Cybertron's day in the sun is over. The centuries-long peace is broken, shattered by an upstart rebel named Megatron and the band of Decepticon villains that follow him. The criminals have lashed out against civil society, killing all those who stand in their way and welcoming into their ranks all manner of killers, thieves and blasphemers who want nothing more than to see their planet's entire civilization collapse into anarchy.
But their latest atrocity goes beyond the pale. Approached by the wise and noble Zeta Prime under flag of truce, Megatron dishonourably poisoned the Autobot leader and sent him back to Iacon to die. Meanwhile, his underlings busy themselves freeing convicted criminals from high-security prisons and recruiting the villains into their cause.
But the Autobots have not been idle. The military is moving quickly, activating weapons new and old to aid them against the Decepticon threat. But will it be enough?
Prowl nodded. "You do that." He told Smokescreen, smiling slightly. "And I'll try to keep the planet together."
It wasn't hyperbole. Prowl sighed. Things had spiraled out of control. This 'Decepticon' uprising in Kaon, staged by mad governor Megatron, had proven to be much more competent and disastrous. This was not anything they were ever trained for.
First, all of their forces in Kaon, taken out in one swift brutal move.
Then, an attack by a Minicon assassin, which somehow managed to blow up a ship on Iacon's great dome, while sneaking into the War Academy and very nearly killing Sentinel had the assassin not had second thoughts. The assassin was a techno-organic, and newly-created at that. He's now with Smokescreen, and while Prowl disliked having Smokescreen with a known assassin, he seemed to be the only person who could control him.
Another attack, on Kaon's Temple of Primus, and the presumable takeover of the Vector computer, which would explain the odd techno-organic.
Then, General Obsidian, Prowl's own former teacher and a high-ranking officer with extensive knowledge of war (and more importantly, Iacon itself) defected.
Not to mention the fact that the extraction team to Kaon faced a monstrous six-changer, who shrugged off an entire squad of trained Autobots and two civilian weapon specialists' firepower. Worse, they lost Magnus, their best soldier, to the Decepticons.
To make things worse, Zeta Prime had gone off to Kaon, thinking that he could parley with this Governor. Such arrogance.
And Prowl's own contigency plans?
Project M, the creation of the Maximus Battlesuits, hit a roadblock... and he had just got word that the facility had been under attack. Sentinel, Sky Lynx and the others are down there investigating matters.
Omega Supreme? Prowl hoped Smokescreen could revive him, but he's not being too optimistic. Truth is, he tried to kill two birds with one stone by getting Smokescreen out of harm's way.
In a straight-up battle, Prowl doubted he could defeat Obsidian in a tactical warfare, and especially not when Obsidian had new tricks to pull out of his sleeve, like sixchangers and techno-organics.
Prowl slammed his fist onto the table in frustration. "Damn it."
Hot Spot weaved through the ample amount of wreckage and individual fires dispersed across the facility. As he approached Sky Lynx he cast his gaze out into the worst of it. Additional Autobots would have been a welcome sight, but unfortunately it was up to him and Sky Lynx to safely remove the Mini-Cons from the hazardous area.
Not that he considered it to be a problem. It was simply another challenge for him to overcome. Another opportunity for him to be immersed in action, in movement. He wouldn't have had it any other way.
“Sky Lynx.” Hot Spot came to a halt in front of the massive avian-like Transformer. “Looks like it's up to you and me to rescue these little gentlemechs. I'll do my best to direct them into your transport module, and I'll go as quickly as I can.” He pointed at Sky Lynx. “An Autobot with your fantastic talents should be winning wars, am I right? With any luck, that's exactly what you'll be doing after this.”
He had noticed Sky Lynx's bitter disposition the moment Sentinel selected him for the mission. He could hardly fault him for being so sour; Transformers of his calibre were far better being designated a position on the battlefield where they could demonstrate their impressive abilities.
So remaining calm and collected, Hot Spot concluded to stroke his ego, aiming to ignite his motivation. As capable as he was, sometimes he needed to be reminded of just how magnificent he truly was. It wasn't something Hot Spot wanted to bring up because of the predictable and irritating response from him, but at least Sky Lynx was more likely to cooperate in a more efficient manner.
