From Transformers: Lost and Found
I've referred the matter to Chimera, with an open invitation to any other actual or aspiring religious officiants, mediums, or sorcerers who want to try their hand at double reverse resurrection.
They function, as well as they did before. Medically, there's nothing wrong them, except that they should be dead. Which is not the typical problem that walks in the door. I'm happy to continue monitoring them and running any test you want me to. But, for the record, I missed the lecture at the Academy recommending a course of treatment for Evil God Resurrection Syndrome. Really biting me now.
Ratchet of Protihex
Chief Medical Officer
The scene opens on a ruined cityscape, once a glittering organic metropolis, now wasted by the depredations of Unicron’s harbingers. Yet floating ominously above the city is what some are now calling a symbol of hope: A massive ship in the form of the Decepticon insignia.
“This is Circuit of Iacon, on location and embedded with the Decepticon offensive, on the outskirts of the former capital of the Harmonic Archonate of Agathir, now just another notch on Unicron’s equator!”
The picture focuses on a dirty, yellow mech, the aforementioned Circuit of Iacon. He’s speaking into a recording device built into his hand, which amplifies his voice through the mediadrone recording the footage.
“Wait, there he is! Let’s get some footage of that…”
The camera pans across the ruin, capturing a flight of Seekers screaming overhead to engage Harbinger forces over the horizon. It settles on Megatron, standing on the edge of a conveniently placed cliff, his red optics surveying the battlefield below. He looks almost satisfied.
“Lord Megatron!” Circuit shouts. “Sir, have you heard the news? Do you have any statement to make on Rodimus stepping down as Captain of the Lost Light to avoid Galactic Council prosecution?”
‘’Megatron turns to face the camera. There’s a significant gash torn in a ragged line in his helm, the sign of a recent fight. His red optics flare and focus on a point beyond the drone, as if he is looking through it at the viewer. He holds that piercing look for a long moment, then defuses it with a smirk.’’
“I have been under indictment for four million years. That teeming organic hive they call the Galactic Council must be very pleased that the new self-proclaimed leadership of Cybertron would prostrate itself before them at the mere threat.” Megatron straightens and his smirk turns to a scowl. “The Galactic Council does not dictate the leadership of my crusade. No organic commands Megatron.” The Decepticon commander is about to say more, when something unheard interrupts him. Megatron glances off-camera and brings two fingers to the side of his helm. “Speak. You’re certain? Very well. Recall Raptorion. We move immediately. Out of my way!”
Megatron reaches for the camera and pushes it aside. The screen goes dark.
TO: Blast Off
I appreciate your candor. We are experiencing a shortage of medical supplies, as well as other supplies on the ship. In addition, medical exists to treat crewmembers. It does not exist for crewmembers to steal supplies from actual doctors so they can pretend to be one for their friends.
I will make a formal request to Minimus that you be assigned to stand guard duty during your off-duty hours outside the Medbay for a period of time that he deems fit.
Ratchet of Protihex Chief Medical Officer
Megatron’s impending departure is heralded by the arrival of a Worldsweeper in orbit around Luna 2. The ship identifies itself as the Castigator but does not otherwise respond to Council inquiries. It is well behaved.
A short time later, a broadcast emanates from the ship, beaming to Cybertron and throughout the cosmos.
The image opens on Megatron, standing on the Castigator’s bridge. He is flanked on his right by a boxy-looking mech with an amber visor and spiky shoulderpads: General Turmoil. On his left a sleek spacefighter in white and purple stands with all the regal bearing of her station: Seeker Commander Raptorion.
Megatron begins. “My fellow Decepticons, the time has come.” The tyrant declares. “You have gathered here, on Cybertron and elsewhere, because you were told the war was over. That this...blank slate of a world was all your sacrifice had won. I tell you now that the war is not over, and our struggle has not been in vain. It has earned us this moment, this opportunity to embark upon a grand crusade. Our enemy is not the Primes, it is not Functionism, it is not the oppression of our race under an organic heel. It is not even the Autobots. No, today our enemy is annihilation itself. In this moment all Cybertronians are united in one truth: Unicron must be destroyed. If there is to be a new day for Cybertron, the Unmaker must himself meet his end.”
