METATISIC: PART SEVENTEEN
TITLE: Metatisic., Metatisic: Saga One
TYPE: Transformers G1 fiction
AUTHOR: Megan Seekings & A. Chandler
FIRST RELEASE: 1985, 1986, & 1987.
Revised edition 5/8/03, 2004-2008
SUMMERY: Unable to obtain it from their native planet of Cybertron, Decepticon leader, Galvatron resorts to excavating an asteroid particle that has tested positive for Cybertonium, dispatching a crew to retrieve it. But as the surface layers are removed, trace outline of an ancient staircase unintentionally leads the party on a sudden and very unexpected journey deep into Cybertronian history prior to the first Great War some 14 million years ago!
"Mighty one ... Mighty one?"
The ruby windows of the monarch's eyes flickered acknowledging the call. Pearled in luster for a moment, they dimmed.
The filum twinkled again, quivering like they did before. Only this time the glow was brighter. Metatisic shifted and Cyclonus followed his lift.
No. Not Sarterius. It was the prisoner from the border. What was 'he' doing here?
Taking in his immediate surroundings did very little to answer that puzzle and his bewilderment was evident --clearly he was no longer in Bractos, or anywhere at all near it for that mater. Unconnected and almost combative as his defrag engages, Metatisic's gaze fastened to the hand still gripping his right shoulder just before he riveted the Decepticon jet with the question:
"What am I doing here? ...Where have you taken me?"
"You were injured, Great master." Cyclonus calmly explained, his fingers never loosening. "A Rougeon warhead struck your position and destroyed the tower."
Metatisic looked at the hand daring to touch him. No one was ever so bold as to presume to touch the Dourjer without his permission. He contemplated the discomfort in silence and then narrowed his stare at the strange slave. "And?"
"I witnessed the attack and then I saw you. Rougeons were beginning to advance the area." He paused coughing, bowing his head almost in shame. "I feared your safety."
"And you brought me here?" The leader was still cued with unresolve.
"Actually, I coasted here. When I fell, I couldn't transform..." Cyclonus mumbled to himself. His hand slowly slipped from Metatisic's shoulder down his arm. It seemed as if all the weight of the universe was spread upon his back, and he was just microns from cracking under the strain.
"What? You transformed?!" Metatisic's voice vibrated with suspicion.
Cyclonus cringed visibly at his slip. "No, no... I told you, I can't."
"But you do have an alt. mode?"
Nodding wearily, the bluish jet responded in a soft tone. "Yes."
Metatisic watched Cyclonus. The jet seemed to be drawing inward on himself, as if he were somewhere else in his mind and longed to stay there. His expression was haunted.
"Are you from them, then?"
Cyclonus looked puzzled, but his reverie was broken. "Them?"
"Those that dwell far beyond the wastes."
The jet paused and regarded the monarch with a wary glance before looking away to the endless dust that surrounded them. "I do come from far beyond the wastes. Much farther than even you could imagine."
"I can imagine quite a bit," Metatisic scoffed.
Cyclonus did not rise to the barb, only hung his head tiredly. Some part of him seemed to have almost given up.
"You come from this strange place but wear the sign of the chosen of Megadyne. You are loyal, more loyal --it seems sadly-- than some of my own noblemen. What do you expect from this?"
"Nothing, Master. .. Great one, it isn't a matter of repayment. As I was pulling you out I came under fire. If I deserted you there they would have killed you... I could not let them do that..."
"You, one of the condemned! ..bah! Expect me to believe such sentiment?"
The lieutenant closed his eyes. "I expect nothing."
"You're a sentenced prisoner." The Decepticon leader added thoughtfully, "And yet you could have destroyed me yourself and earned your freedom. You're alone here ...Why didn't you?"
"Is it not my duty to protect the empire?" Opening his optics, he continued to speak, "You are the empire." Cyclonus' dared to glance directly at the king for a split second before looking away. "What must I do to prove my intentions to you are genuine?"
Metatisic again contemplated the situation. A settlement far beyond the Dead Zone did make a certain amount of sense ...as did the slave's tales of being explorers. An alt. mode capable of flight could have easily...
"How did you conquer it?"
