METATISIC: PART FIVE
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 3: THE SOLAR FLUX
"It's been an adventure, but I'll be happy to get out of here" Swindle said shielding his eyes.
"That makes two of us" Motormaster added.
"Greetings, Cyclonus." Razorclaw saluted as the boarding platform was lowered. "I trust you received Galvatron's transmission?"
"We were worried that we might not be able to --*snort snort*-- recover you at all" Tantrum added quickly. "The pulsations of solar flux temporarily disrupted our communications and trackers 13.9 astro-miles outside --*snort*-- of the Kcerio star district. We could not get the asteroid's location on the monitor so we engaged the aura signature feed to trace you."
"Is it functional now?" Scourge asked entering the ship's bridge. His eyes skirted the navigation deck where Divebomb sat.
"Scourge" Cyclonus frowned at him, "I can ask my own questions."
"They're currently --*snort*-- operational, Cyclonus" Tantrum assured. "...For how long is another matter. Order to open the cargo bay? The sooner we get back to Chaar, the better."
"And that's exactly where we're going. Order everyone aboard!"
"But, Cyclonus?" Razorclaw was confused. "What about the Cybertonium?"
"There's been a change of plans, fur-face." Ramjet breezed by him with Soundwave running a close second. "Galvatron will tell you all about it."
Rumble pounded up the boarding plank pointing. "I dunno about you Cyc, but I really, really hate the look of that big mess. My circuits are surging."
Above him the bleeding flux was quickly breeding far-flung tendrils spreading along the space field looking a lot like the long, slender legs of an enormous spider. The infection didn't stop there. Following the pink back to its origin, the whole eye was beginning to expand, spiraling outward.
"Everyone on board now!" Cyclonus grabbed the smaller Decepticon immediately pulling him inside. "Now! Right now! Move it!"
Noone liked the new alarming concern brewing in the lieutenant's vocalizer right now. Cyclonus was never easily timid and not at all fearful of very much. If he was in fact worried, it couldn't be anything at all good!
"What in Primus' name is it?!" Long Haul shivered. Mixmaster shoved him inside. "Ask again later! I really don't feel like sticking around to find out!"
"Everybody in?" Ramjet couldn't take his eyes off the viewscreen. His optics expanded on the pink electric manifestation, "What IS that thing?!"
"I ..." Cyclonus began, but stopped. One of the rare occasions where he had no knowledge to offer himself or anyone else. "I-I don't know, Ramjet."
"I know one thing, it's no solar flux that I've ever seen" Swindle informed. "And I've seen several before."
"Wait!" Dead End came running towards them and begged from the outside. "Wait! Wait for me!" Transforming, he floored it up the gangplank, barely missed the closing hatch, and sideswiping Mixmaster in the leg who was standing there still.
"Whoa! Sorry, green dude."
Cyclonus' fingers were already flying across the transporter's control panel. "Razorclaw, blast us out of here! Engage thrusters!" He snapped his neck in Soundwave's direction.
"Soundwave! I want you to spy the nebula. Extract as much data as possible."
The cargo unit rattled and jerked on take off. Nothing unusual. The transporter began to lift off.
"We're safe." Scrapper said, breathing a sigh of relief. "Not yet," Scourge countered, just catching a scan of the ship's nosology crossing the monitor now.
"Cyclonus one of the main reactors is down! We're standing at 74 percent!"
"As long as it stays above fifty, Scourge --Lay in a course immediately for Chaar, Razorclaw, and engage to warp 4."
"No can do, Cyclonus" Divebomb looked rather grim. "We used up most of the ship's power supply just trying to get here when we lost our trackers. I might be able to get us to warp 2 ...3, maybe."
"What about the ship's energon reserves? Never mind. We'll do at 3 just get us there and WHAT, SCOURGE! WHAT?!" Clamping his eyes shut in dull curiosity, the blue jet sank into the nearest seat until the sweep leader gave his dark answer...
