"You will repay your debt to me, Breakdown... the day it comes time to choose sides…"
"Between 'Bots and 'Cons?"
"Between myself – and Megatron."
Starscream's words echoed in Breakdown's mind as the gray Seeker's jet form vanished into the night sky, leaving Breakdown all alone. As the roar of Starscream's engine faded from the range of Breakdown's audio receptors, a wave of nervousness washed over Breakdown, his remaining optic snapping to the terrain surrounding him, searching for anything even remotely out of place in the darkness.
Without the benefit of having two optics, Breakdown could feel the thrall of paranoia begin to consume his mind and entrench his chassis as the shadows of night crawled closer to him. No, no, no, Breakdown thought, this is not the time for this. I can't be found by that human or his-
Breakdown looked back in the direction of the abandoned town where he had been captured by the humans, a shudder of fear shaking his chassis to the core. I have to get out of here, Breakdown thought to himself as he transformed into his alt mode, revving his engine quietly to avoid detection as he headed down the road.
Breakdown attempted to activate his communications link but received only a high-pitched scratching noise of his comms slowly rebooting. Cleary the humans hadn't just targeted his pain receptors when they'd captured him. But he still had his mobile scanner buried away in subspace. The humans may have dissected him, piece by piece, but the humans didn't know everything about Cybertronians.
Breakdown removed a scanner from his subspace and activated it, hoping to find some kind of Decepticon activity near his location. His scanner brought up nothing of use, and with a frustrated rev of his engine, Breakdown shut off his scanner, not desiring the lonely scratching of his scanner to be the only thing he could hear this night. Not when he needed all of his attention to ensure he escaped safely back to the Nemesis.
As the cold emptiness of night surrounded the blue mech, his thoughts wandered to something else that had been nagging at his mind since he'd left the grasp of the humans - who had saved him. It hadn't been any Decepticon who had saved him, but the one mech in the universe he hated more than any other, the Autobot, Bulkhead.
Bulkhead. Why had Bulkhead come to save him of all mechs? Or the rest of the Autobots for that matter? Why would the Autobots save me, a Decepticon? Breakdown could not fathom why his sworn enemies would come and risk their own sparks to save his, and no amount of thinking could summon a reason for their actions. For many, many vorns, Breakdown had known the Autobots as mechs set so against the Decepticons that they would never do anything to risk their sparks for that of their enemy. But now those lines had seemed to fade in Breakdown's mind, and they had faded so that when Starscream had commanded him to attack Bulkhead, Breakdown had hesitated - a hesitation that he was not know for. He never disobeyed orders from his commanding officers.
Three times. I disobeyed the orders of my Commanding Officer three times? And for Bulkhead? What the frag was wrong with me?
I am a Decepticon… Right? So why did I not attack Bulkhead the first time Starscream ordered me too? Breakdown mused to himself, the distraction of his thoughts deafening him to the soft pinging of his scanner coming online with a steady thrum. Almost too late, Breakdown noticed the pinging of his scanner and smashed his brakes, halting his alt mode just inches from a guardrail and the a sheer cliff drop beyond it. Breakdown transformed out of his alt mode and glanced down the cliff side, a small shiver coursing down his backstrut at the endless blackness that shrouded the sheer drop off the cliff.
Breakdown heightened his scanner's ability to detect energon or Decepticons as much as he could, a small vent of frustration escaping from his vents as the scanner indicated his target was below him. Down the cliff. Breakdown shuffled his pedes warily as his scanner continued to ping the location of the Deception mining crew far below him. He hated the idea of trudging down the cliffside in the pitch darkness of night with hindered sight that came from the loss of his right optic, but he knew it was his only option.
This is my only chance to get back to the Nemesis, I have to do this… Breakdown vented and leapt the guardrail, pedes hitting the rocky cliff side forcefully. The mech slid down the cliff haphazardly, and it took all Breakdown had in him to not slip and fall down the rest of the cliff face as his descent gathered speed. Finally, Breakdown reached the bottom of the cliff and a burst of relief washed over him when he felt his pedes smash onto solid, flat land with a heavy thud. Breakdown's scanner beeped, indicating that the signal he was tracking was somewhere to his right in the canyon.
