METATISIC: PART NINETEEN
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!
CHAPTER 9: FACE TO FACE
Cybertron - Factory town of Kokular; cargo vicinity
"Will ya just not worry?"
Ironhide sighed, putting his hand across his forehead. His sister's transmission was full of static indicating that her troupe had gone far off course. "There are Quints hidden evrawhere, Steelheart. It's not some kinda game!"
There was a buzzing noise that sounded a lot like she was being skeptical, but could have just been interference. "Ah never said it was. Look, Ah'll check back in an astrocycle. You get back ta work a'fore they miss you you grump."
"Steelhe " he didn't get to finish. The transmission clicked off. Ironhide frowned in frustration.
Really, Ironhide was not supposed to be using the company transmitter, but he didn't have one of his own. He was glad he even had a place to recharge, really. Being a supply clerk did not pay much but it was better than being a slave. Well anything was better than that. Being dead was bet
"Ironhide!" His supervisor bellowed.
Backing up quickly and looking as if he was examining his delivery schedule for that astrocycle, the large red transport made a decent attempt at appearing innocent.
His boss, a cranky old mech named Servo, stomped in just at that moment. "Well, what in the Pit is taking you so oh, you're re-checking. You need to get your memory circuits serviced, boy. You have to double check more often than any of my other clerks."
"Are they as efficient as me, sir?"
Servo frowned. "Well, no."
"Ah promise, Ah won't look so often in the future." Ironhide offered contritely.
The supervisor robot huffed. "No, no. Don't even worry about it. It's just an old bot's joints get to acting up and he's about ready to crash into the first thing he sees. You know?"
"Not really sir, not being old mahself."
"Well, one of these vorns you will be and then you'll know." The old mech smiled a moment and then summoned all his authority, "Well? What are you standing around for?! I don't pay you to have conversations. Get to work!"
"Yes, sir," Ironhide hid his smile until he'd passed Servo.
The hallway to the main landing was still scarred by laser fire. Repairs had been delegated to the high-city Iacon first. Looking at the carbon scoring, the red bot lost his good humor.
Steelheart had always been impetuous. It was perfect for her original assigned function as hazardous materials transport, a certain amount of daring was required in such a femme, but it had not translated over well to freedom. She had a problem with rules, for one.
No matter who seemed to give her an order, if it wasn't backed up by force or a real threat of some kind, Steelheart simply did not care. She had lost more jobs in one unath than most robots had in their entire lives. Oh, and he'd been completely sure that she'd lose this one as well. She'd signed up to be a guard for a band of Traders who had decided to follow up on rumors of lost colonies of Cybertronians in the remotest regions of the planet.
Never had he kicked himself so hard for being so completely wrong.
In short, she loved her new job. There was very little in the way of rules and she enjoyed busting heads regularly.
She was also in grave danger. The ragtag band of tinkers, mechanics, profiteers, merchants and guards was pushing deep into uncharted territory --places even those blasted Quints wouldn't go! Closed up.. Cut off... It had always been, at least for as long as he had been alive to remember it. He could only imagine what could scare those wretched slave-mongers that mightily. Whatever dwelled in that place must be terrible and there his sister was in the big middle of it.
He frowned as he made his way to the pick-up station.
Knowing her, she was probably grinning about it too.
Bractos - G9-D4; Dock station
(service and repairs center)
Two curiously brighter stars of the Bractos evening cast multiple shadows of the shuttles resting on the huge tarmac partitions that fenced the route to the repair bay. Clad in vanadium, obviously to prevent the buildup of heat, the cruisers radiated a tremendous amount of glare --especially in the seemingly endless stripes of white photon used to light the terminal. Cyclonus could hardly look at them straight on although it didn't seem to bother the RX-3 unit much. The drone rolled along ahead pointing the direction in half-vital motions.
The Decepticon lieutenant had been directed here at General Sarterius' order, but at Metatisic's petition, and that clearly factored the most. Cyclonus had the Dourjer's moment of pardon and not even Sarterius' passive disdain could refute the privilege. The droids' operations were automatic: The monarch's request was law, even if the commanding officer believed the action was hasty.
