Every bit of Dark Energon left in the universe went inert following Unicron’s “final death”. You can still find traces of it around here and there, but its basically just cosmic grape juice at this point, for all it’s worth. Anyone afflicted by the Blood of Unicron (think Firestorm or Fangmaw) had their ties to the Antispark severed and lost most of the special powers that Dark Energon gave them. Some, like Fangmaw, unfortunately were still left with lasting physical and/or psychological damages, depending on the extent of their use of/exposure to the substance.
So, there’s no way to revive that power?
While I can’t say anything for certain, it’s highly unlikely.
Author’s note: This story takes place ten years after the events of Transformers: Twilight of the Golden Age.
From The Legacy of Sentinel Prime: the Rewritten Chapter of Cybertronian History by Cryptex of Kaon:
It has long been the practice of scholars and historians such as myself to look at our people’s deep history as a book: an ancient, ever-expanding record chronicling our storied existence from the moment Primus and Unicron first came into being, to the dawn of the Second Golden Age, not unlike the original Covenant of Primus of lore. And for just as long, we had been forced to reconcile with one irrefutable, inescapable reality. That being: that this tome was woefully incomplete. Entire chapters were absent, either burned away by the fires of war, or torn out by the hand of one conspiracy or another. Pre-Exploration Age society. The disappearance of the Knights of Cybertron. The Omega Lock. The vanishing of the Tomb of the Primes and the Matrix of Leadership, prior to the Great War. A thousand thousand people, places, and events, wiped from the pages by blast waves, or erased by the Thirteen themselves to hide powerful artifacts and even entire worlds.
I use the past tense, of course, because over the course of the last twenty million years, almost all of these missing chapters have been re-discovered. Where once pages of the chronicle were blank, brave heroes and adventurers have filled in the empty space. The voyage of the CFC Salvation proved the existence of the Omega Lock, along with discovering several “stronghold worlds” on which the Knights hid weapons and cultural artifacts, to save them from being destroyed in the War of the Primes. The contributions of Axis Prime and the rest of our most recent band of unlikely heroes to the historical record are far too great to summarize here- simply look at a holo-map and find the twelve new colonies in our New Imperium, among them the moon on which our Creator was born from an ocean of light. Listen to one of Liege Maximo or Firestorm’s lectures on their many battles with Unicron and his Heralds, millennia before the first opening of the Matrix of Leadership. At last, the secrets of our concealed past have been unraveled in full, and the threads woven into the tapestry of cybertronian history, once incomplete, now proudly waving in the winds of time as a finished masterpiece.
…At least, that is how it appears, at first. In reality, there is but one more chapter that eludes us. These pages were not torn out, I am afraid, but rather, rewritten. The story they tell is still there, in the ten thousand years leading up to the Great War, but their events have been edited, altered in a desperate attempt to keep Megatron and his Decepticons from discovering the secret of the Prime Colonies before more worthy sparks would come to seek their treasures for noble ends. Sentinel Prime hid the Matrix away within the Tomb of the Primes in the Great War’s early decades, so the story goes, and somehow all knowledge of the tomb’s location within the Hydrax Plateau was lost shortly after. I implore you to ask: how could that be the case? Records from the reign of Sentinel’s predecessor, Septimus Prime, show that the tomb’s location was common knowledge, just ten millennia before, and Sentinel himself visited the tomb to pay his respects to Septimus upon his interment there. How could a race as long-lived as ours suddenly forget one of our peoples’ most sacred sites in the mere five centuries the Great War endured? What could explain the sudden collective amnesia that befell an entire generation of transformers?
. . .
“Uh, hey, Wastebasket?” Bootleg calls to his reluctant manservant, a rusty, red-clad junkion who stood by his President-Czar-God-King’s side, “Do I have to, like, pay for this? I mean, I’m the big cheese now, ain’t I?”
“I’m fairly certain you would have to fork over such an insignificant percentage of your frankly absurd presidential salary, sir,” Wastebasket snarks.
“What salary?” Bootleg retorts, genuinely having no idea what his butler was talking about. “I thought I was broke after I fell for that Quintesson Prince scam an’…”
“Primus, save us from the queen,” Wastebasket asides as Bootleg continues to recount that particular misadventure. “Please.”
“Of course you have a presidential salary!” he then snaps at Bootleg, the yellow minicon jumping back a bit in shock. “Have you even read the terms of office since you were elected?”
“Uhhh… no?” Bootleg answers, looking around the room guiltily. “Ain’t that your job?”
“If my job was to lead the people of Junkion and represent them to the galaxy at large,” Wastebasket deadpans. “Unfortunately, however, it is not.”
Bootleg groans and turns back to his datapad, the excerpt from Cryptex’s latest book still glowing on its cracked screen, its burning questions demanding to be answered. With a shrug, he presses a finger on the “download” button.
Humanity in the TOTGA-verse: General History
Author’s note: this story takes place roughly fifty years before Transformers: Twilight of the Golden Age.
AUDIO TRANSCRIPT: Iacon Hall of Records- study chamber 316//Cycle 63, Vorn 15 (NC)//1900
PARTIES: Chaplain of Pescus Hex (High Chancellor- Hecate), Teletraan Theta Archive Interface (TAI)
TAI: Good evening, High Chancellor. Thank you for using the Teletraan Theta Archive Interface- you may call me Tai. How may I be of service?
CHAPLAIN: Tai, I would like an overview of human history, please. Significant events from… hm… first contact, up until the present day. Can you do that for me?
TAI: Certainly, High Chancellor. Would you like me to send a timeline and relevant readings to this chamber’s terminal?
CHAPLAIN: Yes, thank you. Begin narration.
TAI: Yes, High Chancellor. First contact with the species Homo Sapiens, known colloquially as “Humans” or “Terrans”, was made by Quintus Prime and the Order of the Knights of Cybertron on the planet Earth, some time in the historical period referred to as “Dark” or “Middle Ages” by human historians. There is evidence to suggest that independent cybertronian explorers may have had unofficial relations with humanity before this, however. For example, the “echo” AIs encountered by the crew of the CFC Salvation bore names identical to mythological locations of human cultures predating these Dark Ages. For more information, see “Atlantis”, “Hyperborea”, “Ogygia”, and “Lemuria”.
CHAPLAIN: Compile a dossier on those four and have it sent to this terminal for later viewing, please.
TAI: Yes, High Chancellor.
CHAPLAIN: Continue, please.
TAI: Yes, High Chancellor. Unfortunately, most records of Human-Cybertronian relations from this time were lost in the War of the Primes, though the general consensus among human historians is that the Thirteen, the Knights of Cybertron, and other followers of the Primes were active across planet Earth throughout the Middle Ages, and may have inspired many of the legends and folklore that originated during this time. All exploratory missions were recalled to cybertronian space during the War of the Primes, and contact with humanity was not re-established until the year nineteen-eighty-four in the human calendar.
CHAPLAIN: Hmm… any rumors about more “unofficial” human-cybertronian relations between the end of these “dark ages” and… uhm… “nineteen-eighty-four”?
TAI: Yes, High Chancellor. Less-reputable human and cybertronian historians speculate that independent explorers may have revisited Earth sporadically throughout the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. There is little credible evidence to support this from either species, however.
CHAPLAIN: Intriguing… Very well. Continue, please.
TAI: Yes, High Chancellor. As I was saying, contact with humanity was re-established in nineteen-eighty-four when a scout ship captained by Vanguard Minor was sent to Earth by order of Aethus Prime. Political relations began shortly afterward between Cybertron and the human United Nations. Travel between Earth and Cybertron via warp-capable spacecraft was approved in the year two-thousand-seven, leading to an exchange of science, technology, and culture that led to the rapid advancement of humanity into an interstellar superpower. The resulting political entity, the United Human Polities, was officially inducted into the Federation of Allied Species in the year thirty-three-fifty-nine, following the Battle Over New Quintessa and the subsequent end of the Fourth Quintesson War.
CHAPLAIN: Humans fought in the Quintesson Wars?
TAI: The UHP was only involved in the tail-end of the fourth war, though their intervention was essential to the Quintesson’s final defeat. For this, The Imperium of Cybertron argued that they had earned membership into the Allied Species.
CHAPLAIN: And the rest, I suppose, is history, yes?
TAI: So to speak. For roughly the next one hundred million years, the UHP expanded throughout the Orion-Cygnus Arm of the Milky Way galaxy and maintained close relations with the Imperium of Cybertron. Humanity came to our aid during the Dire Wraith Conflict, and supported the Autobots throughout the Great War. Sadly, the destruction wreaked across the galaxy from the Great War’s many battles lost our people favor in the eyes of the rest of the Allied Species, and shortly after the Autobot victory at the Battle of Mission City on Earth, the Imperium of Cybertron was voted out of the federation. The provisional government established by the Autobot High Council withdrew all cybertronian presence from federation space, and our people have remained in isolation from the rest of the Milky Way galaxy to this day.
