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November 10, 2009
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Cybertron was a cold world of uniformity and order. As colorful as its people could be, the world that birthed them varied little from golds and grays and purples. This world, however, was in complete contrast to Cybertron: colorful, jagged, uneven, wild and unstable. It was a completely alien planet, and the Maximal now known as Tigatron felt completely like he belonged here. Its primal beauty filled the chasm in his soul that had haunted him since the earliest days of his life, when he had first learned there was life outside of Cybertron.

He knew his fellow Maximals didn't consider this world home. But there had been a point after awakening on this planet where it was all he knew. Since then, his memories had mostly been restored as his core processor mended, but all he could remember about Cybertron was how ill at ease he had felt there. He was one with this planet now, and he never wanted to leave.

In the visage of a white tiger, he remained rigid, a lone sentinel over the glacial northland of this world. Frozen water whipped around him in a flurry, and the only sound was the sheering rush of the wind racing across the land. He allowed himself a moment to relax. He expected to be the only living thing out here. Even the Predacons had enough sense to avoid stirring up trouble in this harsh weather.

But then… he heard a voice. At first Tigatron thought he imagined it, but his feline ears perked up nonetheless. Then, he heard it again: a pitched whine. No, not a whine: griping. That could be only one Maximal. Growling at his disturbed peace, the white tiger padded smoothly down from his hilltop towards his comrade. "Rattrap!" he called out. "Over here!"

Tigatron heard nothing more until a small mass emerged from the haze of the blizzard and walked right into his leg. "Dah!" the giant rat grunted in a way only he could grunt.

"What are you doing out here?" he asked incredulously.

"Whatcha think?" Rattrap sneered. "You fergot to check in for yer daily report and da boss-monkey sent me ta make sure you weren't fragged."

"He sent you out in this weather?"

The rat nodded vehemently. "I told him the signals were prob'ly bein' scrambled by the storm, but does he ever listen to me? Nooooo. But he always wants ta hear what ol' Chopper-face hasta say…"

At this point, Tigatron tuned out Rattrap's incessant complaining, turning away and waiving his tail over the rat's nose. "Grab hold," he said. "I will lead you to shelter til this storm subsides."

Soon, they were inside a cavern while the snowstorm continued outside. It was dark and not any warmer but at the very least they did not have to shout to be heard. Whether or not that was a good thing Tigatron had yet to decide. It was not that he didn't like Rattrap… he just liked the rat better when his mouth was closed.

"Hey, nice cave," Rattrap said after shaking the snow out of his wiry fur. When Tigatron did not respond, he snorted. "Not in the talkin' mood huh? Well, I got somethin' that might lube up that mouth." Opening a compartment in his side, he pulled out a rectangular flask and held it up for him to see. "Wanna swig?"

Tigatron could only guess what was inside the flask and, knowing Rattrap, it was nothing wholesome. "No, thank you."

"Aw c'mon, you need ta lighten up some."

Tigatron took up a seat by the mouth of the cave, looking out into the forces of nature. "This storm should not last much longer."

Rattrap shrugged before taking a swig of the drink himself. His eyes watered and he gasped for breath. "Hooo. I sure know how ta brew it," he mumbled. Wiping his face, he redirected his attention back at Tigatron. "An' you can tell, how?"

"I can smell it," he answered simply. Really, it was difficult to quantify aloud. He was attuned to this world; he could read it more intimately than any sensor or scanner ever could. "You're right, the storm knocked out communications. I planned to call in after it subsided."

"Y'know, it's funny," Rattrap said thoughtfully. "The tower we builtcha was made from a modified probe, designed ta send information back from inside nebulas. Energon radiation or not, a simple ice storm shouldn'ta jammed it up."

Tigatron had been a security officer back on Cybertron before Megatron had stolen the Golden Disk, starting the chain of events that had brought them all to this world. The rest of the Maximals here were scientists and pilots-in other words, Tigatron, despite being the only one with a combat-related function, was the most pacifistic of the group. It was a paradoxical irony, one that admittedly had its drawbacks. It had not even dawned on him until now that the technology the Axalon crew was outfitted with had been designed to withstand the unknown.

The wind shifted suddenly, drastically. A burst of frigid air blasted into the cave, pushing Rattrap further in. That should not have happened. "Something is wrong," the white tiger said. With a growl, he arched his back and leapt up onto his hind legs. His forelegs contorted behind his back and proper arms burst forth out of his chest, with the gap left behind quickly covered by his animal head. Metal plating shifted out of the skin on his hind legs, which twisted and straightened. Now a green and white robot, Tigatron reached out and pulled a weapon from his back.

