Darkness was falling across the surface of Cybertron, although the planet had no suns and was in a state of perpetual night. The lights of cities were growing dim, the lights of sparks were going out. And yet all around them, the battle still raged on. The Autobots were battered and outnumbered by superior Decepticon firepower, but at least they still held a majority of their bases around the planet. This one, a small research station in the Tagon Heights was only a small loss should the Decepticons gain it. Yet it was a foothold on the path towards Iacon, one that they did not want their enemy gaining.
Blackjack fired a few shots from behind his cover, taking out an advancing Decepticon soldier. He had been recently awarded a medal as one of the best sharpshooters in his unit. The fembot who crouched next to him smiled and picked off another 'con at greater range. He couldn't help but feel adoration for the purple and gold femme, the only better sharpshooter in the unit. They had held the position, along with what remained of their squad for many cycles now yet the 'cons kept advancing. Blackjack had been glad to get news that Makeway had evacuated the site. The fast talking engineer may have lamented leaving some project behind but at least his own life would be safe. Just as he was beginning to feel optimistic about the situation, the unthinkable happened.
Jack, Roulette, time to move, came the voice of their superior officer over the din of the battle, the order's just come in from command. We're pulling out.
Fury rose up in Blackjack. He was not about to let some stuffed cab in Iacon tell him that he should give up on a winning battle. Without thinking about his own safety and ignoring urging from Roulette, he stood and marched towards their commander.
With all respect, sir, who gave the ordah to pull out?
Sentinel Prime, Jack, his commander replied, it was a direct command straight from the top.
Then tell Sentinel Prime to stick his ordahs in his carbueratah. We're not givin' up a winnin' battle.
I'm just relaying the orders Jack, I agree with you. But the High Command feels that this sector is of little strategic importance and is pulling our platoon back to reinforce Iacon Proper.
"They're just shakin' in their gaskets because big bad Megacan is knockin' on their front door. They don't think we can handle him? I'd like to see the big lug right now, I'll put a laser right between his optics."
That will do soldier, his commander was no longer smiling, Blackjack's behavior was bordering on insubordination, you can stay and fight to the Pit Jack, the rest of us are obeying our commander.
And with that the Autobots began to fall back. Blackjack glanced at Roulette as the Decepticon fire grew closer, their foes emboldened by the retreat. He called out to her.
Well I guess that's it sweethart, we're leavin'.
She stood up and began walking towards him, that's fine. Live to fight another day, I suppose.
Whatevah, he sulked, and then his optics grew wide. From behind Roulette, a Decepticon had appeared. It was as though he'd appeared from thin air and the shot he fired went straight towards Blackjack's head. He hardly had time to drop to the ground when he heard the Decepticon yell.
For Megatron's honor you slagheap Autobot!
As Blackjack rose to his feet, he heard Roulette's voice, Get to the rendezvous Jack, I'll keep this guy busy for ya.
Jack, you're sweet, but let a girl have her chance to be a hero once in a while, will ya?
I love you, kid.
I love you too Ja...
She had been interrupted by a blast from the Decepticon which caught her straight in the chest. She'd been firing back and forth with him since Blackjack had begun yelling and she'd had the upper hand. But now the Decepticon fired again, more shots hitting their targets. Blackjack cried out, but was pulled back by the strong hands of another Autobot, his friend Double Clutch.
Jack, I'm sorry, but we've got to go.
Blackjack said nothing, but stared at Roulette's assailant. He made certain to memorize that face and those cold optics.
Those very same optics that he stared into as he wheeled around to face the source of the voice. The Decepticon from that day, that memory, stood before him. The same expression on his face now as then, one of unfeeling hatred. His plans forgotten at the sight of the face, Blackjack raised his rifle and fired.
Today this ends! he screamed as the Decepticon stepped out of the shot's line of fire, this is for her. For Roulette.
Sixshot returned fire as automatically as though he'd played over this moment in his mind dozens of times. It was Blackjack's time to roll for cover behind some piece of machinery within the Nemesis's engine room. Sixshot called out, something Greatshot had said still played at his mind, something that haunted his nightmares.
You bear the mark of this will to "LIVE!" That one fought for something! They knew their PATH!
So that was her name, Roulette.
Blackjack came out of his roll, switching his rifle to autofire mode, he unloaded in Sixshot's direction. The shots ricocheted off of parts of the engines, causing sparks to fly. Don't you dare speak her name!
Sixshot found himself hard pressed to avoid all of the fire coming from the Autobot's weapon and took a few nicks to his armor for his trouble, A question then Autobot. What did she fight for?
Despite the intensity of the battle, Blackjack found himself caught off guard. He hadn't expected his foe, a Decepticon, to care about anything aside from destroying him. At that moment, the power supply to his weapon ran out and he tossed it aside as he charged towards Sixshot. He didn't answer, why should he tell this Decepticon anything. Let him die still wondering. He delivered a strong kick to Sixshot's midsection, one that made the ninja warrior stagger back before tossing his own weapons aside. Sixshot delivered a strong punch to Blackjack's jaw, knocking bolts loose and scattering them across the floor of the great warship. Blackjack was staggered by the strength of this Decepticon. Sixshot was much larger than him and obviously more powerful. Although he came here prepared to fight, he now felt the challenge insurmountable. Would he be able to keep his promise to Cambreaker after all?
Sixshot struck another punch, this one at Blackjack's midsection causing him to double over. He yelled again, What did she fight for Autobot! When Blackjack did not answer, he transformed to his cat mode and tackled the Autobot, biting at his face. Mustering all of his strength, Blackjack held the cat's jaws and pushed it off of himself but not before it took a great bite out of his face, just below his left optic.
Watch it Jack, this is my life too ya know.
Sorry, I'll try to be more careful when 'cons is tryin' to bite my face off.
The thought had only just crossed his mind when Sixshot transformed to his laser pistol mode and delivered a large blast to Blackjack's chest which knocked him back towards the energy chamber of one of the great engines. Sixshot yelled his question again and Blackjack merely looked at him, defiance in his eyes. Enraged, Sixshot glowed with anger and began to divide into six robots. It was one of his greatest techniques and an ancient form of Cybertronian ninjitsu. Each of the six robots transformed into one of Sixshots forms and each opened up with a full blast towards Blackjack. Still smiling with defiance, Blackjack was forced back. The lasers burning into his body, pushing him into the energy chamber which began to combust from the raw energy blasts being shot into it. Sixshot burned with rage as the Autobot burned away in the flames, the question still haunting him.
Inferno followed Dirge without a word as he travelled through the ship. He was glad that the Decepticon had listened to him, yet slightly annoyed by Galvatron's response to the news. Megatron had been a great leader, one he had been willing to die for. If not for the betrayal, he would still have considered himself Megatron's most loyal follower and would have gladly chosen that leader over Galvatron.
When the computer mentioned low fuel reserves and a damaged engine, Inferno had been about to announce that he would assist in gathering energy to power the ship. His announcement was interrupted by a warning from the computer.
Warning, engine operational capacity dropping. Engine D has sustained heavy damage and there is a fire in the engine compartment. Emergency action required.