CHAPLAIN: …I see. And, what became of the humans, Tai?
TAI: Unknown, High Chancellor. As contact with them ceased almost twenty million years ago now, humanity’s current situation is anyone’s guess.
CHAPLAIN: Thank you, Tai. You’ve been very helpful to me.
TAI: It is my pleasure and my honor, High Chancellor. The dossiers that you have requested have been uploaded to this chamber’s terminal as requested, along with recommended readings and star charts. Do you require anything else from me at this time?
CHAPLAIN: No, Tai, thank you.
TAI: Affirmative, High Chancellor. Til All Are One.
CHAPLAIN: Til All Are One.
A More Perfect Union
Author’s note: this story takes place one year after the events of Transformers: Twilight of the Golden Age
A cool nighttime breeze wafted gently through the rusted columns and worn filigree of the meeting place of the tribes of Eukaris: the former command deck of the colony ship that, under the will of Onyx Prime, had reformed the planet into a home for bestial transformers. The ship had been stripped for parts soon after it had cyberformed Eukaris, leaving the command deck exposed to the starry sky like a flower bathed in moonlight; a circular platform formed its center, with twelve smaller daises branching off of its circumference like grey petals, their rims adorned with long-dead husks of consoles and hologram projectors. Beneath the petals, four bridges led away from the command deck and out to the remains of the ring-shaped structure that formed the top of the spire-shaped colony ship. Knotted creepers wove through the superstructure’s exposed skeleton, and blankets of deep-green moss covered the patches of sloping hull plating that remained here-and-there.
Gossamer, Scribe to Queen Pterygota of the Below, scanned the deck, observing the chieftains of the other eukarian tribes gathered here. Each was accompanied by a compliment of guards and their finest warriors, and between them stood Apex, the king of the Steel Shard Mountains, whose duty it was to keep the peace between them all. Like his predecessors, he had earned his title in ritual combat, besting the previous king in the arena to prove his might and right to rule. So it had always been on Eukaris, its inhabitants eschewing the convoluted politics of Cybertron and the other colonies in favor of the natural law, the rules of nature which had governed this universe since its inception. It was the last decree of Onyx Prime, the Lord of Beasts, before his death that his successors would be chosen in this way.
…Or so it had been thought. Gossamer frowned as she once again went over Axis Prime’s recent revelation in her thoughts. Axis, who in three month’s time had risen from a fighter from the city beneath Mount Axalon to the latest in the lineage of the Primes: the demigods chosen by the Matrix of Leadership to lead all of cybertronian kind. Before the return of the Heralds of Unicron, Gossamer- along with virtually everyone else on Eukaris- knew nothing of the Matrix, or of other Primes and gods. Since she had risen from the Well of Sparks in the Fecund Pit thirty thousand years ago, she had been taught that Onyx was the only one, the bridge between his robotic people and the natural world, who led his followers to this planet when the rest of his kind became intoxicated off their obtuse metal cities, noisy starships, and voracious weapons.
But this was not so, Axis had said to king Apex and the other chieftains. Gossamer remembered Pterygota’s shrill cry of bewilderment, and the shock that she and the others had felt at this proclamation. No, it turned out that Onyx was but one of thirteen Primes, later only twelve following a terrible war. Onyx and brothers, Axis explained, has gone their separate ways after this war, each one founding his own colony world before passing on. What was more, Axis had spoken to the Lord of Beasts’s spirit during her quest to defeat Unicron’s heralds, and he had apparently expressed surprise at how his people had ruled themselves since his passing.
“I personally found that there’s more to it than simply being the strongest, or most vicious,” Onyx had said, according to her. “In some situations, that might be a component, yes, but I don’t believe it’s ever truly all that’s required.”
So Gossamer, and generations of eukarians before her, had been mistaken. Mistaken in the history of their own deity and his will. It was hard to take in- it still was- but that didn’t change the facts. Inspired by Onyx’s words, Axis had suggested that the king and chieftains do away with the ancient rites, and determine their rulers not by fighting, but by their ability to lead (a confusing distinction that Axis repeatedly made a point to impress upon them), and the will of the people they would preside over. “Democracy”, she had called it. It was but a suggestion, but Apex and the others were quick to heed the words of the new Prime, and so here they all were roughly a year later.
Gossamer noted few new faces in the gathering- almost none, in fact, aside from the chieftains’s guards. The insecticons of the Below had voted to keep Pterygota as their queen, and it seemed that the denizens of the other tribes had followed suit with their own rulers. Gossamer recalled how she had felt obligated to cast her vote in favor the queen- to do otherwise smacked of treason, and a wise eukarian never called her chieftain’s leadership into doubt unless she could fight to prove her claim. Clearly, such a dramatic change to her people’s culture would take more time to become acclimated to.
“One year has passed, as we agreed upon,” Apex spoke, getting right to the point of tonight’s gathering. “I trust that you all have done as our Prime asked of us, and allowed your constituents to permit those of who who’ve kept your thrones to do so by their will.”
“Of course we have!” said Sandstone, Lord of the Whispering Sands, rather quickly. The mandibles beside his jaws click nervously, and the stinger-tipped tail rising from over his shoulder twitched. Apex frowns at him, noting the scorpion-bot’s defensive demeanor.
“I will hold each of you to your honor that you have done so,” he said, though he clearly spoke to Sandstone alone. Pterygota hisses out a remark in the insecticon tongue, foreign to the audio receptors of the rest. Gossamer translates:
“The insecticons of the Below have chosen to remain under the leadership of her excellency, queen Pterygota, Tunneler and Protector of the Brood,” she said, adding a respectful “long may she reign” afterward, to the pleasure of the queen.
“Likewise, the transformers of the Whispering Sands have expressed their desire to remain under the wise leadership of I, Lord Standstone,” the scorpion-bot insisted, though he fooled no-one; Gossamer even saw one of his own bodyguards roll his eyes, and she stifled a laugh with her upper right hand.
A grey-armored techno-organic minicon perched atop a ruined data tower rises from the crouch he had assumed since the meeting had stared, white feathers waving in the wind between his mechanical components. His great, disk-shaped eyes glowed a deep red as they looked over the gathering, before the minicon whispered
“I, Snowblind, am honored to have been chosen by the transformers of the South Frost to lead them into this new era.” He was one of the new ones, Gossamer noted, and she wasn’t surprised; the previous ruler of Eukaris’s southern pole had been a bully, rumored to have cheated in his duel with his predecessor to take his title from her. Gossamer wondered what would become of him now…
Things continued like this for another few minutes, with the other nine chieftains proclaiming their leadership over their vast territories. When that was done with, they all looked expectantly to Apex. None of their discussions together had devised a means to elect a new king. Though he hailed from the Steel Shard Mountains, his duty was to the whole planet. Gossamer couldn’t imagine any feasible means by which to conduct a planet-wide election, with billions of cybertronians scattered across warrens, deserts, undersea caverns, and all other manner of environments.
“You must now be wondering where I will reside in this new system of government,” Apex said, seeming to read everyone’s minds.
“The answer is: I won’t.”
Now this was a bombshell, as that one scrappy junkion Gossamer had recently encountered would put it. Some bots gasped, and Snowblind’s already-wide eyes grew even larger. Gossamer hadn’t even thought that possible.
“There is no place for kings here, in this new world we are making,” Apex continued. “It falls to you- all of you- to preside over your own territories. Not as chieftains and rulers, but leaders who will serve their people and act at their behest.”
“But who will resolve disputes between us?” clicked a red bot with a hunched back and some kind of crustacean for an alt-mode. “If one of us is found to be guilty of wrongdoing, who will punish them accordingly?”
“Disputes between you are to be resolved through peaceful negotiation,” Apex answered. “We will not suffer the tribal wars of millennia past, and those of you who would slight against your people will find themselves removed from their throne by their hands.”
“What will you do?” growled an enormous green predacon to Apex. “If you are no longer king of Eukaris…”
“This is my last act as king,” Apex said. “Henceforth, I am but another resident of the Steel Shard Mountains, living under the leadership of you, Hookfang. The Triptych Mask, which has been passed through my lineage, will remain in the hands of the Onyx Temple’s caretakers.”
Apex stepped out of the center of the command deck as a silence befell the gathering. Gossamer looked to the east and saw a thin sliver of dawn beginning to peak out across the horizon, casting thin rays of orange light between the mountains that surrounded the colony ship. The chieftains each stepped forward, acknowledging one another’s sovereignty before declaring this first meeting of their council adjourned. They each gathered their guards and departed for their respective regions, returning to their people to lead them into a new age.
