METATISIC: PART FOUR
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!
They sat grouped in a huddle. No one moved, and for a moment no one seemed to be venting neither. Not a single sound. Optics rounded and weapons pointed ahead into the black shaft. But at what exactly? Ramjet never explained, and he had yet to give a reason. His highbeam tossed to the left and then to the right for the umpteenth time, cutting through the dark searching for what he saw, or whatever it was that he thought he saw. The shaft of light was quivering clear evidence that, although they couldn't make it out, something had clearly startled the conehead jet.
"I sit like this any longer, I'm gonna lock solid!" Dead End grumbled. "What is it? I can't see a thing back here!"
"Neither can I so deal with it!" Hook spat. "Not with Soundwave's big head in "
"Will you all just shut up!" Ramjet commanded. Again he swung his light into the blackness. There was another long pause and more silence. Ramjet heard Scourge's trigger click.
"I swear I saw something" Ramjet insisted.
"Yeah" Swindle agreed. "You're imagination."
"No, it wasn't either. Something was loo "
"Look!" Hook shouted suddenly. Ramjet's flare finally ricocheted off a shimmer of carmine up ahead in the rear of the tunnel; two of them cherry-red and staring back at them all with the vestige of darker black that was forming the frame of its face and what appeared to be a torso. Mixmaster had barely managed to point and scream "THERE'S SOMEONE STANDING OVER THERE!", when Rumble, already electric with fear, just plain shot at it!
"Ahh! What is it?!!"
"It's a ALIEN!"
"Find out later! Destroy it!"
Lasers and burst of flash lit up the corridor like a lightning storm. There was no way, even after just a few moments, that they didn't strike the mysterious monster at least once, but Cyclonus noticed its red eyes were still wide open, and not once did it blink. Not once did it yell out from injury. It wasn't natural. It wasn't normal.
"Wait a minute" he decided. "Decepticons, hold your fire!" One more shot streamed over his shoulder. "I said hold your fire!"
"But, Cyclonus!" Rumble still held his aim. "Those other Decepticons we found. What if this thing is responsible?!"
The lieutenant spoke nothing. Lowering his phaser, he tugged Ramjet to his feet stepping courageously towards the source of the scarlet glow. Ramjet's photon jerked and zagged lubberly until finally its beam crossed the wall and landed a clear view upon the strange entity. Its eyes sparkled now in the full glare.
"This 'thing' is not even alive." Cyclonus breathed deeply and lifted one brow at the others.
"Well done, O' mighty Decepticon warriors. Let us unveil the enemy shall we?" His voice was much too pompous, and on purpose, for when Cyclonus turned to face the group, Mixmaster's grip on his weapon dissolved to his hip while Scourge groaned.
"It's a statue!" Swindle chuckled and Hook jabbed Rumble with his finger.
"Hey, Rumble! Watch out for that big, ol' badie okay?"
Motormaster muttered and hung his head.
"Look what you did Rumble!" Swindle was still laughing. He smacked the small cassette on the back of the head walking towards the sculpture. "Now you destroyed it!"
"I didn't destroy it."
"Well, I'm open for guesses" Hook's brows gathered at the center of his forehead in curious creases. "Anybody think they know who it is?" He blinked once. "Or what it is?"
"Well don't ask me" Ramjet blew the dust from the figure's helmet away. It was crowned by two curved prongs and a third one of which had broken off. It lay in the dirt at his peds and he watched as Rumble stooped to pick it up. The glare he had seen from afar came from its eyes. Unlike the shoulders and face that was clearly designed from more of the same bryrite admixture, the optics of the Transformer had been given special attention by its ancient artisans and were crafted of high, polished carnelian stones. Exposure to untold vorns, the bryrite skin had long since glazed with cracks, pits, and age, but the carnelian looked as alive and vibrant as the day they were set in place.
"You're gonna think this is crazy." Scourge started and stepped back as though to make double sure before he continued. Quickly he re-examined the statue's features and the barest tease of a smile that hinted the corners of its stone lips. "But don't you think he looks a lot like Galvatron?"
"Now that you should mention it."
"That's easy" Rumble declared, palming the prong fragment. "He's a king."
"Huh? How do you know that Rumble?" Scrapper puzzled.
"Well I'm nowhere close to Soundwave's historical caliber, but I have at least seen this headdress once before." Rumble stepped forward and held the piece in the spot it would have gone. "Don't you remember? Starscream was wearing one just like it at his coronation."
