Macrocosmic Seekers Part 1: Hope within the
A single vessel travelled through the profound darkness and silence of outer space. If one were to have laid eyes upon it, they might have likened it to a graceful, magnificent castle formed from crystal, or an ornately delicate glass chandelier. Glimmering from within with translucent stars, the clear spacecraft warped the light cast by its silhouette into something exquisitely beautiful. As if tearing apart the very natural order of the cosmos, the spacecraft voyaged through the sea of stars. Slowly yet steadily, it moved towards the light that it sought.
The Transformers: robot life forms possessing souls within their metallic bodies. Their bodies housed the power to transform into objects such as vehicles or weapons to adapt to their surroundings. This race, said to have been born on the planet Cybertron, is split into two constantly conflicting factions: the righteous Autobots, advocates of freedom and peace who strive to protect all life, and the villainous Decepticons, an army seeking to dominate the galaxy with an iron fist. Within this history also existed the unaligned Junkion tribe, which made its living collecting and selling scrap.
It was another day in the year 2010…
“Gimme a break, those guys gave up and called it a day already? But my sensors are telling me there’s some rare treasure right around here.”
In the decrepit city district of a planet in the far corner of the galaxy, one Junkion was sifting through the scrap. In this immense galaxy, it was hardly an unusual scene.
“When’ve my hunches ever failed me? Not even once, but I can’t get a little trust from those guys no matter what I do. The other Junkions ought to have more respect for the skills of Scrapheap… Whoa! Hello!”
The young Junkion Scrapheap let out a cheer as picked out a small piece of metal from the pile of scrap. He was elated at finding treasure in the mountain of garbage that all the other Junkions had overlooked. His power of discernment had proven itself, and the tiny piece of metal in his palm almost called out to him, “Scrapheap, you went online with a gift!”
This was only the first moment in the events that would see his name engraved in the records of years to come…
Macrocosmic Seekers Part 2: A Gift from the Planet of Scrap
Scrapheap quickly proceeded to contact the individual who was sure to best understand the value of the tiny treasure he held, and to accurately appraise its worth. A proper part has its proper place, and great treasures are valued accordingly. So, what about the value of those with great abilities? He had grown exasperated with his current unfitting treatment and ill circumstances. Alone on a ruined, uninhabited world, he waited for the arrival of his business contact by sitting atop a massive scrapheap, gazing up at the panorama of the galaxy above him.
Looking up at the starry sky, he imagined that the unceasing battle between the Autobots and the Decepticons must be continuing up there. Surely all throughout that battlefield, there are as many new heroes born as there are shining stars, he thought. And yet he was stuck patrolling these desolate, rust-colored planets, living out his entire life as a mere junk collector. His anger gave way to despair, and not even the rays of light emanating from the countless stars could ease the darkness in his heart.
His thoughts drifted to a television broadcast he had watched with the other Junkions the day before. It was about a planet called “Earth,” a world tens of thousands of light years away that had been drawn into the conflict. It was said that every year on the day marking the birth of the world’s god, a holy envoy would descend bearing presents. “That ‘Sander Claw,’ or whoever? I bet he wouldn’t drag himself out to a backwater planet like this.”
Just as the complaints of the young Transformer echoed on the barren planet, something flew towards him. It was a light that stood out among all the stars, flashing radiantly as it fell. Naturally, it was no patron saint of distant worlds…
“The Autobot shuttle! Sure kept me waiting long enough!”
With just a couple of his closest allies accompanying him, the Autobot commander Rodimus Prime climbed out of the shuttle. Bearing a warm expression seemingly at odds with his rank, he spoke to Scrapheap.
“So, what’s this treasure you’ve got? Let’s see, you’re the Junkion…”
“I’m Scrapheap, and I’ve got more than a little confidence in my appraisals. I think you’ll be interested in this.” With an air of confidence, Scrapheap handed Rodimus Prime a dull, silver-colored part that looked as if it could have been a piece of junk from any vehicle. But in fact…
“This is part of the armor of a great warrior… our former leader, Optimus Prime!”
“I figure it must’ve been blown off in combat on some other planet. Part of it probably got mixed in with scrap metal being sold in bulk. I contacted you ’cause I was sure it’d turn out to be important to you,” Scrapheap explained.
“And you were right, Scrapheap. It might look like junk, but to me this is a legacy from a great leader. There’s no treasure more priceless than moral support.”