"What, you're goin' out there?" Rattrap asked incredulously.

"This weather is not natural, as I'd thought. Only one thing could cause it."

Rattrap's muzzle puckered bitterly. "Predacons." He said the word as if it left a rancid taste in his mouth, which took some doing for someone who ate garbage.

Tigatron nodded. "With our communicators down, we should stick together."

"Are you sayin' you want me ta come with…?"

"Yes."

"It's probably an ambush!"

"I know. But we can not let the Predacons succeed in violating this planet any longer."

The rat muttered something under his breath before his sides popped up and slid into his back. A bronze robot unfolded out and his own beast head swung down onto his chest. Rattrap quickly drew his own weapon. "We're probably gonna die."

"There is no more noble a death than self-sacrifice," Tigatron mused before stepping back out into the maelstrom.

"Peh. Ain't no such thing as a 'noble' death. You been listenin' to ol' Dino-butt too much." But he followed him out. Tigatron smiled. Rattrap was still a good being underneath that blustering crust of crassness. He could always count on him to do the right thing, even if it sometimes came down to the very last minute for him to get around to it.

Visibility had become even worse than before, and Tigatron's optics were now only good for making sure there was nothing to trip over. The unnatural nature of the storm had deceived his senses before, so he could not believe the conflicting signs that swirled around him. He had to rely solely on his intuition to follow him. After a few times of staggering through the blizzard, Tigatron suddenly halted. Before him stood a white pillar unlike anything he had ever seen, and yet it seemed disturbingly familiar, tugging at the fringes of his subconscious memory. But before any epiphany could dawn on him Rattrap walked straight into him from behind, knocking them both over. The clanging of metal and Rattrap's swearing was loud enough to be heard even above the howling winds.

Suddenly the blizzard just stopped. The wind grew still and the snow soon settled down. Both Maximals soon realized that the pillar was actually a leg, and their gaze wandered upward in unison to witness a giant robot: white and brown and gold, with shimmering blue wings that formed almost a cape behind it. Clockwork gears perpetually turned and spun underneath its armor, and a brightly glowing red orb accentuated its torso.

"What da slag?" was the only question Rattrap asked before deciding to shoot first and ask any more later.

Tigatron saw him raise his weapon skyward toward the robot's helmet. "No wait!" he shouted ineffectively.

Rattrap fired three shots from his weapon-but instead of having any effect at all, the pulses of energy merely froze before the robot's eyes and snuffed out of existence. The robot then stirred. Gears clanked and pistons whined as it turned its head down to look upon them. Tigatron was instantly awestruck. Rattrap was instantly frightened out of his wits.

"What're ya waitin' for, Stripes?" he asked as he scrambled back onto his legs. "RU-U-U-U-UN!"

But for all his pedaling, he went nowhere. Tigatron, too, felt disconnected from the ground, as the two floated upward, into the giant's open palm. "Children of Primus," the being spoke with a voice deep and ancient, "you do not belong here."

Tigatron felt almost offended by that remark. Rattrap quickly got over his fear and replaced it with his own form of indignance. "Oh yeah? An' just who da slag are you to tell us that?"

"I am Vector Prime, guardian of the space-time continuum." His eyes and orb seemed to glow brighter when he said that.

"Well good fer-wait. Did you say Vector Prime? As in, Autobot leader, Matrix-in-your-chest-'Prime'?"

"More or less. I have long since passed the Creation Matrix on to our successors, but I am of the first of Primus' creations. I am your ancestor."

Deep down, Tigatron knew immediately he spoke the truth. He felt a twinge in his own spark: this being was who he said he was. "You said we did not belong here?" he asked. "Why is that?"

"You glow of chronal displacement. That is what drew me here. You are on the planet that will come to be known as Earth, in your past," Vector Prime explained. "The Prime designated Optimus rests not far south from here, as does his arch foe Megatron. They must not awaken until their due time."

"Oh fer bootin' up cold!" Rattrap screamed. "If dat's the case, then why don't you just zap us an' the Preds back to our own time? Better yet, take us home, and dump our Megatron an' his losers into da nearest black hole!"

Vector Prime did not reply. Instead, he went stiff and his optics dimmed. "Was it somethin' I said?" Rattrap asked.

"Maybe… he's thinking?" Tigatron guessed.

"He's deliberating," a smaller mech with angular features and the same colors as the Prime said, emerging from behind Vector Prime's head and taking a seat on his shoulder. "Scanning the timeline to see what would happen if he intervened."

"An' who are you?"

"Safeguard. I'm Vector Prime's assistant-slash-companion. Managing the universe can be a lonely, monotonous job without someone to talk to."

