May We Never Let Go
Earth was nothing but a cesspool of filth and garbage. Its inhabitants were primitive, depraved, and rabid. Every detail of the planet was a discombobulated mass of convoluted insanity held together only by the gaseous atmosphere trapping every organic pustule to the surface. Nature was unpredictable. Tectonic plates sliding, grinding; earthquakes, volcanoes. Storm surges, tsunamis. Forest fires, sand storms, floods. One would think Earth didn't want its denizens anymore. One look at the creatures who held top rung in the evolutionary ladder, it was no mystery why. Humans were disgusting abominations of sentient organic bile. From the wars raged, to the grudges held, to the hate spread, to the lies told, to the corruption fed, to the disgusting things people did each other out of spite... Rape. Incest. Murder.
Every inch of Earth was coated, saturated, dripping, oozing with Chaos.
Which is exactly why Psi, Guardian of Entropy, exiled member of the Original 13 Transformers, servant of Unicron, and instigator of galactic chaos, absolutely fragging loved Earth.
In fact, he adored the dominant species, humans, maybe even more so than he loved his own tormented people.
With each passing day, Psi absorbed the planet's chaos and was made stronger for it. He fed like a parasite, a festering infection, a cancerous tumour, letting his own infections spread, creating his own brands of chaos with a touch, a whisper, a nudge in the right direction.
Not that he could do anything outright. He could never push the Big Red Button of Nuclear Doom in the Big Secret Room underneath a Top Secret Military Base governed by humans who thought they were the End All to Be All. As much as Psi wanted to slap them for their naïvety, he couldn't touch them. He could never possess a human as directly as he could a member of the species of his jurisdiction. It was one of the few rules in the universe Psi was forced to adhere to. Earth had its own unseen players, creatures like and unlike Psi, who frowned on the influence of invading outsiders. Having tangoed with them a time or two during his occupation of Earth's atmosphere, Psi knew the extent of their powers. And of their dislike of him. Not that disapproval ever really affected him. Never stopped him from whispering beautiful words in humans' ears, watching as events unfolded, aftermaths borne horror. No, knowing the limits only made the game more interesting.
And just because Psi couldn't do anything directly didn't mean humans weren't perfectly willing to say "the devil made me do it" whenever he made a poignant... suggestion.
As if the devil was remotely interested in making anyone do anything. Forcing was no fun. It had no finesse. People could come up with things far more grotesque than any scheme the devil could plot. A determined mind only needed a gentle push and the destruction that followed would be all them. The devil was no more responsible for all the evil in the world than a tiny gust of wind was for toppling the first domino.
In that respect, the devil and Psi had a lot in common: they liked to give people the rope and watch while they hung themselves.
Psi's gift, his affinity, his drug of choice, was entropy. The slow rot of internal descension as doubt seeded, distrust grew, hatred bloomed, and anarchy spread its poisonous spores on the winds. For seven deliciously torturous years, that was exactly what he did. To be perfectly honest, what else was there to do while combing the planet for the damned Allspark? Psi didn't wear boredom well. He liked to have things to do. Liked to be entertained.
What was most entertaining? Watching his master devour planets. The event, in itself, was orgasmic... if Psi was capable of orgasms. He wasn't, but the act looked disturbingly fascinating. Like a train wreck. The devouring of Earth had to wait, of course. They couldn't risk the Allspark. They couldn't risk the energy source Earth provided on its own.
Instead, after so long of playing the sidelines, sending the likes of drones, kremzeeks, and energy leeches to do their dirty work for them, a new player was being added to the game. Someone who could play directly on the game board. No more shuffling the pawns. No more creeping on the sidelines. All the rules were going to change. Which meant the game was about to get very, very interesting.
"It's about time something more interesting came along," Psi mused to himself, reclining in a throne concocted from his own innards. Black metal of the deepest obsidian, jutting from the floor like jagged shards of glass. He peered out a grand spread of windows that had appeared on a whim, given full view of the Earth below. They couldn't see him, but he could see, hear, smell, taste, and touch them. The unfairness of it tickled him inside.