“That’s good news. Sounds like it was worth taking off in the middle of Daniel’s party after all,” said Kup as he peered from behind the excited Rodimus. “You know, I recall some kind of a greeting they use for times like this… Oh, that’s it! Merry Christmas, Rodimus Prime!”
Macrocosmic Seekers Part 3: Unending Battle
The Seeker sensed that several of the lights he sought were gathering together.
One on a remote planet…
Three more moving towards the planet…
And this opportunity came courtesy of a lone, insignificant scrap collector.
Even if he might be a being of no true worth, the great Seeker would honor him this once as having provided an invaluable chance. Even if his existence would not play a part in the one meaningful history of the Seeker’s selection…
First came a flash of light, then the roar of engines was followed by a violent impact that rocked the surface of the planet. “Looks like the Decepticons must’ve been monitoring our transmissions,” Rodimus observed, and true to his words, a group of Decepticons led by the Emperor of Destruction Galvatron appeared overhead.
“I must commend you, Rodimus Prime. Rest assured that I will make fine use of this treasure as I control the galaxy!”
“That’s where you’re wrong, Galvatron,” Rodimus countered. “This treasure is worthless to you. Or I ought to say, you’ll never be able to understand its true value.”
As always, the banter exchanged between the commander and the tyrant was accompanied by a hail of gunfire. The Decepticon blasts raining down from the sky were met with return fire from the Autobots below.
“Scrapheap, you keep this safe,” ordered Rodimus Prime. “Kup and Wreck-Gar, you two cover him. Autobots, let’s move!”
“Loud and clear, Rodimus Prime.”
“Aye aye, cap’n! Makin’ it happen! ‘Run’ is my middle name, right after ‘business!’”
With the battle growing fiercer, the envoy Kup and Junkion leader Wreck-Gar immediately took action to carry out their orders. Scrapheap, however, seemed dumbfounded by the orders that had suddenly accompanied the treasure.
“Oh man… what’ve I gotten into now…?”
“Lad, complaining may be the right of all elderly beings, but you’re a little young to qualify. Now, transform!”
“Transform, and ride the Junkion way! An ounce of prevention’s worth a lifetime of conventions! If I’ve only one life, let me live it as a Junkion… not as junk! Just do it!”
As Kup transformed to truck mode and Wreck-Gar transformed into bike mode with Scrapheap perched atop him, the three robots raced away, weaving through the battlefield.
“How dare they?! Cyclonus! Scourge! Chase down those insolent rubbish-dwellers! Decepticons, attack!”
“As you command, mighty Galvatron.”
“But my liege,” interjected Scourge, “it is most difficult to pursue them under such heavy gunfire.”
“Move that heap of junk you call a body before you move your mouth, Scourge,” fumed Galavtron. “Or would you prefer I turn you into an actual scrapheap?!”
With their skillful aerial prowess, the Decepticons tenaciously pursued the fleeing Autobots. A blast of gunfire struck Wreck-Gar’s front wheel, and the bike and its rider were flung through the air. As the uneven ground drew near, both Junkions seemed as if they would smash into the earth headfirst. But then…
Scrapheap converted into his motorbike mode in midair, allowing Wreck-Gar to grip his handlebars while reverting to robot mode. Landing safely, the two Junkions continued their escape. Among the relentless assault, they evaded their pursuers by repeating this curious exchange of bike and rider. Making use of similar motorbike alternate modes, the Junkions were well-versed in unique escape tactics.
Suddenly, a cry rang out. Unable to evade pursuit like the Junkions, Kup had finally taken a hit. Galvatron descended and held him at gunpoint.
“Your little circus act ends here, Autobots! I shall give you this old fool’s life in exchange for the treasure!”
Macrocosmic Seekers Part 4: A Treasure Lost
With Kup as his hostage, Galvatron seemed fully confident in his victory, and his voice echoed across the gunfire-riddled battlefield as both factions stared one-another down.
Rodimus spoke: “There’s no treasure worth more than a life. Scrapheap, hand it to me.”
And then, the voice was heard.
“Be still. Cease your fighting.”
“Where in blazes did that come from?!”
There in the sky above them, an enormous object far surpassing any spacecraft from either faction abruptly appeared. It was as if a massive fortress had been constructed entirely from glass or crystal.
“Congratulations. From among boundless space and eternal time, I have selected you as life forms worthy of being recorded. It is with that honor that I shall give you the privilege of joining my great and precious collection.”