“The Decepticons are the tool that has been forged over millions of years of conflict for this purpose. Regardless of what has transpired these past few years, we remain the speartip of the Cybertronian race. We form its backbone and its strength. Stand proud. You have not failed. You have not been defeated. Not so long as this work is in front of us.”
“And so I call on you, my Decepticons. Whether you are on Cybertron or spread throughout the vast cosmos, know that your leader lives and that he is calling you to arms once more. Even if, in the past, you faltered in your obligations as a Decepticon, this is immaterial to the task before us. There are no more Lists. No more Justice Division. Whatever your crimes, any Decepticon who comes forward and joins my crusade will be forgiven.” Megatron lowers his helm. “And those who refuse the call will not be forgotten.”
“My words will also reach the colonies, who together form the so-called “Council of Worlds.” To you I say: send me your warriors, your fiercest, your strongest, your brightest minds and most clever mechs. While your Council debates and dithers, I will put them to use. No part of our race can be allowed to lie fallow, given the enormity of our challenge. I have long preached the equality of all Cybertronians, and I am proud to extend that hand now, to you, in this hour of our greatest need.”
Megatron raises that black-armored hand, which soon curls into a fist. “I will depart on this crusade in seven days’ time. Make your choice. Once the stars themselves trembled at the Decepticon name, and now together we will teach a god the meaning of fear.”
Permission granted. Take the time you need. This isn’t the war anymore. No life comes cheap and we shouldn’t pass up the chance to celebrate every one.
We’ll be ready for you when you return.
Autobot Chief Medical Officer
The following fragment of a larger work, titled After the Purification: Towards Progress, has been making the rounds in the Decepticon quarter on Iacon and on other Decepticon feeds. It isn't hard to find, as Megatron's most recent work is passed from bot to bot and posted on various post-War media. While it originated with the Decepticons, it is now available to all.
Against Vector Sigma
We are confronted by a problem of design.
I do not mean by this that Cybertronians are flawed, or that we are ill-fit to some purpose. Rather, it is the notion that each of us has an assigned, innate and inflexible purpose bestowed upon us at our creation that is the source of much of the suffering and exploitation that has plagued our race.
Consider the organic. Like us, she has fingers with which to grasp and eyes with which to see. We both possess brains that can process what our senses receive. From that input we can reason through and conquer the challenges of the natural world. We can even approximate an understanding of it. Indeed, our designs, our forms, have been so successful that multiple races, independently, have built civilizations spanning the stars. The galaxy teems with intelligent life, mechanical and organic. This success, this triumph of design, leads inexorably to this question: if we are so well designed, so fit for our purpose, must this fact demand the existence of a designer? The grand tapestry woven across the cosmos cries out for a designer to affix her name to it, to take credit for this work above all works. And yet no designer has come forward. All about the galaxy lie sophisticated and adaptable machines, yet how can it be there is no engineer to claim them?
Both Cybertronians and the other races of the galaxy have resorted to superstition to explain this apparent impossibility. The Humans of Earth invented dozens of hidden beings, more or less supreme, whose hands shaped what is. A sect of the Humans believes that they are rendered in the image of one of these ethereals. The fact that Humans are quite tangible and quite fragile must mark the end of that notion. The Riorans of the lately devoured Ummah believed that a seven-headed serpent shed its skin and made their system. Suffice to say, the Ummah will be remembered more for being the first victim of Unicron than for their fanciful theology. He That Hungers is their god now.
I need not recount our own creation myths in detail. Cybertronians speak of Primus and yet he is nowhere to be found. As each organic species inevitably regards its own race as the one chosen by the hidden supreme being, we have assembled ourselves out of the corpses of our gods. There is a fragment of Adaptus in all of us, and by having slain Mortilus our sparks shall live forever. The truly exalted among us, the Prime, carries Solomus’s casket inside his chest. It is perhaps fitting that our race, which has endured so much, is among the minority of intelligences who regard all of their gods as being deceased. All, that is, but one.
In one sense I envy the organics. They have learned enough to know that they came from the dirt, the product of billions of years of evolutionary processes by which chemicals gained the capacity to process logic. The organics have learned the truth of themselves, they have been let in on the cosmic joke that is their existence. Can we say that we are so wise? We know that each of us possesses a spark, but no more. Indeed, we denied that miracle for millennia, and in doing so nearly destroyed ourselves. In truth we are ignorant, and because we are ignorant, we are dependent.
