TransMasters Cybertron:

Part 5: Crystal Tears

          Darkness was her first impression before a great amount of heat and a crack like that of thunder caused a surge of unbearable pain. Then the world came alive with blurry sights and a mix of voices she barely could make out. She felt like she was cooling and the pain had begun to recede while the voices grew louder. She felt that she was being moved quickly from the red glowing space by strong hands. She was then passed through a multitude of hands, each blurry face passed by with proud looks down upon her.

          She kept trying to blink her eyes so she could view them with more clarity. She did not understand what had happened or where she was. It was good to know that she was not alone, but who were these beings passing her along? Who was she? Where were her parents? She began to cry and a new face appeared. A kindly feminine face with that possessed a calm voice that uttered from her mouth, “Shh, little one, there, there. It will be alright. I am Jade and we will soon learn your name, as you are still in your pubescent rough. I will guide and protect you daughter.” The newborn Tektronian girl tried to smile, but it was enough to settle into Jade’s embrace.


          She waited anxiously within the Phoenix chamber while her mother moved about preparing for the Chrysalis Ceremony. It was three full orbits around Solar Wind Planet’s star since she was granted life by the Phoenix out of the lava core of the planet. She always found the Phoenix chamber to be beautiful with all the different types of crystals embedded into the chamber’s walls. Light would play off of them creating a rainbow of reflections. She tried to watch her mother with her full attentiveness as Jade moved about to get all in readiness. She knew her mother played a very big role in the happenings of their people. She was nervous and her mother had prepared her for the ceremony. She knew that the Phoenix would choose for her one of the body types and roles that existed within the Tektronian society. She might become a Shrike with an industrious and strong body which doubled as the soldier class whenever a threat arose, or she could become a Stoneroller whom were smaller squat people best suited for tending the starlight moss that served as food for the Tektronian people, she might also become a Firewreath whom were the only ones that could go out on the planet’s surface safely for about an hour, then there were the Stonesmiths whom were given nearly metallic bodies capable of fashioning raw magma into tools or other objects the people might require—like the many Phoenix statues that populated the colonies, then there were the Select Ones whom were chosen to serve the Phoenix. The rarest class of them all was, like Jade, the Anointed, whom were capable of harmonizing their spirits with that of the Phoenix to bring the light to all of their kind. Jade’s Daughter secretly prayed to the Phoenix to be a Stonesmith so she could create artistically. She knew she did not ever want to be a Shrike, they were forced to kill sometimes to protect the people. It was a burden she knew she’d hate to have to face.

          The Select Ones filed in first. These were beings of blue stone with little to identify them as male or female. Their features were that of devote servants to the Phoenix, whom were never given any other choice. The little girl pitied them and wondered why the Phoenix could be so cruel a creator? They never smiled, never laughed and she wondered if they ever felt anything at all?

          She watched while the Shrikes with their diamond-angled bodies entered next. They quickly took up guarding positions around the edges of the chamber to ensure the entrances were covered.  Here she could tell the difference between the males and females mostly by the cut design and height. They were capable of an extreme range of emotions, though they were dedicated warriors.

          The other classes of Tektronians quickly began to enter the chamber while she waited. Many offered her encouragement while the others ignored her completely as a “rough”. After the ceremony she would be revealed both in new body and a new name to be bestowed by Jade as her mother. The gathering quickly quieted when Jade came out from behind the Phoenix statue. The statue was huge and nearly reached from the floor to the roof apex, it was made of a certain type of red rock none of the Stonesmiths had been able to replicate.  Jade waved toward her to come forward to take a spot directly in front of the ominous looking statue, whose eyes were looking directly down upon her.

          She moved there quickly while her nervousness had grown. She had watched other “roughs” go through the exact same ceremony a dozen times before. It still did not make her wonder if the Phoenix might decide that she had made a mistake and return her to the planet’s molten core. Although, her mother said it was silly and that the other children were just trying to scare her, she had a hard time ignoring those stories right at that moment.

          Jade began the set of chants which the entire audience would begin to repeat. “Oh great Phoenix we present this rough to you to shape in your will and love. Burn away the false form so she may be reborn as you have through countless centuries. Show us her true form.” The crowed shared their light with Jade, whom focused it directly into the Phoenix statue.

          Jade’s young Daughter flinched when the great statue’s eyes opened and beams of light struck her. She screamed out in both pain and fear. Instead of the light doing as it had before where it cut off the black crust from the body of the other roughs she had witnessed, the light shattered the blackened rock off of her and caused it to crumble away. The light then seemed to penetrate into her before it began to reflect back out to the chamber walls. The last thing she recalled was how the light went back to the people before she blacked out.

