Transformers: Honour - Issue #1
In a dirty back-alley, far from onlooking eyes, a group of 5 Maximals are surrounding and attacking a single Predacon (Dinobot). One Maximal is strewn on the ground, trying to get back up to re-engage in the fight. Two Maximals are attempting to hold Dinobot’s arms, while the other two try to batter his torso.
PNL: Cybertron. Circa: 450 AU.
Note: The forms of the Maximals and Dinobot are typically Cybertronian - metallic and based on vehicles of some kind. There are no organic elements to their bodies, because this story takes place several years before the Beast Wars.
A close-up of Dinobot’s face, yelling with rage.
Dinobot: You pieces of SLAG!
The same close-up, but this time, a large fist strikes Dinobot’s face.
Dinobot throws the Maximals holding his right arm off and into the Maximal that punched him.
Dinobot grabs one of the Maximals by the throat.
The Maximal that was on the ground on Page 1 is seen picking up a heavy metal pipe. The fight continues in the background.
Dinobot is struck on the head with the metal pipe and falls to the ground.
SFX (Dinobot): Uuurgh...
The Maximals begin to kick the stricken Predacon.
Maximal 1: Who’s the piece of slag now?
The Maximals’ attention is taken away from Dinobot by a voice.
Dialogue PNL: Enough.
A cloaked figure stands in the shadows of the alleyway.
The Maximals sneer at the figure.
Maximal 1: This don’t concern you, pal. Walk away while you still can.
The figure draws a bright, gleaming sword from behind its back.
The Maximals push each other as they try to get away quickly.
Maximal 2: Forget it! Let’s get outta here!
As the Maximals flee in the background, Dinobot is crawling, trying to get up. His on-board computer gives a warning.
Dinobot: Face me, cowards!
Dialogue PNL: Warning - Stasis Lock: Imminent.
The figure walks to Dinobot’s side, sheathing his sword. Dinobot is still trying to get up.
Shadow: Leave them be.
Link PNL: You fight bravely, but some battles can’t be won.
The figure puts a hand under Dinobot’s shoulder, trying to help him up.
Shadow: Come, your injuries require attention.
Dinobot: Leave me…
Slipping from the figure’s grasp, Dinobot’s body rolls over to be face up, and falls lifeless to the ground.
The figure grabs Dinobot’s body by the shoulders.
A shot from behind the figure, as he carries Dinobot’s body from the scene.
Through blurred optics, an odd display of shiny objects is seen.
PNL: Some cycles later.
The display suddenly comes into sharp focus. It is a cabinet filled with incredible looking swords and handheld weapons.
Dinobot cradles his head as he sits up. He is on a table, at the side of a large room. The room is full of combat training gear.
The mysterious figure descends a set of stairs at the far end of the room.
Shadow: You have the Spark of a Prime.
A close-up of the hooded figure’s face, obscured by his cloak.
Shadow: But bravery is often confused with stupidity.
Dinobot stands, unsteadily, still cradling his head. He looks towards the figure.
Dinobot: Where am I?
Dialogue PNL: Safe.
Dinobot (2): The way out?
The figure stands aside from the bottom of the stairs, gesturing to them. Dinobot walks towards them.
Dinobot begins to ascend the stairs.
Shadow: No word of thanks for your rescuer?
Dinobot: I didn’t need rescuing.
Shadow (2): So it was your intention to meet death last night?
Dinobot stops walking up the stairs and looks at the figure, who is walking to the cabinet at the other end of the room.
Shadow: If so, I am sorry for robbing you of such an indignity.
The figure reaches the cabinet. In the background behind him, Dinobot is still on the stairs.
Shadow: What is your name, Predacon?
The figure turned from the cabinet, holding a sword.
Shadow: The Dinobots were an insubordinate force of nature. But when focused on an objective, they had the power to change history.
Link PNL: Do you think yourself worthy of such a name?
An angle from behind the figure. He walks back towards the centre of the room. Dinobot is again in the background on the stairs.
Shadow: A Predacon… with the name Dinobot. Grimlock would disapprove-
The figure buries the tip of the sword into the floor of the room.
Dialogue PNL: -and then tear you limb from limb.
From behind Dinobot on the stairs, we look down at the figure standing in the centre of the room.
Dinobot: Who are you?
Shadow: I am an empty shell.
A close-up of the cloaked face. Under it we can see a metallic wolf-like jaw.
Shadow: But you may call me Shadow.
Shadow gestures for Dinobot to join him in the centre of the room.
Shadow: There is a flame within you, Dinobot, ignited by the injustice you’ve endured every day since your creation. It’s no wonder you lash out against a world that appears to hate you simply out of habit.
Dinobot walks back to the bottom of the stairs, not taking his optics off Shadow.
Shadow: But this flame soon begins to burn its host. Its fiery tongue licking your very Spark and you give in to the rage, the hatred. In the end, self-destruction is your only means of escape.
Dinobot comes to stand opposite Shadow. Between them is the sword.
Shadow: I have felt these flames, the blind rage that overwhelms your circuitry, wishing to tear the world apart for that one moment of peace.
