Title: Nyon Falls
Date: 24 April 2015
NPCs: Ironhide, Hound, Bumblebee, Several Nyon Citizens.
Summary: Hot Rod invites a small group of Autobots to discover the truth about Zeta Prime. Nyon pays the iron price for the discovery.
Over the global radio frequency, Orion Pax says, "Hot Rod? Ariel delivered your message. Send a courier with where and when you want to speak."
So a courier goes out.
Where: the Acropolex.
The sprawling building yet shows remnants of the grandeur of the golden age of Cybertron in its vaulted halls. Orion Pax and his Autobots are escorted through halls marked with the First Face emblem that is mirrored on their armoring. They pass statues of ancient leaders whose faces and names have been worn away by time. Murals decorating the halls whisper long-lost and long-forgotten history.
Hot Rod meets them just beyond a grand room which looks like nothing so much as the semi-mythical Halls of Order of the Knights of Cybertron. It's an unlikely place to find a bunch of rebels who stand against the Autobots and the Prime: in addition to the First Face emblem, the Matrix itself is worked extensively into the decorations.
Maybe it's ironic.
Hot Rod doesn't waste a lot of time: "You want evidence? We've got plenty. Come with me."
Following the courier, a small convoy of Autobot vehicles arrives. At the front of the line is the familiar form of Orion Pax's hauler mode, sans trailer. As he approaches the Acropolex, the Autobot field leader protoforms to his root mode, his feet slamming solidly into the ground. As he looks around, it all seems strange and alien to him - yet somehow familiar. He remembers seeing it in the vids. Along with talk of the Knights of Cybertron. And the Matrix. And a golden age that existed far before any of them were created.
Ion Rifle in hand, Orion frowns darkly. "You bring us to the very birthplace of the very stories that fuel recharge time?" the large mech asks with a glance around at the artifacts, large and looming over the former police officer. There's a glance at the Matrix, and the saying written below it:
'True Freedom Exists... When All Are One.'
Orion gives a brief shake of his head as he turns his attention to Hot Rod. "Then once we see it, we'll decide for ourselves what we will do." Which includes the option of arresting Hot Rod and his resistance, of course. But that idea is tabled for the moment as he waits for his companions to catch up.
Orion Pax has his gun but well, Arsenal has many more. She too is armed and not afraid to show it. Her large assualt rifle is in hand and she's only all too eager for it to be seen. The dome is up, rather, it is over her head, meaning she too is ready. Though, for what? She isn't sure. She knows she doesn't like this, any of it and what little trust she has left in Hot Rod she is placing in him that this is the right thing to do. For now she stays back, well out of the way and the spotlight, looming like she should.
Among the entourage with Pax is Wheeljack, the awkward mech at the back that seems unsure what to do with himself. As the others gather he can't help but look around, taking in the sights. The location is impressive, at least to him, but does seem shoddy in places. Like they could use a bit of repair. Instinctively his wrench is out and he's prepared to go to town... when Pax speaks. He snaps to attention which causes him to fumble his wrench. He grabs for it, has it - nope doesn't - gets it! - nope, lost it again - has it! Before it causes more problems for him though, Jackie staches his wrench back in the compartment where it goes, the one in his aft. His optics widen though as he spots Hot Rod standing there because, as he leans over to whisper to Ariel to point out, "That's the mech that stol-... took alla' my stuff from my old 'shop!"
She sent him the message because she couldn't believe that it was true.
There are a great many things that Ariel has suspected since her dancing theater was closed and she found herself out of work. Too many things stacking up on the wrong side of the balance, and after seeing what became of Starsinger, it was only too clear: Something was rotten in the state of Denmark, to quote a phrase from some far flung future world. She wanted to see the truth of it all, get to the bottom of this. She'd been trained to do just that for the last several thousand years.
Accompanying Orion Pax into the Acropolex, she takes in the surroundings. "These must have been made during better times. Sometimes it seems as if it is we who are the derelicts of history."
Tagging along behind Wheeljack and Ariel, Bumblebee, Hound, and Ironhide continue a longstanding debate over the very thing that Ariel is talking about. "Look at it all, Ariel." Hound responds. "Reminds of something I studied once, on the Knights of Cybertron. The Knights were said to have watched over the world before the Primes took power, ruling with justice and wisdom..."
Orion responds, "That's a nice story, Hound, but we have our own justice to dispense."
"Real poetic, Ariel." Ironhide adds, "Y'know, I wonder if yer cut out fer this kinda work." he teases her as they continue to form the rear guard support.
Hot Rod holds Orion's gaze a moment, and just nods. He's unusually sober, and near silent as he leads the way through the halls. It's far enough from his usual behavior to be remarkable. He holds himself with poised tension. The paranoid might suspect an ambush. It's clear that they are watched from side hallways and shadows: glimpses in the distance of others under Hot Rod's banner, waiting, watching.
One hall, one turn, one open door leads them to the beating heart of the Acroplex. The fallen frames of dead disposables litter the ground beneath large energon tanks. Tubes -- empty, now, every last scrap of energon sucked from dry lines -- run from the bodies sitting outside the tanks to feed the tanks themselves. There are a dozen tanks, maybe, and their lurid red glow paints the room in strange, shifting colors. A display shows a shaky camera feed that loops through several sequences of footage: Zeta's forces pulling out full tanks and returning empties, or dealing with empties of an entirely different sort and draining the disposable and lower caste of Nyon with weapons whose marks mirror those on the protestor.