"'Brief' coronation." Mixmaster clarified.
"Yeah, well it belonged to Megatron" Rumble continued. "Starscream always wanted be leader so he studied up on it hard and talked about it all the time so how could I forget? He spoke once how all the great leaders of the past wore something just like it. Supposed to represent the three greater rays of the Kama? Karma star or, er, Magnadyne? Well, something like that. Hmm, I wonder who this mech really was though."
Like the staircase down, where the statue was erected, the corridor forked to another, but smaller set of stairs --only four of them, and Dead End was already down them pouring out all sorts of curses and mingled amazement at what he was witnessing, along with a few he had just invented for the occasion.
"Would you look at this ...WhoooHoo!" He jollied. He halted upon the last step down lifting a light to the new room. As he did, its charge seemed to leap and expand to meet the gleam of oranges, yellows, and gold that met the Stunticon's glance everywhere he looked.
This was not the chaos of the building's opening forum. The slime, the burn, and all its layered muck. This new room was entirely different. True that whatever fate the structure had suffered in the past had strewn its contents in rickrack profusion heaping it here and there. A toppled goblet lay on its side in a drift of dust, but still it was bedecked with beautiful things. A curious collection of tables where more chalices were sitting and a toss of square metallic boxes with filthy screens that might be primitive log books Dead End guessed. Beside it was a stand of multi-colored fluting branches containing trace smears of ancient grease that could have been anything at all. An old lantern maybe?
It might have escaped destruction, but some of the decor, to escape age had not been so victorious. It might have looked pristine, but a purple colored cloth hung over the arm of one of the table's matching chairs, dissolved into powder on touch. It seemed as though time alone held it in place. Or an old battle helmet sitting on the second table nearby where its gold leaf had flaked off and its tassels had all but entirely rotted away.
"Soundwave" Cyclonus lifted the helmet arching an indignant eyebrow as he spun to face the communicator. "You said you keep data of Cybertron's history, yes?"
"What of this structure? These pictographs on the walls?" He gestured with the helmet, "...and this?"
"The structure is much more older than the body shells are." The purple lighting flooded the walls again causing Soundwave's lenses to flicker. "Mixed architectural antecedents" He said.
"Building has spanned several different eras of time and dynasties; each one adding to its construction. The entrance and adjoining central plaza is the eldest dating to the Railian and Gig Mican eras of the Ta'nakian peninsula empire. Carbonized dating is forthcoming." Soundwave's optics flashed in neon. "Structure dating completed. Origin foundation: 71.50 million years."
"Seventy-one!" Swindle's bottom jaw fell. "Your logic circuits need tuning right?!" He choked, "Say I'm right!" He repeated in amazement "71 million years!"
Soundwave's shades glittered again in one violet sweep. "I am unable to translate the pictographs."
"Why not?" Scrapper asked.
"Because it is written in a form of Cybertronian manuscript called 'Delepic' ...Ancient Decepticon. The language and its alphabet is now extinct and can no longer be deciphered."
"Ancient Decepticons" Scourge repeated with a new found pride. "You know what this means, Cyclonus?!" Scourge looked for him. The second-in-command had left the room. Clearing the last of the four steps, the blue jet was paused just short of the stone-faced king that first welcomed their intrude. Cyclonus' optics lifted and fell from its chiseled expression as he reached an arm out to the relief of the neighboring side panel and scrolled across the lines of dashes, dots, curls, and jags that might very well have contained the answer to the sweep leader's question, if only they could be read.
"Cyclonus?" Scourge climbed the staircase towards him.
"Here, Scourge. Take this."
"I'll take it." Rumble grabbed for the helmet and put it on. It was much too big for a Decepticon his size, but he struck a noble pose anyway as Cyclonus pressed the orange panel upon his abdomen. As a slide of buttons materialized, his finger tips floated across them.
"Judging by the information given by Soundwave, and by the age of this construction in itself, it is certain we have stubbled upon the remains of a settlement belonging to our ancient ancestors." Cyclonus' attention met his comrades as he let go of the panel walking ahead. "Hm, I was suspecting it when I first noticed the clear lack of Autobot influence and the void of their remains in the first main chamber, but now I am certain."
Cyclonus turned to the communicator.
"Soundwave. Twice your data registered back to the old Cybertronian peninsula of Ta'nak. The foundation of this ruin alone is several mega vorns older than the first Great War. If this is indeed true, then this place was no temporary dwelling. We're standing literally in what appears to be the remains of the old Decepticon empire."
