TCS Write-off April 2016 Results

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TCS Write-off April 2016 Results

Postby Marcuse » Sat May 07, 2016 6:22 pm

The results of the April Write-off are as follows:

The View From the AT-AT by Gisambards with 8 votes
Towards Peace by BrownRecluse with 7 votes
Dawn of Just Us by FacetheCitizen with 2 votes
Not Today by CarrieVS with 1 vote

And the winner is…


She kindly sent a few words about The View From the AT-AT:

Gisambards wrote:Thank you for the votes.

I'm not very good at writing serious short stories, which is why this one is purely comedic.
That said, this story does reflect my general attitude to world-building: I think certain franchises, of which Star Wars is a prime example, have a tendency to focus purely on factual world-building - creating lots of excellent planets and races and factions and stuff - but forget to round the universe they've created out by actually telling us what people living in that universe actually think about those things. I find this is what I prefer to focus on in fan-fiction, and this story does try to delve a little into that, albeit in a comedic fashion.

There is a thread to discuss the works here, and the stories have been reposted with their names (barring works where the author has asked to remain anonymous) here.

Last of all, a huge thank you to everyone who competed in this contest. It’s been a pleasure to see so many people participate and write amazing work they then bravely put up for judging. Thank you also to everyone who read these stories, writebot got over a hundred thumbs over the course of the contest!

The next competition writing phase will probably be in a little while. I have a small person arriving in June. Stay tuned and I will try to run one as soon as I can get a full night’s sleep.
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The View From The AT-AT

Postby gisambards » Sat May 07, 2016 6:23 pm

Fandom: Star Wars

Captain Merste tapped his fingers distractedly against his thigh, trying to meditate but finding it hard against the vibrations running through the walker and the loud whir and thump of its legs.

His meditation was complicated further by Corporal Sulfcol, the pilot, starting to talk again: ‘I hate snow. It always makes me need to piss.’

‘Mm,’ said Private Balbrun, the gunner, who wasn’t listening. He was focused instead on a picture of the late Corporal Jubcre’s girlfriend, which he’d stolen from his locker when they’d been cleaning it out. Merste, with his usual naively poetic view of the world, had initially thought Balbrun had taken it to remember their fallen comrade by, perhaps one day to find poor Jubcre’s girl – Mayelsa, he believed she was called – and comfort her in her grief. Instead, as Balbrun had explained to him without being asked while they’d waited for their AT-AT to be deployed from the dropship, he’d taken it because he thought she was stunningly beautiful and needed something to keep him company during the long lonely nights on the Executor.

‘She has a fantastic ass, sir,’ he’d summarised, pointing to it in case Merste hadn’t noticed. He had of course, but felt it disrespectful to stare given that Jubcre was dead and had hardly given his permission. He also detested the word ‘ass’ – it was so… so Corellian. He really wished there were more Coruscanti among the rank-and-file, so he had someone to talk to outside of the officers’ lounge, but then he supposed if there were any they’d be from the lower reaches of the city and thus quite undesirable – scuzzy types who grew up stealing and would much rather a dirty Twi’lek than a nice, proper, human girl.

Merste now found it quite impossible to meditate – now only being able to see Jubcre’s girlfriend’s rear when he closed his eyes – so he sat down and focused on the view from the windscreen instead.

Snow, mostly.

‘How far is it now?’ he asked.

Sulfcol turned to look at him, completely removing his hands from the console. ‘Telemetry says…’

‘Hold on,’ said Merste.


‘Neither of you have your hands on, you know, any of the things you use to steer this thing.’

‘What? Oh, yeah, sure. No sir, this old thing practically drives itself.’ He patted the console, but then a strange whirring filled the cockpit so he took his hand away. Eventually the whirring stopped, so they presumed it was nothing and carried on. ‘Anyway,’ Sulfcol continued, ‘telemetry says it’s still a couple klicks, sir’

‘Right. After how many bloody hours? Couldn’t they have dropped us any nearer?’

‘I don’t know, sir; I just drive the thing.’

‘Right. You know, if this thing drives itself, why do we need three of us up here?’

‘… well… in case something happens, I suppose, sir.’

‘Right. However, if I temporarily leave the cockpit and see how the men are doing, nothing’s going to explode, is it?’

Sulfcol thought about it. ‘Given that you’re the commanding officer here, I feel like you should know whether or not you’re allowed to leave the cockpit, sir. With all due respect, sir.’

‘Right. Yes. You’re right. I’m going to check on the troops.’

‘Whatever you want, sir. As I say, sir, you are in charge.’

‘Right. Good.’

Merste opened the cockpit door.

‘Oh no sir,’ Balbrun suddenly said.


‘Everything’s exploded, sir.’

