"I have called this meeting," said Electrum Beast, "to address some concerns regarding Crackup's recent incursion into our base. Most of you present only know part of the story...I'm here to fill in the details."
The main waiting area to Medlab was as full as it had ever been. Ticker, Washout, Scoot, Uncle Whiskey Breath, and Windchill stood around, waiting for their debriefing. The others, newly repaired, had already digested the information, and waited merely for the others to accept it. Some found it surprising to see Campaign car standing with Electrum Beast and Bunny Convoy- after all, wasn't he the enemy a few cycles ago?- however, they were willing to wait, and see what was in-store.
As in any standard lecture situation, Electrum Beast faced his audience, preparing to tell his friends the truth; the truth which he had deliberately hidden from most of them. Looking at the faces in the crowd, he noticed the distinct absense of Clutterbug; presumably, she was still guarding the prisoner. Of particular interest to him was the small robot sitting on Uncle's shoulder; apparently, he'd been activated while Electrum Beast was off-line. Idly wondering where his two counterparts were, he prepared for the task ahead...
Electrum Beast: "As many of you know, we are a research facility. It is our stated mission to advance our race thru the advance of our technology. Our unstated mission...is to develop new technology to aid us in the war."
A murmur in the crowd; no one said much, but Uncle raised his voice to speak:
Uncle: "Eh, 'scuse me dere, chief....I like fightin' as much as da next joe, but aren't we currently running under a peactime flag? Pax Cybertonia, an all?"
Electrum Beast: "You are correct. The Great War, as you and I know it, is currently at an impasse; the diplomats on both sides would have us believe that there is now peace between our races...the Autobots and Decepticons. However...."
He paused; from this point on, there was no turning back. But they had a right to know, and they should hear it from him.
Electrum Beast: "However, it's not the Great War we are talking about. Nor am I referring to what the humans would call a Cold War- although we certainly are in the midst of one of those. I am referring to a different kind of war; one that all of you have unknownly been fighting. I call it the TimeWars."
Uncle: "Er, 'scuse me...'time wars'?"
Electrum Beast: "Yes, you heard me correctly. Approximately 300 years into our future, our descendants will have developed the ability to time travel...they call it transwarping...and begin a pattern of interfering with the timeline as it has been established. Two major faction incursions have occurred thus far; resetting history each time. There have been approximately 5 minor incursions since then, 3 of which we were able to nullify."
Washout: "This...story of yours sounds very fancy. Do you have any proof?"
Electrum Beast: "The proof is all-around you, my friend. Look at your team leader (points to Bunny Convoy) and look at me...these organic 'beast' modes are not meant to be discovered for another vorn; and are not put into wide-spread use even after that- only for research and exploration teams. Look at the small fellow riding on Uncle: his kind doesn't even exist in our universe. He was designed using information prior to a previous 'reset' of our timeline. His race was called 'minico..."
Washout: (interrupts)"OK, I'll grant you that I've seen some things here that I haven't seen on Cybertron...but that's not proof positive. Maybe you're just a little ahead of the game here."
Electrum Beast: "I understand your skepticism...that's why I thought you might belive me if you heard it from one of your team-mates. Flatfoot, would you please come out here?"
A shadow in the doorway behind Electrum Beast; a figure not previously noticed by the others stepped forth, and approached Washout. From his features and coloring, he appeared to be Flatfoot...but there was a decidedly- fluid- look to his form.
Flatfoot: "I'm afraid so. Probably hard to tell, isn't it? You think this is bad(flexes his robotic biceps) you should see what they did to my other form. Beast Mode!"
Instantly, the transformation sequence takes palce. Where once their was a robot, now stood a four-legged creature; a beast not seen on Cybertron. Growling and baring fangs, a gutteral voice hissed, 'transform!' The creature was replaced once again by the fluid-looking robot.
Flatfoot: "I'm told that the animal form is one of the native inhabitants of this planet. A pity, if you ask me. I'd have had better luck getting around as a police-cruiser than a pussycat. Some 'upgrade', huh?"
