When the Unicronians returned to Chaar, Galvatron led them to land outside the city where they were obscured by buildings.
“You said Motormaster wanted to start a coup?” he asked, turning to the others.
Cyclonus hunched his shoulders, though it was impossible for him to make himself look small. “Y-yes. That’s why I took you t—”
“I’ll fight him,” Galvatron snapped, raising his head over whatever Cyclonus was going to say. “Actually, I’ll fight Menasor. That should make for a nice demonstration.”
Scourge stepped up. “You can’t take on a whole combiner!”
Galvatron glared at him and he withered back. “I know. That’s why you two are going to help me.”
“I-I don’t know if all three of us could take on Menasor.” Scourge’s wings trembled as he looked between all of them.
“We could not,” Galvatron replied. “But I could, alone.”
“How?” Cyclonus asked.
Galvatron lifted his cannon arm. “Do you know how this works?”
They shook their heads.
“There’s no place to put a battery or fuel. It draws energon directly out of my body to power itself. I can control how strong it is...but it can only be as strong as the amount of energon I have in my tanks.” He pointed at them. “That’s why you’re going to give me your fuel.”
They gaped at him. “All of it?” Cyclonus asked with trepidation.
“Until you’re on the brink of death,” Galvatron said, his tone hard and cold. “Give to me, and I’ll make sure nobody ever thinks of crossing me again.”
Cyclonus and Scourge shared a look. They couldn’t stop him or calm him down; he was angry over Torkulon and would be for a while. His anger burned out quickly and he tended to forgive more often than not...but weathering his revenge until his emotions settled could be difficult and painful, like right now.
“I suppose it is a solid plan,” Cyclonus said with a sigh. “Scourge?”
The addressed mech turned around. He’d been surveying a shipment of raided materials needed to build new structures around Trypticon, and honestly didn’t mind a distraction, but when he saw Galvatron he scowled. With bright and focused fervor, Galvatron marched up to him and stopped a few yards away.
“What is it?”
Galvatron grinned sharply. “I heard you wanted to start a coup. Are you still up for it?”
Motormaster scoffed. “Where’d you hear that?”
“Cyclonus. I’m sure Swindle would corroborate the story.” He pointed a thumb over his shoulder. Swindle was trudging along behind him.
“Yep,” he called. “It was all his idea too! He talked me into it! I would never betray you, Lord Galvatron. You are our leader and always will be.”
Motormaster glared at Swindle, then shifted his attention to Galvatron. “Fine. What do you want?”
“I want to fight you.”
Motormaster lifted his fist.
“No! All of you. I want Menasor !”
“Are you crazy?” Motormaster laughed. “Never mind, I know you’re crazy. Okay Galvatron, have it your way. Stunticons!”
The other four components were nearby and gathered at his summons. They looked wary and resentful, but none of them would dare to go against Motormater even if they didn’t want to fight this particular battle.
On the streets around them, a crowd was gathering and muttering among themselves. Galvatron had anticipated an audience, and though he wished it was larger, they would be enough to disseminate what they saw among the rest—enough to witness.
“Listen up, Decepticons,” Motormaster growled. “Today you’ll get a new leader, because this dumb, faulty pile of nodes had a glitch and decided to challenge the might of Menasor!”
The Stunticons began to transform and meld together. Galvatron watched as they towered over him, growing in size and complexity and power. He transformed and landed on his treads with his cannon pointed up in the default position, and began to charge.
Menasor laughed darkly. “What are you going to do? Puny. Menasor crush you.”
Energon flowed from within Galvatron to his cannon. His entire form heated up from the effort; the light that gathered within the cannon’s shaft was unusually strong and his frame hummed with the force of the energy that kept increasing until it could no longer. It hurt. He was empty and powerful.
Menasor had no idea what he was facing now. He lifted a foot to stomp his opponent, but it was too late. Galvatron fired. The beam struck him in the chest with a force more like a solid object than the pure energy which constituted it, and Menasor went flying. Recoil pushed Galvatron back on his treads and the shockwave made the ground under him tremble. What little surface atmosphere Chaar possessed began to sizzle upon contact with the superheated, volatile energon blast.
In midair, Menasor disassembled. Galvatron transformed and watched the Stunticons descend, flung in different directions. They passed over the city entirely and landed somewhere in the wilderness, sending up pillars of dust where they fell which were followed a second later by the thuds of their impacts.
Shocked gasps and surprised murmurs rippled through the crowd. Decepticons’ faces carried concern, fear, and some amazement. Galvatron saw none of them; he was watching the sky and riding high on triumph. He laughed, swayed on his feet, then silenced himself because it made him light-headed. So much of his energon had gone into the attack that now he was running on fumes and risked fainting.
If that happened, it would defeat the point of the demonstration, which was to make everyone fear him. He fought to remain upright and conscious and loud and enraged. “That’s what happens when you challenge the mighty Galvatron!” he screamed at the open sky. Then to the crowd he snapped, “Someone get me some energon!”
Cyclonus and Scourge were propped up against the side of a building, slumped with their helms pressed together. The pressure would have been uncomfortable, but neither of them possessed the energy to feel, much less to move. All they could do was exist in vague numb tiredness, floating in and out of consciousness.
The crunch of boots on dust alerted Cyclonus. He struggled open his optics and lifted his head slightly so he could see who was approaching, but he could have guessed. Galvatron walked over and loomed, peering down at them coldly and holding an elegant glass.
“So, it worked,” he said, taking a sip from his glass and showing off how much energon he’d gotten while in the city.
“Energon,” Scourge gasped, flapping his wing to grant himself lift off the wall, raising his arm an inch or so in vain desperation.
Galvatron sneered and turned away. “Get your own.” Then he took to the sky and disappeared.
Scourge collapsed back against Cyclonus. “Thanks a lot,” he mumbled.
Cyclonus tried to respond but all that came out was a little huff.
They had a while yet to wait for Galvatron’s “good” graces to return, it seemed. Hopefully it wouldn’t take long for him to feel bad about abandoning his starving brothers in the wastes...or maybe someone else would find them before then. They probably weren’t that lucky. Galvatron was the only mech who knew where they were, so they were relying on the revolving door of his current emotional state. Torkulon had impacted him quite a lot, in all the ways nobody wanted.
Oh well, Cyclonus thought, spending precious mental energy to conceptualize something. You live and you learn.