| Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six |

Crime and Punishment, Part Six
by Fred's Workshop

Vector-Sigma/Oracle/Matrix has attempted to assert control over Rodimus. Rodimus is fighting, but it seems to be a losing battle. The others present want to help, but when Cheetor made the attempt, the Oracle punished him for it..in spades. Now damaged, unconscious, he has entered stasis-lock. The others seem helpless in assisting their fallen comrade.

Prowl: “Oracle, how could you? Cheetor was your strongest follower, and this is how you repay him?”

Vector-Sigma/Oracle/Matrix: “Your query is irrelevent. He fell from the True Path.”

Goldbug: “After all this, we don’t have a choice? What was the point, then?”

Vector-Sigma/Oracle/Matrix: “The point was to make you see the error of your ways. However, this move was in itself the error. Cybertron will remain as it is. The last of the Cybertonians will be reformatted, and memories of this encounter, as well as of all history of a pure metal existence, will be no longer.”

K-9: “But that’s hardly fair!”

Vector-Sigma/Oracle/Matrix: “It is for your own good.”

Prowl: “This will all be a moot point in a moment. The city is falling; if we crash, we’ll die, and you with us. You won’t see your future thru.”

Vector-Sigma/Oracle/Matrix: “You toy with me, child. I control this city just as I control all of Cybertron.”

Rodimus’ chest cavity is partially burnt open; from there, the Matrix, and the Oracle energy can be seen. The energy seeps out, over the city, barely noticeable...until the city begins to slow. Ever so slowly, Iacon settles back into its original place on Cybertron. Hardly a blde of grass was disturbed.

Goldbug: “Sigh. Well, so much for plan A...”

Vector-Sigma/Oracle/Matrix: “Stand by for reformatting and datatrack erasure.”

Prowl: “NOOO! We will NOT give up our heritage so easily!”

Prowl pulls his gun from subspace and fires repeatedly into the open portion of Rodimus’ chest cavity, striking the Oracle energy. The Matrix holder itself is not touched, but the energy is disturbed. A groan is heard thru both Rodimus and the Oracle. The energy dims ever so slightly. Then, just as suddenly, Prowl’s gun is ripped from his hands and smashed against the far wall of the Chamber.

Vector-Sigma/Oracle/Matrix: “You sought to harm me with a simple weapon as that? Foolishness. You shall be the next to feel the reformatting.”

The Oracle energies charge out of Rodimus and strike Prowl. Prowl screams; falls to his knees, surrounded. He convulses in the fog; blue optics crack as the energy forces its way in and around all of his exposed systems. Small parts of his metal body seems to dissolve in places as techno-organic flesh-metal begins to appear underneath. Prowl screams...

And as suddenly as the scream begins, it ends. The Oracle energies surrounding him are blocked; diverted. Goldbug leaps in front of Prowl, effectively stopping the onslaught. As he is already a techno-organic being, the Oracle reformatting energies have no effect on him. Cut off from the glowing fog-energy, Prowl reverts back to his metal form. The reformatting, not completed, allows the flesh-metal to disperse, leaving him a pure, albiet damaged robot.

Vector-Sigma/Oracle/Matrix: (to Goldbug) “You waste the gift I have given to you, child?”

Goldbug: “Not a waste. Merely saving a friend, and a child of Primus. You’ve given us nothing but pain and misery!”

Goldbug transforms into his techno-organic vehicle mode, and makes a run straight for Rodimus, headlight-lasers blazing. The shots miss their mark widely, bouncing harmlessly off various parts of Rodimus’ body, despite his proximity to the target. Frustrated, Goldbug speeds up, and runs straight into Rodimus, knocking him down but unfortunately not dislodging the Matrix. Goldbug, having too-much momentum built up from the hit-and-run, careens wildly, spinning out of control, until he smashes into a side wall of the Chamber. Damaged, spark-energy crackling over his frame, Goldbug is disoriented, disabled, and unable to transform and continue the fight.

Seeing his comrades in various states of decommission, and seeing Rodimus begin to stir again, K-9 makes a decision. Transforming to Beast-mode, he makes a running leap out of a window to the Council Chamber, landing clumsily on the street far below. He doesn’t let the fall stop him, as he builds up speed quickly, running out of the city, and to uncertain reinforcements.

