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Submitted on
May 3, 2011
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It was only when the third outpost stopped responding that the Decepticons realized there was no turning back.

"Oh slag, oh frag, what are we gonna do now?"

"I don't – I don't know. We didn't tell them about the rust this time, and they still denied us docking. One of the other stations must have sent out quarantine warnings on us!"

"This is it. I always knew it would end like this," Dead End bemoaned.

"Shut up!" Dreadwind snapped. "We never invited you along anyway."

"I didn't have anywhere else to go!" The rest of the Stunticons had long since expired.

"This is your fault!" Darkwing stabbed a finger at his partner, only to witness that finger fall off his hand. "You were the one who wanted to check out Antilla and loot it!"

Dreadwind flung his arms in the air. "We took all the precautions! It's not my fault the equipment failed on us!"

"Yes it is! You were the one who bought it at discount! You should have known something was wrong with the stuff."

"Look, look. We know who's really to blame..."

Swindle tossed the rag into the incinerator once he was done polishing his cannon. He took pride in his appearance and the excellent condition of his body. He fastidiously laced the polish back in its proper place within the endless shelves of merchandise. His entire inventory was accurately catalogued and priced, and he liked to keep it that way. Business was slow these days, what with his clientele dropping roughly in half with the end of the War. So he had plenty of time to keep things organized.

As a salesmech he always needed to look his best. Sure, he had enough spare parts to last him a century, but with his body's tech being quickly outmoded, he would have to be frugal. He hadn't exactly been granted amnesty, so he couldn't just waltz in and get himself a Predacon upgrade the legal way. And those bodies were still too new and rare to "acquire" through less than honest means. Slag him if he was going to put himself in a Maximal shell – he still had his pride to think about. He could wait until Predacon bodies became more common. Holding out for the right opportunity was 25% of the sales business, after all. And sales was more than a business, it was a way of life.

As he exited his warehouse and crossed the threshold into his front office area, he picked up a Pz-Zazzian dart and flung it at a picture of ol' Onslaught's head that hung on the wall. Good riddance to his former commander. He had been the one who's sent the Autobots/Maximals the anonymous tip of his teammates' hideaway when the war had ended, and he had done it with glee. They would only have held him back. And Brawl, well… he had just used Brawl's hand to throw the dart.

"Missed," a raspy voice said behind him.

Swindle turned around and shot reflexively, but the figure took the shot to his torso and just kept coming. He screamed as he leapt back with the realization that he had successfully blown a huge hole through the crumbling body and it made no difference. This was a dead mech walking. Cosmic rust.

Their core processors must have already started corroding; they had no energy signatures to trigger his security systems. Swindle cursed his short-sightedness at not springing for the full sensor package. But he relied on walk-in business these days and he couldn't afford to accidentally be shooting down prospective clients.

"Don't touch me!" he shouted.

But even as his attacker dropped to his knees, Swindle felt another set of arms wrap around him. He turned his head around to see his attacker, but he knew the damage had been done even before he registered that the second mech had lost his lower jaw.

"GAAAAAAH!" he screamed.

"Don't be such a coward," a third mass of red-tinted crumbling metal said as it approached him, slapping a stasis inhibitor onto his back.

Swindle felt his whole body numb, no longer responding to his commands. There was no escape for him now. By the time the inhibitor rusted away, he would be too far gone himself to get to his emergency corrostop supply. Like these three.

"And face your fate like a Decepticon," Dead End finished.

But Swindle didn't want to face his fate with dignity. Instead, he screamed again as the three bodies held him down, moshing themselves against him and spreading their disease threefold all over his beautiful body.
Alternate title: "Deals and Dealings"

My own entry to Graham Thomson's contest. What a fun prompt! I sat down intending to writing one thing and then this came out. I wanted to have some panicking Decepticons, but I really couldn't think of what to have them panic over. I just made this story up as I was typing it, and you know what? I think it's one of my best pieces ever. It's certainly different from what I usually do.

I must say, I love writing stories set between G1 and Beast Wars. There's just so much untapped potential there.
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Critique by GrahamThomson May 4, 2011, 12:34:49 PM
The Combaticon called Swindle is certainly one of the more interesting Decepticons in the Transformers universe. He'd prefer to make deals instead of war. "What Rust Doth Consume" is wry snapshot of what I can imahine to be Swindle's worst nightmare!

Like a lot of Transformers, the "official" fiction rarely gives a character justice, instead a mere fleeting one-dimensional portrayal. "What Rust Doth Consume" shows us more about Swindle in such a short word count than any of his previous appearances. And, nicely, everything new learned and Swindle's post-war occupation and his adjustments to his pre-Beast Wars life are nicely described.

JazZeke paces this short story very well, building it up into an exquisite juxtaposition in which Swindle meets his fate. I can't say what it is, but anyone with a passing interest in the character is advised to read and find out!
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Novastorm73 Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
He fastidiously laced the polish back in its proper place...
placed perhaps?

Nice, kinda like a zombie flick! Ol Swindle trying to thrive and survive amid terrible market conditions.
JZLobo Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Yeah, placed. Oops!
SheepSlave Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2011
Personally I'm not familiar with Beastwars and so when I read stories that touch on Beastwars I end up rather lost.

But this story was rewarding because even with the Beastwars ideas woven within I was still able to follow along and enjoy the read. :-)

I have tried to write a critique but I just can't concentrate ~ the three kids are driving me batty! I'll see if I can critique later. I hope...
JZLobo Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Haha. The interim between G1 and Beast Wars was only vaguely alluded to. One of my favorite things to do in fanfic is to try filling in that big three century gap. There's just so much that can be done!

I'm glad you enjoyed it.
SheepSlave Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2011
Don't you love it when you start typing and the story takes off and goes its own way?? Sometimes it freaks me out haha!
JZLobo Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
I do love it indeed. Some of my best pieces came out that way.
LittleMissAwesome Featured By Owner May 9, 2011  Student
I remember this disease from G1.

Good job.:)
JZLobo Featured By Owner May 9, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks! Glad you like.
Underbase Featured By Owner May 3, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Lovely, if I do say so. Oh, yes, so much vague space between G1 and Beastwars to work with without continuity getting in the way.
JZLobo Featured By Owner May 3, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Continuity never gets in the way! It only provides fodder to build on. At least that's how I see it. ;)

So glad you like.
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