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13 May 2014 @ 12:43 am
Chapter: When You Can't Go Home - Rescue (Mirror Universe G1) PG13  
Title: When You Can't Go Home
Chapter: 1: Rescue
Warnings: Psychological trauma
Rating: PG13
Universe: Mirror Universe G1
Summary: Five million years ago, a crack Decepticon unit specializing in prisoner rescue and recovery was captured and imprisoned by the Autobots. Now, the Decepticons are trapped on Earth deadlocked in an endless war against Optimus Prime - until Starscream disobeys orders and breaks the Combaticons out of the Autobot mind prison.

Previous: Prologue


Optimus Prime stopped on the bluff, transforming and giving his new troops a hard look. “Time for you to prove yourselves.”

Silverbolt landed heavily beside him, peering down at the human base below.

“Feh. what could they possibly have that we would want?” Slingshot sneered behind them. “Look at them. They're nothing more than squishy little insects.”

”Shut yer mouth before I shut it for you,” Ironhide snarled.

“Oh, I'm so scared,” Slingshot mocked. “The big bad van is gonna hurt me!”

“Enough” Optimus Prime rumbled. “Both of you. This base is currently guarding an experimental fuel. Silverbolt, you're going to retrieve it.”

“What about the humans?” Fireflight asked, perching on an outcropping.

“I don't care what you do with them. Bring me my fuel.”

The newly-made jets exchanged looks, evil smirks spreading.

x-x-x


Starscream landed lightly next to his commander, unknowingly mimicking Silverbolt and Optimus Prime's positions on the same buff mere hours before. He frowned, surveying the wreckage that was left of the human base.

“He followed us,” Starscream said finally.

Megatron spared him a glance but didn't respond. Starscream didn't need prompting; if he had something to say, he'd say it, whether or not Megatron wanted him to.

“We're losing ground,” Starscream continued, optics focused on his commander. “We're outnumbered.”

“We've always been outnumbered,” Megatron rumbled. “Yet, we prevail.”

“Through superior science and sheer luck,” Starscream pointed out. “And we both know it's mostly the luck part.”

“Don't impinge on the skill or courage of my troops,” Megatron warned,voice low and dangerous.

“It's not their courage I question, Lord Megatron,” Starscream growled back, unafraid. “We need more troops.” He gave Megatron a significant look. “Good thing that we know where the Autobots are keeping their mind prisons, isn't it?”

“The answer is still no.”

“You'd leave a fellow Decepticon to torment at the hands of the Autobots?” Starscream switched tactics, affecting a look of shock.

“Drop the act, Starscream. You don't care about the prisoners.”

“No, I don't,” Starscream agreed. “But I do care about winning this war, and we do need the troops. And we know where they are.” He held up on hand, palm up. “Need troops.” He held up the other. “Know where troops are. Come on, Megatron, it doesn't take a genius to guess what we should do next.”

Megatron turned to glare at his second. “We had this discussion when we first located the troops. We can't afford to lose anyone trying to rescue troops already lost.”

“We can't afford not to try!” Starscream snapped back. “We're on the brink out here! We hold Cybertron- mostly because it's too depleted to be worth skirmishing over – but ever since we landed on this Primus-forsaken planet, we've lost battle after battle, and if something doesn't change soon, we're not going to leave here alive.”

“And that is exactly why I can't risk you or anyone else on such an idiotic venture!”

“They've got fliers now,” Starscream reminded him. “They've taken away the best of our advantages.”

“And with the Stunticons, we've taken away one of theirs.”

One. They still outnumber us almost two to one! We need more!” Starscream insisted.

“The Stunticons have proved themselves to be the equal of any Autobot, and better than most,” Megatron growled, his patience beginning to wear thin.

“And yet, as powerful and invulnerable as they are, you still called a retreat today,” Starscream reminded him. “More soldiers-”

No, Starscream.” Megatron gave him a flat look. “I won't be swayed on this. I cannot, will not, risk my people for a group of mechs who are probably incurably insane by now. I can't afford to risk anyone, least of all you.” Megatron turned away, ending any further discussion.

