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Crime and Punishment, Part Four

by Fred's Workshop

The Council Chamber, Iacon. Over the years it has been in use, it has had many names, and served many functions; the seat of power for the alien Quintessions during their brief rule over the native Cybertonians; as a meeting place for the two factions of Autobots and Decepticons to iron out their differences; as an Autobot stronghold during the Great Wars; as a Council Chamber both after the Rebirth and Second Golden Age, as well as the meeting place during Dawn of the Maximals and the birth of the Council of Elders; as Megatron’s Citadel during the Battle for the Spark; and finally, as a focal point for the presence of Primus himself, currently in the form of the Autobot Hotrod, who was destined since time began to be the chosen one for this crisis point, as well as one other.

Hotrod (or Rodimus, as was his form after being immersed in the Matrix energy) has had a long road ahead of him since his function the Unicron War. Destiny is a hard, bitter pill to swallow for most people, and it was no different for him. Never feeling truly up to the task, he still pushed forward, for the sake of those he had sworn to protect against all danger, be they Decepticon, Predacon, or Oracle-spawned. Relying on the powers of the Matrix, and the Wisdom of the Ancients, Rodimus always managed to avoid the worst of a tragedy, steering those who relied on him safely to the other side of conflict.

Sometimes, however, even he needed a little help. Unfortunately, that help was no longer around for him. Optimus Prime was a father, a leader, and a friend to Rodimus...when the chips were down, he knew he could count on Optimus to save those he cared for even when he himself would have failed, be it in body, or in spirit.

This time, however, he must rise to the occasion himself. For although the Matrix energy once again flows thru him, it comes with a price; the presence of Oracle, the half-mad supercomputer that gave life to many transformers in it’s previous incarnation of Vector Sigma, just as Primus himself gave life to it (and the first transformers) in the beginning. He can sense the presense of Primal, as well as billions of other beings who have passed from one plane of existence to the other. But His Optimus is not among them. Were he there, Rodimus would have known what to do, without having to worry about Oracle’s half-mad proclamations about flesh-metal; nor would he have to assemble a representative of each generation of transformers to hear their case.

The time was fast approaching; despite his internal conflicts, he had to focus on the here and now. The four Cybertonians were assembled in the Council Chamber, and waited for him to speak. Although much time passed during his internal deliberations, to the Autobots and Maximals present, perhaps only a minute was percieved to go by.

His optics glowed a little brighter; all those assembled took this as a sign that this being who claimed to be Primus reborn was about to speak. They were not to be disappointed.

Rodimus: “Thank you for coming.”

Prowl: “I wasn’t aware we had a choice.”

Rodimus: “There are always choices; you could have chosen to ignore your instincts, and not visited the Oracle Chamber; or chosen a new body instead of an old one; or not involved the others here today by sharing your concerns. There are choices at every turn.”

Prowl: “Somehow, I feel that my choices were put there by someone else. The more I look at it, the more I think that these thoughts may not have been strictly my own.”

Rodimus: “An astute observation. During your time with the Allspark, you may indeed have absorbed other thoughts and feelings before the link was severed, and you were brought back down into a body.”

Cheetor: “This is all well and good, but what about the Sparks? I came here thinking the Elder caused all this, and now I find out that it’s you who have hurt them, with your tapping into the allspark for your own selfish purposes. If you are who you claim to be, then tell me why you are hurting them!”

Rodimus: “It is not my intention to hurt anybody. And my purposes are far from selfish. The Allspark is an integral part of Primus, as are all of you. And it is nothing short of Primus himself that can guide us thru our next crisis point.”

Prowl: “What is the nature of the crisis?”

Rodimus: “You have already voiced it to Goldbug. The possibility that this techno-organic Cybertron is not the right path. And the possible civil war that would ensue should more people believe as you.”

Vector-Sigma/Oracle/Matrix: (thru Rodimus, but at a different harmonic)“There will be no civil war, child, if you would simply exert your will on the remaining Cybertonians and the Allspark."

Goldbug: “Um, were you talking to us?”

Rodimus: “No, child, that was but a part of me. The Oracle feels that this discussion is unnecessary because what it has wrought upon you is right...in its opinion. It is its wish that I simply change the remaining Cybertonians, both pure metal or bodiless, into techno-organic robots, and erase all memories of a pure metal existence.”

Cheetor: “The Oracle resides within you?”

Rodimus: “Yes, child, as well as within the Matrix.”

Cheetor: “The Matrix? The Allspark?”

Prowl: “I think he means the matrix HOLDER.”

Cheetor: “Matrix holder? I don’t understand.”

Rodimus: “Before the dawn of the Allspark, the Matrix was contained within a specially designed holder. The very essense of Primus himself, as well as the wisdom of the Ancients. All sparks went into the Matrix when they passed on to the next plane of existance. As it was until the time of the Hate Plague, and the release of the Allspark into the heavens.”

Cheetor: “How could all those sparks exist inside such a tiny vessel?”

Rodimus: “The cosmic planes exist in all shapes and sizes. The receptacle is merely tuned in to one of those planes. The holder, like yourselves, is...more than meets the eye.”

