- This page is for the Apocalypse World alternative-future version of Harbinger. For the admin who plays him, see Darksabrz.
- Name: AU-Harbinger
- Faction: Neutral
- Species: Transformer
- Function: VENERABLE SAGE
- Type: TP
|“||Hope rises as a phoenix from the ashes of shattered dreams.||”|
If there is one thing that defines HARBINGER, it is change. Throughout the ages of his existence, he has arisen from the ashes of previous life to be reborn as something new. For millions of years he served Megatron and the Decepticons, but after a mysterious visit to the merged entity known as Vector Trion, HARBINGER’s optics were opened to the truths of the universe around him. Disappearing from public record, HARBINGER has spent the intervening eons meditating and waiting for a sign that perhaps the end doesn’t really have to be the end after all, but instead a new beginning. His altmodes are that of a space cruiser and, fitting to his philosophy on life, a rimefire phoenix from a long-lost world far from the Cybertronian conflict. Not as physically powerful as he used to be, nor as heavily-armed as he used to be during his time as a Decepticon, the passing eons have served to only make HARBINGER more intelligent and technically savvy. But one question still haunts him even now: will his intellect and technical prowess save the Cybertronians, or will they be doomed to extinction?
Designate AR-17 was created approximately 6.2 million years ago, near the beginning of the Third Cybertronian War. He quickly became known as Aries, however, due in no small part to his penchant for going into the thick of fighting to retrieve downed Cybertronians and bringing them back for repairs -- and being more than willing to ram through anyone or anything in his way to get there.
Originally mentored by twin femmes named Illustra and Sombersong, Aries found himself typically caught in the middle between the two sisters, whose relationship seemed to be quickly growing more estranged by the cycle. The strain ultimately led to their separation because of one act -- Illustra’s decision to join the Autobots.
Sombersong didn’t agree with her sister’s more peaceful philosophy, and asked Aries to accompany her to Cuprahex. There, Aries saw Megatron for the first time… and as the Slag-Maker began to speak, Aries quickly found that he wasn’t able to turn away. He joined up with the Decepticons immediately thereafter with Sombersong.
As time passed, Aries became more and more desensitized to the Decepticon Empire’s atrocities -- after all, Megatron was trying to bring peace to Cybertron, and the Autobot resistance was steadfastly refusing to lay down arms. When Crystal City was destroyed, however, Aries nearly decided to go AWOL and switch sides -- he had lived in Crystal City, he had known countless Cybertronians living there, and the Constructicons razed it without a second thought.
While relations with Sombersong remained professional, even they began to grow strained with the passage of time. Sombersong disapproved more and more vehemently of the radical methods Aries utilized to get his results, and especially of the intimidation tactics that Aries had begun to use to force his decisions on others.
By the time Aries realized just how badly things had deteriorated between them, it was too late to salvage their mentor/student relationship. But it was also too late for Aries to change.
He had set his sights high -- to become one of the Empire’s top engineers and scientists. But no matter what he did, his work remained unnoticed. Growing more frustrated with each failure to garner attention for his work, Aries began pushing the limits, until finally he commandeered a small medical team and had them perform an upgrade on Aries himself -- the addition of a hoverjet altmode to go with his hover-ambulance mode.
By then, most of the Decepticon High Command was disappeared from Cybertron, chasing after Optimus Prime and the majority of the Autobots before crashing on Earth. Shockwave was left in command, however, and when he heard of what Aries had done… he outwardly ignored it, just like he had everything else. Secretly, however, the cyclopean Transformer began having his own personnel keep watch over the ambitious young engineer and his research efforts.
When contact was finally reestablished with Megatron and the Decepticons in 1984, Aries saw how rich Earth’s natural resources were. He eagerly volunteered to go with the first group of new Decepticon arrivals on Earth, and managed to enlist the Constructicon leader, Scrapper, to back Aries’ transfer attempts. While he secretly despised Scrapper and his Constructicon brethren for the destruction of Crystal City, there was no denying Scrapper’s talent, and Aries wanted to be his protégé.
Shockwave blocked Aries’ request, however, and successive attempts seemed destined for failure. Then, thirteen years later, Unicron arrived at Earth with his own heralds: Galvatron, Cyclonus, and Scourge with his Sweeps. Aries tried again, wanting the chance to study Unicronian technology and see how it differed from standard Cybertronian engineering -- and was denied again.
When Cyclonus and Scourge joined the Empire after Unicron’s defeat, Cyclonus was placed in charge of Cybertron to continue coordinating Megatron’s master battle plan. It was three years later, in the year 2000, before Aries was finally approved to transfer to Earth.
It turned out to be a major debacle.
