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Chapter Ten - Family Reumions
Earth Date August 7, 1986

War Academy/Training Grounds <Polyhex>

        The empty edifice of the War Academy cuts upwards against the dark sky like a proud spear. In these hallowed halls, the best and brightest of Cybertron's warriors have been trained. Ringing the War Academy are the overlapping circular fields of the training grounds. There are areas for parade drill, infantry close-combat and special air strips for the training of the aerospace units. The landscape is grey and drab; you stare upwards through the drifts of ash that blow in from the dead zones and wonder for a brief moment at what these proud monuments will be in later times: gleaming and silver, resounding with horns heralding a final victory.
The Training Grounds look like a warzone... equipment busted and broken all over the place, and with part of the War Academy blasted and collapsed over onto the area, leaving it buried in a pile of rubble. The destruction of the area is not absolute, but it comes damn well close enough... and if one has particularly keen sensors, they might pick up a handful of distress beacons throughout the area.

CatsCradle makes her way through the rubble. The destruction had not been hard to miss, and since there are very few with the type of power to do this amount... she's pretty sure as to the source of it. She picks a path through other rescuers digging frantically, chooses a spot, and begins to dig through it, clawing around the larger pieces to get a better purchase. For someone who has turned almost frail-looking in less than a week, she seems to have a lot of strength to her movements... or maybe she is just pushed past feeling the physical strain.

As the battered femme begins to haul away various debris and fragments of the building, she first catches a glimpse of something that looks like dully shining metal down at the bottom of the hole she has dug. It could be anything, especially on Cybertron... but as she digs further, what it is becomes obvious. It is an arm, metal flesh torn and the rock around it stained with fuel.

CatsCradle catches the sight of the faint light from her optics glinting off wet metal. "Oh....hell," she murmurs, but without any real surprise. Without stopping her frantic digging, she shouts for help. Other rescuers crowd around, forming a chain, and passing chunks of rubble down it. Piece by piece, they uncover the buried Motormaster.  He is terribly battered, his entire bulky form crushed, dented, and marred with various scrapes and tears. His paint has been entirely removed in most places, and in others you can see straight through into his internal workings... none of which are doing anything. In fact, he is entirely lifeless, optics dead, empty purple. And considering how tough the Stunticon leader is, who knows how bad others might be...

CatsCradle shoves a last piece of building out of her way and stumbles her way down to the Stunticon's side. She crouches next to him, her hands hovering over him for a moment, not sure what to do, then pats his face gently. "Moto? C'mon, don't you do this to me, too. Wake up."

Motormaster doesn't so much as twitch, even as CatsCradle pats his face repeatedly, getting mechfluid from busted features on her hand... though it probably just mixes in with the rest of the grime. The fact is he's lost a lot of fuel... he could be simply out of power. Or maybe it's more serious than that... it's hard to tell. The damage is... severe.

CatsCradle snarls under her breath and tilts her head back to look out of the crater. "Get a medic team down here, NOW," she bellows in a voice that seems far too loud for the diminutive femme. She turns back to her patting, then switches to patting his wrist and throat, trying to stimulate the fuel lines. She may not be able to do anything about her mate at this moment... but damned if she's going to lose the Stunticon too. "C'mon, Moto, you gotta wake up. We're not sure how many more are buried here. C'mon, dammit, you're the one hung up on all this duty stuff. You can't let them go, can you?"

It's slow, and not much, but finally there's some sign of life... one hand twitches a bit, fingers reflexively grasping at something that isn't there as a few damaged subsystems within his chassis creak to near-broken life. One optic flickers on, dimly, while the others sizzles and flickers uncertainly, as if trying to activate but failing. The Stunticon leader wheezes out an incoherent noise...

CatsCradle smiles in relief, the first smile in the last week. "Thank you, Primus..." Then she frowns again. "Just don't think that lets you off the hook about Diver," she adds in a murmur to the god. "You ain't getting off that easy." She looks up again. "Dammit, where's that medic team?" she roars again. "You mean to tell me, you start a rescue and recovery without medics?" She looks back down to Moto, still patting. "C'mon, Moto... how many are we looking for in here?"

Ruse yips quietly from under some rubble... having come online again finally underneath a building!

Motormaster raises a hand that lacks his usual strength, clutching at CatsCradle's shoulder as hard as he can, using her as a focus point and a lifeline to remain concentrated, conscious... the others. Have to help the others before he passes out,"Laser...beak... Resy... Ruse... Help them..." An expression of agony crawls across his face for a moment as pain sensors begin to reactivate.

CatsCradle's face takes on even more strain. Her "li'l sister"... and the two small 'cons that have more or less imprinted on her lately. And if Moto took this much damage, how badly hurt are the other smaller ones? She shouts out again, "We're looking for three more! A cassette, a mini-Insecticon, and a... a... fox. Keep digging, and I'm still waiting for that medic team!"

Ruse slowly.. begins to dig with her claws... until she manages to at least get her muzzle above the rubble and thus her optics can see the stars... she stops there though, hung because of a I-beam that has caught her midback on the way up. She is battered enough and, with that in the way, just can’t pull herself free.

CatsCradle lets out a soft sound as the Stunticon's optics flutter out again. Then she scrambles out of the way as the medic team FINALLY arrives. She hovers worriedly, snapping out fussing-type orders at the medics, but staying out of their way. The medics, to their credit, ignore the clawed femme who has wrecked their repairbay so many times, and almost all of them have felt those claws in the process. As they bustle Moto off to the repair bay, Cats turns back to the rest of the destruction. "One down, three to go. Don't suppose anyone feels like giving a shout, huh?" she says, more rhetorically, than anything else.