It’s about time I wrote a real story instead of just dropping lore on you guys, right? Please tell me what you think of it.
The blue-green glow of the space bridge portal retreated to the edges of Prima’s vision as he stepped out onto the circular observation deck of the Chronon. Behind him, the portal crackled as Megatronus and Quintus Prime also emerged from its gate. With a hiss, it dissipated, the bridge of frayed spacetime and extradimensional energy connecting the Chronon to Cybertron unraveling with it. A canvas of pale white light crept in from ahead to fill the darkness the portal left behind, and Prima looked up at its source.
The Benzuli Expanse. The anomalous halo of asteroids, ice, and stardust that churned around a silvery disk of light- a thinning in the barrier between this universe and the rest, Vector Prime had tried to explain. He was here now, at the edge of the deck, just within the atmospheric shield enveloping the Chronon- without it, the wall-less observation deck would be exposed to vacuum. Vector’s design choices for the Chronon had never bothered Prima before (it was his ship, after all), but at this moment he now felt exposed, vulnerable. The Firstborn’s gaze held upon the Expanse- or rather, what loomed in front of it, before the Chronon.
It hung in the void before Benzuli’s event horizon, tilted at an odd angle relative to the Chronon, like a sliver of obsidian tossed carelessly out into space. A spire of black metal silhouetted against the glow of the Expanse; long and jagged, with mushroom-like lumps of hull plating bulging out from its length. Between these sloping protrusions ran thick clumps of cabling, studded with pinpricks of crimson light- like bloody parodies of the silver-white stars that dotted the void around them. Unmoving, it hovered before the Primes, those red lights staring down at them like hundreds of tiny eyes.
“What… is it?” Prima found himself asking, his voice barely above a whisper. He had stopped walking, staring wide-eyed at the object, overcome with curiosity and unease.
“What I’ve brought you here to see,” Vector answered, facing him. Though younger that Prima, his voice sounded far older than the Firstborn’s. Ancient, almost. Prima looks down at his gold-armored friend, seeing that he was accompanied by fellow Primes Optimus and Alpha Trion, with the latter’s minicon companion, Beta Maxx, close by. Trion frowned into the pages of The Covenant of Primus, while Optimus gazed up at the spire, his face unreadable.
“Obviously,” Megatronus growls from Prima’s right. “But what is it, Vector?”
The Guardian of Space and time shook his head, looking down at the grey metal beneath his feet. “I don’t know,” he admits.
“I have looked through every timeline within my reach,” he says, drawing Rhisling. “Onyx has gazed across thousands more with his mask, and yet we have found nothing like it in any past or present.”
“Likewise, I have yet to find anything within The Covenant’s pages,” Alpha Trion adds, his sagely voice weighed with the same uneasy feeling that pressed against Prima’s spark. Prima casts another upward glance at the object, unable to escape the uncomfortable feeling that those red lights really were looking down at him, studying him as he and the other Primes studied it.
Megatronus stepped forward, joining Vector at the edge of the observation deck. He surveyed the black spire, scanning for weapons, engines, a bridge; targets to attack. He saw nothing. The spire was entirely alien to him, ominous and unknowable. The only thing worse to him than an enemy you knew you couldn’t defeat was one whose capabilities you didn’t- couldn’t- know. It made you unable to anticipate its actions, plan around its weaknesses.
“Let’s not be too hasty, Megatronus,” Beta Maxx cautioned the Dark Warrior, reading his thoughts. “It hasn’t shown any signs of hostility since it appeared.”
“And how long has it been here?” inquired Megatronus, keeping his gaze upon the spire, staring down its beady, unblinking eyes. “Have any of you attempted to make contact with it at all? Vector, I trust you’ve scanned-”
“Of course, I have,” Vector interrupted, scowling at the Dark Warrior. “It’s subtly warping the very fabric of this reality around itself, baffling the Chronon’s scanners.”
“It appeared almost six standard days ago,” Beta Maxx said, in answer to Megatronus’s first question. “Through the Expanse. The Chronon picked up the spacial-temporal rippling created from its arrival; the warping Vector just mentioned could be a side-effect of whatever method it used to travel through from… wherever it is it came from.”
Megatronus frowned, looking down at Vector and Beta- the uncertainty in the latter’s voice was troubling. They were all in the dark, even Beta Maxx and Alpha Trion, whose business it was to be in the know.
“So it is a visitor…” Quintus remarked quietly, drifting out from Prima’s left. Copper tassels and metallic ribbons floated gently around his frail form as he hovered above the deck, his hands clasped together.
“Or an invader,” Megatronus retorts. “This warping could be an unintended consequence of its approach, yes; or a deliberate masking of its nature and intent.”
“Megatronus, please,” Prima spoke up, walking forward to place a hand on the Dark Warrior’s shoulder. “You are right to be cautious, but let us not look for a battle where, perhaps, there does not have to be one.”
“I agree,” Quintus said with a nod of his head. “We should further endeavor to establish a dialogue with this entity; learn its intentions before simply assuming the worst.”
“And if our worst assumptions are confirmed?” asked Alpha Trion, closing The Covenant and attaching it to his hip. He looked at Prima, directing the question to him, the de facto leader of their fellowship. Prima felt Trion, Beta and Vector’s unease within himself, along with Megatronus’s wariness and Quintus’s curiosity. The only one he couldn’t discern was Optimus; the youngest of the Thirteen had remained silent, staring up at the black spire the whole time the rest of them had been talking. Prima relied on all his comrades’ input, and he often sought Optimus’s judgement to weigh against his own.
“What do you think, Optimus?” he asked.
Optimus turned his eyes away from the spire, and faced Prima and the rest. His expression was grim.
“Megatronus may be right,” he said gravely. “I can feel its gaze upon us now, poring over our weapons and this ship. It is studying us, as a predator does its prey.”
Prima gave a solemn nod. How Optimus knew this, like he knew so many other things, he suspected he may never know himself. But his judgement was always sound. Prima’s decision was made.
“Quintus,” he said, "you and Megatronus will return with me to Cybertron. I will dispatch Maximo to try and communicate with this… thing. Megatronus, I would like you to prepare a fleet- take whatever measures you deem appropriate, but do not act without my approval.
“I ask that you three remain here,” Prima continued, speaking to Vector, Alpha Trion, and Beta Maxx. “Continue your efforts. Optimus, you may do as you please.”
“Then I will remain aboard the Chronon,” Optimus replied with a nod. “Perhaps the light of the Matrix can illuminate this mystery.”
“Perhaps, indeed,” Prima agreed.
“We killed Unicron, and his heralds” boasted Megatronus. “Should this visitor show itself to be an enemy, we will make short work of it.”
With that, he and Quintus began to follow Prima as he turned around to re-open the space bridge. Silence fell across the observation deck as the Primes combed through timelines and libraries once again. Optimus looked back up at the black spire, the glow from the Benzuli Expanse washing across its sides.
“I fear Unicron may have only been the beginning,” he mutters, staring into the eyes of the invader, knowing beyond the shadow of a doubt that they were staring right back.
Hope you enjoyed that one. Constructive criticism is not only appreciated, but requested.
I like the sense of mystery this passage is setting up. It’s making me eager to try and learn what this spire portends.
Thanks! This story’s the first part of a series; I want to shed some more light on a little-explored area of the TOTGA-verse’s mythos, and show a little more of what humanity’s like here as well (they’ll show up a bit later on).
Judgement, Part II
Liege Maximo stumbled through the door to the Chronon’s bridge, its irises and spherical locks peeling apart as the green-armored cybertronian nearly tripped and fell onto his face. He looked around the half-circle-shaped chamber to check if anyone had seen him, and sighed resignedly as he saw Vector Prime with a bemused smile on his face.
“You would do well to domesticate this ship’s Intelligence, Vector.” Liege straightened his posture and folded his arms below his chest. “How can your crew find anything when it’s constantly changing the interior?”
Vector shrugged. “The Chronon is not entirely under my control,” he admitted. “The crew and I have learned to work around its eccentricities.”
“Then install a holo-map for the rest of us,” Liege implored, rolling his crimson eyes. “Please?”
“You weren’t summoned here to renovate this ship, Maximo.”
Liege recognized the deep, commanding voice of Megatronus immediately, coming from a dark corner of the bridge where the light from the Benzuli Expanse didn’t reach. The red lines and cyberglyphs glowing between segments of the Dark Warrior’s armor shone dimly, roughly outlining his imposing silhouette.