Hot Rod continues to keep his silence, giving them a moment to take it all in. It's just getting weird, now. Finally, he breaks it, and says, "So, about that justice."
Arsenal stands back and shoulders her rifle as Hot Rod has his moment. This is what he wanted. He said he would ask that Orion Pax would do and well... this is it. So she's watching closely - behind that dome of hers. If the reaction isn't immediate, isn't transformative... no, scratch that, transformative *enough* then... she'll have all the answers *she* needs.
Wheeljack is too excited with what he sees to get lost in what the others banter about. The arcitecture is fascinating and the... what is that?!? A faceplate might cover most of his face but his optics should tell it all. They go wide, in pure shock. This is not what science should be used for! This is not what should be done to bots! "Primus," he whispers, calling upon a deity he has never called out to before. Instinctly he looks to Pax to see what the big bot says, but then he does what he always does - rushes ahead. Wheeljack moves to one of those tanks and, even though it's not in use, starts yanking out cords and plugs to *ensure* that it does not see further use! "This ain't right, Pax, this ain't right at all!" One tank down he moves to the next. Scrap figuring out what was done, he's seen enough! This tech should never be used again!
As the team of Autobots look around, Orion's expression slackens slightly.
"I see desperation." Bumblebee says quietly.
Hound adds, "Hopelessness."
"I see a heavily armored fembot with her gun trained on us." Ironhide drawls, gesturing with a thumb at Arsenal.
"These mechs and femmes..." Orion steps forward, kneeling down before the one of the bodies and the now-familiar marks on their backs. Then it starts to click. "Recently, Sky Lynx was attacked with a weapon by Starscream and Thundercracker.." he comments. "Sky Lynx was able to wrest the weapon away from Thundercracker and turned it over for study.. he said that it did something similar to this, but the weapon disappeared." But this is entirely too close for the Cons to be using it. "They are drained of their energon. Bled dry. You wanted us to see this. Because this isn't a Decepticon weapon any longer." It hits hard and deep in his optics.
"Zeta did this."
Ironhide draws his own weapon, ready to freeze Arsenal in her tracks if she even thinks about firing. "Why are you showing us this, Hot Rod? Why not just order your people to fire and end this?" he asks, as he looks towards the Nyonian leader.
>> Rumbling is felt throughout the city-state of Iacon as massive hatches in the ground start to open around the periphery.
Ariel walks away from the others, dropping to her knees by the unfortunates near the tanks, looking to see if any of them can possibly be spared. She does everything she can to keep a straight, collected face, but inside her spark is breaking.
>> Rising from the ground the come, massive humanoid automatons towering above most of the buildings in Iacon. Claw hands open in to cannons, rectangular heads replaced by needle-like plasma rifles face foward. Shimmering red bandoliers are draped over their torsos in an X. They begin their march southward, shaking the ground with every step.
"So much suffering, I see it everywhere I look. It's hard to know what to feel." Orion says as he moves, kneeling down next to Ariel, placing a hand on her shoulder - attempting to comfort her as much as to find a reason to steady himself. He feels that slight rumble through his torso and his optics narrow as he waits for Hot Rod's decision.
-- Radio: Globalband -- LIVE BROADCAST: Headline says, "Femmebots and gentlmechs, there is no cause for alarm. I repeat: There is no cause for alarm. Iacon assures us that this is a test, this is only a test."
--Radio: Globalband-- LIVE BROADCAST: The camera pans up and up at the Omega Destructors making their way out of the city along the main highways. "-- Are you getting this? Please tell me you're getting this!" Headline says offscreen.
Hot Rod can't help but glance at Arsenal when Ironhide speaks of people firing. For some reason. He gestures, palm down, in a gesture for patience, and then looks back over to Orion Pax. "I'm showing you because you're better than this. Because every single one of you I messaged -- you're different." He looks past Orion to the others gathered with him. Even those that he did not specifically message, he seems willing to grant a measure of trust just for being in Orion's company. "You're not like Zeta. You might be Autobots, but you're still good people.
"I came to you once before, because I saw how you stood up to the Senate, and we changed things -- we changed things for the better. We put an end to the Institute." Because it's totally still dead, right. Hot Rod lifts his head with challenge lighting in his gaze. "We stopped the Nyon Police. So what about it, Orion? Still think I'm wrong about Zeta?" He holds his hands out, wrists up. "Arrest us or stand with us. What's it going to be?"
--Radio: Globalband-- PIRATE BROADCAST: (Militant Malware Brigade Logo, Sound Only) "This is NOT a drill, Cybertron! Those things are headed to Nyon! They are on attack, repeat THEY ARE ON ATTACK!"
-- Radio: Globalband -- LIVE BROADCAST: Headline says, "-- Get the feed back! We're being hjiacked!"
Orion is about to tell him the truth. The Institute is still alive. They failed. But together, yes, they could bring Zeta to an end. But another heavy footfall causes the mech to realize that the rumblings have a rhythm to them. As he rises to his feet after brushing across Ariel's shoulder, he looks to the others in his command.
"Maybe it's time that we accepted that the Decepticons aren't the real problem." Bumblebee comments, looking forlorn as he watches Orion stride to the balcony.
"But we're officers!" Hound protests, "You can seriously be suggesting that we side with dissidents against our own government!"
"Orion, what are we gonna do?" Ironhide asks the commander.
