Project Excalibur: The Fall Of Camelot
By Matt "Talon" Kirkby
"It's located just over that ridge," Talon confirmed
as he pointed to the tree-shrouded horizon. 'Over the river and through
the woods,’ Kirkby thought idly. 'Shut up!' Whisper's mind-voice
"Excellent," Megatron announced with a pleased smile
on his faceplates. He glanced over his shoulder at the few hundred or
so Decepticon troops who were assembling in the forest clearing, as per
his orders. "I see no need for any major revisions in our current
assault plan," he mused. "The attack will proceed on schedule." He
nodded decisively, then raised his voice. "General Terrorwing, dispatch
your scout units!"
"As you command, Lord Megatron." Terrorwing saluted
in the proper Decepticon fashion—by slamming his clenched fist against
his chest hard enough to hurt, and then thrusting it into the air —then
he tapped his comlink. "First Scout Legionnaires, go!"
Two dozen members of the Grey Legion immediately
broke ranks. Half of them transformed into vehicle modes—becoming light
tanks and other armored war machines—and the entire group advanced into
"When they reach the facility itself, we will send
in an air strike to cover them and soften up their defenses. Then our
main assault group shall arrive in force and destroy the facility and
everything in it."
"Swift and ruthless...an excellent strategy,
Megatron, as I've agreed before." Terrorwing did think it was a good
plan—though blasting the facility from orbit would have been far
simpler, but Megatron wanted to make sure there were no survivors, as
well as further observe his troops in action. "And once Camelot has
been secured or destroyed, then we can finally devote more effort to
moving against other important targets which have eluded our control
thus far, and make our final push to break the Humans' resistance. This
world will be conquered!" His voice rang with conviction.
"Indeed, and following the destruction of this
particular research facility, we will be able to deal more easily with
the remaining HeadMasters." Megatron knew that he sounded annoyed, but
he knew the emotion was justified. "To think that the Humans could so
quickly build and field a defensive army of these semi-TransFormers."
He shook his head. "If I had known they possessed such potential back
when we Decepticons first awoke on this world, then I would have
undertaken a more serious effort at turning them into willing allies."
"History would certainly have turned out differently
in that event," Soundwave agreed calmly. "As Vindicator would attest."
"Reports from Vindicator's unit are still not
satisfactory," Megatron observed grimly. "He is being held in place by
a single force of Humans...he could overwhelm easily, yet he allows
them to face off against members of his unit in single combat."
"He is fighting according to the unwavering dictates
of his personal honor," Terrorwing observed calmly. As the rest of the
Decepticons looked at him, he explained: "I have studied his
reports...Sho-sa Fujiyama proposed a most honorable contest for gaining
the possession of Japan." According to various reports; Vindicator had
fought against the Human leader for over two hours before they had both
agreed to a truce to rest...after several of their warriors had fought
duels—with varying results—the two leaders had fought once again...and
were now taking another short resting truce. "By facing off in such
single combat, they prevent needless destruction to the territory we
seek to conquer."
"Hey, there's nothing wrong with needless
destruction," Rumble muttered just loud enough to be heard.
"In It’s proper place," Megatron snapped. "I wish
this world to be conquered, not destroyed." He paused a moment, "At
least, not yet."
Talon looked pained.
Face stepped closer and rested his hand on Talon's
shoulder, "You are experiencing second thoughts?" he asked quietly.
"Some," Talon admitted just as softly. "I know that
Excalibur can't stop you guys—no matter what promises Blackrock made to
the Council—but I don't want to see my people wiped out either." His
expression was troubled. "I betrayed Camelot to Megatron...but my
action will help end this useless war all the sooner and save lives."
He bowed his head to stare at his feet.
"Your actions will save billions of your people."
Face chose not to mention the Decepticons who would also be saved from
death or injury by a Human surrender.
"But I'll still be viewed as the worst traitor since
"Talon, you can only undertake whatever actions you
think are justified. No matter what events history records, only you
can judge your own actions."
Talon said nothing.
Across the clearing, Megatron was conferring with
Terrorwing. "What news from the scouting teams?" he asked, turning to
The communications officer made no immediate reply,
devoting the majority of his attention to monitoring local
communications. With Disciples operating—mostly—on the far side of the
planet and Human HeadMasters and conventional forces scattered just
about everywhere else, he would have greatly preferred remaining
onboard the Dark Glory to better coordinate Decepticon efforts. At
least he had found enough time to have his wounds from the last battle
While waiting for a report, Megatron once again
turned his cold gaze onto one of his newest allies. "So, Talon, do you
have anything to add to your report on this facility's defenses?"
