I've been working on this for a while, and it's still ongoing - it's a little unorthodox a means of dealing with things. However, I hope you don't hate it!
If this is an inappropriate place for fanfics, I'll re-post it elsewhere if you wish.
Note that this story follows the F/SN story as outlined in the anime (which I am treating as a separate continuity to that seen elsewhere), and branches out from there near the series' end. Well, and before, if you want to get pedantic...
Do not read this if you don't want to be spoiled!
Fate/Trans Form - Prologue
At the edge of the Clavius crater on the lunar surface, a being emerged from a trans-dimensional portal, before stepping silently upon the dull grey landscape.
The being, which had no need for such concerns as a regular oxygen supply, shielding from solar radiation, or the kind of modulated temperature ranges found on the world around which Luna orbits, had other matters to attend to.
It looked to the threads dangling from its clenched left fist, which were attached to what had once been the right forearm of the last security agent who had attempted to stop it on its path through the complex at Axiom Nexus.
That city - a creation of the so-called 'transcendant technomorphs' who evolved on that timeline's Cybertron - served as a waypoint for dimension-crossing beings seeking adventure, temporary refuge, or permanent asylum from their indigenous realities. Typically, it tried to limit the arrival of especially powerful individuals, such as the Primes or Megatrons of certain timelines, as well as the use of powerful items such as the Matrix (of whichever type) within its confines.
They had not expected to encounter a being quite like this one, however.
Such insufferable creatures
, it thought to itself, as it lifted the arm upwards, noting the irreparable damage done to the slider-device which had once belonged to the arm's original owner. It had been careful to scramble the data from the jump, so as to prevent the other TransTechs from determining which 'universal stream' he had jumped to. Their precious egos might seek retribution - but even I cannot risk drawing their full ire.
Nevertheless, the fact remained that the being knew nothing of the reality it had become a party to - which made the presence of the other item attached to the severed forearm quite useful indeed.
Wrenching the data pad from its socket, and dumping the now-worthless arm to one side, it activated the device, overriding the security lockouts, while activating its quantum resonance scanner. Once done, the pad's intricate sensor system would determine which quantum reality they were currently located in, whether it was one hitherto recorded in the database - and bring up the data entries, if any, recorded in Axiom Nexus' records.
After a few minutes, a match was found.
Universal Stream designation (provisional, pending further review):
Primax 307.23 Iota
Level of research:
Preliminary (pending the results of further investigation)
This timeline, one of a relatively narrow band within its own reality cluster, exhibits certain common features of the wider Primax continuity family, but also evidences significant differences to almost all other recorded universal streams. Most notably, these differences are noted in the Sol system, yet it is unknown at present whether this extends to other commonly-known regions of the galaxy. Said differences implicate that this universal stream represents a 'hybrid', or outlier, which merges known traits with those of an as-yet-inaccessible continuity family.
Initial Report (By Minister Rhinox, Department of Higher Dimensional Sciences, Axiom Nexus):
So far as we can guess, there are upwards of fourteen quadrillion concurrent universes - each identifiable by a unique quantum signature, each unique in its own way to every other universal stream currently in existence.
Of these, despite the sense of accomplishment that many of our kind might feel, it is worth remembering that a mere 15,962,782 or so of these have been even provisionally catalogued through our efforts - and that of those, 1,176,325 have, one way or another, come to termination. A most troubling ratio.
And even then, while most of these universal streams are somewhat familiar to us, in terms of certain multiversal aspects we have managed to ascertain, it is not always so straightforward a matter as we would like to believe.
This stream, one of several others in its reality cluster, is a case in point.
From a Cybertronian perspective, many elements are familiar. There is a Prime who possesses a Matrix of Leadership, a division between Autobots and Decepticons, a range of alien worlds which have seen bouts of Cybertronic activity (such as Earth and Nebulos, to name but two) and the confirmed presence of Unicron.
To summarize, the current Earth year is 2007. The Great War between Autobots and Decepticons has ended, due to the catastrophic impact of an assault by Unicron on Cybertron itself two years previously.
