Into The Black

TP Characters: Alpha Q, Dire Wraith
IC Year: 2029
Location: Earth, The Phantom Lands
Run By: Blueshift


The Quintesson Alpha Q, trapped for millions of years in a sub-dimension, kidnapped various Autobots and Decepticons in order to force them to rescue him by taking his place in exile. To this end, he displayed incredible reality-manipulating abilities, powered by the sub-dimension that he was imprisoned in, even threatening Cybertron with a black hole. Eventually it was the Decepticons who managed to talk him down from his rantings, and let them leave in peace


The Autobots and Decepticons are both visited in their bases by a mysterious figure - a ghostlike being known only as the Dire Wraith, who announces the coming of its master, a being known as Alpha Q. In a demonstration of power, and the assault soon to come, the Statue of Liberty is taken and replaced with a statue of a gigantic armoured Quintesson - Alpha Q! Harbinger Start of Darkness

Soon after, a Quintesson battleship plunges into the Earth's atmosphere out of control. It is the ship of Astracius, who had vanished suddenly from the command deck, snatched away by the vengeful power of Alpha Q, leaving his craft pilotless with a confused detachment of Sharkticons. Ghost and Sharks and Quints

The Dire Wraith returns, claiming that Alpha Q is the true creator of the Transformers, and that he now wishes to claim all the Cybertronians as his slaves. The wraith is followed by a singularity, which slowly grows and consumes all in its path, sending them to a mysterious realm in another universe known only as The Phantom Lands. Descending Into The Black

Alpha Q finally reveals himself. He is a Quintesson scientist who was pulled into this land by an accident 14 million years ago, a place held together by the powers of his mind. The actions of the Here Comes Tomorrow plot weakened the dimensional barriers, enabling him a foothold back into our world. He requires someone to replace him, to hold the realm together with their mind so he can escape without being destroyed. Redshift is chosen to become Alpha Q's herald, and is sent back to our universe to deliver Alpha Q's message. The only thing Redshift is interested in delivering however, is a really big bomb. In The Playground Of The Gods

Alpha Q is finally sent mad when it is revealed he is dead, his existence held only together by his own powers. The Decepticons present manage to convince him of the meaninglessness of his existence, and he sends them home. The moral is, never talk to Dreadwind. A New Science Of Life


  • The Dire Wraith was named after the villains in the 80's comic ROM: Spaceknight. Its apperance was modeled after the servant of Sutekh from the Doctor Who story 'Pyramids of Mars'
  • We assume the Statue of Liberty got put back. We hope!
  • A number of the scenes were named after issues of the comic Animal Man. Because they sounded cool, okay!

Director's Commentary

A strange TP, this one. I first wrote the proposal in the Autumn of 07, when it vanished into the black hole that was TP staff response at the time. Once I got on staff, I decided to run it! I was really excited about running it in the days leading up, and I know some people enjoyed it, but to me on the day it never really clicked.

There were some interesting ideas, some unique situations, but I felt it lacked a certain energy. And there's one good reason for that - originally I designed it as a two night TP (check out the original proposal). Looking back, that might have been too ambitious, but I had done something similar with my Dr Sixarp scene, and that went down very well, despite being long.

Unfortunately, the TP head at the time ordered that it be turned into a week-long TP. It was either that, or not do it at all. And I'd rather try something than not try it, so whilst it didn't turn out exactly how I would have liked to, it was by no means terrible. I am my own worst critic after all. The issue is that a chunk of it required a group of characters to be separated from the rest of the MUSH, which is never good for idle RP. If it was just one night then it would have been less of a problem. But it meant for the next two days, the only people who could RP in the TP were characters that were in the 'TP-zone'. Subsequent TPs I did with similar ideas had more 'outs' built into them for that express purpose. Of course, it didn't help that a lot of players and admin were off that weekend!

For those nerds amongst you, yes the plot was a shameless rip-off of the classic Doctor Who story 'The Three Doctors'. That is the reason the villain is called Alpha - since the Doctor Who villain was called Omega! Co-incidentally Transformers energon had an armoured Quintesson called Alpha Q, and whilst I am generally really against using characters from other continuities, if it looks like a spade and acts like a spade, call it a spade for God's sake.

I really hate the Quintesson origin for the Transformers, and especially how the 'Primus' myth was shoehorned into it on 2k5. It just strikes me as incredibly banal. Of course I respect what has gone before, that's important to note. Of course, we are also supposed to believe that everyone now knows exactly what happened 14 million years ago. Throwing seeds of doubt onto that was one of the themes of my stint as TP Head, and it started here. People responded well to it too.

The ending was interesting, since I had no idea how it would end, and left it up to the players completely. My pet hate is TPs where the ending is scripted, and all you can do is turn up to a scene and watch a play unfold. One of the main ideas of drama is that plot should be pushed forwards by the actions and decisions of characters rather than convenience. From this point on, every TP that I ran changed wildly from the original proposal because of the actions and decisions of players. And rather than railroad people back onto a prescribed course, I just ran with it. To me, the job of TP Head was all about watching and managing these strands and adding more interest to the mix, rather than forcing people to do particular things, and it rewarded the players who were proactive and creative. Most of the time, anyway.

Actually, this TP was awesome just for Redshift. He made some amazing suggestions and I ran with it, and the whole thing ended up all the more interesting for it. For me at least, it was also awesome for the character of Alpha, who was a villain only because he did villainous things. I was open to the idea of shooting him to death to finish the scene, but was pleasantly surprised with how the players eventually resolved the danger.

As the only active Quintesson, Astracius was supposed to have a large part in this, hence the scene Ghost and Sharks and Quints. Astracius then promptly vanished from the MUSH without a word until it was over, forcing me to reimagine chunks on the fly. I didn't learn my lesson, he did exactly the same a few months later, during a TP I was running for him, forcing me to invent a hither unto unseen Quintesson villain! The Resurrection Gambit

A note about TP proposals. At some point, I stopped writing detailed proposals and moved to short posts on the TPstaff board.

A time after that I just started making stuff up and storing it all in my head, to encourage people to be more creative with scenes and affecting the outcomes themselves. And for the most part, that worked really well. It just meant it was more stressful to keep everything moving along. But definitely worth it.


  • Harbinger - The Autobots have a visitor - a very unwelcome and powerful visitor from another world...
  • Ghost and Sharks and Quints - Before anyone has time to puzzle over their strange wraith-like visitor, there are reports of Quintesson activity in New York. There, in place of the Statue of Liberty, they discover a Quintesson ghost-ship and loads of confused Sharkticons
  • Descending Into The Black - A strange, highly destructive singularity is reported in Washington State. Autobots and Decepticons arrive to investigate.
  • A New Science Of Life - Alpha Q makes his final demands to the assembled Autobots and Decepticons. Will he escape to conquer the universe, or can he be stopped?

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