Chapter 17: The battle ends and rebuilding begins. Sam makes a decision

In space, Willie strapped into his restraints and told Sparkplug he was ready. Sparkplug said, "Here goes, then." He had let the ship drift as close as one of the enemy ships would let it. Willie felt the ship's engines roar as Sparkplug made his move. They raced between two of the ships. One shot fired, as an afterthought. Sparkplug hauled to meet up with the rest of the fleet, sending a report as he went.

Rodimus Prime noticed the decrease in shots and maneuvers from the enemy ships. Reports flew in, bewildered and nervous and feverishly hopeful. Most of the manned ships disengaged or fled. They chased a few down In some, most of the 'cons on the ships were in stasis lock. On others, all of them lay still. They dealt quickly with the automated defenses and sped to their chosen landing places, both terrified and hopeful. Was this a trap?

On Earth, calls flew back and forth, from farm to farm and factory to factory, to the mines and to the centers. They saw ships landing, but the defenses spoke sporadically or not at all. Some personnel collapsed into deep stasis lock. What was going on?

Razorclaw got call after call. He said the same thing, over and over. "Wait, see what happens. Don't engage. If you're attacked, defend and call for help." Shrapnel got messages that something was wrong with the other supervisors and there were ships, what should they do? He instructed them to have the humans in a safe place, barn or barracks, do not engage unless fired on, ask for help if fired on, and wait.

At the mines, one of the protective supervisors saw a ship coming down and sent the word. Miners were quietly herded into the smaller shafts, as they waited for the shouts and the shots to start. When as many as they could get word to were huddled in the shaft, they ventured out. Fellow supervisors, the ones that would have followed the 'kill the humans' order, lay frozen. Checked, the kinder supervisors found them in deep stasis that they could not bring them out of.

Then each of them got a personal communication. When the Alliance soldiers arrived, more than half of the remaining Decepticons surrendered, terrified and/or awed out of their processors. The remainder fought poorly. When the Autobots subdued the strugglers, the Decepticons confessed that the All-Spark told them to stop fighting. When the Autobots questioned the supervisors and the Alliance humans questioned the slaves, they discovered that the supervisors not in stasis lock were the ones who would not slaughter their personal charges. The slaves said that the supervisors left were the ones they trusted more.

Rodimus landed at central command, determined to find Sam or what remained of him. He expected close infighting and heavy casualties. Instead, the Alliance forces helped drones move bodies in stasis out of the way so they venture though the halls. They found Sam in Megatron's quarters,poking through the datapads. When they came in the room, moving in careful military fashion, his greeting was, "Took you long enough." They noticed the glowing eyes and the echoing voice. When they saw Megatron in the pile of stasis-locked bodies, it took an irritated bark of "Come on, we need to get them out of the way," to galvanize them into moving. They literally stacked them up to get them out of the way, after disabling their weapons. There were few Decepticons left and most of them fled. Rodimus sent troops after them and used Megatron's communications center to send out both offers of clemency for surrendering and messages to his own people.

By the time Willie appeared, Sam's eyes no longer glowed and he acted his normal self. Between the slow takeover and the presence of the Prime, the All-Spark personality felt safe enough to fade back. Sam was alone in the office when Willie ran up and hugged him hard. Rodimus and Sparkplug discreetly gave the father and son a little time. However, Willie felt uneasy on the planet and went back to the spaceport to work on the ships after seeing that Sam was safe. He visited occasionally and brought Sam food from stores until cooks and a new food distribution system made that effort unnecessary. After that, Sam visited him and lured him out of the ship to show him Earth and its wonders, teaching him that all the messy disorder that a planet held was worth what you could find on it.

Sam, Rodimus, Alex Lennox and Mulah spent a great deal of time working over what needed to be done and what was available to get it done. As each area was settled, a human and an Autobot took over administration of the freed slaves and the supervisors. There was only one good outcome to the death of most of the human race, Sam thought. Resources scare for seven billion people became abundant for the few million left. The Decepticon infrastructure made distribution simple. Not only could Earth rebuild, they held enough surplus to trade with the colonies for the skilled personnel needed.

