METATISIC: PART SEVEN
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!
He came down from the cirrus levels to catch the better wind and found himself amongst the flocks of cumulus there --immense towers of modeled vapor looking as white as the snowy drifts of the human earth at winter time. He was setting his course towards it; to the pin light in between the puffs, watching it grow bigger silently and imperceptibly.
He stretched. Almost there.
"Rumble? ...Rumble! Snap to it!" Cyclonus jabbed him hard with his elbow and the 'clouds' Rumble had been traveling for in his subconscious thoughts were instantaneously gone though not the pin light however. It hung there to the west of him. The great star that had been high and bright overhead since the three of them all first arrived here was a dim copper coin thrust between the cracks of the horizon. Its fragile light spilt through the prison bars in uneven fractures. If this was truly Cybertron, even that display was strange enough. In the reality he knew, days and nights on Cybertron were largely indiscernible for it was never truly daylight and yet it was never completely dark either. Sure, there were stars, bigger and brighter than others, but Rumble couldn't place this one into any of his memories.
"Wha--what's going on?"
"We've stopped" Scourge replied. "And they cut off the electric ...Look." He squeezed one of the bars. "I'd rather not guess what for."
"Man, I must have shut down." Rumble wrinkled one side of his face in a moment of confusion.
"Always imagining the worse aren't you, Scourge?" Cyclonus used one of the corners of the cell as a brace to stand.
"Well I think I have every reason too."
"Quiet." Cyclonus peered out through the grating and crisscrossed the scenery to a gathering of metallic steeples crowned by great basins of fire all threaded together by arches of gray stone. Below them, dirty tents and iron bunkers dotting the grounds were lit up by photon lights, seeming to challenge their ancient ancestors flickering above.
"It's much to small for a city" Cyclonus surmised. "I suspect that it is some sort of cantonment evidently."
A sudden loud chink boomed across from them and for a moment the entire roller cell vibrated and purred.
"Un?!" Rumble's attention shot from the ceiling to the floor in one quick motion. "What was ?!" Another set of thunderous booms echoed in the contraption causing eruptions of steam to screamed from the rear of the goliath. Cyclonus had just turned to see when the bars slide apart and the door began to jimmy its course to the ground.
"Up!" came an immediate order, "Stand up all of you!"
Four foot soldiers raced on board. When one of the mechs lifted his weapon, the commander Sarterius, stepping up the gangplank, pushed the rifle down. "There is no need for that, soldier" he said, spying the three prisoners. "I imagine that our 'company' is wise ...hmm?"
That was way too deliberate; too intentional. The General Sarterius --he clearly carried his sophisticated bearing; straight, stern, and solid. Just as when Cyclonus first sensed. He did not flaunt what he had; he simply stated it plainly in manner and attitude. His stare never softened. Intense, he examined each Decepticon offering no words, only looking them over briskly as he paced slowly in front of them.
"As you may already know, O'hiiden is our final stop before we arrive in Bractos in the morning" Sarterius informed them, "As fellow Decepticons, I have decided to grant you the liberties to refresh and stretch yourselves as you are not yet convicted mech." He turned smartly on one heel back towards where the blue jet stood and pressed his regards deeper into Galvatron's second-in-command. Why always him?! Cyclonus fiddled the question in his thoughts --Not the sweep or even Rumble, but him! Always him! Did Sarterius sense something there just like he had of him? Did it show? It was doubtful, but still very possible. If so, the general hadn't admitted very much and now only turned away from him, continuing on with his speech.
"However," he said, "I will make this very clear only once. You are all still suspect. If you choose to barter my goodwill with any attempt to escape these mech will ask no questions. You will die!" The power in his tone relaxed only the slightest degree and exchanged with a new taint of sarcasm, "--I should like to think that statement is significant enough?"
Sarterius crooked a finger at two of the four guards on his way back down the ramp and immediately the same soldier as before lifted and thrust his weapon forward. "Alright," he motioned the direction with the prop. "Come on now ...Hurry up and move out!"
