Starscream hated being dead.
It was immensely frustrating. Somehow, even after being shot by Galvatron’s cannon he had survived. Or at least, his spark had. He had no body or frame of his own, he couldn’t interact with anything physically unless he possessed it. So mostly he was stuck wandering through space as a disembodied spark.
As far as eternal damnations went, he hadn’t been expecting Primus to choose ‘eternal boredom’ for him. Unable to do anything, unable to feel anything, just forever stuck as he was. The vastness of space was quite boring when you couldn’t do anything in it. He was starting to worry this was how things were going to be forever now.
He wondered if this was some last bit of revenge against him by Megatron. After all, he had been responsible for his death, and he probably would have enjoyed the idea of Starscream suffering eternally stuck like this. At this point, the only thing that kept him going was the desire to find a way to enact his revenge.
Unfortunately, like this, it hadn’t been going well. He’d made one attempt at possessing Galvatron’s henchmen, but since then he’d lost his host and been forced to sail through space. Thanks to this he now had plenty of time to reflect on everything that had gone wrong in his life, which unfortunately was a lot. The more he thought about it, the more it felt like life had it out for him since the start.
In his youth, he had met nothing but prejudice as he tried to do more outside his assigned role as a warbuild and become a scientist. He’d been met only with mockery and derision by everyone, except the one person he cared about… the only other mech in the academy that was a flight frame like him. The person he loved more deeply in the world than anyone. Someone he then lost in the ice of a stupid backwater planet. After that, he’d been thrown out of the science academy and joined the Decepticons to get his revenge. Only to be trodden under heel by Megatron for years, when it should have been HIM! Him leading the Decepticon army to their full potential! And then when he had finally achieved his goal, had overthrown Megatron and gotten his wish… he had been killed. Every single turn in his life had been met with failure and humiliation.
He had deserved better. Life had decided to continually beat him down. Even when it had presented him with a small glimpse of happiness it had then conspired the whole time to wrench it from his grasp.
If he had the chance, he would do it all differently. If he could start over again knowing everything he did now he would carve out a much better life for himself.
It was then he noticed a planet off in the horizon, he didn’t know why, but something beckoned him to it. So his spark headed forward.
The planet was clearly a former Cybertronian outpost, with technology from long, long before the war even. All of it too far back for Starscream to tell when it could have been made. All of it was ancient and crumbling, there were once grand and golden spires making up the intricate cities of this planet, but now it was all falling apart.
Terrible winds buffeted the planet, eroding the buildings away further still. The winds managed to topple over one giant statue that had clearly been eroded piece by piece under its supports and just could not hold it anymore. Time had done its job with this place.
Starscream didn’t feel any of the winds as he arrived, though. He felt nothing. The cold vacuum of space felt no different to him than the searing heat of a volcano planet. Sometimes he longed for a body just to feel again.
He wandered about the planets surface though, wondering precisely what had drawn him here. Maybe it was just the boredom of looking at nothing all day. At least it was a change of scenery.
Still, it felt like there was more to this place than met the eye. The buildings were long desolate and useless, but he could see that the buildings gave way underneath to start forming tunnels and caverns, untouched by the winds. Something was down there, so he went to take a look.
He wandered through long twists of metal openings that would have once been hallways, roads, and corridors, but were now all completely empty. Down here the metal was more intact, and as he went deeper into the structure, he could see more glimpses of technology.
He didn’t know enough about ancient Cybertronian technology to tell exactly what everything was, but he had seen some of these things before, during some of the expeditions Megatron had ordered him to undertake in order to find forgotten weapons they could use to help destroy the Autobots.
Then he heard a set of voices, Cybertronian ones. He came closer, knowing he wouldn’t be seen or even noticed by anyone if he so wished and he endeavoured to find the source of the noise.
