Some of you may have seen this when I wrote it last night. Unfortunately, the final scores, double checked as they were, were incorrect. Well, the numbers were correct but I somehow got the factions mixed up...
The dust will settle over Mine 4 in Decahex and the region will again be eerily quiet. A giant crater and the ruins of an old tavern will remain the only obvious landmarks, accented by a grave bearing a battered tankard on a stick surrounded by discarded weapons and ruined armour plating. A figure can be imagined in the morning mist if you like, searching through the rubble for a loved one, a fallen comrade, or to make use of that which the dead no longer need, but no one will come here again.
"This is the Scout unit Gamma 3 reporting in, Sir. I have arrived at the border of the exclusion zone. Caustihaxl readings are at 22 parts per million and environmental protection is operating at 89% efficiency, all systems green, do I have permission to proceed? ... Well, to be honest Sir, I want to see the bar from the stories, the Bartender of Tranquillity's grave is supposed to be there and no one alive is supposed to have ever seen it. Datatracks say its only 2 clicks over that ridge. Man, this place is a mess, I can see the mine crater from here, and there's decayed bodies everywhere ... Hang on, I see the bar, why isn't it corrode- ... Never mind Sir, stand by"
In little to no time, the vicious weather conditions that made Decahex famous, amplified by the dissipated energon from the mines sabotage, will corrode everything and anything within a hundred miles. Climate has no time for sentiment. Scientists of our future will be at a loss to explain how an almost unmarked grave and a ruined tavern will stand against the elements as if untouched, much the same as they stood against the war, in a reminder to all that peace will always return eventually and no war can last forever...
"Ypres ...Salient? Odd name, fitting monument though. Little did you know what an impact your life, and death would bring, my murdered old friend ... What's that Sir? ... Sorry, I thought I heard you say something. Yes, everything is still 'intact'. As such. You know, its been almost a century since the Decahex disaster. Maybe the victors never really wanted to know what caused the initial explosion, but we'll never find out now, especially after they way they stripped the place. They never touched here though. Guess war has always been about who's got the biggest gun, probably why those creepy 'cons over at that factory always seem to have so much energon. I read up on the war here when I was told of this assignment, the mine was almost empty you know? The Arks had been launched to find more resources and some of them had even reported back with possible locations, there was no need for either faction to try and take this mine, it would have been barren by now anyway. The 'tracks also said that this was the first time that those neural-scanner thingys some crackpot Senator advocated were trialled, "Turns the tide of a battle" he's supposed to have said, "developed by 'Starscream the Deliverer'" and that he now keeps them under lock and key until a time of great need - good thing too, you think letting a half-insane psychopath near my brain waves is a good idea? Ugh, no."
The results of that battle changed the way war was fought forever. It was no longer 'who could win the most battles' as, alone, might was no longer right. Strategy, planning and Intelligence had been brought kicking and screaming into the conflict, and oh how it changed everything! One side hailed it as the most important discovery since they cracked the combiner process but swore used it sparingly, the other saw it as the key to their victory and soon began using it in every battle they could, damn near destroying what little support they had left, before a shadowy Senator stepped in and somehow got it banned outside of full-scale battle scenarios. Many think he wanted the war to continue - that this technology would end it all too quickly, but the rest of the senate agreed - or were somehow convinced.
"Affirmative Sir, there's nothing here. The ruins and the grave still present, look untouched even in this climate, and there's what's left of the old weapons left behind in the fabled ceasefire. Odd, they all have the same stamp on them, Vv21, on both the 'bot and the 'con loadouts ... Yeah, there's a few customs, but most are just mass-produced junk. ... Repeat that please, you're breaking up? ... 'shells got around 8 hours left before it needs a charge, I should be fine. Am I cleared to take a look inside the wreckage ... Sir? Sir? Hello? ... Always wanted to to see the famous bar's remains. Huh? ... I know the stories, I'll be quick ... Damned static ..."
The last few warriors to leave the battlefield after the mine had been stripped, a victorious commander and a pair of his defeated opponents, had stopped to inspect the crater that was once the planets last active energon mine. They had a resigned look in their eyes as they faced each other over the pit of destruction, but none of them raised a weapon or made a move toward the other. Wearying as war was, they knew that there was nothing else for them now, no escape, no respite. As they stared in vigil into the abyss of all that symbolised the death of the the planets last neutral zone, they held their weapons up as if to inspect them, held each others gaze for a fraction of a second, and tossed them silently into the darkness below. Then, as soundlessly as they stood, turned and walked their separate ways. These were the last people to set foot in Decahex and have a tale to tell.
"Uh, Sir? I'm not alone in here ... Energyscan is picking up a signature - unable to determine affiliation ... hello? Sir? Come in? Are you reading? ... All I'm getting is white noise. Heh, guess I'll just have to report in the old fashioned way. Now, to have a good look at ... Hey, it's you! So that's wha-"
Out of respect for the dead the area was left to be reclaimed by the solar winds and energy storms, and every exploration trip into the Decahex region since returned empty or didn't return at all. All that destruction, treachery, violence and bloodshed shattered an epoch of peace. ...but, through the simple act of making the area uninhabitable again, Cybertron herself will force tranquillity to return.
Decahex is lost forever to both factions, despite the victory of the AUTOBOTS.
THE (CORRECTED) FINAL SCORES
164 - 160
The Unknowns scored 15. Losers.
These have been re-counted, double checked and independently verified by a non-mod, non-Decepticon player and you can see that it was INCREDIBLY close.
Congratulations go to the Autobots, the 'cons led right up until the end, but the herculean effort, and never-say-die attitude you guys showed, triumphed. Commiserations to the Decepticons. You guys did so well but the 'bots just pipped you at the post.
You will have chance for revenge soon enough...
A finer breakdown of how the scores went will be available after the next few days, but until then I'd just like to say thanks to Burn and Sustain for their help in writing sections of this and their input into the game ideas, Jack Hallows for making me laugh so hard I almost died, Alldarker and _Anshin_ for pointing out my glaring errors at the end and especially the one who prefers to remain _nameless_ who helped with the scoring: We couldn't have done any of this without you.
This was a new type of tourney and we didn't know how well it would work. It had a few teething problems, but it was nothing a bot of common sense and brief discussion couldn't fix, so I'd say it was successful, and I hope you guys agree because I've got same interesting ideas for this format... but that's for another time
Thanks for you efforts guys, again I'm sorry for the mistake when I first posted these results - its been a long few weeks, but this is the most fun I've had here in a very long time and I hope you all enjoyed it as much as we did. I'm going to do and get some sleep, feels like I've been mission quite a lot of it recently.