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Quick Switch
2002-11-25, 11:52 PM
On the awesome mobile planetoid of New Quintessa, a trial was about to begin. But not just an ordinary trial. You see, an Autobot had been captured. His shuttle had been detained by flying to close to a remote Quintesson outpost, and so, he had brought by the Judge commanding the backwater rock. He had received a promotion into middle management.

The trial is about to begin...

The most ornate room on New Quintessa would have to be the Courtroom. With a massive viewing gallery on one side, the main brig on the other, and a massive execution pool in the center, teeming with elite Sharkticon warriors. The Executioner held the lowering rod with one clawed hand, stooped over from years of performing this task. Two burly Alligatorcons-prod lances at parade rest faced forward. The Quintesson Inquisitor's station was directly above them, and the High Imperial Magistrate, Presiding Judge of the Quintessons had his dias above his loyal subordinate.

The viewing gallery filled to capcity with regular Judges (five faced), scientists, philosophers and military commanders (all one faced). Satellite high-definition link-ups allowed the Quintessons placed in far-flung reaches of the Quintesson Dominion (and allied trading nations, such as that of the Skuxxoids) could watch. A groundling gallery, teeming with regular Sharkticons and Alligatorcons pulsed with excitement, though they remained orderly.

The chattering of the Quintesson elite hushed as the Grand Inquisitor entered, armour polished to a high sheen, and his tentacles freshly washed. They undulated slowly.

"All rise," the Inquisitor boomed, "for the Right Honorable Imperial Magistrate, Master of the Quintessons!"

The Judges and intelligentsia rose as one, and bowed low. The rank and file soldierly let out a rousing chorus of snarls, howls, teeth gnashing and feet stomping.

The Imperial Magistrate entered from his courtroom. The simian scientist Primacron trailed behind him, hands clasped and head bowed low, the Guest of Honor, who had the privelege of standing to the right of the Imperial Magistrate.

"Be seated," the Inquisitor rumbled. The Brethren sat.

The Imperial Magistrate nodded slightly. The Inquisitor turned towards the Brig.

"Bring out the Prisoner so he may receive his Sentence!"

Two Alligatorcons, prod lances in hand, herded a straight-backed, futuristic Autobot with blue paint (chipped and scraped) across his frame. He has been beaten, his joints are stiff. He has been brutalized, his mind is numb. Yet he is aware. He is always aware of the distinction of the Hunter and the Hunted. For he is Devcon, Bounty Hunter.

Devcon was slowly jostled along until he was perched at the execution platform. The two jailer Alligatorcons switfly retreated.

A hush fell over the Courtroom. This was the first time one of the wretched slave units had been brought in the prescence of the Quintessson elite since the conclusion of the last War five to ten years ago.

"How do you plead?" the Inquisitor turned to face the shackled Autobot. This was a formality, not often allowed in Quintesson law. The Inquisitor decided to be elaborate.

Devcon said nothing, merely staring straight ahead, jaw clenched.

"Let it be entered that the Accused is non-responsive," the Inquisitor replied, and that brought chuckling from the gallery.

"This, fellow brethren, is Devcon, Work Robot Sub-Model: Capture. Otherwise known as... "bounty hunter," the Inquistor spoke, his tentacles lashing. The Quintessons chuckled merrily at this.

"He is a peversion of what our grand science was supposed to achieve. A pliant, efficient robot who would do what the Imperial Magistrate's clients wished. As you can see...he has failed. Instead, his entire purpose in the universe is to bring his fellow renegade constructs, the War Robots, to...'Justice'!" The Inquisitor's optics flashed a bloody crimson.

The Sharkticons and Alligatorcons roared with rage at this, while the Quintesson judges turned silent.

"He shall receive just punishment for his activities in aiding the rebellion of our constructs...even if he pursues the futile method of hunting down his fellows," the Inquisitor continued.

Devcon flinched, but held his composure.

"Before his Imperial Magistrate reaches a verdict...would you like to beg for your life? It sometimes helps...but not often," the Inquisitor asked.

Devcon's optics became steely.

"My life was just. Your perversion of justice is a sacrelige. Those deemed my bounty were processed with due cause. My death will allow more Decepticons to escape the law and order of true civilization...not your mockery of it."

"Silence, or you will be held in contempt of this Court!" the Imperial Magistrate spoke once, his grating voice booming across the chamber.

Devcon simply smiled.

"I do not recognize this kangaroo court, nor does the rest of the Universe."

"Has the Imperial Magistrate reached a verdict?" the Inquisitor turned to face his Master. Devcon continued:

"The time of the Quintessons is over! The Autobots shall crush the Decepticons and then turn their wrath upon your degenerate Dominion!"

"I repeat, has the Imperial Magistrate reached a verdict?" The Inquisitor replied again, nervously. The gallery of Judges and warriors had grown silent, pensive.

"I have," the Imperial Magistrate answered.

"Guilty or innocent?" The Inquisitor answered as he had thousands of times before.

The Imperial Magistrate's Death's Head clicked into place.

"Innocent."

The Inquisitor turned and pointed at the Executioner with one side of his tentacled body.

"Feed him to the Sharkticons!"

The Executioner yanked down on the handle which detached the execution platform. Devcon fell straight down and splashed into the tank. In the moment before the Sharkticons sprang, the Quintessons heard this phrase:

"Till all are One!"

The sounds of leaping bodies, splashing water, and rending teeth and claws-along with the ripping of metal- soon dominated the Courtroom, as all else gazed down into the Execution Pool to behold the end of Devcon.

Quick Switch
2002-11-27, 02:35 AM
The Imperial Magistrate left his platform, Primacron clattering behind.

"One less rebellious slave," the Inquisitor rumbled, joining his master in leaving the chamber.

"Indeed. In the Outlands, how is production commencing?" The Magistrate asked.

"All is well, Master. The Judges Presiding report that production quotas will be met. The War Fleet is nearly complete." The Inquisitor chuckled.

The motley group entered the Chamber, and two Alligatorcon guards snapped to attention, setting their prod lances at formal parade rest.

The Imperial Magistrate sat himself on his own Bench. The Inquisitor and Primacron stood before him side by side.

"That is sufficient...for now. What did Judge Delibarata mention in his last report?"

"Not much, Master, except that Galvatron has been retrieved...and Thunderwing apparently tore to pieces a warrior sent against him by the Decepticon Leader." The Inquisitor sounded incredulous.

"Machines destroying machines. What is that? Mere sport," Primacron huffed.

The Imperial Magistrate frowned his Death's Head face.

"Report, scientist, on the progress of your work."

Primacron wrung his hands.

"Ah...well, the Techno-Organics have matured. All they require is my activation."

"And?" The Inquisitor prodded.

"Yes...the Hate Plague Second Strain is nearing a trial run. It is being tested on a slave planet. The scientist in charge reports a 100% infection rate, affecting organics and mechanoids equally." Primacron beamed. "It is one of my few forays into virology."

"Exterminate all test subjects." The Magistrate growled.

Primacron waved a hand.

"Already underway, Excellency."

"The energy being...what is its status?" The Magistrate asked.

"Tornitron, Mark II, is still sealed in the vacuum chamber, undergoing mental reprogramming. More work needs to be done." Primacron admitted.

A massive viewscreen lit up, showing the various sectors of Cybertron, beamed from the Quintesson Dominion's many broadband satellites.

"Only a matter of time..." the Magistrate rasped. "...and Cybertron shall be ours."

"Do you place much trust in Thunderwing? This Chaos Matrix is still unpredicatble," the Inquisitor asked, tentacles lashing slowly.

"Thunderwing will be the most powerful creature in the Universe. But he is on our side. Our collective might is strong, even for a being such as him. He will keep his bargain." The Magistrate answered.

"The Chaos Matrix contains the very essence of Unicron. How could it not be powerful?" Primacron cackled, entering a reverie.

"Indeed, Primacron, but the thing you speak of has apparenlty taken on the properties of a God, no mere construct. Was that part of your design?" The Inquisitor remarked mockingly.

Primacron's eyes narrowed.

"We have been through this discussion, question-asker! Some...thing...perverted my greatest creation. I know not what, nor do I care. Once Unicron rebelled against me...he was a failure. His delusions of godhood are just a manifestation of his defective nature. No more, and no less!" Primacron shrieked.

"Enough," the Magistrate barked, and the Inquisitor and Primacron turned to face the Quintesson Leader. "Now...we wait..."

A close up picture appeared on Rodimus Convoy, gleaned from a dossier compiled by Quintesson archivists. The stern, noble face appeared troubled in the picture.

"Gaze upon the face of the Autobots destruction," the Magistrate chuckled. "He is a fitting pawn. And he will be the fitting harbinger of the Autobots end."

The Inquisitor joined the Magistrate in laughing, while Primacron clasped his hands and smiled wickedly.

Scout
2002-11-27, 04:28 AM
OOC: Quick Switch- check your PMs :-)

Far below the noisy courtroom proceedings unfolding above the surface of the execution tank, a silent pair of hands worked rapidly and stealthily in the darkness of a filtering drain. Spitz worked the grating screws loose one by one, being careful as to not make any noise. The filtering duct was full of fluid, and he knew even the slightest noise would carry in the liquid. He heard the activity out in the main tank pick up and knew it was almost time. The timing had to be just right...

He rolled onto his back and braced his feet against the top of the duct. Sitting up, he reached back down between his legs and carefully pulled a floating object forward. It scraped softley against the duct roof... and he froze for a moment and listened intently. No reason to lose his own life for this little venture.

He heard the noises outside continue, and he gently finished pulling the object up to the grating. Spitz's dark purple optics studied the faint shadow of the corpse floating above him. It stayed afloat by various-sized small balloons attached to the limbs and some underneath the torso. He knew that when it was released, the different sized balloons would cause the body to wriggle as it rose. He also knew it would never reach the surface.

Keeping focused, he laid back and carefully removed the grating over the duct, setting it to one side. Then he reached up and removed the second plating panel directly above it to widen the opening. Far above, lots of round ball-shaped figures swam around in a waiting fashion.
"Good, they're all distracted... now, just a few moments longer..." Spitz grabbed the corpse's neck with one hand and aimed a strange gun upwards. A hook protruded from the tip, with coiled rope trailing behind.

He heard an indiscernible yell echo past and then the resounding click in the tank from the drop lever of the platform high above. Instantly Spitz pulled the body forward with one hand and shot with the other. Even with the figure enshrouded in a storm of bubbles above, Spitz knew he had something and hoped he had hit his mark. He felt the hook tighten, and pulled at the line for all he was worth.

Quick Switch
2002-11-27, 05:07 AM
Indeed, Spitz's trick was effective. The brutish Sharkticons dove at the rising corpse even as Devcon's body sunk. They rent the hapless mechanical body to shreds.

Devcon himself was rapidly pulled doward- toward a drainage hatch? The bounty hunter had resigned himself to death, so he simply allowed the pulling to continue.

****

In the gallery, a Judge remarked:

"You would've thought the wretched thing would have put a struggle, what?"

Another Judge opined:

"Should we be permitted a...chuckle?"

"Indeed," another answered, and as one, the Judges quietly laughed at the supposed 'death' of Devcon.

Scout
2002-11-27, 05:30 AM
Spitz pulled harder and faster as he saw the figure of Devcon clear the bubble cloud. Hard toil was something he was used to and it rang in his mind.

Faster... Faster... before the sharkticons see...

As Devcon came near, Spitz dropped the rope and reached out a hand to pull him in, still bracing his back against the floor and his feet against the top of the duct for strength.

Quick Switch
2002-11-27, 05:44 AM
Devcon's optics snapped open as he felt Spitz reach toward him. An uncanny instinct for slavation compelled Devcon toward the other robot.

****

Inside the Imperial Magistrate's Chambers, a security beacon flashed.

"Primacron, deal with that," the Inquisitor waved his tentacled body airily.

The simian scientist scuttled over to the console, and read the message.

"Oh...nothing. Just something about unauthorized movement in the drainage ducts."

"Where?" The Inquisitor turned toward Primacron. "The Sharkticons never proceed into the lower levels. No Alligatorcons are posted on the other side of the ducts...no prisoner ever escapes!"

"On screen!" The Magistrate cried.

In an instant, the long shot view of the duct came into focus replacing the haggard visage of Rodimus Convoy.

It showed Devcon. And another robot.

"What is this?" the Magistrate cried.

Primacron shrank back in terror.

"It's...it's another Transformer! I recognize the structure! You said New Quintessa was...impregnable!" The simian began to shake in fear.

"Silence!" The Magistrate bellowed. "See to this," he rasped to his loyal subordinate.

The Inquisitor bowed low, and floated out of the chamber.

Primacron fiddled with the camera controls and zoomed in on the close up image of the duct.

It showed Devcon and...a robot with purple optics and wheathrered, ancient features.

"This construct seems familiar..." the Magistrate pondered.

"What does it matter! It must be destroyed!" Primacron shrieked.

"No...no...I...recall this robot from the assembly floor. Built shortly before another War Robot...Megatron, the unit called itself." The Magistrate bellowed in a loud voice which echoed outside the Chamber:

"Inquisitor! Take both prisoners ALIVE!"

****

The Inquisitor glided across the execution area, and whipped his tentacles toward the Executioner. "Drain the pool!" he commanded.

The Executioner pulled down another lever, and the pool began to drain through a now opened central vortex.

"Sharkticons, seize them!" the Inquisitor pointed with one set of tentacles.

The Sharkticons struggled to obey, but most of them became swept up in the whirlpool of the draining execution pool, and simply flew from one side of the pool to the other.

Scout
2002-11-27, 06:11 AM
Spitz's thickly scarred dusky yellow arms reached out and grasped hold of Devcon's hand. As the palms of both hands locked onto each others' wrists, a sudden phenomenal pull made Spitz's feet slide forward.

In an instant of flashed horror, he realized what was happening. The tank was draining, and the force that the incredible suction was forming, was threatening to pull both himself and this other transformer he had tried so hard to free... back into the execution pool.

"NO!" Spitz yelled through the water in frustration and desperation. He arched his back against the strain of the growing vortex and heaved the blue transformer forward over his head into the drainage route with every bit of strength he could muster. The throw forward caused Spitz to lose his braced position and within the blink of an optic, he was sucked into the swirling vortex as the water cleared the drainage duct and emptied toward the gaping hole at the bottom.

Quick Switch
2002-11-27, 10:52 AM
Devcon was slammed into the drainage duct; wedged would be a more appropriate description. Still bound, he watched helplessly as Spitz was dragged back into the swirling pool.

****

The pool had nearly drained half way by the time Spitz was pulled back into the maelstrom. Some of the Sharkticons attempted to grab onto Spitz, but were slammed into each other in the process...

Scout
2002-11-27, 03:35 PM
Clutching for the sides did no good. The thick panels were slicked over and smooth. Spitz managed to evade the Sharkticons for a bit by fists or diving underneath the surface of the rapidly disappearing fluid, but was tiring from the struggle by the time the water slowed and stopped. He watched as some of the Sharkticons were dragged into the vortex and crushed.
"Slag it! They didn't drain the whole thing! I'm gonna get eaten over this of all things..." Spitz snarled to himself as the remaining Sharkticon warriors made straight for him.

Unable to stand in the water, Spitz swam backwards to get his back to the wall. His weapons wouldn't be of much use in these close quarters and his alt forms... well, they would be a hinderance. With no choice left, he made a pair of fists, preparing for them to come at him.
"Come and take a piece of me then, but you'll have to pay first!" He hissed under his breath to the remaining group of Sharkticons in front of him. Then a thought hit him... Why weren't they jumping at him?

Spitz's optics widened and his combustor churned. He suddenly knew. They wanted him alive, and that thought was one of the few things that could phase him. He lashed out with a flurry of desperate punches, shattering optics, teeth and smashing a facial structures. Hit hard with heavy fists as well, it wasn't long before he found himself completely exhausted, battered and bruised. The Sharkicons were a threat no longer, but the Alligatorcons were closing in. He reeled in his panic as best he could and waited, shivering.

Quick Switch
2002-11-27, 03:55 PM
The Inquisitor raised one half of his tentacles.

"Cease the drainage!" he bellowed.

The Executioner complied; the vortex closed.

All the Sharkticons were destroyed by Spitz's assault.

"Send forth the Alligatorcons! Capture the Prisoners!" The Inquisitor snapped his tentacles forward like a whip.

The elite Alligatorcon guards stationed already in the Courtroom (about five or so) leaped the fifty or so feet from the top of the pool to the pool's botton easily, and brandished their prod lances and advanced.

"Bah weep granagh weep ninny bong!" They chanted, advancing. After the previous run-in with the Transformers, the Imperial Magistrate had ordered that the more intelligent Alligatorcons be programmed with this simple directive. For those who were to be taken alive, the ruse often worked. For those dead...well, by the time the captives-to-be realized their folly...they would already be terminated.

****

The remaining Sharkticons and Alligatorcons in the gallery filed out to seal off the remaining drainage ducts. The Quintesson intelligentsia, however, remained riveted in their seats.

