Second in Command. It had several meanings, depending on what you were doing. Military, politics, business companies, etc. Only the military ones were of Megatron’s interest.
When the war started, and it became clear that it would last, he knew he would need someone to confide in. Strategies, battle plans, energon mining, consumption and storage, the division of his troops. Those, and many more, where matters he needed to make decisions about.
Megatron knew he was capable of great things, but he was not perfect. When in doubt, and he knew those times would come now that new territory was lying ahead of them, he would need someone that was able to see the things he couldn’t and do the things he didn’t know how to. However, he wouldn’t let just anyone become that ‘someone’ either.
A second in command is someone who would only answer to one: Megatron. He would know more than anyone else - except for Soundwave - about their army, their weapons and capability. He would see plans of weapons and attacks that, if done correct, could win them the war.
It is someone who would, in fact, take Megatrons place should the inevitable happen. He would make sure that even if Megatron, for whatever reason, wasn’t present, the Decepticons would not stray from their goal.
In short, he would have power. And that was why Megatron couldn’t choose just anyone. Soundwave is someone he could trust, someone who has the Decepticons best interests in mind, but he is not SIC material.
Soundwave has the ability to walk into a room and go unnoticed, and it was that ability that made it possible for him to gather information about everyone. Information that made it possible for Megatron to know where he troops stood on different matters. Yet, that ability made him docile in a way. Not that Soundwave should be taken lightly, he had once been a feared gladiator, defeated by only Megatron, but he was always in the background, always in the shadows. He would only come forth if the situation, or Megatron, needed him.
Shockwave, another comrade he knew from his gladiator days, might have been an option if not for his seemingly desperate attachment to logic. In the laboratory, logic was a necessity in order to even understand how things worked. On the battlefield, logic would only stand in your way. There were many battles Megatron logically should not even have survived, but Megatron did not rely on logic when fighting for his life. Sometimes even trusting the strange feeling in your spark that said this would work was the only way to fight. Shockwave would not fully understand that, which was why planning battles with him could become tiresome.
There are several who, for different reasons, fit the description of a good Second in Command. Yet they all lack something that Megatron wish for, need, in his Second in Command. The only one who has that, is someone he couldn’t consider. Not that Megatron thought he wasn’t up to the task, quite contrary, but he wasn’t one of his high ranking officers. Taking someone he shouldn’t even remember the name of from the bottom of the ranks and making him his second simply due to a feeling would not look good. It wasn’t even a wise decision, considering his knew nothing of his motives, his integrity or his true loyalties. But he had the ‘something’ Megatron was looking for. He had cunning.
Cunning was not just something that makes you able to fight dangerously or take risky decisions. True cunning is something that you live by. It is what made Megatron able to fight like no one else, speak like no one else and continue despite the odds being against him. And Starscream had it.
Megatron had only met him once, but it had been enough to figure that out. At that time, he had had a growing following of both fans and enemies, and thus making it necessary to have security. With Soundwave as the head of it, he had not worried about ever being disturbed by anyone within the private part of his stadium. Yet he had.
One orbital cycle after a battle, he found Soundwave talking to a winged mech just a few doors away from his private quarters. They both noticed Megatron’s presence at the same time and turned to him. The winged mech met his optics without any fear, and presented himself as if it was the most normal circumstances.
They talked for just a few cycles, and while talking they both attempted to read the other one, and then Starscream simply left. Soundwave had in that short time found out just who he was, and how he got inside. Apparently, he had a friend who could warp, of all things. Somehow Starscream had known just where in the building the private quarters lay, and instructed his friend to warp him in and then leave him there. Megatron had a feeling Starscream had planned every action he made in that meeting, which meant Starscream had been certain it would pan out the way it did. Everything he said had been said just the right way to make an impression, and every movement was completed in a calmy and controlled manner. Starscream had little to no battle experience, yet standing in front of a gladiator who fought every orbital cycle hadn’t seemed to scare him the least.
He knew, thanks to Soundwave, that Starscream had joined his army shortly after the council meeting. He along with two wingmates, one of them being the warper, were stationed as energon seekers. They had worked for the council in Vos as energon seekers before the war, and made quite a reputation of themselves, with Starscream in the lead. And they were continuing on in that direction. Megatron had no doubt that one orbital cycle, Starscream would reach a rank that would make it possible for him to become his second. For now though, he would chose someone else.
He had been right all those vorns ago. Nothing seemed to have been able to slow Starscream down in his quest for recognition and power. Not even the death of his wingmates had stopped him. Everyone knew they had been close, so when Starscream seemingly brushed their deaths bots wondered what he would do to them, should they stand in his way. Some even experienced that.
The orbital cycle when Megatron made him his second was still clear in his mind. Starscream standing proud before him, the troops wary behind him and war waging around them. Just like now.