“So nice to see you again, too,” Liege deadpanned to Megatronus. The latter quietly scoffed and stepped into the light, allowing it to snag on the sharp edges of his black armor, which rose in great spikes on his shoulders and the sides of his head. He towered above Liege Maximo and Vector, who themselves weren’t short for their species, either. Liege was slightly built, with a black cape hanging from his shoulders and two grey horns that rose out from the top of his head and curved sharply backwards; Vector was broader in the shoulders, with dull gold armor and clockwork mechanisms in his chest and abdomen that were dotted with points of blue light. He, too, wore a cape, his being a deep red in color.
“He is right, I’m afraid,” he says of Megatronus. “You can take up your issues with the Chronon after you help us with the more pressing matter at hand.”
Liege always hated this about these two: so duty-bound, and no time for idle conversation. He had hardly seen them in the last century, playing politics with Prima as their new civilization began to spread out into the galaxy. His gift of persuasion and sliver tongue (which wasn’t just a mere metaphor), made him useful in negotiating with the governments of other species, securing star systems for colonization and hashing out trade agreements (in some cases, Prima’s swordsmanship came in handy there, too).
And now he wants me to be his mouthpiece yet again, he thought, frowning. He knew this wasn’t what Primus had created him for.
Still, it was either first contact with a mysterious extra-dimensional visitor or another round of drafting treaties. Between the two, Liege saw a clear choice in the former. With a sigh, he took a step closer to the front of the bridge, a trapezoidal gap between the floor and the ceiling trimmed with grey metal, with nothing but an invisible shield between he and the other robots on the deck and hard vacuum. He peers up at the jagged column of black metal some tens of kilometres away, dotted with points of red light that shone like electronic eyes in the darkness of the shadow the spire cast upon the Chronon.
Liege suddenly understood why the other Primes were so apprehensive; whatever this thing was, it certainly looked threatening.
“Looks quite inviting to me.” he says, however. His dry sarcasm wasn’t lost on the other transformers in the room.
“Yes, I have prepared quite the welcoming party,” Megatronus said, playing along. “My finest cruisers are on standby in the neighboring system; at my signal, their crews will send to this invader my most cordial greetings.”
Liege smiled; so the Dark Warrior wasn’t completely without a sense of humor, grim through it was.
“Please, Megatronus, leave the first impressions to me,” Liege chuckled. “I know it’s the only reason you’ve kept me around this long…”
The green Prime hoped the other two hadn’t picked up too much of the bitterness within his last sentence as he drifted over to the communications array, where a blue-armored insecticon trained her compound eyes on a wide array of holographic screens and the complex interfaces beneath them. With a nod, she steps away from them, making room for Liege to take the controls. The silver obelisks supporting the controls rose, adjusting themselves to the Prime’s height, and he rested his long fingers over their circular pads and shallow indents.
An electric sensation ran up Liege Maximo’s arms as his neural network interfaced with the Chronon’s systems, connecting to the ship’s transceivers and translation programs. With but a thought and a twitch of a finger, he opened a channel across a broad array of frequencies, staring up at the ominous spire. Behind him, Vector and Megatronus waited with baited breath.
“Alien vessel, this is Liege Maximo, Prime of Cybertron,” he began. The Chronon’s AI translated his message into several common interstellar languages, and broadcast them alongside the original with only a second’s delay.
“We come in peace; provided you do, as well,” Liege continued, a smirk creeping across his face as he tapped into his wealth of charisma. Perhaps all that needed to be done was lighten the mood; clear the tension that two starships staring silently at each other in front of a physics-defying dimensional anomaly for a week straight would create.
"Truly, we love visitors; the more interesting, the better- and you, my friend, are just the talk of the town. We’re all positively abuzz at the prospect of making a more proper acquaintance with you."
Liege looked over his shoulder at his comrades, to see that Megatronus was resting his forehead in his hand, and that Vector was largely unimpressed.
“What?” he snorts. “There’s no protocol for this, now is there?”
Five seconds. Ten. Thirty seconds passed, and no response from the black spire came. The obelisk continued to drift between the Chronon and the expanse, its red lights staring untellingly down at them.
Making a show of clearing his throat, Liege re-opened the channel and tried again:
“Are you, perhaps, in need of assistance?” he asked, cursing his comrades now for not summoning him sooner. In their trepidation, they may very well have let any injured castaways within this spire suffocate from a hull breach, or freeze to death from a climate control failure. The paranoid fools could be fretting over a mass grave, for all any of them knew.
“We are able to render aid, if such is your case,” Liege said. “Please, respond. Say something, or… blink some of those lights on and off; I’m not-”
The green Prime ripped his hands from the controls as a horrible, electronic screech pierced his brain module, and instinctively he rushed to cover the sides of his head as he fell backward. Megatronus started, clenching his hands into fists as his lights flared. Vector rushed to Liege’s side.
“What is it?” he knelt by Maximo’s side, placing a gold hand on his shoulder. Liege’s head continued to ring, the awful sound lingering within his cranium for a moment before subsiding, allowing him to compose himself.
“Ugh…” he groaned. “Our visitor’s voice is not pleasing to the ears…”
“We have no need for aid, nor hospitality.”
A voice unlike any the three Primes had heard, even when facing Unicron and his demonic heralds, rumbled throughout the bridge. It was deep and reverberating, its words seeming to coalesce in their minds rather than being spoken aloud. The transformers manning the bridge’s stations jump up, now on full alert.
“All we require from you is your compliance,” the voice continued.
Megatronus scowled, his mouth opening to speak. Liege leapt up to stop him, but he was too late.
“Compliance?” the Dark Warrior repeated tersely. “You seek to make demands of us, then?”
“We demand nothing,” the voice answered, rising to the challenge in Megatronus’s tone.
“We have come to carry out our duty,” another voice says, lighter and almost feminine. "Any resistance to our presence is futile, and would only serve to inconvenience its perpetrators."
“Or at its worst, inflict upon them dire consequences!” a third voice, now, angry and snarling.
“You threaten Megatronus and his allies!” the warrior Prime roared. “Know that we have challenged Unicron and vanquished him, laying waste to his legions! To threaten the Thirteen is to court that same fate.”
“Um, Megatronus, friend?” whispered Liege. “Now is usually the time when I would attempt to de-escalate the situation; perhaps try to probe the other party’s intentions further before threatening oblivion.”
“They have revealed all we need to know of their intent,” Megatronus growled. “Let me call my fleet to this system, so that I may return these invaders to their homeland- piece by charred piece.”
Liege and Megatronus glare at each other, before a peal of hideous, high-pitched laughter fills the bridge.
“I’m glad one of us finds this amusing,” Vector deadpanned, frowning as he rested a hand on Rhisling’s pommel.
"Oh, yes indeed!" a shrill, fourth voice cackled. “I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had this little conversation, and it still tickles us!”
Liege and Megatronus were briefly united in confusion, but Vector was able to guess at what this voice meant.
“Ours is not the first reality you’ve invaded,” he said. “We’re not the only Vector Prime, Liege Maximo, and Megatronus to try and communicate with you, are we?”
“Oh, no!” the fourth voice laughed. "Far, far from it!"
“This universe is but one of many,” the second voice spoke again. “Timelines innumerable all branching off one another between the folds of unspace, each and every action taken by their inhabitants creating infinitely more, every moment.”
"Countless alternatives," the first voice boomed. “Trees of probability, an ever-expanding orchard of realities.”
All four voices then spoke in unison, and outside the bridge, the black spire began to turn, rotating as if on an invisible axis as three massive spots of crimson bloomed upon its peak, rolling to face the Primes and their servants.
“We are the custodians of this orchard,” they proclaimed.
“We study each tree, every branch, every blossom. Those that bear rich fruit shall be permitted to remain; but those that are weak and dying, whose sickness threatens to spread and poison healthy growth… these gnarled branches shall be cut. Weed and rot shall be ripped from the soil so that new growth may flourish.”
All aboard the Chronon’s bridge were silent now, gripped with horror as the cacophony of voices rose and fell, giving way to a final, fifth entity who spoke with an eerie calm; an ancient voice that spoke with the wisdom and authority of countless eons behind it.
“We are the Quintessons. It is our duty to cast judgement throughout the multiverse; to determine which realities shall be permitted to flourish, and which are to be destroyed. And now, the time has come for your universe to stand trial.”
Comments and constructive criticism are appreciated and requested!
The next part of the Quintesson Wars will be posted soon, for those interested. In the meantime, I’ve cleaned up some of my earlier stories and included a Table of Contents for this thread:
The Quintesson Wars: Protocol 19-8.4
Contact made with Liege Maximo, Megatronus, and Vector Prime aboard Chronon vessel. Reactions to our stated intentions fell within expected parameters. Liege Maximo’s interactions with Megatronus and Vector Prime suggest no outward hostilities at present- negotiations with Liege Maximo will likely be unsuccessful.