Merste tried to work out what he was talking about.

‘He’s joking, sir,’ said Sulfcol.

‘… Right. Very good, carry on.’

He walked down the inside of the AT-AT’s “neck” and then climbed down a short ladder to where the troops were waiting, standing in formation.

‘How is everything?’ he asked.

There was a moment of silence, before one trooper cleared his throat and said: ‘How do you mean, sir?’

‘Is everything alright?’

There was another silence. ‘Well…’ the same trooper said. ‘… you know…’

‘… What?’

‘It’d be nice to be able to sit down, sir. I don’t see why we have to stand up for the whole journey, sir.’

‘Right. Well… are there not any seats back here?’

‘No, sir.’

‘Right. Well.’

‘Do you think you could have a word with General Veers next time you see him, sir?’

‘Right. Yes. Alright. Absolutely.’

Captain Merste had given his men the impression he knew General Veers very well – on a first name basis. It wasn’t true, although his older brother had been in Veers’ year at school (Thoris Darus Memorial College, one of the best on Coruscant, which Merste and all of his other brothers – and both of his sisters’ husbands – had gone to as well) and they had met once in the changing room in the Executor’s swimming facilities, when Merste had ambushed him in an attempt to ingratiate himself to the general by telling him who his brother was. Their meeting had gone as follows:

‘Excuse me, General Veers, sir?’

‘Yes, Captain?’

‘I just wanted to introduce myself, sir. Captain Tyriss Merste, sir. You were at Thoris Darus with my brother, sir. Emildas Merste, sir.’

‘Emildas Merste?’


‘What, old ‘Fairycakes’ Merste?’

‘Er… possibly, sir…’

‘Ha. I’d forgotten all about that little prig. How is he?’

‘He’s dead, sir. He was on the Death Star, sir. He was old Tarkin’s personal assistant’s secretary, sir. Or maybe that was the other way around, sir.’

‘Really? He did well for himself, then. Couldn’t tell his elbow from his arsehole last I met him. Then again, he was old Tarkin’s type, if you catch my drift. Eh? Eh?’




‘Prissy and blonde, just how Wilhuff liked them, force rest his soul. Eh?’


‘I mean, gosh, force rest both their souls, of course. Terribly sorry about your brother of course, he was a decent cove, all told. Er, who do you work for?’

‘I work for you, sir. That’s why I’m introducing myself, sir.’

‘Oh. Right. Good. Carry on then.’


And then they’d gone back to towelling themselves off.

Merste wasn’t sure, but he suspected this didn’t constitute knowing his superior well enough to call him by his first name. Particularly given that he didn’t actually know what Veers’ first name was (he had heard from Captain Dwingjam, one of the other officers, that it was Maximilian, but that was a bit too daft a name to believe).

Merste waited for a moment to see if the troopers had anything else they wanted to say, and then said ‘Right. Good. Okay.’ and went back into the cockpit, where Sulfcol and Balbrun were having quite a heated discussion about which member of the Max Rebo Band had the best solo work – Sulfcol going for Doda Bodonawieedo, Balbrun for Droopy McCool.

Merste – who was more of a Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes sort of man – wandered around the cockpit for a bit, scanning the horizon. Their AT-AT wasn’t at the front of the formation, and up ahead was Captain Harthe’s. Harthe was an utter cock, and it gave Merste a small bit of pleasure to see that his back right leg was a bit wonky, giving his AT-AT a slight limp. Of course, it then occurred to Merste that, firstly, that was incredibly petty, and secondly that if Harthe’s AT-AT went down that would leave Merste’s own walker as the Rebels’ main target. Merste was suddenly really quite nervous, and it occurred to him just how utterly shit it was that General Veers – who according to the propaganda back home was supposed to be leading the charge – was somewhere at the back of the column.

At least Lord Vader would be leading the first strike teams into the Rebel base personally. Merste had always respected Lord Vader, who he saw as pretty much the only one of the higher-ups actually willing to put himself in just as much danger as everyone else.

Of course, it probably helped that Lord Vader had his Force powers, something Merste had been quite sceptical of – he’d heard about the Jedi from his father, who’d served under Admiral Yularen (force rest his soul, another casualty of the Death Star) during the Clone Wars, but had always thought the old man (who had retired and was now a diplomatic attaché kicking his heels on Naboo) had been exaggerating. He’d lost this scepticism after seeing Lord Vader strangle Major Parcose to death from the other end of the room. It would probably be rather hard not to respect someone after seeing them do that, though.

Merste was distracted by the sight of the Rebel base on the horizon.

‘Oh,’ he said. ‘Shit.’

‘What?’ asked Sulfcol.

‘It’s the base.’


Balbrun pointed to it.

‘Oh yeah.’

