“He was speaking ill of my mother!” Canticle defended himself, pointing to his yellow wingmate.
“He took that transmitter Steelheart gave me and threw it off a rim! Then kept me from saving it!” Quodlibet almost sobbed, pointing to his red partner. “And he called me a femme!”
METATISIC: PART TWENTY-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!
meanwhile nearing Iacon...
"Get out of the fragg’in way!" Servo bellowed. The elderly bronze mech may have not been able to transform, but he could ride a mean anti-graviton speeder when he had too. Sliding halfway up a wall, he startled some of the more refined Iaconian mechs as he shot along the edifice of a building to miss a large traffic jam on the expressway.
"I WANT TO LIVE! I DON’T WANT TO DIIIIE!" Stickshift wailed, blue optics clamped tightly shut as he clung to Servo’s waist. "I NEVER SHOULD HAVE LET YOU TALK ME INTO THIS!"
Servo cackled as the speeder clunked it’s repulsors back on the road for a quartex, shooting sparks. He enjoyed the sudden jolt from the impact that made Stickshift screech in fright. "What? And have you driven’ me around like a courtesy drone? I don’t think so. We’d never make Iacon, let alone the Assembly before they’re out of session. You move like a late-stage gravid femme on open road. ‘Sides, I want to see your smart-aleck face when I get through."
"If I have a face left to see! Primus, Servo! I know why you never had an alt-mode! You drive like a mad-mech!" Stickshift sputtered.
The ancient mech cackled again, swerving around several startled Cybertronians in alt-mode while Stickshift started to pray, loudly, to Primus. Traffic signals had no meaning for him behind once he was behind the controls of his speeder. They were warnings for lesser mechs. Servo was master of the road.
Alpha Duon shook his great head, his slash-like blue optics narrowing further. "Just because your spies indicate that a group may have made contact with life beyond the Zone does not clarify that these are the robots you speak of Delusion. For all we know they could just be a rogue band… Nomads."
"The report I received stated clearly that these lifeforms have red optics. RED!" Delusion slammed his fist down into his palm, making a sharp clank, in a rare fit of temper. "I need not remind you that the only robots to possess that color are the gladiators."
"By rumor…" Duon sneered.
Delusion drew himself up taller as he gestured from the floor. "By fact! Are you now going to argue with the records?"
"Correction: Small amount of Quintessons also possess red optics." Zero-zero, an elderly femme --hardly more than a collection of rust colored blocks with a smoothed face area and featureless blue optic band-- spoke up. She was older than Five. Delusion didn’t know where Duon had dug her up on such short notice, but she was starting to annoy him by constantly championing the Elder. Knowing Alpha Duon, he’d probably re-programmed the old glitch that way.
"You’re impossible!" Delusion hissed in vexation. "Do you think for an instant that our people would consent to interact with Quintessons?! Can any of you forget what we’re fighting against? Just last night there was an attack in northern Paradron…!"
"What I’m saying is that the mutterings of moles is still no proof. Not just yet." Alpha Duon answered smugly.
Zero-zero nodded. "Concurrence."
Delusion was livid. Striking a pose as if he were about to call down the very wrath of Primus himself, he opened his mouth…
"Alright, alright." Emirate Xaaron had a hand to his head as if he were in pain, "Shut up. Both of you. Listening to this bickering isn’t getting us anywhere."
Quodlibet turned Steelheart’s old transmitter over and over in his hands. He had a pleased smile on his face. "I haven’t seen a transmitter like this since I was digging through my great-grandfather’s storage hex as a boy. This is… a piece of history..."
Canticle snatched it from his hands. [ It’s a piece of scrap. It’s worse than their weapons. ] He chunked it down off a ledge.
[ Hey! ] Quodlibet tried to swoop and grab it back, but Canticle had him by the wings.
The red jet smirked when he heard a crunching noise. [ At least it had one last useful function left. ]
"Bastard!" Someone yelled up from below.
[ Blow it out your tailpipe! ] Canticle boomed, before laughing again. The injured mech didn’t reply. He’d apparently thought better of challenging someone who was obviously a noble. Quodlibet had no such restraint.
[ He’s right. You are a bastard. A big one. ] The dusky yellow Herak snapped, shrugging out of his wingmate’s grip, a pout forming on his face.
Canticle looked upwards, as if to ask Karna to save him from soft-sparked nostalgic mechs. [ Sometimes I think you’re a fem-con in disguise, ‘Libet. ]
After a moment’s pause, a sly smile stretched across the other Herak’s face. Quodlibet then whispered, [ You should ask your mother about that. ]
The red Herak stopped short. [ What about my mother…? ]
[ Oh nothing. Heh. ] The yellow seeker smirked.
[ You… ] His comrade started.
