Disclaimer 1: This is fanfic. That means I do not own any of it. I just borrow it to play with for a little while and let people see the pathetic results if they really want to.

Disclaimer 2: I'm not making any money from it. It's just for fun.

Disclaimer 3: What isn't borrowed is all made up. None of this is real or most likely at all realistic. Please don't trust any of the information in here. Most likely you know more about whatever I'm writing about than I do.

Disclaimer 4: Attitudes, views and opinions expressed by the characters or in the story are not necessarily those of the author. Even when writing Science Fiction or Fantasy I do not tend to attempt to create perfect/better worlds in which everybody gets a happy end ... or whatever is best for them. Please accept that some characters will have a bad ending or be unhappy.

Disclaimer 5: I intend no insult to anyone. If I offend anyone I'm very sorry. Please understand that it was an accident as I tend to be very clumsy in these things.

Disclaimer 6: If my characters' conversations seem odd or they appear to be talking past each other the latter might occasionally be intentional, but most likely it is an accident and I'm not aware that they are. It's just my bad communication skills.

Chapter 1: Little Misfit

"Look, Lightwing! Nailpaint!" squealed the little femme below at her friend and held out her hand with tiny pieces of thrown away plastic stuck to the fingers.

"Uhhh! Cool! Is there any left for me?" Lightwing squealed back. "This looks so adult!"

Adult? The lone young seeker flying above them pulled up in disgust and rose high over the grounds of Central Veradoon Elementary School for Girls. Adult? Were those two really her age?

Twenty was of course nowhere near adult. They hadn't even hit puberty yet, but that was the sort of behaviour she expected of ten year olds. Couldn't those two at least try to behave like they were finishing elementary school in two weeks?

She tilted over flying upside down when she hit the maximum altitude permitted on the school's flying field. Any higher and she'd risk getting into an unsuspecting adults' flight path and get a serious telling off.

Not that she was obeying the school's flying rules of course. Flying upside down was an absolute no-no and she was going at about twice the allowed speed, but really the maximum allowed speed felt like standing still!

With a yell of joy she went into a hilarious nosedive the ground rushing up to meet her within seconds.

A tiny flick of her wings brought her parallel to the ground about three meters above it and she dashed past what passed for her friends fast enough that the air rushing past the two girls ripped away the plastic shreds and carried them out of sight within seconds.

"STARSCREAMMMM!" she could hear them yell after her as she rose back up into the freedom of the sky every circuit in her perfectly aerodynamic body singing with joy.

So, they were angry, were they? Let them be. The gods had made Decepticons to fly not to play nail polish with plastic junk. Flyers and fighters that was what they were meant to be. If only Lightwing and Shade would see that! If only she hadn't been created a femme! She would have joined the army. She'd have fought for the cause! She'd have ... she'd have become the leader of all Decepticons and led them to glory! That's what she'd have done, if only she'd been a male.

Her radio buzzed into her dreams of glory. "Starscream! Get down here hot shot! It's almost time for the assembly. We just can't be late."

Damned assembly! Starscream seriously considered skipping it. Only two weeks before she was free of that stupid elementary school forever anyway and the headmaster had nothing better to do then to call all the final years to an assembly. But then it was probably not a good idea to get caught and expelled this close to leaving day.

Another little tilt of her wings and she was racing back towards the two, slammed on her breaks five meters from the ground, transformed in mid-air and landed elegantly on her feet while her friends were coughing from the dust of her landing.

"Honest Starscream!" scoffed Shade. "I don't know why we hang out with you."

"Because I'm the coolest thing on wings in this school?" Starscream smirked and the two girls groaned. "Six times school sports champion in the school games. Five times winner. I am the best there is!"

"So what." scoffed Lightwing who was, to the shame of the entire empire as Starscream thought, scared of heights. "Sports are for mechs. Being a great flyer won't help you get a job, you know. It'd only help you if you were to join the army and they don't accept femmes."

"So what are the two of you planning to do after we graduate?" Shade asked excitedly. "I think I might try out for the science academy. If I fail the admission tests I can always get into the tech school. Want to come along either of you?"

