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Old 2015-08-28, 11:08 PM   #1
Aurane Waters
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Post [Fiction] The Capture

The dilapidated building barely broke the horizon as Cybertron's sun retreated to the other side of the planet. According to Rollbar's records it was an old fuel depot dating back to the City State Wars, probably long drained dry and long out of circulation for any scheduled maintenance – in other words, a tempting base to the sort out outlaws who were stupid enough to have a base. And if there was one thing Rollbar was sure of it was that this band were stupid, hitting the same convoy route at the same point for the past three cycles. It hadn't taken Prowl's tactical brain to suggest augmenting the convoy's Autotrooper guard for a more specialised unit and like clockwork the convoy had been hit. Rollbar's team had kept their heads down as lasers ripped into the Autotroopers, the plan being to follow the raiders afterwards rather than foiling them. With his tracking skills it had been simple work and his tactical computer informed him the rest of the team were in position. For a brief moment he waited in anticipation, engine idling as he enjoyed the simple pleasure of a strategy picked put on a computer, unfettered by the improvisation of his enthusiastic squad. Then, over an encoded channel, he gave the word.

Wildrider tapped at the ancient keyboard in frustration. This was the third time Motormaster had ordered him to try and fire up the old depot's mainframe and he was growing ever more certain that each time he returned his share of the Energon canisters from the convoy had been tampered with. What were they doing to them? What were they doing to them right now while he ran this fool's errand? Why were they treating him like this after he'd been the first to swing up onto one of the carriages? He could hear Dragstrip's boorish laugher – was he laughing at him? Was that Motormaster laughing as well? What were they doing to his Energon? Why wouldn't they stop laughing? The laughter stopped and for a split-second he was relieved. Then he realised all the other noise had stopped. Idiotically his taps on the unresponsive keyboard turned into pounding until the terminal shattered under his frantic, silent fists. What had they done to him? Disorientated and terrified he swung around, expecting to meet Motormaster's sword as it arced towards his head. Instead he had a brief glimpse of a grinning blue Autobot tapping the sides of his head before the lights went out.

“Freeway to Rollbar: Power's out, first target immobilised, didn't even have to touch him.”

“Oh no.” Dead End intoned flatly as they were plunged into darkness. “That's it, then. The Elite Guard I expect. Maybe even the Wreckers.” He sounded unconcerned, but then Dead End always sounded unconcerned. Dragstrip had once summoned the courage up to ask Motormaster why Dead End was even with them. There had been a fragile moment of genuine puzzlement on his face before the query was dismissed in the usual authoritarian bluster; Dragstrip surmised that Dead End was simply too fast to be left behind and enjoyed having someone to complain to. His optics had automatically adjusted to infra-red when the power to the depot had been cut and he took in the scene around him. Dead End hadn't moved, Breakdown had collapsed into a pile on the floor, trying to cover his arms, legs, torso and head with each other and Motormaster had retrieved his ioniser sword from the weapons rack and was bellowing for Wildrider. If it was the Autobots – and Dragstrip couldn't see who else it could be – these idiots weren't going to be much use. He shoved past Dead End and headed to the depot's loading bay at a sprint, drawing his blaster and firing a ball of plasma energy into the seized doors ahead. By the time he reached them the expanding ring of molten metal was large enough for him to leap through and when he hit the ground he was in vehicular mode. One of the reasons they had chosen the depot for a base was the smooth, undamaged stretch of expressway running back in the general direction of Corvax, a perfect getaway run. His engine thrummed as he ramped up the boost and the depot began to disappear behind him. He was just beginning to weigh up his destination when a red blur smashed into his right hand side. Stunned and uncomprehending he lost control, ploughed into the expressway wall on his left and skittered back across the road upside-down. His last thought before mercifully going into stasis lock ahead of the inevitable sickening impact with the opposite side was that the problem with an obvious escape route was that anyone who didn't want you to escape would know exactly which route you would be taking.

“Chase to Dragstrip: Runner's taken care of, second target immobilised.”

“On your feet!” Motormaster boomed, dragging Breakdown out of his stupor.
“They're looking at me!” His scout wailed.
“Yes.” Said Motormaster carefully. “Yes, they are. You know there's only one way to stop them from looking at you, don't you?”
Breakdown nodded and drew his concussion cannon. “Make them pay”
“Yes, that's right, make them pay. You realise I'm looking at you right now?” Dead End interjected.
A look of panic fluttered over Breakdown's face.
“I don't know why you're so smug,” Motormaster bit back. “The Autobots have found us.”
“Oh, I suspect I shall die a brutal death. And I was so enjoying life.”
“You wish. The Autobots will want prisoners. You're not even holding your gun. They'll take you alive and take you in for questioning.” Motormaster leant in consiprationally; “I here they remove the self-destruct circuitry from prisoners. You'll probably outlive every single one of us.”
It was always impossible to read Dead End's expression but he had drawn his compressor gun and fell in behind, alongside Breakdown. There were those who said Motormaster was a stupid oaf who relied on brite strength but the way he saw it he must have Prime potential if he could get this band of misfits and rejects to do anything.
“That idiot Dragstrip at least left us an exit. Let's move out, get ready to hit the ground running.”
“What about Wildrider?” Breakdown asked.
“What about Wildrider?” Dead End answered.
They moved slowly, carefully towards the cooling wound in the loading bay doors, gun barrels roaming the shadows in hope and fear of spotting their unseen assailants.
“Who is doing this?” Motormaster whispered harshly. “If it was the Wreckers we'd be dead by now, if it was the Elite Guard they'd have hit us all at once...”
“Oh, it's us.” Said a shadow. Motormaster wheeled around and the world turned white. His optics burned on his face and he heard shots and cries. He felt something punch through his chest plate but he barely noticed, he was too angry. How had they got inside his base without warning? He blindly gripped the hilt of his sword with both hands and swung it wildly, slicing through something unseen.
“Which one of them betrayed me?” He roared, blindly whirling.

