METATISIC: PART EIGHTEEN
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!
Bractos - G9-12; The Iysurus Temple: terrace mount
Waiting was always hard for Coronach. He hated to be in the dark about anything, but then again, he was Herak, and with that came certain duties... particularly to swiftness of response. He scanned the skies, looking... searching, for his soldiers.
Shockwave stood silently, like some sort of monument to patience. A monolith made living metal, he was a portrait in that particular virtue. Nothing betrayed his turmoil.
Coronach himself could barely stop himself from shifting foot to foot in nervous energy. His guilt weighed heavy on him, worse than if he had been bound in chains and buried in the dust... but then he had such hope. Terrible, burning hope, that threatened to burst from him if he didn't maintain his unnatural stillness. It was torture.
There, a spot of blue in the sky, moving quickly.
"It is one of mine," he offered to the still silent Shockwave.
Focusing in, he realized whom it was... and that there was no red flyer in tow. Panic gripped him. Canticle was missing.
The pale blue seeker came in. He hovered above the launch platform briefly before transforming.
Coronach advanced on the strangely smiling herak. "Wipe that idiotic smile off your face. Where is Canticle?!"
Blinking and resolving his expression into a serious one, the herak responded, "He is coming, Commander. I was sent on ahead to bring the good news."
Coronach trembled. He dared not even desire that he would be spared this agony of guilt.
Shockwave strode forward, "And what is this news, herak?"
"Our Dourjer lives!" The pale blue robot almost crowed.
Shockwave was in motion at once. "Canticle carries him?"
"Yes, Guardian. He and a foreign slave." The pale winged robot nodded.
Shockwave shouted something to the guards, but the Herak commander did not listen. There, even as Coronach watched in amazement, the red and orange blaze of Canticle adorned the sky. Never had he been so grateful to see one of his wingmates. He followed the arc of the red seeker's flight as if he were entranced.
When Canticle descended, hovering, and then his cockpit opened and the Dourjer alighted ... he could no longer restrain himself. Coronach rushed forward, taking on the position for the great bow but falling on his knees. He bent so low that his forehead touched the bare ground at Metatisic's feet.
"Great master." He sputtered gasps of relief, "Master, master, master..."
"No." Metatisic started to shake his head stooping to touch his shoulder, "nono,"
"Punished .. Master. I should be puni "
Metatisic shook his head again, "No, no ...rise. Rise."
"He, like all of us, feared the very worse, almighty Dourjer." Shockwave answered for the alleviated mech's behavior, "Sarterius had been combing the grounds since the first report went out of your absence."
Inspirited as the empurpled Decepticon was, the salute he appended did little to conceal the catch of his own vocals just then ---though Shockwave tried. Metatisic was alive!
"He's on his way now." The Guardian added after a stalled moment. "And in the Commander's defense, Mighty Metatisic ...I must say that it is better to experience relief than to require solace."
Metatisic's smile was not subdued; with half a nod, his palm rested on the guardian's shoulder gently.
"As am I too, to see that you are also functional."
His rubicund optics skirted the growing assemblages of guardsmen and servants prompted by his arrival. The need to serve was foreseen, but not necessary, Bractos concerned the monarch more than his dings. How had his capital endured the siege?
"And the battle?" Metatisic necessitated, "The citadels?" His attention wandered passed the teams of house servants, scrutinizing certain familiar landmarks in no direct order. Cyclonus had only now just disembarked the red herak behind him.
The ruddy light of the early evening stars threaded themselves like needles of fire throughout the Iysurus sublimities, and Cyclonus' eye was caught by the splotches of crimson that fired their peaks at just the right angle coordinating the burn from within the colonnades. Void of the Karna's apogee, the vast stretch of the mount became the product of new scintillescent of color; fulgent pin-lights refracted by neighboring apex.
On the far side of its ridge, the platform fell away rather steeply. The only noticeable appendage to the other side was a artery of Byrite and chromium-plate mix. The ancient grand palace had survived the melee that he could tell. Coronach clarified it with his leader: "Intact, m'lord." The herak said, "But the eastern fortifications sustained heavy damage."
"I want Dirtmouth and his engineers on the damage immediately" Metatisic designated his first order hotly towards the young seeker. "All available surplus at once!"
He picked out Sarterius immediately and a grin broke out across his face, but the general made no movement towards him. Instead, he used hand signals to indicate that the Dourjer should walk down the terminal to his right. The Decepticon leader immediately saw why --Several teams of militants crowded the thoroughfare near the transport dock at the central arcade. He was almost at the awning when he saw two more guardsman, machine pistols slung across their chest plates, they were carefully watching everyone who ventured in or out. They all parted at Metatisic's advance.
"Yes, master." Coronach remedied, traipsing the ruler's momentum towards the central rostrum, "They already are."