Miranda came with the next ship, bringing with her other medics and a few Psyches. She had a great deal to say about the lack of medical care on Earth, none of it good. Strangely enough, her irritated attitude put a lot of the slaves at ease. Encountering her irritable manner reassured them that she knew what she was doing. Of all people, she got along best with Razorclaw, who was fascinated with the fact that humans actually had codes called DNA and how they affected interbreeding. When he offered his records, he was offered the choice to be part of the new Population Control that would be installed on Earth, modified like the one on Waterfall.

Sam would forever treasure the day that Razorclaw came up to him while he was walking with his baby girl. "You finally got around to breeding, did you?" he asked, looked at the blond little girl.

"I was born free and now my children are," Sam told him evenly."It was worth the wait."

Razorclaw agreed to the new rules in order to stay on Earth. All Decepticons who accepted considered themselves neutrals, not Autobots. All of the supervisors Sam worked well with agreed and many became important in the new government. Those that did not want to stay on Earth under the new rules but did want the option of remaining in Alliance space had to swear to keep to Alliance law and not to render aid to those who remained Decepticons. Again, they accepted neutral status. The oaths were witnessed and reinforced by the merge of Sam and the All-Spark.

Among the supervisors not in stasis, some refused to give up the Decepticon point of view. The Alliance exiled them, and the merge reprogrammed them so that they would not return to Alliance space unless willing to comply with Alliance rules. The ones in stasis lock remained that way until trial. Megatron and a few others received no trial. After the battle with the Psyches where the Fallen fell, he was condemned by the Alliance for war crimes already, as were five other Decepticons. Sam was delighted to find that Bonecrusher was one of them.

The means of giving the others a trial was discussed along with a means to execute the ones condemned. When the meeting ended, the merge went to see Megatron and gave him the means to speak, though the rest of his body stayed still. "Are you here to gloat?"

"No." The merge was currently Sam. "I came to tell you your sentence." Megatron only cursed. Sam waited until he ran down. "You're to be executed and your body will be reduced to component parts. The deaths you caused end here."

"Executed by insects," the former Lord Protector said bitterly, "slowly?" Sam remembered the executions of his fellow resistance fighters. Megatron had reason to ask.

"We won't lower ourselves to your level," Sam said. Megatron flinched as the merge walked up and caused his spark chamber to open. "Besides, you were kind to me." His eyes began to glow. "And you were once the Lord Protector in fact and not in name, before the Fallen corrupted you. So this will be quick." He reached.

Some time later Carol and Willie found Sam in the woods near base. The lights were strong enough that they could see him picking apples from a nearby tree. There were already some roots in the basket he was using. Sam had the habit of finding wild foods and bringing them to the base for the cooks to try. There were leaves in the basket as well. "There you are," Willie said, relieved. He squinted in the dimness. "Why are you out here in the dark? What are those?" When a breeze blew in, rustling the leaves, he jumped and shivered a little.

"When you slipped away, you got us a little worried," Carol said. She came over and looked at the bucket. "What's this?"

"Apples, carrots, and spearmint leaves. I needed to think, "he said. He picked a few more apples. "Thinking about how life needs to move on, sometimes, and start again." He put the apples in the bucket and stood. "You know, back when I was young, this world was covered with people. We were smothering the planet and trying to keep from killing each other. We had cultures who tried to turn the clock back with hate and killing; we had countries that were rich and those that were desperately poor. We had cities with multiple of millions of people living on top of each other. We had all kind of pollution. "He lifted his head to the breeze and took a deep breath. "And in less than a century, it was gone, because of Megatron and the Decepticons. All human culture was obliterated. There is no longer even a tradition left." The two colonists waited. "The odd thing is, we have a chance to not make those mistakes again. We'll have a chance at rebirth. No rich and no poor, no strangling cultures backlashes, no one to say something is right or wrong because that was the way they were taught to think and there's no better reason."

