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Crime and Punishment, Part Five

by Fred's Workshop

Prowl: “The One?”

Rodimus: “I believe he refers to the one whose absense I have felt since being reactivated. For whatever reason, I could not detect him thru the Allspark. A shame; his guidance would be invaluable. But supposedly biased at this point. Yet out of deference to him, the vote would be swayed in his favor. I believe Oracle fears him.”

Goldbug: “Who’s he referring to?”

Vector-Sigma/Oracle/Matrix: “It is not relevant. I fear no one. You will now state your cases to Primus.”

K-9: “Um...ok. What are we stating?”

Rodimus: “Each of you represents a different generation of Cybertonian life; the most diverse grouping in such a short timeframe. One of you is a representative of the correct path; the others merely abberations. The correct path will have Cybertron restored or changed to suit that transformer life; the incorrect paths will be expunged, and all memories of their existence erased. The correct path will be past, present, and future for all time on Cybertron.”

Cheetor: “That decision was already made! Techno-organic is the future of Cybertron.”

Prowl: “But that’s only because the Oracle put that idea into your head, and set events in motion accordingly.”

Goldbug: “This just gets wierder and wierder. I can’t believe that we even have to make a decision like this. Primus, why can’t you decide for us? You set this all in motion. We’re your creation; you should know what our future holds.”

Rodimus: “My vision is no longer relevant in light of the end of the Unicron War. When I gave you life, it was to fight in my steed against the chaos-bringer. That task has been fufilled. You now have the ability to choose your own path; it is that choice you will make today, without influence from outside sources. All that has forced change upon you will no longer do so; The Quintessons, civil war between the races, even your God...it is finished. From here on in, the Cybertonians will choose their own destiny. All else will be forgotten. It is the least I can do for my children.”

Goldbug: “There’s no possibility of everyone getting what they want? Some kind of peaceful coexistence?”

Prowl: “It would appear not. We are no longer all on the same side.”

k-9: “This stinks. I don’t want to force my opinion on everyone else.”

Prowl: “I agree; it is not a task we should relish.”

Rodimus: Nevertheless, it must be done.”

To be Continued.

“From here on in, the Cybertonians will choose their own destiny. All else will be forgotten. It is the least I can do for my children.”

Prophetic words. Nothing less would be expected from Rodimus, the living incarnation of Primus. Four heroes have been gathered by a God; and it is they who must decide the future of Cybertron. Cases are stated...

Cheetor: “Fine. If these are the rules, then I will play by them. I argue for the techno-organic Cybertonians. We are the future; a perfect fusion of flesh and metal, as envisioned by the Oracle. We are the next stage in evolution; the pinnacle of life itself, the best of both worlds. We fought on the side of Right; fought against impossible evils, impossible odds, and succeeded. As the New Maximals, decreed by the Oracle, we are the true heirs of Cybertron, and it is such that the planet should stay formatted as it is. Only by a perfect combination of both will we truly be able to move forward into our future. ”

Rodimus: “Prowl, you will go next.”

Prowl: “As you wish. I represent the Transformers in their purest sense; living metal, from when Primus first breathed life into us. I chose a metal body in the old tradition. Logically, we should not try to become something we are not; Cybertron, and all its inhabitants are pure living machines, unencumbered by organic components both by tradition and by design. We did not even know of carbon-based organic life until our encounters with the human civilization. It was this contact that has caused an undue abberation in Cybertonian affairs; a mutating of our culture, as it were. We eventually placed Earth and Nebulous off-limits to direct contact with Cybertron for a reason; they’d already had an unforseen effect during the time of the rebirth. Necessity forced us to combine flesh and metal in the crudest sense; we felt the utilization of head-and-targetmasters would gain us an advantage. It turned out not to be worth the price, which is why research was officially abandoned in that area. Of course, by then the Maximal movement had taken root. We were too-late to completely stop the infection of our culture by organics. It was such that we were made to compromise, and eck out a crude form of coexistance. Pretenders and Micromasters came and went, but paved the way for the birth of the Maximals. They are a breed that should not have been brought into existence in the first place. I stand for tradition; for the bulk of Cybertonians who want a pure Cybertron, as was our true path in the beginning. And should be again. Remove the stain of the organics; restore Cybertron to its pure metal existence.”

Rodimus: “We have heard the arguments on both extremes. Goldbug, K-9, you represent the middlegrounds between the extremes.”

