METATISIC: PART TWENTY-THREE
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!
[ What? These barbaric constructs?! Have you lost what little intelligence you could claim previously or has the dust got to your processors?! You actually think they, these simpletons, can aid us? ] Canticle fumed in Delepic tongue, gesturing to the filthy knot of Cybertronians at the table nearest them poking at their energon as if it were some sort of poison.
[ Of course they can! They've proven that they're both ingenious and determined. They crossed the Dead Zone, for Karna's sake! ] Quodlibet argued.
[ That only proves they're not only substandard, but mindless too. ] The red Herak spat.
[ Mindless? Oh please, Canticle. I defy you to call that little silver beast mindless. If anything, he has too much mind. ] Quodlibet pointed to Voyager, now free, who was scanning everyone's cups with a small device. He had a grin on his face and was talking at least ninety-parsecs a minute.
[ And the girl? Tell me, oh most wise, w-what femme acts like that?! ] Canticle demanded.
The dusky yellow seeker nodded and intoned soothingly, [ They ARE foreigners. What's to say all their females don't behave like her? If anything it would mean that their troop numbers are doubled. ]
[ It is still inappropriate ] Canticle grumbled.
Quodlibet smiled. [ You're just shocked, admit it. ]
Coronach, who'd been listening to the whole exchange from behind them, finally made his presence known to his wingmates. [ You were expecting something much grander, weren't you? ]
The red Herak shrugged.
[ Don't you see, Canticle? This is better than them being legends. They're just like us ] Voyager bumped into Quodlibet at that moment, making him pause. [ Well, I amend that. Some of them are just like us. ]
Canticle laughed. [ And the femme? How do you explain her? ]
Coronach shook his head. [ That's enough both of you. It's not our place to debate this. You do as we are ordered. Nothing more. The foreigners are odd to us yes, but I'm sure they are just as perplexed by all of us. ]
[ That female is ] The red jet began.
[ Coronach's right, it's not fair to judge the foreign robots, Canticle. We don't know them. ] Quodlibet cautioned. [ We don't know their ways, but we'll learn. ]
[ I don't WANT to know them. If the Most Mighty sees fit to have some use for them, that is fine, but the sooner I am away from them, the better. ] Canticle groused.
Some whistling and cheering at the Cybertronians' table interrupted whatever the Commander had planned to say. Turning his attention to the entryway, he found the objects of their vocal joy. Nubet was leading Steelheart by the hand. The Cybertronian mechs were whooping it up over their newly clean Commander while Voyager scowled.
[ Autibet-Tari now sparkles like Megadyne's very own rays, don't you think? ] Nubet asked Coronach conspiratorially.
He was about to answer when the red Herak spoke up.
[ Autibet Tari? Coronach why call her by that name? It is not suited for one of her size or temperament. Setkaisfet on the other hand ] Canticle jeered.
Coronach and Nubet glanced at him. Coronach's optics were narrowed in anger. Nubet's were narrowed in distaste.
Quodlibet interrupted. [ Would have been rude. I wouldn't even call my own sister that and you know what she's like. ]
"Woooweee, ma'am. You are a sight for sore optics." Gridlock smiled. The others made assenting comments and invited her to sit down with them.
"Nah. Ah don't wanna mess up all the work that Nubet there are her ladies put into fix'in me up. If Ah sit down with y'all, this wax job will be ruined."
Voyager spat. "Just like a fembot to "
Gridlock cocked his head, even as he forced Voyager's face down on the table to keep him quiet. "You know. I never even thought about it the whole way up here. You are a femme, aren't ya Steelheart?"
"Last time Ah checked Ah was "
Gridlock nodded to himself and let Voyager up. The little mech gave him a dirty look and went back to scanning the cups on the table, building some sort of reference for his recorder.
"Hey, boss-lady, look what those flyers gave us." One of the tinkers held up his cup for Steelheart to inspect. The glowing mauve-violet liquid sloshed inside.
Steelheart sniffed it, running a check against her database of substances. "Well, Ah'd reckon it was fuel. Ah don't know what type, but it's sure and certain some kind of fuel." She passed it back to the tinker.
"I already told them that!" Voyager snapped. "We don't know what this foreign fuel will do to our systems so I ordered them not to drink it."
"Ah don't believe it. Voyager, if'n they were gonna kill us, they'd have already done it, don't you reckon?" Steelheart sighed.
Gridlock smirked. "Well no time like the present to tickle death's aft, eh ma'am?" He downed his entire cup amid shouts from the others not to. Voyager immediately started taking readings on him.
"Hey, that stuff isn't half bad. It's tingly." Gridlock smacked his lips.
"See, Ah told ya." Steelheart crossed her arms confidently.
Voyager huffed. "We'll I wouldn't suggest anyone else doing anything like that until I confirm that the Herak's fuel is exactly the same as our own " He assembled his gear and strutted over, bold as brass, and began to scan the others' drinks.
While the cantina was a nice place, the seekers' postures at their table indicated that they were anything but comfortable. As Steelheart approached, Nubet murmured her goodbyes and excused herself. The Cybertronian femme smiled at her as she left, but when she turned back it was only to find Coronach clasping her elbow and guiding her away from his fellows and the overly curious Voyager.
