Cybertron lay in wreck and ruin. The moons -- and the bases on them -- were gone. A strange new satellite that looked for all intents like the gargantuan head of a mech floated in the debris field surrounding the planet. Some of the debris was made up of moon fragments.
Entirely too much of it was mech detritus, the remnants of destroyed Cybertronians.
It was a sobering sight, even to the implacable Soundwave and his self-centered partner Starscream. Neutral builds, warrior Decepticons, despised Autobots all could be found among the wreckage. Starscream slowed, shifting from long-flight mode to orbital maneuvering thrusters, inspecting the dead visually and with sensors.
::Sensors say the energy here was similar to that monstrosity that attacked me,:: Starscream sent over comms, with an accompanying data link of his scans' results.
::Similarity noted. Amplitude of wavelengths indicate greater source of power,:: Soundwave confirmed as he parsed the data feed.
::So brilliant,:: Starscream growled sarcastically. As though he couldn't see that on his own?! ::Out.:: The curt command came on the heels of spotting the remnants of what had once been a trine, and Soundwave could guess the motivation behind it. He ejected from the cockpit as it opened, then released Rumble and Frenzy.
::Assist salvage operations.::
::For Starsqueak?:: Rumble demanded, but he moved as the Seeker transformed and used his personal thrusters to maneuver among the gray shells of his kind. The two small casseticons worked alongside Starscream, each of the three trading insults as they went.
Soundwave suspected Starscream was enjoying the verbal crossfire he got caught in, when Rumble and Frenzy started in on him and each other. On the wavelength of the band they had agreed to for constant contact, Starscream's processor was seething at the slaughter of so many, especially his own class and the other Decepticons. It was not a rejection of the destruction itself; it was anger that anything could be powerful enough and not be under his mastery.
The infiltrator savored that ambition, and knew that this time, he would have a tool capable of not losing sight of the end. Megatron had fallen into a rut, always needing and wanting more power, but incapable of admitting there was an end anymore. Starscream, on the other hand, would be willing to merely subjugate, rather than destroy, allowing them an empire to feed from.
::Soundwave, I require tethers created.:: Starscream had neatly gathered the parts he wanted from the bodies, using the lack of gravity to his advantage, making a ball of salvage. Soundwave computed the size, and then extruded an energy harness that could handle the mass. With very little fuss, because neither small mech liked weightlessness, Rumble and Frenzy secured it and Starscream transformed so that he could acquire the mass. Once all was prepared, he popped his canopy, allowing Soundwave to return to the cockpit in his smaller form, having reacquired his pair of mechs.
It was no surprise, given that Starscream did not want to have to fight atmospheric drag with his load, that the Seeker turned his flight to the strange new satellite, away from Cybertron's war-torn surface. That suited Soundwave's goals perfectly, for it was an unknown and needed to be quantified, before they tackled the effort of taking on Shockwave and any lingering threats to their supremacy.
Communication from the planet-side was quiet, Soundwave noted, but there were echoing ghosts of transmissions in this place. His partner had flown them in through the shattered remnants of an optic screen, for on closer inspection this thing was definitely made in the form of a mech's head.
::Recommend encrypted communications,:: Soundwave said as they settled into their root forms on the decking of the levels they had landed in.
::I will take that under advisement,:: Starscream said, oh so magnanimously, even as he did encrypt his end of the connection.
Soundwave watched momentarily as Starscream began sorting the parts he had taken from the Seeker wrecks, unfazed by the cannibalism, or by Starscream's triumphant little mutters across the link as he plotted out the best way to utilize what he had taken. Once he was certain the Seeker was occupied, he ejected all five of his casseticons, instructing them to explore, to remain in constant contact, and to learn all they could in their exploration.
Soundwave's data predictions based on what they had surveyed so far indicated sure knowledge of their surroundings could only give them a favorable advantage.
Starscream took the parts of the Seekers he had acquired and laid them out meticulously, cleaning them. He did actually know who was now serving his needs, for all Seekers created before the war had had their individuality stamped into their choice of weapons or in the modifications to their frames. He marked their names into the data file he kept of all his Class to fall in the pursuit of this war. While the deaths did not matter as tragedies or as sacrifices, they did deserve to be remembered.
He could not be a party to erasing the existence of anyone, even if the final method of memory would no doubt serve only to tell the universe of his own grand destiny.
My destiny. Conqueror of all.