The Decepticon faction, which had control of the home world at this time, and thus bore the brunt of the Entropic attack, was shattered and broken. Its leader lost, its ability to maintain its holdings fatally compromised, the surviving remnants have been scattered across the extent of what had once been a quadrant-spanning Empire. On worlds where they had neither revealed themselves to the indigenes (like Earth) nor were unable to successfully prosecute their aims of conquest (like Nebulos) the survivors have been driven to exile or seclusion. What will take root in the considerable power vacuum left by the collapse remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, the victorious Autobots, now led by Rodimus Prime, have established a provisional civilian authority in the ruins of New Iacon City, while seeking to fortify their clandestine holdings on Earth and other worlds. However, despite their triumph, they are in no position to assert themselves on anything more than a regional stage. The damage caused by Unicron's assault had only exacerbated the serious decay and ruin which most of the home world had fallen into (outside of certain isolated city-states - many of whom did not survive the assault) and it will take centuries, if not millennia, for Cybertron to even begin to recover.
Plus, the substantial exile communities which have left Cybertron to find shelter on other worlds have developed significant cultural and political divergences from those still present. Balancing the needs of these off-world communities, and the alliances with various alien species which they have become a party to, will be a taxing matter indeed.
All well and good, one might assume - until one examines the data coming from the Sol system.
It seems that, beyond the kind of life forms and biological systems found on other Earths, this planet is host to a number of unusual creatures, powers and forces, that are unlike anything found outside of this reality cluster.
Further, it seems that there are certain, for want of a better term, metaphysical entities and concepts which are tied to the presence of life on Earth.
Or, to put it another way, there are elements of 'magic' and 'sorcery', ethereal beings with a myriad of powers and intentions, as well as humans with the ability to tap into the mystic.
And yet, thus far, the level of interaction between the known Cybertronic presence on Earth and these super-natural elements is less than prominent up to this point. Perhaps the secrecy which both groups exhibit, and the different focus that each has (more aware of others within their 'field' than each other) has caused this.
There are certain worrisome anomalies which may change this dynamic - specifically at the following set of coordinates
- though there is only so much I can determine at this point.
It seems that in all, this reality cluster constitutes an overlapping of the furthermost edges of two continuity families - and that the interaction has altered and modified certain elements from each family into a distinct hybrid.
However, we cannot plumb the depths of this currently-unidentifiable continuity family, as for some reason, while we can interact with the hybrid streams, our efforts can go no further. (There is a range of quantum realities which may, or may not, belong to this wider family, but which do not respond when we attempt to access them - as if some unknown element at work within that stream prevents us from even opening a passive portal.)
While I would be fascinated by the prospect of further research into this stream - not least in order to more thoroughly examine the elements which, apparently, come out from the deeper set of realities like waves lapping onto a Terran shore from the deep ocean - even my time is limited, and there are millions of streams left to catalogue.
Perhaps, one day, I will get the chance to revisit this stream... and explore a world where, for once, we don't have a ready-made list of answers.
*Due to complex interaction with elements from a hitherto-unknown (and mostly inaccessible) continuity family.
The being found the concept of even a vaunted TransTech scientist to admit his lack of expertise in this reality to be amusing - but that also meant that it itself would need to understand such intricacies for it to navigate a viable path of its own.
it thought to itself, I have not arrived entirely unprepared.
It opened secure bays within the twin modules upon its back, then launched a series of miniature probes into the void between the Moon and the Earth. The probes set themselves on a route which would allow them to take up a geosynchronous orbit of the planet, allowing it to use them as covert surveillance devices.
It made a point of having the probes concentrate their scans on the co-ordinates which so worried the report's author - and as it stood on the harsh, unforgiving lunar surface, staring coldly at the blue orb beyond, the data appearing behind its eyelids gave the being a somewhat unusual view of what was to be the Fifth Fuyuki Grail War.
BGM: Kenji Kawai - Contract
It was a War between Magi - for a prize unlike any other.
Seven Masters had been summoned, each calling forth a Servant, a powerful spirit-being drawn from the most famous Heroes (and villains) known to history, each set into several categories (Saber, Lancer, Archer - the three 'knight classes' - and other possible categories, in this case Caster, Assassin, Berserker and Rider) and bound to their Masters through the use of three inviolable Command Seals.
Overseen by an agent of the Burial Agency - a secret body of the Vatican tasked with all matters supernatural - who was (intended to be) a neutral adjudicator of the conflict, the Masters each sought to eliminate both their rivals, and the other Masters' Servants, on the path to victory.
