2018-06-23 Operation: Gramma

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Operation: Gramma
Date 2018/06/23
Location Metroplex
Participants Airazor, Chimera, Minimus Ambus, Penchant, Rodimus, Soundwave
NPCs Megatron, Tarn
Scene GM Megatron

<FS3> Penchant rolls Floorplans: Great Success. (6 3 3 7 1 3 6 2 2 3 8 8 7 3)

The underground strategy pays off: the Rodsquad moves through the tunnels beneath Iacon as Cybertron shifts and settles around them, still incorporating Unicron into its structure. They've come prepared to break into Metroplex, and by extension the Iacon citadel where Chimera is housed and where Megatron runs the planet, but this turns out not to be necessary. Metroplex, though stubbornly silent, has opened the way for them. The team sets foot inside the citadel with the Decepticons being none the wiser.

The layout of the citadel has not changed since Megatron's takeover, the titan who comprises it lying largely inert. Penchant is able to guide Rodimus and his companions along less-traveled areas and shortcuts so that they climb upwards towards the detention level. The group is assisted by the fact that Megatron is giving his speech: many Decepticons are glued to their vidscreens as their leader, seated atop his throne in the old council chamber, discusses the violence of the past few weeks and lays out his vision for the future of Cybertron and their race as a whole. And so, combined with Soundwave's mastery of surveillance technology, the team can approach their destination undetected.

Rodimus is no city speaker, but even he can see the silent help that Metroplex offers. He's touched enough by it to press his hand against the wall and say, "Thank you," but their task is too urgent to stop for any longer show of gratitude. He tries to let it shine through his eyes, to ring through his voice: thank you.

They catch snatches of the speech as they pass through the corridors. All stationed are tuned to the big show. It's enough to physically grind Rodimus's gears: a snarl tangles in his engine, and he has to work to quiet himself as they move toward Chimera. He's packing extra fuel as they go: cookies for gramma. Metaphorical cookies. It's really just condensed, potent energon. While absolute in his trust of Penchant's guidance and pretty solid in his trust of Soundwave's eye for Megatron's security, he still keeps his weapons hot. << "I'm down for shoot first, ask questions never until we get Chimera out," >> he comms the others. The visor dropped over his eyes adds another layer of information to his HUD.

Penchant moves through the empty halls with his head low, only pausing to quietly scowl at the sound of Megatron's voice addressing his followers in unseen holoviewers as they move up through the floors. << "I really, really hope someone crashes his party." >> He holds out a hand when they spill out onto the detention level, and sidles up against the nearest wall. << "I'm okay with that idea." >>

"<< I advise avoiding situations requiring the need of shooting. >>" Soundwave is moving as quietly as possible on his feet. He's not an incredibly loud individual but sneaking isn't exactly his strong suit. And his attention is split between sneaking and making sure they stay undetected. "<< But if it comes to it, it is imperative you aim for their comm units so they cannot relay our presence to backup. >>"

The captive priestess has had a rough time of it since Airazor departed to find help. Shockwave has shown an interest in her, and there have been times when Chimera has awoken in her cell missing time, with only new aches and wounds to testify to where she has been and what's been done to her. Many of the prisoners have disappeared for lengthy stretches, taken by the guards one moment and returned hours later. Chimera has been unable to transform since being taken captive, and the lack of serious attention to the wounds she suffered in her fight with Megatron are taking a toll, even as her beast form stabilizes them. In other words, being in a Decepticon prison sucks.

Airazor is very quiet, as she tags along with Rodimus and others. Why? She can float, drifting along and using her keen optics to spot any threats that might emerge. Not willing to miss a chance to rescue Chimera, she tags along with the mechaniforms to make sure they don't screw this up.

Minimus Ambus is -- of course -- armed for bear, and the field repairs have done the best job they could on his medium frame, while beneath its surface the condensed mass of the unutrium core makes of him the real threat that he might be. He'd prefer to believe he was a threat without it, but you know. He's also much better at being quick and quiet absent several tons of giant blue armor, so there's that, too. "<< Maintain cover as long as possible,>>" he agrees. Reluctantly. He's feeling a little violent his own self, here.

