PART XLVI: The Rescue
As the rescue teams depart, Makeway focuses on working with Sideways to repair Iacon's defenses. He asks the more experienced Autobot what his suggestions would be for where to start on their difficult task. Sideways decides that they should work on repair short range sensors so that the fortress can differentiate between Autobots and Decepticons. As Dinobot and Minerva approach Dirge's meeting coordinates, the Maximal warrior considers all of the possible ways he could get the drop on Dirge. However, as they approach Dirge reveals his presense before Dinobot can act. Dirge brings Wreck-Gar out and asks Minerva to come forward, but is threatened by Dinobot not to harm her. As the two stare each other down, Minerva thinks that they should attempt to buy time for Blackjack and the Junkions. She asks about the Energon supply Dirge promised and he presents a single cube as proof. Wondering why no support had come and feeling that she is out of options, Minerva begins to walk slowly towards Dirge.
Blackjack arrives at the outskirts of Tagon Heights around the same time Minerva and Dinobot reach the meeting location. He decides to search for an entrance to Rattrap's factory that will allow him to avoid the sensor of any Decepticons that may be monitoring the area. He finds a small maintenance shaft entrance which leads to the factory's power core and begins to descend into the underbelly of Tagon. Soon Blackjack locates tracks from Dinobot and Crusaders during their initial sweep of the area long ago. His partner Brakkas follows the tracks whick lead them to the power core. Upon reaching the core, they hear a feminine voice activating security and several turrets are trained on them. Taking cover inside of a ventillation shaft, Blackjack and Brakkas soon recognize the voice as that of the Nighteye. When Blackjack calls out to the ship, it responds and shuts down the security turrets. As Blackjack crawls up the shaft to the hangar above, he realizes he has found a way to search for Cambreaker.
Somewhere else in the Tagon Height district, Rattrap awakens in a pile of rubble and sets off towards his factory. Realizing that he will need some help bringing the damaged security systems back online, Blackjack sends a message to Iacon. Sideways responds and rolls out, instructing Makeway to keep an eye on things while he is gone. As Blackjack heads for a lone turret emplacement that he can use to backup Dinobot, he encounters Rattrap. Immediately Blackjack realizes that his rodent companion knows as much as he does about the current state of the Tagon factory. While they are catching up, Sideways arrives and asks how he can help. Rattrap suggests that their first step to activating the security should be to hook Nighteye up to the main computer core and they head off to accomplish this. Outside, Dirge releases Wreck-Gar and pushes him at Dinobot so as to distract the lizard while he grabs Minerva and flies away. Dinobot immediately comms Blackjack to inform him that their plan had gone wrong. He then begins to follow Dirge, but the blue jet leaves him and Wreck-Gar in the dust.
When Dinobot's message is receieve, Blackjack, Sideways, and Rattrap are horrified. Blackjack leaves immediately to help Dinobot and asks the others if they would like to come along. Rattrap tells him that they will stay behind and get the Tagon base up and running. He and Sideways descend into the central computer core and find it completely destroyed. While Rattrap begins some of the repair work, Sideways examines the computer's security recordings and finds something shocking: Nighteye had sabotaged the base herself. Meanwhile, Blackjack catches up with Dinobot and Wreck-Gar and begins cursing his own lack of leadership for the failure of the rescue. Dinobot tells him that he too feels responsible and that he won't rest until Minerva is safe. Having been to Dirge's headquarters before, Wreck-Gar begins to lead the other two Autobots to where the Decepticon had most likely taken their friend. Sideways reminds Blackjack that he had traced the signal of Dirge's earlier call and that he could also find the hideout that way. Blackjack sends a message to Makeway in Iacon asking for the coordinates.
The defense systems in Iacon had suffered a major malfunction around the time Sideways had left and Makeway found himself busy attempting to repair the damage to the recognition systems. He is eager to help Blackjack when the message is received and transmits the coordinates just before being shot by an unknown assailant. Meanwhile, The Last Autobot runs out of energy and crash lands outside of Iacon. He quickly locates a small supply of Energon and continues on towards the city. Within the ruins of Kaon, Scourge searches for any remaining Decepticons. He sends out a message which is received by Dirge and heads towards the seeker's current hideout. Elsewhere, Inferno awakens within Time Travller's old laboratory beneath the Energon Bar. He does not remember how he came to be there and decides to search for other Decepticons.