"Nah, thanks." Lightwing shook her head. "Much as I love you, Shade, but I'm off to girls' secondary. I want a life in style."

"As some second rate pleasurebot?" Starscream scoffed. "Now that's really the last thing on Cybertron!"

"Hey, your Mum is such a 'second rate pleasurebot' as you put it! Remember?" Lightwing squawked.

"Yep, and the last thing I ever want to be is like her. The indignity off it all. Selling yourself off to another stranger every night." Starscream shook herself in disgust.

"What's wrong with it? We need to breed more warriors for the empire." Lightwing explained as if to a retarded child. "And I'll do my share like any good femme should."

"We also need scientists." Shade reminded her. "How's it Starscream? You coming to the academy with me? You've certainly got the brains for it, if you'll finally learn to sit down and work without fidgeting about all the time."

"Science is boring, boring, boring. I want to do something." Starscream rolled her eyes.

"Well, that'd leave only tech for you and I can't see you enjoying simple repairs." Shade reminded her.

"EEww! Being covered in filthy oil!" Lightwing squealed.

"You think you might be a repair tech?" Shade asked thinking she'd figured it out. "That requires concentration Starscream. Even more than science. You'll never make it."

"I never said I wanted to."

"But then what are you going to do with your life?" Lightwing and Shade asked at the same time completely baffled.

"I don't know yet." Starcream, shrugged and entered the assembly hall.

"Starscream! We've only got two more weeks and you don't know yet! You have to apply for the science academy before the start of the holidays!" Shade tried to convince her, but Starscream just leaned against a wall crossed her feet and stared boredly at the podium.

The headmaster was up there with most of the teachers and four strangers. One was your typical femme you could have picked right out of a child's holo-picture disk. She was pink with very red painted nails and lips, tight armor that brought her breasts into best view and some blue paint right above her optics.

Starscream turned her own optics away before the sight made her gag.

The next two were a little better. They were decently armoured and talking to each other in soft friendly tones, but still they were boring, as boring as the teachers, as the headmaster.

What caught Starscream's attention was the fourth guest who was staying in the background watching the girls enter with calm distant optics. He was huge and heavily armoured with two large guns mounted on his arms and the self-assured manner of a seasoned veteran.

What was an actual warrior doing in an Elementary school for girls?

The headmaster called the assembly to order as he stepped up to the speaker's desk. The guests took position beside him, two on either side and the teachers behind them.

The about fifty twenty year olds in the hall came to order and stood excitedly. Starscream remained leaning against the wall looking at the headmaster with bored optics. The headmaster glared back at the wayward student and so did all the teachers behind him. Starscream calmly let his optics roam over the displeased podium and stopped at the sight of the warrior.

He was looking back at her with undivided ... interest?! Why would a warrior feel any sort of interest in a femme too young to interface?

Starscream stared back at him in fascination without knowing for how long. She just stood there unmoving until Shade's delighted squeal brought her back to reality. The pink pleasurebot thing was at the desk now looking circuit revoltingly flirtatious.

"At Veradoon Girls' Secondary," she was blabbering. "We will teach you how to be perfect young ladies. You will learn how to attract any mech's attention and use your natural gifts to their ..."

Starscream wished she could sink back into her dream state. What a waste of time that one was!

She seemed to jabber on forever, but finally the taller of the two boring femmes replaced her at the desk.

"I am Recordata of the Veradoon Science Acedemy." she announced proudly. "I'm currently teaching higher Mathematics and Quantum Physics, but today I am here to tell you about the academy, not any individual subjects. We are the choice for everyone who wishes to explore the fascinating world of science. Our standards are very high and we demand hard work and discipline of our students, but for those who graduate from our academy every door into the adventure of science is wide open. We ..."

Oh great! Another one! Adventure of science? Where was the adventure in a microscope or test tube? Only the sky was true adventure, true freedom.

The next speaker to no surprise to Starscream turned out to have come to extol the virtues of technology and repairs and even went into a diatribe on the glory of performing medical repairs. Starscream wondered what they'd do to her if she just turned and walked out of the room. It could hardly be more boring then standing here listening to all the blabbering.

But the warrior was still here. She was dying to know why he'd come. So she waited.