Things have indeed gone rather downhill since Airazor's visit. Chimera had at least some energon reserves in then, but with them gone and the rations just a smidge better than running on fumes. It's been worse with Shockwave's interest in the prisoners, the missing time and infrequent sedatives making the world a near constant, confusing twilight.

Thankfully it's been some time since her last visit from the scientist, leaving her lucid, but Chimera remains hovering just above recharge in her usual corner of the small cell. It's only a group of familiar sounds that begin to touch the edges of her hearing, and growing closer, that draw her out of her haze. Dim optics brighten only subtly as they shift to the cell's door, large helm feeling heavy as the beast lifts it up a little and vents out a low, hollow sound from deep in her chest in hopes to catch at least the keenest ears of the group.

Team Rodimus approaches the prison block. For obvious reasons there are more guards here, but not too many: most of the prisoners are in various states of disrepair that makes mounting any form of resistance extremely unlikely. Four Decepticons are devoted to guarding the detention block: two stationed in a security checkpoint and two more who walk the corridor itself. A heavy security door divides the cells from the rest of the citadel. The team could approach the checkpoint any number of ways, including walking up to it, but there is only one way into the detention center that doesn't involve cutting through the titan's walls: through the front door.

It's Rodimus's favorite strategy: frontal assault! The weapons on his forearm give the softest, quietest, most muted whining hum as they ready to fire, and he takes a stance just to the side of the door (the out of the way side) as he waits for the nerds to give him a target. Everyone else in this scenario is a nerd.

Penchant looks up at his crewmates with bright, anxious optics. << "We should send Minimus to take care of them." >> All problems can be solved with a Phase Sixer, to Penchant. << "Oh, but you should get a keycode out of them first, Soundwave - ?" >>

Soundwave is already at the keypad before Penchant says his name. Doors don't stay locked for long with him around- unless that's what he wants. As he works on opening the door while bypassing any alarms, he says, "<< I agree with Penchant. Minimus should enter on point with Rodimus providing back up if necessary. Less is more in this situation. >>" Shoulder cannon running hot and ready, Soundwave stands as the door opens.

Hands full of guns, Minimus waits for the door to slide open and when it does, he falls in -- moving from his ready position with his back to the frame, meeting Rodimus's gaze for less than the space of time of a heartbeat, and then striding forward into the room. One weapon lifted in each of his arms, he greets the Decepticons at this checkpoint with a calm, steady-eyed hail of fire, the hot bursts of energy weapons slicing towards them with sizzling crackles from each of the rifles.

Those mechs are all but dead. They look up as the door opens, unexpectedly, and they are gunned down without remorse by the small guy in green and white. The discharge of the weapons triggers the citadel's security system and the checkpoint is bathed in red light. An alarm sounds, and the two hapless Decepticons left to guard the corridor come rushing back to help their friends, guns raised.

It's go time, now. The entire Decepticon army is going to be alerted to the Rodsquad's presence very shortly.

For all of his eagerness to launch into the fight, when it comes down to it, the first thing that Rodimus does after the doors open is bolt for Chimera's cell. He leaves the guards inside to Minimus, the guards outside to Soundwave and Penchant. He calls, "Get the rest of the cells open, too!" He slides up into place next to her cell and grins through the bars as he unloads the energon and quickly studies the lock. Is it the kind that shooting will fix? Shooting fixes so many things. "A little bird told us where to find you."

Penchant balls his fists and endures a little thrill as Minimus brings down the first set of guards. When the alarms blare, he rushes in and tries to rally the rest of the prisoners so they're ready to bolt as soon as Soundwave lifts the rest of the containment bars. Sure, he could try to hack himself, but Soundwave's a pro. "We're getting you out. Follow, uh, a blue truck or a red speeder."

Soundwave steps through the doors after most everyone else, coming to a standstill almost within the door frame. He stares at the bodies of the guards. To their badges. It takes him long enough to refocus on the incoming guards to earn possibly a scorch mark or two. His cannon adjusts but never shoots. He can't, leaving them to Minimus.