****

Devcon struggled against his bonds, but with no success.

Quick Switch
2002-11-27, 04:15 PM
"What are you waiting for! Seize him!" The Inquisitor screamed.

The Alligatorcons rushed forward. Two brandished their prod lances in a straight forward manner, carried like a pike.

One brandished his prod lance overhead, angling it like a spear.

Two tranformed to their Alligator alt-mode and swam forward toward the embattled Spitz.

Scout
2002-11-27, 04:27 PM
"Bah weep granagh weep ninny bong.... yeah right." Spitz muttered under his breath. He was too worn out to fight any longer, and he tried to think carefully.
Easy does it Spitz... bide the time... wait for another opportunity.
The strategy had worked before for him. He didn't put up a fight as the Alligatorcons came to him. Fear was quickly changing to resentment and hatred.
At least I gave the Autobot a chance- that's the important thing. He flicked a glance up towards the duct. I hope he's tougher and a better fighter than the Autobots I remember.

Quick Switch
2002-11-27, 04:34 PM
Devcon broke his energy bonds and started to move toward Spitz. Suddenly, the adjacent barrier to the duct collapsed, and Sharkticons began clambering out of the duct toward Devcon, snarling with rage.

Devcon had a choice. The drainage duct led off into another area (away from the Sharkticons) into the bowels of New Quintessa. He might be able to escape. Or he could face Spitz, and both be captured.

He made his choice.

"I will return, Friend! You will not be forgotten! The Universe will know that the Quintesson Dominion still exists!" Devcon bolted down the other passageway, followed by scores of Sharkticons.

****

The Alligatorcons stopped and surrounded Spitz. They looked up at the Inquisitor.

The Inqiuistor raised a set of tentacles, and the Executioner depressed yet another switch.

The execution pool floor began to rise up to the Courtroom proper, while the remaining fluid was drained through small side-drains.

"Either you will come quietly or you will be beaten into submission," the Inquisitor hissed. "It is your choice." He hovered cautiously as the execution pool floor clicked into place at the same level as the various galleries and diases.

Scout
2002-11-28, 01:07 AM
ooc: it's all right on QS... but I'll PM later tonight to check in. :-)
---

Spitz almost forgot his predicament when Devcon's voice echoed through the drained pool area. He frowned in disbelief.
Autobots sure haven't changed much...
Spitz glanced up at the faces above him and then back toward the duct. I was told this one had a reputation for being intelligent?! Be smarter than the others and keep going Autobot... as fast and as far away as you can.

Spitz glanced up again as the pool bottom rose. He had more pressing concerns.

"Inquisitor... I hear you, and see now that you recognize I am able to make choices. I choose then... and my choice is to cooperate."
Spitz kept a steeled outer look, even through the exhaustion. Inwardly, he was hoping the Quintessons would not send him back into the research center or combat area that he remembered so clearly. A quick death would be so much more preferable, but they had kept him alive for a reason, and that thought sat heavier than spoiled energon in his mind.

Quick Switch
2002-11-29, 01:54 AM
The Inquisitor glided forward.

"Excellent," he replied.

A new brigade of Alligatorcons appeared from an outer chamber. One slapped handcuffs on Spitz, another placed foot manacles. They stood back and bowed.

"Very good, soldiers."

The Inquisitor moved forward, tentacles undulating. He stood toe to toe to Spitz (even though the robot was rather taller than the smaller hybrid creature).

The Inquisitor smiled.

"It is good to see you again, Model Two. Of course, I'm sure you've chosen a different name for yourself now. That is of no consequence...now." His optics blazed to their most intense crimson color.

"For, you see, you've been out of the Imperial Magistrate's benevolent care for a few million years," he leaned forward, speaking lowly so the Judges in the gallery could not hear, "...and he most desires a conversation with you. We have plans for you, Model Two."

An Alligatorcon advanced, wielding a stun-prod. He placed the tip of the spear on Spitz's back, and activated it. A surge of local EMP energy surged into Spitz, knocking him to the ground...but not offline.

"Big plans," the Inquisitor finished. "Take him to the Scientific Wing. Now!"

The Alligatorcons lifted Spitz's body and carried the larger robot away.

Scout
2002-11-29, 06:58 AM
Tingling...
a blur of ice green light...
loud buzzing...
pain...

As Spitz began to come around and the bleary and blurry nothingness seeped into conciousness, he felt an intense pain surge through his head. He jolted with a scream of agony, trying to grab it, but his body was bound fast on all limbs and his head locked into a metallic holder. Mercifully, the flash passed after a short time. He gasped and his optics opened.

Long moments ticked by as he tried to recall what had passed... his head ached, but the memories came flooding back as he tried to focus. It wasn't the events that had transpired only half a cycle before in the execution room that came so clearly... they were memories of a long ago time, and yet to Spitz- all too recent.

The faint green lighting in the Quintesson lab... the scientists were on break. He couldn't move his head and with growing panic, he remembered why. It was held tight by pins inserted into his brain casing. Wires he could feel trailing down the back of his neck and the pinch in his neck and back he knew were from sampling needles. He heard the distinct and unforgettable sounds of atteration monitors used to gain inner readings from aspiration of the tf engine while it combusted the energy needed for survival, but he was unable to see his torso, which was covered by a white lining ominously stained with various sized black and red patches.

No! It just can't.... not again... Spitz welled with fear and pain, panic and despair all at once, and the fluid which he found so objectionable, started running freely from his eyes. He struggled against the bindings with no success, and then clentched his teeth as he tried to gain control of himself again. Time passed, and he recovered himself a bit.
Stay smart... got out of this once before, I can do it again.

Using his peripheral vision as best he could, he glanced from side to side. To his right.... a table with surgical instruments stood nearby, bright and shiny and clean. Skeleton structures of various creatures were visible to the right back corner of the room, while potions of various sorts could be seen from the corner of his optic glancing up and far right.

Cadaver pieces of various species were visible in storage containers on shelves to his left, and some were brightly lit... and moving. He blinked twice and winced as a lesser pain from the light registered in his head. More wires trailed from some of the samples and he could see legs and arms twitching, while severed heads opened and closed their eyes and mouths in response to some stimuli.

A loud click caught his attention, and he heard the slide of a door opening, and the faint- but distinguishable- sounds of tortured screams in the distance.

Quick Switch
2002-11-30, 03:57 AM
Two Alligatorcons entered the chamber, brandishing their vicious prod-lances, with axes placed on the tips. One stood on each side of the door.

Quietly, the Inquisitor glided into the room, tentacles undulating. An ancient Quintesson scientist, his one face pinched and haggard. Behind him, scuttled in the stooped organic body of Primacron. He carried a clipboard.

And behind him was the Imperial Magistrate. His Death's Head face was set as primary.

The elite circled around the table.

The scientist engineer, vocoder as whispery as a soft breeze, spoke:

"He is...online."

"Resillient, isn't he?" The Inquisitor gently clutched Spitz's head with one tentacle, wrapping it about his neck. After applying pressure for a few second, the Inquisitor relinquished his hold, and removed his tentacle.

Primacron stood on a stool at the center of the table, examining the surgical instruments.

"Primitive, but effective," he sniffed. The Quintesson scientist/engineer replied:

"Our methods here...are not supposed to be...efficient," his hollow optic sockets displayed no emotion. He had built and destroyed numerous organisms with his tools. The scientist/engineer had built this Decepticon before him, millions of years ago. If ordered to, he would destroy him.

"Model Two," the scientist called, nearly crooning, "you were...my crowning achievment...and now, you are back with me. Your predecessor was so...unsatisfactory."

"Megatron was failure, solely based on your scientific designs," the Magistrate snapped. "Spare us your sentimental drivel. This unit belongs to the Dominion. Therefore, he belongs to me."

The others became silent.

"Begin your questions Inquisitor," the Magistrate rasped.

The Inquisitor leaned over Spitz's face.

"You are War Robot Model Two. However, what is your....'chosen' name? Next, what are your alternate modes of transformation? When did you gain the ability to transform? Why did you leave your Master, the Imperial Magistrate, who ordered your construction, and gave you life? Why did you spurn him?"

Primacron laughed.

"What? Do you expect honest answers from him? He is a Decepticion. All he knows is deceipt. He will tell you nothing."

The Inquisitor hissed:

"You will answer my questions...or other kinds of reinforcement will...persuade you to."

Scout
2002-11-30, 07:00 PM
An involuntary shudder went through his body as the faces appeared around him, and Spitz heard the rythmic sounds of the beeps monitoring his engine intake pick up pace. As the group gathered around, he suddenly found himself with Devcon's image briefly flickering in his mind. The odd look on the Autobot's face as he reached for Spitz... it wasn't a resigned look- more like- surprised trust?... But the thought was interrupted by a soft, whispery voice that he remembered so well.

"Jhartix..." Spitz forced a whisper out as he recognized the scientist. The Quintesson had changed a great deal from when Spitz had last seen him- after all, millions of years had passed- but the voice was unmistakeable. Spitz let the faintest bit of a smile slip as he remembered the scientist. There had been a time long ago when he would have done anything possible to please the young Quintesson. This Quintesson had gotten so excited from time to time- he had a curiosity that Spitz had enjoyed. They had spent a lot of time conversing and it was Jhartix who had taught him about the two factions of the transformer rebellion, and sparked his developing individual personality.

The truth was, Jhartix was responsible for psychological programming manipulations and evaluations of the robotic creations, and in the time which he had spent with Spitz, Model Two had achieved the highest expectations set down for his test group. Model Two had displayed the exact characteristics they had been working for: a docile personality similar to the consumer goods line, with the protective abilities and defensive skills of the military hardware line. The hopes had been that this test group would provide the balanced robotic sentry guard that the Quintessons needed to protect themselves against the growing robotic rebellion. To differentiate this test group from the other creations, they were created with purple optics, rather than the more common red, yellow and blue, so that the Quintessons could easily identify them and the underlying mixed personalities. But the Quintessons had made a vital error again. These robots could also make choices, and so it happened with Spitz.

Spitz was destined to be the protecting force for the Imperial Magistrate. He was sent to the IM's side. But it was there that he saw the real horrors that caused his programming to adjust and he finished gaining the ability to make choices. There were the production plants and the shock of seeing robots melted down for not working fast enough or hard enough. He saw the arena battles and other cruelty as well, and then he made an error. He made a choice and asked the IM to spare a robot's life force.

He was sent back to the lab for testing- choices weren't supposed to happen in this group. There, Spitz waited for a chance to escape, and Jhartix provided him the opportunity. Spitz knew how to please the scientist, and when the chance came, he used the trust to escape. He ran, but was captured a short time later and sent to the gladatorial combat arena having been deemed worthless. Shortly after, the uprising occured and the Quintessons were vanquished.

Now, ages later, he looked at the old scientist and wondered if Jhartix might again provide the opportunity for escape, but the Inquisitor's tentacle grabbed his attention in a hurry as he felt the pressure on his neck. He roped in a wave of panic and steeled himself with a glare at the Inquisitor.
"My chosen name is Spitz..." Get a little closer and I'll show you why.
Spitz paused and scowled, catching his anger. Just enough info... not too much- don't antagonize.
"I can fly now. My alternate form is a jet, and I gained that ability about 35 cycles ago."
"I left because... because..." Spitz winced as a shot of pain ran across his head. He could still hear screams and remember the looks of the robots being melted down alive. He flicked his glance to the IM. "...I left because I didn't want to stay and be part of your... plans."

Quick Switch
2002-12-01, 03:46 PM
The Inquisitor looked away as Spitz began to speak. So did Jhartix. The Imperial Magistrate began to seethe.

Primacron poked Spitz's opitcs with a rod.

"Have any of you noticed that this thing has purple optics? Interesting..."

"Your answeres are unsatisfactory," the Imperial Magistrate rasped, Death's Head optics narrowed to nearly slits. "How dare you have the impudence to think for yourself. You were do be my Praetorian Guard...and others should have followed," he angled his ovoid body next to Spitz, "but because of your...defective processing, you have cost the Dominion millions of funds and work hours. The line was discontinued."

The Imperial Magistrate rose and looked at the ancient scientist.

"Jhartix, see to your wayward creation's incarceration and torture. I want it long and ardous. Film the torture sessions. It will be shown to all robots who dare to defy the Dominion."

The Imperial Magistrate and the Inquisitor left the room.

Primacron grunted, and left also.

Jhartix leaned over his creation.

"Spitz is it...you were always so...brash and exuberent. As was I...when we were both new to the life cycle. Alligatorcons, remove this equipment."

The two Alligatorcons advanced and unhooked the monitoring devices, braincase pins and other implements. They also set Spitz on his feet (still shackled by hands and feet).

"He is with me. We will not require any escort," Jhartix stated quietly.

The Alligatorcons shrugged, then left the room.

A trace of a smile crept across Jhartix's haggard face.

"Come with me to my lab, my creation. We have much catching up to accomplish...the Imperial Magistrate need not know...of many things...."

Jhartix left the room, followed slowly by Spitz who, being shackled, could only move at a limited gait. But the ancient Quintesson couldn't move fast either, so the pace was matched.

Along the bizarre innards of New Quintessa, the walk to Jhartix's lab began.

Scout
2002-12-01, 06:44 PM
A heavy sigh of relief escaped Spitz as the Alligatorcons left. Even with the shackles, he was under his own control again, and that was what mattered most to him. His one main fear of being controlled dissipated. He was exhausted, but calm, and his mind began to wander as he and Jhartix made their way back to Jhartix's lab.

I cost them? But it was discontinued. Good I suppose, but not good for him. A guilty feeling swept through Spitz. He had often wondered what kind of trouble he had caused for the scientist who was almost... a friend to him.
Jhartix- I wonder what will happen to you after the Autobot delivers his message. That Autobot... I don't know why he's so important to them. Autobots aren't supposed to have his kind of directives- are they? How important can one Autobot be? Wonder if he escaped- where he is now... Wish I understood more about what's happening out there. How in the name of Primus is letting one Autobot escape going to help? Or have I been lied to again?
He glanced at Jhartix with a bit of wonder.
Were you right? Are we all only pawns in the Quintesson game? Am I still being played even now? A ruse or are you just curious about me again?
He felt strangely at ease walking alongside the old Quintesson, a peace that he hadn't felt in millions of years- almost like he belonged. The abrupt thought made his head hurt and he tried to fixate on just walking.

Quick Switch
2002-12-01, 08:39 PM
"You worry to much, Spitz," Jhartix chuckled. "In time, my construct, everything will work itself out."

****

Devcon continued to flee from the Sharkticons.

Howerver, miles of pipes lay before him.

The hunt continued.

Scout
2002-12-02, 02:13 AM
"Somehow I recall a certain scientist spending late hours to make deadlines and test ratios.....and you say I worry too much?" Spitz looked down at the scientist and let out a quiet laugh.
"Incarceration and torture sound like such pleasant activities Jhartix. *Spitz sighed*
I cooperate with that ..... that... him .... in the execution chamber and still get zapped for it."
He paused for a moment and glanced down.
"By the way... didn't notice before, but thanks for patching some of the damage back up- if that was you. Remind me not to go swimming again with the Sharkticons before they're fed properly.
.....Say, is that your lab up there?"

Quick Switch
2002-12-02, 03:08 AM
Jhartix laughed softly.

"You have not changed...and yes, I recall those deadlines. Many of which involved your construction."

The aged scientist looked up and smiled at Spitz. He then turned back to the techno-organic walkway.

He opened his laboratory door with a password, and inclined his body in a signal meaning Spitz could enter. Jhartix sat his levitating body on a dais, and shut down his internal gyro; he sat on a relatively modest cushion in an executive type work chair.

"Be mindful," the scientist said as he watched Spitz enter. "The Imperial Magistrate still commands with an iron fist. And now, with the new Alligatorcons, his rule is secure. No other Judge dares to depose him. The Inquisitor's spy network..."

The scientist gazed above, at a security camera outside in the hallway-

"...is extensive. I am glad that the Imperial Magistrate designated me as your 'torturer'. The irony was not lost on him, you see. I built you, and now he expects me to disassemble you." The lab door shut, blocking the view of the security camera.

"But enough of this. Tell me...what have you done for the past millions of years?"

Scout
2002-12-02, 08:58 AM
"Mindful... yes." Spitz dropped his head subconciously into a well-trained submissive look at the floor as he trudged in, shackles clinking their chains.
He stood quietly for a moment before Jhartix's chair as the door slid shut.
A moment passed and he lifted his head slightly to look around. This lab had a warmer feeling to it and was lit well. He felt a sudden pain shoot across his head as he tried to gather everything, then focused back on what Jhartix was saying. He still found with a surprised feeling that he wanted to please the old scientist. He was almost repulsed by it.