Scoot: "A wolf, actually."
Ticker: " You're both wrong. It's a panther. And there's a number of them close by, in what the humans call a 'zoo'."
Flatfoot:(sarcastically) "Well, that's just wonderful. I'm sure I'll be able to blend in quite well on Cybertron as an animal in a zoo...oh wait, I forgot! There *are* no zoos on Cybertron, are there? So I guess I'm stuck here on earth!"
Electrum Beast: "Actually, before I called this meeting, I had to speak with Prime. He agreed that, considering the circumstances, the three of you would be reassigned to this command until further notice."
Flatfoot: "He...wha....Grrrr....Wonderful. Just wonderful. This mission just gets better and better....and I have you(pushes his finger into Washout's chest) to thank for this mess. Thank YOU very much. Now we'll probably never see Cybertron again. Our new home is going to be this mudball of a planet!"
Bunny Convoy: "Stand down, Flatfoot. That's an order."
Flatfoot: "Yes....sir." (Glaring at Washout, Flatfoot takes a position at the opposite end of the room from him, closer to Campaign Car).
Electrum Beast: "Er...ahem. Yes. Now then, as I was saying, our research has been geared toward advancing our technology so that we may fight these Timewars'. Our mission is to intercept and prevent incursions in our own time- to contain these 'transwarpers'."
Uncle: "Eh, not to rain on anyone's parade, but how exactly you gonna stop someone from da future? If they're so advanced, shouldn't day be able to stop *us* from interferin'?"
Scoot: "I believe our commander is belegering the point. What our large friend here would like to know is...how we can even be here to discuss this, much less develop strategems to fight them? After all, being from the future, they should already know what we've done, and plan accordingly."
Electrum Beast: "I'm glad you asked that question. As I said, there have been five minor incursions into our time. Apparently, the process is not refined enough that they can go to any point they wanted. Instead, the factions sent groups of individuals on one-way trips to key, 'focal points' in the timeline...to either preserve, or alter, history, so that things favored their particular group. Approximately 4 earth-years ago, some of these transwarpers showed-up in our time. It was because of information from one of them that Prime commissioned this research facility to be built. The goal was to prevent the transwarp technology from ever being discovered...while at the same time, advancing our own research so that we may fight those who come, er....after us."
Ticker: "And if I might say so, we have been somewhat successful."
Electrum Beast: "Yes, indeed....we've learned how we could flood parts of our universe with cronoton particles to prevent incursions from progressing any farther into the past than where they are now. Basically, we've thrown up a 'wall' of sorts that prevents time-travelers from getting behind us, and erasing what we've already accomplished. The timeline, from this point on, is inviolate."
Bunny Convoy: "They've done more than that. Records, research, information...it's all very quietly being restricted; classified at the highest levels. Apparently, the goal is to make it so that eventually, the populace won't know what came before...or what comes after. A total lack of information. Ignorance is bliss."
Electrum Beast: "Indeed, well-said...what transformers don't know, can't hurt them. It's part of why the Pax Cybertonia came to be; the leadership at the highest levels of each faction came to the mutual agreement that this was for the greater good of their respective peoples. Only by working together can both races survive."
Bunny Convoy: "How do we know that our actions don't lead to the creation of the very thing we've been commissioned to fight?"
"Electrum Beast: "I'm sorry?"
Bunny Convoy: "Are you familiar with the incident involving the Aerialbots 9 million years ago?"
Electrum Beast: "Yes, of-course."
Bunny Convoy: "Then it should be faily obvious that time is inviolate; what happens is supposed to happen. The Aerialbots went back in time and were responsible for the creation of our leader, Optimus Prime. They traveled back in time, and from their perspective, they altered history...yet, there was no historical reset. It happened because it was supposed to happen. So who is to say that what the transwarpers are doing is wrong?"
Electrum Beast: "I do."
