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Collapse: None But My Own (Tarn)
Posted: Sun Mar 15, 2009 5:24 am
It was the land of Megatron, once the greatest city-state on all of Cybertron. Then it was a nuclear wasteland, an irradiated hell that none but the bravest or most desperate would dare enter. Now it was neither. Now it was a scarcely-populated wasteland, a barren, desolate land of ruins and debris as far as the eye could see.
But to Astrotrain, it was none of those things. To Astrotrain, Tarn was home.
It had been ages since he'd dared to come here. Even after the radiation had dissipated to tolerable levels, the region had been full of all manner of hellish mutated beasts, things that none by the craziest of people would want to face. But that was a thing of the past now, too. The Quintessons, scabrous vermin though they were, had done a wonderful job of cleaning up the remains of Tarn, making it into a place that was safe to venture once more without fear of death.
Astrotrain knew that his wingman shared no such feelings. Ramjet was Polyhex build and raised, and quite a bit younger to boot. To him Tarn would be nothing but a story he'd heard about from his elders, a parable of how things can go horribly wrong when the Decepticons fought amongst themselves.
What it meant to the person they were coming to meet, Astrotrain could only guess.
They circled the city a few times, then finally set down in the ruins of Victory Square. The plaza was still filled with irrecoverably-huge chunks of Metroplex and a Quintesson citybot, titans which had slaughtered each other during the battle for control of Cybertron.
From Victory Square they proceeded on foot, walking north toward the shores of the Mithril Sea.
Posted: Sun Mar 15, 2009 2:31 pm
Gigatron flew slowly over Vos and then banked over the ruins of Tarn.
He observed the ruins. Tarn and Vos were indications of what happened when Decepticons fought each other. Ruined even before the fight with the Quintessons. It also showed the law of unintended consequences. This small war of mutual destruction had lead to Megatron war with the Autobots and ultimately to this moment in time. Mechs who failed to learn from history were bound to repeat it.
He tipped a wing in salute to the War dead as he passed over the remains of Metroplex before landing and transforming.
Posted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 4:06 am
Astrotrain approached Gigatron as he landed, a pensive expression on his face.
Was coming here the right thing to do? he asked himself, an edge of nerves starting to creep into his thoughts.
Ramjet had stayed behind at their landing point and had taken to the skies, keeping a sharp eye out for anyone who had the bad luck to wander into their meeting. Astrotrain caught sight of him in the sky above and was glad for his stalwart bodyguard's presence, whatever good it might do.
Swallowing away the nerves that threatened to betray him, he set his shoulders firmly and moved close enough to address Gigatron.
"This can't go on," he told the other Decepticon. "Just today I've had to consign three good soldiers to the morgue, another six who are injured to the point that they're not fit for duty and two who've flat-out disappeared. I can only imagine that things are similarly grim on your side of things, considering the hellhole where you've taken refuge. If we keep this up, there won't be a faction left to fight over."
Posted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 7:11 am
Gigatron walked slowly towards Astrotrain.
"The situation is not ideal in Crystal City and while it makes no sense to squander good troops and resources in internecine warfare which we will need in order to take on the Imperial threat. I can see no easy solution. I have been monitoring the situation in Kaon and more decepticons are being killed in internal squabbles although my intelligence is out of date as there seems to be a communications blackout.
Posted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 3:50 am
"The situation in Kaon is worse than you know," Astrotrain told Gigatron. "On my way here I could see at least two explosions on the kiloton scale going off."
The triple changer crossed his arms.
"There is no easy solution to this," Astrotrain said. "If there was, it never would have happened in the first place. But what you need to ask yourself isn't how can we stop this? Before you can answer that, you need to ask how did this happen in the first place?"
Astrotrain tilted his head to one side. "You need to ask yourself why you couldn't keep the loyalty of your men."
Posted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 7:09 am
Gigatron looked Astrotrain up and down.
He said dryly.
Posted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 5:54 am
Astrotrain sighed. Was Gigatron really going to make him spell it out? Or perhaps, as absurd as it seemed, the powerful sixchanger actually didn't realize...
"How many of the Decepticons under your command were there at the very beginning of the war?" he asked, his voice suggesting that he knew the answer all too well. "Few, if any. In fact, I'd wager that you don't have more than a handful of soldiers in your force who had joined the Decepticons before the Ark and Nemesis disappeared, and scant few troops who served under Megatron's command after he was revived on Earth."