"No," Talon replied, keeping his blue optics
downcast. This turn of events was not what his Human-self had
anticipated before he had undergone the binary bonding process with a
non-mindwiped Transformer bodyshell. Nor was the self which was Whisper
all that thrilled with the current situation either. "I can't tell you
A series of loud booms echoed in the distance.
Megatron's optics narrowed.
Several of the Decepticons summoned their hand
weapons from subspace storage, looking around for unseen enemies.
Soundwave stiffened as he received an urgent
transmission. "The advance party has encountered landmines," he
reported grimly. "Several casualties reported…two Decepticons crippled."
Megatron's expression darkened further and he
whirled towards Talon. "Already you dare betray me, fleshling?" he
growled as he armed his proto-fusion cannon. "Did Whisper forget to
tell you the penalty for treachery?" His optics flashed.
"No—never, Mighty One I…" Talon stumbled backwards a
step, but felt two hulking Legionnaires move behind him to prevent him
from backing any further away, "I didn't know about the mines!" he
protested, holding his hands up in front of his chest, "Ma-Major
Fairbourne oversaw Camelot's defenses. It wasn't my concern."
Megatron looked skeptical. "The defense of your own
facility was not your concern? No Decepticon commander would ever
oversee any outpost or facility without full knowledge and command of
its defenses," His glare sent Talon collapsing onto his knees. "But if
you know nothing of military situations, then you are of no further
value to me."
"Haste creates waste," Face announced calmly as he
stepped forward to stand beside Megatron. "Killing Talon out of hand
will not further advance your cause, Megatron, or assist in your future
conquests. Despite this lack of military knowledge, Talon can still be
of great use to us."
"Yeah," Talon agreed quickly. "I'm still useful to
"Prove it," Megatron challenged.
Talon was silent for a moment.
"I thought as much," Megatron told Face, "He's
useless to us. And I have no desire to have Human-built toys in my
army." At least, not ones who had been built without Decepticon
supervision ...after the planet was pacified, then perhaps he would
conscript some of the Humans to serve in his army—as cannon fodder and
decoy troops perhaps.
"Once we reach Camelot, having someone who can point
out which precise locations contain research laboratories or
construction equipment could be vital." Face's voice was soft, as if he
was merely thinking aloud. "As could knowing exactly where security
forces are known to concentrate, or gather for new orders. After all,
we have an inside mech offering his assistance…it would be foolish to
spurn all of his knowledge."
Megatron glared at him, but said nothing further.
Terrorwing muttered softly—something about spies and
their lack of honor.
"Scouting party remains blocked at the perimeter,"
Soundwave reported before the argument could resume, "They are unable
to detect the landmines from a safe distance...further attempts at
penetrating the perimeter will result in additional explosions and
"And call in the fleshlings," Skywarp muttered. "We
might as well set up a holo-billboard. Here we are! Please come and
"Tell them to hold their present position." Megatron
turned back to face Talon. "Can you be of any further use to me?" he
"Yes, I think I can." Kirkby disconnected from
Talon's body. "I have a plan." The Human removed his helmet.
"Soundwave, can you set up an audio-visual link with Camelot?"
"Of course." Soundwave sounded offended by the
question, as if it should be self-evident.
"Then do it. If I can talk to Fairbourne...."
"Do as he says," Megatron ordered. "But he had
better not be wasting my time." The facility was heavily defended, and
he had no wish to give the Humans advanced warning of the attack.
"Laserbeak, operation transmission." At Soundwave's
command, the bird-like Decepticon perched on a fallen tree and a camera
rose out of a compartment in his head-module. Then Soundwave
transformed into his tapedeck mode. "Broadcasting signal now...
com-link established," A small cylinder emerged from his side and a
hologram of a woman in black body armor wavered into life.
"Major Fairbourne?" Kirkby asked, drawing himself to
his full height as he stared into the camera.
"Who is this? This is a secure—oh, Director?"
Fairbourne looked startled, but her surprise quickly vanished into
narrow-eyed suspicion, "But how did—you're supposed to be—"
"Time to explain all of that later," Kirkby
interrupted her smoothly, mustering an air of supreme confidence—a
confidence he had not felt once since being abducted by Whisper. "I'm
currently approaching Camelot from the west. Deactivate those perimeter
defenses, on my authority, and await my arrival."
"I can't do that," Fairbourne replied. "Since your
little disappearance earlier, Camelot has been placed completely under
military jurisdiction...direct from the Council." She smiled.
"Blackrock confirmed the order. You have no authority here."
"Stop fooling around and shut down the defenses,
Fairbourne." Kirkby lowered his voice—assuming the posture and tone
with which he usually spoke to his old associate, Stone. "I've come
into possession of some really important tech toys which I don't want
blown into scrap by any of your trigger happy sentries." He winked at
her. "It's some brand new Transformer tech...once I get it into
Camelot, it could prove to be the key to ending this whole bloody war."