“Searchlight to Rollbar – targets three and four down, but can I have some backup before this lunatic turns me into a Duobot!”

“I can hear you! I can still hear you!”
Searchlight fired hopelessly at Motormaster as the blinded outlaw swung closer to him. It was difficult to melt into the shadows when your opponent couldn't see and his blaster was having no effect on the insane robot with the flashing sword. He lifted his wrist communicator to his mouth to ask again for help before thinking better of it, instead ducking silently under the blade as Motormaster came stumbling towards him. The raging outlaw stumbled into the wall and reeled around, sword still dancing in front of him and heading back in his direction by pure luck. Suddenly the side of the loading bay exploded inwards in a flash of orange. Motormaster turned towards the noise just in time to be punted across the room, hitting a stack of empty fuel pallets. He didn't get back up. Wideload transformed in robot mode and began fastidiously wiping debris off his polished arms.
“Sorry,” the large Throttlebot said apologetically. “It takes a little while to build up the momentum to do that.”

By the time Rollbar stepped gingerly through the remains of the wall Wideload and Searchlight had put inhibitor claws on the stasis-locked forms of Motormaster, Dead End and Breakdown while Chase had appeared at the hole in the other wall dragging the wrecked Dragstrip.
“Good work, team.” He said with satisfaction.
“Thanks, boss.” Wideload replied. “We gonna call in for a pickup ship?”
“Already have. As a sign of my faith in you I called it in three minutes before we even moved. It takes more than a rabble like this to stop the Throttlebots.”
Freeway came through from the main depot, pushing Wildrider in front of him, and cheered obnoxiously. He dumped the prisoner unceremoniously on the loading bay floor and threw a cannister of Energon at Rollbar. The Throttlebot commander weighed it in his hand with a quizzical look as Freeway chucked cannisters at Searchlight, Rollbar and Chase.
“They had one each before we got to them.” said Freeway with a wry grin,
“Red Alert would put us on a charge for that.” Rollbar noted.
“Red Alert's on his way to Darkmount with the new Prime” Freeway noted. “Spin-Out would never dare put us on a charge after bringing him in five raiders on his watch.”
“True.” Rollbar noted, and cracked open the seal on the cannister. A satisfying pink glow bathed his face and he took a warming swig. Smiling gratefully, the rest of the team followed.
“What's up with him anyway?” Chase asked, pointing to Wildrider. He didn't have an inhibitor claw on and his audio antennae were in his hands.
“Pulled them off himself.” Freeway chuckled. “Some sort of system-shock. I think I broke him.”
“Not how we do things, Freeway.” Rollbar said sternly.
“Hey, it wasn't my fault,” Freeway protested. “How was I meant to know he was some sort of freak?”
“I'd better have a look at him.” Searchlight sighed; he'd initially trained as a medic before finding his niche with the Throttlebots. He knelt down and pulled the chest plate away from the unprotesting outlaw, reaching towards his powercore and deftly triggering the rest of stasis-lock.
“What on Cybertron is that?” Wideload asked, pointing at the chest plate.
The others looked. Wildrider's Autobrand had been crudely welded over into a harsh, purple corruption. Rollbar felt uneasy looking at it. He glanced at the other four – all had similar adornments, broadly similar but clearly done by unskilled hands. He looked at the unsettled faces of Searchlight, Chase and Wideload.
“Oh, relax guys,” Freeway said dismissively, “it's probably some sort of gang thing these losers came up with.”
 
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Old 2015-08-29, 04:26 PM   #2
Denyer
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Solid characterisations. Is this a standalone vignette or part of a longer pre-war arc?
 
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Old 2015-09-09, 07:36 PM   #3
Warcry
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This was good! I really enjoyed seeing the Throttlebots treated like actual characters, instead of the interchangable background fodder that most fans (and official creators TBH) treat them as.
 
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Old 2015-09-21, 07:39 PM   #4
The Bastard of Driftmark
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Sorry, I sign up for boards with disposable emails and stupidly forgot my p/w.

Thank you both for reading and your kind comments I read the Throttlebots biogs and thought how well they complemented each other as a team and thought it was fun to write a story that actually had them acting like that As for continuity it's written as a prelude to a story I'm writing that will chopshop lots of different continuities (similar to Hasbro's Aligned) but I purposefully wrote this prelude to be open-ended so it would fit with lots of stuff.
 
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