The thoughts were weighted much as his own ever would be, and with dreams of usurping Shockwave's stranglehold on Cybertron so recently discussed, Starscream smiled, petting the lines of a new particle laser he was making to replace one of his null rays.
Yes, he had a destiny to meet, and nothing could stop him from it.
Ravage prowled deeper than any of his cohort, his ancient senses pricking at the way this place felt familiar, pinging distant data files that had fragmented with age and disuse. Was this something he should know from when he had served to protect the Overlords? If so, was it worth moving past the firewall around those compressed memories on his own, or should he return to Soundwave, and allow him to do so? Their partnership had been mutually beneficial since Megatron had suggested the former bodyguard ally to the communication specialist, but Ravage tended to guard those early memories as his own.
Not his memories. Part of me before him.
He snarled in anger at the quandary, and opted to press on, seeking the key to his memories on his own. Soundwave had so much of him already; he did not need this.
::This place is creepy.:: Frenzy sent to his partner.
::You're telling me. I'm itching to just find a crack and start pounding until it breaks right open!:: Rumble hated being this creeped out. He was too tough to be scared, after all!
::Boss says 'no',:: Frenzy told him with a scowl.
::Then I say we circle back and catch Starscream double-crossing Boss,:: Rumble told him, a gleam in his optics.
Starscream is treacherous. He will destroy us.
::You've got a point, there. Boss will forgive us, when we show him Screamer's wrong again,:: Frenzy agreed, and the pair began to circle back.
Soundwave's helm jerked as he felt the intrusion of something neither of his own making nor from the Casseticons. He reached out, feeling down each of those five links, and was further suspicious of the situation as the bipedals were not where they ought to be, and each of the fliers were curiously quiet. Ravage's mind was more impenetrable than usual, which was also cause for worry. The old infiltrator and bodyguard had once before decided that his erstwhile master was not worth guarding any longer.
That last thought again jarred, as if something were manipulating him into his most cautious mode. If he, with all his conscious application of esoteric firewalls, could be at risk to an intrusion, what were his symbiotic partners experiencing?
What was happening to Starscream, the mech he still needed and had decided suited his purposes?
With something another might call haste, Soundwave turned to stride back to where the Seeker was to repair the situation he could feel threatening the tentative alliance.
Starscream fitted the new particle laser on to his arm, hissing a little as the nanites began wiring it directly into his neural pathways. There were some who preferred to keep their weapons more distant from their processing systems, but not him. Ever since he had still been an explorer, a scientist, he had been caught up in the idea of faster was always better.
That he called up the memories of fitting his first weapons, for protection in the vast tracts of space, without the attendant Skyfire-dependant emotional memories was a relatively reassuring part of knowing Soundwave had done as promised.
What else did he touch?
Red optics flared brilliantly as that thought clarified all of Starscream's inborn awareness that trusting anyone but himself was a very, very bad idea. He looked down at the new weapon, then glanced over at the one on his left shoulder, his nullray. Soundwave had never been overly resistant to it, back in the early days of the war when brawls between the upper echelon at the slightest provocation had been more frequent and Megatron had often had to separate them like errant new creations. Starscream had continually improved his signature weapon, until there were very few mechs capable of resisting it at all.
The two he knew best were both dead, a thought that filled him with glee on one level, while the paranoia focused on the more dangerous of the pair.
What if that stranger really was Megatron?
He's nothing in comparison.
Starscream's wings flared out as his confidence asserted itself. Nothing and no one would ever be as good as he was. All he had to do was start his subjugation of Cybertron... starting with that sneaking, cowardly communication master who had to have tampered beyond what was necessary in Starscream's processor.
The blast came from an angle Soundwave had not expected, as he had determined the logical course would be to not waste any energy by hovering or flying at all.
He had failed to recall how little his one time rival for Megatron's favor hated fighting from the ground. As it was, the only warning Soundwave got was a brief brush of exultation, and then the stinging prickle of energy that was the known, feared, and dangerous nullray.
"Told ya he was up to no good!" Rumble shouted, before targeting the Seeker with his blaster, while Frenzy attacked with that processor-numbing ability of his.
Starscream growled as Frenzy targeted him, forcing him to spend processor power on fending off the waves of berserker impulses, knowing he'd damage himself, or fail to guard against the shots taken by the other little pest.
And where was the Birdbrain and his partner?