"It is ironic I suppose, isn't it... No matter. I will tell you what you ask if I can.
I... wondered about you Jhartix. After- I mean. You know that I had to try. I couldn't just stand there day after day and watch those constructs being terminated. You know we have feelings and personalities... why can't the others see?
But I guess I should start with the Imperial Magistrate.
The IM became so angry when I asked him to spare the grey construct. He ordered the other two scientists to take me back for retraining- to break my programming, and show me I had no choice- no control. Then they brought you in to reset my programming and patch me back up. You know of course, that I ran, and was captured when my energy wore down in the ducts a few cycles after."

Spitz felt suddenly tired and let his head lower, then continued.
"The IM was furious then. But so much so that he didn't even want to give me a quick death. Rather than throw me to the Sharkticons, he sentenced me to the gladiator arena. The two factions you told me about- I fought many on both sides, and I was lucky in outwitting my opponents for I don't have a great deal of strength. That you know... but there was an Autobot there who took some delight in keeping things half alive and moving. He pieced us together after the battles. Then one day we heard a great noise above the incarceration cell. Gunfire, bombs and there were bright flashes. The walls were knocked out and we escaped into the middle of the war between the factions. I wandered a bit. I tried thinking I might join the Autobots, but they were sitting targets. They had no desires for rule. I thought I might join the Decepticons, and I found they had no mercy to the civilian consumor goods. I wanted one rule... but not to destroy them or the land. I took the Decepticon brand because it's closer to what I feel sometimes, but I don't always understand myself. What am I supposed to be Jhartix? You taught me about the factions... the insane behavior... what happened? Why don't I fit with any of them?"

Spitz sighed, knowing the scientist would not answer until he had finished the majority of the information requested.
"I commanded a unit of Decepticons and was working my way up in the ranks there, when one betrayed our outpost position to the Autobots. We put up a fight, but were subsequently captured and sent to the slave mines. We were forgotten I think. We worked hard, but after a while, the energon suddenly stopped being brought to us and one by one, we shut down and collapsed. Much time passed. Millions of years. Some transformers came to the mines looking for resources. They found me, and reactivated me. The rest of my unit had rusted away... but I didn't..."
Spitz glanced briefly at Jhartix with a puzzled look, but dropped his head again as his legs quivered. His energy was very low, but he tried to hide it by shifting his weight. Then he continued.

"The one promised me the ability to transform, repairs, some energon, and freedom if I would do one thing for him- and that was to allow Devcon to escape. I do not know what faction the transformer I made this deal with was from, I was never allowed to see. But I agreed, and you know that I keep my word. I stole a ship- for the greater good of course, and came here. The rest, you know. I can try..... and answer more questions Jhartix.... if you have any...... I... missed you."
The energy decrease caught up to him as he finished, and Spitz sank to his knees in front of the old scientist's chair with mixed feelings of disgust with himself and contentment.

Quick Switch
2002-12-02, 05:51 PM
Jhartix looked down at Spitz on the floor, his mouth creased into a thin line, his opics somber.

He melted. His optics became expressive once more, and his mouth bent into a wistful frown...then smile.

"I will answer your questions in the order you have presented them..." he began.

Jhartix paused, thinking. The soft whirs of the various mechanical devices set off a pleasant cacaphony for both he and Spitz's audio receptors.

"Most of my Brethren- the Judges, Executioners, and of course, the Inquisitor and the Imperial Magistrate- view you merely as "the Product." You were built to serve a specific function...and when the other constructs developed 'defective' mentatlities-that is, true sentience, feelings, and a willful disposition- they were terminated."

Pause.

"The gray construct...Megatron, I believe his name was...was always trouble for the Imperial Magistrate and the other Presiding Judges. He...displayed too much ambition. The other constructs listened to him, and not to the Presiding Judges who gave the orders. And, of course, with your fusion of the personalities...you sparing Megatron was too much for the Imperial Magistrate."

Jhartix didn't even to attempt to stop the drops of lubricant fluid which leaked from his optics.

"The Inquisitor himself came to this lab all those years ago and told me the Imperial Magistrate had decreed you were to die in the Arena. How he laughed... Even then, he was a sycophant...but then, how can the Inquisitor avoid his internal programming, in that amalagam of metal and flesh? I pity him."

He pondered the question of the Transformer factions for a time. Then:

"Their very natures make compromise impossible. Indeed, that was the Imperial Magistrate's plan from the beginning. He knew that perhaps, one day, the Guardians would not be enough to protect the Quintesson interests. Thus, the Sharkticons and Alligatorcons were constructed. But...forgive me...my central processing unit is not as lucid as it once was."

The Quintesson scientist activated his internal gyro and levitated down from the chair and stood adjacent to the nearly prostrated Spitz.

"Stop this! You are unique! Of all the Transformers, you alone see the madness of this Civil War."

If he had appendages, Jhartix would have placed one on Spitz's shoulder. But alas, he did not.

"You have learned much, and the ability to transform has changed your perceptions...and that I admire. This Devcon...known as the bounty hunter...intrigues me...why is he so important? He has no connection to either faction. He is aberrant, an Autobot who actually seeks to be a vigilante. This is obviously a programming error...more importantly, who is manipulating you to act as his savior, and why?"

Jhartix slowly hovered around the room; the Quintesson equivalent of pacing.

"He may not come back...as a whole, the Autobots are passive and weak. That is why the Decepticons conquered Cybertron in 2005, and that is why they will do so again. The Autobots lack the killing instinct. Even their greatest leader, Optimus Prime, cannot end this war..."

He turned back to Spitz.

"Instead, the Decepticons will slaughter the Autobots, and the Autobots will simply stall the Decepticons from taking Cybertron again at the expense of their own standing. It will not change."

Jhartix smiled again, and returned to his creation's side.

"But let us forget this for a time. The important thing is this: you have returned. I, too, have missed our time together. Perhaps, covertly, we may change things for the better."

Scout
2002-12-03, 08:55 AM
Spitz listened carefully to Jhartix as he answered.
At the mention of Megatron's name, Spitz's optics widened.
Megatron?! And I wanted the IM to spare his life force? Could that be possible? Can I really be the only construct to see the futility and insane nature of this war?

Then Devcon's image raced through his mind again and Spitz's eyes flashed a bit at the idea of being manipulated, but he kept his silence until Jhartix had finished speaking.
He did his best to focus, but was becoming aware of an increasingly numb feeling working its way up his legs.
"I will stop as you bid. And I would answer your questions... about the Autobot if I knew more.
I hope he does not return... for you would be in danger... I think. I was wrong to come here, but change for the better is good."

Spitz managed a faint chuckle as he struggled to keep his balance. "I'm not in a position... to argue your suggestion."
He paused.
"If I stay here though... you will be in danger from the IM and maybe... the Autobot too. I'd love... to crack that pompous egg. You would be such a great IM... Jhartix!
You know... I can't... promise to stay, but...I would protect you..... I promise that, and we could try to...make things better... covertly."
Spitz closed his optics.
"Sorry- so little energy left Jhartix. The deal was more energon... after Devcon escaped. So tired... misjudged fuel consumption for the transformations... to get here."

Quick Switch
2002-12-03, 05:14 PM
Jhartix nodded.

"Your concern for me is appreciated..."

He indicated a recharge bed.

"Energon is such a crude material. After all these years, that is all the Decepticons have managed to create. Typical of a communications robot being in charge of energy production for an entire faction. Soundwave, I believe the robot's name is. Arrogant and sadistic. I remember his construction.... At the time, his design was innovative, but the costs of production kept more of his ilk from being produced. At any rate...use the recharge bed there. It is much more efficient."

Jhartix shrugged.

"The Autobot is of no concern to me. As for the Imperial Magistrate...that is a different matter. And your sentiments...while rather brash, may have merit. Regime change is a delicate operation, after all. Thank for your confidence. Now, recharge, Spitz. Creator's orders."

The Quintesson laughed merrily at this.

Scout
2002-12-05, 06:00 AM
Head hurts... Spitz thought as he tried to listen. Soundwave? I've heard--- name before. Communications... ...can't remember.
Regime change... slowly... yes- wait, no. Fast is better. But here? Need rest, energy.
Spitz heard the laughs, and his mind jumped. For a brief moment, it didn't sound like friendly laughs, it sounded almost mocking. He drew out what energy he could muster and stood, glaring at the shackles for an instant before he was able to clear his mind. He flicked an accepting and grateful smile to Jhartix, then half stumbled over to the recharge bed, hitting it shoulder-first and then managed to pull himself up the rest of the way. Finally, he lay back, drained. It should have only taken moments for him to go into a semi-conscious state to recharge, but one thought nagged at his mind and kept him in unease. He slowly rolled his head towards the old scientist and studied him with dark and fading opics.
"Jhartix... what if... come check? Don't want... have you... in... dang... err."
The last of his reserve energy spent, Spitz lay still as the darkness crept in while his body shut itself down to recharge.

Quick Switch
2002-12-06, 03:21 AM
Jhartrix sighed as Spitz drifted off to "sleep" ensconced in the recharge bed.

"Do not worry," the aged scientist said to his by-now sleeping construct. "All will be well."

****

Up above secreted in an alcove of the lab, a security camera clicked and zoomed in. An audial sensor was picking up the short conversations...

****

Miles away in the twisted planet, the Quintesson Inquisitor, standing behind a massive communications consle, whipped his tentacles in a frenzied rage. The Sharkticon guards cowered.

"How dare that aged fool plot treason!" The Inquistor was nearly frothing at his elongated mouth. "Jhartix...pities me does he? Because of my...flawed nature?"

The Inquisitor wheeled about, and struck at the nearest Sharkticon guard with all of his tentacles. The dumb brute was decapitated and had its limbs torn off at the force of the snake-like tentacle motions. It was over in seconds; the Sharkticon lay in pieces.

The remaining Sharkticons stared blankly ahead. To move was to die.

"So...I'll keep this secret for now...but soon...you too will receive your sentence," the Inquisitor turned back to the screen and watched Jhatrix putter over the prone Spitz. With one hiss of rage, a tentacle snapped out and turned off the communications console.

The resounding whip-crack of the tentacle's movement echoed in the cavernous chamber.

Scout
2002-12-08, 03:11 AM
Almost an entire cycle passed before Spitz stirred. Awareness slowly crept into his complete recharge mode as his energy reached maximum levels and his systems restarted. It was quiet around, save for a peaceful faint humming. The lab noises emminating from the standard equipment here were familiar memories. His dark purple optics opened as he regained consciousness. The lab was lit by the green standby light. Data recording modules lay stacked neatly on a table just to his left. Then it occured to him... his head didn't hurt anymore, and neither did the assortment of knocks he had taken before or the burn from the stun weapon the Alligatorcons had used, but he didn't have time to wonder. For a brief moment, his mind jumped back and the thought that he needed to get up and start his daily chores in the lab came back to him.
Jhartix must have gone out for a bit. Wonder how long I was out?
He sat up and then glanced at his wrists, remembering the prior events. The cumbersome shackles had now been replaced by lighter training bands.

Well, guess I can't complain there. He has to look like he's in charge- but this isn't good. Not that these bands are bad of course, they were a wise idea. But the IM specifically said for him to work me over and have it filmed. That cracked-egg will make sure the orders he gives are followed up somehow- sick slag reject. Jhartix is just too good natured to realize the trouble he's bringing down on himself taking me on like this. He'll need some proof he followed orders...
I should never have come back here. That Autobot- I'm sure he'll try and come back, and that'll mean trouble for any Quintesson he runs across. Jhartix won't be safe here, and he won't be safe outside. The Quintessons are a despised race because of that slagging IM. Only chance is to take out the trash judges, put Jhartix in there or someone he knows...
Spitz paused.
Wait now- too fast. Even Jhartix has had to do things he's ordered. Power comes over time, and I'm still a captive and going nowhere fast. Can't push the line- have to let him take the lead and do as he asks. He's got the debt card and I owe him more than I can pay right now.
Spitz paused and glanced at his wrists and ankle bands again. Just hope he doesn't think I want to be a test subject again. Still, in the meantime, I should make myself useful until he comes back.
Spitz eased up, and had just grabbed a nearby floor brush, when he noticed Jhartix working at a desk at the far end of the expansive room. Spitz chuckled warmly under his breath. He had been trained not to interrupt the scientist's studies, so he started the familiar cleaning routine.

Quick Switch
2002-12-09, 09:58 PM
Jhartix sat at his work desk, various monitors viewing different components of Spitz's body on a highpowered disc.

"The transformation cog is a work of art," the scientist muttered. "Makes the Alligatorcons and Sharkticons look as primitive as they should be..."

Next screen.

"And the sentience program has blossomed as I had hoped. Numerous directives are operating independently of one another...even on a higher level when Spitz left my care..."

Next screen.

"Just perfect...and what utility...more than the sum of his parts, indeed."

Jhatrix shut off the viewscreens and watched silently as his construct went about his cleaning duties.

"I see millions of years in shutdown hasn't tripped your consistency programs. You're running through the same cleaning algorithms I programmed into you all those years ago. Wonderful."

The scientist got up and levitated around the lab, getting a closer look as Spitz worked.

"Right down to the same strokes and movements. Ah, Spitz, you amaze me. So tell me, how is it to transform oneself into something else, yet retain...well, yourself?" the scientist was chuckling as he stumbled over the hazy terminology.

Scout
2002-12-10, 05:05 AM
"Nothing amazing about this Jhartix," Spitz flashed a grin and laughed- completely at ease. "I've done it so often that I'm surprised I wasn't doing it while I was recharging. Thanks for fixing me up Jhartix- I owe you big-time, again." He paused briefly and got a more somber look, but still held the friendly smile. "It's the other stuff that you'll find more interesting than my cleaning routines, but let's hope not too amazing. I'm still- adjusting to everything."

Spitz started working again as he thought about how to answer. Jhartix was such a fascination for him, and he knew that he posed the same for his scientist friend. Yet, the transformation question lingered and he debated on how best to answer it.

"It's tough to answer that question Jhartix. I didn't like the changing... transformations... at first, but it was a necessity mostly because I didn't have a choice and needed to get around too. It still feels odd- and just a bit- almost wrong, to have parts and pieces of my body twist and turn. When I was reactivated, the robot that did it had reworked my frame. It's so complicated. It was a lot easier to simply exist before, but now with these forms- I have more power, and I like that aspect- a lot."
Spitz's eyes flashed with a spunky look and he shot a grin at Jhartix.
"The jet form that the robot gave me... it works great! It's fast enough for my needs and has good firepower. I'm short range compared to some of the guys I led and worked with, but I was really more useful thinking about strategies. And I was there when I was needed. In jet form, I'm aware of everything around, just like when I'm in robot mode. It's really fantastic! Even though the body changes shape, the mind is still the same..."

Spitz paused,looked up at Jhartix briefly; froze, and then looked away, closing his optics and grinding his teeth.

"...mostly. The jet form wasn't all that happened, Jhartix. The slaggin' robot also made me into a bird for Primus' sake! An avian?! What kind of robot winds up with that kind of transformation anyway? I can't even think clearly when I'm in that form. I can't even control myself. Oh yes... "Be patient," this guy told me. "They're new forms and you'll get used to them eventually." But there's no getting used to this one Jhartix! I'm supposed to be a Decepticon and it's so... strange- it's... it's embarassing!" Spitz looked back at Jhartix, his optics showing a mix of fury and frustration. There was a brief pause and then he broke into laughter and started cleaning again with a sigh.

"Please forgive the tantrum my friend. Everything is just- so different and I don't understand why things had to fall as they did. Life was much simpler when all we had to worry about were order acceptance goals and delivery comprehension protocols. So many 'whys' are stuck in my head now. At least there's one less now that I'm sure you know about all that." Spitz finished and rested contentedly against the wall.

Quick Switch
2002-12-10, 05:47 AM
Jhartix listened raptly as Spitz spoke.

"I see. Fascinating. The physical form changes, yet the mental state remains static yet fluid as situations shift..." The Quintesson shook his head (well, himself actually) in awe.

Jhartix mumbled into a food processor (since he lacked physical appendages, most of the lab was run on a vocoder coding system) and looked back at the Transformer, smiling.

"You are, then, a Triple Changer; an elite group of warriors. Astrotrain, Blitzwing, Springer...there are only a few in the entire Transformer race."

A viewscreen appeared and showed a picture of Astrotrain wearing his formal cape (which folowed smoothly over his wings to hang down on his back) at Gigatron's coronation. His hands were behind his back, and his normally inscruitable face was masked in a stoic vise (yet prideful) as his master was crowned.

"This is Astrotrain. Second in Command of the Loyalist forces of the Decepticon Army, serving under Teratron, the self-styled 'Lord' of the Decepticons. Astrotrain commands one of the massive 'city-bots,' his formal title is City Commander." The viewscreen panned in front of Astrotrain to show the massive form of the multi-changer alt-verse Decepticon. "This is to show you that your abilities mark you above and beyond the average robot- even with your initital programming."

The camera zoomed in on Astrotrain.

"Interesting case, that robot. Rose from a military transport to a key administrator in a few short months solely on merit. Perhaps you worked with him when you led your band?...The Imperial Magistrate has been watching him," the scientist remarked darkly.

Astrotrain disappeared as the viewer was turned off. Jhartix sighed.

