THUNDERCRACKER: It never should have happened.
What shouldn’t have happened?
THUNDERCRACKER: The Battle of Charon. The whole damn thing was supposed to be a simple raid, an energy grab. We should have been in and out. The Autobots shouldn’t have even known about it. Instead it turned into…well, what it turned into.
And you feel responsible.
THUNDERCRACKER: I never said that. (silence) It wasn’t supposed to be…it wasn’t supposed to be anything. Just a raid. And that shuttle got away…
Tell me about the raid.
THUNDERCRACKER: It was routine. Ratbat found the planet. Ravage did the initial recon. It was supposed to be a cakewalk. One ore refinery. Megatron didn’t even bother with the combiners. Just the three of us to soften up the locals from the air, Soundwave’s crew for the ground assault, and the Constructicons standing by to pick up what we needed and built a one-way Space Bridge to take the goodies home…
When you say ‘us’ you mean…
THUNDERCRACKER: The Seekers. Me, Skywarp, and Starscream. I was actually looking forward to it. Just the three of us, no coneheads to babysit…it was like old times…back when it was--well it wasn’t fun but you knew everybody, you know? Rumble was gonna trash talk and Skywarp was going to do something stupid, and Soundwave was gonna be a giant prick. Hell, you even got to recognize some of the Autobots after a while. You weren’t friends or anything, but…I can’t explain it. You’d look across the battlefield and you’d see familiar faces and it felt…it felt like things were the way they were supposed to be. Now I don’t even recognize half the faces on our side, let alone the Autobots. When I first saw them I thought the Stunticons WERE Autobots. Thank god, for recognition software, that’s all I’ll say.
So part of you feels a kinship with the Autobots.
THUNDERCRACKER: Well, we’re all Transformers. We’re all fighting for what we believe in, we’re just on different sides. It’s never personal.. The only guy I really hate is Mirage, and that’s a personal thing. He’s got one foot in and one foot out, and I can’t stand people who won’t pick a damn side. You can’t trust a guy like that. He’s one guy I go out of my way to take a shot at.
Let’s go back to the raid on Charon.
THUNDERCRACKER: Like I said, it was routine. Megatron ordered us to go in at seven from the Northeast because he needed the Constructicons for something else later; Starscream started the attack at seven-fifteen from the East because, well, because he’s Starscream.
And how did you feel about Starscream’s decision?
THUNDERCRACKER: Tactically, who cares? The refinery wasn’t exactly Omega Supreme. We fly in backwards and blindfolded, we were still going to crush those jabronis. It’s just a pain in the ass, this constant petty political bullshit. I just want to do my job and go home.
So Starscream’s decision to delay the initial assault had no bearing on what happened next?
THUNDERCRACKER: No. I mean, yes. They had a couple more minutes after we showed up in orbit. But it wasn’t going to do them any good. Soundwave had jammed their communications. They had no defense to speak of.
But a few of them had time to get to that shuttle.
THUNDERCRACKER: It didn’t matter. Yeah, maybe it gave them some prep time, but that shuttle wasn’t in the air until the attack was underway. In MY quadrant.
But by that time there was nothing you could have done. According to your report, you were on the other end of the complex, finishing a strafing run when you saw it. There was no way you could have turned in time to stop it before it broke atmosphere.
Thundercracker, no matter what you may feel, the Battle of Charon was not your fault. It’s normal to feel guilty, but under the circumstances, there was nothing you could have…
THUNDERCRACKER: I lied in my report.
I beg your pardon?
THUNDERCRACKER: I lied. I wasn’t on the other end of the complex. I saw the shuttle taking off before I started my run. I could have taken them out before they got off the runway.
So why didn’t you?
THUNDERCRACKER: I didn’t think they could do any harm.
You let them go.
THUNDERCRACKER: Yeah, I let them go. Does that make me a bad person? They were helpless. They weren’t soldiers, just a crew of refinery jockeys. They couldn’t fight back if they wanted to. What was I supposed to do, just blow them to pieces because they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time?
I was trying to be merciful. I was trying to do a good thing.
I thought I was SAVING lives.
And look what happened instead.