Ruse flicks an ear against some rubble.. again and again. *click-click-click-click*

CatsCradle hears the tapping noise and blinks. "I'll be damned," she murmurs in surprise and scrambles over rubble, until she sees the foxy-shaped nose peeking out. She gives it a soft touch with her fingertips. "I'm here, Ruse. I'll have you out in a minute." She scans over the debris, seeing the problem immediately and puts her shoulder to the I-beam, trying to heave it off the fox-femme.

Ruse winces as with a scraping sound the beam is pushed away. She then slowly pulls herself free with her forepaws.. and flops onto her side dented and a both exhausted, "Couldn't even touch them.. grabbed her by the throat... and just melted away...", she murmurs.

CatsCradle is finally able to get enough leverage to lift the beam enough for a canine-shaped 'con to wiggle out. She lets the beam fall again, fervently hoping there was no one else under there, and drops to her knees next to the fox-femme.

Megatron runs into the area. The last few day's have somehow been chaos and it took a while until someone told him what happened here and who was attacked. "Ruse?! CatsCradle?!"

CatsCradle hears her name above the clatter of equipment and waves. "Over here, Megatron!"

Megatron says, "What happened this time? I got contradictory reports."

CatsCradle pats the fox's paw. "I don't know details... but from the damage..." Her face goes agonized. "...I'd say my mate paid us another visit." She swallows hard, and tries to gain a more distant tone. "Resyke and Laserbeak are still buried. Motormaster was... seriously wounded. A team took him to the repair bay."

Ruse's optics flash, "Megatron? Cats?" She tries to get to her feet but lacks the energy... and mentally shudders. Once again she was almost trapped like the time in the tape recorder, "Unispawn... Ghost is now with Dive... they threatened to attack the recruits... so we had to come. We fought... and we couldn't touch them."

Megatron kneels beside his daughter. "You need to be checked too, Ruse," he states. Then he radios to the Central that help is needed for a rescue mission. He glances at Cats, a strange expression in his optics. "This thing controls Ghost as well..?" He clenches his fist. "Damn..." he murmurs.

Ruse glances to Megatron not sure why he is so... upset.

CatsCradle's optics flicker. "He's taken another?" Her expression is strange... dread mixed with... jealousy? Hard to tell. "I /told/ Moto I should go with them, going up against Diver... so far, I'm the only one who's been able to make him pause." Her jaw tightens. "Well, now there's no choice. Moto isn't going to be able to take the Cosmic Rust mission, and we're not sure about ‘Beak or Ruse, how bad their damage is." She finds herself stroking the fox's shoulder comfortingly and looks at her hand with some surprise, as if it is acting on its own accord. "I'll go on the mission. At this point, I think I /have/ to. I can keep Diver off the others." She sounds as if she has been musing on some plan for a while, just not sure when and where to put it in action.

Megatron narrows his optics. "I agree." He picks up his daughter, allowing no protest.

Ruse grrs, "Where is Laserbeak... ", she asks with some worry to Megatron.

CatsCradle says softly, "We're still looking for him, Ruse. Him and Resyke."

Ruse nods then hisses at Megatron, "I am going to be part of the mission. I just need some fuel is all...", even as she is carried.

Some extra personal arrives from Polyhex. Lots to do for the street cleansers these days.

Megatron simply answers. "Shutup, Ruse. We can talk about that later." He looks over the ruins. "Seems like it is afraid of us..." he murmurs.

Ruse glares at Megatron. but says nothing else.

CatsCradle gives Ruse's shoulder another pat. Rather than start the femme arguing, she says, "We'll get a good meal into you, then, see how you feel after." She follows Megatron's gaze. "More like... inflicting damage on morale, perhaps. Even Armada has that habit of telling everyone how useless it will be to fight. Kind of a propaganda attack, escalated to the next level."

Ghost is but one shadow among other shadows, sliding from darkpoint to dark point in order to peruse the aftermath of the previous eve.

Megatron shakes his head. "Why should it care about our fighting moral if it hasn't nothing to worry? If it just had to come here and eat the planet? No, there is something it fears here. Or even several things..." He looks over the field again. "Obviously, it tried to prevent the virus mission... Possibly it is not immune against it?"

CatsCradle is quiet for a moment, then says in a soft voice, "I think... because the Heralds enjoy it."

Ghost slows and halts in one of the larger pools of shadow, the edges of that area rippling slightly as she claims it as her own.

Ruse slits her optics slightly having been just looking as she was carried thus spots... something. She says simply, "Megatron." She isn't sure why but.. something out there, her senses are telling her there is something but she cannot tell what.

Megatron contradicts again: "These attacks are too... purposeful." He looks down at the fox he carries. "What is it, Ruse?"

Ghost's optics flicker behind her phased cloak, focusing on each of the mechanisms collected together. Her attention snaps to Megatron as he speaks, the edges of the shadow rippling as if released from utter control for a brief moment, allowing a hue of violet to peer sickly outwards.

CatsCradle picks up on Ruse's unease. Her own gaze scans over the devastated training ground. "What is it, Ruse?"

Ruse hisses catching the glow. She suddenly opens her muzzle and lets fly a stunbeam knowing that energy signature to well now! However.. this taxes her already strained systems so she doesn't try for another shot.. just hopes that maybe she can catch the other off guard and expose her to the others.

Ghost's moment of slipped control is enough time for the sudden lance of stun energy to pierce the shroud. With a soft rasp of surprise, the shadows drop from around her, inky tendrils dripping like viscous matter refusing to let completely go. Wing-spars rear out behind her, flashing a violet-green before she staggers, optics darkening to a near black.. "Hnnnnn......!"

Instantly, CatsCradle's wrist lasers are out and aimed at the area, letting off a burst from both. She may be under-fueled and under-charged, but none of her instincts or reflexes seem to have been affected. If Ghost is as powerful as Divefire now is, the shots will only slow her down, not severely damage her.

Megatron stares at the appearing femme. "Ghost," he whispers. "CatsCradle, take Ruse out of here!" He hands his daughter over to Cats.