K-9: “Then I shall go next. I was originally one of the Autobots; I went thru the rebuild to become a Headmaster. When that was frowned upon, I joined the Maximal movement. After experiencing the advantages of a flesh-metal union, I knew I could not go back to becoming a pure robot. I took on a new form; downsized to conserve energon, added a pretender shell of sorts. My metal body was concealed by a flesh alternate form. Unlike many of my fellow Cybertonians, I did not have my personality wiped; I chose to retain the datatracks of my former existence. I feel that this gives me a unique insight into both the Maximal and Autobot worlds. I’d like to think I have an eye for detail, and this was one thing many of my fellow Autobots missed. If it were up to me, I would rather see both extremes exist peacefully with each other, without necessarily intermingling. I believe in using the advantages offered by organics, but at the same time I do not think we should lose track of our pure Cybertonian heritage. While I cannot side with Prowl, I’m afraid I cannot side with Cheetor either; both extremes lose out on the benefits of the other. Like my fellow Maximals, I’m a scientist and explorer at heart. Picking one over the other is not the answer.”

Rodimus: “Goldbug, I believe you have an opinion to offer as well.”

Goldbug: “Who, me? Uh, I don’t think I have much to contribute on this issue. Better to make a decision based on what already has been said. It would be...fair.”

Rodimus: “Goldbug, you offer a side of the issue the others cannot; you are both extremes...AND in the middle. If your opinion did not matter, I would not have brought you here.”

Goldbug: “Well, OK, you asked for it...I’ve been everything represented here. Originally an Autobot, then a Maximal, and finally a techno-organic being...of a sort. I’m a fusion of both extremes; but unlike K-9 I’m not a robot hidden in flesh. My metal and organic components are fused, like Cheetor. But unlike Cheetor, I have a machine alt-mode instead of an animal one. Call it a desire to remain true to my heritage. Truthfully, I thought our pure metal heritage was long past, so I made an effort to embrace the new Cybertron. However, had I known that all this would have come to pass, that we would be able to make another kind of decision...I’m afraid then that I would have to side with Prowl on this issue. It would be nice to have a small area dedicated to organics, and those who wished to remain so, but Cybertron should be returned to its true metal existance. It wasn’t fair to impose a minority opinion on a majority of us.”

Cheetor: “This is really how you felt?”

Goldbug: “Yes, it was...is. I’m sorry. I have nothing but respect for your choices, but I would like to make my own. So would the rest of Cybertron.”

Cheetor: “I...had no idea. Primal was so sure. And when the sparks listened to him, I naturally assumed we were all in agreement. There are so many advantages to a techno-organic existence.”

Prowl: “I’m sure there are. But perhaps others should have been given that choice.”

K-9: “Well, you elders didn’t give us much of a choice when organic research was banned on Cybertron itself. We felt pretty alone after that decision.”

Prowl: “It was a majority decision, K-9.”

K-9: “Perhaps, but there should have been some small part of Cybertron given over to our reserch, instead of making us go into space for all that exploration. You even had a beastmode or two yourself. If so many of us were organic, why ban further research?”

Prowl: “We couldn’t take the chance. Look what has happened already. We’ve lost so much of our history under mounds of DIRT. How will we rebuild our civilization on a mudball?”

Cheetor: “Mudball?! This ‘mudball’ is our home, Prowl! Whether or not you like it, it’s where we live.”

Prowl: “But it’s NOT Cybertron! This...this is merely a copy of Earth. If Earth was so great, why didn’t transformer life arise on that planet first? Why here? Why ona pure metal planet?”

K-9: “Earth isn’t such a bad place.”

Prowl: “Then maybe the organics should have an organic planet of their own, away from Cybertron!”

Cheetor: “We would have liked to, but you banned us from Earth, remember?”

Prowl: “Because of transwarp drive! Surely you of all people know how delicate the balance of time is. I’ve read your reports from your time on prehistoric Earth. History was almost changed. Irreversably.”

Cheetor: “Yes, maybe...but some of our changes were MEANT to be. We we supposed to go there.”

Prowl: “Why, because of a second moon and some knocked-over stones? Who’s to say that didn’t happen another way?”

K-9: “Look, we could debate the logistics of a time-space paradox all night, but it doesn’t bring us any closer to solving our current problem.”

Goldbug: “I disagree, this dialogue seems to have everything to do with our situation. It boils down to a fundamental philosophy, and one that we can’t seem to reconcile. We are scientists and explorers at heart...but are there some things we should not know? Shouldn’t tamper with, lest they affect us in a negative way? I can’t help but to feel that Megatron’s virus wouldn’t have been so effective if so many Cybertonians hadn’t converted over to some type of organic hybrid, be it Maximal, Pretender, Headmaster, or whatever. Those were the ones affected by the virus, as I recall. Those that retained a pure metal existance were hunted down by the vehicons.”