"Attempt to incapacitate them nonlethally," Soundwave requests as he moves to the booth and-- he curses. Verbally. Everyone can hear it. He takes off, sprinting to Chimera's cell. "Penchant, open what cells you can. I do not know I can get to them all myself." But Chimera takes priority. He immediately begins working on her cell's lock when he gets there.

Worry fills Chimera's eyes as the group finally reach the cellblock and gunfire begins to fill her ears. Grunting, the large beast strains to get to her feet, legs shakey from lack of use and energy. By the time she manages to get up fully, an all too welcome sight slides into view. "Rodimus.." The voice comes out hoarse, choked with delighted emotion as dim optics shimmer at the edges. Thank the gods.

From his viewpoint, Chimera isn't in the best shape. Only partially repaired battle wounds marr her chest, the energon long congealed, along with varied surgical welds. Her horn is still missing, her mane has lost its luster, and she looks an overall exhausted mess.

But that doesn't stop her from using what energy she has left to approach the door, though the chain anchoring her collar to the floor keeps her just short of it. "Be careful.." She warns as Soundwave begins to work on the lock. "I am sure Shockwave and the Decepticon Justice Division are not too far off, they patrol these halls often."

Minimus fires off a few more shots, bracing both his feet against the floor and setting himself so that as more reinforcements come charging in, they are charging directly into his line of fire. It is not a position that pays much attention to self-defense. "<< Those alarms are at least mildly concerning,>>" he remarks blandly over the comms.

Airazor takes up a position behind Minimus, wrist-mounted weapons revealed and pointed towards the only way that any foes could enter the detention center. "So, how do we get out of here, if they're coming that way?" She asks Minimus. "I thought we'd just blow out the wall or something." A beat. "Then I remembered I'm the only one of you who can fly."

Chimera feels it first: an electrical charge that runs through the air and makes even her mane start to perk up. But it won't take long for the rest of them to feel it, a buzzing in their optics and auditory sensors. A focal point forms between Minimus and Airazor and the rest of the Rodsquad, so that it stands between Rodimus and the exit. Lightning arcs from this point to scorch the walls, and even a few unfortunate prisoners. It builds for another moment and then breaks, opening up into a vortex of coruscating transwarp energy. A localized space bridge, or ground bridge.

The DJD is closer than Chimera knows. At least one of them, anyway. Tarn, backed by over a dozen Decepticon warriors, steps into the corridor. Although his battered mask remains the same, the leader of the DJD has changed since his last appearance at the gala. His armor is bulkier and his optics burning brighter. Most noticeable, however, is the collar of electrostatic orange fur that is settled on his shoulders in a broad ruff. Very familiar to those who have seen Chimera. Silenced, Tarn does not speak. The raised gun barrels of his companions prepare to do the talking.

Consolation prize? Chimera's cell door chirps helpfully as Soundwave unlocks it.

"Eh, it's fine, let's blow out the wall. How far down can it be?" asks the guy who paid ZERO attention to the floorplans. Rodimus is a total failure at floorplan. He is down for Airazor's plan.

Rodimus flings a cube of concentrated energon in Chimera's direction, still sealed so that it tumbles end over end, which frees up his hands to level a blast of gunfire at the chains that hold her down. "Good. I hope they are. I've got something to say to them." His gaze lingers on her broken horn, and his smile is fierce in the moment before the prickle of electricity finally registers on his senses with an 'uh oh'. He twists, looking back at the emerging Decepticons, and smashes her door open with an elbow as it chirps. He unloads a hail of blaster fire directly into the core of Tarn's squad. "Plan Wall?!"

Penchant winces and looks down the lengthy row of cells. "I'll try..." Off he goes, with a card-like device with ribbon cables pulled from subspace. The display is cracked, but he can still see the warped glow of letters and numbers as it cycles through millions of combinations.