"I'm sorry...my mind...wanders more and more these days. Where were we? Ah yes. Your transformations. Now, the best advice I can offer you about your avian mode is to gently ingratiate yourself with all its gifts and limitations, so you fully understand and appreciate it- along with your more 'standard' jet fighter mode. These things take time. Cybertron wasn't built in a day, you know," Jhatrix laughed.

A drinking beaker appeared out of the processor, filled with pink liquid.

"Drink this," he indicated the drink to Spitz as he was leaning against the wall. "It is a high energy forumla which I devised myself. It is at least ten times as effective as Energon...though one glass should last you for the rest of the day."

Scout
2002-12-11, 06:00 AM
Spitz chuckled warmly. "Elite huh? If they have as much trouble as I do, no wonder there are so few. But other 'triple changers'? I'm not alone?" He straightened and studied the screen with a transfixed look.
"Astrotrain... Astrotrain. No, didn't serve under him directly. I was in charge of a region outpost- 24 command unit and only reported relay transmissions- but I've heard of him, and Springer too. Springer... and something about wrecking."

His thoughts got interrupted. Spitz looked at Jhartix as the scientist handed the drink over. Spitz sniffed at it and eyed it briefly with a curious expression and shook it slightly, causing little crackles. "Not that I mind at all, Jhartix, but 10 times more powerful? What did you make it from, and why is it pink?" But without waiting for an answer, he downed the entire beaker in moments. Spitz flashed a grin at Jhartix to show he was teasing. "Hope you tested that. Otherwise this could be interesting shortly. But what have you been doing these many years my friend?"

Quick Switch
2002-12-11, 10:38 PM
"The Wreckers," Jhartix laughed at the absurd name of the Autobot vigilante/commando team, "self-styled thugs who believe they serve a higher purpose by not following the established Autobot command structure..."

The scientist paused, trying to remember.

"Ah, just some complex synthetic materials...the taste is, I've heard, rather distinctive. I don't drink it myself. I recharge naturally, but for a quick boost, well, nothing beats it."

Jhartix sat back on his chair.

"Well...I've designed more lines of robots than I remember. Nothing up to your standard- the Imperial Magistrate slapped a few Work Restrictions on me- basically upgrades to those loathsome Sharkticons and Allagatorcons...I've been writing some. Publishing a few articles in the other sections of the Dominion. I've been reading the Lithonian Chronicles- banned, you know- by a Lithonian named Kranix. Brilliant scientist. And some other papers by an engineer named Arblus. Dry, but just as innovative."

He debated on whether telling Spitz what he knew, and then spoke:

"The Lithonians were neary wiped out by Unicron, a massive war robot-planetoid created by Primacron, the organic scientist you've already seen. The Imperial Magistrate and the Inquisitor sentenced Kranix and Arblus to death on Old Quintessa before the Autobots arrived and started the Sharkticon Rebellion...such cruelty...what an ignoble end to such a noble race. I would have liked to have worked with Kranix..."

Jhartix then began to drift a little bit in his reveries...

Scout
2002-12-12, 05:40 AM
It took several minutes before the taste and effects of the drink hit. Spitz's mouth turned down at the corners and his nose burned. His engines geared up in pitch and he swallowed hard several times as Jhartix was speaking, but stayed quiet, trying to focus.
Not horrible, but so strong. Distinctive is right! What is this stuff? Sharkticon filtering oil? *pause* .....and I hope he's got lots more of it. Oh wait- no, maybe not. What if the IM has it?

Spitz waited some time, thinking quietly to himself, then spoke outloud.
"Wreckers... *pause with a smirk* Yes that's them. Autobots who don't seem to fit the Autobot traits. I almost hoped they would show up. That Autobot- Devcon, almost seemed like one except he wasn't very formidable. If the dispatch message was to be believed, the Wreckers would be the downfall of the whole Decepticon entity. Autobots really are interesting constructs."
Spitz paused a moment. In split instant he went from a curious and contemplating authorative look to a submissive one, optics diverted and head down as he thought and spoke. The energy had taken effect fully and he fidgeted as he ran through thoughts very quickly.

Jhartix, I know you study and write- it's your main function, and I'd like very much to read what you've written. The articles from Kranix and Arblus sound really interesting to me as well.

I know you told me not to worry. I'm worried though. If there's one thing I learned from being a Decepticon, it's to watch your back. This energy drink you gave me is strong. It could be of terrific use, but does the Imperial Magistrate know about it? If he has this- it could be really bad news. Already, he will have us taken apart - or worse- if he finds out you didn't follow through with his orders."
Spitz stopped, froze and flashed a quick glance up, before looking away and continuing.
"I have so much to ask you, but you'll need proof that you followed the IM's orders eventually. They could call you out again anytime- they might send someone here to check up on you too. They might even know now.
That Primacron really--- he set me off. He's a dangerous creature, but the Inquisitor is as well, and from what you said, he'd love to see both of us in pieces. Anyway, do you know if the reprogrammers filmed the reprogramming session after the IM sent me back? Perhaps that could be of some use?"
Spitz caught himself and forced the fidgeting to stop, then waited.

Quick Switch
2002-12-12, 03:33 PM
Jhartix snapped out of his reverie as Spitz began speaking-

"Ah, well, it's really only a prototype for an even more concentrated energy formula. The Imperial Magistrate does not know of its inception."

He began to rummage around the lab.

"I see...I have found a few copies of the first abortive reprogramming session- the one from which you escaped- but I could continuosly loop the feed and other various editing tricks...I suppose you are right. The Imperial Magistrate will send someone here eventually..."

At that moment, Primacron entered, clutching a clipboard and tools.

"Jhartix, the Imperial Magistrate wants a status report...what do you have to tell him?"

"Ah well...as you can see...Spitz is recovering from...uh..." Jhartix stammered.

"Perhaps your rebellious little construct can tell me," Primacron rasped, looking up at Spitz. "So. You don't have any marks on you. What has your old fogey creator subjected you to?"

Scout
2002-12-13, 12:53 AM
At the news of the drink only being a prototype, Spitz felt a wave of relief wash over him, but it was short-lived as he heard the door slide open. He froze, head and optics still downturned. One thought went through his mind...
Slag!

He didn't twitch an optic as Primacron stared at and then addressed him, but rather stared oddly into the space of the floor. In a moment, Spitz adjusted his voice module programming internally to negate tonal changes. He stayed locked into place.

"Information requisition acknowledged. Directive stands from being identified as Primacron. Authority acknowledged and accepted.
Unit Two has voice module and basic processor in tact and functional. Data storage device panels are inaccessible. They cannot be found by Unit Two's basic processor. Unit Two's automatic movement panel has been disabled and is set to manual status. Unit Two is on standby mode awaiting further directives."

Quick Switch
2002-12-13, 01:35 AM
Jhartix did the equivalent of blanching as Spitz began to speak.

Primacron stared quizically at the robot. The simian wrinkled his brow (causing his rather ludicrous hat to slip further down to his brows).

"So...you erased his memory...and set his motor skills on manual."

"Yes," Jhartix croaked.

"But no physical punishment?" Primacron turned to Jhatrix bemused.

"Well, no, you see..."

"Of course. You've done something far worse. You've erased his mind and made him basically impotent. These things don't feel pain anyway," the brilliant inventor continued, chuckling. "Physical damage would have been excessive. Some times I wonder at the Imperial Magistrate's sanity when he orders such harsh punishments. And I thought you Quintessons were all so rational..."

"Yes, well, there you are. I've still got a lot to do with him, as you see, Primacron," Jhatrix jibbered.

"Spare me," Primacron answered. "The Imperial Magistrate will almost certainly rescind your Work Restriction once he sees the fine job you've done on your proudest creation."

Primacron flicked his low-set eyes to Spitz.

"I'd be proud too of course, if he was my first great achievement." He smiled. "But Unicron was mine instead. Puts everything into perspective, doesn't it? Anyway, finish destroying this thing in accordance to the old codger's wishes so you can join me on my special projects."

Primacron smiled, nodded, then walked out, the doors shutting behind him.

After a moment, Jhatrix collapsed even further in his chair.

"Spitz...you saved us both...I can't believe Primacron believed you..."

Scout
2002-12-13, 02:02 AM
Spitz waited quite a while after the door had closed, before he readjusted his voice and finally blinked with a relieved look. He stayed standing right where he had been however, and when he spoke, he whispered in an almost pleading trace voice that he knew would not carry far.

"The trick served me well once before... Jhartix, we're playing a dangerous game my friend. I've brought danger to you and I don't know how to fix all of it, but somehow, you're going to have to appear to have disposed of me. One of them will be back eventually."

His thoughts drifted back and he shivered as an idea emerged from a bad memory.
"All those parts and pieces of constructs you've got. Maybe you can use them as props. But you have no way to hide me..."
Spitz paused as a possibility occurred to him.
"...unless I appear differently than my robot form. Unless Primacron or Inquisitor spliced into my mind or into my transformations while I was out from the Alligatorcon's stun rod, they wouldn't know it was me. They'd probably think I was just another of your projects. And I'm guessing wildly here that you might have been taking readings- but were patching me together even then, judging from the damage repair. What do they know about me Jhartix? Do you have any ideas?"

Quick Switch
2002-12-13, 02:23 AM
Jhartix snapped back to his senses as Spitz outlines his worries and plans.

"Very little," he answered. "The Inquisitor is not a scientific being. He is concerned with order here. All of this information is over his head. Primacron did not show much interest in you when you were first brought in...he's already dismissed you as 'dead' mentally. He won't be a problem."

Jhatrix got up from his chair.

"Any spare parts will do, the worse looking the better. The Imperial Magistrate is a savage creature, and the brutalized pieces of metal will be enough proof for him. If you transform and hide in one of your other modes, you will be easily lost in the shuffle."

He nodded.

"It will work. Now, if you'll help me collect some scrap...we'll pull the cyberwool right over their optics."

Scout
2002-12-13, 03:13 AM
Spitz laughed a little and his optics flashed with his old mischeivious streak popping up slightly at the prospect of the joke.

He followed Jhartix to the storage units at the far end of the lab and waited nearby while the doors were opened. As Jhartix pointed out pieces, odds and ends of parts and limbs, Spitz took them to a moving table. Strange... in here they don't bother me. Huh.
He studied the gathered pieces for a moment and then looked at Jhartix. "Primacron made a point of noting I didn't have much damage. Do you think we should mix damaged and undamaged pieces just in case he shows up too?"

Quick Switch
2003-01-05, 04:02 PM
Jhartix nodded.

"Excellent point...mixing both new and old parts should be enough to fool even Primacron."

The scientist made a point of mentally noting certain parts- although with Spitz's keen mind, the pieces he had already selected mentally where the ones his loyal servant had already selected.

Scout
2003-01-05, 08:06 PM
No worries Quick! Holidays are busy times.

Spitz pushed the table of parts to the front entrance of the lab. As he neared the door, he felt the training bands send off small warning shocks. He scowled subconsciously and studied the doorway as he pushed the table against the wall. Simple slide door, thick though, and sealed well. No exterior signs of the controls for the bands, just a recognition scanner for passage. He tried to recall what was on the other side and couldn't... for he had put his head down when reminded to be careful. A brief wave of irritation and disgust with himself passed over and he caught it... recognized it.
The reminder of the control factor from the outside was causing a reaction. Jhartix was being controlled, and likewise, it suddenly occurred to Spitz that he was being controlled not just by Jhartix but still by the Imperial Magistrate.

Spitz froze where he stood trying to control the internal quivers and heat building inside. Trouble... calm and wait. Not now! Not here. Jhartix could be hurt, and it'd bring the whole Quintesson city down here. Ease up - right now he's leader. Jhartix has a plan - we can take power here. One step at a time.
Spitz forced himself to sidestep away from the door and move to the open area Jhartix used for building large projects.
Gotta dissipate some of this energy. Take my mind off the other. At least Jhartix might find this interesting.

"Jhartix, would you like to see a transformation?"

Quick Switch
2003-01-06, 03:24 PM
Jhartix smiled wearily.

"Oh yes, quite, Spitz. I would very much like to see a transformation."

****

Primacron's Laboratory:

In a large vacuum tube, the energy creature waited for his Master's call.

"My precious," Primacron gently stroked the outside of the vacuum chamber and gazed inside the double-reinforced plexiglass porthole which showed the outside world Tornitron, Mark II (on an elevated high platform, naturally). "None of the Transformers will be able to escape their One Doom. None..." the simian began to laugh...and laugh...and laugh.

****

From another security camera, the Inquisitor watched Primacron cackle. He turned to the Imperial Magistrate. The discussion was taking place in the Imperial Magistrate's Chambers.

"Master," the techno-organic being turned, tentacles lashing, "I fear Primacron is steadily approaching the road to insanity."

The Imperial Magistrate swiveled his Death's Head toward his paranoid minion.

"Primacron long ago left the sane path. What other being would construct two automatons who could very well destroy the universe? It is of no concern. Primacron is our tethered madman, now."

A special communicator screen activated, showing a preening Magistrate on the viewer.

"Your Excellency, the Fleet and its Troops are complete."

"Excellent, Judge Quota," the Imperial Magistrate turned to the communicator. "Everything is proceeding as I have forseen."

Judge Quota- an apt name; the Magistrate ruled with an iron fist the world of Productus, the main construction planet where all Quintesson hardware- military, civilian, etc.- was produced, since New Quintessa was not considered a foundry world. Productus had replaced Cybertron as the industrial heartland of the Quintesson Dominion.

"Do you like your Army?" Judge Quota asked, and the camera viewed the assembly lines where hundreds of Sharkticons, Allagatorcons, Spiral Ships, etc., where being produced by an efficient force of mechanical work hardware and drone robots.

"Indeed," the Inquisitor answered for his Master.

"It is my finest work as yet, Your Excellency," the Magistrate, a normally stern creature- constantly under the stress of meeting thousands of deadlines daily- was beaming.

"What else to report, Judge Quota?" The Inquisitor asked, tentacles undulating serenly.

"Only this: if you desire more units, it will take time to construct them," Judge Quota bowed low, then waited for further instructions.

"Begin reviewing plans to revive the Dark Guardian Line," the Imperial Magistrate. "This present Army may not be sufficient...I expect at least twenty units produced before your next status eport."

Judge Quota bowed low, and the screen dimmed.

"The Dark Guardians?" the Inquisitor nodded. "That line has not been produced for...millenia."

A viewscreen activated, dispalying the massive file picture of Omega Supreme, juxtaposed by a picture of a Quintesson Dark Guardian.

"This is why we must construct them. Remember, the Transformers have discovered a way to make merge groups...combiners...and these will be their every equal, as well as keep in check the only remaining unit still in service...Omega Supreme." The Imperial Magistrate replied.

"Yes..." the Inquisitor nodded in understanding. "The Dark Guardians will ensure victory."

Scout
2003-01-13, 09:35 AM
Spitz slowly shifted panel by panel, sliding stiff joints and connectors into their alternate positions. He stifled an incredible urge to let his body move on its own. He had given in once before and the results were volitile.
With careful positioning, he changed slowly from his robotic form into a streamlined jet resting on its landing gear. With swept back wings and a five-point tail, the form was quite eyecatching. Metallic flecks sparkled in his paint and added an iridescence that shimmered in the Quintesson lighting. Once finished, he waited and watched Jhartix. He had noted the tired sound in his friend's voice and it concerned him.

"Jhartix, are you alright? You sound exhausted."

Quick Switch
2003-01-13, 02:08 PM
"Magnificent," Jhartix said, as Spitz transformed. "Most impressive, although I'm certain you must hear those compliments before among your fellows."

He pondered Spitz's question.

"I am, to be quite truthful. But I cannot stop- I must meet with the moderate Judges to begin discussions, and of course send the Imperial Magistrate 'your' body to assure him that you have destroyed. And so much more to do..."

Scout
2003-01-17, 05:54 AM
"Compliments? No." Don't forget Jhartix... most of them transformed too." Spitz paused and he considered. Then he got a softer voice. "This meeting gives me cause to be concerned. Be careful with the judges. You know best how they are, but that IM and his leashed techno-canine Inquisitor are trouble. I shall wait for you to return then. I know you don't have a radio, but if you need help, can you call me through the training bands? Two beeps. ...Low power maybe?" He finished speaking with a chuckle.

Quick Switch
2003-01-17, 06:00 AM
Jhartix laughed; though the strain showed as he watched Spitz transform.

"Oh yes, of course- forgive me; just the senile ramblings of an old scientist still delighted by something new."

He thought.

"Oh nonsense. You worry too much, Spitz. Most of the Judges are decent sorts, just placed under a totalitarian regime. I assure you, most of the scientists and administrators are likewise."

Jhartix paused.

"Actually, my friend, I must ask you to journey with me. The Judges alone will not be convinced of my intent no matter how eloquently I speak. However, with you at my side, they will know I have concrete support outside the system, and will be more easily persuaded. There are numerous back ways to avoid the Inquisitor's cameras."

