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Difference between revisions of "2017-07-02 Always A Bigger Fish"

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|summary=Or ''Here Be Dragons''

Latest revision as of 00:56, 23 July 2017

Always a Bigger Fish
Date 2017/07/02
Location Some planet
Participants Brainstorm, Sandstorm
NPCs Crickt
Plot Artifacts of the Knights of Cybertron
Scene GM Ems
Summary Or Here Be Dragons Sandstorm and Brainstorm have a high-flying adventure

Another artifact has appeared, this time on a little known planet at the edge of a near forgotten star systen. There was barely a minute speaking to Anialus before the AI was practically shoving them through the space bridge- only mentioning something about already contacting the locals and sending them datapackages of the natives' language.

The sight on the other side is breathtaking. Stepping out onto what appears to be a large platform, all the optic can see is giant plant covered masses of rock hovering miles over a planet floor entirely hidden by a thick near noxious fog. The entirty of the planet seems to be constantly moving, a continual sway of the flying stones or whirl of the smog below. All of this is seperated by the sheen of a near transparent green barrier between them and the world outside.

While he's trying not to show it, Sandstorm is actually impressed by the sight before them as the space bridge spits them out. He'd initially come into this annoyed at another artifact hunt, but the breathtaking view is picking up his mood a little. If he could ditch his companion, transform and soar through those floating islands on his own, he'd be set for several hours, maybe even the rest of the day. Let Brainstorm find the artifact - he's good out here.

Except...he can't do that. "This is a lot nicer than the last place that fragger sent us," Sandstorm comments, sounding as Done as ever. Noting the platform, and the fact that it - and therefore they - have to be attached to something to keep them out of that noxious fog, Sandstorm does turn. Time to find out what this place is, and who built it.

With all the other things he's got on his plate, Brainstorm hasn't had the chance to go on one of these artifact finding missions yet. He had wanted to, though not out of any feelings of cabin fever or wanderlust. He's simply wanted to see one of these artifacts up close, before they've been handled for so long. The are, after all, meant to power a weapon, and as a weapons engineer, he wants to know as much as possible about them. There are possibly some personal reasons involved there.

"You don't sound particularly happy about that" he notes as Sandstorm comments on their suroundings. He himself is quite chipper today. This is a rather interesting place, and, unlike his companion, he's quite happy for the company, given the stories of some of the other artifact excursions. Thus, when he also turns towards the settlement, he also makes sure to glance at Sandstorm, to make sure that he's coming along "I suppose that's a good a place to start as any."

There is a loud noise from the left behind them and turning reveals a very strange creature half hopping/half hobbling towards them. The two get a good look at it as their systems calibrate and translate the language to the nearest recognizable dialect. It is large, coming roughly to Brainstorm's shoulder, and looks as if some mad Earth scientist threw a kangaroo, monkey, and insect into a blender, resulting in a mashed up amalgamation of too many limbs and too much awkwardly placed fur.

It sure is friendly, though, as the translation finally comes through.

"Howdy ya'll! Got here just in time, that ghostie feller explained what's goin' on. Cmon, I'll show ya to yer rides then we'll get both ya set up and ready to go." Turning, the native leads them away from the barrier and further into the settlement behind them. It looks like a mess, a random collection of ramshackle tents and temporary structures that looks like they could be taken down and moved in an instant. Its towards one of the larger, more stable, structures the alien is clearly heading towards, "Names Clickt, by the way! Seems like your lil signal artifact thingy is in the middle of the magic triangle, so it'll be a bit of a flight."

"You're right, Brainstorm. I should be ecstatic that we're out in the middle of where-the-frag-ever looking for some useless object to fight a giant planet-eating monster. How could I forget." Sandstorm's excitement about getting to explore those floating islands means this comes out more as banter than the snapped irritation he'd intended. Oh well. There was still plenty of time to be a right aft. The day was young. "Looks like we don't have much of a choice," he adds, as the ugliest organic he's ever seen approaches them. And Sandstorm has seen his fair share of organics.