As soon as “it” pronounced these words, Rodimus Prime, Galvatron, Cyclonus, and Scourge found themselves enveloped in light. In a bright flash, Kup, who was being held at Galvatron’s mercy, and Scrapheap, who was about to hand the treasure to Rodimus, vanished along with the other four Transformers. Finally, the transparent fortress with its otherworldly host disappeared from the planet just as suddenly as it had arrived, as if to assert that its work there was done.
When Scrapheap regained consciousness, his surroundings had changed entirely. In an area that resembled a hallway, the walls, floor, ceiling, and every other surface appeared as transparent as glass, with stars shining through in all directions. There beside him stood Kup.
“Where are we?” he asked.
“We must have ended up inside that ship. Take a look…”
As Kup had indicated, it did seem as if they were inside the transparent spacecraft that had appeared to them.
“But where are Rodimus Prime, and the Decepticons?”
“Good question,” Kup mused. “We’ve got ourselves some issues to deal with, but first of all we’ve got to find Rodimus. Although, with a view this clear it doesn’t seem like we’ll have much trouble spotting anything.”
The two began to search the ship for a trace of Rodimus Prime.
“So, hold on now… Your compound sensors… Er, I mean, your “powers of appraisal” are saying… what?”
“I just told you! If this ship was really transparent like you said, we’d be able to see Rodimus Prime. We oughta be able to spot the Decepticons too. Not that I really want to… But anyway, even with a view this clear not only can’t we see them, there are no signs of any propulsion, or pilots, or anything, right? I’m sayin’ that the surfaces appear transparent by projecting a continuous feed of surrounding…”
“Alright, already! You’re trying to say they look transparent but they actually aren’t, right? Sheesh, who taught a Junkion to talk like a scientist, anyway?”
“Hey! The name’s Scrapheap, and I’m an appraiser!” Scrapheap snapped at Kup. “Don’t talk to me like I’m some cheap piece of slag you can buy by the load!”
Startled by Scrapheap’s outburst, Kup took a step back, and his hand came into contact with the wall behind him. At that moment…
“Whoa, sorry lad. I… Eh?!”
Faintly, like an image seen through a window on a moonless night, the walls, floors, and ceiling came alive with images from the past battles of the Transformers.
They saw the moment that Orion Pax, an ordinary young robot, was reborn into Optimus Prime. The Transformers awoke from a long slumber following a crash landing in a volcano. The Dinobots ran wild as soon as they were created, and the Combaticons were born from the remnants of weapons on the island of Guadalcanal. At the brink of death, Megatron was reformatted into Galvatron, and the light of the Matrix of Leadership changed the young Autobot cavalier Hot Rod into the new commander Rodimus Prime…
“This is sweet! What cable channel is this, anyway?”
“You’re joking, right? A TV channel? Kid, this is our history itself. I’ll tell you, I’d been hoping somebody would put together a record of it, and now here this is. But, who in the galaxy would…?”
“That’s it… a recording!” Scrapheap exclaimed. “This thing… this ship itself is a huge recording device. It gathers data, preserving things of worth and eliminating the rest.”
As Scrapheap continued to speak, his steps quickened until he came to a doorway.
“It’s just like us, picking treasures from the scrapheap…”
As if awaiting its visitor, the door opened before him.
“And these are…”
The room inside was different from the exterior, resembling a huge laboratory. At its center were four glass cylinders that seemed to compose some sort of testing apparatus.
Within it were suspended the four captive Transformers.
“These are its treasures!”
Macrocosmic Seekers Part 5: Eternal Moment
“Treasure? A unique choice of words, most appropriate for a Junkion.”
Rodimus Prime, Galvatron, Cyclonus, and Scourge were sealed unconscious within the immense apparatus. The voice boomed throughout the laboratory that was their prison.
“You know who I am?” Scrapheap asked.
“Indeed I do, diminutive young Junkion… In fact, I know all in this galaxy.”
“I guess I’m beneath your notice, then?” Kup interjected. “Just who do you think you are, anyhow? Why don’t you just show yourself?”
“I am the ‘Seeker.’ I exist to seek out knowledge across all galaxies, and through all the universe. As for my form, it has already been made quite visible to you.”
“What’s that, now?!” asked Kup, startled.
“The entire spacecraft that surrounds you is the form of my being. Every corner of this exquisite vessel is composed of priceless data gathered from a multitude of stellar systems. I exist as accumulated knowledge itself. I shed my frail, mortal body to become one with the chalice of wisdom.”
“How could that be…?”
