Scion prowled the corridors of the palace with something akin to irritation slowly settling into every line of his magnificent new wings. He had fully integrated the upgrades, and felt confidence in them, but Ratchet had given some of those to Starscream as well. That meant the development of Starscream usurping command of the Flights was not just a small speed bump in his own future plans.
Well, there would be one more upgrade to do, and this time, Scion planned to design it completely on his own. He would correspond with the Autobot medic, strictly because Hook was not to be trusted at this point, but the eventual upgrade would be completely his own doing.
He did not want to admit that he was at loose ends. Starscream's arrival in his life as more than a ghostly presence had curtailed some of his access to Megatron. Just thinking about what his leader would want with a known traitor and seeming sycophant left Scion's tanks roiled. In addition to this, Scion had never -- even down to his binary memories -- trusted or liked Longarm. The majority of the newer Decepticons were followers of Longarm's plots. Blaster had been tolerable, but Blaster was gone. And while he was still fond of the Combaticons, he also knew that they were inherently dangerous in the long run, due to their loyalty being coerced by Megatron's clever programming.
He was alone, and that made him sharply conscious of the duos, trines, quads, and other configurations among the other fliers.
Why was he the last Seeker created, and when would the situation change? He could not rise to his supreme destiny if he did not have his own supporters, after all.
"This is an intolerable situation!"
Soundwave sympathized with the fierce mech who refused to sit down. However, he did not approve of the amount of anger so violently on display. Hook thought he had done well to provide the new generations a leader who was strong-willed and dedicated to a future they had agreed on. However, Soundwave would need to start grooming Longarm a little more closely to bring out the dispassionate logic lurking beneath the surface.
Perhaps a minor crisis could be arranged, to test Longarm thoroughly? It was worth contemplating.
"Fliers are unnecessary at this stage. Continue the plans as drawn," Soundwave told the immature coordinator. His gaze fell on Hook. "Utilize more of the Autobot forces."
"Lord Megatron is adamant that they be treated with… care," Hook said, his fields flaring in disgust.
"My efforts to make them more biddable to our goals will guide them to volunteer more," Soundwave promised Hook. "Until then, I have one who will keep an optic and audial on the fliers." It was going to be a useful test of Buzzsaw's capability to fill in for Laserbeak, after all.
"What about Starscream himself?" Hook asked in a voice that bordered on outright dangerous while masquerading as curiosity.
Soundwave's optics glinted cruelly. "Let him distract Megatron, as he always did. In the end, it will be their destruction."
Megatron sliced the security easily; his second's brilliance did have patterns after all, and he strode into the Air Commander's suite with utter disregard for what might be happening. In actuality, he was fully aware, the pulsing thrum of Starscream's preening satiation all too familiar to the warrior. He moved directly to the doorway that separated him from the pile of sensuously entwined Seekers, pausing there to appreciate the view. However, he had more important things to attend, and Starscream was already aware enough of him to begin shoving his mates off of his wings and limbs.
"Lord Megatron," Starscream said with a long, drawn out tone that said he was in no hurry, even as Thundercracker stiffly rose and Skywarp sulkily whined for the intrusion.
"We have an agenda to discuss, Air Commander," Megatron informed his second, optics raking over the other pair of Seekers before he went out… Starscream falling in behind him swiftly enough. Megatron kept his silence all the way to the outer courtyards, and then he leapt skyward, transforming to lead the way into a flight that Starscream struggled to keep up with.
Megatron had upgraded his own systems to keep ahead of his treacherous second, studying the designs in Scion's new frame to adapt what he wanted to himself. He enjoyed pushing Starscream to keep up, forcing the Seeker's smaller engines to work harder, sensors raking the performance to see if Starscream was truly worth his time.
He liked what came back to him on those scans.
::You mentioned planning, oh Lord,:: Starscream sent once he had acquired enough data on his new engines to be certain that Autobot medic hadn't fouled something in the building.
::Look around you for once, and see what needs work!:: Megatron snapped at him, their flight having carried them far from the rebuilt portion of their planet.
Molten slag, twisted metal, deep ravines… all of these sights sped by beneath their flight. Starscream struggled to put the sights into logic boxes, problems to be sorted and categorized, then dealt with, but the sheer wrench of it made his engines sputter once. He forced more power to them, hating the show of emotional weakness…and then Megatron spoke to him once more.
::You care for Cybertron. Put your brilliance to work in finding a solution faster than that petty, preening Constructor!::
With that, Megatron banked their flight, leading it into a sharp turn to return to his city… a sobered Starscream flying off his wing and barely behind, just as it should be.