He would ask why the AI bothered phoning ahead this time when Anialus hadn't warned them about anything during the last mission, but decides he'll needle the guy later. Instead, it's time to follow this alien, because why the hell not. Sandstorm takes in the settlement as they pass through it, noting the thrown-together nature of it all, and despite the shoddy appearance, he approves. "Flight?" He's immediately drawn to that word, then snorts as they near the stable. "We don't need rides to fly. Both of us have aerial alts, we can fly our own damn selves."

"Brainstorm, glactically renown weapons engineer" The jet introduces himself. It seems that Anialus has taken care of the basics atleast, and the natives seem willing enough to help. Sandstorm got the flying thing too, so Brainstorm is left to ask the next obvious question "Magic triangle?"

Crickt turns back to look at Sandstorm, giving what one can only assume is the species' version of a raised eyebrow before again what can be assumed is the equivalent of shrugging, "Alrigh', we'll send out a search party for the lil bits of y'all left that fell to the planet floor later then." Reaching the building, Clickt starts what seems to be a tedious process of opening the door, undoing about half a dozen different latches and locks, "One step outside the barrier and y'all will be ripped to shreds by the winds, and even if you do manage to survive the magic triangle will screw up your internal guiding systems and probably cause ya to crash... or theres always the chance of something bigger finding ya and taking a bite from ya'll." There is a thunk from inside the structure, "And even if ya find the artifact no tellin' if you'll be able to reach it or not on yer own."

<FS3> Sandstorm rolls Adventurous: Good Success. (6 4 5 8 1 4 6 3 8 7)

Sandstorm starts to bristle at the condescending way Crickt speaks to him - as if it's not on par with how he spoke to the organic in the first place. Except the description of what could happen to them, the clear intent to intimidate Sandstorm with descriptions of how he'll be horribly decimated if he goes out on his own, does the exact opposite. Sandstorm feels a thrill surge through his circuits, optics brightening at Crickt's words. "Fine, we can't go out without your special transport, whatever." His excitement is barely tempered by the evenness in his tone, leaking out between each syllable. "Show us what you've got then, and maybe answer Brainstorm's question while you're at it. What is this magic triangle?"

A small look of disapointment crosses braisntorm's face when Crickt practically ignores him and his genius. No taste on this backwater planet, huh? But oh well, back to the matter at hand. The description of the consiquences of going outside the barrier promptly knock out any desire Brainstorm might have had to go on his own power. He likes to keep all his pices together, thank you very much, so he'll be perfectly happy to hitch a ride, and yes, hopefully get an answer to his question. Both of them "Do you know what the artifact even is?"

"Nope! Ghostie just said somethin' about y'all needing to find its signal and we like helping folks 'round these parts." Seeming to realize he never answered Brainstorm, Crickt explains, "Oh tha's simple, the magic triangle is the a ... whatcha call it.. 'trifecta' of the planet's largest islands. Between them are a bunch o' lil islands which are home to a lot o' the planet's wildlife. Also shorts out almost any form of electrical navigation systems but we don' really have that problem here.... err... y'all might actually.... Nah I'm sure you'll be fiiine." Finally he gets the door unhooked and it swings open.

Inside are about half a dozen very large alien creatures, a strange alien mix of dinosaur and bird that stand a good head or two taller than both Cybertronians- clearly outweighing them in both mass and strength. They are in various state of seeming sleep, with large sacks places over the creatures' arrive heads. While most are bare, two towards the back have a serious of straps, harnesses, and bags hooked tightly to their heavily muscled limbs.

Crickt hop/hobbles inside and grabs the reins hanging down from both creatures heads and with a harsh tug leads them with their strange feet-and-wing gait out to stand in front of the two.

Lips splitting in a wide, rogueish grin, Sandstorm seems practically delighted at the prospect of losing their navigations systems. Nothing like flying blind in a dangerous environment, where any false move could lead to a violent and spectacular death, right? His rotors give an impatient whirl, rotor arms shifting restlessly as he takes in the great alien monstrosities they're going to be riding. Despite the sarcastic way in which he'd said it earlier, this mission really is way better than the last one, and he's pumped.

"So these are our rides." It's not a question. Sandstorm peers up at the one closest to him, the grin never leaving his face. "And how's it protect us against the wind, exactly? You gonna strap us in real tight and pray?"