"You see that fire on the horizon, Hot Rod?" Pax asks as he looks towards the skyline at the outskirts of Nyon. "That's our future burning."
"Zeta's making his big push. We're all out of choices."
With that, he turns to his team. "Autobots, lock and load!" he barks, as he turns to Hot Rod. "Hot Rod, evacuate as many citizens as you can from the city. My team will hold them off as long as possible."
-- Radio: Globalband -- Orion Pax says, "Zeta! Stop this madness!"
-- Radio: Globalband -- LIVE BROADCAST: Headline, very calm, "The Cybertronian Government would like to reassure our citizens that there is nothing wrong, and to ignore all non-state approved broadcasts. Terrorists cannot be trusted, after all."
-- Radio: Distress -- Orion Pax says, "All citizens of Nyon, evacuate. I repeat, evacuate!"
-- Radio: Globalband -- Zeta Prime says, "Dissidents of Nyon! You have been branded traitors to the Autobot regime! Now you and this wretched slum will be bled of energon so that Cybertron may thrive!"
-- Radio: Globalband -- Zeta Prime says, "Do not be dismayed! your rebel sparks shall serve the greater order! Your future -- your energon - shall live... within US!"
--Radio: Distress-- NYON: PRIMUS SAVE US! They're BURNING THE CIT--
--Radio: Distress-- *static*
"What? This," Arsenal states as she lifts her gun in case anybot was confused with what she meant, "Isn't for them." She rather pointedly looks at Hot Rod after stating that. "They're here to do as they want, so chill Red," she snaps at Ironhide. "You got the run of the place now." Are tensions high? She hadn't noticed. The fact that Orion Pax failed to launch into outright, immediate outrage has her tense, but what's got her ready to go off is Hot Rod's continued patience with all of this. Fortunately for here giant, scary drones consume her attention. After the Autobots get their moments of shock, she moves froward to grab Rod's shoulders. "Time to go."
Wheeljack can't rip up tubes fast enough. "I..." He stops what he is doing. Whatever he wants to say is lost in the urgency to act. The others ready their weapons - but the only one that Wheeljack brought was his wits. "Give me a sec. I can rig 'nough of this to blow. We daw 'em in..." He looks over to Ironhide to ensure that this is a good idea before he starts with his rewiring. Yet his hands are already moving as if on their own to do so.
Well, that's not 'arrest', but neither is it 'stand with'. Hot Rod drops his hands. Betrayal widens his eyes in an expression of dismay. "You've seen Nyon! They're in no condition to evacuate, Orion! Zeta's been draining Nyon for /ages/. This is only the latest--."
The rise of panic on the radio silences him. Hot Rod stands frozen and still a moment more before Arsenal's hand on his shoulder grounds him. He's still dazed, but he's moving, saying, "Right. Okay. I refuse to let Zeta--." What follows is a quick series of orders to the shadows and eyes that have watched the Autobots as they've prowled the Acropolex. The greatest asset of the Nyon rebels has been their speed, and it's now turned to coordinating a mass evacuation.
Arsenal doesn't really let Hot Rod decide where he wants to go. It's more that she directs where he will go. The hand on the shoulder moves to the back of his head, to help keep him down if need be and to better control where he might try to run to. "We do what she can," she promises him, soft. This is... bad. It might be it. Whatever she is feeling, whatever she has to say to him can and will wait until this is over. "Let's just hope there are pieces left to pick up this time," she shares, a little louder, not caring who might hear as she means to get Hot Rod to safety. He can better coordinate from there.
"It's time to be the leader they believe you to be, Hot Rod," Ariel states as she rises from the unsaveable mechs and femmes collapsed against the energon tanks.
Diligently, Backdrop has been doing what Hot Rod told him to do should he be absent from Nyon. True, he wasn't anything close to a leader or someone to give orders or, honestly, someone who knew what was going on half the time, but he could FOLLOW orders really well!
So, he's been running around Nyon. But then he heard the rumbling of Zeta's sudden but inevitable betrayal. Some whispers were going around now. But that? That was almost TEN WHOLE MINUTES AGO. They were getting closer
In the past then minutes, Backdrop has had two panic attacks, hyperventilated once (that he could recall) and hid in the sewers for almost an entire minute as he tried really, really hard to get everyone to GET OUT, RUN AWAY. THINGS WILL EXPLODE, IT'S BAD THINGS ARE HAPPENING TIME.
"You're their leader. All of that time you have proclaimed as much on channel and been their spokemech. It's time to be just that, Hot Rod. You lead them - or they, and you, die here. Now. Amongst these ruins." Grabbing his ion rifle, Orion rises to his feet. "Hound, lay down graviton-mines along that intersection." he points. "Ironhide, you and Ariel are fire support. Bumblebee, sniper. Hound, Wheeljack, rig this place to blow, we can buy them time if we take down the one heading this way." he comments quickly. As he does so, he moves towards Ariel.
For a moment, he looks down at the femme and then leans in stealing a long and lingering kiss from her, before shoving his ion rifle in her hands. "Remember, open end towards enemy." he teases her, his fingers against hers for the longest moments as he transmits her a simple message through chirolinguistics.
(I love you.)
With that, he withdraws his hand before she has a chance to respond, reaching into a compartment to pull out his lucky faceplate and locks it into place. "I'm going to go try to dissaude Zeta from continuing this foolishness!" he gives his orders as he runs for the door, protoforming into his hauler and trailer mode as he rolls out towards Zeta's last reported position.
