Bob: *walks into the garden and sees Auspex sitting there with the sleeping Hormah's head on her leg* *sudden big scared and worry* What...?
Auspex: *sighs softly, looking up at him* It's a long story....
Bob: *shivering, scared, and nearly blind with sudden concern* Is... are you alright?
Auspex: *she shakes her head gently, reaching for his hand* It's not... the news could be worse, I suppose, but.. *she grimaces slightly* Has anyone told you about reformatting?
Bob: *takes her hand and kneels beside her, still flashing fear and worry* No.... *but he's guessing what it could mean and not liking his conclusions*
Auspex: Generally it can't be done, though people can have their memories or superficial personalities tampered with. A reformat involves... practically making a spark into a new person. The only time I've seen it happen, is when a powerful being such as Primus, or Unicron, is involved. *she grimaces, not sure there's a way to to explain that won't potentially frighten him* A few of my recent guests... have been reformatted, I'm afraid.
Bob: *hesitantly as he reaches his free hand out to rest it on the sleeping Hormah's back* Nightwind... Nightwind isn't who she used to be....
Auspex: *nods* So I have heard. Her change involves processor damage. But reformatting involves direct interference from a higher entity. *she seems almost angry, for a moment, but it passes quickly*
Bob: *confusion and fright even as he squeezes her hand comfortingly and his optics search her face.*
Auspex: *pats his hand, in an attempt to soothe his fear* In many realities parallel to mine, and even some that are not, Megatron, and a select few of his people, have been tampered with, body, mind, and spark, by Unicron. Hormah has learned that it happened again, in yet another reality.
Bob: *even when fearful his processor often manages to work. He looks at the weary sadness in Hormah's face, and thinks of Auspex's words about their guests....*
*and then he's crying in his soft, soundless and tearless way.*
Auspex: *sighs, drawing him closer to drape her other arm around him, in as close an approximation to a hug as possible, while keeping Hormah close. She bows her head* There is more... but I don't wish to overwhelm you all at once... *she looks stricken, pained to see the reaction her words have caused*
Bob: *hides his face against her shoulder, careful of his weight and her light armor* I... Galvatron? I thought he was a creation... made from Megatron.... Is that what they meant when they said he was made from him...?
Auspex: *nods minutely, patting his helm quietly* Unicron took his spark, and changed part of it. Sometimes, the rest fades into the Allspark, sometimes it is changed completely... I can't say that I truly understand how such a thing works, or why there are inconsistencies. But he is no longer as he was, that much is clear. At least... Primus has called to him, and, fortunately, he has answered. That will lend him much-needed stability.
*her voice wavers slightly, she attempts to steady it* Though there was another, as of yet unprecedented, reformat as well....
Bob: *fear jags as he lifts his head to look at her face, his spark asking the question that his vocalizer is frozen on*
Auspex: *despite her attempts, the grief shows in her voice* Starscream was so broken... I am not sure if this is a mercy, or a cruelty. But she is known as Deathscream, now, and... she'll have no memory of her torment, at least. *her optics dim to a barely visible, faint glow*
Bob: *lets go her hand to put his arms around her* What about Soundwave? And Oriana?
Auspex: *her optics flicker weakly for a moment* Soundwave is dead, as are several others. Oriana... *she shakes her head slowly* It seems that she's been... absorbed into Megatron's reformat. They were a single spark, fused into one. She is not to be found, in her layer of the Allspark... *she shivers a bit at the thought*
Bob: *blanking and shaking as he reaches for strength, and then suddenly straightens as Primus seems to step in front of the fear and horror so that it can't touch him anymore. Gently, his grip on Auspex tightens, offering gentle comfort as he finds one kernel of comfort for himself in the story* But... Galvatron knows Primus.... *blinks and listens* Where is Tessera?
Auspex: *pats his shoulder, partly to comfort, partly to thank him for his comfort* He does. Some of his alternates have varying degrees of madness, thanks to Unicron trying to break their wills... but events have proceeded differently for him.
*She blinks for a moment, somewhat confused at the non-sequitor question* She is with me, asleep. She spoke with that Soundwave, she has grief of her own to work through... *regretful frown*
Bob: *whimpers softly despite himself at the thought of the little Chiproach grieving, then gently pushes away from Auspex to gather Hormah up, wanting his family safely inside. He'd offer Auspex a hand up, but they are now full of red-orange half Minicon, who beeps and clings without waking*
Auspex: *watches him quizzically for a few moments, before getting to her feet and following after him* What is it?
