Staging Grounds
An old rivlary never really dies. You just pull back and prepare for the next intereaction.

Chapter Four

Staging Grounds

In his new quarters Megatron stared at the orange cannon that lay on his desk. His next objective was Cybertron, although there were details that had yet to be completed. The Charr Decepticons had not returned yet, Cyclonus and Scourge were still in cells, and he had this feeling like someone was expecting him.

In the few hours that had passed since he and his troops had landed, Shockwave had brought him up to speed on the Autobot situation on Cybertron. When he had recalled his files from Soundwave, Soundwave had allowed him to copy the files about the earth situation; along with some files that Soundwave had been able to strip from Galvatron, which had impressed him.

Megatron had known Soundwave longer than every other functional being; only Shockwave had come a close second to that. Over the millennia many things, and changes had taken place, but Soundwave had always been there by his side. Together with Shockwave they had forged the Decepticon Empire, and turned warriors with out a purpose in to a formidable army.

Although he would never admit it, (in fact he hated to think about it) it was Starscream and his leadership of the seekers that ultimately led to them winning the planet. Unfortunately Starscream had known this, turning him in to the brash traitor that he had been.

Soundwave however had never changed his pledge to Megatron.

Back in those early days Megatron savored being the great Gladiator, he had never been beaten, and therefore held the most titles ever bestowed on a single Gladiator. Then the council that contained the consumer goods robots, who ruled debated over to stop the Gladiatorial battles. It was completely by accident that he had met Soundwave. Megatron had been called to a meeting with the council to speak his point on keeping the battles. He had not noticed the blocky indigo transformer who sat silently recording every word. It was not until the meeting was over and he had gone to look for the council leader that he had nearly run right in to the indigo ‘con.

“I admire your willingness to fight for your sport.”

Megatron barely heard the words; the voice that uttered them simply astounded him. He had never heard anything like it.

“It is simply frustrating that not one of our kind holds any type of office. Now they want to remove our sport.” Megatron felt his temper rising. Suddenly he realized he did not know the robot he had been talking to. “I am Megatron, Champion Gladiator. Who would you be?”

“Soundwave, communications expert assigned to the council.”

“The wise council seems to be quite ignorant.”

“Council debates, even then not all sides are heard.” Soundwave had no habits of telling information, but this Gladiator was different, Soundwave’s telepathy was sensing a change in the Gladiator that he could not explain.

“We do not need a council. We need direction.” Megatron announced.

“Our race has no voice.” Soundwave reminded him.

“Then I shall give it a voice. Then the council voice will scream for me!”

Megatron was jolted out of his thoughts by the sound of the door chime. Soundwave approached his desk.

“Cyclonus wishes to speak with you.” Soundwave stated.

Megatron nodded.

“Mood is disturbing.”

Megatron marveled. Soundwave need not use telepathy on him after all these years to read his moods.

“Yes my old friend, but it will pass. Now I desire to talk to Cyclonus.”

Megatron approached Cyclonus’ cell, with Soundwave behind him. He carried Galvatron’s cannon between them out of view. Cyclonus stood and faced them.

“I am aware Galvatron had been deactivated.”

Megatron moved and brought out the cannon. “I freed him from his tainted spark. Get to the point.”

“My place was by Galvatron's side. You have freed me from the forced loyalty that Unicron imposed, but that same loyalty compels me to you, for he was a part of you.”

“I see, but you are not to be trusted. Galvatron can not be brought back. He has been completely destroyed in the smelter. As for you, for your loyalty I will give you a warrior’s death. Those forces that are due to return will see me in the arena against their best warrior, then those who do not join me will suffer the same fate.” Megatron turned away leaving Cyclonus and Soundwave.

“Why?” Cyclonus asked simply.

Soundwave stood for a moment silently then spoke. “Galvatron was insane, only a shadow of what Megatron is.”

“I thought that above the others, you where a loyalist.”

Soundwave’s visor flashed brightly. “I am loyal to the cause, then to Megatron.”

“Had our roles been reversed, I would have done the same.” Cyclonus conceded. He sat on the bench to think. He was a warrior, and if he had to die at the hands of Megatron for the greater good of the Empire so be it. It would be in battle.