As if they didn't get it the first time around, the soldier mech's pistol pointed the way again only half of the way down the gangplank. Grumbling his demands, he shoved Rumble forward and butted the cassette with the weapon when he didn't react fast enough. Everything the guard ordered he said twice: "Get moving! Get moving! Over there with the others! Over there with the others!"
"Is that all of them?"
"There was only these three."
"Okay. Close it up."
When he stepped closer to where Scourge and Cyclonus stood, Rumble glanced back over his shoulder just as the door of the behemoth was cranking itself back into place; tired old gears screaming loudly for oil the entire way. One puff of exhaust later and at last the colossus was quiet.
"You can wait over there." The first of the two guardsmech departed across the camp.
While the fourth kept his lenses fixed soundlessly upon the three Decepticon prisoners, the third trooper moved to a pewter-toned pedestal of patchwork metals with a yellow button that flashed to life when he floated his palm in a semi-circle motion over the top of it. Several snaps, a pop and a whir later, a bowl shaped field of current appeared instantly puddling with a strange mauve liquid.
"Here" he seeped a mug into the brew passing it left to Scourge. "Better take it" he urged, "You might not get the chance to later. Come on then Next!" The soldier stretched the second cup out to Rumble. "And you?" His attention moved to Cyclonus.
"Take it," Rumble jollied. "This stuff's great! Hey, er.. We can have more, right?"
Nodding, the soldier took Rumble's mug, but now his gaze sailed over all three of them "I have other business to attend to at the moment" he said. "In the meantime, Pycon here will be keeping a watch over you. You are not permitted to wander the grounds. You are to stay here within this area only."
The trooper began to walk away, but paused, turning again to face them.
"Don't gamble you lives" he warned. "It would be ludicrous for any of you to disobey the general. He doesn't grant second warnings."
Don't try to escape! They said it so often --Ha! So had he on numerous occasions. Yet for the first time Cyclonus found an odd humor in the declaration. "Escape" he smirked to himself and turned to face the mammoth rolling prison cell, "And just where to?"
Scourge's brow lowered at the mysterious concoction in his cup and its pearled swirls of aquamarine lapping in between the violet. "What exactly is this stuff?" he sniffed at the brew.
"What's it look like?" Rumble nudged him. "It's energon, duh!"
"Rather peculiar looking energon."
"Energon is energon." Cyclonus drank his first sip slow and deep, closing his eyes at the savory rush of his parched circuitry speeding to life. "Ahhh," he hissed with a smile. "Hmm ...not that your cogs will tell the difference."
Where the first sun star perished into the crust, it was just as Rumble had suspected, another was beginning its journey in the south. Much smaller and only half as bright, he hadn't even notice it until he caught it panning the scenery before them landing on a convention of soldiers just ahead. Their black profiles stood out in silhouette against the meager rays.
"Looks like those other prisoners we saw earlier."
Scourge didn't look. Picking out a familiar voice, he didn't have too. "And our friend the General as well I see" he said. Guided by the cassetticon's pointing finger, his gaze floated sideways to land on the four disheveled figures and a fifth who stood erect in front of them them:
"You stand accused and charged with the illegal possession of stolen arms and other such wares of a military nature!" Sarterius strolled before them. "Spreading your unruly, and might I add, rather blasphemes propaganda, you have harbored and protected other such fugitives who share in your betrayal--"
"What did he call them again?" Scourge asked.
"Rougeons." Cyclonus' mug was paused at his bottom lip.
"--The Dourjer and his empire will NOT entertain your hostile intentions! You have been found guilty on all counts of treason!"
"Doesn't sound to good for them" Rumble inspired.
"They've been found guilty. They'll die."
True to Cyclonus' intuition, the charges that Sarterius had been holding so tightly in his vise while he read their crimes he now tossed at their feet. A surge of scarlet bathed the rigorous vasts glowing in the vestige just under his helmet.
"You are hereby scheduled for termination!"
War machines milling about lifted their heads to the eight others who had escorted the commander. The other 'business' the trooper spoke of moments before no doubt. Sarterius didn't need to give any order. It was instinctive, and so was the flush of horror spreading the optics of the condemned. The moment the general departed the platform where they stood the group stepped forward, tipped their weapons, and opened fired. The first three robots fell immediately; phaser fire animating the frames as servos and ligaments showered the ground. Vital energon and oil drained to the lean of the stage.