It's the brief warping of his vision that makes Penchant turn and witness Tarn's ground bridge arrival. With reinforcements. "It's blow out the wall or the waste chutes," he provides, quickly turning back to his arduous task.

Tarn arrives with other Decepticons and Soundwave has to resist the instant urge to shoot Tarn. NOT their priority, unfortunately. "<< Penchant, return to me immediately. We can't save them right now. We have to go, >>" he orders, turning.

Leveling his shoulder cannon at the wall, Soundwave releases a shot. A hole through the wall is their best chance out of here. Anything that will give them distance from Tarn is good, too.

Minimus Ambus starts blasting with both guns, his lip curling back from his teeth and his gaze narrowing in bright sparks of scarlet. Frustration limns his shoulders, tightens the hard set of his jaw. "Get all of them out. I'll cover your retreat."

Chimera's optics gleam at the offer of a cube rolling to her feet as they work the door. Starvation drives her to decend on it immediately, not even bothering to open the cube normally, large jaws snapping it up and breaking the container while swallowing down the whole thing. To her surprise and delight, its quite a potent concentration, giving her the boost she needs with optics flaring bright and a full body shudder running through her.

Unfortunately they won't come out of this unscathed, her mane prickling at the energy signature felt once before, forcing Chimera to push the ache of her wounds and spring from the cell once the door is open and chain severed. Tarn's arrival is met with shock at the strange fur lining his shoulders. Is that.. hers? Not that she can ask right now. They need to retreat, she's not about to make a stand with them all in jeopardy. "Soundwave, when you can, this collar must be removed. I am of little use to you with it on."

The Rodsquad slips inside the cell just in time: a hail of gunfire tears through the corridor, even though a few of the Decepticons take fire in return. Minimus takes a few shots, but nothing that his ununtrium core won't absorb. Though, he's getting uglier with every encounter. There's going to be a lot of time in the body shop after this. Airazor is smart enough to pull back into the cell, floating up to the top to stay out of everyone's way. She fires off a few shots, but they glance harmlessly off of Tarn's armor.

Soundwave's shot blasts a hole in the citadel wall. It's designed to resist blasts from without, not shots aimed from within. Tarn and his wrecking crew advance, while the hole is large enough for them to go around the same time. It's a bit of a ways down, however. They're robots, they'll be fine.

"The frag you will," Rodimus says, reaching to grab Minimus by the collar. He will drag him out if he has to. Minimus might be nigh-invincible, but he hasn't gotten all that heavier. And Rodimus has gotten a bit bigger. "I'm not coming back here again to pry you out of a cell next." He falls back toward the hole in the citadel wall, angling his frame to absorb any shots that might go in Chimera's direction as they move for their exit. Their ... abrupt exit. It's fine. IT'S FINE.

Penchant looks conflicted. Minimus is in charge, right? Penchant doesn't have time to flaunt some insubordination in favor of freeing more prisoners, though it pains him greatly to leave the battered mechs to join Soundwave in the escape. "Wait- Wait, we're really-! We're really jumping!? Open your deck!"

"I can do th--shhk," is what Minimus sounds like as he is interrupted by the sudden hissing shrrrk of a sound as Rodimus's superior size and leverage means he is hauled back by his collar. He flails, and one of his energy blasts goes wide to send a rain of dust down on them from the ceiling. "Rodimus, you--." But he stops arguing and moves with a muttered "rrrrrf," of a growl as he picks up speed toward the blasted hole in the wall. We don't need those knees, do we?

"I'll remove it when we are out of these cells. Now, go," Soundwave tells Chimera, refusing to leave until he has Penchant. He turns once more, this time to face Tarn and the Decepticons. He only has a few missiles left, but he'll gladly let one go for Tarn. Just look at him, ugh.

"Tarn, sounds much better than before," he notes. Then Soundwave fires a missile at Tarn as he opens his chassis for Penchant to jump in. The rest of his cassettes can be seen snuggled in cozily, one slot waiting for Penchant.

Anything is better than spending another moment in this horrid place, so Chimera doesn't even pause to see just how far down the ground is outside their new exit. Soundwave doesn't have to tell her twice, making a break for it with the others in tow, her tougher plating holding up against what stray shot ping against it.