Vector-Sigma/Oracle/Matrix: (in k-9’s mind) “Foolish child, where can you go? I am all of Cybertro...bzzzt”(gets cut off suddenly) No longer hearing the voice, K-9 seemingly doubles his speed out of the city.

Vector-Sigma/Oracle/Matrix: (to Rodimus) “You are weak; yet you still seek to stop me?”

Rodimus: “As long as my spark exists on this plane, I will hold the line against you.”

Vector-Sigma/Oracle/Matrix: “Your children attacked you.”

Rodimus: “It was you they were attacking, and rightly so. Your energy is not quite as strong as it was a moment ago. What better explanation for us having this conversation, instead of you already commencing the final reformatting? They made the right decision.”

Vector-Sigma/Oracle/Matrix: “A temporary setback at worst. It won’t be long now.”

To be Continued.
| Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six |


K-9 runs. Faster, further than his body should even be able to accomplish. But he is driven by instinct; an instinct to survive. Various alarms ring in his on-board computer, warning him that he is exceeding stress limits, his various motor-units threatening to seize. Even a low-energon warning does not stop him; the threat of stasis lock is real, but not as real as the threat of extinction.

For a lack of a better destination, K-9 heads back to the Center; he thinks that Rattrap might be able to provide assistance. How, or what kind, he does not know, but it seems his only option. Closing in on the Center, he barrels thru the open back doorway, knocking over cargo containers; he dare not slow down. Finally crashing into the Lab, he attempts to skid to a halt; his joints, already damaged from the run, refuse to respond. He skids, slides on the smooth floor, and crashes into the main bay table on which Rattrap is working on another Transformer.

Rattrap: “Whoa, slow down dog! Where’s the fire...oh Slag! What have you done to yourself?”

Rattrap leaps down from his stand on the frame assembly to look after K-9. Now that he is at a stop, the damage is visable; the organic material covering his leg joints is burnt away, revealing melted components, fused wires. The glow in his eyes is dim; it is obvious that stasis lock is imminent. The damage is severe; even an R-chamber might not repair this kind of damage.

Rattrap: “Oh, man, what happened to you? Don’t stasis-lock on me yet! Talk to me, rover! Who did this?”

K-9: (weakly) “Unnng...oracle...Rodimus. Must help the others. Cybertron in danger...”

Rattrap: “Aw man, yer not making any sense! Come-on, come ON! Work with me here.”

K-9: (on-board computer) “Danger: stasis-lock imminent.”

Rattrap: “Eek! Not now! (inserts tail into a side jack on K-9’s head) “Computer, override!”

K-9: (on-board computer) “Acknowledged. Warning: stasis-lock in 4 minutes.”

Rattrap: “I hope that’s enough time. Any more and you’d be a goner. Now tell me what’s happened.”

K-9: “The Oracle has possessed Rodimus...means to reformat the rest of Cybertron.”

Rattrap: “That doesn’t make sense. Cybertron is already reformatted. And the Oracle hasn’t spoken since its last contact with monkeybot. And who the slag is Rodimus?”

K-9: “Rodimus...is Primus.”

Rattrap: “Eh?”

A voice sounds out from the work-frame behind Rattrap. It is a deep, yet mellow tone. Although robotic, one cannot help but note the emotion behind it. It is a voice of authority, and of warmth. To anyone familiar with the owner of the voice, the sound would reassure the being hearing it. As it does Rattrap...after getting over his initial shock, that is.

Voice: “Perhaps I can be of assistance, Rattrap. We don’t have much time.”

Rattrap: (whirls around) “YOU! But...but I didn’t finish you yet! How can you be on-line?!”

Voice: “Circumstances require my intervention. A crisis calls out to my spark. I must answer. The fate of Cybertron depends on it.” (The being begins to sit up from the work-frame surrounding him.)

Rattrap: “Your external sensors were shut off! Your motor-controls weren’t even wired! How do you think you can do anything? Um, for that matter...how ARE you doing anything? My eyes must be playin’ tricks on me. You shouldn’t be able to talk or move yet!”