Gesturing to the dust around them, Metatisic continued, "The Zone. Theses barrens. How did you manage to overcome it? No mech has ever survived such peril."
A long pause followed. Finally, in an almost wistful tone, Cyclonus answered, "...I flew."
The sovereign did little to acknowledge the answer ---at least not just yet. He'd left Cyclonus' side to one of the taller of the dunes nearby to retrieve his cannon, inspecting one of the fallen robots frames strewn there. Nonchalantly, Metatisic footed the remains and gestured the brunt of his attention up the neighboring rock face. Emblazoned by the cherry light of the setting star, it soared above the canopy of the heat and haze, the liter of corrugated aluminum and brickle iron.
"Destron." Metatisic nodded at where the stretch split into two arms, both of which climbed sharply towards the rolling plateaus above. "We are near the Destron exodus point ...Just lean of the Nin'gur passage. Not far, but we are in danger if we stay here long."
"Of them." The Decepticon leader elected one of the dead robots for his point. "Rougeons." He said.
"I was wondering what they were." Cyclonus said sluggishly.
"Yes. Quite some time ago these were."
"Mighty one, if I may ask --about the Rougeons. What happened?"
There was just the tug of a chuckle in the king's voice just then, "You've been an adventurer much too long, Cyclonus."
"Yes, I supposed I have."
"Disobedience. Why should I explain it? You witnessed Jhard's display back at the Iysurus ...Him and all the others like him that follow his example. Besides, we no time for this --here."
Metatisic, opening one of his body panels, removed out one of his own reserve fuel rations. With an air of grave importance, he held it out to Cyclonus. "Concentrated energon," He disclosed. "And you look as though you need it right now more than me."
The jet snatched it, desperately, without much decorum. Shortly, emaciated circuits surged the length of his construction finding its zenith in the tell-all panes of his eyes; their own muted brilliance spidered with resurrection again and, more importantly, the leak in Cyclonus' shattered knee began to stifle as his self-repair systems came back on-line. In the midst of consuming the last of the fuel, he paused and lowered the container.
"I am sorry for my lack of manners, Master. I am honored that you would share your energon with me."
Metatisic snorted, a trace of humor flashing briefly on his features. "A rare privilege. However, were our positions reversed, I can't say that my conduct would be much better given our circumstances."
Cyclonus gave the monarch a grateful nod before finishing the container.
The Dourjer looked about him again. Pressing his communications panel, he spoke, "Sarterius, acknowledge. What is your location?"
Static was the only response. Then, inexplicably, there was some sort of communications echo. The blip registered and then was silent.
"Sarterius? SARTERIUS!?" Metatisic pressed the panel several times in rapid succession, trying to boost the signal. It did nothing but frustrate him. Silently cursing the metallic content of the dust that jammed most transmissions, the king scanned the horizon, looking for any sort of movement. "Strange," One eye widened larger than the other in suspicion.
"There's something out there."
Cyclonus rose, scanning the horizon and then turning to take in the rest of the landscape. The communications warble unnerved him more than he cared admit. All that was needed were a few hundred Rougeons coming over the next rise in the dust to slaughter them both. He was acutely aware of the leader's curiosity as he engaged his long-range sensors.
Skimming over the wasteland, two flattened triangular shapes made a huge cloud rise, alerting anyone within long-range optic scan to their presence before shooting up higher, into the blowing storm they'd caused --Show offs, the futuristic jet thought bitterly. Some things never seem to change.
"What is it, Cyclonus?" Metatisic had risen too and was trying to see whatever held his attention.
The time-lost Decepticon, not for the first time, realized how much superior some of his own systems were to even the most advanced found now. "Two flyers, Master."
"What emblems do they bear? Are they Rougeon?" Metatisic's offensive systems began to whine as his power flow diverted.
Cyclonus frowned briefly and glanced at the monarch. "How can I tell, my Lord?"
"The traitors like to cleave the sacred marks of the rays from their bodies as if in shame. Some paint over them or profane them with gouges. You will know." Metatisic still scanned the roiling cloud the two flyers brought on with them.
With some relief, the bluish jet found that both Decepticon symbols on the two were untouched. "Their marks are whole."
Metatisic did not relax, but he nodded. Touching his communications panel, he hailed the flyers he could not see. "Loyal herak ...Could it be me you seek?"