With a heavily controlled vent, Breakdown transformed into his alt mode and headed in the direction his scanner was indicating, though he stayed sure of keeping his engine quiet to keep someone from detecting him. Though he knew this operation was a mining unit, all Vehicons were trained to attack any intruders who approached the excavated energon mines, and they would not hesitate to attack him should they find him. He wouldn't have the time to announce his allegiance or rank before the guns of the Vehicons had dealt considerable damage to him and, likely, offlined him.
Soon, Breakdown's audio receptors picked up the unmistakable sound of drilling, meaning that he was getting close to the Decepticon miner crew he had detected earlier. It only took a few kliks for him to find the large group of Decepticon miners, all of whom were hard at work both inside and outside the body of the mine. Breakdown slunk around the bulk of the workers, dodging Vehicons and drills in the hope that the blackness of the night would keep him hidden from the miners, for he did not want any of the miners to see the condition he was in.
He had befriended practically every single Vehicon that worked for the Deception cause, and knew almost all of them by their preferred name, but he still could not help but feel that even his friends would question him, if not judge him harshly, for being captured by humans. When Breakdown picked up the sound of approaching miner Vehicons, he halted and moved into the shadows, hoping none of the Vehicons would notice the disturbed shadow his form made. Nervousness gnawed at Breakdown as he pressed his chassis against an unused drill, optic snapping onto the three Vehicons that rounded the side of the drill, as one of the Vehicons, a flyer, waved one of his servos in a shushing motion to the other Vehicons.
The two Vehicons quieted down, their stances nervous as the flyer Vehicon's helm tilted and he nodded slowly, his wings moving with agitation.
"Yes, Lord Megatron. We have a supply of energon ready for pickup here at the Chukotka mine." The Vehicon paused for a few moments, his head nodding slowly, though Breakdown could see a flash of fear race through the Vehicon's visor.
"Got it, Lord Megatron," the Vehicon said sharply, turning to the two Vehicons standing behind him, both of whom shot nervous glances into the sky before turning back to the lead Vehicon.
The smallest Vehicon of the trio looked up at the flyer, servos clicking together. "What did Lord Megatron say, Coliseum?"
"Lord Megatron and the Nemesis will be here momentarily to pick up the energon supply," Coliseum advised his two fellow Vehicons, "I'll advise the miners."
The three Vehicons turned as a unit and walked away, their soft mutters fading into the dull sounds of drilling until Breakdown could hear nothing but the drilling, which was already powering down and leaving an eerie silence in the once loud canyon. Breakdown let out a tired vent as he relaxed his chassis against the metal side of the drill, a feeling of sludgy blackness settling in his mind as he attempted to get a few moments of rest before the Nemesis arrived. Breakdown's optic was shuttering close when the sound - or lack thereof - of drilling halted, snapping Breakdown back to the present. The blue mech glanced skyward, optic taking in the flames of color beginning to blaze in the sky as the dark, foreboding form of the Nemesis moved into view.
The Nemesis powered into a hover, then lowered the energon lift from the bottom of the ship, where it stopped at a large supply of energon guarded by a lone Vehicon. Breakdown got up from his position, his chassis creaking tiredly as he trudged towards the lift - his only option for returning back to his base. He pointedly avoided the Vehicon near the lift as he leaped onto the lift from a vantage point he knew the Vehicons would be unlikely to see him coming from. As Breakdown settled down behind the large stacks of energon, he glanced towards the troop of Vehicons loading the energon onto the lift, none of whom were really giving much time to check the lift for anything that wasn't energon.
It didn't take much time for the energon lift to be loaded full with the mined energon and, with a light groan of pistons, the lift began to pull back into the body of the Nemesis. When the lift snapped into place inside the Nemesis, Breakdown clambered from the shipment of energon carefully, exhaustion from his ordeal forcing him to trudge back to his quarters. The big mech's pedes drug over the Nemesis' floor platings as he headed out of the lift room, pausing momentarily in the hallway to glance around for any incoming Decepticons. Noting and hearing none, Breakdown headed towards his quarters silently, his helm lowered miserably as he walked.
