METATISIC: PART THIRTY
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, 2017
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!
Metatisic gestured. He spoke to Voyager, “Tell me of your Iacon.”
Steelheart looked at Voyager, who held everyone’s attention. Feeling more than a little uncomfortable, she let her gaze slowly lower till it was locked on her peds.
Voyager beamed. “Well… it is beautiful. Not was grand as Bractos, Your Majesty, but beautiful. The golden spires can be seen for parsecs around… and it is there where we placed Vector Sigma after we seized it from the Quintessons. The Ab’ battor, the Grand Arena, was taken and converted into the Assembly chamber where the Emirate presides. We have tried to preserve an aura of harmony regardless of the fact that we are still at war.”
“We’ve freed just about everything close to the Zone and a good chunk of the southern continent--but they say the farther you go north and the deeper the level, the illusion starts to break down pretty quick.” Gridlock rumbled.
Voyager glared at him like he’d lost his mind. “We do what we can. Until we drive the Quintessons off Cybertron---”
Metatisic held up a hand. “The war with these Quintessons is what prompted your Emirate to dispatch you? It is the reason you would risk so much on legends?”
“Yes, Great One.”
The god pursed his mouth, leaning back in his throne. Sarterius spoke next. His optics were narrowed. It was the gaze of a mech who was a warrior first. He was obviously the kind to feel out a potential foe long in advance. “What sort of beings are these Quintessons?”
Gridlock winced in pain and gestured, but couldn’t manage to form words. Voyager looked down sharply, almost trembling, and motioned to Steelheart. A shadow passed across Metatisic’s face and when he spoke it was in a very serious voice. “Woman, have you seen these creatures?”
Steelheart’s jaw clenched. Her blue eyes glowed. “More than that, sir. Ah killed me some of em.” With an aura of pride, she started partially reenacting the moment. “In the Creation Factory in Kokular, those tentacled beasties thought they had me cold flat. Just when they was gonna come over the ledge at me, Ah ripped the struts off the scaffolding!” She mimicked snatching the pylons away, then a long drop. “Landed 'em right in that toxic hell they’d made--burned them bastards away to slime and sludge.”
Sarterius blinked, then he frowned sharply. He took a defensive step towards the Dourjer’s throne. Shockwave’s lone optic dimmed and he took a step forward. Neither looked like they had considered her capable of much. Now that they did, it was a tire of a different tread altogether.
“Those beings she speaks of, Great Master,” Coronach supplied quickly. “She says that among those called the ‘Quintessons’, there are those that have five faces.” He paused meaningfully and Steelheart watched his leader’s corundum optics contract. “And that the Quintessons keep those with tearing jaws.. Sharkticons. They house them in a cavernous place they call the Pit. It is north of the Cybertronian’s Iacon...and they feed the Cybertronians to them.” The blue Herak shook his head. “As unbelievable as it may sound, Great Master, it appears that the Cybertronians are fighting a war against Those Forsaken.”
The magnate shook his head slowly, the rubies set in the prongs of his crown flashing. Metatisic's look was admiring as he took in the entire group. “You Cybertronians are truly a resourceful people. You cross that which cannot be crossed, and on foot no less. Your women slay demons with their own instruments...” Steelheart beamed when he smiled a small warm smile. “Extraordinary.”
Sarterius didn’t lose his frown. “And this Kokular is a city is well?”
Steelheart tried to soften his expression with a hesitant smile. It didn’t work. “Yessum. It’s mah home city. Gridlock’s too.”
The big tricolor Autobot nodded. “Factories and warehouses, mostly. Noth’in as fancy as Iacon.”
One of the tinkers snorted lightly, “Kokular makes Paradron look like Iacon.”
"I thought Cyclonus stated that he and his Decepticons had not noted any cities within Cybertron." Metatisic mused with a frown.
"I told you he was lying, Sire. A desperate mech trying to preserve his function cycle will say anything." Sarterius said with absolute certainty.
"That's not for you to decide, Sarterius." Shockwave cautioned.
The deity glanced at Sarterius. “Indeed. I will question him personally.”
"Um, Sirs .. Lord?” Voyager was obviously lost. “Cyclonus?" He ventured. Steelheart watched helpless as Coronach burned imaginary holes in him with his optics.
"He's a Decepticon who was discovered at the borders just as you were. He and two others. Commonly Rougeon territory, but he claimed to have been in Cybertron itself." Metatisic stated.
"Ah yes," Sarterius came one step short of chuckling. "I remember now. The Autobots."
"Autobots?" Shockwave asked as he glanced at the General. His enunciation was sharper than even Primus’s, almost clipped and extremely precise.
