The Master and the Disciple Written by Tr3adst0ne Disclaimer: I do not own Transformers. It is solely the property of IDW/Takara/Hasbro. Summary: Deadlock undergoes a journey that will force him to question the very facet of his loyalty to the Decepticon cause. Rating: T for violence. Author's notes: IDW G1. I recall a certain spotlight issue by which, if any of you have read it, didn't provide a satisfactory explanation to his presence in All Hail Megatron. Though I gotta admit his character is cool, even though he has no definitive background aside from the fact he was once aligned with the Decepticons. Henceforth, I am going to give him one. Hope you all enjoy. Energon Processing Station Grenod Badlands, Talaria IV Deadlock considered himself to be a loyalist to the Decepticon cause, believing that the corruption of Cybertronian society spreaded too far and needed to be purged. Though in his mind he wondered whether Megatron truly wanted to create peace or hid a far more sinister agenda. His processor wanted to ask questions of the great leader, who was once prominent in the gladiatorial arenas as a ruthless fighter. While the temptation remained, he dared not to try to do it in public. Openly questioning the very being who reigned supreme over the Decepticon army was tantamount to a death sentence. Talaria IV was a world far beyond the reaches of Cybertron, barren and lifeless but nonetheless abundant with resources that could be used in the war effort against the Autobots. His immediate superior recommended that Deadlock personally supervised the energon mining operation on this backwater planet, since supplies and materials were in high demand. His train of thought was interrupted when the installation's alarm klaxons echoed throughout. The alert was followed soon after with a transmission on Deadlock's work terminal from one of his deputies who was supervised the security detail. “What's going on out there?” Deadlock inquired. “Sir! We're under attack!” “Autobots?” “Negative! Just a group of unknowns! They don't seem to be affiliated with any faction that we know of!” “Dispatch them.” “But sir, they have already breached the perimeter defenses!” Ugh, of all the incompetence... “Very well, assemble a security team of your best soldiers. I will lead them personally and crush these insects. Do not allow them to reach the processing station. Clear?” Deadlock got himself off from his workstation and keyed in his access code to his personal weapons locker. It unveiled an arsenal of rifles and munitions in the event of an intrusion into the base. No Autobot force has managed to breach the facility since its existence. He would see to it that anyone else who dared to trespass on Decepticon territory would be swiftly terminated. --- When he came to the site of the disturbance, reality struck Deadlock's processor like a hammer. Whoever the enemy was, they were well-versed in the ancient Cybertronian combat arts. Though they wore hoods that hid their faces and cloths that disguised their appearance, he held a suspicion that there was something eerily familiar in the way which they moved. His security forces were swiftly being taken down by the intruders. One query managed to cut a soldier with a swift stroke of a longsword. Deadlock fired a blast at one of the attackers, which successfully pierced through the cloth and exited through the back. The shot sent a shower of sparks as the warrior fell onto the floor. It was safe to conclude that the attackers were Transformers. “What in the Infer--?” Deadlock blurted out before he was struck at the base of his neck, which sent him crashing down on the ground. His blaster slid across the floor with a loud clang. While the fighting continued, his world changed into a sea of darkness. --- Preserver Temple Talaria IV “Was it wise to bring him here, master?” a feminine voice said. “The elders said that there would be one who served the darkness and come forth into the light. There is no question that he is the one.” “He's coming online,” said another voice. “Ah, welcome,” uttered a mysterious being with a masculine tone. “Where... am I?” Deadlock muttered weakly. His optics struggled to focus on the scenery around him. It was clear he was not on base. “You are at the sacred temple, in the Ornil grasslands.” The thought suddenly dawned upon Deadlock that he was in unknown territory. He glanced at his surroundings and spotted crystalline trees which he hadn't seen in millennia outside of the temple. He thought he was living in some kind of dream. “Why did you bring me here? Who are you?” “My, aren't we in a interrogative mood today? So many questions, so little time.” “Answer me!” “Straight to the point, eh? You may call me Varnus,” the stocky warrior answered back. Deadlock took a moment to study his captor or rather, his host. There were tribal markings on the mech's superstructure that he was familiar with but couldn't recall. His neural processor searched back through indexed memory files before he came to his final conclusion. “You're from the Preserver tribe. The group of neutrals who uprooted and left Cybertron.” Varnus for a moment said nothing, but turned to the Decepticon lieutenant and said: “Just so you know... there's no use in escaping. In the meantime, I would take the opportunity to recharge while you still can. You're going to need it.” “For what purpose?” Deadlock arched an optic, his malevolence prevalent. “Why, your training, of course.” “Training?” “You will find out in due time.” Alone, unarmed, Deadlock had no choice but to comply. His optics dimmed as his systems placed him in sleep mode. --- Several megacycles passed as Deadlock awakened from his stupor. He heard a cacophony of voices shouting in unison. Judging from the sound, it wasn't a morning choir that pretty femmes sung though vocal performances back on Cybertron. What he saw outside intrigued him. The Preserve tribal warriors sparred against each