There was a purpose to how Breakdown avoided the most populated hallways, forcing him to go the longest route to his quarters, which his entire chassis protested. Breakdown's thoughts strayed, a coldness settling over his chassis as unwanted memories of human tools cutting into him, stripping him off an optic and his confidence, ripped through his mind. Breakdown's thoughts turned to that of the human with the scars and poisonous voice, and an uncontrollable ripple of absolute terror blasted through Breakdown's chassis, causing the mech to falter in his stride. Breakdown had never felt such terror in his life, not even the thought of Megatron's disapproval could shake Breakdown as much as the thought of the human leader did.
Breakdown's thoughts were so consumed by the humans who had captured him, he failed to hear the soft clacks of an approaching mech or it calling out his name until a soft brush of metal traced across his left arm. The light brush against his arm caused Breakdown to leap sideways, servos transforming into hammers as his remaining optic whirled crazily, seeking, searching for what had touched him.
It wasn't Breakdown's optic that caught whatever had touched him but instead the nervous voice of a Vehicon from his side that drew Breakdown's nervous gaze. "Sir?"
Breakdown's optic landed on a purple Vehicon, a flyer, standing to his side, whose servos were raised in a non-threatening gesture. Breakdown let out a shaky vent as he pushed away the memory stifling his mind before he addressed the Vehicon.
"What do you want?"
"Uh… I was worried about you sir, I heard rumors-"
"What kind of rumors?" Breakdown asked the Vehicon, though he already figured what rumors the Vehicon was hinting at, much to his chagrin - nothing was ever truly private on the Nemesis, least of all when Starscream was involved.
"I heard from one of our mining units that you were captured by humans. I did not believe them, personally, for I know of your strength and I was worried because Megatron did not allow-" The Vehicon's blabber stopped mid-sentence as he finally noticed the fresh scars coating the chassis of his higher-in-command. Breakdown's stare was cold, the one yellow optic narrow as the small Vehicon backed away from Breakdown. "What happened to you?"
"Nothing that concerns you," Breakdown hissed before he turned his back on the Vehicon with a barely concealed vent of pure, unadulterated rage. It had always been easiest for Breakdown to resort to anger when he was hurting, as putting on an angry air always kept his true feelings masked from his fellow Decepticons. He didn't want to be angry at the Vehicon, who was just doing his prerogative by checking on an injured higher in command, but he couldn't let the Vehicon know the turmoil within him.
Breakdown had only gotten a few feet away from the Vehicon when the trooper jumped in front of him, wings flaring outwards.
"You are injured, sir, please let me help you the medical bay."
"I don't need the medical bay!" Breakdown snapped, surprising the Vehicon with his harsh tone - and Breakdown himself; he never snapped at the Vehicons and actually took great care to be kind to every one of them, much unlike the other higher ranking Decepticons. The Vehicon hesitated, then turned and fled from Breakdown, who watched the Vehicon go with a vent. Breakdown's temper simmered shortly after, for he felt sorry for the Vehicon who was only worried about the condition of his higher-in-command.
Breakdown shook his helm, and began heading back to his quarters, though he was unable to let the mention of the medical bay leave his mind - and the Decepticon who frequented it so often. He hadn't thought about Knock Out since escaping the humans' lap and he felt a twinge of anger that the mech whom Breakdown considered as his friend had not been the one to save him from the humans, but Bulkhead had. Why did Knock Out not come to save me? Am I not worth his time? Oh, who am I kidding, Knock Out only cares about himself and his coat of paint.
Breakdown pushed away thoughts of the Decepticon medic as he reached the door of his quarters and pushed it open with a servo. As the door creaked open, Breakdown was greeted by the signature emptiness of his room, one of the very few things of his personality that had not changed or darkened over the course of the war. Breakdown drug himself to his recharge slap and collapsed onto the slap heavily. Breakdown's thoughts turned over themselves, between Starscream, the human organization calling themselves MECH, the Autobots - MECH, Starscream, Autobots. Over and over and over.
The halls of the Nemesis had turned silent by the time Breakdown's thoughts finally began to slow, indicating that most of the crew was in recharge by now, though Breakdown could not delve into the depths of recharge yet for he feared what his sleeping mind would show him. Shuddering to himself, the large mech stood from where he was sitting when, without warning, his legs gave out from beneath him and he collapsed to the ground. A shudder tore through Breakdown's chassis, and an eerie, haunting thought tugged at his mind.
The Vehicon was saying something about Megatron… Megatron didn't allow the Decepticons to save me? Why?
Why did Megatron deem me as not worth his time to save?