Ruse looks back to Megatron, "NO!" She knows what happens anytime one stands alone against Unispawn and struggles in the others grasp weakly not about to let the leader of the Decepticons play hero.

CatsCradle just as quickly hands Ruse to one of the medics. "Get her out of here," she passes along the order, adding "Sedate her if you have to." To Megatron, she says, "If Diver is with her, I'm better off here. And I'm sure as hell not leaving you alone against two of them."

Ghost staggers as she gets tagged by a second shot, optics flashing up to a strange lavender shade as her hands come out in front of her, "Not.. wise" a soft rasp, wing spars arcing out behind her.. She hisses, those wisps of dark rising around her like balefire. Raising a taloned hand, she gestures, bringing that energy up to swirl across her palm, "The fox is forfeit. Her life is now mine.. "

The rescuers scurry around frantically, torn between continuing their efforts... and running like hell before they have to be rescued themselves.

CatsCradle steps directly in front of Ruse and the medic carrying her. Energy crackles from her fingertips, arcing and weaving into her 'field.

Megatron glares at Ghost. "You won't get your hands on her, Ghost!" He slowly rises his cannon. "Tell me where did your pride go, Ghost, that you let someone else control you again?"

Just as the medic is about to sedate Ruse, she bites the medic’s hands... and is roughly dropped to the ground. She looks to Ghost, "You dare.. claim a kill before I am dead? Me... the princess of chaos?!" She staggers forcing herself to her paws slowly. If only she had some energy she could really fight despite being battered... but then she suddenly has an idea for energy... and it involves the Unispawn. oO(Power run in reverse through a plasma generator would destroy it but like a hand-turned motor it should produce enough energy to give me a mild jump-start.. considering how much power she has to be absorbed by the heat and electrical generators inside me.) Of course that means.. staring down a energy blast and trying to, of all things, 'eat' it. Oh ya damage central... but its such a crazy idea.. it may work who knows.?

Ghost rises off of the ground, seemingly held there by those wisplets of dark, "My hands shall go wherever they are needed in order to break those you hold dear.." Her lips curve into a sneer, optics loosing that soft lavender shade, darkening into the violet-emerald hue once again. "Again?" her voice runs up a scale, nails on slate, "What is one master compared to another, /Megatron/? What is one leash exchanged by another? The beast knows no difference. At least with this one, I *know* where I stand. There are _no_.." her voice drops to a lilting purr, "secrets between my new master and me. Unlike you and.. the previous occupant of this shell."

Megatron's optics flash. "Previous occupant..? Previous occupant?!" His cannon audibly powers up, although he does not fire yet. "Where is Ghost? What has this bastard done to her?! Tell me if you don't want to be terminated!!!!!!”

Ghost holds her hand out in front of her, the energies twisting and intertwining in on itself, shading violet, black and emerald as it forms a nebulous ball. "Where is she?" she repeats, mockingly, "Where did you leave her? How did you leave her?" A mocking laugh. "She is right here.." Those edged fingers curve around the ball. "In the palm of my hand. To obliterate or to save.. at my discretion.."

Megatron sets his jaw plates. "If I must, I will destroy you, even if it means to destroy Ghost as well."

CatsCradle murmurs, "Keep her talking. Good memories. Remind her of family, friends. Try to get the real Ghost to the surface." So intent on the scene unfolding, she misses the whole Ruse-biting-medic bit that went on behind her.

In perhaps a conventional entrance for one such as he, the first Herald of Unicron, the former Divefire, steps over the rubble he created out of the entrance to the complex only a few short hours ago. A disturbing smirk emanates from his face as he sighs theatrically, then wipes a tear from his optics. "Oh, how lovely... A family get-together. Look, there's the older brother, the little cousin, oh and now the in-laws are complete... To think that half the Decepticons’ most powerful warriors are from the same lineage... How wonderfully..." His expression and voice harden into a snarl as he steps further into the room.  His ranting does not seem to be directed at any one person.  "Pathetic." With a slight growl, he casually extends an arm and sends a beam of fusion energy into a freshly cleared area, once more sprawling rubble across the area just to get people’s attention.

Megatron slowly lowers his cannon, a grin on his lips. "Yes, the family is together. I just wonder why your so called 'master' does us fear so much that he seeks to control us? It seems it is not as powerful as it looks..."

Ghost's wing spars shift behind her as the haze from them dims for a moment. A brow arches up as she peers at Megatron, words starting to form in reply before her elder herald makes his appearance.. A soft hiss comes from the femme as she seems to withdraw into herself, darkening, loosing definition. Words, from echoed memories threaten to spill but are reigned in tightly. "Ahh yes.. Family.. Such secrets you have, oh mighty Megatron. A son, a daughter... What else from your past comes forward to haunt you? What.. fears... do you harbor for the demise of your friend, your son.. at your own hands! Do they still feel dirty, Megatron? Can you still see the light die out of his optics when you ceased his existence?"

Ruse watches Megatron.. a question she herself has wondered...

Megatron sees not impressed by the trials to use feeling of guilt against him. Yes, he knows his own demons, but no-one will turn them against him. "You haven't answered my question: why does your master fear us so much?"

CatsCradle's 'field brightens more fully as the fusion beam kicks up more rubble. Then it winks out completely, and she steps forward. "Funny you should mention families, Diver," she says in a voice far from steady. "What about your own?"

Divefire snaps on his heel to turn and regard Cats, stepping forward to use his mass to simply loom over her, expression darkening several shades before it clears in an odd smirk again. "I don't have a family." He replies simply, before pointing his thumb over his shoulder. "Unlike Meggy over there, who's just so virile and lovely and... Oh, if I wasn't so straight, I'd want to do him myself... In gags and chains, and maybe just to hear him whimper... Maybe you'd like to join him, hrm? It has been so long since you were last strung up and..." He leans a little closer to Cats now and whispers darkly into her ear. "Toyed with..."