There were three Cybertronians sitting down in one of the tunnelways. Two very small ones and a larger mech. They were all only lit by a couple of lamps they had taken with them. The two much smaller frames spoke to each other, talking over a large datapad they were both scribbling on, while the large mech sat cross-legged, simply observing. None of them had any sigils on their plating, so they were neutrals. Starscream felt a disdain rising for them already. The large one was clearly some sort of space shuttle. He was similar in build to Skyfire, with a large set of wings on his back along with his engines. This one had clearly been built for the sole purpose of space travel, though. A visor and faceguard covered his face. He sat quietly and didn’t say anything, unlike the others. Starscream looked and tried to gauge if they were grounders. He didn’t see any wheels on their backs. They didn’t look like they were vehicles; both of them were much too small and fragile looking. They had spindly arms and legs and were clearly not built for combat. One of them had a large pack on his back, clearly filled with all sorts of different equipment. He could see bits of measuring equipment and glass test tubes hanging from it. He wore a large set of optical enhancers. The other one had a fat chest unit that was clearly meant for storing things and had a set of grabbing claws for his hands.
Science frames. Starscream realized, his disdain for them increased. He hated science frames. They looked precisely like the type that had mocked him throughout the entire time he had been at the scientific academy. Those types of mechs were always so smug and self-righteous. Starscream had enjoyed the number he had killed when he helped burn Iacon Academy to the ground. Still though, for now, they could be useful. So he stayed silent and observed them as they were speaking.
“We’ve searched all of the eastern caverns, so the question is where to go from here, north or south?” the first one said, pointing to the data pad. “I think north is where the old capital was located. I think that’s where we’ll make the most interesting discoveries.”
“I think we should finish writing down all the data we have before we press on to explore anything else. I still haven’t been able to date some of the samples we have found,” the second one said.
“We can date sedimentary samples later, Stonebolt. I’m convinced there’s something really important beyond that broken blast door. I’m sure of it. We could be on the verge of uncovering some of the most amazing secrets from Cybertron’s history. Imagine what that’ll be like.”
Starscream listened and watched. The two of them were revising a hand-drawn map of the caverns on a datapad, marking bits they’d decided were of archaeological importance. Starscream read through their notes but saw nothing of interest. He saw that there was a scribble he assumed marked where the first mech had been talking about the blast door. He wondered what could be there.
The shuttle sat beside them, not saying anything as he watched them with apparently never-ending patience. His visor glowed pleasantly.
“Well, you can go through the samples we’ve already collected, and Startracker and I will go and investigate the north area,” the first mech suggested.
“Hmm, alright then,” Stonebolt said. “Be careful, Chiselpick.”
“Will do,” Chiselpick replied, standing up. “Startracker, follow me.”
The shuttle stood up without saying a word and obeyed. Starscream followed alongside them both. They eventually reached a place where there had clearly been a cave-in at one point. Rocks and debris covered a giant broken door that was made of several miles of thick metal.
“Startracker! Clear the way forward!” the science bot shouted. The shuttle wordlessly got to the task, picking up the heavy amounts of rock and moving them out the way. Starscream watched the science bot with a sense of disdain, seeing it treat a flyer as only a piece of equipment to be used. Like he’d seen so many of his fellow mechs do to Skyfire.
He only observed for the moment, though, waiting until he knew what best to do. After they cleared the way, Chiselpick led the way inside the room. Starscream came along with them. He looked around the vast room and then stopped as he recognized a device he had seen before: a strange old platform with a control panel that marked its measurements not in terms of energy or output, but in terms of years and dates.
This was a Chronosphere.
Starscream moved towards it, examining the grand device. He had only seen it once before. The Decepticons had used it in a scheme to try and strand the Aerialbots at the beginning of time. It hadn’t worked, but he knew this device was capable of time travel.
A chill went through his spark as he realized what was before him. This might be just the thing he’d need. If he could gain control of the device, he could do anything. He could go back in time and change the past. Change everything. Glory, power, control, it could all be his.
If only he had a body…
He turned to the science frame. He was looking at the Chronosphere but was confused by the machine. That stupid idiot had no idea what this device was. It was almost too perfect.
