PART XXIV: Darkest Hour
At Kaon, Megatron watches as Decepticon warriors begin returning to heed his call. The first to arrive are Galvatron, Dezsaras, Shrapnel, and Rumble who have been fighting at Iacon. Shortly after they arrive, Sunstorm appears explaining that he had been drained of energy following his last battle with the Autobots and had gone into hiding so as to recharge. Lastly, Dirge arrives after spending some time on Earth. Excited to see so many of his warriors return, Megatron introduces his two newest warriors Nightshade and Firehawk. He then reveals that he also has a new secret weapon that will be used in an upcoming battle against the Autobots. He instructs Galvatron to go alone to his chambers and inspect his newest acquisition. He then appoints Sunstorm as aerial commander and orders him to take the other fliers and scout the perimeter of Kaon for any Autobot spies. Taking this position seriously, Sunstorm begins to question the new Decepticon seekers about their histories as the group patrols. He wishes to know how they will fair in the upcoming battle against the Autobots.
Following the battle with Dezsaras's forces, the Autobots begin the brief clean up of Iacon. The Brestforce is taken to a secure holding area deep within the fortress and Cambreaker makes the rounds to congratulate his fellow Autobots on a battle well fought. As he searches for Rodimus Prime, Cambreaker notices Rattrap and Dinobot and invites them into his quarters so he may officially welcome them as Autobots. Sideways retreats to his laboratory seeking to develop a portable version of the core containment device. The dinobot Snarl approaches the gates of Iacon and begins pounding on them in order to get them to open. Cambreaker sends Cliffjumper, Elita-1, Doublecross, and the Throttlebots on a mission to bring back artillery from Tagon Heights and then leaves to continue his search for the Autobot commanders. As he is stepping out of his office, he notices Rodimus and Arcee headed for the command center.
Megatron recalls his warriors to Kaon with the intention of revealing his new secret weapons. Soon all of the Decepticons are gathered anxiously around the doors to Megatron's chambers awaiting their leader's announcement. Soon the doors to Megatron's chambers open and two new Decepticon warriors step through. They are none other than Rodimus Prime and Arcee, displaying new paint jobs and reprogrammed as Decepticons. Many of the assembled Decepticons look on with disbelief as Megatron explains how he had come upon the two Autobots within stasis pods and had reprogrammed them to serve only him. Feeling confident that the Autobots will not be able to stand against the Decepticon forces and the Matrix-bearer, Megatron orders all of his troops to board Astrotrain and prepare for a full assault on Iacon. He instructs Galvatron to take their two newest warriors and eliminate Cambreaker and he instructs Dezsaras to take Shrapnel and Rumble to free any Decepticon prisoners. As Astrotrain takes off, Megatron receives a message from the double of Arcee and Rodimus he had planted in Iacon which contains information on Iacon's defense systems and the Autobots guarding it.
As Rodimus and Arcee examine profiles of the Autobots residing in Iacon, Cambreaker enters the command center followed by Minerva. Seeing their inactivity, he explodes in frustration. He accuses Rodimus of poor leadership at a critical time. He explains that they should be striking back against the Decepticons while they're weakened, not examining their own defenses. As he is about to leave, Arcee pushes him up against the wall and warns him not to threaten them again. Realizing something is seriously wrong, Cambreaker and Minerva retreat to Cambreaker's quarters where he issues an order to all Autobots to head to battle stations in preparation for a possible Decepticon assault. He also mentions that Rodimus and Arcee are unfit for duty and must be detained if they are spotted.
Unaware of the chaos brewing at Iacon, Blackjack comes up the road driving Megatron's neutro fusion tank. He is greeted at the gate by Rattrap who had gone down to see who had been banging on the gates. Hearing Cambreaker's orders, Blackjack drives the tank into the central courtyard of Iacon. Many Autobots begin to gather around the tank and eventually Cambreaker himself comes out to see what the commotion is about. When asked how he acquired the new toy, Blackjack explains that during the attack on Kaon he had snuck away and found the tank parked in a hangar. He had then taken it to get a new paint job and had it refitted as a transformable weapon he referred to as The Royal Flush. He then introduces himself to the new 'bots.