Scout
2003-01-17, 02:23 PM
With you, there's very little to forgive, Jhartix. Just hope it stays that way. Spitz thought to himself darkly. The judges had power. One slip... one loose audio relay... would notify the Imperial Magistrate and seal both their fates --- and the judges each had five of them.

Spitz chuckled quietly as he began the shift back. Jhartix may be much older than he was before, but the same seemingly devil-may-care attitude of ages long past had not left him.
"Maybe I do worry too much, but it's just possible you still don't worry enough." He finished transforming with an eerie smile. Transforming back to robot mode was a good deal easier than changing to the alternate forms.

"I will trust to your judgement Jhartix, but we should be very careful. Cameras are not the only way for the wrong Quintessons to find out about our intentions. I've learned over time that sometimes those friends you think you can trust best will turn on you at the least expected moments. Remember the faction alliance game we used to play with the seven cities and building little armies to test strategy skills? Form alliances and conquer the cities. These judges could turn us in and conquer us. And I'd feel better if I knew I could protect you if needs be. (Spitz held up a wrist with a band on it.) Any chance of you leaving these on but actually deactivating them before we go?"

Quick Switch
2003-01-17, 05:19 PM
Jhartix smiled. It was good Spitz had reservations- the whole excercise had been a chance to test Spitz's logic circuits, and they were working perfectly.

Oh, how you have succeeded Spitz!

"Of course," he tutted. "Let us remove these disgusting chains."

Jhatrix muttered something, which activated a wielding laser. The laser aimed at Spitz's wrist band, and fired two highly concentrated bursts of energy at the security mechanism at both wrists.

"Now, the laser has de-activated the security settings. The bands are just for show, but will remain 'fastened' in the sense no one will be able to tell the difference." Jhartix smiled.

"We will journey to the Star Chamber, headquaretrs of the Quintex, the five most powerful Judges besides the Imperial Magistrate. Where they decide, the other officials will follow."

Jhartix carefully hovered over to his door, then turned.

"Are you ready, Spitz? We must be off!"

Scout
2003-01-18, 03:45 AM
Spitz still wasn't certain about accompanying Jhartix... certainly the purple optics would give him away. But he concealed the concern and nodded with a flash of a smile as he stepped over to the door. The bands were disfunctional, and that was a good sign. However, the random humour struck him. If he thinks these are disgusting, he ought to take a better look at those body parts in his lab. Spitz smiled at his friend. Jhartix looked... almost enthusiastic in a different sort of way.

"I'm ready Jhartix."

As Spitz followed Jhartix out, he resumed a submissive posture next to the scientist. He became silent, tucked his head and kept his optics down with a glazed look, hands folded in front of him. He focused on listening for any beings that might draw nearby.

Quick Switch
2003-01-20, 03:49 AM
Jhartix started down the hallway, chatteing to his friend.

"Now, you must realize that the Quintex are the most powerful Judges besides the Imperial Magistrate and the Inquisitor. They may seem petty to you, but they only are looking out for the Dominion's best interests."

The aged scientist paused.

"That is not much of a rationalization, I know, but these are not inherently cruel beings. Just...very pragmatic."

Jhartix looked up at Spitz as they walked. He hoped his creation wouldn't have too much trouble interacting with the ruling elite.

Scout
2003-01-21, 08:26 AM
Spitz stayed quiet as he listened to Jhartix. His submissive manner had begun to be replaced by a calm, thoughtful expression and stance as they moved through the passageways and neared the Star Chamber. He now stood at full height, but not in an aggressive manner as they traveled, with a well-trained and practiced "guarding posture" - following just a couple steps behind and to the right of his Quintesson friend. Although he was listening to Jhartix, his mind was already trying to determine the best approach to take upon entering, and at the same time, he was fixated on visually scanning the corridors ahead and listening for any signs of company.

As his scientist friend glanced over and studied him, Spitz caught the look and paused a moment in his thoughts. He flicked an instantaneous smile to Jhartix to reassure him. Then with a thought, he spoke quietly, and warmly.

"Petty Jhartix? No. The Quintex might not be highest up on the ladder, but power should never be underestimated at any level. I doubt very much they will listen to me though. I am only a programmed machine after all. But we must gain their acceptance to gain control to dethrone the IM. You must take the lead, but I will do what I can."

Quick Switch
2003-01-22, 02:08 AM
Jhartix smiled.

"Of course, of course. Forgive me- nerves."

The two beings came upon the massive doors to the Star Chamber. Two Allagatorcon guards with vicious prod-axes stood at parade rest.

"Ninny bong!" One shouted.

"I have come to see the Quintex. I am expected." Jhartix said, vocoder harsher than usual. The only thing the Allagatorcons responded to was force, and the scientist intended to show it.

The two grunted, and opened the massive doors to the Star Chamber. After the two entered and stood at the center of the Chamber, the doors shut behind them.

The Star Chamber itself was massive, with shining metallic overtones and a large picture of Old Quintessa hung at the back of the room. The ceiling was a special plexiglass material which allowed the outside star-lit sky to filter through, giving the room an unearthly glow. Seated on an elevated dais sat the ruling Quintex, Right Honorable Judges of Dominion. Four were present- Judges Gavel, Writ, Corpus, and Quorom. They answered to the Inquisitor and Imperial Magistrate alone. The other member of the Quintex, Delibarata, was sent on an urgent mission to Cybertron (although some reflected it was a backwater assignment among the rebellious slaves).

"Who now comes before us?" Judge Gavel said, rotating on a face which pleased him for the moment. A harsh creature, Gavel had few friends but was known for his ruthless supression of the Outlands of the Dominion, which is how he had come to sit on the Quintex. Some whispered that he was raving mad. His harsh vocoder rattled the chamber.

"Be not afraid," Judge Writ said. Writ was a known Quintesson scholar, the most learned (even, it was said, surpassing the Imperial Magistrate in arcane legal knowledge). He was ancient, and who did not shift faces often. His vocoder was as dry as aged parchment. If a Magistrate could be called "good" Judge Writ fit that description aptly. Oblivious to the evil around him, the Judge administered the law and was kept ignorant by those around him of the deprivity of the Dominion.

"Jhartix of Old Quintessa," Jhartix said, bowing in submission, as was the ancient custom.

"Jhartix," Judge Corpus hiccuped. A flagon of energy broth sloshed at his portion of the dais, which had a small stand. A Sharkticon manservant stood with a larger pitcher behind him. If a Quintesson Magistrate could be called corpulent, Corpus fit the bill. A nearly bloated being, Corpus' indulgences were legendary. Being an old crony of the Imperial Magistrate ensured his high position, but Corpus was loathed by the Inquisitor, whose temperence was just as legendary. Many thought he would be terminated by the zealous Inquisitor. His vocoder was thick and slurred.

Judge Quorom, the last member of the ruling body, remained silent. Chosen by the Imperial Magistrate for his vacility (he had a spine the consistency of the Planet Goo) he seldom offered much of an opinion, and always defferred until someone said something he could agree with. His vocoder was high and whiny, when he decided to speak (which was not often).

"I come before you all on an urgent matter," Jhartix said, rising.

"Why have you brought a mechanoid with you?" Gavel snapped, gimlet eyes raking Spitz.

"It's only Jhartix's slave," Corpus grunted, taking a generous swig of his flask with help from his Sharkticon squire.

"Be that as it may," Writ replied beningly, "the precedents of the Quintex are well known. A servant may not be brought with his master. You know the customs, Jhartix," the Judge said in a slightly disaproving manner.

"Yes- yes- you're in violation!" Quorom chirped.

"I want to hear from your mechanoid, scientist," Gavel hissed. "If he can talk...after which, we can settle the matter at hand."

Jhartix glanced up at Spitz.

"Go ahead, speak," he said calmly. "Begging Judge Writ's pardon," he said quickly, turning to face the Judge.

Writ smiled and nodded to Spitz.

"In this case...I will relent. Tell us who you are. You must be most esteemed of Jhartix for him to have brought you here. Be not afraid," he repeated.

Scout
2003-01-23, 08:20 AM
Spitz stepped forward and gave a courteous bow. As he stood, he returned his head to normal eye level for him, rather than keeping it tucked in a submissive posture typical of the servant models. He struck a warm look but a rather firm one as well.

"Many thanks honorable Judges, and especially to you Judge Writ. I am not afraid to speak, but I am respectful of your positions and I will do my best to abide by your court's laws. I appreciate the opportunity to answer.

Long ago I was built by creator and friend, Jhartix and was given the identification of "Model Two, prototype". After many ages, I am now known as "Spitz"."

Spitz paused and waited with a friendly and unfalteringly solid gaze to see how they would respond.

Quick Switch
2003-01-23, 02:04 PM
Jhartix remained silent- though he was most pleased. The answer was short and to the point.

"Model Two," Gavel mused. "I recall hearing about you. Of course, that was many eons ago...built after Megatron, yes."

"Indeed, I remember adjucating the case-there were those who protested the construction of your line- and setting it into law."

"Don't be so obstuse, Writ," Gavel grunted. "Mechanoid, what Writ's yammering about is that it if wasn't for him, you wouldn't be standing here today. None of our rebellious slaves would be, if he hadn't ruled that construction of the two product lines was considered legal."

Quorom gave a hearty chirp to that statemnet.

"So..." Corpus began after taking another swig of his broth, "...what do you do for Jhartix now? You tougher than a normal work robot."

"He is, Judge Corpus," Jhartix interjected. "He is a combination of worker mentality and warrior capabilities. His function...while rather broad, would serve many capacities for the Dominion."

"Intriguing," Gavel said, alert. The Judge rotated to another face (whirr, click). "Tell me, Model Two, what do you think of the Transformers who have left the Dominion? Stole Cybertron, our home through a very costly war? Who scorn the very beings who created them? Would you consider them traitors to their benevolent masters, and the Imperial Magistrate our leader?"

Jhartix blanched. He dared not answer this question, for this might set the tenor of the coming questions of revolt within the Dominion.

"Be not afraid," Writ said to Spitz, noticing Gavel's hostile query. Corpus, for the first time, snapped out of his stupor and leaned up on his dais. Quorom to watched the interplay between Writ and Gavel closely.

Scout
2003-01-25, 05:45 AM
Listening intently, Spitz was careful to measure his expressions as the judges spoke.
He nodded after the exchange between Judge Writ and Judge Gavel, and although he stayed silent, he let his eyebrows slide up to show his surprise and to acknowledge the information.
He couldn't have known what would come, but this Judge Writ seems fair- following their law. That other one... hmm. Not sure about him- should've asked Jhartix for their names before we came in. But I mustn't talk out to them, wasn't addressed.

Spitz stood still as he listened to the questions from Judge Corpus and Judge Gavel with Jhartix's interjection between. He waited a few seconds after they finished and then nodded to the judges. With your permission, I will answer the questions in the order they were asked.

(pending judges' approval)
Spitz looked to Judge Corpus. Of course Jhartix has already given you an assessment of my physical capabilities and potential. I would add to answer your question, that although I have been back with Jhartix for a very short time, I have provided my thoughts to him on an emotional level, as well as my physical strength.

Then Spitz turned to Judge Gavel. This judge was obviously needed caution. It was clear from his address of "Model Two" and the type of questions, that he probably held the viewpoint most Quintessons did of the constructs. Spitz softened his look slightly, but kept his non-submissive posture as he spoke.
"With all respect Judge, you ask me my opinion in two ways, and so I will answer in both. Of the transformers who have left the Dominion...
I believe that the facts laid down in your questions are correct. The constructs did steal Cybertron. It did not belong to them, and they did take it through a war which had great costs. As a whole, they also do have scorn. I believe that those who had benevolent masters are traitors. And the Imperial Magistrate is the Quintesson Leader.

But there were also other facts that have been omitted from those, and you have asked me for my opinion beyond these other facts as well, so I will give it.
Not all of the Quintesson masters were benevolent. The factories and entertainment arenas in particular, caused a change. Emotions developed within the constructs, which the Quintessons now recognise - but did not back then. A species was created that developed emotions, and it rebelled for many reasons, but one original reason was the main cause, and that was freedom. I do not believe they scorn their creators. What they despise as a whole are those that were not able to understand that their creations had developed feelings - those that seek to enslave them and who would mistreat them in the ways that they had been used before. I believe it was wrong for the mechanoids to have taken Cybertron through war, but I can understand why they did. Yet, even after all of that, they still did not gain their freedom. Each one of them spends their life from the time they come online until the time they go offline... fighting a war that will never be won. I do believe that changes and a single leader are needed."

Spitz stopped and waited with hidden anxiety to see how the judges would respond.

Quick Switch
2003-01-26, 03:50 AM
Judge Gavel blanched.

"You presume much, mechanoid," the Magistrate said, switching to another face (whirr, click).

"A new leader? For the Dominion?" Corpus belched. "But how? Why?"

"Yes," Quorom remarked, panicked. "How? We are talking of high treason!"

Judge Writ paused.

"Not necessarily, Brethren. According to Quintesson Law, a ruling Magistrate may be removed for "dereliction of duty" regarding his tenure."

"He has led the Dominion for millenia," Corpus gasped.

"And not well," Gavel said. "Besides, the Inquisitor wishes you dead. It is time for a change..."

"Yes...we can continue the war against the Transformers from there..." Quorom pondered. "With new leadership."

Jhartix said hesitantly:

"Begging the Quintex's pardon, but the war with the Transformers is of secondary concern. The re-organization must take priority."

Gavel narrowed his optics, but nodded.

"You speak the truth, scientist. But how do you intend for us to survive against the Imperial Magistrate's loyalists? Or his mad dog the Inquisitor?"

"The Imperial Magistrate has no allies, only pawns, Judge Gavel. I'm sure you aware of that," Jhartix replied calmly.

"We...will need to debate this," Corpus said soberly, shooing away his Sharkticon aide with the drink.

"Yes," Quorum echoed.

"Let us deliberate," Gavel nodded.

"Go now, please," Writ said smiling. "We will see what we can do."

Jhartix anxiously looked to his friend, then started out of the chamber.

Scout
2003-01-26, 09:26 AM
Spitz remained in place for a moment and then gave a respectful bow to the judges and said nothing more. Rather than turning away, he backed out of the chamber, watching the door slide shut as he and Jhartix passed through. Once it closed, he followed Jhartix down the hall a slight ways and then leaned against the coolness of the corridor wall as he walked alongside the scientist. Internally, knots of heat were building from the stress of holding back his true irritation with the Quintesson Imperial Magistrate, and he swallowed hard several times trying to quelch the burning sensation that was rising. He began to talk very quietly to Jhartix, to take his mind off of the anger welling up.

"You were right Jhartix. They were quite different from what I expected. I think I especially have a great amount of respect for Judge Writ. Perhaps, I think I may even like him a good deal. I understand Judge Gavel too. Regardless, I hope I did not disappoint you or endanger you further."

Quick Switch
2003-01-27, 02:32 AM
"Yes, well," Jhartix said. "Let us hope the Quintex will deliberate on this question with utmost fairness...."

****

Gavel said quickly:

"There is no need for further deliberation. The Magistrate must go."

"But he has the support of Quota and the refineries of Productus," Quorom whined.

"No, no," Corpus rejoined. "The Imperial Magistrate does not owe Quota anything. You see, Quota receives a commission for producing his armies."

The other Judges paused.

"What?" Gavel said. "The Imperial Magistrate pays him? That amounts to several hundred million credits per army!"

"Indeed," Writ remarked sadly, "the age of gratituity has forsaken that of pro bono legality."

"In any case," Quorom remarked, "Quota will not abandon the Magistrate lightly. His livelihood depends on this war."

"Rembmer, Quorom," Gavel remarked acidly, "we live in a Dominion. Which means, we have many different domains."

Corpus laughed merrily at this.

"Yes, of course. We received most of those planets thanks to your conquering hand, Gavel. Rather costly though."

"What of? Machines? Feh, they aren't even alive in the term that we know them. And organics have perished because they have not seen the...utility...of joining the Dominion."

"Like the Lithonians?" Writ said quietly. The other Quintex members paused. Everyone knew their story. Refusing to deal with the Dominion (and holding off every invasion force) the Lithonians were a sore in the side of the Dominion.

"It doesn't matter, Unicron wiped them out," Corpus said easily.

"Even so," Gavel replied, nodding, "even so. I see Writ's point. Caution before calculation."

Writ nodded, his point having been made.

"What of Delibarata?" Corpus said.

"He is another puppet of the Magistrate's," Quorom said quickly.

"Oh yes, of course. And you are very decisive," Gavel remarked darkly. "Delibarata will not join with us. He will have to be exiled after this nonsense with the Decepticon aristocrat."

"Speaking of that...why not let the Imperial Magistrate dispatch the War Fleet? After all, we've received the reports. The Transformers are locked in civil war. We could institute the rebellion after Cybertron is ours," Quorom said eagerly.

"Why not, Gavel? Then we'll have Cybertron, and then reap the rewards after the Imperial Magistrate is exiled..." Corpus muttered.