Ruse dims her optics as she looks to Divefire and taunts, "What are you babbling about now Uni-pawn? You know you have yet to fire at one of us.. afraid? Afraid we can withstand your puny little beams?" Crazy isn't she? Taunting the demons... ignoring his babble that she has no clue about.

CatsCradle seizes the opportunity. His words mean nothing to her, because she know it is not her mate speaking them. While he is bent over her. she leaps up at him, wrapping her arms around his neck, legs around him, her forehead to his forehead. Her claws bite into his armor, every muscle, every last bit of her energy surges towards clinging to him. "I join no one, but you," she says, her words tumbling out after each other, so fast that they might have been incoherent, if they weren't so crisp and accurate, even as she lapses back into her street accent from the tension. "Only you. So are ya prepared to kill me? 'Cause that's what it's gonna take, love. I ain't lettin' go of you. If Unicron wants to zap ya outta here, he's gonna hafta take me, too. Do you understand, me?" Her voice tightens, each word precise, accent gone. "You're going to have to kill me, Diver, to get me to let go. You are going to have to kill me."

Divefire darts back in surprise as the femme leaps onto him and limpets around him.  A growl emanates from deep within the back of his throat as his optics flare with anger. "Get off me you pathetic piece of trash!" he yells in annoyance, placing his hands on her forearms and trying to prize her off him. "And as I keep telling everyone, there is no Divefire, there is only Zuul! I don't hide from my power as he did, I don't skulk in corners, I don't take any crap from any one or thing! I am the fires of chaos, the burning entropy that takes all life! I am everything he could never be!" With the words causing through his body, energy pulsing as his cape flares out and the aurora of power builds out, the visible bonds of matter braking down from the fusion process at the edges of his armor. All in all, this place is about to get real hot, real quickly.

CatsCradle's grip does not falter. If anything, it grows tighter. Her amethyst optics blaze into his green ones, only inches away from hers. "Who was it, then, who told me to be safe? Who saved my life at the Rodger Young? My mate... Is.  Not.  Dead." And with that, she kisses him, not with the desperation one might expect in the situation, but gently, loving.

Ghost's wisplets seem to fade away as she peers at Megatron, optics lightening with a sudden intensity of pure lavender graced with a hint of silver, "You haven’t answered my question, my brother.." she says softly, in a voice not unlike her old one.. "How does it feel?” She pauses, peering at him with a weary seeming frown, saddened.. A twitch and she snaps out of that moment, optics darkening to black-violet once more, her lips curving into a sneer, movements slightly jerky as she makes that glittering ball of energy grow more compact, "Fear? Fear has nothing to do with the enjoyment gained out of the suffering of others. Fear is the mindkiller. Fear is the inability to understand.. Do you still have nightmares? Calling out for your mate? Fearing her loss due to actions of your own? Will you go screaming into eternity crying her name like an oath to a god, begging for understanding and forgiveness?"

Megatron smirks. "Pathetic speeches is all I hear from you. A slave... a pity little slave. How is it when your master is not pleased with what you do, Divefire? I heard you scream when he drew you back. No lovely hands to take the pain from you, only pain..." He looks at Ghost. "Yes, I still have my nightmares. And they are my own, given to me by myself. I am my own master. What are you? What do you have? Nothing.”  His optics burn.  "What will you be when your master is destroyed?" Why the hell is he so certain that will happen.?

Ghost laughs softly, that sound a soft, mocking tone on tone as shadows once again rise around her, "I am ever much more than I was before. I was but a shadow before, now.. I *am* nothing."

Megatron says, "Nothing means being nothing. Lost and forgotten. What will you be when your master is destroyed? Still nothing - nothing without power.  You await me to plea for you to release my sister? Don't you know she wouldn't want it? I think she is quite... pissed that I haven't already shot you."

Ghost's facade of cold calm and ice cracks for a moment, a maelstrom of anger and rage shining through as her lips curl into a snarl, fingertips sinking into the nebulous ball in her hand. "I was nothing before! She was nothing! A shadow without substance, a pawn. And pawns.. are meant to be sacrificed!"

Ruse twitches... ok... can't get power. She does however have enough to do the one thing all transformers CAN do naturally. Transform! As she does somewhat slowly, she rises to her feet and murmurs, "Talk talk talk... babbling like brooks. I may have not known my 'auntie', but I know she wouldn't want you desecrating her like this!" She acts, words backed by action as she summons a discbomb from subspace, a non-energy weapon, and frisbees it!

Megatron laughs. "You forgot that this pawn has already reached the eighth row of the chess board... You know what that mean? The pawn has already changed to a queen. Ghost was more than you will ever be, she was my sister - a creation of Vector Sigma that broke free of the chains of slavery!

Ghost's frame seems to shade vague, the edged outlines dissolving into wisps of that same darkness that she has been surrounded by the entire time. Her optics narrow to thin slits as she raises that hand of energy, fingers splaying wide as she offers a faint smile to Megatron, "Your sister is as dead as your son, Megatron." Her spars splay outwards, filling the air being her with the filmy outlines of spectral wings, as she goes to add words to words. The bomb flies over, dropping into the spectal plasmic fields behind her, igniting them into a flare of brilliant violet and green light, shrouding the herald with white on white negative light. Then.. the gloves come off as the brilliance subsides into a deep pulling that bends and warps the dimness around her, swirling about like it was caught in a cyclone, "How.. sweet, little /niece/... " she grates as she twists. Something, she falters, something draws her attention from the injury and her target.. A brow lifts as she pivots, bringing her hands together in front of her to focus all of that seething shadow through her touching fingertips, "Now, now, Megatron.. I hope you can handle the loss of *another* one of your warriors to heroic nonsense," she comments as she shunts that twisting lance of entropy towards CatsCradle. "She has served her purpose."

