“Megatron! Megatron!” Screamed through the underground holo-news that broadcasted out of Kaon’s pits. The gray bot watched himself as the highlights were replayed. He grinned, red optics glinting. It had been a small crowd by the arena’s usual standards. Normally, Megatron would have saved himself for one of the busier, higher ticket events that drew from all over Cybertron. Instead, it was a local crowd. However, Megatron needed a work out, and to put some of the newer fighters to the test.
The announcers queued his favorite thirty nano-cycles of the battle. Megatron had the fighter by the wrist, beginning to fling the smaller bot, Steelbolt, in a circle, gaining the momentum to toss him to the virus addled fans. Instead, something disconnected exploding in Megatron’s hand. he shook it away, throwing remains to his side.
Steelbot stood in front of him on his feet, smirking. He wiped energon away from his mouth. He held up the arm Megatron had been spinning him with. There was a sparking stump in place of where his wrist had been.
Megatron grinned, razor clamps snapping in in challenge. He gestured, waving the other fighter to attack.
He weaved as Steelbolt attempted to shove the energon leaking stump into his face plating. His opponent was a live wire, with enough processing power to know how to use it to his advantage. Of course, parts would be a credit a dozen by the time the day’s fighting would be over, so a fighter could cast aside parts at will.
Megatron snatched with his teeth, grabbing hold of Steelbolt’s broken hand. Energon and plasma sparked in his mouth. He opened the valves, taking Steelbolt’s energon into himself. It enlivened Megatron as he ripped out the rest of the arm.
Raising above his head, he held it up in triumph. It was sturdier than Megatron would have thought. His smile widened as he looked to Steelbolt. It would make an excellent club. With a well placed swing, Steelbolt’s head went flying into the crowd....
Settling back into the post-match oil bath, he released a pent up exhalation of gases that had collected deep within his inner turbines.
“Must we watch this again, ‘Tronus?” The black and purple femme asked.
“Airi.” He chuckled, more to himself than to her. “How shall I keep my fighting edge if I do not search for possible chips in my blade?”
“You did well,” Airachnid snapped as the holographic image disappeared from in front of them. “Now, watch yourself some other time.” She moved closer to him in the dark, viscous liquid. Droplets fell from her delicate probes as the dipped in and out. Her hands went to his shoulder before disappearing beneath his chest plating.“Your joints need to be lubricated.”
“Ah,” His head leaned back against the wall of the oil tub. “Where would I be without your ministrations?”
“Here.” She laughed. Her upper probes slid around Megatron as she began to open his spark chamber. “But with your own gauntlets doing the work instead of finer instruments.”
The comms overhead bleeped. Someone was at the door.
“It never ends,” Megatron vented again, pulling away from Airachnid.
“Send whoever it is away.”
“There is too much at stake now,” He rose from the pit of oil, letting it drop around him. Airachnid sunk deeper, the colors changing and reflecting around her as she made rolling ripples.
“Enter!” Megatron shouted after banging on the communications.
“Sir?” Megatron turned to see Barricade’s hulking form at the door. He, at least, had the processors not to into the room.
“Well, what is it?”
“Orion Pax is hear to see you,” Barricade replied. “He says he has news.”
“News?” Megatron wiped the oil from his chin with his claws. He met Barricade’s optics. “Very well, send him up.”
“He insisted right away.” Barricade looked behind him.
“Brother!” Megatron’s optics lightened and flared. He smiled. “Brother, Orion, welcome to my quarters.”
“Yes,” The data archival mech replied. He twitched, every detail committing itself to his data storage out of habit.
“Did you see the match, brother?” Megatron put an arm around Orion’ blue shoulder plating. He was slight, far from a fighter.
“I congratulate you on your win, Megatronus,” Orion replied.
“‘Tron,” He corrected. “The crowds now call me Megatron.”
“Megatron,” Orion looked down, his optics briefly cast on Airachnid still in the oil. He looked away, cheek plating rising from shame, even as something burned inside his chamber. He had never been selected for a binding, for a new spark to be made from his coding.
“Did you see it?” Megatron asked.
“Unfortunately, I missed it,” Orion looked down. “I sped from Iacon with urgent news.”
“We can queue up the match if you would like,” Megatron smirked.
“No,” Airachnid leaned from the bath. “He rode all this way with information.”
“Ah,” Megatron looked between Orion, then at Airachnid before finally seeing Barricade hover in the doorway. He gestured with his palm, willing the underling away.
“Your name change?” Optimus asked.
“Yes?” The larger bot questioned.
“You did not chose to abbreviate it, but the crowds did?”
Orion looked down and frowned again.
“What, brother, you do not approve?”
“I....” He leaned in close enough to feel the heat from Megatron’s helm. “I do not feel it is my place. However, I fear you give the crowds too much.”
“Too much?” Megatron pulled away. “We do this for them, Orion.”
“But the mini-con revolt that claimed our ideals?”
“Was a long time coming,” Megatron reminded him. “We’ve used them as slaves for too long. The Council has used us all as slaves for too long!”
“And I agree,” Orion looked back at Airachnid, who was still waiting, seemingly patient for Megatron’s approval. “About the Council....”