Finally the tech was done and the last guest walked up to speak. He leaned his arms onto the desk and regarded the assembly his optics once again resting on Starsceam for that one beat of a fuel pump longer then on everybody else.

"I," he said calmly so much more simply than the three proud femmes. "Am Deathclaw. I teach hand to hand combat at the War Academy of Polyhex."

He paused as the girls stared back at him at that simple statement with wide eyes. Starscream took an involuntary step forward as several others shrank back from the podium. To reach a position like that he had to be among the best of the best. "Deathclaw." she repeated under her breath unaware of her own words in her fascination.

"I have come to offer you one more option to choose." he continued still speaking simply and slowly. "Bearing children for the cause, developing new or repairing old tools even repairing our fallen soldiers are all very fine and necessary services to the Decepticon Empire. But the true service to the cause is that out on the front-lines where our brave soldiers face and destroy our enemies. I am offering you a chance to serve out there."

Another pause as several girls gasped. They'd never heard of a femme serving on the front-lines before, not since the old days of the first civil war when the Autobot leader had ordered all female prisoners to be thrown dis-armoured out of a shuttle flying over the enemy camp.

"The whole thing is top secret and all I can say here and now is that we need courageous young femmes who are willing to bring great sacrifices for the cause and leave everything and everyone they know behind for a completely new life of danger and excitement. Understand that, if you choose this path you will never have a chance to return here, you will never have a mate or children, but you will do the Empire a service much greater than any who remain here."

The girls stared back at him curiously now and he once again regarded each and every one of them for a moment before he continued.

"If you think you might be interested and wish for more information, come to see me in your headmaster's office sometime during the next two weeks. If I think you might be fit for the task, I will tell you all about it and you will be given time to make up your mind. Thank you all." and with that Deathclaw turned and walked off the podium and out the door that led towards the teachers' offices.

"Wow, that guy is weird!" announced Shade.

"Weird?" asked Lightwing. "That guy isn't just weird. He's downright scary."

"I wonder what he was going on about though." mused Shade.

"Who cares." shrugged Lightwing. "So Starscream, have you finally made up your mind?"

"Maybe." said Starscream.

"Are you coming to the science academy with me? Are you, are you?" Shade squealed.

"Come on, lets go see him." said Starscream.

"See who?" Lightwing and Shade stared at each other confused.

"Deathclaw of course! Who else?"

"Oh no, no way! I'm not going anywhere near that guy." Lightwing flat out refused.

"Starscream, you don't even know what he's up to. All you know is that he wants to take people away and they won't come back. They might intend to cut you up for spare parts!" Shade warned her.

"Nonsense. I'm just going to ask him what he wants us to do." Starscream grinned back at them. "I'll see you later, if you don't want to know."

As Starscream entered the corridor that led to the headmaster's office, the office door opened to let out one very angry looking young femme.

Starscream rolled her optics at the sight of the dizzy little airhead. "Hi, Dazzler."

"Don't even bother!" Dazzler snapped back. "They wouldn't even tell ME! Said I wasn't any use for their purpose. Ha! Not good enough for their little secret, am I? Huh?"

"So maybe they just weren't looking for your particular 'talents'?" Starscream suggested sarcastically.

Dazzler as far as she'd seen in the ten years she'd known her had no talents except her over-abundance of curiosity and the ability to distort the facts of any story she was told beyond recognition, retell it in five contradicting versions and fully believe every one of them. Unfortunately for Dazzler diplomats weren't much in demand in the Decepticon Empire. Thus Starscream expected her to end up at girl's secondary together with Shade. She'd make an acceptable whore if she ever learned how to shut up.

Then again Starscream didn't think much of whores in the first place. Shade might have been fully convinced that Dazzler wouldn't last a decade at girl's secondary. Starscream frankly didn't give a damn what became of the little airhead.

"Not need my talents? What else would they need? What's so special about it?" Dazzler ... well, dazzled. "Will you tell me, if you find out? Will you, will you? Huh?"

"Sorry Dazzler, it's supposed to be a secret." Starscream informed her grinning evilly.

"Since when do you care about rules? You don't care about anything. Oh, say you'll tell me!"

