Thundercracker did his best to remain still and 'dead' to all human senses, his form cloaked by a holo so that he matched this country's aging fleet of fighter jets. It galled him to use such trickery, but he was low on fuel, like most of the Seekers, and had to have whatever he could get, any way he could, to keep from losing the skies. The longer they stayed on this mudball, the more confined he felt even in the upper atmosphere.
It had been nearly half a vorn, four of the local decades or so, since they had awakened and resumed their battle. As it had been on Cybertron, it had looked like the war would steady into a stalemate again. Then, two decades prior, the Autobots had started pushing them hard. Thundercracker had watched the war turn form a 'they win one, we win one' to something that was starting to look suspiciously like 'The Autobots win the war'.
Megatron insisted they were on the verge of great victory. Shockwave had been supporting this propaganda, while Soundwave made it believable for most of the troops. Starscream….
Thundercracker's dentaplates ground together. Starscream had allowed himself to become such an object of ridicule, that he was just there, a puppet leader for the Seekers who were too miserable in their confinement below the waves, too hungry, and too run down to properly overthrow their useless leader. There wasn't a Seeker, Thundercracker included, who didn't think about it, but Thundercracker didn't want the position, and Skywarp was too entrenched with Megatron to kill off the despot's pet whipping toy.
That was another sour spot that turned the fuel Thundercracker was finally receiving into a mass of vitriol in his tanks. Skywarp had been his bonded mate before Starscream had part of their trine. They'd flown duo for vorns prior to the war. Yet, on Cybertron, Skywarp had steadily ignored both the Seeker causes and Thundercracker himself with growing regularity over the course of the war. By the time they had come to Earth, Thundercracker had begun to feel like he barely existed as anything but someone to be used when Skywarp was in the mood.
It had all come to a head with their awakening on this planet. Skywarp had been first. Skywarp could have turned the entire war on its ear, and put the Seekers in firm leadership of their entire race, if he had been loyal to his kind first.
By all rights, he should have repaired Starscream, or, at worse, Thundercracker first. Megatron had never been more vulnerable than in that moment. Yet, out of some misguided loyalty to an untrue flier, Skywarp had repaired the power-mad despot first. And that, Thundercracker knew, had been the truest sign that Skywarp was not his any longer.
Now, Thundercracker was stuck in this worsening status quo, alone and bereft of any reason to care about anything other than getting the fuel to fly.
It wouldn't be long before even that wasn't enough.
Starscream was not intending to meet anyone on his trek into space. He knew it was a wasteful burn of fuel to escape gravity, but at this point he could care less. Megatron had returned to Cybertron, obstinately insisting this next push would be the one to seal the Autobot fates. Soundwave had gone with him, but Starscream had oh so logically pointed out that one of the command staff should remain on Earth, forsaken as it was, to oversee the army. Megatron had conceded, which gave Starscream plenty of time to himself by delegating actual boring command to Motormaster. The wheeled freak had jumped on the chance, and Starscream had shot off for space.
Now, though, his solitude was being encroached upon, as a gleaming inbound speck grew larger. Starscream's sensors had warned him with plenty of time to leave, jockey for advantage, or even just shoot the shuttle from long range.
He hadn't. There was no one to impress with his ruthlessness. There was no immediate gain. There were too many unanswered questions about exactly what it would do to him, if he killed the other half of his spark for all time.
He remained right where he was, invitation enough by the fact he had not left the orbit he was in. It was up to Skyfire to make the next move.
Contrary to some beliefs, Skyfire did not have a problem taking initiative, especially where Starscream was concerned. The Seeker watched as the shuttle seemed to effortlessly maneuver to match orbit, fields just barely overlapping the smaller flier. That buzz, so potent with life and energy made Starscream hunger all over again, but Skyfire had made his choice. It was all Skyfire's fault they were not together. And Megatron's, but everything was always that one's fault.
::So the mighty space-taxi returns to this pitiful excuse of a mudball,:: Starscream sent by way of greeting.
::Hello, Starscream.:: Skyfire's tone and send were as unruffled as ever. ::I don't see you out here very often.:: That was laced in curiosity.
::I have far better uses for my energies!:: Starscream huffed, not wishing to admit that he neither had the freedom nor the reserves to make the trip as often as he wished to. ::Some of us have important duties for our chosen side,:: he added as snidely as he could manage, refusing to envy his former partner. He reminded himself time and again that all the Autobots wanted Skyfire for was to be a transport, and that they ignored all of what set Skyfire separate from his frame class.
The ripple of a deep sensor scan impacted his awareness, and Starscream wanted to shriek in outrage as Skyfire cut through his usual defensive chaff to see him clearly. However, the cringe in Skyfire's fields, and the way the shuttle shifted protectively closer were far too gratifying on certain levels that were achingly tired of pretenses.
::Why are you so near stasis-lock?:: Skyfire demanded in shock.