For a long moment, Major Fairbourne remained silent,
but at last she shook her head. "You no longer have command authority
over this facility, Mister Kirkby." She smiled. "Your current request
"Major, need I remind you that—"
"Anyway, I got a report that there's robots in that
area. A potential breach of Camelot's security. I've got security units
moving in now."
"A few robots?" Kirkby glanced nervously at Megatron
who was watching the conversation with a grim expression—and one which
was growing darker. "They're just...allies of mine. Nothing to be
"Part of your special 'Transformer tech'?" she
asked, raising an eyebrow. "Did you find some Autobot's hiding
somewhere?" She laughed loudly at that, knowing full well that' the
Autobot's had abandoned Earth to its fate. "I'll be the judge of their
threat potential. My patrol will arrive in a few more moments. After
they examine your allies, I'll consider letting you into this
facility...with that special key to ending this war. Fairbourne out."
"Major, I really must...Major! Major!"
"So much for your highly-vaunted assistance,"
Megatron mocked as the hologram vanished. "You disappoint me,
"It's not my fault!" Kirkby looked around at the
towering robots—and their grim and/or bloodthirsty expressions—and he
quickly recombined with his bodyshell. "The patrol will only be a
handful of Iron Guards," Talon argued, once again pretending a
confidence he certainly did not feel. "At most! The vast majority of
Camelot's local troops are merely conventional military which your
Decepticons were crushing earlier."
"I doubt that assessment," Terrorwing countered, "An
elite research facility would not choose to guard itself with the very
advanced technology it is producing?"
"Well, of course we've got some Iron Guards
stationed here," Talon admitted, with a half-hearted shrug, "But the
majority of our production was sent off into battle as quickly as it
left the assembly lines." He paused, as if considering his nest words.
"We were trying to stop you, after all,"
"How much 'advanced tech' do you have?" Megatron
Talon shrugged, knowing just how little he had to
offer his supposed allies regarding this attack. "I'm not really
sure...I think Fairbourne mentioned she commanded a battalion or so,"
He thought back to some of the reports Gwen had passed along for him
—as Camelot's Director—to sign. "I think there were four squads of Iron
Guards...some tanks and armored support vehicles, lots of artillery,
probably some aircraft." Another shrug. "I really didn't pay that much
attention to the military side of things. I ran the Project, dealt with
all the administrative problems, kept the scientists in order, arranged
for supplies, and regulated the production of the HeadMasters. Major
Fairbourne handled all of the mundane military details." He frowned,
wishing that he had paid more attention to said mundane details in
those reports. 'So much for politics.'
"In any event, Commander, the Humans would most
likely have reinforced Camelot's defenses as our forces moved into this
area. A research facility would be a likely target even if we nothing
of its true importance."
Soundwave transformed back into his robot mode.
"Legionnaire scouts report contact with Iron Guards." He paused,
listening to voices only he could hear...and the sudden eruption of
gunfire and explosions which everyone could hear. "Approximately twenty
Iron Guards. Additional Human military forces detected on approach.
Scouts request new orders."
Megatron frowned. "This surgical strike is not
proceeding as I had planned," he growled. "Face, take the jet's and
launch an aerial assault against the facility. Level what you can, but
you are to keep their commanders distracted! Take Talon along with
you...perhaps he is more effective at fighting then at his other
"At once, Megatron." Face gestured Talon to follow
him. The young HeadMaster followed quickly, eager to get away from the
"Terrorwing, signal the advance! All units will move
out at once. We shall deal with these Guards ourselves! And then, we
head onto Camelot!" Megatron vowed. "Decepticons, advance!" He strode
into the woods at the head of his array. "We will end this war...one
way or another."
"Incoming!" Major Fairbourne shouted into her
personal comlink as the whine of jet engines filled the air. "All
units, return fire at will!"
Anti-aircraft batteries began chattering. Since last
night's Decepticon air raid—which had caused only minimal structural
damage, though considerably more harm to morale—she had more than
tripled the number of gun batteries around Camelot, and now every one
of them was filling the sky with bullets and missiles. As well, since
the Director's disappearance, she had brought, numerous reinforcements
into Camelot. "I can defend this facility," she muttered as she climbed
into her personnel command vehicle.
Two Abhrams hoverifauks locked their turrets into
position and began lobbing shells towards the westernmost portion of
Camelot's grounds. After a few volleys, they glided westward.
"Major, a substantial Decepticon force is pushing
through the perimeter minefield. Sector one-five. The mines and Iron
Guards are slowing them down, but they'll need reinforcement's."