With fresh energy surging through her, the beast leaps through the large hole without hesitation, only then seeing their height and trying to twist midair. Luckily cats land on their feet, though the impact is rough on her tired joints, Chimera landing hard after her legs absorb so much before collapsing under her. It smarts, but she'll live.

It's a long way down. "Wait! None of you can fly!" Airazor calls after the Rodsquadders. She's last out, of course, and dives down after the plummeting mechaniforms in case her assistance is needed. It turns out, it isn't.

Tarn is briefly waylaid by Soundwave's missile, which impacts his shoulder and turns him. But the leader of the DJD squares himself and watches his quarry fall to Cybertron's surface. He extends his hand and the energy in that glorious orange ruff of stolen style crackles. Instead of sending a lightning bolt after our heroes, Tarn neatly cuts off their escape. A ground bridge opens below Rodimus and company, the funnel widening enough to catch all of them. Except Airazor, who, being able to fly, pulls up at the last moment.

Momentum conserved, the Rodsquad fall together onto the floor in a tangled heap. They can hear, just for a moment, a very familiar voice droning on and on and about justice and amnesty and equality and tomorrow. The voice stops, however, and then greets them. "Ah, the rebels." Megatron rises from his throne, the camera drone broadcasting his speech rising to keep focused on his face. "Behold, Cybertron, the last gasp of the old order, clawing feebly against tomorrow to pull us back into war." Megatron gestures, and the camera briefly alights on the sorry mass of would-be rescuers. Tarn sent them right into the council chamber.

Rodimus, digging a clawed hand into the side of the building to slow his fall, loses his grip and falls away in surprise as the ground bridge opens beneath them. He clatters into a dusty, slightly singed heap. Wait. What? WHERE?

Getting his feet back under him, Rodimus rises. He's dented and disoriented, but that's Megatron, RIGHT THERE. There's an impulse, barely checked, to fire. His weapons prickle hot on his arms, but he lowers them from a firing stance into a shrug at the room at large. "I can't believe I die--" He got better. "--and here you are, still with those same sad lines."

Penchant is having a very heated argument with the rest of the tapes in Soundwave's deck about what the hell just happened and what to do next seeing as they're being presented. He's back on his feet as soon as Soundwave pops the door, and staggers down the pile of metal limbs with nothing but his pistol to arm him. Though the camera drone catches his eye...

It is a tangle of limbs. Of wheels. Of kibble. Of shattered dreams and personal gravity and the broken pieces of what used to be Minimus Ambus's medium frame. He fumbles for a gun and finds one. It's much larger in this set of hands. It's almost as long as he is tall as he crawls out from underneath the others.

He rasps:

"Megatron. By the authority granted me as an authorized deputy of the Iacon municipal police, you are under arrest for murder, assault, aggravated assault, kidnapping," he chambers a round at this moment, lifting the massive-to-him-but-not-actually-that-large-weapon, because that is exactly how dignified this is, "and unlawful trespass in a government building."

Soundwave knew landing was going to be bad. But this is much, much worse than he thought it would be. Since when could Tarn do that. He works on getting up off the pile of comrades, joints groaning in protest and something crunching somewhere inside his midsection. Deal with that later.

"Rodimus, Minimus..." Soundwave rumbles. This is really not the best time, guys. He glance around where they are before he glowers through his visor at Megatron. He gets to work trying to disrupt any transmissions being sent out, attempting to cut off Megatron's show to the masses.

Chimera may not land hard on the expected ground before, but it's still a rough one when it opens up beneath them with another spacebridge, depositing them all atop each other in none other than the throne room. An aching groan rises from her as she rolls off of whoever was unfortunate enough to land beneath her, the pain rising over the high of the energy spike.

Only when her head begins to clear does she realize just where they are, dull mane bristling and armor panels flaring long her spine when clawing to her feet and staring down Megatron in a defensive stance. "So you are to make a show of us now?" Chimera snarls, lips curling over large fangs, and ready to take him on even if she may not withstand a second round.