Cheetor: “You talk about organics as though they were a disease! Something to be removed from the heart of Cybertron. You sound like Megatron.”

Prowl: “He may have been right in that regard. Besides, he wasn’t the original Megatron. He merely took the name. As I recall, his original identity was...”

Cheetor: (cuts him off) “I don’t care who he was. He was evil.”

Prowl: “In what he did, yes. But there was some merit to his idea. He simply took it too-far.”

Cheetor: “I can’t believe I’m hearing this! You’re siding with the enemy!”

Prowl: “If you recall, at two key points many of us were persuaded to join our sparks with his. The arguments on both sides were compelling. Our desire for individuality is what won out, not the desire to become organic. But that is what Primal forced upon us.”

Cheetor: “I can’t believe this. Forced. It’s like you’re saying we ofrced this upon you.”

K-9: “Um, I suppose that’s exactly what he’s been saying all along.”

Cheetor: “How could we have known? We did what we thought was right...what Bigbot told us was right.”

Prowl: “I don’t hold you responsible for this, Cheetor. You did do the right thing. Your choice was the best choice between the two we were offered. We couldn’t have asked you for anything more at the time.”

Cheetor: “At the time...but now after all is said and done, you want to revisit the decision.”

Prowl: “Not just me...many others, too. It would have been nothing more than a mere discussion with the other Elders, and a moot one at that; for we certainly didn’t have the necessary ability to undo what you’ve done. It wasn’t until Primus intervened that a choice was truly made open to us. If it was wrong to have such a choice, would it be here before us now?”

Cheetor: “Primus...the Covenant of Primus. If only I’d paid more attention. The information was there all along.”

Goldbug: “Hey, we all make mistakes.”

Cheetor: “I don’t feel I MADE a mistake. I still think we’re right. I just...don’t know how to reconcile it with what I know now.”

K-9: “Perhaps the best answer DOES lie somewhere in the middle. Perhaps Cybertron should be turned back into its pure metal form. But what about the moons?”

Prowl: “The moons?”

K-9: “It’s amazing that we overlook them considering they are always overhead. Those aren’t our original metal moons, you know.”

Goldbug: “Well no, of course not. They were chewed up by Unicron back in the day. We made the new ones from matrials from Earth’s asteroid belt, overlayed with metal...”

Prowl: “The moons aren’t pure Cybertonian metal? Hmmm.”

k-9: “An idea percolating in that noggin of yours?”

Prowl: I can only assume that it’s the same idea you might be thinking. What if we returned Cybertron back to its pure existance, but left the moons reformated? They’re a small version of earth...organic core. Organic from top to bottom, after the Oracle’s handiwork. It might be the answer.”

Cheetor: “The answer to what, exactly?”

Prowl: “The moons are organic. They’re supposed to be. Would you and your Maximals have any issues with relocating to the moon? You could maintain your organics, and continue further research, while leaving Cybertron pure for the majority of our comrades.”

Cheetor: “Hmmm. Difficult to say. We’d be giving up our home.”

Prowl: “Not at all. We’d still co-exist. Free travel to and from the moons and Cybertron as always. I’m simply offering a possible compromise to our situation. Everyone would have an opportunity to live in the enviornment and form he or she chooses.”

Cheetor: “The Maximals wouldn’t be looked down on by the pure metal Cybertonains?”

Prowl: “How can they, after you’ve saved their lives? I’m not saying that racism will go away overnight-on either side-but it would be a start. And a good one, with freedom for all of us to pursue our destinies. No matter where they lie; in metal, organics, or somewhere in-between, like yourself.”

Cheetor: “I must admit, I find the idea appealing. We’d still preserve our integrity. And at the same time, we can right a horrible wrong we committed against our own people. I’m sorry, Prowl. We traded one time of punishment for another. I cannot excuse my actions in this crime against my fellow Cybertonians.”

Prowl: “If there was a crime, it was not you who committed it. Therefore, the punishment should not be yours. We can put it behind us. And with the help of Primus, we can set things right again.”

K-9: “It sounds as though the three of you have made a decision. I’m not so sure I agree with it, but it does seem like the best compromise to this situation. If you two are actually in agreement, then who am I to stand in your way?”

Goldbug: “Well, you already know where I stand.”