[ Can I not leave you two alone for five astro-seconds? ] Coronach demanded as he looked up from where Steelheart was attempting to connect the transformed Voyager into Coronach’s transmitter to boost the signal.
[ He was speaking ill of my mother! ] Canticle defended himself, pointing to his yellow wingmate.
[ He took that transmitter Steelheart gave me and threw it off a rim! Then kept me from saving it! ] Quodlibet almost sobbed, pointing to his red partner. [ And he called me a femme! ]
The Herak Commander shook his head slowly. It was sometimes beyond him how he’d gotten twined with those two. [ Enough. The Herak of the Dourjer should not behave in such a manner. You both know this. ]
[ He started it! He’s crazy. ] Quodlibet sulked.
Canticle crossed his arms. [ Because your rhapsodizing over every blasted thing is enough to make anyone crazy! ]
Coronach, for his own sanity’s sake, ignored them. As long as it didn’t come to blows, he supposed, he could tolerate their antics. More than likely it was just relief at being ‘home’ mixed with the excitement of bringing the foreign robots to meet His Highness. The young Commander felt the thrill too. Today would make history...
"Just connect that last wire to the green terminal, and everything should be set." Voyager offered from his vocalizer. His alt-mode was a slender and delicate as he himself was: a collection of silver tubules and spires, crisscrossing with various dishes and relays.
Steelheart nodded to the frail communications tower. "Alright. Ah got it clipped on there real good."
She glanced at the blue Herak and found him intently watching everything that went on. "Cross your fingers, Coronach. Here goes nothing."
He smiled slightly. "I have utmost faith in my communicator, your skill in drawing attention and Voyager’s ability to boost its signal over the interference of the city."
"Why thank you, Commander — eeep!" Voyager was cut off as Steelheart engaged the communicator.
There were a few warbles and chirps, then a steady tone that left off into silence. Steelheart vented her systems in a sigh before speaking, "Servo? Can you here me alright?"
"Slag! You’ve both got ramrods up your exhaust systems!" Servo barked to the guards, "I have to get in there and speak to the Assembly, and I mean NOW!"
"No way! How do we know that you’re not an assassin or something?"
"Yeah.You look real Quint’ish."
The orange robot behind the elderly mech suddenly grabbed his arm before he could reply. Waving the transmitter relay and pointing to the wire plugged into his audio, Stickshift wore a look of complete astonishment. "We’re twitch’in, Chief! It’s that fembot!"
"Well, talk to her while I deal with these two aft-hats!" Servo snapped, "And for Primus’ sake don’t lose that signal!"
The guards were surprised to hear anyone talk in such a brusque manner, this being Iacon and all, much less dare call them names. They were even more surprised when Servo smashed their heads together and caused them to go into temporary system-lock.
Stickshift paused in his chatting and gaped openly at Servo. "Remind me never to make you angry, old mech."
"Are you going to stand there gaping like a laser-carp or are you going to follow me?" The bronze mech demanded.
The young mech grinned. "Follow you!" And, while resuming his conversation Steelheart, he did just that.
A small opalescent blue female gently tugged at Delusion’s elbow as he leaned in his seat, brooding. He looked up from his funk, ignoring Prime’s long-winded speech about the militias, and sighed. With a single finger he toyed with an outcropping on the collar of her armor lazily.
"What is it now, Wordplay? Surely nothing could be worse than having Duon stomp me on the floor…" He murmured to her.
She shook her head and whispered. "I don’t know about that, Sir, but there are some mechs here with an active transmitter-- and what appears to be a direct link-up to the group on the other side of the Zone."
Delusion’s cyclotron skipped rythem. A triumphant look plastered itself across his face, followed by one of eerie calm and snide pleasure. "Well, well… this changes everything, my dear. Do show them in."
"Now? In the middle of Alpha Prime’s –?"
"Yes, now. Immediately, if not sooner. Go. Go go go go go!" Delusion shooed her away with his hands before rising elegantly from his seat. He felt a subtle sense of rightness return to his universe. Yes, Duon and his glitch were going to eat every single negative statement they’d made. Sideways.
"I do hate to interrupt you, Prime. But something truly… wonderful… has come to my attention just now and I am compelled by my very nature to share it with you all." Delusion began.
Servo stood before the Assembly. He wasn’t as cowed as Stickshift, who stared at them all as if he was just about to keel over in system-lock. They were just a bunch of mechs and femmes to the elderly bronze warehouse owner. "We’re receiving a transmission direct from Steelheart and her caravan at this moment."
The council murmured amongst themselves, but waited while the old mech hooked his relay into the main speaker system.
Zero-zero leaned over and whispered something in Duon’s audio.
"This whole transmission is suspect. I am informed that Steelheart is a member in a group listed under leadership of a mech known as Voyager. Why are we not speaking with him?" Alpha Duon demanded.
