2018-05-27 Return to the Fold

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2018-05-27 Return to the Fold
Date 2018/05/27
Location Decepticon Encampment
Participants Megatron, Soundwave
Scene GM Ratchet
Summary Megatron has plans and a warning.

When the battle was over, Megatron did not leave Cybertron. He has not left Cybertron throughout the process of its rebirth and integration with the destroyer. The Decepticon moonbase was thoroughly destroyed by the attack, its threadbare defenders no match for the relatively small surge of worms that cut through it. Many of the tyrants ships were destroyed, as well, though the Castigator can be seen in orbit above the new planet, scaffolding erected around the numerous places where her hull was breached. But, the Lord of the Decepticons and his army endures.

Well, most of it. Now Megatron wanders among the dead, those who did not fall into Cybertron's core when the Tempo weapon was fired. They are arranged in rows, their frames dark and inert, bereft of the inner light that, though it is not yet clear how, was a spark of the greater cleansing light that ended the war against Unicron. Twice, now, gods have fallen on Cybertron's surface.

The tyrant pauses and looks out to a relatively open plain, where a light is building beneath the planet's surface. A hot spot will emerge here, once the nearby faults have settled and cooled. Megatron himself shows patches where he has been repaired following the battle, but he still wears many of the nicks and scrapes that come from front line engagement. For the moment, he is alone, though his servants lurk nearby.

Soundwave is one for lurking, he always has been. Not today.

Finally able to part from his work on the Lost Light, Soundwave immediately went the what was left of the Decepticon Moonbase. Just as he told Penchant, its much quieter on the moon. The gentler thougts of those that remain have nothing on the silent whispers that press so much more heavily- but something eases the weight. It spreads from his chassis and helps him make it past fellow Decepticons and to Megatron.

Soundwave marches out that way on soft, steady steps. Anyone who tries to stop him will get tenta-whipped in the face. His tires are worn from overuse. He's dirty and scuffed and dented. And there's streaks of dried energon running down his mask but compared to Megatron and the husks around them, he's in great shape.

A respectful distance from Megatron and Soundwave comes up short. He stands in a stiff parade rest, dim visor on the warlord. He doesn't speak to draw Megatron out of whatever reverie he is in. He just stands and waits like a good soldier.

Megatron is aware of Soundwave's presence, of course. He wouldn't have survived for so long if he couldn't sense someone sneaking up on him, much less someone who merely approached from a blindspot. He had anticipated Soundwave's coming at some point, and no one challenges his approach, though some might follow at a distance. Megatron has never hidden behind bodyguards, especially when the potential danger came from a fellow Decepticon. If he cannot rule any one, he could not rule them all.

The tyrant's thoughts are calm. Though there is rage ever present below the surface, ready to boil up in response to a challenge or when Megatron needs to draw on it, for now it is subdued. Megatron's hands remain loosely laced behind his back and his contemplation continues for a number of cycles. "I thought it best to lay them to rest here." He says, clearly to Soundwave though his gaze remains over the plain. "So that they could see what their sacrifice has purchased, and that those who come from this place will know who it was who paid the price for their lives. That is just." Now Megatron looks over his shoulder. "Do you agree, Soundwave?"

Soundwave turns his head to gaze upon the closest of the bodies. There's no sound to them. Like everything else that is empty of noise, there is no life in them. They are nothing more that materials for harvesting.

"Yes, Lord Megatron," Soundwave says rather blandly. But dealing with the social cues surrounding the dearly departed has never been his strong suit. Or any social anything, really. "Will they require recycling once they've had their funeral rites read? I can mark down their names before we do so," he offers, looking bat to Megatron's back.

Megatron regards Soundwave's response for a moment, his expression impassive and his thoughts calm. Megatron, supremely in control of his own will, has never been easy to read. Though of course it can be done. "Walk with me." He commands, before setting off among the row of bodies again. Iacon is not too distant, its dim lights illuminating the horizon. "I of course have many now under my command who could complete that task." He notes. "Is this your way of volunteering to return to my service?"

Soundwave nods stiffly before following Megatron. He has to take a few quick steps but soon he settles behind Megatron's left. A familiar spot. He keeps his head up, looking between Megatron and the horizon.

Soundwave hesitates, briefly, when the question is asked. "I wish to be here," he says quickly to make up for the beat of silence. "No one could complete that task as reliably as me," he adds for good measure.