"Do you think this asteroid IS Tanook, er, whatever it is called? The peninsula?" Hook asked.
"It must be. What other rational conclusion is there?"
"Well I don't know anything about no Ta'nak." Ramjet propped a hand on his hip. "It's before my time."
"I've never seen it 'ither, but I am familiar with its many legends."
"I've heard some stories." Rumble tipped the helmet up from his eyes. "If this really is the remains of the old empire, then I really doubt this building is all there is Cyclonus. The empire sprawl was said to be really large. We're talking major mondo metropolis here!"
"When we first arrived here I was impressed by the sheer size of this asteroid." Scourge agreed.
"There's something I don't understand though."
"Of course not, Swindle. You never do." Motormaster snickered.
"Eh, shut up! But what I don't understand is what happened here? Okay, so we have no bullet holes and no dead Autobots. That means we can rule out the idea of physical one-on-one combat. We do have a lot of burn patterns though, so then what did kill these Decepticon predecessors?"
"You pose an interesting question Swindle." Scourge said. "One thing is certain however, if this really is what's left of the old Cybertronian appendix, I don't recall any time when it was actually connected to Cybertron at all."
There's something not quite right here. I would be ready to believe that, Motormaster, but one important detail is missing here....guns. Weaponry; artillery remains of any kind. The signs of a struggle even and there is none here. Whatever killed these men was not the result of heavy fire. Look at the positioning of their wreckage, they are all facing towards the entry."
And that means?
They were running
They were running! Cyclonus' first analyses over an hour ago lit a flare in Ramjet's thoughts. It dawned across his face with wide open optics. "Running" he said unventilated. His tone magnified immediately. "That's it! Ta'nak was a peninsula. It was once part of Cybertron! Cyclonus said the positioning of the remains appeared as though they were trying to flee from something! Well, what if the reason they were running is because Ta'nak WAS separating from the planet Cybertron? That would of had to of been a major catastrophe, you think? Serious enough to cause explosions to result in all the burn scars we've found?"
"You know what?" Rumble sounded both stupefied and impressed. He drove a fist into his left palm. "Ol' conehead's right! I mean, it's a no-brainer that it separated from Cybertron "
" And that would certainly explain the way the mountain had collapsed over this structure to hide it when we discovered it" Mixmaster finalized.
"I believe both of your answers are an accurate judgement to e "
"Cyclonus" Soundwave interrupted. It was irregular, but his console beeped for his attention. "I am picking up a subspace echo."
The lieutenant could hear it now; it garbled and popping in and out of clarity.
"Can you patch it in any better than this?"
"Negative. Structural insurgent electron residue is strong."
"Continue to try. It might be that we're too far into the asteroid. It could be anything from spontaneous astral phenomena to a ship's warp signature."
"Order to head to the surface?" Scourge asked. The commander simply nodded his reply and gestured to the stairway up.
"Eck!" Ramjet clamped his lips tight in disgust as he scooped slime out from his thrusters and flung it at the antechamber walls with a sickening plop thanking any deity that would listen for seeing a glare just up ahead that pointed the direction to outside, "This stuff is like regurgitation! If I ever see sewage like that again it'll be too soon. I'm a warrior, not an archeologist!"
His complains were answered by Soundwave's intercom bleating loudly once more for an answer, only this time the transmission popped once and exchanged with a heated voice screaming loudly "Cyclonus, damn you if you don't answer meErrrah! Fools! Must I do everything myself?!"
"Welp, the bids out on the spontaneous astral phenomena" Motormaster winced at the transmit. "It's Galvatron."
"Galvatron IS a astral phenomena!" Dead End butted in.
"Hey, Cyclonus! Galvatron's on the line, although you might not want to take it!" Motormaster turned to look behind him watching as Cyclonus was just now clearing the rise of the last debris heap . Pressed tightly against the ceiling, he winced until the litter let him go. He slid belly first to the floor.
"Is there something wrong?" Cyclonus asked.
"Eh, well does 'you might want to consider a new area code' about sum it up?"
"Cyclonus!" Galvatron's voice blared loudly once more. Amplified by the forum, he seemed to be screaming from just about every direction possible.
"I swear if I have to go there myself I'll be ripping the wings off your body!"