A series of heterodyning chirps from the RX-3 suddenly brought Cyclonus back to the present. It was a trapezium on rollers. Whatever the device lacked in humanoid appearance (and intelligence no doubt) it made up for in utility and in favor of service. Its synthesizing warbles fluxed sensing the drop in the ramp before it.
Adjoining ports came into view. Terminals visible in the distance wavered in the heat coming up off the docks. The traffic here was thicker even if it was more open to the expanse of the capital. It was clogged with facilitatory class mechanisms of all variety, Sarians, and even more RX-3s. Their Decepticon masters barked orders over the loud theremin drone of it all while above, the megalithic jungles of Bractos climbed in astonishing towering displays. In the twilight, the neon tubes of the trans-way resembled long winding cables of brilliant photon.
The RX-3 peeped again, but this time the droid stopped in front of a hanger just off the first shoulder where a large drilling mech lumbered aside the first chamber. It stood nearly as tall as Devastator and was adorned with huge cryfuse drills that --judging by the look of it to Cyclonus could bore solid titanium with ease. Propulsion thrusters, likely designated for fast short range transport to work sites, and a cabin that could accommodate at least 5-6 laborers at a time. It was a brute of a thing. Heavily armored, patently able to withstand a great deal of punishment.
"Identified: RX-3 unit." It spoke in broken mechanical rasps, "Authorization code in progress..time lapsed: 13 astro-seconds..004-893"
"Oh, that's alright, X8-forty." Another mech stepped in front of the beast contraption. Visibly a Decepticon, the archaic sentinel wasn't familiar until he pat the X8's cabin and turned to face Cyclonus with a frail smile --the Decepticon elder from the trans-tunnels from when he, Scourge, and Rumble first arrived at the metropolis!
"Yes.." He wheezed, "Yes... that's alright, X8-forty. I was already informed by the Iysurus that this soldier would be on his way."
He skirted the RX-3's date records for a moment, "Your called Cyclonus, eh? Yes. I remember you. They brought you and your friends in from the border."
"Yes, sir." The saboteur acknowledged.
"Eighty-three. Name's Eighty-three, but they know me more as, 'Foreman'."
"I see you saved the master's life? You know, I remember .. when was that? .. 71.. 74?" Foreman recounted driveling on. "Yes, Great Rom the second. Gig Mica's progeny you know. My Lord Metatisic was the fourth of Great Rom's beneficence to his people. Well. Astonishingly done. I vouch you have all of Bractos' genuine honor as well as my own. Now " He stepped into the dorm, " come in here and we'll have a look at you."
Cyclonus had never particularly enjoyed viewing his internal works. Not being a scientist or an engineer himself, it wasn't in his nature to be curious about such things. Though it meant being repaired, he was not looking forward to this.
Foreman led him to a diagnostic table as other droids hummed and whirred around him. RX-3 stood at the ancient mech's elbow --as able and ready as any nurse or medical engineer.
"Yes, yes ..There we go. Quite the bad bump on the leg, son. Let's see what I can come up with to fix it, eh?"
Keying the high detail sensor sweep to scan him over, The elder 'con's optics stayed with him; fixed on his eyes as he stood by Cyclonus' side. He stepped left for only a moment to allow the moveable projection to sail over his frame again while countering any questionable prompts the computer gave him to maintain.
"Chipset activate." Foreman ordered, "Uplink establishing .... Um, yes. RX-3, I'll need the 29 iron and a 38'er bum nut with the slide dial. Front side articular mount, RX-3. You have a lot of carbon scouring here --" The old engineer tossed the subject of his interest so much that for a moment Cyclonus didn't realize he was actually asking him the question. " You've seen a great deal of action I take it?"
"Me? .. Yes."
"I'll also need the laser abrader, RX-3."
Foreman's attention crawled across Cyclonus again setting off a series of jerks in un-event movements when the old bot pressed the shattered rotary of his knee. "Yes. A good PSA aluminum oxide in the zinc sterate should do for that." Foreman parried a instant, "This process is uncomfortable." He cautioned, "But you've felt worse sting from ion cannons I'm sure."