He chuckled dryly. "In fact, look at your inner circle for a second. You've got Cyclonus, who hates Megatron with a passion for not being Galvatron. Bludgeon, who Megatron killed outright the last time he regained power. Skullgrin, who he sent out to die shortly after that. Venom, who died during the Time Wars fighting Megatron and Galvatron. A gestalt team who no one had ever heard of a decade ago. And then a fair sprinkling of people from Scorponok and Thunderwing's old crews to round things out."
Astrotrain shrugged. "You need to understand something. Most of us joined the Decepticons because of Megatron. People follow him because they want to, regardless of where he'll lead. But you...you inherited command long after most of us joined. Your subordinates followed you because they had to, and for a lot of them, nothing you can do will make them forgive that."
Posted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 7:05 am
Gigatron looked at Astrotrain
"I know I will never be Megatron and in this timeline my deeds before I arrived here are unknown. But still they cling to this hero from the past.
Does all that I have achieved still count for nothing. I have stopped Jhiaxus from killing us all once, I helped kill Unicron, I stopped that upstart Thunderwing and engineered the liberation of Cybertron from the Quintessons and what it is all for nothing because I am not Megatron.
Megatron who is turning his back on the bigger picture, the greater threat, who is currently getting members of his own faction killed in a bid for territory on a single planet when there is a whole universe out there. Megatron who is trying to relive his glory days and reconquer Cybertron. Megatron who if he had his own way would get us all killed because he is blind to the possibility of the greater threat to our race.
Megatron who is only alive because of that twisted Unicron spawned Chaos Matrix, Megatron puppet of Optimus Prime, the Quintessons and the Space Mafia.
This is the Megatron which they all hero worship and adore, are they blind. This devotion to historical precedence will be the death of us all. I am pursuing the greater good of our race and all Megatron is concerned with is power and personal gain.
There is an Empire out there who will crush us as who consider us dinosaurs footnotes on the pages of history who should be dead."
Posted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 3:34 am
Astrotrain shrugged, his massive shoulder pads turning the movement into a much more dramatic gesture than he'd intended.
"I'm the last person you need to explain this to," he told Gigatron. "I was there, remember, standing at your right hand throughout all of it. And everything you say is right, every word of it. But you need to understand something: none of it matters, because Megatron is going to win. It might take years and I can only imagine the destruction it can cause, but eventually he'll chip away at your resources until there's no one and nothing left."
The triplechanger sighed, then sat down on a pile of rubble that was the right size to be a makeshift stool.
"That can't be allowed to happen."
Posted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 7:49 am
Gigatron settled himself into the rubble
"We may not have that long, a move by the Imperials is long overdue. But your point is a valid one. Our options are few with regards Megatron. Co-operation, Assimilation or Assasination. If only I could persuade him of the Imperial threat."
"In Fearless' cells there are survivors Commodore Bastion and Captain Archer and their crews we never had a chance to transfer them to Darkmount. However their should be prisoners from some of our earlier scouting missions in the cells maybe we should introduce Megatron to the Imperials face to face."
Posted: Sat Mar 21, 2009 4:10 am
"He's met them," Astrotrain told Gigatron. "In fact, he actively tried to kill them for a while...for pretty much the same reason he currently wants your head on a platter. But introducing him to a room full of green-painted soldiers wouldn't be half as effective as if we had one Imperial senior officer to introduce him to, someone he would see as a threat to his own grip on power. But unless the Imperials managed to kill him that would only be a temporary reprieve, not a solution."
The triplechanging admiral sighed. "There's one thing you need to understand about Megatron," he said. "He's not fighting you because he thinks you're a bad leader, or that he thinks you're bad for the faction. He's fighting you because it's inconceivable to him that anyone else lead the Decepticons." Astrotrain scoffed. "He tried, you know. For the first few years after the Quintessons were driven off, he tried to stay away. But eventually he convinced himself that he had to come back."
Astrotrain kicked a chunk of debris that was lying nearby. The rock hopped and skipped along the ground until it landed in the Mithril Sea without so much as a ripple. With a slight shake of his head, he hoped that wouldn't be a metaphor for his and Gigatron's discussion.
"Megatron won't ever cooperate with you, no more than he would cooperate with Shockwave, Scorponok or Jhiaxus. So really, you have two choices. Either you submit to his rule or you kill him. And I don't mean assassination, because the only one who would even stand half a chance of killing him would be you."