Or the stalker that was Ravage? It was all a trap, Starscream's processors were screaming at him, showing him all the ways he was doomed if he did not destroy them all.
For the first time since Frenzy's creation, Soundwave had reason to regret the Casseticon's ability. He was already fighting processor lock as his systems tried to rewrite energy pathways in defiance of the stunning effect of the nullray. Now, knowing that his Casseticons and Starscream had fallen prey to the alien intrusion, he had to try and focus a solid link through to each of them, to stop the hostilities.
::Rumble, Frenzy; desist!:: he finally managed to send, despite the pain tearing through his system as he forced the energy waves to crackle out along the symbiotic links. It was enough to dump Frenzy out of his power-generation, and threw off the aim of Rumble's next blast.
It also left them both free targets for the Seeker, who never much thought when he fought off attackers, sending a laser blast at each of them. The one coming from the nullray cannon was a standard blaster type, but the new weapon was designed with Starscream's malevolent nature behind it, focusing the beam even tighter than ever, designed for precisions usage.
Luckily for Frenzy, the new weapon was aimed as broadly as Starscream normally fired his nullray. The tightly focused beam bored through a shoulder instead of the more lethal chest shot Starscream intended to use it for once he had fully tested it.
Soundwave grunted as the damage flared on his own HUD, telling him Frenzy was too damaged to fight further, and facing stasis. Rumble, reacting to the same damage, gave a snarling yell just after evading the shot aimed his way. He ran toward an upthrust slope of decking, using it to gain momentum to throw himself at Starscream in the air, heedless of the risk to himself.
Rumble's survival depended on Soundwave breaking through to the Seeker.
::Manipulation detected! Alien presence!:: He bored it into the link he maintained to his co-commander, that one that let him push and pry at the Seeker as needed, so long as he was subtle about it. That link was older than the one forged on the planetoid, placed there when Soundwave had decided Starscream was an adequate stone for sharpening Megatron's vicious streak on.
By using it so blatantly, Soundwave was betraying its presence to Starscream, and now waited those microts to see how the Seeker responded, Rumble in midair and vulnerable.
Starscream was tracking Rumble from the moment he moved, aware he had effectively downed the manipulator.
Then Soundwave's monotone tore through him on a level he had never suspected the other to have intruded on. Rage at having been violated rippled through the Seeker, and he nearly fired in the same moment of realization.
Only, the words were clear, the meaning hitting at the core of Starscream's being. While Soundwave was a known factor, there was something else out there daring to manipulate him? Something that Soundwave himself had not yet identified and learned to jam?
All that boiling rage turned out toward the entity that would think itself worthy of having Starscream be his servant! It was an idle motion to turn his arm and catch instead of firing, leaving him with a dangling, furious Casseticon.
::Fix your partner!::Starscream spat at Rumble, flinging him, none too gently either, at Frenzy before dropping to near Soundwave, the particle laser aimed for that mech's helm. ::Name one reason I should believe you, cyberweasel, instead of my instincts that say you are just biding your time?::
::Already believe me, or would have destroyed Rumble. Assessment: Starscream knows actions are extreme.::
The clarity of the link, away from that command line level one, did more to reassure Starscream than it possibly should have.
The indignant shriek tore through the hollows of the satellite, full of pompous arrogance than only one other mech had dared use. That mech had paid for his arrogance, but Unicron was in no shape to enforce his will currently.
With the destruction of the two main mechs averted, Unicron could only seethe... until his disembodied presence became aware that he had forgotten the sleek, deadly stalker and the flying pair.
The demi-god turned his focus from Soundwave and Starscream with the bipedal small ones, seeking the three presences he had overlooked in watching the fight begin.
Ravage had summoned Laserbeak and Ratbat to his side the instant he realized he was deeper inside this place than he ought to be, knowing he had been manipulated. Soundwave and he had an understanding where mental tendrils were allowed to reach, and this had not felt like his symbiotic partner anyway.
The place they were in was dangerous, a fact he knew on an instinctive level. This was a place of legend, whispered even by the ancient Overlord he had once guarded. This was the Unmaker.
The fliers swooped and navigated, finally working out how to get to the infiltrator, marking the path in hard-coded programming in both their processors, and then they followed Ravage deeper.
No one used Ravage without his permission; he would leave a parting gift to be activated as soon as they had a safe distance from this place that had been a legendary terror to his former master, known only through secret histories kept locked tightly from the populace.
