Soundwave, as was natural, probed the weaknesses of his fellow lieutenants early in the war. He found Shockwave's mental shields wary and guarded in ways that made it a true challenge to thread his way in. Starscream, on the other hand, seemed to be an open data file, all ambition and ego.
Appearances, he learned, could be very deceiving as he lay on his back, blaster muzzle pressed tight to a sensor array that would easily incapacitate him but not kill him… immediately.
"Query: target goal equivalent value to existence?" Soundwave asked swiftly, attempting to plant the firm impression in Starscream's processor that Megatron would be displeased if a deactivation happened this way.
That processor that had seemed so clear in its drive and goal was barbed with vicious anti-incursion routines that left Soundwave hastily retreating from that course.
"You made a mistake. You're not like Shockwave not like me in your skills, and yet Megatron selected you," Starscream told the other mech in a low hiss. "Communicators have often been rumored to data sweep other mechs… so I left the defenses down to see."
HOW had Soundwave failed to see that, to understand that the layers of defenses he had penetrated had been false? And what lay beneath what he had seen?
"Stay out of my processor, and I might have use for you myself, Soundwave, when I take control." The glint of Starscream's optics were in time with a flare of the Seeker's energy fields, an exultant pulse of ambition. "Come in again, and you won't know your deactivation is coming. This is your only warning."
Starscream smiled, pulling away from Soundwave with utter confidence.
"Consider my trine before you claim that."
He would just have to break Skywarp's bond first to be safe.