Organic belief systems in hidden supreme beings whose will can only be known through self-appointed interpreters has been rightfully mocked ever since the first Cybertronians encountered the first organics. We saw through the deception: it was obvious that the priests, shamans, prophets, and wise men invented a link to a supreme power in order to aggrandize themselves and exploit the rest of their societies. Indeed, many organic societies are founded on this lie, which allowed a relative few to capture the masses and bend them to their own will.
And yet we succumbed to the same superstitions and allowed twelve Functionists to control the lives of billions. In a sense, this is understandable, because for all of our history we have confronted this same problem of design. A spark is created in a burst of light and heat, holding within it the potential for life. It melts the metal around it, the very surface of Cybertron itself, and from that living metal emerges a Cybertronian. Before the Cybertronian is even conscious he has been assigned an alt mode, which to uncritical and simple minds might appear to be fitted towards accomplishing a particular task. To the malicious mind, it is an inescapable designation.
Were this process an accident, the result of a bolt of lightning from the heavens, random and unknowable, perhaps we could have escaped our fate. But we know that this process is not accidental, or, at least, we know that it has a source.
All life on Cybertron emerges from Vector Sigma. Every alt mode is assigned through the process that originates from Vector Sigma. If Cybertronians have a living god, it is Vector Sigma.
Design implies a designer. A designer implies intent. Intent implies a rationale. A rationale can be known, debated, and interpreted. So long as there is a designer, she can be interrogated. If the designer is silent in the face of these questions, then he will gather priests and prophets about him who will profess to know his will. Thus, the fact that we arise from Vector Sigma, and that Vector Sigma remains silent, has assigned unearned power to liars, fools, and worse.
I am the first to have articulated a vision of Cybertronian society where power does not in some way flow from Vector Sigma. And yet even I am beholden to its power. Was I not made from a spark that was created by Vector Sigma? Does not the energon that fuels me flow from that source? For four million years of war even I did not think that I could conquer Vector Sigma, even though I knew that so long as Vector Sigma stood at the heart of our world and determined the future of our race, there was the chance that everything I had worked to achieve, a new golden age of justice and peace, could be overturned by one false prophet claiming to hear whispers in his aural circuits. Vector Sigma is the last, unbreachable citadel standing between Cybertronians and freedom. Unlike the organics, we know our designer, and through his deafening silence we were all condemned.
But no more. We are entering now on the Age of Progress, and the revelations it brings promise to at long last deliver control of our destiny into our own hands. We now know that the process of cold construction, for eons represented as the division of a Vector Sigma-derived spark, was in fact made possible by the First Matrix. It is perhaps no coincidence that this matrix was sacrificed in order to save Vector Sigma, burning one potential bridge to our independence. We know that colonists have lived and prospered for millions of years outside of Vector Sigma’s light. A barren moon can become fecund again.
While its influence was a certainty, Vector Sigma’s hold was absolute. With these mysteries come opportunities to overthrow the greatest dictator of them all. The Guiding Hand reaches out to us with the promise that we can know our origin, and from there tear Vector Sigma down from its pedestal. It is no god, it is not the Primus-who-never-was. It can be known, it can be understood, it can be conquered.
Imagine our world without Vector Sigma. There would be no authority to place one mode of creation over another, or to rank alt modes within a divine schema. Remove a mech’s origin and he becomes the sum of his choices and ambitions. Her spark can speak for itself and be judged accordingly. We may all become our own authors and at last be free.
Our conflict with Unicron will complete this process. Uncovering the key to defeating one false god will unlock the demise of another. All avenues of inquiry must be opened, all that we can learn through our science embraced. In a war between gods nothing can be regarded as sacred. All that is holy must be trampled and brought into our grasp. Our communion with the Hand will show us the way, and from them to us will pass the sword that will pierce Vector Sigma’s heart.
The time has come to write new values on new tablets. In slaying Vector Sigma, we will have to become great enough to be worthy of this greatest deed. Free of our dependence, we will again rise in the galaxy and push back the organic tide that has exalted in our apparent defeat. What they do not know is that Cybertron has been reforged. So too must its people. Once this task is complete, and we are masters of ourselves and our world, we will make the stars themselves tremble.