          When she woke she was in the now darkened Phoenix chamber lying upon her back. The crowd was gone and the chamber was only lit by a few embers of glow stone. Her mother was reading tablets while she shook her head with worry. Jade was crying at what she was read until her daughter stirred. The sound of the girl’s movement caused Jade to quickly put the tablets away. “What’s wrong mother, why are you crying,” the little girl asked.

          “Sapphire, that is what I have decided to call you daughter. I never had any indication that the Phoenix would need another Anointed One so soon. But, that is what the Phoenix has decided your role to be. I am sorry dear. I know you wanted to be an artist. Instead you must strive hard to learn all you can from me. I cry because the only reason for the Phoenix to require another Anointed One so soon is that she foresaw my premature end and prepared for it,” Jade tried to calmly explain.

          “No, mother you can’t die,” Sapphire exclaimed before she began to cry too.

          “We must all return to the molten core at some point. I only hope I can pass on all my knowledge before that time comes,” Jade reached out and hugged her daughter. “I had hoped you would never have the burden of our world upon your shoulders as it has been upon mine.”


          An adolescent Sapphire watched with cautious curiosity when the very first Omnicons arrived on Solar Wind Planet. These beings of metal rode the space between the Phoenix balls in larger constructs of metal. At first the Shrike wanted only to dive these metal beings off Solar Wind Planet through force. If it had not been for Jade’s insistence that the Omnicons be treated as guests to be hosted with respect until they proved to be a threat and then the Shrikes could have their way.

          Sapphire liked their leader, Strike, since he seemed to be very considerate to the needs of both his kind and the Tektronian socieity. Sapphire wondered how beings of metal could be alive in the way the Omnicons seemed and how the Phoenix would have forged them? It was a long process of discussions that finally led to Jade agreeing to allow the Omnicons to remain on Solar Wind Planet. These machines could change their shape to form other machines that proved beneficial to the Tektronians by creating tunnels to connect their populace centers. All the Omnicons wanted in return was to be able to set up large metal panels on the surface and store something called “Energon” that was created by the panels.

          One evening after her duties and studies were completed, Sapphire went to look for Strike. He was in a deep level cavern trying to drill a very delicate cave connection. The rock here was shale and extremely brittle. The sound of his drill bit as it spun slowly against the rock echoed throughout the nearby caverns. Sapphire followed the noise to his location. She stayed back in the tunnel just out of sight in the attempt to watch him work without disturbing him.

          Strike transformed and turned her way. His drill bit arm glowed slightly red from the heat before he asked, “Is there something I can help you with Princess? I’m not sure you should be here alone with me. I do need a break as my bit is overheating due to the lack of water.” Strike waited patiently while she stuttered an apology before she moved out from her small concealment. She asked him how he could tell she was there. “My sensors are limited on this world, but they can still monitor the vibrations your feet made against the stone floor and my radar system mapped your approach as soon as you entered the tunnel entrance,” Strike replied. “On a planet with less radiation interference I might be able to tell you where every Tektronian and Omnicon were within a square mile from where we stand,” he added with a laugh.

          “Sensors, radar, square mile, what are you talking about?” Sapphire asked with true confusion to her voice. These terms and his joke flew past without any other reaction as they were beyond her knowledge. She wanted more than anything at that moment to learn all she could about the visitors and how they could exist separate from the Phoenix. Her mother was not happy to know this and had given strict instructions against it. Sapphire knew that she was risking punishment of some sort, but she felt it would be worth it.

          Strike sighed heavily and he patted a spot on the tunnel wall that had a bit of a ledge to it before he sat down. Strike noticed her puzzled look at his action. He patted the spot again, this time saying, “Please sit here and I will try to explain. Sensors are smaller machines we Omnicons rely upon to provide information we can use. There are a wide variety of sensors with specific purposes. For instance, you have eyes made of specific stone lenses while Omnicons have optic sensors that perform basically the same job and they allow us to see. You just feel your surroundings, but we have tactile feedback and pressure sensors. I used a vibration sensor that also “felt” your approach through where you touched the stone floor. Do you understand?” She now sat beside him and gave a small nod. “Radar is another kind of sensor but it has no direct translation to one of your senses. You can think of it as a type of sound. Every time the sound is generated it echoes off other objects. Another sensor can capture and analyze the echoes in order to map where objects are around me. Changes in the position of those objects will change the echo sound. Objects closer will make a louder echo than objects further away. This sound is usually different so that you can’t hear it but it is still there,” Strike explained. He paused and she gave him a smile followed with a nod. “Square mile, that is a bit harder to explain in terms that you might understand. It is actually a Human measurement scale that we Transformers have adopted sometimes. It is a length measurement applied to three-dimensional space. It will take too long for me to explain that. Let’s just say that I would be able to see Jade if she was still sitting in the Phoenix chamber who I now can say is looking for you,” Strike commented.