"Beloved Lord!" "Dourjer!" The answering shouts were simultaneous and joyous, making Metatisic's speakers crackle.
Cyclonus watched as the two homed in on the frequency and increased pace to the point that he could hear the strain in their engines. The two came up at what must be an astonishing speed for the period. They transformed even before they'd come full stop, running up the dune like two unruly children.
They ignored Cyclonus, but as the two heraks beheld Metatisic, they cried out rather witlessly in sheer delight. It was the last outburst they made. With the smiles still on their faces, the two folded their arms, tucking their fingers inside their elbow joints, and curled down into a grand bow to their Dourjer.
"Rise, most loyal herak." Metatisic smiled, his offensive systems finally powering down. "Approach."
Rising as one, their smiles still lingering, they did as they were bidden. The red flyer, his wings edged in a fiery orange, came before the other, less grandly decorated, flyer.
"We believed the worst, Great One. Until we heard the signals echoing from this abandoned place, we had almost given up all hope." The red herak spoke, "General Sarterius is beside himself. Commander Shockwave is driving us all to madness Coronach is grief-stricken "
The monarch interrupted the sudden outflow from the talkative herak with a laugh. "I am glad to say that the rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated, Canticle."
"To our most eternal joy, Master." Canticle beamed. His fellow seeker's smile was as great, as if not greater.
"Now, what did you say of signals?" Metatisic asked.
Canticle deferred to the pale blue herak at his elbow. The other bowed his head slightly as he began to speak, "Master, at first we thought signal was coming from the wastes, and then it was here, and then it was from the Zone again. We were not sure what could cause such a reflection, so we wished to start from here, and perhaps search outward if necessary."
A thoughtful expression crossed Metatisic's face. "I had a similar experience... mmmmm ...It bears looking into, but for now we must return to Bractos with haste." He looked to Cyclonus, "My arms bearer is wounded, and I have taken some damage myself."
"At once, Most Mighty." The two herak chorused. It was the blue herak who took to the sky to relay the message, however. Canticle remained. He gave Cyclonus a few curious looks that he tried to hide, but failed miserably at. The lieutenant; for his part, ignored the seeker.
"Master, forgive my curiosity, I know field commissions are quite common in times of war, but to promote a house-slave to Arms Bearer?" Canticle's voice was soft.
"I have not taken leave of my senses, Canticle. The Bearer of the Lord's Armaments is yet a slave, but he has proven to be a loyal slave. And such devotion should be rewarded." Metatisic reasoned as if Cyclonus were not even there.
"I defer to your most wise judgments, Master. I thank you for indulging my inquisitiveness." The red herak bobbed his head.
It crunched in her body seams and threatened to clog her servomotors. She hadn't actually asked herself if she was crazy yet. The terrain had only been annoying at first but, now she was starting to wonder. It had been like this for astro-cycles. Too many, in her estimation. If not for the stellar compass in the main vardo, there would be no hope of ever being able to cross it --let alone turn around if they had too.
Of course, it's not like she was leading the expedition. She was just a guard. It was her job to trudge along next to the communications vardo, watch the repulsors and make sure they didn't clog with dust, and glare fiercely at the rest of the silcone sand around them ...as if there were really anything that could live in this mess.
Admittedly, this was better than sitting in an office somewhere filing someone else's datapads, but...
The large red female paused as a crackle came over the transmitter. It wasn't exactly words, but it was definitely more than just background static.
"Hey! Hey ya'll, hold up!" She shouted to the rest of the caravan. "We got someth'in here!"
Opening the main interface and tuning in on the ping manually, she managed to clear up the signal slightly as the others started rushing back.
"Sarterius!..." the rest of the message was either garbled or spoken in some language the motley band could not identify.
"Step away from there, guard. You aren't the communications specialist!" A tall whip-thin mech spat, thrusting himself between the femme and the control panel. He continued to work the dials, trying to home in and communicate with whomever was transmitting. "Hello? ... respond!"
"Second base alpha-1 ...acknowledge response! Hello?"
"Ironhide?" The crimson fembot leaned to the console, "Ironhide, if'n that's you... and this is supposed to be funny. Ah'm going to kick your bumper into outer space!"