Megatron shoots at Ghost, but misses her, due to the suddenness of her attack on CatsCradle. "Ghost, you stubborn femme, keep your possessor still, so that I can get you out of there," he murmurs to himself. "Ruse, behind me!"

Ruse lets out a cry of rage, "NO! CATS!" She looks to Megatron as he fires surprised by A> that he did, and B> he missed! She urges him as she does as ordered, "I need a weapon that doesn't run off my power!", and he needs someone with better aim... and that desperate times call for equal measures.

Megatron says, "I said, stay behind me, Ruse."  He narrows  his optics, aiming once more. "Ghost, we belong to nobody, remember?" he says quietly. "Neither to Perihellia nor to Unicron. Only we control our destiny." It is not clear if it is meant to be heard by the female spawn. Maybe he is just talking to a... ghost. And he fires again.

Divefire’s expression twists into one of pure horror as he's attacked by the most savage and deadly weapon that any of the Transformers could bring to bear on him.... a kiss by the love of his former life, a signal of hope for what lies cacooned inside his soul. For the longest moment he struggles to rip her off his frame, hands grasping at her armor looking for any purchase to form leverage and then it happens... His arms slowly start to fall, his expression starts to falter and the halo of power that his frame exudes slowly starts to die down as something grows in determination and strength...

CatsCradle slowly breaks off the kiss and just as lovingly nuzzles his nose with hers, then looks up into his optics, her own wide and beseeching. Then Ghost's shot hits her squarely in the back, and she arches backwards, muffling the sound of pain through her clenched jaws, as her armor smolders and melts instantly. Her grip around her mate, however, only tightens.

Divefire rocks back on his heels as the blast from his partner slams into his former mate. With a snap shake of his head, he claws back at his senses, forcibly asserting himself again.  This time he growls with a deeply unnatural voice, sounding more like the implosion of neutrons then an animation of air particles. "Get! Off! ME!" he screams, darkly in wrath as his whole frame suddenly burns with the fire born of a star and with a new strength he does indeed rip the creature off his frame and throws her hard into a wall. With no more talking to be done, all his focus goes into the building of his power, fusion energy ripples and roars around his body, billowing up and acting like a non-consuming pyre of power that has every intention of consuming every one and thing in its path. They are the fires of Chaos and they are about to burn everything to dust...

Ghost's form wavers as the coalesced energy seethes outwards to strike at the femme clinging to the First Herald. For a brief moment, she is unadorned with the stuff of nothing, frame not so much as black as simply the absence of any light at all. With a slap of her pinions, she twists on a heel, rising upwards several meters the blast from Megatron striking into a few remnants of shadow still left on the ground. She grows quiet, silent even, turning to look at her sibling, optics flickering a pale pale lavender as she holds a fingertip to her lips in a 'shush' motion. Trailing behind her, those plasmic fields warp and ripple, shadows forming within them to spell out words! 'All is not lost. Someone is watching over you as promised.'

CatsCradle hits the wall, hard enough to knock the movement out of her. She lands in a crumpled heap, then out of sheer will, she levers herself up on her elbows, gazing into the maelstrom around the body of what has imprisoned her mate. "How long, Diver?" she shouts, voice cracking. "How long until Unicron becomes angry at me for being such a distraction to you? How long until he kills me, because you cannot?”

Ghost's head gives another shake, the message fading from the spectral wings. She gives a delighted smile as CatsCradle hits a wall, but the expression shifts to sly cunning as she replies to the other femme for her compatriot, with the voice of her master, "How long?" she 'breathes', voice rippling and twisting, "What about, the next few nanoseconds, my pitiful, sweet, irritation." Reaching over her shoulder to that one protrusion that is not symmetrical, she withdraws a length of the same spars that form her wing membranes. It ignites, shimmering softly as she moves towards the other female, "Now, you meet your ending!" She lashes out with it, sending the flames dashing towards CatsCradle.

Ruse hisses, clinching her fists.. optics FLARING at Megatron's words. "FINE!" (NOT!) She suddenly breaks forward, that darn teenage rebellious thing driving her. As she does, she draws her sword and rushes at Divefire's back and swings through the plasma/fusion field-thingy knowing it will leave her sword molten. Hopefully though that molten metal will splash and cut into Dive!! Ah the resilience of youth fighting on despite injuries... and yet the foolishness.

Megatron slowly lowers his cannon, staring at the plasmic field. At this moment, his rebellious daughter drags him out of thought. "What the... RUSE! You have your orders!" he barks, trying to grasp her - which is usually impossible. "Damn family stubbornness..!"

Divefire is far too consumed in his own rages of flames to be concerned what anyone is trying to say or do to him right now. As Ruse approaches to strike at him, the torrent of energy intensifies to a level only seen at the corona of a star.  The matter of the very air itself at the most basic sub-atomic level explodes under the force of the heat. The resultant explosion throws Ruse far from Divefire's frame and into another semi-destroyed wall. And still the energy continues to build, now the very floor he stands on melts away to nothing but goo, and the energy starts to seep out in a perfect globe shape with Divefire at its center.

Not too far from the center of the battle, a patch of rubble shifts slightly. Were anyone close enough, they might hear a soft groan of pain from under the debris.

Megatron is in fury. His daughter hurt, his sister possessed, his troops threatened. He fixes the strange orb of energy. Rising his cannon, he decides to use what he uses as the last of all measures - and he fires... The beam that escapes from the barrel of his gun is blinding bright - matter and antimatter reacting with each other, heading for that form that was Divefire once. This is a moment of all or nothing.

CatsCradle's entire attention is frozen by the blazing apparition that has imprisoned her mate. For a second, her thoughts are clearly on her face; toss herself into the sphere of energy. Either Diver will rise to the surface in some kind of control, or it will kill her. Also clear is the wistful thought that death would be a relief. She gathers herself to launch forward, just as Megatron fires at the creature in the center of the sphere and Ghost rains fire down on her. Both catches her unawares. Briefer than a split second, energy crackles from her fingertip. Briefer than that, she gives another pleading look to the sphere, burning with sun-like intensity, and as fast as it started, her fingers relax and the energy dissipates. Ghost's flames wash over her, and her forward movement dies before it ever began.