Bunny Convoy: "Excuse me?"
Electrum Beast: "If you recall from the reel, a time vortex is created when history is altered in a form that is not consistant with the existing timeline. That particular case did not cause a time vortex; therefore, it was not in-violation of history. On the other hand, the other incursions caused localized time disturbances universe-wide...and one major reset. That's the whole in your theory."
Bunny Convoy: "The Beastwars?"
Electrum beast: "That was a near-miss, although there were minor ripples down the line that have affected the future...or so I was told. The first major reset was the BeastMachine era, actually, which went back far-enough in Cybertron's history to cause problems even for us."
Campaign Car: "Basically, the Beast-era Megatron freed himself from captivity, and managed to get to Cybertron's past thru a temporary transwarp from an Autobot shuttle. His captors followed him, and what resulted was a kind of techno-organic revolution."
Electrum Beast: "Exactly. We believe Vector-Sigma was somehow responsible for it, though we're not sure at the moment. Apparently all Cybertonians ended up with an organic body...so did the planet, for that matter. But luckily, a second major incursion took place that reset history again, and returned everyone back to their pure-metal modes. Unfortunately, there was still some damage done. Our history had been altered. The stated goal of the transwarpers is to make minor adjustments here and there, in-order to restore things as-close as they can to the original timeline. Unfortunately....our descendants disagree on what is the 'right' timeline. So each faction has been jumping back, trying to make changes that more fit their vision of how things are supposed to be."
Campaign Car: "A rift that could have been avoided if information wasn't restricted...without complete knowledge of their history, it's no wonder that they have different interpretations. A lot of roblems can be caused when you keep the truth from your people." At that, Campaign Car cast a pointed look at Electrum Beast, which did not go unnoticed.
Scoot: "It's a lot to absorb all at one time."
Electrum Beast: "Yes, I know, and I'm sorry about that. Everything is available via the computer, should you want to download the entire file."
Washout: "Organic...like dirt? No metal? Ewww...."
Flatfoot: "Yea: it's disgusting. I can't imagine any Cybertonain wanting an organic mode."
Ticker: "Flatfoot, come with me please."
Flatfoot: "Why? Aren't we going to miss the briefing?"
Ticker: "I already know...and you can download it later. Come with me."
Flatfoot shrugged, and followed Ticker into another room of Medlab. The others followed them with their gaze, then turned their attention back to Electrum Beast.
Electrum Beast: I apologise for Flatfoot. He's still dealing with his transformation. There must be a system glitch..."
Washout: "No...there's nothing wrong with his personality. He blames me for what's happened to him. And he has every right to."
With that statement hanging in the air, Washout exits the room as well, leaving a different way than the others, choosing to head down the cooridor instead of following Flatfoot.
Electrum Beast: "I suppose this briefing....is finished, then. As for the rest of you...if you have any questions, you may ask them. I will gladly answer. All I can say to you now is...take heart: we are doing the right thing. I can only hope that knowing what you do now, you will continue to dedicate yourself to our cause."
Electrum Beast sat down; those that were left in the room began asking questions in-earnest. It would be some time before any of them would be leaving.
Flatfoot followed Ticker into the other room. As soon as the door closed, Ticker whirled around, and pointed at Flatfoot:
Ticker: "You'd better get on the table. You're obviously suffering a mejor malfunction."
Flatfoot: "What are you talking about?"
Ticker: "Obviously, you have a glitch in your system. You seem to think that your partner Washout is your enemy."
Flatfoot: "He's no friend of mine, if that's what you're asking."
Ticker: "Washout saved your life! If it wasn't for him, you wouldn't be here."
Flatfoot: "Exactly. If it weren't for him, I wouldn't be in this situation. I'd still be a robot, and I wouldn't be stuck here on earth. This whole mission is a disaster."
Ticker: "He saved your life!"
Flatfoot: "No...he stole my life. And I'm never going to forgive him for that."
To be Continued.