Voyager spoke up, "I've heard that word before... Autibet.." Steelheart's brows drew together. She glanced at Coronach, but he seemed to be in some mild form of distress. "Yes." Voyager nodded. "Something the mistress said when she brought Steelheart back to us. Autibet-Tari."
"Yes. Autobots." Metatisic took his comment as admission, "As Cyclonus stated...or rather his comrade really."
“Ah ain’t never seen anyone with red optics afore Ah came here… or even that right nice sparkly yeller Sir Shockwave has.” Steelheart mused, she turned sideways to ask the others. “What about any of y’all?” There were general murmers of confusion or denial among the other Cybertronians.
Voyager sounded thoughtful. “Great One, this Cyclonus and his comrades-- did they say where in Cybertron they had been? There are some places…”
Gridlock interrupted. “Hey, can we talk to these explorer guys?”
Steelheart winced and whispered. “Hush, Gridlock. This is Primus yer talking at, not yer drinkin buddies.”
The slim mech almost threw up his hands and screamed in fury, but quickly thought better of it and bowed deeply to the Dourjer. “I am sorry for my display, Your Highness.”
“I just got carried away, Master. This is all real exciting…” The giant tricolor mech bowed as well.
Metatisic chuckled, amused. He let his gaze drift as he seemed to think.
“Woah, Autobots...” Rumble thought to himself as he surveyed the room. He’d been ordered in to check if the drinks needed freshening. From the Old Foreman's personal stock boy to a damned waitress. His careers seemed to change every other breem, but now--Ha! Now he just couldn’t handle the input. He was afraid his tray was going to slip out of his numb fingers. The Autobots were here. HERE! It meant… it meant that he, Cyclonus and Scourge really had to leave. Like yesterday. Urgent! Rumble swore inwardly as the Dourjer’s optics fell on him.
"Your eager curiosity will shortly be indulged. There is one of them, Gridlock. He's been into Cybertron." The king gestured. “You there!”
The Cassetticon resisted the urge to wince. Yeah, his day had been slag and now the slag was so deep, he needed stilts or jacks or something to make him taller to wade out of it. [Yes, Your Majesty?] He walked forward and bowed with great reverence, balancing his tray like a pro and speaking in Delepic.
The Autobots, at a loss, seemed to listen to his dialogue without understanding. That was good. It was partially why he’d used it. The skinny silver dude had some sort of archaic device out, though his cup was in the other hand, and he was scanning everything that was said into a databank.
[Do you know where your comrades are?] Metatisic asked, stressing the ‘you’.
Rumble was glad that Megatron’s father had responded in kind. It meant that he could postpone anything incriminating for awhile longer. He couldn’t afford to screw up this meeting with the Autobots. It was too crucial to their future history. Speaking of history… he glanced down the line of soldiers and seekers that separated the Cybertronians from the Dourjer. A couple of them looked oddly familiar. Now that he thought about it, so did the big red femme bot who was watching him with an expression that bordered on misty. He jerked his optics from the group of Autobots and focused back on Metatisic’s feet, only to be interrupted before he could answer.
Sarterius leaned slightly in the king’s direction. [The one called Cyclonus is down in the repair bay.]
[Ah, yes.] Metatisic rubbed his chin. [I’d forgotten I had sent him there.] He fixed Rumble with a sharp look. [Is my Arms Bearer still being repaired?]
[Yes, er no.] Rumble blurted then paused. He bowed before the Dourjer’s frown, trying desperately not to drop his tray or spill the pitcher. [I mean, Great Master, I just came from the bay area and I saw Cyclonus’s repairs finished. He left to find our comrade Scourge. I think he is still being repaired, Sire. There is a terrible backlog…]
[Scourge?] asked Metatisic.
[The blue one with the claws.] Sarterius’ brow ridge furrowed. [I believe that is the one designated as Scourge.]
[Ah, yes. Him. The other tall mech.] The Dourjer deliberated. [That would make this one Rumble.] His piercing gaze returned to the Cassette. [You are to fetch your associates and bring them here directly. Go.]
A wave of panic gripped Rumble, but his voice was extremely calm. [As you command me, Great Master.] He bowed and backed out of the Long Hall as quickly as was appropriate.
He just barely heard the Dourjer assure the very confused Autobots, “I am afraid our Rumble is a bit over eager. I will make sure he does not speak in only our language again. There is no need for alarm, my honored guests. He is simply going to retrieve his comrades.”
“No cause for alarm,” Rumble griped under his breath once he was absolutely sure he was out of audio range. “Rrrrrright. If I had an alarm on me it would be going off full slagg’in blast right now. Grrr! This slagpile is all Scourge and Cyclonus’ fault! Think they know everything. Nobody listens to Rumble until it’s too slagg’in late to do anything…” He continued to grumble under his breath as he made his way back to the servants station to drop off the tray and down to the repair bay, though never loud enough for anyone to hear what he was saying.