Divefire senses the blast a moment before Megatron fires it, the scream of the universe echoes in his mind as what is mixes with what is not meant to be and becomes one of the most singular powerful forces in the universe. A flicker of terror consumes most of his mind as one small part left smirks to himself in a told you so manor, before the beam of total annihilation strikes the sphere of raw fusion energy that is his to command. With all his will he fights the very nature of the universe, pushing back against the beam with everything that he has, forearms crossed in front of his chest miming the block his energies swirl to accomplish. The sphere is pressured, concaves, fights back with a fury of a dying star and finally... gives into the basic laws of the Universe that even a servant of Chaos must still bow down to. The blow is titanic as it shatters the field of fusion energy, striking into and through Divefire's frame, hurling him back with such force as to drive him through mounds of rubble, a remaining wall which shatters to dust from the impact and almost half a mile outside... Awesome indeed is the final force that Megatron has at his command, even against a demi-god... There may be hope for this race after all.

Skywarp walks in.  His optics widen and he watches the entire thing, at a complete loss and trying to get a clue. Then he rethinks and says, "Megatron I have placed my troops on the western region of Cybertron!"

Megatron doesn't really understand what Skywarp says, just nods. His circuits are overloaded, his energy is dangerously low - he is completely exhausted. Slowly he drops onto his knees, not able to stand anymore, trying to regain at least a bit power to be able to walk again.

Ghost's flamestrike makes contact with her target a mere moment before the antimatter.. the universe screams as matter meets animatter, pure, unadulterated power rippling the very fabric of space itself. A startled jerk as her attention flashes to her fellow herald before she doubles over, shrieking as her master pulls from her in order for his other to survive the simple application of basic physics. Streamers of black negative energy whiplash about her, seeking points at which to ground themselves in black jagged lightning strikes as she continues to scream in the shared moment of agony. Her head tilts backwards, black overlacing her frame, violet and emerald joining the sudden fury of the storm pulsing from her as all control over her form seems to have been rendered absent. Her lines blur, edges seeming to loose cohesiveness, wing-spars fanning out behind her only to continue to radiate the loss of control, tendrils of negative energy sinking into piles of rubble, dancing into the sky, coiling around her form as it seems to begin to become dissolute.

CatsCradle levers herself up on her elbows again as the flame-bath flows off her, taking her paint off down to the shine of base metal, melting armor that had already been scorched to liquid before. Her attention never left the space where Divefire... was?... She doesn't remember climbing to her feet, only running, clawing her way over rubble along the pathway Divefire's body had flown.

Skywarp walks towards Megatron and mumbles into his radio checking in with his troops as he can be heard if one is close by. "Bring me some energon now!" Some crackle is heard over the radio and a soft voice acknowledging Skywarp's order.

Megatron crawls over to his daughter, trying to find out if she is still alive. The circuitry in his brain still seems to glow, sending a burning pain into his consciousness. But that will fade away, slowly, but it will. He is not damaged, just strained. However, Ruse urgently needs help.  "Get... her... to... the med bay..."

Little pieces of rubble shift and slide as a small brown and tan arm slowly emerges from the debris. Dented, scratched and burnt - but still moving.

Skywarp looks at Megatron as he kneels down. "You need medical attention as well.  I'll bring her and I will come back for you."

Megatron shakes his head. "I am fine... just exhausted. Need to refuel..."

Skywarp nods. "Energon is on its way Megatron!"  He looks about, his optics searching.

Megatron slowly makes it onto his feet again - a bit shaky, but he is able to stand. "Good," he answers.

Acrid smoke pours from a new hole in a far away wall, lines of fracturing criss- cross and emblazon the force of the impact the new occupier of the wall hit it with. For long moments silence echoes out from it and the only thing to move is an ever-thinning line of smoke, reaching for the skyline. Then a hand rips out, grasping at nothing with blackened fingers of skeletal internal structure that hint at the horror about to emerge. Slowly it pulls itself from the wall, wisps of energy leaking from a shattered frame, armor ripped apart from all its structure, leaving only slagged motifs of what was once there. It coughs once, struggling to remain standing before a cracked voice shifts out and then starts to laugh in the most insane manner.

CatsCradle startles, missing her step and skidding down the last of the rubbled pathway, landing almost on her knees, gazing up at the blackened skeleton. Her optics bleach to white, but the pain isn't from of her own hurts, but in pain for what is left of her mate. "Oh, Diver..." she whispers. "No..."

Skywarp stands up and tries to aid Megatron as he keeps staring at that odd appearance near the wall.  Two come up to him, carrying energon cubes. One salutes Skywarp as Skywarp tell him, "Give those cubes to Megatron and help find the others.”

The crazed black lightning continues as the form of the femme within its center is enveloped by a sickly green hue. With voice echoing from the shadows around, reveling in this new trick, she speaks, "You think to destroy those that serve me? Witness.. your folly, Megatron. Witness his pain as he continues to serve me with every last particle of his being."

Megatron hisses: "Get my daughter to the medbay!" He takes one of the cubes, downing it thirstily, then faces the strange appearance with cold optics. "I am not interested in your slaves. It is /you/ I am going to destroy," he says with deadly certainty. This is a promise; and he will keep it...

Skywarp pulls debris away from the waving arm. then he  retracts his left hand and a welder comes out, cutting pieces of metal and more rubble..  First the arm, then a pair of antennae, then the rest of Resyke appears as the Seekers dig him out, his once shiny armor blackened from extreme heat, dents and scratches gouged into his frame. The little bug groans as he's pulled clear of the rubble, his visor shattered and one antennae bent into a figure-eight.