Analysis of Chronon returned specifications similar to those of Instance 3-446092-43763948. Interdimensional traversal capabilities confirmed; Bekuta Point tracking capabilities nonexistent. Chronon neutralized in accordance with protocol 2-7, with alterations to account for the absence of Optimus and Amalgamous Prime. The arrival of the Appointer will be unhindered.
Reconnaissance in Sol indicates humanity has not achieved advanced weapons or spaceflight technology. Relations with cybertronians are distant. Recommend disregarding humans as candidates for Appointment, though will leave final decision for the Appointer.
Applicable protocol for Instance 0 is 19-8.4, adjusted for emotional state of Liege Maximo detailed above- pursue termination of all Primes until further notice. Court establishment will proceed.
…Yeah, so life got in the way of that plan, unfortunately. This chapter was supposed to be longer, but I figured I needed to post something before too long. Fortunately, the chapter after this will pick things up: the quintesson’s first phase of their invasion will begin proper, and there’ll be a some action to go with it. It’ll be out soon- for real this time.
For now, feedback and constructive criticism is appreciated- if not for this chapter (since there’s not a lot in it), than for any of the other stories I’ve posted here or with my writing in general. I’m always looking to improve.
I’m going to go thru my thoughts on the story thus far; Judgment Part I is great. I love it, it sets up the setting nicely giving key aesthetic details that alienate the Quintessons, which helps these mysterious hunters feel like an actual threat to the primes. It’s great and yet a thing we see in nature. It’s a great set up to get the reader invested in the story.
Judgement Part II is great, we get to see more from Megatronus, Liege, and Vector. Liege pulls the story nicely, being our center of comedic relief. Furthermore the reveal of the Quintessons is awesome, it’s clear that they do feel above the characters we meet.
The Quintesson Wars: Protocol 19-8.4
I like this because it gets into the mechanic thinking of the other side, the other two stories didn’t really reveal all that much about the Quintessons, other than they’ve met the primes numerous times and have cast their brand of judgement on them. This gives us an robotic structured idea of what they see, which is certainly interesting. As you wrote, it is short, it’s not necessarily bad that’s it’s short. Although more detail would be welcome.
Overall, Chrome, I think you’re doing great! I want to see and read what else you have planned.
The Quintesson Wars: the Iacon Blitz, Part I
When an enemy announced its intention to destroy you as plainly as the quintessons had done, it was imperative that you destroyed them first.
Currently, the Thirteen were failing in that regard, a reality all too apparent to each of them as they picked themselves up out of the rubble that had only recently ceased to be the Decagon plaza. The twelve-sided courtyard was now a black crater, smoldering in places and littered with twisted metal shards from the building around it… and many of the cybertronians who had been caught in the blast.
Prima swore to himself that the lost sparks would be avenged as he stood among his compatriots, his left arm raised to hold a triangular golden shield to the sky, which was hidden by thick smoke. The Skyboom Shield, a gift to him made by Solus Prime, projected an electric-blue barrier around himself and the other Primes, protecting them from the worst of the quintesson’s strike. It had to be the quintessons, Prima knew; Cybertron’s other enemies were dead, by his hand and those of his fellow demigods. And now these extradimensional invaders would be joining them.
“Well, that was fast,” Liege Maximo groaned as he shoved a girder off of his abdomen with his good arm- the quintessons had attacked the Chronon shortly after delivering their grandiose threats, and he hadn’t survived the assault unscathed before the invaders disappeared from the Benzuli Expanse in a flash of light. “It looks like we don’t have to wait for them to rear their heads again after all.”
“And they will not live to regret it,” Megatronus growled, rising to his feet. He offered Solus Prime his hand, and when she took it he effortlessly pulled her out of a mound of wreckage. Her dull grey armor was scuffed and blackened in places, but from the look in her violet eyes, one could tell she intended to inflict far worse upon her aggressors.
“Is everyone alright?” she asked, hefting a massive gold hammer. She was no doctor, but ironically a good whack from the Forge would mend any injuries her friends had sustained. The other Primes helped each other up, with none suffering anything beyond a few dents and scratched paint. Alchemist Prime quietly remarked that he’d now owe Prima yet another drink.
The Thirteen’s commlinks crackled with static before a frantic voice broke through: Claymore, one of the twelve bots who led the Knights of Cybertron.
“My lords!” he shouted through the feed, “My lords, I have dispatched a team to the Decagon to see to you- please respond!”
“We’re fine, Claymore,” Prima assured the knight, lowering the Skyboom Shield. The dome of energy around the Primes vanished. “None the worse for wear. What’s happening outside?”
“It’s the quintessons, lord Prima,” Claymore reported, his worry quickly subsiding. “A ship, like the one lord Vector Prime described to us has appeared over the city in a flash of green. It’s done nothing since attacking the Decagon; we’re evacuating civilians to the underground shelters now.”
“Fine work, my friend,” Prima replied. “Recall your rescue team and have them see to the evacuations instead. Gather the rest of the council and come to me!”
Claymore acknowledged the order with a proud “seglass ni tonday”, the rallying cry of the Knights of Cybertron, before ending the communication. Alchemist raised a hand, the glyphs on its armor flashing white to summon a gust of wind that blew the smoke over the plaza away. Imposed against Cybertron’s setting sun was the quintesson’s ship: the black spire, marbled with beady red lights that glared down at the Primes and topped with a mushroom-like hood adorned with three crimson spotlights. There was no mistaking it for anything but the same ship that had crippled the Chronon and eluded Megatronus’s fleet, now having somehow slipped past Cybertron’s orbital defenses to loom ominously above Iacon’s golden towers. The Thirteen felt its gaze boring down upon them.
“People of Iacon,” a rumbling voice boomed like thunder over the city, and Megatronus, Liege, and Vector recognized it as one of the five they’d heard during their attempt to commune with the quintessons back at the Expanse.
“The Imperium of Cybertron is now under the jurisdiction of the quintessons,” the voice continued. “We demand your compliance. Disobedience will not be tolerated.”
“Resistance to our occupation is futile; any attempt at such will be soundly rebuked,” the feminine voice now added. “All military forces are to stand down and surrender themselves to us immediately.”
Claymore comes onto the commlink again.
“Am I to assume we’ll be disregarding their demands, my lords?” he asked, though he already knew the answer.
Prima’s white metallic skin shone in the evening sunlight; the Warrior of Light looked less like a robot and more like a set of ornate armor worn by primitive human warriors, held upright by a spirit inside that now burned like a roaring blue flame. He reached over his shoulder and drew the Star Saber, the massive great sword bequeathed to him by Primus himself, and its silver blade hummed as it turned a dazzling blue.
He looked up at the quintesson ship: the arrogant new foe that presumed to judge the fate of an entire universe. Its three largest eyes stared back, daring the Primes and their people to strike at them.
Prima flicked his wrist. The Star Saber chopped through air and sent a band of cosmic energy surging forth from its blade. It leapt up and struck the dark obelisk in the sky, and a line of its red lights burst in a sequence of explosions that popped like fireworks. And that was all the answer that both the people of Iacon and the quintessons needed.
Prima’s reaction consistent with permutations of Instance 353-23535475. Commence pacification of Iacon.
As debris fell from the gash cut into the quintesson ship, the alien vessel began to launch scores of black projectiles from batteries all over its spire. These obsidian orbs rocketed down toward Iacon’s streets, crashing into parks and buildings across the city. Alarms began to wail above the shattering of glass and the shrieking of tearing metal, and behind Prima the rest of the Thirteen drew their weapons.
Walking to the edge of the crater, Prima saw that fifteen of the black spheres had landed on a road beneath the Decagon. They clicked and hissed, unfolding to reveal hideous creatures with hunched bodies supported by long serpentine tails, clad in matte green armor and each sporting a multitude of robotic tentacles tipped with tiny claws. The quintessons looked up at Prima and opened their draconic snouts, revealing a smaller head between their jaws that rotated between five mechanical faces. Most settled for a red and orange visage frozen in a permanent scream of rage, and loosed shrill battle cries at the Warrior of Light. Prima’s aura flared around him as he brought the Star Saber to bear, and he looked back to see his fellow Primes standing close behind him, ready to fight together once again.
Prima turned his gaze back to the quintessons, and with a righteous shout he jumped down to face them.
“Soon” meant two days this time, as it turned out. Hope that was enjoyable, and as always, any comments and constructive criticism will be appreciated.
