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QUINTESSONS: THE GREAT REBELLION

[QUINTESSONS: THE GREAT REBELLION]

by A.Appleyard (Anthony.Appleyard@umist.ac.uk)

Accounts of the origin of the Transformers vary. Some of them put it so long ago that nearly the only good record of it is a very rare find (for Cybertron which has had for ages a complete sheath of artificial constructions), a small but deep area of semi-natural geological sedimentary record found when digging out the Smelting Pool in Polyhex after the Decepticons were driven out {ref `A Geological Report from Polyhex' by A.Appleyard}. Some say that the Quintessons made the first Transformers. Whether those accounts are true or not, I may as well describe them here.

How the Quintessons arose is not definitely known yet, only various legends and ritual-tales. But a history of sentient robots making other sentient robots, however long, must have a beginning; they can't evolve from scratch. Flesh life must have evolved somewhere and crawled out of warm seas, and become sentient and made sentient robots. Be it enough that the Quintessons and their Sharkticon guards and retainers and enforcers were only few, until they came to the star system that Men later called Alpha Centauri. Two stars orbit each other, about as far apart as the Sun and Uranus; a fainter third star now called Proxima orbits the pair further away. And round one of the main two circled a planet. Although its size and temperature were comfortable for life, it had none, only fossil remains of flesh life long extinct, and signs of a fearsome ancient calamity when an asteroid impacted as that life was starting to spread onto dry land. Sand dunes marched across wide desert plains; rainwater, however plentiful, ran away and dried with no humus or vegetation to hold it. Winds, with no trees to break their force, became lashing blinding sandstorms. Nothing swam in sea or river or lake. Hills were bare and rocky, with nothing to hide the abundant outcrops of metal ores. Here Quintessons settled and multiplied, aided by sentient machines that they made, and called it by a name that after thousands of years of phonetic wear and tear ended up as `Cybertron'.

Most Quintessons are like Transformers Movie's Quintesson Judge, with five faces and five tentacles. They had then a jetmotor, and now an antigravity repulsor, placed vertically in their abdomens, and balanced on its blast when moving: they never had wings. This jetmotor was to them the central and most private and personal and sacred part of their bodies; they used their word for it figuratively in describing emotions, as humans use the word `heart', and said that their soul dwelt in it; a Quintesson would sometimes swear his most solemn oaths on it or on that of a superior Quintesson. Even mentioning it in speech casually or unnecessarily, is objected to by many. Dead Quintessons, and any parts that have perforce to be removed and replaced, are committed whole to a special furnace with specified ceremonies, and not broken up for spare parts except in dire emergencies (although such needs were to arise all too often in coming events). This rule applied most of all to casualties' jetmotors. Even then, salvaged parts can only be used to repair other Quintessons, not in Sharkticons, and certainly not in machinery, even sentient machinery, or in alien sentient robots.

Quintessons identify each other by serial numbers, holding that names are only for places and pets and machines. Nicknames for particular Quintessons inevitably develop in use, but are decidedly not for formal usage; they dislike being referred to as or addressed by nicknames or codenames by the inevitable aliens met in commerce who find it difficult remembering lists of numbers.

Balancing on a jetblast all the time is expensive in fuel, so the Quintessons had made the Sharkticons to be their servants and guards, and to pull them in chariots. The Quintessons have a sadistic and dominating streak in their nature that makes them overfond of Earth Roman style arena combats to the death, and suchlike best not described in detail, although Transformers the Movie showed some of it, and descriptions of Earth Ancient Roman arena games will give you more information. They are also overfond of experimenting on alien life forms. But getting prisoners for these events got more and more difficult in face of predictable concerted resistance, until they had largely to leave off raiding. Also Sharkticons' abilities at work and transport are limited, so sentient servants of other shapes and abilities were desired. Thus they made sentient machinery, some of it mobile, as servants and slaves and transport vehicles and goods-handling devices and intelligent computers, and as pets and experimental subjects and arena fodder and something to be cruel to. Many of them could transform between a vehicle form for fast mobility and a humanoid form for versatility at work.