Starscream bit back a sharp retort and followed him. Just wait, Megatron. You'll see I'm right.

x-x-x


It was another day, another battle, but one thing was clear...

They were losing.

Starscream circled the battlefield, easily dodging Autobot lasers and the odd stray cannon blast. Below him, the Decepticons regrouped for one last push.

And they were losing.

At least the skies are clear of Autobot tailfin, Starscream grouched to himself. The Aerialbots had been forced to land and combine to deal with Devastator and Menasor, leaving the seekers clear to down the irritating minibot flier. For a moment, it seemed like the Decepticons stood a chance...

Until the Autobots unveiled Wheeljack's latest invention.

The mad Autobot inventor had shouldered a massive cannon, aiming for one of the circling seekers above and firing, hitting Thundercracker squarely in the underbelly.

At first, it seemed like nothing happened. Then the seeker plummeted, stalling and dropping into an unrecoverable spin. He'd hit the ground and augured in, one wing sheering off as he hit, sending debris and dirt flying.

No one had managed to get close enough to see if he was even alive. They were too busy trying to stay alive themselves.

Blitzwing, with the reckless courage he was known for, turned sharply and went straight for the insane Autobot, diving straight down on him, trusting his armor to protect him from both the impact and the weapon.

It was a favorite tactic of the triple-changer, and the one that had convinced his fellow Decepticons that Blitzwing was utterly crazy. He picked up speed as he dove, quickly out-pacing even the seekers' maximum velocity, intending on transforming to his sturdier tank mode just before impact. It was effective, hard to counter-

-and predictable. Wheeljack engaged his own jets, dodging out of the way. Blitzwing plowed into the ground, the impact sending rock and dirt in every direction. Hovering just about the crater, Wheeljack took aim and fired before the triple-changer could regain his bearings.

A barrage from laser fire from Thrust was all that kept Wheeljack from neatly finishing the helpless Blitzwing off.

Meanwhile, Superion had manage to down Menasor long enough for he and Omega Supreme to turn on Devastator with a vicious double-team, battering Devastator back to his component parts. The Constructicons retreated, unwilling to face both an Autobot gestalt and a Guardian by themselves.

Starscream really couldn't blame them, but it left his seekers to try and keep the Autobots distracted long enough for Menasor to regain his footing and re-enter the fight.

Megatron and Soundwave had their hands full, trying to beat back Optimus Prime and a small hoard of Autobot cars.

“Skywarp! Help Megatron!” Starscream ordered over the radio.

The black seeker waggled his wings in acknowledgment and vanished, reappearing behind the Autobot leader, opening up with a barrage of lasers.

Starscream turned to the next biggest threat.

Wheeljack.

The Autobot had taken cover in a rock outcropping, firing at anyone who was unfortunate enough to land in his sights.

“Thrust! With me!” Starscream screeched over the comm, banking hard. “Distract the Autobot! I'll take him out.” Thrust was the only one who stood a chance of dodging long enough for Starscream to get a good shot at Wheeljack.

Starscream came around without waiting for Thrust to respond, confident that the other Decepticon would do as he was ordered. He was, after all, one of the Decepticon Elite, and no matter how often Megatron teased Starscream about replacing him with a newer-model conehead seeker, Starscream never doubted his seekers' loyalty.

Starscream stayed low, marking Wheeljack's position by the flash of his weapon as he fired on the maneuverable Thrust.

Wheeljack spotted him just as he fired, using his thrusters to jet out of the way once again. But Starscream didn't become the Air Commander for his sweet and loving personality; he turned with the Autobot, null-rays nailing Wheeljack and sending him tumbling back down, unconscious before he hit the ground.

Starscream climbed again, rolling just in time to avoid a blast from a plasma rifle.

Frag it, is every Autobot on the planet here? Starscream snarled to himself. It certainly seems like it. He snapped off a shot at the minibot trying to slip around behind Megatron and Soundwave. Call the retreat, Megatron! We can't win here!

Megatron seemed to think otherwise, holding his ground and firing at Optimus Prime. Starscream was too far to hear the shouted insults, but he'd heard enough of their exchanges to guess what they were saying.