I really like how this one was structured
the opening paragraph gave a clear cut expectation of what would happen, and they were more than met. If anything Prima’s attack was above what the expectations set for me and that’s just great. It was an exciting read and now I’m even more excited for the next peice.
The Quintesson Wars: the Iacon Blitz, Part II
Onyx Prime didn’t have a “bad” side. Anyone with the persistence enough to provoke the wrath of the Lord of Beasts (and lacking in an instinct for self-preservation) would be best served running the hell away, and could only consider themselves safe once they’d left for the next star system over.
A few quintesson soldiers were about to learn this the hard way, as Prima jumped down from one of the Decagon’s balconies and split one of the tentacled creatures in half with the Star Saber, the blade slicing through both metal and viscera with the ease of a knife through thin air. Onyx Prime soon followed, unfurling a pair of massive wings on his back which thrummed as anitgravity mechanisms beneath their blade-feathers activated to carry Onyx’s massive robot body. He swooped past Prima and landed atop another quintesson ahead of him, pinning it to the ground beneath his forelegs. The quintesson shrieked and lashed up at Onyx’s body with its tentacles, raking at his black-and-amber-hued armor, while two other invaders raised plasma cannons from their hunched backs and shot at his chest and torso. Onyx gritted his teeth as the magnetic fields around the plasma bolts broke against his armor, and the sizzling energized gas beneath them burnt his “skin”; he ignored the pain as he reached down for the quintesson beneath him and seized bunches of tentacles in his large, clawed hands. He ripped the limbs from their sockets with one pull, and as he punched the hoof of his right foreleg through the quintesson’s armor and into its chest cavity he threw his horned head back and let out a loud, throaty roar of fury that could be heard for miles around the great city of Iacon. The Triptych Mask on his face reshaped itself into a four-eyed, hawk-like visage with a crown of sharp horns reaching up from the top of his head: the face of Predator.
Micronus Prime was sure glad to count Onyx as his friend: among other benefits, he figured it made his life expectancy shoot up a few millennia. He watched as the centaur-like cybertronian pulled his hoof, now slick with a dark-brown mixture of blood and mech fluid, out of the quintesson he’d gored, threw the severed tentacles onto the ground, and then leaped for the other two who were still shooting at him. These quintessons shut off their cannons and each raised their tentacles and a set of four arms tipped with long, bladed talons, but these did not dissuade the Lord of Beasts. He galloped into the two quintessons and grabbed them by their tails, tucking his head down as a flurry of claws and blades lashed at his face and shoulders. With a mighty heave he lifted one quintesson off the road and tossed him over the side, where it fell several stories onto a boulevard below. He then thrust is now-free hand down the hood of the second quintesson still squirming in his grasp, grabbing hold of the screeching face within. The hood snapped shut over Onyx’s forearm, its teeth biting into the armor, but the Prime only looked into the terrified eyes of his prey to howl savagely as he pulled out its head. Veins and wires popped, and teeth scrapped down Onyx’s wrist as he ripped the head from its body, its five faces sagging as the life drained from each one’s eyes.
Another quintesson slithered up to sink its claws into Onyx’s side, but Micronus had his friend covered. From the balcony above, the minicon’s body surged with electricity as he allowed his volatile spark to flood the capacitors built into his form. He threw out his hands and loosed a blast of lightning on the quintesson, and it collapsed in a steaming, charred heap. Prima launched a wave of energy from the Star Saber’s blade that sliced through three more; of the fifteen invaders that had landed outside the Decagon to face the Primes, seven now remained. These survivors did not relent- they raised their plasma cannons and sent a torrent of crimson bolts at their foes. Micronus jumped behind a fallen support column, his body smaller and more fragile than those of his comrades, and Prima raised another barrier with the Skyboom Shield to protect them all.
Micronus saw the quintessons immediately stop firing, and their last few shots were absorbed harmlessly by the shimmering barrier between them and the Primes. Without a second’s pause, they split into two groups and started to slither around the barrier, their faces switching to a silver and green face inside their hoods.
So the creatures aren’t just brainless drones. Micronus was starting to miss the terrorcons already. But Alchemist Prime stopped these seven early in their maneuver: the portly robot raised his arms, and a rainbow of light filled the glyphs inscribed onto his massive gauntlets and wide palms. The quintessons suddenly convulsed, reeling backward as raspy howls of agony escaped their jaws. Their own armor buckled under some unseen force and twisted itself into sharp spikes that jabbed inward at their organs. Scowling, Alchemist clenched his fists, and the quintessons seized in unison before dropping dead onto the road.
With the threat passed, Prima dispelled the barrier and drew his left arm back to his side. He cast a wary glance at Alchemist, having not seen such a brutal display of his powers since the battle with the Heralds of Unicron forty-thousand years ago. He’d forgotten how easily the jovial bartender could turn the elements- even the very structure of his enemies’ bodies- into a weapon.
“That mean we’re even now?” the stout Prime asked. The evening sunlight streaming from behind the quintesson ship overhead glinted on the rims of the round spectacles over his six eyes. Prima smirked, and twirled the Star Saber in his right hand.
“The night is still young, my friend,” he replied. “Best not to call the score just yet.”
Micronus looked up from his cover and saw Onyx Prime turn to face him. His hands were clasped together as he drew in a deep breath. His shoulders relaxed, and the Triptych Mask shifted into the passive, hawk-like face of Farsight. He looked down at the quintesson Micronus had electrocuted for him, and then back to Micronus; an appreciative smile spread across his face.
Micronus gave Onyx a thumbs-up and a smile in return, and looked over his shoulder to see Quintus drifting between the bodies of the transformers killed in the decagon plaza. He examined the burnt armor sadly, and pulled a yellow gemstone from his chest. It hovered in the air between his fingers, and began to glow as the Prime of Life uttered a prayer:
“Primus, these souls have been taken from this world too soon, by the unjust hands of an invading enemy. Please, relinquish their sparks, allow me to mend their bodies and return them to us once more.”
Micronus never knew if appealing to the Creator was necessary to use the Emberstone, but Quintus always said a few words to the Bot Upstairs before doing so. It seemed to work: the gem’s glow spread in whispy tendrils to the fallen transformers around the plaza, lifting them off the ground as their damages were miraculously mended. Their sparks reignited within their chests, and they were alive once again. They looked to one another in shock, but Quintus was quick to catch their attention.
“It is not safe for you here,” he said to them. “Come, I will lead you to a shelter.”
Micronus hopped down to join the others as Quintus led the resurrected civilians into the Decagon. “Quintus has already started helping in the evacuations,” he reported. “Figure that’s priority one for the rest of us, too?”
Prima nodded. They’d led their people together, but with a battle upon them the Warrior of Light was taking charge once again.
“They’ve taken us by surprise,” he says. “The knights will raise Iacon’s defenses in the meantime; we see the civilians to safety before launching a counterattack.”
The other Primes nod in agreement, before splitting into pairs to head into the city. Micronus leaped onto Onyx’s back and the Lord of Beasts took flight, soaring off toward a residential district. Beneath them, Optimus Prime ran alone, toward the boulevard beneath the quintesson’s ship.
“Where do you think he’s going?” Micronus asked his friend.
“He has his duties,” Onyx replied calmly, “and we have ours. We must each concentrate on our own tasks.”
Micronus sighed and gripped a raised section of armor between Onyx’s shoulders, as the two Primes flew between the monolithic spires of Iacon. Their windows were shattered, and more quintesson soldiers crawled down their lengths, spat out from their oppressive mothership. The arrogant creatures had dared to strike at the heart of Cybertron, of the civilization Micronus and his fellow Primes had devoted themselves to build. For that, Micronus swore to make them pay.
Wouldn’t be a war story without some action, now would it? As always, comments and constructive criticism would be appreciated.
The Quintesson Wars: the Iacon Blitz, Part III
The quintessons swept through Iacon as if they had done it a thousand times before- and they had. They knew the evacuation protocols that Prima’s knights would follow to shepherd the civilians into bunkers beneath the city’s energon lake. They swarmed the anti-air defense cannons at the same time as detachments of knights raced to turn them on their solitary scout ship. And the five-faced soldiers were familiar with the tactics the Primes had taught their soldiers; for every quintesson a knight cut down, another would flank him in the meantime and tear him apart with its talons.
The pacification of the cybertronian capitol city was proceeding exactly according to protocol. Before the sun rose over Iacon again, its defenses would be broken, the heart of the Primes’ fellowship would be dead, and the civilization they had built would fall in on itself with its head removed. Then the Appointer would be free to do its work, and Judgement would proceed.