-- Radio: Distress -- Headline says, "... primus... he's really doing it. Nyon... is burning."
If Orion Pax wants this place to blow, then Wheeljack is the mech to make that happen. He doesn't even need to be asked as he is already on it. "Get to them mines first," he says to Hound as he has the most dangerous work to get to first, and if he blows up this place prematurely he'd rather it be in his own face than catch up others. Destroying this... site of shame? It will mean destroying the evidence. Jackie has already been changed by it but what of others, out there? The rest of Cybertron? Maybe some things are better not seen but explained. "Ten clicks!" At least he's shouting out a warning.
-- Radio: A-Mission -- Orion Pax says, "Zeta! This ends here!"
"I know," Hot Rod says, as quiet in answer to Arsenal. He's still for the moment as he finishes giving directions to the others, but she's going to have trouble steering him anywhere remotely like 'safe' as soon as he's done.
It's a bleak expression that meets Ariel's words, and a simmer of resentment brightens Hot Rod's gaze as he watches Orion move out. Leadership is a label he's long tried to deny. On finally shouldering it, he's watched his city fall apart a little bit more with every year that passes. All thanks to Zeta Prime. All thanks to the Autobots.
Hot Rod steadies himself with the slow circle of air through his vents, but anger and rage crackle at the edge of his words as he snaps out to the last of the rebels: << Backdrop. Once you've passed the message, fall back to the Acropolex, join up with me and Arse. We've got the worst injured at the clinics around here and we need to get them out. >> He strides out, ducking Arsenal's hand, to move into the streets. He watches as the city burns. He's remarkably silent as Wheeljack prepares tanks to blow and the other Autobots set mines. To Arsenal, he says, "Those phase-charges. The ... contingency. They're ready?"
It came without warning.
Marching over the land, taking up every available road, the Omega Destructors came to Nyon. Tonight is their night of broken glass.
The city is bathed in a hellish orange glow as the fires spread. The CHOOM CHOOM CHOOM of the massive plasma seige cannons in the destructors thunders through the air, and every so often the hot snapping hiss of red electricity flashes around their bodies, gathering in the crosses over their huge torsos. Buildings are being overturned and the citizens that can move are scurrying like ants. Those that run into the streets to get away are torn apart where they stand by the energon fangs of the vamparc ribbons.
Smoke rises high at the edge of the city, catching the hellish light and electricity. Screams of the dead and dying become a perpetual white noise that grows sickeningly closer. THUD. THUD. Every step from Zeta's army shakes the ground, sending rivulets of dust streaming down onto the small team gathered in the Acropolex.
Zeta Prime is walking before his army of monsters, leading them towards his final solution to the problem of free will.
-- Radio: A-Chat -- Zeta Prime says, "So you've turned against me, Orion Pax?"
((EVERYTHING IS EXPLODING!)) Backdrop in a panic? Oh, why would Backdrop be in a panic? He's practically crying on the line with Hot Rod. ((I'm trying to get everybody out but everybody is stupid and going the wrong way! Aaaah!))
It's like herding sheep. Panic-filled, terrified, why-do-I-have-to-listen-to-this-tiny-guy sheep. Backdrop is doing the very best he can, passing on Hot Rod's message and then going back for more, but... He's one very tiny bot.
At least he's fast? There's that.
Arsenal has one thing to do. Her path should be clear but... it's hard not to feel lost. This is... beyond what any contingency was meant to cover. This is bigger than them, than any one bot. She *feels* that now. She looks to Hot Rod - looms over him. This is a crossroads of what she wants to do and what she should do.
From one of her many compartments she withdraws a device. Small, handheld, something she's had for safekeeping. She holds it out for him to take.. He has something to do and she... she should get to what she can do best. Suddenly there's many more guns in her hands and several other compartments pop out as she lives up to her name. "No arguement," she states firmly. "Go. We'll rendez vous later."
-- Radio: A-Chat -- Orion Pax says, "I will not allow you to wholesale slaughter innocent civilians, Zeta! *HORN BLARES*"
Ariel will remember that kiss for the rest of her life - it may be their last. The world is burning.
"Come back with your trailer or on it," she whispers quickly in return, biting back worry and sorrow, focusing on the task at hand as Pax transforms and charges out to do what must be done. Taking the safety off her rifle, she asides to Ironhide, "Think you can remember all that vanguard training?"
Ironhide snorts, cracking just the barest hint of a smile, "Don't you worry none, Ariel. Ah can still shoot the eye out of a scraplet across the Sonic Canyons."
"Good," Ariel rejoinders. "We're not shooting scraplets."
-- Radio: A-Chat -- Zeta Prime says, "Innocent? You speak of rebels, Decepticons and arms dealers. There are no innocents, Pax. Only those who obey and those who do not."
As the Autobots arm up and take their positions, Hound finishes laying down the last of the mines, and says mainly to himself, but the others can hear him over the local broadband,
"Deconstruct that which may not serve many,
and reassemble it so that it may serve more,
and you have creative destruction.
"Deconstruct that which may serve many,
and reassemble it do that it may serve only a few,
and you have destructive creation."
"Pax is going out there to die, ain't he?" Bumblebee asks Ironhide as the small mech settles up in the high perch.