For a second time, Megatron made Starscream his second. The countless lies and betrayals, the never ending shift in loyalty and relentless attempts to kill him didn’t matter once he saw Starscream standing on the bridge, acting as if he hadn’t been gone, as if Megatron hadn’t sworn to kill him should he show his faceplate again.
Acting as if it was the most normal circumstances.
Starscream had become a sniveling wretch, a pathetic coward and a selfish scraplet. But, he had cunning, which rivaled and went beyond that cowerdly part of him. Judging by his reaction as Megatron put him under the cortical psychic patch, he couldn’t have been 100% sure his plan would work. But he hadn’t let that stop him. He’d wished to become a Decepticon again, and acted on that wish.
Just like when he first needed to chose a SIC, he didn’t hesitate to look at Starscream once Dreadwing was dead. He didn’t even think twice about who should live. Dreadwing had many qualities that fit a SIC, he was loyal, trustworthy, an excellent fighter and flier, he followed orders to the letter. But, Starscream was cunning. He could see what Megatron couldn’t and do the things Megatron didn’t know how to. He WANTED to do those things, unlike Dreadwing, unlike Soundwave and Shockwave. That made him dangerous, and unpredictable. Of course, after so many vorns Megatron could read the seeker like an open book - and he had a feeling that capability went both ways - but sometimes something happened between the lines that surprised even Megatron. Of course, that also went both ways.
Megatron was capable of great things, but if he was to lead the Decepticons to victory he needed someone to fill in the areas he didn’t have the capability to. And Starscream was the only one who had the bravery, and arrogance, to not only show he was better than Megatron - at those areas - but to quite frankly rubb it in his faceplate. It was a trait that made him valuable, and annoying.Though, the most annoying thing would have to be that Megatron always looked past that part.
The halls seems different now that the Nemesis belonged to the Autobots. Megatron felt as if he was intruding on enemy grounds and would be shot at in any moment. Everyone that needed to know knew he was here, so there wouldn't be any trouble, or at least no violence, but he still felt out of place. However, he only planned to stay for as long as they needed him, and then he would leave. He didn't belong here, among the Autobots. Among Optimus friends. He would help any way he could, and then get out of their way.
He turned left and then right. He knew theses halls, had memorised them a long time ago. He knew how many steps it would take to get from one point to another when he walked and when he ran. He knew that he would take 233 more steps before he reached his intended location. It was late, most bots would be recharging now, or at least resting in their rooms. He would do the same, but he had to get this done first.
The arrival on the Nemesis had gone much better than he expected. The atmosphere had been stiff and tense, but that was better than last time he was here. Some of the Autobots had seemed against the idea of a cooperation, but they hadn't made a scene about it. The Decepticons they had contacted had mostly seemed fine with everything, though they all knew there would be some trouble when they came. There were still things that needed discussing, but they had at least gotten started. The next step he had to take was without the Autobtos. Megatron stopped outside the medbay.
He could hear some of the machines working, but no other sounds came. Still, he knew that Starscream was awake. He met his optics as soon as the doors opened.
"Come in, Megatron." Starscream was sitting up and using his arms to support him. There was no marks on his chassis, though the clamp on his pede and wing made it clear he couldn't leave this room. Or shouldn't.
"Starscream." Megatron walked in through the door and stopped in front of his berth. Neither of them broke optic contact.
Starscream spoke first, like usual. "I'm surprised to see you, here." He wasn't happy about it either. Megatron had expected so.
"Ultra Magnus wanted my help in convincing the rest of the Decepticons to join their cause. I accepted." They both tried to read the others intentions: what they wanted and what they would do to achieve it. Megatron always thought he knew what Starscream wanted, but after Knockout explained about the injuries, he wasn't so certain.
"Obviously." Starscream narrowed his optics and flicked his wings…Wing.
Megatron saw no need to avoid the obvious and said, "They told me about your injuries." He saw how the good wing moved in anger and how Starscream clenched his servos. Knockout said he didn't know how Starscream was taking the news yet. Megatron had no problem seeing how he was taking them. It wasn't good.
However, he didn't know if there was any way for them to help him. Starscream didn't like getting help. He had tried once before – not because he cared much, but because he needed Starscream stable and able to fight – and that hadn't worked. He had lost his wing-brothers, Skywarp and Thundercracker, in battle and for a short while, it had seemed as if he would join them. Megatron had attempted to get him to eat, but that hadn't worked. He left Starscream alone after that, and suddenly he was back as if nothing happened. As is his brothers never even existed.
"Is that why you are here?" Starscream suddenly seemed to find strength enough to sit up at get down from the berth. He put little to no weight on his bad pede and he needed to hold onto the berth in order to stay up, but he managed so without breaking optic contact. "To take mock me about yet another 'failure'?" There was something other than anger in his tone, but Megatron wasn't sure what.
"No," He saw how his answer somehow surprised Starscream, "I came to find your true intentions."