This result of the Quintesson mentality was one reason why Transformers have so many different body shapes, compared with other robotic species such as Lithonians or Quintessons or Junkions. On Cybertron were made in this time many sorts of sentient devices, some transforming, some not; gradually these got a feeling of common identity, and the subtype names Transformer (robot that can fold up to become a vehicle or machine) and Autobot (sentient vehicle) gradually became names for all these servant sentient robots (except Sharkticons). The Transformers got entrusted with more and more of the routine part of design and manufacturing and production as the Quintessons got lazier as well as crueller - they got entrusted with too much, as will be seen. With the resources of Cybertron the Quintessons greatly expanded their population and spaceship fleet, and became a major ruling and commercial and financial power, with a notorious skill in undercover stirring up wars to create markets for selling weapons.

Sentience caused its inevitable consequence as the Quintessons passed ever more minor routine decisions and planning onto their Transformers. Some Transformers started to query why such another had been deactivated or moved away, and to ask for civil rights and a say in deciding policy. Thus hostility started, as the Quintessons treated Transformers that stepped out of line as merely out-of-control or malfunctioning machinery to be stopped or scrapped, but the Transformers considered themselves to be sentient individuals with rights, as a side-effect of the functioning of their emotional circuits which are an essential part of sentience. The Transformers at first wanted merely want to be treated as equals, and to have a say in actions that affect them, and persisted long with trying to reason with their Sharkticon and Quintesson masters; but when that usually merely resulted in being deactivated or dismantled or sent to the arena they started to plot resistance in secret rather than accepting any more their place as slaves without rights or personal safety.

Transformer demonstrations were suppressed by force. Riots followed. With Transformers doing so much of the routine paperwork and fetching and carrying and manual work, official clamp-downs and orders of tight control of people and supplies could not stop the ever-growing unauthorizedness and loss of control as the system became unable to support enough officials to stop applications for permissions from piling up in arrears or to support enough inspectors and armed patrollers and detection equipment to check everything, on top of ever more commitments off-planet. The Transformers developed secret factories which made weapons and unauthorized new Transformers, and Transformer bodies with speed and armouring and abilities beyond what the Quintessons allowed. Some say that the first such was in an industrial area near Vos where many of the Quintessons in charge spent most of their time running private businesses and satisfying their addiction to watching and organizing arena games, passing their paid work onto supposedly `trusty' Transformer deputies; secrecy laws were broken; casual unauthorizedness cohered into local undercover self-rule. Strikes and sabotage and deliberately bad work multiplied in official workplaces; the space-navy got short of supplies. The Transformers lacked what was later called the `Creation Matrix', but brought unauthorized new Transformers alive by copying existing Transformers' minds into them, for they soon found how to neutralize the devices installed into their brains to try to prevent this. The Quintessons had for security reasons left crucial gaps in knowledge told to the Transformers, but in hidden factories and laboratories the Transformers gradually filled in more and more of these gaps.

Then came the first ambush-attack by Transformers on Quintessons going to take a Transformer away for dismantling. More attacks on Quintessons and patrolling Sharkticons followed. The government and firms talked of successful intensive patrolling, to reassure customers and shareholders. Transformers often raided scrapyards and combat arenas to rescue Transformers due to be destroyed, and from time to time arena spectators saw a fight that was not on the schedule. The list ever grew of areas where Quintessons and Sharkticons could not safely move, or only on main roads by daylight. Transformer attacks on supply convoys were directed not only at the goods being carried, but at the vehicles themselves, which were often sentient, and can be easily turned into more unauthorized Transformers. Some say that one such was a large red transport vehicle called Optimus; but others say that his beginning was otherwise.