"If it's just magnetic interfeirance, we should be okay" Brainstorm nods, though the emphasis on should betrays that he's not entierly at eas with this idea. Unlike Sandstorm, he'd rather avoid risk. Speaking of.

"He's got a point" the engineer steps around one of the creatures, studying it, and its harness. He's never ridden an organic before - this should be interesting "Does this come with some sort of forcefield as well?"

"Actually yeah!" Crickt grins before heading back into the building and coming back out with two disk like objects, "And these here." Reaching up, the alien sticks one to each of their chests and a green sheen seems to surround the both of them, just like the barrier around the edge.

"These here won't last through the heat and movements of your alt modes but as long as y'all stay in the saddle and don't go jerkin' around too much you'll be fine." Clapping his hands together, Crickt gets right to it, "Alright. Basics! Lean and tug to one side or the other to turn, lean forward to descend, pull back to ascend, squeeze with your legs to land. Don't worry about the possibility of only cliffs when you find the artifact just squeeze and these two will know what to do. If you fall, don't panic... actually panic a lil, but stay calm enough to hit the button on the center of those there devices. Will send out a signal the two, these two are trained to catch whatever is giving off the signal.. just uh... don't turn it off until you get somewhere safe, cus as soon as it goes off they gonna drop you. Alright! get on up there and I'll strap you both in!" Going to the larger of the two bird things, Crickt seems to be expectantly waiting for them.

"And if you run into any trouble, they'll know what to do... well... Seze will." A thumb like appendage is jabbed towards the larger one he is standing beside, "Not sure about Pock but he'll follow Seze, she's alpha female. But get ready once your strapped in, as soon as I tug those sacks off their heads the two of them will be off like a rocket."

Aw. Sandstorm studies the force-field now stuck to his chassis, and the green shimmer it has created around him. A pretty rudimentary field, though he can't expect much else out of these organics. They do their best with what they've got, which he can respect, even if looking at them makes him want to take out his optics and give 'em a good scrub. He listens to the instructions, fidgeting all the while, and when Crickt is done waves a dismissive hand. "Right, I got it. Try not to get ourselves smashed or dropped. Understood." Briefly he imagines purposefully diving off of the creature and calling it to catch him at the last second. That thrill crackles through him again, and he has to hide a delighted shiver up his spinal strut, the energy released instead with another quick spin of his rotors.

"I think I'll take the lead, if you don't mind, Brainstorm." Sandstorm doesn't give the scientist any room to disagree, already climbing up onto the creature named Seze and getting strapped in. Brainstorm seems to like being the one in the back, anyway, so he might as well take the lead here.

That's better! While Crickt explains the whys and hows, Brainstorm takes the opportunity to look the device, and the field it generates, over. Primitive indeed, but there is something in this that brings out a telltale twinkle in his optics. He'll have to keep it in mind for when he gets back to the ship.

Sandstorm's insistance on taking the alpha gets no argument. He's not picky here, and knowing some animals, and mechs, alpha can also mean more likely to get into a fight. Yes, he'll stay in the back. Following the tripplechanger's example, he pulls himself up onto the saddle of the second beast. Well, this does feel a little strange, sitting on an organic, but if it gets him to their destination in one piece, he won't complain.

The creatures shift and resettle their weight as Crickt finishes strapping them in. He ducks back into the barn one last time before coming back out and slipping a long metal rod with a handle into Brainstorm's hand, "If you need it, press the button on tap, rap it against his shoulder.... you'll know when you need it. OK," Hopping around to the front of both creatures, Crickt takes the ropes handing from both sacks and very obviously gets clear, "When done, just tell them 'home'. Bye!" With that the alien gives a hard yank on the ropes and the sacks come free.

The creatures swing their massive heads, small eyes blinking as their slitted pupils contract in the new light before they spot open air. Crickt hadn't been kidding.

As soon as both register they are free, they surge forward with more speed and strength than their awkwardly placed limbs would suggest and promptly throw themselves over the edge of the platform.

Once outside the wind hits them like a freight train, even able to feel its force through the barriers despite not seeming to bother their mounts at all. The beasts spread their wings as they dive straight into the noxious fog only to glide above the air once again and take off straight towards the floating islands far in the distance.