The radio crackled. ‘This is Harthe. We see the target.’

Hah, though Merste. I saw it first.

‘Confirmed, Captain,’ came Veers’ voice. ‘All walkers, hear this: commence firing immediately.’

‘Right. Alright chaps,’ said Merste, ‘spin up the guns. Just like we practiced.’

Firing commenced. The guns on the walkers were very impressive, and the Rebels must have been being cut to ribbons. They were returning fire, but not with anything that could penetrate the AT-ATs’ armour.

‘Oh shit!’ laughed Sulfcol. ‘How much damage are we doing, sir?’

‘I don’t know. A lot I presume. I left my binoculars back on the ship.’


‘Sulfcol, kindly stop pointing out my failures as a leader and put your mind to the task at hand. Look,’ he said, pointing, ‘snowspeeders.’

As if on cue, Harthe’s voice came over the radio: ‘We have snowspeeders inbound, I repeat, snowspeeders inbound.’

‘Now hear this,’ announced Veers. ‘Fire upon the inbound snowspeeders.’

‘No shit, General,’ muttered Balbrun, shifting the guns’ aim.

One of the snowspeeders exploded in a flash of red light. ‘Wow,’ said Merste, ‘was that us?’

‘No,’ replied Balbrun, ‘that was Harthe.’


Merste then noticed what the snowspeeders were doing to Harthe’s walker: circling it, with a rope attached to the back of the speeder in such a way that…

‘Oh shit,’ said Merste, just as the rope detached from the snowspeeder and Harthe’s walker began to trip.

They could hear the creaking from their cockpit, as the AT-AT’s leg joints grinded, desperately trying to move forward, and then the whole thing fell slowly forward, hitting the ground with a violent crash.

‘That’s not good,’ muttered Balbrun, as the snowspeeders came in for another strike. This time Harthe’s armour couldn’t take it, and the whole walker went up in an almighty blast.

‘Right,’ said Merste, ‘is there any way to make sure that doesn’t happen to us?’

‘Um,’ said Sulfcol. ‘No sir.’

‘Right. Great. Whose fucking idea was it to give these things such long legs?’

‘Sir, I’ve been piloting one of these things for nearly a year now. I have moved well beyond being angry at how stupidly fucking designed they are.’

‘Right. Great.’ Merste felt that rather summed up the Imperial war effort. A vast number of Imperial assets had gone AWOL after the Death Star went up – some out of fear the Rebels would win, but far more after realising just what the Emperor had been up to, most not finding out about the Death Star until after the Rebels released the plans and footage of the battle to the general public. They’d lost most of their best engineers, and a lot of idiots had had to be promoted by default, and that was why instead of the reliable AT-TEs of old they now had these stupid things, purportedly designed by General Veers himself.

‘Oh fuck!’ Balbrun shouted, as another snowspeeder burst into flames. Merste remembered they were in the middle of a battle, and brought himself back, slightly horrified he had actually zoned out during a live combat scenario.

‘Was that us?’ he asked.

‘Yes sir.’

‘Good shooting, corporal. Although there are still quite a few of them.’

‘Yeah, I noticed. Uh, sir.’

‘Very good. Right. I’m going in back to check on the chaps, alright? Are you two okay for now?’

‘All things considered, sir?’ said Sulfcol. ‘Things could be better.’

‘Right, well yes, but that does rather go without saying, doesn’t it?’

‘I guess it does, sir.’

‘Quite. I’ll be right back. I expect this cockpit to still be here when I return.’


‘That’s a joke.’

‘We’re a little busy, sir.’

‘Right, I suppose you are.’

He went back through the walker’s neck and back down the ladder, this time nearly falling off as some explosion outside shook the whole vehicle.

Despite their helmets, which did not lend themselves easily to conveying emotion (or, Merste had often noticed, allowing for peripheral vision, another bizarre design choice on the part of HQ), he got the distinct impression the men were not particularly happy. The walker shook again, and they all tried once more to not knock each other over.

‘Sir,’ said one trooper (possibly the one from before), ‘I really wish they’d given us somewhere to sit down.’

‘I’m sure. You know, I don’t actually get a chair either, up in the cockpit. The pilot and the gunner do, of course, but I suppose if anyone does they should.’

‘I bet General Veers has a chair, sir.’

‘I’m sure he does. And one day, private, when…’

‘Corporal, sir.’

‘Right, yes, none of you have any insignia on, but anyway: but one day, corporal, when you’ve made it to general, you can have a chair of your very own.’

‘Thank you sir. Your patronising me really makes me feel better.’

‘Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, Corporal.’

Merste was then distracted, however, because a hole appeared in the floor between him and the troopers, and someone started shooting up through it, hitting the corporal.