"Call them in, Lieutenant...priority alert to all
units in the region." Fairbourne adjusted her chair. "Alert secondary
units to begin an advance!" she ordered as her command vehicle lurched
into motion. "And maintain the patrols along the rest of our
perimeter—I don't want to be flanked by surprise." She didn't trust the
Decepticons to be bold—or foolish—enough to blindly concentrate all of
their forces in one area for this attack... multiple strikes and
flanking maneuvers were the key to capturing a defended position...and
blunting such maneuvers were the key to defending one.
"Yes, Major," her aide replied. "I'll place the
reserves on full alert as well."
"I don't like this," Talon complained as he adjusted
his engine thrust slightly to maintain his position near Face. Even
with Whisper's reluctant help, formation flying was harder than it
looked for a Human mind to manage.
"Don't worry, it's easy." Skywarp chuckled and then
abruptly broke formation to dive on a lone Human tank and strafed it.
"Enter into battle as you would play a game," Face
suggested calmly. "For if it is your destiny to die here, then you can
do nothing except make your death a glorious one...but if it is your
destiny to die elsewhere, then you will survive this encounter no
matter what action you take." He launched some of his missiles, and
explosions ripped through a bunker.
"Thanks," Talon muttered sarcastically as he dodged
a hail of bullets from an anti-aircraft gun. "That makes me feel a
whole lot better!" He returned fire, taking out the battery with his
second laser bolt—Whisper might be a reluctant participant in the
HeadMaster program, but he knew when cooperation was needed...like when
enemy fire was tracking him.
"This is Gold Leader to Gold Wing...we've got some
Decepticon fighters attacking Camelot. Our orders are to intercept and
destroy." A squadron of Steal Shields dropped out of the clouds over
Camelot. "Weapons hot, Gold Wing."
"Targets locked in," one pilot reported.
"Incoming fire," another added just as fast, "Watch
out, they are breaking formation!"
"There's too many!" a pilot shouted as his plane
"Gold Wing, break and attack." Gold Leader selected
his own target and fired two of his missiles. The angular Decepticon
jet banked, but-the missiles struck before he could complete his turn
and he exploded. "Gold Leader to Camelot...we have engaged the enemy."
"Face reports engaging enemy aircraft," Soundwave
relayed from where he stood just behind Megatron as they advanced
through the light forest. "He is splitting his forces to engage them
and also carry out, the strike at the main facility."
"The Humans are fighting valiantly," Megatron
admitted as he stepped over the burned-out hull: of a hovertank. "For
once, they are defending a location like Decepticons." Ha said that
last with a twist to his mouth.
"I would be happier if they were less determined
defenders," Terrorwing observed as he stepped over the shattered body
of an Iron Guard. "We are sustaining heavy casualties, Commander, and I
believe that additional Humans will be coming into the region as
quickly as they can be mobilized." Explosions rumbled in the distance,
and were rapidly growing closer. Smoke was rising from beyond the
ridge. "This facility is vital to their planet's defensive strategies
and they will certainly respond to our attack with everything they can
"Then they will certainly be destroyed," Megatron
declared calmly, "Push on! Show no mercy!" As he traded punches with an
Iron Guard, he observed that the Humans ware more far effective
warriors than he had previously known. He was almost tempted to try and
turn them into allies…with them as cannon fodder, even his old
masters—he broke off that train of thought in order to devote more
attention to his opponent. "You are good," His punch sent the Guard
reeling. "But I am better."
Terrorwing dropped to one knee as laser bolt's
crackled past his head. "Good shooting !" he called out to the Humans.
"But you will find this to be a better display of marksmechship." His
arm-mounted disrupter cannon fired once and the targeted Iron Guard
disintegrated. "Cryon!" he shouted.
"Yes, my Lord?"
"Call up the reserves! We shall require more troops
than I had first assumed."
"Yes, my Lord," Cryon, ever the humble aide, ducked
down behind a large boulder, and then activated his comlink to contact
the rest of the Legion — stationed onboard the Dark Glory — and summon
them into battle.
"Send them to the eastern border," Terrorwing added.
"Let us catch the Humans between two waves." A classic pincer movement,
but still as effective as when it had first been developed so many
millions of years ago. Perhaps , he mused, I should try a double
pincher feint? No doubt the subtleties of such a maneuver would be lost
on the Humans… but he could certainly order his Legionnaires to attempt
it — if just for the practice.
"And any word of us utilizing an orbital
bombardment?" Cryon asked as he sent a few pistol shots towards a
cluster of infantry…even unarmoured and with insignificant hand weapons
they were still trying to attack their foes!
