Page 14 of 16
Posted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:10 am
"Shall I eliminate the swarm?" Sixshot asked Megatron, blissfully unaware of how even a warrior as powerful as him would eventually be overwhelmed and devoured by sheer numbers.
"Don't be a fool, Sixshot-sama. There is no honour to be gained in fighting a swarm of mindless beasts." Revolver muttered, out of commlink earshot. "Only death."
"But as you command." Sixshot replied to Megatron as their leader gave him an order. Sixshot would bank downwards, keeping pace with Megatron. When the altitude would be enough, wings would retract and Sixshot's nosecone would split apart, reconfiguring in a brief instant to form the massive artillery emplacement of Sixshot's tank mode.
Sixshot had two ground modes -- three if he counted his beast mode -- but he felt that if the Insecticon swarm did attack, he would choose the alternate mode which afforded him an easy way to shoot at multiple targets at once.
"Acknowledged, sir." Astrotrain replied to Megatron. Doomshot? Either? Both? Astrotrain hated this whole Titan Master nonsense. As if Decepticon politicking wasn't already convoluted enough as it is...
Those inside Astrotrain would feel a brief rattling and a slight shortening in terms of the floor and the height of the ceiling, but thanks to subspace technology Mindwipe, Necro and the others within Astrotrain's shuttle mode would not be terribly too inconvenienced by Astrotrain's transformation. Doubtless they would feel Astrotrain's sudden downwards bank, and the feeling of wheels on the ground, but otherwise it'd be relatively pleasant for those within Astrotrain.
Didn't stop Darkmoon from shouting "Prepare for touchdown!" loudly over the intercom. Silly little child.
As much as his train mode wasn't built to accommodate the strains of chugging through Cybertron's ruined rubble-strewn landscape, Astrotrain hated the thought of facing against an Insecticon swarm more. Another one of the Council -- and Megatron's -- plans gone awry. Mass-replicating psychotic maniacs with a frail leash and a brain that is driven by greed and gluttony? What were they thinking? Those among them that were intelligent were treacherous, and those that weren't were insects. If the combiners didn't destroy the world, Astrotrain did not doubt the Insecticons would have.
I swear, in another life these bugs would be the death of me.
Perceptor, moving along slightly behind the conversation between Hardhead, Furos, Firedrive and Hot Rod, did not contribute. He disliked social interactions, and more importantly, he honestly did not think too much of something that is clearly not his station -- these sort of moral-checking is definitely one of Hardhead and Furos's competence, and not Perceptor.
Besides, any attempt at interjection from him would probably lead to threats of shooting people in the head, and Perceptor, as much as he is emotionless at this moment, knew enough social cues that this would lead to an escalation of the argument he had earlier with Hardhead and Furos.
Convex was quiet, sitting on his seat on Perceptor's alternate mode, silently reading papers on cases of abrupt integration between two unprepared Titan/Titanmaster partners, blissfully lost in the annals of scientific conclusions and hypotheses to pay attention to anything that went around them.
Ridiculous. Inefficient. Perceptor thought blithely. He should download the papers to his head, and sort things out there. Would take far less time.
Posted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:34 am
“We don’t-“ Hot Rod began.
“Oh, yes we do, “ Firedrive cut him off. “Even if you don’t want to admit it, I know what our problem is. It’s focus. You’ve got it. Me? All I wanted was a cool new ride, not to be fighting ‘Cons for the rest of my life. Especially with some kill crazy old nutcase. I don’t have your obsession. I don’t WANT your obsession. Maybe it’s because I didn’t see the war. Who knows? But my biggest fear is that you’ll subsume me, that I’ll be gone. All we’ll be is Hot Rod and mini Hot Rod. Kinda like Hardhead and Furos.” He looked over at Furos. “No offense, but you two are kinda creepy.”
“You want someone to hold your hand? There’s great potential in you, and I’m the best way to bring it out of you. But I won’t coddle you.” Hot Rod’s vocoder let out an annoyed sound. “Send her to us, Furos. I think what we need is a mediator. Maybe we need a third to become an actual team. And Hardhead, are you saying there’s no honor in recognizing your own limitations?”
“Stylor, what are you doing?”
Stylor continued rooting around under Chromedome’s dashboard, making adjustments and checking the readings. “Look, I can’t talk you out of this stupidly suicidal Sixshot obsession, right?”
“Then my best bet is to get your systems tuned to the utmost, because that guy scares the slag out of me, and I really don’t want to die.”
Chromedome chuckled. “I knew I’d bring you along sooner or later.”
Following the Decepticons:
First the speed disadvantage, then exhaustion, now Insecticons.
Hellbat muttered an oath, swooping down towards the ground. He hated to do it, but he was going to need help.
Posted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 5:42 am
In the air
Megatron chuckled. "Perhaps one day I'll take you up on that offer, Sixshot, purely for sport. But today, we have a mission to tend to."
As the Decepticon leader approached ground level, he transformed to tank mode and landed hard on his treads. His multiple weapons emplacements each tracked different segments of the Insecticon swarm, but -- for now -- they seemed to be content to hover.
The sight of Insecticons, of all things, brought a bunch of old memories surging back. The creatures' creation, in the lab of a mad (even by Decepticon standards) scientist named Drench. Unleashing them on an unsuspecting Autobot city in a desperate attempt to pull resources away from their Kaon offensive. Seeing the creatures run wild, reproducing at an unprecedented rate and devouring almost the entire Altihex region before the Autobots unleashed nuclear weapons to stop them. And, of course, the pleasant surprise that came with a handful of their number proving to be sentient, more-or-less loyal Decepticon troopers.