Sky Lynx watched Hot Spot, nodding. At least some Autobots are doing good work, even though it's not exactly Sky Lynx-level.
"Yes, it seems to be." Sky Lynx told Hot Spot, although his voice was still annoyed as the Minicons boarded him. "And, hopefully, between my own not inconsiderable skills and our own dedication, we will pull through this difficult time through this vile Decepticon uprising. But if my vast talents are to be used now to rescue these terrified innocents, I shall gladly deign to do so! What use are strength and talent if we cannot use it to help others?"
Sky Lynx's head craned to take in the destruction.
"You three, Autotroopers -- put out the fires! As easily as I could do so myself, my presence is now required to rescue these Minicons!"
Perfect. Sky Lynx appeared to be collaborating with Hot Spot, allowing them to aid the unfortunate Mini-Cons. Of course, it wasn't as though he did not believe Sky Lynx wouldn't; that was not his primary concern.
He nodded at Sky Lynx. “That's absolutely right. Hit the proverbial nail on the cranial unit. And with all our strength and talent, we'll rescue everyone in no time at all.”
His motivation abandoning him, thus decreasing his performance, was the issue. But there was no longer any cause for alarm. Even though search and rescue was not Sky Lynx's line of work, he was equally as dedicated as Hot Spot was. His words alone indicated as much.
Satisfied with his altered attitude, Hot Spot continued to guide the Mini-Cons into the transport module, working as fast as he possibly could.
Jazz had remained silent. He thought it would be best. Letting Sentinel and Sky Lynx bicker amongst each other gave him enough time to get a full scoop of the area. He didn't like it that he had to find out that Sentinel, Zeta and Prowl had a minicon slave labour force working here. No matter how desperate you are for some kind of deterrence. However, he knows that from the moment that he signed up with Prowl's Special Unit with Rapido, he would be getting he hands dirty. He just hoped that the minicons weren't treated too bad. The ones that are currently still functioning anyway.
Jazz's attention to his surroundings averted when he heard Sentinel's voice break a little. Sorrow? he tought. Perhaps Sentinel isn't such a sack of bolts afterall.
Jazz contacted Prowl over a secure line. "Commander. Does Magnus know about this place? It could be a huge security risk if he does and if he is in the hands of the Decepticons."
Wheeljack followed Gong towards the R&D facility named Arsenal. As Gong opened the doors to it, Wheeljack stepped in and took a look around. "Not quite home, but I guess we can make something of it," he said to Highbrow. There's enough resources for us to tinker with. Let alone weaponry."
Wheeljack walked up to a console and flicked a few switches. "Alright," he said while rubbing his hands. "I think it's best that we start working on the weaponry that seemed to work Sixshot wich were the equilibrium distorters and the shrapnel needles."
War Room, War Academy
Volks was working hard to gather even more intel on the Decepticons and wasn't letting any clearances get in the way of being succesful at task. "Commander Prowl, I've managed to dug up what I could about Megatron, Obsidian, Skywarp, Lugnut, Thrust, Predacon, Scorponok, Tarantulas and Thunderwing. The intel that I gathered on Predacon and Tarantulas are mostly rumours and for rumours alone, they aren't really pretty. It seems that both individuals have quite some pull and it's said that one of them even like to eat other Transformers." Volks shudders. "I'm glad I'm sitting here."
Volks placed the data on the main screen. "I've hacked my way into General Obsidian's record and the various attachments to it. I wasn't cleared for everything, but seeing as Sentinel isn't here rigth now, I doubt that it matters."
Sky Lynx nodded, watching as Hot Spot went off to rescue the Minicons.
"My dear fellow, if it is too much trouble for you to ask... you are equipped with fire extinguishers, are you not? Obviously with my prodigious talent, I could find an alternative way to douse the flames, but yours would be a much, much more practical solution."
War Room, War Academy
"No, he does not." Prowl replied to Jazz. "No one but Zeta Prime, Sentinel and myself knew about the Project M facility. And the two technicians and hundred-odd Minicons working in it. However, they are isolated and I trust Cog... Magnus did not know this. Neither did Obsidian."
Prowl narrowed his optics. "Which worries me. It would give me some small measure of comfort if I knew that they got it from interrogating Magnus, or from Obsidian, but this would mean that there is an information breach. An unknown information breach."