"Have ya ever got that feeling where yer sure you ain't wanted, Commander?" Steelheart asked.
"Don't be silly. It's not that at all." Coronach assured as he sat her down at an empty table close to the other two their party occupied.
"Well have we... come at a bad time then?" Steelheart ventured. "Ah mean, that's the only thing Ah can think of "
"What makes you say that?"
"Impression Ah guess. Yer friends don't seem very... well... thrilled about us none."
"No. Your ways confuse them. They're not used to such things." Coronach replied, watching the other Herak tolerate Voyager's poking at their energon with a combination of mild amusement and annoyance.
"And you are?"
"Well. As the Dourjer's aerial commander I have to be open to all matters... including surprises." The blue jet frowned thoughtfully as Voyager crossed over to their table and started running his instrument box over Coronach's cup. "What is he doing?"
"He's running a scope test diagnostics on your fuel there. He's got some wild idea that y'all got it in for us."
In his own little private kingdom called 'science' the whip thin mech was oblivious to everything around him but his instruments. Voyager puttered with his tubes and his personal analyzers, talking to himself. The occasional fascinated smile made him appear almost likeable.
Coronach shook his head.
"Stop playing with it and drink it... geeesh!" Gridlock demanded loudly at his own table. "Look, I'm still here and feeling fine. There isn't any reason to wait for Voyager to come back down from wherever he goes when he's got those instruments of his out."
Steelheart watched as the vocal tinker downed his. "Mmmmmm! This IS good," the tinker said brightly. "But, what is it?"
"I dunno. Never seen fuel like this on Cybertron." Gridlock shrugged.
"Mmmmmm! This is great!" Another mech offered.
Voyager turned then. "It's safe " His look of forlorn loss was almost pitiable.
"Ah bet that database you just worked up sure is gonna be interestin' back home." Steelheart offered.
The whip thin mech suddenly straightened. A twinkle of pride came back to his blue optics. "I almost hate to admit this, but, you're right. You're absolutely right. Now I just have to rescue my portion before those clods drink it "
Coronach glanced at the other patrons. Though most of the other robots had been ordered out by Canticle and Quodlibet, those that remained were chatting amongst themselves about these strange foreigners. He couldn't blame them, really.
"What is that stuff called?" Steelheart asked.
"Hmm? .. Oh ..Energon " The blue Herak began. He shook his head again as he noticed the empty spot on the table before her. "And I see I have been remiss." He gestured for the wait-staff to bring Steelheart a cup as well.
"Oh no!" Steelheart gasped suddenly. He looked at her only to find her scrambling to open one of her panels. She pulled out an old badly worn communicator and set it on the table in front of her. She started aligning antennae and fiddling with dials.
The Commander of the Herak frowned in incomprehension. "What are you doing?"
"Ah forgot to contact my Brother! Oh, Primus, I bet he's spittin fire!" The big red femme fiddled with the communicator, even slapping it a few times, until the lights came on at full brilliance. It beeped in defiance as she tried to transmit though, crackling and popping like a chemical fire.
"Hello hello! Ironhide! We made it !" She called into the transmitter.
" settlements of mechanoids fly Hope to meet They've red optics."
Ironhide frowned. "Nobody Ah've ever seen has red optics other than Quintessons, Steelheart."
"That's what makes exciting never seen before " He could hear her smile.
Ironhide simply couldn't share her joy or shake his sense of foreboding. There was something profoundly wrong about this whole mess. "Please, Steelheart. Ah have a bad feeling about this. Be careful."
" worry too much " The signal was scrambled badly by both distance and some sort of bizarre interference. It was gone completely in less than an astro-second.
"Ah love you too." He said to the static, in hopes that she could hear him- even if he couldn't hear her. Clicking off the transmitter, Ironhide hung his head and left. He never noticed Servo lurking just outside his field of vision, a worried look on his face.
"Ironhide! Ironhide! Damn piece of slag!" She slapped the communicator again.
Coronach rose and stilled her hands. "Here here " His voice was soothing. "Here, you won't be able to do anything with that." He opened one of his limb panels and brought out his own communicator. "Try this instead."
"What is that?" She looked it over.
"A telecommunicator like yours, it just transmits at a different frequency."
Steelheart stared at the new device a moment. "Coronach?"
"Couldja give me some help? Ah Ah don't know which button does what on this thing." She said quietly.
Servo worked the controls quickly.
"Come in! I'm getti'n ya. Keep talking."
The fembot's voice came over loud and clear. "Hey. Where the slag is my brother and who the Pit are you?"
The elderly mech chuckled. "I'm Ironhide's boss, Servo. You must be Steelheart."
"Yeah, Ah am. So where is that greasy bucket of bolts? Did he up and run on me?"
Servo leaned on the consol, resting his tired joints. "Well. He just got off work. I guess he didn't want me to catch him at the communicator."
There was a long pause. "Ah didn't get him in trouble, did Ah?"