Skywarp walks towards Ruse as he bends down to pick her up. "With your permission, I'll take her to the med bay!"  He turns to go with Ruse in his arms.

Resyke is dug out and left there. Well, that's fine. "Whas goin on?" he mumbles, pushing himself up on one damaged arm to peer through the fog covering his vision at the pretty light display.

CatsCradle unsteadily pulls herself to her feet, still shaky with the uncertainty of the debris she stands on. Still determined, still loving, still certain that he will not hurt her, she makes her way closer to the burnt figure. No word. Just one hand held out to him.

Divefire’s head creaks back, exposing more wires and burnt circuits that all point to the fact that he should be dead and buried and yet somehow he still stands, still laughs with such vibrancy that its tone can only be described as chaotic. "Behold," He croaks, still laughing as he talks. "The power of Chaos! The most powerful weapon you fools posses... And I..." He takes one creaking step forward towards Cats. "Still..." One more, optics now blazing with pure hate and insane rage, born from the indescribable pain that now tears and thrashes at his mind. "LIVE!"

CatsCradle says softly, her gaze never leaving the charred face, "So... does... my... mate...!"

Ghost laughs as the lighting seems to come under an icy control, landing and interlacing together to streak towards the distant skeletal Divefire, dancing about him as if to raise a shroud of darkness entirely around the battered being. Little flickerlets of energy bubble off, sniping at CatsCradle much akin to static charge leeking off of masts at the ocean.. Her own form goes translucent, appearing hollow-lit by a fading silvered lavender light as the shadows begin to rise around Divefire, head arching back as she becomes a channel for the power flooding the area.

CatsCradle steps closer, ignoring the energy swirling around her. "This..." and her hand touches the metal of his arm, burning to the touch. "This body is not my mate. My mate is here," and her hand hovers over his chest. "And in here." Her hand moves to touch her chest. "And I told you before, you will have to kill me to make me stop believing that." Her hand moves to touch the burned face, and in a quick step, she kisses him again. Softly. Lovingly. All that she has left.

Divefire’s frame flickers in an eery light as the shadows tighten around his frame, despite the lips and hands that touch his body. The energy that causes threw his body, fed through the shadows from a source that is else where, starts to remake his frame from nothing, recreating the form that the Chaos Bringer had created for his herald. As his form is finally remade, hands push at the shoulders of the one that kisses him, pushing her away with a firm finality. A whisper echoes out from his lips, a sadness cascading from his optics. "Goodbye, Cats." And then the shadows clench with a angry forcefulness and once again where Divefire was is... nothing as he is taken from this place to... Elsewhere.

Ghost's translucent form goes incandescent as the energies drag Divefire back into the hell that they have both become part of.. That painful flaring of all that she is not goes out with the finality of a light being shut off and where she was, is nothing more.

CatsCradle numbly takes a step backwards, falling back from the sudden absence of form where now is... nothing. "I told you, you were still in there," she murmurs, then sinks to the ground, her head in her hands.

Megatron, at least somehow refueled, starts looking for CatsCradle. And he has a vague idea where to go to. He follows the direction, Ghost has shown.

Resyke's sensitive antennae pick up the conversation, but he's in no state to understand it. CatsCradle and Divefire. They both sound sad. Why?

Megatron finally finds Cats between the rubble. He goes down on one knee beside the femme, calmingly placing a hand on her shoulder. "CatsCradle..?"

CatsCradle doesn't look up. Her voice husks out, "Do you... do you think Ghost is still in there? After all this, can you believe that?"

Megatron smiles slightly. "Ghost is as stubborn as I am. She is still in there - and she will fight to get her body back."

CatsCradle’s head slides up slowly to look at the empty space. "I'm not sure how much more... every time I think I'm going to make it, reach him, somehow... he slips that much further away."

Resyke manages to get to his feet, feeling EXACTLY like a building fell on him. Ignoring the blurriness of his vision, the damaged Insecticon stumbles towards the familiar voices, occasionally tripping over the uneven, rubble covered ground.

Megatron wraps his arm around CatsCradle shoulder in a comforting way. "He won't give up. So don't you give up either."

CatsCradle leans into the comfort. "I guess... I guess we'll all know tomorrow, won't we?" She doesn't even seem to have the energy to break down. The lack of energy and sleep, plus the wounds finally overcoming everything else.

Megatron decides: "I'll take you to the medbay, CatsCradle. You need repairs, refuel, and recharge." Then he promises: "We’ll get them back - both: your mate and my sister."

Resyke slides down a pile of broken rock, skidding to a halt at the feet of the two larger Decepticons. "H'llo.. boss. Miss."

Megatron studies Resyke. "Looks like someone else needs repairs as well."

CatsCradle nods. "I have to believe that," she says faintly, as if convincing herself. Then she looks up as Resyke slides down. "Oh, Buggie... oh, you're all right! I mean.. you aren't... but when we couldn't find you...!

Resyke gets up. "Hmm? Oh yeah.. th building fell down" he says muzzily. "All fll down."

CatsCradle nods, her face serious. "Yeah... I had one of those do that to me, too."

Resyke shakes his head to clear it, then blinks, his yellow optics clearly visible through his shattered visor. "Laserbeak!" he cries, remembering. "Motormaster! Ruse! Are they..."

Megatron, getting on his feet again, picks CatsCradle up. "It's taken care of them, Resyke, don't worry. But now we have to bring that lady here to the
medics. And you too.

<Cybertron> Ruse awakens in the repairbay and gets onto the radio almost first thing, "What happened?!" A demanding question that goes across the airwaves.