Optics like flaming chunks of amber peeled away from the windows, divining the large room that seemingly appeared from nothing around him. Empty except for him and one other figure stretched motionless on an altar. Consciousness flowed through every molecule of the room; he was the room. He was the entire ship. Psi then peered down at the hand that was currently also considered his. He was the ship and he was also the frame. He was one of those lucky kinds of creatures that could be in two places at once... sort of. Flexed the fingers. Rolled the wrist. Snorted curtly. Ever since he'd lent it to Shockwave for all those centuries, subsequently having the little fragger die in it by a blaster to the faceplate courtesy of the Prime, the frame had never worn right.
Good thing wearing mortal frames had never been a fashion Psi appreciated, meaning he didn't do it often. Oh sure, he possessed other transformers and used their frames like puppets. That was fun. Wearing his own never brought the same joy. If it wasn't for the coming occasion, he wouldn't be wearing anything at all. He'd be naked, as the humans called it. It wasn't like he particularly required a physical body to contain his consciousness, anyways.
"It's been boring for far too long," the Fallen One continued to muse aloud, mostly to himself, and purely for the joy to hear himself speak. He rose from his throne and circled around, gliding like a streak of oil to the decadent black altar he'd erected for the coming occasion. Upon it laid an empty frame constructed from parts of the Nemesis ship stolen years before.
Psi ran a curious fingertip down the front of the body, eliciting a shriek from the metal as it protested the sharpness of his claws. He had designed the body upon his master's request. It was, perhaps, one of the most trying things Psi had ever had to do. He was all about the destruction, after all. Creation was a little beyond him. Especially creation that required order. The frame was a handsome confection, most likely seen as gorgeous to a transformer. In reality, it was a shadow reflection of the Prime. Hideous to Psi himself; what did anyone see in symmetrical beauty? So boring. It was temptation incarnate to improve upon the frame- twist its head on backwards, switch its arms for its legs, steal vital innards- but, for the sake of his master, Psi resisted his base nature.
"Almost time," he assured the dormant frame, tapping its olfactory sensor.
A wave of frigid emptiness suddenly flooded through every fibre of Psi's demon-ship self, in turn freezing him from the inside out. He felt the frozen flames of damnation sweep him. Their icy burn scarred deeper than any wound he would ever wear. It had been too long since his fall for the flames or their cold heat to hurt. Instead, the Fallen tipped back his head and took a deep drag of air. Every sense was assaulted by a stale fragrance, hinted at with a touch of rot and emptiness. Psi sighed in contentment. There was nothing in the universe quite like that scent.
"Welcome back, my lord," greeted the Fallen, turning toward his master, foregoing any other ritual of subservient acknowledgement.
A lesser being would have mistaken the form that materialized in the thickest gathering of blackness to be that of the former High Lord Protector of Cybertron, Megatron. That lesser being would be dead wrong. Megatron had not been in full possession of that frame for a very long time. Not since the orn he had made a deal with the Unmaker- to be a host in return for power. Allowing a the Devourer of Worlds to lie dormant within him. And then came Megatron's death at the hands of a human, allowing the beast within to rise and claim the shell. To gaze upon Megatron now was to see a frame that bulged at the seams with awakened, growing power. Power enough to match the gravitas of a planet. It was a physical form dwarfed by the sheer malevolent presence radiating from it. And for the truly stupid who failed to realize exactly what they were dealing with, a glance into the optics was all that was needed to correct the mistake. One glance was all it took to know evil in its truest form. Beyond the black light of those potent optics lay the secret to the universe's undoing. Through those optics stared the Unmaker himself, Unicron.
Unicron, even in his diminutive temporary frame, was a force to be reckoned with.
Psi considered the beast for a moment, amber optics glinting as the shadows in the room deepened in the Unmaker's presence.
"You're looking unusually menacing today, my lord. How was your debacle? Enjoy yourself much?" enquired the Fallen One, whose tone was as irreverent as always.
Unicron tilted his head in acknowledgement, mouthplates curling slightly. Psi was a valuable warrior, sparkless and powerful, not to mention the boon it was to have lured one of Primus's beloved 13 away. Yet there were some orns when not even the patience of eternity was enough to deal with the Guardian of Entropy.