"What?!" The saboteur leapt from the chair. At the navigation controls Tantrum's hands flying desperately across the gages was sign enough there was a serious problem.
"It dropped 66% just before "
"65 percent, Cyclonus! ...63 ...61." Tantrum's voice grew plump with panic. "60! ...58! We'll never break the gravity pull if we drop below 50!"
>> 000894.0 EMERGENCY! EMERGENCY! >>>>
Hitting the 60% mark had triggered the automated voice response alert system and now it was blaring at them loudly and urgently. Sirens screamed to life.
>> 000894.0 WARNING! SYSTEM CRITICAL! WARNING! WARNING! >>>>
"Scourge! Shut up that noise!" Cyclonus shouted, punching at the panel. The alarm final stopped, but the cabin's lights had dimmed and the red bars around the bridge still flashed on and off.
>> 000894.0 WARNING! SYSTEM CRITICAL! WARNING! WARNING! >>>>
"We have no choice! Razorclaw inject the energon reserves now!"
"But we need it to make the landing at Chaar!"
"It would be better for us to bail out and risk crashing the cargo unit into the planet if we must rather than not make it there at all --Inject the reserves!"
Wise decision, and spoken with the typical smug authority of a second-in-command. The decision was good, but the smug look however was certainly fake. But the other Decepticons obviously bought the calm professionalism and that was enough. The real truth of the matter assaulted Cyclonus' processors as he sat staring soundlessly into the ship's computer screen. The emergency red lights still flashing yet bathed him in almost the same color as the hostile threat just outside. Even for a cargo unit, the ship had four back up reactors for just such a purpose as this if one of them ought to fail. One defective reactor should not be slowing them down like this! The asteroid couldn't possibly have that much gravitational force could it? Yet the diagnostics confirmed they were at maximum impulse power. How could it be?!
Clarity suddenly hit him like a blast from Galvatron's canon. It wasn't the asteroid that was causing the pull at all. Cyclonus recalled to mind quickly the transmission problems while he was talking to his leader, and the Predacons report that the transporter has suffered a loss of power that had knocked out communication and the ship's trackers. Cyclonus' lenses lit up bright as the warning lights.
"Soundwave, I need that data reading now!"
"Information ... extroverted."
Cyclonus rounded in the pilot's chair back to the navigation grid, back to the magenta maelstrom seeping into the bridge through the viewport. His fist locked tight around the controls in front of him, but in truth there was nothing to do, and nothing that could be done. He could only watch and wait, wait and watch with the rest of his comrades as the nightmare in the sky stretched out for them --Its ambrosial glow competing with the cherry flashing luminosities of the ship's red alert. It was quiet ...Much too quiet.
"System recovering, Cyclonus" Divebomb broke the silence with good news. "Power is now at 73 percent and rising."
"Ha-ha!" Rumble cheered. The bridge lights turned off at the same time. "Awwrrrrright! The reserves worked Cyclonus!"
"Good. Now let's beat it outta here already." Motormaster delighted. Once more the cargo unit shifted and jerked forward.
"Cyclonus, attention" Soundwave said. "Information obtained."
"Data indicates the flux is of a much stronger intensity; of a rare variety called a galactic ribbon." And, he added, "--a solar fracture."
"A solar fracture?" The right side of Rumble's face bunched in question. A hand touched his shoulder and Long Haul explained.
"The result of when two galaxies have expanded and rub together. The result is like an atmospheric earthquake."
"Bad thing, huh?"
"Very. Space fractures can upset the balance of a galaxy's super structure. It can destroy planets and rip others to shreds if it is severe enough."
"And that looks mighty severe." Swindle said rather unplugged. He crossed his arms. Perhaps it was the soothing security that the energon reserves had done the trick. The power core was holding steady at 89% and now the ship was passing the atmospheric boundary of the asteroid, away from the pink devil fanning around its southern side ...A demon that wasn't that easily defeated, nor finished with them yet.