Cyclonus stepped to the outdoors. Outside, where just hours earlier, the lands seemed all but suffocated in darkness, to the far south, the horizon was streaked in slashes of bright pink glazing the black frontier with fractures like broken glass.
"Cyclonus." Soundwave pointed the obvious --to the spectacle and the reasoning for their disrupted communication attempts. "High level of electromagnetic radiation is detected."
"Mighty One? This is Cyclonus. Can you read me?"
"Cyclonus! I have been paging you for the last 2 ½ astro cycles!"
"We have been fighting strong anti-waves, m'lord. The receivers were malfunctioning and "
"YOU'RE GOING TO BE THE ONE THAT'S MALFUNCTIONING!"
"Terribly sorry, Mighty Galvatron. It could not be helped." His eyes rolled up panning the magenta bleeds when the Decepticon leader's voice barked back at him again.
"Well, never mind that now. We've been fighting the same hindrance here on Chaar. There is a solar flux coming in at range 486.8. It has disrupted our communications, as well as our sensors."
"I see it now, Mighty Galvatron." Cyclonus tilted his head back. "But, m'lord, listen. We've made an intriguing discov "
"There have been Autobot patrols spotted in the region since its detection." Galvatron came back. "I do not need them meddling into my affairs."
"Eh ...m'lord, I "
"I want the Cybertonium to safely reach Chaar, Cyclonus, which is why I've ordered the Predacons to fuel you a cargo ship so that we'll only need to do one run. To avoid the Autobots and the storm. I've been trying to reach you since in order to let you know because they ought to be arriving shortly. I trust that you've gathered the Cybertonium deposits? Yes?"
Silence answered back, and a few pops of static snow. Galvatron detected the answer before Cyclonus even spoke.
Cyclonus could hear it; sense the new, extra pitch in the leader's voice. It always happened just before Galvatron's rage hit peak critical and some unfortunate Decepticon lost their head. Cyclonus grabbed control before Galvatron lost his.
"We've made an alarming discovery on the asteroid, Mighty one. I wanted to tell you earlier. Digging for the Cybertonium, Mixmaster uncovered an entire building structure with remains and various artifacts intact."
Thank, Primus! As Cyclonus suspected, Galvatron's flaring rage swapped with new intrigue.
"I'll patch you an image now, m'lord. All of it's architectural antecedent signatures pin that it is clearly Decepticon race"
"Decepticon? How big is this ruin?!"
"Quite large, Galvatron. We just spent the last several astro-minutes exploring its interior. Clearly it has suffered damage, but there's something more important than that. Soundwave ran a data confrimation on it and dated its eldest foundations to be at least 70 million years in age. There is no doubt that knowledge places the time of construction to the old Decepticon empire of Ta'nak."
"Have you found anything other than the building?"
"Nay, thus far we've only unearthed this one structure. But we are certain that there is more to be found here if this is indeed the remains of Ta'nak."
Galvatron laughed suddenly. "Oh, Cyclonus!" He chuckled again. "You have indeed redeemed yourself, old friend." Another laugh. "Oh you most certainly have! I would like to have this asteroid excavated thoroughly. We must see what other secrets it might yield for us and exercise it with caution."
"Agreed, Mighty One."
"Still, locating the Cybertonium that is also there must still be a priority. Without it we will all begin to malfunction."
"Cyclonus" Mixmaster had been listening to the conversation and stepped towards him.
"We might have a problem. Where our scouters first detected the Cybertonium is the same area where the staircase was discovered. I fear the mineral is under the outside foundation."
"Cyclonus?" Galvatron's voice rasped back. He was starting to fuzz out again. "You still there?"
"Yes, Mighty One. Er... Galvatron. Mixmaster said that where the mineral is detected is where the outer steps of the ruin was also uncovered. The deposit seems to be under the outside foundation."
"Mmm.." *Pop-crackle* "There's nothing we can do now with the storm system moving through. Cyclonus give the order to return to Chaar. We'll have to plan a proper course of action to retrieve Cybertonium and do it without upsetting the ancient structure as best we can."
"I'm picking up a reading" Scourge warned suddenly. "Ship incoming."
Cyclonus could see it now; it was nothing more than a mere twinkle skirting on the horizon speeding towards them, but it had to be the cargo unit Galvatron had dispatched.
"M'lord, the Predacons have arrived with the cargo transporter."
"Good. Return to Chaar. Galvatron out."
Cyclonus nodded and closed his intercom giving the order to prepare to head out.