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A Question of Worth
Written by: Shea M. Daily
Summary: Optimus Prime has been attempting to get Starscream to defect for quite some time. This time he finally has an offer that has managed to catch Starscream's attention quite nicely. Just what is Megatron willing to offer in return to keep Starscream a Decepticon?
Fandom: Transformers
Continuity: G1, with nods to IDW
Characters: Megatron, Starscream, Thundercracker, Skywarp, Soundwave. Mentions of pre-Optimus Prime/Starscream
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
A/N: This has been rolling around in my head for quite some time, but I've never been actually able to write the whole thing, so I'm offering it up to anyone who wants a shot at it.


"Will you join me, my Lord? I much desire to talk with you," Starscream's voice seemed sincere enough as he gestured to the only other seat at the table.

Megatron, nowhere near as overcharged as he'd like to be, eyed the seat with caution. There was a single large cube of high-grade (vintage, if both the smell and the color was any indication) and two smaller cubes set in preparation. In the past Earth year so far, Starscream had attempted to poison him no less than twelve times. If this was another attempt, not only was it a bold move – Starscream had never attempted something like this in front of any 'con who cared to look – but it was also a very poor one, as Megatron had only had half a cube of high-grade so far this evening. It was, however, an honest enough offer, if one took into consideration that the high-grade remained unpoured.

So he stared incredulously at his second in command, wondering if Starscream was overcharged, as he would surely have to be to have taken such a leave of his senses. By what stretch of his imagination did Starscream actually believe that he would sit and talk and drink energon with the career traitor? Starscream, however, simply stared back at him, calm and steady with no hint of anxiousness or irritation as there would have been had this been another of his 'plans'; obviously ready and willing to wait as long as it took for Megatron to make his choice.

This was serious, then.

Megatron sighed, and cast a discreet glance around to see if anyone was paying any attention whatsoever to what was going on. Most of his Decepticons were passed out cold on the floor; too little recharge these past couple Earth months coupled with the hard day's (barely) victorious battle and too much high-grade afterwards sending most of them straight into stasis lock. The few who were aware were busy staring into their high-grade and trying to look like they hadn't been paying any attention to their commanding officers, and failing miserably while they were at it.

Three mechs, however, weren't even trying to pretend – all three were staring at Megatron and Starscream avidly. Skywarp and Thundercracker both had twitching wings and servos, optics bright and sharp and protective. Both of them, reasonably, suspected Megatron would loose his temper and beat Starscream, and both of them, for once, appeared ready to step in and put a stop to it if he did. Definitely not an assassination attempt then – Skywarp, for one, usually wouldn't make a single move to help his trine leader when he got caught, though for all his loyalty to Megatron he would never go as far as to betray what Starscream was planning. The third mech was Soundwave, and while reading that 'con was never easy, Megatron noticed the distinct 'don't frag this up' glint in Soundwave's visor.

Huh. He looked at Starscream again. "Very well," he said.

Starscream smiled at him, an admittedly small quirk of thin lip plating, but still something Megatron could honestly say was never directed at him even when the two of them were getting along. Before the seeker could do anything else, Megatron reached out and grabbed the tip of one moon-white wing and pinched, harshly. A sharp sound – not quite a squeal or a scream or a whine – escaped his second's vocalizer before the sound cut out abruptly. Starscream's crimson optics narrowed, sharpening, honing in on him the way only a seeker's could, piercing him with a gaze that warned him that if he didn't let go, there would be hell to pay.

He pinched harder, feeling the thin metal buckle under the pressure. "I will sit, and talk, and drink with you, seeker," he hissed, "but I am warning you. My patience with your antics is at an all-time low. You had best watch yourself." He let go of the seeker's wing and sat down, watching Starscream, studying his movements.

(Soundwave, in his corner watching intently, already knowing what Starscream would be discussing with the tyrant, groaned. Though Megatron didn't know it, his 'warning' had just made any deal struck between the two of them that much more …expensive.)

Starscream said nothing in response, merely poured the high-grade, taking small sips out of both cubes as if to prove they weren't poisoned before handing Megatron his. He waited until Megatron took a sip before he casually placed a data-pad on the table in front of Megatron.

"I wish to talk to you about my continued existence as a Decepticon," Starscream started calmly. Starscream gestured at the data-pad, a half-smile, half-smirk crossing his facial plating as he continued. "Optimus Prime has been attempting to …bribe me into changing sides for almost as long as he has been Prime. I, of course, usually just toss his proposals into the nearest waste receptacle where they belong, but this time he has sent me something I would be a fool to pass up, all things considering."

Megatron raised an optic ridge, leaning back and studying his second. He said nothing, waiting.

Starscream studied him in turn for a small moment; likely determining whether or not he was going to be beat down for this, continuing only when Megatron made no move to do so. "I wish to know what you would offer in return for my continued loyalty."

Megatron couldn't help the snort that escaped him. Loyalty? Starscream, loyal? "Loyalty doesn't have to be bought, seeker," he said. "If you were loyal, nothing Prime could offer you would sway you from my side. And besides, why should I negotiate for a career traitor, hmm?"

Starscream nodded, as if he expected this response. "While you do make a decent point, Megatron, might I remind you that I have millions of years worth of secrets – not just yours – stored away within my processor? I know battle plans, access file codes, security rotations, weapons designs, the firewall programming of every last mech to call themselves a Decepticon, and Primus only knows what else. And while some of it could theoretically be changed before the Autobots had any chance of using any of it, most of it can not. So, again, I ask: what are you willing to offer in return for my continuing to remain a Decepticon?"