"Probably, kid." Ironhide responds, "Stubborn git. Been hardheaded in love with that femme for as long as I care to recollect, and he waits til now to kiss her? Idiot." he rumbles as he settles into position across from Ariel. "We'll catch it in the crossfire."
Running back in, Hound arms his missile launcher. "It's coming!" he calls out as he moves into position near Wheeljack. He looks at the mech, considers. Thinks better of it. Puts some distance and a wall between himself and the inventor.
Rumbling down the main stretch with his smokestacks belching the flames of a turbo-charged boost, Pax's whole frame shakes and cries out for him to slow down. Pax ignores the strain, as he comes across Zeta's position.
His brights flick to life, and the mech only blares his horn angrilly in response as he launches, his trailer shifting to subspace as the large mech protoforms and balls both of his hands together to try to smash down on Zeta. "OBEY THIS!"
-Combat- You hit Zeta Prime with your melee attack!
Nyon burns. For some this has been the only home that they have ever known, the only city they have been allowed to live in sure, but it's been home. Life is hard in Nyon since it's fall from glory, there's no denying that. Despite all of the hardships there have been some that have managed to embrace what they have left. Even find love. After the collapse of Nyon this is where a rotound little bot, Nut, first met the screwy, awkward mech that swept him off his transitors. Their life together was never glamorous, but it was enough. Hot Rod's rise to fame threatened the life they had come to know, to accept and at first they resented him for it. Once they learned the promise Hot Rod wished to make could be real, they supported it. Together they made the decision to fight for it, to fight to freedom, to be willing to die for it.
"BOLTS! Booolts!" Confusion has taken to Nyon and rightful so. It's last moments are here. IN all of the chaos, all of the panic, Nut has lost his conjunx. Together they meant to flee to safety. Bolts had been *right there*, hand-in-hand but then the Destroys and the ground shook and the smoke... which cleans to reveal... ! "Bolts!"
The thin, slender mech with the rivets and bolts stands there, goofy grin on his face as he sees Nut calling to him. Then, suddenly he's gone as a Destroyer sets down its foot in its continued march.
Nut falls to his knees and doesn't even look up at the shadow that falls over him. With the next step Nut is gone as well, and the Destroyer marches on.
Shots are fired at the Omega Destructors as the combined Rebel and Autobot teams are in position to attempt to take one down. It turns its body towards them and booms, "TARGETS: ACQUIRED. TERMINATION: IMMINENT." One huge foot raises to try to stomp on ground support.
Zeta's armor crackles with energy as Orion Pax swings a massive haymaker at him. The tyrant Prime's head snaps up sharply and his body slides back inches along the ground, digging a furrow in with his heels as he comes to a stop. His faceplate is dented - but the fight is far from over. It's only beginning.
"It's such a shame to see you take this option. As I told you many year ago, it's not about choosing the 'right' side, but the one that's going to win," Zeta Prime lectures. The 'wings' on his back fan out and glow deep red, as he reaches his right arm outwards. A struggling speeder frame trapped under debris, trying to make her escape, twists sickeningly, mouth open and optics wide as the vamparc ribbon in Zeta's arm reaches its red-violet lightning talons into her body and drains her faster than she can speak.
She drops to the ground, frozen in a tortured death wail that will never escape her vocoder.
"C'mon you monster, step right up!," Hound quickly hisses through his teeth as the Destructor chasing them thuds the ground, crushing civilians in its path, but narrowly missing the tightly organized and continually moving Team Pax. It's still coming for them.
"Come get some, ugly!" Ironhide shouts, firing the heavy artillery cannon at the destructor. On cue, Bumblebee and Ariel open fire, trying to alter the movement of the Destructor -- just a little more, a little closer- !!
Everything goes yellow-white as the concussive wave of the mines pushes against the living and the dead, and the Destructor disappears into the burning light.
<"-- Can't get a visual!">
"What're y'all worried about? That thing may be tough, but ain't nothin' that can take that kinda beatin' and walk away," Ironhide replies with a smirk.
"I hope so. That was the last of my demolition packs," Hound says.
Ariel's go wide in horror. "Wait... it's... it's still moving!"
The smoke begins to clear. The light of the Destructor's head cannon is still bright. It's beginning to get back up on its feet.
"Didn't even scratch it...!"
Bumblebee points to the fleeing Nyonese not far away. "Those civilians don't stand a chance!!" He radios ahead to Pax, <<What's the plan, Orion? What are your orders?!>>
<< Fall back. >> Orion orders as he gets the situation updates on his own. << Zeta's not going to stop. >> the Autobot commander takes a couple of steps and then turns as he rushes in to try to land another massive punch in on the Autobot leader. "You.. You haven't won yet, Prime!" he calls out as comes charging back in, ready to smash into Zeta yet again.
Bumblebee looks at his radio in disbelief. "What?" he says in confusion.
Ironhide frowns, but relents, "Pax is right. There's nothing more we can do here. Let's just hope we bought Hot Rod enough time. Autobots, with me!" he comments as he protoforms into his cybervan mode. "But damned if we're leavin' Pax behind." he says as he sets his course in that direction.
The other Autobots with Ironhide start to transform to follow suit, the small convoy reforming to find their leader and get the Frag out of Nyon.
Eventually, after all the running around and the giant footsteps squishing things and, briefly, hiding in the sewers again, Backdrop actually manages to follow Hot Rod's primary orders. Instead of just spreading the news and getting as many people out as possible, that is.