‘Return fire!’ he shouted, and they did, but not before a small sphere was thrown up into the walker, landing at Merste’s feet.

He had time to realise it was a thermal detonator, and then realised whatever he said next would go down in history as his last words.

‘Right. Oh. Shit.’

General Maximilian Veers and Lord “Darth” Vader each received several commendations for their bravery in the Assault on Echo Base. As usual, the latter didn’t turn up to the ceremony, which everyone was secretly glad about. General Veers did turn up but woke up the next morning demoted to Captain, having made several drunken assertions about the Emperor’s sexual habits. Captain Veers would go on to be killed by a Wookie at the Battle of Endor (or possibly the Battle of Endor’s Forest Moon, an ambiguity that has since resulted in two decades of edit warring on Holopedia, the free holonet encyclopedia), and Lord Vader would also die under unknown circumstances in the space theatre of that same battle.

The entire crew of AT-AT 006, including commanding officer Captain Tyriss Merste and the entire troop detachment assigned to it, were killed when the AT-AT exploded, an action for which Commander Luke Skywalker of the Rebel Alliance would receive his second Medal of Bravery. Captain Merste was going to be nominated for a commendation, but thanks to ex-General Veers’ replacement General Durple Dwingjam’s lack of organisational skills (a character flaw that would ultimately result in his being executed by Lord Vader) the paperwork for this was lost somewhere in the Executor’s administration offices until, ironically enough, also being destroyed with the rest of the ship at the Battle of Endor/’s Forest Moon.

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Towards Peace

Postby BROWNRECLUSE » Sat May 07, 2016 6:24 pm

This is a Transformers fanfiction piece, drawing on elements from both the G1 and IDW Comics universes.

Shaping Metal

Daylight slowly retreated behind the mountains surrounding the valley north of the colony of Caminus. A series of impeccably crafted metal structures were neatly arranged by a pocket of forested land, the remaining daylight glinting off of their golden skin. Not far from where these beautiful shapes stood was a canopy tent, covering a blacksmith’s forge, and with it, a large anvil, a smelter, several work benches and a plethora of tools.

A lone figure stood in front of intense flames, handling a flattened piece of partly molten metal with a set of tongs, carefully rotating it inside the white-hot belly of the forge. Once it was the right temperature, he removed it and placed it upon the anvil. Holding it in place with the tongs in his left hand, the smith held his right arm out, and in the speed of thought, his forearm split open into two sections held in place by a hinge. His hand folded inward while a long, thin blade extended outward, snapping into place. The smith slowly ran the blade across the edge of the metal, cutting several precision curves. He jabbed at the trimmings with the blade and placed them into the smelter. His wrist reopened, and the blade retracted inside. His hand unfolded and returned to its original position.

The smith plunged the piece of metal into a small container of water, smiling at the satisfying hiss of steam as the metal rapidly cooled. Once finished, he inspected his work with red glowing eyes, and set it down on a neatly organized table. He stepped away from his forge, and walked outside of the tent. Segments of his metal skin shifted as he stretched his back and scanned over the sculptures that stood at the same height as the native trees of this valley.

“You’ve been out here this entire time?”, said a gravelly voice from over the smith’s shoulder. He turned and caught the sight of a long, curved hovercraft that had pulled inside under the canopy of the smith’s shop. The vehicle split apart at the seams, and the smith watched as panels flared out and components folded inward, producing arms and legs. The front of the vehicle had folded down and revealed a gentle face with lines of age peeking from behind crafted metal plates that resembled a beard. The vehicle was now a humanoid robot; Terminus, one of the colony’s elder Council members. He looked up at the smith, a good two or three heads in measurement above his own.

“The festival only requires one sculpture, Corum. In less than a week, you’ve produced five pieces. And they are all exquisite beyond compare. They truly capture the style of the pre-Novae period on Cybertron. You have a gift indeed, my friend.”

An awkward grin crept upon Corum’s face. He was caught off guard by Terminus’ compliment. “I haven’t felt this… inspired in a very long time.”

The old robot stood in front of a large spiraled sculpture, soft blue light from his aged optics reflected in its surface. “That’s enough for today. You could use some rest.” Corum nodded as he began securing his tools.

A Meeting in the Courtyard

Corum sat on the recharging slab in his small home, his eyes fixated on a long, bulky storage container that sat in the corner. He stood up and walked over to it, knelt down and undid the large metal snaps that held the container shut. He stared at the contents for a long while, then slammed the lid shut and secured the snaps back into place. This was a routine that he had followed without fail almost immediately after he arrived on Caminus.