"Good. We won't be able to sustain another ambush and I don't want the rebellion believing they can!"
"Of course, Lord. Straight away."
"Mighty Metatisic!" Sarterius hailed.
"Metatisic!" Rose a unison cry; fist drummed against armor in choreographed perfection.
Cyclonus had followed behind Metatisic as any good retainer would his Lord. He had thought nothing of it until Sarterius looked down at him with a scowl.
"This discussion has nothing to do with you, slag --Soldier, return this Decepticon to holding unti---"
Just as one of the General's massive hands came up to catch the jet by the throat, someone's vocalizer oscillated. Sarterius paused for just a fraction of an instant.
After the cough Metatisic spoke, "How absent-minded of me, Sarterius. Thank you for calling him to my attention. I had quite forgotten the mech who enabled my safe escape and to return to Bractos intact and unharmed. He is to be privileged. ...Sarterius, do ensure that this Decepticon is sent to the repair bay with your own men." His tone indicated that he had not forgotten, but that he intended to spare the jet the consequences of being an underling with wings.
Though his expression was scrawled in the customary, ever-present suspect, Sarterius' fingers left Cyclonus, although his optics did not, doubled up into a fist that slide to the left of his breastplate in subdued salute.
"As you command, M'lord." A rich, new, florid tone found its way into the general's harmonics just then. "Your gratitude is my own. ..Sire, there is no need to consider the renegades would mount a new attack." He shifted the subject, "At least not so soon. Our legions arrived from Nin'gur. Any retreating rebels were slaughtered at the pass and any who managed to escape, my mechs are weeding them out at this instant."
"I felt you would be please." The commander flushed with pride.
Directing the monarch's attention, a luminescence suddenly began to speed across the length of the central table of the colonnade painting everything and everyone within standing distance in the super-charged net of its neon.
"Pycon," Sarterius commanded. "Run program."
The grid flocked together at once scrolling a digital relief of the pass, its peaks and valleys in position to the Decepticon army. Each cerise pip on the hologram registered yet another robot and his location.
"Now," Sarterius began; his eyes filtering back and forth from his leader to his centurions. "The line I have marked here is how much territory Jhard has under his command. His followers fight on a expanding line and is vulnerable to a attack at almost any part of it. At your grant, O' Mighty Metatisic, I suggest we move in here."
"General" Chamfer parted the grid with his energo-saber pointing. "Forgive my interruption, but the 4th unit is moving. That means this area here is secure. We should slow the advance at that cluster and strangle them there at the Nin'gur thoroughfare."
Metatisic stared at them both. "I chafe at the pace we are setting" he grimaced. "Had this obstacle been dealt with promptly when it was first discovered we would never have exposed our flank to leave the capital exposed."
"They have no more than twenty to forty mechs at any given point on the line. If we break through quickly, with two legions at each position, we should be able to cut them to pieces." Sarterius strolled around the holo-grid pointing and picking out placements and added: "--and their reinforcements wouldn't dare."
"No offence, General." Shockwave motioned towards him, "But their reinforcement certainly dared today."
Such a fact left the veteran warrior mute and dissolved his constant ridged stature. Sarterius hated to be wrong, "The Decepticons won't be pleased," he gnarled. "This is not a crushing victory and--"
Shockwave snapped back in ire. "Your battalions are servants to the finest regiment in all of Ta'nak. They will do as they're ordered! This is a game of numbers .. If it is a game at all. They have more. The empire controls similar ground with less."
"Stop, stop." The Dourjer pressed between them. Sarterius opened his mouth to cant the defense of his progress, but Metatisic raised his palm before he could begin. "Enough" he ordered. "Enough, enough. Listen ---you and Jhard both had your errors. You should have destroyed them. They failed to destroy us. The rougeons still have the same problem of defending a lengthening line."
"We have the same problem, to some extent."
"Not half as badly, If they break through, it is into the Destron exodus point where they can be cut off with ease. Their control is the illusion." Metatisic's interest spread across the grid map matching the smile stretching his lips. Super-imposed red florets twinkling there grouped and combined while others snapped out of view.
"As you can clearly see--" Metatisic declared, "They control nothing. When the legions break their line, it will be straight into my domain as it was from the beginning."
The Dourjer skirted the map again, flicked a moment of consideration to his general, and then glanced at the youthful flyer at his shoulder. "Coronach..."
The winged commander looked up at him. "Lord?"
"There is a peculiar nest of infra-red showing up here. It's separate from the rebel position --Look at the distance." The Decepticon monarch drew a line with his index to provide his reason as one of his studious crimson lenses wrinkled with suspect to match the anomalous curiosity. "When I was near the exodus point something pipped on my transmissions console. A sub-echo. I attempted to radio it ..unsuccessfully however."