Stickshift repeated this over the communicator. Then he laughed as he got a response. It broke his awe to pieces and he continued to chuckle as he replied, "She says you are, sort of. Voyager’s boosting the signal right now."
Delusion snorted in obvious wicked pleasure at the expression Duon wore.
Prime leaned over and whispered something to Beta One, who gasped and then swatted his shoulder.
The Emirate rose from his seat as soon as the last connections were made and Servo gave him a signal that they were ‘on air’.
"The Assembly is gathered and listening. What have you to say to us?" Xaaron intoned solemnly.
There was a moment of silence. "Well, Ah reckon Ah’d like to say hello first."
Omega Blue’s sudden basso guffaw made several other members of the Assembly break into helpless laughter.
Delusion’s expression became even more smug and he lounged in his seat as if he owned the entire auditorium, legs crossed and leaning. His chin in one hand he wiggled the fingers of his opposite hand at Duon.
The huge mech glared at him.
Xaaron coughed politely. "Hello to you too. Now, what exactly do you want to tell us."
"Well, we made it and there are folk on the other side of the Dead Zone, firstly…" Steelheart began.
A scraplet made more noise skittering through refuse than could be heard in the Assembly hall.
Duon looked as if his optics were about to fall out of his faceplate.
Five snored against Beta, but her attention was riveted. She gripped Alpha Prime’s hand tightly.
"Am I hearing you correctly?" Xaaron rose from his seat, his voice hoarse in amazement. "People…? Robots, not Quintessons?!?"
"Yeah. In fact… Commander Coronach, would you do that purdy thing again and say howdy to the Emirate?"
A male voice came over the transmitter. "I fear you will never tire of showing me off…" The Commander sighed without any real upset. "Ahual akh em Karna, Xaaron-kaam-neb."
Five shot up from his seat in a sudden burst of activity. He hadn’t displayed such energy in vorns. "Aka whet czan?! Fak-uum sat em!"
Everyone but Zero-zero stared at him in shock.
Zero-zero frowned. "Ektamswe, Fadeh."
"Carro-et, sat bend aa." Five growled back at her, blue fire glittering in his optics.
"Czast. Mekut-cali. Fadeh, setka em isfet." The ancient female replied in a stony voice.
"I thought you said that you did not know Delepic, Steelheart." Coronach sounded profoundly confused.
Xaaron frowned at both the ancient mech and the rusty femme. "I don’t know what you two are saying, but I suggest you keep it to yourselves."
"Ah don’t. Voyager don’t neither. Nobody here knows." She protested.
The young Commander harrumphed to himself. "Very curious indeed."
Xaaron, looking the slightest bit embarrassed, answered the Herak. "I am terribly sorry, Commander Coronach. I have never even heard that language before you… and the two eldest members of my Assembly… spoke it just now. Steelheart is telling you the truth."
"You are the Dourj... leader of the Cybertronians then?" Coronach asked, pointedly.
Xaaron looked around the Assembly. There was a fierce discussion in hushed whispers, but the Emirate set his jaw and answered for them all. He answered for his world. "Yes. I am the Emirate of the Assembly."
"Very well. I will accept your word, Emirate of Cybertron."
There was some sort of exchange just out of transmitter range. It sounded a lot like Steelheart was complaining to the Commander about him not believing her… and some sort of stilted apology on Coronach’s part.
Servo grinned and muttered. "Go get em."
"Holy Halogen Illuminators!" Stickshift squeaked. "Images! I mean... somebody! Does anyone have a booster? This console can’t handle them!"
"I’ll bet that thing needs a 9-80 receiver to get pictures." Servo commented thoughtfully.
In a mad scramble, that would have been funny at any other time, the council members checked paneling and their own stations for the appropriate device.
"Wordplay!" Delusion hit his console, "Check and see if I have a 9-80 receiver somewhere…"
Over the communicator, her silky voice replied. "I know you don’t have one… or I’d have it."
Omega Blue, gigantic before all the others, stooped down and held out a tiny box. "Servo," he began in his deep slow voice. "I have a 9-60, will that be enough?"
Servo nodded. "I think so. Stickshift, gimme a hand."
The two robots leaned down over the console as every Assembly member crammed down on the floor. They bumped and jostled for position even as the small viewscreen in the closest wall flickered.
The first images were hazy. Outlines and shadows. One of the winged shapes waved until another one smacked it in the back of what appeared to be its head.
"Hey, y’all getting this?" Steelheart came over again when the work was finished.
Suddenly the viewer snapped to total clarity.
Not even Servo could find words for what they saw.
A golden city, laid out underneath a warm yellow star whose light seemed to be steadily increasing over the breems that passed, presented itself to view. The two shapes from before were indeed winged mechs. One was a fiery orange-red, the other a dusky yellow.