“In this vast galaxy, you Transformers exist as a rare and unique race of life forms. Among you, however, these four have undergone a further mutation. In order to research the secrets of these variations, I shall personally observe the moment of their inception. Now, watch as the show commences!”
As the Seeker uttered these words, the four cylinders shined with light, and the body of each Transformer began to alter itself. The outer structures of their bodies appeared thinly distorted, and they were illuminated from within by a radiant light. Rodimus Prime’s body was lit from within by a wise, blue glow, while an ominous, purple light somehow flowed from the Decepticons with immense force.
“I’ve seen this before!” Kup realized. “It was the moment when Hot Rod received the light of the Matrix, and became Rodimus Prime!”
“The Matrix?! Then, these Decepticons…”
“They were reformatted with new combat capabilities by the destroyer Unicron. The technology I have honed allows me to turn back their internal clocks, preserving the instant of these incredible mutations. I shall retain this miracle eternally, observing them as a part of my glorious collection!”
“My skidplate you will! What do you think our commander is, your personal Guinea pig-o-tron?”
Voicing his objection, Kup prepared to shatter the capsule that held Rodimus.
“You will not impede my research.”
As the Seeker spoke, bursts of light showered from the ceiling. Kup cried out in pain as the lights struck him, and his body began to rust at an alarming rate.
“My technology is capable not only of reversing the time flow of objects, but also of accelerating it. I can extend your age even further, leaving your body a piece of trash just moments before its final shutdown.”
“Oldbot! Hang in there!”
As Scrapheap rushed to help, Kup brushed away the Junkion’s hand and struggled to stand on his own.
“This body is no trash! It’s got the spark of a warrior inside it!”
But the next moment, he staggered and fell to the ground.
“What a laugh,” joked Kup grimly. Turned to junk in front of a Junkion. How’s that for an easy mark?”
As Scrapheap reeled with uncertainty, the Seeker addressed him in a perfectly calm and yet somehow emphatic tone.
“Scrapheap, I am well aware of your gifted powers of observation. Gaze upon the miraculous light of these samples, frozen in time by my scientific might. Surely you are capable of understanding. You know that treasure should belong only to those who truly understand it!”
Indeed, Scrapheap’s sensors did detect the brilliance of a great energy. But in his eyes, and deep within his heart…
Four prisoners, shining with radiant light while slumbering unaware in the cradle of eternity. Before them, a warrior who would keep fighting to defend what he believed in, even if it might mean sacrificing his life.
“Oh, I understand. My power of appraisal never misses a treasure. What shines the brightest here… is a warrior’s noble spark!”
Having spoken these words, Scrapheap’s resolution was unwavering as he shattered the capsule imprisoning Rodimus.
Macrocosmic Seekers Part 6: Time to Move
The capsule shattered around Scrapheap’s fist. The decision made by this lone Junkon, one who had yet to make a name for himself in the history of this galaxy, had saved the Autobot supreme commander. However, Rodimus’s form still glowed with the light of the Matrix, and his proportions had been reverted from those of Rodimus Prime to the smaller form of the cavalier Hot Rod. Yet, something else caused even greater concern.
“Thanks, Scrapheap! That’s something I don’t need to go through again.”
It appeared that even Rodimus’s personality had regressed to that of the youthful Hot Rod.
“You, a mere Junkon?! You dare to disrupt my research?! You shall suffer the consequences!!”
As if responding to the rage in the Seeker’s voice, the same beams that had struck Kup rained down like a squall from all over the ceiling.
“Whoa, I came out of stasis for this? Talk about a rude awakening!”
“We oughta be getting away from these things, not standing around talking. Oldbot, grab onto my handlebars. Transform!”
Hot Rod transformed to vehicle mode and Scrapheap to bike mode, carrying the Kup on his seat as they used their mobility to careen around the chamber. As the bursts of light missed their marks, stray shots collided with the capsules imprisoning the Decepticons. Three forms swiftly flew out from the ruptured capsules.
“Never in a hundred thousand years could you hold me captive!”
“What’s going on here, Lord Megatron?!”
While Galvatron seethed with rage, Cyclonus, on the other hand, seemed visibly confused.
“You called me Megatron?! I am Ga… Augh, my head! How it aches! Just… do something!”
“W-whatever you say, let’s just get our afterburners out of here!” exclaimed Scourge.
“Silence, fool! The one who dared to tamper me with will not escape my wrath!”