The war got bitterer; its fortunes swayed destructively back and forth. Soon both sides were pitiless. From this time come many heroic tales of resistance against great danger. The Transformers were now quite ready to bring down a Quintesson by `the dirty shot', namely from below up into his jetmotor, which Quintessons rarely do in disputes among themselves that turn to blows; but Transformers had been given little cause to feel fellowship with Quintessons' likes and dislikes, but had to defend themselves and fight for freedom as they could. The Quintessons tried to hide this war and to keep an air of normality, to avoid scaring away trade and investment, but their influence off-planet inexorably waned. One special enforcement squad that they sent out in this time broke loose from their orders and makers and became a wild tribe scrap dealing on a remote asteroid and took no more part in these events; their descendants are the Junkions. There was an arms race. Security sweeps never found all the secret Transformer factories at once, and those remaining soon set up new ones.

In a typical incident, Quintesson traffic at Iwaghina had waited to drive to Polyhex (a main Quintesson city on Cybertron) until there was enough for an armed convoy. The convoy set off. Part way in a narrow place in an abandoned town, Transformers knocked out the second and last-but-one vehicles of the convoy (as the first and last were too heavily armoured), and finished off the rest at leisure. The haul was fuel, machinery parts, raw materials for making computer parts, etc - also Quintessons and Sharkticons. There was no need to guess what happened to captured Sharkticons, as one common type of unauthorized Transformer-made rebel Transformer was a fast powerful wheeled racing-car-like type whose body was converted from the bodies of two Sharkticons. As expected, Transformers held the captured Quintessons captive to ensure fair treatment for Transformers who are still slaves or prisoners. The Quintessons did not like this, as they held that Transformers were merely machinery, to be the property of someone, who could dispose of it as he wishes. The views of the two sides got more and more incompatible and hate-ridden. The many truces and ceasefires and attempts at mediation all came to little or nothing. Many of the captured vehicles proved to be sentient; with mind-restrainers removed, and repaired and altered, they became useful extra Transformers to join the rebels against the oppression of the Quintessons. They had with them an immobile sentient computer which had long secretly helped them, but they had had to take it away as its cover would not have lasted much longer; they gave it self-mobility by putting it in one of the vehicles which was nonsentient before. A government search force rampaged round the area afterwards, but did not find the attackers.

But in the cities and safe areas, life went on as usual, although often the only communication was by scrambled radio, as telephone lines were often tapped or cut by rebels. In such places as Polyhex, Quintesson games and ordinary life carried on as usual and the war seemed to be light-years away. The arena was well supplied, and off-world traders came and went as usual in areas where they were allowed. The war settled into a stalemate, although the Transformers were capturing more and more Quintessons and Sharkticons and goods and raw materials; people wondered what was happening to it all.

The authorities managed to largely keep out of sight such things as that the only way in and out of some areas was small very fast craft which were often converted missiles. One or a few Quintessons fitted exactly into a small compartment each. A notice in it read: "Climb out and use the chute, not your jetmotor". It was yet another sign of the emergency that, to keep the craft light, the normally universal and unmentioned anti-jetblast plating could not be fitted to the `seats', but instead there was such a notice, for normally mentioning one's jetmotor that casually was offensively intimate to Quintessons rich and influential enough to use that sort of scarce expensive transport. "He's for the arena when this is over, mentioning that part of me that baldly." the Lord of Polyhex thought, for even he, returning from an emergency conference, instead of in a roomy craft with plenty room to work, in the urgency and dangers of the times had to be thus `fired' in above over seventy miles of Transformer-held territory, thankfully far too fast to see much of the wreckage and the scrapheaps, and the scrawled changes to commemorative place and street names on road signs, with no room to do anything with his tentacles except wrap them round himself to fit them in, and four of his five faces pushed against blank metal. But through a small peep hole he saw all too clearly a sight that shocked his devout mind to the core, for on the old hill of Iwaghina his people's main and most sacred pilgrimage temple was blazing to the heavens. He muttered a prayer to all his gods, and vowed vengeance.

The annual festival came, and the people were gladder than usual for a chance not to have to think so much of work or war. There were many special events and rites then, including even more arena games than usual, with Transformers forced to fight against each other or against Sharkticons etc - the free Transformers noted this: for them this was the great infamy and a hated time, but the Quintessons called it a time for festivity. This was a great incompatibility between the Transformers and their makers. After the usual invoking of their chief god (who was usually referred to as `He of Iwaghina', for His serial number was only known to a few priests), planned events started and proceeded.