Seeing that most of the Autobots are distracted by Blackjack's arrival with the tank, the false Rodimus and Arcee spring into action. They stand near the security system consoles in the command center and detonate. The resulting shockwave is felt throughout Iacon. Sensing an imminent attack, Noticing the explosion in the commander center, Sideways patches himself into the network and begins to repair any damage he can. He opens a stasis pod he had found in order to reactivate a companion of his named Rev. Cambreaker orders all Autobots to assume battle stations and then instructs Minerva to prepare a shuttle for an eventual evacuation of Iacon. Heading to Sideways lab, Cambreaker meets Rev and is informed that Sideways has given temporary control of Iacon's security systems to his own supercomputer. Satisfied that things are under control, he heads to the surface to find Minerva.
As expected, the Decepticon forces begin to swarm Iacon's defenses. Sunstorm and Nightshade watch from high above as Rumble heads out with Dezsaras's team for the interior of Iacon, plotting his vengeance for Rumble's earlier practical joke. As Cambreaker begins firing on the first seekers to hit the walls, he is surprised by a blast from behind and when the dust clears is shocked to see Rodimus and Arcee standing side by side with Galvatron. As Cambreaker comes to his senses and engages the traitors, Dinobot realizes that the Decepticons must have sent additional troops around from another side to reach inside of Iacon. He, Snarl, and Rattrap search for flankers while Blackjack opens up on incoming seekers with the guns on the Royal Flush.
The Decepticons heading into Iacon via the tunnel made by the Brestforce into the power core are halted when they run across a shield created by the core containment device. Dezsaras invents a quick solution to this by collapsing a section of the ceiling and motioning his team upward. Meanwhile, Cliffjumper and his team begin to scramble back towards Iacon and send a message which is intercepted by Dinobot. Once he has explained the situation to Cliffjumper, Dinobot realizes that Cambreaker will need help defending the main gates and heads there. He arrives just in time to see the interim leader being triple teamed by three powerful Decepticons. Arcee holds Cambreaker still while Rodimus delivers a crippling blow which shatters one of Camberaker's optics. Dinobot leaps into the fray and begins to engage Galvatron, but is distracted when Galvatron releases his Playbot collection and shows Dinobot a centerfold of Ms. Cybertron.
As Cambreaker and Dinobot continue the difficult battle against the Decepticons and their former leaders, Minerva attempts to get the shuttle ready for evacuation. Although the shuttle is nearly ready it has fallen under heavy attack from Decepticon fliers. She sends out a distress call. Receiving the call, as well as much of the Decepticon comms chatter, Blackjack transforms the Royal Flush and blasts off to engage the Decepticon airforce. Seeing that the skies are clearing, Minerva activates the shuttle's shields and begins helping Autobots in her area evacuate. Not wanting to be left out of the fight, Snarl catches up with Dinobot and tackles Galvatron. Dinobot is holding his weapon at Rodimus Prime's head, asking for a reason no to kill him when Megatron arrives and gives his reason: he will kill Dinobot. However Megatron had failed to notice Cambreaker who now strikes with his axe, severing Megatron's arm cannon from his body. An enraged Megatron returns by producing his flail and striking back at Cambreaker.
Eventually making their way to the prison cells with the help of Shrapnel's clones, Dezsaras's team find all of the Brestforce except Leozack. Dezsaras orders the clones to remove the Brestforce members and then directs his team to the battlefield to bolster the Decepticon attack. Upon emerging, Rumble spots the Royal Flush and notes that the seekers are getting what they deserve. Dezsaras orders Death Cobra to bring the Omega Fortress to the battlefield and then begins firing on the Royal Flush. Seeing Cambreaker critically wounded by Megatron, Dinobot orders Snarl to take their leader to the shuttle while he faces Megatron. As the Autobots begin to fall back, Arcee unleashes her Energon bow upon them, causing Cambreaker to fall from Snarl's back. He attempts to transform but with so many of his systems damaged, he is barely able to function.
Amidst the battle, Sideways activates a device which detonates his laboratory within Iacon and creates a powerful shield around the shuttle. Now that the Autobot's escape is reinforced, he, Rev, and Rattrap attempt to assist Dinobot, Cambreaker, Snarl. Seeing the fleeing Autobots, Galvatron transforms to his gun mode and begins blasting. Sideways rams the stationary Galvatron causing him to tip over. After righting himself, Galvatron begins blasting at the Autobot escape shuttle. Seeing the incoming blast, a barely concious Dinobot makes one last heroic effort to jam his sword in Galvatron's gun barrel, causing the Decepticon to explode.