Bractos - G9-D4; Dock station
(service and repairs center)
The slave repair bay was still filthy and it made Rumble incensed just to be back here. Big Daddy’s lab was meticulously neat. This – this junkpile just reminded him of how very far away his Soundwave was. Scavenger, he thought angrily, would have a fragg’in field day. He’d never want to leave. Rumble couldn’t wait to get the hell out of here --out of this whole mess-- and damned if those two self-important slagnets wouldn’t listen to him now!
Rumble was still angry by the time he reached Scourge’s cot in its narrow little isolation cubicle. The Sweep wore a serious expression as he spoke with Cyclonus, but his brow lifted when he noticed Rumble.
“Come to gawk at the grounded mech too, eh?” He jibed with a smirk that made his harsh features almost likable. “Stare away, half-pint. I’ll be out of this berth soon enough to make you miserable for taunting me.”
The Cassetticon ignored him and the expected taunts didn’t present themselves. Instead he rounded on Cyclonus, stabbing an angry finger at him. “You’re already stirin’up stuff that shouldn’t be messed with!” He growled at the bigger Decepticon. “Now Metatisic is gonna ask us slag that not even YOU can answer!”
“Rumble?” Scourge wore a confused expression.
Cyclonus’ brow ridges lowered, his optics narrowing. “What do you mean?”
"It's too dangerous for us to stay here. We need to start finding out a way back home." Rumble answered. "Cause eventually Metatisic is gonna smell the big stinky retro-rats under his nose."
"Rumble. You've forgotten everything haven't you, Rumble?" Cyclonus admonished. "What did I say back at O'hiiden?"
“And do YOU remember what Metatisic said about what’s going to happen to us?! He said he would find out if we were lying and if he did that he'd have us torn to bits. That ring any of your bells?” Rumble demanded. “It sure the frag rang mine!”
Cyclonus, ever so calm, replied. "Dragged into the streets of this capital where our fellow Decepticons will tear the armor plating from our still fuctioning carcasses to be exact."
It made Rumble cringe. "Thanks a lot! That fragg’in perfect reminder helps us all a great deal." He spat, "Don't be so damn sure that just because you saved his life that he'd spare yours Cyclonus!" He stabbed another finger at Galvatron’s lieutenant. "General Sarterius' just itch'in for the right reason to shake and bake us!"
“What--why--huh? Would somebody tell me what is going on?” Scourge managed to get out. He almost dripped exasperation.
"Scourge. Hey, you look better." Rumble commented, giving him a brief sideways glance. That was hardly Rumble's chief concern for being here. He glared up at Cyclonus. "We're in deep, Cyclonus! Real deep! You wouldn't believe what's standing upstairs! AUTO-FRAGG’IN-BOTS!"
"Autobots!!" Cyclonus was visibly shocked.
The Sweep gasped. "The Autobots?! Are they attacking?!” He lept from his berth, his panic tangible. Cyclonus held out an arm to prevent him from charging out of the repair bay.
"Autobots? Here?" The pale violet jet asked, his calm firmly back in place. He tried to make Scourge sit back down, but wasn’t having much luck.
"Yeah. Apparently some of those flyers, the proto-Seekers, found them there at the border and they're all standing before Metatisic right now." Rumble frowned at his own comment. “We are SO dead!”
"So..." Cyclonus said thoughtfully looking more as though he were answering himself, "So at last we've met them....So it starts."
Scourge’s optics were still agoggle. “Are you sure they aren’t attacking?”
Cyclonus shook his head. “There’d be sirens…” His voice trailed away. He crossed his arms and tapped his mouth with his thumb in a gesture of deep thought.
"HELLO!" Rumble half-jumped and waved a hand in front of Cyclonus’ face. "Wake up! This isn't a slagg’in history project, Cyclonus! Metatisic's up there right now asking them questions based on what YOU told him!" The violet cassette shifted his attention, " —and loose lips over here!"
“Me?!” Scourge demanded, “Wh-what did I do?!”
"You told him they were Autobots!" Rumble shoved the Sweep hard, without warning, knocking him down on the cot. "Idiot! The Autobots didn't even exist yet." He corrected himself while kicking one of Scourge’s feet out of his way so he could pace, "....Well, yeah they 'did', but they didn't start referring to themselves as Autobots until about 10 million years ago based on Soundwave's data. They're all still slaves now!" His voice lost most of its strength. "Most of them anyways."