Posted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 1:21 am
Gigatron nodded as he watched the stone sink
"So Megatron has got himself a case of Manifest destiny, some how I'm not suprised. If I subjugated myself to him there would be no guarantee he would allow me to continue my plans to defend ourselves against the Quintessons. A merger of our two faction means we would lose time in political infighting. And then theres my troops Megatron isn't going to welcome them all with open arms and even if he did there are certain elements in his forces which would see them as a threat to be eliminated. I owe it to the ones who have stood by me... Does Megatron know about all the Imperial planets could we sway him by tempting him with potental conquests. If I tried to kill Megatron and lost we would be worse off and would surely fall beneath the heels of the Imperials........
Posted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 4:53 am
"All of those are perfectly valid points," Astrotrain agreed with Gigatron. "My only suggestion would be to find a way to turn him to your way of thinking, and quickly. If you could..." The triplechanger shrugged, "well, it would be a start, anyway. I don't think he really objects to making preparations for an Imperial assault, or to pro-actively moving against them."
Astrotrain made a noise that could have been called a laugh, if it hadn't been almost entirely devoid of any trace of humour.
"The problem," he said dryly, "is that you didn't get his express written permission before doing it."
Astrotrain considered Gigatron's suggestion and nodded slowly. "I'm sure he would be tempted by that," he said. "Conquest has always been one of his main obsessions. The question is, how do we get him to listen long enough to be convinced?"
"What we really need right now," he said, "is an Imperial incident."
Posted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 11:52 am
"I was thinking along similar lines , what did you have in mind?"
Posted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 4:05 am
"A visit from Jhiaxus or Thunderwing would be ideal," Astrotrain said dryly. "Something to remind Megatron that there are people other than you and him who would claim to be the leader of the Decepticons."
Picking up a fist-sized chunk of rock, Astrotrain turned it over in his hands, watching in silence as it crumbled at his every touch until he was left with nothing more than ash. Then he turned back to Gigatron.
"I don't suppose they would come if we simply asked them politely. They probably have agents on the planet, though. If we let slip some sensitive information to one of them, something that would draw a response from a top-level Imperial operative, that might do the trick."
Posted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 6:57 am
Gigatron shifted on his temporary seat.
"I would be uncomfortable drawing their attention too much, especially at our current level of preparedness. Also how would we identify the Imperial operative? I could have Hellbat prepare some of our prisoners and release them. Although would Megatron see through such a ploy."
Posted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 3:51 am
"He might," Astrotrain said, not happy with it. "And it's even more likely that his henchmen would. But Megatron is a creature of emotions," he told Gigatron. "If we could make him angry enough, he won't be able to see through his rage to realize he's been played."
Posted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 6:55 am
"What target would be enought to do that , there must be something that would push his emotional buttons. Also one that would look feasible as a potential Imperial target."
He steepled his fingers together
"I wonder how they are getting their intelligence. Transmission would be right out if Soundwave was doing his job. It must be by ship, one of the merchant ships however our customs patrol is stopping all the Polyhex bound shipping and we haven't been accepting commercial space flight. Has there been a particular vessel that has been landing at Protihex but trading with Polyhex and ourselves A regular, someone with an Autobot registration we wouldn't stop or a neutral."
Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 3:43 am
"I wouldn't rule transmissions out entirely," Astrotrain told Gigatron. "After all, you and I have managed to exchange communiques for months with Soundwave being none the wiser. It's just a matter of disguising them well enough, or burying them in civilian communications traffic. Polyhex is a living city, after all, not a military compound."
Astrotrain stared off into the horizon for a few moments before continuing.
"It almost doesn't matter what target you choose," he told Gigatron. "Megatron's vulnerabilities are tied more to personal attacks than military ones. What the Imperials go after would matter a lot less than how they do it. If they can embarrass him, no matter how, that would drive him to distraction."
The admiral chuckled. "You said there were some Imperial prisoners still locked up in Darkmount, didn't you? If an Imperial strike team broke them out, it would raise Megatron's hackles quite a bit."
Posted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 9:04 am
"however they still must have some way of getting the information off planet, which merits investigation."
He pondered the suggestion.
"I believe amongst our prisoners we have some of the Ships Marines who would make a believable commando unit. I dislike having to trust Hellbat but he is the only alternative."