The following fragment of a larger work, titled After the Purification: Towards Progress, has been making the rounds in the Decepticon quarter on Iacon and on other Decepticon feeds. It isn't hard to find, as Megatron's most recently work is passed from bot to bot and posted on various post-War media. While it originated with the Decepticons, it is now available to all.
The Purification of Cybertron
When the time comes to tally the deeds of the people of Cybertron, how shall those who follow us make sense of the millions of years of turmoil that have defined our existence? We in the present can hardly know, even those of us who were there. Our sparks may be immortal, but the data etched in our brains drifts and decays, until the past becomes unknowable. Or, worse, unreliable. Even the eldest, the co-called sages and ancients among our race, can scarcely remember what happened at the dawn of their lives. The titans’ cryptic revelations are worse than if they stood silent.
Cybertron is oft called the Miracle Planet. There are other mechanical races in the universe, we have found, but none like us. In the way that an organic is the sum of chemical reactions and chains of crude molecules, so Stentarians and Lithones are the sum of circuits, gears, and the flow of electrons. Both are mere crude matter that has achieved a mirage of sentience. The Cybertronian begins and ends with his spark. The Functionists attempted to make the Cybertronian her altmode, and they were destroyed. Optimus Prime attempted to make the Cybertronian his moral code, and he too has failed. Only the truth remains: a Cybertronian is a creature with a spark. Unique, ineffable, a miracle personal to each mech. A light to guide every one of us.
But to the original question: how to make sense of the fall of the miracle planet and the near-extinction of its people? There are some who would say that the answer to this question is written on the byline of this work: Megatron of Tarn. If that is the case, then, surely they must read on, and know well what the tyrant to end all tyrants has to say.
We can begin with a superficial understanding of our past achieved by dividing the life of Cybertron into ages. Artificial though it may be, the act of constructing a narrative from the chaos of history forces us to identify those people, ideas, and events that have led us to where we are. I propose that I have lived in three distinct ages. There must be other ages, stretching back to whatever beginning we have, but for our purposes, three will do.
The first was the Age of the Primes, and its guiding philosophy was Functionism. This was the Age of Deception. In this era, we were gripped by the greatest lie that has ever been told: you are not a miracle. Cybertron is not a miracle planet. You are not a living spark, imbued with hopes and dreams and ambitions, you are not an autonomous person following the light within you as it illuminates your own path. You are an earth mover. You are a drill. You are a car. You are a dataslug. You are a gun. So perverse was the thinking of this age that by looking at the part of us most susceptible to transformation the Functionists determined that each of us was one thing and one thing only.
Why then, was this the Age of Deception, and not the Age of Ignorance? The Functionists could be forgiven if they were merely mistaken. But we know that they were not: the Grand Cybertronian Taxonomy was not a revelation, it was a weapon. The Taxonomy was brute law written in the guise of religion masquerading as science. We all know the story of Dominus Ambus, tasked with balancing the great ledger of exploitation so that the Functionists could disguise the fact that they had written the Taxonomy with only one goal in mind: to ensure they were at its apex. The Age of Deception was the Age of Hypocrisy.
The spark knows when it is being deceived. A Cybertronian recognizes hypocrisy and exploitation, even when every aspect of her society has been shaped to tell her that all is well and all is as it should be. I have written that “religion is the engex of the masses.” As a miner consumes engex until he can barely function, so as to disguise the aches from stress fractures in his superstructure and to silence the voice in the back of his mind asking whether a life of toil is all that there is, so too was religion used to silence the spark’s cries of pain. A spark knows that it is a miracle. Only within the framework of a corrupt religion could that declaration be reduced to a bare whisper.
At the end of the Age of the Primes, we were on the brink of extinction. Even though there were more of us than there ever would be again, the Cybertronian race stood perilously close to spiritual annihilation. Functionism renders a Cybertronian a Stentarian or a Lithone: crude matter that thinks itself whole. Had they prevailed, we Cybertronians would be as extinct as if every spark had been snuffed out. All know that this degradation was the cause of the war. For a time I labored to end this degradation without violence, even while the Primes, who above all else depended on this system for their own power, committed unspeakable violence to save it. This could not hold.