Corum began to recall the events that brought him to this quaint settlement. He remembered sitting behind the controls of a small attack fighter, one of many that bore the shield of the Decepticon movement. A strong smell of burning metal and electric sparks as the fighter tore through the atmosphere, its hull perforated from precision lasers. He shuddered as he recalled the impact of the fighter smashing into the ground, not far from where his forge now sat. And he remembered the gently graveled voice of an elderly bot saying he would be all right as he blacked out amongst the ruins of the spacecraft.

It had been roughly five years by Cybertronian measurement since his arrival. And yet he constantly dwelled on the events before then – the chaos inherent from a war that spanned more than four million years. A war that left his homeworld nothing more than a desiccated shell drifting through space, and reduced a population once spanning millions now into a few thousand individuals. A pointless war that ended for him when he fled for the stars, caught in a hail of laser fire.

Corum stared at his reflection in the front window of his house. Even after five years, he still found himself uncomfortable with the features of his frame. Indeed, much of him was rebuilt from scratch, as the impact of the crash was so severe that there wasn’t much left besides his spark chamber and upper torso. Running his fingers over the carved lines on his faceplate, he began to wonder why Terminus toiled so long to revive him.

These were the thoughts that kept him up at night, that prevented him from easing his guard. He slammed a curled fist into the wall by his slab, and stormed out of his house into the crisp night air.

The settlement was quiet. The sound of crickets chirping in tall grasses echoed through metal streets, and the light of a half-full moon glinted off of the impeccably polished skin of the houses and shops. As he walked, Corum heard voices and the clinking of glassware emanating from an orange glow around the corner. He turned and saw Terminus seated in the open courtyard in front of New Maccadam’s Oil House, a decanter of a glowing orange liquid and several glasses on the table in front of him. Seated to his right were Steelshard and Moonstone, two of Caminus’ residents. Terminus smiled when he saw Corum and motioned for him to come over.

“Corum! Another late night, I see. Please, join me for a drink,” he said warmly as he filled two glasses with distilled Nucleon. “Steelshard? Moonstone?”, he asked, holding the decanter over the used glasses that sat on the table.

“No thank you, Terminus”, Moonstone smiled as she rose from her seat. “We’ve been out past our recharge cycle as it were.” Steelshard nodded, and clasped Terminus’ hand in a firm grip. “We’ll see you in the morning, sir”. He turned to Corum and nodded in acknowledgment.

“Goodnight, you two!”, called Terminus as the pair walked back towards their house. Corum watched them both, noting the angular shape of Steelshard’s frame and how it clashed with the softer, more feminine curves of Moonstone’s body. He looked puzzled as he saw them holding hands for a moment before Steelshard drew Moonstone close to his shoulder.

“Amazing, isn’t it?” Corum turned to Terminus and watched him polish off his glass. “Steelshard… now he was a Decepticon Intelligence Agent, if I recall correctly. And Moonstone was a field medic for the Autobots. Sworn enemies in the most gruesome of conflicts. And here they are. They’re conjux endura. Beloved mates to one another.

“I thought he looked familiar.”

Terminus poured himself some more Nucleon. “Yes, I recall that purple badge on your armor.”

Corum took a sip from his glass. “How did they get here?”

“Pull up a chair.”

The Final Flight of the Six Shanix

“It must have been about 200 years or so before you arrived on Caminus." Terminus stretched his legs out in his seat as he began to warm to his story. “Steelshard and Moonstone, they happened to be part of some smaller regiments that were in the Oneidas cluster. Apparently, a magnetic storm wreaked havoc on both their vessels and they ended up on a small planetoid. After 5 or 6 days of tension, there was a cease of hostilities.

“I can’t remember if they gave up shooting because of the futility of the situation or if they ran out of ammunition. Remind me to ask them.” Corum sat with his arms folded as he listened. “Moonstone was the one who activated a distress signal. And we happened to intercept it.” Terminus chuckled, the effects of the Nucleon becoming apparent as he slapped his knee. “You know, the rest of the Council hated the idea of us having our own Comm Network. We spent so long away from the nightmare of Cybertron. We chose this planet to spend our days on in seclusion, but I felt we should keep tabs on the rest of the galaxy. Oh, I fought them for days on this, and finally they relented.

“Not even one week in after re-installing the Subspace antenna and the HoloVid system around town, every screen on Caminus blew up with Moonstone’s call for help. Arbulus and I, well, we felt we couldn’t abandon anyone, even if it was an Autobot. Hell, we would’ve probably helped if it was a Decepticon.”

“Decepticons rarely made distress calls. And the ones who did, were usually shot for displaying weakness.”

Terminus seemed to sober up for a minute. “That’s most unfortunate.”

Corum raised his glass to his lips. “Yes, I suppose it was.”

“Anyway, Arbulus and I fired up the Six Shanix and we headed off for the Oneidas cluster. Only 0.1 light-years away, just a quick jump over. I engaged the shields to protect us from the magnetic storm, and we did a soft landing near the location of the signal.