Prima stood between what must have been half a hundred quintessons and the entrance to a bunker beneath the Tower of Pion, a gold and bronze megastructure that climbed high into the dusky sky, just a few miles from the center of Iacon. He dared to look over his shoulder to see the last of the latest crowd of civilians being ushered through the yawning blast doors by Knights of Cybertron. He would allow himself to take pride in his acolytes’ swift response to the sudden invasion later, when there wasn’t a small army bearing down upon him.
Turning back to the approaching quintessons, Prima brandished the Star Saber and charged at the invaders. As he met them head-on, he swung his sword in a graceful arc that cut one of the quintessons in half along its middle. The blade of the Star Saber flashed blue, and a wave of its energy shot out through the felled alien and reduced eight more behind it to smoldering chunks of meat and metal. Prima spun like a dancer as more quintessons tried to surround him, and his sword sang as it threw out more bands of light to cut them down. Too late, he realized that these opponents were a distraction: the threw themselves against his blade to allow four more of their number to slither past him, toward the bunker.
Prima whipped the Star Saber above his head, then slammed the edge of the blade into the metal road beneath his feet. The grey tile cracked and shattered as the sword’s energies surged outward in a shockwave that pushed back the belligerent quintessons. Prima turned, dragging his sword along the road to see the knights at the bunker’s entrance trading bursts of plasma with the quintessons who had passed him. One of the guards staggered into the wall behind him as a shot struck his shoulder, and Prima wound back his sword to intervene-
-But before he could, a blur of red and blue slid into the quintesson on his right, lobbing its head off with an axe. Without a pause, Optimus Prime barreled for the other quintesson, who hissed at the sight of its decapitated comrade. It lashed out with its tendrils; sparks flew as its claws scraped against Optimus’s armor, and the he reeled back. The quintesson lunged forward, thrusting out its talons, and Optimus had just enough time to shove the helve of his energon axe in their path. He allowed the quintesson to pull the weapon from his grasp, and ducked beneath its tentacles to deliver an uppercut to the hood over its face. In one fluid motion, Optimus spun around, snatched his axe from the quintesson’s outstretched arm, and turned back to bury its burning blade in its chest.
Prima ran over to his friend as Optimus kicked away the body of his fallen foe, and looked back to the knights guarding the bunker to see the wounded guard being lifted up by the other. Satisfied that they would both be fine, the two Primes turned their attention to each other. Prima started to speak- to thank Optimus for his timely intervention whilst reminding him that other parts of the city could use his help- but Optimus sprinted past him with little more than a nod of his head. Prima looked after him as he ran, bewildered. Where was he going?
Nexus Prime was spread thin, in quite a literal sense of the phrase: the combiner’s five components scrambled across Iacon’s central parkway to provide cover for the crowd of frightened civilians in his care. He could be everywhere at once, and yet it still wasn’t enough: the quintessons were beginning to slip past his components and drag bots off into the darkened buildings around the park. The spire of their ship lorded above them.
“Everyone stay close!”
From five throats, Nexus shouted to what remained of his dependents, gathering them in a huddle. Around them, another wave of quintessons gathered to snatch more transformers away for their unknown purposes.
Not one more, Nexus promised himself. You’re not getting through me this time, freaks.
A flash of orange exploded in the quintessons’ midst, and out from the techno-organic brushed jumped Optimus Prime with his axe drawn, with smoldering chunks of armor and flesh falling behind him. Always one to accept a helping hand, Nexus cheered and gathered his components together. Standing back-to-back with Optimus, he rebuilt himself into his towering, digitigrade combined form.
“To what do I owe the pleasure?” he asked Optimus in his basey voice.
“That remains to be seen,” Optimus replied. staring down the snarling quintessons. He realized that their attention was no longer upon Nexus or the civilians in his care: their beady eyes were all trained on him.
" 'Nother one of your ‘feelings’, eh, pal?" Nexus guessed. Optimus felt the sinking weight in his chest: the same sensation he felt whenever the Matrix of Leadership guided his thoughts. It was directing him even now, toward the bottom of the ship hovering above Iacon. Though why, he couldn’t yet guess.
“Fight beside me once again, Nexus, and we may find out together.”
Nexus smirked. “Good enough for me!”
The two Primes laid into the horde, Nexus drawing a massive sword with a bifurcated blade: the Cyber Calibur. As his weapon touched his foes, their bodies exploded into strings of muscle and detached machinery: Nexus applied the sword’s power to mend or dismantle anything it touched to frightening effect. Optimus’s weapon had no such abilities: he relied on its sizzling blades and his own skill, honed by centuries of battle against Unicron’s minions, to cut the quintessons down. The quintessons did not back down, did not retreat even as more of their number fell: they were relentless, and seemed to lack any sense of self-preservation. One swiped at Optimus’s leg and brought him to one knee, but Nexus swung around and reduced the quintesson to spare parts. As the melee continued to unfold, the civilians cheered their leaders on- some of them deployed weapons of their own from their arms and took opportunistic shots at some of the quintessons.
Optimus Prime located. Commencing termination as per protocol 19.8.4 (revised)
The weight in Optimus’s chest sunk deeper into his spark, like a black hole drawing light itself into its maw. Above him, a low roar assaulted his audio receptors as the sky turned red. He looked up, and saw the tip of the quintesson ship’s spire spit apart to reveal a weapon: a cannon of some kind that glowed with the same sinister amethyst light as the eyes all over its body. A quintesson took advantage of the distraction to tackle him to the ground, and three more jumped on Nexus’s back before he could run over.
Optimus wrestled with the quintesson as the cannon overhead glowed brighter, and its barrel crackled with bolts of crimson energy. The quintesson wrapped its tentacles around his legs, his torso, and his left arm, but a punch square in the face disoriented it long enough for Optimus to wrench his right arm free. The cannon roared like a dragon as its image began to disappear within the storm of blood-red light massing around it.
Optimus felt his hand reach into his chest, outside of his control. A familiar presence gently eased his mind’s hold over his body, as it had done during his last battle with unicron centuries ago. He didn’t fight it; he allowed whatever spirit dwelled within the Matrix to wrap his fingers around the panels beneath his neck, and pull them apart to grab at the sparkling gold shell inside. He felt his hand take hold of the Matrix, felt its surface rippling like water as his vision faded to white, and the roar of the quintesson ship’s cannon suddenly vanished…
As always, comments and constructive criticism are appreciated and requested! I’ve spent the last couple months going through a move and getting started with a new job, so that hasn’t left me much time to write. But I’m starting to fall into a routine now, and hopefully I can start cutting out some time each day to put pen to paper (figuratively, anyway).
A Quick Update on the Quintesson Wars and the Future of These Stories.
Writing an anthology about a series of interstellar wars has turned out to be a greater undertaking than I originally anticipated. I originally created this topic to write short stories and bits of lore from around this little fanon-verse I’ve made, but I honestly feel bogged-down by the Quintesson Wars. I had no idea what I was truly committing to when I started it with the Judgement two-parter and I’ve been trying to learn what to do as I go along, which has impacted the quality of my writing greatly (not that it was ever anything exemplary, but I digress
I’m currently writing up a “finale” that’ll end the immediate situation with the aftermath of the Iacon Blitz. After that, I might take a break for just a bit to figure out what it is I really want to do here. I made a promise I couldn’t keep, and for that I apologize.
I feel that commitment emotion looks at SkoS
Anywho, I wish you the best and do note that I have been enjoying all of this, despite not always having something to say about it.
I still don’t know what I was thinking, when I started SkoS, who knew making a wargame by yourself and then creating a world for it was a huge commitment, clearly I didn’t think it thru.
The Quintesson Wars: Bad Moons Rising
The quintesson’s ship, that foreboding tower of black metal and piercing red eyes, which had just hours before hung malevolently over the skyline of Iacon, now rested in smoldering pieces across the metal hills around the Well of All Sparks. It’s central column had been snapped apart like an ebony twig, and the mushroom-like hood atop it had caved in, with a great hole punched into its dome. Crimson lights across the wreckage’s surface flickered dimly, trying to hold on to life, while orange fires burned within the wreckage. It was a sound victory for the Primes and newborn race of Transformers; the quintesson’s daring invasion had been soundly repulsed.
But how that victory had been achieved, no-one among the people of Iacon could say for sure. Prima’s plan to activate the city’s defensive weapons had been rendered null as a bright light had suddenly flared at the megalopolis’s center, engulfing the enemy vessel as a loud sound, like the tolling of a great bell, had split the evening air and drowned out the sounds of clashing blades and weaponsfire. When the light and noise cleared a second later, the ship was gone, and a thunderous boom sounded from the plains around Iacon. The Primes and their warriors hadn’t time to ponder the miracle, and instead cut down the rest of the quintesson monsters infesting the city streets, now that they would not be replaced with reinforcements from their ship.