"Since I actually do care about something. Deathclaw sounds important and I'll just ask him for myself." she simply stepped around Dazzler and opened the door without bothering to knock.

"They won't tell you! They don't tell anybody!" Dazzler jeered behind her.

Starscream simply ignored her and stepped inside closing the door on Dazzler's ranting. Deathclaw and the headmaster looked up in surprise at the unannounced entry, but the headmaster's expression quickly changed to slight annoyance as he recognised the visitor.

Starscream felt quite at home in the headmaster's office and immediately plopped into a chair opposite Deathclaw. She'd been in here often enough, usually for reckless flying or fighting, but a few times for disrespecting the teachers, damaging school property and once for insulting a fellow student. Even the headmaster had been surprised that a student would take offence at being insulted by Starscream instead of feeling lucky to have gotten away without a serious beating.

"I'm Starscream." she informed Deathclaw as an afterthought. Deathclaw looked at her, then over at the headmaster questioningly.

"She's trouble." the headmaster translated, "but might be suitable for your purpose." he continued with an odd emphasis on the might. "Maybe you'd better take a look at these to get a better understanding." he added handing Deathclaw two data disks.

"What are those?" the warrior asked taking them and slipping one into his computer pad.

"My file." Starscream answered for the headmaster.

"Two disks?" Deathclaw asked incredulously.

"They’re low memory disks. Usually one of them suffices for about five girls, but special cases sometimes have a disk to themselves. I ran out of room on Starscream's three years ago." the headmaster answered. "Like I said, she's trouble."

"First year: Beat up two third years over an energon goody." Deathclaw quoted raising an eyebrow ridge.

"They'd promised it to me if I could out-fly them, then wouldn't pay up." Starscream explained.

"Crashed into a teacher while flying in the corridors." Deathclaw continued.

"I hadn't discovered that one has to slow down before rounding the corners yet." Starscream defended herself.

"Second year: Suspension for three days for playing with a vibro knife during conversations class." Deathclaw read on.

"Conversations class sucks." stated Starscream.

"Reprimanded for contradicting the Physics teacher."

"She was wrong."

"I see. Third year: Suspended for six days for bowling over three fellow students when flying in the corridors."

"They had no business being there. It was during lesson time. How should I know they'd be out of class?"

"Disrupting Conversations class with incessant talking."

"I was having a conversation in Conversations class. What's wrong with that?"

"Since I've never had that particular subject, I can't really answer that." Deathclaw stated calmly.

"But it's mandatory!" Starscream gasped.

"Not for mechs." Deathclaw corrected still sounding completely calm. He was obviously a very even tempered person who didn't get excited much.

"Is there any way I can have a sex change?"

"Not precisely, but maybe something close to it." Deathclaw almost smiled. "Fourth year: Insulting a teacher and frightening younger students with unsanctioned nosedives over their heads."

"Just having a little fun." stated Starscream. Could it be that Deathclaw actually liked her? He did appear to be secretly amused at least.

"Fifth year: Using inappropriate language talking about the headmaster, first place in the girls primary athletics championship of Veradoon."

"It wasn't that inappropriate at the time."

"First place at fifteen?"

"Yes, I'm good."

"As good as the boys, you think?" Deathclaw teased.

Starscream had never had a chance to compete against boys. They were stronger and heavier than girls, she'd heard and they were tougher. "Sure."

"Sixth year: Blowing up the Physics lab attempting to build a laser gun and attacking the Conversations teacher." Deathclaw read. "Conversations really isn't your strong point, is it?"

"Isn't that obvious?"

"Indeed. Seventh year: Reckless flying in Flying class and the third time athletics champion."

"Told you I'm good. And I thought flying's what you're supposed to do in Flying class. Guess I was wrong."

"Eighth year: Breaking a tenth year's leg and reprimanded for frequently skipping Conversations class."

"She asked for it."

"Actually she was just trying to break up a fight you started." the headmaster reminded her.

"She should have known better. She was one of those two third years I beat up over the energon goody in first year."

"Ninth year: Smashing a fellow student through a lab desk and a suspension for reckless flying." Deathclaw continued after changing disks.