Megatron hadn't realized that there'd still been wild hives left on Cybertron, but in retrospect he shouldn't be surprised. Without an armed force to exterminate them, all it would take was a few dormant eggs waking up to eventually multiply into a cloud this large.
These creatures, Megatron now realized, were one of his greatest failures. Not only were they a perversion of Cybertronian life, but they were the first link in a chain that eventually led to the total annihilation of their home planet.
With the swarm buzzing overhead, the Decepticons would pass through the worst of it before approaching the edge of the crater that their objective was buried in. They would see a single grey plynth jutting up from the ground, easily two or three times as tall as their largest comrade. The top of the plynth was crowned by three purple sickle-like blades.
Unfortunately, they were not alone in the crater. Even before he got to the lip of it, Megatron could make out a grey, teal and pink mass milling about inside.
"Sharkticons," Doomshot muttered.
Astrotrain's cargo bay
Mindwipe frowned as Astrotrain set them down on the ground, their ride suddenly becoming noticably rougher (albeit safer).
"Have you ever encountered these Insecticons?" he enquired of their transport. "The stories I have read about them are quite...disconcerting, blah."
Full-Tilt visibly shivered. "Nasty creatures," he emphasized. "I narrowly avoided a group myself. That was in my pre-recruitment days, of course."
Hardhead scoffed. "There are no limitations save for those we place upon ourselves! A true warrior would understand that."
Furos sighed. His partner had a tendancy to get a bit...puffed up when it came to matters of honour.
"Firedrive, if you think Hardhead and I are identical, obviously you haven't spend that much time with us. We were, once, literally the same person. We're still very similar, but our different experiences have shaped us differently. If we couldn't maintain identical personalities, how in the world do you think yourself and Hot Rod would?" He chuckled. "Hot Rod is a strong personality, but he's not Optimus Prime. As long as you remember who you are and where you came from, Firedrive, you'll be fine. That doesn't mean that you won't be a changed mech. How could you not be changed by what you're going through? But if all goes well, both yourself and Hot Rod will be changed by your bond -- and hopefully for the better."
Knowing that Hardhead was half a second away from making a snappy comment about how a criminal couldn't possibly improve a warrior, Furos cut him off by opening a comm channel and saying, "Maxx, if you're still with us please join me at the rear of the convoy. I have a job for you, if you're willing."
Posted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 2:56 pm
In the air
Sixshot trailed next to Megatron, replying with a tilt of the hypersonic cannons attached to his turrets in an imitation of a nod. "Very well, Lord." Like Megatron, Sixshot's turrets tracked the Insecticon swarm, but did not fire either, until the massive plynth loomed above them.
"That's... that's big." Revolver whispered. "Is it... is it the weapon we're looking for?"
"Part of it, seems like." Sixshot replied to his partner, feeling the same feeling of awe that Revolver has, shared through their mental link. Sixshot had never quite felt this feeling called 'awe' before, and it was quickly replaced with another that Revolver's feelings had as 'dread'.
Sixshot felt like he did not quite care much for this 'dread', and shut off the mental bonds that allowed emotions to bleed over between the two of them. Sixshot was not built for these emotions. While he figured out many of the basic emotions quickly, many more were... less forthcoming. And he had taken advantage of the bond he and his partner shared to experience these emotions. But one like dread would do naught but disable him at a crucial moment, and Sixshot cannot be compromised like that. He was a weapon. And weapons cannot feel, or the weapon would be useless. That that was what his Creator taught him. Curiousity is one thing. Letting emotions bleed over and compromise him is another.
He then caught sight of the Sharkticons, and cursed inwardly.
Sharkticons. He knew of them, but had never seen them.
Jet. Tank. Car. Beast. Cannon. Robot.
None of his six modes, none of them -- offered the advantage that he often vaunts over his enemies. The Sharkticons were built for underwater combat, and Sixshot's six modes... weren't. They weren't in water now, but if they were...
And Sixshot felt -- coming from within his own core as opposed to being something that bled over from his weaker, skittish partner -- the very feeling of inexplicable, heart-clenching dread.
Astrotrain came to a stop behind Megatron and Sixshot, trusting that those with far deadlier weaponry (and unburdened by cargo) would be able to take care of their current obstacle.
He then realized Mindwipe was addressing him, and would reply, via speakers within his alternate mode. "I have. They were... they were less of a swarm of Transformers, and more of a force of nature. Individually they are weak. Driven by a feral instinct and a hive-mind, yes, but nothing that anyone here can't take on by themselves."
Astrotrain paused, and continued. "But the Insecticons were never alone. They eat everything in their path. Living metal, non-living metal -- one way or another, they will use them to create more of their kin. And that's the scariest part about them. They're not here for political power, or conquest, or religion, or misguided attempts of freedom. They were mindless. They devour without any heed to collateral damage. They are driven by the simple impulse of hunger and subsequent replication, and nothing else."
"It's a good thing, at least, that the Autobots nuked Altihex. I'd never thought I'd say that about the Autobot nuclear program." Astrotrain paused, and frowned. "The few sentient ones that joined us later, though? I've worked with them. The Autobots called us... the Ten Deadliest Decepticon Hunters, or something fancy like that. I was a triple-changer, which, back in the day, was the top-of-the-line. But their duplicity, the strange way their mind works and the sheer amount of powers they have... we're just lucky the swarm isn't sentient, or they'd not just take over Cybertron -- they'd take over the entire universe. Devouring until none is left."