Scourge’s frightened plea was unable to restrain Galvatron’s anger. Not just the bodies of the three Decepticons, but their personality components as well seemed to be caught in a transitional state. With a bitter cry, the Decepticons fired towards the ceiling again and again. Their attacks seemed to have some effect: the Seeker ceased its attacks, and the room grew silent.
“Hey, the wanton destruction you guys seem to like so much actually works once in a while!” joked Hot Rod, shrugging his shoulders as he stood in robot mode with the other Autobots.
“But Rodimus… What’s happening to your body?”
In response to the concern Kup showed despite his perilous condition, Scrapheap finished scanning the area with his handheld metal detector and offered an answer.
“My scans are picking up a distortion in spatiotemporal pulses around Commander Rodimus… or Hot Rod, I mean… and the Decepticons. It looks like some of the energy from that machine is still left inside them.”
“Great, so we’re all stuck as a bunch of mutants?”
“You’d best watch your words, boy!” Galvatron snarled at Hot Rod, who had been doing his best to make light of the situation.
As the two began to eye one-another, Scrapheap intervened:
“Knock it off, you two! This doesn’t seem like the time for bickering. Look over there!”
The entrance was closing as if to trap them in the chamber.
“Hold on… If we’ve got extra energy in our bodies, then…”
“We should use up every last bit of this blasted energy! Transform!”
Uttering these words, Galvatron transformed into a form that was neither his normal mobile cannon mode nor Megatron’s pistol mode, and seemed to be some sort of tank. A blast fired from his cannon with a fierce wave of light, tearing a gaping hole in the door that had nearly sealed them in.
“All right! Let’s get out of here in a hurry, guys! Transform!”
“Hey, wait a sec!” Scrapheap protested. “I was just about to grab some really rare parts! …And nobody’s listening.”
Just as soon as he had spoken, Hot Rod transformed into car mode and led the way out as the imprisoned Transformers made their great escape.
Macrocosmic Seekers Part 7: Those Who Resist
The voice of the Seeker echoed down from above the fleeing Transformers.
“It seems my impudent test subjects have escaped. You marked for observation should resign yourselves to your fate. I have gone to great lengths to choose you from within this immense galaxy.”
“No thanks! We didn’t ask to be chosen!”
“In the entire galaxy, there are none who control Galvatron but Galvatron himself!”
“You do not wish to join my collection?” the Seeker responded. “If you insist upon refusing the honor I have bestowed upon you, then you will be shown no mercy. I will turn you into scrap metal while recording and archiving the event!”
Blasts of light again began to rain down.
“Then we don’t need to pull our punches, either!”
Hot Rod returned to robot mode, and readied the triple-barreled lasers on his arms to strike back at the ceiling.
“Where did this power come from? This is great!”
Hot Rod was pleasantly surprised by the greatly amplified bursts of energy fired from his arms.
“Hmph! Those cursed experiments seem to have granted us new strength.”
“Hey, this suits me fine!” Scourge exclaimed. “Let’s hit ‘em back, guys!”
“Only I give the orders here! Decepticons, attack!”
The Autobots and Decepticons recognized a momentary truce to retaliate against the spacecraft. The gun Cyclonus gripped tore scattered holes though the ceiling each time he fired it, and when the blasts of light targeted him he suddenly vanished, reappearing in a different location.
“I know how to warp? I guess it does feel kind of familiar…”
Transforming into a small, shuttle-like spacecraft, Scourge wove around the blasts, gliding effortlessly into a passageway. What first seemed to be evasive flight gradually gained speed, culminating in a sonic boom. The shockwave was followed by an ear-piercing blast, and a cluster of explosions rocked the hallway, blowing its walls into mere fragments.
“Nice! Betcha didn’t know I had that up my sleeve!”
As the Autobots and Decepticons fought side by side, Scrapheap helped the fading Kup to stand. The only thing that protected them from the hail of bullets was Hot Rod’s arm-mounted circular saw. Glowing unusually with particles of light, it had become a functional shield.
“Sorry… Kup’s on his last legs here, and I’m not much of a fighter.”
Scrapheap’s apology was answered instead by the echo from Galvatron’s arm cannon, which blasted through the passageway with even greater intensity than usual.
“Bah! I had no expectation of combat prowess from you frail Autobots to begin with!”
Despite these words, the Decepticons showed skillful teamwork with Hot Rod as they sped through the ship. Pierced by gunfire, the images on the ship’s walls were distorted, and began to fade away as if drained of their very life force.