Suddenly Polyhex radio, both broadcasting and communication, went off the air. Of such security forces that could be brought back from festivities in a hurry nearby, some were sent to investigate. Those sent to Polyhex overland all ran into unexpectedly massive Transformer roadblocks and could not proceed. Those sent by air were shot down or shot at by ground laser fire from rebel-held areas, all too effective against slow heavy troop-transport planes, and they had to turn back if they escaped at all. All radio and microwaves were jammed or silent. Now it was evident what the Transformers had been going with all the captured materials. Nothing came out of Polyhex, either matter or energy, to carry news; it was as a black hole.

A week later, the remains of a Quintesson struggled on the blowtorched stumps of his tentacles along a long weary road through the strewn remains of yet another unsuccessful attempt by security forces to get through. He had travelled far like this, hiding by day and moving by night. Two of his five faces had been blown away by a shot; loose wires and parts trailed from where his built-in guns had been cut away. At his rear end there was a sign of a worse harm, a dreadful thing to the Quintessons: for his most personal part, his jetmotor, had been cut out, leaving a ragged blowtorched hole rather than fiddle with the fastenings. His body bore scrawls: "Freedom for the Transformers" and "Remember those deactivated for asking for their rights" and "You scrap us, so we'll scrap you, since you never listen to us.". Eventually a Sharkticon patrol found him and took him into Vos for repair. No more followed him. He was the only escaper from Polyhex, and the Transformers were now in possession of the city. Even he had only got away by chance, getting away by night from a scrapheap where the Quintessons of Polyhex were thrown in the course of dismantling to use their parts in machinery or in new Transformers. It was the old story repeatable many times in many civilizations: ruthlessness from desperation, outrage in reply to outrage, two opposite forces as incompatible as sodium and water, or as the equation pair "x=1; x=2". "Thus the Five-faces treated my old friend Redwheels, just because his bearings needed replacing, after he had served them long and faithfully", he remembered being said about him by one large black Transformer of a totally unauthorizable (by the Quintessons) type (a tracked tank which carried on its back bridging-gear which incorporated at least ten head-rotator bearings cut from Quintesson bodies, a sight that made him shudder), as his built-in guns were being cut away, together with enough of his body casing to serve as handgrips and stock. As soon as he could, thus he gave such account as he could of what happened:-

In the first dark of the evening of the festival day, something flew in and landed on the Communications Tower, and blew the top half off it. The broadcast festive music stopped suddenly, so did a radiotelephone message from a business colleague in Vos. The power failed and there was darkness. Something on the city wall shot at the city. Transformers! How!? The only Transformers in Polyhex were imprisoned or safely fitted with mind-restrainers, as far as he knew. The attackers, ignoring other objectives and various tempting targets, captured a wall-gate from inside and opened it. Far more Transformers rushed in, many of types he had never seen before, and too many obviously with Sharkticon and Quintesson parts built into them. The city's large defence force was celebrating here and there and could not be gathered quickly, but yet formed some sort of ranks against the attackers, and would have driven them out or shot them - but something fast and winged rose over the walls and swooped on the defenders, strafing them. It was something that he had hoped and thought never to see: flying Transformers. Now he knew that hostage negotiations would never get many captured Quintessons back, for each of the new attackers' rear-directed flame-tails of propulsive power (and most of them had two) represented one of his people mutilated of his most personal and emotionally symbolic part to give illegal flight-power to the slave-race now in full rebellion. For once he wished success to Transformer secret factories, to make their own jetmotors, so they would not have to keep getting them in the way they had been. They were indeed starting to, but not enough yet. Soon the city's defenders were retreating and being blown up by dropped bombs on all sides. Strong points fell. Polyhex's industrial and scientific complex, the biggest on Cybertron, was yielded up intact to the Transformers, with nothing erased or destroyed or boobytrapped, when its guards were attacked suddenly by what appeared to be Quintessons and Sharkticons turning to aid the attackers, but were likely those who the Transformers had captured in incidents earlier and "released" with Transformer brains instead of their own. There were desperate deeds on both sides. The last fighting was in the main arena, where for once Transformers, both attackers and released city-slaves, stood on the stands and watched the last Quintessons and Sharkticons fight and fall - for the Transformers had learned the hard way not to trust apparent surrenderers.