At the Acroplex, the little racer mech that could practically stumbles in. He's covered in some viscera and splatter but doesn't seem to be injured himself.
"I'm aliiiiiive." He marvels in a half whisper once he gets there.
Zeta Prime draws back his arm and thrusts his right arm cannon towards Orion Pax's midsection, releasing the stored energon of the vamparc ribbon directly into his former lieutenant. "- I -"
Red-hot energon lightning bursts through every inch of neurocabling and every line of internal fluids, knocking Orion Pax off his feet.
Just as he was about to waylay Zeta Prime, the Prime's cannon slams into Orion's midsection. The large mech doubles over just as the point-blank blast rips through him. Everything burns all at once, worse than the red-hot heat of Nyon around him as Orion feels the very energon in his system reach it's boiling point and is transferred to Zeta's diabolical weapon.
Pax lets out a pained cry that could easily be heard by the rest of his team, even with the other sounds of fire, cannon and phsyical and the panicked cries of those civilians still trapped in Zeta's Omega Destroyer-fueled massacre. As his body is wracked with the lightning and vamparc tech, numerous master cautions and warnings light up within the mech.
Fuel Systems: COMPROMISED
Motion Systems: 15%
Spark Integrity: 58%
Core Systems: 40%
Data Systems: OFF-LINE
And the hits just keep on coming. Collapsing to his knees, smoke rises from every available joint on Pax's frame, his windshield shattered, pieces of the Autobrand fractured and falling to the ground in so many pieces. His optics dim from the sudden energon drain, he remains for a moment longer. Most mechs that had taken such a hit would be dead.
Zeta made Pax's new frame from much stronger stuff than the average frame. He built his lieutenant to take the hardest of hits and still keep coming. That is why it should be no surprise that Pax manages to ball his hand into a fist and slams it forward into Zeta's chest. The hit is not hard, his power drained, a token punch at best.
But he's still resisting.
No sooner has Backdrop stumbled in than Hot Rod is at his side. His words are a quiet whisper of gratitude that sounds more like annoyance: "Finally." His expression is grim as he checks over the other rebel to be sure that none of that splatter is his, and then he says, "We have to move." They leave the Acropolex behind.
Nearly all of the rebels have reported in: they are clear of the city, and they've done what they can. Hot Rod and Backdrop are the last to pull in to a rise at the outskirts of the Acropolex. Through the same organization that allowed them to distribute limited rations and unlicensed weaponry, they've sent the call to evacuate. To flee. To run. They've done everything they can to get every single spark out. But that was never going to happen. Nyon still burns, and there are many yet who will never be able to outpace Zeta's war machines.
Hot Rod stands, turning something end over end in his hand. He listens to the reports from Nyon. He listens, as the Autobots retreat. "I never thought it would come to this," he says, flipping the detonator over in his hand again and firming his grasp on it. "And Arsenal...." He trails off. "I don't think I can--."
There's another squawk of static over Nyon channels, and another building falls to Zeta's Omega Destructors.
"Primus, forgive me." Hot Rod thumbs the button.
Throughout Nyon, phase charges detonate. Zeta's Omega Destructors are caught in the thick of it. As Nyon goes up in flames and smoke and destruction, so do they.
>> Explosions rock through the entire polity of Nyon. The detonation is so bright that the sentry towers on Luna-2 catch the explosion.
-- Radio: A-Chat -- Whirl says, "Anyone else feel that?"
-- Radio: Globalband -- LIVE BROADCAST: Headline says, "... primus...."
-- Radio: A-Chat -- Autobot Torque says, "What the frag just happened?"
-- Radio: A-Chat -- Zeta Prime says, "Autobots, I am in command in totality. Officer Pax is a traitor."
-- Radio: A-Chat -- Zeta Prime says, "The rat's nest of dissenters and Decepticon sympathizers in Nyon have been dealt with."
-- Radio: A-Chat -- Whirl says, "What..uh.. what did you do?"
--Radio: Globalband-- LIVE BROADCAST: The camera shows a smouldering ruin where Nyon once was. It's burning, and there are massive humanoid figures collapsed among the debris.
-- Radio: A-Chat -- Zeta Prime says, "Ready the second wave of Omega Destructors. We'll march on Kaon next."
In the meantime, Ironhide is leading the convoy towards Pax's location when the new explosions start. The group transforms to seek out cover as Ironhide complains, "I'm just about done gettin' blown to scrap today."
Hound glances towards Wheeljack, and reports, "Those aren't Vamparc explosions.."
"...those are Hot Rod's phase charges! He's torching the city!"
"That's insane!" Bumblebee yells out as he ducks down from another explosion. "After everything he did to save his people, he wouldn't just-"
"Dammit, 'bee, don't ya get it?" Ironhide snaps, "Zeta set us all up! We played right into his hands. Rod ain't had any options left!"
And that's when Pax's body comes crashing though the wall, fresh from the blast by Zeta Prime, the large leader looming over the fallen lieutenant.
-- Radio: Globalband -- Zeta Prime says, "Orion Pax, Hound, Ironhide, Bumblebee, Wheeljack and Ariel are to be considered traitors to the Autobot regime. They are -kill on sight-."
-- Radio: Globalband -- LIVE BROADCAST: Headline says, "Th-this is Headline, reporting from the border of Nyon, and ... I'm at a loss for words. Just hours ago gigantic automatons called 'Omega Destructors' were marched out of Iacon towards Nyon..."