Arriving at his laboratory in the Kaon Industrial District, Dirge shoves Minerva inside and orders her to restore life to Galvatron. Minerva sees the rough body layed out the table and is shocked. She tells Dirge that even if she wanted to help him, she isn't capable of restoring life without a spark. Dirge is furious and threatens her life if she doesn't do it, but is interupted by Deuce who suggests that now might be a good time to deal for the 'missing piece' in Dirge's plan to bring Galvatron back. Minerva begins working while she listens to the deal. Deuce offers Dirge and the other Decepticons a place in their organization in exchange for the spark chamber. Dirge considers and then accepts, but has his doubts about these 'bots that resemble Earth gangsters. Nearby, Inferno breaks through to the surface of Kaon. He is confused about the condition of the once great city, but his thoughts are interrupted by Dirge's request for assistance in killing Autobots.
As Blackjack and the other approach the coordinates, he realizes they are entering Kaon and warns the others to be on guard. The group discovers a few of Dirge's booby traps as they venture into the ruined city, but nothing very threatening until a large red Decepticon tank blasts through a nearby wall. Blackjack ducks around a nearby building and is soon joined by Dinobot who informs him that he cannot reach the Junkions. Scourge rolls up to the battle site and calls for the Autobots to stand and fight. A moment later, Inferno emerges and spotting his old nemesis Dinobot, charges into the fray. Feeling suddenly outnumbered, Blackjack sends a request to all Autobots in the area for help. He narrowly dodges an attack by the tank, now turned jet, and realizes that he is in no condition to fight the Decepticons like this. Brakkas takes over and produces a Decepticon seeking rocket launcher which he fires at Blitzwing. The downed Decepticon transforms back into a tank and attmepts to fire at Blackjack, but is stopped by Dinobot. Before he can engage Blitzwing further, Dinobot feels the heat from Inferno's flame cannons and goes toe to toe with his old adversary, feeling invigorated from fighting so many enemies at once.
Rattrap considers what could have caused Nighteye's actions while he and Sideways work to repair the damage mainframe. In no time they repair the damage and get the maintenance drones up and running so that they can complete the remaining repairs. Rattrap suggests that they head to the Nighteye and see if she is combat ready in case they need to backup the others. As soon as he is reunited with the ship, Blackjack's cry for help comes across the audio channels and Nighteye takes off on her own towards Kaon. Out across the Southern Wasteland, Redline works in solitude in a small makeshift laboratory having retreated from major centers of activity in order to better focus on her research. She has been listening intently to the comms chatter as of late, hoping to hear an Autobot message. When Blackjack's cry comes across, she transforms and rolls out for Kaon almost immediately.
As Minerva listens to Dirge and Deuce dealing, she becomes more concerned about her fate. These Decepticons and their allies are bent on bringing back to life one of the most powerful and insane Decepticons. She quietly continues to work, but intends to add something 'special' to the new Galvatron. Seeing that Dirge is ready to join them, Deuce asks for proof that Galvatron would be willing to work with them once he is restored. Dirge tells them to ask him themselves. Outside, Blitzwing opens fire on Dinobot and yells to Inferno that he hadn't realized there were other Decepticons in the area beside himself, Skywarp, and Dirge. Inferno explains who is between exchanging blasts with Dinobot and assumes command on the battlefield. He pulls out two arm mounted drill blades and engages Dinobot's sword with his own new additions. Blackjack transforms back into robot mode and decides that he can be little help to Dinobot and Wreck-Gar. He decides to go on his own to locate and rescue Minerva.
With Dirge distracted, Deuce and Fleetside restrain him and strap him down. Drive By and Tux blow a hole through the back wall and enter as Pinstripe connects Galvatron's spark chamber to audio receptors. An angry Galvatron yells that he cannot be restrained and Deuce asks Dirge why they would want to bring such an unstable and powerful Decepticon back to life. Dirge replies that Galvatron can help them get what they want from the Autobots and then sends a comm to all Decepticons in the field to return to his laboratory. The Nighteye arrives in the sky above the battlefield and begins raining fire upon the Decepticons. Sideways descends from the gunship, eager to try out his new alt-mode. Upon receiving the message from Dirge, Blitzwing considers it wise to retreat from facing the gunship and assist his temporary leader. Inferno considers Blitzwing a coward and takes to the sky to take on the Nighteye with his flame cannons.