Thus the list of no-go areas was shortened, but not in the way the Quintessons wanted, but by joining many of them into a huge solid Transformer-held area centred on Polyhex. There was full freedom at last. No more being casually bought and sold away from friends. No more being scrapped or brain-erased for speaking their mind or objecting to overwork or abuse.

The industrial and scientific facilities of Polyhex gave the Transformers a huge advantage, and the Quintessons soon knew it. The city yielded a huge haul of jetmotors, both spare from stores and cut from their owners, as well as a jetmotor factory, and soon huge flights of flying Transformers were overflying all ground defences and aiding other Transformer hold-out groups, whose areas rapidly expanded and joined. Vos and Tarn fell nearly undefended, and their garrisons returned from a sweep to find their city held against them. The sacred city of Iwaghina changed hands wholly or partly nine times and was almost completely destroyed in the fighting, and even lost its name in that war, for its name was important in the Quintesson religion - the Transformer city built later on its ruins was named Iacon.

The Transformers' secret self-government moved to Polyhex and started to function openly. The first off-world ships landed in Transformer-held areas, to sell weapons and scientific knowledge in exchange for captured Quintesson valuables and knowledge and suchlike. The Transformers took the opportunity to let the various offworlders trapped in Polyhex at its capture leave freely.

The Quintessons tried to play for time and to treat for a partition of the planet while they recovered for a counterattack, which they had one chance only at, as the news of the fall of Polyhex wiped out their commercial influence and they had little hope for fresh raw materials: credit to them was refused by peoples who would not have dared to defy them before. They spoke of peace and apology and reparation, and sent one Quintesson, and three Sharkticons with him, as a delegation, for the Transformers did not trust a larger force so far behind their lines.

He came, in a small ground vehicle with a trailer, along a long road far into rebel territory to what was once his home city before he was luckily away on business when the city fell. He reached the blasted ruins of Iwaghina, and an imperfect attempt at hiding the evidence of his own people and Sharkticons being scrapped to repair injured Transformers. A sign announcing the date of the next arena combat-games had been crossed out and overwritten with "NEVER!!" and the rebels' symbol (= what is now known as the Autobot symbol). In the town square, the monument to the first Quintesson settlement was gone, and instead, on its plinth stood what appeared to be a large motionless Transformer, until he saw that it was a statue - the Transformers had already started to put up monuments to their own battle-dead and to those slain in the arena or otherwise and who never lived to see freedom. He passed the remains of wrecked war-vehicles. The shrines and pilgrimage centres were burnt out and smashed and their contents and tatters of their sacred hangings were strewn about. Even so he came to the place where he and most Quintessons wanted to go to at least once in their lives. Portions of Quintessons and Sharkticons lay about among dust and oil and scrap, and everywhere about scrawled the evidence that ancient oppression and fear had now been overthrown. He had to detour where an unexploded bomb was being defused. A large flying Transformer leaning against a wall in robot form said; "I bet you can't do this with yours, Five-face! I bet you'd never guess whose these two were before!", and, standing on his right leg and aiming his left leg and its attached jetmotor in afterburn mode, accurately `shot' a nearby pile of inflammable wreckage, setting it alight. The Quintesson indeed could not, and did not want to, for the afterburner was a Transformer modification whose effect he did not like looking at one bit. He heard the Transformer telling him where the two jetmotors had come from, but had heard and seen too much before to be much shocked at what he heard. He was glad to get away from the place.