Rodimus: “Then all of you are in agreement. Excellent, my children. As you have decided, and as Primus has fortold, it shall be done. Prepare to behold Cybertron in all its glory once again.”

Cheetor: “Um, shouldn’t we warn the other Cybertonians what’s about to happen...er, again?”

Prowl: “As the expression goes, time waits for no ‘bot. Besides, I don’t think they have anything to worry about, do they?”

Rodimus: “Indeed not. I am One with al sparks. I am in tune with their true desires. All who wish to maintain their organics will do so; all those who long for their pure metal bodies will have them once again. It is the least I can do for my children.”

Cheetor: “Primus, we thank you.”

Rodimus prepares to gather the energy needed for the Unformatting of Cybertron, when he is interrupted by another voice:

Vector-Sigma/Oracle/Matrix: “I have heard enough. It becomes necessary to assert my control over you, Primus/Rodimus. For you seem intent on dragging this intention out to no good purpose.”

Rodimus: “You would defy a God? The people have spoken.”

Vector-Sigma/Oracle/Matrix: “You defy your purpose. Their thoughts are irrelevant. It is in Cybertron’s best interest for me to complete your task.”

Rodimus: “So you think, Oracle, but you are wrong. And I will not allow it.”

Vector-Sigma/Oracle/Matrix: “You have no choice.”

Terrible energies rip thru Rodimus, convulsing his entire body. Patches of his outer metal layers melt away, revealing a portion of his endoskeletal structure. He screams; a terrible sound of pure agony that echoes thru all of Cybertron. Rodimus falls; no longer able to sustain his flotation, he crashes to the floor of the Council Chamber.

And yet, despite this, Rodimus does not lose control. Another scream escapes his burned lips, this a scream of rage from the Oracle, who does not yet have control despite his attack. However, in his now-weakened state, Rodimus is unable to maintain his hold over the floating city. The Matrix energy is diverted from him. The city begins to fall.

To Be Continued


Prowl: “Rodimus!”

Goldbug: “What happened?”

K-9: “It appears Oracle attempted to take control. Rodimus resisted.”

Cheetor: “Rodimus? I thought he was Primus.”

Prowl: “When all the parts are linked, he is Primus. But the shell you see before you, the part that resisted Oracle’s control, is Rodimus.”

Cheetor: “Rodimus? Never heard of him.”

Goldbug: “Rodimus Prime. Hotrod, originally. He was our leader during the aftermath of the Unicron War.”

Cheetor: “I don’t recall reading that in the archives. I thought Optimus Prime was your leader.”

Prowl: “There was a time when we had to function without Optimus. The Matrix chose Hotrod as our leader. The energies changed him into Rodimus.”

Cheetor: “I’ve seen that effect. Bigbot went thru a transformation when...”

Rodimus: “Nuuuuhhhh...the pain...Oracle is still trying...”

Prowl: (looking out window) “The city is falling.”

K-9: “Without the Oracle and control of the Matrix, Rodimus doesn’t have the power to keep us afloat.”

Rodimus: “But with me still alive and fighting, Oracle doesn’t have the ability to finish the reformatting, either. My children are safe. They will not lose their heritage.”

K-9: “You’ve got to hold on! Keep fighting! You haven’t completed your task yet!”

Rodimus: “I was so sure of myself...let my guard down...”

Prowl: “What can we do to help you?”

Rodimus: “Matrix...must be removed from me. Oracle is contained within. I’ll still be close enough to the Allspark, but he won’t be able to affect me physically. It may be our only chance.”

Cheetor: “I’m on it.”

Cheetor makes a move toward Rodimus to take the Matrix from him, but is repelled when he reaches for Rodimus’ chest cavity. Sparks fly, and Cheetor is thrown across the room. Smoke pours from his carcass as a portion of his flesh-metal is burned away by the Oracle energy.

Prowl: “Cheetor!”

Rodimus: “NOOOooooo...my child...”

Thinking quickly, Goldbug converts his right fist to an extinguisher, and douses Cheetor with the flame-retardant foam. Under the foam, Cheetor cools, and struggles back to his feet. The shock has reverted him back to beast-mode. He struggles to convert again to robot mode, with little success. Summoning his reserves, and calling upon what he learned from Primal, he meditates:

Cheetor: “I am transformed...aaagggh!”

Unable to convert completely, and blinded by the pain of trying to change shape, Cheetor mercifully passes out.

Goldbug: “Oh man, that’s one down! Who’s next?”

To Be Continued.

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