Prowl's optics narrowed. How much did the Decepticons knew?
Did they knew about Omega Supreme?
Prowl nodded as Volks spoke to him. "Good work." He said. The hacker was efficient. Certainly this is a better way for all involved than for him to be shot at by paintballs.
"A cannibal?" Prowl pondered out loud. "Very disturbing. The variety of these Decepticons is alarming, clearly Megatron's reach is further than we thought." Prowl nodded, "General... former General Obsidian is not really a mystery to some of us. Indeed, I... I have worked under him before, when he was less inclined to side with rebels."
"What of Zeta Prime?" Prowl asked again. "You are monitoring him through hacked cameras in Kolkular, are you not?"
Highbrow cracked a smile at Wheeljack's observation. "This is a good beginning." Highbrow began, "As we were walking here, I had some other ideas - We could try luring him into a trap. Perhaps some kind of energy drainer or immobilizer. If it didn't totally disable him, it may make it easier for our troops to contend with him. And if we capture him, we might can replicate the technology as well."
"You under estimated them?!?!" Maximus roared at Sentinel. "They are an army Sentinel. They attacked us, they tried to kill you and all you can say is you 'Under Estimated' them?!?!
"Minicons aren't Warriors, we aren't soldiers. Those of us who could fight, died, right there on that field. They bought the time that most of their friends and family could evacuate. And the rest. The rest I avenged.
"Oh, this is a wonderous monster you had us create Sentinel. I reached out with all of the strength and fury that your Autobot preachers speak of in their scriptures. With fire and lightning and death I slaughtered every last one of them.
"What the preachers don't talk about, is feeling them die. My sensors are so strong that I can sense the transports coming and going through the system. I can track a stray asteroid that might come close enough to have us worry. I know where each and every living thing is in this facility, and I can telly you exactly how damaged they are. I can sense every injury, every damaged component thanks to the wonderous medical bay we installed in the Maximus. I fired my weapons and I felt them die. I flanked them and routed them, but still they came, and they killed and I felt my friends and my family die around me. So I fired my main gun. This wonderful equalizer that you needed. And they all ceased to exist."
Fortress Maximus transformed, folding in on itself, changing to Garrison mode. The head detached and transformed to an assault shuttle landing beside the main ramp up to the Maximus facility and from inside came a bot. Coloured all in grey, he walked up to the gathered Autobots. He stood as tall as Ultra Magnus and his body was wracked by the pain caused by guilt and saddness.
"When it was over Sentinel. I found her. But I found her too late. I screamed at my new systems to tell me what to do. How to save her. They told me there was nothing. Then, in my giant hands. I felt her... spark.... fade out...."
Fortress dropped to his knees, no longer able to stand against the weight of it all. And there, he cried....
The vast majority of the Mini-Cons were safely tucked away in Sky Lynx's transport module, permitting Hot Spot to shift tasks and eliminate the considerable population of fires. So far, no Mini-Cons had been harmed by any flames. He strove to continue that trend.
He transformed into his rescue hovercraft form. A hose line slithered out of its compartment on his left flank like a cyber-snake emerging from its burrow having caught scent of its prey. A fat stream of fire-retardant foam expelled from the hose, smothering the fires, minimising their sizes until they vanished. Frothing white pools occupied their places.
One flaming mass at a time, Hot Spot extinguished the fires, while also keeping an optic on the Mini-Cons yet to be rescued.
Sentinel could feel the heat rising in him. "Yes, we had underestimated them! We had no idea they had techno-organic abominations, we had no idea that they had an entire army, we had no idea that they had six-changing walking weapons of mass destruction!"
All they thought was a simple insurrection. The Maximus was more of a show, to show that they could create a more efficient Omega Sentinel if they wanted to. Sentinel had never intended it for real battle, unlike Zeta.
Sentinel glowered as he listened to Cog's justified rants. The Minicons were there for a reason, because no one else could do this. It was necessary; the Decepticons, or some other faction, would get them anyway.
"You... " Sentinel didn't finish his sentence. Cog had avenged the Minicons. Fire and lightning and death... ha, let that Terra-Ball or whoever Yoketron's little pup is stew on the slight on the Covenant.
