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Maximal vs. Predacon Tournament (War in the Wastes): Part 0 - Prologue
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The pounding of alloy on alloy rumbled over the desolation that lived between Predacon and Maximal territories bordering the Sonic Wastes. Sealtiel and Gabriel were maintainers of a hesitant peace between the warring divisions on Cybertron; they and hundreds of other Predacons and Maximals who patrol borders, maintain weapons, and were each ready to restart a war if challenged.
They approached an abandoned steel-spire which overlooked the Wastes; the spire was a former research facility and library. A beacon of construction and prosperity from days long lost. These two were the last of twelve old allies who have secretly re-gathered themselves each mega-cycle since the great upgrade from Autobot and Decepticon to Maximal and Predacon. A stealth feathered osprey, Uriel, glides quietly into an open window near the spire’s peak having seen the two approach. Then dim lights from the eyes waiting in the spire’s peak blink out.
Millicycles later all twelve were gathered in a forty meter wide former executive suite. “So," Sealtiel spoke quietly when entering, “we got the call. Who issued it?" Jhudiel came forward and transformed to stand and two legs, but before he could speak Gabriel let slip, “So we can blame you then if we all get slagged for missing border patrols." The other eleven remained as their beasts.
Jhudiel smirked, “Yes, please do. Two hundred years of fruitless peace has me bored. We are useless in a cease-fire. Our format has always been for war…," he paused for a long moment, stuck in his memories, "…even when we were Autobots."
Uriel dropped from a perch near the roof, transformed, and landed direct in front of Jhudiel. “No…no more self-pity. It was you who took the opportunity to reformat as Predacons. You alone erased our allegiances from our firmware and mixed our shells with Decepticons while we were all in stasis from energon depletion. One bad mission had us too far from home at the wrong time. You saved our lives by letting us upgrade into Predacons instead of leaving us dead in the Wastes."
“Leave him be. Jhudiel issued the summons on my behalf." Archistrategos, the group’s former captain when Autobots, came out of the shadows where his reptilian claws had been tapping on a luminous console. “I have summoned you hear to save our home; to save our Cybertron." The low rumbles and growls stopped. Silence engulfed the room.
Archistrategos continued. “There was never and there is now no peace. We twelve have struggled for millennia to survive… I am no longer satisfied with survival. Barachiel and Zadakiel finally unlocked and rebooted the archives in this building two months ago. They found something."
“Unless this something will bring our factions together, then its useless," Gabriel interjected. “Anything more that would cause conflict will restart the war! We may be useless without a fight, but at least we’re allow technicians and scientists a chance to save Cybertron through the current peace."
“Predacon and Maximal science is dead!" Archistrategos yelled. “What researcher do you know who that can work on energon renewal or world building? What thinker is free from boarder patrol or weapons maintenance? Name one effort in either faction during this peace which may restore our home." Silence again stole through the chamber; the former captain again continued. “You do not respond because there is no researcher or thinker who is free to heal Cybertron. Both factions are too entangled in the old ways of conflict; warriors, Cybertron will die unless this war ends."
“And who’s going to end our war?" asked Gabriel, betraying a mixture of fear and hope in his vocals.
“The Autobots." An uproar of confusion echoed in the ancient chamber. Lingering respect of his command allowed a raised hand and loud voice Archistrategos to explain. “I have had us meet here, in this tower, for almost a thousand years for a reason. In those Wastes lies the fallen bodies of our allies and enemies who, as far as we know, still have their sparks dormant inside. In these archives legends of lost artifacts, Matrices, have been found. Those artifacts could be brought out of legend if the locations, and connection to the ancient name of Havocon, are accurate."
“Dormant sparks and legends or not, The Matrix of Leadership could not help any Transformer lead an army of the dead," Uriel responded. “Crossing into the Wastes, that urban meat grinder, would bring all of Cybertron to a brutal end. Maximals and Predacons would hunt us down just to preserve the peace, useless or not, and would slaughter each other in the process. Are you willing to risk Cybertron’s death for foolish legend?"
“I am." Archistrategos was cold and stern. He looked straight into Uriel’s eyes then at them all. “I am tired of merely surviving; and the Leadership Matrix is not all we seek. The archives also list three possible locations of the Brightsoul Matrix, the direct conduit for Primus’ power. I hope that the stasis that afflicts our ancestors would be broken if these two were brought together."
Archistrategos let the possibility sink into each of his soldiers. The risk and hope to Cybertron eclipsed all of their other fears. Each warrior’s optics revealed how they were balancing betrayal of their faction and home against real, final peace. Sealtiel, the first to speak in this gathering, then saw that each weighed hope much heavier than fear. “Sir, we’re tired too. Death or glory, we’re in."
The others shouted again their old war cry, “Death or Glory!", and knew with perfect clarity that the Citizens of Chayot were going to restart the Beast Wars.