Chapter 15:As each side aligns, Sam meets his maker

Megatron snatched Sam up, contacting Razorclaw and Hook in a demand for assistance. Razorclaw examined the puddle and picked up the prosthesis before following his master.

In the end, he and Hook agreed that the voice prosthesis reacted to the shock by shorting out. That induced a seizure in Sam, which in turn forced the already loosened prosthesis out of his throat, tearing delicate tissue on its way out. Within an hour they stopped the bleeding. Sam came to himself about halfway through the situation, and Razorclaw sedated him with a hoarded tranquillizer shot. Finally they settled Sam into his enclosure, covered with a blanket. Razorclaw warned his master that Sam would need a lot of liquids and soft foods for some time. He handed over the last of the human food from the colonies. Some of the slave foods were soft enough, but all of them needed to be cooked. Megatron told Hook to find a way to heat food that did not use an open flame or anything that could be used as a weapon.

He checked on a sleeping Sam several times. When Megatron found him awake, Sam was rinsing his mouth at the waste disposal and spitting the blood tinged water out. Finished, he drank. The Decepticon leader could see that it hurt him to swallow. Sam wiped his mouth, turned, and saw the 'con who claimed to be his master. They regarded each other. For quite some time after seeing Sam on the bridge of the Scout, Megatron raged when he thought of his pet far off in space, going feral again, and giving over all his knowledge of the Decepticons to the Alliance.

His pride hurt, that his pet defied him. His status hurt, because Rodimus Prime held his personal slave. His Decepticons lost the chance to be revived. Many deserted hiding from Autobots and Decepticons alike. But in the end, he missed his damned pet. He missed the safe sounding board. He missed the presence of another intelligence that needed him. Worse, Sam's rejection hurt. He knew from the time he claimed the feral human that Sam would revert to feral again given the chance, but his defiance still hurt. His Decepticons noticed his irritation and his tendency to lash out more frequently. Once the news that the master's human held part of the All-Spark, they backed him on getting the pet back, and believed that it was the All-Spark that attracted the master to the pet. That soothed some of his pride.

CyKill's reports and the holographs he sent resulted in Megatron having a grudging respect for his pet's intelligence. There was no question that Sam was advising the Alliance in their dealings with him. Most, though not all, of his spies' infiltration was found and dealt with. Sam never forgot who his master was s. As much as he fumed over the trouble Sam gave him, Megatron was proud of his pet; the Decepticon leader knew the best when he claimed it.In the back of his processor, he hoped Sam would survive the transfer. Sam's current body was still young and he could have a few more decades of his company.

Megatron reached down and picked Sam up, gently. He pulled a blanket up with him. He put Sam in his lap, covered him with the blanket as he shivered a little, and brought over the datapad. "We are going to talk," he said. Sam wiped his mouth on the blanket, leaving a smear of blood on it. Some time later Megatron considered what they discussed. When questioned, Sam admitted giving the colonists all the information he had and advising them on how best to deal with the Decepticon leader who claimed him and where to look for possible infiltration.

Sam said that he knew nothing of the colony's defenses. :Rodimus is in charge of the colony defenses,: he wrote. :I was under his protection, but that was not something we discussed. We knew I was a target, and what I did not know I could not tell.: He said with certainty that he did not sire offspring. :None of the women I slept with were fertile.:

"You never forgot your place, did you? Any offspring would have belonged to me as well." Megatron did give his spies instructions to bring any female pregnant by Sam back with them. "So you believe you left no offspring. But Sideways found children by you in the colony records. Did they tell you that?"

:My genetic material was used by several people who founded the second colony and they named the colony after me and my wife. That was some time ago. That material would not be viable any more.: So, Sam did not know that he had one living offspring. Megatron resolved to give orders that the offspring was to be captured alive if possible and brought to him. Should Sam die when he and the shard were united, then Megatron would have a substitute, a pet he would actively train. At that point Megatron received a report, and approved. A drone came in with a package. He picked Sam up and took both Sam and the box into his private room.

In Megatron's private room, he unpacked the box to reveal a microwave oven, without the power cord. Sam looked over the oddly shaped packages, and pointed to the glyphs; he did not want to give away that he knew how to read them. Megatron read the directions for him, and turned off the enclosure so Sam could get water. After mixing the slave mush with some of the dried fruit from the colonies, Sam placed the container into the oven and punch buttons based on the pictures. Several minutes later he pulled out the mush and cooled it by adding some water.

The fruit gave the bland mush some flavor and softened in the cooking. He ate slowly, feeling better as his stomach filled. He missed his friends and family fiercely, but none as much as Willie. The more he knew of Willie, the better he liked him. Willie had a firm relationship with Barbara Epps, and he loved his children. He had an exasperated relationship with his mother and a devoted one to his sister and her children.