Soundwave walked away after scanning Cyclonus again. Unicron’s hold over him had been broken completely by Galvatron's termination. Soundwave already knew that Cyclonus had not lied about his loyalty to Megatron, but a battle would be necessary to take control of the other Decepticons. Mercy was not a trait that Megatron held very much of, although with a word from Soundwave, Megatron would rethink his actions. Not terminating Cyclonus in this case may show the others that Megatron was indeed not Galvatron. Soundwave stood out side Megatron's office, still thinking. ‘Cyclonus is a great warrior, subjecting him to a battle would be the best way to insure status with all the Decepticons. The offer to join or perish should be made.’ Soundwave knew that Cyclonus would join; still he wanted to confer this option to Megatron.

Starscream sat at the console slowly scanning the area. The Charr Decepticons were due to return at any moment. He distained being on sentry duty though he had no rank, so he could not argue. Soundwave had started confronting him on small projects and assignments; he thought it was a good sign. Soundwave would relay his enthusiasm and helpfulness to Megatron. He felt soon that he would carry a rank, however it would still be a while before he became a lieutenant again. Still the thought had kept him in line, and the others respected him more now than before.

Cyclonus sat in the cell trying to prepare for the faithful battle, he had not figured on battling Megatron. He had not thought Soundwave capable of such acts either, which started another train of thought. His mind mulled over these strange thoughts that led to yet others, many of which he had never thought before. It was the binding program that had been altered, when Galvatron had ceased to function, that now was inoperable leaving his mind opened fully.


“What is it Scourge?” Cyclonus could hear the effort that Scourge put in to talking, he assumed that he must have been beaten badly.

“Are you going to fight? Megatron is now stronger than even Galvatron.”

“Yes. If I must be deactivated, let it be as a warrior.”

“Allow me to battle with you.” Scourge strained as he tried to insist.

“No. If they accept you, you must do your best to serve. I know now Megatron will lead the Decepticons to victory.” Cyclonus finally understood why Soundwave had taken such action.

“You are just going to give up?” Scourge was confused.

“No. I simply face reality; Megatron is stronger than I. However I will fight with all my strength.”

Soundwave came close to Cyclonus’ cell. “You must face him to prove your loyalty.”

Cyclonus looked at the indigo robot from his spot on the bench. “I do not understand.”

Soundwave took a step closer to the energy bars. “If you do not fight, he will terminate you. You must fight to prove your loyalty.”

Cyclonus’ view went back to the floor. “I will fight to the best of my ability.”

“Then you shall be absolved, and may join us.”

“And Scourge?” Cyclonus asked.

“Scourge will make a decision with the other Charr Decepticons.”

“I have decided.” Scourge spoke up.

Soundwave turned to him. “No. You will announce your actions after the battle.” Then Soundwave walked out.

“He has changed.” Scourge said.

“No. He has returned to normal.” Cyclonus answered.

Astrotrain wondered the base looking for Blitzwing. His orders were to take the temporary Air Commander, and the three cone heads, back to the earth base. Finally he found him in the common room speaking avidly with Starscream. Astrotrain approached quietly, listening to what was being said.

“Megatron has informed me that after the battle, he will reinstate you as Air Commander, and I shall be your second. Astrotrain, Dirge, Thrust, Ramjet, and I will be leaving to earth. When we return we will be at your command.”

Starscream’s face pulled in to a familiar smirk. “Very well, I accept you as my second.” Though he already betrayed a smile he was ecstatic inside. ‘I will have regained my title as Air Commander, but not as lieutenant.’ His mind began to wonder, before the attack on the Autobot city he had been Megatron's left hand, and Soundwave had naturally been the right. He had never liked Soundwave, but he also knew that Soundwave had never wanted leadership of the Empire. That had left Starscream to take over if anything had happened to Megatron. As things where now Soundwave was the only one in any position to do anything should some thing happen.

“Are we ready to leave?” Astrotrain asked.

“Yes Astrotrain.” Blitzwing opened his comlink. “Thrust, Dirge, Ramjet, proceed to the launch pad.”

Three affirmatives came back.

“I leave command to you, Starscream.” Blitzwing turned on his heel and Astrotrain followed.

“Do you think it is wise to give him back his command so soon?” Astrotrain asked.

“Yes, he has changed. Megatron knows what he is doing. Starscream has always had the skills, now he has the discipline and the direction.” Blitzwing stated flatly. Blitzwing did not enjoy his time as Air Commander, despite the fact that it was short. He had not been prepared to control half of the army, nor did he like to face Megatron to report, after all this was the original Megatron, and Blitzwing knew he had a violent temper when things failed.