Astrotrain stopped short of actually detailing the powers of the Insecticons themselves -- putting ideas into someone called 'Mindwipe' about cerebro-shells... is not a good idea.
Posted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 3:53 am
It's come to this.. Maxx sat on a spar of rubble, a holo screen projected in the air in front of her as she looked at the programming for the rudimentary A.I. program for the battle deck in front of her. The program was fairly simple. It could follow directions, be set to patrol map points, act as weaponry backup for the Autobot currently looming next to her- it wasn't that hard, she was slightly smaller than one of the exo-armor units- and yet the Autobot standing next to her was having problems with it. "Are you sure it's ignoring your orders? I'm not seeing any problems in the code structure."
"Yeah, Ah'm sure." The red and grey Autobot scowled at the battle deck. "It ain't lahke mah old one."
The missile launcher on the battle deck pivoted to look at the Autobot it was paired to, and Maxx would have sworn she could hear it make a 'Neener-neener' sound. She looked at the program again. "Maybe it's in the personality subroutines......"
"Mebbe Ah should just get mah old platform back."
Maxx looked up at the Autobot. "You know that's not gonna happen, Ironhide."
Ironhide just made a noncommittal grunt.
She shuffled through the various screens of data. "I am kind of curious. Why didn't they just use the program from your old battle deck?"
"Aw, they gave me some Scrud 'bout it bein' too far outta date ta upgrade, and too limited fer whut they wanted it ta do. Said by th' tahme it was done, it'd be a new program anyway. So instead they give me this spawn of a glitchmouse."
The battle deck made some more sing-song taunting sounds. Maxx just shook her head. "Maybe it's doing this just to annoy you."
Ironhide clenched his fists. "Yeah? Maybe Ah-"
"Don't! It's a part of you. I know you're not happy about this downsizing, and I think that's why your battle deck is doing this. It's reacting to you."
"Great. An' Ah wanna react by puttin' mah fist through it."
Maxx chuckled. "Give it some time, Ironhide. You'll adapt." Then Furos' call came over her commlink. "Sure, Furos. I'll be there in a few." She shut down her commlink, then stood and looked at Ironhide. "Give a bot a lift?"
"Sure." He transformed to vehicle mode - about half the size of a Titan - the lift gate of his minivan mode hissing open. "Hop in."
Maxx climbed inside, feeling a little cramped. But then, Ironhide's redesign followed the smaller Autobot asthetic, allowing him to act as a secure transport for a Titan Master. Being a Target Master, she was a little bigger. Unlike the other Titan Master transports, Ironhide also had weapons, so she found herself wedged into the passenger compartment with the missile launcher and the particle projection cannon. She pulled her legs in as Ironhide's lift gate hissed shut and the old Autobot sped off in pursuit of the convoy.
"That's the thing, Hardhead. Without identifying your limitations, what do you strive to beat? How can you improve?"
Firedrive just looked at Hot Rod's dashboard. "All I could feel was his anger. His rage. I was surrounded by his hatred and I could feel myself vanishing into it."
Following the Decepticons:
The bat drone, exhausted, found a jagged outcrop to latch onto. And, reluctantly, Hellbat did the only thing he could think of.
He told the drone to call for help.
But Sixshot totally has a submarine mode now!
Posted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 6:32 am
In the air
Megatron came to a stop at the lip of the crater. Then he transformed to robot mode, and if there was any hesitation before he merged with Doomshot, he didn't let it show.
"Unfortunately," he said, mostly to himself, "The Sharkticons won't be so easily bypassed."
The Decepticon leader crossed his arms as he glared out at the animalistic creatures. Finally, he said, "They never stray far from water, and there only seems to be a tiny bit collecting at the base of the crater. They can't be living here. Deathsaurus, take Misfire and Fangry and start searching for their home pit."
If only I'd brought some Constructicons, he mused, we'd be able to tunnel below them.
A shame, then, that his six best Constructicons were wandering Cybertron somewhere, stuck together in the form of a giant engine of destruction.
Of course, there was one possibility that occurred to him -- one that even his merged mind knew came from the Doomshot half. It was reckless and dangerous and probably quite stupid, but...all the same, it might work. He filed it at the back of his mind for later.
"Sixshot," he asked the younger Decepticon conversationally, "What is your assessment of the situation?"
Astrotrain's cargo bay
"Sounds like a perfect weapon," Mindwipe opined, "for someone who doesn't care if it turns around and eats him next. Just as long as the enemy dies first, blah. No vunder we managed to destroy our planet. Vhat a stupid race we are."
Full-Tilt didn't have Astrotrain's tact. "Did you work with the one called Bombshell? I hear he was quite the talented mnemosurgeon himself. He could even work on subjects using remote control, if you believe the stories. Could even control their bodies while their living minds were active, something even I have never ventured to try. It sounds like a challenge."
"It sounds," Mindwipe told him, "like a good way to wind up as mad as a combiner team member."
"Only if you do it wrong," Full-Tilt told him. "Therein lies the challenge."
"I'm sending you the service jacket for a Titan Master team called Hot Rod and Firedrive," Furos told Maxx. "I'd recommend you download it on the way. They're the job, more or less."
