From Transformers: Lost and Found
|Summary||Whisper pays a call and reports a death.|
A tower on Cybertron is not exactly the Darkmount, nor can Megatron lay claim to all of it. A room, and guards at the bottom. Not his, they have no badges and, nominally at least, answer to Starscream. They serve as much to keep track of Megatron's comings and goings and who sees him as to protect him. They may not even be interested in the latter, but that's the beauty of the badgeless: their faces never tell. The Lord of the Decepticons has traded a throne for a chair, but looking upon him one wouldn't think that he minds. A datapad in one hand, a stylus in the other, Megatron composes something that at the moment consumes his attention.
"Enter." He commands. Perhaps not all of his attention.
The door whispers open and the step that crosses his threshhold is quiet. Measured. The soft clicking of pedes over the floor.
Whisper's face reveals little. Her mouth is set, a flat line of composed tension or resolve. Her yellow visor is a flat glow of steady light, shielding her optics from focused study. Her study of him is silent.
It has been a long time since Screamshock of Iacon stood before the leader of the Decepticons. A long time and many deaths, between now and then. The changes to her frame are largely invisible, though, the damage internal rather than external, and the Decepticons' badge in pride of place upon her chest where it has been for millions of years. Her head cants to one side very slightly, and she shifts, moving from a studied attention to a modified parade rest, her hands clasped behind her back. Her wings shiver with barely restrained tension, their span stretching to her full width behind her. She says, "Lord Megatron."
Megatron doesn't immediately acknowledge his visitor. Crimson optics focus on the screen of his datapad. He punctuates the syllables of his name with the tap-tap-tap of his stylus. Megatron's brow furrows. Something isn't right. Another tap. Finally, he tilts the datapad backwards, so that he can see over it. He looks Whisper up and down, optics shifting to communicate his scrutiny to the other Decepticon. Megatron's brow remains knitted, now joined by a very slight scowl. Or, rather, the sharpening of the scowl that usually rests on his faceplate.
Megatron sets the datapad down, deliberately, so that its edge just whispers against the top of his desk after sliding off his fingers. He pushes himself up and takes Whisper's measure again. "Ah." Megatron finally says, after coming around the edge and into full view. Cybertron sleeps out the window behind him. His scowl disappears, replaced by a very subtle half-smile. A smirk, to some. "Welcome home, Screamshock."
There is a flicker of light behind her visor, a stutter of the steady yellow glare. She stands in almost perfect stillness otherwise, watching him. Whisper's silence stretches, extends, as she weighs this against a number of potential responses. Finally what she says is very quiet, little more than a hush: "Screamshock was killed in action. Sir."
Megatron is patient, at least for the moment. He folds his hands behind his back, not quite at rest. Megatron couldn't surrender his presence if he tried. His scowl returns, however, the grooves worn into his joints. "Was she?" Megatron rumbles, no amusement in his tone. "They said that Optimus Prime was killed as well, but here he is again." He shakes his head. "But that is of no matter. If Screamshock is dead, then who stands before me? And why has this nameless Decepticon come to speak to me?"
"Screamshock's voice is forever silenced. I am the whisper that was left." It's a dramatic turn of phrase, but she states it matter-of-factly, as though it is a matter of utmost pragmatism and not at all mystical and weird. Her frown begins to groove across her brow, beneath the crown of her helm but above the steady gleam of her yellow visored gaze. Then she says, "I came to ask you what we are now."
Megatron lifts his chin, so that he now looks down upon Whisper. Throughout their short conversation he has not lost that appraising look his optics assumed when Whisper first stepped through the door. "A pity." Megatron replies. "She was a fierce warrior and a bright spark. I suppose at long last she burned too bright and consumed herself. Such is the way with those who cannot rule themselves." Megatron turns away from Whisper then, so that he can face his window and look out over the new Iacon. "As for what we are? What we have always been. We are Decepticons. Iacon lies in the hands of a tyrant who does not deserve it. Organics blot out the stars in greater numbers. The incompetence of meager minds has unleashed a threat that could end us all. We are but the misstep away from enslavement or annihilation." His fist clenches and he half turns. "The universe cries out for the Decepticons to rise up and reclaim it. Tell me, leftover, can I rely on a mere husk, a half-dead, half-alive creature, to carry that standard?" His optics narrow. "Are you worthy of that badge on your chest, if a mere *silencing* can kill you?"