Ghost appears in that flash of incandescent light, wing-spars fanned out behind her as she sags form the subsiding agony that the light seemed to have caused. A shake of her head as if to clear it. She turns, attention snapping to Divefire, looking for him.
Divefire’s image starts to fade into the void, a little way from Ghost, his fresh armor rippling with something else as they emerge. The green light that embraced her to help recreate him from a charred husk now causes a silent agony to wash over his body. It would seem as if their master is unhappy at recent events.
Ghost relaxes into her violet-black haze, optics unfocused as her thoughts slowly return to her own. Those spars fold into her back, the plasma panels dissipating as she rests in the void. But the peace only lasts for so long as she watches her compatriot become subjected to punishment. Something she has yet to feel. With an unfurling of those sparks, she pushes herself towards the agonized mech, mentally calling out to her master, "What has he done to earn thy wrath, oh master of chaos?"
The voice that echoes out twists at the very fabric of their minds, in them and around them all at once. "He has failed..." The voice replies simply, giving nothing more away.
Ghost's optics flicker as she dares to ask, "How?"
The voice echoes out once more, sounding almost amused by his minions question. "He did not destroy CatsCradle... He could not contain the emotions of the vessel."
Ghost's wing spars flex out behind her.. Her brows arch upwards, faint plumes of plasma wisping out around her, "Emotions are a weapon, my lord." she 'speaks, voice flat and devoid of such things, "Her existence can be used like an energon cube dangled in front of a tug-drone in order to inspire even greater acts of loyalty to you all to defend this.." a hint of negativity, "reminder of his past."
There is a pause in the plane of the mind as the Chaos Bringer considers this fresh perspective. "Perhaps..." he booms, still unsure. "But I have no wish to give his former self reason to try and defy me... I underestimated the strength of their bond..."
Ghost's head nods once as she listens. then.. she opens her mind to her master, mental voice a silken alto resonant with a vibrato, "My lord, only hear my plea and know that it comes only out of loyalty to you.." Her spars fan out as shadowmatter begins to ripple around her, "Where would your darkness be, without your light? Where would your cold be, without your heat? Where would your ice be, without your fire? We are, but two parts of your whole, my lord. Without the other, the one is not.. complete."
A pause to consider once again before the reverb continues in the mind. "It is true that the two of you have achieved a connection I did not at first consider... Perhaps it can be used to... Reinforce your allegiances..."
Ghost's head cocks to one side as she focuses on the voice in and around her. Unconsciously, tendrils of the shadowstuff twist towards Divefire as if seeing the resonant energy he harbors. "Our allegiance to you, my lord or to one another?"
Divefire’s frame is still stiffened and still, optics open yet very far away and his face locked in some obscene silent agony. Unicron's voice intones with a hint lighter of amusement at Ghost’s question. "Both, my minion... You are indeed correct in your assumption that you are more powerful together... Reflections of each others powers... Embrace it..."
Ghost turns to look at the tormented Divefire. Those tendrils of dark thicken as she draws closer, taking a moment to study her counterpart, the other side of the coin. several strands thread off, circling into the light holding him in place, seeking the warmth of the plasma he holds..
The energy that surrounds Divefire's frame flickers and then fades away to nothing. Slowly he starts to move, blinking once and looking to Ghost with puzzlement as to the time that passed without his notice. It seems as if Unicron had locked him out of their conversation. However he can feel her shadows holding him in place and his confusion grows, evident as his voice echoes in their link. "What... What happened...?"
Ghost glides closer, "You have been given a momentary reprieve for your foolish actions, my light," she replies through the link, optics flickering.
Divefire’s features frown a little, before the hints of his amused and ever present smirk start to filter through. "Oh, that... Well after being antimatter-cannoned by your dear brother, I was lucky to be feeling anything at all..."

Repair Bay

Resyke lies on a repair bed, taking up less than half its surface, mentally replaying the events that ended with him being taken here.

Thrust watches Megatron come in, deposit these two and leave again. He looks at them. "What happened to you two?"

CatsCradle curls up in a ball on the bed. The medics hover around her nervously for a moment, then cluster around Resyke instead. Oh, yeah... she's very well known here. "My mate decided to tap-dance on us again."

Thrust nods. “Glad I’m not attached...."

Resyke looks embarrassed, saying to one of the medics, "Shouldn't you be working on her first?" The medic just gives Resyke a scared look.

CatsCradle says "Attached or not, it won't make much of a difference, tomorrow."

Resyke blinks as a medic removes his helmet. The Insecticon looks very odd without his whip-antennae and visor. "Do.. do you think they'll be all right miss?"

CatsCradle uncurls enough to look at the little Insecticon, and can't bring herself to say what she fears so much. "Megatron believes they will be," she finally says. "So I have to believe it, too. Diver's always been a miracle to me... I have to believe he'll be another one."

Resyke looks like he /really/ wants to believe that. "The boss will be right, miss." he replies, trying to sound his usual cheerful self. "He's just gotta be."

CatsCradle whispers, "Yeah. He's gotta be." Then she closes her optics. The medics fearfully hover again, then seem to decide that she is at least true in feigning sleep and buzz around her, replacing the molten armor from her back, and setting up a drip to her fuel lines. They even replace the patches on her hands, which have worn through again.



     CatsCradle's face appears. "Last night, there was an attack on the Polyhex War Academy, by ... Unicron's Heralds. The first one, occupying Divefire's body, and a newer one, that appears to have been created from Ghost. Motormaster was severely injured. Ruse also took damage, and at this time, we have yet to find Laserbeak or Resyke. Rescue and Recovery efforts are continuing." She pauses. "As this attack has put out several of those undertaking the mission to infect Unicron with the Cosmic Rust virus, we will have to adjust the list of those going. More information on this will follow. CatsCradle, out."


      Con1: ...That thing said that Megatron has a sister /and/ a son. And he should have killed his son.
      Con2: Why?
      Con3: Maybe he was the same nuisance as Starscream.
      Con1: Starscream? That reminds me that I have seen the boss, visiting Starscream's crypt several times. Isn't that strange?
      Con2: You mean...?
      Con3: What?
      Con2: Starscream, the son of our leader? You must be kidding!

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