"I will take that as a yes, since I know you do favour your long, brooding silences rather than answer me," Psi supplied, his strange, crooked grin stretching ever wider. "You've been gone for so long... well, I was starting to think you might have forgotten about me." He raised a hand over his sparkcase, feigning hurt, though both knew there was no spark beyond the metal to injure.
Ignoring such ridiculous antics, Unicron bypassed the creature in favour of the altar beyond. A hand caressed down the cold metal, meeting each detail with a hungry touch. His approval was given with the barest of nods.
Psi's optics glittered. "I take it you like?"
"You've done well," Unicron announced in a voice deeper, emptier than the darkest pits of damnation.
The Fallen flounced with an exaggerated chaotic movement. "If the eons spent chaperoning that little pest Shockwave were enough to teach me anything, building a frame would be it." He circled the altar, once again inspecting the frame. "I can't guarantee it will work, though. I'm Entropy, not the Engineer; something like this is not in my nature..."
"It will work." The unspoken or else lingered palpably in the air. There would be no reward for the effort it had taken Psi to overcome his most base nature. Punishment would be plentiful if he failed.
A pause in the air followed. All around, the demon ship shifted, churning. Ancient metal groaned. Psi, in his mortal frame, desperately resisted the biting urge to say, "don't spank me if you're wrong." Somehow, he had a feeling that wouldn't go over too well with his master. Once assured that it was safe to speak again, Psi tilted his head and offered a glittering look. "May I ask what celestial body sacrificed itself for our cause?"
Unicron thought for moment, then answered, "Pluto."
"Oh." Psi blinked. "I liked Pluto."
"There was hardly enough energy in it to sustain me for this... occasion."
All evidence of missing Pluto melted from Psi's features, giving rise to the predator within. "So you truly wish to go through with this?"
"If we are to have any chance of recovering the Allspark and gaining the planet's energy, we must be more mobile."
"If what you have heard of the Autobot Bumblebee's origin is correct, then a spark without the Allspark is possible."
"True again." Psi tapped a claw to his chin, mockingly thoughtful.
Unicron raised a hand to his chassis. "The Dark Core within this frame will serve as the Matrix of Leadership has for the Prime. A spark will be summoned."
"You realize that you are the Unmaker, yes? And you are trying to create. There is a certain kind of irony to the situation."
Unicron summoned an incendiary glare hot enough for the Fallen to back down.
"Of course, there is a first time for everything," Psi amended, bowing shallowly.
"There is no time to waste."
With an acquiescing sweep of his hand, Psi invited his master to the newest addition to the room- a new altar rising from the floor, black, jagged, and demonic. It stood parallel to the first altar, a mirror image. Unicron required no ceremony to rise to the flat surface, laying against the ice cold metal. A muted hiss resonated throughout the room. All light ceased to be as the monster's insides were exposed, sucked into the endless void contained within.
Psi looked away for a moment, despising himself for being overwhelmed. He took his place between the two altars, wishing that this were a sacrificial scene. It would have been nice to have someone living around just to rip their pulsing spark out to appease a dark god. Something like that would give a calming, familiar, soothing edge to the scene. No such luck. On one side was an empty frame with no more personality than a rock. On the other was a super nova contained in the head of pin. No matter which way one chose to look at the situation- horrifying or awe-inspiring, the fact of the matter remained in it was simply humbling to be in the presence of something so Huge. Powerful. Endless.
"Ready?" Psi quipped, steadying his voice. He received no reply, other than a low growl, and decided that was answer enough. Steeling himself, the Fallen reached for his master's open chassis. As he closed the distance, Unicron's true nature could not be denied. Before his optics, he was unmade. First the gloss of his paint disappeared, and then the paint itself. Metal armour thinned, eaten away. Wires exposed. Energon turned to dust. Psi locked himself tight, pressing onward. Failure was not an option. He wouldn't let a little thing like his body disintegrating stop him.
Shaking off the last remnants of his frame, Psi was left as pure consciousness. Being non-corporeal had its advantages, such as being unable to be unmade. Hands made of thought forced their way deeper into the dark cavity of Unicron's chest. Psi sank deeper than he should have. He should have met the resistance of the frame's other side by now. He kept sinking past his intangible elbows, up to his non-existent shoulders. Just as his head was submerged into the churning depths, the tips of his claws brushed something incalculably... hot. The shock of it nearly threw Psi away. In all his eons serving his master, nothing had ever felt so burning hot.