          “What is a Human? Are there other people out there like us? How did the Pheonix create you? Are there more like the Omnicons? How do you reproduce? Do you have  a mate?” Sapphire asked in a quickly blurted series. Before he could answer she added, “Why do you change shape?”

          Strike was a bit stunned. “You might be able to catch up with Blurr’s speed if you keep that up. Humans are a people made of soft flesh and are more carbon based, they are much more fragile than us. They would not be able to live here due to the high amount of radiation and the lack of water. They live on a planet they call Earth. The Omnicons are a subgroup of the Autobot army. We fight the Decepticons to remain free of tyranny. Both factions are part of the Transformers race. We come from the planet Cybertron, a metal world unlike any other I’ve seen. I only know of one other race like the Tektronians, they called themselves Rock Lords. Their origins can be traced back to the Go-Bots, another mechanoid race that can change forms. For the Transformers changing shapes began as a means to battle the Decepticons more effectively. Later it was a way to disguise ourselves from other races. The Humans, for instance, use machines that we can imitate to hide amongst them.”

          “The Phoenix did not create us. We have our own god called Primus. We don’t reproduce I the sense other races use the word, thus no I do not have a mate. There are a couple of ways to build and then infuse a spark into a body. One way requires Vector Sigma, the other uses the Matrix: both access Primus’ spark to give life. There may be other ways, but I will not go into their detail,” Strike explained.

          “I’d like to know more about what is out beyond our own sun. Until you arrived we thought there was nothing beyond our world other than more stars. I’m a good student if you’d be willing to teach me,” Sapphire requested eagerly. She knew it was against her mother’s wishes, but how could she deny that this would bring about changes to Solar Wind Planet? As the possible future matriarch, shouldn’t she learn of all possible threats?

          “Sorry Princess, we have strict rules about progressing any society’s knowledge too quickly. We might help you look in the right direction for answers, but we will not just dump millions of your years’ worth of information on you. Besides, your mother made it clear she does not want us spreading anything that might disrupt your current belief system. I may have already said too much,” Strike said with some concern to his voice. He turned his head toward the tunnel entrance, which was just beyond view. “You had better go now, Jade is searching for you and I think it would be best if she did not catch us together. Use the side tunnel back there,” Strike suggested.

          Sapphire nodded sadly. “Thank you,” she stood and gave him a kiss on the cheek. She giggled, “I’ll see you around even if mom doesn’t like it.” She then began to run down the way he suggested. It led her back toward her quarters without intersecting any of the tunnels Jade might have been using to search for her. She could not explain to herself the feelings she had for the strange foreigner. She thought it was perhaps just the thrill of having a crush on what was forbidden or perhaps from the knowledge that she now knew of things her mother did not. Either way, she was happily looking toward the future.


          The day Sapphire had dreaded ever since her mother prophesied her own death occurred nearly a week ago and it was now time for Jade to be returned to the planet’s core. The Tektronians were gathered silently within the Phoenix chamber, which now seemed dimmer than Sapphire could ever recall. Sapphire had two large tablets atop a sturdy stone table so she could read the proper scripture for the ceremony. The words stuck in her mouth while she tried not to meet the cold crystal gaze of the other Tektronians. “In her wisdom the Phoenix has decided to recall one of her most dedicated creations back into her loving embrace,” she stated with a meaning that struck her heart as hollow. “It is with great hope that the Phoenix will restore Jade to us when she rises again. With your love Jade will continue on and may the Phoenix bless us all in her absence. May your fire rekindle to bring us light,” Sapphire’s voice cracked a bit. She paused a moment to gather her emotions and push them back. It was her time to figure out how to be what her mother had expected of her. She looked over to the six Shrike standing ready to begin Jade’s final journey. They were deep dwellers whose dark black crystal bodies seemed to absorb the little light near them. “You may proceed,” Sapphire stated sadly while she struggled to keep from crying in front of the others.