“Idiot,” he growled out loud. “There's no point in fighting if you can't win! ...Feh, I'm starting to sound like Thundercracker.”

He opened fire again, chasing the minibot back to his Autobot friends, then looped back around.

The entire Autobot army really is here. The idea hit him suddenly, and he had to remind himself to keep flying. Why hadn't he thought of that earlier?

“Regroup! Protect Megatron!” he screeched over the comm as he banked away.

“Where are you going?” Dirge demanded even as he turned obediently towards their leader.

“To get reinforcements,” Starscream snapped back, engaging his afterburners and streaking for the Ark.

x-x-x


“Frag Inferno anyway,” Red Alert muttered as he worked, taking advantage of the empty base to do a little 'updating' of the security systems. “It's just as well... Inferno doesn't need to know anything.”

He quickly tapped in the security override to Prowl's office and slipped inside. Pulling a chair over, Red Alert stood on it, carefully removing the light cover and unscrewing a small device hidden inside. He replaced the tiny burnt-out camera with a new one, checking the wiring and sweeping the room for any additional bugs someone else might have placed while his system was down.

His own listening device and camera wouldn't be picked up by a casual sweep, installed as it was directly into the already existing electrical and security systems. Another quick check made sure Prowl hadn't bugged his own office against visitors while he was away.

Finally satisfied, Red Alert settled into Prowl's chair, and set to work breaking his password.

He was utterly engrossed in the task when the security alarm blared suddenly, making him jump.

Frag it! Red Alert covered his tracks, replacing the chair and making sure everything was in order before slipping out of Prowls office and running for the security center.

The alarm cut out suddenly.

Red Alert swore and changed directions, ducking down a side corridor. the control room was closer, and while it wasn't as equipped as his security center, it was obvious that the intruder was already inside the base. He cursed himself for spending so much time worrying about Prowl catching him – it allowed the intruder to make the distance from the perimeter to the base interior.

Fast – a seeker? Or one of the those new cars? He unspaced his rifle as he ran.

He skidded to a stop outside the control room doors, reaching for the panel.

The doors slid open before he reached it and Red Alert found himself staring into one of Starscream's null-rays.

“Surprise,” the seeker said, and fired.

x-x-x


Starscream looked down at the unconscious Autobot with distaste, kicking him out of the way and stepping around. He was tempted for just a moment to do away with the Autobot then and there, but held back.

“Feh. Going soft.” Starscream gave him one last kick before walking past, leaving a smoking computer system behind him.

With Telatraan-1 neutralized, and the apparently only Autobot on base down, Starscream had free rein for the moment.

He headed for the brig, hesitating only for a moment, tempted to try to locate the armory and turn the place into a smoking crater.

But he was running on a tight timetable, he reminded himself. He'd been a guest of the Autobot brig before, and finding it wasn't going to be a problem. The armory, however, could be anywhere, and probably had additional security measures that he didn't have time to deal with. The last thing he wanted was to be trapped there when the Autobots returned. He wasn't built for close-quarters fighting.

A shot from his null-ray disabled the door lock to the brig, allowing him to lever it open manually.

Megatron's voice crackled over his comm suddenly, startling him. “Decepticons, retreat!”

“Megatron, as always, your timing leaves much to be desired,” he grumbled out loud, shoving the door aside with renewed urgency The Autobots would be heading back any moment, and Starscream still had to retrieve his targets and get out .

“If I was a personality component, where would I be...” Starscream muttered.

The cells, of course, were empty. He yanked open the drawers at the guard station, scrabbling through the datapads.

“Frag it!” The brig walls were bare. “They're not here” Starscream darted for the door. “They have to be somewhere nearby...” He went room to room checking each, increasingly frantic with each one.

Finally, he spotted what appeared at first to be another storage cabinet, but locked and key padded. A shot from his null-ray took care of the lock, and Starscream yanked it open.

Lined up neatly inside were rows of small containers, each containing the personality component and critical hardware of a Decepticon prisoner.

“Finally.” Starscream muttered, scooping them up. He ran back out the way he came, taking to the air as soon as he cleared the airlock. Starscream checked his radar and turned back towards the Decepticon base at full thrust.

x-x-x