=====================Part 0 - Prologue
=====================Maximal vs. Predacon Tournament (War in the Wastes): Narrative - Part 1 - Betrayal
====================== Border of the Sonic Wastes, Neutral TerritoryIt was such a simple plan,
Aniel thought to herself. Entice leading Predacon commanders to a false treatise with a Maximal envoy to negotiate real, final peace. They took the bait, we planned an ambush to re-start the conflict, and it was almost perfect. Perfect, though, would have me heading back to ranks now. Perfect would not have me wondering how to stop us from getting caught.
Rushing by her side was Requiem’s field commander, Rikou. He and two other members of Predacon High Command, Hellsfury of Death's Shadow and the Colonel of Quadruple Helix, were the leaders summoned to a false parlay with the Maximals. With them came Aniel, Gabriel, and Archistrategos of the Citzens of Chayot. How Archistrategos had arranged that their own would be the support for the emissary, Aniel did not know. All she knew now was how badly their ambush had went.Why did that slithering beast have to tag along?!?,
thinking of Wrought Gut as she desperately tried to keep pace with Rikou. He was not planned! That tipped the scales too much. It doesn’t matter now that Hellsfury, the Colonel, and that slimy worm are left heavily damaged two leagues back. Here I am with Rikou, fur coated death, hunting two of my own allies who are fleeing from a horribly botched day!
Ahead were the two other Citizens of Chayot of which Aniel was thinking. They were concealed in the shadows in the desolation on the border of the Sonic Wastes; but if she would guess by their size it was the brutes Raphael and Barachiel. They had fled from the failed ambush and were now leading their pursuers into the wastes using the debris and dark as cover, not willing to reveal their real allegiance and break the rouse that this was a Maximal attack.
Aniel desperately tried to think of a way to preserve their team’s cover. At least Gabriel and Archistrategos were still sent back; that part of the plan worked. If they convince high command this attack was Maximal then Arch can work out the rest. But how do I stop us from being caught?
Rikou roared and the rumbling echoes shook the very metal on which they all ran; he was now regretting his consent Archistrategos’ request to open an immediate report with HQ. That sent two warriors, he and Gabriel, in one direction while he and Aniel pursued the two ahead. He thought, Two more warriors would indeed make a difference now
, as he and Aniel were heading deeper into the Wastes through a narrowing ravine. The setting smelled of more treachery to him. “Keep your senses open girl; the way ahead is ripe for an attack from the cliffs above."
Rikou’s statement jogged her memory. Of course! Jeremiel and Semiazaz were meant to double back and provide cover fire if things went wrong! But Rikou has too much armor and too much maneuverability for those two, and if all four turned to fight he would count on me to help in the fight. This needs to be a four on one, only then would he stop the pursuit.
Aniel then knew what she needed to do and cursed. Slag... this is going to hurt.
Aniel pushed her gears to their limits and paced ahead of Rikou. She knew where to look and saw glints of optics from both sides of the ravine’s edges. A hail of fire came down from each side toward Rikou. Aniel threw herself into the barrage, screaming “Look out!", and took the damage instead.
Rikou now saw all four treacherous beats, whom he believed to be Maximals, fleeing in all directions. Re-calculating the risk, he grabbed Aniel’s stasised body and began the long run back to to location of first ambush, where he had left the other captains. He thought as he ran, This, indeed, is war.
================Feral Rain Command Center, Sonic Wastes Border Patrol
“Spiritsong, Ma’am! Unencrypted Predacon transmission from the Sonic Wastes!" Stormshadow’s voice echoed through the intercom and through all Maximal command channels. Every Maximal with authority ran to the central communications hub.
“Play it out loud for all present to hear." Spiritsong dived in hard in through the open roof; she gave the order as she transformed from dragon to mech.Predacon H… acon HQ. Prio… transmission from Maxim… rendezvous. Archistrategos and Gabriel reporting at the order of Hells..., Rikou, and the Colonel. Am…! We repeat, Ambush!
“This is not good," thought the tentative tactical lead out loud. “Boost power to receivers; the transmission source is moving and is heading away from us. Get this signal cleared up now!"Rikou pursued the atta… with one support. They had greater numbers. Two attackers were stasised, shells removed from field but data disks were recovered. Transmitting data over encrypted channel 279gamma8. Confirm receipt and understanding of transmission. Archistrategos and Gabriel of Emissary group out.
“Who ordered a meet-and-greet with the crunchies and did not invite me?" asked Stormshadow.