-- Radio: Globalband -- LIVE BROADCAST: Headline says, "We're having trouble getting any signals from Nyon right now, so please bear with us, but it appears that Zeta Prime declared war on the population of Nyon..."
-- Radio: Globalband -- LIVE BROADCAST: Headline says, "Just minutes ago there were some kind of explosions. We're not seeing any further movement or any signs of life in Nyon other than transmissions from the Prime himself..."
-- Radio: A-Chat -- Whirl says, "This is.. quite horrifying, if I'm going to be honest."
-- Radio: A-Chat -- Feint says, "... Autobots, would you please join me in the ready room? This might be an opportune time for grief counselling..."
-- Radio: A-Chat -- Torque says, "Grief counselling? But.. Shouldn't we be at Nyon, helping get people out..?"
-- Radio: A-Chat -- Zeta Prime laughs. "There's nothing to save. Nothing -worth- saving."
-- Radio: A-Chat -- Zeta Prime says, "The second wave of Omega Destructors is ready. We'll solve the energon crisis by harvesting it from these wretched dens of rebellion."
-- Radio: A-Chat -- Torque says, "But.. But, sir, there are civilians in there!"
-- Radio: A-Chat -- Zeta Prime says, "Not anymore."
-- Radio: A-Chat -- Whirl says, "..Primus."
-- Radio: A-Chat -- Feint emphasizes, "Please, Whirl, Torque. This is a delicate time and I'm -certain- you could use someone to talk to."
-- Radio: A-Chat -- Torque says, "Hngh.. Fine."
-- Radio: A-Chat -- Whirl says, "Right.."
"And now neither do you!"
Zeta Prime strides with arrogant ease towards the fallen body of Orion Pax, pressing his boot down upon the other's chest. Both of his arms have shifted into massive cannons, and he points them down at the struggling mech. "It truly pains me, Orion -- that after all your long cycles of service, you should die here as a traitor among the ash and wreckage."
He thinks he's won.
This whole time, during the destruction, the battle, even the discovery that Hot Rod showed Orion and the others, an unseen creature has watched it all. Lazorbeak sits in a perch high in the city, moving from postition to positition as the city was attacked, transmitting all information back to Megatron.
There are explosions going off everywhere, but there is another bomb that is about to drop.
Even had Megatron not prepared for this day, Zeta Prime's actions would have drawn him here. For a time the Decepticon leader lied in wait, prepared to strike when it was most opportune to do so. That time is now. Poised, prepared, Megatron announces the arrival of his army with a casual ease, publicly exercising a command that feels all too comfortable to express. Let these words announce to Zeta that this is not the day for the Primes.
"Decepticons, protect the Autobots at all costs."
This is an arena like any other. Hope, fear, desperation encircle him from all sides. Mech and femme alike are lost, eager to find salvation in the might of those willing to stand at the heart of a fire. Meaning is to be found on a stage such as this. Even if all of Cybertron is not here, they are watching and Megatron shall have their attention. Starting with Zeta Prime.
Megatron is not want to grant mercy; Zeta Prime deserves none. His entrance was warning enough as the would be warlord raises his right arm and points; calling his shot. This is the day a Prime shall die to prove his point, to herald in an era of change that has been denied for far too long. Above that pointed finger his fusion cannon draws charge, a growing rumble that ignites into a fiery flare of devastating might, aimed for Zeta's own weapon. *thoooooooOOOOOOOMMM!*
He alone has the might, the will, to do what no other bot shall. Orion Pax has tried and failed. Pax's desire for salvation a handicap that the gladiator from Kaon, the miner of Tarn, does not share.
"Leave Zeta to ME!"
Zeta contorts so that his shoulder is struck by Megatron's weapon rather than his precious new toy. "Who dares?!" he demands, turning up to look at who had the audacity to fire upon the Prime himself.
His optics narrow beneath his faceplate. "Megatron."
"Not even my wildest dreams did I expect to crush this insurgency and at the same time rid myself of you."
Zeta remains fixed on Megatron's position even as he points the vamparc ribbon at an incoming Decepticon trooper coming in from the sky and unloads a pink-hot burst of destructive force stolen from Pax's nearly lifeless form. "Lord Megatron, watch ou--!!" He falls from the sky a smouldering husk. "Fitting then, with these wretched dissidents to bear witness that I end you with a weapon as ruthless as you are!"
"We can't get to him." Hound responds, as he looks to where Zeta is literally standing on Pax, using the fallen Autobot as both a fuel source and stabilization panel to fire upon Megatron.
"Who's side are we on anyway?" Bumblebee asks in confusion. "I mean, who's to say Megatron just isn't going to turn on us after this is over?"
"Ah'm not sure, but right now, Megatron slaggin' Zeta's aft is our only chance of gettin' Pax the frag outta here. Ariel, ya hangin' in there, gal?"
It is in this moment that Ariel shows that she might just be made of sterner stuff. She turns to the others. "No - no we can't just charge in there guns blazing; we need to think. Megatron has Zeta distracted and if we attempt to grab Orion now, there is a very really chance we'll be nothing more than ammunition for Zeta or obstacles for that fusion cannon to mow down." She adjusts her weapon. "Once we have an opportunity to get to Orion, -then- we take it, and we make our retreat. There's nothing left for us here now."