"The Dark Core."
A grunt came from Psi, not daring to nod. If he had a spark, it would be pulsing double-time by now. Perhaps triple-time. The heat that speared through him was unbearable. It latched on to his consciousness and burned deeper than any physical wound. It was an agony that wrenched beyond reality. He deafened himself with his own screams as he grasped the cursed relic. A new horror struck him when he realized he had no idea what to do with it now that he had it. Around him, he realized his larger self, the ship, was spasming. Wailing. Flames licked writhing wreaths. Ashes fell like tears.
"Do it," Unicron ordered.
Do what? Psi wished to snarl, though found no strength to even whimper. Nevertheless, he suddenly found himself moved by a force beyond his own will. As if the Dark Core itself had awareness. A terrible sort of unlife that sank its parasitic claws into Psi's consciousness, hooked on, strung him up, and moved him like a puppet. It was not Unicron, but something else. An inanimate object subject to the evil it had absorbed over the eons. It was beyond any mortal object now. More. Aware in every wrong sense.
Inch by slow inch, Psi was backed out of Unicron's frame. Pushed out. Commanded out.
He could feel the Dark Core slipping from his fingers. Emptiness did not replace it. A wispy substance, like smoke and nightmares weaved into one remained latched to his claws. As he moved back, the material tore. The noise it rendered was more felt than heard. A startling, disturbing feeling that tore through Psi more profoundly than any felt before. It rocked him to his core. More disturbing than the moment of his creation when Primus had condensed reality itself and borne him.
Another tug, another tear, and Psi realized with a thrill of agonized terror that reality itself was being torn. The fabric that held this universe together and kept the other universes apart was ripping. Beyond it came a stench that overpowered even the stale rot of Unicron. Rank, like old, dead things best left unseen and forgotten for the rest of eternity. Empty spaces opening up. Dark places where the Old Ones slumbered eternally. Forbidden places where only the damned, damned even beyond Psi's standards, stewed in their perpetual hells.
Unicron growled a primal noise, something that shook everything down to the tearing fabric of realities. Deep words came from him. Old, guttural sounds. Rough. Ancient. Powerful.
Quivers raced through Psi's consciousness. He felt himself winking in and out of existence, and the trill of terror that accompanied the realization. Unlike mortal souls, once he was gone, he was gone. If he disappeared, he would cease to be forever. He doubled his efforts to draw away, self-preservation out-weighing his loyalty to his lord. With a final torturous pull, Psi tore away from his master, taking with him something he didn't quite get a look at before it flung from his fingers and into the open chest of the dormant frame. Psi was struck with the vague impression of something black and oozing.
Energy sapped, unfamiliar tremors of horror still fresh and ripe, Psi allowed his consciousness to sink back into the safety of his demon ship self. He locked himself in dormancy. Damn whatever Unicron wanted.
As for the Unmaker himself, his chassis hissed closed and he sat up. Innards no longer exposed, the stars came out of hiding. Light returned. Unfathomable optics watched as the dormant frame across from him showed signs of life. The chassis snapped shut. Chest expanded as vents cycled, taking their first drag of air. Darkened optics took light, smoldering deep, deep red.
A flood of satisfaction washed through the Unmaker. He rose to his feet, crossing to his creation. Staring optics met his, blinked, widened.
"Do you know who I am?"
"Master," croaked the newly born monster.
Unicron smiled, stepping back. "Do you know who you are?"
The bot shook its head, waiting to be informed.
"You are my newest herald. The first to be created from nothing. You will serve me in my campaign: I have not the proper body yet to devour the Earth whole on my own, so I desire for every drop of energy to be drained from the planet so I may devour it that way. You will find and collect the Allspark from the Cybertronians on the planet. I do not care how many lives you must take. Raze the entire planet, if you must."
Fires lit the dark caverns of the bot's optics. His expression came alive with hunger. "And whose name shall I give so they know who is coming for them?"
"If you are to be the antithesis of all that Optimus Prime is, you shall have a name that reflects your purpose." Unicron outstretched a hand to his creation. "Rise, Nemesis Prime, Spawn of Unicron."