METATISIC: PART 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!
CHAPTER 2: INTO THE MUCK!
Plink .... pause. Plink .....pause...... Plink....
It was the only sound.
"So what is this place exactly?" Dead End asked, feeling his way along the wall and up one of its many pillars. The dark was stuffed with sounds, each one magnified. His footsteps echoed as he crossed the bare floor. Deeper inside that condition would change and rapidly! Here the floor buckled and had popped its seams thrusting upwards in assorted careless fashions while portions of the temple's ceiling had long since corroded into gigantic fangs of rust and was bleeding long, ugly orange stains down the walls. The source of the sound.
Plink .... pause. Plink
"I think the real question is what in the pit happened here?!"
Hook pondered the desolation. Even as he looked at it, one of the auburn icicles snapped and fell. A broken glass, more parts of the wall with flaked remains of its original paint, the crushed leftovers of a chair (maybe?) Everywhere ...everywhere there was chaos!
"Take a look" Hook pointed at an arm that was poking out from beneath a toppled column. Like the corpse before, its torso had turned a putrid mix of ocher and gun-metal gray, even its eyes, which were still open and gazing permanently upwards as though it were beseeching some divine force that never came. "There's another one."
"And over there!" Dead End added shouting first and mouthing half-inarticulate curses next, "Three! Four!"
Rumble ducked under one of the drooping rust spears. "Make that five, guys."
"Then that's six!" Mixmaster exclaimed.
"Yeah" Ramjet nodded with a grumble. "And who knows how many more might be underneath all this mess. Welp, that's enough for me. I failed history class and this place is looking more and more like a tomb so let's get the Cybertonium and beat it the frag outta here, okay?"
"Hmm," Cyclonus rubbed his chin. "Soundwave? Considering these remains are nearly identical to the one we discovered before, is it safe to calculate they are also Decepticon?"
"Affirmative. They are."
"Cyclonus, if I might add, my data warrants they are also of the same era having perished on the same day."
"A war, Cyclonus." Scourge's optics grew. "Just like you said."
"What?! You mean none of them are Autobots?" Swindle sputtered in disbelief. "They're all Decepticon?" His expression of amazement dissolved into anger. He said nothing else but Motormaster was on to him immediately and shared his reason, "I'm embarrassed" he revolted. "They must of taken us by surprise. They slagged us!"
As they spoke, Cyclonus wandered away from them, his eyes undecidedly exploring the room, his gaze falling upon the remains. He bent towards it, but straightened himself, training his focus back to the walls around them. "I'm not so sure" he said tonelessly, but didn't explain.
Plink ... Plink....
His confidence faltered, and for a moment Cyclonus looked puzzled. His eyes had darkened, looking inward to consult his thoughts, but coming up empty-handed. Motormaster was certain he could actually see it; watch the scarlet vats of the lieutenant snap on and off quivering with each new idea toying, but fizzling out just the same with undecided conclusion. He toed the remains and suddenly scattered the hulking wreck into a powdery, chinking drift with one heel.
"Not sure about what?' The stunticon quizzed.
"There's something not quite right here" Cyclonus mused to himself. He ground the orange snot from the corpse into the soil flicking his hand once to be sure it was off before he gathered himself to his feet. "I would be ready to believe that Motormaster, but one important detail is missing here." Cyclonus hesitated. "...Guns."
"Weaponry. Artillery remains of any kind. The signs of a struggle even, and there is none here." He pointed. "Whatever killed these mechs was not the result of heavy fire. Look at the positioning of their wreckage. They are all facing towards the entry."
"They were running Be careful! No one disturb anything!"
"This has all been very interesting, but I'd, ah, rather not find out what they were running from." Ramjet stepped backwards towards the doorway. "If it's all the same with you guys. Right?"
"Right." Cyclonus agreed with an over-friendly smile. "That's why you'll go first."
"Wha? In there?!"
"But I can't see!"
"Switch on your high-beams, you spineless COWARD!"
"But, but.." Ramjet could see the commander reaching for his gun and quickly shoved ahead of him before he could frowning sourly. "Awwwwman!" He whined.
Swindle patted his back as he passed him. "Your bravery won't be forgotten, soldier." He snickered as Ramjet mouthed another curse and pounded up the first rise of the floor where the body had been. Disturbing the mound beneath him caused it's head to roll towards the others. Swindle was still laughing when it bounced into his shin.
He kicked it away smacking Rumble across the face.
"It's on me!!" Rumble screamed. "It's on me! It's on me!"
"Knock it off!" Cyclonus ordered over his shoulder. "Everyone! Follow him!"
Dip and rise. Dip and rise. The whole rear of the antechamber seemed like one big ocean current of twisted rotting beams, pipes, and mile high gravel. Where it had been easy going at first, Ramjet now found himself pinned flat on his belly wedged between the ceiling and floor. He couldn't see anything now, his lighting buried to the hilt in the dirty drifts beneath him ...hell! HE was buried in it. Sinking into it like a vibro-cracker in oil chowder.
"You must be kidding" he told nobody and coughed. "Eh---yuck!" He spat out a mouthful of the acrid grim when someone shoved at his foot.
"Dammit, Ramjet! You're kick'in dirt in my face!!" Swindle punched him in the calf.
"Face, ha! Try eating it!"
"Gaw! What IS that smell?" Scrapper asked from the back.
"Whatever you ate" Rumble said merrily.
"No, I'm serious here."
"Ignore it!" Cyclonus' voice ordered.