other with different melee weapons: axes, spears, swords and maces. The flow and execution of their movements were exemplified with grace, truly a sight to behold. He continued on towards the mech which he sought. Varnus was seated on the stairs as he sipped a cup of high-grade energon. “How do you feel?” Deadlock did not hesitate to demand his release. “I would like to return amongst my people.” “You are amongst your people.” “Don't patronize me,” the Decepticon scowled. “I'm afraid I cannot allow that, my friend,” Varnus calmly replied as he continued consuming his high-grade. “Our existence must remain secret lest outside forces learn that we are here on this planet.” “I insist,” Deadlock gritted through bared dental plates, his optics met Varnus' as the two warriors stared each other down. Neither was willing to back away from the tension that arose between them. Varnus gently placed his cup on the table and faced his would-be student. “Shall we settle this with a duel then? If you lose, you will train under my wing. On the other hand, if you win, you may go free as you wish.” It was at that point when Deadlock stood at full height. Varnus took the mech's silence as an acceptance to his proposal. --- Beneath the temple grounds was an octagonal shaped-arena, and was usually reserved for the best fighters within the Preservers. The sparring match between Varnus and his new disciple, however was an exception to the norm. Spectators stood ringside as the two contestants stepped up onto the platform. The fighting between the two warriors began in earnest as Deadlock was the first to launch an assault against the Preservers' most revered teacher. In one swift movement, Varnus gripped Deadlock by the wrist and spun him in a forward circle, throwing the Decepticon off-balance and slamming him onto the deck. Deadlock's optics widened in surprise as he groaned at the impact upon which he landed. His processor was astounded by the strength and quickness of the instructor. Smashed debris that exploded upon his landing gave Deadlock a hint as to just how powerful his adversary was. “On your feet,” the older warrior commanded gruffly. Deadlock recovered himself back up and swung a swift sidekick, which Varnus effortlessly evaded and executed a roundhouse, tripping the Decepticon lieutenant face-first. “You got style, but your footwork could use a little improvement though,” he remarked, offering a hand to get Deadlock back on his feet. Using the opening he was given, Deadlock threw Varnus in mid-air, the latter somersaulting without a loss of balance. “You'll have to do better than that to beat the likes of me.” The effortlessness of Varnus and his fighting style drew the ire of the Decepticon officer. The Preserver anticipated what was going to happen next and allowed Deadlock to follow through with his attacks before he exploited an exposed weak point. As he drew one hand back, an electric arc coursed through it before he thrust it forward into Deadlock's midsection, effectively stunning him. “And that, is your first lesson.” After the embarrassment of the first training bout which Deadlock endured from Varnus, the ex-Decepticon spent many megacycles studying the fighting arts which were believed to have been lost in ages past. Amongst the many sessions with Varnus consisted of meditation, hand-to-hand and sword fighting techniques. They were grueling regimens, but Deadlock took them in strides. The consistency in his daily routines showed an improvement over the course of his training. --- Many vorns have passed since he was taken to the Preserver temple. Since then Deadlock's personality changed dramatically. No longer did he bear the same murderous tendencies that he portrayed amongst his former comrades, though there were still traces of aggression in his attitudes, he took great pains in asserting control over his emotions, to the point where his mind is as cold as ice. He walked alongside Varnus in order to undergo one final trial. “What is this place?” asked Deadlock, his right hand reached towards the mysterious portal. Upon contact, the center created a ripple that expanded outward from the circular ring which housed the mysterious phenomenon. His optics were affixed upon its elegance. “It is our link to the Oracle, the supercomputer which foretold the coming of the first Transformers to Cybertron.” “But I thought that the Oracle was only a legend,” Deadlock said, surprised at what he saw before his eyes. A myth which turned out to be reality. “So did many others, including myself. What you see before you proves otherwise,” Varnus replied. “Go ahead. Do not fear it.” Hesitant at first, Deadlock stepped through the portal and was enveloped by the anomaly. When he stepped through to the other side, there was only the cold void of space. It wasn't until moments afterward that thousands of sparks circled around him in a large swirl within the vast expanse of the universe. A wondrous sensation etched in the core of his being. It was an out-of-body experience that he had never felt before. Sensing no immediate danger, he knew he was among kindred spirits, the sparks pulsating in unison as if it was a singular sentient being. The sparks soon disappeared, and Deadlock's conscious was flooded with a deluge of images. Varnus managed to intrude into his cerebral processor as an ethereal guide to the confused warrior. “What do you see?” A blue sphere with tints of green and tan appeared below him, which shifted constantly in shape and size into planets of different constitution. “I see... worlds. Many of them,” Deadlock observed. “Tell me more,” Varnus persisted. A fire lit with a fury akin to a god's wrath. From the heart of the burning pyre were shadows on the ground. Too many for him to count. It became obvious upon closer inspection that they were alien individuals who were felled by something. Farther beyond from the flame itself was the sigil of the Decepticon army, which