"I would imagine so," Tigatron said quietly.

"So what's he deliberatin' on?"

Rattrap's answer came not from Safeguard, but from Vector Prime himself. The light in his optics glowed brighter as the ancient being stirred once again. "I am truly sorry, but I cannot grant your request."

"Why not?"

"You all have great destinies before you," Vector Prime declared. "The trials you will face on this planet shall shape the future of even Cybertron itself some day."

"So, what, yer just gonna let us go then?" Rattrap asked, looking down from Vector Prime's hand. It was a long way down.

"Soon," the Prime answered. "Even knowledge of one's future can be dangerous, and in revealing myself I have allowed you to learn too much already."

"Too much? You haven't told us nothin'!"

"Relax," Safeguard piped up, flying over to them. His placed a hand on each of their foreheads. "This won't hurt a bit."

<O>

Tigatron remained rigid, a lone sentinel over the glacial northland of this world. Frozen water whipped around him in a flurry, and the only sound was the sheering rush of the wind racing across the land. He allowed himself a moment to relax. He expected to be the only living thing out here. Even the Predacons had enough sense to avoid stirring up trouble in this harsh weather.

But then… he heard a voice. At first Tigatron thought he imagined it, but his feline ears perked up nonetheless. Then, he heard it again: a pitched whine. No, not a whine: griping. That could be only one Maximal. Growling at his disturbed peace, the white tiger padded smoothly down from his hilltop towards his comrade. "Rattrap!" he called out. "Over here!"

Tigatron heard nothing more until a small mass emerged from the haze of the blizzard and walked right into his leg. "Dah!" the giant rat grunted in a way only he could grunt.

"What are you doing out here?" he asked incredulously.

"Whatcha think?" Rattrap sneered. "You fergot to check in for yer daily report and da boss-monkey sent me ta make sure you weren't fragged."

Tigatron opened his maw to say something, but then something else popped into his processor, a concern that seemed more pressing, somehow. "I just felt…"

"A feelin' a' déjà vu?" Rattrap guessed, speaking slowly. "Me too."

Around them, the howling began to diminish. That genuinely surprised Tigatron; the storm should have lasted a little longer before it was due to settle. He looked around, unsettled.

"Eh, maybe you an' I are jus' worn out." Rattrap said dismissively, standing on his hind legs and bringing his forepaws up in an approximation of a shrug. "You know what we need? A vacation."

"A what?"

"You know. A break. Some fun. Coupla bachelors like us, we're wasted out here fightin' Preds. When we get back to Cybertron, I definitely hafta take you to dis little hole in the wall I know…"

Tigatron sighed, shaking his head slightly. Why did Rattrap have to be so constantly crass? "Come. Once this storm has subsided, I will send a report to base. In the meantime, I know this cave where we may sit and talk for a bit."

A grin cracked across Rattraps muzzle. "Perfect. An' I have this drink I think yer gonna like!"
Representing the eternally-awesome Beast Wars, I humbly submit my entry for a fanfic contest held by ^ArtisticAunJuli. I figured Tigatron doesn't get enough love so chose to write around him. Wish me luck!
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:iconunderbase:
Underbase Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I can tell you did a good job because I read all the dialogue in everyone's approprate voices (and unintentionally at that).
Yeah, Vector Prime!
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:iconjzlobo:
JZLobo Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Why thank you.
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:iconblaise038:
Blaise038 Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2009
Bravo. I'm no expert, but you seem to have these characters down perfectly. And the story is good is as well... I especially like how despite their memories being affected, they both felt the deja vu. Nicely done. You have a great chance in the contest. =) (Makes me wish I'd taken more time on my entry.)
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:iconjzlobo:
JZLobo Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
Why thank you! I really appreciate you reading this through.
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:iconblaise038:
Blaise038 Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2009
It was a fun read. :nod:
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:iconjzlobo:
JZLobo Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
I appreciate that. I was trying to go for something lighthearted yet meaty on the characterization.
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:iconblaise038:
Blaise038 Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2009
Yeah, definitely... I like how Tigatron is both annoyed and amused by Rattrap, which makes perfect sense. A lonely person wants company, even from a sometimes annoying source. lol
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:iconjzlobo:
JZLobo Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
Rattrap is an awesome character. Have you ever seen Beast Wars?
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:iconblaise038:
Blaise038 Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2009
Very little, to be honest. Most of what I do know of it is at the urging of one of my buddies, who watches anything Transformers (or related). lol I barely have time to keep up with the shows I know without getting into new ones, unfortunately.
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:iconjzlobo:
JZLobo Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
Well that's a shame. I stand firmly by the belief that Beast Wars is the greatest animated show from the 90s.
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