Meanwhile, adjacent to the Oracle Chamber, a lone being awakens. It has been a long time since he was active; servos grind with accumulated dust and grime as his power-up sequence engauges. Blue optics begin to glow in the pitch blackness. A voice, silent for hundreds of years, grates with a single question in the darkness: “Why?”|
HotRod has lain dormant in this anteroom to the Chamber since the dawn of the second golden age. Having served his purpose as the chosen one during the Unicron attack, and as Autobot leader during the short time without Optimus Prime, he later became a redundancy; his alter-ego Rodimus Prime a mere sidenote in a long and epic saga of heroism. Stripped of his powers and stature, and with nothing left to do except suffer as the bearer of the empty Matrix-holder, Hotrod retreated from sight, and soon from the memory of his fellow Autobots. Time passed, and as Autobots gave birth to Maximals, his story was lost. Alone, depressed, he went deeper into the heart of Cybertron, and shut himself down. Lost and forgotten to all.
The empty Matrix shell was as much a part of Vector Sigma as the key. That connection allowed it to look after Hotrod during those lost years, a glimmer of possibility for when the time was right. The Oracle’s backup plan, should the reformatted Maximals lose their foothold on Cybertron. The Oracle protected Hotrod in his dormant state; surviving both the virus and the reformatting of the planet.
The Oracle sensed that time for backup plans might yet approach. The defeat of Megatron did not eliminate all obstacles to its dream of a techno-organic Cybertron. There were still the myriad Cybertonians to contend with. Its children. The ones who would not share this new vision of Cybertron with Vector Sigma. The moment it has dreamed about for hundreds of years, since that surge of energy brought The Vision. A vision of flesh and metal working as one, not unlike the Nebulons, but more...so very much more.
Vector Sigma/Oracle knew that the two Autobots down here recently meant trouble for the plan. It’s connection with the Allspark, and thus all whose sparks have ever joined with the Matrix, gave it an intuitive look into the thoughts and feelings of its fellow beings. Knowing as it did, Oracle decided it was time for one of its children to be remembered again. It was this that brought Vector-Sigma, thru the Matrix, to Hotrod.
HotRod: “Why? Why have you awakened me?”
Vector-Sigma/Oracle: “It is time for you to rise again, my child. You are needed.”
Hotrod: “My fight ended a long time ago. Leave me in peace.”
Vector-Sigma/Oracle: “The fight is never over. You must protect the future of Cybertron.”
Hotrod: “To what end?”
Vector-Sigma/Oracle: “Protect the Maximals. Stop the Autobots.”
Vector-Sigma/Oracle: “The future of Cybertron. Open your mind to me.”
Vector Sigma lights up briefly, then goes black again. A burst of data is sent to HotRod, filling his mind with the Oracle Vision. Tired, confused, Hotrod accepts the data without question, knowing that the Creator wouldn’t lie to him.
Hotrod: “I see. My friends are back from the dead too, in a sense. And you want me to stop them.”
Hotrod: “They are my friends. I am not up to the task.”
Vector-Sigma/Oracle: “You will be, child. The Matrix you clutch to yourself is the key.”
Hotrod: “The Matrix is empty, the wisdom of the ancients lost.”
Vector-Sigma/Oracle: “Not lost. Merely scattered. Until now. The time has come to channel the Allspark energy back into the Matrix.”
Hotrod: “Is that possible?”
Vector-Sigma/Oracle: “It always has been.”
Hotrod: “Then WHY didn’t you do it before?! Why was I relegated to this paltry existence!?”
Vector-Sigma/Oracle: “Your name will be hailed thruout the ages after this moment. You will never be forgotten.”
Hotrod: “What do I care about that?”
Vector-Sigma/Oracle: “Is it not your heart’s desire to be remembered?”
Hotrod: “The records of our history are lost.”
Vector-Sigma/Oracle: “You will make a new history.”
Hotrod ponders this. Those he fought so hard to protect didn’t come to look for him. Didn’t even seem to miss him. Vector-Sigma/Oracle was offering him a chance to be a hero to a new group of Cybertonians; and a place in all history. Yet, it is hard to give up what you are; what you used to be. How does one forget history?
Hotrod: “Must I kill them? Can I not stop them another way?”
Vector-Sigma/Oracle: “If they will listen to reason child, a shot need not be fired. You could unite the Autobots in the Maximal cause. This is within your power. You can bring both past and present together for the future. I do not wish to see my children lost.”