Writ remained silent, scowling. Finally he said:

"That is not what we promised Jhartix."

"What we promised to discuss, Writ. Pay attention," Gavel snapped. "He is in no position to demand terms from us."

"His slave worries me," Corpus said. "He is too smart for a robot. Didn't he say he'd come back to Jhartix? Were had he been before?"

"So?" Quorom asked, puzzled.

"Where has he been? Those records are classified to us," Corpus said, "the Model Two project was top secret. Only the Magistrate, the Inquisitor and Jhartix had access. Now that organic does too."

"The little ape?" Gavel snickered. "That egomaniac has been very busy...I heard he's re-created a monster, and some sort of disease that drives the slaves insane."

"I have heard those rumours," Corpus said. "Anyway, what will we say to Jhartix? Writ's moralizing's making me guilty." The others laughed, but Writ frowned.

"You should not make light of this, Brethren. We have a responsibility to re-shape..." Writ began.

"Spare me," Gavel shouted. "Were you when they had almost killed us? Damn it, I lost all my Dark Guardians fighting off rebellious war units. All my friends died! So don't tell me about the responsibility we might have! You were never on the front lines, always locked away writing some legal brief!"

"I too, lost associates," Corpus said bitterly. "Work robots killed them, though. They said they were cruel, which was a lie. None of them even participated in the slave trade, or the arenas."

Quorom shuddered.

"I was with Delibarata when the Imperial Magistrate heard the news on Old Quintessa...he went into a rage."

Writ remained quiet, very pale.

"I...did not know..."

"That I saw my fellow Magistrate's on Cybertron being torn in half by Megatron's forces? Sharkticons and Allagatorcons being smashed as if paper? Dark Guardians dying while shielding me from deadly cannon blasts? No, you didn't." Gavel said, fuming.

"In any case, what about the rebellion? Let's take a vote," Corpus slurred.

"Aye," said Gavel.

"Aye," said Corpus.

"Aye," said Quorom.

"Aye say I," Writ replied quietly. "Judge Delibarata will be counted in abstentsia. So it is spoken, so it is done."

"Gentlemen, we must all hang together..." Corpus started,

"...or we'll all hang sepreately." Gavel finished.

Silence reigned in the Star Chamber.

Quick Switch
2003-01-28, 03:47 AM
"Oh no, Spitz, you performed quite admirably," Jhartix smiled. "You conducted yourself very well, and with the Quintex appearance goes a long way. Most of them are very superficial, on top of other qualifiers one might say about them."

Corpus' Sharkticon squire left the Star Chamber and tapped Jhartix on the shoulder. He jerked his head, indicating that the two were to follow him.

"The Quintex must have finished their deliberations. Shall we?" Jhartix said to Spitz, starting back with the Sharkticon squire towards the Star Chamber.

Scout
2003-01-30, 02:04 PM
Superficial? The dark thought rambled in Spitz's mind as he heard the door slide open and saw the Sharkticon come out. He bristled with energy and irritation, and then resumed his more collected look as he nodded and followed Jhartix into the chamber. Why doesn't Jhartix look bothered? Isn't he concerned at all? Quick deliberations are not usually good news...

Quick Switch
2003-02-01, 07:18 PM
The two robots returned to the Star Chamber and stood before the Quintex.

"We have decided," Judge Gavel rasped, "to approve regime change...for the good of the Dominion. The rebellion will proceed. We do not have to tell you there is a chance of execution for us all."

Jhartix nodded, somber, and looked at Spitz.

Scout
2003-02-02, 07:50 PM
Genuine surprise registered in Spitz's mind as the decision registered. He thought carefully in silence, trying to puzzle out the news. Everything he knew of the Quintessons, all of his experience, had shown him that they were logical creatures, and interested in what was best for them. This was good news and all the same, it didn't settle well.

He looked to Jhartix and saw Jhartix was watching him. Spitz knew better than to speak again to the judges directly without permission recurring, so he nodded in assent and then quietly asked, "Our roles, Jhartix?"

Quick Switch
2003-02-03, 10:22 PM
A security camera hummed in the Star Chamber...and filtered the image to the Inquisitor's private chamber.

"We have decided," Judge Gavel rasped, "to approve regime change...for the good of the Dominion. The rebellion will proceed. We do not have to tell you there is a chance of execution for us all."

"TRAITORS!" the able second to the Imperial Magistrate lashed his tentacles into a frenzy. "Gavel, the best Quintesson military commander, Corpus, the Imperial Magistrate's one ally...besides Delibarata, the worm. They have chosen betrayal...Quorom has no backbone...and Writ...the old fool finally decided to get his head out of a book...pity it will be the reason he will lose it!"

The Inquisitor froze the image on the picture of the Quintex, especially Judge Writ.

"I will enjoy dispensing Justice to the Brethren," the Inquisitor's oblong optics narrowed into slits. He then let out another piercing cackle, which caused his Allagatorcon guards to flee. The sound was so horrific it seemed to have been spawned from the mouth of madness itself.

****

On the docking bay of New Quintessa, a large transport ship landed.

Judge Quota himself disembarked, along with a vicious cordon of Allagatorcon guards. Quota was a very delicate creature, bristling with intellectual power. If he so desired, the Imperial Magistrate could have served him, the power through the forges of Productus was that lucrative. But Quota instead enjoyed the lavish graft the Quintesson leader gave him for his "loyalty". The Imperial Magistrate and Primacron stood on the docking bay.

"Another useless example of Quintesson technology," Primacron grumbled, though secertly the simian was delighted. The Imperial Magistrate knew it was second nature for Primacron to spew such language, so he let it go.

"Is the cargo here as promised, Judge Quota?" the Magistrate switched to his Death's Head face. Quota bowed low and said:

"It is. May I present Dark Guardian Unit One, designated, Harbinger."

The Dark Guardian clanked down the gangway, painted stark gray. One appendage bore a grappling claw, the other, a cannon. It was a perfect fascimile of Omega Supreme, though the stern visage under the blast helmet bore a frown instead of a wary neutrality. The Dark Guardian came to attention and saluted with his claw arm.

"What is your name?" Quota asked, reveling in his moment of glory.

"Dark Guardian Unit One. Creator Designate: Harbinger." The Guardian's voice shook the gangway in its sonorous evil. It was exactly one octave lower than Omega Supreme's vocal register.

"What is your function?"

"To destroy."

"Your...other function?"

"To protect."

"What do you serve?"

"The Quintesson Dominion."

"Who do you serve?" Quota asked, breathless.

"The Imperial Magistrate!" Harbinger roared, perfectly on cue.

Quota trembled from the site, overcome at the masterwork before him. Primacron had his hands clasped like a child, overjoyed. The Imperial Magistrate simply smiled.

"You do not fear, you do not know pain. Your enemies will fall before you like the Guilty, cut down by the blade of Justice. You will taste mecha flesh!"

The clustered Sharkticon and Allagatorcon troops present started a base chant:

"Harbinger, Harbinger, Harbinger, Harbinger..."

Quick Switch
2003-02-05, 05:19 AM
Jhartix frowned.

"I suppose we should begin by courting the moderate administrative Magistrates on New Quintessa. After which, the far-flung Dominion Outpost Magistrates would be another key move, such as Judge Quota of Productus."

Suddenly a large screen appeared and flashed on showing two simultaneous images: the appearance of the Dark Guardian Harbinger, and the Quintesson elite admiring him, and the wholescale battle ensuing on Cybertron.

"Gavel, look!" Corpus screamed. "The Imperial Magistrate has revived the Dark Guardians! And Quota is here, now!"

Quorom was shaking with fright.

"Yes, yes! We are doomed!"

Writ bowed his head.

"It is decided then. Perhaps if some loophole can be exploited wherein the Imperial Magistrate can still be deposed..."

"Oh, shut up Writ! The time for negotiations has ended! It is obvious that the Imperial Magistrate has decided to war on the slaves based on Cybertron," Gavel snapped. "Just look at this other feed picture. The former camps strangle each other, in front of us, in open combat. It is as we predicted. Both sides will flay themselves untill they are raw."

"And then?" Quorom asked.

"Why, Cybertron will fall, once Quota sends the remaining Dark Guardians against the Transformers," Gavel said assuredly.

"But what about the Inquisitor? He isn't outside! What if's found out! You know what a rumour-monger he is!" Corpus hiccuped.

"How else do you think that raving sycophant manged to reach his position, by destroying his rivals!" Gavel snarled. "He never took to the field as I, acquiring new planets for the Dominion. No, once the Inquisitor tells the Imperial Magistrate, civil war will erupt on New Quintessa, polarizing us against him. The winner will prevail, while the loser will be destroyed utterly."

"Our Sharkticon and Allagatorcon hordes are no match for the Guardian!" Quorom shrieked.

"And Primacron has the Techno-Organics under quarantine, those he hasn't sent to Cybertron. We can't access them," Corpus said.

"Forgive me, Brethren," Writ said softly, "My expertise in military matters is minimal, but there is one here who could challenge this Dark Guardian...harbinger of destruction." The aged Magistrate cast his sad optics at Spitz.

Jhartix saw the gaze, and shuddered.

"Judge Writ surely you are not suggesting that Spitz-"

Writ nodded slowly.

"I am indeed, Jhartix. I am indeed, though it saddens me to place such a noble unit such as your construct in jeopardy. Yet, our fates are bound together now, and there is little recourse. Can you do it, young construct? Would you challenge the Dark Guardian in combat, and defeat it, if required of you?" Writ asked of Spitz directly.

"Our very lives will depend upon it," Gavel said sincerely.

Scout
2003-02-10, 07:23 AM
Spitz felt a quiver go through him as he looked at the tremendous dark and imposing figure of the guardian on the screen. It wasn't fear, but rather, an impending sensation of the desire to fight. He squelched it as best he could, revolted somewhat by the aggressive nature of the thoughts. Every ounce of his programming ached to defend against the threat now placed in front of them. Then he glanced over to Jhartix and the other judges as they spoke, finally locking optics with Judge Writ.
He listened carefully as the elderly judge spoke. Then Spitz stayed quiet for a moment as he thought.

"Certainly I believe that the group of Transformers on Cybertron must be brought under one rule, but this is not the way to accomplish that in my mind. Honorable Judges, I will do my best to accomplish what you ask of me. I will engage this Dark Guardian Harbinger in combat, in order to secure the best future possible for fair beings such as yourselves and Jhartix, and those of my species on Cybertron, but I cannot say what the outcome might be. Tell me where I must begin."

Quick Switch
2003-02-11, 04:08 AM
The gangplank:

A few of the sycophantic Magistrates had already given their fawning praise to the Imperial Magistrate, who, grimly, accepted their thanks. As he floated back toward his chamber, Judge Quota and Primacron fell into step behind him.

"What is your answer?" Quota asked.

"The answer is yes," the Quintesson leader hissed. "Order as many units as necessary...the Dark Guardians will be our way to victory. You will be paid handsomely for this, Judge Quota."

Primacron cracked his knuckles.

"Even so," he whined, "my creations are ready for deployment- all they need is-"

"Fah!" Quota laughed in his dry tone. "Your work? A petty energy draining creature, and a bastardization Techno-Organic? Untested- and even when unleashed, dismal failures!"

"Insolent-" Primacron stamped his feet and wheeled on Quota, who simply smirked. "I am Primacron, creator of Unicron! And Tornitron! The universe is mine to unlock as I see fit! The Laws of Science bow only to me!"

"Enough," the Imperial Magistrate said, silencing the two courtier geniuses. Harbinger clomped behind the trio, silent as a tomb, seeing all, and missing nothing.

The Inquistior appeared outside.

"There is a matter which requires your immediate attention, Excellency. Perhaps the Dark Guardian can be tested ahead of schedule..."

"What?" The Imperial Magistrate, Primacron and Quota flicked inside after the Inquisitor, to watch the feed from the Inquisitor's security room.

****

"Attack him until he is dead," Gavel said harshly. "We have no time for strategy!"

Jhartix started to harumph-

"Judge Gavel-"

"Enough!" Gavel exploded. "We are all dead units! The Inquisitor has discovered this mechination, and now this Harbinger will be our end. Your slave is the only hope for our survival. Our meager guards will be swept aside by the Magistrate's legions. And then the Dark Guardian will come."

Corpus took a lengthy swig from his flask. Why hold back now?

"The construct is the only hope yes. He must draw out Harbinger in the open, and defeat him. If he follows inside the Star Chamber..."

"We will be destroyed." Quorom said calmly. "Jhartix, you must go. Leave now. We are doomed."

Writ sighed sadly.

"The Law will not save us. The Imperial Magistrate has abandoned reason for madness."

"Old fool!" Gavel roared. "The Imperial Magistrate has long been mad- you never chose to accept it!"

"Why would he?" Corpus said heatedly. "Always ensconced in his books. They won't save you now, will they Writ?"

Writ wilted from the backlash.

"There is yet hope. We cannot surrender in the face of adversity."

Jhartix spoke up:

"Of course, Judge Writ. Forget about the war- now we must think of survival. The Quintex should rally its honor guards and prepare for the Inquisitor's assault. At some point, Spitz will engage the Dark Guardian."

Gavel nodded.

"Go topside! Our fate does not concern you! Take that construct and destroy the Dark Guardian!"

The Quintex left their daises and levitated into their Chambers to prepare the final barricade. Jhartix, haggard, turned to Spitz.

"This is the final battle. We must go."

Scout
2003-02-11, 05:56 AM
Spitz stood respectfully as the judges exited, then turned to follow his friend.
"You are right Jhartix. We shall go, and quickly - for time seems to have caught up with us. And I will destroy Harbinger or be destroyed in the process.
But tell me now before we leave, is there nothing more that we can do at the moment to prevent any harm from befalling these four?"

Quick Switch
2003-02-11, 03:33 PM
Jhartix sighed as he began to leave the Chamber.

"If our efforts for destroying Harbinger are successful, the Imperial Magistrate will lose valuable time. And even though they all bluster, they have many, many troops at their disposal. Some of the other Magistrates may decide to throw in with them, and add their own legions for sheer sport. We should not be too concerned."

Jhartix smiled a rictus grin.

"If the Inquisitor leads the final assault to the Star Chamber, he will be in for a surprise. Judge Gavel will not surrender easily."

Scout
2003-02-24, 02:21 AM
Spitz couldn't help a mischievious chuckle as he walked alongside Jhartix. "No, I imagine not. Judge Gavel strikes me as being quite an obst... ur... quite a stubborn Quintesson." He caught himself and grinned a bit sheepishly, before swallowing again. The excitement and nerves of being captured, meeting the Judges and the upcoming confrontation had set off a reaction he was trying his hardest to keep under control.

The burning sensation was creeping up his throat again and he quivered trying to squelch it. Suddenly, he remembered the caution he was trained to follow in the hallways, and abruptly tucked his head in obedience to the directives, though revulsion swept over him again for having to respond to slave commands. Heat immediately started radiating from his sides as his engines began to respond to the fight and battle lust that resided deep in his programming. He swallowed again, tempering the reaction with the knowledge that Jhartix was too close to him and he had to protect his Quintesson friend.

"Jhartix, is it much farther to where they are?" Spitz asked quietly after a bit. "I'm having trouble controlling the reaction between the new forms and my programming base. They're very strong. I don't know how much longer I can delay the signals."

Quick Switch
2003-02-24, 05:57 PM
Jhartix led them both to an open antechamber, where at a distance the Imperial Magistrate was addressing wave after wave of Sharkticon troops. Primacron stood next to him, along with Judge Quota, and behind them stood the massive Harbinger.

"...and know this, my Legions! The Quintex will attack you with everything they have. But now that your Cause is Just, your Master is Just, and the Quintex is the Enemy."

The Inquisitor, tentacles waving in a fevered pitch, levitated in front of the troops. He himself would lead them.

"All Hail the Imperial Magistate!"

The Sharkticons, in robot mode, waved their tail maces in salute, then transformed to shark mode.

The Inquisitor faced his troops.

"To the Star Chamber! The Quintex's charge: treason! Sentence: Death!"

The Sharkticons stamped, snarled, and hooted with glee. The Inquisitor clove through the Sharkticon horde and left the chamber first, followed by the rows of Sharkticons.

"The die is cast," The Imperial Magistrate rasped.

"With your superior numbers, you cannot fail," Quota said, with a sniff.

"Bah, the Quintex have manged to seize control of the Allagatorcons. Their higher intelligence may prove our undoing!" Primacron shrieked.

"Wave tactics, fool!" the Quintesson leader thundered. "Yes, perhaps Gavel's Allagatorcons have a better grasp of strategy and tactics, but led by the Inquisitor-and with the sheer numbers of Sharkticons- they will be overwhelmed..."

****

Jhartix whsipered to Spitz from the hidden alcove.

"This is a most positive sign, my young construct. If Judge Gavel has managed to seize control of the Allagatorcon database, victory might be had yet."

****

A few hundred feet away, Harbinger suddenly turned.

"Enemy detected," he rumbled. "Vital signs indicate...a Transformer," he hissed, optics narrowing.