He complained once to Sam that his family was twisted. His sister was old enough to be his mother, and in fact was his primary caretaker when he was young. He was raised with his youngest nephew, who was one year older than he. His uncle helped, as did various lovers of his mother who suspected they might be his father. He had a streak of rebel in him, leading him to choose a career in space against his formidable mother's wishes and hacking the computer to get the truth about his father.

That feeling of being odd made a real bond between him and Sam, more than their genetic relationship. That bond was further strengthened by their easy relationship with the bots. Both of them had strong ties to Bumblebee and Rodimus Prime; they understood the bots well, even better than the soldiers from the Lennox colony. Sam would do almost anything to keep Willie safe, and he hoped that Willie was not taking his friend/father's capture too hard. If Sideways got into the computer, the Decepticons knew that Willie was his child. He comforted himself with the knowledge that Willie was on the command ship with Rodimus Prime, who would make sure he was protected.

He swallowed the last of the mixture and rose to clean the container and put it away. As he did, Megatron placed the box into the enclosure and reactivated it. "Look in the bottom," he instructed. Sam dug to the bottom and found his desktop. "Get it moving," the Decepticon leader instructed, and Sam did. Once it was up, he said, "Who do you belong to, Sam?"

Sam moved the computer to the writing program, and wrote, :On Earth, you claim me, and I cannot dispute your claim.:

Megatron studied the words. "I am the Lord Protector of the All-Spark, "he said slowly. "Soundwave believed that you might be the other part of the All-Spark. But you are human, and you are therefore a slave, and inferior." He considered. "I will be back."

Sam watched him go. Razorclaw gave Sam the impression that Megatron wanted him whole before he went to the shard. Was he changing his processor? Sam knew that he could not call Megatron master, in voice or in print. He could not on the ship, and compromised by repeating the 'my lord' that Razorclaw used. Just now, he was going to acknowledge that on Earth Megatron was his master, and he could not. That would mean that Megatron was the master of the All-Spark, and that was not acceptable. He went to his sleeping pad and lay down. His throat burned. His broken ribs still ached at times. He wished he had some kind of mild painkiller. A desperate longing for the colonies struck him, and he tried hard to control it. Worse, he could feel the pull that had him trying to get out of his cage before again, and it was stronger. He knew what it was, now. It was the All-Spark, calling to the rest of itself. Then he vaguely felt something else, a pulling sensation. He had felt it before, but ignored it.

Wait-while he was gone, the shard had not worked. Mulah said that he carried the power, but something else had to act as a conduit to use it. God and Primus and any deity available, he prayed, don't let Soundwave be brought back. He tallied in his head the 'cons that had not come back, and for the first time realized that all of the ones he knew of that did not come back were ones he killed or who killed him. If Soundwave did not return, but others did, he would know. Some time later, Megatron came and picked him up. He walked back through the office and to the hallway. There were fifteen 'cons that Sam did not know there. That meant that they were not major administrators, or he would have seen them at one time or another. Megatron spoke to them in Cybertronian, and they began to walk away. Soundwave was not one of them.

Sam, held against Megatron's chest, turned away and tried to control himself. He knew there had been some desertion; these probably made up the difference those desertions had made. Just by being here, he renewed fifteen Decepticons. Despair went through him in waves. He was grateful when the Decepticon leader took him back to his enclosure. "Now we know," his protector said with satisfaction, and left the room.

Sam went to his sleeping pad, pulled the blanket over him for the illusion of privacy that gave him, and cried. Lost in his pain, he did not hear Megatron come in. He started violently when he was picked up, but Megatron only put Sam against his shoulder and rubbed his back lightly. Sam gave up control. When his pet was still except for steady breathing, Megatron picked up a blanket and went to his desk. He sat down, wrapped Sam carefully in the blanket so he would not wake, laid his sleeping charge in his lap, and got to work. He was more than satisfied; he was triumphant. He had the power to revive again, and he would have the All-Spark soon. He felt a pang of regret that he would lose Sam again, but if that was the price of that power, he would pay it. Three weeks, he thought, and I will be able to defeat that weak Prime and begin to conquer the galaxy again.

For the next week, Megatron never let Sam out of his sight. He moved the cage next to the desk Sam spent most of his time on the desk or in the Decepticon leader's lap. When Megatron got bored with paperwork, Sam was his distraction.

There was one communication with the three Council representatives on a three-way connection. Megatron left Sam standing on the desk, chained. Sam's hands moved carefully the entire time he was on the screen, which Megatron put it down to nerves.