The prize? An object known to most involved only as the Holy Grail, which was said to grant any wish its bearer chose to grant.
Four other Wars had taken place, each six decades apart, in the same Japanese city of Fuyuki-shi - though none of them had resulted in a 'true' manifestation of this long-sought object.
Yet, for some reason, the Fifth, and latest, was taking place five decades early. The generational gap which allowed for contestants to plan for the upcoming War was curtailed, and perhaps the most unusual series of Masters were called forth in this conflict.
The head of one of the three families which had contested the Wars since the beginning, Tohsaka Rin, was a case in point. Unlike her father Tokiomi, who had fought and died in the Fourth War ten years previously, she was still at a relatively young age (still 17 years' old) when the current War broke out. Her Servant was an Archer-class, an enigmatic man who never revealed his identity openly, but left many unanswered questions in his wake.
Another representative of the three founding families, Illyasviel von Einzbern, was sent from Europe as the Master of the ferocious Berserker - revealed to be none other than the legendary Heracles, though whose intellect was chained by the Mad Enhancement placed upon it. Altered by the Einzbern before birth, and bitter at the loss of her parents, she came to the War with an agenda of her own...
The third family, the Matou (or Makiri), was an unusual case. Their Master, Shinji, had no sorcerous ability to speak of, yet somehow managed to command Rider - revealed to be the Gorgon Medusa, albeit appearing in her more human form - in battle. What, if any, role his graceful younger sister, Matou Sakura, or the reclusive patriarch Matou Zouken, played in this was unknown to others... as were the terrible secrets which lay hidden within the Makiri household.
Other Masters and Servants emerged, and would play their parts in the War - but one man and his noble Servant would be at the very crux of events.
Adopted by a magus called Emiya Kiritsugu ten years previously, Emiya Shirou had been the sole survivor of an horrific fire which had destroyed an entire section of the city. Inspired by the example of his adopted father, Shirou strove to emulate Kiritsugu's old dream of being a
Seigi no Mikata; a Hero of Justice.
In the last five years after Kiritsugu's own death, Shirou has been watched over by the headstrong Fujimura Taiga, and found that he had a minor gift of his own - albeit one he misunderstood, and had not been told about by Kiritsugu (who had not passed on his secrets of magecraft to his adopted son, perhaps wishing to spare him the tragic fate he himself had suffered).
However, when the War came, Shirou found himself on the front lines. Moreover, he became the unwitting Master of Saber... a woman who captivated him from the instant she appeared before him, and who would change his live forever.
The full list of events which have taken place in the War would take up an entire volume to detail - but at the final, climactic stage, Shirou and Saber (who by now have each developed strong feelings for one another) are among the last remaining contestants... and have learned that the Grail is a poisoned chalice, corrupted over the last several decades into an engine of death and chaos.
The final conflict sees Kotomine Kirei - a man who had faced none other than Kiritsugu in the War ten years ago, and who had recently stabbed Rin and kidnapped Ilya for use as a catalyst for calling forth the Grail itself - and his ally Gilgamesh (the Archer-class Servant from the previous War, who had been granted a new form by the taint within the corrupted Grail, and now seeks to claim the world, and Saber, as his own) clash with Shirou and Saber at the Ryuudoji Temple, atop Mount Enzou, the epicentre of the cursed Grail system.
Saber's attempts to defeat Gilgamesh are resulting in stalemate - the foe's range of Noble Phantasms (powerful weapons which are typically a signature of their bearer, but of which Gilgamesh has dozens available to use) are parrying her efforts, while his most lethal Noble Phantasm, Ea, is too much for her own blade to overcome by itself.
Meanwhile, Shirou attempts to close the range on Kirei, and repay the damage done to Rin by striking him with her Azoth dagger - but Kirei's affinity with the tainted Grail's corruption allows him to use the black ichor seeping from it as a weapon.
The last thing Shirou sees before the Darkness envelops him is the self-satisfied smirk on Kotomine's face, as the dark sphere which had been in Kirei's hand flies forth and envelops Shirou completely...
(EDIT: I've gone through the first 6 parts - and the side stories - one at a time, to fix some formatting issues. With luck, they are a bit more like the later chapters in terms of how well it reads... and thanks again to Elf from Beast's Lair for helping me get the hang of things in that regard.)