Coronach nodded solemnly. "Canticle reported it to me, Majesty. He noticed the strange refraction as he searched in the northern ruins for you."
One of the sentries became uneasy and whispered to his partner. "Think they're Rougeon?"
"If they are, they've ventured further than usual." His fellow guard shrugged.
The young commander looked away almost embarrassedly, and then back at his sovereign. "Sir, they are coming from the Dead Zone. It would take a truly crazed commander to force his mechs to do such a thing. Not to mention his forces would be quartered by the time he reached the quartz flats. The dust is murderous..."
"I too have my doubts," the General huffed, interrupting Coronach. "It is unlike those scum to have such small operations. They've always enjoyed the advantage of numbers. It seems there are no end to the traitors willing to fight under their banner."
"It matters not. It's suspicious and I want it investigated immediately." Metatisic gestured with finality, "Order your Heraks to the air, Coronach. ...Take a survey."
"But, my league--" Bristling, Sarterius retorted, "Pycon and Chamfer are more familiar with the area."
"Yes but I need visuals and the Heraks can get there faster," the Decepticon leader soothed.
"The Heraks do not have the offensive capabilities that ground troops do! If it is indeed a threat..." Sarterius began hotly.
"I don't want to attack whatever it is, I only want it investigated." Metatisic managed to stay calm. "If it is hostile, we will send in the ground units to destroy it."
Somewhat pacified, Sarterius looked away. He noticed Coronach glancing at him worriedly --as if he was afraid that the General would think less of him for having his command favored over Sarterius' own. The Herak commander need not worry overmuch. He was the only one of those winged show-offs that the General could stand to be in the presence of on anything more than official terms.
Motioning to his Herak to prepare for departure, Coronach bowed to the mighty monarch before carrying out his orders. Quodlibet and Canticle, his wingmates, followed his example and mimicked him.
Shockwave cautioned the young commander still bowing to Metatisic, "Maintain radio contact with central command at all times. If this is some sort of new Rougeon ploy, we need not be taken unawares."
"It will be as you command, Shockwave." Coronach assured when he rose and was dismissed with a hand sign by the king.
The three winged mechs turned silently and Shockwave's optic brightened for a split-second... as if he had just remembered something. In the hustle and pause of opening the doors for the departing Herak, the Security Chief leaned down; his voice dropped a little, as if he were imparting a secret, "Metatisic."
The monarch leaned close and the guardian gestured, indicating something small. The Decepticon leader's eyes widened as he continued to listen to whatever this confidential report entailed. First in horror. Then his expression became one of amazement... then it softened to something akin to disappointment.
"Where is he now?" Metatisic uttered.
"Safe, Lord. He's with Eleven." Shockwave replied. "Soundwave confessed that he helped him to escape through the driod tunnels. I didn't punish the boy though. You know how instigative Megatron can be with him. Soundwave does anything he ask."
The Dourjer nodded. His gaze focused away.
Cybertron - Midlands; The council of the Elders
(Far, far away ..)
"I say these are nothing more than rumors," Alpha Duon insisted, his clawed hand motioning dismissively as he paced on the speaking floor of the Assembly chamber. "Fantasies precipitated by the common people who are looking for some sort of super-powered heroes to help us finish expelling the Quintessons from Cybertron."
Delusion rose to speak, his black and blue plating almost shadowy even in the stark overhead lighting. He looked down on Alpha Duon in more ways than one."You dismiss rumors too easily, Duon." The chief-of-spies' voice was sibilantly soft as he chastened the Elder, "Remember rumors always have a grain of truth somewhere in them and they, coupled with deniability and misinformation, have proven to be some of our most effective weapons "
"If one wishes to creep around in the shadows instead of fighting like a mech!" Duon snapped angrily.
"Standing foolishly before an oncoming shockwave and expecting it to back down does no more than get one killed, Elder. Deception and cunning allowed us to win our major victories. We lost almost all our announced formation battles against the Quintessons and their monsters." Delusion fingered the ruby brand of Primus on his own chest thoughtfully, "Unless, of course, you like sending your troops off to die needlessly."
Duon snarled, "You upstarts are all alike!"
"You are, at times, completely and totally inflexible to the point of utter ludicrousness," Delusion responded in his same mild eerily quiet tone.
Alpha Duon stomped one of his massive bronze-colored feet, "Come down here and say that, you little "
"Enough!" The voice was stern and did not seem it could come out of a robot so short. All optics centered on the small yellow robot who stood from his high seat with an air of command. Emirate Xaaron's blue optics flashed fire at Duon, who lowered his head, and then at Delusion, who looked away in an unconcerned manner. "This petty bickering is over. Delusion, if you have something to present, I would suggest that you do it now. Duon, your time on the floor is now up. Return to your seat."
Alpha Duon looked as if he'd swallowed something foul. "Yes, Speaker." He ascended the steps to his seat.