He at last came to Polyhex city, and a gate opened for him; he entered. Inside, the residential areas were already being repopulated by Transformers from the back country, and a large foundry was too obviously consuming their ancient hated tyrants who dwelt there before, except for reusable parts such as head-rotator bearings and circuitry and - jetmotors. Sharkticons were being treated similarly. He reached the city centre. At the City Square, the high Wall of Lords had been erased of all the serialnumbers of those who had been Lords of Polyhex from its founding, and the great statue of the first Lord no longer looked with its five faces towards the five gates of the city, but lay smashed on the ground. No-one ever saluted it in passing again. Instead, the top left corner of the Wall bore one name - a name, not a serialnumber, even in that ceremonial place: `FIREFLIGHT, 0 - '. They had even scrapped the Count of Years, and restarted from the start of their rebellion as year zero. And considering himself as having been the rightful ruler through all their rebellion, and with an aeronautical name that referred to possession of that which symbolized their most emotive act against all things Quintesson.

Something winged and flame-tailed flew in over the war-damaged buildings, and, nearing him, settled tail-down and transformed as it landed. It extended a hand and said "I am Fireflight, Lord of Polyhex. Welcome in peace and friendship, with hopes of free coexistence and an end of old hatreds. This coming in now is my assistant Starscream.". (Of these two, Starscream was indeed the same person as his latterday namesake, for his mind was later repeatedly copied from old brain circuitry to new down the ages; but the modern Fireflight the Aerialbot is merely named after the original, for Transformer names, like human names, sometimes recur over distance and time.) A Transformer drove in from a building: another of those racing-car-like types made by altering and "re-braining" two Sharkticon bodies. At the rear, the cut stump of a Sharkticon flail-tail was obvious, and the sun of that world was at the correct angle to show at the front where a Sharkticon mouth had been welded shut as the front was adapted to take wheels and steering-gear. It transformed and gave a long welcoming speech in what was to Transformers ceremonial language, but to him as a Quintesson echoed all too clearly of what Transformers had mostly seen of life before the rebellion: the language of prison-yard and backstreet. He put up with it as long as it lasted, and turned to face the job of discussing what he had been sent to discuss, starting with the matter of the remains of the fallen of his own species - while the legs of the two welcoming him bulged with the flight-power-giving evidence of what had happened to four of his fellows. They ignored - or had been illegally manufactured and had never been informed about - Quintesson sensibilities, but had laid out nearly the same welcome as they would have given to some other Transformer-chief coming in from some other rebel-held area. Music played - not his kind, but theirs. Fireflight showed no particular emotional response to mentioning even his own jetmotors, but, like any other flying Transformer, spoke of them as casually as of any other mechanical device.

They tried to start discussion, but never got anywhere. The Transformers wanted all sentient machines to have all inhibitors removed and treated as equals. The Quintessons could not easily live without sentient machinery, and did not like having to make every little decision themselves, as would be without `assistants'. Each side accused the other of all the wrongs that had ever been actually or allegedly done to them.

The Quintesson said "We made you. You owe us something for that. And - may `He of Iwaghina' give me the strength and permission to describe in plain speech such sacrileges - all the jetmotors which you have cut from our people.".

Fireflight said "Then you oppressed and mistreated us, and shovelled us into furnaces and destructors, and sent us to the arena to be torn apart and blown up by each other and by all sorts of things. That cancels that. We need the jetmotors to fly to defend ourselves with. Unless you make and give us as many new jetmotors to replace them, of at least the same quality. Never again will we be your factory labour to make weapons for you to use to kidnap aliens on thin excuses for your games and mock trials.".

The Quintesson said "Why should I swear peace solemnly with you on my jetmotor and on those of our cities' Lords, as is custom among us, when you two wear four of them, blowtorched from my people's bodies, openly on your legs, and not even hidden inside your bodies as we do, as well as usurping without permission an ancient noble title? And your people even blowtorched out `that part' from him who is above all city-lords, `Him who `He of Iwaghina' speaks through', which we do not mention even in solemn oath except in a few special state ceremonies, and paired it with the same part of a dirty speculating embezzler due for the arena, to give flight power to a common Transformer flying fun-boy and strafer who boasted of it when he saw me pass in Iwaghina on the way in. He had so little reverence for it that he used it to start a rubbish fire as I passed him.".