          The Shrike were painted with ceremonial colored chalk in patterns that were painstakingly applied the day before by their mates. Each saluted Sapphire, then Jade’s body, before they turned and picked up the stone carrier. They lifted it in perfectly practiced unison before they began to carry Jade through the gathered Tektronians and out of the chamber. They were slowly followed by the other mourners in a procession that would take hours to reach the molten core where Jade’s remains would be returned to the Phoenix.

          Sapphire took up the last spot in the line and she could not hold back her tears any longer. She could hear the whispers of doubt being exchanged in the line. “Poor girl’s just a chip, how is she going to lead us?” “She’s not even ready to perform the rituals.” “How will we share the Phoenix’s light without Jade?” “We need someone stronger to fight these foreigners and kick them off our world.” “Yea, we’ve got to destroy them!”

          Sapphire saw Strike as they passed by the Autobot quarters section of the tunnels. She could tell he had heard their angry words. He looked sad and as if he wanted to try to comfort her. As he took a step forward she shook her head and signaled for him not to interrupt. As hard as it was for her to not want him by her side, this was a task she needed to complete alone. “Later, my quarters,” she whispered so only he could hear. He nodded.

          The murmurs of doubt with Sapphire’s ability continued while the procession made their way into the deepest area of the planet. The six Shrike guards stopped at the edge of the molten pool within a chamber just barely able to accommodate all the attendees. Sapphire walked to the guards and chanted, “Oh Phoenix, accept my mother back into your great womb.” The guards began to lower the stone gurney and Jade’s body into the magma. The pool made sizzling and popping noises accompanied by gurgles and bubbles as the mass of Jade’s body pushed aside the lava. Within moments the gurney had melted away and the intense heat began to work to dissolve Jade’s body. Due to the wounds fire sprung into a large plume where the heat burned the internal fluids. Most of the Tektronians were surprised by the sight of this. Some began to mutter about bad omens. Sapphire had sprung back away from the pool with a fearful reaction at first, but then the sight caused her to break down in more tears.

          When the last evidence of Jade’s body was finally consumed by the magma some of the Tektronians tossed other small mementoes into the pool as a way of sending them with Jade back to the Phoenix. They began to leave, each said something to try to comfort Sapphire even if their sentiment was false. Then a fight broke out between the deep pocket and low dense Shrikes. They were arguing the next course of action, the deep pockets were advocating war against the Transformers. “Stop this right now! Do you think we could stand against both groups? Our only hope for survival is to ally with the Autobots against the Decepticons,” Sapphire angrily commanded.

          “Just the type of talk I’d expect from an off-world lover! Don’t think we don’t know you’ve been sneaking around with the Omnicon leader. He’s corrupted you and now there’s little chance the Phoenix will ever share her light with us again! We want revenge to satisfy the Phoenix. I won’t bow to a little girl,” a tall deep dweller Shrike spat angrily.

          “So you think the Phoenix chose wrongly?” a less dense Shrike asked with matching ferocity.

          “No, I think Jade fixed the process to ensure our rule would remain within her family,” the first Shrike replied with spite. The statement nearly caused an all out riot amongst the Tektronians remaining within the lava chamber.

          “Stop it,” Sapphire yelled out at the top of her capacity and with all her will. “Deep Dwellers, you are either going to do as I command or you will face darkness much longer than any who are on my side. I want you to go take up defensive positions to protect our people. You will try to avoid conflict with Autobots and only harm them if they attack you. Do what you can to damage or destroy the Decepticons. Those who wish can volunteer to help aid the Autobots in finding and capturing the Decepticons. The rest of you will continue with your normal duties.”

          “Sludge on you Sapphire! I’m taking my crew and we’ll slag every robot we encounter. Any of you get in our way and it will get messy. I’d hate for that to be on you Princess,” the dark deep dweller leader stated with a laugh. Then about two dozen black diamond Shrikes left the cavern in hunt mode.

          “Do you want us to go after them,” one of the less dense Shrikes asked.

          “No, we need to warn the Autobots and then hope it doesn’t come to Tektronian against Tektronian. I really do not want to be the first Matriarch with a civil war on her hands,” Sapphire explained sadly. She began to run back through the tunnels toward the Autobot quarters. She prayed with all her soul to the Phoenix that she would be able to reach Strike and warn him of the new danger in time. She couldn’t stand the thought that she’d loose another person she loved and knew she’d shatter should it occur.

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