<FS3> Sandstorm rolls Adventurous: Amazing Success. (4 6 8 8 4 7 3 7 7 7)

"Real specific directions, eh?" Sandstorm calls back to Brainstorm when he overhears the conversation regarding the metal rod Brainstorm's been given. "'You'll know when you need it'. Riddle protobull-slag." He turns back to his own mount, firmly settling himself in the saddle and harness and preparing for when Crickt removes the hood and Seze takes off. He's not disappointed in the slightest; once the hoods are gone, the creature beneath him barrels right off the platform, launching herself, and him, into the air. He hollers aloud, the sound ripped from his lips by the roaring gusts that greet them once they're free of the settlement's barrier. Even with the force field, his rotor arms shift inward, tail rotor sliding down, his kibble minimizing as best it can to provide less of an easily-ripped-off target.

"<< Brainstorm! >>" is giddily yelled over the comms, even though yelling is not at all necessary with internal radios. "<< This is amazing! Are you loving this?! I am fragging loving this! >>" It's clear, too, in the manic way his grin now stretches his features, the brightness of his optics, the sheer joy of his expression. Who gives a scrap about the artifact - this is way better!

Brainstorm studies the device given to him. He'll know it when he needs it, huh? Specific indeed. He's not sure if that sounds reasuring, or foreboding. Either way, it seems best to hang on to it anyways. Tucking his briefcase away between his knees, he adjusts his grip on the reigns so as to be able to securely hold everything, and hold on himself as his ride is released into the sky.

Whoomph! A flyer himself, Brainstorm is used to some headwind, but this is something else entierly, even with the barrier. The jet flattens himself against Pock's back, folding his shoulder fins down to better streamline himself against the wind. Atleast Sandstorm seems to be enjoying himself "<< It's certianly something >>" he calls back to the tripple changer "<< "Atleast they're not -- you know what, never mind" >> if he says that they're atleast not doing barrel rolls, they will inevitabley start doing barrel rols.

Seze and Pock straighten out of a seemingly erratic flight pattern and into a more bird appropriate formation, Pock following behind the larger after Seze takes a snap at him for getting too close- an action which dangerous jostles both their riders.

Soaring past the hovering rock spires, the two cybertronians will find their internal systems quickly becoming fuzzier and more slowly offlining, making them rely almost entirely on merely what they can see... which isn't much considering the quickly accumulating smog as they advance makes everything further than about 20 meters fade into seemingly oblivion. The signal from the artifact remains strong, however, and grows stronger the more their systems scramble.

Noises can be heard form unseen creatures in the din, some of which Seze and Pock screech back to in response. There is a very disturbing moment where a near earth shaking roar echoes off the rocks and the two reptilian birds go deathly quiet as their heads and eyes rapidly twist and turn to identify the source. Nothing appears, luckily.

Sandstorm isn't bothered by the jostling at all, clutching his mount when she snaps at Brainstorm's. He shoots the scientist a quick wink before Pock is moving behind Seze's lead and Sandstorm returns his attention to the scenery ahead of them. Even for him, it's somewhat frightening as his sensors offline one by one, leaving him with very little means of navigating beyond his vision; the fear feels good, though, something he craves, and it only heightens his sense of adventure. This, that feeling of being a sparkbeat away from offlining completely - this is what he lives for.

And, one day, it'll be what he dies for.

Thankfully that day isn't today. Sandstorm too swivels his helm, audials swinging toward the sounds coming from all around them in the fog. The roar nearly has his spark jumping out of his mouth, and he can't help the giddy, slightly hysterical laugh that bubbles up. "<< Better not run into whatever that was, huh? >>"

Brainstorm flattens down even further as the creatures figure things out among themselves, both to reduce the risk of being thrown off, and to keep his baggage steady. His briefcase may be chained to his wrist, but he doesn't want to test the strength of either in this wind.