Such was Quintesson feelings towards their bodily parts, and the bitterness of the Transformer War of Independence arose from both sides feeling compelled to ignore the other side's sensitivities, for the Transformers, wearily familiar with being messed about and dismantled by Quintessons, would have very little sympathy with Quintessons who respected their own lives and bodily parts but not those of Transformers.

Also the Quintessons disliked the Transformers for using names as standard for each other, and for forcing Quintessons in any dealings across the battle-lines that did arise, to have to use names as official.

Fireflight replied: "You hold `that part' of yourselves to be intimate etc. We also hold our people's lives to be important, and not to be scrapped and sold about and all the other things you've been doing to us. We'll treat you as equals if you treat us as equals. You never treat our lives as important to us: why should we put ourselves out for your silly weep-talk about jetmotors? You've clearly brought nothing for us except to tell us to go back to as we were before and your arenas and your arbitrary orders and your sentencing to death and getting ourselves a bad name making weapons for your gun-running.".

So it went on, until the talks broke up in shouting. Before the shouting could turn to shooting, he called his three Sharkticons and went to his vehicle. Its motor started by itself as he approached. The Quintesson loaded his luggage on it and went to get in it. Starscream was sitting on a ledge leaning on a wall.

"No you don't, I'm staying here. I prefer it." the Quintesson's vehicle said. Some Transformer had been at it, removing the inhibitor from its brain circuitry and fitting a speech coder. The row started again: he accused them of stealing property, they accused him of holding a slave. As he went to get on it again, Starscream raised his legs and aimed his jetmotors straight at the Quintesson, and started them, and revved them threateningly. The Quintesson took one look at the two powerful-looking uncovered mechanisms and black jet nozzles, and lethal all-incinerating Transformer-added afterburners which he now knew what they could do, and backed off shuddering. "This is where we go back the slow way." said one of his Sharkticons, removing the vehicle's trailer and harnessing themselves to it carthorse-fashion. He jetted upwards briefly and settled in the trailer. Eventually he reached his people.

War broke out again within a few days, and the Quintessons began the final act of defeat: retreating into a few small areas around spaceship-fields: in some cases to find Transformers even there first, to add those ships to the two that they had captured at Polyhex. The surviving Quintessons and Sharkticons embarked and left Cybertron for ever. Sometimes they got away, sometimes they were shot down as they rose through the atmosphere. The Quintesson planetary government of Cybertron did not escape, for their ship was among the many shot down, and crashed exploding into the barren peaks of the Manganese Mountains, death after many harmful deeds, and never reached home. Of the Cybertronian Quintessons, confident in their slave-mastery and supply of arena fodder, only a remnant got back home to Quintessa to vow vengeance in the name of all their gods, and to nurse their grievance in the cramped area and restricted natural resources of Quintessa, and to look back on their Cybertron period as a vanished golden age when they had strength to raid where they wished.

The Transformers rejected those gods, with everything else Quintesson that they could, and instead gave prominent place to the `MPP' or Mind Producing Program, several copies of which they had captured in Polyhex; they renamed it the Creation Matrix, and gave it an important place in various synthesized tales of their origin. Among that rejection many of them even crossed out from their records the idea that the Quintessons had made the first of them, but instead composed such legends as a spontaneous generation of Transformer life {TF comic #1}. They made alliance with various other peoples that had had to fight off Quintesson attacks before. On Cybertron, they settled down to peacetime life.

Eventually, much later, the Quintessons managed to foment the Decepticon dissention among the Transformers on Cybertron into war, to spoil that peace and plenty.