Megatron laughed. "And what makes you think I'd let you leave this table alive, seeker? I could just kill you now and be done with it all – no more incompetent morons trying to kill me every other cycle, no more shrieking, no more –"

"No more seekers," Starscream interrupted calmly, optics shuttered, sipping at his high-grade as if he had not a care in the world.

Megatron paused and thought about this. "Explain," he finally said.

Starscream peered up at him, smiling outright. "Kill me now, because of this, and not a single seeker will ever answer your call again – not even Skywarp." He paused long enough to settle the cube down and lean back in his own seat, gaze firm on Megatron. "Whether they hate me or not, I am still their Air Commander, and every last one of them still follows the old codes. So go ahead, kill me, mighty Megatron, and watch as what little lead you have against the Autobots simply quits."

Well then. Megatron sipped his high-grade and watched his second. Starscream had always been a devious mech – though he had been the first seeker recruited, Starscream had not become Air Commander until much later in the war, after he had bribed, murdered, and outright lied his way into the position. Megatron had always had his optic on the sneaky mech, having known that Starscream was a liability in every sense of the word, but unable to deny him a place in the Decepticon Army because, like him or not, Starscream had never lied when he said he was too valuable to kill. Very few mechs not already one of the 'elite' in the Decepticon Army were capable of any of the things Starscream was, let alone able to do everything as well as his jack-of-all-trades, entirely-too-smart-for-his-own-good seeker was. While they might joke about him, prank him, and outright flaunt his authority in the comfort of their base and under the watchful optics of Megatron, all the seekers gave Starscream their unconditional loyalty on the battlefield, a loyalty that was won after countless centuries of battles made only victorious because Starscream was as quick and adaptive as he was. And even when doing their best to prove their independence, there was a very clear hierarchal pecking order that Starscream was quite firmly entrenched on the top of.

Starscream's general worth, however, was tempered by his many faults: his arrogance, his cowardice, his sheer insanity….Megatron could go on long tangents listing his second's various faults without repeating himself once. He had more than once debated on simply killing the treasonous glitch and washing his servos of the whole mess, and every time he had the seeker on the edge, barely hanging onto life with a grim determination that impressed the warlord in spite of himself, Megatron could not help but hesitate. He hated the seeker, loathed his very existence, and yet … Megatron had long ago reached a sort-of zen-like acceptance of Starscream's presence in his life.

"What has Prime promised you should you defect?" he asked, feeling somewhat disturbed about this whole thing. He had never even known that Prime had been courting his seeker all these long years, though now that he thought about it, it didn't surprise him in the least. Whoever had the seekers had the edge in this war, and for a long time now that had meant that whoever had Starscream had the edge.

Starscream again gestured to the data-pad lying so innocently between them. "I downloaded his entire proposal earlier this cycle for your perusal. You will notice that Prime's signature is not the only one at the bottom."

For a brief moment he contemplated just upending the table, beating Starscream to a pulp, and washing his servos of the whole business. But… he sighed and grabbed the data-pad, shooting a dark look at Starscream in the process. He quickly glanced through the various promises, noting that each individually were worthless on their own, but added together put together a rather nice package. The usual sort of things were included – immunity for any past crimes committed for both Starscream and whomever decided to defect with him (meaning the rest of the seekers, Megatron assumed), command over the Autobot fliers, access to full medical treatment, etc, etc. Then his optics ran across the very last line on the proposal and felt his spark sputter in combined horror and appreciation.

'I, Optimus Prime, do offer unto Starscream the position of Lord Consort, with all the rights and privileges that such a position would entail.'

Primus. Prime was offering Starscream the only position in an Autobot-controlled Cybertron that would be equal to his own; he was offering to make Starscream his bonded-mate. And while he might want to wish that there was no way in Unicron's name that the Autobots would allow such a thing to happen, the list of signatures at the bottom said otherwise. Every signature of the Autobot command was there, including the femmes.

He knew there was a reason why Prime had lasted this long in this war (Megatron had personally killed three Primes before him); he just hadn't realized that it was because the mech was just as sneaky and depraved as the seeker sitting across from him smiling as if the entire universe had just sworn loyalty to him.

Fool to pass this up, indeed.
Okay, so I wish dA would let you choose multiple genres for fanfiction. XD

So, if you're interested, I'd like you to take the above scene and run with it. What do you think Megatron would do? Is this just a trap set by the Autobots to weaken the Decepticons? Will the other seekers follow Starscream and join the Autobots, or will they simply declare neutrality?

It's all up to you.

Now, this can be one of the following: Optimus/Starscream, Megatron/Starscream, or Optimus/Starscream/Megatron, depending on what you like and how you take it. If you would prefer another pairing, as long as you can reasonably bring it about without messing with the bonded-mate part of the deal, go for it.
KiaMianara Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2012
Holy shit! Now that's what I call an awesome setting. Making Prime potentially as devious as Starscream really is a stroke of genius.

It’s hard to decide what could possible happen after this. I guess it all depends on why Starscream has declined Prime’s offers until this point and why he tells Megatron about it now. He must have been sure that sooner or later Optimus would make the ultimate offer, but in his optics Megatron must have at least something equal to offer. And the potential a sneaky/devious Optimus … A threesome would make perfectly sense under these conditions. While trying to win over Starscream OP and Megs discover they actually have quite a few things in common and just have to find a common political ground and then they could just share Starscream. Well, or something like that.

So, yeah, like I said: awesomeness in written form. I hope you will write more.
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Submitted on
March 26, 2012
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