"Negative. Not until Megatron agrees." And that
would not be for quite some time, Terrorwing feared. "Push the ground
assault ...we need to divide the Humans’ forces." He’d already received
reports from his Legionnaires that additional Humans were observed
advancing with their armored support vehicles…and in sufficient
quantities, even their primitive weapons could be deadly.
Five hovertanks skimmed along a dirt road. They
skidded to a halt as a dozen Decepticons emerged from the forest, As
one, the tanks opened fire with their main cannons.
Explosions sent three Decepticons tumbling to the
ground, their once-gleaming bodies severely damaged.
Then the tanks opened fire with their secondary
guns. Laser beams burned into five other Decepticons, melting through
their torsos and vaporizing internal circuitry.
The surviving Decepticons hastily pulled back into
the woods, without firing a single shot in response.
"The situation is grim," Doctor Arkeville observed
as techs frantically loaded records and equipment into waiting trucks.
"I doubt ve ourselves can escape now."
"Of course we can."
"Alvays the optimist, Goldsmith?" Arkeville’s voice
carried through the room, but no one was paying attention. "Major
Fairbourne cannot hold the Decepticons back. Her lines are already
breaking." His eyes narrowed as he considered their dwindling options.
"Perhaps if we were to surrender, then the Decepticons might spare our
lives. Perhaps they would even consider us as potential allies."
"Allies?" Goldsmith scoffed loudly. "Did that
accident yesterday scramble your brains, Ernst? The robots don't see us
as allies…just targets! Surrender? Why not just put a gun to your
temple yourself?" He turned away and strode back into Camelot. "I need
help over in Lab Four!" he called.
Arkeville just shook his head as techs scurried to
Fairbourne studied a display as fresh reports came
in on the radio. Decepticons were advancing on two sides now—just as
she had expected—and her forces were being stretched to their
limits—and beyond—trying to slow, let alone stop them. Even now she
could hear the guns on her command vehicle firing in support of some
"Report from General Edwards...he's dispatched
elements of the Twenty-Second Mechanized to assist us. ETA of two
Fairbourne shook her head grimly, "I don't think we
can hold for two more hours," she said. "We're stretched to our limits
now." This attack had to be the Director's fault, she mused. Somehow....
"I hate this!" Talon wailed as tracer fire chipped
paint from his fuselage. 'Stop whining!' Whisper's mindvoice snapped.
'I'm no warrior!’ Kirkby protested. A missile narrowly missed his left
wing. 'I hate heights !' 'And I hate fleshlings!' Whisper thought back.
'But we're stuck with each other...after all, this wasn't my idea.'
"What a mess," Buster Witwicky thought as he
recklessly flew Powerglide into the thick of the dogfight. The direct
threat to Camelot had resulted in the full mobilization of every Human
military force in the area, and prompted several hasty counter-attacks
and strikes in an attempt at diverting the Decepticons. The young
HeadMaster—already on route to Camelot to confer with Fairbourne
regarding the abrupt and unexplained disappearance of Director
Kirkby—had quickly joined in the battle.
"Gold Leader to Avenger-One."
"Avenger-One here," Buster radioed back.
"Decepticon air units are hitting the southern
perimeter hard...can you come over and occupy them?"
"Copy," Buster replied. "I'll do my best." He
changed radio frequencies. "Avenger Flight, head south. Engage and
destroy all enemy aircraft." Powerglide accelerated, feeling a
momentary qualm at leading standard twenty F-22 jets into battle
against Decepticons. He ignored that thought—knowing that he had no
other troops to throw into battle and that he alone, even if he was a
HeadMaster, would be no match for an entire Decepticon squadron.
"Fleshlings incoming," one Decepticon warned his
comrades as he broke off from a strafing run.
"Finally a challenge," Vector replied. "I was
growing weary of bombing these ground-crawlers. Subduer Flight, break
off and attack. Power to the Decepticons!"
Talon heard the order clearly and reluctantly
altered his course. A dozen Grey Legion fighters streaked towards the
incoming Humans in a wedge-shaped formation.
"The leader is mine," Buster told his fellow pilots
as he spotted the incoming Decepticons. The leader was obvious—twelve
jets were of an identical triangular design, differing only in their
color schemes, while one was vaguely Earth-like. "Shoot them down!" He
fired Powerglide's thermal beam.
Megatron took momentary shelter among the ruins of a
bombed-out factory to confer with his far-flung forces. At Terrorwing's
orders, Legionnaires formed a perimeter and kept the Humans pushed well
away. "Establish a conference link," Megatron ordered.
"As you command." Soundwave transformed to his
cassette-deck mode. "Channels active and encoded."