overshadowed the red orange hue of the fire. “People... dead. By our hand.” “There is something else. You are... conflicted. You doubt the cause that you served and question its purpose.” “I have been for some time now.” “What do you fear?” asked the voice. There in the distance he could see Megatron, fusion cannon on the forearm as he lays waste to a city. Its occupants yelled in panic while the chaos continued. Deadlock soon saw himself with a rifle and blasted at everything in sight, his face lit with a twisted smile. The image shifted into another of himself in which he transformed into something else. Something... demonic. “You fear the darkness within yourself. You fear that the evil which you harbor would consume you, that you would embrace the darker aspects of the beast which you are hiding.” Deadlock was repulsed at the sight of his other self. It had wings tipped with spikes. Claws protruded from the edge of its fingers as it attempted to reach out to him. Its optics glowed with sinister malevolence as it inched closer to him. “You must face your fears! Embrace them and channel them into them into your spark.” Before it could even touch him, his other self was being tugged at by an invisible force. The Deadlock demon shifted into a swirl of molecules. Its body sucked into the emptiness of the void. The ex-Decepticon had to remind himself that inside the Oracle he subconsciously knew that everything around him was a simulacrum. An illusion to fool his senses. “Excellent. Now, find your still point.” Deadlock assumed a defensive stance, his optics dimmed and opened to find that the scenery changed. Around him were the crystal trees when he first arrived at the time. In front of him was Varnus sheathed blades in scabbards. He tossed one to Deadlock, who grabbed the weapon in mid-air and lowered it to his side. “And now begins the real test. Are you ready?” “Yes,” answered the former Decepticon. “Good. A word of advice: don't hold back,” Varnus directed. Both combatants had their weapons drawn: longswords forged by Preserver bladesmiths, which were made of a unique alloy called deconium. The alloy was sturdy was that, coupled with the user's immense spark energy could cut through numerous metals, and took down even larger Cybertronians with relative ease. The battle between them began as swiftly as it did when the two first encountered each other. Their blades crossed each other with skillful grace as both used their wits and cunning to outmaneuver one another. Deadlock blocked an incoming death blow as Varnus' sword thrusted outward with abnormal speed. Sensing another incoming strike, the disciple sidestepped and launched a flurry of strikes which forced Varnus back on the defensive. Unrelenting, the instructor held his opponent at bay until he founded an opening. Deadlock anticipated the attack and allowed Varnus to strike. He blocked the older mech's attack on the left and spun his longsword around in one swift movement. As it made contact, the blade slashed through the torso of the veteran fighter. Instead of sparks and exposed wires Varnus simply disappeared into a mist cloud. Deadlock sheathed his weapon as he stood upright, savoring his victory against his teacher. “Looks like you've won this round, my young friend.” --- Deadlock strode out of the portal, feeling different than when he first stepped in. It was as if a great weight has been lifted off of his shoulders, his mind and body, liberated. He glanced at his external features and noticed that his body was altered significantly. Upon further examination he also noticed that he no longer bore the Decepticon sigil on his chassis, his metallic skin a blend of white with red and black trimmings. Varnus arched an optic. “Deadlock?” The ex-Decepticon's optics glowed with a bluish that resonated within the core of his being. “Deadlock is no more... Just call me Drift.” --- Housing Quarter Preserver Temple, Talaria IV “You have passed all of the trials. I have to admit, you've done well for one who's stubborn.” “I have you to thank, teacher,” Drift answered. “You are one of my finest students,” Varnus said pointed towards a container with intricate markings. “As a reward, I have something to give to you.” The sentence drew a confused look from Drift. Varnus nonetheless turned towards the ornate chest. Inside there was a blade which appeared ceremonial. He suspected what it was but raised his hand in declination. “I... cannot accept this,” Drift humbly replied. “I would be deeply offended if you didn't,” Varnus told the white mech. Reluctantly, Drift took the object and bowed his head in respect. He took the cloth and undraped it, where it revealed a weapon of great power long since forgotten. It was a warp blade through by bladesmiths of ages past during Cybertron's earlier years before the dawn of the planet's Golden Age. The sharp edge of the weapon glowed with a brilliant shine, crackling with electricity as it coursed through Drift's body. In his spark the white mech knew that the sword recognized its new owner, as if it was itself a sentient being. He sensed, that it awaited for the one Cybertronian who would wield it. “As of this day, you are no longer a disciple. You are now a master. Treat it as if it's a part of you.” “Thank you,” Drift bowed once more to his comrade. While he could not forget his past, he could make amends for the pain and suffering he has caused other species throughout the millennia. For him, it was the beginning of a new journey to set things right, and it would start in the space beyond. The End I took the name Varnus from the Blood Ravens Space Marine chaplain in Dawn of War: Dark Crusade. It seemed like a fitting name for the bot who would school Drift in the arts of ancient melee combat and sword fighting techniques. I might consider expanding this since the character has potential to be expanded into something more than how he was portrayed in All Hail Megatron.