The two younger people said nothing, wondering what caused the musing. Sam picked up the bucket. They walked inside with him, relieved to come in from the dark. Rodimus Prime was waiting. "We just discovered that Megatron's permanently off-lined," the Prime stated.

"Yes," Sam said.

"You knew?" Rodimus said.

"I took care of it." Sam continued to carry his bucket to the kitchen. Willie and Carol followed, dazed. The biggest danger to the Alliance, the murderer of how many humans, Psyches, and Autobots, and he just 'took care' of him, without any noise, without any preparation, nothing?

"That was something of a presumption on your part, Sam," Rodimus said, his voice carefully neutral.

Sam's eyes began to glow. "No," he said. "I did what was necessary. With him gone, the ones wavering will fall in line, and the rest will be afraid. Megatron was already condemned. He was once my Protector, and I have dealt with him as he needed to be dealt with. As the All-Spark, I have always had the right to take back a spark, and I have done so."

"Take the spark?" Willie squeaked. "What do you mean?"

"Take the spark back into me," the merge answered. "To be reborn again, to try again. He was once a good being. Always ambitious, always arrogant, but strong, and once he lived up to his title. So, eventually in time, it will come to pass. In the meantime, use what you need from his body, and I will use the rest later." With that, the glow was gone. "Now, Willie and Carol, would you like to try mint tea? It's really good with some sweetening."

Fifty years later…..

"It's time," Sam said to Rodimus Prime and Bumblebee.

Prime and Bumblebee came to Earth on a more or less routine visit to report Earth's situation to the Alliance Council. They met Sam at the old command center. It was still the government center, but in the middle of a thriving city.

In the fifty years that passed, Sam formed a bonded relationship to Carol Lennox, who stayed on Earth to organize and run security matters. Carol died of totally natural causes five years ago. They had adult daughters with children and careers of their own. However, anyone who knew Sam over more than a few years knew he was still different; he did not age at all. He looked the same now as he had when they found him in Megatron's quarters the day they arrived, except the white line around his neck had faded away.

"When?" Bumblebee asked.

Of course, there had been problems, and there were still problems, but matters were stable for now. A new world leader was chosen, a young man named Cole who once worked at the energon plant and went to the colony world to study before working under Sam. The vast majority of unrepentant Decepticons remained exiled from Alliance space and reprogrammed to never return. Most left that part of the galaxy.Those that stayed had to live through changes. They watched as the collars came off. They dealt with humans who worked in shifts and who rose to responsible positions. They helped organize the building of homes and arrangements for families. They had to get used to required medical care.

"Tomorrow. No need to put it off further. From what Ratchet says, they've taken all the parts they can use. There's enough left for my needs. I'd like you to be my witnesses. Willie's already agreed, and so has Mulah."

"Tomorrow, then. "

The next day Sam stood in front of the remains of the condemned Decepticons, those from the ones locked in stasis and condemned thirty years ago. The witnesses could feel power in the air, rising like heat from metal or concrete on a shimmering hot summer day. The pieces of metal began to melt and merge into each other, as white lightning danced into it, coming from Sam.

Soon, a cube shape emerged in the light. Then Sam's body became tranluscent, and with one last swirl, dissolved into the light and went into the new Cube, which then settled gently onto the ground.

The bargain the All-Spark offered Sam was time and assistance to rebuild Earth and to live a settled human life. In return, Sam agreed to become part of the All-Spark, with his memories of pain and enslavement and human history forever entrenched into the rest of the information in the Cube.

And so, in the vorns to come, when Cybertron was alive and growing once again, Sam, as part of the Cube, was there to advise and remind those in power the cost of one being's ambition.

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