Cog's anguish was evident as he poured out. Feeling them die... actually feeling their sparks going on... sensing each injury... Sentinel felt a pang of guilt. The Maximus was supposed to be a battlesuit, was supposed to be a simple weapon, not... not something grafted to poor Cog like this. He knew how to shoulder his pain, but to shoulder others'? Preposterous.
Hopeful that the 'equalizer' had proven successful, Sentinel's mouth hung open again as Fortress Maximus transformed, revealing Cog's true form, which was a little taller than Sentinel himself.
She's dead. Cog's little helper... what was her name? Flipper? Clipper?
This was so similar to a scene Sentinel had witnessed, so many times, in his own head...
Cog fell to his knees and cried, sobbed. Alien races said that Cybertronians were unable to feel because they were beings of steel and chrome, had programming instead of hideous nervous tissue, but this meant that it was so much harder for them to forget. Emotions, emotions that are buried in one's mind are... you can't just 'delete' them. As if those organic merchants knew what it was like to be a mechanical being!
Oh, how Sentinel had tried to forget. To delete those memories. He could not! He literally could not! Silly mitosis-based organics... just because their nonsentient computers could do it, they assume all mechanical-based organisms are like that.
Sentinel looked at Cog, wracked by injustice heaped upon himself.
Sentinel did something he had never done before. He got down on one knee, placed a hand on Cog's shoulder, and actually attempted to comfort the other Autobot. His voice was still hard, but comforting nonetheless. "She is in a better place now, Log- Cog." Sentinel corrected himself hastily, then continued. "But that won't make your pain go away. Believe it or not, I know how you feel. I know exactly how you feel..." Sentinel's voice trailed off at the end.
"Don't think they would get it out of Magnus anyway," Jazz replied to Prowl over the encrypted transmission.
"... and about Cog... From the looks of things, it seems he's been emotionally comprimised. I hope that his taste for revenge on these 'Cons is stronger than his dislike for Sentinel. Otherwise, we're going to have a problem." Jazz paused for a moment realizing what his just said. "But I guess that's why I had to tag along, right? Fix the problem if it gets out of hand?"
"The Prime is currently back on the shuttle," Volks replied. "I can't give you any information of what transpired in the palace. I couldn't get it, but I used the satelites to monitor everything from the outside. They're headed back this way. I'll see if I can contact them."
Wheeljack sat down in a chair and then spun back around. "An immobilizer...?" Wheeljack pondered it for a moment. That's not a bad idea, Highbrow!" Wheeljack stood up and ran over to what looked like a holographic design table and started drawing figures and writing notes along the way.
"His sixchanging abilities must mean that he has way more gears than most transformers do that are connected to his transformation cog. If we manage to disable some of those gears, we might be able to even disable his transformation process or at least make it a painful one."
A holographic schematic started to show up on the table. "Now this will be pretty tough to make as we might be exposed to an electric magnetic pulse from time to time, but it's worth the risk," he said to Highbrow.
"Remember that my schrapnel needle darts managed to penetrate his armor? What if we equip them with a nano sized EMP device that'll activate only a few kliks after impact? It won't completely immobilize him, but it would give us enough time to scan him for information on his transformation process or well, have one of the Autobots slag him." Wheeljack shrugged. "Which would be a waste of a good creation, but I would rather stay functioning."
Wheeljack added more information to the schematic. "Or we can always just throw an EMP grenade at him and hope that its radius won't hit us."
Damn it, things are again spiraling out of control.
Priorities: Zeta Prime and Project M. Sentinel is handling Project M. Jazz can wait. Main Priority is Zeta Prime.
"If you are unable to penetrate their electronic defenses, they have a powerful communications officer or hacker at their disposal." Prowl mused out loud. "No matter. Hail Kup and Ironhide, Volks. And hurry."
Prowl addressed Jazz's internal communique next. "I trust Magnus, Jazz. However, knowing that our enemies have members that employ... morally questionable methods, I fear willpower alone will not help Magnus to stop information from being given."
A rescue mission must be done. And soon. Either to rescue... or terminate.
"Emotionally compromised." Prowl repeated. Emotions. Prowl wished he understood emotions like Smokescreen did. Sure, he knew how to deal with people the textbook way, but emotions are fluid, something that had no fixed rules. Only guidelines. Prowl disliked those. After a short while, Prowl continued, "We chose Cog for a reason. But yes, if things get out of hand, I leave it to you to deal with."