"This is Megatron to unit commanders...status
"This is Face," replied the calm voice of the
Decepticon Air Commander. "We are engaging Human fighter squadrons
throughout the region. Heavy casualties to our forces, but the Humans
are taking heavier losses. Vector is intercepting some fresh arrivals,
but report's an easy victory."
"Continue with the battle," Megatron ordered. "I
want total air supremacy. And I want it now!"
"I shall do my best."
"My Legion continues to attack as planned,"
Terrorwing quickly reported as he stepped closer to Megatron' side.
"Legionnaires have broken through the outer defenses and have flanked
most of the local military forces. The Humans are tied down. As well,
Sub-Commander Stormcrow has deployed units to block any escapees. None
of them small escape."
"I shall trust that is indeed the case," Megatron
said. "I will not tolerate any failure in this assault."
Terrorwing nodded his head. "Of course," He paused,
"My Lord, a display of our firepower could alter the course of this
battle. If we demonstrate our ability to vaporize a city from orbit,
then surely the Humans would surrender."
"Perhaps, Terrorwing, but I've fought the Humans for
years...they are difficult to predict. Orbital bombardment might only
inflame to further resist...if they know we can destroy their cities at
any time we choose, then what do they have to lose in resisting us?" He
turned to his other aide. "Soundwave, hail the Dark Glory."
"Frostwing here," a distinctive feminine voice
announced a moment later as a hologram wavered to life in front of
Soundwave. "Yes, Megatron, what do you want?"
"Give me a status report."
"The Dark Glory is maintaining its current position.
Damage Control Teams have repaired most of the damage sustained
earlier. All critical systems are now fully operational." She paused.
"Some of the complete repairs will require time in an actual shipyard."
"Once Earth has been taken care of," Megatron
promised, "then we will stop by Sky'arx for necessary repairs and
refit. Speaking of which," he added, "I want you to signal all the
shipyards to step up work on the new starships. We will require a
larger fleet than I had first expected to deal with the current
Frostwing nodded. "Understood, Should I call
additional ships to join us?"
"No," Megatron finally said. "But do send an alert
to the nearest task force ...inform them to be prepared to divert to
Earth at short notice."
"As you wish."
"What of the Disciples?" Megatron demanded, "What
are they up to right now?"
"Their fleet is holding is position on the far side
of the planet. Ground forces have deployed through Australia and Asia
and secured considerable territory. Human and Decepticon forces are
fighting back—and fighting together as well as against each other—but
the Disciples do not seem to care about the casualties they are taking.
General Flameheart has reported the complete annihilation of four
battalions of Disciples in a single battle, but fresh battalions
continue to deploy from their battleships."
"That behavior is consistent with what I have
already observed here," Megatron commented dryly. "Order our field
officers to continue to press their attacks against the Disciples and
Humans alike…Disciples have threat priority," he added. "In the
meantime, the Dark Glory will hold station. Inform me if they make any
more aggressive moves."
"Yes, Commander. Frostwing out."
Terrorwing gestured to the south. "Megatron, a fresh
report from the field."
"Press the advance!" Subcommander Nightstorm
exhorted his troops to greater actions as they pushed over a ridge.
This was a glorious battle...lone squads operating independently as
part of a grand offensive facing off against warriors determined to
defend their homes with their utmost abilities, struggling valiantly
despite overwhelming odds…such was true battle.
Human-crewed artillery pounded the area with shells
laden with high explosives. The light forest was rapidly turning into a
Nightstorm paused to scan the horizon for evidence
of the artillery's location. "They fight well," A shot from his pistol
picked off an unwary Human. "We must fight better!"
Several Humans had even managed to hastily convert
their anti-aircraft cannon into anti-personnel cannons and were now
using them to pummel the Decepticons.
"Incoming vehicles!" a Legionnaire shouted.
Ground tanks were crawling towards them. Their
cannon boomed and more shells ripped at the Legionnaire's ranks.
"Return fire!" Nightstorm bellowed as his troops
took cover. Yes, this was truly glorious.
"Wait for it," Captain Hamilton whispered. "Now!"
Twenty Iron Guards erupted from concealed trenches
and dugouts and opened fire. Laser bolts and machine gun fire scythed
down a squad of startled Decepticons. The firing trailed off as the
last Decepticon fell. Hamilton cursed softly. Even though they
outnumbered the foe nearly three to one and struck with the advantage
of complete surprise, they'd still taken losses.
"Incoming aircraft!" one of the Guards shouted.
"Missile crews!" Hamilton snapped. He turned his
head to take note of the approaching jets—five triangular designs—and
then at the ten unarmored Humans carrying missile tubes. "Get ready!"
