Hail to the Prime
Twisted from The Transformers
It had been many millennia since Megatron last felt cuffs chewing into his wrists, replacing the weight of gauntlets and barely distracting from the tension cracking his gears, the hot humiliation rushing through his otherwise starved fuel lines. Even if his HUD was still working, it would only be a dull imprint in the gloom of his cell. As well as the rust forming a thin layer over his scarred lips, the constant clink of his chains stopped him from sleeping; the more he struggled, the more energy he lost, the more he suffered.
Megatron knew exactly how close Optimus came to offlining him the day of his capture, still flinched from the stinging ghost of a blade cleaving through protoform, cables, wires; already soaked in energon before finally exiting his body in a fountain burst of his blood. That never happened, of course, not with a coward like Optimus wielding the killing blow, but Megatron could see the scene playing out clearly enough in the Prime’s optics; the glass surface reflecting only a fraction of the fire that otherwise would have melted right through. Even he had never wanted to kill a bot more intensely than Optimus did at that moment. The only thing that spared him for a cell rather than a coffin was the summons of surrender, his ranks rippling with equal parts desperation and desertion. With their leader down, a flick of the servo away from losing his helm, what else could the Decepticons do? What else could Megatron have expected them to do, other than what they were all best at: betrayal?
In a way, he should have been proud of them. They saw his weakness, and knew they were doomed if they stayed with him.
Part of his spark hoped it would perish right there, in Cybertron’s basement, with at least his dignity left intact if nothing else. But, once again, he underestimated the Autobots. They came for him eventually; a uniform scuff of peds against floors trudging through the sludge of his consciousness. He might have recognised his jailers if he had any will to raise his helm, might have received guilty glances down from ex-Decepticons now hauling their disgraced warlord before their new master. Metal grating dissolved to hard steel scraping against his crumpled knees, and flickering plasma lamps carved into the cavern walls paled against the glare from the open council chamber doors ahead. Not even his optics clamped closed could protect the lenses from the light pouring on him. Though he was blinded for now, his audio receptors were as sharp as they’d ever been. No applause greeted him, only a chorus of harsh intakes and the uncertain creak of bots debating with themselves, whether they should run for the nearest exit or stay and watch the show.
He lurched to a stop, limp as a puppet, and colours bled into the cracks of his vision. Red, blue, then streaks of grey pooling in the hard outline of Optimus’s frame sitting leagues above him on a familiar throne made out of mangled struts, a prison of Megatron’s own making stolen from his own fortress in Darkmount. He’d only notice the two mechs flanking either side of him much later, each of them struggling to look down at the shuddering pile of rust thrown at their peds. For now, all Megatron could see was the hatred etched into every curve of Optimus’s face, pulling taut at his cables and leaking from the very core of his spark.
Seeing the anger leaking from his composure made Megatron smile like he was cutting a scar into his faceplate. He looked forward to seeing just how far he managed to push Optimus into this, what kind of pathetic sentence the Prime would have ready for him. “That throne doesn’t suit you, Prime. Far too … uncomfortable for someone like you,” Megatron told him, almost recoiling from how foreign his voice sounded after escaping the gauntlet of his broken vocaliser.
If Optimus was at all surprised by what weeks in a dungeon had stripped from his nemesis, he hid it well. “Someone like me … who now leads your entire army.” His voice was fringed with a ceaseless snarl, torn to ragged strips by his gritted denta. Megatron was reminded of feral Insecticons, but he’d gutted enough of those in the past to not be scared of a lone soldier clicking its maw at him. “And now has you, Unicron’s own herald, pleading for—”
Megatron’s laughter spread like a tumour from his vocaliser, and soon burst out to interrupt and shove aside the digit pointing down at him, accusing him directly of a thousand crimes and more not even Optimus could remember. “‘Unicron’s herald?’” Megatron scoffed, rolling his optics and missing the flare of rage going off in Optimus. “I’m almost flattered, Prime, but—”
Then, his helm was ringing, mouth full of stale energon dribbling onto the floor as he coughed past the flood of his own organs trying to escape. His face had gone numb where Optimus struck with his palm, but soon stings fit like a gauze over his grimace and coated his glossa from where he bit into it.
“Do not interrupt me,” Optimus stated to Megatron’s own choice glare, flexing the digits on his hand and still wielding it like a weapon. The cables in his servos looked ready to snap, searching for any excuse to throttle someone’s spark.
“Point … taken,” Megatron groaned, spitting out what he couldn’t bear to swallow and aiming for any unfortunate bystanders. There was certainly a wealth of them around him, the entire planet gathered to see the end of his era. He was smiling to himself again through bloody denta, knowing Prime’s new era would hardly be any better for them, and barely listening to Optimus waxing on and on to vent out whatever was burning in his spark, amplified by the Matrix hanging heavy from his chest on chains as thick as the ones around Megatron’s limbs. How ironic; the aim of the war had been to pry that holy trinket from Prime’s dying spark, and there it was dangling right before him like a sparkling’s toy. If he could even move his servos to grab for it, he wouldn’t fit more than a few digits around the handles before a hail of plasma bullets burned away what rust spared his plating.