Megatron cannot help but laugh, the sound a sharp bark. "You're talking about writing down a name, Soundwave." The tyrant sounds amused, stealing a glance at his one-time lieutenant. "Answer me plainly. You've come here for a reason, tell me what it is. Whether you are here for the Lost Light or for yourself."

Soundwave's spark tighens, his shoulders lifting when Megatron laughs. Even at his expense. Hearing it, the easy laugh. The laugh no one else gets, just for him. But he manages not to go plunging back into where that line of thought goes.

Soundwave's visor dims, hazy along the edges with crimson light. Plainly, mechanically even for him, he says, "I am to leave the Lost Light. I want a place here."

Megatron mmms, a sound thrumming deep in his chest. He's thinking, the cogs working beneath his helm as he continues to walk with Soundwave at his side. There is a certain familiarity to it, on this battlefield, among these dead. "You understand that, in considering this requst, I must weigh the fact that you remained with the Lost Light even after I had returned, indeed, assisted them even when I summoned my Decepticons to arms. I have other lieutenants, Turmoil, Raptorion, Terminus. Though I admit that your competence is equal to if not surpassing theirs, I have never had reason to doubt their loyalty." Megatron glances at Soundwave, the implication clear. "And loyalty is what I must have, is what I have always demanded." The tyrant stops and turns to face Soundwave. "Why now, that the crisis has passed? I needed you most when the danger was greatest."

Soundwave's ego swells with the compliment to his competency. How have the Decepticons made it here without him? A quick glance to the bodies on the ground and- oh, yeah. They almost didn't make it. He vents.

"I knew you would make it, as you always have. My faith in the Decepticons and you meant I needed to put my skills where they were needed even further. The Lost Light and Tempo- they required my... my..." Soundwave looks down. "My protection." And he failed. "With all of my duties fulfilled, I now wish to return. Me. And my cassettes."

Megatron stands up straighter, the rods and joints in his body creaking. Soundwave can sense the tyrant's rage starting to build as his sneer etches more deeply into his faceplate. "You have done nothing but lie to me since I returned." Megatron charges. "You served me for four million years, and you have the gall to stand among the dead, the dead Decepticons you abandoned to fight with the Autobots and the other traitors on the Lost Light, and pretend that you abandoned my service and gave counsel to our enemies for my benefit?" Megatron turns away. "I had thought you made of sterner stuff, Soundwave. If you cannot speak to me honestly, and give me true counsel, then I have no need of you anymore."

Soundwave is well acquainted with Megatron's rage. There are a few times the anger has been directed at him. But never did he let it phase him. Megatron would yell and then dismiss him. He considered himself different, unlike anyone else among the Decepticons to Megatron. He had nothing to fear. But, now... A foot moves back when Megatron speaks, ready to dodge or run.

Soundwave's jaw clenches, rebelling against the notion that he has lied to Megatron. He's done no such thing! Maybe avoided facts he didn't want to share but it is as he has always done. Perhaps this time he was just too obvious about it.

"Rodimus is dead," Soundwave says suddenly. He lowers his head. "I am to blame... I should never have left your side, my lord. I believed I could have all I wanted. I was foolish." He falls to one knee, kneeling in a bow to Megatron. "I wish to come back. Please, my lord."

Megatron regards Soundwave with an imperious sneer, unmoved physically by the kneeling posture his subordinate assumes, but Soundwave can sense the tide of his rage receding. If only a little. "Rodimus." The tyrant says the name. "I had wondered at his fate. In our line of work, Soundwave, those who make such sacrifices tend not to remain dead for long. Surely, none can doubt his bravery." Megatron gestures. "Rise. There may yet be ways that you can serve me, but it cannot be as it was. Not immediately." He appends. "But in time, well. I have confidence that you can return to the proper path."

Megatron turns and resumes his walk, now reaching the edge of the impromptu memorial. "Your time with the Lost Light will have given you insight into the thinking of the Autobot High Command, such as it is, as well as the colonists who served aboard the ship. So, as we begin again, counsel me, Soundwave." Megatron stops and turns. "What should I do now?"

Soundwave shakes his head a little. "I went to recover Rodimus's body but all I found was..." He doesn't finish, trailing off into silence. How cruel to tease at Rodimus's fate. No one comes back from the dead. Not like that. Soundwave braces himself against his knee before pushing back up to his feet. He stands there, head still held low. "Yes my lord," he says quietly before following after him.