"Your new partner," he said as he turned back to the team in question, "is enroute. She's a programming expert named Maxx. I've worked with her before to help others get over their...let's say "systems integration" issues." Furos wisely didn't mention that he'd never called on her to troubleshoot the integration of two fully-sentient "systems" before. That would only serve to worry Firedrive more...and he was going to be worried enough by what Furos had to say next.
"I can understand why that would be intimidating, really I can. But that's normal. And while Hot Rod might be better-equipped to handle it, I can assure you that he felt the exact same thing -- your personality taking bites out of his, until he couldn't tell where exactly the border was between the two of you. But the reason you feel that way is because both of you are fighting to resist the depth of the Titan Master bond. With more experience, you will vanish into Hot Rod's mind when you bond, and he into yours. A healthy Titan and his Master become one being when they join, a new being greater than the sum of its parts. The greatest part of training to become part of a bond like this is learning how to deal with that prospect, to put aside the dread and accept it, both of you. Only then will you be able to move past your fear, Firedrive, and Hot Rod's rage. Together."
Hardhead was busy replying to Hot Rod's question with a scoff. "Acknowledging your weaknesses does not mean accepting them. A true warrior does not see such things as limitations, but as challenges to be gratefully accepted and gloriously conquered! One is only as weak as he allows himself to be."
(OOC: Oh crap, I completely forgot about the upside-down-gun mode!)
Posted: Wed Nov 22, 2017 3:06 pm
After some time, Optimus drove up near Ginrai and Nightbeat, and asked, "Pardon me for asking, but how much further until we reach the dig site?"
Sixshot paused, unsure how to answer Megatron's orders. He decided to transform into robot mode first to buy some time to recollect his thoughts after the surge of panic -- it's the polite way to address your superiors in the same mode that they are in, after all -- and immediately cursed how fast and optimized his transformation systems are.
Thankfully, robot mode was one where Revolver connected into Sixshot's mind, and the merging of minds had allowed Sixshot to dispel some of the dreadful feeling of fear.
"We could bombard them." Sixshot considered. "Out of their natural element, they are less harmful and likely to be more easy to take out. Yet I fear the exchange of weaponsfire would attract the Insecticon Swarm, and I don't think even the two of us could escape both swarms unscathed."
Astrotrain came to a halt, and opened his cargo doors. Without any orders from Megatron to do otherwise, he didn't feel the need to transform or engage yet, although the triple-changer's rotating turrets were armed and ready, and have been so since they passed the Insecticon swarm.
Those inside were still conversing with him, though, and Astrotrain replied. "Yes. We were a stupid race -- the arms race that plagued so much of the early war caused such great destruction. Even my own triple-changing technology was developed with many shattered minds in its wake, for all the strategic value of having a jet being able to turn into a train."
He suppressed a mental sigh, but remained civil towards Full-Tilt. "Bombshell, yes. He was thankfully reined in by his two partners, but the rumours surrounding him do not do him justice. Mnemosurgery seems to be too civilized of a word to describe what he does. I don't understand it myself, but all he mind-controlled were left nothing more but hollow, broken shells."
Astrotrain paused. How much did he trust either of them? Mindwipe was eccentric, but seems to be relatively loyal to the cause. Necro, on the other hand...
"Once we're not excavating giant walking weapons of mass destruction, perhaps we shall discuss about remote mnemosurgery in more detail?" Astrotrain added.
Posted: Fri Nov 24, 2017 5:51 am
Nightbeat looked at the displays, scowling slightly. "Soon. But there may be a problem, Optimus. The last time I was down here, exo-armor units were more useful for getting around. The tunnels were too small to fit a vehicle the size of Chromedome, let alone something your size or Ginrai's." He unplugged one of his hands and reached over to one of the telemetry displays, tapping it through different scanning modes. "I don't know what caused this. I'm also not picking up any signs of the dig team."
Hot Rod was having fun. Firedrive could feel it through the link. "That's part of the problem, Furos. I don't think I am taking any bites out of him."
Hot Rod, for his part, kept rolling along. "A true warrior has to accept their limitations, otherwise they can't compensate for them. How else can you keep fighting if you get critically injured?"
Maxx read the file Furos sent her. "Well, scrap."
Ironhide kept rolling along. He had to give it to whoever had been behind his redesign. He might not like the fact that he wasn't as....well....'iron-hidey' as he used to be, he now had to worry about being kicked out of the way by Decepticons twice his size, and his new battle deck was a misprogrammed piece of slag. But the speed was a nice improvement. "What's wrong?"
"How's Furos expect me to do anything for these two? It's Firedrive and Hot Rod."
"Aw, geez. He want ya ta bring peace' the universe first, get th' easy stuff outta th' way?"
"That's not the only problem! I work with Titan Masters and their exo-armors, or try to fix the problems you're having with your battle deck. How am I going to make those two get along?"
Flight of the Decepticons:
Fangry looked down, sniffing the air. His upper lip curled, revealing metal canines. "Smells bad. I wonder how they taste?"
The Ruins of Darkmount:
Hellbat had pulled back from the drone, going from directing it's actions to just observing. He hated having to do what he was about to do. "Leozak! I found them, but I can't keep up. I think I know where they're going."
Posted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 5:36 am
Megatron smiled slightly as Sixshot mentioned the Insecticons again. "They would be rather difficult to fight off, yes..."