Soundwave's helm tipped a fraction, a good sign that his system was throwing off the effects of Starscream's nullray. He would have to put more effort into discovering what Shockwave had researched of Stasrscream's weapon, and adapt any countermeasures for himself, if he expected this alliance to stay on as close to treacherously equal footing as he intended it to.
::Data incoming. Threat identified. Necessity: departure.:: The microburst was heavily encrypted, but Starscream parsed it quickly enough, causing his optics to narrow.
::Something attempted to use me!:: the indignant Seeker reminded him. ::And just how many times have you prodded me on that little link you buried in my processor?!:: Starscream demanded, but the anger was still seething at the alien presence that had intruded in his mind.
::Data not necessary now; link is of little use now it is revealed.::
Starscream was not mollified by that statement, nor did he seem inclined toward leaving, even as Soundwave went and gently assisted Rumble in folding Frenzy for storage and repair in Soundwave's subspace compartment. Rumble would nurse this latest grudge a long time, but Soundwave would find ways to redirect him as needed.
::Where are those pests of yours?:: Starscream demanded, prowling the chamber they were in, looking for any further useful technology.
::Correction: allies.:: Soundwave would tolerate the jibes most of the time, but Frenzy's pain was now directly linked, not merely a HUD warning and phantom echo.
Starscream fidgeted, then flicked his wings in annoyance. ::Allies, then.:: The word tasted sour on his processor; allies meant trusting, and he could only trust himself.
::Caution: alien intrusion not eliminated.::
::I'd tell you to get your processor out of mine, but right now you are too useful!:: Starscream snapped. ::Just remember, once we leave, you're not invited in here!::
::Separation: desired,:: Soundwave agreed, but he wrapped his tendrils deeper into Starscream's public mind, shielding him as best he could. ::Repairs: status?::
::Weapons functional,:: Starscream preened, darkly entertained.
::Statement of obvious facts: typical parameters.::
Starscream scowled his way, but it was true enough. ::What else is in this place?::
::Exploration ill-advised. Wait for return of scouts, then depart.::
::Who put you in charge?:: Starscream thundered over to try and tower over Soundwave, irritated at the whole experience so far.
Soundwave, perhaps judging the Seeker's mindset to be too unstable right now for any true pushing, opted to tilt his helm just slightly to one side, exposing the more vulnerable plating of his neck.
::Suggestions. Tactical advice.::
Starscream pondered that, liking the show of subservience even if he knew it was just that, an illusion.
Truthfully, the idea of pede-licking sycophants left him as wretchedly ill in his core as it had Megatron. He accepted this as one more maneuver in the game they had chosen to play out and nodded.
::Once your pes -- allies return, we will find a suitable location on Cybertron, as befits us, to work from,:: Starscream said in full authority of the situation.
It hurt nothing, Soundwave reasoned, to pander to Starscream's ego. He knew the facts. There would be time to wrangle them with the stubborn Seeker later. Right now, he just wanted to preserve the Casseticons he had with him, for the links to those in hiding were dim, as if many of them had dropped into stasis without his safety around them.
He would not admit relief when Ravage, looking smugly satisfied, bounded into view, leaping and transforming with a demand for Soundwave to open. No sooner had he seated himself in the chamber than both fliers swooped in, the gears clicking as they too dropped into cassette form for storage.
Now, Soundwave could fully digest the information Ravage had pulsed at him. He was skeptical, but the Cassetticon had been party to a piece of Cybertronian history that was little more than a historically political backdrop for Soundwave.
::Departure: imperative.:: He leaped up into Starscream's opening canopy, both of them transforming with a synchronicity that was near perfect, much as Starscream and Megatron had once been capable of.
::So you keep rattling on,:: Starscream snapped, firing his thrusters and launching into space once more. Soundwave felt the rumble of bliss in the plates of the Seeker at the way the lack of gravity and his fresh repairs combined to make him feel fully free.
It was one more thing Soundwave noted for his files on the capricious ally he had taken on.
::Ravage's data incoming,:: he said, once they were just about clear of any reach the satellite might have in its derelict state. As he sent that, he also sent the coded signal to Ravage's bombs, ripping out even more of the interior of the once powerful Unmaker.