Whether or not Optimus knew how Megatron’s tied claws itched to stab through his neck, break apart the links that tethered him to Primus, he seemed to enjoy the impatience starting to bubble and simmer in the warlord’s trembling frame. The Matrix would sway on his chest, close enough for Megatron to buffet his choked vents against it, as if daring him to lunge for it and make a dead fool of himself. Even as Megatron stayed still, defiant even while kneeling, there was an undercurrent of
barely muffled snorts and barks of laughter rippling through the audience. Whatever the verdict of this trial, this bad comedy Autobots seemed to have developed a taste for, it was ultimately irrelevant. All Optimus wanted to do was drag out the humiliation, like a razor across Megatron’s throat. Impressive, even to his victim.
Not soon enough, Prime eventually tired of teasing him and snapped his spinal strut upright, snatching the Matrix up out of even desperate reach. “I won’t waste time with formalities you don’t deserve, Megatron. A century ago, I might have spared you. A millennia, I might even have released you.” Even the crowd knew to stay silent now; all optics flitting between Prime and prisoner, waiting for the tension to break and grow nuclear. They seemed to be expecting something that Megatron had not prepared for, as he watched the anticipation spoiling the somberness of their expressions.
Around that same point, he noticed the yellow mech by Optimus’s right side, and the blue steel sword bigger than his entire body held out in his hands.
Megatron forced himself to laugh and ignore the omen openly glinting at him, trying to fit the memory of the awkward, mumbling, near-useless data clerk he’d so easily managed to manipulate so long ago into the frame of this new, downright dangerous Optimus. It only barely worked, because Orion and Optimus were not two sides of the same coin like he’d always assumed. He wouldn’t have been surprised if one had killed the other.
“And what has changed since then?” Megatron asked, with a tone like a sire generously honouring his child. “What injustice of Primus has finally broken your ties to something as pathetic as morality?” He already knew the answer, allowed himself the same grin he wore when he took the one life more precious to Optimus than all of the Thirteen combined.
But the grin only had a slightly shorter lifespan than himself; it dissolved like steel in acid when his frame collapsed under the weight of Optimus’s ped kicking out and crushing hard, mercilessly hard, against his chest. The sword appeared from nowhere, snatched from the burden of the yellow mech and now an inch away from piercing Megatron’s helm but, that wasn’t what made the warlord utterly speechless for the first time since he’d met the mech now bolting him to the floor.
“My wife … my sparkmate is dead.” If looks could kill, Optimus wouldn’t have even needed a blade. He was unhinged, disconnected from any will aside from that of his own fury burning out of control, a wildfire born from his own spark. Not even the Autobots knew who this beast was, the one who had Primus’s own voice in his head and who had led them into the uncertain light of a new, almost impossible dawn—one littered with corpses on both sides.
Fear of death left Megatron long ago at the same moment he realised he’d never have to face Primus, knowing he was already destined for eternity in Unicron’s domain, but there was something far more primal, more complex than fear that made him dread meeting Optimus’s glare. He would not just die today; if Optimus succeeded, he would be annihilated from all existence.
Megatron gulped, ragged, each shudder of his neck cables forcing the sword point to slice into them. The floor underneath his scrap heap of a body was quickly becoming a crust of half-dried energon and coolant he couldn’t afford to waste through the sweat and tears now streaming from him. “And you think … you can trade my spark for Elita One’s?”
Among many of the mistakes he’d made concerning Optimus, saying her name aloud was the last one he had a chance to make. “No. Yours is not worth even a fraction of hers.”
The pressure of the blade lifted, the hilt pulling back and bending beneath the force of Optimus’s grip. Reflexively, Megatron’s vents filled with metallic air, his last breath before Optimus speared through his spark chamber.
Chest armour fell apart like cardboard, shattered chamber casings became shrapnel, and his bleeding neck fell limp under the weight of his helm. His vocaliser didn’t screech, only dribbled a stream of broken static and seized in a loop of gurgling croaks. Though the core was split apart, his spark still sizzled and crackled around the razor draining away its energy, and the glow faded much more slowly than the light in his optics.
Optimus let go of the hilt, didn’t bother pulling the sword from Megatron’s body even when his spark finally stopped sputtering like a broken circuit, even when the frame stopped twitching in the pool of energon starting to lick against the peds of the nearest bystanders, or even when they noticed the macabre glee filling the Prime’s faceplate.
The dead warlord’s optics stared blankly ahead, dull red glass reflecting the yellow mech running off down a shielded hallway, barely muffling sobs from behind his hands. Optimus didn’t even notice how he fled, paid no mind to the white mech on his left following after him. With the energon-spattered Matrix torn from around his neck and swinging from his hand, he returned to his throne and the thorned seat that seemed to accommodate him more and more each day. Like a sack of springs Megatron was dragged away, with grinding clanks and blue streaks staining the floor in his wake. It was more ceremony than he ever allowed Elita One on the battlefield, and more than he deserved. Optimus wouldn’t even have him recycled, melted down for mindless scrap. Let him join the piled corpses of his other officers, the ones he had shot only days before.
And for those who disagreed, those who thought death and cleansing of the ranks wasn’t necessary, he was more than happy to make a new pile just for them.