If the totally unnecessary affirmative tic annoyed him, he certainly didn't show it anymore.
"I suspect the Sharkticons would be even more hard-pressed to deal with them, though. The question is, how do we introduce the two?"
Misfire cut through the air nearby, doing his best to concentrate on flying low to the ground while he also kept a lookout for the Sharkticons' home pit. That last job should have been Aimless's, but he was as unmotivated as ever.
"Seriously, buddy, they're tryin' to get rid of you!" the Titan Master said without looking up from his game. "Misfire, scout for combiners. Misfire, scout for Sharkticons. I tell you, Megatron is hoping you get eaten!"
"It's not like that!" Misfire insisted.
"Then what's it like? You don't think we're actually any good at this, are we?"
"Not with an attitude like that! Come on, cheer up. Maybe we're finding our niche!"
Aimless scoffed. "I just hope we're not finding our grave."
Astrotrain's cargo bay
"Yes, I heard that one in particular...Blitzwing, was it? Developed a personality per mode. Though allegedly that was remedied by the Titan Master process." Full-Tilt shrugged. "Oh, the miracles of modern medicine, accidentally curing the mistakes of one 'great advance' with the mistakes of another."
"Blah, Astrotrain is right. This is not the time." Mindwipe peered out a window, then asked, "Should we unload, in case our help is required?"
"Perhaps not," Furos admitted to Firedrive. "But you are also retreating into yourself, adopting a defensive stance in the shared mind instead of reaching out." He made a frustrated noise. "This probably sounds like so much nonsense to you. Honestly, it does to me too. I'm just repeating what they told us in Titan Master orientation. The actual bond is more complex than I can put in words. As you're now learning, I suspect."
"Injuries are irrelevant," Hardhead ranted. "A true warrior must fight at 100% even when his body is far from that. Injuries are no excuse, and certainly aren't something to be 'compensated' for. That is simply an excuse for weakness!"
From the larger Autobot's open cockpit, Furos sighed. "He'll go on like this for weeks if you let him, Hot Rod. Hardhead as very strong opinions on...well, everything, but subjects of honour in particular."
Posted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 3:28 am
Firedrive's optics narrowed behind his sky blue visor. "I can feel him inside my mind. It's kinda weird." He looked over at Furos. "Is it something you ever get used to?" He looked over at the VDU on the right side of Hot Rod's control panel as the sensor image changed to show a red minivan approaching from behind. "I think whoever you called is coming." He tapped on the VDU a couple of times, the image going to a still image showing Ironhide in both robot and vehicle modes, along with a brief bio. "Wow, Hot Rod. And here I thought you were old."
Ironhide rolled up between Hot Rod and Hardhead, the hatch in his roof sliding open, an iron grey head with pink trim on the crest popped up, a smile quirking the lips on the face. "Did it occur to you that part of your problem is you're just kind of hostile?"
"Maybe. What's wrong with a little hostility?"
"At times, nothing. But in this case, it could get the two of you killed. Fortunately for you two, I'm here to fix that. I'm Maxx."
"Hot Rod," growled a voice from the speaker grille on the dashboard.
"I'm Firedrive. Um......" He looked around Hot Rod's cockpit. "Where are you going to ride?" Then he felt something behind him shift. When he looked over his shoulder, he could see another seat behind him. There wasn't a lot of room, however. "Is she going to fit back there?"
"She should. She managed to fit in a space designed to carry someone your size."
"Barely. And there's no way I'm going to fit through this hatch. I'm going to have to go out the way I came in, Ironhide."
"Yeah, Ah kahnda figgered that." The old Autobot accelerated, pulling in front of Hot Rod, his lift gate hissing open. Maxx slid out, her feet on Ironhide's bumper, her hands holding the lift gate.
Firedrive's jaw dropped. "You're....."
Maxx chuckled. "I'm a Target Master. You turn into a head, I turn into a gun." Then she thought for a moment." "Hey, Hot Rod, do you have any vehicle mode weapons?"
"A photonic eliminator cannon."
Firedrive groaned. "I hate that thing...."
"If one of you could deploy it, I can scan it and take it's place. Then Firedrive wouldn't have to ride in it when you use it."
"At least that will stop some of his complaining....." Hot Rod's hood opened, the massive cannon rising up and locking into place atop the turbocharger section of his engine.
"Thanks for the lift, Ironhide!" Maxx leapt, scanning the doubled barreled cannon as she arced through the air, transforming as she landed on it and merging with it, the cannon itself changing, the barrels now closer together and chromed, the gunner's seat now bulked out with conduits leading from it to the main body. "Cutting edge tech..... This is totally schway!" She transformed back to robot mode, crouching on the edge of Hot Rod's hood to look Firedrive in the optic band. "You're lucky to have him as a partner. The only Cybertronian on the planet who might be more advanced is Ginrai, and even that's theoretical. All we have to do is get you two to work together better." She climbed around Firedrive and managed to wedge herself in behind the pilot's seat. "And maybe some more room back here. And I thought I was cramped inside of Ironhide...."
Posted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 6:23 am
Listening to Nightbeat's explanation, Optimus Prime would've frowned if he was in robot mode. "We could send the titan masters into the dig site in our stead once the way becomes too tight for our vehicular forms."
He paused, feeling a slight pang of guilt and concern at Diac's mental health, but knew that there was no other alternative to reach the Mega-Titan in a timely fashion. Besides, through their link, Optimus could feel Diac's stubbornness.