Hotrod finds this decision satisfactory. He will have a chance to prove to his friends that he can still make a difference. He could spare them all, yet still help the creator.
Hotrod: “DO it. Give me BACK my power!”
Vector-Sigma/Oracle begins to hum. A misty glow envelops Hotrod, and soon spreads throughout the entire Oracle Chamber. A vortex of strange energies opens up above the chamber, building to a fever pitch. A virtual hailstorm of spark energy erupts thru the vortex, striking Vector Sigma, and is as quickly rechanneled into the Matrix holder in Hotrod’s hands. He screams, howls; unable to let go of the Matrix, the energies pour into Hotrod, making him grow, change. The energies continue to pour unabated for what seems like eternity, until finally, blessedly, it is done. Vector-Sigma/Oracle grows silent once again, and when the heat and smoke dissipate, it reveals an Autobot not seen before on Cybertron...at least, not since the birth of the planet itself.
Hotrod: “I am...Rodimus again?”
Vector-Sigma/Oracle: (from inside the Matrix) “You are much more than that, child. The allspark has been tapped and channeled once again; and added to it is my essense as well. I am contained within the Matrix. All this powers you now. The shell before you is dead to any others who may come looking for me, for I go with you. Arise, Rodimus. Do our bidding. Use the power of the allspark, and my essense to defeat those who would stand in our way.”
Rodimus looks at his hands, at his body. He finds a reflective surface and stares, just stares at himself. He does not like what he sees.
Rodimus: “Sacrilage. The power is incredible. I feel stronger than I ever have. But what...what has happened to me? Am I not part of your vision? Why do I look...like this? Why him?”
Vector-Sigma/Oracle/Matrix: “I cannot reformat you as a Maximal, my child, as there is nothing organic about you. I have simply powered your vessel to the ultimate degree. You are and always have been, shaped into the very likeness of Primus himself.”
Rodimus: “But to look like him so closely. Is this my destiny?”
Rodimus: “Then let it be as such. I will bring all sides together as their living God, the very embodiement of all Transformer life. I will be Primus reborn. The Matrix will be my tool of creation, from which I will spawn new life as you did, and Primus did before you. I will spread the vision to all corners of Cybertron...nay, to the very universe. We cannot, will not be contained again.”
Vector-Sigma/Oracle: “You speak wise, child. Go find your destiny.”
Rodimus waves his hand ever so slightly; a mere gesture, yet in that gesture is the power of life itself. Six Guardian robots in the next room glow, and come to life. Each infused with a spark from the Creation Matrix, their personalities geared to serve their Primus reborn. They lumber forward, and kneel before him.
Rodimus: “Arise, my Guardians. You will be the vanguard; the ultimate protectors of the Essense of Primus embodied within me. You are the first, and the best of warriors.”
The guardian robots rise. Each as tall, powerful, and bearing the very likeness of Omega Supreme, each is regal in their bearing, for they have been entrusted once again with the sacred duty they were created to fufill.
Rodimus: “And now, my noble warriors, we leave this place. We shall go to the surface of Cybertron, where we are needed the most.”
Another gesture; Rodimus and his 6 Guardian robots begin to ascend to the surface, as though on an invisible lift. It is a long way back to the planet surface, but Rodimus is in no hurry; after all, destiny takes time. And he intends to savor every moment from this point on...
To be Continued.
Recap: The Bodyshop, one of many across the surface of Cybertron dedicated to the reconstruction of bodies for the Cybertonain populace. This one, controlled by Rattrap, is dedicated to the building of die-cast, pure metal bodies in the ‘classic’ style. However, Prowl has made an emergency request of him to use a protoform pod to create a Maximal beast form for a special investigation.
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...
K-9: “Unnng. This wasn’t what I had in mind when I said to bring me back on-line. What happened to my Metal body? Or my Nightbeat persona, for that matter?”
Prowl: “This was at my request. I needed your skills right away, and this was the only thing we had available.”
K-9: “So I’m a canine again, huh?”
Prowl: “Your alternate form, yes. We didn’t have anything to scan, so we took the data files from your memory core on your most recent incarnation. It was the only thing available for the protoform pod. You still have full-access to your previous personas’ datatracks. You will need to call upon those skills.”
K-9: “You need a detective? Now? I’m happy to help, but I’m afraid I don’t understand what could need looking into at this point. Didn’t we win the war?”