A sudden jolt! This time the cargo unit pitched a sharp right spilling its Decepticon crew across the deck like tossed jacks. Shaken off his feet, the slack washed from Swindle's expression when he toppled into Dead End, who collided with Ramjet into Scourge into Long Haul. It was like dominos.
"What the !" Rumble tried to grab for the pilot's chair, but landed hard on the bridge floor instead in the same place both Mixmaster and Scrapper were now, only that the Constructicon had at least managed to stay upright.
"Unnnn ahhh!" Mixmaster called out. The whole ship was rattling now as its hull popped and pinged. A few moments later the proximity alarm sounded once again chanting it's mellow dramatic warning over and over.
"Damn! How could we be out of power! We just fed it everything we had!"
"It's the flux!" Cyclonus confirmed quickly. He could barely hear himself over the loud whoops of the siren, but there was no way to silence them this time neither. This time, the control grid wasn't responding to his command. His attention moved to the navigation panel across from him back to the forward view port. Outside, a shower of blush and rose starlights were skipping across the shuttle's beak; flowers of energy that burst brightly and died all at once.
"It's sucking us dry!"
"We're getting pulled back!" Razorclaw called out above the turbulence. "The transporter's right stabilizer is blown and unless I can level us out there's no way we're going to be able to escape it!"
"Mayday! Mayday!" Tantrum called into the communicator. Its units chirped tiredly; its power cells almost exhausted by the same adventive force that was sipping away at the ship's power reserves now. "Mayday! Trypticon City come in! Emergency! Cargo unit A-42793! damaged --*snort snort*-- and unable to stabilize!"
It's helpless! A exercise in futility. Cyclonus knew it already as he listened to Tantrum repeat the plea for the fourth time. He remembered that Galvatron told him earlier that Chaar had been suffering regular communication blackouts. The chances that Trypticon could hear them would be miracle enough --a miracle of the highest magnitude if any Decepticon could dare brave the storm in order to reach them, much less even attempt too.
"Mayday! Mayday! Unit A-42793 to Trypticon city ....Can anyone hear me? *snort*-- Emergency! Our craft is damaged and we are unable to stabilize!"
The radio whined and popped, squealing under the pinked torture outside. The emergency band whirred, but nothing else.
"Mayday! May "
Mid-line, Cyclonus closed the intercom. He tossed the mike onto the control panel. "They can't hear us, Tantrum" Cyclonus said sadly. "We're going to have to find a way to solve this ourselves. Razorclaw, where are you?"
"Right here... You want the slightly bad news, bad news, or the seriously bad news?"
"We're dead aren't we?" Rumble quivered.
"Just give me the status report."
"We're critically low on power."
"Spare me the obvious. What can we do to get power?"
"The drive is hopeless. The coils are fused beyond any attempt to repair it ourselves. And we used the last of the unit's energon reserves. We're about 2 astro-miles outside of the fracture's strongest pull force, but with the stabilizers blown I--"
"What exactly needs stabilized?" Cyclonus just wouldn't let up.
"The transporter's right tail thrust is leaning. At the current angle, the nebula has that much more control over us."
Cyclonus was brewing something. Scourge could tell by the flow of questions and by the way he was massaging his chin considering all the information being given to him.
"What if we could get it leveled out?"
"Er? That would be great, if we had a wing and a prayer."
"I don't pray, but I do have wings --Scourge! Ramjet!" (Sure enough) "Follow me!"
"What?" Ramjet brow lifted. "Like where?!"
"Outside the shuttle." Cyclonus replied. He was already out of his seat chair leaping and bouncing towards the hatch.
"You're defective!" The conehead's jaw hinged. His hands snapped open, hooked shut into rock solid fist, then snapped open again as though he were fighting to grasp hold of the logic that seemed to be entirely lacking from the commander's latest order. Ramjet didn't follow after him, but he did turn to the blue jet when he passed him with broad optics still shaking his fist.
"You've lost your senses Cyclonus!"