Whisper's lip curls back away from her teeth in a sneer. It is a familiar sneer, a sneer that once was aimed outward, brought easily to her features. Familiar. Its tone seems slightly different now. The angled wings quiver, the shudder of unspoken tension rippling through to her struts, but she is otherwise still. "Perhaps not," she says. Her head lifts, and there is a new, measuring look in her gaze, answering him with a boldness at a skew from where it might once have been. Her spine is very straight, and with the banner's lift of her head, her wings lift again as well, a wide spread of navy and white. Her voice does not lift past a conversational volume, but some of its strength is restored when she says, "Perhaps you should end it."
Megatron reads Whisper's movements, or at least tracks them. The twitching of her wings, the tension in her frame...it keeps the tyrant engaged, optics sharp and searching. He lowers his fist when Whisper's demeanor changes. Measuring him? Megatron won't change. His posture is rigid and, to some, regal. Overbearing to others. There's no subtle change in pressure from joint to joint. Megatron is as Screamshock remembers him. An emperor does not need a throne or an army: he is a ruler born. "And what," Megatron replies, "Is it that you think I should end, leftover?" The hint of malice, a warning of an oncoming edge that Whisper is rapidly approaching, taints his words.
Whisper opens her hands, showing him her palms. Her eyes light with a blaze of intensity as she meets his gaze. Stepping forward a single pace, she advances into his oncoming menace, will rising with her chin as she stares unfinchingly into his searching optics. Convinced as she might be that there is no pride for him to find there, the language of her body speaks otherwise. Something was left when all the rest of her was destroyed; when all the rest is shorn away, what is left of the frame but the steel? "I killed my crew. They were loyal soldiers. True Decepticons. They died at my hands, one by one. Because I would not die. I would not be killed."
"And now what?" Megatron asks. He remains resolute as Whisper approaches. In fact, he moves forward as well, though if only to square up his body to hers. Megatron looms in front of the window, in front of Cybertron beyond, and if Whisper is to take another pace or two or three she would have to go through him. It was not the largest room Starscream could have grudgingly given to his old tormenter. "You didn't answer my question, leftover. Do you want me to end you? Do you think that would be justice?" Megatron smirks. "More true Decepticons have died by my order and by my hand than ever served under you, leftover. If the only crime you are going to confess to me is that you were stronger than your crew and more relentless in your vision, well." Megatron lowers the edge of his helm, looking full into Whisper's visor. "It seems you will have to torture yourself with another day of existence."
Whisper looks-- tense, and for a moment it's not really clear what she restrains. The hardness of her jaw and the bristle of her wings-- there's something about them reminiscent of a snake winding up to spit. As though maybe Screamshock, if she were here, would scream at her overlord with the full force of her rage. But Screamshock is not here, and Whisper's sneer ripples across her lips and then the expression transmutes again to stillness. Her hands flex at her sides, and she says, "So. Nothing changes."
"No. Everything changes." Megatron replies. "Small minds, they look at the last four million years and see only the same monotony. I see change. I see the turmoil of the forge that will shape the new Cybertronian race. We are on the precipice of that great change. Think how much things have changed for you." The tyrant smirks, his voice lightening. When Whisper returned to stillness, abandoned the outward signs of challenge, Megatron stepped back from that warning line. He can even tease. Or hurt. "Things stay, but they change. The only way to prevent change is to offline yourself." Megatron waves a hand and turns back to his window, dismissive of the concept. "Do what you will, leftover. But there will come a time, sooner, rather than later, when I will again call my Decepticons to me. If you cannot heed that call because you're rusting in some scrap heap, I will understand." Megatron looks over his shoulder, one baleful optic fixed like a laser on Whisper. "But if I make my call and only this leftover crawls before me, I will be most disappointed." He turns back to the window. "You are dismissed."
Whisper stands silent behind him for a long, considering moment. She draws her heels together in a soft click-- but whatever answer might lurk behind her closed lips, she does not speak it. About facing, she walks away, her steps as measured and deliberate as they were when she first arrived, but to a much different purpose. She leaves as one with much to think about.