"Oh, no. I've known about this for awhile now. So, I hear that you're tromping around in that big dusty waste out there what's it like?"
"We ain't in the wastes no more, Servo. There's people on the other side Ah'm in a place called..." the transmission paused and there was some noise as if Steelheart was being coached on how to say the name, "O'hiiden."
You could have heard a pin drop. The ancient mech sat down heavily at the consol. "You're kidding."
"No. No Ah'm not. Ah'm borrowing a communicator from one of them right now. Commander, would you mind saying hello in that pretty language of yours to Servo?"
There was a chuckle, then a male voice spoke: "Ahual kha em Karna, Servo-kaam."
"I'll be damned." He muttered.
Their discussion broke the elder mech's shock and he switched on the transponder to verify the location of the transmission. When the coordinates were confirmed, he sat in silent reverence.
Steelheart broke in. "You're gonna hafta forgive Commander Coronach, Servo. We're a heap stranger to him than he and his folk are to us, Ah figure."
"Darlin' I'm going ta ask you a big favor. I'm going to cut you off short tonight but I need you to call back at this same receiver tomorrow morning. You got that?" Servo said.
"You recharge, and I'll be talking to you tomorrow." Servo clicked off the receiver. He laid his face down on the control panel and issued a long sigh. There was no way no way the legends could be true.
After a long breem of denial, Servo raised back up. There was a determined twinkle in his blue optics. Reaching over to the main data station uplink, his movements were stilled by the sound of the central delivery doors opening.
"Stickshift, is that you?"
Some grumpy noises proceeded a sigh. "Yeah, it's me, old mech. What do you want?"
"I'll old mech you, boy. Say, do you remember stories of them gladiators? The fighting robots?"
Stickshift came around the corner, with an order pad under one arm. "No. I can't say that I do why?"
"Not a single one? Not something you might have heard from your folks or anything?"
The smaller orange mech huffed. "Well, maybe one or two, but it's not like they were real. Why are you asking me? Have you finally popped a bearing in your head or something?"
Servo laughed and clapped his hands together. "Not real? For shame! My boy, they are as real as you or me."
"Sure they are." Stickshift stuck the confirmation slot under Servo's nose. "Sign here so I can go home."
"You just wait and see. You youngsters think you know everything " The elderly bronze bot typed in his authorization code.
"Night, Servo." Stickshift chuckled, turning on his heel.
"I am sorry your brother could not be reached. His commander seems to be quite interesting, if a little strange." Coronach smiled.
Steelheart shrugged, sipping on the energon that had just recently arrived. "Ah've never met him personally. He may act like that all the time."
"Perhaps it is the lateness of the hour." The Commander suggested.
The big red femme looked over at her fellow Cybertronians. They were all leaning on elbows or stretched out over their table. Voyager had passed out long ago, draped over his instruments. "Yeah, it is late at that."
"Are you not tiring, yourself?" The Commander asked after a moment of pondering the mechs winding down at the table near them.
She chuckled almost bitterly. "Me? Nah. Ah haven't had a decent recharge in vorns. Ah'll probably grab a megacycle or two and then get up and see if Ah can't fix that stupid transmitter of mine." Taking a long swallow of the glowing fuel, she could feel her circuits warm with it as her converter kicked in
The blue Herak frowned faintly. "Why can't you sleep?"
"Too many things to do. Too little time to do them in." She replied wryly. Her smile didn't reach her optics. Steelheart swished the last little bit of her energon around in the cup, watching the glow intensify as she swirled it and then fade to normal as she stopped.
"There is nothing to be done here," Coronach assured. "You will sleep."
"Is that an order?" She chuckled.
After appraising her a period of time that made Steelheart uncomfortable, the seeker finally nodded. "Yes. You may consider it an order."
"Aye, aye, Sir." Smiling to cover her discomfort, she downed the last of her energon.
"Tommorow I shall have many questions for you and for Servo." Coronach rose and turned to his wingmates. [ Gather up the Cybertronians. ]
Quodlibet rose and clapped his hands to rouse the mechs. "Alright, time to go all of you."
Coronach turned back to Steelheart. "I have arranged for berths for all of your mechs, and yourself as well."
She nodded, but was surprised when he made to help her up from the table.
Canticle was not as kindly. As soon his Commander had his back turned, he started shaking shoulders and kicking chairs as if the mechanoids were young warriors who'd fallen asleep at guard duty.
"Jerk!" Gridlock yelped, actually protecting the drowsy Voyager from the same fate with his larger bulk.
This rough treatment continued until Quodlibet brought him up short. [ Look, if you can't behave yourself, I'll do this. ] The dusky yellow Herak frowned.
[ I can't wait until they become someone else's problem. ] Canticle grumbled.
[ That is quite enough. ] Coronach glowered. Carefully turning Steelheart away, he added. [ Consider yourself on report, Canticle. ]
She still had no idea what the commander was saying, but his tone of voice made her glance over her shoulder at the other Cybertronians. "Something wrong, Commander?"
"Not anymore. I'll escort you to your lodgings, then I'll help my comrades see to the others."