- "Frell this..."
In the sprawling slums of Kaon, the city-state widely regarded as Cybertron’s skid row, there exists a region known as the Dead End, a district considered to be even lower than rock bottom. Today, the Dead End is one of the few remaining neutral areas of Cybertron, inhabited by the Empties, an underclass of transformers too low, too trampled upon, to afford fuel, let alone afford to participate in the Great War. These days, Kaon is considered a breeding ground for organised crime and for new splinter groups, chiefly the socialistic Havocons, although millennia ago, it was the scene for Megatron’s instigation of the whole Great War.
Having heard that the city-state’s manifold immigrants had started an underground fighting ring known as the Forge, Megatron and many others flocked to it for cheap thrills. Most fought, but some – including the sleazy and incessantly lazy Deadweight – scratched out a living organising bets and wagers on the outcomes of these bouts. Once one of the Empties, Deadweight’s plight had been caused not by misfortune or ruthless competition, but simply by his own lethargy. Often finding himself wallowing in a state of pessimistic depression for days on end, he simply chose not to engage in any sort of labour, surviving on handouts and scraps. To Deadweight, this seemed an affront, no matter how self-inflicted it was, and drove his periods of depression even deeper and more frequent, creating a sort of vicious circle from which it seemed he would never be able to rise. However, with the introduction of the Forge, Deadweight chose to at least attempt to earn a living from its popularity, giving odds on all the fights he attended, gradually accumulating both a small, but steady, income, and the intuition he needed to calculate, rather than guess, these odds and statistics. With his limited, yet increasing, income, Deadweight soon began to bribe fighters to rig their matches. Most of these staged outcomes were during the non-lethal exhibition rounds, allowing Deadweight to rely on some of the same fighters over and over again, but from time to time a newcomer, not realising the stake at hand in the contests, agreed to take a fall in the bigger rounds – which allowed Deadweight to retrieve his initial ‘investment’, and some foreign-made scrap metal into the bargain.
In time, Deadweight’s bookmaking stall was to become as familiar to those who frequented the Forge as its top fighters were, and he came to be one of the more popular figures there. Many thought that by toadying up to the bookmaker, their odds – and thusly, their reputations – could be improved. However, Deadweight was a schemer first and a friend second, and odds only increased on those figures who he stood to lose a lot of money on with long odds, especially the more charismatic warriors in the main event bouts – figures like Megatron, Straxus, Quake, and the headstrong and arrogant Vertizor.
The War Begins
When the Great War finally erupted, the vast majority of the fighters of the Forge declared themselves as Decepticons. So, too, did Deadweight, hoping that the powerful warriors of the pits would keep him safe, for he – like many at the time – believed the war would be a swift one, and the Forge would be running again in a few short years, with him back in his comfortable position. This proved not to be the case, however, and Deadweight realised he would need to become a solider to make it out alive. Seeking out Vertizor, one of the mightiest combatants of the Forge, Deadweight proposed that they form a unit, a squad of aerial warriors, under the old maxim of strength in numbers. Vertizor agreed, relishing the prospect of taking command of this new platoon, dubbed exitium, which was swiftly recruited from around Kaon’s seething warzone.
However, life in exitium was not quite what Deadweight had imagined. Ruthlessly drilled under Vertizor’s iron fist, and finding himself taking part in high-risk missions, he was forced to confront his inner demons in an attempt to rise to the situation unfolding around him. It cannot be said that he succeeded fully, but his martial skill and his commitment to combat have come a long way since his days as an apathetic Empty, and his loyalty to Vertizor has never once faltered – which saw him as one of the few remaining loyal to their leader when the unit fell apart in civil war. Deadweight’s savagery to the turncoats was surprising, and to this day he still harbours ill-will towards those who participated in the attempted coup, even though the involvement of the DREAD has erased the traitorous incident from the minds of the defectors entirely. Since the conflict, Deadweight has been the most trusted member of exitium in the eyes of its arrogant leader, who has now afforded to Deadweight the protection which he once sought – in equal parts by training and by intervention. Dreadspawn, as Vertizor is now known, has come to realise that Deadweight holds the best candidacy for succeeding him as leader of exitium should he fall in battle – the two uphold the same ideals, and their shared history goes back countless centuries. Dreadspawn also sees something which Deadweight himself does not – that if the slothful opportunist would only conquer his indolence and idleness, and push himself to his limits, he could rise to become one of the most powerful warriors the Great War has yet to see. Deadweight himself simply believes that this war, like all others, will end some day, and sees no point in pushing himself too far for fear of not being able to return to his peace-time languor.