Starscream accepted the data packet, then openly scoffed at the contents. ::Myths, legends, and night terrors is what that cybercat offers?::
Starscream remained skeptical, but even his scientific side had to admit the way the battle had left the local space and the loss of the moons corroborated the hypothesis, and Soundwave could feel it.
::We need a base,:: Starscream sent, dismissing the concept of the Unmaker as no longer worth his time.
::Agreed. Viable location?:: Soundwave listed off many of the cities that had been under Decepticon control.
::None of those. Somewhere they won't expect us to be, for when we begin taking back Kaon from Shockwave,:: Starscream said with a deep satisfaction rooted in the idea of Shockwave's frame broken beneath him.
Soundwave caught the flavor of where in the hidden satisfaction, and wished he was in root mode to cock his helm in obvious confusion at Starscream's insanity.
Soundwave was not that insane, but he would let Starscream unveil his warped way of thinking over time, and then assert more direct control as necessary.
He might even find abandoning Starscream to be the most viable option, but at least for now, he'd cooperate.
Amazingly, Starscream was correct. Soundwave had to admit the Seeker had taken splendid advantage of the chaos-strewn landscape to park them neatly in a small, defensible, abandoned corner of the sprawling city's ruins.
They had access to energon stores that the Seeker's sensors had located, plenty of parts to complete upgrades according to their needs based on the warped fighter that had interrupted the pageantry of Starscream's coronation.
Possibly the only downside to their location was that they only had each other for company. Soundwave would have been content to focus on the upgrades alone, but Starscream, he discovered, needed a constant audience.
It made Soundwave's existence a trifle more troublesome than it had been before, but in some ways, the communication officer was learning more than enough to know how best to manage his partner.
All of this was as they scoured the bandwidths for intelligence, the Casseticons scouting out carefully, and learning that the war might very well be over, which was a situation neither mech was prepared to face.
Absence of hostility due to casualty rates was not a victory, which meant the war still raged for both of them.
"Personal location breached frequently; explain," Soundwave said, stopping from the run down on their plan for a raid into this so-called Prime's territory to get a better view of Autobot strengths.
Starscream was very close to the communicator, and even when accused of it did nothing to move himself away.
"It's been three orns since we came here, and we've scouted, and we've raided, and we know Shockwave appears to have disappeared, and we know there is a truce... but I am bored with this skulking about and I'm restless!" Starscream informed Soundwave. "When does this plan of ours start moving?!"
"Data known. Incorrect response to query."
Starscream frowned and shifted his wings back defensively. "It's enough, you overblown comm device!"
Soundwave added that insult to the list of ones he had accumulated over the last orn, that being how long Starscream's growing restless energy had been shoving him into closer contact with Soundwave.
He analyzed the data he had compiled so far on his partner, and was surprised that it matched a pattern of behavior he had already catalogued early on in the war. The reason for surprise was that the behavior had never been directed at him; he had merely observed it.
"Starscream: seeks mate?"
It was the closest Soundwave had ever come to being surprised in his vocal response through the entire war because of Starscream.
Starscream huffed air out of his vents and threw himself halfway across the chamber indignantly. "As if you could ever satisfy my tastes!" he snapped.
Again, the behavior fit the pattern, and how often had that kind of rebuff led to the pair leaving the command room independently, and giving Soundwave a processor ache from how fierce their static would grow in the heat of their union? Soundwave considered the options carefully.
If he pursued, there was a chance, slender though it might be, that Starscream had only acted out of bored habit.
If he did not, there was a greater chance Starscream would be insulted at not being pursued. The Seeker adored being at the center of attention, and Soundwave was the only audience for him to play to currently.
Soundwave added in his own opinion on the entire thought of Starscream. If he pursued the physical nature Starscream seemed to need, would it give him a stronger hold on the Seeker?
Was that why Megatron had kept Starscream on such a close leash, even when Starscream was being loudly insulting to their plans? Did it provide an avenue to guide Starscream's gifts into more profitable ventures?
Soundwave reached out, mentally, without even changing his frame's alignment to the table they had been laying the plans out on, calling up the data in three-dimensional detail. Starscream, after all, was as simple as Rumble or Frenzy in his sensuality. All it took was a light energy surge against certain pathways in the processor...
"Ngggffff...." Starscream could not still his vocalizer from the protest and invitation for more, but it came out as a mangled gasp of a moan, even as his wings shuddered violently in hunger for more.
"Starscream... not unpleasing in appearance."