A close-up of the hooded face again.
Shadow: A great loss set a fire within me -- vengeance. It burned hotter than The Pit itself. But what I craved was stolen from me, and instead of finding peace, the fire, the unfulfilled vow of revenge, turned on me, hollowing my being, leaving me a husk of who I once was.
Link PNL: I am a mirror for your future.
Shadow pulled the cloak from his form, revealing a wolf-like head on top of a robotic body. The body is scarred, but strong. Think of Anubis, the Egyptian God.
Shadow stood before Dinobot, with his hands calmly folded behind his back. The sword in the floor gleams.
Dinobot: What do you want?
Shadow: What I want is irrelevant until you decide what you want. If you wish for death, leave the blade where it is, and I will deliver to you the demise I robbed you of last night.
Dinobot looks down at the sword.
Shadow: However, if you think you have more to offer the Universe, the choice is clear.
Shadow suddenly pulled a sword from a subspace pocket behind his back and made to bring it down on Dinobot’s head.
The SFX takes up a panel sized area at the bottom of the page.
An extreme close-up of Dinobot’s face, cringing in fear.
Dinobot’s optics open slightly.
A wider shot, showing Dinobot having raised the sword over his head to protect himself. The two swords remained locked together.
A shot of Shadow’s face. A small smile is etched across his snout.
Shadow: I wish to train you.
Dinobot and Shadow (recloaked) walk through the dirty streets of a Cybertronian city. Shady-looking Cybertronians go about their daily business.
Shadow: How soon the lessons of the past are forgotten.
Link PNL: Cybertron has returned to a class system -- the divide greater than any ever seen before. You are a product of this system.
From the side, the shady-looking Cybertronians look on as Dinobot and Shadow walk past.
Shadow: There are those who fight to keep it this way. They should know better, and they do, but fearing reprisal from an equal, they keep the down-trodden exactly so, and only intervene when a sprout of descent raises its head.
Dinobot and Shadow turn down a dark alleyway.
Shadow: An environment such as this gave rise to the Decepticons.
Link PNL: History has an awful habit of repeating itself.
Dinobot looks at Shadow as they continue to walk.
Dinobot: Is that what you’re doing? Raising an army?
Shadow: Me? No. The two of us could hardly be called an army. But be in no doubt…
The shady onlookers watch the two figures go down the alley.
Shadow: Somewhere in this mire are the seeds of rebellion.
Shadow and Dinobot approach a large set of old doors, guarded by a large, formidable looking Predacon.
Shadow: There is one who has risen, but he is of a special breed. Where Megatron was a rallying point for the down-trodden, this ‘bot could hardly be called a leader.
Shadow gives the guard a few coins.
Shadow: His ambitions are far too self-serving.
The doors open and Dinobot and Shadow enter.
Shadow: Predacons are selfish.
Shadow and Dinobot descend a large, once grand, staircase. This was obviously once a building of great decadence, but has now fallen into dilapidation.
Shadow: With no one to galvanise them behind a single ideal, they now only think for themselves, about what they want.
Link PNL: In such an environment, the one who can facilitate these diverse needs is given great reward in return. So when your power comes from division - why unite them?
Dinobot looks out over the side of the staircase as light strikes his awe-stricken face. Shadow remains in the darkness behind him.
Shadow: Cryotek has built his empire by being the centre of a world of selfish thinkers. And right at its very core, is this.
Link PNL: Welcome…
An enormous, subterranean space opens out. Huge cages cover fighting arenas. In them are ‘bots of all shapes and sizes, outside them are others who roar with delight as they watch on.
Dialogue PNL: … to the Gladiatorial Arenas.
Shadow and Dinobot walk amongst the thronging crowd of onlookers. A bar can be seen, with revellers indulging themselves in all kind of dirty oils.
Shadow: The Maximal Imperium knows full well that this goes on. This is but one -- there are more arenas like it all over Cybertron.
Link PNL: But while Cryotek is at its helm, they needn’t worry about an uprising.
Dinobot and Shadow walk past a group of Maximals and Predacons who are busily and loudly making bets and waving money around.
Shadow: Security Forces run the occasional raid to make the upper classes feel safer, but you will find Maximals amongst the crowd here, keen to witness the violence -- their needs facilitated by him.
Overlooking the entire arena is a balcony, and pompously sitting on that balcony, enjoying the entertainment, is Cryotek.
Dinobot and Shadow look into one of the fighting pits, surrounded by excited onlookers, cheering the fighters on.
Shadow: Transformer against Transformer. Allegiance is irrelevant; all that matters is that their anger is channelled and exorcised.
A shot of Dinobot’s face, as well as Shadow’s cloaked head. Dinobot is still filled with awe.
Shadow: This is the most terrifying part of the new world. If the mire is where the Decepticons were born, ancient arenas like this were the nurturing pools of that discontent.
Link PNL: Cryotek may not be the leader, but if the Predacons were ever to rise again, this is where is would start.
Dinobot: Is that why you’ve brought me here?
Shadow walks off into the crowd. Dinobot trails behind, his focus still on the fight.