Despite an apparent tolerance for Aries’s brand of intimidation by threatening to rebuild both the Combaticons and Stunticons into Terran kitchen appliances and removing their transformation cogs after a series of back-and-forth fighting within the medical bay, Megatron was quick to confine the ambitious engineer for following Starscream’s orders to reprogram Trypticon -- even if only temporarily. But the panache Aries showed in his work was enough to get Megatron’s attention, and allow Aries to resume his duties and research.
It was there that he met both his original mentors, Illustra and Sombersong, once again. Sombersong still disapproved of Aries’s morality in the research and development of his projects, but by then, Aries had long since learned all he could from the aging femme. It was little surprise when she disappeared from Earth, never to be seen again -- and surprisingly, Illustra had vanished from the Autobot ranks as well. Apparently, the twins had finally reconciled and left the war behind, leaving to find their own way.
Aries didn’t let it bother him -- in fact, he delved more deeply into his research. When the femme Dominicons arrived on Earth, Aries was selected to perform the gestalt engineering process on them all. As he grew to know the femmes more, he found that Discretion in particular had seemed to take an interest in him.
But things were about to change -- in a way Aries would never have suspected.
Heading into space to retrieve a sample of the Swarm from a derelict spacecraft being towed into Earth orbit by Omega Supreme, Aries came under attack from the Autobot bounty hunter, Devcon. His attempts to enter the spacecraft were doomed to failure, and Devcon nearly destroyed Aries, sending his body floating off into the vastness of space.
Three days later, he was found by the most unlikely of sources: the head of Unicron, somehow still active in spite of his apparent destruction in 1997. Giving Aries the choice of annihilation or rebirth to serve his will, the engineer nearly opted to be destroyed, rather than be a slave to the Chaos-Bringer’s will. But the thought of not being able to see Discretion again tipped the scales, and Aries agreed.
In that moment, Aries died… and Harbinger arose from the ashes like a dark phoenix.
Harbinger’s transfiguration came as a shock to the Decepticons -- Unicron had been believed destroyed, and now here stood a new herald.
But there was still a hint of Aries within, some of the mannerisms -- it was enough for Discretion to leave with him, and for another Dominicon named Delusion to grab on at the last second.
The trio were captured on the moon by Spec-Tor, an alternate universe Junkion herald of Unicron, and his cohorts in Evil, Inc. It was there that Spec-Tor decided to see if Unicronian energy could be drawn out of others -- and Harbinger was the experiment. It succeeded, and while Spec-Tor put the energy back in afterwards, there was a change -- Aries’s persona managed to reassert himself over Harbinger’s and take full control of his new form.
After a month, Harbinger and Discretion were released, and the Decepticons took them into their own custody. It was at that point that Harbinger (as he continued to call himself) began to show his technical and intellectual expertise, devising a phase-cloak generator that would phase Unicron’s head out of physical reality and, hopefully, render the dark god powerless to act in the universe any longer.
Instead, Unicron altered it even as it triggered, gaining temporary control over time itself. Harbinger was aged mentally by the blast, but with assistance from the Autobots (most notably Dust Devil, who had become a possible future Autobot leader named Stormfront), Harbinger was able to defeat Unicron and destroy his head.
Returning to Earth, Harbinger became more secretive, working on a special project that he later revealed to Decepticon High Command: his first creation, Spectre. A triplechanger, Spectre was meant to bolster the Decepticon warriors. Instead, Spectre became something else -- Unicron reborn. The errant ‘creation’ bided his time, waiting for the chance to begin his rise to power.
It began with Harbinger’s apparent death at the hands of an Autobot named Outrider -- one that Harbinger also killed in turn. Spectre made his move soon thereafter, subverting control of the Sweeps and summoning them from Cybertron to Earth, where they overpowered Megatron, imprisoned Starscream, and Spectre assumed his throne.
Harbinger, however, hadn’t died -- he had instead borrowed a trick he’d picked up from Megatron’s ‘sibling’, Ghost, by shunting his memory banks into Trypticon. While it took some time for Harbinger to reconstitute himself, he ultimately built a new body, using Spectre’s schematics as a springboard to become the first Unicronian triplechanger, rebuild Megatron, free Starscream, and then rid Earth of the threat of Spectre once and for all.
In the aftermath, Harbinger kept himself busy. He spent more than a year on Cybertron, trying to better acclimate himself to his Sweep nature by training with Scourge. But the primal hunter within Harbinger kept interfering with Harbinger’s true desire -- to perform his research.
Building on the lessons he had learned in creating Spectre, Harbinger rebuilt a Decepticon femme infiltrator who had nearly been killed by Elita One. He named her Banshee, after implanting a sonic shriek weapon, and introduced her to Soundwave and Decepticon Intelligence.
Banshee was contrary, though -- more so when she began remembering her past, as she had been amnesiac upon her revival by Harbinger. She was infected by the Deadites and transfigured in a manner similar to Harbinger, reverting back to her original designation of Nightshade and taking on many vampiric qualities, but Harbinger was able to ensure her continued loyalty to the Decepticon Empire.