"Of course I'm not! I am Starscream, and there is no one who can compare!" Starscream protested as soon as he stopped shaking with that taste of what Soundwave could do... without even touching him.
"Appearance: only one factor," Soundwave baited, and was rewarded with Starscream immediately closing the distance between them.
Soundwave turned, his full frame turned outward in time for Starscream to straddle his thighs, crimson optics glaring malevolently.
"As if you have any ability to judge this," Starscream informed Soundwave, voice full of his complete arrogance before using his glossa to trace one of the helm side vents, in a maddeningly slow pattern.
"Assumption false. Data flawed," Soundwave told him clearly, though that did feel quite good. He seared another energy spike along those processor neurons, satisfied by the way it made Starscream writhe on his legs.
It would be deadly to him to grow accustomed to this, yet there was something empowering to have Starscream at his mercy, because of Starscream's own flaws. Soundwave finally gave into temptation, confirming for himself that Seeker wings were delicate and ultra-sensitive to touch. As noisy as Starscream could typically be in all that he did, Soundwave found he rather liked the sound of these quieter moans, and the gasps, along with the flutter of cooling fans and revving engines. All he had to do was touch those wings, alternating between gentle caresses like he would give Laserbeak's wings, and the rougher, hard pinches and grasps that sent Starscream into writhing motion on his lap.
The pulses along Starscream's processor nodes added to the sensation, though, making Starscream's energy fields cycle higher and higher, caressing Soundwave with the edges, making the communicator hunger for taking it from his partner. Soundwave waited until he was certain Starscream wasn't thinking at all, just feeling, lost in his sensualist nature, and then ran a hand down along the canopy, coaxing at the seams.
Starscream's panting denial surprised Soundwave, and he turned his attention to increasing the pleasure Starscream felt, to break through the resistance. Starscream cried out, shuddering in a miniature overload that left him dangerously overheating, but when Soundwave stroked the seams of the canopy again, Soundwave received another denial, and no sign of that seam cracking around the brilliant energy contained within.
Soundwave was perplexed, and growing frustrated, because the temptation of the swirling fields was calling to him, demanding his mastery of it, and yet... Starscream resisted him.
Soundwave could not parse that reaction, and his need was growing in proportion to both the resistance and the sheer level of Starscream's fields playing over his own sensors. He pressed into the links that had tied them together, both the blatant one and the one Soundwave knew Starscream guarded against now. He encountered resistance on both fronts, but here, Soundwave was merciless, demanding to know why Starscream denied them. As his greater mind overcame the opposition, Starscream shuddered again, crying out on his lap as another overload tingled its way through his systems, threatening a cascade of shut-downs if he continued fighting his own release.
That was the key, Soundwave grasped, and he moved, swift and sure, twisting with Starscream to dump him on the table instead. The heavy connection of that solid surface on Starscream's wings made the Seeker buck and thrash, but Soundwave pinned him with his bulk, fingers curling at the seam of the opening that had defied him.
::Open.:: He burned the command down the links, turning the pulses from causing pleasure to causing pain. Starscream made a desperate noise, resisting still, though his frame could not be still. ::OPEN.:: The command/compulsion was stronger this time, and when the seam parted slightly, Soundwave pulled at it, forcing it open. He did not quite understand why that made Starscream shudder in pleasure, rather than pain, but he wasted no time in opening his own compartment.
Spark to spark interfacing was dangerous in its own right, giving Soundwave a new thrill to ponder later, as he felt the war between their energies begin. He remained over Starscream, drinking in the way Starscream's processor swirled chaotically in response to the union, letting that further his own pleasure. This time, when the energy surges built in Starscream and cycled to overload, the Seeker gave in, and let the energy spiral out of control through all his systems, the resultant backlash through his spark catching Soundwave's and dragging him over a sudden, unexpected peak and into overload with his partner.
Starscream lazily shuttered his Spark, closing the canopy back over it, as Soundwave was inspecting his systems one by one in the aftermath of their recreational activity. The communicator had many things to analyze, new data to place into files, but overall, he had to admit to feeling as if he had gone through a solid defragmentation and disk clean.
"Now, where were we on this planning?" Starscream asked just as if he wasn't the most debauched thing, wearing smears of blue in paint transfer.
Soundwave decided it was worth getting back to their task as well, rather than worry about whatever paint he now had from his partner. At least now, he did have a better plan on how to focus Starscream, with added benefits to his own systems.