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Crime and Punishment, Part One

An ancient Autobot tries to determine the best course of action in the fufillment of his duties.

by Fred's Workshop

Cybertron; approximately 3 years after events chronicled in Beast Machines. Primal and friends have defeated Megatron, and turned Cybertron into the organic paradise it was once thought to be.

For more than 300 years, (after the events in ‘Return of Optimus Prime’), The Matrix has been scattered across the cosmos; the Matrix Holder no more than an empty shell instead of a focal point for the Allspark energy. A spark, when leaving a Transformer, would no longer join the others within the Matrix holder, but instead float off into the ether to join its comrades.

This was proven to be a dangerous situation, one that would soon have to be rectified. For if it wasn’t...the unthinkable would happen again.

But we are getting ahead of ourselves. For now, we look in on the activities of a certain group of Maximals, and their progress in restoring the still-living sparks to new bodies. One by one, the new sparks are placed into unfinished protoforms. Once contained, the spark itself may choose a form of its own. Many chose to adapt to the new enviornment created by Optimus Primal, a combination of techno-organic. A few other, however, have made a different choice, for the sake of purity reverting to their original metal Cybertonian forms. One spark, in particular, chose to go back to a form that was more than 300 years out-of-date.

Protoform pods were not up to the task. This body had to be hand-crafted. Skilled hands weaved the die-cast construction into a body; the spark placed inside. Blue-lighted eyes flickered to life as the spark inhabited and took control over its new enviornment. Internal diagnostics ran checks on all systems; everything was in order. Untried limbs flexed for the first time as the being rose off the construction platform, his Autobot symbol glowing brightly in the lab lighting.

Rattrap: “So, whaddya think, eh? Feel like the original? I gotta tell ya, building that thing from the schematics you fed us was a pain; it’s hard to come by pure metal these days. And why such an antique design? I’da thought somebody as smart as you would have wanted one of these new technorganic jobs.”

The being paused before responding to the small Maximal; he gave his answer careful thought before speaking. After all, it would not due to upset his benefactor. Still, the truth was required. Best to give an abbreviated answer then. It was the only logical thing to do.

“I have my reasons, Rattrap. This new Cybertron of yours bears careful thought. I felt it best to have a form given to me from my time on planet Earth. It seemed somehow...fitting.”

Rattrap: “Eh, suit yerself. I always aim to please. Gotta stay on the good side of at least one of the elders, right?”

“Indeed. Your work, and those of your friends will not go unnoticed. As soon as you bring more of the Council Members back on-line, I will confer with them. For now...I think I should take a drive. See how much Cybertron has changed.”

Rattrap: “Garage door’s out back. Happy motoring, old-timer.”

The last comment goes unanswered. Although Rattrap himself is no cybertonian spring chicken, compared to the newly-revived Elder, he is young indeed. “But that”, thinks the Autobot, “is exactly why I must not share my thoughts without first speaking to the others. If my conclusions are correct, then the Maximals have committed a crime every bit as bad as the pseudo-Megatron did. And for that...there must be a punishment.”

Reaching the back of the bay, Prowl opens the bay door into the new Cybertonain night. He stiffens briefly, the mode and type of transformation he chose taking a moment to initiate in this new body, before folding and changing, sounding every bit the classic transformer he was rebuilt to be. Starting his engine, a familiar police car shape takes to the street as the Autobot Prowl rolls out for the first time in over 300 years. The decision he must make follows him into the techno-organic night.

To be continued...


A lonely night on Cybertron; there are few beings populating the techno-organic night. “Understandable”, thinks Prowl, “as most of our comrades are still disembodied sparks at the moment.” Prowl drives toward a familiar destination, the location of the former city-state of Iacon, where he and his fellow Autobots first launched into the starry void on the Ark in search of energy with which to revitalize Cybertron. “As important as that trip was, it seems almost a moot point”, thought Prowl, “as Cybertonians are now capable of refueling off of anything. Even organic by-products, not unlike the flesh creatures of Earth. There’s never a fight over fuel now. Merely over ideologies.”

As he heads further into Iacon, he happens upon another Cybertonian, this one, like the others, clad in the new techno-organic look. However, upon closer inspection, he also notes a familiar shape and form to this being. He pulls over, and transforms to robot mode to address the being.

Prowl: “Bumblebee? Is that you?”

Goldbug: “Actually, the name’s Goldbug now. But yes, it’s me! By the great spires, Prowl, am I just imagining you here?

Prowl: “No my friend, it is truly me as well.”

Goldbug: “I thought you were reformatted into a lion when you were revived to join the Council of Elders.”

Prowl: “So I was, along with Ironhide and Silverbolt. But that form proved to be...cumbersome in the completion of my duties, especially when I linked up with Ironhide and Silverbolt."

Goldbug: “Have they been restored as well?”

Prowl: “Not yet. Most of the elders are still awaiting construction of new bodies in the old fashion. It takes time. I see you got yourself some new digs. But the design seems odd...”

