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And Then They Were Robots

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==> Be Hot Rod

Okay, first of all, the name's Rodimus. Rodimus Prime, if you wanna get technical. So frankly, this command is nonsense.

==> Be Rodimus

You are Rodimus Prime, captain of the Lost Light and general all-around badass. You've been summoned to one of the many empty rooms aboard your very large ship by the ship's psychologist, Rung. On account of a mysterious phenomenon that you're totally not freaking out about.

"Yup," you say. Nonchalantly. "Those are definitely sparks."

"You are, as ever, adept at stating the obvious," says Megatron, your 'co'-captain, recently-ex-genocidal tyrant, and general all-around asshole.

"If you have anything more constructive to suggest, feel free to share with the class."

"Given our track record with such...surprises - we should preserve them in stasis and hand them over to mechs who are actually qualified to nurture them."

You scoff at him. "How's about we ask Brainstorm about them, first."

Megatron scoffs back. "And why would our resident maniacal scientist know anything about the matter?"

Rung finally speaks. He's kinda quiet, for such an accomplished dude. "We ignited a spark field on Luna 1 during the Tyrest affair, and Brainstorm acquired a rare spark." He gestures to one of the sparks on the floor: the unmistakable electric green of a point-one-percenter. "It's possible that he took more than one while we were distracted, and has been storing them here."

"I see," says Megatron, with noticeably more respect than he ever shows you. "Would they not have already assumed their protoforms under such circumstances?"

"I'm sure that Brainstorm could've devised a way to delay the process," says Rung.

As if on cue, the green spark begins to coalesce into a cylindrical protoform. And then, rapidly, into a fully-grown Cybertronian. Surprisingly small, considering it's a point-one-percenter. But then, Minimus is tiny in his irreducible form. Another 'load bearer', maybe.

The 'bot has features that you recognize as typically belonging to people who use 'she' pronouns. (Something you're totally adjusting to with grace.) Her frame lacks any vehicle kibble. Her paint job is peculiar: grey on the legs and neck, black on the torso and helm, with a striking splash of red on her feet. There is also a curious symbol in the center of her torso that resembles a spiral galaxy.

Her optics open and activate. They are an unnerving shade of green.

"Oh geez," she says, and floats - floats! - upright. She has no visible equipment that would allow for such a feat. Is this her super special point-one-percenter thing? Is she, like, a 'floater'? She touches down on the floor, her optics falling on each of them in turn. "Um. Hi," she says.

"Hello," says Rung, cautiously.

"Who are you, and what are you doing here?" asks Megatron. Because he's Like That. Why would a newly-forged 'bot know how to answer those kinds of questions?

But maybe Megatron is onto something, because her expression sours slightly and she says, "My name is Jade. And I have no idea why I'm here!" Her optics are drawn to the sparks still on the floor, and her mouth drops open in surprise. She holds out her hands, and the sparks start to float up in front of her, forming a rotating, vertical ring. "But if you give me a minute, I think there's somebody here who can answer your questions."

Megatron has a look on his face. It's the 'if I still had my fusion cannon, I'd shoot you with it' face that you're becoming pretty familiar with. You're not sure if it makes you feel better or worse about this whole situation. "Are you a blacksmith?" you ask. Under normal circumstances, it would be very silly to ask a newborn something like that. But it seems relevant, somehow.

"Well, I did have to stoke a forge," she says. "So, I guess I am!" As if to prove the point, the sparks float to the far side of the room and begin to move rapidly through their stages of development, just like Jade had done. Only this time it's clear that Jade is directing the process. You have no idea how.

There are six new 'bots, in total. Three 'he's and three 'she's, by the looks of it. One of them steps forward - a minibot about Rewind's size, painted in shades of orange. She has a symbol in the same position as Jade's galaxy, only hers appears to be a stylized yellow star.

"Did somebody call for exposition?" she asks.

"Fucking fuck," says a flyer. A seeker, actually, by the looks of him. You didn't think seekers could be forged. But then, you also didn't think that sparks would manifest on the Lost Light. Or that Tyrest would go nuts. Or that Megatron would be your prisoner-slash-co-captain. So, you should probably expect the unexpected at this point.

"I concur with that sentiment." This one's a motorcycle, also with green optics. (Is this going to be a thing, now?) She exudes elegance and poise. You're not sure how that makes you feel.

"Pretty sure that's Megatron, yo," says a speedster. He's about the size you used to be, before the Matrix reformatted you. "Fuck it. Guess we're transforming robots, now."

"Aww shiiit," says a dark blue microscrope, about Perceptor's size. "That's totes Megatron. But like, from the original cartoon. Not the movies with the explosions." She turns her fuchsia optics to the 'bot beside her. "Oh em gee, Callie. You look adorbs ay eff."

The 'bot in question is the largest of the bunch. A spacecraft, you think. And yup, green optics are officially A Thing. "Thank you. You look rather fetching, yourself," he says. "But I must confess that I find this all quite disconcerting."

There's quite a bit to unpack here, and you're quickly running out of patience. "So, are you guys gonna try to kill us, or what?" They know who Megatron is. Maybe they think you're the bad guys, since he's with you.