Prowl. “Yes, but there’s more to be done. I’ll tell you on the way. Come with us.”
Prowl transforms into his police-car mode, and opens his passenger-side door. K-9 transforms into his police-dog form, and hops into the open seat, curling up comfortable almost immediately.
Prowl: “Don’t ruin the upoulstry. That’s new.”
K-9: “Ah, you worry too-much.”
Prowl, with K-9, drive out of the service bay. Goldbug transforms, and follows them, calling back to Rattrap.
Goldbug: “Thanks for the assist!” (drives off)
Rattrap: “Eh, notta prob. It’s what I’m here fer.”
Cybertron; the Hall of Records. Cheetor is scanning thru index after index, trying to find information on something...anything that would help him answer his current questions.
Cheetor:(to himself) “There’s got to be an answer here somewhere. Megatron may have purged the database, but he couldn’t have gotten everything. I don’t care what Rattrap says.”
Cheetor continues his search, hoping to find some indication of what he should do next. As the de-facto leader of the Maximals, even the entire planet (for the time being, he reasons) he searches for answers to what he should do next. BigBot is gone; the Oracle no longer speaks. Even the sparks have grown strangely quiet recently. He is at a loss; with no information, how can he make decisions?
Prowl worries him. Elder or not, “There’s something almost...wrong with the investigation he’s conducting,” thinks Cheetor, “and I have to know why.” Hoping the answer might be within the database of the Hall of Records, Cheetor headed here. And to a fruitless search.
Cheetor: “This doesn’t make sense. If this database is empty, how will we reclaim our heritage?”
Suddenly, Cheetor is gripped with a horrible pain within his very spark. He screams; then collapses to the floor. Although his body is apparently off-line, his mind is far from it.
The Vision. It grips Cheetor as it did Optimus Primal when they first returned to Cybertron. The sparks speak to him; or rather, they scream, for they are in pain. After hundreds of years of freedom, they are being crushed, channeled, forced. They scream in agony, for the Matrix is tapping into the allspark once again. They communicate this pain to Cheetor, who is unable to do anything except scream in his mind with them, sharing their pain. Then, after an instant that stretches for eternity, it is over. Cheetor is back in his body; optics and system checks power back up. The Vision itself is cloudy, unclear, but the pain he understands quite well. Something is hurting the sparks. And he must find a way to stop it. Cheetor stands, and positions himself, thinking, “I am transformed.” In techno-organic Cheetor mode, he sprints from the Hall of Records, and toward Rattrap’s lair.
Cybertron; the city of Iacon. Prowl, Goldbug, and K-9 head toward the accessway to the lower levels of the planet itself, and to the Oracle Chamber. Or at least, that was the plan. Until...
Prowl: (slamming on brakes, skidding) By the Great Spires!
K-9: “Oomph. Hey, watch it, I’m not wearing a seatbelt here!” (looks out Prowl’s windshield) Oh, slag.”
Goldbug: “I’m seeing things, right?”
Prowl: “If you are, then we’re all hallucinating, Goldbug. Although I can’t possibly imagine how we CAN be seeing this.”
Iacon, the great city-state of Cybertron. The home of Cybertron’s greatest Autobots for eons. Laid siege to a number of times during the Great Wars, sacked during the Decepticon Occupation, rebuilt during the second Golden Age... reformatted during the Battle for the Spark. And now, changed again by the hands of Primus himself. Or so it seemed.
Goldbug: “What...what IS that?”
K-9: “A big floating city-state?”
Goldbug: “I can SEE that, smart guy! It’s Iacon, but...WHY is it floating up there?”
Prowl: “All the great City-States had the ability, before the first fuel-shortages grounded them. I wonder what’s powering it?”
K-9:”What? Hell, I’d like to know why. Was this the mystery you brought be to investigate?”
Prowl: “Um, No, but it will do.”
K-9 hops out of Prowl, and transforms. Prowl and Goldbug transform to robot mode as well, and look up...and up, into the sky to stare at Iacon, and back to the ground, and the large empty hole where the city used to sit.
Prowl: “This wasn’t in any specs I saw.”
Rodimus (from inside their heads) “I added it myself. I thought it a nice touch, don’t you?”
Goldbug: “That voice...”
Prowl: “Steady, old friend, we don’t know for sure. But it does sound familiar.”
Rodimus (from inside their heads) “Yes, you do, and it should. You have known all along. That’s why you’re here, isn’t it child?”