That was not the most fascinating thing, however. Their optics, like chrysobar, were scarlet... like fire, like the red star. They glowed with internal light, much as any Cybertronian's would.
"Look at their eyes!" Someone from the bleachers sputtered his amazement.
"T-the legends!" piped another.
Steelheart’s voice crackled over the band, "Let me introduce y’all. Those are the Commander’s friends, Canticle and Quodlibet."
Canticle looked offended. "Wingmates."
"Huh?" Steelheart asked.
A voice behind her, probably Coronach, mentioned, "They are my comrades. We are trined… we are a team."
Steelheart made some sort of sigh and turned the receiver. "There’s Voyager, he can’t talk now or we’d lose the signal, but he’s got a heap lot of stuff to show y’all when we go home…"
Coronach coughed. "That will be some time farther in the future, I believe."
The viewer swung around to face the blue Herak. "Well, of course. We just got here… Oh, by the way, that’s Commander Coronach."
Alpha Prime, startled into action by the sudden view of the city as she turned, spoke up. "Delusion, these must be the mechanoids you mentioned. That… fantastic… architecture is not the work of nomads."
A voice --that sounded like the red seeker’s-- quipped, "Nomads. Feh…"
Delusion didn’t reply. He simply smiled. It was a grin that consumed his entire frame. He looked like he might start dancing.
Alpha Duon’s optics were so large that another mech could have set boats in their blue and sailed in them.
Beta offered. "The constructs are most elaborate… the city… even bigger than Iacon." She pressed forward. "Pan the city again!"
The spires and towers glinted in the growing light of the star. Gilded, they glowed as if they were carved from solid light.
"It is not simply a city, madam. This is Bractos." Coronach spoke. "This is our capital. Is Iacon the capital of Cybertron?"
Beta blinked. She looked at Xaaron.
Xaaron answered firmly. "Iacon is the home of the Assembly."
Coronach replied. "Ah, and you are Emirate of the Assembly…" Beeping interrupted whatever else the Commander was about to say.
Steelheart chuckled. "It seems like no one can get away from them dang pager things, no matter where in the world you are…. Oooo, lookie that!" The receiver swung wildly, past the group of Cybertronians, who were looking around too, still chatting. Then it fell on a massive gate.
Rising up like some sort of frozen solar flare, the graceful arch was festooned in garlands of crystals and streamers in crimson, gold and deep violet.
"Isn’t that the purdiest gate y’all ever did see?"
"The banners, What do the colors represent?" Omega Blue asked unhurriedly.
Steelheart seemed to think for a quartex. "We’ll, ah don’t rightly know. Quodlibet?"
"Those are the colors of the Empire." His voice was filled with tangible pride as he stepped into the shot.
Alpha Duon sputtered. His optics really were going to fall out of his head if his lids opened any wider. "E-empire?"
"The Empire of Ta’nak." The yellow flyer almost trilled the last word.
"Excuse me, Sir, um..." Duon was obviously having a difficult time being civil. He did it so rarely it wasn’t really a surprise.
"Yes. Kwad-li-bay. You said the 'colors of the Empire' ?!"
The jet blinked. "Of course. Is something wrong?"
"N –no." Duon said, finally defeated. He just caught the faint iniquitous grin crossing Delusion's faceplate out of the corner of his optics.
Coronach, in a tone that left no room to question who was Commander, spoke next. "I have been informed that the Dourjer expects our presence just after the Apex."
"Apex?" Prime questioned. As he did so, Steelheart panned up with the receiver, probably following a gesture from one of the winged mechs.
As if in answer, the sky began to fill with a massive flux of white-gold incandescence. Quodlibet folded his arms, then his body, in an artistic form to the star that now began to consume the sky itself. Everything was so bright that what was barely visible was cast in stark black shadows. Then, even the shadows were gone and there was nothing but the all-consuming brilliance.
Steelheart gasped. "Oh my word… it’s… it’s…"
Lines started running through the transmission. Static crackled and spots started to appear.
"Na ef Karna-Wer! Dedu na ef Sa'ankhuah-Wer yaaut, Megadyne neter wer ankhu kher sashem ef, mahahu em stut ef! Na ef Karna-Wer!"
"Na ef Karna-Wer!" Voices chanted. The Heraks, other robots, the whole city seemed to speak as one. An entire melody of voices intoning the same solemn words in their strange, almost musical language. The sound of plating thumping in time to the words as they rose and fell, enhanced the entire effect. It was like the pulse of a cyclotron… one… giant… cyclotron.
The communication sputtered as the visual transmission finally cut out
"IT’S PRIMUS!" Gridlock shouted just before the sound clicked off with a pop.