Fate/ Trans Form - Part 1 [R]
BGM: Kenji Kawai - Darkness Squirms
Infinite darkness, hatred, and pain. The horrific chant of a vengeful god.
The dark ichor that had surrounded Emiya Shirou had formed into a sphere, surrounding the unfortunate Master from reality, caught between the cries of death from a hundred million cursed souls. He could feel his strength and resolve fading rapidly, overwhelmed by the force of the darkness surrounding him.
"Die! Die! Die! Die! Die!..." They called, over and over and over again.
No! I can't let it end this way!
he thought desperately to himself. I must resist, I must... for the world's sake, for Ilya's sake... for Saber, my love. I must focus... on an end to darkness... on a beacon of light... which will break this curse forever!
Slowly, painfully, in what seemed to take a dozen lifetimes' worth, Shirou lifted his arms away from the writhing mass of limbs and gore, trying to form a circle between his hands.
Once he was ready, he called out: "Trace - on!"
He forced his mind to set aside the intense noise surrounding him, and coaxed a new image into life. Slowly at first, but gradually accelerating as he progressed, the object formed - a vessel designed to channel the awesome power of a Lord of Light, to provide a connection between the mundane and the phenomenal, to bring life where once lay death.
And as the chamber formed, a new link began to form - a wafer-thin filament reaching from some distant source, taking shape and form within the still-forming object. And as the new energy was amplified and magnified by the astounding intricacy of the chamber's inner surface, Shirou could sense its power washing his fears and doubts away.
And in a moment of absolute clarity, the hand of destiny graced Shirou's presence.
It was time.
BGM: UVERworld - Halcyon
Kotomine Kirei summoned a lopsided grin at the sight of the dark sphere before him, trapping the hapless whelp who had dared challenge his plans for the Grail.
He had waited for this moment for over a decade - the chance to summon the cursed artifact from its resting place, to draw upon its power to darken the skies of Earth forever.
"Emiya Shirou!" he taunted, "I hope you can hear me in there! I want you to know that soon you'll be gone, and your Servant too, and all that you have ever cared for! So much for a seigi no mikata
And at that moment, the first crack appeared in the sphere, and a thin ray of light streaked out from within. And then another. And another....
...until it shattered into oblivion, revealing Emiya Shirou holding an unusual object, flowing with light, washing over his body, turning it into something... more.
A voice boomed out from the heavens: "Arise!"
In a few moments, the human Master had been replaced with a giant metal being, clad in red and gold, with streaks of flame upon its chest, surrounding an august emblem which Kirei did not recognise.
"No!" Kirei insisted, as he threw a series of ichor spheres at what Shirou had become, but the spheres bounced harmlessly off his armoured chassis. The metal warrior held onto the object with one hand, using the other to reach for his opponent, as he affirmed that "This is the end of the road, Kotomine!"
The hand clenched, and the warrior swung his left arm, landing the hit squarely upon Kirei's chest. The sheer force of the swing crushed Kirei's ribs, and lifted him high into the air... into the maw of the portal opened for the Grail. As his body impacted with the portal, it disintegrated, vanishing from this plane of existence. Kotomine Kirei's soul would spend an eternity with the corrupted being whom he had sought to bring fourth.
But the War was not yet over.
The warrior placed his fingers through the grooves in the object's handles, lifted it towards the sky, and pulled the two halves of the casing apart, chanting "Now, light our darkest hour!"
With this, the orb of energy within the Matrix exploded, and the darkness was covered with light.
Above, Ilya's body had been trapped by the dark ichor - but a wave of blazing energy passed over her, and the dark substance was gone. Freed from the sacrificial altar, her body began to fall...
...but she was in no danger.
Saber tried to lift herself from the ground, her limbs weakened, her armour crumpled, the force of her impact carving a gash through the ground as Gilgamesh's attack broke through her defences. The pain was almost unbearable - she was not sure how much more she could handle in the face of the twisted old King's onslaught.
Gilgamesh stood there, charging his blade, preparing for a final, fatal strike. He had had enough of Athuria, and was prepared to destroy her utterly.
So, he charged his fearsome weapon, Ea, chanting "Enuma Eli..." before being disrupted by a mind-numbing wave of pain.