The sensation of having his systems begin to offline doesn't help the matter, especially combined with that roar. He'd very much preffer to know what's going on around him, especially if it has potential to be dangerous. Yet without his sensors, all he can do is copy Sandstorm, and their rides, and warily glance around, trying to peer through the fog. "<< Atleast we seem to be getting closer to the artifact >>"

As if on cue, the signal finally grows to its peak strength as they approach a larger island, signal coming directly from the large cliffside. Sensing the impending obstacle, Seze suddenly twists in mid air and slams directly into the cliff. Claws scrabbling, she jolts downwards for several feet before they find purchse and she gets a good grip to the rock. Pock is quick to copy his leader, and both are soon hanging vertically on the face, dangling their riders dangerously in the process as the objects in their saddlebags rattle.

The signal is coming from directly in front of them.

Sandstorm hoots in delight even as he's bodily jerked around in his harness by Seze's sudden movements. His tanks lurch like he's in freefall when she slides down, and once she's got purchase in the rocky sides of the cliff, he laughs again, hanging with most of his weight supported by the saddle and the harness. As if testing it.

"<< Pretty damn close, I'd say! >>" Scanners show the artifact is here, right in front of them, which means Sandstorm is pulling out some of his tools to get to work on digging into the rock to unearth the artifact. If the signal is accurate, it shouldn't take too long to find the thing, right? Then they can get back to the flying blind part.


<FS3> Brainstorm rolls Cowardice: Good Success. (4 1 5 3 7 8 4 3)

Being in the back, Brainstorm has atleast a moment's warning of what's to come, giving him the opportunity to press flat against Pock's back, clinging tightly to the harness with a whimper. It's all he can do to not give into the urge to transform, or atleast activate his root mode thrusters. That would certianly mean the end for him, if these forcefields are as flimsy as Crickt said.

It's only once his ride comes to a stop that he dares to look up. Then down. Then over at Sandstorm "<< You can go on dicging, I need to get a reading >>" which doesn't seem to involve getting down. Still clinging tightly to the harness with one hand, he reaches into his chest compartment with the other, pulling out a flat, rectangular device, complete with an antena, a screen, and a myriad of flashy lights. It seems that opperating it doesn't require him to get off either, just pointing it. Sandstorm's the muscle here. He can handle the heavy work without him, right?

While Seze stays obedient and still as Sandstorm digs, Pock seems to have become distracted. Beginning to crawl across the cliff face, he begins wandering towards a small hole little skittering sounds can be heard from and taking Brainstorm along for the ride- entirely ignoring any commands he might be given to go back. Suddenly the reason behind the rod seems to be clear.

The rock doesn't give way easy under Sandstorm's tools but luckily the mech doesn't have to dig far before a small metal box reveals itself. It is easily tugged out once revealed and inside is a simple crystal, sitting pretty as if just waiting for someone to find it.

Both riders, probably distracted by their own tasks, won't hear anything... but their mounts certainly do. The two pterosaur like creatures' heads snap up in unison just before a large spray of thick black liquid hits both creatures in the face. Screeching in panic, both drop from the cliff and blindly try to fly away as that same roar from before comes again, this time from directly above. A massive thing moves through the fog, giving the cybertronians only a glimpse of mottled green and brown skin before it disappears back into the smog to clearly get below them.

<FS3> Sandstorm rolls Reaction+reaction: Success. (1 2 3 7 3 5)

<FS3> Brainstorm rolls Reaction+Reaction: Failure. (3 3 2 2)

Sandstorm shrugs at Brainstorm doing his 'readings', giving the scientist leeway to remain attached to Pock and not have to put himself in danger like Sandstorm is doing. Doesn't matter to him, he'll do what they came for on his own, then. Not that it's really a two-mech job anyway, as some determined digging finally reveals the box. A box in a hole that's...for him. He can feel it as more and more of the box is revealed, something pulling him toward it. This must've been how Nightshade felt when she saw that flower. His digging increases in speed until the box is free, and when he opens it--his processor stalls. Slowly, he pulls out the crystal inside, noting how it catches even the faint light. It's spherical, smooth and unblemished, the same bright blue in color as the matrix. Sandstorm's face twists into something unreadable as his fist clenches around the artifact.

He doesn't have time to be irate, as it's right then that Seze's head jerks up and she's hit full in the face with some sort of blinding gunk. The box goes flying out of his hands but the crystal doesn't, Sandstorm's fingers automatically curling to keep it safe as he presses himself to Seze's neck, any curses he's spewing lost again to the gale-like winds.