"Quiet and listen up all of you!" Cyclonus retorted resting a palm on the hatch. "It might be a long shot, but we have nothing else left. When we get outside, move to the shuttle's right wing, grab hold, and together all three of us will activate our jet thrusters to see if we can tip the cruiser back into a level position." His gaze lifted to Razorclaw, "Got that Razorclaw?"
"I got it."
Cyclonus dipped his head in acknowledgment as the hatch hissed open. "Now if we can keep the shuttle together is another matter." His vision fell down the door face; it was no longer tight in it's frame and jiggled when it slid open.
"This?" Divebomb laughed and smiled. "Eh! Don't worry. It was made of the best stuff in the galaxy. Real tip-top quality stuff." For emphasis, he punched the control grid. It fizzed at him.
"Exactly." Cyclonus shoved the hatch open the rest of the way. "Just try to keep us together --Rumble!"
"Stand by the door and report to the others when we've reached the stabilizer."
"Don't transform!" Cyclonus hollered over the roar of the turbines beside him. It was no match to the roar of the beast at their heels. He had a good look at it now, looking over his shoulder to the magenta spin. It was a good distance away as Razorclaw had informed, but its long tentacle arms were over top of them ripping the space ceiling to shreds of violet and foggy blue.
"You're--" Ramjet slammed his eyes shut, whining at the pressure grappling with him. "You're crazy!"
"Activate your magnetizers!" Cyclonus ordered. "Hold onto the ship!"
"I don't even know what direction I'm going in!"
"To the right! Move right!" The galaxy's pain screamed in Cyclonus' audios. It seemed to know what they were planning. More of the burst, like return fire, lanced across the sky ringing the ship and spitting heated sparks of fire into his face. "Just don't transform!"
There was a reason the second-in-command was so adamant about not transforming. The gravity outside sucking at the transporter might also rip them away from it, and possibly off course. If they couldn't regain hold there was a good chance they would not be able to catch up to the shuttle again. Cyclonus gripped the under-carriage, hooking his fingers around the emergency ladder connected there and jungle-gym'ed his way across it.
On board the ship, Razorclaw's only witness to the plight outside was through the cassette's eyes. Rumble was lying half way in and half-way out the hatch door with Hook holding his legs for dear life.
"Rumble, are they there yet?"
"Um, almost. I'll signal ya."
"I sure hope this works." Long Haul eyeballed the navigation grid.
Ramjet was the last to reach the damaged wing stabilizer. Once he grabbed for it, Cyclonus began to explain.
"On the count of three we'll all activate our thrusters to max power. Ready? Three ...Two ...ONE! GO!" The shuttle creaked like sharp knives down metal plate "Go! Go! Goooo!"
"Razorclaw!" Rumble screamed over his shoulder, "They got it! They got it! Punch it!"
Whining at first against the handicap, the cargo transporter did little more than rock on the first attempt. The ship's stabilizer thrust started, but quickly conked out; its engineering whirring when Razorclaw pressed the ignition.
"We gotta hold on!" Cyclonus insisted. He could feel the shuttle moving now. "We almost have it! Give it everything you have!" He flinched suddenly; one of the starry bombs pegged his right wing tip squarely and skipped across it like a faulty firecracker. "Eerrr...Don't stop!"
"This is torture!" Ramjet ducked another angry toss of the nebula's charge.
Cyclonus' intercom crackled. The voice calling startled him that the damned gadget was actually working at all. "Cyclonus? It's Razorclaw! If you can hear me holler back. The communicator is working and diagnostics show the ship is moving away from the storm. I think we did it!"
"Cyclonus? You can hear me?"
"Yes I can."
"Allllrrrrright!" The joyful oorah bleeding suddenly over top of the Predacon belonged to Mixmaster for certain. "Cyclonus" Razorclaw fuzzed. "Return to the shuttle."
Ramjet's delight was too evident. "Good!" He said. "Because I think I'm low on energon. I think I wore myself out inside the temple ruin we found." He quit his engines. "Wasn't sure how much longer I could keep this up."