"Impossible! What Transformer could be left!" Primacron squeaked.

"Don't you remember watching the Inquisitor's film!" the Imperial Magistrate rounded on Primacron.

"Of course- it's the rogue scientist, Jhartix's slave," Quota said.

"The warrior!" Primacron cringed.

"No matter- Harbinger- search and destroy!" Judge Quota said airily. The Imperial Magistrate scowled.

"Let us away- Harbinger, bring me that slave's head... vaporize the rest," the Imperial Magistrate commanded, and with that the three elites left the room through a back door.

Harbinger nodded, and flexed his grappler hand, and charged his massive arm cannon.

"By your command," he rumbled, and began clanking toward the door where Jhartix and Spitz were located.

****

Jhartix turned to Spitz, ashen.

"This is it, Spitz. I have faith in you. Go now, and save the Quintesson Dominion from itself."

Scout
2003-03-01, 03:35 AM
Spitz scowled at the sight of the rows of sharkticons and then clentched his fists in pure hatred as he noted the Imperial Magistrate. He tensed and then got a look that smacked of determination and a driving, but calculating- force.

The gentler nature was being forced away. Fury was boiling within his circuits and it was intensifying into a very cold and collected manner. Battle drive tempered with the need to protect, the desire to overwhelm and conquer mingling with the knowledge that to fail now would mean the cost of lives.
Take one life and protect many. Overcome and conquer for greater glory and peace. Take down the oppressor.
Spitz took a hand and without taking his eyes off the approaching Harbinger, gently rested the knuckles of it momentarily against Jhartix's side. "Go to safety Jhartix. I will do what I can here."

He stepped forward and darted to the right side of the chamber. Nothing was left of his sense of humor now. The memories of gladatorial combats and the time he had spent among the Decepticons ran rampant in his central processors and procured his battle knowledge- borne on experiences. Within moments, he began grasping the chamber layout and structure, possible sniper areas and began sizing up Harbinger.

Why couldn't they have made him small- like the M-class group? Spitz wondered to himself, even as he studied Harbinger's weaponry. Heat was radiating around him as he ran in an arc. Behind him, floor tiles steamed. Inside him, the heat was welling, brewing and boiling. For hours he had held it back, barely, and kept it in check from determination. And with Harbinger approaching, he stopped fighting the intense personality inside.

Quick Switch
2003-03-01, 09:33 PM
"Present arms!" Judge Gavel thundered, in the massive ante room of the Star Chabmer.

The hundreds of Alligatorcons put their prod lances at battle ready position.

The clanks and growls of the Sharkticons were heard down the hall.

"Brethren," Judge Writ said, face wan, "we now face the true test!"

"Oh, shut up Writ," Gavel said, smiling. "This is what life is all about! Battle!"

Corpus, with his lone Sharkticon equirry, also stood firm. Judge Quorom also stood with the line.

The door opened.

And there stood the Inquisitor and his legions of Sharkticons.

"Gavel," the Inquisitor hissed.

"Inquisitor," Judge Gavel rumbled.

"Execute them!" the Inquisistor screamed, lashing his tentacles and hurling himself upon Judge Gavel.

"Attack!" Gavel replied hoarsley as he rammed the Inquisitor with his ovoid body.

The Allagatorcons and Sharkticons flew at each other in a fury.

"Go, Gnaw," Judge Corpus said.

The Sharkticon equirry smiled, an proceeded to bludgeon three Sharkticons with his tail mace who had tried to kill his master.

"Gnaw kill bad Sharkticons," he said brightly, transforming to his alt mode and biting off another rogue's face.

The carnage began poshaste, to the sounds of shouts, screams, smashing maces, spearing lances, and slashing claws and fangs.

****

Jhartix nodded, and fled the chamber as Spitz touched him.

"May the Fates protect you, my boy," he said softly. And was gone.

***

Harbinger watched as the Enemy darted about, as if speed would pehaps save its miserable life.

He charged up his cannon nevertheless, and clamped his grappling claw in preparaion for the "struggle".

"Surrender, and your termination will be quick," the Dark Guardian rumbled, not moving yet. "Rejection of this offer means negotiations will be terminated, and you will be hunted."

Scout
2003-03-04, 05:44 AM
"Surrender is never an option!"
Spitz snarled at Harbinger as his battle systems activated. A pair of photon guns emerged from his forearms and he sighted them onto Harbinger with laser beam scopes and opened fire. His intensity was building. A thirst had begun which was growing by the moment, and the change so long stifled began to take place. From his back, his jet wings began to unfold and the guide flaps slid up revealing silvery metallic feathers that glowed from their transluscent shafts laden with burning jet fuel. The air around Spitz distorted the outline of his body just slightly as the heat radiating off of him stirred the area immediately next to him.
"Let's go Harbinger! You will find hunting another is not so easy when you, yourself are the one being hunted, but I promise you I will make your termination as quick as possible!"

Quick Switch
2003-03-04, 05:54 AM
Harbinger actually took two steps backward, rocking the corridor in the process, as Spitz transformed.

The Dark Guardian fought down a sense of shock. He narrowed his blood-red optics in fury at the intense amount of heat radiating off the robot. What was this a trick?

And then the lasers slammed into his torso, causing the larger robot to careen into the back wall.

Snarling, Harbinger smashed his grappling arm into the wall next to him. His beautiful chest armor was blackened and marred.

"Harbinger is hunted by none! Harbinger shall bring your doom!" And with that, Harbinger rushed forward, grappling claw open, and at the same time the larger construct fired a massive blast from his arm cannon towards the combat-ready Spitz.

Scout
2003-03-06, 05:11 AM
"You'll be bringing it on a platter made from your scrapped body!" Spitz retorted as the dark Guardian recovered and fired a blast at him. Spitz saw the blast and narrowly dodged the direct hit, but the blast knocked him backwards into the wall and sent steel shrapnel from the floor tiles spiking into his body. The stinging sensation infuriated him, and yet, something was wrong. He felt it. He didn't know how to transform fully, and the fury from the loss of control inside him was building and waiting to get out.
Must get control of it! He allowed himself the single quick thought as he blinked and recovered.
He got to his feet and aimed his lasers again as he saw the giant black claw of Harbinger closing in.

Quick Switch
2003-03-06, 05:44 AM
Harbinger smirked slightly as he saw the smaller robot flung backward, and took a grim delight in the damage wrought by the shrapnel.

As Spitz recovered, Harbinger lept upward, and with claw arm outstretched, came down near Spitz.

As his claw arm opened more fully, Harbinger said:

"Prepare for extermination!"

Scout
2003-03-06, 02:18 PM
Spitz looked at the cold black transformer coming at him and then he felt a change. For the briefest moment, his optics went dark as his form shifted. His arms locked into place alongside his body in recessed areas. A long neck and a fierce head swung up from being concealed below his chest and covered his own. The jet tail swung down from his back and panels swiveled and split to reveal more metallic feathers, while his legs folded and split into raptor feet spiked with talons. He felt the form, and realized again that it felt like an almost separate entity. Without his intending to, the large bird pulled its head back and hissed, sending a plasma ball at Harbinger. Jet fuel had begun to course through the tips to the feather shafts and to the surface, giving a glossy fluid appearance to the form.

Simultaneously, Spitz felt the claw closing in and mindfully beat his wings at it, trying to take off. The wing movement sent tiny droplet sprays of fuel into the air about him as the claw closed and caught his left leg.
Below, the floor tiles had melted and steam wafted up around.

Quick Switch
2003-03-06, 05:48 PM
Harbinger recoiled as the bird head's blast shattered his face visor.

He let out a bellowing roar of anger. However, his present momentum had already enabled his claw to grasp the fiesty Transformer's left wing.

Harbinger shook his head, and the last vestiges of the Plexiglass face visor fell away. His crimson optics peered at Spitz more fully, in unmasked hatred. Harbinger raised his grappling claw so he could look at the screaming, struggling thing in front of him.

How he despised it. Every fiber of his being called out for its destruction. He raised his arm cannon and positioned it next to the Transformer.

"Renounce your treason and I will vaporize you where you struggle," he boomed, "refuse and I will crush your pathetic primitive form...slowly."

It had been so easy. Yes, he'd been damaged, but the Creator would be most pleased.

Scout
2003-03-08, 04:46 AM
As Harbinger's claw closed on his left leg, the bright purple optics from Spitz flashed. The neck snapped back and he laughed, continuing to beat his wings against Harbinger's limbs, causing jet fuel to coat both of them.

"The only treason I've committed is that to which my creator intended for me, and I will renounce none. Foolish dark death bringer! You are just where I want you, and you will receive the very same that you were meant to give!"

With that, Spitz twisted and threw shredding talons towards Harbinger's clawed arm, hoping to sink them in. The metallic feather shaft tips closed and he let a second plasma burst out, but in a rather sloppy fashion. Some of it ran down his beak and throat, and instantly, the jet fuel around the Decepticon ignited from the firey substance, producing a scorching ball of flame around the bird form.

Quick Switch
2003-03-08, 05:47 AM
Harbinger cried out as the bird's talons sank into his grappling arm.

"Impudent-" but the Dark Guardian couldn't even finish his phrase; his fuel-slathed arm cannon tip and claw arm ignited in flames, and Harbinger screamed in agony.

Physical punishment? Not a problem. Excessive heat? Very much so.

Soon after, a mini-inferno lit inside the cannon arm; the internal blast generator was lit by the fire fuse, and the arm exploded in a massive swath of flame, slinging pieces of shrapnel everywhere, some of which impacted the rest of Harbinger's body.

The cannon arm was no more, instead a grisly stump with circuits and servos, which slowly burned and smoked. Harbinger ceased his wailing to look down at his (now missing) arm. Snarling, face quivering with pain, anger, and fear, he held up his burning claw arm.

"DIE!" the Dark Guardian roared, applying more pressure (muted, thanks to Spitz's talons which had cut the flow of CPU commands to the grappling motors of the pincer arm) to the aflame Decepticon.

Scout
2003-03-08, 03:46 PM
Shrapnel from Harbinger's exploded gun right next to him needled into every area of his right side from the blast. A shard lodged in his right optic and he lost half his vision, a large piece sank deeply into his chest. Fragments protruded from his right wing like broken feathers sticking outwards. The flames about him didn't bother Spitz because his body had been redesigned as to be immune to the fire, but being caught did. It doesn't take much to break a bird's leg, and the same almost held true for Spitz's bird form. The main control rod in the leg snapped from the added pressure and the metal rods split the gold metallic skin. Spitz let out a most horrific screech not of his own will. He struggled in intense pain, and in his mind for the briefest instant, a moment of panic slipped through as the bird's screech echoed in the Chamber. The bird form had a will and seemingly a presence of its own that he didn't understand and couldn't control. It reacted involuntarily, and this confounded him.

The bird part of him seemed to want distance from Harbinger, but he wanted to be close... to end the destructive being's existance. Either way, he knew being trapped would certainly bring his own death shortly. Caught still by the left leg, he bent his head down and severed it with the beak in three quick snaps, lifting backwards and upwards at the sudden release. "I will die someday Harbinger, but you will die today!"

Quick Switch
2003-03-09, 08:27 PM
Harbinger snarled as Spitz's leg snapped off, then looked at his grappling arm in horror.

It was melting shut around the bird's leg.

An agonizing wail bust forth from Harbinger as the grappler arm melted into an ugly amalgam of metal.

The Dark Guardian sank to his knees in utter defeat.

"Mission objective: failed. Termination: imminent. Proceed," he said sadly to Spitz. "Treasonous unit...superior. Treasonous unit...victor."

Scout
2003-03-09, 08:56 PM
"Enough of this then." Spitz said firmly but painfully as he fluttered higher up. Fluids were running out of the severed leg profusely, and he knew that he couldn't stay aloft much longer from the loss of fuel. Inside him he welled up a fierce burning sensation as he neared the ceiling within the chamber. He aimed a super-heated plasma burst at the dark guardian's neck and followed it with a razor-winged plunge, hoping to sever the large head cleanly from the neck.

Quick Switch
2003-03-09, 09:00 PM
Harbinger's head flew cleanly from his shoulders; the body slammed into the floor. The cut was neat, the neck was cauterized cleanly.

Harbinger's optics fluttered for a few seconds, and then closed.

"Thank you..." the head whispered, and then Harbinger, Dark Guardian, fell silent.

Scout
2003-03-09, 09:42 PM
The momentum of the dive hadn't stopped when he had cut through Harbinger's neck. Spitz saw the floor coming up as he sliced through and couldn't figure out how to react. Much to his dismay, the wings snapped out and he slid along the floor to a stop. The fuel over his body had been consumed and the flames died out. Behind, he heard the last whispers of Harbinger's voice. He glanced back briefly to give a nod at the dark guardian and felt a sudden churn in his stomach. He had won, but he had had to kill in order to win, and he felt a sadness creeping over him. The sadness and remorse mingled with a growing awareness of the pain from the wounds as the thrill of battle wore off. He willed himself to transform, but nothing happened. After a few minutes of struggling he gave up as he sat in a growing pool of steaming fluid. The heat from his body died away as he sat still.
So... tired.
The head drooped and without really thinking about it, he laid it back over his shoulder and stuffed the beak down into the metallic wing as his one good optic closed.

Quick Switch
2003-03-10, 01:22 PM
"No...no...NO!" The Imperial Magistrate screamed, watching the battle between Harbinger and Spitz resolved itself...most unsatisfactorily.

Primacron, Judge Quota and Judge Delibarata were with him in his chambers.

"Impossible! How could one Transformer destroy the Dark Guardian! It's...inconceivable!" Quota gasped.

"Once again, the wonders of Quintesson technology," Primacron laughed gleefully.

"We should begin the evacuation," Delibarata grumbled. He'd only just arrived back on the planet and damnit, now they'd have to leave.

"Set them in motion," the Imperial Magistrate rasped. "Rally all remaining Shartkicon legions and the loyal Magistrates who remain on New Quintessa. We shall flee."

Quota bowed and left- he had other orders to carry out.

Judge Delibarata and the Imperial Magistrate left the Chambers quickly, heading for the hangar.

Primacron silently left the room also- he had some things to pack.

Monstrous things.

****

In the Star Chamber, the hellish battle was coming to a close.

The Alligatorcons had broken the back of the Sharkticon forces, and the carnage was glorious.

Gnaw, the Sharkticon equirry of Judge Corpus, had slain no less then ten Sharkticons before the battle was through. He stood smiling in robot mode, cleaning his tail mace next to his Master.

The Inquisitor, most of his tentacles severed, and his body beaten mercillessly by the Alligatorcons, reeled from the sight. His internal gyro unit wobbled erractically.

"How? Ours was the Just cause! Impossible!"

"Speak to us no more of Justice, hypocrite!" Judge Gavel barked. The Judge himself had inflicted many of the wounds on the Inquisitor, though at large cost to himself- the Judge was battered and broken, and had lost four out of his five faces in the battle with the Quintesson second in command.

"Get you gone from here!" Corpus rumbled.

"Yes, yes, go away!" Quorom chirped.

Judge Writ, who had thankfully been able to avoid the fighting (although Corpus and Quorom had actually entered the fray- and rather well) moved forward.

The Inquisitor shrank back, cringing.

"Inquisitor, leave this place, forever," the ancient Magistrate whispered. "You and your Master are no longer welcome. The Quintesson Dominion shall stand without his tyranny now. So it is spoken- so it is done."

Judge Gavel's Death's Head face (the only one spared the ravages of the Inquisitor's teeth and tentacles) rattled:

"You have been judged by the Quintex. Defy it, and face destruction. Now get out of here, you damned sycophant!"

The Inquisitor cowered, then waved the pathetic stumps of his tentacles at the Quintex, and the Alligatorcon legions, standing proudly with their oily prod lances.

"One day traitors...you too shall receive your sentence!"

The Inquisitor began laughing (nearly hysterically) as he fled down the hallway back towards his dread Master, the Imperial Magistrate.

And in defeat.

****

Jhartix cautiously peered into the chamber.

He took in Harbinger's shattered body with elation.

Then, he saw Spitz's in the same condition.

In a microsecond, the aged scientist was gliding over to where he lay.

"Oh, my boy," he said in anguish. "You have done it, the power of the Imperial Magistrate is broken. The Inquisitor's forces have been defeated, and even now the Court flees into exile. Please, come back to me, Spitz," the old scientist wept. "Please..."

The old unit shut down his internal gyrator and sat on the floor next to his finest creation.

Scout
2003-03-11, 05:45 AM
Flames... flashes of intense white and flickers of red and yellow... colors blended with screams and the images of transformers being melted into slurry and scrap rambled in Spitz's subconscious as the Decepticon tried to rest and conserve energy. Then came the faces into his mind... dark, dread faces and long tentacles, and the face of death. An interlude of time spent in the quiet of the science lab occurred, but gave way to a frantic chase followed by energon chains, whip cracks and the torment of mechanoids of all shapes and forms... the smell of melting metal and finally, the whips turned to talons and a sharp beak. They were ready to reach and claw at the faces, when suddenly... his conscious awoke and he realized that it was Jhartix next to him.