"<< Brainstorm! What happened! >>" Sandstorm squeezes his knees, squinting through the fog and trying to steer Seze safely around any obstructions in their path. He keeps an audial open for the creature that's hunting them. "<< Where are you! >>"

<FS3> Brainstorm rolls Cowardice: Good Success. (6 6 7 7 6 1 2 7)

Commands are most certianly given. Brainstorm would very much preffer to stay as close to the source of the signal as possible so as to get a better reading. After, to his annoyance, his orders are ignored, he finally reaches out with the stick.

And then suddlenly the creatures are on high alert, and then tumbling downwards. Brainstorm barely has time enough to react to keep his hold on the harness, and his briefcase, which all but slides off Pock's back before he manages to reel it back in. The scanner, however, slips his hand, falling into the depths of the planet's atmosphere. Well, so much for that, though it's not like he has the time to mourn the loss right now. At this rate, the rocks and g-force might acomplish what the wind failed. If the creature above doesn't get to him first. Terror welling up in him, he clings to the reins, yanking hard in an attempt to get his mount to level out, all the while avoiding floating debries. Even through the radio, Sandstorm will have no trouble hearing the engineer's fear "<< We're under attack! I'm too smart to be eaten! >>"

Coming from the fog, the two get their first real sight of the creature pursueing them. From below a massive head, jaw wide and displaying hundreds maybe thousands of dagger like teeth, rushes upwards. Its heavily scarred with too many eyes and spines covering its body as it barrels past them, Seze and Pock barely managing to right themselves in time to avoid the beast, still blinded but now flying straight and far faster than before. Its pure luck the thing's massive tail doesn't hit Sandstorm as it passes.

The danger is hardly over, as it can be heard turning and preparing itself for another pass.

<FS3> Sandstorm rolls Adventurous: Good Success. (1 8 4 5 6 4 7 5 6 5)

Pure luck and the fact that Sandstorm instinctively ducks down, flattening himself against Seze when the pursuing creature's great tail whips past him. The beast is enormous, and horrifying - which make the chase all that more exciting. "<< Are we? I hadn't noticed! >>" A wild laugh passes along the comms before he adds, "<< Get yourself back to the settlement, I'll do what I can do buy you some time! >>" Slipping the artifact away (so what if they lose this one, it wouldn't make any difference in the grand scheme of things) Sandstorm heaves the reins, jerking Seze away from her straight path home. He's not turning back, exactly, but to the side, purposefully flying his mount enough in the direction of the beast so that its attention should be caught by him and him alone. He pulls hard to swing them around the opposite side of a floating island from Brainstorm, putting more obstruction in the way between the huge monster and the scientist. He's probably going to get himself and Seze eaten, but hey, Brainstorm should make it back, right?

Brainstorm had not heard a better idea since the last one he ca,me up with "<< Will do! >>" he agrees eagerly, though he does add "<< Try not to get yourself eaten. I'm the one who'll have to explain this to Rodimus >>" with that note of support, he flattens himself against Pock's back, giving the beast his head with only the occasional yank to steer him away from any debries.

Still blind, Seze can only trust her rider to direct her on what is happening. Sandstorm's little act of distraction does the trick, the beast lurching out of the smokey fog after him. The mere turbulence kicked up by its wings causes Pock and Brainstorm to sway dangerously but continue on their swift path back to safety.

While Sandstorm may be hoping for the islands to slow it down... they don't. It seems to take advantage of the rocks, seamlessly going from flying to climbing across cliff faces and never slowing its pace even once. It thrusts its teeth filled head forward, intent to grab Sandstorm straight out the saddle.

<FS3> Sandstorm rolls Reaction+reaction: Good Success. (8 8 3 6 4 5)

<FS3> Sandstorm rolls Firearms: Good Success. (4 8 5 8 3 2 7 1 3)

Sandstorm does his best to fly Seze true, despite the fact that he's intentionally putting her in danger along with himself. She'll never know, probably, considering she's blind right now and if he fails, well, she'll never know anything ever again, so it's fine! He glances back every so often to see the beast's progress in gaining on them, and finds that it's not decreasing at all, is in fact getting closer and closer. Weaving in and out of the islands doesn't seem to deter the creature, as Sandstorm had, yes, been hoping. He'll just have to improvise.