Bob: *softly* I just feel safer having you inside. *traverses the hall, pausing outside his room but then continuing to the main sanctuary, where he makes straight for one of the niches that holds a bench*
Auspex: *finds his fears rather unfounded, but then, this is not the first time that's happened. If it makes him feel safer, she will comply. She feels a bit numb at the moment, anyway.*
Bob: *settles down on the bench and gets Hormah arranged, then looks up to his mentor and holds out his free hand to her. There is room enough on the bench beside them for her*
Auspex: *takes his hand, settling next to him with a weary little sigh* I do find consolation that Unicron has been destroyed in that universe, now. *she sounds somewhat absent, looking for something positive*
Bob: *takes hand back and puts his arm around her shoulders, one optic unconciously focused on the door even as he mentally reaches out to his creator* Can... can he really be killed?
Auspex: *takes a moment to respond, distracted* Not as such. He will exist as long as this universe remains as it is, as will Primus. He can, however, be removed from a dimension. Perhaps not permanently, given the nature of the multiverse, but it will be difficult for him to return, and take a great deal of time. The same is true for Primus. Thankfully, he stays whole, more often than not.
Bob: *feels his first stirrings of anger and shivers with fear of the emotion* Is... Is he gone from this one?
Auspex: I'm not completely sure, actually. He has been reduced to only his head here, and it orbited Cybertron for a little while - a rather grisly reminder of his attack. *she grimaces* But then - in an instance allegedly caused by Starscream's ghost, and in at least one other reality, it was - an explosion sent it far away into space. But whether he is still conscious, or even alive, is not easily discerned. Primus remains quiet about him, either way.
Bob: :\ *wondering how hard it would be to find out and to make sure, asks Primus about this too, even though it scares him to think about it. His arms tighten protectively around Auspex and Hormah* Primus will keep us safe....
Auspex: *blinks, seeing his fear* Don't be afraid... there are more immediate things to be concerned about. If he does return, it will be very far in the future, and that is doubtful. *she shakes her head quietly* That damage has already been done.
Bob: *listens, then nods, his frown deepening* What things?
Auspex: *fidgets slightly* The reformatting, for the most part. But the moons are gone, and Cybertron itself bears the scars of his attack; at least one city was destroyed, and there are great valleys of smashed metal, where his hand dug into the surface. And of course, the loss of the lives, the suffering and fear of the people, Primus' anger... it certainly felt as though Chaos incarnate had paid us a call. *she shudders slightly, at the memories*
Bob: *gently rubs her shoulder. Softly* Primus will protect us. *He's praying as he speaks, asking for peace and healing for she and Tessera and Hormah, his spark reaching out in the wordless communication that has become his second language. He's not sure how comforting his assurance is, since so many died the first time Unicron came... but surely now Primus has been warned, and with mechs like Blackout and Requiem in his service...?*
Auspex: *nods quietly* It is not us that I am concerned about. Similar events had already happened in Megatron's universe... I'd thought they had avoided the reformatting.
Bob: *still praying* Maybe... it's supposed to happen? *then thinks of something else* He... does Galvatron remember Megatron's memories?
Auspex: *more nodding, more drawing of solace from the presence of Primus, and of her friends* I only ache at what they went through, and what has been lost.
*she frowns, pondering the different, conflicting answers she's received from such questions* It... depends, I think. In my experience, he can access the memories, but prefers to keep them somewhat sequestered from his conscious mind. Generally, his lieutenants have not retained their memories, but there are exceptions to that, also... there are so many different answers to that. Personally, I'd believe that the old information is still in their processors, but whether the spark remembers... is dubious.
Bob: *staticky as he thinks of the mech that he nursed and who treated him with weary kindness once he'd recovered* So he might not remember us.
Auspex: *softly* He may not. It depends on whether he consciously thinks about remembering. Starscream on the other hand... *she shakes her head* I don't think she will, though I may yet be surprised. Reality is so transient, sometimes....
Bob: *shutters his optics, doggedly continuing to reach out to Primus and to offer comfort to his mentor* I... don't understand any of this. It's too hard. We... we should just rest... and commune... take time for our processors to settle....
Auspex: I have been through some of this before... it is never easy to understand, and even harder to find peace with. *she pats his back soothingly* But there is nothing to fear. There are some things to mourn, now, some things to contemplate... but not to fear. This has happened for a reason.
Bob: *uncertainly* Did Primus want it to happen?
Auspex: *continues to pat his back, frowning absently* That is a complicated question. Certainly not the suffering. But... they may ultimately be better off this way. Primus allows what he does to make us stronger, and that is something he wants. That does not mean the emotional upheaval is any easier for him to bear. And certainly, coming from Unicron's hand, it makes him furious.