"Hopefully the dig team has merely evacuated as opposed to something worse befalling them." Optimus added.
Sixshot turned to face Megatron, and frowned. "You wish to have the Insecticons and the Sharkticons fight each other?" That is indeed the safest way for them to get through the battlefield. Yet while the two tribal creatures were more beasts than sentient beings, they possess enough rudimentary intelligence to know who has been shooting at them.
"I am afraid my personal abilities would be... inadequate for such a task, for my beast changeform resembles neither of them. Ask me to kill them all and I will gladly do so, but to introduce the two to each other without guaranteeing we be caught in the middle might be beyond me."
"Yes. Blitzwing." Astrotrain replied to Full-Tilt, careful to keep emotion out of his voice. It's a good thing that Full-Tilt said nothing disparaging about his brother, though. An argument in a situation such as this is unproductive.
"You should unload." Astrotrain told Full-Tilt and Mindwipe. "Your help might be required, yes, but I have a feeling that mine will."
Astrotrain opened the train doors, allowing those inside to disembark, while he called out to Megatron. "Lord Megatron, if I may? I was overhearing your conversation with Sixshot, and I believe I may have a solution. My Titan Master has the ability to render me invisible for brief periods of time, and my skillset in past conflicts had included sowing confusion among enemy ranks."
Darkmoon, inside Astrotrain, clapped his hands with glee. Oh, boss, you're clever. Trying to get into the big guy's good graces by offering your neck out, yeah? Trying to nullify the bad blood between you two after that confrontation back in the ruins?
Not exactly, Darkmoon. Astrotrain replied mentally. I just want to shoot some things up.
Posted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 8:07 pm
Not far from the crater
Aimless looked out of the cockpit window and almost jumped out of his seat.
"Oh slag, what's that?"
"That's an Insecticon hive," Misfire told him with trepidation in his voice. And for good reason -- ugly black-and-purple mount that rose out of the ground (and certainly extended far below it) was probably almost as big as whatever it was they'd come to dig out of the ground, with big purple gobs of a sickly energon derivative seeping from its shredded-looking seams.
"Oh. Why aren't we dead?"
"I think most of them are out foraging. You know, that cloud we passed on the way in?"
"No idea what you're talking about," Aimless told him.
"Of course not." Misfire sighed. "Well, anyway, it's not what we were looking for but I'll call it in."
Before Aimless could discourage him, he opened a comm channel. "Megatron, this is Misfire. I haven't found the Sharkticon pit, but I have stumbled on an Insecticon nest. What do you want me to do?"
"That would kill two birds with one stone, yes..." Megatron nodded. "But indeed, Sixshot, how?" He frowned for a moment, then said, "How indeed?"
Just then, Misfire's call came though. Megatron's frown turned into a smile. "Good, good. Misfire, I have a very important job for you. I need you to harvest some of the Insecticons' nectar. Can you do that?"
"I, uh...sure, dude. I'll get right on it."
Ah, so eager to please. It's almost enough to make one overlook the gross informality, if not the gross incompetence...
"Fantastic. When you have it, return to the crater as directly as you can."
Then the Decepticon leader turned his attention to Astrotrain, who had helpfully volunteered his services. "I need you to capture one of each for me. One Insecticon, one Sharkticon. Intact and undetected. That is, if you think you can manage it. They are far more dangerous than the keyboards and staplers you're used to wrestling."
The challenging tone in his voice would be obvious for any and all to hear.
Finally, he signalled one of his more loathsome underlings. "Fangry, the rest of my minions have failed me. Have you been able to sniff out the Sharkticons' pit?"
Astrotrain's cargo bay
Mindwipe eagerly led the way out of Astrotrain's cargo hold.
Full-Tilt trailed behind, after most of the Titan Masters and other lesser Decepticons had left. The mostly-purple Decepticon rubbed his hands together in anticipation of the possibility that he would soon be able to explore the memories of some of the creatures whose presence was vexing them. He'd never mind-scanned an animal before.
"It's different for me," Furos admitted to Firedrive. "Hardhead and I were...well, we were both Hardhead, before all of this happened. There was just one of us. When the call came out that everyone would either have to downsize or have their head taken off and become someone else's vehicle, well...you've met us. What else would you expect? We refused. Violently. So they copied me into a little body and also left me in the big one. At first it was like having a twin brother, but over time...well, again, you've met us. We're not the same anymore, are we? For both of us, sometimes it's like looking in the mirror and not recognizing the face you see looking back."
And not liking it very much sometimes, either, he silently admitted. If he told the whole honest truth, he'd have said that it scared him. That he and Hardhead had started out in exactly the same place only to go so far in two different directions...it raised a whole lot of uncomfortable questions about just how malleable one's mind really was, and how easy it was to lose yourself.
"Do I ever get used to it? Not completely. But it's a lot less uncomfortable than it used to be."
Hardhead dropped back a bit from the group as Maxx got to work. He'd seen her work her magic before, and while this was out of her usual comfort zone, he and Furos both had complete confidence that she would straighten Hot Rod and Firedrive out.
Instead, he singled out Ironhide. "I trust your equipment is functioning properly now. Optimus and Diac could have used your services during the battle."
Posted: Fri Dec 15, 2017 10:48 am
Hot Rod's canopy hissed shut. "Sorry it's so cramped in there. I wasn't designed with storage space in mind."