Adjusting the settings on the abrader to align with the composition of Cyclonus' plating, Foreman began to talk in an even tone. "You know, you've got quite a lot of fancy additions to your works. Some of them I've never seen before... and I've seen a lot of mechs in my time... well... a lot of femmes too, if you get my meaning."
Cyclonus realized that he hadn't even felt the abrader begin to work. He nodded, half in amazement, to the elderly mech.
"But, like I said, I've seen a bunch of strange contraptions come down the pike and into my surgical bay, but you take the prize, my boy." Foreman leaned in a little, conspiratorially. "Tell me, are you an experimental?"
Cyclonus, mindful of his place in the future, answered slowly. "You could say that. There is only one like me... I have been... traveling for awhile."
"Yes, yes. Well, whoever did the work was a master. I can't say I know what half those devices in your hull do --I'd sure like to meet him." Foreman replied.
Cyclonus winced both in pain, as the abrader moved over a sensitive area, and repulsion. "Never say that. Never."
Foreman frowned. "Why not? What is he? Rougeon? You can tell me you know. I know you aren't a traitor, even if your mechanic was."
Cyclonus grimaced, remembering past agonies in tandem with the fire shooting through his leg. "Not Rougeon... Evil... pure evil. Please, I do not wish to speak of it!" His fingers curled into the diagnostic table as he strained to keep still. His body bowed and his knuckles drew tight. With a groan, the edges of the table reacted to the stress by bowing under the terrible pressure of the violet jet's hands.
"Alright, son. Don't get your resistors in a twist. I won't ask anymore questions about that damned mechanic. Karna's everlasting fire take him if he's that bad. Burn him to slag and cinders..." Foreman soothed as he moved onto another area.
Cyclonus began to relax... and became aware of a drone like a giant insect. It hummed and vibrated through everything, almost subaudibly. Distantly, he wondered what it was.
Turning off the abrader, Foreman inspected Cyclonus' leg. "Now, my boy, I have to reset that joint. This is really going to hurt and I'm sorry for it in advance."
Cyclonus nodded sharply. The intense flash of pain made his eyes slam shut, and his fingers dig gouges into the table once more. Like the eerie ripping sound a shredding fuselage makes, his metallic shriek of agony was unmistakable.
The intercom emitted a discordant tone overhead, barely cutting through the haze of pain blocking most of Cyclonus' perceptions. He laid, groggy, on the table with his optics closed while the message played. Foreman, continuing his work, wrung another scream from the jet and a metallic groan from the table he was permanently warping.
"RX-3? ..Ah, there you are. Sounds like they're needing me down there for that big mess of casualties. I want you to reattach this brave mech's muscle cables --you think you can handle that?"
RX-3 peeped an assertion.
"And you! Don't think I don't see those supplies. Those should have been here megacycles ago." Foreman called to someone outside the hanger.
Cyclonus was only dimly aware of the response, but as the supply slave drew closer he heard a whispered: "Hey, Cyclonus, you still with me?"
"Unload everything from my list into the bins." The elderly mech told the stock hand. "And don't dawdle."
Footsteps indicated that Foreman had left, then there was a flurry of activity on the other side of the table. A whump and a furor of irate chirping proceeded a louder, "Hey, Cyclonus, you still with me? Don't nod off." Someone gave the jet a shake.
"R-rumble? I thought I heard you..."
"Yeah, it's me." The Cassette responded. "Geez. Medical engineering in this day and age was barbaric..." His frown almost audible. "He could have stopped the pain easily if he'd just..." There was more beeping and another whump. "Stay down you hack artist!... Never mind the droid, heck, why don't I just show you?"
Rumble depressed a small cluster of diodes exposed above the wound and twisted them in a bizarre manner. "I'm tricking your systems into thinking that everything is hunky-dory. Soundwave taught me this because Frenzy and I are always getting into stuff and ...well...here."
The pain slowly filtered away and Cyclonus opened his optics slowly. He looked down at Rumble and then scanned to the overturned droid. "Like now?"