Cyclonus stretched for the ladder following the conehead jet to where Rumble's face was looking, grinning at them upside-down. "Get the message?" He asked as Ramjet bench-pressed the door frame swinging himself up and inside.
"We got it, pip-squeak."
Hooking the last rung of the ladder, Cyclonus kicked his legs for the hatch as more charges from the solar fracture cometed about them, nailing the retreating ship with supercharged hail. Scourge drew his legs up narrowly missing the rouge monster's incredible heartburn, but as he monkeyed for the bar just behind the second-in-command, Cyclonus' eyes flowered at the napalm spearing their direction.
"Scourge, move!" The order was scarcely out of his mouth when the fury of the shot sizzled the sweep commander's hand; another danced across his shoulder. His mechanisms numbed as the cool electric charge ran the length of his haul. Squinting, Scourge's eyes sprang wide open, closed again, and then opened wider still realizing he lost his grip on the ladder.
"Ahh!" His arms sprang out and caught the jet by the wing. "Uh-Cyclonus!"
Cyclonus kicked, squirming for the hatch.
"Cyc!" Rumble reached an arm out to him. "Hook! ...HELP ME!"
"Scoooooourge!" Cyclonus agonized. His personal magnetizers was not specialized for the weight of two robots. The door, or Rumble's hand ...both options were right there. "Come on, Cyclonus!" Rumble leaned and shook it at him now, "Come on!"
When Scourge slipped to his waist, Cyclonus had finally caught the offered hand waving frantically, but a loud pop tore his optics clean open. Absolute terror shriveled the starlights in each one to pinpricks.
"Take my arm!" It was the last clear word distinguishable enough to still translate. The rest; the shouting turned to screaming and then into raw solid thunder. All noise twist together into one prolonged hum. Cyclonus' magnetizers had become detached from the cargo unit and now, though he was still reaching, he was floating; flying against his will stretching a long drawn scream across a flood of dazzling pink fire and neon spokes that turned everything to mosaic when he opened his eyes. A web of energy was coning up to take him.
Hook's arm was stiff-straight in front of him. Reaching out until the linkages popped, his hand was still open and paused on a past just seconds old. Slowly, it curled into a tight claw around defeat, around emptiness ...around pink frosted nothing. Only a blink before when he knew just what had happened, the Constructicon sprang forward, but even then his fingertips barely managed to brush Rumble's leg. It was already too late. Cyclonus, Scourge ...Rumble too! Hook couldn't see them anymore. Swallowed by the fanning vapors they were leaving, Ramjet and Motormaster's horror looked identical staring at the magenta in complete disbelief.
"Excuse me, Mighty Galvatron?"
The Decepticon leader heard the voice before its owner's image fuzzed and flicked to life upon the view screen.
"What is it, Dirge?"
The mech saluted quickly. "I just thought I'd let you know that the emergency generators have been activated as you ordered. They are stable and holding."
"Good" Galvatron cooed. "Good."
"Galvatron ...Trypticon City sends a urgent report that the Predacon's cargo unit from sector 849 was heavily damaged by the electric storm and crashed just west of the city."
The pointed fingertip that had been massaging his bottom lip since Dirge began to transmit now sagged and sank mid-chest level. The leader's narrow eyes cracked open and Dirge resumed: "The crew ejected safely prior to impact, but Soundwave is here Galvatron. There was a mishap about ten quarter astro-miles out of the Kcerio district."
"Cyclonus and Scourge, and apparently Rumble as well-- " Each other word to follow seemed to be amplified, magnified. The rest of the report stripped away all other nearby sound around him.
"They were sucked off the ship into the core of the storm Galvatron. They--" Jags of screen static twisted Dirge's face.
"Are they functional?"
Silence, but not for long.
"Rescue attempts were not possible... Galvatron? ...Galvatron? ...Galvatron are you still there? Galvatron?"
"Yes." Galvatron finally observed shallowly. "Of course... Thank you, Dirge."