It's good, Prowl mused, to have people like Jazz that he could depend on.
Outraged Senate calls rang in Prowl's datapad, but Prowl ignored them. He will deal with them once the crisis is over.
"Wheeljack, your genius never ceases to astound me." Highbrow replied back to the inventor as he walked over to look at the drawings. "That will make a great delivery method for a localed EMP device, and as long as we take the necessary precautions to prevent ourselves from becoming deactivated, I see no reason why this would not be a resounding success."
As he finished, the last part, he looked back down at the table. "That being said, would there be any benefit of having multiple ammunition types for the needle darts? Perhaps ones which had some type of virus or explosives embedded in them? Just trying to think ahead of our foe here in case he is able to overcome and adapt to the EMP darts."
Should he tell him? Probably. Maybe. "I had grieved. If we are not at the brink of war, I would have told you to take a break, go somewhere and grieve. As it is..." Sentinel closed his optics. "I am sorry. This is very callous, but we... we need you, Cog. We need you to hunt down these murderers, these Decepticons, so there will be no more deaths. Just know that whatever happens now will be on our terms."
They needed the Maximus battlesuit, lest Sentinel forgets. And the only one that seemed to be able to pilot it is Cog, and Sentinel needed him on his side.
"We cannot bring them back, Cog. We cannot bring her, or any of our dead comrades, back from the dead. But we can damn well avenge them." Sentinel told Cog. "And save the world at the same time."
Ginrai's words rang out in the empty station, echoing along the halls but earning no reply.
"Unit Ginrai," Unit One chirped, "Omega Supreme has not spoken to or otherwise interacted with another Transformer in forty stellar cycles. He hears, but he does not listen."
"That's what I've come here for. Omega Supreme has retreated into a catatonic state. I've been asked to help him come back to the outside world." Smokescreen smiled a little bit sadly. "I think your presence here will help, Ginrai. I don't know how much you know about the last Great War, if anything, but yourself and Omega Supreme are very much kindred spirits. You see, just like you, Omega and his brothers were created by uncaring masters to be used as a weapon against their enemy."
Zeta Prime shook his head. "There is...no more," he told Nightstalker. "My time...in the light...is short..."
His body was wracked with sudden pain, and he jerked hard enough to almost tear his restraints away from his seat. Then he looked squarely at Ironhide. "D...do not grieve, old friend. Soon I will be one...with the Matrix."
When he said that last word, he found his optics drawn toward Orion in the cockpit. Or at least, he thought it was Orion. The world around him had grown dark, and his vision blurred. But if that was true, why could he see the young bodyguard so clearly?
"...so clear now..." he muttered aloud. "The Matrix...I know who..."
His voice trailed off and his optics went black, only to blink back on a second later.
"How much longer?" he asked, his voice a bit clearer.
"Why are we not in contact with Zeta Prime? Their shuttle is coming into Iacon airspace." Prowl barked at Volks. "Is there something wrong with the communications system?" (OOC: Is it Soundwave at work?)
"Not much longer, Zeta. We're awlmost there. Jus' hang on."
Orion's optics narrowed. He reached out and flicked a switch on the console. "Attention Hub-Palace! We have a medical emergency. Have a medical team waiting on Landing Pad D-7, Northeast Quadrant. We'll be there in 2 rells."
(OOC: Furman gave us days and hours, but no minutes? Landing next post.)
"What happened in the past cannot be undone, but use it to drive the future," Terabolt would speak up, adding to what Sentinel had said to Fortress. "Take what has happened here and never forget it. Let it give your spark a fire, to see to it that it does not happen again, that no-one else need endure that which you have suffered as well."
Maintenance Tunnels, Subterranian Iacon
It was familiar territory, but it was not comforting to Raiku to be back in his old work space. It was not a place he wanted to be again so soon, but he'd promised to help Red Alert, and he couldn't go back on that. As they came down the lift elevator, Raiku looked about as though expecting to be attacked at any moment. The drones were gone, probably confinscated by the police for investigation or evidence, but it did little to settle Raiku.
Raiku stepped out into the workspace, looking around at everything, trying to find any potential dangers before they could come out at him again.