Starscream took his chance, stepping into the science frame’s body. He felt a surge as he began to override the bot’s systems, taking full control away from him. The mech tried to scream and call out the moment he began to realize something was up, but it was already too late. Starscream silenced him, and then took his consciousness and bundled it up somewhere it wouldn’t be able to interfere. It was almost too easy. Finally, he had a body again. Thin, tiny, and weak, but a body nonetheless.
He gave a triumphant sneer and then looked at the Chronosphere. Finally, it was all his. All he had to do now was repair it. He turned to the shuttle, who had been clearing more debris out the way.
“Startracker! Come here!” he shouted. “You have new orders. I need you to move this equipment and hook it up to this machine.”
Startracker gave a polite nod and did as he said. Starscream ordered him about, getting him to help as he started to work on the control panel. The mech obeyed flawlessly as he continued the repairs bit by bit.
Starscream got lost in his work as he continued to work on the Chronosphere. Gradually it came closer to being completed. As he fixed the broken wiring and the thing finally came back online, he heard the glorious hum of its systems rebooting.
“Chiselpick, what are you doing?” Starscream looked up and looked at the little sedimentary sample bot from earlier.
“Oh yes, I had forgotten about you,” Starscream said, leaning back on the control panel. He felt around in his circuits for any weapons. The science frame was equipped only with a laser cutter, more meant for cutting out rock samples, but it would still do something.
“You found something still functional here, and you didn’t tell me?” Stonebolt asked.
“Oh no, I fixed it myself.”
“What? But how? Do you even know what it does?”
“Oh, I do. It’s a Chronosphere. It’s capable of transporting mechs through time.”
“What? But a device like that could be incredibly dangerous.”
“Well, fortunately, I don’t care. I’m simply going to use this to travel back in time.”
“What? Are you mad? You couldn’t do something like that.”
Starscream threw back his head and laughed. “Oh, but I will. I’ve been trapped out here for far too long. I will use this chance to go back in time and become the leader of the Decepticons, the ruler of Cybertron, and even the whole universe.”
The sedimentary sampler stared at him, optics wide. “What’s wrong with you?”
“Absolutely nothing. Just thinking a little differently now, that’s all. My name is Starscream, and I’m in control of this body. And with this wonderful discovery of yours, I shall soon have everything in life I ever wanted.”
“Not if I stop you!” The science frame charged at him. Starscream lifted up the laser cutter and fired. Hitting the mech right in the chest through his spark chamber, his body fell and crumpled to the ground.
The shuttle stepped forward, moving to grab him. Starscream spun around and pointed the cutter at him.
“You killed him!” the shuttle growled.
“Would you really side with them? Do you think they care about you?”
“They are my friends.”
“I would say ‘were’ your friends.”
The shuttle charged forward. Starscream fired a blast that went straight through its visor, piercing its processor. It collapsed to the floor with a thud.
“What a stupid mech,” he muttered before he went back to the controls. He set the coordinates to the right time. The machine flared to life, and he stepped through.
Starscream relinquished control of his body back to the science frame. It took the mech a moment to recalibrate. He blinked as though the last few breems had been a dream, and then realization hit him.
“Oh, Primus! Stonebolt and Startracker! They’re dead!”
“Ah yes, all by your hand,” Starscream whispered to him.
“No…” Chiselpick clearly tried to look around, finding only darkness. “Where am I?”
“You’re in the same room you were in a moment ago, only now seven million years back in the past. The cave entrance is still blocked, and no one will reach this planet until long after your energon resources have run out. I imagine they’ll be quite surprised to find a corpse like yours here when they do. Future archaeologists will have quite the day trying to make sense of that.”
“This can’t be happening.”
“Oh, trust me, it is,” Starscream said. “But don’t worry. You won’t have to wait that long. I set the controls on the Chronosphere to overload in ten minutes. You’ll be dead soon enough.”
He laughed as he felt panic flood the sciences frames field.
“But I have to leave you for now. I have other places I need to be. I must get back to Cybertron.”
And with that he vacated the helpless scientist’s body, leaving him alone and struggling to get through the blocked door as the time slowly ran out.
Starscream’s spark went back through space, this time with a renewed sense of purpose. Starscream would say it was a very good day so far.