His expression didn't change as missiles streaked skyward to destroy
three of the Decepticons...nor when the two survivors strafed his unit.
"I hate HeadMasters!"
Talon heard that signal break off abruptly as a
missile caught one of his comrades. "The battle goes badly, Vector."
"Keep fighting," the Legionnaire replied. "We're not
Talon deactivated his comlink and then sighed.
Two-to-one odds had resulted in a fierce battle. Three-quarters of the
Human jets had been shot down, but seven Decepticons had also been
blown out of the sky.
"Windsheer, intercept the leader," Vector ordered.
Talon sighed again as another Decepticon was
destroyed—the Human leader was an Avenger: a mindwiped Autobot who was
now a fully functional HeadMaster. 'And,' Whisper thought, 'even before
he became a HeadMaster. Powerglide was an efficient warrior.'
"This is a slaughter," Buster radioed to Major
Fairbourne as another Decepticon died in flames. "We're taking heavy
losses up here. I don't think I can hold them much longer!"
"You've held them long enough for us to reinforce
the southern perimeter," she radioed back. "Good work, Avenger-One."
"Not good enough," Bustier finished as another F-22 exploded. At least
there was a parachute this time. "I'm on the enemy leader." That jet
looked vaguely familiar, he noted though he couldn't place exactly why.
"They're breaking through our inner defense line!"
Fairbourne felt her command vehicle lurch as it took
several hits before the gun crews blasted the Decepticon doing the
firing. "Fall back...pull back to the final line." She hated to do
it...didn't want to pin herself down like this—not even in the final
hardened positions—but she had no choice. "We've lost this site." She
knew it, but she couldn't withdraw that much further either. Orders
demanded that she stand to the last here...this facility was Earth's
best hope for victory, the minds assembled were the brightest Humanity
could offer...and every second she could buy them gave them that much
more time to escape with whatever they could salvage so that they could
reestablish somewhere else.
Only, if she failed in this mission, would anyone
have the time to complete their work before the Decepticons completed
their conquest of the planet?
Commander Starfall emerged from the woods and onto
an open field. A small air field, he amended, before directing his fire
teams to destroy the tower and small hangers. He personally fired at
one of the anti-aircraft batteries defending the field as best they
A squad of tank-mode Legionnaires pushed forward,
flanking the field. Human infantry fought them fiercely, but were
forced back before the armored push.
"Fire all batteries!" Starfall-shouted. "I want this
site leveled!" A cry from one of his scouts alerted him to the sudden
approach of Human reinforcements. "Hit them now!" Long-range missiles
turned two Human vehicles into flaming wrecks, but the surviving tanks
pelted the Legionnaires with explosive shells.
"Hold them!" Starfall commanded. "Air team," he
radioed, "I need some cover!"
"You've got it." Contrail and his squadron leaped
into the air and transformed into their various jets.
Starfall knew that few commanders would have brought
their air team into battle as ground troops—at least not willingly—but
he knew that the sudden launch of the air strike from a seemingly
ground—based force would be devastating.
One pass was enough to obliterate the tanks.
Sergeant 0'Connor winced and lowered the binoculars.
"The armor just bought it," he announced. "We're next in the line of
fire." He turned away from the slit window. "Get those bloody mortars
"Missiles loaded, standing by."
O'Connel turned back to the window and squinted at
the smoke-stained horizon. "Wait for it," he said softly. "Now!" The
dull thud of the mortars echoed through the bunker. "Direct hits on two
of the tincans!"
Starfall looked around in shock as fresh explosions
erupted among his squad and two of his warriors collapsed—gaping holes
replacing most of their torsos. "Spread out!" he shouted, even before
he spotted the bunker. "Return fire!" The Humans were learning, he
admitted grimly. That bunker had survived the first barrage without
visible damage. "Air team!"
"We're on it," Contrail replied. "Easy target...we
just move in and—"
"Contrail?" Starfall called as the channel suddenly
went dead. "Contrail?" he shouted aloud as he spotted the flaming
debris falling from the sky. "No!"
"Three more jets swatted." O'Connel paused as the
mortars fired again—and again as quickly as they could be loaded.
"We're holding them, for now. We need support from armored units to
push them back though." He didn't know if the com-system was still
working because no one answered, but he continued to report on his
holding action just in case.
Skywarp materialized out of nowhere, and his
weaponry raked across the array of dishes and antennas which provided
Camelot with most of its communications. He knew that most of the land
lines were long-since cut, and Soundwave was jamming almost every radio
frequency...that just left the line-of-sight tightbeam laser links he
was rapidly blowing out of existence. Even as the first Human defenders
locked onto him and started firing back, he teleported away.