"Yeah, like now. I couldn't let that dweeb make you sit there and scream. Haha, I could hear you all the way down the corridor... sounded like they were killing you." Rumble reluctantly righted RX-3 unit. "Alright, droid, do your thing."
The RX-3 peeped concordantly and moved forward to start securing the cables as it had been ordered.
"Let's see. Let me get all this scrap that old mech wanted..." Rumble said aloud, walking off and then coming back with an armload of supplies. "I saw Soundwave." He informed out of the blue.
"What?!" Cyclonus nearly jerked off the table, but remembered what was going on in the last instant. "But how did he get here?"
Rumble chuckled as he put things away. "Heh. He was alive, I guess. Right now, he's no bigger than I am. I can't tell you how weird that is. Staring ol' big daddy in the optic like that, I mean... that's way too deep for me. Freaky."
Cyclonus blinked at Rumble.
Rumble gestured just even with his own chin. "I'm serious. The boss is only this tall..." Something caught his attention and he paused.
"Well, that is amazing... I had no idea that Soundwave was... Rumble... Rumble? What are you staring at?" Cyclonus followed his line of sight.
The source of the monotonous drone heard earlier could now be seen out of the narrow portal in the corridor. Rumble cocked his head, as if in a trance, and walked out of the room. Cyclonus followed, limping, though the RX-3 protested. A huge military transport hovered ominously in the air slowly lowering into dock. Service personal from the taxi ran around it shouting orders, and giving the landing signs to the other traffic staff.
Objects were already being downloaded from the ship --More facilitator class mechs; it gave a sudden awesome scale to the huge vehicle hovering outside. It had to be two astro-miles long! The craft was divided into three sections like a huge metallic carapace --green and bronze; its abdomen flexed as it levitated in place.
"Dude! It looks... like the biggest insecticon ever!" The cassetticon breathed. His optics were practically the size of wheel hubs.
The blue jet nodded faintly.
The robots from the shuttle were ranked and deployed to the arteries that stretch out to the Bractos subdivisions team was divided, it seemed, not according to class, but function.
"I wonder what they're doing?" Rumble puzzled aloud.
Cyclonus shrugged. "I don't know."
One of the passing servants paused, hearing their conversation. "They're engineers." She said, "Each of the retainers damaged in the battle today will be seen to personally by the specialists."
Rumble looked at her. "Engineers, eh? Like Constructicons. So that's where Foreman got yanked off to..."
"Welder-Fifteen, why have you paused in your assigned tasks?" The X8-40 Cyclonus had encountered earlier appeared at the end of the tarmac.
Rumble dashed back into the room, and Cyclonus shifted to hide him with his larger frame.
"Pardon me, I beg forgiveness. I will join the other artisans now." She replied quickly, sketching a bow to Cyclonus, before dashing off down the ramp way.
"Those crews would probably still be active anyway, considering the care a city the size of Bractos must require..." The jet mused.
"Hey, why do you get the bows from the chics? What am I, chopped slag?" Rumble demanded.
Cyclonus smirked. "Metatisic."
Irate theremin blips from the RX-3 interrupted his thoughts. "I can't believe this. I'm being ordered around by a droid."
Rumble laughed, allowing Cyclonus to lean on him as they walked back to the diagnostic table. He turned a sharp optic on the lieutenant once he was settled once more. "You know I never did ask this... but... how did you get banged up like this anyway?"
"I was going to tell you a moment ago. I rescued Metatisic from the Rougeons..."
The small lavender Decepticon took on an air of deep seriousness. "Huh? You what?! How?"
"I said, I .."
There was a loud commotion in the hallway. Cyclonus was spared Rumble's concern as the cassette ran to the door to see what was going on. He noticed the X8-40 that startled him earlier ordering a brawny slave down the hall... carrying a familiar blue form...
"Scourge!" Rumble cried, before he could quite stop himself. "Cyclonus! It's Scourge!"
Cyclonus raised up sharply. "Hmm? Where?!"
"They're carrying him down the hall-- I guess the traffic outside must be bumper to bumper..." Rumble paused. "He... he looks really bad."
Slamming his fist down onto the table, Cyclonus roared at the RX-3. "Faster, damn you!"