Sam had only two hopes left. One was that the Alliance could stop Megatron and the other that his awareness died when he was part of the All-Spark.

After the transmission, Barbara cursed. "All right, what did he say?" she asked. It hurt to see Sam bound like that.

"Megatron shocked him with the collar and the prosthesis shorted out," Rodimus said. "Megatron revived fifteen Decepticons with the shard, but Soundwave was not one of them." Rodimus refrained from mentioning the part warning Willie. He intended to ask the engineer about that himself. "Megatron told Sam that he must be completely healed before he takes him to the shard, because he hopes Sam will survive the transfer and that now that there is proof that he holds the All-Spark, he is being well cared for. "

"Is there any chance you can get to him before Megatron tries the transfer?" she asked.

"No. The Decepticon defenses are excellent, and the chances of getting through them without alerting Earth are nonexistent. Megatron had a lot of deserters, and I think they will remain neutral until they see how this war comes out. We defeated the Fallen, and there are more ships and better firepower with us, but they are on home ground, they have Megatron, and soon they may have the All-Spark. The betting odds are even. Megatron will not have time to construct any kind of weapon with the All-Spark before we get to Earth, and that is the best that I can say."

"I see. Tell Willie I asked about him, and that his kids are fine." The Prime promised to do so, and signed off. He then contacted the Scout.

A week later, Megatron received a communication that sent him to space. He debated hard, finally leaving Sam in the joint care of Hook and Razorclaw. Sam's conversations with both were enlightening. Hook gave the laptop a workout, asking questions about Sam's lives and how he revived. "So what do you think will happen when you reunite with the shard?" he asked.

:I'll die for the last time.: Hook changed the subject.

Razorclaw asked him why he refused to breed.: In the colonies, because any woman bearing a child of mine would be a hostage. Here, because I won't bring a child into the Pits that life on Earth is for humans now.:

"The life of a slave is not that bad, Sam."

:I have been a slave in seven lifetimes. I think I can make a judgment on the matter.: Razorclaw was on the spy ship for months. He had a good idea of how the human colonists lived. :I got to hold a baby for the first time when I was at the colonies, and I wished I could have one of my own, but I couldn't wish my own problems on one.:

"That's scrap, and you know it," Razorclaw said flatly. "The slaves today live as well as most humans through your history, and better than more than a quarter of the world when you were young. They get enough to eat and they get clothes to wear, and they get a decent roof over their heads."

:They get no choices in their lives. They have no family, no human connection the way they need for their emotional needs. They have no chance to learn anything except their own jobs. More than half of them have abusive masters, and only a few have even the small amount of medical care you manage. Are you going to kill your charges if Megatron gives the order?:


:If the Autobots appear and can't be beaten off before entering orbit, Megatron is going to order everyone to start killing the slaves. Sam saw the order on one of the datapads in Cybertronian. : He believes it will slow the Autobots down.: Sam knew it would only enrage the forces to the point of frenzy.

Razorclaw was still for a long time. Then words appeared on Sam's screen. :No, I won't kill my babies, and I'll guard them if I need to.: Then they were erased.

Sam was shocked. Then he acknowledged, :You were always a decent master.:So Mulah was right. Some of the Decepticons were capable of caring about their charges. Maybe more of the slaves would survive than he thought.

But the news from space preceded Megatron's announced return. The Autobots moved past the defense systems. One ship sat cornered, though not yet captured. Sam knew that his time was up.

Megatron looked at his pet, and wished he had more time. Sam stood in his enclosure, bathed, dressed and chained. Megatron took down the enclosure. "If you have any ideas about making a fuss," Megatron said, "the ship that is cornered has the engineer Willie Witwicky. I hear he's your friend. I know he's your son." Megatron paused. "Behave, and I will not order it shot to pieces no matter how this merge ends."

Sam knew that the Autobots on the ship might survive the ship being opened to space but Willie would not. He bowed his head. "Good enough," the Decepticon leader said. He knelt and picked Sam up. For a time he held his pet, and wished there was another way to achieve his ambitions. Then he carried Sam out to the hall and put him down. The hall was lined with Decepticons. Sam started walking, letting the pull take him. The door ahead of him opened.

The rooms held several metal bodies and a pedestal with the shard. He could see Starscream and his trine, and Soundwave with his cassettes. When Sam reached halfway in the room, his chains dropped. Megatron rushed to the door as white lightning enveloped his pet. When the charges faded, the chip was gone. Sam turned and said, "I am complete." His voice was deep and echoing, and filled the chamber. His eyes glowed white.

Then he smiled. The Decepticons froze.

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