His chance comes when the beast snaps its jaws forward to try and grab Sandstorm. Quick thinking has him pressing forward against Seze's neck, sending her into a rapid descent that has him narrowly missing his own demise. Unfortunate, but... who knows if Brainstorm would make it without him as a distraction. That fact is what has him setting his mouth in a grimly accepting line as he pulls out the blaster given to him by that gunformer. While he's been reluctant to use it, irritated by the gift, now isn't the time to be picky, and, aiming right for one of those many rolling eyes in the very close skull of the beast, Sandstorm fires. Hopefully a short range, hard hit to a sensitive area will distract it a little better than those islands did.

It's only once he's far enough from the beast pursuing them that he no longer feels like he can feel its breath on his back does Brainstorm dare to glance over his shoulder. It looks like Sandstorm's still moving, or atleast his bird is, but for how long? While the engineer has absolutely no intention of ptoentially depriving the Lost Light of its greatest genius by turning around and risking his life, he is hoping that Sandstorm will make it, although in the back of his head, he's already forming the story he might have to tell Rodimus. He was definitly trying to help in that story.

The further they fly, the more the two Cybertronian's systems begin to come back online. Its a hopeful sign that they will be back to safety soon. That is, if the natives even have any way to combat the monster chasing them.

Meanwhile the flying terror screeches in agony as Sandstorm manages to hit one of its eyes, managing to get right past the boney plates that seem to provide them protection. It veers away and circles, rapidly shaking its now injured head and giving the mech time to put even more distance between them. After a moment it seems to regain its bearings, though, and starts pursuing him all over again. Only now it seems a lot angrier. Its head reals back and after a pause, it spits out another blob of ink like liquid to the far left. It seems to miss only for the winds to begin pushing the projectile, rapidly curving through the air and making its way straight for Sandstorm and his ride.

<FS3> Sandstorm rolls Reaction+reaction: Good Success. (1 5 6 8 2 7)

Sandstorm shoves the blaster away once he's hit the creature only so that he can press Seze on, spurring her forward as they race for the safety of the settlement...or what is hopefully the safety of the settlement. He'd call the space bridge now, open it so that he and Brainstorm could get back to Rigard, if not for the fact that Rodimus might have a conniption if two giant organic dragon-things destroyed the space bridge room. So they'll just have to hope those ugly fraggers built their settlement's force-field up to par.

Sandstorm does look back to see that his laserfire managed to enrage the beast, which he kind of expected. He narrows his optics when that blinding liquid is spat not at him, but to the side; his suspicions end up being proven right when the winds curve it back toward him. "Damn smart meatbag," he grumbles to himself before jerking at Seze's reins. He sends them both into a barrel roll, flying out of the path of that goo as it comes hurtling toward them. Another hard pull has Seze righting and Sandstorm fixing his gaze on the path ahead, navigational systems coming back online as they grow closer and closer to the settlement. Almost there...

They can see the settlement in the distance, and what appears to be the form of Crickt waving at them with all the ease of the world. Its as if he doesn't see the giant mass of angry alien dinosaur dragon behind them.

Meanwhile said alien dinosaur dragon is right on their heels, literally snapping at Seze's back feet.

"<< We're close! >>" Sandstorm leans down low, like a jockey with the finish line in sight, as Seze takes him back in toward the settlement. Crickt's appearance and apparent lack of worry concerning the creature chasing them has Sandstorm thinking that there must be something about the settlement, and its forcefield, that will keep the monster out. Well, they'll just have to see, won't they? All he can do now is keep flying, trying to keep up with his weaving pattern to shake their pursuer at least enough to reach their goal.

"<< Glad to see you're alive so far! >>" And with any luck, they'll both stay that way. Brainstorm, too, finds their host's demeanor encouraging. If the forcefield can realy stop the beast behind them, that would be splendid. If not, well, they tried. Atleast they do have an escape route, although he would feel pretty bad for the locals. He may be an amoral jerk, but he'se not that much of an asshole, and these guys did help them.