Megatron isn't alone in the room. The other members of the DJD lurk off camera, as does Terminus. A few guards are likely stationed outside. "Rodimus?" For once, Megatron is caught off guard at the sight of the dead hero. It shows on his features, optics widening, before he regathers himself and finds his steely expression once again. "Will wonders never cease on this new world of ours."

The ground bridge over the Rodsquad hasn't closed, and Tarn isn't finished with them. He wouldn't leave the Lost Lighters to his companions, when he has so much to offer them. The massive leader of the DJD falls through the portal, but he's not alone. He must have jumped just after they did and followed them to close the trap. One can also imagine Airazor, as bewildered as the rest of them, pulling back and turning around...just in time to see Tarn's heel slam into her. Eukarian and executioner fall through the ground bridge together. Airazor's armor isn't built for close combat fighting, and it certainly isn't built to withstand the impact of a mech of Tarn's size. Her superstructure collapses under Tarn, one arm, the wing behind it, and leg nearly being severed as her torso is crushed. The falcon lets out a cry and then falls silent, optics going pitch black. Tarn straightens, wordlessly, and steps away from the unconscious Airazor. He tracks her mechfuild with his first few steps, before it is spent. Baleful optics focus on the rebels, and electricity crackles through his new mane. Silence has done wonders for Tarn's scare quotient. Now the ground bridge closes.

The tyrant smirks at Tarn's arrival and then steps down from his throne (which, to Megatron's credit, is a matte black slab of steel and NOT made of anyone else's parts), the camera catching his every move. "You are as tiresome as ever, Minimus. Put the gun down. You aren't any authority here. And no, priestess, you are the ones who have so rudely interrupted my speech. But so long as we are here..." Megatron turns to Soundwave, "...I would very much like the opportunity to speak, and for you to respond in kind." The tyrant turns his gaze on Rodimus. "Are my words so sad, Rodimus? Tonight I have explained to our people my vision for this world. For peace. For a community of Cybertronians across the stars. I have no intention of restarting the war. What I did, I did out of self defense, and in defense for our world. Can you say I was wrong? That Starscream was the best hand to guide the generations to come? That his vanity, his arrogance, his incompetence, would not have led us to another calamity? I did what I did to prevent the final conflagration that would have ended our race once and for all. I do what I am doing now in the same spirit of peace." Megatron extends his hand to Rodimus, though they are still quite far apart. "Let us end the war, Rodimus. Right here. Right now. You have already removed your badge, now join me to make a new Cybertron. Let the past be past. For all of you." Megatron looks to the others and then returns his attention to Rodimus, lowering his helm to look the resurrected bot full in the face. "Optimus Prime is gone. It is just you and I, you know that what you say will speak for Autobot and neutral alike. No longer need you stand in his shadow, no longer need you fight his war. You are your own mech, Rodimus. I was wrong before, but I see it now. Will you follow the path of war, or will you help me to rebuild Cybertron, to protect our people, and to safeguard our future?" The cameras are rolling. Although that may look like a drone, Soundwave and Penchant soon realize it is indeed a Cybertronian in alt mode.

Rodimus somehow resists the urge the fingergun at Megatron in that moment of unguarded surprise.

Tarn hits like a meteor, and craters Airazor beneath his feet. Rodimus lunges forward with a snarl of his engine and a curl of his lip as he sneers at Megatron and Tarn. Fear brightens the blue of his eyes, clear as his visor snaps back so that he can push the distractions back and focus on Airazor. He kneels next to her, searching for the flicker of her spark.

Rodimus's hand on her shoulder is gentle as he looks up at the grandstanding warlord. "Your metaphors are becoming a little obvious: crushing the innocent underfoot to claw your way to power. That's not peace; that's tyranny. The Decepticons are better than this. They are better than you."

"Please. You have no colorable authority here. You're not even an insurgent. Your war ended years ago. You are a trespasser posturing in a government building." Minimus Ambus lifts his gun and points it unerringly at Megatron's chest, his eyes a fiery blaze of scarlet. "You have the right to remain silent, and I wish to Primus you would exercise it."