And so the war came.
I ended the Age of the Primes and ushered in a new Age of War. A war prosecuted by a new Prime, though he was not of that old Age. More will and must be written on the war, but that is not now my purpose. Suffice to say at this point that the war was necessary. Our race had nearly been destroyed and we had to fight to save it. We should call this the Age of Atonement, there is no other way to understand the trials of the Cybertronian race and the sacrifices that billions have made to the cause of liberation. Not one spark perished in vain: for it was in the forge of war that the new Cybertronian race will have been refined, purified, and made anew.
The Age of Atonement has now come to its end. But it is not the end of conflict, nor is it the beginning of peace. The lessons of that Age cannot be forgotten, nor the principles that brought it about left unfulfilled. But this new age must be acknowledged. Its arrival has been announced with the revelation of miracles: the rejection of a dead universe, the destruction of the First Matrix, the uniting of Cybertron with her colonies, the word of the Guiding Hand, and, yes, with the return of Unicron.
One miracle stands above the others: the purification of Cybertron. Our world died during the Age of Atonement, and now it has been reborn. As the war reforged our race, so too have we been given a new Cybertron. We are entering, at last, on the Age of Progress.
Or perhaps we are not. The worldender stands in the way of this new age. We have one last test before we have the privilege of making the Cybertron we have always deserved. To triumph over Unicron will demand the unity of our people. In this way, Unicron is a gift: the promise that the Age of Atonement might be over, and that the sins of Functionism and the hubris of the Primes can at last be overcome. We will realize this promise only if we are rightly guided and fierce in our determination.
This is the fight for which the Decepticons were forged. It is the fight for which I have been reforged. Unicron is not the great work before us. In defeating him, we will earn the right to take up the stylus and write upon the blank screen of this new Cybertron. We, who have learned the most from the Age of Deception and the Age of Atonement, must once again take up the mantle of progress and advance the Cybertronian race into the new Age.
We will be doubted. We will be castigated. We will be slandered. They will say we have forgotten what only we can know. They will, as they always have, resort to violence to silence us.
But we will not be deceived.
You will present yourself to me aboard the Lost Light at a time of my choosing. Soundwave will notify you of that time.
Megatron of Tarn
It has come to my attention that Soundwave designated you operational commander for all Decepticon forces while he took leave. You will report to me, without delay, the location, disposition, and combat readiness of my forces. You will report to me in person. Soundwave will apprise you of my location via secure channel when you are prepared to make your report.
Megatron of Tarn
TO: Brainstorm FROM: Ratchet
I got your request for the scan data. Hard to wrangle them these days. Now that those goons aren't beating down our doors, I can transmit. As the Chief Medical Officer I can release this data to you for purposes of the treatment of the affected. The data is to be used for this purpose only. If you use it for any other purpose I will know it and haul your aft in front of a board of inquiry so fast you'll marvel at how efficient I am compared to everyone else who has hauled you in front of a board of inquiry.
Ratchet of Protihex Autobot Chief Medical Officer
A significant datafile is attached, containing the scan information for every affected mech.
From: Ratchet, Co-CMO
RE: High Importance Message from Ratchet
It is my recommendation that you take Soundwave out of any further encounters until he's seen by Rung and perhaps had some sense pounded into that thick skull of his. During a procedure today to get him back into top form, he demanded I remove his Shoulder Mount cannon and said that if I didn't, he'd find someone else to. I removed it but its currently sitting in my office. He also spent a portion of the time absently staring off at the ceiling and muttering to himself. I've sent a report to Rung, recommending he get that nutter into his office to talk to him before he does somethign to hurt himself or others.
From: Ratchet, Co-CMO
RE: High Importance Message
You need to get Soundwave into your office ASAP. During a procedure on him today, he stared at the ceiling and mumbled things to himself constantly. Not to mention he demanded I remove his shoulder cannon mount. There's something off with him, and not in the normal Decepticon Crazy way either. I think his battle with the Titan did a number on him and it's something I can't fix internally. Get him in to talk to you before he goes bonkers on us or something.
- Ratchet, Co-CMO