"My intentions?" He said the words in a way that made them seem poisonous.
"The war is over, I ended the Decepticons as an army," Megatron raised his optical ridge, "it would be the perfect opportunity for someone else to take my place." He knew Starscream already tried, that's why he was at the tower. But what would he do now?
Starscream's wing flared and anger was burning in his optics. "Then you will be glad to hear that that 'someone' is not going to be me. My intentions is to stay alive. As for the moment, the Autobots are the only one who can help me with that." He flicked his wing again, this time intentionally. Megatron understood. Starscream had already lost too much; he wasn't going to risk losing more, not matter how little he had left. Oddly enough, Megatron trusted him. For now, Starscream wouldn't go against them and cause trouble.
However, there was one more thing he had to ask.
"And Rodimus?" Starscream raised his optical ridge.
"What about him?" Megatron could see Starscream knew what he meant. He still answered.
"What are your intentions with Rodimus?" He had been surprised when he heard what the newspark had done, but even more surprised when it seemed like Starscream didn't mind him.
Starscream didn't miss a beat, "I wouldn't get much help from the Autobots if I hurt him, now would I?" There was a pause before he continued, "Besides, he doesn't bother me that much."
Megatron could see Starscream was thinking. About Rodimus. Usually, when Starscream thought about another living being, it meant something bad would happen to them, but this time it seemed different. Megatron decided to trust that Starscream was telling the truth. Again.
"...Thank you." The words was hard to say, almost as if it went against his very being, but he still said them and meant it. He was thankful. Right now, they all needed to work together in order to rebuild their planet. Even Starscream had to be with them if they wanted to make this work.
Starscream was just as surprised by his words as he was. He almost let go of the berth and lost his balance, but saved himself just in time. Megatron broke their staring contest and turned to leave. He was stopped right in front of the door.
"What are your intentions?" He turned again and looked at Starscream. He wasn't tense anymore. It almost looked like he was just curious. Of course, Starscream was never 'just' anything.
"To rebuild Cybertron. And make it a better home for all Cybertronians." Starscream smiled as if he'd been told a joke.
"You've said that before, remember?" That was true, those exact words. The first time they met, he had used them to explain what the Decepticons stood for. "What's so different this time?" He raised his optical ridge, still smiling. "You're not blind anymore?"
This time Megatron was the one who got surprised. Did Starscream believe that, or was he playing with him?
He didn't answer though. He simply continued out of the room.
Starscream watched as the doors closed behind Megatron, and he was alone again.
What was that about?
He had expected threats and commands of staying out of trouble, not…whatever that was.
Starscream climbed carefully back onto the berth. Hopefully, Soundwave wouldn't show that to Knockout, he was angry enough as it was. Speaking of Soundwave, he was probably asking Megatron again why he let him live. Starscream couldn't help but smile. In one of their rare 'friendly' moments, one of which they just had, Megatron told him about Soundwave and that he didn't trust him.
"Does he have a reason?" He had asked. It was early in the war, and in his time among the Decepticons. He was just leader of one of the flight squadrons back then, and his intentions was still good. Well, good enough.
"Soundwave always has a reason. And so do I." Megatron had known everything about him thanks to Soundwave, and he therefore knew that Soundwaves reasons were valid. He also wanted Starscream to know that he was there only because Megatron said so.
It had worked, for a while, to keep Starscream in check. But, he never was able to just accept the second best things in life. He wanted a higher position, and he planned to achieve it. A few broken rules here, some foul play there, and up he went. Some probably thought that Megatron hadn't known about the rule breaking, but the truth was that he knew everything.
Megatron knew about his past. He knew about his…loss. His brothers…and his reaction to that.
Starscream smiled again. Well played.
Megatron wasn't just after his intentions. He wanted to know how Starscream was handling the fact he might not fly again, which was the worst thing that had happened to him since 'they' died. This made everything a bit more interesting, because now Starscream had to know why Megatron needed to know that. Moreover, thanks to his current situation, it would be a bit challenging. Which was good. He needed some extra distraction anyway.
I just want to say that the weird 'hate - not so much hate' relationship Megatorn and Starscream share is one of my favorite things in the entire franchise. And the 'friendly' moments Starscream mentiond are those times we've seen in the (Prime) show were they don't seem to hate each other: Like when Starscream said they could get the Autobots to kill the predacons and Megatron was impressed, or when they both said to each other they have a way with words. It's complicated to try to understand and explain that relationship in a fanfiction, but I will take that challage and enjoy every second of it :3
(And just so you know, there won't be anything romantic between them) And by they way, just becasue I'm curious, what is your view/theory (whatever you want to call it) on Starscream and Megatron's realtionship?
To God belongs all the glory, even that of this story.
Nursing student with free time that probably should be used on other things than fandoms...
I'm working on a Transformers fanfic, check it out if you want to. I also draw and paint, though I rarely post any of it.