METATISIC: PART TWENTY-ONE
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!
Cybertron - Factory town of Kokular; import docks
The import docks were slow this astrocycle. Not that the light-loader minded, that just meant he had less to supervise, honestly. After having to work almost non-stop for so many vorns, and then the stress of fighting in the revolution, the chance to lean back and enjoy himself on someone else's time was a treat to be relished rather than wasted.
Watching his work gang loiter and play scan-draughts on the dock made him smile. Settled back on the crate he was perched on, he allowed himself a moment of quiet joy. If he was having fun, there was no reason for them not to either. It's not as if they had anything else to do anyway.
The impatient sound of someone's horn interrupted his reverie.
"Alright boys, that's it. Time to look busy!" He called to his gang, jumping down from the crate. His feet hit the dock with a sharp ringing clank. There were assorted derisive comments about the customer that he chose not to "hear" as supervisor but grinned at none-the-less.
Walking out into the nearly deserted loading area, he was faced with a large red transport who laid on his horn again.
"I'm right here!" the pale green bot shouted, "Primus! Will you knock that off?! My audios are giving me static!"
"'Bout time! Ah've been waiting almost ten breems," the transport huffed. He didn't bother to shift into interaction form.
"Why you " The supervisor sighed at the front of the red transport, glaring at the headlights. "Will you please transform? It's too hard to figure out which end is what on some of these new alt-modes and I don't want to be talking to your rear-end."
That drew a chuckle from the transport and the pale green light-loader himself smirked.
"Well, Ah can't complain about that. Ah get confused myself sometimes," the transport quipped, transforming into a red and gray bot slightly taller than supervisor himself.
"Ah'm here to pick up " the red bot began.
The supervisor interrupted, "I haven't seen you on my dock before. What's your name?"
" mah name is Ahrnhide." Blinking, the red bot then quickly said, "Look, you're the last stop on mah list. Ah have to pick up this load of self-sealing bolts you've got before Ah get back to Supply-Station Seven and clock out."
"I'm Kup 'fraid I'm going to make you late, eh?" He chuckled at Ironhide's pained expression. "No, I'm not going to do that, don't worry."
The pale green bot looked over his shoulder, back to the gang who were peaking around the solid mixmetalcrete wall that separated them from the loading area. "Hey! Get shipment Gold-Mu-Three-Niner ready for loading and Struts, not a damn word out of you!" He glared specifically at a wiry looking silver robot who ducked his head.
A strangled noise made Kup look back at Ironhide. The transport had a hand over his mouth, trying not to laugh.
"I swear, you let them have just one extra fuel break and it goes right to their central processors!" The light-loader bitched in a completely put-upon voice. Outraged replies from his gang on the other side of the wall ended Ironhide's brave attempt to hold back his good humor.
Laughing himself, Kup appraised the larger mech. When Ironhide's laughter died back, the pale green bot scrutinized him more closely. "Weren't you one of the Iacon milita involved in that mess down in the factory levels?"
Ironhide nodded. "Me and mah sister Steelheart tore up the processing plant in Sector Four while the others herded them dirty cyborgs into the chemical bath we flooded the lower levels with."
"I saw holocrons of that. The acid was pure genius; it was amazing to see how much of those uglies is just metal casing."
Ironhide nodded. "Yup. They aren't so tough, if'n you know what to do to get rid of em."
" You know, I was the sniper on the Records Hall job." Kup grinned.
"Did your point, Bass, make it out of that one? Ah mean, Ah knew him from the meetings Ah hadn't heard anything." Ironhide asked.
The light-loader's smile faded. "Bass went back to Primus."
Ironhide bowed his head a moment. "That's a shame. He was a good mech."
The silence stretched into a breem, and then Kup said. "If you want, I get off work in about a megacycle, we can go get overcharged and salute Bass in the only way he would have wanted."
"Makin' lotsa noise and chatting folks up?" Ironhide smirked, though it didn't reach his optics. His expression was almost haunted.
"Well, that and leching after femmes," the pale green bot said with a sad smile.
Ironhide was quiet. His expression said he had chased them with Bass before, and that it just wouldn't be the same without him.
There were several venting and coughing noises. Kup swung around to face the waiting work-gang. "What in blue blazes do you want?"
"We've got the load ready, boss," Struts said, almost apologetically.
"Oh, yeah. Right." Kup nodded, motioning them to get on with it as he turned back to Ironhide.
"Ah'll be here and waiting. Those fembots better be humdingers, Kup," the red bot finally replied, before transforming. As the cargo started to weigh him down, the extra mass made his repulsor unit whine in protestation. He hovered even closer to the pavement than normal.
"Heh, I won't let you down. Wouldn't be a memorial for Bass if I did. There's this tall one well, taller than me, not you but I won't ruin it. Just suffice it to say she's hot enough to melt solid titanium into a gooey puddle." Kup winked.