“Impossible… Cease this! My precious collection… the data is being lost! Please, you must stop!”
Explosions rocked the interior of the ship with destruction. The inner walls which had once silently projected the beauty of the cosmos now began to crack, fading to an ashen gray.
“This ship is finished. Your fatal mistake was attempting to add me to your collection!”
“Lord Galvatron, look over there!”
As Cyclonus spoke, he gestured to a gap in the wall through which rather than a projection, the actual vacuum of space could be seen. There outside shined the lights of both Autobot and Decepticon spacecrafts.
“The ships must’ve followed our warp trails,” reasoned Hot Rod.
“They’re both heading straight towards us. I guess just like on the inside, the damage to the projection walls is making it easier to detect from the outside,” analyzed Scrapheap, as Hot Rod finally confirmed the situation.
On one of the few sections of the wall that continued to function, a hazy, grey image was being projected: the image of one small Quintesson. A voice was heard in the ship that, tiny like the image itself, was distorted and nearly inaudible.
“It cannot be… From a galaxy spanning tens of thousands of light years… Millions of years of history…”
“The past and history are important, all right. But the most important thing is the present that we live in, and the future that follows it.”
However, Hot Rod’s words went unrecorded by the Seeker, whose image grew more distorted and blurred with static…
“No… My precious collection… I myself… am no more…!”
As even greater explosions rattled out, the light within the ship was extinguished at last.
Macrocosmic Seekers Part 8: A Treasure’s True Worth
He had traveled all around the vast galaxy, and at last returned to the solar system in which he was born. More than ten million years had passed since he had parted ways from his race and his collective. He was the only one among them who recognized the capabilities of the robots that they had treated as disposable tools. He saw the glimmer of intellect, the instinct in battle, and the potential for unceasing evolution. Those in his collective laughed at the time, but when their “tools” rebelled, they were exiled from their positions. Anticipating the rebellion, he left his shortsighted comrades behind, departing the solar system on a long journey: a journey in search of intelligence. The revolution had sowed the seeds. Waiting for these seeds to take root and grow, he traveled among countless stars, expanding and deepening his knowledge. Eventually he discarded his limiting physical form, integrating himself into the enormous ship that itself served as a memory bank, cataloging radiant memories like glimmering stars in its great data reserves.
He was the recorder of valuable knowledge from stellar systems. The observer of galaxies. The collector of events. When at the end of a long journey he returned to the star system in which he was born, he was greeted with the sight of super robot life forms that had evolved from tools. Among them shined four lights that particularly fascinated him. Like candles flickering in the dark, the mysterious yet beautiful lights beckoned to him. He could not bear to simply gaze upon them from afar. He wanted to take them in his hands. Just as always, he acted to satisfy these pure desires.
He had acquired precious samples, succeeded in his experiments, and witnessed miracles. These were to be preserved eternally in his grasp. And yet, where was it that he went wrong? This single doubt lingered in the mind of the Seeker as it faded into oblivion.
Among the explosions, the Autobot and Decepticon ships neared the critically damaged form of the Seeker. Both ships travelled side-by-side without exchanging fire, perhaps giving priority to rescuing their comrades.
“Honestly, though… if Autobots and Decepticons are capable of this much when they work together? Seems like that’d be the real “treasure,” even greater than the power of the Matrix or Unicron.”
Scrapheap voiced this thought that had entered his mind upon seeing the two trails of light together.
“Sure, I’d like to see a certain stubborn old ‘bot forget about ruling the galaxy and hold out a helping hand instead of a particle cannon.”
“You are foolish as always, Rodimus. You pathetic Autobots are the ones who should surrender yourselves to us, and then I might give the matter some thought.”
As he listened to the conversation between two leaders who had together escaped a dire fate, Scrapheap realized that the “treasure” he had briefly glimpsed was little more than an illusion. He felt that he had grasped the underlying reason for this prolonged conflict.
“Bah! I have no time for such meaningless chatter!” interrupted Galvatron with a glare. “I still have one piece of unfinished business here!”
Recognizing Galvatron’s expression, Rodimus paused for a moment, and then gave Scrapheap his decision.
“I suppose it’s the only way. Let him have the treasure.”
“Are you sure…? Well, if you say so. Here it is.”
Scrapheap handed Galvatron the small piece of metal.
While Cyclonus and Scourge seemed mystified, Galvatron appeared to have immediately grasped the true nature of the treasure.
“You mean to tell me… that your treasure is no more than a piece of Prime’s armor?! What ridiculous nonsense! I endured all this for nothing!”