Just as they reach the barrier, the entire settlement's platform seems to heave to the side, Crickt just shifting his stance to remain upright. The beast following them suddenly lurches to a near panicked stop as it rapidly tries to turn around midair.

Out of the smog, a gigantic head rises and a toothed beak chomps down on the dragon just as it begins to retreat. It screams as the beak bites down, once, twice, then it stops moving with a massive crunch of shattering bone. It doesn't take long to realize the creature of near titan size looks exactly like their mounts, only on a far more massive scale with the settlement platform seemingly strapped to its back. Evidently its not the force field that keeps things out.

Crickt beams down at the now snacking titan-bird as Seze and Pock both land once they get close enough to the platform, going so far as to lean over the edge and scratch at its head, "Good girl, Reyina! I see y'all ran into some trouble. Yeah, they can be a lil annoying'. Didja find what you were looking for?"

Sandstorm turns in his harness to watch the show, a lopsided grin spreading across his face as the giant dragon-bird raises its head to eat the beast that had been trying to eat him. What lovely irony, that. With his questions as to how this settlement was floating now satisfyingly answered, once Seze has landed Sandstorm unhooks himself and slides out of the saddle, feet heavily hitting the floor of the platform. "Nothing we couldn't handle," he says easily, as if he wasn't within an inch of being eaten alive just now. The question about the artifact has his good mood souring, and he pulls out the spherical crystal, holding it up to catch the light again. "Yeah," he replies dryly. "We found it."

"There's always a bigger fish, huh?" Brainstorm observes as he watches the titan bird snap up their pursuer, finally daring to straighten out fully again in his saddle. By the time his mount lands, he's managed to recover sufficently from his fright, easily sliding down to the floor, tapping the ground bellow with his toe "Kind of like a titan. An organic titan." he looks up at Crickt "Kind of"

Sandstorm gets a supporting nod "Shame I lost my scanner though. Looks like I'll have to go again. Say, mind if I have a close look at it once we get back to the ship?" he's been meaning to borrow someone's anyways. Might as well try now.

"Who Reyina? Naw, just old. Everything on this planet can grow massive if they survive a couple thousand years." Crickt finishes scratching the platform bearing creature as it finishes its snack and the settlement shifts harshly as 'Reyina' resettles into her former position, head disappearing as she lowers it down.

The alien moves to help release Brainstorm from his straps,"You can pet her if you want, I can call her back up! Ahem, but anyways, looks like y'all will be headin' out then. Wish ya the best of luck with whatever your doing and yer welcome to come back anytime, y'all and yer crew! We love visitors and I'm sure Seze and Pock would love to see you again."

As if to contest this, Seze lets out a low rumbling growl as she wipes the inky substance from her face on Pock's shoulder. ".... Don't mind her, just grouchy."

Sandstorm looks over at Seze, reaching to give her a quick pat on the shoulder before withdrawing. "We'll see," he says to Crickt, a quick dismissal. "Got a lot to do back where we're from." And while being attached to an animal isn't nearly the same as being attached to a person, he doesn't want it anyway. Even if he maybe feels they bonded a little bit there, him and that big dinobirb. As long as she doesn't figure out he purposefully almost got her eaten.

"Why wait?" Sandstorm flips the crystal at Brainstorm, seemingly uncaring if the scientist catches it or not. If he does, Brainstorm should recognize what sort of crystal it is: a sparkstone, an old trinket meant to give a special someone, a lover or an amica. Rare because of how rare those relationships had been, way back when, and probably worth something. It's sparkly, at the very least. "Take your time. Hell, keep it, if you want. It's going to the same place no matter who's holding it." And honestly Sandstorm doesn't want to be that person. Getting an artifact like this is like having someone spit in his face, and he doesn't like it.

<FS3> Brainstorm rolls Reaction+Reaction: Success. (7 3 6 3)

Brainstorm has to reach a little to catch it, but he does so successfully. He does recognise it, which only makes him look it over once more. Curious that it would be something like this. He'll have to leave properly studying it for when they get back to the ship. Sandstorm shouldn't say farewell to it just yet however.

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