"Just a little disagreement among friends. The desk happened to get in the way."

"Tenth year: Threatening the Conversations teacher and winning the school's science competition. And what's that? Reckless flying in the Conversations classroom?!"

"I grew bored with flying in the corridors. The classroom was a new challenge."

"I see." Deathclaw turned to the headmaster. "Well, disregarding the disciplinary problems, that's exactly what I'm looking for. She's perfect."

"Don't tell her that." the headmaster retorted. "She's conceited enough as it is.

"You said you'd like a sex change?" Deathclaw turned back to Starscream.

"Yes." she calmly met his optics.

"So what would you do then?"

"Fly! ... Go to the war academy." Starscream shrugged. "Be a warrior, take over a few solar systems ... or maybe the whole Empire." she shrugged again.

"You are ambitious." Deathclaw almost smiled at her. "I like ambitious students."

"But I'm not your student." Starscream reminded him.

"Not yet." Deathclaw confirmed. "And I can't offer you a physical change, but I can and I do offer you a chance to attend the war academy."

That brought Starscream up straight in her chair.

"There are some stipulations however." Deathclaw continued. "You will have to pretend to be a mech for the rest of your life. Therefore you will have to wear male armour which means that your breasts will have to be surgically removed. That change is not reversible. If you fail to finish the academy or are ever found out as a female, you will have to return into the civilian society as an outcast. Interfacing is out of the question for female warriors and even if you fail and return it is highly unlikely that any mech would ever find you attractive without breasts. The operation leaves very ugly scars which you will bear for the rest of your life."

"I don't care about interfacing or looks." Starscream told him without hesitation.

"Of course not. You're not old enough, yet, but you will have the urge someday. It's part of your programming to want to reproduce."

"I still don't care. Nothing can be better than flight and as long as I stay here, I will never fly freely."

"You will also have to leave behind your home, friends and family forever. You can never return to where people know what you are. Your parents are the only ones who may know where you are going and you will not have much contact with them after that. The military is a separate world. You'd be starting a totally new life."

"There's nothing here to hold me." Starscream informed Deathclaw. "I don't even know my father's name and my mother certainly won't miss me with ten other kids around. I doubt she'd notice if I just disappeared."

"The academy itself is a tough challenge as well. Only the 1000 best students make it into the second year. You can try a second time or transfer to another academy if you fail to make the cut, but generally the chances aren't good for those who don't make it the first time around. Those with older siblings or friends at the academy have a clear advantage over you and you will for the first time in your life have to compete with mechs. They are bigger and stronger than you are and they will use every advantage."

"I've always been the best in sports contests. I can take them on."

"But all your opponents have been other femmes. You are a seeker model though and in the air the faster and more agile fighter often has the advantage. Still at the academy you will have to compete on the ground as well. You will have to be as good as the best of the males, for you will be a male there."

"So why take in one single femme?" Starscream asked suddenly curious about their reasons.

"We don't. About 20 percent of the students that start the academy each year are females and have been for centuries. But you will not know who they are and neither will I. The academy has sent out several agents like me and we are not to share our information with each other. At the academy everyone is considered a male."

"So why? Aren't you getting enough male recruits? Then why send so many packing at the end of the first year?"

"There was a reason why the Autobots targeted our femmes so specifically during the first Autobot war." Deathclaw answered reluctantly and even the headmaster looked up in surprise. Hadn't he ever bothered to ask? "Back then some of our best and most effective troops were exclusively or predominantly female. You will most likely have heard of the Veradoon Harpies for example. The Autobots saw no other way than to scare them out of the army before they destroyed them all. These femmes had at least as much talent as the mechs and when the high command decided to dismiss them from the service in order to protect them, the Empire was considerably weakened. Only one generation later however a femme was discovered to have snuck into the army pretending to be a mech and that was when this project was started."

"That one femme convinced them?" the headmaster asked surprised.

"She was well known as the best flyer of her time by the time she was discovered." Deathclaw answered.

"So the high command knows about it all?" Starscream asked.

"Yes, they and the medics are the only ones who will know the truth about you. From all others you will have to hide." Deathclaw told her one more time. "Think about it. If you want to join up you have two weeks to make up your mind. Tell me and I’ll arrange the rest."