Ironhide nods. "Ya heard her. Just keep yer engines rev in case we get an opening." he says in agreement with Ariel as the rest of the group follows suit, keeping to their cover as they wait for word of an opening so that they can make their way out with their fallen commander.
If Megatron is meant to feel fear in this moment then even in that he is defiant.
Who dares to fire upon a Prime? The same mech that does it again. The Decepticon leader is lost for a moment behind the flare of his weapon, this time the shot meant for Zeta Prime's smug face. There is a growl on Megatron's lip for both the attack on one of his Cons and for the fact that the fight is on. It is a moment such as this that he was crafted for, he knows this now.
"The only unmaking to be done this day is your own. The fallacy of your reign comes to end this day, Zeta. Cybertron will not endure the corruption of a Prime any longer. You brand me a weapon, then so be it! Let me be the weapon that plunges into the depth of your cold spark!"
Megaton has not been idle, standing there to take his shots. He has surged forward and as he has done so he has grabbed two bodies - lifeless? Fortunate survivors? They do not linger in his hands long as they are tossed... at Zeta's weapon! Megatron is aware of how the thing operates.
Zeta Prime's optics widen as the civilians are tossed in front of him. The vamparc ribbon goes off automatically, draining them swiftly. For its cruelty it is mercy; better that than a slow starvation to shut down. "-- No! NO!! Too much energy - what have you done?!" Zeta demands of Megatron. His entire frame is arcing with red lightning, beginning to smoke around the edges.
Megatron should punctuate this moment with another blast from his fusion cannon, yet... he needs to get his hands on Zeta. He needs to make the Prime feel his strength. Megatron needs to make this despot fully aware of the might that opposes him, that will crush him. The gladiator has not stopped his rush forward but rather increased it. He charges on Zeta and his optics narrow.
The future will be his. All that stands in his way is Zeta Prime.
"SUBMIT!" As Megaton makes it to Zeta he comes to a halt and all of that force is channeled in the swing of his left arm. A fist. Megatron means to take Zeta Prime off his feet with a mighty uppercut. "YES! I have done what needs doing! YOU. SHALL. FALL!"
Megatron may be a gladiator, but Zeta Prime is a general. He waits for the very last moment, when Megatron is the closest. He's going to have to get rid of his personal vamparc ribbon or it will fry his neural network.
Sacrifices must be made. The city is littered with them.
Zeta Prime thrusts the overloading vamparc ribbon towards Megatron, disengating it and letting Megatron strike the weapon, hoping to catch him in the blast, while he himself shoots upwards, rushing to maximum speed. "DAMN YOU!"
-Combat- Zeta Prime hits Megatron with a melee attack!
-- Radio: A-Chat -- Zeta Prime says, "IACON! Ready yourselves for my return!"
The blast does yet more damage to Orion, ripping off part of the mech's arm, leaving him a pretty scrapped - but still alive mess on the ground, smoke still rising from his joints.
As Zeta retreats, Hound and Ironhide make their way out of the cover, their weapons raised. Sure, they plan on recovering Orion - and then what? There isn't exactly a safe place for them to return to anymore.
Ariel lowers her weapon. They're surrounded, Nyon is burning, and there is nowhere else to go.
They are well and truly fragged.
Ironhide sums up the Autobot position in all of this simply as, "Frag it."
The other Autobots realize that they're going to be guests of the tyrant whether they like it or not as they gather around Pax to gingerly lift his body off the ground to carry at Ariel's discretion.
"We have no choice. He needs repairs." Ariel's optics are fixed hard and straight on Megatron.
The thrill of victory is enough to overcome the pain felt from Zetals hasty attack. Still, the blow is enough to bring the warlord to his knee. Not down but... that is not an opportunity that Megatron shall allow Zeta to have again, because there will be an again. "Coward," he spits, perhaps more enraged by Zeta's decision to flee than any destruction wrought in Nyon this night. "COWARD," he yells after Zeta, making sure he is heard. "Run but it shall not spare you! Gather your armies, we shall crush them all! Built your walls, we shall smash them all! I vow upon my spark that I shall make it my life'ls work to see yours undone! Put a Prime before me, and for the future of Cybertron, I shall end them, each and every one starting with you Zeta Prime!"
Megatron bows his head and huffs, venting steams of heat, the fire of anger stolled to his core. He looks over to Orion, on the ground and grins. An 'I see you' type of grin. Pax, on his back and he Megatron on his knee.
He pushes himself to stand. "Blast Off, it is time. To my location. Radio the others, tell them to prepare Kaon for ...." He in turn looks to the Autobots around Pax now. He grants them a pleased smile. Thanks to him, to his actions here, he knows what they are. "Survivors."
Blast Off hears the call from Megatron and snaps himself from his stunned overview of what Nyon has become. So many memories made here... Shiftlock and Whirl in particular but also others- Hot Rod, gatherings in bars, chance meetings in streets: and none exist anymore. Yes...right. He has work to do. For once he's too stunned to complain about being used as mere transport.
"Understood. Transforming and arriving in 2.3 breems." He does just that, transforming into his much larger shuttle mode and arriving at Megatron's location not long after. His cargo bay doors open after he lands.
With Ariel as their lead, the Autobots in Exile: Ironhide, Hound, Bumblebee and Wheeljack carry Pax aboard Blast Off's shuttle form for the ride back to Kaon. At least noone will be complaining about the ride, instead sitting in stunned silence at what has transpired.