“Out with it, brother!” Megatron laughed. “Have they caved and named us Primes, yet?”
“No,” Orion could not meet Megatron’s eyes, even if he was still elated by the news. “However, we have an audience to address them directly.”
“Last words before an execution, no doubt,” Megatron raised his chin. “Well, never let it be said Megatron did not stand for a fight.”
“My sources tell me this will be done in good faith,” Orion promised.
“Your sources?” Megatron glanced towards him. “Suddenly, you have sources within the Council?”
Orion grimaced. “Do you not have your own sources through all the levels of Cybertron?”
“Of course, of course. It would be difficult for a bot in my position not to.” He stood up straighter and chuckled. “I shall inform our followers! We will go the Council in mass!”
“Peaceably,” Orion added.
“Of course.” Megatron purred, patting Orion’s back plating. “What else would it be? But we will have all of our brothers and sisters standing beside us on the steps of the council in solidarity!”
“Very well, Megatron.”
“I will inform our followers!” Megatron began stalking towards the door. “And all of Cybertron will demand change.”
He looked back at Orion, “Get comfortable. We have much to celebrate.”
“I should be heading back to prepare our remarks.”
“Nonsense. We’re ready. We have argued the points between ourselves enough to handle the glitch-addled Council.” The door closed behind Megatron, leaving Orion with Airachnid.
“So which of you will be the savior of us all?” Airachnid asked.
“Each individual bot has it within them to decide their place on Cybertron.”
“Is that so?” Airachnid asked, the oil moved around her as she drew closer to the edge of the tub closest to Orion Pax.
“We each contain the capacity for self programing,” He replied. “We each contain the ability to change, transform, to become something new.”
“That is just our useful form, Orion,” She said. “This form is vestigial from the time of Primus. Our alternate forms will one day be our only forms in service of whoever rules us.”
“Yes, we have the capacity to change our alternate form at need.”
“It does not have to be like this,” He protested, feeling it in his spark.
“Orion,” She said. “Megatronus said you should make yourself comfortable.” She dipped a finger near her, making perfect circles ripple around her. “Join me.”
“I do no believe he meant...” Orion looked away.
“But I do, Orion Pax,” Airachnid moved to make room for him. “You’ve had a long drive here, I am certain your own joints need oiling.”
His optics met hers. He faltered, caught between his desires and his trepidation.
“Even you may decide your path,” She said, leaning forward slightly, beckoning. “He will be gone for a mega-cycle, at least. They will be celebrating.”
Frowning, he cast a glance at the door. Planning and celebrating Orion’s victory, and how they will exploit it. How it will be turned to civil war.... He could decide his fate, as well. He slid carefully into the cool oil a leg at a time.
“Orion Pax,” She waded closer to him, nestling next to him. The tip of one of her long probes stroked his face plating. “You’re stiff. Relax.”
“I am not used to such luxuries, Airachnid,” His optics widened. He had never been close to another such as this, especially not one such as Megatron’s favorite femme. It was just never meant for a bot of his programming.
“Well, if you are to be the ideological leader of Megatron’s movement, then perhaps, you should learn to enjoy them,”
“But you and Megatron...?” He asked.
She leaned closer, her mouth close to his. “I am I not free to chose my own destiny as well?”
“Yes.” Orion Pax quivered as he was being brought within her grasp. His spark chamber opened slowly, hinges squeaking from disuse.
“We should fix that,” She said, cupping oil in her palm and rubbing it in. Her fine claw tips springing forth to play on the filament wiring inside the casing.
He leaned back, releasing gases of his own.
“This truly is a first for you, isn’t it, Orion?” She asked, chuckling. Ports opened along her sides. Her data cables snaked out, connecting to Orion Pax. His own ports open with the slightest suggestion, excitedly. She savored his rapture. Nothing was held back, and everything was shared.
His thoughts, his feelings, his own plans and fears all came rushing too her quicker than she was used to. Her was a completely open data stream. There was so much information inside his memories. She searched for his base coding. Remarkably, it was still very much the same from when he was a mere protoform. Orion Pax was so young, it amazed her.
She copied his base coding, bringing it deep inside herself. She stripped through it, adding some of her own, and some of what she had kept from Megatron. Nanites took to it immediately. The replication process started right way.
Orion shuddered, caught up in the waves of pleasure, unable to share in Airachnid’s own memories and coding. They were too shrouded in pain in darkness, buried away. Despite the pleasure, they frightened him. They seemed to be a warning of things to come. After several cycles, it abated, and he could feel her disconnecting, sliding away from him. He blinked, checking his chronometer.
“We should not push our luck, Orion,” She said from the other side of the oil bath.. “Megatron is prone to jealousy.”
“I...” He rose slowly, stepping out of the pool. He shook himself carefully. “I should be going. Despite what he says, we must be prepared for the Council.”
“I should think so, Orion Pax.” Airachnid watched him with a smirk. The nanites inside her were already beginning to make their own choices, and shape their destiny. She simply needed to be placed into a protoform....
Orion headed to the door and tapped the controls.
“Orion,” She said. “If you ever meet a femme named Arcee, consider this evening....”
“Sure,” He shook his head, and walked out.