Voice: “You must not overlook the power of a spark, Rattrap. The strength of my convictions will finish the fine work you’ve started, as it is already doing now. Thank you for your assistance.” (The being steps off the workframe. He stands much, much taller than a Maximal...or even a vehicon, for that matter. There is a deep blue glow in his eyes; one would see the determined set of his jaw were it not for the faceplate obscuring it. Two purposeful strides carried him from the workframe to the two small Maximals. Reaching down, the large red robot gently picked up K-9, cradling him in his large hand.

Rattrap: “Eh, be careful! He needs to get into an R-chamber stat! And for that matter, you gotta sit down and let me finish ya up.”

Voice: “There is no longer any time. The crisis point has reached us. We will be leaving for Iacon immediately.” (The large robot transforms, tucking the small Maximal into the cab of his alt-mode, a large red semi-truck. Firing up his engines, smoke bellowing from twin chrome stacks, he roars out of the lab, and toward Iacon. Rattrap, as always, can only look on...again.

Rattrap: “Sure, sure, just drive off without telling me anything. Da rat doesn’t need to know. Eh, this is getting to be a habit with people.”

To be Continued.
| Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six |


Iacon, city-proper. The Council Chamber. And the scene of our fallen heroes; Rodimus, on his knees attempting to contain the Oracle energy within him; Prowl, groaning in pain as he struggles to stay conscious; Cheetor and Goldbug, burnt, dented, and stasis-locked, lying against the side wall.

Vector-Sigma/Oracle/Matrix: “Why do you resist me? I returned you to life. I gave your life purpose.”

Rodimus: “You attempted to use me for your own selfish ends.”

Vector-Sigma/Oracle/Matrix: “You were to be the one; Primus reborn. You were to unite the last remaining Cybertonians under my banner. You failed.”

Rodimus: “The only thing I failed at is allowing your madness to continue this long. Be assured, this is a mistake I will rectify.”

Rodimus, still on his knees, assumes a meditative position; optics closed, head bowed, as though in prayer. The yellow Oracle energy dissipates ever so slightly, in stages, and is replaced with the white glow of pure Matrix energy under Rodimus’ command. This is not without its cost; the physical struggle is obvious, as various components, already damaged from Oracle’s initial onslaught, break down completely. Fluid leaks down his brow, his arms, his torso. Gasping, he falls to the floor, the process incomplete. The white glow is still not pure white; Oracle has not been dissipated completely. But it IS damaged; the struggle between the two has weakened it considerably.

Vector-Sigma/Oracle/Matrix: (weakly, in Rodimus’ mind) “Fool! You’ve only...Zzzzttt...delayed the inevitable. I will...reconstitute, be able to finish. You...have only doomed yourself. You’ve failed, Rodimus.”

The small part of Rodimus known as Hotrod feels that Oracle might be right. He’s damaged; and unable to repair himself with the Oracle still inside of him. He reaches for the open hole in his chest cavity; reaches to remove the Matrix holder. Rodimus knows that disconnecting himself from the Matrix is the only way he might yet still stop Oracle, even though it would mean the loss of the Primus essense; the only thing still keeping him alive and allowing him to fight Oracle at the moment. He reasons to himself that without Rodimus as his vessel, Oracle might not have the ability to call upon its powers to reformat Cybertron.

“Which is the real downside,” Rodimus thinks. “MIGHT not. I’m not completely sure.” Sacrificing himself isn’t what bothers him; he’d gladly give up his life for the others. What’s really bothering him is that, with him gone, the Unformatting would not come about. And THAT would be the worst loss of all; Oracle would have won by default, simply because the planet is already reformatted, even though many of the Cybertonians are not. And with Oracle still alive within the Matrix, it would have time to figure out how to finish the job it started. It could always find a new host once Rodimus was gone...

With that thought, Rodimus halts his reach for the Matrix holder within him. He might not be long for this world with Oracle still inside him, but to remove the holder would be an almost certain death for the hopes and dreams of a pure Cybertron. The Right Path. It is that thought that keeps Rodimus hopeful, even as he begins to slide toward unconsciousness. The attacks from Oracle and the leaking fluids have taken their toll at last. Rodimus can feel the tug of the Allspark upon him as the world around grows fuzzier with each passing moment. The glow around him begins to revert back from white to yellow as Oracle, sensing the imminent passing of Hotrod’s spark into the Matrix, begins to assert itself again over Rodimus.