“We disembarked and found Moonstone shortly afterward, working to stabilize an overloading spark of one of the Decepticon troops, while Steelshard looked on. And she tried her best to save him, but it was too late." Terminus paused, tapping his glass with his fingers. “I was almost certain that Steelshard would have shot her at that moment. Hell, it’s what Decepticons normally did with Autobots. But he grabbed her, and his eyes were so full of hurt, and he just… He just hugged her. The only two survivors. I think she was just as surprised as we were.

“When they finally noticed us, they were shocked. Actual Cybertronians who weren’t wearing faction symbols. I introduced myself and said that we would not harm them, that we could help get them home. It was Steelshard who spoke up first, that he wasn’t going home. He was tired of the war, tired of the killing. Moonstone nodded. She wanted to get away from it all, as well.”

Corum sipped his drink. “So what happened next?”

Terminus sat upright in his chair, setting his glass on the table. “We brought them to Caminus. It was the first time that we had any outsiders in over a millennium, since Arbulus and Oculon came from the Lithone disaster. They were vetted by the Council, and both of them discarded their brands.

“Caminus was founded on the idea that we could have a normal life, that we could contribute something to the galaxy other than senseless killing and violence. It’s all that Cybertron was known for. From the days of Nova Prime to the Functionalist Rule and the Great Clampdown to the –“.

“I know of the Functionalists, Terminus. It’s what the Decepticons rose up against”, Corum interrupted sternly.

The old bot piped up. “But it didn’t stop there, did it? No, it didn’t! The Senate was dead and the death kept spreading. And how it spread, Corum. How many worlds did it consume? How many lives did it snuff out? Tell me!”

Corum tightened his grip on his drink. “I see. You need someone to blame, then?”

“Boy, if I wanted to blame you, I would have let you die in that wreckage!” Terminus flung his glass and bolted up from his chair. Corum clenched his fists and began to rise, and relaxed as Terminus walked a few paces out from the courtyard. He hung his head, sighed, and turned back.

“Corum, did I ever tell you I was a slaver for the Functionalist Senate? ‘Resource Appropriation Specialist’ was my official title, but let’s call it what it was – a slaver. I was in charge of subjugating my own brothers and sisters to be used as slave labor. The Energon mines on Luna 1. Waste Disposal at the Sea of Rust. It didn’t matter where they were sent, or who we took. The Functionalists were monsters, wrapped in the guise of a free republic.

“And one day, one day I had enough. The screams, the beatings, the pleas for mercy – it all had to stop. I couldn’t live with myself any longer. I was extremely fortunate to have a connection in the Senate that allowed me to relinquish my title. I made the case for being transferred into the Trade Sector – to help open commerce routes in the Rigelian corridor. The Senate agreed, and I was given the Six Shanix as my cargo vessel.

“And I filled that ship with as many bots as I could muster – from all walks of life on Cybertron. I smuggled them on board – final tally, one hundred and five. We set off for the Rigelian corridor, and along the way, my stowaways crafted a perfect duplicate of the ship’s black box. Some scraps from a few derelicts we found along the way, and-”. A sharp crack echoed through the courtyard as Terminus slammed the palms of his hands together. “We made a convincing accident. As far as anyone back home was concerned, the Six Shanix was lost, and all hands unaccounted for.

“I found this backwater planet and we set down. It was perfect. No indigenous life at an advanced state. Plenty of natural materials and resources. All I asked was that we do not over-develop, that we preserve this planet’s natural beauty as much as possible. And we have been here since then, Corum. This colony is about second chances. It’s about letting go of the ugliness inside of us, and being free to live, without getting the rest of the galaxy caught in our wake!”

Terminus sat back down in his chair, a solemn look crept across his tired face. He reached for the glowing decanter and raised it to his lips.

“Terminus, do you really believe that we all deserve second chances? No matter what we’ve done?”

The old bot looked at Corum. He didn’t say anything.

A Place in the Stars

Corum tensed his massive arms as he slowly lifted one of his sculptures from off of the back of a large vehicle resembling a dump truck. He set the heavy shape down in the center of the town square – a depiction of golden fire, the flames intricately carved from bright duranium.

“Phew, that was heavier than it looked”, the truck bellowed as it slowly shifted into a stout robot.

“I appreciate the help, Steamhammer,” said Corum as he clasped the bot’s chunky hand.

“Anytime, Corum. Don’t know how you do it. This one is your best yet. See you around.” Steamhammer lumbered off down towards his shop on the east end of town. Corum produced a piece of fine cloth from a compartment in his leg and began to polish the sculpture when the vidscreen in the town square flickered on.