Then he shoots Megatron's outstretched hand.

Penchant jerks back when Tarn emerges with Airazor under heel. He shields his optics with his arm at the collision, and lingers helplessly beside Soundwave when the executioner steps away from the falcon's ruined frame.

A small part of Penchant grows hopeful when Megatron makes his offer. Promise of peace. Megatron wants to /prevent/ the war - and it's painfully appealing to a diehard neutral. But Rodimus breaks the spell over him, at least for now, and Penchant goes back to glowering. Up until Minimus just shoots at the tyrant. "Holy scrap," he mutters to himself.

Soundwave's jaw works into a tight clench, hands balling into fists as he watches Megatron move. Listens to him talk. He has to look away at some point, optics resting on Tarn and his... Mane, crackling like the ground bridge had. A tentacle slips out behind him from beneath his armor. It slinks to the floor, where it begins to slither over as stealthily as possible to Tarn.

Soundwave's head whips back as Minimus let's off a shot, unable keep his engine from growling. He kills it, flinching. No, bad. "... Megatron, cannot lead Cybertron because Megatron was not chosen by Cybertron," Soundwave points out. "Starscream, chosen by Cybertron. And even he didn't sit alone in a throne room. Megatron, it is time to stop what you are doing."

Tarn's arrival is sudden and not without its own dramatic entrance of Airazor's scream and immediate silence. The sound is one of the last things Chimera would think she'd hear, a shot of fear lancing through her spark as she whirls around in a panic. "Airazor!" Chimera leaps to her crumpled frame the same time Rodimus does, worry and a sickening drop of her tank filling her while leaning down to the small avaian. "No, no.. Please, little bird, stay with us.." Chimera begs, her voice pained. Primus, she can't even hold her like this.. But she has to protect her, staying over her and keeping steady as Minimus opens fire on Megatron.

Megatron snarls as Minimus blasts his hand, shattering the black armor around it and sending a few fingers flying. He holds the ruined appendage for a moment, before showing it to the drone. "The hand of peace. Refused. Deaddrop, end broadcast." The tyrant straightens, lowering the broken hand. "Unfortunate." He replies to Rodimus. "But I alone have the strength to guide the rebirth of Cybertron. I, alone, can protect our people at this moment. You weaken all who come in contact with you. Listen to Soundwave snivel and whine, when before he was feared and respected by all. Pah!" Megatron readies himself, fusion cannon whining as it builds power. "Tarn. You have my leave to eliminate these intruders. Execute them."

Tarn heeds his master's call, gesturing to the rest of the DJD to close in on the battered Lost Lighters. His new mane crackles, and for the moment he is none the wiser to Soundwave's sneakery.

Fortunately for Airazor, her spark chamber wasn't crushed, otherwise she'd be doing her best Pipes impression right now. Still, she's in bad shape, leaking in ways she ought not and being generally smashed and broken. Vibrant optics are black: the Eukarian is in emergency stasis. Fortunately she has a big cat to protect her.

There's a half-second between Rodimus noticing the creep of Soundwave's tentacle and his realization of what he's trying to do. As soon as it clicks, he moves, stepping forward just slightly to draw the eye and attention away from Soundwave's sneakery. "There's not a single spark that won't see straight through you before the end, Megatron. Cybertron knows you. And you've been judged wanting."

Penchant sure misses his big beefy powerhouse drone as he watches the DJD close in on their little group. He can only lift his pistol in poised defense, oblivious to whatever Soundwave is up to. "Well guys, if we die here... Okay, I got nothin'."

"<< Keep them away from me until I get Tarn to cooperate, >>" Soundwave quickly comms to everyone. Lifting behind Tarn, the tentacle searches for the right spot.

Soundwave snarls. Snivelling?! He'll show Megatron who's to be feared here. And that's when he finds it. A connection port along Tarn's frame. Soundwave's tentacle lunges to make the connection and try to high-jack Tarn's body.