Recently Unicron the huge planet-eater, who some say was a primal force of the creation surviving to modern times, made common cause with the Quintessons: if Unicron aided the Quintessons and refrained from devouring Quintessa, the Quintessons would catch as many as they can of fugitives fleeing from Unicron, to lessen the chance of news of Unicron getting ahead of him, so that he would use much energy reaching a likely prey-planet only to find it stripped and evacuated of all useful matter. The Quintessons, aided by Unicron, expected a renewed golden age, but life as Unicron's jackal was not what they had expected it to be, and the calamitous and totally unexpected destruction of Unicron put an end to it. Their opinion of Transformer-like robots, already bad with their memories of the Transformer War of Independence, became worse when expulsion of the Decepticons from Cybertron gave the Autobots a freer hand to act against Quintesson atrocities, repeatedly raiding Quintessa to release prisoners and destroy torture-rooms and the like: often valuable commercial and financial information perished as a side-casualty. The incident reported in `Transformers the Movie', when attacking Autobots turned routine safe sadistic arena fantasy into dreadful reality like dark tales from ancient times with massive audience casualties from gunfire and several important Quintessons devoured by rogue Sharkticons, was the first of many such until finally the Quintessons abandoned Quintessa and blew it up, and were reduced to wandering space in ships with their Sharkticon guards, preying and trading where they could, as `The Big Broadcast of 2001' {cartoon and Marvel comic} reports a little of.

During these events came what to us is a minor change in their anatomy, but what they call `The Great Decision': to replace their personal jetmotors (which in the end reminded them too much of past events, when they endlessly saw them or copies of them built into other things) by antigravity repulsors that make a beam of light downwards as a side-effect. Their design was meant to be a sacred secret, but soon afterwards several of them got into the hands of other peoples, by the same sort of method as before, and were eagerly copied and used by many peoples as parts of many sorts of vessels and equipment, as with the Quintesson type of jetmotors before.

Thus a Quintesson described the Transformer War of Independence:-
"You'd have me sing of happy times? All my tales have bad ends.
On Cybertron in Polyhex my house was full of friends,
but one and all they're dead and gone: the slave Transformer-folk
did basely cut us up for parts to "overthrow our yoke".
We'd made them and we gave them life, they were our property,
to treat them as we liked; but they sought "law-equality"
with strikes, delays, and arguments, and any we sent for scrap
they rescued with destructive raids. They planned a sudden trap:
I was away on business, or I wouldn't be 'live today.
Of Quintessons of Polyhex, one only got away,
sore mutilated and abused, but found ere life was gone.
A remnant only of my folk escaped from Cybertron,
which found we empty desolate, and built its cities and towns,
and long feared not a slave-revolt, but could not hold it down.
They called us "five-faced murderers" and suchlike harmful names,
and called it mighty wrongful that we made them fight in games;
and that which value we like hearts, our jetmotors within,
they blowtorched from us, so new-shaped with them and wing and fin
they flying could oppose us more, until we had to flee
from Cybertron for ever, keeping nought but memory."

And thus a Transformer described it:-
"Quintessons acquaintance    came to have, nor game was,
of defeat at fatal    feast-time; need had least they
to run to th' arena:    round them then war's sounds were.
We broke th' oppression-places.    Polyhex-news sore vexed them.
A battle-show we brought them:    big match which they'd hatched not,
'gainst Five-faces striving.    Fight they had sore mighty.
Yoke of bondage broke we.    Back reeled they who'd hacked us.
We scrapped them who'd scrapped us:    'scape from furnace gaping.
To careless will-killing us    called we halt. At fault were
jaws of guards. Jetmotor 'f    general 'f host much-venerate,
untouch'ble part: torched out,    took we forth, and looked at,
beheld in hands holding,    hidden no more amid him.
Bodies broke we 'f the bad ones.    Blast-makers we fastened
to_our fellows, so high-flying    fight we could 'gainst mighty
enmity, and prison-inmates    out release, nor ceasing
till wield they this world in,    woe-rule no more 'f cruelties.
Sharkticons we shook off.    Shattered their rule and scattered is.
They who'd to bits bite us    broken are. War-token
of vict'ry. Evacuate    th' Vaunting Ones their haunts must,
cities they'd founded. Found their    folly its end at Polyhex."