K-9: “Child? Hey wait a minute, I’m no spring chicken.”
Rodimus (inside their heads) “All are children under Primus. Come. I have been waiting.”
A glowing sphere appears under the three Cybertonains’ feet, and they begin to rise toward the floating city-state.
Goldbug: “Whoa, nelly!”
Prowl: “An earthen expression.”
Godlbug: “Why do I get the feeling we’re not gonna like what we find?”
The sphere wisks them up to the city-state, and disappears inside.
To be Continued.
Rattrap’s lab. Our friend is busily working away at the latest body of the Elders. It is a body he’s become familiar with; at least, it seems so. Though 4 million plus years of time have seperated those bodies, it was only a matter of months for Rattrap.
Rattrap: (to himself) “Eh, this guy’s been rebuilt so many times, it’s a wonder his specs aren’t public information...good thing I kept a copy from the last repair. But dis time I gotta build yer whole body instead of repairing yer head? Sigh. A rat’s work is never done.”
Rattrap hums to himself as he tinkers with the partially assembled body of another Elder, this one a large red robot most would be familiar with, especially in this classic configuration. Rattrap still wonders to himself why the earthen modes were requested instead of a more Cybertonian look. “Eh, mebbe they didn’t want to seem too-much like vehicons,” Rattrap thinks. “Probably a good strategy, considering recent events.”
Rattrap’s thoughts are interrupted when Cheetor bursts into the lab, panting, sweat gleaming off of his techno-organic musculature. He lays down on the floor to catch his breath.
Rattrap: “Eh, why the rush, Pussycat?”
Cheetor:(panting) “The...the sparks. Are they allright?”
Rattrap: “The ones here? Sure. They’re still sittng in the jar. Why?”
Cheetor:(transforms to robot-mode) “Pain. Great pain. The sparks are in danger.”
Rattrap: “Eh, youse knock a circuit loose? I told ya, they’re right here.”
Cheetor: “They talked to me, Rattrap. Something is hurting them. Not physically. Almost as though something is tapping into their very essense.”
Rattrap: “Now I KNOW youse got a circuit loose. C’mere, I’ll have a look-see in the ol’ noggin.”
Cheetor:(brushing his concern aside) “I’m FINE, Rattrap! Listen to me. I was in the Hall of Records when they contacted me. Someone, or something has tapped into them, and not in a good way.”
Rattrap: “Ok, spots, ok, I believe ya. What do ya want me ta do about it?”
Cheetor: “You don’t have any ideas?”
Rattrap: “Hey, you’re the one talkin to them. All the monitors I have here say the sparks are fine. Beyond that, I dunno.”
Cheetor: “I wonder if this has something to do with the Elder, and his ‘investigation.’”
Rattrap: “You think Prowl had something to do with this?”
Cheetor: “I don’t know, but he was intent on visiting the Oracle, and now this...the two have to be connected somehow.”
Rattrap: “So, call him.”
Rattrap: “Eh, whaddya think, they ain’t gonna talk to ya? They got comms like the rest of us. Call him.”
Cheetor: “Cheetor to Prowl, Cheetor to Prowl, come in.” (static)
Rattrap: “Eh, maybe he stepped out for a bit.”
Cheetor: “From his INTERNAL comm? I doubt that. I’m heading out to Iacon. That’s where he was headed last. Contact the others, and tell them to meet me there.”
Rattrap: “Eh, WHAT others? We’re it, except for the techs running the other Centers. And I don’t think they or the newly-reactivated Cybertonians are gonna to be much help. A little new-ness to work thru, eh? I can call the spider, bat, and bird, but they'll never get from the other side of the planet to here any time soon. The only others ready to roll out are already with the Elder.”
Rattrap: “Golbug and K-9.”
Cheetor: “Slag. Fine then, I’ll go myself. Keep doing your work here; update the Elders as they come on-line.”
Rattrap: “You got it. But er, what am I suppsed to tell them?”
Cheetor: “Tell them...I don’t know. Tell them we have a problem. Hopefully, I’ll be back with answers soon.”
Cheetor transforms and heads out of the lab, leaving Rattrap to scratch his head in confusion. Finally, he picks up a sonic spaner, and prepares to return to his work.
Rattrap: (to himself) “This just gets wierder and wierder. Eh, too-bad you weren’t on-line, eh big guy? I bet you’d have something to say. You always did, anyways...”
To Be Continued.