"I say that's that" Cyclonus said rather passively. Five of the executioners walked away just as the final Rougeon collapsed upon the ruins of his allies. "Such is the price of treason."
"And that's all you've got to say?!" Rumble's optics rounded the lieutenant in disbelief. "Are you even listening to yourself?! HELLLOO!! We're one sentence away from looking like them!"
"You have no confidence Rumble ...Neither of you do. It would be as well as if you were leading your own selves to slaughter. If you have confidence you'll live."
"Confidence in what?"
"Your ability to lie," Cyclonus smirked the right side of his face, "A hint Rumble. Know your enemy and then become them. Cater to them and their demands. Give them what they want and what they want to see."
"And that's the plan?"
"Considering we have no other options."
A large combine just feet from the platform roared to life. Its hulking shell shivered at the mechanisms gearing forcefully inside while soldiers shouted above the clatter. The long worn conveyor belt protruding from the maw of the machine looked more like a black tongue. It sucked the first remains of the Rougeon into its belly mashing the dead robot into indistinguishable pieces. Every time it grated another, the contraption quaked that much more thunderously.
"Well, at least they recycle."
"That's not even the least bit funny, Rumble."
"Hey! Cyclonus is the one who told me to be confident. We'll all be soda cans next week."
"This is it, Galvatron. There's no doubt this is the same place" Mixmaster told his commander with every ounce of certainty. Still, he frowned at the boulder on his right. It didn't look at all familiar, not even vaguely. Nothing beside him did. 'But this IS it' he assured himself. His eyes fell to the fanatic winking yellow light of his scouter insisting their coordinates was not mistaken.
"Are you certain?" Galvatron stepped one direction first, then in a semi-circle the in the other stretching his inspection across the haphazard crust and the ruby skyline beyond it. The flux was gone now, but it had taken with it one small planet and had all but obliterated the operations compound of the E.D.C. --Or so reports hacked from Cybertron confirmed it. It was too early to tell exactly what else could have suffered damage. For now at least, the rose ghost of the storm lofted victoriously in between the fields of spear-like jags. Any one of them could be a candidate for the ruins that Cyclonus reported.
Cyclonus ...Galvatron was reminded. Scourge and Rumble. The storm had taken them as well.
"I found it!" Ramjet rushed towards them.
"Over here! I'll show you."
So the scouter was corrected afterall. The solar flux may not have destroyed the excavation site, but it had scoured the trace evidence of their being there before. With the mauve blanket being so thick, it might as well have been invisible. No wonder they couldn't locate it.
"This is it Galvatron" Ramjet hiked up the first stair, pointing inside.
The Decepticon leader touched the pillar directly beside him. It was shaking No, wait! He was! Why? He parted his lips to say something, but he couldn't. There was stillness and silence. Shafts of clean air pierced the wafting rouge around them making it easier to see at last. Galvatron floated his palm across the column, reaching out to the doorway just before him. Although there were no people in sight, from the spaces within the aged walls came voices: a laughter here, a hostile exchange there. Chanting, as of a mantra, softly drifted to greet him. The scarlet of his eyes flooded and brightened.
"Er, um, Galvatron?" Mixmaster looked confused. "Are you "
"Shh ...There's something ...someone."
"A Transformer. He is great."
No, no! Galvatron closed his eyes, but the fulgurant dazzle of suppressed memory flushed along the filament of his thoughts --yet who's thoughts? His? When? How come he couldn't remember? He tried to think about it, but his temples hurt painfully.
"This cannot be!" Galvatron was clearly shocked. "I-It was destroyed! All of it was, wasn't it?"
Where had THAT come from?!
"I know this place!" He announced at last. "I DO!"
The conehead looked surprised, "But how?" He quizzed.
"I-I don't know. I just know it."
"But you've never been here before, Galvatron."
"Perhaps not Galvatron." The Decepticon leader said after a moment. Astonished as he was, the tone of his voice just then was laggard. It matched the stillness found here, "...But Megatron."