The smell: It was sewage. Sewage and ancient corrosion. But there was another smell here, too. A lower, more vital aroma Ramjet knew in an instant; he smelt this same odor once before while on the planet Earth Death. The smell of 4 day old exploded possum guts strewn across the interstate under hot July sun. It was impossible to ignore, no matter what Cyclonus demanded. Ramjet squished slowly along, moving through stuff that wasn't mud, that much he was certain.
"I think my charge is running out." Long Haul said in the black. His photon beam flickered for the third and fourth time. "Better find a foothold quick"
"I'm trying! I'm trying!" Ramjet defended. "There's no end to this blasted...wait a sec." His hand shuffled across crusted surface, at next they were venting air. "Dropoff!" Ramjet hollered back. "Watch your step!"
Warning them did little to help himself, Ramjet still couldn't see and he grunt, struggling to pull his chest up off the ground when the slope gave way and down he went into a thunderous ker-plash! Water, stagnant, near waist deep, and swirling with a froth that looked a lot like melted vanilla ice cream. Something banged against him
"Ug, what is that?" Ramjet asked, but then quickly answered himself spotting a thigh floating beside him. "Another body." He tipped his head at it. "No."
Free from the mush above him, he could see now. His high beams, though pasted with trash, still captured the images of his comrades overhead, and bounced off Cyclonus lowering himself down into the pool.
"That's enough!" Ramjet yelled. "That's it! I'm sick of being the only guy here constantly finding the stiffs. An hour ago you weren't even interested... 'Why should the discovery amaze you so?'" He mocked. "You all knew the asteroid was once a part of Cybertron."
Cyclonus just glared at him.
"Are you through, Ramjet?"
"You're ignoring me!"
"And on purpose" Cyclonus snapped. "I've changed my mind. There's something here and I want to know what it is. Move!"
"Lemme get on your shoulders, Soundwave." Rumble asked. "I'd disappear in this stuff." The cassette climbed on as the navy Decepticon dropped into the murk.
"Come on, Ram" Hook waded passed. "It's not so bad on this side. Looks pretty dry." He saddled another fallen column urging them on.
Directly before them the ceiling hung in long barbs one big hideous cage daring anyone to pass. Or worse, a warning? Ramjet sure imagined so.
"Stop wrestling with them Ramjet!" Swindle ordered impatiently.
"Yeah, but ...eh...!"
"Will you just aww, frag it!" Swindle pulled his weapon and just blasted the orange tangles away. It crashed all around them, "Haha! See?" He held his pistol aloft for a moment of victory. "You have to open the box to get the present" he grinned pointing his gun before them at the outline of more elderly stairs. "How 'bout we see where those lead too?"
"If I find another blasted corpse Swindle, you're going first."
The framework and masonry was much different here. It was scorched black and scarred by jagged cracks with the tell-tale signs of fire. The staircase Swindle found steeped down and was plugged in places by toppled stone and ash. From what the conehead could make out, it elbowed to the right after about 9 or 10 steps.
"Maybe a bomb went off?" Scourge guessed.
"We'll find out Ramjet! Help me." Cyclonus stepped down and got his massive arms around a great chuck of fractured Bryrite and eased it upwards from the rubble pile which seemed to completely choke the stairwell. Together they muscled the block loose pushing it into the corner.
"Watch it!" Scourge jumped back. The rafter beam that the Bryrite had been propping in place clanged at their feet as the debris shifted and sighed. After a moment, taking Cyclonus' arm to steady himself before flattening his palm against the wall, Long Haul stepped down to stamping one foot to be sure what was hidden around the first corner was in fact solid It wasn't. At once he went down with a cry of startled surprise up to his thighs into the debris as it suddenly swayed and gave way under him!
The whole well seemed to quake and tremor, and although he didn't realize it, Long Haul had clung to Cyclonus' left leg for dear life.
"Long Haul!" Ramjet threw himself flat reaching down to grab hold of the Constructicon under his arm pivots. He was already safe though; his feet jutting against an unseen step below, and as they watched in astonishment, so the choking rubble around Long Haul's thighs was calming. "Umm, somebody? ErWHOA!" It collapsed in upon itself; suddenly sinking like quicksand into the hollow depths of the stairwell where more stairs emerged. Finally Long Haul could see the one he had been standing on, let go of Cyclonus, and took another step forward ducking under a warped pipe.
"Scourge. Ramjet" Cyclonus climbed down after him. "Let's go! The rest of you follow, but beware of unstable ground."
"You don't have to tell me" Long Haul whistled. "Ramjet, step ahead! My lighting's blown."
"Hurry up!" Motormaster piped from the rear, "I'm squished here and I'm unarmed. Think I lost my weapon in that muck behind us."
Up above, still waiting to follow them down, Mixmaster pulled his and passed it down to him. Swindle saw it and laughed laconically.
"Why do we need guns if we're seeking treasure?"
"He said, why do we need guns if we're looking for riches and stuff?" Scourge stepped down when Cyclonus did.
"Tell him were scared of spiders."
Barbequed chunks of rock, large and small, littered the stairway so badly that Ramjet was often forced to scale over them; but after another bend where the direction spiraled to the left, at last the steps were clear of all but pebbles and silt that had surfed down from above over the centuries.
"It ends here" Ramjet walked off the last step. For a moment he surveyed the new corridor stretching before him, and stooping somewhat to avoid a keystone of the first archway which had settled somewhat. Pausing just inside, he aimed his highbeams in a slow semi-circle to illuminate each wall and corner. Like the building's outside facade and main chamber, elaborate cravings of ancient Transformers danced, greeted each other, and worshiped there.
His lighting bounced off the floor Dust, the filtered dust of ages, lay uniformly thick everywhere. No footprint disturbed it until now. Something new was birthing just ahead. It engorged Ramjet's optics. Made him teeter and crouch instinctively.