Maxx would have shrugged if she'd had the room to move. "No big deal. I think we should just start with talking." She looked as much as she could over Firedrive's shoulder at Hot Rod's main console. "Let's start at the top. What brought you two together?"
Hot Rod and Firedrive replied in unison: "Theft."
Hot Rod continued. "I hadn't been bonded to anybody when he stole me."
Firedrive shrugged. "I needed to escape from security and stumbled across him. He looked schway, and really fast."
Maxx nodded. "And when you connected with Hot Rod, you two wound up bonding." She wished she could bring one of her arms up. "So here's a question. Why? Why did you let him bond with you, Hot Rod?"
"I see potential in him. I wanted to bring it out. I WILL bring it out."
Firedrive cringed involuntarily.
"Hot Rod, I'm going to ask you the same thing I asked Firedrive. Do you know how lucky you are? Other than Hardhead and Furos, everybody else here went through all kinds of tests, psychological profiling, and match surveys to connect warriors with warriors, scientists with scientists-"
"Nightbeat didn't," said Firedrive.
"We don't know how well that bonding will work. Ginrai's barely a sparkling. The point I'm trying to make is this- you two have an opportunity here to be something completely new. But you need to trust each other. And I'm here to help with that."
"Depends, Furos, on whut ya mean by properly, Ah guess," Ironhide growled. "Everything's working lahke it should, but th' programmin's th' problem."
From somewhere in Ironhide's cargo compartment came a muffled chirp of defiance.
"Still better'n turnin' inta a head. Any ahdea where we're goin'?"
"That's the problem, Optimus. We should have had to abandon the Titans by now." He tapped a couple of other controls, then plugged his hand back into the console. "And the sensors are saying we're coming up to a large open area. Something's moving, but there seems to be far too many blips to be the dig team."
Over the teeming mass of Sharkticons:
Fangry jetted over the Sharkticon horde, holding a Shark mode Sharkticon arm in his claws and chewing on it. "These things taste terrible." -BELCH- Then he activated his commlink. "I think I'm closing in on it. The stench is getting worse."
Posted: Sat Dec 16, 2017 4:04 pm
Rear of Wyvern's Lair aka Logistics transport number 17
Double picked up the playing piece and moved it 3 spaces.
Cross' optics brightened.
"Yesssss Crystal City with a bar, a foundry and 2 Hospital units, that my friends will be 1200 Sssshannix"
Double awkwardly counted his stack of chips one handed and then stretched his sinuous neck to peer at the illuminated space marked Crystal City . His optics narrowed.
"What issss that , you can't have 2 hospital unitssss unlessss you have a Cybertronian plant and Leo hassss the Electricity Company which meansss only he can build them. You are trying to cheat me againnn.
Cross looked back at Double optics turning yellow.
"are you calling me a cheat ..."
Across the playing board a white anthromoriphic mechanical lion swivelled resignedly from a screen he was studying and peered at the board then picked up a tablet .
"When I graduated from the Academy my trainer gave me one piece of advice. He said, "Always..." No, he said, "Never..." Well, actually, he gave me two pieces of advice but I've forgotten the other one. But the important one is..."
Haywire who was sitting in the cabs transport's cab his feet on the dashboard and a handheld game console in one hand . swiveled his seat round to face the rear of the transport .
"What the Sherriff is trying to say is, the rules say you can have two hospital units if you , picked up the planning permission card from the Chance cards , which .." he jabbed a finger . " he did , what seems like several days ago ... I don't know why you persist in this boring game, you should try something a bit more faster paced ." He waved his hand held console in the air vaguely. "like Ultimate Treachery, Starscream platinum edition...."
Monzo had known a busy career on the professional wrestling circuit before undergoing the Titan Maters process. Dozens of bouts had worn joints and had an effect which no medical assistance had ever been able to solve. Monzo was in pain a lot of the time . Fortunately he had a solution . However that solution was fast running out.
He opened a com link
Vorath it's Monzo , we need to talk...
Posted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 10:24 pm
"Good," Megatron told Fangry. "If you could tell me when you do...?"
Even as he said it, he knew he was feeling Doomshot's influence. A day ago he would have barked an order, then cursed at Fangry when the inevitable insubordinate backlash came, wasting time and only getting the other Decepticon's cooperation on threat of death. But his Titan Master steered him to a more delicate approach that would -- hopefully -- get a more positive response out of his difficult-but-useful soldier. Because, after all, if you spent all day threatening to fusion-cannon good assets if they didn't cooperate, eventually you were going to have to do it, and that was just a waste. Far better to get them to do your bidding on their own terms, if you could.
The old Megatron would have rejected that thought purely because of the source of it, but now he realized that he'd only ever been hurting himself.
Well, and all the minions he'd fusion-cannoned in the past.
Astrotrain's cargo bay
Mindwipe separated and transformed when Monzo's call came through, with Vorath landing on his partner's wing to take the call.
"What can I do for you?"
"If I didn't know better," Furos responded to Ironhide, doing his best not to show mirth, "I'd say you were arguing with a non-sentient piece of equipment. You're better than that."
Either that or someone's given your sled a personality when you weren't looking. Which would probably serve you right.
"And don't knock turning into a head. It has its advantages. Having a partner that understands how you think makes you far more effective in battle."