Ironhide chuckled, closing his hatch and pulling out of the loading area. The gang and their supervisor watched him until he disappeared through the dock gates.
"Hey boss, if she's that good looking, why don't you hook me " Struts asked.
Kup frowned. "What did I tell you about keeping your vocalizer off? I swear, I'm going to tell the dockmaster to get me a universal muter remote for you."
Struts gestured helplessly, his single blue optic bright with apology. "Never mind, never mind. I'm shutting up. It was just a stupid thought."
"You have an awful lot of those," Kup griped without real anger.
The gang laughed and razzed Struts as he threw up his hands and walked away. Kup smiled despite himself at their antics. It had been a good work shift and he could think of no better way to spend his evening than remembering old friends now gone particularly by celebrating with pretty girls.
Steelheart pressed her palms against the transparisteel. The dunes passed far below. They were much more pleasant to look at from a distance than up close. The Herak were traveling at an amazing speed. In a few astro-seconds, she couldn't even see the vardos in the distance anymore.
"Primus we're so high up." she sighed in wonder.
As if on cue, Coronach nudged one wing down, to give her a better look at the Dead Zone. Startled away from the window, Steelheart forced herself to overcome her initial discomfort and return. She could just make out Quodlibet's and Canticle's barb-like shadows zipping along the dust --though at this angle, she couldn't see either Herak. The silvery expanse was now broken in places by large fields of shocked quartz and white iridium until the patches of rock grew into a long flat plain and the dust was gone. Along the plain were blasts of brilliant color, including streaks of blue-black darkness and deceiving mirror-like surfaces which she knew, being a hazardous materials transport, to be iridium salts and varying types of chalcedony coupled with small osmium and platinum deposits. Never had she seen anything like this.
"Ah Ah, don't know what to say. Thank you, Commander," she offered quietly. He did not answer, but she knew he heard.
"Thank you, Commander," Voyager mocked in a nasal tone.
Steelheart looked over her shoulder and glared at the little mech. "Don't you go being sore at me. It's not mah fault you made that big ruckus, Voyahger."
He was still tied up in fiberoptic cable stripped from the first vardo, but Voyager tried to look threatening anyway. "I'm missing important data because of you! You completely ignored the first-contact procedure I outlined and you've led the Commander to believe we're a bunch of superstitious bumpkins! He made us leave valuable equipment behind because of you! Worse yet, because of it, he trussed me! ME! The finest mind Cybertron has ever produced " Voyager was in a fine fit, almost as bad as the one he'd thrown when she'd told him about leaving the equipment behind. "The Assembly is going to have a field day with you when we return! This may have been an independent mission, but I have friends on the council "
Coronach righted himself immediately in a quick motion, surprising Steelheart and causing Voyager to bounce to the floor from his seat. The seeker still said nothing.
"The indignity! This is like being cargo!" Voyager wailed.
"No cargo ah've ever seen complains like you do," Steelheart said tiredly.
[ If one of these foreigners purges on me. ] Canticle began in his native language.
Quodlibet laughed. [ Mine are too afraid to move, let alone think about that. ]
[ They do seem excessively fearful. Oddly so. ] The red seeker mused.
[ I'm sure they're just tired, Canticle. If I'd had to walk all that way, I'd be tired. ]
[ Well why didn't they just fly? ]
Coronach kept his silence, simply listening to his wing-mates banter back and forth over their communications band. The deception he'd chosen was useful. Already he had new questions for the red female, but he was even more certain that he would avoid the one called 'Voyager'. She had been right. The little mech was not all as he should be.
[ The Cantonment is coming within communications range, Commander. ] Quodlibet informed Coronach unnecessarily.
The Commander sighed. [ My scanners are working just fine, 'Libet. ]
[ Ah.. and now I see your transmitter does too! ] The dusky yellow Herak exclaimed in mock astonishment.
Canticle chuckled wordlessly.
[ You've been quiet. What's been keeping you occupied? ] Quodlibet wasn't letting this go.
Coronach said nothing for a moment, and then replied, [ I do not think it would be wise to let the small mech called Voyager out of scanner range for any length of time. ]
[ Is he still acting like his relays are fried? ] Canticle asked boredly.
[ Indeed. He's screaming incoherently at the femme even as we speak. ] Coronach sighed.
Quodlibet snorted in disgust. [ And what is she doing? ]
[ Letting him scream. ]
[ Hmph. With the way she acts, I thought she might have smashed him into scrap. ] Canticle sneered.
[ Oh be silent, Canticle. You just don't like her. ] Quodlibet snapped.
While his comrades proceeded to argue the virtues of females, weaponless and not, Coronach sent a signal of their intent to the control tower. Normally they could just drop out of the sky, but being loaded down with passengers was not normal. The runway had to be clear and ready to receive them.