Goldbug: “This? Yea, I decided to upgrade with the times. But I was just nostalgic enough to want my old earthen form resembled, too.”

Prowl: “So you’re a techno-organic vehicle? I didn’t know that was possible.”

Goldbug: “Neither did the techs, until they tried it out on me. I always wanted to be a fashion leader. But nevermind me. I’m more curious about you and the other Elders. Why are you going back to the old bodies?”

Prowl: “That’s a long story, Goldbug. I hesitate to share it with others, but for you my friend...well, we didn’t choose techno-organic bodies because...we cannot. Not if we want to make a decision on the fate of our planet and its current condition.”

Goldbug: “The fate of our planet? I don’t understand.”

Prowl: “I can’t go into all the details until the other Elders have been revived, but...there’s a possibility that those reformatted Maximals were wrong.”

Goldbug: “Wrong? About what?”

Prowl: “About THIS!” (Prowl points all around him, at the new Cybertron) “About the idea of Cybertron being destined to be organic! I have no proof, but...I think the Oracle was wrong to make them do this.”

Goldbug: “Oracle?”

Prowl: “Well, that’s what they called it. Vector Sigma, really. The fool thing’s been damaged for a long time. Hundreds of years ago, during the dawn of the second golden age (see Rebirth), we had a surge of incredible power run thru it to repower Cybertron.”

Goldbug: “I remember that. Spike and his friends brought that about.”

Prowl: “Exactly. A combination of technological and organic beings accomplished this. I’m sure that was Vector Sigma’s last coherent processed thought before its circuits were fried during the planetary repowering. It was still functioning, but barely. Most of its logic circuits were gone.”

Goldbug: “But the Oracle was the one that the Maximals credited with the idea of a reformatted Cybertron. If it was mad, then...”

Prowl: “Exactly. Then the Maximals were wrong to bring this techno-organic era about. That being the case, they must then be held responsible for their crimes, and Cybertron restored.”

Goldbug: “No wonder you didn’t want to say anything. A decision of this magnitude...”

Prowl: “...requires a decision by all the Elders. I cannot decide this on my own. But I have my opinion.”

Goldbug: “The Maximals are guilty?”

Prowl: “And that Cybertron must be restored to its former mechanized condition.”

Goldbug: “But that would mean that Megatron was at least partially right.”

Prowl: “Indeed. The irony has not escaped me.”

The two old comrades stand togther in silence, processing the full ramifications of that last statement.

To be Continued.


Iacon proper. It is from here that the journey to the chamber of Vector Sigma, the Oracle, can be made without interruption. Although the look of the former city-state was changed, the basic layout was not. Chambers still occupied their original spots, as did doors and lifts. The Autobots Prowl and Goldbug take a lift down to the center of the Oracle Chamber, where they hope they will find answers.

Godlbug: “Makes me feel a bit dirty in this form, after hearing what you told me. I wonder if they can scrape together the resources to build me a new body?”

Prowl: “Might be best not to ask just yet, Goldbug. I’d recommend waiting until more of our comrades have been restored. The few techs are already strained building the custom bodies for the other Elders. Besides, your asking might arouse suspicion.”

Goldbug: “Understood. I hadn’t given it much thought.”

Prowl: “I don’t blame you for feeling differently now. But nothing is certain yet. There’s no sense in worrying about suspicions. We need more proof.”

Goldbug: “I take it that’s why we are here?”

Prowl: “Yes. I find it necessary to examine Vector Si.. er, I mean the Oracle. Perhaps I will find an answer to my question.”

Prowl and Goldbug approach the Oracle. The chamber is much the same as it was before; a partially decayed bridgework, surrounded by techno-organic plants. A Maximal is standing guard at the foot of the bridge.

Cheetor: (bows deeply)“Elder, it is an honor to be in your presense. To what do I owe your visit?”

Prowl: “I am here to examine the Oracle, my young friend. I seek enlightenment.”

Cheetor: “From the Oracle? It hasn’t spoken since the Reformatting. I doubt even your Eminence will squeeze a response out of it.”

Prowl: “You misunderstand me, my young friend. I said I was here to examine it, not to talk to it.”

Cheetor: (dumbfounded) “Oh. Um, do you think that’s a good idea? I mean...”

Goldbug: (cuts him off) “Do you realize who you are talking back to?”

Prowl: “Its all right, Goldbug. I’m sure he didn’t mean it like that. Cheetor has certainly proven himself to be a capable leader. He has earned the right to voice his opinion. (to cheetor)What is troubling you?”

Cheetor: “When I heard you were headed in this direction, I was concerned. I thought I could perhaps answer any questions you had. After all, I was down here quite often in the course of our fight with Megatron.”

Prowl: “Yes, I know you were. And your input is valued. However, I am not sure you could help me with the answers I seek.”

Cheetor: “What answers do you seek, Elder?”

Prowl: “Your query will be addressed at the proper time, when I have conferred with the other Elders. Did the person who told you I was coming down here also tell you how the others are coming along?”