For a moment, he struggled with the incredible urge to snap at the Quintesson, then forcefully quelled it, pulling his head up and bringing it down to the old scientist's level. He had gained a bit of his energy back from the rest, but he still felt drained. Jhartix's gentler nature had trapped Spitz more solidly in friendship than any chains possibly could have, and for the first time, he recognized the type of control Jhartix had over him and didn't resent it. The Autobot base of his programming reacted to the kindly scientist's emotions and accepted them.
"Don't weep for me my friend. I won't... will try not to... leave you yet, Jhartix, if you wish it. But Jhartix, you may be better off for that to happen. Your future is secured. If this body was not so battered, I would be dangerous to you like this.
I can't control this form well yet, and am damaged now. I cannot walk and I don't believe I can transform, but if you ask something of me, I will try."

Quick Switch
2003-03-12, 12:55 AM
Jhartix wept then- but tears of joy instead of sorrow.

"Oh my boy," he said again, praising the Great Creator of the Infinite.

"You won't need to do anything, Mechanoid," Judge Gavel said gruffly, gliding into the room with the rest of the Quintex, Gnaw, and the remaining Alligatorcon legions- many of whom carried Sharkticon heads as trophies.

The Quintex clustered around Jhartix and Spitz.

"Spitz is the savior of the Quintesson Dominion," Judge Writ said softly, smiling at the Transformer.

"We could not have defeated the Dark Guardian, no," Judge Corpus nodded.

"No, no, we couldn't," Judge Quorom echoed.

Jhartix rose unsteadily, re-activating his gyro.

"Most Honorable Judges-"

"Stop with that nonsense," Gavel broke in, snorting. "As far as I'm concerned, you're one of us now. We do have an opening on the Quintex, now that that traitor Delibarata's left us," the battered Warrior Judge said matter-of-factly.
His Death's Head face broke into a wide smile- eerie, but pleasant at the same time.

"You don't have to decide instantly," Corpus replied, chuckling, "but the offer's open. How I could use a nice flagon right now..."

"You and me both," Quorom nodded.

"But- I couldn't-" Jhartix stammered.

"Oh, Writ, just swear him in before I regret this decision," Gavel laughed merrily.

"I, Writ, Judge of the Most High and Honorable Court of Star Chamber, Magistrate Emeritus of New Quintessa, do hereby confer upon you, Jhartix, the title Doctor of Jurisprudence for Life." Writ bowed solemnly, as per the custom.

"Thank you," Jhartix said, moved. He'd speak to the Quintex members about what exactly he was required to do- he was no unit of the law. He looked down at Spitz. "Spitz needs treatment. I myself will rebuild him, even better than before."

"He deserves no less," Gavel thundered, "the savior of the Quintesson Dominion needs not explain himself. Corpus, have that servant of yours-"

"Gnaw have name! Name is Gnaw!" Gnaw said, piping up.

"-pick up the Mechanoid and take it to Jhartix's lab, so he can do his work." Gavel chuckled. Such a lovable dolt, Gnaw.

Corpus nodded.

"Get to it," he said. He really needed that flagon.

Gnaw easily scooped up Spitz in his robot mode. His childlike face broke into a smile.

"Gnaw carry you to Lab," the Sharkticon said happily, then set off, Jhartix in tow.

"Just rest now, Spitz. Soon, you will be repaired..." as the three units left the battle site, the Alligatorcons began to chant, thrusting their prod lances into the air:

"Spitz, Spitz, Spitz..."

Scout
2003-03-31, 06:53 AM
"Rest?" Spitz murmured to Jhartix groggily with a mix of a smirk and a touch of amused sarcasm. "How could anyone rest like this? No offense Gnaw, but this is so... so....undignified for a warrior."
Spitz paused and then went into an exhausted ramble.
"Besides, those other teethy guys are making too much noise with their chanting. Not a good strategy to make so much noise ya know. No creature should have that many teeth- even if it does make for one heckuva sneer. Wonder what the other Decepticons would say if you were back in the unit, Gnaw... Rusty optic sockets-- that leg hurts! And I'm making too much noise now." Spitz blinked as a bit of reality struck him, then looked back and forth between Gnaw and Jhartix trying to process everything.

Quick Switch
2003-03-31, 05:59 PM
Jhartix laughed softly.

"You still have your sense of humor," he chuckled.

Gnaw puzzled over what Spitz had said.

"Sorry," he said. "Gnaw does what Gnaw told to do. Would you like Gnaw to dro-"

"No, no," Jhartix tittered. "Keep carrying him, Gnaw, it's quite all right."

"Okay," the Sharkticon smiled again and resumed walking. "Teethy guys- you mean Allagatorcons. They very good fighters."

'Back in the unit' didn't make sense to Gnaw, so he didn't answer. He just smiled. This robot sure talked a lot!

"You're reacting perfectly normally, my boy," Jhartix said as he reached the lab doorway. Speaking the access code, he and Gnaw entered the room. Gnaw deposited Spitz on an operating table.

"Now then, tell me what needs fixing," the old scientist said.
Gnaw helped himself to some Energon drinks, happily swigging away and from time to time hiccuping from a stool in the corner.

"Nifty!" Gnaw said.

****

Chaos reigned elsewhere on New Quintessa. Hundreds of loyal Magistrates fled, while hundreds still, the so-called Quintex Reformist faction, fled from the Oligarchy's Sharkticons.

The hangars were madhouses, as Sharkticons and Quintesson Magistrates, scientists, and technicians fled. With the defeat of the Imperial Magistrate (temporarily, they reasoned) the Reformers would not deal with the fanatical loyalists kindly.

Some ships already left the atmosphere, and flew off in the direction of the approaching Dark Guardian Convoy in bound from the heavily loyal foundry world of Productus.

****

"Your Excellency, we must flee," the grizzled, weatherbeaten Executioner hissed, clacking his claws. Claws that had thrown the drop switch which had sent thousands of units to their grisly deaths.

"I can't believe I've been so defeated!" the Quintesson leader raged, Death's Head shaking with fury. "Beaten by a Transformer! And those Quintex fools!"

"Traitors, Excellency, nothing more," Judge Delibarata added tiredly. All he'd done was retreat. Depressing.

The Inquisitor appeared, raving.

"I nearly killed Gavel! My force was Just- yet we lost! Impossible!" he screamed. The stumps of his tentacles waved madly.

"You've failed me, Inquisitor!" The Quintesson leader thundered.

Delibarata and the Executioner looked on impassively.

"It was not my fault! Not my fault!" he babbled, howling in pain and humiliation. "It was that damned Transformer! He is the one to blame!"

"Yes, well," the Imperial Magistrate wheezed, "for now, we will retreat. We will wait, in Deep Space with the Dark Guardian convoy...and then, we will strike."

Judge Quota appeared on the gangway.

"Most excellent sirs, we must leave!"

The Quintesson elite raced up the gangplank of the massive Spiral Flagship. After a few moments, its engines activated, and the huge thing lifted off the surface of New Quintessa. The smaller Spiral Ships filled to capacity with the Magistrates and other minions, along with the Sharkticon legions followed behind, streaking toward the still far away convoy.

It was an ominous, twirling sight.

As the Imperial Magistrate turned and peered out the main window of the craft from his chair he screamed-

"I pass judgment on you all! Innocent! Innocent! INNOCENT!"

****

Within the bowels of the main Lab, a small simian organic creature was nattering about, retrieving odds and ends as the Quintesson Dominion home world collapsed into anarchy and change.

The kind of bric-a-brac which could obliterate a robotic race.

"Fools! If only I'd been given more time! Yes, I could have chased that robot off with my Creations! I am the Creator, they are the Created! That is how things should be!" Primacron shook his tiny fists, then grasped a tiny control box.

"My wonderful Techno-Organics. I have yet to activate you. But when I do...ehhehehheh!" Primacron pocketed the switch in his robes.

Next he grabbed a large test tube rack, which housed beakers which sloshed with fluid.

"My perfect Hate Plague. Whom the Gods destroy- they first make mad! Ah hah! Hah hah hah!" Primacron giggled.

Finally, he raced to a large vaccuum tube. With his free hand, he activated a side control panel, and the small creature inside was sucked out of the vaccuum tube into a vacuum holding box. Primacron unhooked the box.

"My precious," he crooned, peering at the opaque box. "Prepare for the Wrath of Tornitron, Mark II, mechanized fiends! I, Primacron, will destroy the Transformers race! With the Quintessons, I will rule the Universe!"

Nearly screeching with laughter, Primacron fled his lab, his Sharkticons assistants taking every diagram, model, and whatever else they could find.

A few minutes later, his Spiral Ship also lifted off en route to the convoy.

Primacron, settled in his chair, steepled his fingers. His assistants put away his horrific projects in a storage unit on the ship, bowed, then left to their own quarters.

Primacron gazed at the departing planetoid of New Quintessa.

"Very soon, Grimlock, I will have my revenge...sweet, sweet revenge...on all the Primatives! Prepare to hear MY call! Primacron, the Magnificent! Primacron, the Genius! Primacron, Primacron, Primacron!" Primacron burst into hysterical laughter, a chant of the mad.

Scout
2003-04-02, 06:08 AM
"A sense of humor? Yes... I still do have that, and a few others too unfortunately." Spitz said with a wince to Jhartix as they entered the lab and Gnaw set him down.

"Thanks Gnaw." Spitz mumbled as the sharkticon set him down. "You're not half bad for a ball of teeth with a mace for a tail."

Leaning back, he listened to Jhartix and began running system diagnostics and relaying the information back to the old scientist.
His energy was nearly gone by the time he finished.

"Jhartix, make sure Writ and the others are okay, huh? I cannot stay actively online much longer."

Quick Switch
2003-04-02, 06:29 AM
Gnaw smiled.

"Thanks!" he said brightly to Spitz's compliment, then went back to finishing off his drink.

"Yes, yes, of course. But don't worry- Judge Gavel's Allagatorcon Brigades are swarming everywhere...everything will be fine..." Jhartix replied soothingly, as a set of wielding tools and surgical implements descended from their station up above and activated, beginning to repair the damaged triple changer.

Quick Switch
2003-05-01, 04:55 AM
"No," Judge Writ said, dominant face ancient and frail.

He was watching the Imperial Magistrate's old Viewtrex screen of Cybertron.

The other Quintex members were behind him, silent.

"The maniac's done it," Judge Gavel roared. "He's invaded Cybertron!"

"Yes," Judge Quorom croaked.

"Look- look at the slaughter!" Judge Corpus hiccupped. "The Dark Guardians are being used to slaughter civilians! And look- the Sharkticons have devoured entire cities!"

"And he's re-awakened the Techno-Organics," Gavel hissed.

"That's not possible," Writ said weakly. "All of them were destroyed by the Transformers not to long ago."

"You mean- someone has re-built them?" Corpus asked, aghast. "That's madness! Hardly anyone can control them!"

"Madness!" Quorom echoed, shivering.

"The Imperial Magistrate means to conquer Cybertron once and for all- look, some of the mechnoids' craft are leaving Cybertron," Gavel said wearily, the Quintex members watched the exodus unfold.

"Where will they go?" Quorom asked.

"To the Sol System," Writ replied, head bowed. "The humans are allies of both factions."

"The war will continue, then," Corpus said sadly. "Both faction leaders will not compromise, even as the Imperial Magistrate has seized Cybertron."

"Probably," Gavel said roughly. "But that isn't our concern. Not yet. Soon, it will be. Soon, my Brethren."

Silence fell on the Chamber as the Quintex watched the evacuation and Quintesson counter-moves.

****

"Ah, I've found it!" Jhartix said, peering through a pair of magnification lenses. His hollow optic holes didn't perceive movement as well as they used to.

"Found what?" Gnaw asked, trundling over, still in robot mode. His guileless face smiled, looking down at the operating table.

"Spitz's mode linkups, Gnaw," Jhartix replied kindly. "With this re-established..." Spitz's chest was open, and a pair of forceps, a scalpel, a welding saw and other implements were operated via robot panel near the center of the Triple Changer's CPU, where the repairs were taking place.

"What that mean?" Gnaw asked, frowning not unlike a Dinobot.

"Just a moment-" Jhartix said, and waited until the tools flipped back up at the remote operating panel. The linkup center was totally repaired, and enhanced. Spitz's torn wings were re-crafted, and missing limbs from the battle with the Dark Guardian Harbinger were replaced.

Gnaw watched, fascinated. Spitz now seemed aglow with his new finish, and strengthened frame. He looked sleeker, more deadly. And yet, still noble.

"Now, Spitz will have complete mastery of his avian alternate mode- his jet fighter mode was always less of a challenge," Jhartix said, lifting his optic holes away form the magnifyers, and smiling at Gnaw. "He is a true Triple Changer now. The first. And the strongest. I have re-installed his detection sensors, reaction algorithims, reinforced his pistons and shocks. He can whitstand greater pressure, and exert more damage on enemies..."

Gnaw shivered slightly.

"And bird mode- that be stronger also?"

"Yes," Jhartix said, gyro gliding over to look at Spitz on the clean table. "The flight span of the avian mode is maximized...talons razor-sharp, and the beak doubly reinforced for penetrating and shattering armor. Also, the avian head has limited pyrotechnic ability. And his natural flight ability is compensated...his jet mode required few alterations. It is already formidable."

"But- Spitz still be nice?" Gnaw asked timidly.

"Oh yes, I did not change Spitz's personality component," Jhartix said quickly. "He will behave exactly the same, the perfect fusion of Autobot and Decepticon, with both advantages and none of the inherent weaknesses of each model."

"Oh," Gnaw said brightly, waving a hand in Spitz's face. "You wake him up now?"

"Yes," Jhartix said, verbally activating a robot arm which found Spitz's main power switch, and pressed it, raising back up into the ceiling.

The two waited for Spitz to re-activate.

Scout
2003-05-09, 04:10 AM
Spitz came online suddenly and without any warning. He had been soundly out, and when the connections were made, his awareness kicked in instantly. The purple optics opened and he sat upright, arms coming up to a dafensive position. It was then he remembered. The arms lowered slowly and he blinked, then smiled a bit. The pain was gone, something felt different, but he felt- like himself again.
He looked to the figures standing nearby and smiled.

"Jhartix, Gnaw. I feel - better. How long have I been out?"

Quick Switch
2003-05-09, 05:13 AM
"Not long!" Gnaw said happily. "Spitz OK now!"

"A few hours, my boy," Jhartix said, smiling kindly at his creation. "I've- made a few adjustments. I hope you don't mind."

Scout
2003-05-10, 06:44 AM
"How could I mind?" Spitz laughed. Just a few hours? Geesh- I forgot how fast he is with adjustments. But these weren't just small repairs.
Spitz got a puzzled look as he eased himself up off the table. My mind is clear- there's no thought echo anymore. New weapons- should run a system diagnostic...
"Jhartix, what... did you do? I'm- in one piece again."

The Quintesson scientist had impressed him again. Spitz looked at his old friend with a renewed appreciation and a well-concealed sense of awe.

Quick Switch
2003-05-10, 06:50 AM
"I," Jhartix cleared his intake valve, "erm, reconnected a few power couplings. You will find that...all of your modes should be working in perfect order."

The scientist tried to hide his pride.

"Yeah- Jhartix fix bird mode for Spitz!" Gnaw said, grinning hugely.

Jhartix stifled a groan, and smiled weakly. So much for subtlety.

Scout
2003-05-10, 07:24 AM
Spitz caught himself as his mouth sagged slightly in surprise, then blinked. {i]He fixed it! That's what the difference is! Hm. That will be a significant help.[/i]

"I... urm.. Thanks Jhartix." Spitz broke into a big grin and then picked up his friend and gave him a hug before gently setting him back down.
He shook his head briefly. What am I doing? Bah. How undignified. Time to redirect.
"Now what? Where do we go from here?"

Quick Switch
2003-05-10, 07:33 AM
"Oh!" Jhartix cried as Spitz hugged him. Flustered and touched at the same time, the Quintesson scientist turned away so Spitz couldn't see lubricant beginning to flow from his optic sockets.

"Maybe we go see Judges?" Gnaw said, scratching his head.

"Excellent idea, Gnaw- if you're up to it Spitz- I'm sure Judge Gavel will have an opinion on the situation," Jhartix said, 'blinking' his tears of joy away and turning to look up at his creation.

Scout
2003-06-01, 07:13 AM
"Yes Jhartix, I think seeing the judges would be an excellent idea." Spitz replied with a nod and a glance toward the door. He followed Jhartix and Gnaw quietly with his head tilted down slightly as he thought to himself. The old slave training had become a habit, but lost in thought, he didn't notice.

And I'm certain Gavel will have comments as well. Perhaps now that their home here is secured they will have no more use of me. This is not a place for me, or any other transformer- and no doubt they will have something decided. Hmm. I wonder whatever happened to Devcon?