Venting his anger, Galvatron crushed the fragment within his fist. As if this action had expended the last of the energy, the glow enveloping Galvatron faded away, and his body reverted to its normal state. As he opened his clenched fist, the faint particles of dust held in it drifted away as quickly as the memories of the former leader that had appeared within his mind.
“I can’t say I fully understand, but perhaps this is all for the best, Lord Galvatron?”
“I’m more worried about getting caught in the explosions from this ship! Let’s make our retreat!”
Cyclonus and Scourge addressed their leader. They had been cured of their momentary instability, and their bodies had been returned to as they were before the experiment.
“Hmm… It seems as if we’ve used up all of that power. We have no reason to linger here.”
As quickly as Galvatron spoke these words, the three Decepticons widened a fissure in the wall to make their escape. With his back still turned, Galvatron addressed Rodimus.
“You would not shoot me in the back?”
“I just don’t see the point. Besides, I’m exhausted.”
“Your foolishness never ceases to surprise me. I shall overlook you this once, but know that when we meet again…”
No words remained to be exchanged between the two.
The three Decepticons took flight, their rapidly distancing forms blending in with the starlight. Behind them stretched the silent reaches of space, no different than they had always been.
Macrocosmic Seekers Part 9: Journey to the Future
“I guess today’s battle ending is just tomorrow’s battle beginning.”
Hot Rod spoke alone, observing the departing Decepticon ship as it seemed to cross paths with the approaching Autobot ship. His body still retained the effects of the experiment, his compact form enveloped in the released light of the Matrix.
“Was that really what you wanted to do?”
“With the ‘treasure,’ you mean? It’s fine,” answered Hot Rod with a refreshed expression on his face.
“Our future is more important than stuff like records or history. That’s what you were saying, right?”
“I ended up learning a few things from that ‘Seeker.’ But enough about that–how’s Kup doing?”
In response to Hot Rod’s concerned expression, Scrapheap answered reluctantly.
“You know, I wish I didn’t have to tell you this, but… Kup’s body has been aged to the point where he’s about to go offline for good. In this state, it’s dangerous to even move him. I’m really sorry, but I don’t think he’ll last much longer.”
“What?! Here we can finally go home, and you’re saying…?”
As he gazed at the dying Kup and his own shining form, Hot Rod murmured.
“Even as a bearer of the Matrix of Leadership… I can’t do a single thing to save the life of a friend? What kind of leader am I?!”
“Matrix…? That’s gotta be it!”
From Hot Rod’s words of grief, a glimmer of hope appeared in Scrapheap’s mind in the form of an idea.
“Just in case, I snuck an energy emission unit out of that room with the capsules. If you could use it to irradiate Kup with the spatiotemporal pulse energy that’s left inside you… just like with your body, you might be able to turn back the clock for him.”
Hot Rod was astounded by Scrapheap’s suggestion.
Within the light bursting forth as all the energy stored within him was released, Hot Rod’s consciousness hovered in a zone that seemed to be neither the realm of the living of the dead.
(I’m… inside the Matrix?)
The Matrix of Leadership: an artifact containing the collected wisdom passed down by generations of Autobot supreme commanders. Within it…
Before Hot Rod’s eyes was his revered and respected predecessor, standing at the front of a group of past leaders that appeared to blur with waves of heat.
“I’ve gone and put the life of a friend in jeopardy again. I’ve felt the effects of the transformation inside me all this time, but one question has never left my mind: Why was I chosen?”
With the figure of Optimus Prime standing before him, the doubts Hot Rod had long held within himself began to overflow.
“When it comes down to it, you chose Ultra Magnus to be commander, not me. His intellect and initiative are closest to yours, and he has experience in battle that a young ‘bot like me doesn’t. So, why me?”
“That is exactly why.”
The voice seemed to come from Optimus himself, and yet from all those gathered there.
“Just as you say, Ultra Magnus might have become the supreme commander most like Optimus Prime himself. However, Optimus Prime unfortunately proved unable to end the war that had spanned millions of years.”
“And that makes me right for the job?”
“It is innovation and times of trial that change history. Looking back on the battles since you became leader, there were no doubt conflicts won and successes gained because of the way you are, and those things that only you could achieve.”
“Only I could…?”
“Now, you must go. As new protector of the Matrix and Autobot Supreme Commander, the entire galaxy awaits you.”