With a smug smile and an air of superiority, the darker robot passed him on the stairs. Delusion obviously had a plan. He kept his back to the Assembly a moment, composing himself, before turning and gesturing outward. "What I have to say is based on legend, so many of you will discount it outright but at least listen with half an audio to what I have to report."
Xaaron nodded. "We are listening, Delusion. Continue."
"Ages ago, when this hall was still an Arena, there was another revolution of sorts against the Quintessons. It is said that a third of the slave population, all of those in the pens beneath the Arena and some of the others, was able to escape under command of one of the high-ranking gladiators. These robots traveled far from the known areas of Cybertron and settled "
"Get to the point, Delusion." Xaaron said, tiredly, noticing the unease traveling through the assembly members.
The Eldest of the Elders, Five, had already dropped off into recharge again and was leaning against Beta's shoulder, mumbling to himself. She didn't seem to mind and Alpha Prime smirked.
Delusion sniffed haughtily at Xaaron. "If you insist, though the explanation makes it far more interesting Past the Dead Zone, there are coming rumors of a mechanoid people very much like us. A people with red optics just as the ancient gladiators were said to have. Now, I'm not sure I attribute all the fantastic things they are supposed to be capable of to truth but if they are indeed descendants of the war machines and frightened the Quintessons enough to erect the Dead Zone to keep them away, then they are most certainly allies worth having."
After Delusion's last statement rang in the empty air, the Assembly was silent for a long moment.
"If they even exist, and are so dangerous," Duon began in a snappish tone, "Why would we trust them? Of course, I'm not sure why we even trust you "
"Hold, Duon," Beta interrupted, not bothering to stand up and careful not to dislodge Five. "They would hate the Quintessons as much as we. There is enough unity in that, I think, to forge an alliance until proper negotiations are worked out."
Alpha Duon was on the verge of saying something nasty to Beta, when Delusion pressed on. "I believe that as well, my fellow Assembly members," Delusion said. "If a small fraction of the fantastic things said about them are true then the Quintessons will have nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. We may exterminate their stain from our world once and for all!"
There was another pause and then frantic whispering among the council.
"We should investigate this," Beta insisted, folding her pale lime colored hands thoughtfully.
Alpha Duon rose out of his seat. "Always poking your pretty nose where it doesn't belong will end up in it getting chopped off one of these astrocycles, Beta One."
"Duon, your constant empty threats are tiresome," she replied, acidly.
Five snorted in his recharge.
"Delusion's is an idea of merit," the titanic proto-Sentinel Omega Blue insisted in a slow voice, frowning down at Alpha Duon before he could do anything rash. Though normally silent, unless voting, apparently the spymaster's plan had touched a note even in him.
Finally, Alpha Prime rose and a hush fell over the Assembly. "As holder of the Matrix, I am privy to certain... otherwise unavailable information. I believe that contacting these robots, if they do indeed exist, would be the wisest course of action."
"Trion, no matter how much you cling to your hoary glowing rock and seek to garner respect by changing your name, it does not make you the voice of Primus himself. It does not make you any more than what you are, a paltry militia commander. " Duon glared at the younger robot. "You would do well to remember that and not taunt your betters with your quasi-mystical pronouncements."
Alpha Prime narrowed his optics at his forebear. It was no secret to him as to why the Matrix had passed that particular mech over. Duon was an absolute slag-gasket.
"You could do with a lesson in humility yourself, Elder, or do you forget that Xaaron is Speaker?" Delusion smiled nastily, though his voice was still soft.
"You wretched little " Alpha Duon began to descend the steps. With a triumphant look, Delusion disappeared before he could reach him.
The small yellow Speaker rose with a roar. "Duon, in your seat or so help me I will have you punished! Delusion, re-appear this instant or I will flood this hall until I find you!"
Alpha Duon stopped his search and, with a terribly contrite look, ascended retaking his place.
Delusion flickered back into existence leaning casually near Beta. He waved at her and smiled at the sleeping Five before standing, his emotions becoming completely unreadable as he did so. He spoke in a chill, serious tone. "I call a vote, Emirate Xaaron. My spies have reported that several bands of independents have already started the trek across the Dead Zone. I say we prepare a welcome for these mysterious robots that dwell on the other side, should they be found, and name an emissary to make official contact with them."
"Fair enough --All in favor?" Xaaron called.
Most of the Assembly raised their fists.
"By majority, your motion is put through. Congratulations, Delusion." Xaaron's voice reverberated in the hall. Then he quirked an optic ridge, "However, I would prefer it, if in the future you wouldn't push Duon's buttons as aggressively as you do."
Delusion smiled helplessly. "But it's so easy. Like leading a puppy-oid around on a cable."
Alpha Duon held his silence, but only just barely.