“If addressed to me, continue the use Sir or Ma’am." Spiritsong hated the formality but had learned it kept things in order. “But no meeting was ordered by myself or any other Maximal commander; we have a cease-fire for good reason. Windstalker, get transmissions and conversations with every command in range immediately. We need confirmation that no one of us has actually broken the peace; we cannot risk getting it…" she cut herself off as the transmission resumed.Predacon team, Predacon HQ confirms transmission received and understood. HQ review indicates data files to be topography and archeology reports to locations and items in the Sonic Waste. Cannot confirm action without direct conversation with Emissary command. HQ out.HQ, will re-transmit when we have setup a repeater to boost the signal from Emissary command to you. We will jump their transmission through our location. Archistrategos out.
There was no conversation or noise except Windstalker confirming with commander after commander confirming no such plans existed. In the transmission silence Windstalker yelled, “The Pack, Pain Meds, and Caniac Nation all confirm this is not their doing!"
Spiritsong put the pieces together quickly; she and Feral Rain were on the Wastes border to protect the treasure trove of weapons and items of war left there long ago. If no commander confirmed the assault then she guessed, if the ambush was real, it was meant to play an Maximal and Predacon tensions to cover some treasure hunting. Spiritsong thought through the options on how to minimize damages from any conflict and quickly came to the conclusion that offense makes the best defense at times.
“Windstalker, continue transmissions but begin to organize reconnaissance teams from ours and all other Maximal commands. Inform the commands we believe a Predacon force will be entering the Sonic Wastes within the cycle to pillage." Then, to all sub-commanders present, she said, “We cannot assume this will blow over; if there really is something within those Wastes, the safest way to deal with it is find it first."
Spiritsong and team were now, for the first time, grateful they were positioned so close to the neutral ground. Their position and diligence may prevent some damage from the fallout. The transmission then continued.HQ, Archistrategos confirming the repeater is functional. We have Emissary command connected. Proceed.
The Maximal command listened intently; what they heard now could confirm Spiritsong’s fears and send them all on a deadly hunt.
====================Border of the Sonic Wastes, Predacon Emissary Group
“Predacon HQ, this is Hellsfury. As Emissary commander I both confirm and need to discuss immediate action in response to the ambush. Our vengeance will not go unsatisfied." The commander, still struggling to stand, was now grateful that the Colonel disregarded that the emissary group be only six. Wrought Gut’s pent up hunger may have saved their sparks.HQ receives confirmation. Response must be tempered by recovered data files from Maximal shells. Files indicate possible locations for lost weapons and matrices; Maximal’s seem to have a target for the Brightsoul Matrix. Ambush, as we interpret current Maximal activity was meant to be a distraction toward war to allow the item’s recovery. We...
“Silence HQ." Rikou spoke as he was returning with Aniel still in stasis. He and the rest of the commanders were no longer in any mood for protocol since none of the ambushers were caught. “Your further advice is unnecessary. This SNAFU is very much FUBAR."
The Colonel then spoke. “HQ, it seems Emissary command is in agreement. Distribute this order on our behalf – the Maximals will not have any artifact from the Wastes. Every border command will enter and recover the artifacts immediately."Understood; not all units though will comprehend the topography nor archeol...
“If our forces are too poorly programmed to know what excavate means…," Hellsfury interrupted, supporting the other two commanders in his anger, "… then simply communicate this – order that the cease fire is considered null in the Wastes until the artifacts the Maximals seek are in Predacon control." Wrought Gut hissed with satisfaction at the thought of food. “We will restart this war if they are foolish enough to try and recover any prize; Cybertron will be ruled by Predacon hands!"
====================Border of Predacon Territory, Emissary Transmission Team
Gabriel shut down the repeater and cut all transmissions with the final dialogue between Emissary command and Predacon HQ being complete. He turned to Archistrategos and asked, “Will this really work? How long will they believe the data you transmitted about the Matrices? And how can you ensure that we will still be the ones to recover the Brightsoul and Leadership?"
Archistrategos paused as he finished packing up the communications gear. “Where we transmitted was positioned so that Feral Rain, the most diligent border guard of the Maximals, could intercept. If only Predacons enter the Wastes, yes, it will be hard to keep our intentions hidden, recover the Matrices, and to keep the data from being over analyzed. But I think we are in for a hard fight; in that conflict we will find a way."
Gabriel lingered on a thought to then ask a different question. “Arch, from Earth, from where we chose new names when we upgraded as Predacons…. if the greatest kind of love is laying down your own life for an ally, then what kind of love is laying down the lives of other for your world?"
Archistrategos’ response was slow but stern. “We go back to regroup with Emissary command. Re-open the channel to HQ and call in both Purple Floyd and Jadewind for repairs. Guessing at Hellsfury’s mood, we go in hunting now."
Gabriel’s last question was left unanswered. They both rushed back to the Wastes and to the hunt for the Brightsoul.