As he approaches Dirge's makeshift headquarters, Blackjack hears the voice of Galvatron and realizes the danger he's in. Peeking through the hole in the back wall, he watches Blitzwing arrive and demand the release of Dirge from another group of mechs. Then he recognizes Chopper and realizes they are up against the DSM. Unphased by the threat, Chopper transforms to gun mode and Pinstripe blasts Blitzwing with some blank shells meant to be more of an intimidation than a threat. Deuce asks again why they should help Galvatron. Once more the Decepticon leader's spark chamber speaks telling the DSM that he can provide them with power if they follow him. Minerva watches the events unfold and uses the confusion in the room as a distraction while she installs a small device in Galvatron's new body. Spotting Minerva in good condition, Blackjack decides to attempt to buy her time to escape. He steps into the room and announces that they are surrounded, firing a single shot to knock Chopper from Pinstripe's hands. He hopes that this show is enough to make them fall for his bluff.
The flames fired by Inferno merely lick the shields of Nighteye and the gunship returns fire with six large turrets. Inferno finds himself knocked from the sky but manages to modify his flame cannon to explode and throws it at the Autobots before burrowing away into the ground. Dinobot leaps to push Sideways out of the way and takes most of the blast. He asks Sideways to go and find Blackjack while he ensures Rattrap's safety. Before heading out, Sideways gives him a vial of green liquid to drink. Rattrap had been thrown from the gunship by the explosion but he gets up and he and Dinobot board the Nighteye. As they head to backup Blackjack, he tells Dinobot that it is good to see him in one piece. As Blackjack stands and faces his assembled foes, Wreck-Gar suddenly appears next to him and adds his own version of a threat to Blackjack's words.
The Decepticons are unphased by Blackjack's warning and Blitzwing opens fire on him and grabs Minerva as Dirge activates his subsonic weapon, affecting everyone in the room. Minerva had been about to escape when she was grabbed and as the weapon is activated she finds her worst fears coming to life and begins to panic while being clutched by an equally upset Blitzwing. Pinstripe watches in horror as his entire team is affected by Dirge's weapon. He decides the only way to end this is ally himself with Blackjack and he walks over to his Autobot nemesis. Blackjack is also ready to deal and asks Pinstripe for assistance in exchange for whatever he wants. The Nighteye arrives over the building and Blackjack calls to Rattrap for evac. Rattrap replies that if they can get out of the building, he can lower cables to them, but he doesn't want to risk blowing up the building to get to them. Redline arrives at Kaon and can see the Nighteye in the distance. She sends a message to Rattrap asking what is going on and he asks her to get onboard the Nighteye via the cables he is lowering.
Seeing that Pinstripe and Blackjack are unaffected by his weapon sends Dirge into a rage. He frees himself, points his weapons at Minerva, and tells them to leave before he terminates her spark. Seeing that they are both out of options, Pinstripe throws the spark chamber at Dirge and kicks chopper in gun mode over to Blackjack. While Dirge is distracted, Blackjack points Chopper at him, but then turns and opens up on Blitzwing, forcing him to release his hold on Minerva. As Pinstripe grabs Deuce and runs from the building, he leaves a business card with Blackjack for later. Blackjack grabs Minerva and is heading for the lowered cables when Dirge catches up and blasts the cables down. He is about to blast at the Autobots when Sideways comes out of nowhere to knock him to the ground. Still in a panic, Minerva breaks free of Blackjack's hold on her and speeds off into the ruins. Dirge is threatening the remaining Autobots when the Nighteye opens fire on him. Blitzwing helps the now heavily damaged Dirge out of a crater and helps him limp back into the building. As he leaves, Dirge gives the Autobots one last threat. Seeing that Minerva is gone, Blackjack realizes he'd failed the rescue and collapses. Inside the building, Wreck-Gar spots the spark chamber and the empty slot in Galvatron's chest. Without thinking, his natural instinct towards repairing others kicks in and he places the chamber into its place in the lifeless body.
Part XLVI comes from the following roleplay threads if you would like to read for yourself:
Iacon: pages 67-68
Tagon Heights: pages 4-6
Kaon Industrial District (K.I.D.): pages 4-7
Outside The Bar: page 16
Kaon (Decepticon HQ): page 45
Southern Wasteland: page 3