Cheetor: “And that holder ‘tuning in’ to the sparks is what caused them this pain, then. And is no doubt the reason why I can no longer can communicate with them?”

Rodimus: “Only for a moment, and only because of the crude way in which it was done. The Matrix was focused on a plane of existence in which the Allspark was no longer to be found. Oracle found it necessary to retune the Matrix. I apologise for the hurt that this may have caused.”

Prowl: “Apologies aside, you still haven’t explained why all this is necessary.”

Rodimus: “Patience. I am coming to that. As you no doubt are aware, because of the Oracle, a new vision of Cybertron has been brought about. However, despite the entire planet being...reformatted... many of the Cybertonians have not. And it is these same Cybertonians that are questioning the wisdom of the Oracle.”

Cheetor: “There was never any indication that the Sparks didn’t want this to come about.”

Rodimus: “But you didn’t ask them either, did you?”

Cheetor: “...”(silence)

Rodimus: “Of course not. You were going strictly by the guidance of the Oracle. The sparks’ main concern was to be free from Megatron’s grasp.”

Prowl: “I was a part of that concern. We helped you whenever we could, because your team of Maximals was our only hope of being free from Megatron. It was hard enough to deal with that, much less argue the philosophy of the Oracle with you. Many of us weren’t in agreement ourselves, so we tabled the issue until the immediate threat was dealt with.”

Cheetor: (angrily)“But this...this is unheard of. The virus...the Oracle saved us. Allowed us to save all of you! Why would you help us if you didn’t want to? You could have stayed prisoners of Megatron and been happier!”

Prowl: “Calm down, son...”

Cheetor: “I will NOT calm down! You’re trying to tell me that everything I have come to believe is a LIE! What about the bones we found in the caverns? What about the organic materials?”

Vector-Sigma/Oracle/Matrix: “It is as I have said. Organic beings were here. I wished to restore a balance.”

Rodimus: “You are leaving something out, Oracle.”

Vector-Sigma/Oracle/Matrix: (silence)

Cheetor: “What am I not being told?”

Rodimus: “When, as Primus, my essense first crossed over to this plane of existence and inhabited the asteriod, there was no living organic life to be found. The asteroid was dead.”

K-9: “That doesn’t make sense. Where did the organic materials come from, if they were not, in fact, native to the asteroid?”

Rodimus: “Some was. But it was eons-dead before Transformers were given life here. I would know. I was there. I would not have imposed my essense here if there were other life.”

Prowl: “Then there can be only one other possibility.”

Rodimus: “You have correctly ascertained the reason, haven’t you?”

Prowl: “I didn’t, at first, but it’s the only other explanation for the bulk of earth-based organic forms found by the Maximals, other than what they themselves brought back.”

Goldbug: “Hey, waitaminute. You mean to tell me that...”

K-9:(interrupts)”Well I still don’t know what the two of you are talking about...”

Vector-Sigma/Oracle/Matrix: “Silence! All of you!”

The room falls quiet as Oracle rips its words forward thru Rodimus, despite all of his host’s restraint.

Vector-Sigma/Oracle/Matrix: “It matters not in the end where the bulk of the material came from. What does matter is that it is the future of Cybertron. There should be no further irrelevant speculation in this regard.”

Rodimus: “That was rather rude of you, forcing your way out of me like that. Do you seek to deny the truth?”

Vector-Sigma/Oracle/Matrix: “I deny no truths. You are correct in that the organic matrial attributed by a small group of Maximals to be native to Cybertron was, in fact, brought by the humans. Underground zoos, cloning chambers, even entire archeological sites were brought from Earth and Nebulous for study here on Cybertron. We were well on our way to realizing the reformatted Cybertron we have now, the perfect combination of flesh and metal...until the ban on organics. With the decree to halt further research, or even contact, with organics here on Cybertron, the humanoids were sent home, and the labs disassembled; all materials were sealed into caverans at the heart of the planet, where they decayed. Any research on the subject had to be conducted off-planet. And so it was...”

“When Primal and his Maximals returned from Earth, along with other explorers from different parts of the galaxy...I once again had living organic matter to work with. Had these experiments not been banned before, Cybertonians would have already advanced to the point that Megatron’s virus would not have been possible. It was obvious to me that the oldest ‘generation’ of transformers is afraid of change, and because of this fear, Megatron had the opportunity to seize power and murder several billion of his fellow beings. All because of a desire to cling to ‘tradition’. It was the death of their civilation. I sought to create a better one in its place. It has been obvious to me since the Rebirth; the linking of flesh and metal in those first transformers that brought about the second Golden Age, in which all prospered.”

Cheetor: “Yes. It makes sense to me.”

Prowl: “Or you could just be biased; desperate to cling to the ravings of a half-mad super computer.”

Cheetor: “How dare you! You take that back!”

Vector-Sigma/Oracle/Matrix: “You must act soon, Rodimus. Let them state their cases, if you must, but the decision point fast approaches. The One will be activated soon, and will take the decision out of our hands.”

To Be Continued.

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