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Roles

Venom knew they were all out to get him.

Ransack made no secret of his aspirations. He was never one to mince words, so it perhaps came as no surprise that he stated quite plainly his desire to take over. He had never been a fan of Venom's penchant for psychological warfare, preferring to blast his way through—or eat his way through—the opposition. They'd been at odds over basic strategy for as long as Venom could remember, and the only thing worse than Ransack openly challenging him the way he did was the very real possibility that he'd make good on his threats. Reasoning with him was impossible—every time Venom kicked him down, Ransack just kicked back harder.

Then there was Barrage. He'd never made any direct challenges to Venom's leadership, but there was just something about him that couldn't be trusted. Maybe it was those beady little eyes of his, or maybe it was the way he always pretended to be so focused on stamping the Autobots into the ground—and then stamping the ground, too, just for good measure. Nobody really liked Barrage, and Venom knew he had to be hiding something. Underneath that hard shell was a soft head, though, and that made him a liability. Venom had always made it a point to remove liabilities.

Chop Shop, meanwhile, was the worst kind of kleptomaniac—the kind who didn't care whether he got caught. Oh, he tried to be sneaky, all right, but Venom could see right through his facade. He wanted it all, and he wanted it delivered—energon, weapons, supplies. He must have had a small cache somewhere on board the Nemesis, since there was no way he was burning through it all on his own. Given that he stole everything in sight, it was only a matter of time before he tried to steal Venom's crown, too. He couldn't let that happen.

Catching all three of them in their recharge cycle was the easy part. The hard part was acting quickly enough to paralyze them all at virtually the same time. He couldn't have one of them freaking out and awakening the others from their slumber, so it had to be simultaneous. Injecting his stinger directly into Chop Shop's metaprocessor proved sufficient to scramble his systems irreparably. He accidentally broke off a piece of his stinger inside Chop Shop's head, but it was worth it just to know that he'd never have to watch his back around this one again, not with a chunk of shrapnel lodged deep within his brain. This freed him to administer an equally powerful dose of paralyzing juice to both Ransack and Barrage, preventing either of them from taking further action.

It was done. Now all that was left was to carefully inject himself. After all, he had to make it look like he'd been ambushed as well...

***

Venom had been well aware that the main goal of the Nemesis crew was to locate the Ark and stop the Autobots from finding an advantage. What he hadn't counted on was the entire bridge crew boarding the Ark, leaving the ship unattended. This proved to be a fatal error when the Nemesis was sucked into the gravity well of a nearby planet, breaking free from the Ark despite being magnetically joined to the Autobot craft via umbilical boarding chute, tumbling helplessly to the planet below.

The onboard Nemesis computer was sufficiently self-aware to recognize the imminent danger to the remaining crew members, but it completely failed to recognize the plot against Venom's leadership of the engineering crew or the desperate steps he'd had to take to secure his position in the ranks. All four of them were promptly stuffed into an escape module by the onboard Decepti-Traan, a preprogrammed response that was calculated to provide the greatest chance of survival and eventually reuniting the engineering team with Megatron.

What Venom also hadn't counted on was that the tiny escape pod had a personnel capacity of three and only three, and the computer had calculated that since Venom had received the highest dose of poison, he was the least likely of the quartet to make a full recovery. In the interest of preserving the greatest number of Decepticons possible, the other three were deposited safely into a swamp teeming with insects and other life forms, and only a minor modification to their energon converters would enable them to sustain themselves on the swamp until help arrived. Venom's immobilized body, meanwhile, was unceremoniously jettisoned into space.

Even the ship was out to get him, too.

THE END

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This  Story Written June 2010