"Thank you." Starscream got up and walked to the door. There she stopped and turned around again.

"What now?" the headmaster asked wearily.

"I" Starscream announced. "Have made up my mind. Sign me up!"

"Don't you want to ask your mother first?" Deathclaw asked opening a drawer and digging around in it.

"Why should I? It's my life. I doubt she even cares." Starscream shrugged.

"Well she'll have to sign this, if you're going to go." he handed her a file. "You're not old enough to leave home without her permission."

"Honestly, I don't understand why the high command goes through all his trouble to recruit a few femmes who'll fail anyhow." the headmaster remarked once Starscream had left.

"Well, as I told Starscream twenty percent of the new recruits in first year are usually female." Deathclaw grinned. "What I didn't tell her is that of those who make it into the second year over thirty percent are. The femmes who decide to risk it all for a chance to join the army are usually tougher and more dedicated than the mechs who don't have as much to lose. They are more competitive and often rise much higher. Among flyers the percentages are actually fifty fifty and among seekers mechs are in the minority. A male officer is an extreme rarity among seekers. So you see, our little misfit there really is exactly what we want. She might go far indeed."

Starscream returned home almost bouncing with joy. She found her mother outside watching over her youngest's first attempts at flight. Little Starburst's engines weren't yet strong enough to take him off the ground, but he could climb a small pedestal, jump and glide a few meters close to the ground.

"Evening Mum." Starscream cautiously greeted her mother. It wouldn't do to anger her right now.

"You're home early." Starwing observed still watching Starburst. "Don't tell me you got yourself suspended again."

"No, but I really need you to sign something."

"I just knew it! What did you do this time?"

"Nothing much. And this isn't for my school, at least not for my current school." Starscream grinned. Let her believe it was about some misdeed and she'd be so relieved when she learned the truth, that she'd sign it easily.

"Why do I seriously doubt that your headmaster is giving you a recommendation to girls' secondary?" Starwing asked with a sigh. "Honest, you're just like your father. If I'd have known, I'd have a girl I'd never have interfaced with a warrior like him."

"Staskeem!" Starburst had suddenly noticed his sister. "I fly!"

"Hi, squirt." Starscream did her best not to laugh out loud at what Starburst considered flying.

"Don't talk to your brother like that!" Starwing immediately chastised her. "Some day he'll be a great warrior and where will you be then?"

"Maybe his commanding officer?" Starscream suggested. "I'm going to the war academy. That's what I came to tell you. You'll be rid of me at the end of the holidays and can concentrate all your attention on your precious sons. Not that you'll notice much of a difference, since you never did give me much attention anyway."

"You can't go to the war academy, stupid! You're a femme. You can't become a warrior." Starwing rolled her optics at Starscream. This one was more trouble than all the rest of her kids put together.

"It says right here that I can." Starscream thrust the file at her. "If you'd finally read and sign it, you'd see."

With another long-suffering sigh Starwing took the file and read through it. Starscream had the satisfaction of seeing her optics go wide with surprise.

"You are still a femme." she said finally. "Femmes aren't supposed to be warriors. They aren't meant for it."

"It's what I want to do and Deathclaw thinks I can do it." Starscream pointed out. "What do you care?"

"Very well, you always were a self-destructive idiot, but be aware that I won't take you back in when you come back. You'd better find somewhere else to stay."

"I'm not even supposed to ever come back here anyway. Not even if I wanted to. Just sign the document and you'll be rid of me forever."

Starwing hesitated for a moment. She'd always hoped that Sarscream would calm down someday and live a normal and quiet life in the city. But then she thought of her six sons that needed attention, if they were to grow up to be assets to the Empire. And then there were her four other daughters, all proper little femmes that might be compromised or at least be put at a disadvantage because of Starscream's presence. This one had been trouble from the start. Let her go to hell if she wanted to.

With one quick decision she signed the file and handed it back to her daughter. "Very well, go if you absolutely want to and good luck to you. You'll need it."

And Starscream smiled. It was done. Now nothing more could stand in her way. Someday she would lead the Decepticons.

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