A news reel began playing, shifting images of humans boarding sleek spacecraft and an enormous space station in orbit around a familiar blue planet. Snippets of video showed a group of humans being greeted by several representatives of various alien cultures during a ceremony to welcome their species as the newest members of the Galactic Coalition. Corum focused his gaze and recognized several humans, and the Autobot who stood next to them.


A voice called out from the vidscreen speakers. “Joining Ambassador Spike Witwicky of Earth during the ceremony is Optimus Prime of Cybertron. Here’s what he had to say regarding this monumental occasion.” The video cut to the noble Autobot, his red and blue armored frame glowing in front of the camera lights. Corum could hear the pride in the deep, captivating voice he was famous for.

“I am extremely privileged to stand here with my longtime friend Spike Witwicky, to support him as a representative of planet Earth as it becomes a member of the greater galactic community. For not only does this mark a new chapter for the people of Earth, but it also marks the end of one of the darkest chapters of my peoples’ history. On this day, five years ago, the Autobots of Cybertron made it clear that Earth would be the last front for our civil war. With the Decepticons defeated, it became our personal mission to help Earth recover. Now, as they join the rest of the Galactic Coalition, the Autobots and I will work to help heal the wounds elsewhere that were caused in our conflict.”

Corum felt his fists ball up. Numerous Camiens moved throughout the town around him, but in that moment he felt alone. He began thinking of the battle he fled from, the battle on Earth. The combined forces of the Autobots and the humans proved to be more than the Decepticons could overcome. The humans were grossly underestimated. They weren’t the small, weak meatbags he originally thought them to be. They were creative and tenacious, and had an unmatched survival instinct.

“So that’s the last Prime”, said Terminus as he passed Corum. “He seems different from all the other ones.” Corum looked at the elder bot for a moment, then looked back at the screen.

“I believe I owe you an apology, son.”

Corum sighed. “No need to apologize. That Nucleon had an edge to it.” Terminus grinned.

“I meant to answer your question. And the answer is yes. We all deserve second chances. Even you. I know who you were before you came here. What you’ve done. I healed your wounds and gave you a new name. I did these things to ensure that this could be your way out. Your means of having a life without darkness and pain."

Terminus clasped Corum on his shoulder. “Do you still have that chest in your house?”


“Bury it. Or burn it, like these flames you’ve sculpted. All it does is serve as a reminder of your past. I saved its contents, but it is up to you to let them go. Until you do that, you can never truly move forward.” Terminus began to walk towards the Council chamber. Corum watched him leave, then stood in front of the golden flames and stared at his reflection for a long while.

Owning the Past

Corum jolted up from his recharge slab as his house shook around him. Rushing outside, he saw several plumes of black smoke rising from the center of town. He could feel the ground tremble from explosions. Several bots blew by, running towards the wilderness.

“What’s going on?!?” he yelled.

“Decepticons! They’ll kill us all!”

Corum ran up the street a-ways, and peering from around the corner of New Maccadam’s, he saw the battered combat vessel perched outside the Council chamber. He recognized Needlenose and Ransack as they held several of the colonists at gunpoint. There was the bright green frame of Long Haul as he began piling looted supplies by the ship’s ramp. And the hulking sight of Apeface as he grabbed several of the colonists, tossing their smaller bodies to the ground like toys.

“Hey Needlenose, why are we even bothering with these peasants? All we need is the Energon.”

“Apeface, you can’t build an army without troops, ya idiot. Boy, you sure were the brains of your outfit, weren’t you?” Needlenose caught the sight of Steelshard and promptly ran over and belted him across the face. “We can start with this one. Provided he survives. Starscream would love to have words with you, deserter scum!”


Corum ran back towards his house. After all these years. These idiots are going to kill in his name, he thought to himself. Slamming the door behind him, he flung open the snaps on the large chest, and stared at the contents one last time. He removed the rounded helmet on his head and flung it to the floor. Grabbing a small torque wrench, he quickly unfastened the bolts that held his uncomfortable chestplate in place. All of the panels and plating that Terminus himself built for Corum as he lay on the brink of shutdown were discarded. Reaching into the box, Corum began reattaching his old skin. Heavy grey armor at the shoulders and hips, a squared chestplate that still bore a few flecks of purple paint and several dents from Optimus Prime’s fists. A more angular grey helmet.

He looked himself over before laying his red eyes on the last piece. A hefty black cylinder. He snatched it from the chest and stormed outside towards the center of town.

The battered frame of Steelshard writhed on the ground as Needlenose and Ransack stomped away at him. Long Haul had subdued Moonstone when she tried to intervene. And Apeface laughed as he tossed Terminus into Corum’s golden sculpture, smashing it into pieces. Apeface transformed into his colossal primate mode to continue torturing the old bot.