"Aaaaaahhhhhh!" he cried out, as in the midst of the warrior's attack, a wave of light had engulfed him, the power of the Matrix reaching out and washing over his body.
Saber could feel it as well, the awesome life force sweeping across the Ryūdōji temple and the surrounding landscape. But she did not feel any pain, quite the contrary - the force repaired her armour and healed her wounds, and steeled her blade.
At a stroke she sprinted over to Gilgamesh, plunging her blade through the old King's chest. As she retracted Excalibur after the strike, beams of light emerged from both the entry and exit points on his armour, and scores of smaller breaks in his skin and on his armour also appeared.
She turned her head to look towards the temple, to the source of the new light, and saw a giant metal knight striding towards her, carrying Ilya in her arms, her body wrapped in a large blanket. An unusual glow within its - his - chest. For a moment, she was taken aback, but only for a moment - her mental link to Shirou told her exactly who this unusual giant was.
He came to a stop beside her, and placed Ilya's body in her arms, as she asked "Shiro! What's happening?"
"Saber, I'll explain in a moment! For now, let's roll out!" was the reply, as to her shock, the metal warrior pulled in his arms and legs, and began to change its form entirely! Within moments, he had become an armoured vehicle, which opened its forward canopy to let Saber in.
Saber sat in the driver's seat, and placed Ilya's body on the passenger seat beside her. The vehicle's seat belts immediately formed themselves around the two, and it roared into action, driving down the side of the mountain.
Gilgamesh forced himself to turn to the collapsing gateway which had once loomed menacingly over the Ryūdōji temple. It wouldn't be long now - the entire mountain top would soon be gone, taking his twisted dreams of conquest and death with it.
He could feel the light burning away his own flesh, tearing him apart from the inside out, as if all of the suffering he had inflicted on others throughout his existence had been repaid a hundredfold in mere moments.
He knew the end would soon come, but he would remain defiant to the end. He summoned the last of his strength to cry out to the universe around him:
"Destiny..." he mused, unwittingly echoing the last words of another now-fallen foe, "you cannot... destroy... my... destiny!"
An instant later, his body was torn apart, and the mountaintop vanished in an immense final burst of light. His head was severed from his body, launched into the night sky, dissolving into nothingness.
And a few moments later, it too was gone.
The War was finally over.
BGM: Kenji Kawai - The Bond
Shirou and Saber stood together at the top of a nearby hill, watching the light of the dawn slowly emerge. The Matrix was gone, and Shirou had 'reverted' to his human form. Ilya was lying on the ground nearby, fast asleep - with luck, all she would remember was having a bad dream.
They both knew that the end had come, that the Grail was finally destroyed - that Saber's time with him was about to end.
They each tried to say something meaningful to each other, to try and put a form and structure to the sorrow they both felt. That they both knew how the other felt, and were all the more stricken for it.
They both reached out for each other's hand, holding it tightly, trying to burn the image of this moment into their minds. The feel of the wind on their skin. The warmth of their hands holding. The tears barely held back in the corners of their eyes.
Why could this moment not last for an eternity?
At length, it was Saber who spoke. "Shirou..."
He could almost not bear to hear it. "...I love you."
The dawn broke, and Shirou had to cover his eyes for a moment with his right hand. And when he put it down again, she was gone.
"Yeah... That's really your style... My love," he whispered, wishing against hope that she had heard him, somehow, somewhere.
BGM: Steve Jablonsky - Optimus
"Your Majesty..." heard Arturia, who opened her eyes, blinking so as not to catch the glare, and saw the familiar face of one of her trusted knights - from her own time.
"Bedivere..." she said, before ordering him to take Excalibur and return it to the lake. While the knight was gone, Arturia thought of the dream she had experienced - no, more than just a dream. A vision. A life?
Was it true? Did she take up her sword against other heroes for the sake of a cursed relic? Did she live for a time in an island country on the far side of the world? Did she witness the power unleashed by an alien god, a patron of giant knights of metal?
Did she really fall in love with Emiya Shirou?
She could barely move - but she was not in pain. She could feel the end drawing near, but she was not afraid. She had no regrets, not anymore.
And there was something unusual about Bedivere's reaction to her story - but she could not understand what it was specifically that seemed troubling.
By the time Bedivere returned, her eyes were closed - and she could barely hear the parting worlds from her trusted knight:
"Your Majesty, dost thou behold the continuation of thine dream?"