Soundwave holds his arms stiffly at his sides as he stands beside Megatron, gazing at one of the dead before them. He considers what he knows. "Give everyone time to mourn. Then announce this memorial to the public, with the names of all those lost to Unicron. Acknowledging sacrifice past factions, will be remembered by future generations."

"A fitting gesture, for the short term." Megatron allows with a wave of his hand. "No doubt Starscream has something similar planned, along with this upcoming were close to Rodimus throughout the crisis. Surely Starscream will attempt to co-opt his memory. You should work with the other Autobots to ensure that does not happen." Clearly, the tyrant is thinking more long term. "Yes, the immediate path is clear. There is no appetite for faction. And yet, I am synonymous with the Decepticons, who I still command. Decepticons who fought and died against Unicrons, as Decepticons." Megatron inclines his head. "So. After the celebrations. After the memorials. When the monuments have been raised...what am I to do then? I can no longer go to Luna 1, not now, when a new Cybertron is coming together beneath my feet. I cannot abandon my homeworld."

The idea of Starscream using Rodimus's sacrifice- and all the others- for his own gain sounds like something Starscream would definitly do. It makes Soundwave's blood boil.

"Of course," Soundwave says. But he offers no simple solutions. Not immediately. There's what he wants to say and what he believes Megatron wants him to say. He ends up saying, "I believe, on this new Cybertron. With new life... We return to our roots as a faction. Speeches and writings and meetings. Protests."

"Mmm." Megatron lets his internals rumble as he considers Soundwave's words. He looks away from his lieutenant, across that field nearly gravid with new life. "I wonder how they would react. The Autobots and whatever Starscream's followers call themselves. The neutrals who fled our planet in fear of my power. In fear of my ambition." The tyrant sounds introspective. "If they would permit me to speak, or if I would again be forced to violence." Megatron looks back to Soundwave. "Tell me. What did you feel, when the Tempo weapon fired? When its light washed through you?"

Soundwave doesn't say anything about the violence. About how quickly he can see Megatron turning to it for any preconcieved notion of something not being as he wants. He doesn't get to linger on those thoughts, however.

"I... I felt hollow," Soundwave answers dutifully. He tacks on, "I don't wish to recollect or ponder the firing of Tempo into Unicron any further."

"I see. I suspect few will." Megatron replies. He laces his hands behind his back. "I am debating how best I might use you, now that you have expressed your willingness to return to the fold...there is the matter of Luna 1. Its engines must be repaired and the moon returned to Cybertron. I suspect we will have need of it. And there is the matter of the Quintessons. Their deceptions and their treachery cannot go unpunished...we must find them and extract their knowledge from them." The tyrant asserts. "I understand that you have had some experience with with the Quintessons during the crisis. You may be my ideal instrument to hunt them down."

Soundwave straightens out and nods. Quintessons, of course. "Yes, Lord Megatron. I have eliminated a Quintesson who was responsible for your capture while also r-rescuing the Matrix from him. Most recently, I have successfully foolled one and took what I desired. With their greatest weapon against us gone, they will be easily eliminated. I would greatly enjoy doing so in your name, Lord Megaton."

Megatron smirks, a crooked smile spreading over his features. "Very good. Though, I think we would like to have them alive. There is still much about Unicron, and their role in his creation, that we do not know. Knowledge that could be useful to us." Megatron turns again. "Speak to Terminus. He will make arrangements for you in our camp, such as it is. Then we can discuss the matter of how to approach these Quintessons, who will not doubt seek to exploit their organic alliance against us." The tyrant pauses, then looks over his shoulder. "We are protectors now, Soundwave. Our race has earned this tremendous will be, it must be, the Decepticons who safeguard it. We are standing on the edge of the future, and it will be ours."

Soundwave doesn't like the idea of keeping them alive at all but if that's what Megatron wants... "So be it, my lord," he says, mask hiding his distaste of having to do anything with Terminus. Hnn. But he verbally agrees, "The Decepticons will always look out for Cybertron's future."

Soundwave puts his arm of his chest in a respectful salute, bowing his helm as well. "I have a few things to settle back at the Lost Light and my cassettes to collect." Beat. "Then I will return permanently."

Megatron considers for a moment, then nods. "Very well." He looks away again and starts to move off, in the direction of the makeshift Decepticon camp. "But Soundwave." Megatron intones, coming to a stop. "If you leave me again, it will be for the last time. This I promise you. You are dismissed." The tyrant continues on.

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