Shadow: No. I’ve brought you here to fight.
Shadow raps his knuckles on a large door.
SFX: KLUNG KLUNG
A slit in the door opens and a set of eyes peer out.
Shadow: I seek an audience with Cryotek.
Beside a large chair, a computer screen displays a security camera shot of Dinobot and Shadow standing outside the door.
Cryotek: Do let them in, Megalith.
From inside the chamber, Megalith opens the large, heavy door and Shadow leads Dinobot in.
Shadow: Your time is of great value. We are honoured by it.
Cryotek sits pompously on a large throne-like chair. He is truly king of his domain.
Cryotek: My my… It is I who should be honoured. A War hero, in my chambers.
A shot of Shadow, who is still cloaked.
Shadow: You know who I am?
Cryotek smiles smugly.
Cryotek: Of course, I’m in the business of knowing.
Link PNL: The question however is why you have come?
A wider shot, taking in Cryotek, who sits more forward, enjoying himself.
Cryotek: But, again, as I am in the business of knowing, and you bring with you a brooding young Predacon, I would surmise that you wish to enter him in a bit of friendly competition.
Link PNL: Am I right?
A close-up of Cryotek, still smug and impressed with himself.
Cryotek: A young warrior under your tutelage would become an instant favourite among the public, even if they do detest the very thought of you.
A close-up of Shadow’s cloaked face again.
Cryotek (Off): Not quite Decepticon, and yet not quite Autobot.
Cryotek still lounges on his throne.
Cryotek: But one doesn’t need to see me to enter the revelries, so again, why have you come? But in your reputation lies the answer.
Cryotek stands for the first time and walks towards the two figures.
Cryotek: You wish to not be seen as yourself, perhaps to take advantage of some early betting, confident in the skills of your young fighter.
Link PNL: Such an advantage over your fellow competitor, who am I to allow such a coup?
Cryotek addresses Shadow while placing his hands on Dinobot’s broad shoulders. Cryotek smiles more smugly than ever.
Cryotek: Who would I be not to take advantage of such a plan, hm?
Cryotek walks back to his throne.
Cryotek: You’re a clever one.
Cryotek sits squarely on his throne, but his smile is gone, replaced with a stern glare.
Cryotek: You play me on my strengths and weaknesses, I capitalise on yours.
Link PNL: 50% of you winnings in lieu of an entry fee.
Cryotek summons the two guards from beside his throne to escort Shadow and Dinobot out.
Cryotek: Mutually beneficial, wouldn’t you say?
Shadow bows. Dinobot eyes the guards approaching them.
Shadow: A gracious offer. Again, we thank you for your time.
As Dinobot and Shadow are escorted out the door, Dinobot turns his head to Shadow.
Dinobot: He likes the sound of his own voice.
Shadow: We’re in, that’s all that matters.
Dinobot and Shadow stand opposed each other, back in Shadow’s chamber. Dinobot is holding a shield and a blunt sword. Shadow holds only a blunt sword.
Dinobot: What are you -- Predacon or Maximal?
Shadow easily blocks Dinobot’s lunge with his sword.
Shadow: I am made of Maximal parts, but then so are you, yet neither of us is Maximal.
Shadow kicks Dinobot’s shield, knocking Dinobot off balance.
Shadow: As for Predacon -- I have fought alongside them, as well as against them.
Dinobot regains his composure and resets himself for another attack.
Shadow: Razorclaw was a proud warrior…
A close-up of Dinobot’s eyes, angry with Shadow’s words.
Dialogue PNL: … he would be disgusted by what his faction has become.
Dinobot charges at Shadow again.
Shadow easily defends the attack and trips Dinobot.
Dinobot looks up at Shadow from the ground, anger still on his face.
Dinobot: You fought with Razorclaw?
Dinobot again resets himself. Shadow stands patiently by.
Shadow: He was truly terrifying to behold.
Suddenly, Shadow charges at Dinobot. Dinobot defends himself at the last minute with his sword.
Shadow: He fought with passion…
Shadow attacks again. Dinobot defends the attack with his shield, but again, only just in time.
Shadow: He lived with purpose…
Shadow trips Dinobot again, sending him to the floor.
Shadow: … something Predacons now lack.
Dinobot pulls himself from the floor once again.
Dinobot: Can you blame us?
Shadow: It’s too easy to feel worthless when fate delivers your Spark to the losing side of history. All will pale into insignificance once your true purpose is found.
Dinobot (2): And what’s your purpose?
Dinobot lunges at Shadow once again.
Shadow: A Warrior is more than a fighter, much more. A true Master of his skills has the power to reshape the very Universe itself.
They lock swords.
Shadow: I thought I knew the reason for my creation, but it is now clear that my true purpose is to train you in the ways of the Warrior.
Dinobot uses his shield to knock Shadow’s sword from his hand.
Shadow: To teach you how to live, fight and die…
Dinobot puts his sword to Shadow’s throat. Shadow smiles. His arms are raised slightly at his side, with his hands open, showing his submission.
Shadow: … with Honour.
----- End of Issue #1 -----