The orange minibot gives you an arch look. "I imagine that's a fairly standard outcome for these kinds of situations. But no, we aren't." She points to the Autobrand on Megatron's torso. "Unless I'm mistaken, that symbol means that none of you are planning to engage in universal conquest."

"You are correct," says Megatron.

You resist the urge to make a snide comment about how he'd been planning to do exactly that only a year previously. But you don't think it would make a good impression on your apparently-not-homicidal guests.

"What was that you said about a cartoon?" asks Rung, which startles you. You'd honestly forgotten that he was there.

"Not sure you're ready for that info just yet," says the speedster. "It'll blow your minds. We're talkin' brains spattered on the walls, here."

"I think it should be fine, actually," says the minibot. "This iteration of their reality bears only a shallow resemblance to the stories that you and Roxy are familiar with." She turns to Rung. "We all originate from a different universe. Indeed, from an entirely different multiversal cluster. Some of our number are familiar with your species and its more notable members through narratives aimed primarily at children, presented in the medium of animation. And, if Dave's hyperbolic imagery of 'brain spattering' wasn't enough of an indication - we were all organic beings up until a few minutes ago. At least, from our subjective temporal perspectives."

"And you expect us to just take this at your word?" asks Megatron.

She gives him the barest hint of a smirk. "I don't expect you to take anyone at their word."

You can't help but laugh. "She has you there, Megs."

To Rung, she says: "But I think you may be able to corroborate our origins, if Roxy undoes the Voidy Thing."

"I was wonderin' about that," says Roxy, walking over to Rung. She faces him, holds out her hands, and closes her optics. "Someone got ya real good."

Megatron whirls on you, optics blazing. "Are you really going to let this farce proceed, Rodimus?"

"Chill," you say. "I just want to see how this plays out. Rung seems okay with it, yeah?"

"Aaaand yoink!" says Roxy, then steps back with a grin. "There ya go. Totes de-voided."

It's the strangest thing. Rung has been there this whole time - you know he has - but it almost feels like he's just arrived.

"Oh," he says, and reaches up to take off his glasses. His optics are wide.

"You remember the Game?" asks the minibot.

"I wasn't a player," Rung replies. "But I knew the players. I was...a tagalong, you could say."

"We're all players, from three interconnected session," says the spacecraft. "Though I admittedly never actually played in my own session, so I could also be classified as a 'tagalong'." To Roxy: "Perhaps we should introduce ourselves properly?"

"Oh, sure. I'm Roxy!"

"I am Calliope," says the spacecraft. "But I prefer to go by Callie."

"Rose," says the minibot.

"Kanaya Maryam," says the motorcycle. She moves closer to Rose in a decidedly protective fashion.

"I've already introduced myself!" says Jade.

"Dave Strider," says Dave.

The seeker glares, crossing his arms over his torso. "This is fucking asinine," he says.

There's a burst of green light, and Jade is suddenly beside him. So she can float and teleport. "And Mr. Grumpypants over here is Karkat."

"Firstly - in case you haven't noticed - none of us are wearing any pants! Because we're all fucking robots!" He actually sounds a bit like Starscream when he yells. Which might get very annoying, very quickly. "Secondly: I'M NOT GRUMPY, I'M FUCKING PISSED! WHICH IS A TOTALLY REASONABLE RESPONSE TO WAKING UP AS A ROBOT AFTER ALL THE SHIT WE JUST WENT THROUGH!"

"Check out those bomb-ass First Guardian powers, though," says Dave Strider. "Hot damn. Also: not in a coma or possessed. Which is pretty fucking awesome."

Karkat rounds on him. "CAN YOU NOT BE SO FUCKING COOL ABOUT THIS?!"

Dave sighs. "Hey Jade? How's about we use those hella-awesome-not-in-a-coma powers to take Karkat somewhere a little less crowded."

She sighs, too. "Yeah, okay." She gives the room a wave. "See you guys later!"

The three of them disappear in another flash of green light.

"It would seem that we're in a universe that spawned before the Green Sun was destroyed," says Rose.

"It gets destroyed?" asks Rung, sounding surprised.

"Eventually, yes," says Kanaya. "Though we do not know precisely how."

Rung rubs the back of his helm. "I'm - well, I suppose you should just call me Rung."

"And I'm Rodimus, the captain!" Megatron shoots you a dirty look, so you amend: "Fine. Co-captain. With Megatron over here."

Roxy gasps. "Rodimus Prime?"

"Technically yes," you say, puffing out your torso.

Megatron says, "The half of the Matrix in your possession was destroyed, was it not?"

"In the process of saving half of all Cybertronians," you remind him. "You're welcome, by the way."

"So this is like a whole story, huh," says Roxy. "Just one question: when you opened the Matrix for the first time, did an epic pop rock anthem start playin'?"

"What's 'poprock'?" you ask her.

"Enough of this," Megatron cuts in. "What are we going to do with them?"

"I say we let them stay, if they want," you say.

"Their arrival doesn't bode well," says Rung. "But I think they'll be instrumental in preventing the worst possible outcome."

Megatron examines Rung, frowning. "How do we know that this 'Roxy' didn't compromise you in some manner?"

"If she has, one must wonder why she stopped with me. Why not enthrall the captains of the ship, as well?"

Megatron sighs. "Very well."

Rung smiles. "I do have one condition, though. If you'll indulge me."