Cheetor: “Per your instructions, they are all being restored to pre-organic bodies. Forgive me, but I still don’t understand the reasoning behind that, either.”

Prowl: “Right now, I must ask that you hold further questions until later. Tell me, Cheetor...how did the Oracle appear to you?”

Cheetor: “We were all damaged by the virus; dying, and a glowing light appeared before us and spoke. My body, and those of my comrades, were reformatted into the form you see before you.”

Prowl: “So at no time did you actually SEE the Oracle? Physically, I mean?”

Cheetor: “Physically? The Oracle has a physical component to it?”

Prowl: “If my logic follows correctly, it should. At least, it used to...”

Cheetor: “Is that why you’re here? To find the physical part of the Oracle? But to what purpose?”

Goldbug: “Inquisitive youngster, isn’t he?”

Cheetor: “Youngster? I find that a bit insulting...”

Prowl: “But it is technically true. You will have to trust in the wisdom of the Elders. In the meantime, I must complete my investigation. Leave us, Cheetor.”

Cheetor: “Fine.” (under his breath, muttering) “It wasn’t the elders that pulled your butts out of the fire.” (exits the room, the lift door shutting behind him)

Goldbug: “He’s not happy.”

Prowl: “He has a right to be unhappy. I am questioning his ‘religion’, after all.”

Goldbug: “So what DO you expect to find?”

Prowl: “We should know shortly. Come.”

The two Autobots walk across the expanse of bridge, to the center of where the Oracle Energy propagated. Prowl looks down to the pits below.

Prowl: “Just as I thought. The chamber still bears the scars of the energy surge hundreds of years ago. Vector Sigma may have revitalized the whole planet, but it didn’t clean up after itself very well. We’ll have to go down farther.”

Prowl and Goldbug transform to vehicle modes, and drive down the accessways to the central lower chamber of the Oracle, formerly Vector Sigma. They are greeted by an interesting sight. Transforming back to robot modes, they assess the scene in front of them.

Goldbug: “Guardian Robots. I don’t believe it.”

Prowl: “I hadn’t thought there would be any left after our last visit, but here they are. I wonder why no one ever came down here for them? We certainly could have used the assistance.”

Goldbug: “Guess no one wanted another energon-hog like Omega on our side, huh?”

Prowl: “Perhaps. Still, I wonder if this could all have somehow been forgotten again...there’s the scar on the chamber floor where the key was destroyed. And there’s...I don’t believe it.”

Goldbug: “Is that Vector Sigma?”

Prowl: “What’s left of it, anyways.”

The two Autobots are greeted with a strange sight; Vector Sigma, The Oracle, whatever you wanted to call it...was a shambles. Formerly a complex sphere capable of creating new life, it now stood hollow; empty. The top half was burnt away completely, leaving a charred half-egg-shaped carcass on the pedestal.

Goldbug: “But this doesn’t make sense. If it was destroyed, how could it have reformatted the Maximals?”

Prowl: “It couldn’t have. Which leaves us with two possibilities. Either the Oracle is another being altogether, or...or it was destroyed after the Reformatting.”

Goldbug: “After? But by who? And why?”

Prowl: “That...is a mystery indeed. My logic circuits are coming up empty. We’re going to need help on this one. And I know just who to ask.”

Prowl and Goldbug transform, and head back to the planet surface. In the growing distance, undetectable to either of their sensors, a single glowing red light on Vector Sigma comes on. Flickering briefly, a coded command is sent out, and the light falls dead once again.

To Be Continued.


The surface of Cybertron. The tech center operated by Rattrap. One of many centers across Cybertron geared toward making new bodies for the sparks of the transformers. This one, however, is unique in that it is the only one capable of constructing bodies in the old way. As such, Rattrap’s base of operations currently houses Cybertonain bodies in various stages of construction; the bodies of Elders soon to be on-line. A single protoform generator is kept here as well, but not used. Until now.

Rattrap: “So lemme get this straight. You want me ta pull the spark of a specific Transformer, and route it to the protoform pod? Sure, I can do it, but why? Doesn’t your friend want a metal body like the rest of youse?”

Prowl: “He might, but time is of the essense. I need his skills right away for an investigation. He has proved himself capable before. I am hopeful he can again.”

Rattrap: “So do you want a techno-organic body, like bumblebee over there?”

Goldbug: “My name is NOT Bumblebee, for the last time, it’s Goldbug.”

Rattrap: “Yeesh! Sorry! It gets kinda confusin’; wit all da name-changin around here. So what’s it gonna be?”

Prowl: “A standard Maximal body for now. He can change it after he’s finished with his investigation.”

Rattrap: “Allright. Yer funeral if he complains. There ain’t a whole lot fer that pod to scan, ya know.”

Rattrap fires up the protoform machinery. The room is filled with a hum as the spark is lowered into the glowing chamber. The sensor arm pops up and begins to sweep the room. “Subject chosen”, the chamber states, and the pod glows brighter as energies build to the formation point. Finally, it is done. Powering down, the door opens, and out steps...

To be continued.

See BeastMachines Goldbug!

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