Terminus closed his eyes as he awaited the massive fists to smash down on him, and shuddered when the right shoulder and chestplate of the brutish Decepticon exploded. Apeface fell backwards as black smoke and bright purple fluid poured from the gaping holes in his body.

Needlenose and Ransack looked over at Apeface, and then over at the towering figure in the center of the street, a wisp of smoke trailing from the end of a massive fusion cannon mounted to his outstretched right arm. They saw anger in his piercing red eyes.

“Megatron?!? Impossible! You’re dead!”

The air crackled around the barrel of Megatron’s cannon as he fired another blast, blowing Needlenose’s left leg clean off. He fell over, flinging his rifle in the process. Ransack dropped his weapon, and Long Haul released Moonstone.

“Have mercy, Lord Megatron!”

It would have been easy for Megatron to tear through them like an avenging marauder hell-bent on razing everything to the ground. He looked over at Terminus and saw a look of both sadness and relief on his weary face. He noticed fear and panic in the rest of the Camiens’ faces. And at that moment, he lowered his cannon.

“Leave. Leave and never come back. So help me, if I see another purple badge in this colony, its wearer will die.”

“But…..but Megatron!”

The ground in front of Ransack exploded, knocking him back. “Spread word, Ransack. Especially to Starscream! The Decepticons are dead!”

The combat ship rose slowly in the air, carrying the brutalized Decepticons, remnants of a once-fearsome army that terrorized the cosmos. Megatron watched the ship vanish in the morning sky before turning his attention to Terminus. Steelshard watched in disbelief at the sight of his former leader as he helped the old bot up from the ground.

“Cor…..Megatron. I am relieved that you didn’t kill them.”

“You said I had to let go of my past if I truly wanted to be free.” Terminus nodded as he leaned on Megatron’s shoulder.

“The Decepticon cause is dead. And as the one who started it, I must be the one to bury it.”

Megatron helped Terminus over to the steps of the Council chamber. Terminus produced a small control fob from a compartment in his chest, and motioned towards the treeline.

“The Six Shanix is there. Take it.” Megatron nodded.

“Thank you for giving me something worth fighting for again.”
  • 6

Tesseracts wrote:In this age of falsehoods and lies, it's comforting to know some people are genuinely idiots.
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Dawn of Just Us

Postby FaceTheCitizen » Sat May 07, 2016 6:25 pm

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Not Today

Postby CarrieVS » Sat May 07, 2016 6:26 pm

A Song of Ice and Fire

“Your own stepmother, boy!” the Prince raged.

“She was never any kind of mother to me,” Aran said. His gaze was fixed on his father’s right hand, gripping the gilded hilt of the dagger on his belt, but his voice stayed light. “You were away a long time, and she was lonely.”

He smiled with false brightness, and Prince Byran seized him by the front of his tunic and threw him backwards. He tried to keep his footing, stumbled, and hit the floor hard enough to drive the breath from him. Byran had drawn the dagger and as Aran tried to push himself into a sitting position he grabbed his clothing again.

The youth flung up his right arm in a hopeless attempt to fend off the black steel blade, and then a sudden smile came to his lips. He laughed, and let his hands fall to his sides as he sang aloud, “...what does it matter, for all men must die...”
He left the last line hanging in the air between them. For a moment Byran’s face flushed with pure fury, and he raised the knife. Then he lowered his hand with a sigh, and took a step backwards. “Get up.”

Aran scrambled to his feet. Byran half turned away from him and sighed, “I won’t be accursed as a kinslayer for your sake.” He faced him again. “Get out of my house, and don’t let me set eyes on you again.”

Aran took a step away from the wall, shaking his black hair out of his eyes. All the laughter had gone from his face. “Not without your word that they will be safe.”

The Prince’s face flushed even darker red, “You dare to make demands, after I spared your ungrateful life?”

“Kill me if it pleases you, but I will not leave without knowing what will become of the lady who surrendered her honour to me, and of my child.”

Byran shook his head, “You aren’t entirely without honour, then. Very well, my wife and the child she carries will come to no harm at my hands.”

“And the child will not be taken from her?”

“And if she wishes to keep her bastard with her, I will not prevent it. Now leave, Sand, before I regret my leniency.”

The boy bowed, “This moment, with only the clothes on my back?”

The Prince raised his eyes to the heavens and took a long breath. Then he began to laugh, “Gods, boy, you don’t lack nerve. Much as you deserve it, it would not be princely of me to send my own blood forth a beggar.” He held up a hand, “But I won’t have you under my roof a moment longer; I’ll have your belongings brought to the stable gate.”
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A Combustible Lemon wrote:Death is an archaic concept for simpleminded commonfolk, not Victorian scientist whales.
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