbed Starscream up around the neck, lifting him up as the sparks finally reached them, swarming around them as they rushed pass in their journey onwards, but Predaking ignored them.

The king of the Predacons walked heavily to the end of the ledge, holding Starscream out over the edge, "You will die knowing I gave you mercy and ended your pain," he growled, "You will die knowing I freed you from life's torments."

Starscream was crying silently, freely. He didn't care if Predaking saw now. He was in too much agony to care. Sparks flew about him as Predaking held him out at length and smirked.

"This end gives me much too much pleasure, you pathetic creature," he chuckled deeply, "The only simple-minded mech here today, Starscream, is you. You'll never change, you'll never learn. You'll never survive this world," he crushed Starscream's throat just a bit, "Thank me once your spark has left your chassis."

And with that, Predaking tossed the seeker's beaten chassis over the edge, the sparks dancing around and passed the giant structure. One stood out among the rest, following the small mech's form down as he fell.

Starscream saw Predaking first, then the spark that trailed him. He watched it get closer and closer, the impact from his falling into one of many sides of the citadel allowing the spark a moment to encircle and grasp at Starscream's outreached claws. The sparkling red and blue spark put ease in Starscream's own, letting him know he was all right. That it was safe now.

The seeker smiled a little knowing he wouldn't be dying alone. Whoever's spark this was, he was thanking them as he fell. The journey seemed to take a lifetime, but his final impact into the metallic soils of Cybertron itself took only a few moments. Darkness. Dust and darkness…

His optics snapped open. He was still alive. Starscream could barely move, his entire chassis felt broken beyond repair. But the glow of a ground bridge blanketed his pitiful form and merely asked him to look in its direction. And he did.

He didn't see the spark near him anymore, and as he saw the last of the ones flying overhead, he was sure it had left with the rest of them. But then, why was a ground bridge here?

You'll not know who sent it unless you take a risk.

Starscream's thoughts were so clouded he didn't know whether he thought it or not.

Bravery and cowardice can be identified in opinion. Are you brave for allowing the darkness of death? Or a coward for going into the unknown of this portal?

Starscream let the idea sink in as it continued to speak to him.

Or are you a coward for letting death steal you now? And brave should you risk to try and save your life? I will stay with you regardless. I will welcome you here or help you up, but need to decide now.

The seeker stared up at the bridge, his face slowly glaring.

You need to decide, you need to be sure, time is of the essence. What will you do, Starscream? Are you brave or a coward, are you ready for the decision that could change you, in life or death? Make it, make it now.

Starscream hissed quietly as he pulled himself up on his servos and knees, the pain racking him in harsh trembles. But he growled. He had to have been through worse. He wasn't going to die yet, not yet. He pulled himself up, his intakes harsh and pained, and hobbled over to the bridge.

He felt the thoughts push him, give him the strength he needed.

Keep going, Starscream. Today is not your day, you still need to be here. You need to fight for it, fight for this life, fight to be here now. I believe in you, I know you can do this.

Starscream made it to the bridge, fell in with a gasp as the last of the strength he had left him and he looked around tiredly at the familiar hallways of the Nemesis. He let out a small sigh. The last he saw of this ship, it was downed, and he was sure deserted.

You won't be left alone. I promise this, Starscream. Whether you live or not, I still have faith in you. You must believe in yourself, Starscream. I know you can fix the wrongs. You made the first steps here. What happens from here on is for you to decide, to control. You are king of what happens from here.

The thoughts quieted down and Starscream let out a final sigh. He let his optics flicker off as he smiled, the echoes of cautious pedfalls reaching him as he fell unconscious.

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