"Strength alone was never enough." Minimus Ambus continues to advance, rifle charging for another burst that he does not immediately release. He advances. There should be little threat in this comparatively tiny frame, especially considering how much larger he was the last time Megatron saw him, yet he moves in defense of the others like he thinks he is enormous.

Tarn's spine goes rictus straight when Soundwave interfaces with him. Normally this would be much more difficult, given the leader of the DJD's tremendous willpower, but the extensive modifications he has undergone in recent days leave him vulnerable to the attack. Soundwave catches images from that time: Tarn, half in stasis, observing Shockwave and Pharma working on him deep in the bowels of Metroplex. Chimera and other prisoners sedated nearby. Metroplex's spark chamber and his space bridge chamber, both crowded with Decepticon machinery. It would occur to Soundwave that Tarn's apparent ability to open a space bridge has nothing to do with himself. Through Tarn Soundwave can touch the inscrutable mind of the titan himself, and command it. Tarn has no inherent power: he's activating Metroplex's space bridge on a whim. For the moment, Soundwave has control, but he can feel it slipping, Tarn regaining control.

Of the Decepticons in the room, Megatron figures out what has happened first. "Fire on Soundwave! Destroy the traitor!" Megatron is the first, raising his fusion cannon and discharging a blast in Soundwave's direction. Minimus and Rodimus are, for the moment, ignored. Bringing down the psychic is the only priority.

"Now's a good time, Soundwave! Great time! Whatever you're doing--!" Rodimus moves to stand between Soundwave and the gunfire, shielding him, even in the face of a fusion cannon. "Time to do it!"

Penchant finally catches on, and can only think to stall by firing his low powered bolts upon armor that's built for a lot more punishment. He focuses on Vos, the teeniest, as he gestures for Chimera to scoop Airazor up in her jaws. The awkward exchange is abandoned when he just tosses his weapon and moves to hoist the falcon up, or what's left of her, and climb aboard Chimera's back.

Soundwave knows he has to work quickly. Not just because of Megatron and the DJD being here, but because this connection goes both ways. And Tarn in his mind sounds really icky. As soon as he figures out how Tarn does it, he knows exactly what coordinates to use. The ground bridge opens behind him and giving them some really badass backlighting.

Soundwave lifts his arms to shield his chest, staying connected with Tarn until everyone is through. His vents heave with effer but he still manages to still scowl at Megatron. And say, "The Decepticons don't need you anymore. And neither do I." It would sound way cooler if it wasn't so flat and strained.

<FS3> Megatron rolls Firearms: Good Success. (8 2 7 1 6 2 5 6 2 1 5 7 5 6)

If Minimus were larger, he would be raining down fire in retreat. Because he is only shooting one gun, he only gets off one searing shot at Megatron as he scatters backwards towards the bridge. He yells, "And obstruction of justice!" before he jumps through.

As parting shots go, there are better ones.

Chimera isn't as aware of what Soundwave's up to as the others, too focused on keeping vigilant over the downed bird, but she quickly becomes it when Megatron notices and signals the attack. Without her electricity she's no more than a roaring beast, squaring her stance while bellowing at the advancing Decepticons, daring they get close.

But she won't have to fight them, Penchant's gesturing catching her eye before he rushes to them, Chimera not needing much direction beyond that. "Hurry now, and hold tight." She urges him, being as delicate as she can while crouching and nudging Penchant and Airazor up onto her back. With her riders secure, she doesn't waste time and makes a dash for the bridge as soon as it's open, disappearing through the portal.

Megatron bellows in rage, his own advance slowed by Minimus's shot to his chest. The leader of the Decepticons fires again and again, but succeeds only in blasting the back wall of his throne room. The other DJD had no more luck as they closed in, unable to prevent the escape. The last sound our heroes hear is Megatron striking Tarn, the beginning of a long speech berating him for his carelessness just starting to pour out of the tyrant.

And with that they escape. Airazor is holding together, barely, limbs dangling in ways they ought not. The only question is where Soundwave sent them...

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