The battle was over. Night had fallen over Iacon and the surrounding plains, and while the populace immediately went to work repairing the damage the quintessons had wrought- assisted by the restorative abilities of Solus, Alchemist, and Nexus Prime- the rest of the Thirteen traveled to the crash site in search of answers. Before the looming visage of the ship’s hood, a ribbon of green light sliced through the air. It grew larger, widening into a gateway cut into the empty space. From its center, Prima, Megatronus, Liege Maximo, Amalgamous Prime, Alpha Trion (accompanied, as always, by Beta Maxx), Onyx Prime, Micronus Prime, and Quintus Prime emerged together, their armor painted by firelight and the dim glow cast down by Cybertron’s twin moons, Hecate and Artemis. Vector Prime walked out of the portal behind them all, and dispelled the gate his sword had created by stowing Rhisling on his hip. The glyphs on its blade stopped shining, and the air around the Primes righted itself again. The robotic demigods looked up at the destroyed ship, none of them taking as much pride in their victory as they wanted to. With only one ship, the quintessons had slipped past fleets of warships and planetary defenses, and proceeded to launch an invasion of the capitol city of their fledgling civilization.
It made Vector Prime wonder: if this enemy was so bold as to immediately attempt such a strike- to leave the rest of the Imperium of Cybertron leaderless and disoriented, no doubt- how would they retaliate now that they had been defeated? If the quintessons truly had visited other dimensions before this one, had they already anticipated the results of this battle?
He shook his head. He wouldn’t allow himself to become paralyzed by fearful ruminations. As the Guardian of Space and Time, a threat to the multiverse such as this new enemy was his responsibility, whether the others shared that sentiment or not. Meanwhile Megatronus kicked at pieces of wreckage by his feet, looking for anything that could have once been a weapon, or a part in the ship’s systems. The segmented plates that made up his face were shaped into a scowl. If Vector thought he had been caught unaware by this new enemy, he could only imagine what ran through Megatronus’s mind.
Vector’s gold hand rested on Megatronus’s pitch-dark shoulder. “This will not happen again,” Vector said reassuringly. “We will be ready for them.”
But Megatronus only turned his grimace to the face of his comrade, and shrugged the outreached hand off of his arm. “Indeed, I shall,” he hissed wrathfully, his eyes burning a hellish red. Vector gave a melancholy sigh, and joined the other Primes in examining the wreck. Only one bot could console Megatronus in his worst of moods, and she wasn’t here right now.
Beneath the quintesson ship’s dome, they found a way into the vessel’s interior. The winding passages were large enough to accommodate their giant forms, though to Onyx Prime they seemed more like the veins and arteries of a massive creature than hallways. With curved surfaces and walls made from thick black cables, they branched off into smaller passages often, and frequently merged with others halls to lead into wider chambers housing unfamiliar machines. Some shipwrights likened their craft to loyal companions, but this monolithic vessel truly felt like a living organism- like the bestial titans that roamed across Cybertron’s equator. The Lord of Beasts squared his shoulders and tensed his claws, feeling like some insignificant microbe within the body of this bizarre creature.
“Fascinating,” remarked Quintus Prime, plucking a cable from the wall and pinching it with his long, thin fingers. Maroon liquid trickled from its torn end. His six eyes were wide with wonder, and his small mouth agape. “Oh, if only Optimus had left it in a more pristine condition…”
“That is one way to appraise this… thing, I suppose,” Onyx murmured, not exactly sharing in Quintus’s enthusiasm. The difference between the two of them, he supposed, was that Quintus couldn’t recognize a true monster among the many forms life took across the cosmos. The quintessons didn’t even come from this cosmos; they were foreign to the natural order, and it terrified the Lord of Beasts.
The Primes pressed inward in to the wreck, keeping on the same path as it went uphill through burst-open hatches and intricate valves. Broken bodies were strewn across the floor: some the Primes recognized as more of the tentacled warriors they had fought, while others were clearly of the same design, but frailer, and without tails to support themselves on. Their bodies simply ended in a web of tendrils bellow their waist, and some even had more additional appendages coming from their flanks, or behind their shoulders. Pinkish flesh wove with complex circuitry beneath sheets of osteoderm and metal. The Primes said nothing as they passed the corpses, eventually coming to a door which hadn’t broken open wide enough to allow them through.
With the strength of the five robots that made up his form, Nexus Prime stepped forward and ripped the hatches from the walls, tearing out trails of wires and tubes beneath them. The Primes stepped through the aperture and into a massive round chamber, the interior of the quintesson ship’s domed cap reaching up all around them, with twin beams of moonlight shining through the massive tear in its side. The silvery radiance shone upon destroyed machines adorned with strange markings, with damaged hologram projectors that occasionally spat out more otherworldly symbols that none of the Primes could decipher.
In the center of the cavernous space, a harness made from gnarled mechanical arms, twisted like the roots of a black tree, reached down and wrapped around a creature encircled by broken monitors. It had no limbs that the Primes could see, just a large, bloated face of necrotic tissue and grey cybernetic implants that held it all together. It’s bony jaws were slack, its mechanical eyes lightless. All over the creature’s body, cables and tubes of varying size stretched between it and the myriad of machines around its harness, which in turn were linked to the other mechanisms throughout the chamber by visceral webs of veiny circuits.
The Primes gaped up at this thing in a dreadful silence, not knowing what to make of it. Now more than ever, these new foes presented themselves as a threat utterly alien to them. For all his terrifying powers, Unicron and his minions were something they could understand.
The creature in the harness suddenly shuddered, and its right eye filled with a dim red light, which illuminated a jagged rupture in the armor above its face, where blood and mech fluid bled out through ridges of brain matter. Creature and harness turned as one, swiveling on some axis in the ceiling to face the Primes as a choked gurgling sound escaped its mouth. Horrified, Prima stepped back and threw a hand on the hilt of the Star Saber.
“What… what in Primus’s name are you?” he gasped. The creature’s jaws drew together as its one working eye widened. Then, it spoke:
"Prima of Cybertron. You and the rest of the Thirteen, acting on behalf of the cybertronian race, have refused to comply with our mandates and submit yourselves to Judgement." It spoke in the detached, eery voice that the crew of the Chronon had heard at the Benzuli Expanse. It shuddered, as more fluid poured from its wound and a few cables on its side tore away from its body.
“Submit?” Prima scoffed. “You expected us to stand by and let you decide if we live or die?”
“Your compliance was mandated, cybertronian,” the creature- a quintesson, to be sure- said. "Your universe has been selected by the quintessons for trial and examination. The compliance of the native civilizations ensures an orderly procession and is convenient on your part."
Prima’s eyes narrowed. “Your people appear more as invading tyrants than judges, from where I’m standing. The Imperium of Cybertron does not recognize the authority you claim over our right to exist.”
“Irrelevant,” boomed the quintesson. More machines began to come loose from its body as the edges of its face sagged. "We are the only authority; only we can observe the permutations of existence, removed from its influence.
“There is a realm of being beyond the ability of even your technological mind to grasp. It affords a perspective that you could not begin to process within tenfold of your spark’s lifespan. What you perceive to be your universe is part of a vast matrix that must be curated, and only we have the means by which to do so.”
The quintesson began to sink into its harness as it drew closer to death, and Prima stepped forward. This shriveling creature’s grand words and pious ramblings did little to sway his mind. He drew his sword from his back and pointed the Star Saber’s blade up at the quintesson.
“You have lost,” the Warrior of Light says defiantly. “You underestimate your enemies if you truly expect them to yield to you- not without a fight, they won’t. The people of this universe will never be cowed, and we will resist your judgement with everything at our command.”
The quintesson’s eye flickered as blood stopped pouring from its head wound. Its flesh sagged, sloughing off its mechanical supports in places as it offered a final rebuke to the Primes:
"Your actions are consistent with previously-observed permutations. You are but a piece in a system far beyond your ability to comprehend. You are a product of probability on a scale unfathomable to you, but which we have observed since before its inception. You cannot break from the confines of your existence. You cannot defy the quintessons.
“You believe you will have war, Prima of Cybertron. We will have Judgement.”
So here it is: the finale of the cut-short Quintesson Wars. More of a look into how they started than a chronicle of centuries of battle and the generations of people who fought in them, but it’s the best I could do. I bit off way more than I could chew on this one and found myself in way over my head.
So this is the end of the Quintesson Wars, but from now on I’ll be returning to just writing standalone vignettes or short stories from around the TOTGA-verse timeline. I’ll revisit the quintessons and the Quintesson Wars again, but in a format more within my capabilities, and sprinkled among other things that I want to share.
As always, comments and constructive criticism is requested and appreciated. Thank you so much for your time.