"Alright," Cyclonus interjected, trying to grasp control. "Alright, alright. Panicking isn't going to help us out here, Rumble.”
"Oh yeah it is. Why do you think I'm back down here? He's asking for ya. All of us so he can ask about our 'Geographical expedition work'" Rumble snarled mockingly up at the bigger Decepticon.
Now Scourge looked worried as he pulled himself into a sit. Rumble could almost hear his gears clicking out the message ‘I wish I’d never opened my mouth!’. “Cyclonus? What are we going to do?" He sounded desperate.
"We have one advantage our ancestors here do not." Cyclonus reasoned and rubbed his chin in the thought, "Not even Metatisic himself. We have been to Cybertron.”
Rumble didn't sound snide or even forlorn next he spoke. Quite the opposite, he sounded almost – sad, "Cyc...man … I'm not even alive now. None of us are. How would we know what Cybertron looks like now when we're not even at war yet?"
Scourge frowned. “Yeah." His optics grew speculative. “But Soundwave's old database has been a great help to us all this far, Rumble." The sweep leader touched the troubled cassette's shoulder. “You got anything in there that might help?”
The Sweep's suggestion gave the second-in-command a good idea. "Is there any area of Cybertron that has never been populated?”
Rumble looked far away as he scanned his hard files. "Ummm ..."
"Anyplace." Cyclonus prompted.
"Um .. Well there's the Mire." The Cassetticon offered.
"The Mire?" Scourge wasn't sure that would be the ideal answer. "The whole area's one big radiation leak with constant acid rain. Isn't there another place?"
Rumble scanned his memory further, "Ah .. nope. Not close enough to the Zone to explain why we hadn’t seen any cities."
“Squirt’s right! We are in deep pig iron. We’ve got to get out of here!” Scourge rose from his berth again, making for the cubicle exit.
"Wait Scourge." Cyclonus grabbed him. "I think the Mire WILL work."
The Sweep wore a puzzled expression. "Un? How so?"
A grin formed on the purple jet’s face. It was the biggest grin Cyclonus displayed since they landed here. "Why, we're Geographical expedition workers are we not? We've been measuring and calculating the rain fall and comparing its effects on the Cybertronian landscape."
Relief washed over Rumble. The tension flowed out of him as if all his struts had dissolved and were seeping out of his toes. A smile formed on his face."You are the mech, Cyke! Awesome!"
Cyclonus looked completely smug. “Yes. Yes, I know.”
Scourge snapped his fingers with a clank, turning back to face his comrades. "And it would explain why we said we’d hadn’t seen any Autobots before." He frowned again suddenly. "Sure. That give us an excuse, but it doesn't explain why we've called them 'Autobots' though." Scourge admitted, sourly.
Rumble crossed his arms and glared at Scourge. "No. Why YOU did."
“Me. Me! It’s always me!”
Cyclonus puzzled outloud again. "Hmm. Autobot. Auto. Bot. -- Automatic service robotics."
Both Scourge and Rumble looked at each other, then blinked at him.
"Old Quintesson ship crates were abandoned for vorns there at the Mire. Many older decommissioned models were just left in their packing, in plain sight. We read the name and figured that's how it translated." Cyclonus sounded triumphant.
"Yes. And they would agree, I'm sure of it, if Metatisic chose to cross-examine." Scourge sounded relieved. He looked at Rumble, his scarlet optics bright with anticipation. "Was it in existence back then, I mean now?"
"Rumble has all the most elaborate details, but I'm sure it was," Cyclonus guaranteed.
"Yeah." Rumble was checking it against his data. "It's as old as the Grand Arena. There are record fragments that indicate some sort of accident in that spot. Real nasty one. Some sort of neutrino-fission plant that... didn't exactly fiss." The Cassetticon mimicked an implosion then an explosion with his hands.
“Cyclonus, this hinges on those convenient ‘boxes’ or whatever the Quintessons left behind. Would it be weird for us to know about Quints?" Scourge asked.
"No. Actually it would give us an added measure of clarification." The lavender jet nodded to himself. “We could explain it all very easily. The area was a working factory, you heard Rumble, but radiation in the area forced the Quintessons to abandon it. They’re quite a bit more fragile than we are, after all.”
Scourge nodded. “They left behind what they felt was contaminated, robots included…”
“Not a pretty picture, to be sure,” Cyclonus admitted. “I don’t like the idea of a field full of pitted and pocked corpses being dissolved by acid either, but here we are. Unless we want to become corpses ourselves, I suggest that no other thoughts even enter your minds.” The violet jet swept them both with a look. “Let’s go.”
Cyclonus led, Scourge followed and Rumble sighed. “Geez, I finally get some respect and I’m thousands of vorns away from it doing any good.”