Thanatos - Bridge
Starscream studied the intelligence the Insecticons had provided following their own excursion to this backwater blip at the far end of nowhere. Who would have imagined the scuttling rattletraps could be so useful? The data was hardly exhaustive, but it was adequate for their purposes. More than adequate. The Seeker's optics flashed with malicious enthusiasm, his processors whirring with the possibilities. A diamond in the rough, this AC-488. True, it was infested with primitive, carbon-based life-forms, barely evolved beyond the level of bacteria, but those were far too simple in intellect and feeble in construction to present a serious impediment. Certainly, they would be no threat if the infiltration protocols were to be observed.
Establishing a Decepticon presence on this rich bit of cosmic flotsam should prove simple enough, even taking the limited capabilities of the assorted defectives comprising Shockwave's command into account. Once that was done, the disposition of these . . . humans could be re-evaluated. Their capacity for--and apparent infatuation with--random internecine violence could make them useful tools. Why fight a second war when the underdeveloped simpletons were all too likely to exterminate themselves, given the right incentive?
His mouth did twist into a disdainful sneer, however, as he came upon what passed for aircraft on AC-488. Misshapen blocks of glass, plastic, and crude alloys, for the most part, hardly more flightworthy than the average Throttlebot. There was nothing that even approached the lethal elegance of Starscream's natural Tetrajet alternate mode.
Still, he supposed a certain degree of personal sacrifice was to be anticipated.
Digits flying across the command interface built into the arm of his seat on the bridge, he glanced toward the Military Operations Commander. "Orbital Bounce standing by, Mighty Shockwave," he said with only a mild trace of irony coloring his use of the High Commander's customary honorific. "Ready to engage at your command."
* * * * *
Dead End had been content to pass the long journey from Cybertron in silence, tapping listlessly on the cartography station controls as needed. There had been very little worth noting as the battlecruiser had hurtled through the void like an enormous, transwarp-powered coffin, which was perfectly fine with him. Why shouldn't his last cycles among the functioning be relatively quiet? Surely that wasn't too much to ask, after all he'd been through already?
It was, as he had expected, an all-too-brief respite. AC-488 hung in space before the Decepticon warship, a strange blob of water and minerals and biological life run amok. How could they possibly hope to go unnoticed there? If Breakdown didn't start shooting the moment they landed, then surely Wildrider would expose them with his conspicuously maniacal tendencies. That was assuming the Orbital Bounce didn't rematerialize them all up to their faceplates in solid rock, or possibly in the heart of an active volcano, of course.
Personally, Dead End didn't believe their termination would be quite that neat. More likely, it would be a lingering, torturous demise drawn out over the course of many vorns stranded on this Primus-forsaken dust pile. Perhaps energon starvation. Or a lack of compatible spare parts for maintenance and repair.
Any way one looked at it, they were doomed. It was only a question of when.
"Ready for Orbital Bounce," he reported despondently to whoever might be listening. "Let's get this over with before the engines fail and scatter our component molecules over half the ionosphere."