For once Astrotrain was not nervous, everything that was planned had worked out. He was no longer disgusted at the situation that the army survived in. He and a few jets were on their way to earth to bring a large load of energon back to Charr. He had suggested the spacebridge, but Megatron did not want Soundwave leaving until after the battle. Astrotrain had decided that Megatron had wanted Soundwave there to repair him should he take any damage. Though Shockwave was back and he could have done it. The jets would be gone for six days; the energon that would be brought back would be for the entire army. Astrotrain was also glad to be doing something besides patrolling Charr.

Blitzwing kept his optics on Astrotrain's sensors as they neared Cybertron. Megatron had charted the route to see if they would get a response from the Autobots. Astrotrain's sensors detected the Autobots radar, and then soon there were four spots on his radar that were quickly closing in.

“Astrotrain, activate the jammer.”

Soundwave had installed a device in Astrotrain that was more of a cloaking device, hiding them from all sensors. The spots stopped following.

“Objective complete. On to earth.” Blitzwing commanded.

In his office on Cybertron Optimus Prime read the report of Astrotrain's disappearance. It was confirmed that there had been four other Decepticons aboard at the time. To him it was proof that the Decepticons were certainly up to something. It was odd that Astrotrain be so brazen as to travel so closely to the well-guarded planet. He had noticed the so-called glitch in the sensors, a few days prior to that as well. He took note that the glitch had been modulated, that had told him that some one had been doing it. Another report had said that a rogue Decepticon had suddenly disappeared, that worried him. Rodimus had dispatched scouts to find any other Decepticons that had been left after the battle with Unicron. When they had come across Shockwave, he had been surprised, and at the same time relieved. With Shockwave on Cybertron it kept him from having more trouble with the Decepticons. Still Shockwave had managed to avoid capture for all these years, now suddenly he disappears. Prime’s logic circuits buzzed, as he reviewed earth reports, nothing there was a miss, no Decepticon activity, or sightings.

Again Astrotrain was heading toward earth, though there were many things that where in earth’s direction. Astrotrain's actions just were not computing, he read the reports of Astrotrain's movements again. The first time the triple changer had started near earth. He stopped reading and recalled the report on the glitches. He noticed the first one, nearly two months before Astrotrain's first trip. A second one had also been recorded at the same time. Things started to fall in to place; a third had been recorded, but was much shorter than the others. The fourth was the modulated one.

He brought up the sensor reports of Charr, most were short and sweet because they were unmanned sensors, and so they only reported every so often. Everything had seemed normal, what had caught his optic were the names of Decepticons not reported. The Constructicons had caught is optic first, Devastator was very dangerous. Then he saw Soundwave’s name, he now knew where the glitch had come from. He became angered, when the thought of the Decepticons had been on Cybertron right under their olfactory sensors, with that came the possibility that they had also been on earth. Prime relayed his findings to Hot Rod, Ultra Magnus, and Kup; they too would now know what to look for.

Something still puzzled him, this last encounter with Astrotrain, the triple changer had disappeared completely, and no glitch was detected. Prime sat back to read more reports.

On Charr the Decepticons had began to return to base, as they walked in to report Menasor, and Bruticus captured them. They then were forced to a make shift arena where Starscream, Thundercracker, Skywarp, and the Constructicons stood guard. Many fought weakly against their captors until they thought they were seeing ghosts. Once all the Charr Decepticons had been caught the head ghost spoke.

“Fellow Decepticons,” the ghost spoke assuring them that he was real. “I have brought you here to witness a battle. Your mightiest warrior against our leader.”

The crowd murmured, and comments about Galvatron were made.

“Ah yes, Mighty Galvatron.” The sarcasm that came from Starscream was every bit contemptful. “To bad he will not be joining us.” Starscream pulled out the orange cannon. “Galvatron will no longer drive us in to the ground.” Then he tossed the cannon to Sixshot.

Sixshot examined the cannon. “If Galvatron is gone then Cyclonus leads.” He yelled. The crowd gave a delightful cheer.

Starscream took the very familiar sadistic pose. “Which brings us to the main event!” he screeched. “Your mighty warrior Cyclonus!”

Cyclonus was led to the field by Rumble and Frenzy. He walked willingly, as the crowd cheered him. Slowly the crowd died down as he stood waiting.