"Push the assault," Megatron ordered. He had moved
deeper toward the heart of Camelot and Human resistance
was—somehow—increasing in its ferocity. The battle had raged for over
hours, and Humans didn't possess the endurance of mechanoids!
"Terrorwing, order your Legionnaires to press their flanking maneuvers.
We must crush the Humans now!"
Terrorwing nodded. Hours of combat had not yet tired
him, though even his armor was scarred by battle damage. "I will relay
the orders at once."
Talon dodged another thermal beam, cursing as
Powerglide shot at him again. "What did I do to deserve this?" he
wailed aloud. Why did Buster hate him so much? "Ow!" he yelped as a
thermal beam creased his wing. "That's it!" He swung around and sent
half a dozen laser bolts stabbing towards Powerglide.
An Iron Guard climbed slowly out of a crater and
lifted his head to look around. He spotted the approaching Decepticons,
and aimed his arm-mounted laser.
Despot stumbled as a laser burned into his leg.
Whirling to his left, he spotted an Iron Guard lying on the ground. His
rifle fired its own energy beam back.
The Guard swayed as his left arm was blown off at
the elbow. The remaining partial limb was just enough to keep him half-
crouched, in a position in which he could raise his right arm and fire
the twin machine guns. He kept firing even as more lasers burned into
his torso. Without legs, he couldn't move, and he had no desire to
"Fire at will!" Megatron fired burst after burst
from his proto-fusion cannon and explosions ripped through the main
complex of buildings which housed Project: Excalibur.
Face finally broke through the defending enemy
aircraft to lead a belated air strike against the complex while
Terrorwing led the ground assault. Explosions blossomed throughout the
complex. Fires erupted and spread out-of-control in seconds. Some Human
defenders abandoned their posts, while others fought on, but they still
died in dozens every second.
The remaining Iron Guards charged, most of them were
blasted into scrap before they could come close to the Decepticons, but
they took several Decepticons with them into death. Hardened bunkers
and fixed emplacements fired every weapon they possessed and dozens of
square kilometers of ground exploded in a firestorm at the same time.
In the sky, Face and his severely depleted Jet-mode
allies traded shot's with the remaining Human aircraft and many on both
sides fell groundward in flames. A few on each side made strafing runs
against ground targets, but most were occupied by engaging enemy
Megatron strode into the heart of the storm,
ignoring most of the fierce array of firepower the Humans were
wielding. He knew their weapons could not hurt him, but his weapons
were deadly. He selected targets at random—a capricious god—and
wherever he looked, fire erupted a moment later.
Neither side asked for, nor granted,
mercy...complete and utter destruction was the order of the day.
Shouting orders and obscenities, Fairbourne led the Humans final charge
herself, her armored command vehicle firing every weapon it carried.
Its bulky form shook under enemy fire, its massive armor-plating
vaporizing and cracking, but still it rumbled forward into the madness
of the final battle, still it unleashed volley after volley of lasers
and missiles from its remaining functioning batteries. The Major manned
the primary laser cannon herself, personally killing over a dozen
Decepticons before one huge green-and-purple armored Decepticon stepped
forward and ripped the vehicle apart with his bare hands.
"Victory!" Megatron shouted. He stepped forward,
striding through the smoking ashes which had once been an advanced
research facility. He nodded slowly in his satisfaction, as smoke
curled around him. "We have dealt the Humans a stern blow," he
announced with a proud grin. "Now perhaps they will cease their foolish
and ultimately futile resistance to my rightful rule."
"A waste of time," Terrorwing said softly. "My Lord,
we could have accomplished this destruction from orbit, without
suffering such numerous casualties or expending the resources we did."
Starfall looked up from examining the burned body of
a Legionnaire and nodded.
"We are warriors," Megatron replied to their words.
"Operation Camlann Field was necessary. I am content with how it turned
out." He picked up a half-melted Iron Guard's head. "A glorious
victory." He tossed the head aside.
Soundwave stepped forward. "Communication from the
Dark Glory. Mighty One. Your presence is required onboard."
"Very well...once again the demands of duty drag me
away from the pleasures of victory. Alert the teleport crews to begin
recovery operations. Terrorwing, you will accompany me."
"As you command," Terrorwing gave the ruins one last
glance, "There is no longer anything of value to be gained here." He
looked to his troops, the majority of whom were cheering their victory.
"Cryon, oversee a salvage team. Check the rubble for survivors, data
records, anything of value."
"Of course, my Lord." Cryon saluted. "It shall be
Amid the bustle of activity and the swirling smoke
and ash, Face stood off to one side, silently watching another
Talon was kneeling by himself in one mound of
charred debris. He held a tiny Human-sized object—a holo-photo—in one
huge hand and was staring at it silently.