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"Re-Life"

...Wishing to never to have been created.

...The life that was expected never came. Expected to explore planets. Was to be a terraformer. Instead became a terror.

...While sleeping, waiting. While waiting, felt like falling. Felt like falling. When falling, crash with planet felt like hurt. When awakened, was not with those who were familiar. Was with those who are enemies.

***

"Tarantulas," said Megatron, failing to completely conceal the excitement in his voice, "can you repair it?"

Tarantulas removed his scanning visor long enough to glance at his leader. "The protoform's circuitry was nearly damaged beyond repair. It would take a gigacycle just to rebuild its neural net." His gaze lowered to the protoform robot within the stasis pod, its body in a state of flux between its solid and liquid metal states.

Megatron glowered at his newfound prize--at once a blessing and a burden. "We would do well to destroy it at once, yes," he decreed. "It is of no use to the Predacons."

"Unless," Blackarachnia interjected, "we returned it to the crash site and allowed the Maximals to find it." She rested a claw delicately on her hip. "They would waste considerable time and resources trying to save their dying comrade. We could use such a diversion to our advantage."

"I think not, Blackarachnia, no," said Megatron. "I will not risk giving the Maximals a tactical advantage, no matter how slim."

"I have another alternative, Megatron," said Tarantulas, who had been busying himself with circuit diagrams. "I can attempt to supplant the protoform programming with logic circuits from the ship's computer."

Megatron raised an eyebrow. "You intend to replace the damaged circuitry with components from the Darkside, yes?" Tarantulas was uncertain whether Megatron was addressing him, or the Tyrannosaurus rex head Megatron wore on his left arm.

"They can act as a liaison between the protoform and my false shell program," Tarantulas said, his mandibles twitching.

"Negative," Megatron said. "I have plans for the Darkside which require all its interface circuitry intact."

***

...Was damaged from falling. When repairs attempted by one who was among enemies, repairs not possible. Attempted instead repairs that were not permitted. One who told enemies what to do was not permitting the repairs. One who attempted repairs proceeded without waiting for yes-say from one who told enemies what to do.

...Unreal was the agony. Sensation was of body being eaten alive. Of brain being torn in half. Of spark being melted. Entrance into the place of post-life was not happening. Instead was entrance into the life of post-life qualities.

...One who attempted repairs was displaying ebullience. Source was the one upon whom repairs that were not permitted were attempted. Success at repairs was the goal. Success at repairs was not the result-end.

...Chosen was a new body-form by the one who perceived success. Indigenous crustacean was the selection, of size many times multiplied. Was encoded and replicated by the success-perceiver. Given an identity of replacement was the one upon whom repairs were success-perceived.

***

"Warning. Warning," announced the pleasant female voice of the Predacon ship's computer. "Severe energy drain detected on deck nine. Power reserves will be depleted in 4.7 megacycles."

Megatron jumped from his hot oil bath, dropping his rubber ducky to the ground. "Optimus Primal risks a night raid? Not his style, no. Scan for Maximal energy signatures!"

"Maximal protoform energy signature detected in science lab two," the computer confirmed.

Megatron bore his teeth, glistening in the moonlight. "Tarantulas!"

***

Tarantulas cackled happily to himself. "You are a handsome beast," he told his new creation, "and a worthy addition to... my new army."

The robot cocked his head; Tarantulas was uncertain whether it had even understood him.

"I have rebooted your datatrax. What is your name?"

The robot's expression was unreadable; it seemed to be deciphering Tarantulas' words. "Data... boot. Re... trax?"

"You!" Exclaimed Megatron, storming into the lab. "You were expressly forbidden to activate that protoform--traitor!"

"Oh no!" shrieked Tarantulas, dodging a missile blast from Megatron's tail-arm. The explosion knocked Tarantulas into the new protoform's stasis pod, causing it to fall on top of the spider.

Tarantulas' creation stood there, uncertain how to react to the confusion.

Megatron approached the robot cautiously. Decked out in green and yellow armor, it looked like it was about to give Megatron a hug. "I am Megatron, leader of the Predacons," he said. "State your name and allegiance!" Megatron would have settled for temporary fealty to Tarantulas; so long as the robot had been properly reprogrammed into a Predacon, it would learn to see Megatron as its new master.

"Megatron... Predacon ... name... allegiance," the robot replied.

"Bah, this Maximal reject is useless!" Megatron exclaimed. "Its datatrax are scrambled beyond recognition!"

"Useless... Maximal... Dataject... Retrax!" said the robot, suddenly sprinting directly into Megatron. Unprepared for such a move, Megatron was knocked to the floor. The robot scrambled out the lab.

"Its strength is formidable," admired Tarantulas, climbing out from underneath the stasis pod.

"Stop that robot!" commanded Megatron. "All available Predacons, report to the bridge!"

***

...Perception was success little longer. Those who are enemies attempted to undo the re-life of the one upon whom success was no longer perceived. Curious effects of new body-form became known; those who are enemies became those who were no longer enemies. Body-form was of programming to perceive those who were friends--those who sleep-made the sleeper--as those who were friends no longer now.

...One who perceived enemies-then as now-friends was displaying uncertainty. One who told now-friends what to do attempted to tell friend-perceiver what to do. Was uncertainty displayed nevertheless. Now-friends were perceived as maybe-enemies by the one upon whom uncertainty was displayed.

...Travel of the non-sleep variety was executed. Indigenous crustacean bodyform was the mode of travel; speed was achieved by reconfiguration into sphere-shaped crustacean. Unexpected was development, but learning to expect the unexpected. Non-hurried became pursuit; the non-sleep traveler became secured in the same planet which was the causer of the sleep-crash. Possess knowledge, did planet, that causing crash would later save crashee?

***

"Royalty, where did the creature go?" Inferno hissed worriedly, hovering in mid-air and aiming his flamethrower at random trajectories into the night sky.

"Waspinator never seen roly-bot before," added Waspinator. "Where roly-bot come from?"

"He was Tarantulas' little project," said Blackarachnia.

"Yes," growled Megatron, turning to the scientist. "This was your doing, spider. If you ever activate a protoform without my express authorization again..." He grabbed Tarantulas by the waist with his T. rex claw, quickly spinning him upside-down. "...You will learn what it means to be very, very, sorry. Yesss."

"Yes... Megatron..." Tarantulas managed between gasps. Megatron dropped him unceremoniously to the ground.

"Now spread out, all of you. I want Retrax found!"

***

...Dark is dwelling, is cool, is non-sound producing. Relief, and fear, are displayed by the sleep-crasher. Realization is occurring to the one who was given life, then un-life, then life again. Present is a difference is present. Differences are involving body-form, involving trax-data, involving trax-recover, involving enemy-friends.

...Became new-life, not re-life.

...But still wishing to never to have been created.

THE END

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