“Now I give you our proper leader, Megatron!” Starscream took his chair as the crowd gasped in shock.

Megatron strutted out the door on to the field with Cyclonus. The whole feeling around him reminded him of his Gladiatorial battles. The arena had been home to him, now he would rule it again as well as the Decepticons. Exactly what he had wanted.

He knew that he could not underestimate Cyclonus; it was after all Cyclonus who had actually led the Decepticons under Galvatron's inept leadership. Megatron closed in on Cyclonus.

“Will you battle, or shall I destroy you now?” Megatron asked coolly.

“I will defend my honor as a warrior.” Cyclonus replied.

“Good. Let us begin then.” Megatron shot a normal fusion blast at Cyclonus, who nimbly dodged.

Cyclonus called his own blaster from subspace then returned fire; his own movement caused his aim to go wide. Megatron turned on his jet thrusters forcing him to shoot toward Cyclonus. Megatron's shoulder collided with Cyclonus’ chest causing both to fall to the ground. Cyclonus summoned his strength to push Megatron off. He was surprised at how nimble and strong Megatron was. Galvatron had not been a hand-to-hand fighter, and Megatron's file had been locked out even to Cyclonus. He got to his feet then took off transforming, he figured his rifle was not having the desired effect, maybe speed would. Megatron tracked Cyclonus through the dusk cloud that he left, by his thruster noise. He could hear Cyclonus on approach. The noise seemed to come from everywhere and suddenly there was no way to pin point it. Megatron thought twice about firing, if he did it would give Cyclonus a reference to his position. At the last moment Megatron threw himself to the ground. Cyclonus flew just above in the space that he had just vacated. Megatron then flew after Cyclonus and out of the dust. Being faster Cyclonus banked around and accelerated toward Megatron. Just before they collided Cyclonus transformed again. Cyclonus hit Megatron full force both falling to the ground below. Megatron used Cyclonus speed to force him under him as they fell. Cyclonus struggled to free himself only to succeed in Megatron getting a better grip. Cyclonus hit the ground and Megatron impacted him in to it. Megatron stood, and waited for the jet to get up. Having the wait off him, Cyclonus rolled to the left recalling his rifle as he did. He shot at Megatron, and rolled again. Megatron countered with his fusion cannon, angry that he had been hit. The fusion blast hit Cyclonus one the wing just right of his head. Energon leaked from the small puncture that was left. Cyclonus was not used to having such a disadvantage, he got to his feet just in time to be hit by another blast that clipped off the tip of his left wing completely. Megatron closed the gap between the to warriors. Cyclonus weighed his options, and then decided that he would have to gain control some how. Speed was his only asset; he transformed again and headed straight over Megatron. Megatron powered his thrusters to tackle the jet as it passed, loosing altitude Cyclonus transformed, he found himself thrown to the ground as Megatron stood over him again. He swung his foot around causing Megatron to stumble, but quickly regain his footing. Megatron had, had enough; he blasted Cyclonus in the chest, and pounced on him. The two wrestled around on the ground for long minutes exchanging blows until Megatron had gained the upper hand on Cyclonus pinning him down.

“Accept me as your rightful leader, and I shall spare you.” Megatron growled.

Cyclonus struggled to no avail. “I accept. Hail Megatron rightful leader of the Decepticons.” He answered.

“Wise decision, Cyclonus.” He moved off Cyclonus and stood. “Decepticons I have beat your best warrior, and he has agreed to join me.”

Cyclonus slowly climbed to his feet and stood next to Megatron to show support.

“By right of battle I have gained control. Does any one wish to dispute me?”

The crowd murmured again but there was no response over all. Finally Sixshot stood.

“You have terminated Galvatron, and beaten Cyclonus, you are the Mighty Megatron and I shall follow.” He raised his fist to the middle of his chest in the traditional Decepticon salute. “Hail Megatron Leader of the Decepticons!” The crowd joined him and began chanting.

“Scrapper, Hook, Soundwave, Shockwave, see that our army is prepared to do battle.” Megatron had an evil grin on his face, he had the entire Decepticon army again, or at least what was left of it. Only slightly damaged he walked back inside to his office.

“We are going to use the jammer the whole way. I do not want the Autobots to detect our energon shipment.” Blitzwing informed.

“Has there been any news form Charr?” Dirge asked.