With this proclamation, the images of past leaders quickly faded away, and Hot Rod felt his awakening approaching.
“Optimus… We have to say goodbye again, don’t we?”
Hot Rod felt the reply echo clearly within his mind. It was the voice of Optimus Prime himself.
(All is well, Rodimus Prime. I will be with you always. Whatever fate may await us, we will move toward the future together.)
Part 10: Macrocosmic Seekers
“I was only planning on slipping out of the party, and I got us into one heck of an adventure!”
“Did you ever, Rodimus! Talk about a tight spot! It must have been 200 years ago the last time I…”
On the ride home, Kup’s longwinded tales rambled on and on. Heartened by Kup’s impressive recovery, Rodimus Prime’s appearance was no longer that of a youth, having returned to one suitable to a great Autobot commander.
With the entire episode safely put to rest, there was a sense of relief within the ship, and a jovial mood abounded among Wreck-Gar and the Autobot warriors. As Scrapheap and Kup continued their friendly conversation nearby, Rodimus rested on the seat of command at the center of the room.
“Scrapheap, I don’t know how you managed to pick that equipment out of the Seeker’s lab among all that chaos. Looks like you really do never miss a treasure!”
Rodimus’s compliments invited a self-deprecating chuckle from Scrapheap.
“Come on, now. If it wasn’t for all of you, an inexperienced redshirt like me would never have made it out of that ship alive. I really got an idea of my own limitations this time.”
Kup patted him on the back and spoke cheerfully.
“That’s nothing to be ashamed of, lad. I’m a warrior and you’re an appraiser. I’ll keep fighting my fight until I go offline, and you’ll pick out valuable treasure wherever you might be. We’re just doing our jobs. Right, Rodimus?”
“Couldn’t agree more, Kup. As for me, I’ll keep working to be a good commander to you all, Matrix willing.”
Hearing this exchange between two warriors, Scrapheap voiced his feelings.
“I’m grateful and all, but I’m nothing but a scrap-hunter turned wannabe appraiser. I’m not cut out for adventures like this. When it comes down to it, I’m just not a hero like you guys are.”
“Hero? That’s a good one,” interjected Rodimus swiftly. The grin that showed traces of his youth suddenly changed to the stern visage of a commander, and he addressed Scrapheap again.
“Whether you’re cut out for it or not, adventure has a habit of just coming along all of a sudden. It doesn’t matter if you’re a warrior or an appraiser.”
Having said that much, Rodimus looked towards Kup. Catching his glance, Kup nodded with a smile.
“Depending on your decisions and actions at times like those, “hero” is just what people decide to go and call you after the fact.”
Hearing those words from the Autobot supreme commander’s mouth, a perplexed expression surfaced on Scrapheap’s face. At that moment, as if understanding Rodimus’s intent, Kup spoke the words he had wanted to convey to Scrapheap.
“That’s it. The way we see it, you’re the real hero in this story, Scrapheap. Right, everybody?”
Kup’s words inspired enthusiastic cheers of encouragement from the other Autobots.
“Now you, too, can live up to your potential! I guarantee it!”
True to form, even Wreck-Gar’s words of praise were a mish-mash of television slogans.
“You think I’m a hero?!”
During this one adventure, not only did you find all kinds of treasure, you saved lives. Those like you who aren’t afraid to move ahead and embrace the future are called heroes. Your determination to never give up the search is something more than the Seeker ever had. Scrapheap, you’re this galaxy’s ‘seeker’ in the truest sense.”
“Oh yeah! At long last, it’s finally Scrapheap’s time to shine!”
Scrapheap jokingly accepted the compliments heaped upon him.
“By the way, Scrapheap, we just happen to have a spot open for one talented explorer. What’s your take on ‘him’ as a candidate?”
As he asked Scrapheap, a mischievously youthful grin flashed on what had been a commander’s countenance. It had an appeal that was more than enough to convince Scrapheap that he’d like to continue his adventures with Rodimus Prime.
“Well, well… I’d expect no less from a commander’s judgment. My sense tells me that that ‘he’ would make one of the greatest explorers in the history of the Autobots!”
On that day, a wandering youth found a home for his talents, and a leader in Rodimus Prime. Thus ends the story of an appraiser on a backwater planet.
“Come on now, you could tell it with a little more modesty… But I suppose that means that I’ve seen not only the beginnings of a great commander, but of a great explorer as well. Actually, that reminds me of when I was just getting my start as a warrior…”
And so, the story continues.
Into the future, and beyond…