Vector-Sigma/Oracle/Matrix: “My victory is at hand.”

Rodimus: “I’d sooner die than let you win.”

Vector-Sigma/Oracle/Matrix: “That will happen shortly as well.”

Oracle’s victory seemes inevitable at this point. But then again, one always tends to underestimate the power of a spark, especially one driven by divine righteousness. Rodimus reaches his arms upward; focuses his thoughts into one razor-sharp goal. And lets his own spark loose upon the Allspark. Still connected to this reality by a razor-thin thread, Rodimus travels across the vastness of the Matrix, searching, hoping...and succeeds. Contact is made just as he is abruptly shoved back into his battered body, just as he feels a hand on his shoulders offering support, strength, stamina...purpose. A purpose that is the same as his own. Damaged optics flicker dimly, allowing Rodimus to look up at the face of his benefactor. It is all that he could have hoped for. And more.

Voice: “Not if I have anything to say about it. Rodimus will live this day. You, Oracle, are the one who is finished.”

Rodimus: “...Optimus...”

Vector-Sigma/Oracle/Matrix: “This is impossible! You were blocked...”

Optimus Prime: “Nothing is impossible, Oracle, as you should well know.”

Rodimus: (weakly) “...looked for you before...couldn’t find you...thought you were gone.”

Optimus Prime: “My spark cannot be so easily destroyed, Rodimus. I was here. I always have been. You could not sense me because Oracle had made it such. Yet thru our shared communion with the Matrix, I was able to see and feel all that has transpired. Your efforts to contact me just now have made the final connection. I am again in-tune with the Matrix. Oracle is no longer between us. You can proceed. And win. I am here for you.”

Rodimus: (weakly) “Thank...you.”

Optimus Prime and Rodimus Prime work together as one...as it was always meant to be, very much like a father and son. Optimus reaches for the Matrix holder. There is complete trust. As the bearer of the Matrix for so many milleneia, Optimus has a special bond with it that even the Oracle cannot overcome, especially this close. He reaches...grabs...and pulls the matrix out of Rodimus. There is a horrible rending sound, not physical, but psychic, as Oracle attempts to batter down Optimus with its rapidly waning power. But Optimus is steadfast; he does not waver for an instant. And suddenly, the Matrix is free from Rodimus. Optimus offers his hand to Rodimus, helping him up from his kneeling position. Then, he offers Rodimus one handle of the Matrix. A thought passes thru them; of hope, of understanding. Of sharing. With each of them placing a hand on either side of the Matrix, they open the Holder. As it was in the beginning, as it is once more, the Allspark energies are released.

Optimus Prime/Rodims Prime: (together) “Now light our darkest hour!”

Yes, in the beginning...The energies of Primus when they first entered the planet, and formed Cybertron...collecting sparks over the eons, passing from one leader to another...when they opened to destroy the Chaos-Bringer...and when they dispersed throughout the heavens to cure the Hate Plague, and believed lost...now once more the power of the Matrix is called upon to save Cybertron and all of its inhabitants.

It is energy as pure as that of a God. Blinding. Pouring over everyone and everything, engulfing the planet in a white-hot light...no part of Cybertron is left untouched. The glow lasts as though it was an eternity, and finally, when it is no longer too-bright to see by, when the planet itself seems to cool...when optics can adjust and see once more...what greets them is paradise.


It is another star-filled night on Cybertron. The light from myriad galaxies reflects off the optics of those present. And off the metal surface of Cybertron. For as it was promised, Cybertron has been returned to its former glory. The large metal spires of Iacon gleam, as they point toward the sky, outward, and upward, to some great height...or great feat. And so it is, to the organic moons high above. The promise for the future. Just as Cybertron itself is kept as a promise to the past. Finally, the true balance has been returned, the Right Path restored. Cybertron, and all its denziens, are whole again. It is a sight to behold, as our friends are now doing...