In the sky above the battle, Blackjack is pushing the Decepticon seekers back when the Royal Flush is swarmed by hundreds of Insecticon clones. As they begins chewing on critical systems, Blackjack activates mechanisms to shake them off. That is when the blast from Dezsaras's living metal destroying cannon strikes the vessel. As the Royal Flush goes down in flames, Blackjack dives out and begins to engage Dezsaras. Seeing that his forces are being pushed back and that Rumble is aloen, Sunstorm puts his plan into action. He and Nightshade grab rumble and warp with him to the Smelting Pools on Cybertron. He mercilessly melts Rumble's arm and leaves him to his fate. As they return to the battle, Sunstorm orders all of his forces to
begin searching for any Autobot escape shuttles.
Cliffjumper and Elita-1 locate Goldbug and the Throttlebots on the battlefield and help them to evacuate to the shuttle. In order to cover the retreat for Cambreaker and Dinobot, Snarl stands alone against Megatron, Arcee, and Rodimus. Using her tail to trip the two Autobot traitors, she then engages Megatron in a long, hard fought battle. Blackjack does some damage to Dezsaras with a well placed kick to the head, but once on the ground he is no match for the Decepticon lieutenant. Managing to dislodge Dezsaras's tiger beast from his leg, Blackjack attempts to reason with his opponent. Arcee meanwhile spots Rattrap attempting to retreat and begins firing on him. Cliffjumper arrives and begins to reinforce Snarl, who has managed to severely damage Megatron. but is surprised by Rodimus. Having Cliffjumper thrown at her, Snarl is distracted long enough for Megatron to step away. Rodimus and Arcee approach Snarl and begin to explain how Cambreaker is a Decepticon spy and that they are trying to help the Autobots. Believing their lies, Snarl leads them towards the shuttle.
Now that most of the Autobots have boarded the shuttle, Sideways begins to prepare the vessel for launch. Minerva asks to be allowed to tend to the wounded and is shocked when a badly damaged Cambreaker is brought on board. Seeing that most of his companions had already boarded the escape shuttle, Blackjack makes one final darinn maneuver. As Dezsaras fires several rockets in his direction, Blackjack reveals that the Royal Flush had not been damaged by Dezsaras's cannon as it is not made of living metal. He leaps into the mighty vessel and rockets towards the atmosphere, thanking Dezsaras for the interesting battle.
Rattrap, Snarl, Cliffjumper and a few other Autobots are now the only ones left. In order to prevent Snarl from leading the two traitors onboard the shuttle, Sideways begins to takeoff. Dinobot sends a last minute message to Snarl, informing her that Rodimus and Arcee are now Decepticons. This only serves to confuse the dinobot even more. As Blackjack drifts in space, barely concious, he has flashbacks of the great war and of a 'bot named Roulette who was left behind during a similar retreat. Coming to his senses he vows never to leave another Autobot behind. Returning to the planet's surface, he loads the remaining Autobots into the Royal Flush and carries Snarl towards the Autobot shuttle which is now entering orbit.
Note to Readers: As this was the most significant and heavily player involved battle fought in the history of the roleplay, it is extremely hard to follow. There are characters constantly doing one thing or another and in the midst of it there was a major rules controversy. If you attempt to read pages 25-36 of Iacon, please note the following interesting and important skirmishes between player characters:
Cambreaker vs Rodimus, Arcee, and Galvatron
Dinobot vs Galvatron
Dinobot and Cambreaker vs Rodimus, Arcee, Galvatron, and Megatron
Cliffjumper vs Shrapnel
Snarl vs Megatron (very worthwhile)
Blackjack vs Dezsaras
Snarl, Rattrap, and Cliffjumper vs Rodimus, Arcee, and Megatron
If there are any that I left out, please PM me.
Part XXIV comes from the following roleplay threads if you would like to read for yourself:
Kaon (Decepticon HQ): pages 25-29
Iacon: pages 25-36