He glanced forward as he pondered the other Autobot's question. "I don't know exactly where we're headed, but this tunnel is supposed to lead us to what is -- in theory -- supposed to be a Mega-Titan." His voice took on a foreboding tone. "It was also supposed to be so small that no one larger than you would be able to make it down half this far and we're still driving two abreast. So I would suggest you expect surprises."
"Hostile ones," Hardhead added.
"That was implied, yes," Furos said, doing his best to hide his exasperation.
Posted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 6:00 am
Astrotrains Cargo Bay
Monzo knew he had little choice .
"Vorath I need more of those painkillers . The ones you found for me before are running out . I need some more, the Doc won't help me any more . "
At the rear of the cargo bay Weirdwolf was staring into the middle distance and muttering to himself . " to kill Omega Supreme best way is , size to use against . Hamstring from behind the way to achieve is. "
Posted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 9:40 am
Sixshot glanced at Astrotrain, but remained silent as Megatron spoke to the triple-changer. Astrotrain waited until Full-Tilt, Mindwipe and the others went out of his cargo bay before transforming into robot mode, plates folding into place and visibly compacting from the larger train into his humanoid form. He frowned – he was suggesting going in invisible, and unleash attacks upon both swarms and direct them towards each other by noise.
Yet if he backed down here… he wasn’t sure if it was a ploy by Megatron or Doomshot, but he wasn’t about to back down. He wasn’t that rusty thanks to his desk job, after all. Hopefully.
Still, he suppressed a smirk at the stapler comment. (In his head, the part of him that was Darkmoon was loudly guffawing). “I shall treat them as significantly more dangerous than staplers, sir. Your will shall be done.”
Giving Megatron a (hopefully taken as un-ironic) salute, Astrotrain leaped into the air, transforming into his shuttle mode, and shooting away towards the Insecticon swarm. A ripple ran through Astrotrain’s form, and soon he blended in with the night sky.
Optimus Prime looked around, rotating his headlights to illuminate the walls around them. It’s odd, indeed – Optimus wasn’t a miner, but the scratches on the walls seemed to indicate that whatever formed these abnormally wide tunnels seem to have happened very recently. “Multiple blips…” Optimus mulled at Nightbeat’s information. “It could be anything. A hive of Insecticons or Sparkeaters.”
Or did the Decepticons find an easier way to get through, and are waiting for us?
“Autobots.” Optimus called out, “Be on alert and have weapons ready – we may have hostiles ahead.” Optimus punctuated his order by having the ion blaster stored within his trailer section slide out of a compartment, primed and ready to fire.
Perceptor almost suppressed a sigh. Who in their right mind doesn’t have their weapons ready? Well, he did – back when he was naïve. His sniper rifle and his light cannon had been primed the moment he transformed from where the dig site was. Convex sat on the ‘control seat’ for the light cannon, although it was more of a formality than anything. Perceptor was perfectly capable of shooting the cannon himself, but in case his systems get damaged, that’s the easiest way that his smaller partner will be able to fix the broken systems.
He looked at Cerebros, hanging on to the back of Ginrai’s trailer. A sorry excuse of an Autobot. He can’t even hold his sidearm properly – and is it set in stun mode? And not to mention his immobile alternate mode, forcing his fuel-inefficient piggyback. Of all the medics in the Autobot army, why did they get stuck with this one?
Posted: Thu Dec 21, 2017 5:51 pm
Double pricked up his ears .
"Looksssssss like we're in businesssssss."
Doublecross moved to side of logistic transport and lowered a serving hatch .
Cross called out
"Get your extra ammo, powerpacksssss, grenadesssss."
Double glanced across the racking filling the trailer and muttered.
"Sssssstandardisssation, would it have killed them to ssssssselrct one weaponsssssss ssssssystem for everyone . No everyone hassssss to be ssssssspecial , no one ever thinksssssss of the logistics ssssss train, when picking there oh sssssssso marveloussssss ssssssssssuper duper unique perssssssonal weaponssssss ssssssssystem. "
Cross nodded . "Thissssssss isssss jussssst the ready ssssstock. They sssssshould sssssseee the powerdrain of keeeping everything elssssse in sssssssssssssssssubsssssssspace.
Posted: Thu Dec 21, 2017 11:31 pm
Megatron was indifferent to the meaning behind Astrotrain's salute. For the moment, he would do as he was told. That was enough. Even disloyal troops could be trusted to do as they were told, as long as they could be convinced that it was in their best interest to do so.
And once their interested diverged? Well, he could deal with that when it happened.
Vorath scowled. "Monzo, I'm no pharmacist, but even I know that the vials I gave you should have lasted you well into next month. What happened? If you've consumed them all so quickly, not only are you running the risk of overdose, but your system must have built up an incredible tolerance to the medication. Again. We're honestly running out of treatment options here. As much as I hate to admit it, Grit and the other medics were right."
Mindwipe narrowed his optics. "Vell, there is alvays the other option, ah-ha-ha!"
Vorath glowered at him. "No. This is a medical problem, not a seance."
Posted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 7:25 am
Monzo's eyes darted from side to side.
"It hurt so much I needed something to make the pain go away. I've still got some left b-b-but Weirdwolf took it off me . He said it was for my own good but he doesn't understand, he won't let me have any ."
Weirdwolf sauntered over and growled over Monzo's shoulder.
"Not quite true , that is , for your own good it was . For my own good it was too. Function can I not when my head overdosing is. 6 vials have do I . "
Werewolf glanced at Mindwipe
"Other option what is ? "