Goldbug: “I can’t believe how beautiful it looks.”

Optimus Prime: “Indeed, Goldbug, it is a sight for sore optics.”

Prowl: “I never thought I’d see home again.”

Cheetor: “I can’t believe I wanted this beauty to be given away.”

Optimus Prime: “It is not something you should blame yourself for. All things happen for a purpose. We merely fill the roles that Primus has set out for us.”

Cheetor: “Still, I can’t help but to feel regret.”

Optimus Prime: “Consider it a benchmark of maturity, to feel thus. We’re all a little wiser today.”

Hotrod: “A little wiser...oh, no! The Matrix!”

Optimus Prime: “Fear not, Hotrod. The Matrix is safe within me, and the Oracle is gone. You need not burden yourself with it further. Thank you for keeping it for me.”

Hotrod: “Hey, you’re welcome. I’m just glad to be rid of the thing. At the risk of repeating myself, I’m Hotrod again! Let’s party!”

Nightbeat: “Party? Speak for yourself, I have a bone to pick.”

Prowl: “K-9?”

Nightbeat: “Not anymore, apparently. I’m back to being Nightbeat, according to my datatracks. Although where this body came from I’ll never know.”

Optimus Prime: “A gift from Primus, no less. You’ve been restored to your purest form. The Matrix energies have restored Cybertron, and given every transformer the body he or she desires.”

Nightbeat: “Yea, but I’m not sure I wanted this.”

Hotrod: “There must have been some part of you that wanted it.”

Nightbeat: “Well...maybe. Still, it doesn’t seem right. I think I miss being a dog.”

Hotrod: “Aw, put a muzzle on it. Let’s roll out!”

Hotrod and Nightbeat transform to their vehicle modes; one a flame-red Viper, the other a metallic blue one. If not for the difference in their paintjobs, one would think they were twins...brothers, perhaps. If one cared to speculate as such.

Hotrod: “Race you to the other side of Iacon!”

Nightbeat: “You’re on, Hot-Head! I’ll break any speed record you hold!”

They speed off, leaving a trail of burnt rubber on a shiny new roadway. The marks do not go unnoticed.

Prowl: “Same old Hotrod.”

Optimus Prime: “Perhaps...but he deserves it. He has been thru enough. Better to let him relive his cyber-puberty. Perhaps this time, it won’t be so bittersweet for him.”

Cheetor: “He reminds me of me whan I was his age.”

Goldbug: “Um, Cheetor...you ARE his age.”

Cheetor: “No WAY! Ultragear!”

Prowl: “Oh no, not another one.”

Cheetor: “Relax. I grew out of that a vorn ago.”

Goldbug: “Thank Primus for that.”

Optimus Prime: “And thank Primus for all he has done for us. As it was written, so has it come to pass. The Covenant of Primus has been fufilled. There is no more to be done. From now on, Cybertron chooses its own destiny. As do we all.”

Prowl: “Then it’s finally over?”

Optimus Prime: “For now, old friend. For now. There’s still a lot of confused Transformers out there. We’ll need to find them, and help them adjust. The future awaits. Autobots...and Maximals...transform, and roll out!”

All those present revert to their alt-modes. Optimus Prime; as always, a pure metal robot...and now, perhaps something new; although it is hard to tell from this distance. It might be the outline of a new vehicle-mode. Perhaps a firetruck. Or perhaps our optics are merely playing tricks on us. And there’s Prowl, still a pure metal robot, but with a new look as well...perhaps an updated vehicle-mode, similar to his friend Sideswipe. Goldbug, still a techno-organic vehicle. The only one of his kind in this group. And Cheetor...still Cheetor. The birth of techno-organics, and nearly the end of our Cybertron. But he has grown; learned. And as the only one without wheels, he decides to hop onto Goldbug’s roof.

Cheetor: (thump) “Mind if I catch a lift? This metal terrain is murder on my feet.”

Goldbug: “Sure thing. Hang on!”

The Robots in Disguise roll out once again into the Cybertonain night. And to the future. Primus knows what it holds in store for them.

The End.
| Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six |

See RID Nightbeat!

| Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six |