“Not yet.” The console that Blitzwing was at started to beep. “Hold on. This is earth.”

“Megatron has taken control. Return with the energon.” Soundwave’s voice monotoned.

“Understood. Blitzwing out.” He cut the communication. “Thrust, Ramjet, are the energon the cubes ready?”

“Yes Blitzwing.” Ramjet answered.

“Good everyone load up it is time to return to Charr.”

Once they were all loaded they took off all flying close to Astrotrain to share the jamming field. When they landed on Charr Soundwave and his small army was waiting.

“Megatron’s commands are to refuel and prepare to return to earth.”

Megatron sat at his desk making decisions on how to attack Cybertron. Soundwave’s new cloaking device would give them an advantage of surprise, as would Cyclonus leading the first wave. He would wait until the entire Decepticon army had landed before making his presents known. There where two sites that he insisted they concentrated on, his fortress of Dark Mount, and Shockwave’s citadel. He wanted a staging area at the fortress and the citadel for the spacebridge and computer controls there. Those two locations would give him a much needed foot hold on the planet that he once ruled.

The door chime rang annoying him and bringing him out of his deep thoughts. Soundwave and Shockwave entered.

“ The army is 100 functional and fully fueled Megatron.” Shockwave said.

“Excellent. I will be leaving for earth directly.” Megatron opened his comlink. “Starscream report to my office.” Then he closed the comlink again. “Soundwave you and your cassettes, the Constructicons, Stunticons, Blitzwing, Thrust, Dirge and Ramjet.”

Starscream entered the office stepping in between Soundwave and Shockwave in front of Megatron's desk.

“Will accompany me back. Starscream I am leaving you here in command of the first strike force, with Shockwave and Sixshot.”

Starscream shown his surprise.

“Use Sixshot as a ground commander. Your objective will be my fortress. Once the battle had begun I will retake the citadel. Soundwave He and his troops will need more cloaking devices. Shockwave you will assist by entering Dark Mount and bringing its defenses online.”

Soundwave nodded then raised an optic brow slightly.

“Yes Megatron.” Shockwave said.

Starscream stood clearly contemplating the battle. Megatron grew impatient. “ Be careful what you say Starscream.”

Starscream looked at Megatron then to the floor. “Forgive me Megatron. The citadel will be heavily defended your team will be at high risk.”

Megatron scowled with bright scarlet optics. “Yes I am aware of that. After Shockwave have the defenses online. He and Sixshot with the Predicons will stay. You are to lead the others to aid us at the citadel.”

Starscream stood another moment. “Understood. Lord Megatron.” He said in a commanding tone.

“Good. Shockwave make the announcement.” Megatron commanded. Shockwave and Starscream both left. After the door closed Megatron locked it. “You can not hide your thoughts from me Soundwave.”

Soundwave stood unmoving. “Starscream has lived up to his word so far, and he has displayed his changes.”

“This will be his test. Should he fail and survive, I will terminate him personally.”

Once out side of Megatron's office Starscream and Shockwave split ways. Starscream walked to his quarters. His mind was filled with strategies and contentment. ‘I have been put in command of more than half of the army. I may not be lieutenant but you can not do much better than that. I must not fail.’ He entered his quarters. ‘I need a strategy.’ Starscream heard Shockwave give the announcement, and then opened his comlink. “Shockwave join me in my quarters. Bring Sixshot with you.”

“Understood commander Starscream.”

Starscream closed the link then started working on a battle plan.

Astrotrain flew through space carrying Megatron and the second force that would attack Cybertron. The cloaking device worked perfectly, no signals or sensors had noticed their trip. Astrotrain thought a lot to him self. He was in good graces with Megatron although he had not been promoted he was glad to be chosen to go back to earth. The thought that he was a space shuttle had not occurred to him. Megatron had left Blastoff on Charr, and even being Decepticons they could have all flown, but that was a waste of energy. Astrotrain did have the cloaking device as well. Still his mind wondered over the events of the last earth months. Things were coming together, and soon they would return to their home planet.

Astrotrain landed. He enjoyed earth much more than Charr. Megatron's first orders were to refuel, and then contact was to be re-established with Charr. After adequate energon was sent through the spacebridge, Starscream would start the attack. A few hours later Astrotrain would carry them to start the second wave.

All was in readiness.

The Retun of Megatron!

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