As time passed, however, Harbinger began to feel more keenly the divergence between his scientific/engineering self, and his more primal Sweep self. It was becoming more and more a distraction.
Although he was able to continue his work, but the time was quickly coming where something would have to be done… soon.
As luck would have it, Harbinger was looking over old Decepticon plans from shortly after their revival from stasis-lock on Earth when he came across the schematics for an apparent twin of Optimus Prime, created by the Decepticons to fool them and lead them to their ultimate defeat.
While the design had several flaws (the most fundamental of which was the inability of the clone to truly pass himself off as Optimus Prime), there was some potential to be had.
Harbinger began working on a new secret project -- one that he kept completely to himself. Based on the very few scans recorded of the rogue Cybertronian agent Proteus and the knowledge of the internal factory workings that allowed Unicron to reconstitute Transformer bodies, Harbinger devised a method by which, in effect, the dead could be recycled into new bodies.
After running a battery of tests, both simulated and actual physical tests, Harbinger decided to make the final test -- to use it on himself. He lay down on the surgical table and authorized the automated systems to begin the process. In short order, his laser core was removed from the body, and the ‘factory’ began its work, discorporating his body and beginning the work of reassembling it according to the new schematics he had designed specifically for himself.
Slowly, his optics flickered back into existence as he felt energy coursing through his body once more. It felt different, though -- little, if any, of the Unicronian ‘taint’ remained. But more importantly, everything felt different. It was like being reborn all over again…
…except this time, there was no pain to it.
He sat up, the restraints falling away now that he was activated once more, and slowly he stood up, easing down onto the floor.
Diagnostics were running, and all systems seemed to be checking out as running at nominal. But the real test was to go in front of a mirror.
He moved into view of his reflection… and saw a black, silver and teal-green variation of Optimus Prime looking back at him, optics flickering in surprise.
It had worked.
Now, it was time to give the new body a test run.
It didn’t occur to him until after he had transformed into a Cybertronian tractor trailer and been cruising through a deserted segment of what used to be the city-state of Tarn that he needed to reinvent himself in one final aspect. He needed a new name: Harbinger no longer fit. He was no one’s herald of impending doom and destruction.
Well, not exactly -- he was his own herald of impending doom.
But the outward physical transfiguration still required a new name.
Aries was absolutely out of the question. Harbinger was similarly so.
He transformed into his spacecraft mode, sleek and streamlined, and banked around to fly over Tarn before heading to the remains of Darkmount, where he circled for a landing site.
What was he now? A harbinger still, yes… but of what?
He immediately thought back to the moment where he first saw his reflection… a dark reflection of Optimus Prime…
Transforming, he landed on the ground, and beneath the silver half-mask, he smiled thinly to himself. He knew exactly what to call himself.
Nemesis had finally arrived.
The Big Reveal
From the very beginning, the Decepticon triplechanger scientist originally known as Aries has undergone significant changes -- he started as a standard Transformer before self-modifying his own body to incorporate a hoverjet altmode and become a triplechanger. But the bulk of his changes have taken place in the last decade -- nearly destroyed by Devcon; rebuilt as a modified Sweep by Unicron; nearly killed again by the Autobot Outrider; resurrected once again as a Unicronian triplechanger based off the original design specifications he had created for his first creation, Spectre.
However, Harbinger has never felt truly happy in his new form. Being what basically amounts to a color-altered ‘clone’ of Scourge has never truly fit in with Harbinger’s self-image, and the primal instincts of a hunter have been more of a distraction to his research than anything else. Harbinger has tried to live with the distraction -- in fact, he had even gone so far as to train with Scourge and the Sweeps to better understand and reconcile himself to his new nature. But ultimately, Harbinger has been unhappy with the results -- particularly with the lack of options aside from modifying the schematics of his rogue (and thankfully now-defunct) creation.
As such, Harbinger began to explore alternatives in full-body reconstruction several years previously. It has only been in the last several months, however, that he came across old plans -- plans from nearly twenty-five years earlier, when Megatron and the Decepticons were able to ‘clone’ an evil duplicate of Optimus Prime and use him to confuse the Autobots. Intrigued, Harbinger began running simulations in an effort to more fully appreciate the possibilities inherent in the design.
After running his initial simulations, Harbinger was impressed with the results. He began making several key modifications to the design for three major reasons: one, to reconcile certain aspects of his own nature with the new body design; two, to make the final design uniquely his own creation (despite basically picking up where others had left off); and three, to be prepared in case he found himself leading troops in the field once again. The project was to remain a secret from everyone -- not even the few trusted confidants within the Empire was allowed to know of Harbinger’s plans.
It was time to give the Autobots a new nemesis…
Logs / Posts
The End of the War