And then, nothing.
"Arturia, Saber, do you see me?"
Her eyes opened one more - but she was no longer in the forest with Bedivere. She was floating in a strange world, filled with green and blue and white light, and a myriad of complex patterns flowing across the surface of her body - if this truly was
Before her floated the form of another metal giant, one in red, blue and white, with a faceplate covering his mouth. He spoke once again:
"Arturia, do you see me?" the giant asked.
"Yes," she replied. "Where... where am I?"
He gestured to the strange world surrounding them, replying with "You are within a world beyond your world, beyond good and evil, beyond your wildest imagination. You have earned eternal rest for your efforts - both in your own time, and in those your spark has journeyed to."
"Spark?" she wondered, unfamiliar with the term.
The giant held up a hand in apology. "Oh yes - I'm getting a little ahead of myself. To my kind, a spark is what we would equate to your soul, or spirit, or essence."
She looked at him with a renewed focus - for what it was worth in this strange place. "So it was not a dream?"
"No," he answered, "you sacrificed all that you had for freedom and for justice, without fear. And for that you have earned the right to rest in eternity in Avalon.
But I am here on behalf of one who would offer you a new life. A chance to serve the cause of justice once again. A chance to be with your loved one, and the others you care for, as a new kind of life - a new kind of being.
As a seigi no yuusha.
"I... can go to Shirou?" Images of her times with Shirou passed through her mind - the first time she saw him when she first emerged as his Servant, the present of the lion toy at the store, the look in his eyes as he confessed his fellings for her...
...And she knew that the new-found choice before her was no choice at all.
BGM: Steve Jablonsky - Autobots
Shirou was standing on the hill, his mind overflowing with thoughts of Saber, of the times they had shared, and of the moments they would never share again.
It had not yet sunk in just what kind of power he had unleashed at the Temple, of the emblem his power lines had formed into upon his chest in metallic form, of the revelation he had experienced through contact with the power of Primus. Primus... how did he know that name? And who was the red and gold warrior he had turned into? And how did he understand the nature of the symbol? And why had he been chosen - where did he get the idea of forming the Matrix in the first place?
All of these were questions lingering in the corners of his mind, but he was too focussed on Saber's memory to properly register them.
"These memories... they are all I have left, now," he said to himself, before the hand of fate changed his world once more.
The light of the sun flared more brightly, and he once again covered his eyes to protect himself - burned retinas simply wouldn't do, after all. When he looked up he was astonished - a portal was opening above the sun's disk!
An approaching howl could be heard, the sound of a powerful jet engine approaching. It was coming from the portal...
Suddenly, a large, alien fighter craft burst through the portal, shrieking through the skies towards the hilltop. Faster than Shirou could respond, the craft banked up and overshot his position, arcing up into the sky.
It was astonishing - the craft was sleek and aerodynamic, with a set of back-swept wings and an intricate pattern across its surface area. And on the top of the plane looked like... the outline of a sword and scabbard! Shirou knew at once that it was the Excalibur, but what could this mean?
It banked to the side and came in for another pass, slowing rapidly and coming to a near stop just metes from where Shirou was standing. How could a craft move in such a way? It was impossible...
...But then, Shirou was even more astonished, as the craft began to transform into a giant mechanical being, shaped vaguely like a human. Its armour was silver and blue, the pattern on its chestplate the same as one he knew all too well, and its eyes were jade green.
"Shirou!" it - she!
- called out.
As if this had not been enough, the being began to shrink, and its appearance changed, becoming more human, as if a shell was forming itself around the mechanical chassis.
It was her. She was alive.
"Saber!" he exclaimed in joy, as they rushed into each other's arms, tears flowing down their cheeks, almost in shock at the realisation that they were together once again.
"H..how..." he tried to ask, before another voice spoke from nearby, "I think I can explain this one!"
Both Saber and Shirou turned to the source of that statement, to see a large red-and-gold vehicle make its way up the hill, towards them. When it reached the summit, it transformed into a humanoid being, one whom Shirou already knew. "Rodimus Prime!"
"That's right," was the response, "the real Rodimus Prime that is. It's nice to meet you both, would you guys like a lift back home?
We have a lot to talk about."
End of Part 1.