Bob: *head bows* I thought he felt sad.
*he sits there for a moment, pondering everything that she's said since he's gotten home, and feeling what Primus is saying. He wishes that he could take away the hurt, but he understands Auspex's words about getting stronger*
Auspex: *nods* His fury was spent when Unicron was destroyed. The sadness was always there, and it remains.
Bob: *gaze still focused on the floor, he sits in silence for a few moments longer before turning his optics toward her* Is Unicron really destroyed, there?
Auspex: *contemplates Primus' aspect, as she makes a silent query* ...I think so. He seems satisfied that this will not happen again, in that reality.
*He does indeed. Grimly so, though he's hiding that part from Bob lest he distress his easily frightened child*
Bob: *softly but with great emphasis* Good.
Auspex: *a faint hint of a smile flickers across her face for a moment* It is. And Primus will mend the wounds of his children, in time.
Bob: And Hormah says that someday everything will be repaired. *He looks down at the friend who is cuddled against his side with her face hidden on his plating, his mouth turning down with sympathy as he reads the sadness in her body language* I... don't like the three of you to be so sad.
Auspex: *sighs, leaning her head on his shoulder* I know. Again, in time, it will lessen. It would certainly help, to speak to them again, I think.
Bob: ...Would it? Even though the people we knew are gone, and they're someone else now?
Auspex: It may. The emotions involved are complicated. I find it encouraging to see them live on, and be content... the sadness comes from how much 'them' is still 'them'. They are still Primus' sparks, and the ones that are gone... are not destroyed. It is something nearly impossible to understand.
Bob: *thinks about this and frowns*
Auspex: It is paradoxical. I confess that I try not to think about it.
Bob: *blinks and looks at her* Was I reformatted?
Auspex: *blinks, startled at the question* I... don't think so. I'm not sure of Starscream's method of cloning... I suspect you didn't have a proper spark, to begin with. It is rare, but you can occasionally come across an apparently living body, without a spark.
Bob: *supresses a shiver at the thought, not wanting to wake the little femme who is currently listening to his new and proper spark as she sleeps. Then he frowns again* You said that Galvatron often goes mad because Unicron breaks his will?
Auspex: *nods quietly* That he tries to, not that he does. Galvatron has one of the strongest wills I've ever seen... he is almost a force of nature, in himself.
In that situation, he fights Unicron with all of that considerable will; between that, and the Matrix having destroyed Unicron, his mind breaks free... but Unicron is, I think, still holding on to part of it, and it is destroyed with him. Tearing free of a god's power... does not leave a mind unscathed. Not without the help of another god. *she sighs, evidently thinking of specific cases.*
Bob: But Megatron's will was already broken....
Auspex: By his own actions. He yielded to Primus, who does not impose his will as Unicron does. I suspect this has saved him from madness.
Bob: *nodding slightly* Are you going to go see him? I remember Hormah saying that the portal to that reality was stable. *frowns*
Auspex: *blinks, considering* I hadn't thought of it... but I may, if Primus directs me. He will know if it is safe for me to go.
Bob: *starts to speak, but then gasps as his com pings* Ye... yes? Oh... Blackout. She's here... she's just asleep. Yes. No. I'd... yes, ma'am. *he sighs as the big black femme rumbles at him affectionately and closes the link*
Auspex: *looks up at him quizzically*
Bob: *sighs unhappily, feeling torn even as he lets go of his mentor and gently shakes Hormah, who only whimpers and refuses to wake* Blackout wants me to bring her home. I'll set my PINpoint to return to the time I leave, though.
Auspex: *frowns, finding she still hasn't caught on to the capabilities of that little machine. She pats Bob's shoulder as she realizes the focus of some of that emotion* I'll be all right. But if you'd rather, I won't object. *she smiles faintly*
Bob: *quietly* I think it would make me feel better.
Auspex: *she nods wordlessly, with another pat*
Bob: *gives her a last look, still reluctant to leave she and Tessera, but then steps out of the niche with Hormah and PINs away*
Auspex: *sighs again, getting to her feet and moving back to the main mosaic, where she kneels, to touch the designs with her fingers. It brings her some comfort, bringing her mind back to her god, and his own emotions.
Her optics dim as she finds commune with him, where she can seek answers to the conundrums, and, when there are none, simply be with him, and share in the grief, as well as the solace. And perhaps, he may yet send her to see the ones she had hoped to comfort, when they were still themselves.*
Bob: *returns a moment later and looks at her there, then disappears into his room to get his rug, which he holds as he too seeks a corner of the sanctuary and commune with his creator*
((written with primus_seeress mun))